30 December 2009
I was once accused of having the personality of a chameleon, a revelation which didn't offend me so much as it made me realize that I love to communicate with people, many different kinds of people. I like it so much in fact that I challenge myself when making new friends by associating their names with their incredibly rich stories, and I inevitably find something about them that amazes me. It's not hard to remember the stories of my Cincinnati friends though - their stories are my stories, since I spent much of the last decade creating my own history. It's absolutely SURREAL to me that I'm about to begin a new decade, with a new group of friends, and a new job, in a new and wonderful city. I mean, 2010? Where did that come from? I didn't see it coming at all. You'd think since I'm good at basic math, I'd have noticed that it was 2009 and been a little more prepared. But I'm not, not really.
In truth, most good people amaze me. And since nearly everyone I want to spend time with is a good person, most of the people I know amaze me. So by now you're thinking, "but wouldn't this mean that you walk around dazed all the time?" and the answer is YES, I do! Which is why I have to concentrate extra hard to get things done, and when driving. :o)
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the amazing people I saw in the last week; first, my entire family, including all of my aunts and uncles, my young cousins (all taller than me now, the buggers), my great aunt, my step-family, and my parents. And then my friends, who put up with me trying to see as many of them as I could and didn't mind my crazy schedule; Adam, Ryan, Clair, Aaron, Suzi, Ciara, Chip, Loraine, Lauren, Amanda, Patricia, Laura, Chris, Dan, Ron, Forest, Zak, a new friend named Josh, and Liz, who got food poisoning but still managed to come and see me for 5 minutes. Last but not least, my best friends, Katie and Caroline, who still enjoy kidnapping me whenever possible (and which they did this last week). I do miss seeing my other friends - including Scott, David, Steve, Abby, Andy, Gretchen, Miguel, Kendra, Erin, Jason, Ian, Gerad, Dana, seriously, there's too many to call out - but I know they are all out there, scattered, and doing good things, and generally being awesome. But I look forward to making new friends here in Portland, which is also full of generally awesome people, so that's exciting too.
So I dedicate this, my last post of the year, to all of my friends, both old and new. Happy New Year, Happy New Decade, and here's to hoping that 2010 is better than 2009. Because 2009 really sucked, right? Sheesh....
19 December 2009
In this difficult economy, we are dedicated to making our students the best prepared, most innovative in the nation. Competition for jobs has become more intense – and it's incumbent upon us to provide that vital edge to compete and create value in a global marketplace. And that means knowledge of digital techniques: parametric design, scripting, fabrication, digital communication, Building Information Modeling.There are many things that got me fired up this week - the health care fight in Congress and the Copenhagen Climate Conference among them - but my reaction to this email has been the most profound for my own life and that of my fellow professionals. Some of this has even been posted in other places because I keep refining my argument as I think more and more about it. As I wrote to my former professors immediately after I received this email,
Even once our graduates have found a job, these are often the skills that will help them keep it.
"I appreciate what (the Dean) is trying to do for the school, but I am at a loss as to why he failed to mention energy modeling in his long list of "digital techniques" that the students should be learning. The profession of architecture is at risk right now, and from my perspective, I know I wouldn't have a job if I hadn't learned those skills (in graduate school). I do have architecture friends who can make a mean 3D model in Rhino or Maya... but they've been unemployed for the better part of the last year, with few prospects in sight. With the adoption of Architecture 2030 goals into building code as a real possibility on the horizon, architecture students need more of an idea how to make energy efficient buildings, and perhaps they should spend less time on making prettier, faster ones."It's like this: there is going to be a time in the near future when designing a sustainable or energy efficient building won't be a choice... it will be required. And I am deeply concerned for my profession, because unless architects start to respond to this situation, we are going to be left out of the process. I can guarantee you that other professionals and other types of businesses will capitalize on architects' inability to respond to prevailing market conditions. I think it's absolutely imperative that architects become at least conversant in sustainable and energy-lite design strategies, so that we can manage the design of buildings properly and guide the process like we should, instead of looking like a deer in the headlights when our consultants and clients ask us for a greener building. Perhaps we can collectively find our way out of the forest before that happens?...
02 December 2009
Yes, I'm sure the President knows how much it's going to cost, and how much of that money could be spent on domestic programs. Yes, I'm sure he knows that many think it's a lost cause, and that Afghanistan can never be "conquered". And I am certain that Obama has considered the toll that it will take on our already-stretched troops. But that's why we elected him - because we trusted him to make the best decision with the information that he has available to him. Sometimes the best decision is a really hard one, and it's not pretty.
People that worked hard to get Obama elected should remember why they did so when, just 10 months into his young Presidency, he has to make a big decision they don't like. I learned yesterday that MoveOn.org spoke out against the surge in Afghanistan in an email they sent out - an email that I didn't get, and a position they didn't solicit my opinion on. I found this interesting since they spent so much time and effort asking for my money to support the health care fight only a week ago. I do agree with them on that, but I find their stance on the Afghan war to be self-serving and short-sighted. I will have to remember this when they ask for my money the next time.
Perhaps this surge won't work. Perhaps, in two years, when troops begin to come home, we won't have a clear idea of whether the war-torn country is going to make it on its own. But these are the moves that we should have been making 8 years ago, and I commend the President for having the guts to follow through and give it a try... even if it ends up being too little, too late.
25 November 2009
At the beginning of October, when I went to DC for the Solar Decathlon, I had a surreal experience that brought me a few degrees closer to NCIS. I sat next to my favorite plane neighbor ever, a guy named Mike who was a former Assistant Director of the REAL NCIS. Mike was a super-nice dude who told me all sorts of amazing stories about working as a Special Agent in his early days and later, how he helped set up a forensic lab in Iraq that assisted in catching terrorists who targeted our soldiers. Now I realize that Mike could have been pulling my chain, but he was an Irish-Catholic-Boston type, and he seemed like a honest guy with a humble outlook who was in awe of his good fortune. Anyway, we had a great chat and I was tickled by his stories of meeting Mark Harmon and the rest of the cast of the show when they came to his office. Would that plane neighbors could always be that cool!
And, clearly, because I wasn't nerding out enough on this show, I decided to dress up as NCIS's goth Forensic Scientist Abby Scuitto for Halloween. I was pleased to find that roughly half the people I encountered in Portland on Halloween night knew who I was (many fellow nerds, I assume). After posting a photo of myself in my costume on Facebook, I received a text message from my friend Lisa who was at a Halloween party in Los Angeles while I was partying in Portland. It contained a picture of Lisa with the fabulous actress who portrays Abby (they were at the same party together), thus cinching my loyalty to the show:
Therefore, without further ado, here is my fledgling list of Things I Learned About Life by Watching NCIS:
- British people started driving on the left-hand side of the road because their horses originally rode that way; since most people are right-handed, it was easier to sword fight from their horses if their right sides were passing each other. (I don't know if this factoid is true but it sounds good, and Ducky said so, therefore I am going with it)
- There is ALWAYS evidence at crime scenes. It is nearly impossible to NOT leave DNA evidence at crime scenes.
- Nerdy, sensitive computer types are, in reality, quite a bit hotter than supposedly hot beefy jock types.
- Do not mess with Marine snipers, aka "gunnies". *
- If you are a female working for NCIS, your life will always be in danger, and you have a good chance of dying; UNLESS you are a trained Israeli assassin, in which case you are almost always doing the a**-kicking. The opposite is true for the men; male NCIS team members have a much greater chance of survival, while the male trained Israeli assassins have a good chance of dying a violent death.
- A "Probie" is a probationary officer.
- A "LEO" is a Law Enforcement Officer.
- A "bolo" is an alert put out by LEOs to find vehicles transporting bad guys.
- "SecNav" is the Secretary of the Navy.
- Whereas the Army and the Air Force have completely separate "jurisdictions", the Navy and the Marines share many things, including NCIS, and the Medal of Honor (for the honorable few who get one).
...I'm sure I'll figure out more. Post them if you have some! Nerds unite!
20 November 2009
- Fast Food
- Driving my old stick shift VW
- All of my books
- A feather bed
15 November 2009
- Trying to stay warm. No, it's not THAT cold here in Portland, but it's colder than what I've experienced over the past two years so I'm trying to readjust.
- Trying to stay dry. It doesn't actually rain CONSTANTLY here but when it does rain - which is often - it seems to stay wetter, longer afterwards.
- Trying to watch football. I now have three teams to root for: the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom being a fan has been very frustrating over the years but who are competing effectively this season; the USC Trojans, who are normally very good but who've had a few awful losses this season; and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, who, for all intents and purposes, have never really HAD a football team until the past couple of years. Watching football has helped me adjust to the changing weather and my change in circumstances.
- Trying to get used to the darkness. Portland doesn't seem to have the same type of light pollution as some other cities that I've lived in, and especially since I'm staying in a place that is in the hills and surrounded by trees, it's really DARK.
20 October 2009
I got a job!
Chances are, if you know me well enough to read this, you know this already, either through Facebook or email or something else. But honestly that's my excuse... I got the offer a day after my last post, and ever since then, it's just been a whirlwind of activity, between getting my Oregon driver's license and going to my friend's wedding, to actually starting the job and being told that I got to go on my first business trip the following weekend, to the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. Which was pretty awesome. And in between these incredible events, I went to Roloff Farms in Hillsboro, Oregon (as seen on TLC in "Little People, Big World") and I bought a new commuter bike as both my birthday present to myself and my "new job" present. Below are some photos of all of these fun things to hold you over until I actually have something important to say again.
From the wedding in Vermont, our lovely table settings...
...and an action shot of the garter throw.
At Roloff Farms, you can buy all sorts of goodies, including dirt!
Sitting in the "big chair" in the pumpkin patch.
Here's my new bike, Daphne! Darcy, the original bike and deluxe fold-up will be retired except for special occasions and visitors.
23 September 2009
So I'm now living in a place that has a very large garden with lots of vegetables growing in it. AND, while I was in graduate school, I enacted a policy of not refusing free food; ergo, since I now have access to lots of free vegetables growing in this garden, I have not only picked them but I've been having a good time trying new ways of preparing them. The photo below shows some of the bounty I got from the garden, including Roma and yellow tomatoes, lemon cucumbers (those yellow things at the top left), zucchini, beets, and basil.
One of the more obvious meal solutions was to slice up the tomatoes, add the whole leaf basil, and pour some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, with a pinch of salt. Delicious! Another dish was a beet salad that I made with the majority of the beets you see in this photo. To be clear, there are many, many beets.
BUT, I wanted to make something up, so I decided to try a pasta dish, since I had enough basil to make pesto. I will now attempt to write out my recipe in case you would like to try it. I promise it was good!
Auntie Em's Pink Pasta (it has a ring to it, right?)
Makes 3-4 servings
- 1 cup basil pesto (if you want to make it fresh like I did, combine 2 cups fresh basil, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, 3 medium sized garlic cloves - minced, and salt + pepper to taste in a food processor)
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 cup chopped lemon cucumber (or another light vegetable of your choice; corn would work too)
- 1 cup chopped beets (prepare the beets by boiling or baking, and skin them before chopping)
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 cups rotini pasta
- 1/2 cup-ish of romano-parmesan cheese blend
Boil rotini pasta in salted water until tender to your liking; drain, place into large serving dish, and cover. Set aside.
In a skillet, combine pesto, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber over medium heat and stir. Fry vegetables in pesto until softened and spinach is kind of wilty (like spinach is supposed to look when you fry it in a skillet). When the combination is almost ready, add beets in and stir. The beets have already been cooked, essentially, so they just need to be warmed.
Finally, mix the vegetable-pesto combination in with the pasta in serving dish. And yes, the beets will start to make everything pink (thus the name of the dish). It should look roughly like this:
When everything is all mixed up, dish it out and sprinkle romano-parmesan cheese blend on top and serve. Voila! Delicious pink pasta!
Whew. Bet you never thought you'd find a recipe here, huh? :o)
18 September 2009
1)My friend Laura came out to the West Coast to help me move my stuff, and also to enjoy some of the sights in and around Portland. First we went to Cannon Beach and saw Haystack Rock:
Here's a photo of one of the spiders that seems to be everywhere out here. Please, someone tell me this thing isn't harmful to humans...
And I saw a dog that I wanted to take home with me...
2)We also took a drive through the Columbia River Gorge to see Multnomah Falls, and later, the Vista House. Very pretty!
These are the falls...
...And this is the Vista House. So named for its amazing view, I would guess.
3) Later, after Laura had left and it rained a bit, I met a slug on the back patio. Look at this size of this dude!
4) And then there's this project that I'm working on: I'm sewing again. I hope this turns out better than the last time I tried to recycle a t-shirt....
09 September 2009
08 September 2009
Observe: this first photo is taken on August 30, as the Station Fire raged just north of Pasadena. It looks like a volcano erupting, no?
...And now take a look at this photo, which was taken from my new bedroom. It's hard to tell (because the iPhone isn't exactly a top-rate camera) but the sun is framed by plants and trees. It's quite a lovely view.
So, yeah. I've definitely experienced a recent change in scenery. Not too bad!
26 August 2009
After Tillamook, Abby, Anna and I drove south to the Oregon Aquarium, which is located in an oceanside town called Newport. If you are from Cincinnati and you're reading this, you'll appreciate the irony of the "other" Newport Aquarium. One of the craziest things I saw there was this tank full of anchovy... no big deal, they show up in Caesar salads all the time, right? Well, I have never eaten them and probably never will, because they are fabulously beautiful little creatures. When they swim they open their mouths to eat, revealing multiple thin red gills that contrast wildly against their otherwise silver bodies. I know it's hard to see in this picture, but well done, anchovy!
Funniest exchange of the day at the aquarium:
Me: Did you pet the starfish?!? They were pretty cool.
Anna: No! Did you pet the little sharks?!?
Me: No! Did you pet the sea anemone?!? They grabbed my finger!
Anna: No! Did you pet the stingray?!?
Me: No! Because of Steve Irwin, you know.
(man in background overhears this, starts laughing hysterically...)
21 August 2009
To those of you who somehow think that health care is not a "right" that should be offered, nay, mandated, for all Americans, can you please tell me why it's the law that we have to have our cars insured, but not our own bodies?
To those of you who actually believe in "death panels"... are you kidding me?!? What part of "living will" and "end of life planning" translates into "euthanizing grandma", exactly? My bad, the concepts of living wills and end of life planning are probably too complex for you to manage, so hopefully someone will come out with an illustrated version of the bill soon...
To those of you who think that we don't deserve nationwide single-payer healthcare, OK, fine. I don't suppose you think that we should make police officers or soldiers pay for their healthcare, and neither do I. But how about the roughly 2 1/2 million people incarcerated in United States prisons? Should we make them pay for healthcare? As Andy Borowitz puts it:
Mind boggling. Simply mind-boggling. We need health care reform, period. Can you crazies please let the adults handle it this time?
"So the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al Megrahi, was sprung from prison so that he could receive medical attention in his native Libya, where he was given a hero's welcome today.
Let's leave aside the hero's welcome part for a moment - there are 47 million uninsured Americans who'd love to get the medical attention part.
So what do you have to do to get health care in 2009 - become an international terrorist? No, actually, every prisoner in US prisons gets it.Excuse me, I've got to go rob a liquor store."
19 August 2009
In the past couple of years, I've come to the conclusion that I might be at my happiest when I'm riding a bike. At the very least, the wind on my face and satisfaction of gliding along while taking in the scenery and actually getting places has proven to lift my spirits when I'm low, or calm me down when I'm anxious. And, of course, if there's even a small hill involved, it burns calories, and I could always stand to burn more calories.
Another constant in my life, whether intended or it's just something I gravitate towards, is bridges. As in, things that you cross to get over water. In undergrad, I liked them so much that I tried to slip one into every design project I had, and for my senior thesis I actually designed a building ON a bridge.
So imagine my immense pleasure when I discovered that, here in Portland, there's an annual "Bridge Pedal", an event where all of the bridges in the city are shut down to car traffic and opened up to cyclists. And in a bike-and-bridge-happy city such as Portland, this means that 11 bridges were shut down to allow the passage of no less than 20,000 people on bikes. That's a crowd roughly the size of the LA Marathon on bikes, crossing the river on bridges meant for trains, trucks, and even a couple of Interstates! Below is an image of a group of riders already on the highway "merging" with another group of riders who are taking an entrance ramp (on the far right).
Talk about exhilarating. This guy only looks grumpy because he just got done climbing a big hill like the rest of us. The reward is getting to stop at a rest stop in the middle of a dormant highway - note the I-5 signs up ahead.
This looks like a dream I had. About highways for bikes.
We had a drum group at this rest stop. Note the "Suicide Counseling" sign on the far right. We're WAY up over the river at this point...
The St. Johns Bridge was out of the way, but most certainly worth it.
Waiting for a train to pass in the Pearl District.
At the finish line, treats such as donuts and ice cream bars were waiting.
For a while now, I've been waiting for the Universe to tell me what to do or where to go. In the meantime, Portland stepped up and said, "hey, I don't know about the Universe, but we like you a lot, and by the way, there's this bike ride you ought to join us on..." So here I am. It's a relief to show up in one of the greenest, most livable places in the country and to actually be encouraged to stay. And it's remarkable to find peace in the instability of unemployment. So unless the Universe has any better ideas, I think I'll just keep trying to achieve zen here.
Someday, I hope I'll look back on this period of time and say, "wow, what a learning experience that was!"
10 August 2009
Architects in Movies: A Definitive List
the Black Cat (1934) - Boris Karloff
Mrs Miniver (1942) - Walter Pidgeon
The Fountainhead (1949) - Gary Cooper
Strangers when we meet (1960) - Kirk Douglas
The World of Suzie Wong (1960) - William Holden
Two for the Road (1967) - Albert Finney
Don't Look Now (1973) - Donald Sutherland
Death Wish (1974) - Charles Bronson
The Towering Inferno (1974) - Paul Newman
Falling in Love Again (1980) - Elliot Gould
Three Men & a Baby (1987) - Tom Selleck
The Belly of an Architect (1987) - Brian Dennehey
Jungle Fever (1991) - Wesley Snipes
Housesitter (1992) - Steve Martin
Fearless (1993) - Jeff Bridges
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - Tom Hanks
Indecent Proposal (1993) - Woody Harrelson
Intersection (1994) - Richard Gere
One Fine Day (1996) - Michelle Pfeiffer
The Cable Guy (1996) - Matthew Broderick
Heaven (1998) - Martin Donovan
There's Something About Mary (1998) - Matt Dillon (pretends to be an architect/lecturer)
Three to Tango (1999) - Matthew Perry & Oliver Platt
My Life as a House (2001) - Kevin Kline (sort of, his job was a model-maker)
In the Bedroom (2001) - Nick Stahl (student)
Love Actually (2003) - Liam Neeson
Just Like Heaven (2005) - Mark Ruffalo (landscape architect)
The Quiet (2005) - Martin Donovan
White Noise (2005) - Michael Keaton
The Namesake (2006) - Kal Penn
The Lake House (2006)- Keanu Reeves
The Architect (2006) - Anthony LaPaglia
Firewall (2006) - Virginia Madsen
The Last Kiss (2006) - Zach Braff
Breaking & Entering (2006) - Jude Law (landscape architect)
Something's New (2006) - Simon Baker (landscape architect)
You, Me and Dupree (2006) - Matt Dillon
My Super Ex-girlfriend (2006) - Luke Wilson
Click (2006) - Adam Sandler and David Hasselhoff
500 Days of Summer (2009) - Joseph Gordon-Leavitt
Updated after my friend architechnophilia compiled a more complete list, 21 August 2009.
04 August 2009
1. I brought my bike up here with me and I'm glad I did as I've had some lovely bike rides around the city. One took me around the top of Lake Union, past GasWorks park, and over a drawbridge into Downtown Seattle.
GasWorks park used to be some sort of industrial park, but they took it and made it into a lovely public park. The infrastructure of the industry that was here still remains.
The route around Lake Union took me past the Westlake marina district, which was full of all sorts of boats and houseboats.
2. Over the weekend, when I wasn't watching planes, I went to Tacoma to visit the Glass Museum. This adventure was worth it simply to sit in the glass-making workshop to see how they make glass. I probably could have sat there for hours.
Gratuituous architectural photo of the outside of the Glass Museum.
Inside the "Hot Shop", where they blow glass. It was, indeed, quite hot, but it was also really cool! (hardee har har)
3. This is the one photo currently available from Seafair. See the Blue Angels streaking across the middle of the photo, just above the boats? Awesome.
4. More gratuitous architecture photos. This is the Chapel of St. Ignatius, designed by Steven Holl. It's nice. That's about all I can muster right now, as dinner awaits me. More later.
5. Last but not least... I mentioned I brought my bike with me, and this allowed me the opportunity to take a long bike ride today on Seattle's famous Burke-Gilman trail. I took frequent stops because I got distracted, both by the need to hydrate and by the need to look at the lovely houses along the edge of Lake Washington, on the eastern side of the trail where I rode. I found this house right after I turned around in the middle of my 21-mile trip. Shortly after I took this picture, I took a rather nasty spill on a rough edge of the trail that kind of snunk up on me. I was lucky in that I just landed on one knee and bruised the inside of the other. I got up, made a tourniquet for the bloody knee, shook it off, and rode another 7.5 miles. I call these types of incidents - and the subsequent scars - "building character". I am sharing with you the photo of the house I saw but not the picture of my battered knee, because it's gross.
This house is obviously designed, but not lived in, by an architect.
Back to Portland tomorrow!
27 July 2009
1. I went to Tillamook, Oregon on Saturday to visit the cheese factory and then go to the beach. This beach visit looked more like a prelude to a horror film as the shoreline was socked in with a very dense fog. Fortunately all creatures at Cannon Beach - dog and human - meant no harm, and we simply wandered around in the mist for a while before retreating for lunch. Look at this though... creepy, right?
2. After leaving the beach we ventured North to Astoria, Oregon where we saw some cool stuff and I got to take my gratuitous architecture picture, of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Lots of Pirates and such. Good times.
3. Astoria is also home to the "Goonies house", aka the house that was featured in the 1985 classic film "The Goonies". Apparently this was not the first time someone has sought out this house since we were greeted with the following sign.
Here it is! I heard it used to be in much worse shape, so I'm glad to see it it's doing better now.
Also, I loved this house, which was just up the street from the Goonies house. This is a good instance where having a zoom function on my iPhone camera might be nice. House = nice... extra stuff around it = not so much.
Anyway, I'm still doing well here in Portland, although I am headed up to Seattle this week to visit my friend Abby and hang out there for a few days. I will most likely be back in Portland next week to housesit and then... well, let's just say I'll keep you posted! I'm formulating a plan but I don't want to talk about it until I can hash out the details.
Hope everyone else is doing well!
21 July 2009
10b. With limited amounts of interesting things to talk about, I can blog as little as I want, and that's OK too.
9. Catching up with my Google Reader, celebrity gossip, and nearly everyone I know on Facebook.
8. .....whoops, sorry, I forgot number 8, I got distracted by the Huffington Post, and there's no one to yell at me for it! Woo hoo!
7. Hopelessness is somehow easier to bear when you know there are so many others out there dealing with it as well.
6. I can actually read books again. Ok, well, I still prefer Audiobooks. So, I can actually listen to books again!
5. I'm almost caught up on movies that I wanted to see, and working steadily through the rest.
4. I've always loved listening to NPR - specifically All Things Considered - in the car. Without a job I can sit in the car all day and listen to NPR, if I want.
3. Going to the park or a cafe, hiking or to the beach on a weekday are not only allowed, they are encouraged. And people who are "stuck" at work actually want to join you!
2. The sky is the limit! Well actually the map is the limit... what I'm trying to say is that being job-free" means, in theory, not being tied to a particular place.
1. Being unemployed means you get to start cool projects like the GDC Portfolio Project or start a club with a cool name, like the FUnemployed Architects of America (FUAA for short... OK maybe not).
20 July 2009
Looking up at the peak of Mt. Hood after riding a chair lift to the 7000' level.
An outside view of Timberline Lodge was apparently used in the movie The Shining.
Ramona Falls was the highlight of a 7-mile hike I took while camping!
Mt. Hood is a "dormant" volcano. Emphasis on the quotes.
I need to get back to sending my resume to anyone who will take it, but just a quick note that I've officially signed off from my Archinect School Blog and all future blog posts from me will either happen here or at the GDC. It's nice to simply my life a bit!
wonderSphere by Emily is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.