Wednesday, November 11, 2009

14 days of autumn

A trip to just see how we’re all doing. In short, I think we’re going to make it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On delays

We want to believe that after delaying and putting off and being told to wait your turn, that you'll look back and realize that not only was it worth it, but that you're better off because of the wait. Certain things, the good things, don't come easily they say. Buying a house, passing the tests, finishing that project, are all necessary goals and deserve our attention, so you should go ahead and shut down for a year (and the rest of your life while you're at it), make your sacrifices, and get comfortable because that's what they do. That's life, they say, so you realize that all the other stuff was just training and eager anticipation for your first mortgage payment. Okay. Fair enough. But what happens next?

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

movies about architects

Sweating in a windowless office wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. My would-be mortgage broker sifted through a stack of new listings and old pamphlets, building up the ease of home purchase while muttering something about the the “gay Ansel Adams posters” in his newly acquired office. What I had dressed up for, what I had saved up years for, quickly filtered through a handful of standard salary and marital status questions that gauged my risk as a human being. Down the hallway, the Friday afternoon cleaning lady started vacuuming, and lines of empty cubicles sat in front of the western facing window wall, looking out at a packed freeway intersection, blasted by an early evening sun. I was low risk, he said. Actually it was more along the lines of “Dude, your credit score is bad ass.” The air system cranked back on, making me realize that it’d been off this whole time, off most of the time since the glass building had closed for the weekend.
Five minutes later it had turned back off, and we’d pulled up a hundred or so listings that matched my parameters that fit within the parameters that he’d offered me. Whatever I choose to pursue,  “I’ll be a bitch, but I’ll be your bitch,” which sounded exciting as I’d never had my own real estate bitch. Someone alongside who wouldn’t pull punches. Lender and realtor all in one.

My god, what have I done?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

back to the laundromat

After recently learning that washing your pillows could be a good thing, but soon after realizing that my closet washer/dryer didn’t agree, I pulled out the old laundry bag and went walking. It had been nearly two and a half years in my current apartment and two and a half years since I’d been to the laundromat to hear the Vegasish clang of twenty quarters in unison. Where I last left it, disintegrated foam mattresses were strewn about yellow terrazzo floors and middle age men parked idled outside, whistling when I dropped a sock. Not the best of memories, but that night wasn’t the best of laundromats. In the better ones, I found the best of nights.
Now in the next neighborhood over, and trying to dedicate myself to pedestrian environments, I walked the walk 4 or so blocks to a brightly lit operation in the dark headwaters of Blanco road. I’d always found this whole corner of Beacon Hill interesting, stuck between the tracks, industry, and a steep incline that constitutes the Hill. The laundromat is about as clean as they come though, seen through the spotless storefront windows. Protected from the crowds of Fredericksburg Road and the sins of McCullough, a skinny abuelita manages the business with tropical colored pants and a endless bottle of Windex.
I sat down, stuffed in my pillows to a giant front loader, and watched her glide back and forth polishing the dryer glass and wood panel walls over and over. Over the sound of her and her machines, the sound of a wall mounted tv tuned to Seinfeld reruns, and over that the sounds of an old Street Fighter II console playing its once familiar automated loop. Kids played hide and seek.
Over that, I read. I’ll hold myself back from a gushing review of a Pattern Language, mainly because I’m always a fan of my latest book, so I’ll just say it’s getting at what I’ve been going after. Somewhere within these cities, buildings, window seats, and country sides I’ve been collecting, there is a reason. Beauty and function stemming from a set of patterns, that luckily then combine into an infinite array of new patterns, lending themselves all to the complexities and contradictions that make a truly great anything. Or one hopes. I can assume that by the shear number of rules that they prescribe (253) that there are countless more rules to argue for. Whether in full agreement or not, my brain is finally thinking and not studying.
The trick is to focus all this with my energy and make something of it. And at such an opportune time, as I take on all the projects I’ve been preparing for, right as she turns off the lights, and my dryer buzzer goes off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Possibly in an attempt to prolong the last few weeks of test taking, I’ve taken on the long lost hobby of car shopping. Here near the peak of a carless lifestyle, as the auto industries dismantle around us, I’m hooked into craigslist feeds and spend evenings organizing note cards and post it notes scrawled with nonsensical 4wd114k013995s and bluenewtire shorthand. It’s all in preparing the tools I need to get things done. My energy is pent up, spent sparingly on side tasks, a few new plants for the garden, one…more…bike tube, enough to keep me going for the next test, and the next, but soon enough the dam will break, and I’ll be slamming into it the flood with all the 4wdbluenewtires I can get my hands on for $5000. Or maybe more like an ark with fold down seats, gathering discarded construction debris and homeless dogs as I roam the city.

And here’s where I meet the man who I might become, trying to sell me the XJ that’ll get me there. Him, a retired military psychologist with a verdant south side river mission composed of an old stone house, a 10,000 square foot car garage designed to seal up in the event of a flood, and spare train car, 18 wheeler, and decommissioned fighter jet just hanging out on his river fed green grass lawn with the dog. Me, a young impressionable one-day-retired architect just soaking it in as the late evening sun feathers out behind layers of thirty foot tall bamboo growth, dusking to the point where his obviously red dyed grey beard starts to look naturally red, and then grey again. There was a driveway full of vehicles to choose from, each with its own story, but each connected by this one man who would collect them, clean them up, and release them back into the outside city better off and ready for 114k+ miles more of work. Talk of fuel mileage turns into stories of the one jeep caught in a tornado, to the pecan trees that try to bash in his house roof. Some drunk guys wandered into his hideaway, passing out in the caboose. Inside, I saw the extent of his projects, spiral stairs and rolls of film, all mostly finished, but probably on twenty year time lines. Half the house is a shell of nice historic looking cottage/bureaucracy loophole, merely roughed in with plywood inside, yet housing finely carved jukeboxes and pipe organs that are not yet ready to return to the world outside.

Three hours into to my fifteen minute test drive, neither was I, but we both had to get back to our projects.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Close Enough

I believe this food processor will be the end of me. 15 pieces or so of cucumber cutting action and somehow I’m not convinced that it’s a step up in productivity. Honestly I spent a half hour cleaning a plastic hexagon shaped rod and I’m still not sure what it’s for…or how it got dirty in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I chopped an onion 15 times as fast, but hanging your eyeballs over the results is going to make you tear up either way.

With each step towards simplicity, there’s another fleeting grasp towards complication. Maybe I just need a special hexagon rod brush. It’s easy to get caught up in the details.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Looking back and catching up

TentuckindillasouransasTo anyone still around or with a lonely RSS feed, welcome. Eureka, AK

Little Rock

Slab Cinema


Accordian Festival

Lunch Break in Seattle

Outside Seattle

Pike Place Market

Finally to St. Ignatius

Rain is Seattle



Peggy's cabin

Lunch spot

on the path

near contiental divide

quietest space in denver

public art

folk festival



Sunday, June 15, 2008


As waves come crashing inland, cars gridlock amidst a miles long din, and people plead for someone to do something, we're peddling through with a sack full of tomatoes and a wonder for what all the commotion is about.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I've hit that stride. Back in school, any chance to slow down is a chance to prepare for the next semester or catch up on your sleep. Happily, my winter break just keeps plowing through the humidity and I find myself well rested with my belly full. Sure there're rumblings of the next MS150, the next garden harvest, and the next work project that will lay claim to my year, but I figure it's best not to rehash just because it worked before. That's the next semester method. The key, or as I've figured out in the blog run, is to go opposite of the default.

So this eve of the anniversary of the latest big push has me wondering where all the time has gone. I think it went a lot of places and I'm just starting to see the fruits and vegetables of my labors. In the very least, I've got the mantle full of yellow quash seedlings, tired of their daily waterings, just aching to get their roots dirty. Hold on little guys. This is just the beginning of the end of the beginning.

You didn't think we were done, did you?