Archive for March, 2009

Garibaldi Lake

I have 15 days left until my studio proect is due. Nonetheless I took this past weekend off to go snowshoeing. I will probably be paying for it in the next three weeks and you may not here much from me, but it was well worth it. Our friend Zack, who seems to go backcountry skiing almost every weekend invited us ot on this trip to Garabaldi lake. Not intrepid skiiers (and not really desiring to be) we opted for snow shoes. The trail started with crinckly icy snow but as we rose

creek bed covered in snow

up the mountain the crucnch of snow beneath our snowshoes sounded better and better. In the first  9km we rose 800m, most of which occupied some hefty switchbacks early on.

creek bed covered in snow

We crosed a small lake and came to another ridge we had to cross. There seemed to be two routes, on that looked like it went up the hill and another along the creek. We went along the creek and got a beautifu view of the bulbous snow formations over the water, but we couldn’t follow the creek all of the way through and had to blaze trail up the hill to the trail we had opted against. The other groups behind us had caught up during our mini adventure and all 12 of us made it to the lake at about the same time.

Lake Garibaldi freezes over fully in February so the last part of the trek was 4 km across the frozen lake with beautiful peaks on each side. On the opposite shore is a hut run by UBC’s Varsity Outdoors Club. 3 groups, twelve people together all settled in. Every one else was a skier and they headed out for a run on one of the glaciers behind us.

The hut

The hut

A few others stayed behind including the guy in this National Geographics story. His foot was shattered when he fell mountaineering so, even though he was never supposed to exercise again, here he was. His story was quite a bit more remarkable than NG makes it out to be as the only reason he survived was because he was carrying his icepick on his belt and the rope that saved him around his neck; When he fell they got tangled together around him and finally caught on a rock not too far before he would have gone over the cliff. That, and he stayed like that for 12 hours. Still his only broken bone was his foot.



The next day Zack revialed his amazing camping secret, that he carries a small cast iron waffle maker with him along with fresh eggs. We had amazing waffles before Zack headed out to the glacier to ski and Colin and I packed up. We weren’t sure if we would have to break trail and since snowshoes are much slower than skis going down hill we hit the trail early, just the two of us stopping frequently and taking our time. Still we got back to the parking lot early and sat in the bright sun for an hour getting a sunburn.

We headed back to Vancouver, stopping for a hamburger. All in all, I think I can say I’m ready for the slog of the next few weeks ahead of me, though it is 9:30 and I haven’t left for school and may legs are killing me.



Totally unrelated photo of autopolo from the Library of Congress' flickr stream

Totally unrelated photo of autopolo from the Library of Congress' flickr stream

One of the podcast I listen to, Studio 360, recently did a feature on Brooklyn’s the City Reliquary, an odd place you can see featured on Ashley’s recent trip to NY. In particular they were covering City Reliquary’s rent party. The museum couldn’t make it’s rent and turned to a 1920s technique (though they claim the tradition was started in 1930), the rent party. What it is is pretty clear, a party to make rent. You can learn as I did a bit of the history through the library of congress. The subject was covered by a writer for the Federal Writer’s project in 1938 and as a warning, the document shows its age.

Apparently in the 1920s rent in Harlem was redicuoulosly expensive but still immensely popular among African Americans moving to NY from the south. Mind you this was also during prohibition. Anyway, people brought live music into their flat sold food and drink and had a party to raise rent. While I imagine this started as a small scale thing with invites to friends it grew into what most of us know as house parties.

Now I’m no historian on this and I really just googled all of the above, but I lay the background because I think its a really good idea to add lightness to these times, hang in together and pay the rent. The nice thing about a recession is that, unless you are a top honcho at AIG, no one blames you or looks down on you if you are having a hard time in the money category. The sense is we’re all in this together and if things are going well for me and not you today, who knows about tomorrow. In better times the sense is that if you can’t make money, something must be wrong with you. So enter the rent party, where we stop fretting about who we can ask for those big bucks when we fall short at the end of the month and how we are going to pay them back and at what potential emotional cost. Instead of quietly whispering the problem into one person’s ear hoping for help, let it all hang out, advertise to all your friends and let everyone pitch in just a little bit. Besides, with a rent party, you are giving your friends something in exchange: good food, good company and even good music. If every couple pitched in $50, the minimum cost for a Saturday night dinner here in Vancouver, we’d pay our rent with 30 some odd people passing through the door and that’s if we had no money at all for rent.

So, throw a rent party. I’d come.

The work I do

Roof and structural system

Roof and structural system

When I made this blog I intended to give periodic visual updates of what I’m doing in school, but I have yet remove myself far enough from it to be able to find it presentable. That was until my professor took this render of my work (for those of you who don’t use the word render everyday, basically what happened is I made this big digital model. He looked at the model from all sides and took what is essentially a default mode digital picture with natural light setting). His point of view pulled me away from it and made me go- ‘wow, I did that?’ so here it is.

Into the garden and out of the dirt

As you may remember, a few weeks ago I planted my spring crops outdoors. We had a few sunny days but I covered the planters with garbage bags so the soil could warm up. It looked a little dumb and didn’t seem a particularly good solution. It looked like this.

And then it snowed. And then it frosted. And even though I was supposed to plant all of these things (spinich, corn salad, peas, favas) pre last frost, I got a little worried, but only this week did I have time to do anything about it. At home despot I picked up some wall trim and a saw and rigged together this triangular quonset hut.

Then I covered the whole thing with 3.5 mil poly. Its’s being weighted down on two sides with water filled beer bottles. It’s not the most elegant solutions and my measurments were very rough but hopefully it will keep the plants toasty enough to emmerge from the ground and get big and strong.  

Over the favas I rigged a little tent with the string that will become the favas’ climbing devices. This was super easy and I thought pretty brilliant, though again, not so elegant and perhaps not ready for some strong winds. 

My interest was rewarded by finding that something, the spinach, has finally sprouted. Now its just finger crossing for the peas.

Working Lady


The office of Architekton from emptym's flickr stream

"Architekton from Above" from emptym's flickr stream. Licensed via the Creative Commons


When I set out to find an eight month co-op position for May- December, I wasn’t particularly hopeful. Layoffs at firms in the city have been on the wind and some of my classmates aren’t even bothering to look for summer jobs, assuming they won’t find any. I figured that if there is something I want to do that would be good for me, I should at least try. Worse comes to worse  I would spend a large part of the summer looking for a job and then go back to school in the fall, no experience added, but nothing lost either.

The effort paid off and I got a job that I’m really excited about. The firm is called Principle Architecture and while you won’t find their website as they are the product of the restructuring of another firm, MEJA,you can check out MEJA’s still viable website. They done schools and community centers and other things of that nature all around BC, some in pretty remote locations. It’s a pretty small firm, with only 4 people (plus me!). I see this as a huge advantage because I’ll be able to take part and be aware of everything that is going on. I’ll be able to go on site visits and sit in on meetings. Plus, one of the firm’s principles is a professor of mine at UBC who has taught two of the best classes I have taken there.

The main projects are two summer camp that are, at least in one case, fairly remote. The buildings range in size and complexity and the work should include some interesting issues, such as how to build for economy when you have to boat everything into the site. 

As you can see I’m clearly excited and, even though it seems inauspicious to share this good news in not extremely good times, it would only serve to bias an negative outlook not to share.

Let the Right One In

This film came out in October and I read and played a few indy theaters here in Vancouver. Somehow we didn’t make it then, though I was more excited about this than anything else I’ve ever read in the Georiga Straigt. After all its a Scandanavian film and a vampire film and I can safely say it is the best I’ve seen of both catagories though I’m no expert.

The film is set is a small Swedish town. There is a quiet angry boy who is always bullied. A waiffish girl who goes outside (we’re taking winter in Sweden outside) in pajamas and barefeet moves in next door with an older man. This boy and girl become friends but in a weird awkward beautiful misfit way. She is especially weird though because she can do all sorts of vampire things because, well she is one.

What’s great about this movie is that it digs deep into emotions by making vampires people, just with some odd issues, but in need of many of the same things as the rest of us. The other giant plus is that the film creates a hundred ambiguities. There are questions that are not answered but not in the way that becomes a fault in many films aka the film makers seem not th have thought about it. Rather the film makers seem to have thought about it a lot and want you to too. So after the film Colin and I ended up spending at least half an hour talking about the relationships in the movie, underlying intentions of characters and the possibilities of the vampire’s history. I was so into it that I watched all the deleted scenes and the special feature- I never do that. I’d didn’t learn much from those except that if you are wondering about the short shorts and leotards in gym class, the movie is set in 1982.

Its also a really quiet film with some beautiful cinematography.

neglect and reflect

Well I have been neglectful of this blog for the last few weeks. It seems necessary to post again so that I don’t get to the point where we are past the point of no return.

My lovely cousin Vanessa recently did an update on her new years resolutions and my favorite podcasts, radiolab, started their look at will-power through New Years resolutions (and then continued with a study about how, if as a 4 year old you could resist marshmallows he/she would be better off in life- check it out) so I thought I’d check on my New Years resolutions since I posted them for all to see.

  • Focus: when it is time to focus focus. So this may still be a weak point. I’ve been getting everything done just fine, but I would still like to be in the zone more than less.
  • Reflect: that’s what this whole things is about. I’ve found recently that I often don’t have anything to say about what I am doing. I think that it is not because I actually have nothing to say (come now), but because I haven’t taken the time to clarify things for myself. Well I have been blogging sort of. And I’ve gone on a ‘next ten years- things I want to do’ kick and feel pretty confident about some of them vague as that may be. The quick rundown is- work for interesting firms doing interesting projects, live abroad, have at least one more big travel adventure, have a big outdoor adventure, have kids, establish ourselves somewhere so that shortly after the 10 year mark I can start my own firm.
  • Time for myself: That means taking the time to workout and do some pottery. I have been working out very consistently, almost daily, I paid for, but never got to the pottery thing- I guess that happens some times. I did start me a garden through so I’m feeling pretty good about this one- I would like to add read more books to this
  • Do not overcommit: This really just means thinking for a few seconds before I volunteer to do something. I don’t feel over committed but I do keep volunteering for things- I have been a student rep looking at new teaching candidates, I was on the admission committee and I helped out with the student lecture series. So I have more or less failed at this one, but I have taken those few seconds to think more often and at least one of those gigs got me a good meal with interesting architects.
  • Use my camera: for more that just photographing models- Well as you have seen the camera has been used to photograph the cat mostly.  Maybe when it stops raining

So 2.5-3 outa 5 ain’t bad for March, we’ll keep working at it.

Speaking of pictures of cats… I know I seem like a crazy cat lady, but check it out.

seconds later, totally chewing on the computer

Totally disinterested in the computer

Totally disinterested in the computer

When we wrote

March 2009
« Feb   Apr »