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Damn you Microsoft!

May 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Why on God’s green Earth would MS change the location of display settings when it created Vista?!?! “hmmm, you know – display settings just seemed too logical. Let’s rename it Personalization just to confuse the hell out of everyone.”

Categories: frustration, tech

unfortunate coffee house.

May 1, 2009 2 comments

before we found our current digs in allendale, we were looking across burnet at the crestview neighborhood.  i think overall it fits in more w/ our type of vibe.  i was psyched on it as a new coffeehouse, thunderbird coffee, opened up on w. koenig – right in the heart of the neighborhood.  it seemed cool, eclectic – the type of hipster place that has become stereotypical of coffee places where people set up shop w/ their laptops, headphones.  i’d basically spent the majority of my grad school career in a variety of coffeehouses around austin defined by such clientele, albeit the student variety, so i figured this would be a good fit.  i only managed to hang out there once or twice before my daughter was born, and since she’s been born – well, let’s say that my kitchen and dining room table now define my coffee spot.

anyway, now that i’m no longer at work and exploring some other options (and most especially since my internet is down while it’s being upgraded to 6mbps dsl) i figured i’d spend the rest of the morning here.  i won’t spend any more time here after today, though.  this place sucks.

let me back off a sec to say that the decor is fine, the food is good, the coffee is good, the people hanging out fit the picture.  i’m not too keen on the staff.  not sure what i expected really, maybe i’m just in another stage of my life now, but the hipster douche attitude i received when ordering my food kind of ticked me off.  whatever, that’s the way it is i guess.  i sit down at my table to find it’s dirty as all get out.  well, maybe the last person at this table was just dirty – surely they clean here nightly.  the flies hanging out at the adjacent window told me how wrong i was.  i went to plug my computer into the outlet in the corner – there are big fat bread crumbs and other assorted debris on the floor behind the corner table.  there is a fine layer of dust and dirt covering the entire floor, in fact.  now that i look closer all of the tables are dirty.  my chair is broken, too.  this place sucks.  it sucks and it’s dirty.  hopefully they’ll get their act together, and hopefully this loud bastard at the next table will pipe down soon.

happy friday!

Categories: frustration

to those who use cloth diapers on their babies:

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

never, under any circumstances, let dirty diapers sit for a day or longer.  3 words:  stench.  of.  ammonia.

Categories: frustration

Learning Curve

September 13, 2007 Leave a comment

I’ve been working for about 3 months now, and as seemingly everyone discovers upon entering the workforce, I now realize I know nothing.  Not to discredit my five year (forever) education – I learned design and not necessarily specific material assemblies.  I was taught to research the newest and most cutting edge technologies – technologies that can’t really even be used in architecture yet.  The purpose was to expand my (‘our’ in the case of the entire student body) horizons – to think of everything as a component of architecture.  Who says nanotech and shape memory polymers can’t be structural and design components of architecture?  If it isn’t yet, it’s only a matter of time, and the fact that we look at these materials as such will put us on the cutting edge of architecture when it comes time for these materials to become a part of our repetoire.

On the other hand, I didn’t really know how to structure the hanging facade from a cantilevered room that I designed for the project I’m working on, and I really had no clue how to specify the glazing hardware or connections or to look up the codes for the butt-glazed window wall that I also designed into this room.  I designed it, it looked beautiful, but where do I go from there?  I was given free reign to pursue this, it became my mini-project, but I felt pretty overwhelmed to actually specify materials.  After creating a material assembly from scratch our of locally reclaimed wood, threaded rods, 2×4’s, metal studs, and sound insulation, a new coworker told me about a product that did the exact same thing.  She thought, in fact, that I had specified that product since my assembly was nearly identical.   So I moved over to using this ready made assembly, speaking w/ the architect and sales rep at the company to make sure a few things could be customized for our project, and it will work wonderfully.

Next up was the glazing. All of the glazing details in this building involved steel plates and steel bars.  We pretty much reinvented the wheel because it was so beautifully minimal.  Glazing sits on 1/2″ x 7″ steel plate, and is locked in by 1/2″ square steel bar on each side.  Well, with the massive amounts of butt glazing, that detail wasn’t going to cut it – we needed more structure to hold our tall spans of glazing.  The detail would work for our standard replacements, but not for a window wall.  So I was told to look at a particular detail on a previous project, which used a ready made glazing system often used for glass rail walls.  Pretty much an aluminum channel w/ neoprene blocking holds the glass in place with a solid 1″ bite or more to hold the glass.  Well, our details are steel.  This aluminum channel would be sitting on a steel shelf.  Aluminum and steel don’t mix – the aluminum corrodes.  We could separate them w/ another neoprene gasket, but then we’d have the clashing aesthetic of aluminum with steel.  So now I’m looking at using a steel channel instead of aluminum, but nobody makes such a product.  We’d have to customize a steel channel and specify the blocking and gaskets.  It will work, but we need to engineer it.  I also had no idea how these channel systems worked, so I had to disect the aluminum channel system to reassemble a steel channel system.  It’s fairly simple, but until I learned how it worked, I had no idea how I’d get this together aside from specify ‘Steel Channel’.

And that’s really where this all started. In school, we learn to specify ‘Steel Channel’ or ‘Spider Connection’ or sometimes we might even get specific enough to call out bolt and stud sizes, but in general, the emphasis was on design.  That’s really how it should be, because we can learn the nitty gritty on the job, which is what I’m doing.  But if you’re burdened with making sure you know exactly how to assemble the building while learning to design, your horizons will generally be diminished.  Not to say that we should be designing completely impossible things – our structure courses keep us in line, but knowing how an aluminum channel glazing support system actually works is rightfully kept to the sidelines. 

coffee spills

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

i spilled my coffee twice this morning on my way to my desk.  i hope this is not an indication of how the day will proceed.

Categories: frustration

doggie door from hell

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

i installed a doggie door this past weekend for none other than my doggie. it’s top of the line – the golden seal of perfection in doggie door land. this thing has an automatic locking mechanism so that other animals can’t get into your house – it is unlocked by an infrared tag worn around the dog’s collar. hoo ha. all of that was great until i actually tried to install the damn thing.

the instructions were simple: cut a hole 16-7/8″ x 11.5″ in the door. slip interior component of dog door through hole. mark off the six screw holes to be drilled. take dog door out, drill holes using 3/16″ drill bit. put dog door back in, slip exterior component of dog door on, slip bolts through interior component – drill holes – exterior component. screw nuts onto bolt and tighten. that’s pretty much how it should be – however these instructions provide zero tolerance – if you deviate at all (perhaps you didn’t cut a perfect 16-7/8 x 11.5 hole, or perhaps your drill holes weren’t spot on straight) then there is no way that this door is getting installed. let me explain to you about the 3/16″ hole: it’s tiny. when you’re talking about drilling through an insulated aluminum door that is 1.75″ thick, putting a perfectly straight 3/16″ hole through the door is like assuming Pres. Bush has a clue. it just doesn’t happen. the bolts themselves were about 1/8″ in diameter, and the holes in the doggy door through which they passed were probably about 1/64″ or so smaller. lining all of that up properly is not easy.

i started on saturday using the jigsaw attachment to my dremel to cut the hole. after about 10 minutes i had only cut a few inches. this obviously wasn’t working. after 2 more trips to home depot to try different blades and some lubricant, i realized that perhaps the dremel isn’t really the tool for this kind of job. i was very sad. i was much happier, though, when i returned from home depot 30 minutes later w/ a mega sawzall – sort of a super power jigsaw. w/ that in tow, i cut the hole out of the door in about a minute. but the edges weren’t perfectly straight, so the door – which is exactly 16-7/8 x 11.5 – didn’t fit very well. note to manufacturer: when you’re giving instructions to install something like this, add tolerance! about 1/4″ on all sides! that’s why the frame of this doggy door is so large – to cover up poor worksmanship! add to that the fun bit about the lining up the drill holes, and you’ll understand why i didn’t actually get the damn thing properly installed until sunday morning. and i’m a fairly handy guy around the house. i was so tired and frustrated w/ this thing that i didn’t end up going to see the detroit cobras at emo’s saturday night, which i had been looking forward to all week. and my dog is still scared of the doggy door.

Categories: Austin, frustration

hopefully this new address will give me some quiet…

January 30, 2005 Leave a comment

hopefully this new address will give me some quiet now. i won’t advertise this blog anymore, and will keep it just for my own – record thoughts and work stuff out.

it appears that i’m being selfish about getting engaged. i want, for just one day, my family to stop and celebrate this event. i feel enraged that i should be scheduling any of this around when they have the time. my sister has some gala ball, and so can’t make it back friday night. it happens every year – why can’t she miss it once? this is only going to happen for me once. now everything is getting stressful – an engagement shouldn’t be like this.

this is happening b/c i’m doing it around everyone else. well – then maybe i should just do it wherever and whenever i want, and everything else will fall into place. i’m stressing about proposing in NY or paris so that it will be romantic and near family – near enough that we can celebrate the day of or within days of the engagement. maybe i’ll do it before paris, not in NY, and not in austin, which would be the logical location. maybe i’ll do it the weekend after the bar – in the event the ring is ready – and we’ll take a weekend getaway to someplace random. quiet, and romantic, and just us. it would be great if we could do atlanta, but there’s no way i can afford a quick jump there, plus hotel and restaurant expenses. maybe there is, i’ll check on that – just add it to my debt.

maybe family is about putting them all ahead of you – of course it is, to a degree. but shouldn’t something as momentous as this be about me?

Categories: family, frustration, life