25 November 2008

I'm sorry I'm so boring.

I really haven't been doing much lately that merits a blog post. The things I have had to say have all related to school, which is why I put them on my school blog over at Archinect. You might find that interesting. Otherwise, it's just been me, here, at my computer, working on my web site for thesis, and freaking out about all the jobs lost in the architecture world and beyond in the past couple of weeks. Has anyone you know lost a job recently because of the economic downturn? By all means, let me know, I like to maintain a healthy level of anxiety, it keeps me motivated.

And I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! We'll be making turkey and all the fixings here in my apartment, despite partial nausea induced from watching the Governor of Alaska give an interview in front of a turkey being slaughtered. Blech. Anyway.

16 November 2008

Firestorm

I debated for a long time over the title of this post. I thought about using the line from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" ("...living in a pony keg and giving off sparks...") and then I thought I might use the word Flaming, but neither of those addressed the seriousness of the situation.

So here's what's been going on in the City of Angels these past few days: yesterday morning there was a huge protest in front of City Hall against the passage of Prop 8, which essentially wrote discrimination into the California constitution with the words "a marriage is between a man and a woman". I tend to try to be a moderating voice in this conversation: I am not gay, but I support my gay friends and their desire for gay marriage, and obviously they are very offended by this passage. However, I think people's reasons for voting for the Proposition in question might have been a lot more nuanced than the gay community realizes. Nonetheless, I was disturbed by the fact that the Mormon church poured so much of its money into the Yes on Prop 8 effort, including people taking money out of their savings to "benefit their children's future"? Huh? By taking money out of their college fund? Also, I was angered by the fact that it affected the state constitution, in that even if people need time to warm up to the idea of gay marriage, well, tough, because it's already in the constitution! Can't change your minds ... or can you? The legal challenges abound here and I suspect the issue is not anywhere near being resolved. Here are some photos....


Lots of people, probably more than reported


Good sign


At least the Times staff didn't have to go far

Mayor Tony came to the rally and spoke, and when he was done he said he had to get back to the fires. "What fires?" I asked. I thought he had gone up to Santa Barbara to help them out. Then I heard....more fires broke out overnight in someplace called Sylmar. And then there were some in Orange County, and someplace else. I heard that there were hurricane force winds and that the fires had jumped a couple of highways. With a high of 95 degrees on Saturday November 15, a relative humidity of 9%, and a dew point of 21 degrees (you'd have to freeze the air to get any moisture out of it), conditions were ripe for a fire. You might even say we're living in the greatest pile of tinder in the United States, and once you add the Santa Ana winds into the mix, you get what we got: a firestorm. Many fire chiefs have been quoted in the news as saying that the fires never used to be this bad, or this often; well, I suspect it never used to be this dry, either. But that's what global warming has gotten us. Here's some photos of the air around Downtown LA today, November 16 - it's absolutely awful, it stinks of smoke, and my eyes are burning a little. Notice how blue the sky is in the photo above, just a day earlier.


No this is not smog, it's smoke


This is in the middle of the day! 1 pm! Not early evening as it looks....


This is normally a much nicer view. Today, yuck.

12 November 2008

July 4, 2009?

Look at what they were handing out on campus today....it looks and feels like a real, albeit very short, New York Times. A classmate brought this into studio a little bit ago, apparently he got it from some random people on campus (near Tommy Trojan!). Basically it's supposed to be from July 4, 2009, and it has a bunch of great headlines for events that haven't happened yet ... but it might be really great if they did! At the bottom are stories about how Bush is being prosecuted for war crimes, and about how the oil industry is funding climate change initiatives. Other headlines read, National Health Insurance Act Passes, All Public Universities To Be Free, New York Bike Path System Expanded Dramatically, and my personal favorite, American Evangelical Churches Announce New Policy of Sanctuary for Iraqi Refugees.

It also has fake ads inside, like one from DeBeers, that says "You know it ... we know it. Your purchase of a diamond between now and 2026 will help fund the creation, fitting, and maintenance of a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in one of that continent's brutal conflicts over diamonds." An ExxonMobil ad says "Peace. An idea the world can profit from."

I don't know what group did this but ... wow. It feels so real. Seeing this on a newspaper, even one from July 4 in the future is jarring. It may be better than getting the real thing from the day after the election. Wouldn't it be great if we could actually get some of this stuff done?

I'm going to go read some more fake stories now.


FAKE NY Times: "All the News We Hope to Print"

***Update*** The Huffington Post has a story about the folks behind this massive prank. Good stuff, if I ever meet one of these dudes I'll give them a high five ...

10 November 2008

Party's over ... Is it time to panic now?

Obviously I am still excited about Obama being elected last week. However I decided it might be time to think about my own life and future plans again, which, for me, inevitably leads to blogging:
Oh and if that wasn't enough, I started another blog. Crazy, right? But this one will be affiliated with the web site that I am working on for my thesis and, as such, I will be intentionally cagey about it until it is ready to go. So you can't see it yet! But you can see a picture of my roommate's new kitten, who is ADORABLE. Cheers.

05 November 2008

November 4, 2008: History

Wow! Remember yesterday ... it's a day that will go down in history as the day that America stood up and rejected the politics of division, of cynicism, and of fear. With our new leader, President-Elect Obama at the helm, let's see if we can't all band together and work harder to make this country energy independent ... let's see if we can make health care a right for every American, not just a privilege ... let's create more jobs, reconcile with our allies, and promote peace around the world. Yes, we can and ... yes we did!

Here are some screen shots from major news outlets last night, after it was announced. Absolutely amazing. Happy history day, everyone!


NY Times


MSNBC


CNN


LA Times

Update: Here is a web site displaying most of the newspaper front pages from around the world for Wednesday, November 5. Awesome!

04 November 2008

Please vote today.

So I don't have to go into therapy. Thank you.


03 November 2008

RIP Hootie, 1994-2008

I turned 30 at the beginning of October and I can't say that this age has treated me very well so far. Three years ago on my birthday I brought home a feline fluffball named Hootie; she came to me from an acquaintance who was moving to Ireland and couldn't take the cat with her. I knew next to nothing about Hootie except for her name, her presumed age (11?), and the fact that she came with two litter boxes (but no Blowfish, thankfully). I brought her back to my apartment in Over-The-Rhine in Downtown Cincinnati where she promptly hid in one of the many nooks and crannies of this loft space and did not emerge for a week. This was OK because the morning after I got her I had to go on a business trip for four days, which later became the "how I got a vacuum cleaner in Boise, Idaho" story.



Hootie was a great cat. She was low maintenance, aside from that two litter box thing, and aside from the fact that she peed in places that she shouldn't when she didn't feel well (like the roommate's suede couch!). She was also loyal and would often follow me from room to room and just sit there because I was there. She hated to be held or to sit on my lap, but she made up for this obvious cat deficiency by BEING INCREDIBLY CUTE and very photogenic.


Kitty yoga

The annual ritual of getting Hootie shaved for the summer months proved to be comedic relief for nearly everyone involved. One hour of discomfort for her yielded days and days of laughter and photos for the rest of us. It was called a "lion cut" because she looked like a tiny lion when she was done. A tiny, very peeved lion. With boots!


Before






After

This year, right before my birthday, Hootie started peeing in all the wrong places. I took her to the vet and we got her some anti-biotics for a urinary tract infection. I also found out that she had kidney disease, and that this struck persian cats at a high rate. She had also lost almost half her body weight, which scared me. Things started getting a little hairy after that. She wasn't eating regularly, and she wasn't going to the bathroom regularly. She wouldn't eat the prescription food, then she wouldn't eat her regular food, then she wouldn't even eat her favorite food - peanut butter - in the tiniest amount. We tried to give her fluids, we could tell she was dehydrated, but she just deteriorated quickly from there. She stopped drinking water and she started wailing constantly. It was heartbreaking. So I had to make the excruciating decision put her down.


Hootie stretching out during a nap

I don't know why this cat affected me so much. Maybe it's because she kept me company in my last three apartments and made the gigantic move to the West Coast with me, a long ride that she handled like a champ, even when we dragged her to the Grand Canyon. Maybe it's because she was so fun to take pictures of ...so fun, in fact, that she is now internet famous because I've plastered her picture all over the place. Or maybe it's because she was just a great pet.


Hootie at the Grand Canyon!

In any case, she's gone now and I'm a wreck. She may have been just a cat, but she's been there with me for the last three years, through thick and thin. And today I'm really sad.

This blog is an outlet for me and a way to communicate with many people that I don't see very often; most of the time, I'm thinking about issues that relate to my studies or those that I just find important. Today, I'm just really missing my cat and putting up pictures of her here made me smile. Rest in peace, my little kitty.