Green Rascal Design

Well, it's been a crazy week again. We unwrapped Pepper's feet, which are just about healed! My rascalmobile konked out on me, so I had to have expensive repairs done. And last night I got a HUGE splinter in the bottom of my foot thanks to ancient hardwood floors. Now I'm the one with bumblefoot. I can barely walk!

I did manage to pick some yard beans before getting to work today.

Networking has been hanging in there by a thread. I have been putting off one email while waiting for another... yadda yadda yadda. We managed to send out some ideas for a logo project yesterday. We're still waiting for word back on a different logo project.

Now we are faced with refinishing the floors. They have been worrying us for quite some time. Now that one of us has gotten injured by the floor, I don't think we can ignore it. It needs to be sanded down and filled in, or filled in and sanded down. And then I guess it's going to get a tung oil treatment. I leave that decision up to the wood nerd. Personally, I'm going to go elevate my foot as soon as I'm done with this and yellow rascal stuff!

Happy Friday


There is a little of what I collected from the garden this morning. (resting on top of my laptop - perfect place for vegetables don't you think?) There are still raspberries out there, but I didn't have time for that.

What a week! After Tuesday I was busy with networking and preparing for class. I have to get the conference room reserved or something because I don't see how I'll do tutorials in the lab. Anyway, I've been busy with all kinds of business. How have you been?

September is nearing. I'm very glad that the weather is behaving better this week. We canned more tomatoes and froze some yard beans. (Those are plum tomatoes and yard beans in the picture.) We don't know what kind of peppers we have growing, but they're not hot/spicy. We froze some of them too. And finally, after weeks of no eggs from Pepper, she laid one the day before yesterday! I've been so worried about her because of the heat and her bumblefoot condition. But I think her sores are healing now and she seems to be back to her old giant-velociraptor-chicken self. yay!
see the bandage on her foot?
Well, I hear Garlic crowing about something. He's so annoying! I wish he had turned out to be a girl. So I should go see what is going on out there before lunch, and then it's back to work! Gotta get crackin on a logo project today. Have a good weekend!
This is a timely discussion now that it is back-to-school time. In true rascal fashion, I think both yes and no answer the question. Of course it also has something to do with the particular graduate you might be thinking about. There are plenty of well-rounded individuals exiting college that would be great employees. And there are also a lot of partiers who didn't learn a thing during their time at college. But your average college graduate these days is prepared for the technical aspects of the working world, but not the culture.

Colleges are doing well at introducing students to new technologies and getting them to be proficient in their use. Chances are your graduate has had some contact with whatever software you require. They are probably pretty good at using any computer system you might have. They know the tricks of how to get things done fast.

Colleges, however, have teachers not bosses. Recent college grads don't know how to follow corporate rules, and when they decide they've had enough of your crap they will leave you. Nowadays that might not be quite as true as a couple years ago, but I'm willing to wager there are some fields where job hopping is still possible. Architecture has always been different in this respect because architecture schools are difficult and demanding places for students, and I feel like architecture graduates can and will put up with more culture related crap than most other recent grads. But all the same, recent graduates don't have a feel for navigating staff meetings and face time with clients.

College graduates are ready for the working world, but only at a certain level. And I have no doubt that they can climb the ladder quickly once they have mastered the social skills necessary to be a professional. It is all relative to the graduate and the workplace they find themselves in. There are offices out there that will squash their interns like bugs without hesitation, and certainly college graduates are not prepared for that. I don't believe they should have to be, but that is a different discussion. My conclusion is that colleges could definitely add something to their programs that addresses how to behave in a professional work environment, but what they do well is churn out graduates with a lot of technical abilities who will pick up on what their educations lacked in a timely manner.
Greetings Earthlings. It's only August, and yet it is back-to-school. I am currently taking a break from my multitude of tasks to prepare for my class which starts tomorrow. I am pretty darn excited about it, let me tell you. I have recently spoken with a few friends in the architecture business who are also embarking on the teaching journey. While I'm not a big academic, far from it some might say, I am big on design technologies and helping people. So helping these 11 students learn more about architectural modeling is right up my alley. I'm really looking forward to seeing their progress.

Why would a green architect want to teach fanciful things such as advanced modeling to students, you might ask? Well, contrary to one article I read recently, I believe that sustainable architecture doesn't have to be homely. It can be designed with NURBS, and whats even better is that the designer can approximate how the design will react in the site with respect to light. There are even tools to study how air will move around, and how effective the heating and cooling systems will be, but I won't get into that part of it. No, I'd just like to say that 3D tools for architecture are invaluable, no matter what kind you're using. One can ALWAYS learn something new from one tool versus another. And I'm convinced that is a good thing for the built environment.

Carry on.
transportation hub frame



I just want to share a post that I read this morning. It's about how squeezed we all feel at work. Well, specifically it is about squeezed architects, but I think it could apply to other fields as well. And it didn't cover those of us who are UNDERemployed, but it helps with that a little.

Here in my office I feel simultaneously over and underwhelmed. I am putting in a lot of time networking and trying to drum up business. It's overwhelming because I wasn't trained for this, but it is slowly starting to pay off. We are getting more things in the door lately. This is also overwhelming in a way because I know if I let up on the networking this whole thing is going to flop like bad whole grain pancakes. And the work itself is very small projects, so I'm having a hard time immersing myself into them and getting the good results we are used to. The bottom line is I wish I had 30 hours in every day to get all this stuff done. So I guess I am feeling squeezed like Randy's lemons. (Thank you, Mr. Deutsch for such an apt description of work today)

I have been in touch with former employers and coworkers over the last few months, and I think they are feeling the squeeze in a lot of ways too. That is where the Architects 2Zebras post comes in. I feel like I need to send it to each of my friends in the business in hopes of cheering them up somehow. I'm not sure if they'll take it the way I intend. But do have a read and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Solar Power


There has been a lot of solar talk around here in the last few days. On Thursday I went to a Business After Business event in Princeton, and I got talking with my GeoPeak Energy friends. They're pretty busy. I learned about some of their projects, and we discussed where things are going for them. It's always nice to see them, too. They're good guys.

Then I read this article about a Spanish solar company getting ready to build a 40 megawatt solar plant in West Sacramento. There are concerns about giant garter snake and Swainson's Hawk habitat, though.



The last interesting articles in the Smithsonian 40th anniversary issue were all about tech. Solar collection techniques mostly. I'd not heard about heliostats before, but they seem efficient and not too harmful to the environment... if the environment is a flat desert. I dig mirrors. They're old fashioned and useful. So you point a lot of big mirrors at a tall glass of water, and then you get steam. I hope these types of facilities don't interfere with wildlife, because if they don't that would be awesome. That's all I can say.
Can't you just hear the angels singing from Heaven? Well, okay me neither. But it looks pretty cool.

As you were.



Happy 8-9-10

There's a lot of picking going on. We've been picking edible plants to buy for next year. I think I picked out 24 herbs I want based on height and flower color... because flower color is really important with respect to the taste of herbs. Actually, the reasoning behind my flower choices is a lot less interesting. I'd like a consistent palette of color. That's all. Then I tried to keep the herbs fairly short because I want it to look "maintained" without too much work. And I wanted to get all the kinds of herbs we buy at the grocery store every week. So sage, onions, garlic, cilantro...

Did I mention we named the house Tiamu Niyoi? It means Thyme Scent in Japanese basically. The front hill of grass is getting replaced by Magic Carpet Thyme as soon as possible. Then we'll have tiny pink flowers all over the hill in springtime, and hopefully the smell of thyme at the front door.

I also figured we could plant some silver lambs' ears because even though they're not edible, they are medicinal. And they reflect any available light at night which is supposed to be a pretty sight.

Then we're working on guilds for around the apple and cherry trees. Hopefully that will help the trees fight off weeds and pests. I guess that's where the onions and garlic are going.

We picked out some different tomatoes for next year based on our success rate this year with the plums and brandywines. The tomato production has really ramped up lately. We actually had enough to make panzanella over the weekend with no store-bought tomatoes.

And I hope to be growing citrus in the house. The quality of the limes and lemons in the store this year has been really low up until a couple weeks ago. So I picked out a small potted lime, a small potted lemon and a kumquat for inside. This is also to support the home soda pop making. I think every office should have a soda maker. I just got this thing, and its great. I like the syrups which make real poplike drinks, but with fresh citrus in a few years hopefully I'll be syrup free. Except for parties because there's no way a small potted plant can supply enough juice for a big party.

Speaking of parties, we've been here almost a year already! We should throw a party!
Ha! So I am catching up on posts this week now.

Just stopping in to talk about the presentation I got to see this morning by Mr. Stedman Graham. I was a couple minutes late, and at first when I sat down I was unimpressed by what he was saying. I didn't know who he was or what his point was. But after he got on a roll it was quite good. I'm glad I got to hear it.

The associated career fair thing was not quite what I expected. It seems they were expecting a much less educated crowd. But oh well. It gave me a reason to go sit down for a while.

I got to talk to some interesting people while deciding what to do next. So it turned into an impromptu networking event for me. Hey, I don't mind. And while I was sitting there with a couple nice people, Mr Graham sat down briefly to take a sip of a beverage and catch his breath before running off to his next event.

Now I'm reading the little booklet Identity: Passport to Freedom, which he wrote and we all got copies of. It is a good read if you want to stay positive and make progress in a life shift. This reminds me a lot of the book I was reading earlier this year called Add More ~ing to Your Life. That's also a very good read, and the author is super cool too. Anyway, it's nice taking a break from just plain architecture and business stuff to remind myself to stay cool mentally and not just physically in this 7th heat wave of the summer.
I lost a blog post because the website was acting wonky. Yes, that's a technical term. Since then I've been too busy to rewrite that entry let alone come up with something new to discuss. I believe the schedule was already talked about the other day.

I was reading about space exploration in the Smithsonian, and it reminded me of a group paper we almost wrote back in the day about the architecture of space and how it might aid human colonization. It was a broad topic and we went with a different idea instead, which turned out to be good because we ended up winning an award with the other topic. All the same, it might be fun to revisit the space colonization idea someday.

There are a lot of competitions to be entered. That's the other thing I've been contemplating these last couple of days away from the office. We're really excited about some ideas that could apply to some of the competitions I've been looking into. So that's something we look forward to working on.

Other than that, it's Friday. So I'm keeping it light. In a few minutes I'm going to go listen to a speaker in Philly. One thing that really bugs me about the regional rail in this city is the horrid schedule. As an eco-conscious person, I'd really love to take the train into the city whenever I can. However, I'd have to be out the door already if I wanted to take the next train, which would arrive 40 minutes too early. And there isn't another train for an hour after that, which would arrive 18 minutes too late. So basically I'm screwed if I want to take the train. There's no way I could've made the 9:19 train. I just dropped Chris off for the 8:50 train. I haven't decided on a business casual ensemble to wear or anything. And I'm doubtful I'll be taking the 10:15 train because it guarantees I'll be late to the event. I'm almost never late to anything. It's a pet peeve of mine to arrive late to things. Often that means Chris and I are the first people to arrive at our friends' dj gigs and such, but oh well. Anyway, I'm going to end up driving to the city today. And I'll pay for parking. But it would cost me almost as much to take the train. Funny story about Wednesday evening's networking event I went to; I ended up driving then too, and I found free parking so I saved more than if I had used mass transit. What a joke. Happy Friday!