Some Haikus from the past week

skittering across the sink,
a cockroach
bronzed and tanned

an early autumn breeze –
the sun rises
still damp of the summer

Black and white,
afternoon thunderstorms chasing a setting sun

He thought California was weak
“You ain’t living till its 80 and 80!”

expectant eyes
twitching noses
hungry bunnies

accidentally dropped,
an apple disappears
under a frenzy of teeth and fur

Pepper Under Her Couch

So I took my first test this Thursday. So at least six more to go (hopefully not seven). Before entering the testing center, I took a moment to listen to Daft Punk getting all pumped up. The testing center shares the complex with a few medical offices, and as I sat there I saw a guy being transported on a gurney. I don’t think it was an emergency, but it sure put things in perspective…

Some Golf Balls

Jing’s office has a competition every year for their annual golf tournament. This year, she won! In celebration, I pulled out her old golf ball designs — including her non-winning 2007 design which was highlighted as a good example in this year’s call for entries.

I do have to admit that I slightly tweaked her 2006 design, and I just totally made up the 2008 design this morning. But in any case, Jing is the big winner!

Kolaches all around!

KHA golf logos

Griffs

Griffs

I just had a nice dinner with Jing at Griffs, a local sports bar next door to the Chinese Consulate.

We had $8 pork chops literally in the shadow of the mother country. The bartender/cook was kind enough to give us two helpings of sides (one on each plate) and this one order ended up filling both of us as well as giving us some leftovers for tomorrow.

That said, I think we’ll most likely just stick with Tuesdays Steak Night from now on … for the extra $4 you get MORE GRILLIN’! MORE JUICYNESS and MORE FAT!

Free software! But not as easy….

I’ve always been interested in open and legally free software. So between my mom’s visit to Houston and getting serious about studying for my architecture registration exams, I wasted the better part of the weekend installing Linux and various free software programs onto my computer. The most painful to install was Linux. Installing the new operating system was not a problem – the painful part was creating the separate partition on the hard disk on which I could install Linux. The partitioning software (provided with the Linux installation software) was pretty easy to use, it was just really painful to defragment my hard drive multiple times with different defrag preferences until it finally defraged in a way where I could partition the hard drive. Trying to set up my dual-monitor (or any drivers) was not much fun either. And in the end, Ubuntu is does not really boot up any faster than good old Windows XP.

Fortunately, the other software programs, Open Office, GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP, the Photoshop replacement), Inkspace (Vector editor Illustrator replacement), and Scribus (book layout InDesign replacement) were all quite easy to install. I mean, install in Windows. I tried installing them in Ubuntu Linux, but none of them seemed to have a GUI installation package and I was sick of messing around in the Unix terminal. In any case, after playing around with these programs in Windows, I realized that I doubt I would ever get around to using any of these programs just due to the the hassle of learning how to use them.

In the end, I got the impression that free software will always have a major problem – in general they are clones of the “standard”. As such, they don’t really present much of a feature upgrade (if at all) and people have enough trouble learning the “standard” interface that they aren’t really excited about spending time to learn the alternative, even if its free. If I was in an office, I would say that my time is valuable enough that it would be worth purchasing a license of Adobe CSx instead of wasting the company’s time to learn the new program.

The exception that may prove the rule is Open Office. I haven’t messed with it much, but I have already ported over my Word and Excel Documents over to Open Office. I was using MS Office 2003 and the current version of Open Office emulates that interface almost perfectly. I’ve heard that Microsoft has messed with the UI of current version of MS Office and if that’s true I think I’ll just stick with what I know – Open Office. I don’t know how much one can emulate the UI of another company’s product, but if these other free image editors can get their UI much closer to the Adobe CS Standard, I’d seriously think about jumping over.

I still might try to learn GIMP, Inkspace and Scribus, but now that I’m about to start my Architecture Registration Exams, I think I have a better use for my time than learning redundant software interfaces just for the conceptual pleasure of running on a all open-source rig.

Ike + 51 weeks

IMG_8873

It is amazing how quickly time flies! I’ve decided (yet again) to try to structure my time a little bit more and taking a cue from Dave Winer’s Blogpost Friday I will try to publish more regularly.

For this week I’m gonna wrap up one loose end from last year.As all us folks in Houston will likely remember, Hurricane Ike rolled through here 51 weeks ago and since this is the last Friday before the anniversary, I should finally publish a couple little ditties I had written during the two weeks of non-electricity.

In retrospect, I think that Ike and Post-Ike was a good time, a memorable moment in life. Even though two weeks of Houston summer without juice is more than plenty, it was an interesting time where we actually got to interact with our friends more and just enjoy life because there really wasn’t much else to do. Of course I write this as someone without a mortgage or kids to worry about, but at least for those without major responsibilities or debts, I think it was a good experience to go through.

The next forty-nine weeks have not been nearly as memorable, but it has been fairly stress free. The big events have been earning less (working 30 hours a week), getting a SLR, uploading an online portfolio, becoming LEED certified, road tripping through New Orleans, and getting a car. But hey, I can’t complain, I’m pretty happy and while I keep procrastinating on taking my ARE’s, I feel that my life is getting a little more orderly day by day.

Then again, I also turned thirty this past May so I guess its time to get moving along and start up the second half (post-education) part of my life. Honestly, I’m pretty relaxed and chill where I’m at, so I can’t say I’m particularly excited about shaking things up. But, I am also a bit restless and I would like to move forward a bit and hopefully by next September I will have made some serious progress and hopefully be in a more settled situation.

I’m reasonably content with chalking up the past twelve months as slow prep work that has given meme some ideas, tools, and skills that can help me push forward for the next few years. I have always been annoyed by the fact that life always seems to be just about preparing for the next stage of itself, but in this case, I guess it is one to view this past post Ike year in a positive light. So that’s how I’ll spin it. Its been fun to relax after grad school and dabble in various little hobbies. That stage is over, I guess it’s time to get moving.

Gray skies, slight drizzle,
a morning walk on quiet streets and uprooted trees.

Silly Reporters
Stunned Pigeons
Soaked Cats
Pole Hugging Trees
I survIKEd!
Grizzlypear