Thursday, March 25, 2010

HOLY CRAP.. a new post!

I have become a pathetic blogger, and I ask for forgiveness. Life has been quite busy, and although that is not much of an excuse I will use it just the same. I have had a change at work, and am now working in a new studio (Science and Tech). I am currently working on a forensics lab for the US military in Hawaii, and so far it has been really good.

At home all is well, as we are striving to figure out what to do about our home. We are thinking about trying to short sell to better ourselves financially, we will see. The boys are all great doing their thing. Lani is still at home dealing with the boys and all their things, which can be cumbersome with three of them.

I have made some improvements lately with trying to get out more and be active. Playing basketball, running, and I even mountain bike on the weekends. I am studying hard for my ARE (architectural registration exams) and will be taking the first of my 7 exams next month. I will update how that one goes..

A few weeks ago Lani and I went up to Prescott for the weekend to relax and enjoy a concert with Chris Trapper. It was a great two days and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We even stayed at an amazing old hotel that is apparently haunted.. although we did not experience any haunts! We enjoyed the food, walking around the old downtown area, bookstores, and of course the concert. Lani was so excited to finally meet Chris, and of course she loved him as we all do!

I suppose that is it for now.. I will try to improve and let anyone who might actually check this out know what we are doing as a family. Try to be patient.. it is a virtue.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let the accusations fly!!!!

So work has been interesting… Not too long ago they let another five people go in our office, and since then I have been going like crazy. I guess with the work to do, less people to do it, and many on vacations at this time in the summer makes for a very busy me! I have not written for a while, but something happened this last week that MUST be recorded in the annals of history (or at least until I stop blogging)! I have been officially been accused of being a RACIST!

I am working on a project that is a Sports Center here in the Phoenix metro area. It is a fairly simple building with two large gymnasiums for basketball, volleyball, and indoor soccer. They also have some multipurpose space, offices, service stuff, and seating areas. In all, it is not too large, and fairly straightforward. We are trying to keep it simple, affordable, and still interesting. Our one “big” move was at the entry. We really want to call attention to it. So we were proposing a tall lantern of sorts that will act as a cooling tower, marquee, shade structure, and an homage to the city’s roots. So here is the drama…

As part of understanding this specific Arizona city, I did a lot of research into their history, culture, and what is out there. To be honest, there really is not too much. The city was incorporated in 1946! Most of the history and culture is based on an agricultural background. So we drew on the idea of ranching, farms, sheds, barns, etc. In the end we came up with an idea that our entry lantern would be reminiscent of a barn, shed, and somewhere along the line the term “cotton bin” showed up. We had a great couple of images that really showed what we were talking about which are shown below.

Well, last Thursday just as I was about to send over the presentation that was to be made to the Mayor and City council a few days later and we got a phone call from a frantic Assistant City Manager. The other Assistant City Manager and the mayor (whom are an African-American woman and a Hispanic woman) saw our stuff and freaked out… THAT IS A RACIST BUILDING! WHY DON’T YOU JUST PUT A WOOD SLAVE SHIP UP THERE! I AM SO OFFENDED WITH THIS LACK OF RESPECT!

How do I respond to people like that?

Well, I ended up spending the rest of that day until 11pm and all morning the next day (which happened to be my 10 Year Anniversary) redesigning the project and the presentation! Of course, because of the short amount of time we had to redo all of our design, and story we were not completely ready for our presentation in front of the mayor and the city council, and it really did not go too well. They were upset with the way the building looked. They did not like that it looks like a prison, or a high school gymnasium… (uh… it IS a gym dumb a’s)! I will tell you one thing; I am learning how it goes with public projects! It is a whole new animal dealing with civic clients!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OK, so what have I been doing for so long right?... Well, work has been EXTREMELY busy, and I know I should not complain since many of friends do not have that to complain about so I wont! I am nearing the end of my current project which has been my life for almost two years now. It has started construction and we should be done with everything except for the plethora of ASI's, (for the person that does not know, these are clarifications of things that confuse the contractor in the drawings so we have to give them a little more info), that should certainly come. Being this particular team's first jaunt into Revit, our first time trying new ways of doing things with our documents, and a interesting schedule, (do you sense the sarcasm), will make things interesting later.

In other news, I have also been working on competitions which I usually really enjoy. Hopefully some good will come out of these and we will do well. Stay tuned for future updates... unless we do really bad and this will be the last you ever hear of it...

I am also now working with the Cub Scouts as a Webelos Leader. So far it has been fun and I am enjoying working with the boys. That has a fairly significant time requirement, so that has made things a little more tight especially on nights when we meet or there is training or something.

The boys are at home for the summer and Lani has been dealing with having them around, which has been hard sometimes for her as with most parents. We have been trying to establish some kind of a schedule of chores, working on school work, (we had their teachers send home a lot of extra work), and Cub Scout stuff for Benji.

On top of all of this I have been trying to get the process moving for my registration and exams. I am waiting for word from the powers that be to find out what exams I have been approved to take. As soon as I know I plan on getting started as soon as possible. That will be great fun...

So I will try to improve in my blogging, and I will try to maybe speak of more interesting things as well. I know that I am a boring, uninteresting, and generally dull blogger... what can I say?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Enjoying the outdoors...

So this last weekend my wife had her good friend staying with us along with her husband and two little boys. Of course, their two boys and ours had tons of fun playing, destroying the house, and being boys. So, Saturday we decided we needed to get them outside, where they could burn off some of the energy that is innate in young boys. We shoved everyone in the car and went for a hike around a local sewage Treatment.. I mean local Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, Arizona. It was a little warm for March, but it was nice enough. We walked around enjoyed the birds, turtles, fish-smelling water, random piles of dog crap, and the wonders of nature. Of course the boys loved throwing sticks, rocks, old gum, and cigarette butts in the water and looking around.

After that, we stopped by the library next door to cool off and let the boys look around. We finished with a lunch date at McDonalds so the kids could play in the playground and clog their arteries a bit. It was a lot of fun, and we had hoped that we would get back home and all the boys would pass out on the floor for a few hours from exhaustion. Yeah right… we tried to no avail. At least we got them to sit and watch a movie without climbing the walls though!

Me and Noah enjoying the smells and views of a sewage treatment... oh I mean Riparian Preserve

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An apology for being a horrible blogger... but with some justification

For all my reader, sorry for not writing lately. It has been a rough few weeks. I have been making an effort to start prepping for my exams and registration for the last few weeks. I have also been trying to do more around the house, and then to top all of that, my grandmother died. Most of the family went back to the homeland, which is southern Alberta (Canada for the unknowing) and participated in the funeral last Friday.

It was actually a great trip, and seeing so much of the family in one location was great. My only gripe was what happened just before we left which just added to the stress levels. So my wife and I got a great start to the day and were flying along making great time. I walked out the door to start placing bags in the car for the trip to the airport, when I noticed water coming out of the garage! I thought, crap not now please!!! So I run in there, and of course water is pouring out of the ceiling! It was the water line to the water softener at the front of the garage which flows over the garage in the attic space. Of course it was the crappy plastic tubing that just gave way after I had moved it around and bumped it while putting boxes up there a few weeks earlier.

So anyway, I ran and shut the water off for the house not really having another option since we needed to catch a plane. I quickly cleaned up what I could and saw that the damage was minimal and we were lucky that it happened right over a light fixture and the water immediately drained out the hole in the drywall. Even the drywall was pretty spared. Of course the entire time I was in Canada I worried we would come home to a house full of water!

Well, the whole experience was quite worth the pain. The funeral was as good as it could be expected and we had so much fun being with family and friends. I even enjoyed the cold weather if you can believe it. I promise to soon write some more interesting things, but this is all I have at this point.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

HAHAH.. I just peed myself!

This is the best essay on architecture EVER… It is by a writer named Annie Choi from New York City. It was originally published in the Vol II, 2007 PIDGIN, from Princton University. Try not to choke on your spittle... (I apologize beforehand for her profanity if it offends you... she has a potty mouth)!

Dear Architects, I am sick of your shit.

Once, a long time ago, in the days of yore, I had a friend who was studying architecture to become, presumably, an architect. This friend introduced me to other friends, who were also studying architecture. Then these friends had other friends who were architects—real architects doing real architecture like designing luxury condos that look a lot like glass dildos. And these real architects knew other real architects and now the only people I know are architects. And they all design glass dildos that I will never work or live in and serve only to obstruct my view of New Jersey.
Do not get me wrong, architects. I like you as a person. I think you are nice, smell good most of the time, and I like your glasses. You have crazy hair, and if you are lucky, most of it is on your head. But I do not care about architecture. It is true. This is what I do care about:
As you can see, architecture is not on the list. I believe that architecture falls somewhere between toenail fungus and invasive colonoscopy in the list of things that interest me.
Perhaps if you didn’t talk about it so much, I would be more interested. When you point to a glass cylinder and say proudly, hey my office designed that, I giggle and say it looks like a bong. You turn your head in disgust and shame. You think, obviously she does not understand. What does she know? She is just a writer. She is no architect. She respects vowels, not glass cocks. And then you say now I am designing a lifestyle center, and I ask what is that, and you say it is a place that offers goods and services and retail opportunities and I say you mean like a mall and you say no. It is a lifestyle center. I say it sounds like a mall. I am from the Valley, bitch. I know malls.
Architects, I will not lie, you confuse me. You work sixty, eighty hours a week and yet you are always poor. Why aren’t you buying me a drink? Where is your bounty of riches? Maybe you spent it on merlot. Maybe you spent it on hookers and blow. I cannot be sure. It is a mystery. I will leave that to the scientists to figure out.
Architects love to discuss how much sleep they have gotten. One will say how he was at the studio until five in the morning, only to return again two hours later. Then another will say, oh that is nothing, I haven’t slept in a week. And then another will say, guess what, I have never slept ever. My dear architects, the measure of how hard you’ve worked and how much you’ve accomplished is not related to the number of hours you have not slept. Have you heard of
Rem Koolhaas? He is a famous architect. I know this because you tell me he is a famous architect. I hear that Rem Koolhaas is always sleeping. He is, I presume, sleeping right now. And I hear he gets shit done. And I also hear that in a stunning move, he is making a building that looks not like a glass cock, but like a concrete vagina. When you sleep more, you get vagina. You can all take a lesson from Rem Koolhaas.
Life is hard for me, please understand. Architects are an important part of my existence. They call me at eleven at night and say they just got off work, am I hungry? Listen, it is practically midnight. I ate hours ago. So long ago that, in fact, I am hungry again. So yes, I will go. Then I will go and there will be other architects talking about AutoCAD shortcuts and something about electric panels and can you believe that is all I did today, what a drag. I look around the table at the poor, tired, and hungry, and think to myself, I have but only one bullet left in the gun. Who will I choose?
I have a friend who is a doctor. He gives me drugs. I enjoy them. I have a friend who is a lawyer. He helped me sue my landlord. My architect friends have given me nothing. No drugs, no medical advice, and they don’t know how to spell subpoena. One architect friend figured out that my apartment was one hundred and eighty-seven square feet. That was nice. Thanks for that.
I suppose one could ask what someone like me brings to architects like yourselves. I bring cheer. I yell at architects when they start talking about architecture. I force them to discuss far more interesting topics, like turkey eggs. Why do we eat chicken eggs, but not turkey eggs? They are bigger. And people really like turkey. See? I am not afraid to ask the tough questions.
So, dear architects, I will stick around, for only a little while. I hope that one day some of you will become doctors and lawyers or will figure out my taxes. And we will laugh at the days when you spent the entire evening talking about some European you’ve never met who designed a building you will never see because you are too busy working on something that will never get built. But even if that day doesn’t arrive, give me a call anyway, I am free.

Yours truly, Annie Choi

Enjoying the FBR Open (AKA the T&A Open)

Last week my brother Chris, who is the COO of a digital media/advertising company invited me to go with him to the FBR Open, which is the PGA tournament here in Scottsdale. Now, I have never been to the FBR, but I have heard a whole lot about it. For example, it has the highest attendance of all the events on the PGA Tour, it is the most rowdy, Happy-Gilmore-like event, and it is basically the biggest drunk-fest, party all day and night, crazed sex-charged atmosphere in golf! Of course I agreed to go.

Chris was lucky enough to score tickets to Sprint’s Penthouse on the 18th hole. It was basically a VIP, two-story tent with two bars, a whole lot of really good food, a poor guy in a suit rolling cigars all day in the sun, and free crap. Plus you had a great view of the 18th hole, and all the people, (or commonfolk as we refered to them that day), that walked around below, (people-watching can be so fun). We got to see all the FBR in its full glory as the drunk, obnoxious, loud, and often scantily clad people walked around below us. One of the funniest were these two girls wearing tight pink tee-shirts that said “Fun Bags” on the front, and “Want some?” on the back. They were advertising for a plastic surgeon in Scottsdale. Ahh, the lovely world of advertising… Well Chris and I enjoyed some golf, ate as much as possible, grabbed some free stuff, and left around 2:30. Right before all the really rowdy stuff started going down in preparation for the parties at the “Bird’s Nest” afterwards. I will say, if I ever go to that tournament again it will have to be as a VIP again… I do not think I could handle it without the free food.

These photos are from the Penthouse looking at the 18th hole. One is inside with all the glorious food, and the other from the balcony