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A great big hug of hurt...


Or what not to do on your J4 vacation.

I've been busy since NeoCon. I had a furniture showroom project (for the event) which was completed just in time, and the party was outta' control. Close on the heels of that was Spring Fling (an industry benefit party that's held here every year). Put on by one of the bigger developers in the city, everyone gets all fancy and hangs out on the riverfront for the evening. Most go from fancy to sloppy in a few short hours : ) The beginning of Summer is such an inhibition obliterating time in Chicago. I guess it's all the Winter angst making 'em crack.

Spring Fling crowd in the “shadow” of the Marina Towers

Chicago River at dusk

Most recently I’ve returned from the annual family J4 celebration tan, relaxed and uninjured. This celebration takes place on the family farm. The farm consists of 15 acres partitioned into three pastures and a yard. It contains three barns, a large residence, and a pool-house with a pool. All of which is surrounded on three sides by an Army Corp of Engineer’s lake. It’s like a resort and it’s pretty freakin’ sweet!

Fishin’ pond

Engineer’s lake


My use of the word “uninjured” is important as I’m responsible for the pyrotechnics (yes we have our own homegrown fireworks display). It’s a pretty impressive show for being designed using strictly consumer grade fireworks. While I’m no crazy pyro, I have been “playing with fire” for eight years now. I’ve never been injured...by the fireworks.

Nice mortar shot

Fan shaped fountain with mortar charges

Finale of mortar charges

A couple of years ago my Uncle asked me to burn the pile of yard debris (by yard debris I mean fallen trees and branches) that normally serves as our celebratory bonfire. That year was a doozy for storms which resulted in a pile that was too large to "safely" serve as the S'more fabrication area. (Pfft! Come on it's just 30 feet across, and 12 feet high).

The only way to get a wet pile that large to catch fire is to use lighter fluid (by lighter fluid I mean diesel fuel, which is less explosive than gasoline). So I go out to the barn. Get the diesel fuel, pour two cups on five locations radially around the pile. Clear the area of flammable materials. Ignite a ball of newspaper, and throw it on the pile...

Turns out what I thought was diesel was actually gasoline because the freakin' fireball that came off the pile surrounded me giving me a great big hug of hurt. It’s fortunate that I shave my head, and was wearing natural fibers, because the inferno removed the hair from my exposed arms and legs. So intense, and fast, was the ignition that the "backdraft" through the pile blew out all but two of the five locations I’d doused with fuel. Yes, a mushroom cloud climbed into the air, and many relatives came out of the house to see what had caused it only to find me, hosing the ashes of singed hair off of myself. The worst thing I suffered was that, and imagining how bad it could've been.
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I've had some freaky ideas, but...


Recently, I said something which lodged an idea in my brain where it’s been stuck. It was half-baked idea at the time (maybe it still is). I was distracted; it was something about doing the same thing over and over, finding different results. Summer may bring
skin, firepower, and trips to the Shedd, but it also brings a glut of resumés and portfolios from a fresh crop of architecture graduates seeking employment.

Undoubtedly the outlook for this years architecture grads is bleak, unless they’re down with working for no pay experience only. Even though I’m not hiring I do peruse the portfolios (good or bad) that I’m sent, and every time I’m transported back to all the crazy shit I did in studio. Ah, those were the days...

nomadic cube-small
Scary, I know.

Y: What the hell is that thing!?

M: I got that a lot in studio. In fact, I still do.

Anyway, Isn’t it obviously an inked freehand perspective? Beyond that it’s clearly diagrammed and annotated. Yes I was serious when I presented it. It all started when I read Lebbeus Woods' words, and looked at the
images he was producing. They got into my head. I tried to resist (not really he had me at "geo- magnetic lift"). I rarely see a portfolio anymore using a tool as analog as a technical pen, or pencil for that matter.

pod model2
Pure madness

Y: An actual physical study model, using basswood!?

M: I know, right?

Y: What’s it supposed to be?

M: If you knew you’d likely have me committed It’s a “virtual space” - that’s all you get.

And this is only two of many such projects. I’m only slightly embarrassed now. No matter, maybe I’ll put more up later. We can make fun of them on twitter. In the mean time I’ve got to change locations. The nice young men in the clean white suits are on their way.

Comments are cool...
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Where do you get your ideas?


Forever thirsty, I dream (unbearably) of a small and orderly labyrinth at whose center lay a well; my hands can almost touch it, my eyes can see it, but so bewildering and entangled are the turns that I know I’ll die before I reach it.

The well is an infinite, incomprehensible library; a vast territory of madness, so very vast, so very mad. This is where I get my ideas. The library is unlimited, but periodic. If a traveler were to journey an infinite distance, in any direction, for an infinite duration they would find that the same volumes are repeated in the same disorder - which repeated, is order.

Like the philosopher, I believe nothing can be communicated by the art of writing. I’ve never grasped for long the difference between one character and another. Besides, no one cares about facts anymore. They’re mere points of departure for speculation and exercises in creativity. It’s not the reading that matters, but the rereading.

I avoid pointless precision; neither that which has been nor that which is to be holds any interest for me. For this I know that I’m accused of arrogance, and perhaps of misanthropy, and perhaps even of madness. These accusations (which I shall punish in due time) are ludicrous. It’s true that I never leave my house, but it is also true that it’s doors (whose number is infinite) stand open night and day to all. Anyone who wishes to enter may do so. Here no splendors, no ostentation shall be found, but only calm and solitude.

There is no new thing upon the earth. All knowledge is but remembrance; all novelty is but oblivion.

This entire post is assembled from fragments of my favorite Borges stories that’ve been strung together using my own words to make it “comprehensible”; as a demonstration that most (all) ideas are drawn from a well that’s filled with the ideas of others.
Everything is a remix.

There’s a roster of #letsblogoff posts below that lists other participants. Go read their stuff too.
Don’t forget to leave a comment.

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