Aug 31, 2011

First day of school. Again.

Monday was the first day I sat down for classes although technically, school had yet to start. I signed up for a short workshop on the basics of using GIS software. GIS (don't make the same mistake I did and pronouce it "jiss" which has gotten me into trouble more than once, spell it out G-I-S) stands for something like global information system. It's a way of looking at data as it relates to a geographic basis. Basically, tying various geographic pieces of information together. So you could load, say, a street map of St.Louis, add in block populations, and land use, and then selectively look at the relationship between housing density and grocery store locations. It's pretty powerful stuff.

Anyway, that was monday. Monday night, I went down to a friend's house in the historic and gentrified Tower Grove area and enjoyed some drinks out on the patio while her friends played an incredibly lengthy and convoluted game of croquet on her tiny, uneven plot of grass below.

Tuesday was our first day of classes. Bright and early 8:30 AM Advanced Building Systems, which is supposed to bring together all the systems we've studied so far, incuding lighting, acoustics, site, HVAC, and structural systems. Taught by a professor with a very very strong Massachusets accent (and a licenced "Ahhhkitect"). Actually, I'm finding myself liking him. He's coming from a very Corbusian background and he's totally negating any kind of architecture that is not an enclosed space, but I think it should still be interesting.

Then in the afternoon, I had Urban Books. Urban books is a class mostly made of architecture students and taught by an urban planner and an artist. They teach us bookmaking, and the subject of our books is going to be St.Louis. I'm excited for this class as I love stuff done with my hands, the crafty side of things, and there's a lot of potential for the subject matter. It's pretty wide open. And Dew is in the class, which makes things more fun too. Our final books will go into the special collections library at the Olin library (our campus library). The idea is that the books document the city in some way. Sketches, photographs, maps, etc. Making books is actually a a really good way to get into curating my own work, or at least saving it and presenting it and disseminating it.

That night, I went over to another friend's house to play some cards. (Cahds). I've been craving a game of dihinmen, which is the japanese version of asshole a.k.a. president a.k.a. scum a.k.a. big 2 a.k.a too many other names and variations. The way my east coast/ midwest friends play it is much more like egyptian rat screw. There's no Jokers, for one thing, people can slap down cards whenever they feel like it, and you can go out with 2s and 8s still in your hand which you give away to other people who fight over them. No revolutions, any number of 2s will take a set. It's more frenetic, less graceful, and probably less strategic than dihimen. I'll have to teach them sometime. I suppose its not too surprising that the Japanese version is more reserved and polite with everyone playing in turns.

Summer is still here. It gets hotter and cooler. Today is beautiful and sunny and hot. The campus is verdantly green. Filled with students lounging on the grass under trees, strolling with their bicycles, and enthusiastically walking to get thier coffee drinks. Everywhere you look, its like a shot from the Wash U recruitment magazine.

Anyway, I'm off to pick studios this semester. More on that later. I'll find out tonight (9:30PM, what a stupid time to pick desks).

running

Ran this morning. 3.7 miles in a little over 36 minutes. I'm using RunnersWorld website to log my hours which adds a little more incentive as its got some fun graphs and tools. Here's the route I took that I created with their website:



Aug 24, 2011

Keep Calm and Make a List

I feel totally overwhelmed and school's not even in session yet.
  • Saori's leaving for Buenos Aires tomorrow morning for the semester, so I'm not going to see her for about four months. 
  • Suki is not handling her medication well so its going to be another call to the vet and probably a Benjamin for some more suitable antibiotics tomorrow. 
  • Both Tay and mom are struggling in the deep end of the pool as they attempt to get situated in their respective law schools, and I'm worried about how they're doing.
  • Tay is beginning to wade into the stinking mire of our bureaucratic society as he attempts to register and title his car in Indiana.
  • I need to find a CPA to guide me through some financial jungles to pay tuition.
  • My new roommate moved in today (although he seems like a really cool guy, and I think we'll get along pretty well)
On the flip side, everyone I know is getting started doing the things they worked hard to do, nobody is dying, and soon I'll be whisked away into the LaLa Land of architecture school.

Tonight, I took Saori out for dinner at Winslow's Home, a pretty good cafe/store not too far from here. It was just what we were looking for- close, good food, and really comfortable. I tried the birch soda. Should have gone with aspen. After we got home, I cracked open a bottle of chilled Stone Mill vignoles I'd been saving for a long time. Good stuff, even if it is a little on the sweet side. Our roommate, James, joined us for a drink and we chatted for about an hour or so. 

Algorithms

My brother and I have this ongoing fight. It's not that unusual. It goes something like this:

I like looking at maps. A map, without electricity, cell phone reception, anything, can tell me more or less where I am and tell me how to get to my destination if I have a point of reference. Actually, it doesn't tell me anything, I read it.

My brother likes his iPhone because it literally tells him where he is and directs him how to get to his destination. It has the advantage of convenience, since he requires neither a reference point nor the time it took to learn to read a map, but it is subject to his cell phone reception, electricity, etc.

I say "what if the infrastructure, the grid fails?" he replies, "the grid will not fail, or if it does, our problems will be a lot worse than needing directions." He does have a point.

Traveling across the country with him, I've come to admire the ease and speed at which his iPhone is able to locate gas stations, give distances, and find coffee shops. However, in the case of the latter, his phone died partway, and left us stranded and potentially "lost" since the means it gives directions is on a turn by turn basis. If he were to zoom out, it would require the same skill of reading the map. However, my city map doesn't tell me where any coffee shops are to be found either, no matter how well I may read it.

There is a crucial difference I think beyond the issue of the reliability of the infrastructure. When I read a map, I see myself in relation to everything around me. The more I read the map, the more I gain an understanding of the totality of the city and the relationship of the various parts to each other. I feel like I know better where I am, which way the sun will rise and set, an intuitive grasp of freeways and street networks without having to constantly reference a device. It warns me when I get close to neighborhoods I'd rather stay away from, and nudges me when I'm close to neighborhoods I'd like to get to know better.

Already, then there is something dangerous about reliance on the "tell me" devices. Scientists and psychologists are saying that our reliance on the internet is actually changing the way we think. We don't remember things anymore, just where to find them. I've been dating a wonderful woman for nearly five years but I don't remember her phone number. (However, from online retail, I've unintentionally memorized my credit card number and details.)

In the case of the iPhone, for example, its ripe for the kind of subtle hijacking. Whose to say that a nudge here or there in a code will direct you to McDonalds rather than to Burger King when you search for "restaurants" nearby? Who's to say that Google isn't already doing it. Amazon.com for awhile was providing different prices for the same item depending on what the system thought the user would pay for it, based on their previous purchases.

We google things without thinking about the filters that Google has placed on the results. Google decides what we see and where we click, and all of this is is controlled by algorithms which are increasingly beyond human oversight, let alone understanding. Same for the stock market, Netflix, and Amazon.com. This lack of oversight is troubling most of all.

Aug 21, 2011

Bloomington

There's an old riddle that concerns a goat, a cabbage, a wolf, and a man and a canoe that need to cross the river with all three. It's a logistics problem which kept running through my mind as we tried to figure out how we were going to do this move with Taylor. There were four things that needed to get to Bloomington- Taylor, Brittany, the U-haul truck, and Taylor's car. Taylor can't drive due to his ankle injury. Suki, my cat, is on medication that has to be given twice a day. There are two other potential drivers and one extra car. Saori can't afford to be away from St.Louis that long as she's leaving for Buenos Aires in five days.

So we compromised. I was originally planning to spend at least the night and maybe an extra day before coming back, but what we ended up doing was striking out for Bloomington before 8am, planning to unload and drive back that night. I drove the U-haul out with Tay as the navigator, Brittany took Tay's car, and Saori drove the Prius. It was really not that long of a trip, a little over four hours. From St.Louis to Terra Haute is a pretty easy straight shot along the major interstate, except of course, for those miles of gridlock traffic where they restrict the road to one lane. In the meantime, Tay makes a half dozen phone calls from the shotgun seat coordinating the movers, the apartment, and his renter's insurance.

From Terra Haute, we leave the main road and join a two lane road- the scenic route to Bloomington. It's much hillier than St.Louis, with much denser and taller trees. It's quite beautiful actually, and so I really didn't mind the 50 miles of corn fields, meadows, forests, and small midwestern towns advertising the oldest continuous picnics in Indiana.

I was not impressed with Bloomington at first sight. It's like an incredibly dense suburb- many streets are one way, parking is restricted everywhere, in a sense, the quintessential college town. Gridlock traffic getting into town, bad traffic everywhere around town. Pretty though.

Tay's apartment building is a real dump from the outside. The inside, however, is older and nicer- two generous wooden stairs. Wood floors. The main dissapointment was that despite the apartment company's insistance on needing five days to clean and paint the apartment, the apartment was minimally cleaned and no painting had been done whatsoever. The paint in the bedroom was literally cracking and peeling off the walls. So Tay talked to the landlord or the representative and after many discussions, got them to come back the next day to do a decent job of mudding, sanding, and painting.

Tay lined up two movers to unload the truck, which considering that we were three flights up and one man short, was a genius move. Two professional movers, two hours, $100. They emptied that truck in about an hour.

In the meanwhile, I took Tay around to run some errands- to the bank to pay the movers, to the Target; smashed into a sad little mall imaginatively named "College Mall" for a bike lock, and finally to grab some burgers for lunch.

Brittany and Saori started unpacking Tay into the kitchen, and then it was about time for Saori and I to take off. We said our goodbyes to everyone and hit the dusty trail. Really pretty in the early evening hours, and of course we got stuck again in gridlock, when an 18-wheeler had some kind of accident and limped along a one-lane road for about a mile or so, while we cruised along at 3 miles an hour, enjoying the chorus of twilight bugs. Stopped for a bite in Effingham ("Home of the Effing good time") and finally got back to St.Louis around 11pm. Hard to believe we were in three states, crossed a time zone, and returned in the same day.

Aug 18, 2011

Provel and Schlafly

Our time here in St.Louis has come to an end after an eventful five days. Tomorrow morning, once again, we mount up and ride for Bloomington, Indiana. I feel kind of bad for Brittany and Tay, who were planning on spending some time touring St.Louis while we waited for his apartment to be ready- we were kicking around the idea of going to SixFlags, museums, brewery tours, etc. but with Tay on crutches, our apartment a mess, and our lives a mess with all the work that needs to get done to get our semester organized and started, it's just what has to has to happen, with bits of St.Louis thrown in.
 
For example, yesterday was pretty productive. Saori sold Tay her car, and they worked out the insurance and title issues, I got an emissions inspection done and renewed my car registration, and Tay went back to a urgent care clinic for a re-evaluation of his ankle. Apparently, the Ponca City urgent care facility on Pecan were either inexperienced or just incompetent. They should have been able to see that it was just a bad sprain and not a break, regardless of the swelling- they did take xrays- they apparently supported his foot the wrong way using a splint designed for a broken leg. Anyway, he came back wearing an ankle splint that gave him more mobility and foot covering options. So, bad sprain it is. 

Afterwards, we ordered Imo's deluxe pizza, which is a local chain that sells St.Louis style pizza. St.Louis pizza is distinctive for three things- the yeast-less crust is very thin, the pizza sauce is cooked for longer to reduce it to a thicker, sweeter paste, and for the Provel cheese they layer on top. Provel is actually a trade name of a processed cheese blend of provelone, swiss, and white cheddar, made exclusively in Wisconsin for the St.Louis market. Let me tell you, the pizza is really not bad, but the cheese by itself is kind of funky and plasticky. However, we wouldn't be able to leave without trying it. We finished the night drinking Caipirinhas and playing Phase 10. 

Phase 10 is a card game which requires marginally more skill than mexican train dominoes. It makes up for this shortcoming by requiring nearly two hours to play a single game. As the winner is effectively determined by who is dealt or randomly draws wild cards, a faster way to play the game would be to simply go around the table drawing a single card at a time until someone drew a wild card. This would be the winner. However, its really a good game for making people think they're playing something strategic which helps script convivial social interaction, somewhat like kids in the backseat pretending they're driving the car. There are admittably worse ways to spend two hours. 

Today we had dinner and drinks at the Schlafly tap room in downtown. Good food, good beer, and we got to bring home beer glasses that we were all eyeing with the Schlafly logo. Even STP on the dessert menu, but of course not as good as the one at the Refectory.

Aug 17, 2011

Sweedish graham cracker furnature

We got a slow start this morning as Saori and I cooked sausage and eggs for breakfast. Brittney called us from the St.Louis airport shortly after and we headed out to pick her up. After we brought her back, we unloaded our stuff from the truck and spent a few hours putting our IKEA chest of drawers together. If you don't look too hard at it, it looks pretty decent. However, its totally particle board with veneers so thin, they're applied via misters. I realize why they sell a glass top accessory: I'm worried that if the surface of this thing gets wet, it will crumble like a soggy graham cracker. What do you want for under $200? At least I'm thrilled to actually have something designed to hold my clothes.

We're keeping Tay and Brittany riveted- Tay's on crutches and can't go anywhere anyway, and Saori and I are struggling to reorganize, put away, and clean the apartment and take care of business that gets to get done, so its been pretty homebound so far. Dinner at Noodle Co, which was not bad. Spin through Target and Tay and Brittany working on stocking and decorating Tay's apartment in Bloomington, and finally ending with a late night screening of Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Got to be more productive tomorrow.

I missed our apartment, I missed my friends from school, but I never missed St.Louis. I'm trying to keep an open mind, and perhaps I'll feel different about the city if I start working here professionally, but so far I have not been seduced by this place, and it almost with resignation that I find myself here again a year later, sans the excitement of exploring a new place.

Aug 16, 2011

Surprises

It was with some trepidation that we pulled the U-haul into our street in University City. It had been nearly eight months since Saori has last seen the apartment, and it had sat empty for nearly three months this summer through a terrible heat wave and bruising midwestern storms. And Saori's car sat out in front for most of this time, so the return started well with Saori's car still sitting out front with no apparent damage. The house was there, but locked, and stuffy, which was remedied by cranking the A/C. The creepshow in the refrigerator was deftly handled by Saori while I took care of the scale in the bathroom. Tay, looking uncomfortable at being unable to help out, surfed the net. Spiders scurried everywhere.

We wanted to go to the grocery store, but my prius wouldn't start, so I'm going to try to jump it tomorrow morning. And the mountain of accumulated mail dropped through the slot was sorted in about 30 minutes between the two of us. The weather was surprisingly nice- not too hot, and the slight humidity served more to cool than to heat. We stocked up on necessitaties at the grocery store before bringing home some ready-made tortellini and salad. Saori's car started up right away and without even a grumble at having sat for several months.

So we're all set up here- tomorrow Brittany is coming, and I'm absolutely bushed.

Aug 14, 2011

Cowboys

We spent two nights with Grandma Loretta outside of Oklahoma city. The day after we arrived, we drove grandma's SUV to the museum which used to be called the cowboy hall of fame but is now called the museum of western art and cowboy heritage or something along those lines since cowboy hall of fame doesn't sound respectible enough i guess.

As we approached, we kept seeing small signs staked in the ground with an arrow and the cryptic words "king midget". Was it a convention of a fast food company? A meeting up of the vertically challenged? An audience with a very short monarch?

It turns out that king midgets were a run of very small cars made in the 1950's in Ohio. Two seaters, less than four feet high, smaller than a golf cart. Top speed around 50 miles an hour and 50 miles to the gallon. I wanted one the moment I saw it. A woman saw us poking around them and happily approached us and spoke at great length about the cars, thier history, and the small but devoted car club. We at last disengaged ourselves and went in to the musuem.

People here in Oklahoma are so cheerful, friendly, and hospitible, that it makes me feel like the most insincere asshole. It's uncomfortable how humbling it is to roll your eyes at "podunkery" and then be genuinely welcomed and told what a pleasure it is to have us here by complete strangers. Anyway.

The museum was interesting to us, partially because we have an ancestors in it and partially because it showcases a real part of our family's historical experience in Oklahoma. For the record, they probably have the best representation of western art. And some of it is pretty good. The most fun was a mock western main street built inside of a large, dark building, and lit to simulate late twilight. The main street has stores and saloons with the full facades that you can enter and take pictures. I loved the idea of a collection of false fronts surrounding a controlled main street. Imagine a house built the same way, structured around an inward facing main street, with each shallow buildig containing a room or two. Wet bar in the saloon, formal dining in the salon of the hotel, bedrooms upstairs, a movie theater in the stable... It would just be a lot of fun.

After the museum we drove downtown where we paid a quick visit to the Oklahoma City Bombing memorial and a short walk around downtown. They're building a huge glass and steel tower down there, almost finished with the envelope, and about twice as tall as he buildings surrounding it. Going to be totally taken with Devon, an oil business i'd never heard of.

More delicious BBQ for dinner- ribs this time- follwed by a few card games.

Next morning, we got a slow start and head out to Ponca City.

Aug 12, 2011

Whirlwind

It's been a hectic few days. Friday was beginning stages of packing, Saturday was a big garage sale day from 6 am to 11 and then more packing and cleaning. Sunday was an attempted garage sale, it was supposed to be the fire sale where everything is insanely discounted and people buy it all by the pound. But it seems like sundays are not good sale days in Ahwatukee. We had probalbly a dozen people stop by in the three hours we were open. Tay was kind of bummed we didn't get more sales, but then he posted a bunch of stuff on craigslist and it was a selling bonanza. People drove across town to pick up a $10 knickknack.

At 7:30 monday morning we picked up the U haul. We got a 14 footer and it feels really big, driving along. Terrible fuel economy. One bench seat in the cab. No cd player. Air conditioning definately yes. Then at 8:30 am the movers came. They were fast, efficient, and good. They were there to help mom, but helped us out too. They lent us the dolly and when we were trying to wrestle the matress on the dolly, one of the guys just picked it up and carried it on his back and put it in our u haul. We finished loading in the late afternoon as Tay fielded calls from craigslist. That afternoon, in the empty house, we vacuumed and replaced the nice appliances mom bought with the crappy appliances that came with the apartment.

Tay and Brittany went out to dinner at a local pizza place, and mom picked up a last run to Filiberto's. I got a pollo asado burrito and Saori got a fish burrito. After Tay and Brit came back, we all lay down on the empty carpeted living room floor and watched two episodes of Community on the big drop down projector screen that came with the apartment. It was really nice for all of us to lay there watching the TV, although it was a shame that the show was so unwatchable. The characters were unlikable and artificial, and the lead characters were just stupid and obnoxious. At the end of the night, Brittany went home to sleep and we said our goodbyes.

Saori and I slept in the living room, lying on our yoga mats. Tuesday morning was a whirlwind. We got up early, finalized cleaning, while Zara cowered in mom's closet. Suki got out of the way by stashing herself on top of the refrigerator. Mom and I moved the rest of the garage sale stuff out to the patio for the Salvation army to pick up, and everyone finished packing up the small belongings. With the luggage, we filled that U haul to the door and nearly up to the ceiling. The house agent came by and did the walk through with mom at 7:30 and shortly after, mom's cab arrived, and we had barely time for a quick hug before she was gone, on the road to the airport with Zara. And that was it. It was just me, Tay, Saori, and Suki in an empty house. We left shortly thereafter.

The U-haul has a pretty generous cab, which sat the three of us pretty comfortably. We've got the most important amenity- air conditioning, and not much else. No GPS, no CD player, just glorious AM/FM radio and a cigarette lighter outlet. Tay in the driver seat, Saori in the middle, I rode shotgun with Suki in her carrier on my lap.

We stopped for gas and coffee on our way out of town. Tay drove out- which I thought was kind of fitting as the leader of this expedition. He drove all the way to Holbrook. We drove out along the beeline, which let us both avoid the miserable I-17 drive up to Flag and the really bad inclines. The truck was pretty good, actually, we only had to engage the lower gears once or twice to control our ascent or decent.

Gassed up and grabbed a bite to eat at the A&W in Holbrook. After Suki never stopped howling from her carrier, we wised up to how hot the floor was where we'd sat her carrier and from then on, held her carrier on our lap. It was a beautiful ride up to Holbrook. The lowland desert of the valley gives way to the rocky, mountainous deserts to the northwest, and we rolled through to the higher deserts until it gave way to the rim country, with the forests of towering pine and green cliffs of the mogollion rim. We pressed onward and upward, finally cresting the rim and entering the high desert plains of the northern Arizona plateau.

The rest of the day we drove to Albuquerque, where the picturesque and interesting portion of the driving scenery ended. I finished the day as the driver, and we pulled into the same Red Roof in we stayed at last year. The first room was filled with flies, so Saori went down and demanded a different room. The second room smelled mildly of ass, but that was the last room available, so we took it anyway and let Suki roam around after we'd stopped up the gaps in the bed boards to prevent her from seeking refuge under the beds. We were all tired, so we called a cab to drive us to Sadie's for dinner. Great dinner- really spicy in a good way, asado enchiladas, margaritas, and delicious chips and really good salsa. Taylor demonstrated the two ways to eat Sopapillas to Saori who'd never seen them before. The first involved drizzling honey on the outside, the second involved poking a grubby finger hole and blindly filling it with the honey bottle, so you would wind up with a massive amount of honey flowing around the inside of the Sopapilla. Cabbed it back to the hotel and we all crashed.

Up the next morning bright and early, tasted the hotel coffee, and immediately checked out in search of decent coffee. Filled up again with gas and got to it. The upside of the truck having a 37 gallon tank is that it holds a lot of gas. Unfortunately, it also means Tay is forking over about $60-$80 every time we fill up which is about twice a day. The price we pay for gas has ranged from $3.89 a gallon, when we were desperate in the middle of nowhere, Texas, down to $3.27, a few hours drive away. We finally got into Grandma Perkins' house around 6pm wednesday, and she welcomed us with pulled pork sandwiches. We pretty much passed out early after our long day of driving.

Aug 5, 2011

Let's make a deal

A few nights ago, when it was just Saori, mom, and I, we decided to try out a bite and a brew at place we'd never tried before in Ahwatukee called Mad Chef Gastro Pub. Stylistically, its about what you'd expect trying to make a strip mall eatery into an authentic British pub. It's a little thin- don't come expecting to be overwhelmed with the character like you get at George&Dragon. But that's just skin deep anyway- as a pub it has it where it counts- a variety of seating density (at the bar, at pub tables, at pub booths, or away from the bar at a large table or booth), and a good variety of beer, a lot of it on tap, served in the glasses sent by the makers. And the food is pretty good too. Not FourPeaks good, but pretty decent, especially for Ahwatukee.

Anyway, mom ordered a Peroni, I got a SanTan Devil's ale, and Saori got one of those German wheat beers with the monk on the front that I can't pronounce. They all came in distinctive bar glasses. Mom's Peroni was served in this glass:
The Peroni glasses. 
which actually Italian made imports, pretty much unavailable for purchase anywhere in the US. Taylor fell in love with them after being served many Peronis in them across Europe, and even tried to get some on Ebay to no avail.

So mom offered to buy them from the waiter.

She offered a higher than reasonable price for them, and the waiter asked his manager, and they agreed to sell us a set of four. So we brought home a little gift for Tay, which made him very surprised and happy.


hmmm makes me thirsty
I had a San Tan (Phoenix brewery) Devil's ale which was served in a cool shaped glass as well, and apparently they sell the beer in cans, which is good to know. I actually really enjoyed the beer. I might have to pick up a six pack or a case to take back with me to St.Louis, which surprisingly is falling behind in the brewery game.

Anyway, the lesson of the story is that almost everything is negotiable.

Today, I kept that lesson in mind when I went to Old Town Scottsdale. We were souvenir shopping at Bischofs/Shades of the West. It's a bit overpriced, and its got a lot of knicknacky stuff and golf clothes, plus hats that say "Scottsdale" on them, but they also have a great selection of more eclectic stuff from Mexico, like they had buyers troll the tourist markets across the border and bring back exceptional pieces. Lots of woven baskets as well.

Anyway, they also have a great selection of western hats. I'd picked up a woven straw hat at Nordstrom's rack at the beginning of summer when I arrived, and I'd splurged about $20 on it since I figured if I was using it daily for five weeks, that's pretty good economy since I'm walking to work every day. But I really wanted a leather hat for St.Louis, something that could handle the cold weather as well as work as a shade hat. So I took off my slightly worn looking hat and started trying on other hats. They have at least fifty styles of hats, so it was fun trying them all on. Meanwhile, a big guy steps into the area where I'm looking at my self trying on hats, and he's checking himself out with this other hat. My hat.

I said "hey, I'm sorry, that's my hat, I just took it off to try on these hats" and he laughs and apologizes and gives it back, adding that its a nice hat. On a whim, I offer it to him for $10. Without really thinking about the morality or legality of selling him my hat in someone else's store. He goes for it, and $10 richer, I'm more confident about buying my own hat. He's really happy as he leaves with my hat on, and I pick up a new leather hat.

Summer camp

Yesterday was my last day at the office for my summer work. I won't call it an "internship" since it was really like I stepped back into my old position and just kept working, albeit with tasks with a shorter time frame. It was a lot of fun, actually.

What I did at my Summer Job

  • design the facade of building for the preparation of medical cadavers
  • translate a CAD drawing of a small building into a full 3D Revit model and near-DD set
  • attended a Big Client meeting and described a few of my design options
  • got a certificate for attending a mind-boggling boring lunch n'learn about automatic electric entrances
  • revised and updated site drawings for a small educational campus
  • survived a near miss at a Thai restaurant when a chunk of a ceiling fan fell on us
  • issued an ASI for a parking garage
  • reconfigured a sterilization suite for a medical education building
  • designed a "fun wall" for pediatric dental ward
  • presented my two studio projects to the office during a "design forum" lunch
  • "Vanna" for the Monday morning meeting
I can't believe its actually over- it just went by so quickly. Four days a week of work was really good- it made the summer feel more summery, and the money will be great for the fall semester. 

The day before yesterday, my second to last day of work, we went to lunch at Wild Thaiger, a Thai restaurant in central Phoenix. Because we had a sizable group, we sat outside on the patio. It was about 110 degrees outside, but there were ceiling fans with large glass globes for the lights. They weren't turned on, so I pulled the cord on the fan above our table. Nothing happened, so I shrugged and sat down. The patio filled with people and the staff flipped the switch somewhere that turned all the fans on. Everyone else's ceiling fan ran fine. The fan above us, pretty much situated right between where Saori and I were sitting, started going nuts. Wildly unbalanced, it whirled around, and I could hear it making odd creaking and straining noises. I was watching it when the waitress came by. "Don't worry," she said "it won't fall on you."

About halfway through the meal, the heavy glass globe covering the light worked itself free and fell almost nearly between us, grazing Saori's arm and shattering on my metal armrest. A foot to the left or right would have meant a serious head injury to either one of us. 

The staff were completely blase. They swept up the glass, and we had to demand new plates of food to ensure that there wasn't any glass in it. They had a sulky attitude like it was our fault, and not only were Saori and my meals not comped, we never got a single apology. I can only conclude that the waitstaff at Wild Thaiger are unconcerned with the lives and safety of their patrons, and I would encourage people to avoid such death traps.

So we survived to fight another day. Speaking of which, these next two weeks are going to be a whirlwind of activity. Today is friday. We are planning on a trip to Pizzaria bianco amongst other things, and Tay is going to organize the garage sale. Saturday is going to be a garage sale day, Sunday is another garage sale day while the rest of us clean and pack, and the movers come monday. Tuesday will find me, Taylor, and Saori in the cab of a U-haul truck with Suki in a carrier in tow on one of our laps. 

And so will begin our great midwestern trek, my brother venturing even farther north and east. We'll pass through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, to reach our destination in Bloomington, Indiana.

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...