back when i was in NY, i entered an architecture competition w/ some coworkers. it was a ‘young architects’ competition (5yrs of work or less) sponsored by the NY chapter of USGBC. USGBC maintains the LEED system, the prevelant method in the US for rating green buildings. the program for the competiton was to create an education and nature center for soundview park in the bronx, a new park developing over the remains of a former landfill. our team was called gangGREEN. haha. we came in 2nd-place.
our design was pretty wild. it looked a bit like an ameoba, w/ an undulating roof shaped by the program beneath it. of course, as w/ any design, it could have been vastly improved by more time in the design stage. we had a double skin, semi-moveable, based on a pentagon-module. different triangles w/in the pentagon served different functional purposes based on the requirements of the space below (it was basically a roofing system). some triangles titled up to capture solar energy, others tilted up to open or close in order to provide ventilation, others served as locations for green roofing. there was a large circular berm on site (~100′ diamter), but we have no idea where it came from. we left it in place and butted our building against it. the berm became the path for a new hike/bike trail through the park. we also had a living machine (basically a system using a series of plantings to clean waste water) w/in the building itself. that was actually a really cool component, as it was built around some of the columns, which drained rainwater from the roof through a central funnel in the column to a holding tank which slowly infused the first stage tank of the living machine.
our prize for second place was $500 (split 5 ways) and a Haworth Zody chair. the Haworth rep ended up getting us all Zody chairs, and mine just arrived today! this is soooo awesome! the Zody chair is certified Cradle-to-Cradle, a green certification from MBDC (a firm started by Bill McDonough, green architecture posterchild). Cradle-to-Cradle means that an item can be fully disassembled and recycled (either conventional recycling or reused) at the end of it’s life. parts of the Zody chair are brand new, though they can be recycled, and other parts have recycled content. so at the end of my chair’s life, Haworth will take it back and turn it into something else. this chair is going for $600 new on eBay, so not a bad win! 🙂
following my burgeoning tradition of posting on gnarly new eateries, let me introduce you to East Side Pies. i ate there a few weeks ago, and though their website is utterly craptastic, their pizza is pretty good. i randomly came across them as i was driving home, and what a serendipidous discovery it was.
it’s thin-crust, so you should know that at the get-go. it’s also pretty expensive, with a regular slice at $2.50 and meat/veggie at $3.00. **side rant: generally speaking, i don’t know what the hell’s been going on w/ pizza pricing lately. pizza was still $1.25 in NY when i graduate high school. maybe $1.50. but where in the world is this inflationary runaway pizza pricing train coming from?! it’s a piece of dough, some tomato sauce, and some cheese. it costs, what, $0.20 per slice to make? cut us some slack pizza guys! back to east side pie – i think they’re price is also high considering they’re in east austin, where the vibe is hip and affordable.
ANYWAY, the pizza itself was good! similarly to el chilito, it’s just a walk-up place w/ outdoor seating. previous businesses in the location used to be a florist as well as a fish shop, or so i was told when i asked. 🙂 east side pies is painted all funky red, white, and black – it gives a 50’s vibe. the guys inside this tiny place seemed pretty cool, and they were psyched to be there – they were loud and excited about making pizza when i ordered. hey, somebody has to be. i’m pretty sure they had a liquor license app in the window when i stopped by, but their current menu (on the web site) doesn’t show beer, so who knows.
east side pizza is definitely a welcome addition to the austin quick-eats scene, as well as the ever-expanding collection of interesting east side joints.
as you can see, there is now a new addition to this blog that i’ve added just for the sake of having the latest and greatest. actually, meebome has been around for almost 2 wks now, so it’s not so new. 😉 anyway – if i’m online, that box on the right will say so, and if the urge takes you, just go on and pop some letters in that box and we’ll see if a conversation starts. fascinating.
UPDATE: i don’t use meebo all that often anymore, and i’ve never chatted w/ a visitor to this blog (except for myself when i tested it out), so i took down the meebo-me widget.
it’s supposed to rain this weekend, providing a break from the 100+degree weather we’ve been getting for over a week already. it’s funny that break from the heat means 97 degrees. on the plus side that really ought to motivate me to go swimming in the new kick-ass UT outdoor pool. new meaning open since december, and kick-ass meaning pretty much nicer than nearly every resort pool i’ve seen.
there are 3 pools – one dedicated solely to lap swimming, and 2 recreation pool. the uppermost of the 2 rec pools has a dedicated volleyball net and 2 basketball hoops. 3 openings in the limestone wall allow water to cascade into the pool. the water from this pool then cascades into the lower rec pool (it’s actually an independent waterfall, but it sounds so much cooler when they’re linked), which is more of the lounging rec pool. it’s amorphous, and has an area where chaize lounges sit in the water (the floor is about 1′ below water level in this area). the whole area is limestone, of course (this is UT), and there are 25′ tall palm trees all about. chaizes everywhere. seating areas below trellises w/ ceiling fans ring most of the pool area. there’s a cafe. and wifi. and a jacuzzi (though i wouldn’t get into it until the temp drops a bit). is this a university or a spa? i don’t care, b/c i get to use it free and it rocks.
i’m busy finishing up a website for my upcoming wedding, and there’s a section that provides info on flying into NY. as Newark is one of the 3 metro airports, i’ve included it. i’ve included iconography to represent NY – a pixelated city skyline and the statue of liberty. but what in the world to do for newark? i can’t think of any readily recognizable icon for NJ – aside from smokestacks and barrels of waste ;). yes, i know NJ is quite beautiful, bugger off. the only thing that i can think of is the shape of the state, and that’s lame. anybody out there have a suggestion for a good icon for NJ? keep in mind that this will be quite small – 100x20px or 25x60px. something that can be pixelated.
omnidrive is a remote storage service – it’s kind of like an external hard drive accessed through a website. it’s got all sorts of other features that are supposed to enable easy sharing of files and info, as well as the ability to access the space through your windows explorer or mac finder as though it were a networked drive. unfortunately, it doesn’t work all that well. the upload and download rates are quite good – way better than my ftp space. however, once a file is uploaded, it may take the server 10-15 minutes to register the new file. this means that my web browser continues to think a page is loading. also, i can’t share any files the way the service claims they should be – this feature is apparently down during the current round of beta testing. honestly, this was one of my main draws to try out the service (i share a lot of files for my design projects). additionally – and this irks me most of all – the mac client is down, and has been down since the end of july. they keep making claims that it will be available, yet somehow the mac client continues to be MIA.
granted, they are still in beta – normally i’d cut them slack for all of these things not working as they should. i’m just irritated that they keep telling users that this or that will be available at a certain time, and it never is. for the past 2.5 weeks i’ve watched their blog postings say that a new web interface will be rolled out, and the mac client will be made available following their every-other weekend update. for 2.5 weeks nothing has happened. i wouldn’t mind so much that these things weren’t happening if they didn’t continue to make claims that they would. maybe they should just keep mum and then surprise us all w/ some changes – and THEN post on their blog about the new changes.
techcrunch has a writeup on remote storage, and seems to like omnidrive best of all. so assuming that things go according to their plan, omnidrive will kick butt when it goes fully live. until then, you can sign up for a beta account at www.omnidrive.com
i’ve been up working since about 5am, thanks to a certain canine fiend who felt compelled to protect us from a feline visitor in our backyard starting at about 3:45a. protection consists of barking – had he actually the chance to confront the cat, i’m sure it’d whoop his ass. i happened to already be up – i was having trouble sleeping last night – so i’d heard the cat meowing before Nathan ever had a chance to bark. if i hadn’t have had that knowledge before the barking set in, i’d have actually been concerned that someone was in the backyard. as it stood, i was able to just throw a boot across the room.
anyway, before i knew it, i’d worked through to 1:30p and was starving. having stayed in the house for work all week, i figured it would be a nice change of pace to go out for lunch and work somewhere else for the rest of the afternoon. so pack it on up i did, to head over to Austin’s own Aussie joint: Boomerang’s Meat & Veggie Pies! if that name doesn’t instill a drool inducing stupor-hunger, then really nothing will. of course, being that this is Austin, there is free wi-fi.
what to order? the menu is actually pretty limited, which is just fine – how many different types of meat/veggie pies do you need? this type of food is good for a quick bite, but i think that it will ultimately find its calling as late night post-bar food once the new condos next door are completed. that would require Boomerang’s to extend their hours, being as they currently close at 9p and aren’t open Sundays.
i had a tame chicken/mushroom meat pie, tho the chicken pies include a spicy adobe southwestern pie as well as a thai chicken pie. there are about 4 beef pies, and 2 veggie pies. they’re held kind of like burgers. tho my chicken/mushroom pie was not spicy, it totally hit the spot. i haven’t yet tried any other offering from Boomerang’s, but i’d definitely recommend it for a quick pickme up. and also b/c it’s fun to say meat pie. www.boomerangspies.com
and also, here’s another ode to pie: http://www.weebls-stuff.com/flash/pie.swf