Archive for February, 2009

When I grow up (serial 1)

When I grow up I’d like to have a home with a fireplace

Colin would like to have a big kitchen

Maybe before I grow up, but definitely by the time I grow up I would like a home with no hole in the ceiling and no leaking from the roof.

I would also like a home where I don’t have to push a screw back into the door jam before I can close the door.

Last week in theory we looked at some sales images for condos in Vancouver, of which there are many. Daniel commented that people want to see themselves, or what they could be in these ads. I couldn’t see myself in the ads we were looking at at all. So I started to think about what marketing would make my heart pound, because it is only being honest to admit that I do have buttons should the marketers care to market.

I decided I could be tempted by a renovated loft in a neighborhood on the edge with interior brick walls, large open spaces, a gym and a rooftop garden where I could grow veggies and of course the 4 desires that I started this post with


Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University

Going to Architecture school up in the far Northwest corner of North American urban civilization, we are not really a hop skip and a jump from much, but we are close to Seattle and such architectural pieces as the Seattle Public Library by OMA and Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius. It doesn’t hurt that both of these projects are downtown and public. Nonetheless, I hadn’t been to the chapel til this last week. I was a little suspicious of Holl’s fame and the real interest that resides in his work all of which I have seen  only in photographs. Truth be told, now I’m taken. And I think the reason it didn’t get me before was that his architecture is so sentual that it is somewhat lost in photographs (I’ve included some nonetheless).

There were two things that really struck me aobut about the interior. First you could really feel the volumes of the space. This came mostly from the contrasting vaulting curves of the ceiling and how they were variously illuminated. Then the plastering of the ceilings and walls is scraped and textured, taking what would be more abstract shapes if the wall were smooth and solidify them and their differences.

There is also this incredibly layering of surfaces. Walls rise up and spill over a wall that seems to come down from the ceiling. Walls seem to be pulled apart to make room for windows. At other places the walls seem to be pulled out to allow room for a window behind. What is exceptionally interesting here is the quality of the light. Holl paints the side of the wall facing the window of these pulled off window bright colors. The first surface than that the light hits is this bright color and all of the light that bounces into the space is suffused with the color of the wall. It’s like stianed glass, but much cheaper and more effective in the Northwest. Stained glass works best in bright light where the light is powerful enough to come through. Here, even though we were there on a dreary day, colored light seemed to pour out of every crevice. A little hard to capture in photographs because when a photo is properly exposed the color melts away.

Architectural Kittens

I spent last week in Seattle with my parents who have two new black and white kittens. With the black an white one they already have (Tess) it makes for a very architectural pet combination and reminds me ever so remotely of 101 dalmations. They fit in quite well with trace paper and black pen and could serve as a significant for the tree house that is on the drawing board at he Seattle homestead.

Back at our home the new cat tourture device is the SlimCat. Colin thought Scunchi was getting a bit chubby and she also eats all her food at one time and then throws it up. So now she has to work for it. You put the food in the ball, adjust the holes so the right amount of food comes outand let her play with it. Slowly food comes out and she eats it.  She now understands, but when I feed her she sits by the bowl ans seems to say ‘can’t you just put it in here?’ Also, we end up with cat food all over the place. In the end she eats the same amount of food, but it’s pretty funny.

Spring Break! Cabo Here I come!

Really though, just kidding. Who on earth calls the middle of February Spring and has the nerve to give me a Spring break before I could even go hiking anywhere North of Santa Barbara. I don’t think they would even know what to do with me in Cabo, though I don’t think I would know what to do with myself either.

What Spring break is actually meaning for me is time to catch up on household things, also known as hobbies

I tool the spring break hint this weekend to start getting my garden ready for the summer. I’m building a square foot gardening box and got supplies today. I also went to the garden store to get seeds and discovered that maybe I have jumped the gun just a little bit. Apparently nature doesn’t think February is Spring either and even though some plants say to plant ‘as soon as the soil can be worked’, that doesn’t  apply to my containers where I can ‘work’ the soil all year long. The only thing I could plant, fava beans, they didn’t have seeds for . Though I’m a little disappointed I can’t put anything in the ground just yet, I think it will be good that I’m ready to plant and all I’ll need to do is throw some seeds out when the time comes, as when the time comes I will also be finishing up school.

I’ve got full spectrum lights to start seedlings in the closet and a planting tray. I’ll be planting individual seeds indoors in half toilet paper rolls lined up in a gardening tray. We managed to by some really meager toilet paper that runs out really fast so I think it is a great reuse. Plus I can easily peel off the thin cardboard when its time to transplant. My new box will give me six more spots and I’ll get some more pots too. Next step is going to Bean Around the World, a local coffee roaster for some coffee compost. It makes me productive, hopefully it will do the same for my plants.

The old box when new, to look much like the new box, except perhaps with better craftsmanship...maybe

The old box when new, to look much like the new box, except perhaps with better craftsmanship...maybe

So I know you are dying to know, what am I going to plant this year. I got really ambitious and then realized that I do all my planting on a 4’x12′ balcony so I scaled back. I’m trying to grow things that will supliment what we get from Ward, our amazing CSA farmer, and that I can’t find or afford elsewhere.

Growing this year- Care of West Coast Seeds:

  • Snap peas- Sugar Daddy
  • Cucumbers- Lemon cuc
  • Tomatos- Stupice
  • Soya Beans- like I’m an Iowa farmer
  • Squash- summer sunburst
  • Swiss Chard- Canary Yellow
  • Arugala- the wild kind
  • corn salad- not corn, salad
  • spinach- I don’t know what variety, I’m to lazy to get up and see
  • kolrabi- ditto

Let me know if you have any growing suggestions for any of these.

Also part of this weekend was bottling some of the beer we’ve made. We’ve been almost out for a while (oh no!) so it was high time and since we’re relatively anti social that means 20 litres almost all for us. Colin’s camera was going crazy when I was taking these photos, but I really like the effect.

Finally another important catch-up making chocolate cookie dough to freeze. I sense this will be very important come end of term.

Colin has been sick and taking it easy so I’ve used it as an excellent excuse to take it easy as well so I don’t get what he has. It works that way right?

The weekend

As usual I didn’t get done this weekend the pile of things I had planned but I had a lovely time. Saturday was crystal clear. So much so that Scunchi considered climbing up on the roof, one of the first times since she fell off the roof late last year.

Saturday day, Colin and I made amazing sandwiches. My kinda sandwich where I put as much of as many good things as I can fit regardless of whether they will fit in my mouth.









On Saturday night we had friends over for Mediterranean food, themed so that we could make more recipes from Colin’s awesome new cookbook Arabesque . V icki made some amazing baklava that nine of use pretty much devoured. So that was the weekend. Lovely. Time to go back to the week. Starting now.





Geotagging is awesome or how behind I really am

It’s actually relatively rare that I allow myself the time to really just mess around on the Internet. Typically I have a few sites I’ll click on when I’m bored or in need of distraction, but I don’t allow myself those hours of wandering from click to click. Which actually puts me behind the times and I end up discovering amazing things like geotagging, months or years after they become common knowledge. This belatedness does not cause any lack of excitement however or even shame, hence this blog post extolling Flickr’s geotagging.

I had heard of this before, being able to organize my photos by location, one of my primary mental organization tools, but I had also heard that I would need to know the GPS coordinates of my photos and until my camera does that for me… or until I buy the camera that could already do that for me I am not going to bother.

Flickr on the other hand speaks my language. In their awesome little organization tool I can just drag images to locations on a map, just by city or down to the block.

geotagging-3Now this probably fits well into the category of putting to much personal information on the web Honestly though, I’m a digital native and somehow it doesn’t bother me. Well, I just won’t geotag anyone’s home. But then again, my address is on facebook so if you really wanted to find me it wouldn’t be that hard. Well back to the amazing awesomeness of geotagging.

Now that I have located an image a a particular local, when someone looks at my image they have the option to look at where it is on the map.

geotag-1Then, if I click on the more here I can see a whole bunch of photos that were taken in the same general area. I haven’t messed around with this too much so I haven’t found where I can just skim through photos taken in a specific area. I anticipate though that this will be an excellent tool for nostalgia or site research. You wouldn’t believe how much we use Flickr for architecture school, and because of the creative common license, I don’t have to feel bad about it.

geotag-2Now if they can just get this photosynthing project up and running on flickr, I’ll never have to leave my desk.

Isn’t the Internet cool.

When we wrote

February 2009
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