Good Morning

January 13, 2009 Leave a comment

I hope all is well with you. I am writing to inform you that only seven days remain until it is no longer painful to listen to the President of the United States speak. We are all excited, and hope that you will join us in celebrating what will surely be a memorable and momentous occassion.

Categories: Uncategorized


January 9, 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

ipod request: the exact opposite of volume limit

October 27, 2008 Leave a comment

i listen to my music w/ shure headphones – essentially ear buds w/ built-in ear plugs.  that means that it blocks out pretty much all noise that isn’t coming from my ipod.  that also means that i end up turning the volume down much lower than where people would normally keep their volume levels set at.  waaaaay lower.  like the absolute lowest possible volume setting before the ipod goes to mute.  and that’s not low enough. while it’s great that apple has incorporated a volume limit so that people can stop themselves from blasting out their ear drums, it would be a nice feature if you could lower the ‘low’ volume threshold on the ipod/iphone (or any device for that matter) so that you can listen to your music as low as you want to go..

Categories: music, tech

LEEDing the way…

August 22, 2008 1 comment

dur da dur…  bad title, but point is i’m finally studying for my LEED exam.  LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is essentially a rating system for green buildings – it’s market based, so it’s trying to change the game slowly as the market demands.  it’s been doing fairly well – green buildings are in higher and higher demand for their energy efficiency, more comfortable environments, and health benefits.  LEED is currently in version 2.2, but is gearing up for a new version soon.  there is now a certification for new construction, schools, homes, existing buildings, core & shell, retail, healthcare, and neighborhood development.  the new version of LEED will include more regional rating components for the US – right now, it treats every building the same, tho a building for Arizona should be designed drastically differently than one in NY.  developers and users are jumping on the LEED bandwagon – users b/c LEED ensures a generally more enjoyable and healthier working/living environment, and developers b/c a green building generally has lower maintenance costs and creates a market demand for the space.

though sustainable design/development is about much more than what is covered in LEED, it is a good tool to get the building industry moving in the right direction, and as time goes on, LEED will only get better w/ updated versions and revisions.  i aim to take the test and be certified by the end of August.


Go Green Monster

cry it out

May 6, 2008 Leave a comment

wow, it is rough to listen to your baby cry.  last week, my wife and i put Chicklet in her room and crib for the first time (she’s 6 months old today, and has slept in a bassinet attached to our bed every night till now).  along w/ this change was our decision to try the cry-it-out method (CIO).  cindy had been steadfast in her decision to pick Chicklet up every time she fussed at night – there is a philosophy (i don’t remember its name) that basically states that a child can learn to sleep the night by being soothed and loved, and that the child will eventually gather the self-confidence to sleep through the night on its own.  perhaps this is true, but in all likelihood, either the kid naturally soothes himself and goes to bed easily, or by the time the child has learned to soothe himself he’s likely grown old enough to outgrow the fear of separation and darkness and whatever other reason kids cry at night.

anyway, we decided to try out the CIO method, w/ the understanding that if Chicklet cries for 10 min or more, we’d go in.  that happened a few times the first night, maybe twice the second, and once the third.  she’s slept the night for about a week now.  tho she still wakes up crying, she soothes herself back to sleep in a few minutes max.  it’s absolutely heartbreaking to listen to her cry, but she’s learned pretty quickly how to help herself out.

tonight i’m handling Chicklet all by myself, as cindy is in NY for a conference for 2 days.  the last time i had Chicklet to myself, she was about 3 months old and my parents were visiting.  cindy was only gone for 1 night, but that night held no sleep for me.  i literally was holding Chicklet for nearly the entire night – every time i put her down, she cried (and we weren’t letting her cry it out back then).  i was exhausted.  what a difference a few months makes.  i can totally handle this baby on my own, though i miss our family evening routines.  ultimate point – i can actually get some work done now that Chicklet can sleep.  huzzah!

Categories: family

back from the dead

May 4, 2008 Leave a comment

talk about taking a break.  my last post was back in october 07 – let’s see, what was life like back then?  aside from my daughter not having been born yet, not all that much was different – of course, my daughter being born is all the difference it takes to go from day to night, black to white.  two totally different worlds.  life has been good since she was born in november – watching her grow everyday is pretty much all i care about at the moment.

i’ve finally gotten back into the swing of finishing some renovations on the house that i started before she was born – hopefully i’ll get them done in the next month so that i can move on to the next round of fixes: remove the crappy corrugated plastic overhang on the back porch and replace it w/ a trellis.  i’ve also started the design for our landscaping, which won’t exactly be cheap, but is the first thing to do when increasing home value.  major home renovation (aside from painting and installing wood floors) will have to wait.

i’m completing 100% construction documents for my current project this week.  very exciting – i’ve been on the project since design development, though i’ve watched and sat on crits during schematic design.  it’s a really nice and simple, small addition to a university building here in austin.  next week i’ll move onto a new charter elementary school project, which will be really exciting.  it’s set to be LEED silver, which means i finally will have the time to actually get LEED certified (which was on my to-do list since last september).

haven’t done much travel since the munchkin was born, aside from going up to dallas to visit w/ her grandparents.  did go to houston one weekend for a friend’s wedding shower – it was pretty much my first time there, but only had time to visit the contemporary arts museum.  great exhibit on…contemporary design.  mies’ museum of fine arts was across the street, but you need more time to visit that.  i’m excited to go back – some good architecture out there.

also went up to NY for the first part of passover – at 5 months old, it was munchkinface’s first flight.  she did pretty well, but that was thanks to the tubes in her ears installed 2 wks prior – she already had 4 ear infections, so tubes were pretty much the only recourse aside from constant doses of antibiotics, which are not at all cool.  she was a bit fussy in NY – i think the flight, plus change in scenery and new crib were a bit much.  she got to meet some of her cousins and spend precious time w/ my parents and sister, which of course is the most important part of these visits.  2 days after we returned, my sister came to visit for 5 days – it was great.

ok, good update.  back to work, and hopefully some more regular posts again.

UT SolarD rockin the house

October 17, 2007 Leave a comment

so the 2007 UT SolarD team has been hard at work on the National Mall the past few weeks, and today inched up to the #5 slot!  i’m super psyched for them – they’ve put a huge amount of hard work into the project, and they deserve to do well.  hopefully they’ll be able to push up another slot, though they’re behind GA Tech by about 20 points, which will be pretty hard to make up.  the #1 and #2 slots are held by Univ. of Maryland and the German team, Technische Universitat Darmstadt, and are up by too many points to catch. the German house is really beautiful and elegant – bringing that European architectural and engineering prowess to US shores.

Categories: architecture, UT SolarD

baseboards, Sketchup, and rest

October 17, 2007 Leave a comment

yesterday we completed Addendum#2 on our rushed project, a school of engineering for a university in N. Texas.  Cindy’s been ready to strangle me b/c i’ve been working late and weekends, not having much time to spend w/ her during the last few weeks of pregnancy.  i’ve also had to finish painting the baseboards before they get installed tomorrow.  so it was w/ great relief that i left the office yesterday at 5:30p – that’s right!  not 3a!  it was amazing.  i went home, bought some more baseboards and mini-rollers, painted a bit, and went to bed by 11p – it was i’m working at home, spiffing up a sketchup model of the project that the university will be able to use for fundraising.  there’s a bunch still to do, but i’ve been divying up the day between work and painting baseboards.  those should be ready to get a final coat in a few minutes, actually.tomorrow i move on to my next project – an infill/renovation for UT School of Nursing.  it’s been in schematic design for a little over a month, on and off.  it’s looking pretty nice, i’m looking forward to getting into something a bit smaller in scope and not as rushed.  it also helps that we’re building new structure instead of living w/in the confines of a building’s earlier structure, which had been a bit confusing on the engineering little baby’s on the way – we’re just over 2 weeks from her due date!  i’m so excited that it’s hard to focus on much of anything, but it helps a lot that this deadline is finally over.  now i can focus on cindy, the house, and work in a much more balanced manner. 

Categories: architecture, family

Sounds like an airplane

September 29, 2007 Leave a comment

one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced is the AC ramping up at my office after business hours are over or on weekends.  like most buildings, AC is turned off or the thermostat is turned up after business hours to save on energy costs, but it is turned on at intervals to keep the temperature relatively acceptable and to flush the building’s air.  well, when it ramps up at my office it sounds like an airplane is roaring toward the building, aiming for a spectacular crash.  it is seriously loud.  i work on the 22nd floor of a 23 story tower, so it scared the shit out of me the first time i heard it.  i ran for the window to see if there was anything outside when i noticed the ‘airplane’ sounded much quieter by the window.  then i realized it was just the AC.  

Categories: WTF?

Scrubs, anyone?

September 29, 2007 Leave a comment

sounds oddly like an early episode of Scrubs:

Categories: haha