Archive for September, 2006

Movies About Architects

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I picked up two movies about Architects today.

My Architect

My Architect: A Son’s Journey. The secret life of architectural genius Louis Kahn. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary.

Frank Gehry

Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack. Chronicles the friendship between director Sydney Pollock and the famed architect.

When I view these movies I will post a review of each.

Change

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. — Robert C. Gallagher

It is not necessary to change, survival is not mandatory. W. Edwards Deming

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. — Harold Wilson

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. — John Kenneth Galbraith

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place. — Washington Irving

Stubborness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow. — Glen Beaman

Change requires work, change is not for the lazy. — me

implementing enterprise synergies

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

One of the reasons for this blog, besides a outlet for an occasional rant, is to “encourage” myself to write. I need to improve my writing, I hope writing this blog will help. I am a visual person and spend 80% of my professional time drawing. Any writing I currently produce is in the form of standardized construction document newspeak, not very exciting or rewarding. Some of what I write is technical while other is legal in nature. Most of the jargon becomes unintelligible to people outside of the “club”.

I see a lot of resumes with lots of phrases like the title of this post. I don’t know what any of these people do! While I was researching the common business use of verbose and obfuscating jargon I came across the writings of Bertand Russell. A paper he wrote called “How I Write” that has an interesting passage that gets to the heart of what I am trying to say.

“Human beings are completely exempt from undesirable behaviour-patterns only when certain prerequisites, not satisfied except in a small percentage of actual cases, have, through some fortuitous concourse of favourable circumstances, whether congenital or environmental, chanced to combine in producing an individual in whom many factors deviate from the norm in a socially advantageous manner”. Let us see if we can translate this sentence into English. I suggest the following: “All men are scoundrels, or at any rate almost all. The men who are not must have had unusual luck, both in their birth and in their upbringing.” This is shorter and more intelligible, and says just the same thing.

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

Here’s to say it like it is and simplifing communication.

The Media and Priorities

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

newsweek_09_2006.jpg

I guess this why we are so uninformed about ANY current world event. Yet the Media recently had a bidding war to photograph some celebrity’s baby. Events in Afghanistan, as we well know, do and can affect us, sometimes profoundly. I guess it’s about what sells papers or maybe we are entering a new era where we “embrace” and wallow in our own ignorance. Anyone have photos of Suri Cruise?

SketchUp

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Sketchup

If you have ever had to produce some preliminary drawings for a client or convey an idea quickly and with minimal fuss try SketchUp. There is a free version and a pro version ($495.00). The pro version is worth every cent. Sure I could use AutoCAD to produce the same thing but for a fraction of the cost and by far the shortest learning curve of ANY “3D” program out there I can produce a great preliminary presentation. This program is unbelievably intuitive and SIMPLE to use. It took me an hour to view a few tutorials and off I went. Don’t expect photo real rendering, I still use Lightwave for that. For construction drawings use AutoCAD.

This was modeled in SketchUp in a morning

SketchUp Hospital

and exported into Lightwave and rendered for a more refined look.

Hospital Rendering

This presentation was created in SketchUp in a day

.NL Church ElevationsNL Church Perspective

Sketchup will also produce quick animations.Click here to see a Lo Res Animation produce with SketchUp.
I highly recommend this very productive software.

Banned Books Week 2006

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Read Banned Books: They're Your Ticket to Freedom
The new school year has begun and so have the stories on book banning. A teacher usually assigns a book and some “concerned” parent takes exception to the choice, usually on “moral” grounds. Within a week the school board or library has banned it and both side are on the local news protesting.

The most irritating attacks are those on books and “controversial” movies that challenge us intellectually. How many people out there have read Origin of Species and the Bible? The Canterbury Tales written in 1380 had been banned…… I read it in 6th grade. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were both banned, most of Shakespeare has at one time been banned……..the list is long. In almost all cases the people screaming for a ban have never read the book or seen the movie. How is it possible to make a decision to ban something based only on a passage or two taken out of context? How about banning it based on just the general plot or premise?

A lot of people believe there is only black and white, good and evil, up and down…etc. In other words they ONLY see two ways of looking at issues and the world in general. The way I see it the Universe exists only in shades of gray. Any argument can be and should be viewed from either extreme view or anthing in between and be valid. We live in a society where everyone has an opinion based on their first impressions, malformed beliefs and unstudied bias. A large portion of what society believes is greatly influenced by pop cultures psudo-religions, psudo-science the “news” and our uninformed policy makers and self proclaimed experts.

What follows is a thought experiment / example of how to take a movie or book and spin the premise into a potential banning candidate. I will take something considered a classic and spin it into something twisted.

Movie Premise:
A young girl is transported against her will to a surreal landscape where she kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three very weird complete strangers to kill again. (Definition: weird- one stranger is not wearing any clothes another is carrying a weapon and the third is mentally challenged.)

Based on only this information would you let your children see this movie? Can this movie possibly be any good ? Is there any possible way to put a spin on this “movie” and get responsible adults to take their 7, 8 & 9 year olds to see this now perceived “dreck”? Armed with this description could I get this movie banned from my kids school and library? What if I told you this movie was originally a book and has been banned by outraged fundamentalists determined to purge “witchcraft” from public schools and libraries.

The movie has been around for over 65 years and has made a lot of people a lot of money. The book has been made into a movie many times. The most popular version has been seen by millions of children.

The movie? The Wizard of Oz.

Zone Zero – Pedro Meyer

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Pedro Meyer is the publisher of a site called Zone Zero. He was born in Spain and emigrated to Mexico where he is now a citizen. His site Zone Zero is dedicated to exploring and investigating the transition from anolog to digital imaging photography. What I like most about Pedro Meyer’s site is his writing. His Editorials are all very thought provoking and insightful. He is definitely a proponent for digital. Again check out his enjoyable and educational writings.

zone_zero.jpg

CopyPod Ipod Backup & Recovery Software

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

I had a hard drive fail on me today. All my iTunes music was on it! I did a little research and came across a program called CopyPod. GREAT software. In 20 minutes I had recovered my music off my ipod and imported back into iTunes along with ALL my playlist and rating. Check it out at http://www.copypod.net

copypod_logo.jpg

FLW Book

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Thumbed thru a copy of new book on Frank Lloyd Wright called ‘The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship’ by Roger Friedland, Harold Zellman. Looks interesting although some of the passages I read where very lurid. I haven’t decided whether to read this or not. I personally know some of the people mentioned in the book and this may be a case of “too much information for me.”

A few years ago I read a book on Philip Johnson that I enjoyed except for the fact that it concentrated a little too much on his love life. I was more interested in his architecture and creative process.

The Fellowship