Green Rascal Design

 
 
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Deep Thought (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
This is a question asked a lot in recent times.

Today I read two extremely different blog posts by architects that I think both point out what's going on. First, there was this post by Randy Deutsch. Then there was this post by Jody Brown.

It's hard for me to get past feeling depressed after reading about going down with the ship. Luckily the other reading was funny enough to make me laugh out loud. Anyway, I think we're all trying to find meaning in our new circumstances, as architects at least. Sure, practice as we know it is probably over for most of us. It's easy to poke fun at architects and their logic. Usually it's bullshit. I'm remembering with fondness a long manifesto I wrote during my last semester of undergrad where I declared that all architects are full of shit. And now begs the question, are we done being full of shit yet? Will we ever be done spewing shit? I'm not sure we'll rid ourselves of the shit, but perhaps we're ever so slightly LESS full of shit? Please excuse my language, but I feel like my entire career has been a long descent. I'm too young to remember any really good times in architecture. (Hopefully I won't be too old to enjoy when the good times return.)
Somehow this relates to the conversation I had this morning with some new business contacts. I met with a bunch of really great guys today, and afterward I had plenty of time to ruminate on the state of architecture and what I could possibly offer of value to them. How can I communicate the worth of my services? Well, I'm not actually worried about these particular business contacts, but what about all those other people I meet when I'm out networking who aren't in the building industry? I've been pondering this since I finished reading Down Detour Road. Maybe it's time to take some advice from the Entrepreneur's Entourage ladies, and devote a couple days to working on business. Networking is great, but it's time to address these burning issues related to what's going on here.
So if anybody out there knows what's going on here, let me know. I'm gonna go write a new manifesto and submit it to this competition I just learned about. Seems like a fitting place to send my complaints.
 
 
Or is that, Away Networking? Yes, I've been out networking a ton lately. I think it's paying off, but at the same time I haven't been able to write anything even remotely interesting in the last couple of weeks. I miss it! But here are some highlights:

Entrepreneur's Entourage is a neat company I discovered last Monday at the West Conshohocken trade show. I went to their happy hour on Friday, and it was chill. I appreciate chill. Networking is almost never chill. But these ladies do some cool stuff, and they share lots of great ideas. I showed up after 5pm, and they were still coworking. This is their monthly afternoon of sharing ideas and gettin stuff done. That's my understanding anyway. I think I'll join them on November 19th for their next Coworking event and happy hour. Maybe by then I'll have followed some of their advice and read something on their reading list. I especially liked their blog post about getting away for a couple days to focus on business!

Last Monday I met up with a new friend at a business to business trade show at the Marriott in West Conshy. That's where I met Emily from Entrepreneur's Entourage, and some other interesting business peeps. It was way smaller than my contact, Bob, had expected, but I had the advantage of having no expectations. haha. So perhaps I'll get a chance to use some of those contacts sometime. Most likely I'll be in touch with Intelligent Homes and Sounds. They were the second most memorable conversation I had.

Before that there was Business After Business at the new Residences at Palmer Square in Princeton. I had a good time and saw lots of people I know. I didn't win anything this month, however. We'll not get into what I thought of the architecture. I did get a nice tour of the neighbor's house, etc. But I spent so much time getting in touch with people before and after this event  that I didn't even catch my breath until last Thursday.

Now I'm hoping to follow up on advice I've gotten at all three events, and I bet it'll be many hours of reading and writing emails. At some point I still plan to discuss my new shade device for the chicken cage, but all that sewing takes a while so no rush. Oh, and developments on the tech side of business this week hopefully will include new project management software and time tracking software. It's already too late to use for my new Princeton project, but hopefully next time. Gotta boogie.
 

on the bandwagon

10/22/2010

 
What does that even mean? Mom, a little help here?

Anyway, we just found out that we could help collect non-recyclable garbage for TerraCycle to make cool things out of. Where have I been? This is a great idea. We have so many wine corks, I was thinking what could I possibly do with them. I just wish they were partners with Whole Foods. That would be awesome. Or Pop chips. I love Pop chips! If we could send all the chip bags to Terracycle and get a nice tote out of it, I'd totally do it. I can't see myself with a drink pouch or candy wrapper tote bag. But that was my cool discovery today.

I'll have to come up with something else to discuss later. For now, I have a meeting to get to, and then networking again. All of this networking! I hope I'm getting better at it because I'm really hoping to find a lead on a new project soon. Hopefully this afternoon's meeting leads to something worthwhile!

Happy Friday!
 
 
I was at the dentist this morning, and this particular dentist lets patients watch tv while they're waiting to be drilled. So there I am in the dentist chair when this report comes on the Today show about how fetuses are affected by the environments their mothers are in. I think this would be a great focus for us here. What better way to start healing the environment, than to also prevent future diseases in the unborn.

Interesting how my environment at the time made me comfortable enough to comprehend the story on tv and remember it. It's a nice dentist office!

Also, the chickens got a partial new roof on their cage yesterday. Speaking of environments, it has been really windy here lately, and their retractable canvas roof I had up there was falling apart. The ropes were ripped off the wooden roller. And the thing was flapping so badly the chickens were nervous. So I headed to JoAnn Fabrics and got some "jacketing." I sewed it up so that the ropes go through pockets instead of just lying on top of the fabric. It keeps the sun off sufficiently, however I need more fabric because they didn't have enough of what I chose. Too bad it's a Sunday project and I don't have time to finish until then.

Anyway, I think I'm going to develop a pitch for design for newborns or something. Since that story on tv I haven't been able to get it off my mind.
 
 
So on Tuesday evening I was at Reading Terminal Market grabbing a pop before the Philadelphia Business Journal's Cocktails and Networking event across the street at the Field House. I had arrived really early, and it's always good to grab a snack before a networking event. There is a big seating area in the middle of the market, and my super high heels were killing my feet already. (the price of looking good?) There I was sitting at a table munching fries and guzzling a Pepsi and playing spider solitaire on my phone, when this homeless man sat down at the table next to me. I thought nothing of it, naturally, because there are lots of homeless in the area. He didn't have a foul odor, and looked pleasant enough, so I smiled politely at him and continued with my spider solitaire. I could tell he was sketching something, but didn't really think about it. Then when I started to pack up to go over to the Field House, the man ripped out the sketch and handed it to me. It's a pretty good drawing, so I decided to share it here. He said his name is Conrad, I think. And he told me how he's there all the time sketching families and people with a certain light about them, how he can see beauty in everybody. I gave him a donation of all the quarters I had in my coin purse without feeling too bad about not having a dollar because he said at the end of the day he will always have enough to live off. He had a good way of looking at his life, and I felt good about talking to him.

Later, at the networking event, I was talking to a wonderful lady from Smith-Felver & Prime, Ltd. advertising, and she was just a joy to meet. She said some really nice things about me. We discussed the homeless man at the market, and she said something about how I'd always remember him when it came time for me to help somebody else. She's probably right. She seemed to have a lot of knowledge.I got a feeling like business would turn out alright for me after talking to her.

Last week I had another encounter with an angel of sorts as I was leaving PhilaU to go to the business etiquette course. She was an older professor, and on the way down the stairs in the parking garage she said I should be in the modeling business. Not too many people say that, but it's something I've heard before. I just think I'm way too old and plain for that now. But then she asked me what I teach, and I had to laugh because I said Advanced Modeling actually. I never thought about it that way, haha. Maybe that discussion was a way for the universe to say I'm right where I need to be. That's what I think anyway.

I'm so glad to have met these angels. It makes a lack of work easier to bear. At times like these, when my biggest project is just finished and I don't have anything waiting for me, thinking about these people helps a lot. I'm reminded of the handwriting analyst who said I was surrounded by angels many years ago. This is my shout out to the Universe today. Thanks.

I hope you enjoy the sketch of me that Conrad made. If you're ever at the market and you see him, go say hi.
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It's my first post from the new beast computer. Old Cosmo is still around in some capacity because I haven't received my Adobe software from the Creative Allies contest yet, but for the most part I'm ready to uninstall things and defrag. New Beast is fairly impressive. I wish the internet would let me witness what must be blistering speed. Alas, the internet is not so hot right now. But my first attempt at opening 3ds Max yesterday went smoothly and quickly. I think it took something like 1/4 the time it took on Cosmo. poor old guy.

The thing which frustrates me the most is Windows 7. Of course, right? Quite often my mouse finds itself in the lower right hand corner, which makes it show me the desktop instead of whatever I'm trying to do. Usually this involves typing. So there I am trying to type in something, and suddenly I'm blind! UGH!!! I must not have used the computers at Philly U enough to be frustrated by it previously. But now it makes me NUTS.

How is this relevant? It's design related! And this design related nuance is hindering my productivity!!! Good thing I don't have anything important to do right now. (can you hear the sarcasm?) I can't think of a single safe spot to put something which flashes the desktop over what I'm trying to do. They should have left it as a button one must click - no flashy roll-over BS!

Anyway, hopefully installation of all my fun design programs goes smoothly from now on. Oh, that reminds me that I have to call McNeel about my Rhino install... SIGH! I digress... I can't wait to use AutoCAD on New Beast because I know how much better that is since the whole PhilaU experience. Maybe I'll dabble in Maya too because I can. Muahahaha! (evil laugh)
 
 
put the dining room back together again. Yes, I finished the floor refinishing project in one room the other day, and it looks spectacular. Well, okay it looks lots better than it did before. There is a dark rectangle in the middle of the room where there must have been rugs its whole life. I was planning on putting another rug there eventually anyway. But for now we are rugless, and that is fine because I can show off the new floor to all the guests we'll be having over later tomorrow. Anywhoo, I dusted most things in there and put most of them back sorta where they were before. I'm adjusting some items for feng shui purposes. And there was a lot of dust on the walls. We'll have to dust all the walls in the house in the morning I think.

That's all for now. It's Friday, so I'm laxing on my business stuff. Yes, I know. I should have contacted those new people I met last night at the Business Over Dinner event, but there isn't enough time today so it'll have to wait till Wednesday. Speaking of the Business Over Dinner event, it was pretty great. I didn't feel good about all the bad manners I've been exhibiting my whole life, but  oh well. I went to learn, right? Learning business etiquette, or any etiquette, over dinner was a great thing for me to do, and it was fun. Ms. Stokley forced us to dine Continental style, and I realized I actually quite liked it. So I'll be practicing that during the party tomorrow.

Anyway, I've gotta get back to work putting the place together. I've been working in somewhat of a war zone for the past couple of weeks, and it'll be nice to get things straightened out.

I should also go see how the fluffies are doing because they seemed anxious for attention earlier when I walked past to get my new software for the new beast computer. So much to do!
 
 
Are blogs as important as bloggers think they are? That is the question for today. This new media can be very powerful in ways both good and bad. I choose to focus on the good aspects of blogging, and ignore those who are out to bring people down or sensationalize events that have no real importance in the world.

My own blog may not be important in the vast scheme of things, but it lets me get things out there whereas previously I had no voice besides my small local network of friends and colleagues. This is my outlet for advertising myself to the nonexistent market. It provides a place my new networking contacts can go to find out more about me. I can work out ideas floating around in my head and prepare them for new projects. Most recently, I can work out my lecture notes or ideas and post them for my students to refer back to. This is all very "work in progress," but I believe life is a work in progress. Lets just face it and put ourselves out there to learn and grow.

There are lots of really interesting or educational architecture blogs out there. I enjoy many of them, and I think they are somewhat important. The future of architecture might very well depend on this online community of bloggers/friends getting ideas out there and coming to some kind of consensus on certain things. How else are we going to take back our title from the IT nerds? (by the way I have nothing against nerds! My husband is a systems administrator, and he knows how wrong it is that the title of Architect has been corrupted. now if we could only get the rest of the nerds on board with NOT calling themselves architects...) I enjoy finding out about other architects' practices and how they are dealing with business today.

There are also many blogs I like to refer to for everyday things like cooking and house stuff. I enjoy the FatFree Vegan Kitchen for new recipes. And I also like to read Ana White's Knock-Off Wood blog, which is down under construction right now. And there's the Community Design Collaborative blog. I've been looking for more ways to do community service, so I always like to read what they are up to. And of course I pay a lot of attention to Steve Smolinsky's Conversation on Networking. My hubby likes to read the Gnash blog too. These bloggers help enrich our lives and businesses, and we would miss them terribly if their blogs went away.

So I suppose I have a rosy picture of blogging, but that's just because, like with the social networking discussion a few weeks ago, I stay away from those bloggers who don't actually help me in any way. There are lots of bloggers out there who think they are so awesome and extremely important and everybody in the world should pay attention to what they say. I don't buy that shit, I mean stuff. My blog may not be very important to anybody but me, but that's okay. I'm extremely proud of it, and I wish I could spend more time with it. :)

Thanks for taking the time to read my Let's BlogOff post today. I really appreciate it. Check out all the other opinions at Let's BlogOff.com!
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Shellac'n

10/04/2010

 
Here I am again for a short post. I'm now shellac-ing the other half of the room, and hopefully I'll be done with 3 more coats by the end of the day. Coincidentally, this is really helping my [tai chi] snake creeps down form. (Just imagine the brush in the leading hand and the bucket in the following hand, haha.)

I'm also getting ready for a party called "One Year Here." One year ago we were moving in, and had a nice open house for all the friends. We've done a lot of work in the last year, and its time to show it all off! Of course, that means I have to vacuum all the walls because of the sanding of the floors... ick!

Additionally, tomorrow is a big day for my class because we're exporting our models to 3ds Max, and I have to get a post together on that quick. Of course, nothing you do in 3ds Max is QUICK, but I hope it goes smoothly.

Soon I'll have a new Beast Computer. It has been a LONG time since I had a Beast. My lappy has served me extremely well for 4 years. I love it to pieces. But it is having a very hard time with the newest versions of certain programs including 3ds Max, and my lecture postings take me a lot of time because of that. So hubby is building me a new computer, and I can't wait!

Plus, I recently won a bunch of software on Creative Allies. I like their site because they have a lot of little competitions and contests. So randomly I entered my name for a contest to win a new copy of the Adobe Creative Suite, and I supposedly won! I'm still waiting for its arrival. But when it arrives and my new computer is completed, it will be quite a day!

Lastly, tomorrow is another installment of Let's BlogOff. We'll be discussing the relative importance or lack thereof of blogs in general. So that should be fun reading! Although I won't be able to read any of the posts until after class, just so you know. haha.
 
 
On the advice of Randy Deutsch, I have started reading Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice. This is a very interesting book which I can already see myself lending to all kinds of people I know, like my loving husband who is very sympathetic but has no clue what I'm going through. This book has a lot of advice for how to save our profession. Some of this advice reminds me of something Tom Fisher said when I was at the University of Minnesota. I always remember his thoughts were brilliant and he deserves more credit. But anyway, I'm very much looking forward to finishing Down Detour Road, and perhaps saving the world. In that order. Who can I get in on this project??

Oh yes, and why all the water. Well, not only have we had way too much rain lately which is making the chickens miserable, and seeping into the basement here, but also I thought of the moniker of Great Wake for our current economic slump coined by the author, Eric J. Cesal in the book. I think it is an appropriate term for our times. I often feel as though I'm in a raft with only one oar wobbling around in a Great Wake out in the ocean. Lost at sea... fabulous. Good thing I went to "fancy school."

And the flooding in Philadelphia means nobody can get to work. Yay! I think I'll take the afternoon off. Wake me when it's over.