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Monthly Archives: July 2008

The entire Autodesk empire – the Wal-Mart of the design and construction industries – is crumbling.

Their products are awful, I am happy not having AutoCAD on my Linux machine, I haven’t heard a good word about Revit since they purchased it, and it seems that Maya may be the only leg they have left to stand upon.

What do you think, fellow visual communicators?

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Had a really great vegan sandwich from a “green” catering truck yesterday. Must admit, this is a great concept, and again, very tasty. They serve beef hamburgers and hot dogs, as well; which I’m sure are excellent, too.

But I’m getting to the point where I wonder, in the light of the fact that it takes ten times the energy to produce a calorie of energy from meat as it does from plant sources, if there is such a thing as “sustainable” or environmentally friendly meat?

I’m not saying this to be judgmental, I’m actually curious – as an environmentally conscious omnivore, how do you see the production of meat in your diet, and in terms of environmentalism. This catering truck, for example, uses only organic meats and sources everything locally that they can. Is that enough? Is vegetarianism enough?

I don’t know, so please let me know your thoughts.

I now have a twitter. You may know this already because it appears in my Facebook profile.

My WordPress updates appear there, too. Which means this post about how my twitter updates to my Facebook will appear in my Facebook profile.

My last “tweet” – as they are called, is about how I want to add the Facebook app to Facebook, and finally kill the internet.

This is all becoming very self-referential, and not in a good postmodern kind of way…

In a recursively increasing complexity kind of a way.

Data feedback.

Beaudrillard, you elegant bastard.

I try to ride my bicycle to work and back as often as possible. It’s 11 miles each way. For various reasons, I hadn’t been able to ride in for the last two and a half weeks. But in the time I’ve been riding, my time has come down from a best of 48 minutes, to an average of 48 minutes, then finally an average of 45 minutes… 16 mph across town was the best I could spin.

And no matter what I did, no matter how hard I cranked, there was always something that kept me at 45 minutes. It was uncanny – I’d ride harder than ever before, then I’d run into a succession of red lights I usually don’t have to wait for, or I’d just slowly get pecked away at by a light here, a slow takeoff because of traffic there…

Until today. With some shiny new gear on my bike, and an absolute no-holds-barred determination to get over that performance hump, I got on my bike at the office at 8:03 tonight.
I got off my bike in front of my apartment building, and immediately reached for my official timekeeping device – my cellphone.

It read 8:45.

11 miles in 42 minutes.
I may go back to a more leisurely 45 minutes across town, but for now, I’m over my hump…s…

That’s hot.

I’ve never been a company man for any product I use (except Linux, ’cause there’s no “company”) but WordPress is sort of awesome.

I’ve imported both my LiveJournal – for vaguely political reasons that are going on behind the scenes there;

And my old Blogger – that like three people knew about, and was mostly about working for a small midwestern architecture firm –

And WordPress has had no problems mass-uploading both, merging them chronologically, and making it all look slick and purposeful.

Nice.

One of the reasons that people drink is to feel free of societal constraint and have the courage to do things they wouldn’t do sober. Not necessarily self-destructive or dangerous, but often so. Acting out these usually antisocial desires while drunk is accompanied by guilt.  The power structure likes this, because it allows people to ascribe their “misdeeds” not to their subconscious desires, but rather to alcohol. It creates a nation of divided psyches, producing a populace that is constantly confused and self-shaming.

Here’s the part menacing to the hegemony. If we can get people to start doing the stuff that they drink to free themselves to do, but while sober, then we are a revolutionary force. If we can get people to find the the guts to stand up and say, “I used to have to get high (drunk, etc) to flirt at a bar, tell my friends I love them, and have casual sex. Now, I’m giving myself license to do these things while in control of myself. I will be filled with life, as if drunk.”

The power structure has always been afraid of a populace that will soberly look them in the eye and say, “Yes, I meant to break your law. Because I don’t care, and now that you cannot shame me, you hold no power over me.”

Sobriety can be an act of civil disobedience.

[Another unedited rant for discussion’s sake]

Turning and facing the strain of the past year, I look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m going…
Read each point in 2007, and then the contrasting one in 2008.

2007

1. Hated kitsch, refused to admit that I myself am actually a postmodern condition.

2. Thus, I had no appreciation for a band such as the Smiths. This was blown out of proportion but…

3. When my friend Rand helped me move, I paid him with a barbecue lunch. I loved me some meats. I used to eat snacks consisting entirely of pan fried processed meats.

4. Was beginning to explore the game of golf. ’nuff said. A sport which is about exclusion of the masses from large, open spaces. Even if ostensibly for their own safety.

5. Including weekends, I smoked a pack a day and drank probably 20 beers a week.

6. I loved my job.

7. I thought LA was the place to be.

8. Small one to close on. I used Windows at home and work.

2008

1. A quote…
“But now -although no one I hang out with will believe this – my sense of camp is highly developed enough that I have actually picked decoration for its kitsch value.” regarding my X-Files posters.

By “I myself am actually a postmodern condition,” I mean that my stated aim for a decade had been the eradication of post-modernism as a style. I now know that it was because I clung to the philosophical underpinnings of post-modernism, and refused to see it written off as just a style. That, and the Eighties were a fucking awful decade for design. I thought I hated post-modernism, when it turns out I just hated to see it p!$$ed on.

2. I’m planning an art piece that incorporates a Smiths lyric. Doesn’t mean my opinion of Mr. Morrissey has changed. But I’ll actively use a trope of theirs that I like, even if it opens me to persecution from my friends.

3. Save extraneous ingredients in prepackaged food, I began stocking a vegan kitchen this weekend. I have been vegetarian for five months. It is exhilarating. I have incredible amounts of energy and resiliency ALL the time, and the only thing that is stopping me from going fully vegan is knowing that if I do, I’ll basically never be able to eat out again.

4. Golf was replaced with bicycling. As the folks at Orange 20 describe it, “Urban Egalitarian Cycling.” Basically, the anti-golf. While I am not an activist (holla to Vera, Tai, and Alex K!), being an urban cyclist is inseparable with land use politics, urban design and policy, and is precisely ABOUT retaking urban spaces that heretofore excluded pedestrians.

5. No cigarettes whatsoever. three, maybe four drinks a week these days. What the fuck was all that about? I never should have smoked in the first place. It was so bad that when I quit, I had a massive allergic break-out because my immune system didn’t have to fight everything, all the time anymore, so it freaked out.

But it was an attempt at self-destruction. As was the booze, in a much more minor way. Granted, I never had a problem with the drinking itself. But in retrospect, I got emotional when I drank and I’m sure I caused damage to essential relationships that I never should have caused. I will save the apologies for face to face communication.

I am not straightedge, but I have a plan tentatively titled “Menace of Sobriety” that I will elucidate in another post. [Actually, while fleshing it out, I wrote it all here, and it will be posted moments after this…]

6. I love my workplace, and the people there, but I cannot ignore my problems with the politics of building estate homes any more. It is against my beliefs, always has been, and I need to own that. Design and construction are an intensely political acts. [Which brings up not one, but two more posts.] Just like biking and sobriety.

7. LA is a wonderful place. New York has found out, and NYC expats are flocking here in droves. Basically, as awesome as this place is, and as much as I love so many things about it, LA’s losing its edge. I never saw this coming when I came back. One of the things that made Los Angeles so great as a design and cultural community; and as a city at large, was a lack of respect from the rest of the world. For decades, this place was where you came to work your ass off and reinvent yourself on your own terms. LA had to work really hard for respect, which was fleeting at best.

Los Angeles is gaining a lot more traction in world culture. People with names are coming here, it’s going from a street fair to a convention. And I feel that over the next couple years, it’s going to become harder to play the radical. The avant garde ain’t what it used to be. It isn’t a challenge to the status quo to be in the “culture industry” here anymore. The entertainment industry model is taking over, and everything is about a set of hierarchies and old-boys’ networks. This is no longer the place of the misunderstood crackpot making an empire (William Mulholland, Amy Semple MacPherson, Howard Huges, Frank Gehry) out of the force of will. Today, in 2008, I look toward places with more history in which to practice iconoclasm.

8. Use Ubuntu on both computers at home, and we are switching to Mac at work this week.

A lot has changed, a little worse for the wear, but a lot better in vocation, lifestyle, and self-understanding.

The past half year has been a motherfucker, but the dividends paid in lessons learned will carry me much further than the lifestyle and philosophical conditions of 2007 would have, had they gone unchallenged.

I guess the point here is that, I love a challenge, and the ability to learn and grow from one.

Thoughts? How has your life changed in the last year?

[This is not necessarily a complete or coherent thought, it an invitation to discussion.]

Sometimes when I talk to my parents, I get so frustrated just knowing that things don’t have to be like they are with them. Things never had to be this way, and it’s so crushing to see them live out the choices they’ve made.  My selfish side has a little resentment, knowing how those decisions have impacted my life. But I try to avoid feeling like this, because taken on the whole, I have to consider the good decisions they’ve made, that have brought us the positive things we have in our lives. And most importantly, they’ve never shown anything but love for their parents and children. But it’s tough to grow so far apart from people you love so much, to see their faults. To know that this love is fallible.

I am living with the decisions I have made, too. I wonder how the small decisions have added up into the totality of where I am today. My smoking, the impact of one night out on the next day at school and thus my future, all these issues that I inherited from my parents, caused by the ones they inherited… The self destruction, the communication issues. The dialog of free will vs. predestination really leaves me speechless sometimes.

Then, the real baggage starts to come out – thinking of the ways I’ve tried to make family over the years because of this strange home situation. How many situations have I gotten myself into? All the small decisions I’ve made on those terms, where they’ve led me. I wonder about all the failed relationships in our lives – the people we’ve loved and hurt or let down, and how we are all the children of our  parents’ fallible love. Our fallible love. We do everything we can to hold on to the things that we can in this world, to give space to the things that need space, to draw near what we need drawn near. And it destroys me. What led me to be sitting here at 2pm on a Sunday, picking myself up off the floor when Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah comes on?

But my parents’ fallible love – isn’t all love fallible? Isn’t that part of love’s nature? Am I doomed to have my epitaph read “I never meant to hurt you”

Then, I turn to something that so struck me a few weeks ago that I wrote down.

“In the face of being reminded of something I did not finish in a previous relationship, I realized that it’s not necessarily about finishing things, because there will never be this completeness, never be perfection; but rather it’s about enjoying, learning, and growing from the things we have in process, the journey is its own justification. The things we do and don’t finish color our imperfect memories, and prove why and how we HAVE to love each other. Our love is in the face of our imperfections, and those of others. Our love is the embrace of the whole person, the things we call perfect, and the things we call imperfect.”

These regrets, our natural impulse is to have them. But to live and love without regret is the point. The best gift you can give to yourself and those you have loved is to say, after all this self-doubt, that you have loved without regret. From our family, to the families of affinity that we assemble. From ourselves to our greatest romantic loves. I’m ready to mean it. When you’re ready to mean it, say it with me –

I have loved without regret.

Posthorn

This is the very, very first iteration of my impending posthorn tattoo.

Please give me your thoughts and comments…