Experiment on hiatus

Well there are a bunch of other things going down right now. And so I’ve realized that this blog run, while a good experiment, needs to go on pause. I’ll pick it back up when things slow down a little, but between my double saber and straight sword learning kick and a hectic schedule at work, I think this blog will need to be jettisoned for a little.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years, other than that I pick up and drop hobbies pretty quickly, is that time is always tight and its best to be careful how you budget it. Unfortunately this blog gets to wait till later….

Watching the Giants play ball.

Its been a fun roller coaster ride watching the SF Giants in the playoffs. The one thing that has impressed me is that they seem to be a team. Certainly some are more skilled and talented than others but in general everything comes together. They succeed (and unfortunately fail) as a group.

That is the one thing I really miss from my landscaping days. There was definitely a division between laborer and manager. And of course there were sometimes squabbles among us laborers. But altogether, we were a tight knit team. I wonder sometimes if this is intrinsic to physical labor, and I wonder how you can import such a tight knit spirit into the office environment.

Insular worlds

One of my earlier tasks with Rogers+Labarthe architects was to go measure a couple two story office buildings that had a decent sized footprint. It was a great introduction to the BOMA measurement standards for office buildings, but it was even more interesting as an exercise intruding into the worlds of all these folks.

Now that I think about it, strangely it seems most of these spaces weren’t occupied at the time I was measuring them, I’m not sure where the tenants went, but it lends a ghostly aura to my memories. Behind every tenant was another manufactured reality. One standout tenant was a Lyndon Larouche warehouse. Another was a Dale Carnegie workshop. One tenant was a contractor that had replaced the doors with a residential entry with garish glass sidelights. Then there was an immigration lawyer with plush leather furniture. And an insurance agent who had his office decorated with animal heads.

While vertical striation might is the most conceptual way of separating yet combining disparate activities, really all you need is a plastic laminate solid core door.

A weird dream

I just woke up to a dream of working in a crazy old style hotel on the seventh floor. It was not only an old victorian hotel, but one that was under renovation, but you still had to go up the stairs, even though that too was under renovation. Each lobby was a bit different, and the office was an odd mix of bedroom and architecture studio. On one landing was a big screen TV with stuff strewn around like you’d see at a frat house. On another landing was a couple “cat-cheetahs” with beautiful hair but a menacing demeanor.

My previous odd dream from a couple months ago had me in something like the brutalist building of Wurster Hall but stretched out to include a 70’s style four or five story office building that had a high atrium. That too had a very disconnected aspect to it, though in that dream the elevator was the primary transportation from world to world, though there were some stairs involved also.

It seems the beauty of stairs for these sorts of mental activities is that vertical separations lend themselves particularly well to such insular worlds. Its kind of strange when you think of it, living life artificially 10 feet above the ground….or at my office at ZCA, 120 feet.

Four weeks

Interesting that I should celebrate the fourth week of the revitalized blog by missing the post day…so I’ll just back date this.

I guess this is when the energy and attention begins to flag. I’m gonna keep pushing ahead, but I’ll have to admit the daily publishing schedule is a rigorous push. I’m going to keep this going for a bit longer, but if I think its getting in the way of life, I’m gonna have to put this on hiatus.

Shooting bunnies

Last Sunday I ran around shooting my rabbits. Well, more like tried to get myself as flat to the ground as possible while trying to shoot rabbits while they sat around under the coffee table. Here are the ones that were good enough to post to facebook. Thanks to iphoto, its surprisingly easy to go through one’s photos and post them all around.

A moment for some personality psychobabble

I don’t know how useful they are, but I was playing around with some personality tests last night. Basically I had to list my five most awesome moments in life and then tick off some descriptive action verbs off of a big chart. After doing that, it broke the chart into “personality” characteristics: Artistic, Investigative, Realistic, Social, Conventional, Enterprising.

It turned out (no big surprise) that Artistic came out first, followed by Investigative, Realistic, and Social with no ticks in Conventional nor Enterprising. Apparently Architects are supposed to fall in the Artistic-Realistic camp, so I guess I came close to my “category”, especially since I managed to completely avoid the Enterprising group. The Investigative and Social parts came from the problem solving and the coordination work I’ve needed to do as part of my job, especially while currently while doing Construction Administration. Which unfortunately also involve a lot of “Conventional” due to the mass of paperwork that comes with building a building.

I enjoy the CA process in that its a series of problem solving. And I don’t mind a little bit of filing to keep everything orderly, but I have noticed that when I am forced to just do a lot of paper-crunching I get very antsy. So maybe there is some validity to all this.

Or maybe its just a matter of a personality test that lets you see yourself as you want to be seen.

Just a heads up – things may be a changin’

As I get more serious about this blog, I will be most likely messing around with it more also. Unfortunately that means certain things may change for better or worse. Namely, I’m going to most likely kill my feedburner plugin so the RSS feeds will go back to being out of the box with the wordpress site. Odds are the theme will most likely go back to an OOTB theme for a little bit until I get a better grasp of what I really want.

As I get older, I’ve learned that customizing often just isn’t worth the hassle of upkeep! OOTB!

Experience and Money

I don’t remember where I read it, but it has stuck in my head. An architect is paid in experience and in money. If you aren’t getting enough in one or the other (or both!) then its time to move on.

Even the Client is a team member

It’s easy to forget the client is a crucial team member of a project. Since they provide the cash (one of their primary roles) its easy for them to become the boss. But their active participation is important in that many projects get derailed due to the indecision of the client.

As the cash provider and the one who will be stuck with the project at the end, it is fair and appropriate that they need to make the important decisions. However, when they take too long to decide or go back on their decisions they hold up the flow of the project. If the consultant team tries to forge ahead without final decisions, if there are any changes in the future, the mass of drawings that need change due to an ill-timed decisions creates coordination nightmares.

As an architect, its easy to tell your cash provider to that they are the decider in chief. What’s not as easy is to inform them of their responsibility to decide in a timely manner.