Family life! Standing with my wonderful wife, watching our two young men as they come to appreciate the authentic in a world filled with nihilistic dreck.
Staying on point while my boys, now men, move into the world.
Basking in the glow of having taken the boys on coming-of-age trips when they were each 12 years old. One chose China and one chose Greece. These Dad-and-Boy trips have been really incredible… I recommend the practice. The idea was extended with post-high school trips for each; the first one was London and Rome, the second the Australian outback. Travels are now more mom-and-dad oriented and tend to be not so far afield… Portland, Tassajara, Indian Springs, Mexico, Los Angeles…
Still mourning the passing of the Oakland Roadster Show (an intense folk art experience if there ever was one).
Recalling the work my older boy and I accomplished as National Park Service volunteers building a 42’ working replica of the 19th century Chinese shrimping junks that plied San Francisco bay. LINK
Recalling with pride the support my younger son gave to the 2014 protests in Oakland, and recalling with amazement the photos he took of the movement. Unfortunately the need for this work is more important than ever. LINK
Planning this year’s return to Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. 2007 was my first year at this incredible event and year 12 is the beginning of the wind-down. After having given my modified Tri-Mule to a new and deeply qualified mutator, this year will be super simple; just me and my bike. I’ll miss my string of kinetic sculptures from previous years: a surfboard that surfs the night desert on waves of blue light, a musical tower composed of sound-sensitive walk-don’t walk signs, the Lonely Gamete: an all-electric three wheeled flame-and-music conveyance, the mutated Tri-Mule (original idea & build by Billy Powell)…LINK
I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming hiking and camping time of year, not to mention baseball seasons right around the corner!
My goal is to enjoy life to the fullest, experience as many new things in the foreseeable future and not dwell on situations that get me down. Not taking family and friends for granted, the past year has been a whirlwind of unforeseen family health issues and close friends continuing on with life in new places…these groups are what is important to me at this time in my life and I must not forget.
I’ve been working on several projects outside of the office, the latest of which was designing and producing a small book of boxing-themed cocktail recipes invented by a friend. LINK
I avidly collect 1920s – 1930s 78 RPM records with a particular focus on San Francisco jazz and dance bands; researching these groups and the venues where they played has tied into a broader interest in local architectural and sociopolitical history.
I was recently elected to a seat on the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Art Center and I’m looking forward to being able to contribute to the next chapter of this important community resource.
I’m always songwriting and recording a new project or group of songs. It’s been a passion starting when I was 12 and recording onto my first 4-track in my parents’ basement. I spent my 20s touring North America in the band Thriving Ivory.
I play USTA tennis to stay active and keep a bit of competitive spirit going. I’m also an enrolled agent and during tax season I put down the blueprints and pick up the 1040s only to return to architecture refreshed after April 15th.
I love traveling and have been making a point of exploring a new continent every year for the past few years. Hopefully I can keep it going until I’ve set foot on each of them.
I met Gary and Henry while bartending at one of their favorite haunts of late, Flora in downtown Oakland. One night Gary made the offhand comment that he thought I would “make a good architect” and has been regretting it ever since.
Recently moved back to the bay area. I am looking forward to reconnecting myself to the area. I missed camping and traveling along the beautiful coast. While having fun, I need to fulfill my promise of practicing yoga more consistently with my one and only guru, my wife.
WHAT WE’RE THINKING ABOUT
Having read Bill Joy’s piece on the moral and ethical challenges implicit in the arrival of robotics, nanotechnology and genetic engineering, I continue to wonder how our species will survive the next 30 years. Bill Joy was until recently the chief technology architect for the Sun Microsystems, and his article is a must read. It is available in the archives of the wired.com website, and the title is Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.
I continue to think about embedded content in architecture. Most interesting to me is when this content operates on a level which seems to tap the collective unconscious. Less interesting, but nevertheless entertaining is the intentional embedding cultural references, which these days is being very sneakily encoded via the use of digital design tools. For instance, this image, links a new European bank to a famous photo of the Titanic. Although I tried to contact the architect to see if his clients were amused, he wouldn’t bite. The bank was published in an article which proclaimed this architect to at long last have become ” mature”, clearly giving up his boyish prankster ways exhibited in many previous projects. At the time, I simply thought that was another prank , since the bank was built during the height of the 90’s economic bubble ; simply a poke in the eye with a sharp stick; a lesson in hubris for the soaring financiers. Later, after the bubble inevitably deflated, it seemed to be not so much a prank as prophetic, but really, hindsight being 20-20, it was simply shooting fish in a barrel, meaning-wise. The real giveaway is that the building, to conform to the Titanic photos, must be photographed from very precise angles and locations that render certain horizontal elements in the building vertical in order to recall the staging and gantries of the Titanic’s dry-dock. If one moves slightly from these locations the building dissolves into the hodge-podge of late 90’s willy-nilly form-making that it is, masking the Titanic content. Its clear that this must have been accomplished through digital rendering means during the design phase and that these magical viewing locations are simply the input point of view of a digital rendering. You be the judge; it seems a little mean-spirited to secretly liken your clients enterprise to the defining moment of disastrous hubris, but then again maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t really there.
I’m also thinking about what it means to be American in the world today; about how to remember what it is that really matters in this political landscape of deceit and greed. I’m wondering just when it will be that we take to the streets to reclaim the vision of the country as a fair and caring nation.
How I can be more creative outside of work, if I can find a studio space/school course that would allow me the opportunity and space to build more projects since trying to accomplish this type of activity in an apartment can be quite difficult. Also how I can adjust my life to fit in more time to draw and create my own work, express myself like I once did.
I find myself seeking out ways to deflect the barrage of visual and auditory static that we are subjected to on a daily basis. Taking time to truly be present and to appreciate the subtleties of a work of art or a piece of music has become a form of meditation. I enjoyed having the chance to see a show of pre-WWII Austrian art at the Neue Galerie when I was in New York City earlier this year; the vitality and clarity of intent of several of the pieces was electric. Often when I put on a 78 I’ve recently acquired I find myself feeling amazed at how certain things have such an immediate emotional impact despite the passage of 85 or 90 years.
Living in Oakland means witnessing the city I grew up in evolve as it enters the 21st century. The effects of these changes bring up a lot of concerns about whether the elements that combine to give the greater Bay Area its character, diversity and soul will still be tangible five or ten years from now.
How lucky I am to live in the Bay Area “in a beautiful house with a beautiful (almost) wife” to quote the Talking Heads. I often ask myself “how did I get here?” – the answer that I’ve been able to come up with so far, besides dumb luck, is that I’ve always let my curiosity and my interests guide my career choices.
I’m also thinking how in our current global environment with fear and rhetoric being increasingly disseminated I find it more important than ever to find joy and positivity in everyday life, whether it’s the work you do, your interactions with friends and strangers or even moments of stillness and silence.
I recently read “The Radical Humanness of Norway’s Halden Prison” on the New York Times. It shows how much design could change human behaviors and ultimately reflect the society’ values. As design professionals living the most powerful country with the largest inmate population, how many of us are interested in designing prisons? Are we missing something fundamental?
WHAT WE’RE READING
ON MY BEDSIDE TABLE:
– How To Make A Car by Adrian Newey
– Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise & Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey C. Ward
– Alan Turing, The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
– The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
– Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer (just as good the second time)
– The Fast Set by Charles Jennings
– Bluebird and the Dead Lake by John Pearson
– The Reluctant Rocketman by Sarah Kasprowicz
– Jo Nesbo
– Mark Kurlansky
– Edward Tufte
– Henning Mankell
– The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
– Spray Paint the Walls (The Story of Black Flag) by Stevie Chick
– Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman
– Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
– The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
– The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
– Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi by Robert Grant Irving
– The Sunday New York Times
Nothing great at the moment, any recommendations?
– The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
What We’re Listening To
– Thumper Camp
– Kathleen Edwards
– Pretty Lights
– Marvin Gaye
– Stevie Ray Vaughan
– Marie Schumacher
– Ty Segall
– The Milk Carton Kids Converge
– The Misfits
– The Beatles
– American Nightmare Hank Williams
– Iron Lung
– ASAP Rocky/ASAP Ferg Punch
– Modest Mouse
– Life Long Tragedy
– Whatever records happen to be on my desk
– Bon Iver
– The 1975
– James Bay
– The XX
– The Beatles
– Eva Cassidy