Jun 29, 2008

Back to the Tucson

Friday afternoon after lunch with Saorichan, I drove down to Tucson to see Kevin off. Kevin was recently accepted to a graduate program in Microbiology at UC Davis, and he was leaving Saturday, so I after I arrived, I spent the afternoon helping load up a U haul with his dad. Cassie was also moving out, into an apartment closer to the campus with two other roommates. And a dog, seven puppies, and her cat. One of her roommates is a foster parent for the puppies for a rescue mission, so the puppies will all hopefully get adopted away before too long. The smell was really intense.
Friday night, Kevin's dad treated us to a pretty good Italian restaurant, Elle Wine Country. The first time I heard it, I was really doubtful about the place because I heard it as "El Wine Country" which would be like "Pho Pizza" or "Taco Yurt." Actually, it was very good food, decent calimari and a very good gnocci with smoked salmon and roma tomatoes. For dessert, we went to a gelato place where I had a small but rich cup of straberry champaigne gelato.

In the morning, we all went to a local coffee place for a lengthy coffee break before I headed back to phoenix. Gas prices were down, and so I filled up my Prius with $3.85 gas. The drive down and back, I ended up averaging 49 miles to the gallon, typically cruising along at 75 mph. I'm not sure I totally trust the Prius mpg meter as it doesn't seem to add up. It gives me my average as 48 miles to the gallon, and I have an 11 gallon tank. At that rate, I should be getting 528 miles per tank. What I actually get is closer to 400 miles, but for 11 gallons of gas, I'm not complaining. The digital tank meter also seems to be off. It shows 11 bars as a full tank, which one would think equals 1 gal per bar. However, the first bar didn't drop until I'd traveled about 120 miles, and I know I wasn't getting 120 miles to the gallon. Who knows.

Lots of travel in my future. Wednesday, Saori and I are flying out to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents for the 4th of the July, and then at the end of July me, mom, tay, and Soari and all going to Peru for a week and a half. Last week, mom called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to Maccu Picchu in 4 weeks. I had to clear it with my boss at work, but its one of those things you just have to do. As mom likes to put it, if you wait to travel until its convienent or cheap, you'll never travel.

Jun 25, 2008

New Photos on Flickr


Thinking about dad

A few weekends ago, dad came out to visit me and Tay for a few days. We actually got to spend the weekend together, although dad's jet lag did tend to knock him out a bit in the afternoon. Friday, we went to go see Speed Racer at the IMAX and then the following evening we saw The Hulk with Saori at the Cine Capri. Afterwards, we grabbed a bite of Sushi at a Crazy Fish, a sushi bar that was pretty deserted at that time of night. It was cool though, we got a table in the back, it was quiet, and we got some pretty good sushi. Dad kept hounding us for decent Mexican food, so he went to La Parilla Suiza when he got the chance.
Tuesday, after work, I drove down to Tempe and we grabbed a beer at FourPeaks. Good beer, my favorite watering hole, but really crowded and noisy with the basketball playoffs. We split an order of beer fries which whetted our appetites, so we drove down to Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert. Dad picked up a new gps gadget from BestBuy while he was here- its pretty cool. Loaded up with the US maps, it knew where we were and (mostly) how to get where we were going.
After dinner he dropped me off back where my Prius was parked in front of Four Peaks, and we said our goodbyes. It will be awhile before I see him again at Christmastime. Anyway, he was off for a few days of training in New York before continuing on his work and travels.

When I turned sixteen, instead of buying me a used car (I was definately not into driving at the time), he took me to a really good audio store in Scottsdale, and bought me a set of high-end speakers and a Yamaha receiver. When we got home, he passed on his Denon CD-player which he picked up before I was born. That CD player is the best-enduring peice of high technology I've ever seen. The only thing it doesn't do is play MP3s, which were about 15 years after its time. So, instead of wheels, I got music. Loud, rich, music. This set up has been the centerpeice of my living spaces ever since, and I use it nearly every day.

Jun 12, 2008

Subcommittee Chair

The architecture company I work for is turning 60 next march, so it was a general consensus that a year long series of events should take place to commemorate it. There's not a ton of excitement surrounding the events, it seems to be proceeding more like a campaign to raise recycling awareness: its something staff in general agree should be done, but no one's jumping up and down. Anyway, I attend the biweekly Marketing Committee meetings, where we brainstorm a bunch of ideas to market the company, and then submit a formal report to one of the principals who probably passes the recommendations on to the officers. Or he uses it to clean up spilled coffee. I see it as kind of moot anyway since probably 5% or fewer of the projects we get we get through word of mouth or advertising. However, I usually attend anyway since (1) there's usually some good info on how the industry works (2) its an hour away from my desk, and (3) there's typically donuts involved. It was natural, then, that this marketing committee would temporarily become the 60th anniversary planning committee.

At the first official meeting of this committee, subcommittee chairs were offered to any sucker who would take them. When the chair for the subcommittee to display old work came up, I stepped up to the plate. At any rate, it seemed a lot easier than chairing the banquet dinner subcommittee. Actually, I see it as a great chance to explore the company's architectural history, as, truth be told, I really prefer the older more modernist works. A colleague at the table also immediately jumped on board, so now we are a subcommittee of two.

Jun 7, 2008

weekly news highlights

Well, last weekend, Saori, I, Sal, and Joyce drove down to Rio Rico again to enjoy the weekend. Drove down friday night after grabbing a bite of Vietnamese, and got into Rio Rico around 10. It's almost 20 degrees cooler down there, believe it or not, so it is a nice bit of an escape for all of us. This trip, we spent Saturday mostly driving around and visiting old mining encampments in the hills close to the border, poking around old abandoned structures, and taking pictures. There's a small ghost town called Lochiel, literally on the border. Used to be an old international border, but its all fence now. Two countries in one neighborhood. One house is Mexican, the other, American, not 20' away, separated by just a steel car barrier and some fencing. I was surprised by how beautiful it was, rolling hills covered with tall grass, and patches of trees with old windmills and cattle. And in the distance, the INS blimp which tracks people on foot trying to cross the valley.

It's been a busier week at work, we ran into some fire protection issues when we realized that the town in which we were building had ammendments that halved the allowable distance that a fire hose could be used, since apparently their fire fighters can't lug hoses over 100' long up stairs. That caused us no small consternation considering the fact the city refused to give us an exemption or appeal, and that it appeared that we would have to introduce not one but two more stairs, at added expense and would also seriously undermine the floorplans we had laid out. However, we are very close now to a good solution.

This morning I went out to a job site where my cubicle neighbor designed an addition for a public high school. The addition was about six or seven new large classrooms, plus a set of bathrooms. School design is facinating, since the design is so severely constrained by the two factors of cost and durability/vandalism resistance. My coworker is maybe one to two years more experienced than I am now, and he basically worked the entire project from design to construction administration. The result is great, spaces filled with light and color while still constrained to the inherent guidelines of the project and district. I am actually very jealous, not only in his ability as an architect, but his assertiveness to essentially take command of the project through all phases, with no prior buildings to his name, and also the autonomy he was given in the design. I put some photos up on my flickr site.

The other thing I like about Flickr is its geotagging ability, so if you visit my Flickr page, you can click on my map and find an interactive map of where I'm shooting these photos.

Que mas? Today I visited Tay and mom. We hit Havana Cafe for tapas around 2, and then played some games at home before tay went off to grab a nap before work tongiht. Night shift hours may agree with Tay, but I am not a night owl by any stretch of the word.

Jun 5, 2008

New Photo website

I've decided to switch over to Flickr for my photo hosting, since they run a much cleaner, easier operation. The downside, of course, is that they don't seem to allow me to run slideshows in my blog or add posted items to Facebook. But thats ok. Check out my photos now and in the future at http://www.flickr.com/photos/desertcrow/

Medium is the message

I moved the blog again. I deleted the Tumblr account and moved everything to Medium.com, a more writing-centric website. medium.com/@wende