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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pillow Talk

A roundup of pillows that knock the stuffing out of your average upholstery.

these pillows rock
These pillows rock.

These pillows pick you up.

lap pillow
These pillows lull you into a false sense of security then rip your heart out and stomp on it.

resident pillow
These pillows are a sight to see.

Any other personal favorites to add to the cushion collection?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pack Your Bags

Considering a visit?
Consider this: Jan 6 - 27 is the Sydney Festival
Performing Arts of all flavors - from Lou Reed to Mamootot.
Music, Theater, Dance, Physical Theater, Visual Arts & Cinema.

Additionally, it is deep summer - hot and sunny. Think about that in a month.
There is outdoor cinema at the Botanical Garden directly across from the Opera House (and elsewhere).
Jan 26th is Australia Day - watch the Aussie Pride swell to dangerous levels, scream "Oi, Oi, Oi" at acrobatic jets, and enjoy a cold schooner of VB under the fireworks.

Surfers may want to consider a different season...waves are flattest at this time of year.
It is fortunate how that works out though...otherwise scores more British backpackers would be lost to the sea.

I know you are thinking about it...do it!

King of Blight

Good to see that Portland remains strongly opinionated about beer.


The side of Dante's, Portland, OR.
Billboard Liberation Front

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Do I look thankful to you? oh yes...I certainly am.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(my first recognizable surf photo ever...thanks Pete!)

My feast tonight is merely pasta - the real feast will be going down on Sunday at Tom & Ania's. Turkey chops on the barbie?

Happy Thanksgiving!
Most of all I am thankful for you - my family and friends.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Smart Food Smartly

Eat Fish. Just not THAT fish.
Here's how you know - pick your region (USA only): Link-fu

What You Can't Say

Paul Graham writes a compelling piece about taboos, morals, and social customs. Linky

Monday, November 20, 2006

Feelin' Che-esy

Expanding on the Che Guevara reference in the previous post, here are a few more Che derivatives. Seems this uber-present image has left its Marx on a few of us:

The Classic Che-ney

The Wonderful World of Che
Mickey Che


Chebenito Juarez
Chebenito Juarez

Nick La-Che
Nick La-Che

And my own contribution to the meme:


Friday, November 17, 2006

Physician Heal Thyself

che door

I work in a building that is owned by Architects, and inhabited by Architects.
One would imagine that members of a profession dedicated to quality building would take care of the buildings they own.

Have I mentioned that our building is a shambles?

Visitors are greeted at the street by a battered wooden door with a stencil of Che Guevara painted on it, among other things. While it might be argued that there is a certain shabby chic to this, things go downhill from here.

Up the faded eggplant colored stairwell, a motley assembly of signs announce the businesses at each floor. A third of the letters are missing from our firm's sign. Other offices just tape a piece of paper to the wall. One handmade foam-core sign falls to the floor regularly, and I pick it up on occasion and stick it back on the wall. Once, for kicks, I put it on upside down; it stayed that way for a week or so until it fell off again on its own.

No insulation, no heat or ac besides portables, windows and walls leak, and electrical conduits run randomly exposed on walls and ceilings. When it rains the roof jets water off the roof to the sidewalk - the water that isn't trickling down the stairs.

And don't get me started on the toilets [shudder]. I once saw a guy standing in there barefoot on the slimy floor, and I literally started gagging.

But the star of this show is the brickwork. The crumbling, cracked and sagging brickwork. The structurally deficient brickwork.

This week we got a visit from the City Council to announce that bricks were actively falling off our building. Strong winds were causing a tree branch to brush against the building, and taking bricks with it.

The next day they were back to say that more bricks had fallen, and had destroyed the neighbor's patio furniture. (Furniture that hadn't been there the day before...the neighbor apparently seizing the opportunity to have some old rotten teak furniture replaced.)

Here is a copy of the "Emergency Order" letter that was issued, demanding immediate action.

They got their immediate action: my boss went straight up onto the roof and with his bare hands took down the brick parapet that was in reach of the tree.


(note the missing corner, and also check that nice big diagonal crack beside the window. The tree branch has apparently gotten a rough trim.)

Pray that Sydney never gets even the slightest of earthquakes.

Little Superstar

Behold the awesomeness that is Little Superstar.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sydney Open 2006

AMP Building top deck

On Sunday 5 Nov. the Historical Houses Trust hosted "Sydney Open 2006". This event gives access to 50 or so buildings and properties, most of which are not usually accessible to the general public.

Candace and I enjoyed the day visiting great buildings - some that we have always wanted to see as well as discovering gems that we didn't even know about.

HHT Head Office at The Mint 7

Getting inside the new Norman Foster building 'Deutsche Bank Place' was a highlight (and a long wait). A solicitor's office on the 26th floor that we visited had beautiful detailing, a stunning view, and an art collection to rival lesser museums. Unfortunately, security was tight, and no pictures were allowed.

The AMP building is a favorite of mine; an elegant early Modern edifice. The interiors were a bit dated (or remodeled with a heavy hand - no interior photos allowed), but the wrap-around top deck with the soaring arced roof is fantastic.

Societe Generale Building

Some of the older buildings were quite impressive as well. The Societe Generale Building was a new discovery for me, and luscious in it's appointments. Even the caretaker's floor was coated in marble and decorative ironwork.

Perhaps the surprise "find" of the day came from a property that we almost skipped. The Historic Houses Trust's own offices - a superb remodel and modern addition hidden within The Mint complex. The excellent detail and sensitive interaction with the heritage buildings made this a standout.

HHT Head Office at The Mint 1

A few additional photos from the day can be viewed here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Green" Schools are Worth the Money

Keyan's Beach Photo

I have spent a good part of my architectural career working on school buildings and pushing hard for sustainable design (usually only semi-successfully); thus it is validating to read the following at PortlandArchitecture.com:

"A new study called "Greening America's Schools", commissioned by the American Institute of Architects ... suggests the benefits of schools built and designed with sustainable principals, methods and materials are even greater than previously believed, with improved test scores, better student health and lower operating costs. According to the report, sustainable schools save an average of $100,000 per year in operating costs.

The report analyzed 30 green schools built in 10 states from 2001-06, and concludes that the total financial benefits are as much 20 times greater than the initial cost. It includes energy and water savings, and improved student health and test scores. ""If all new school construction and school renovations were designed to be environmentally conscious starting today," the report goes on, "energy savings alone would total $20 billion over the next 10 years." Additional findings in "Greening America's Schools" include:

• An average of 33% less energy and 32% less water used than conventional schools
• A study of Chicago and Washington, D.C. schools found that better facilities can add 3 to 4 percentage points to a school's standardized test scores "

Beautiful photo above thanks to Keyan Mizani. um... maybe not. Does anyone recognize this photo?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Judging from the election results, I'm guessing this checkpoint confiscated some of those WMD's.

Freeze, Karl

[This was out front of the Manly ferry terminal.]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Imperial History of the Middle East

The website Maps of War has an interesting collection of animated maps that illustrate various bits of history. I particularly liked "Imperial History of the Middle East" (below). That land has seen a few armies in it's day.

[ I have removed the embedded map, as it was causing very slow page loads. If interested, click on the name of the map above to visit the website directly ]

Friday, November 03, 2006

2006 Cycle Messenger World Championships

sexy fixie

Last weekend Sydney hosted the 2006 Cycle Messenger World Championships. Missing my bike, I ventured out to the Olympic Park grounds to check it out.

I can report that cycle messengers from around the world are a similar breed; most pretty much dress and act just like the half-pants, backwards hat, fixie ridin', hip crew from back in Portland. And similarly, they ride hard and like their beer and tattoos.

Another revelation was that bike messengers, by the nature of their own chosen vocation, cannot be expected to have the cash to go jetting around the globe to attend races. Thus, the host nation has a distinct advantage. Almost half of the male competitors were Australian; a mere 19 were from the U.S.. And absolutely no one from the thriving Portland scene.

go dog go

And a final revelation, there were very few women competitors. 12 total, for a World Championship. Dang, girls - just show up and you too can claim an impressive ranking on your resume...or C.V... or...whatever it is bike messengers use.

Male - Raphael Faiss, Lausanne, Switzerland
Female - Sarah Torgrimson, San Francisco, USA

More at http://www.sydbma.org/.

Architectural Curiosities

Ping Magazine has this interesting article about architectural photographer Frederic Chaubin's striking photos of buildings from the former Soviet Union.
Wedding Palace (Tbilisi, Georgia, 1985) Frederic Chaubin

“Druzhba Holiday Center Hall” (Yalta, Ukraine, 1984) Frederic Chaubin