having completed my last paper for an incomplete class from last semester, i am now officially done with all coursework for my Master of Architecture with Specialization in Sustainable Design from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. phew, that’s a lot of words. I’M FINALLY DONE!!!! HOORAY!!!!! GRADUATION THIS SATURDAY!!!
the only remaining schoolwork i have is 2 papers. one is close to finished, the other should only take a few hours. i have put this off long enough b/c i really don’t want to write the papers, but it’s required, so time to wipe it clean. graduation, here i come!
i’ve been waiting 4 years to go to SXSW – something always came up so that i wasn’t in austin during spring break. but this year was going to be different – this year i was gonna go no matter what! well, combine the fact that i need to complete a bunch of schoolwork, go to some important appointments, drive up to Dallas for a weekend, and pay the price of my firstborn child for a pass, i decided to pass on SXSW this year. next year, for sure!
so i was psyched to see on austinist this morning an absolutely ridiculous lineup at the Mohawk on Mar. 14 from 11a – 6p, and it’s completely free! why austinist has to pair up w/ gothamist for this, i don’t know – last time i checked SXSW and the Mohawk are both completely within the city boundaries of austin, but whatever. i can’t claim to know a bunch of the artists featured, but it’s being headlined by Architecture in Helsinki (or their page on last.fm), which i know and love. unfortunately, i have a doctor appt. from 10:15a-11:30a that day, so if they start the show, then i’ll probably miss them. regardless, i will definitely be at the Mohawk that day, so come join me if you have some time and want to catch some good music – FREE!
an article just came out out in today’s sunday NYTimes describing the evolution of online word processors. it’s something i’ve followed for a while already, and i jumped ship to writely sometime last year before it was acquired by google. i used writely, now google documents, for taking notes in class as well as for writing short papers. i still use it for those types of documents. then came google spreadsheets, which are extremely convenient for most of the excel type work that i do. the ability to share these documents and collborate on them w/ other people is killer – i generally don’t edit these documents simultaneously w/ other people, but it is much cleaner than sending docs back and forth (it’s inevitable that somebody at some point forgets to email the most recent version, plus the irritation of having to find it somewhere in an email sent however long ago).
i haven’t opened any office application in some time, w/ the exception of opening up a professor’s syllabus in order to convert it to pdf. i certainly will have to use powerpoint soon, so that might be the clincher. google doesn’t have a powerpoint app, though indications are that it should be unveiled shortly. there are plenty of other online office editors, such as zoho (which recently teamed up w/ omnidrive). even though i have an omnidrive account (i am constantly irritated by their insistance that a mac client is coming but never actually producing it) and know that zoho has apparently better offerings than google, i’m kind of married to google (gmail, calendar, docs & spreadsheets) and don’t mind waiting for google to upgrade their products. i don’t have need at the moment for anything more serious than what they have, but will welcome the better versions when they arrive.
even when i might have need for something a little more serious than google docs & spreadsheets, i can always use OpenOffice, a completely free alternative to MS Office. it’s quite good, and unless you have some serious lifting to do w/ your spreadsheets, OpenOffice is a really good alternative. it comes w/ word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.
so w/ all of that in mind, is there any reason that i, as a student or small business, should buy MS Office for hundreds of dollars? actually, as a student at UT i can get it for $5, but regardless… i can’t really see the upside. i’ll stick to the burgeoning web applications.
so it’s been nearly 2 months since i’ve posted, and i’d say a bit has happened in my life in that time. this post won’t be an update on all of that b/c it will likely verge on novella status, but in excerpt fashion, here’s the rub:
- first thing’s first: finished the semester. rocked out some kick-ass details of the firehouse, and was pretty happy w/ final review. i feel the critique was legit, and i’m in the process of updating a few items on the firehouse before me and the schreibs submit it to ISSUE:, the UT graduate architecture publication. after that it will be engulfed in v.2 of my portfolio. i took incompletes in 2 classes, and am currently trying to finish up some of that work (my studio this past semester was the most intense of any in arch.school, and it’s recommended to only take on class in addition to the studio. i took 2 in addition to planning a wedding, so i’m finishing up 2 classes in extended fashion).
- second thing which is really more important than the first: got married. as my best man and father-in-law both remarked in their toasts – finally. i know, dating for nearly 10 years is lengthy. on the up side, we were both completely confident in our future together and had absolutely zero anxiety going into the wedding (aside from regular anxiety dreams, which for some reason always involved wearing the wrong clothing – me, cindy, and our parents all had anxiety dreams about wedding garb. weird). after the wedding, which was amazing and fairy tale-esque, we stayed at the W Union Square in Manhattan for two days, and were given a complimentary upgrade to a suite overlooking Union Square. it totally rocked. much better than the silly Waldorf that we nearly stayed at. i can’t even believe that was ever contemplated. we then jetblue-d our way back to austin, and have been completely surprised to find that being married after 10 yrs of dating and 2 yrs of living together does feel different! it’s wonderful, and i can’t explain it. bordering on sappy, i have no doubt that i made the best decision of my life.
- sheva brachos: following a jewish wedding are seven days of parties in the new couple’s honor, and at each party seven blessings are read to wish them a life of happiness and success. they were thrown by our rabbi in austin and were very nice. parties nearly every night following your wedding, though, is exhausting.
- dallas: about 5 days after getting back to austin, we drove up to dallas (through a torrential storm) to spend christmas w/ the in-laws and extended family (who obviously aren’t jewish). jews and christmas – whoever says they don’t mix doesn’t know whats up. jews secretly love christmas – not the celebration of the birth of christ, but the awesome spirit and happiness and food and partying that happens. i love spending christmas w/ my new family and look forward to it every year. especially the insane cousins who play reindeer games, and we’re not talking ben affleck and his shitty movies – we’re talking about reassembling the neighbor’s yard art in compromising positions. following christmas, there was cindy’s office holiday party held at the managing partner’s house in fort worth severaly days later, so she worked in the dallas office and i worked at her parents’ house. on friday before we left, i explored downtown dallas, which is going to be pretty kick-ass soon. lots of old building are being converted to condos and apartments, and there’s some world class art and museum fun to be had down there. i got to visit the nasher sculpture center for the first time, and though it’s not necessary to proclaim renzo piano a master, i have to proclaim the beauty and elegance of the building. review of the nasher must be held for another post. also went to the dallas museum of art to see a van gogh exhibit, but only looked at it for about 10 min before checking out other parts of the museum. NOTE: never go see a special exhibition, ever, unless you REALLY love the topic. they’re generally filled to bursting w/ people that are trying to fill their yearly culture quota, and are therefore impossible to navigate or enjoy.
- austin: drove back to austin in another torrential storm (no rain while we were in dallas – just driving to and from!). this storm was even better than the first as we got to race tornado warnings! we waited out the first warning in dallas and had some lunch, but then listened to Emergency Broadcasting Service announcements the whole way back as we drove through walls of water. lots of fun. we only made it back 45 minutes later than our estimate, though, which was surprising. we immediately fell asleep.
- new years eve: stayed home, and cindy prepared an amazing gourmet meal. seriously, super top-notch. started dinner late so that we could have desert at midnight. we had the nice playlist going, the champagne, the fireworks set off by the neighbors, the firepit in the backyard. couldn’t have been better.
- new years day: double-dipped the movie theater for the first time since college. saw ‘night at the museum’ and ‘007: casino royale’ (for the second time). ‘museum’ was cute, nothing great, but not horrible either. i laughed, but it was only worth the cost of admission b/c i knew i’d get to see 007 again, which cindy had not yet seen. honestly, this 007 movie at the very least tied the best of any sean connery bond flicks, if it didn’t outright take the crown as the best 007 movie ever. it was a ‘bourne identity’ type of bond – not a ridiculous amalgam of gadgets and perfect hair stunts. super ass-kicking. and the ending rocked.
- now: as i said before, now i’m trying to do work from my incomplete classes, write thank you notes from the wedding, and pull together last minute details for our honeymoon to buenos aires next week.
- oh yeah: i got a macbook pro! i bought it refurbished from apple, so it was discounted nearly 40%. great deal. it’s a core duo, not core 2 duo, but i’m sure that i’ll survive for a few years w/ this hardware! the reason i upgraded from a powerbook was so that i could run windows (which is unforunately requied to run the standard CAD and 3d modeling programs). cindy bought my powerbook from me, so ultimately my total cost for the new computer was about $500-600. pretty good for a major upgrade. i think that i’ll try to sell and upgrade my machines every year or two from now on. you can get a good price selling apple machines in that time frame, and the amount of money i invest in new hardware every 1-2 years will ultimately be less than if i waited, say, 3 years and paid full price for a new machine. bonus: now i have a built-in web-cam so i can video chat (you can skype me if you want – the button on the right will say if i’m online [sidenote: i don’t know nearly enough people on skype. it seems that everyone i know who uses it keeps it generally as a work tool. oh well]).
- admission: ok, this did end up being a large post.
“we’ll have room for the thingy if we enlongen the volume past the tiddlywink, but only if we smallify the adjacent thingy.”
- none of the nasty shitty stuff
all i can say, b/c this is a state secret, is that our firehouse is gonna have some bad-ass batman lighting. i can’t tell you where, and i can’t tell you why, but know this: bat. man. lighting. fuck, yeah.