Thursday, January 29, 2009

A New Era for Architecture?

The Tribune argues that with the inauguration of President Barack Obama comes ushered in a new age of architecture--the end of the "starchitect" and the introduction of "infrastructure architecture". Interesting piece, indeed.
The age of the architectural icon—that extravagant, exuberant, “wow”-inducing building on a pedestal—is dead, or more precisely, in its death throes. And what will replace it? President Barack Obama, who once dreamed of being an architect, had something to say about that Tuesday in his inaugural address: the age of infrastructure.

Rarely do events so boldly bracket the death of one design era and the dawning of another as they have in recent days. On Jan. 14, the developer of a kilometer-high skyscraper in the Persian Gulf playground of Dubai announced he was shelving the project, the mixed-use Nakheel Tower, which would have been as tall as three John Hancock Centers stacked atop one another.

Then, six days later, Obama issued his blueprint for recovery: The nation “will act—not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth,” he said. “We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.”

With the Nakheel Tower, the Chicago Spire and other wannabe icons stopped dead in their tracks and with the new president shining a spotlight on anonymous but essential public works, it’s clear that the deepening recession has brought us to something more than just a pause. It’s looking more like a pivot point. Or at least it could be if Obama delivers on his promise to reshape the contours of our metropolitan areas as well as revive the economy.

“In a funny way, the recession has been good for making these mega-projects stop,” said Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Chicago-based Society of Architectural Historians. “It’s giving us a little breathing room, a little time to reassess where we’re going with all of this.”

The icon age was born in 1997 with the smash opening of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum (above) in Bilbao, Spain. The titanium-clad museum, with its dazzling collage of shapes, spawned a new “build it, and they will come” mentality: Hire a star architect, or “starchitect,” give him or her free aes thetic rein, and watch the tourists or the buyers arrive.

Museums did it. Colleges and universities did it. Condominium developers did it. Indeed, whole countries, such as China and Dubai, did it to change their images or put themselves on the map. A global band of “starchitects”—Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Santiago Calatrava among them—seemed to be designing all of the world’s signature buildings.

And, in truth, a lot of what they designed was breathtaking.

It’s hard to imagine Chicago without Millennium Park, which brought new life to a once-moribund corner of Grant Park with Gehry’s festive music pavilion and sculptures such as the Bean. Similarly, Milwaukee would seem incomplete without the Calatrava-designed addition to its art museum, where mechanically operated sunshades spread over the main gathering hall like a bird’s wings. Ditto Beijing and the Bird’s Nest.

And yet, icons divorced from infrastructure are nothing more than empty set pieces, objects divorced from the fabric of everyday life. (Click here to continue...)

I enjoy the idea of a 'starchitect'. I am repeatedly amazed by Cesar Pelli's work, as well as many of the other current big names. However, a new age that focuses on infrastructure seems extremely necessary, considering the impacts our way of life is having on this planet.

Chicago Spire Put on Hold.

Bad news for Chicago. Due to a slowing economy and multiple lawsuits (including Architect Santiago Calatrava), the Chicago Spire is pushing back development an entire year.

Top Ten Suburbs.

This article isn't really worth a full update, but if you're interested in unique suburbs--those exist?--than here is a list of places throughout the country that are doing things differently.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fattest and Fittest.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but does the same go for Miami, New York and Las Vegas? According to an article by Men's Fitness, everything is bigger in those cities--and unfortunately it's not big where it counts.

Sure, obesity is a problem in this country, but when you think fat, you probably don't think Miami. So you may be surprised to find Men's Fitness magazine ranks Miami as the nation's fattest city in its annual survey.

The fittest? Salt Lake City.So what about the South Beach Diet... and all those buff bodies you always see in the ocean-side metropolis? Even though Miami has a high number of health-food stores per capita, Men's Fitness found it also has nearly three times the fast-food restaurants as the average city. And while there are 79 percent more gyms and health clubs than average, residents are less likely to regularly use their memberships. Not many residents take advantage of outdoor activities, either.

On the other end of the spectrum... Salt Lake City got top marks for being the fittest city because of its abundance of park space, athletically motivated residents, and below- average obesity rates. It ranks highest in the survey in the number of people who take part in activities like beach volleyball, racquetball, aerobics, hiking, basketball, yoga, tai chi, swimming, cycling, running, and kickboxing.

As for the rest of the country, here are the top 25 fittest and fattest
cities according to Men's Fitness:

Top Fittest Cities
1. Salt Lake City, UT
2. Colorado Springs, CO
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Denver, CO
5. Albuquerque, NM
6. Portland, OR
7. Honolulu, HI
8. Seattle, WA
9. Omaha, NE
10. Virginia Beach, VA
11. Milwaukee, WI
12. San Francisco, CA
13. Tucson, AZ
14. Boston, MA
15. Cleveland, OH

Top Fattest Cities
1. Miami, FL
2. Oklahoma City, OK
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. New York, NY
6. Houston, TX
7. El Paso, TX
8. Jacksonville, FL
9. Charlotte, NC
10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY
11. Memphis, TN
12. Detroit, MI
13. Chicago, IL
14. Dallas-Fort
Worth, TX
15. San Jose, CA
16. Tulsa, OK
17. Baltimore, MD
18. Columbus, OH
19. Raleigh, NC
20. Philadelphia, PA

Well, of course Minneapolis is the fittest large city in America (Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City don't count for major metropolitans, in my opinion). Because, well, it's amazing (and during the winter they're doing ANYTHING to make it seem like it's warmer outside!) I was surprised, however, to see Columbus as one of the fatter cities. I would think with Ohio State and the large youth/biking community it would be considered a fitter city. I'm shocked Cleveland is considered the fit city in Ohio, too! Maybe it's because there is nothing else to do in Cleveland? :-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Probably Not The Selling Point.

According to the article, "Butt" refers to a container to fetch water from a well.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Trip to America's Siberia.

In 423 days I will be moving to Minneapolis. Between now and then I have three breaks: This upcoming spring, Summer break and then Christmas. After that, it's time to move! However, a few problems arise: during the summer I will be taking an internship that is 12 weeks long. I simply cannot request time off for a week-long vacation. The other problem is that during Christmas I am working relentlessly at the restaurant since it's our busiest time of the year (plus, do I want to visit Minnesota at the coldest time of the year?!). So that means...

I'm going to Minneapolis for Spring Break!!! While everyone else on Spring Break will be basking on some beach, I'll be traveling up to the land of 10,000 Lakes to spend quality vacation in 30 degree weather. Whoo-hoo!

So in my planning process, I had a serious problem to consider: the weather. I plan on driving so I'll have my car, and I'm a bit nervous about the amount of snow that could accumulate. However, since there is ample amount of studies available on Minnesota weather, turns out I'll be just fine. Look at what I found!

Minneapolis is, as shown, in the middle/southern part of the state. According to this chart of past weather predictions, by the last week in March most of the snow has already melted away. This is great news!

Now since that map is kind of confusing, I'll give a little explanation.
Daily non-zero values of snowfall and liquid water equivalent within a given month were ratioed based on the entire length of record for each station (which is variable between stations). An average was then computed from the individual daily values to obtain a snow water equivalent for each station. The ratios were then gridded using a kriging technique. Higher ratios indicate wetter snow events (high liquid water content) while lower ratios represent drier snow events (low liquid water content). Quality control was performed to eliminate sources of error, such as days with a mixed precipitation type (yielding anomalously high ratio), or stations with very few daily observations.
Err, yeah, whatever they said. Here is another map of Minnesota weather stating the end of the snow season.

So this means that I should make it to the good state with very little chance of snow. Plus, with that whole "Global Warming" thing kicking in, these statistics are bound to be a bit dated. Score for me!

So the boyfriend and I will have one week to find out all the important stuff involved in a move: what neighborhood to choose, what amenities are important in selecting a home (in regards to the weather), where are the best places to hang out, etc. It's going to be a fun trip!

I know for a fact we'll check out the Guthrie, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Minnesota Museum of Science, The Walker Arts Center and University of Minnesota. Of course we'll have to hit up Lake Calhoun and Lake Minnetonka. Without question we'll ride the Light Rail to Minnehaha Falls and Mall of America. The St. Paul Capital will need to be visited, and the downtown Warehouse district will certainly be a night spot we'll explore.

We'll also try to explore some fun things outside of the Twin Cities. What those are, well, I'm not too sure since most of my research has been on Minneapolis and Saint Paul. However, I'm sure our adventure will lead us to some great and exciting things.

Hey, any Minnesotans out there? What do you suggest we explore?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To That Man.

Today there are many extreme opinions on this moment in history. Some are rejoicing that Obama is our new President, others scared. Some are somber about our former President George W. Bush leaving his office, while the majority are in grand celebration that he no longer has any real power in this country.

Yet I have had a few friends go as far to thank the former President to The United States, claiming that he had no control over the problems of the past 8 years and that thus he should not be in any way hated or even disliked.

I'll tell you the problem with this. It's the fallacy of blind leadership. Across the board President Bush did almost nothing right. When he took office our international standing could not have been stronger, our budget could not have been more balanced and our economy was the strongest and stablest it had ever been. Today, after Bush declared war on nations, refused to hold peace negotiations, called other nations "evil", took more vacation days than any other President in History and single-handedly destroyed the image of the United States to the population of the world, I have ONE thing to say this despicable evil little man.


Ok, two things.

There is no suggestion that President Bush had the ability to stop Hurricane Katrina, and no one hates him for it happening under his eye--people hate him because he was vacationing for three days while hundreds of people were facing the possibility of death as he did nothing.

With conspiracy theories aside, people don't hate Bush for the fact that a terrorist attack occurred--they hate him because he and his administration had every warning sign in the book yet they did nothing. Even on the day of the attack he did not act like a President as he sat there reading 'My Pet Goat'.

While President Bush did nothing to cause unwise bankers to make bad loans, his administration certainly did nothing to prevent it either. As a profound supporter of deregulation that eventually led to this mess we are in now, one cannot say that President Bush and his administration had no power over this economic depression we're heading into.

How can someone thank a man who was the icon of The United States and left that icon utterly, and possibly forever, tarnished? How can someone thank a man who no one can look to and say, "See, he at least did that right"? How can someone thank a man with the lowest approval rating in the history of the gallup poll?

His Presidency was a disaster from the day he "won" his first election. His administration was an utter disaster. The past 8 years have been deplorable and most Americans will with ease sweep them under the carpet. His life has been an unquestionable failure. And yet there are people who are going to thank this putrid son of a bitch?

Respect is not simply earned from a title, and the same thing should be warned to Barack Obama. Just because he is my President does not mean he immediately is deserving of reverence. Respect, trust and admiration should be earned, which Obama has already shown progress toward and Bush never even attempted to pursue.

As terrible as Bush was, he is no more. Those days are behind us now. The question is--now what? How will we act different today than we did yesterday? How will we make the 'change' Obama has promised in our everyday lives? Saying "Yes We Can" is far easier than actually going out and proving it.

So it starts at home, with one person. As much as I want to say it starts with this country, this state, with this city, with everyone who watched the really comes down to me. And to you.

You and I need to stop contributing to this nation of whiners. We need to yet again be the greatest innovators in the world. We need to stop looking at one another as enemies and start realizing we are all Americans living in the greatest country in the world. If we want to heal this nation we're all going to have to put down out People Magazine and maybe go out and help real people. Instead of watching local heroes on TV, we need to turn into our own kind of heroes--whether that means cleaning up our neighborhood or just picking up a single piece of trash. We need to start looking out for one another instead of looking out just for ourselves.

All of us, beginning with just you and I, need to stop lamenting about our problems and start working to fix them. Instead of complaining about the place this country is in, how about we start putting together a solution?

That may seem so small, and truly it is. Giving a friend a ride home from work, picking up a few pieces of trash and changing our attitude won't save the world, no. But if it makes just one person smile, just one person a bit happier with their lot in it worth it? And if every American wakes up tomorrow with a smile on their face, would you do it? And if there is one thing I know about smiles, it's that they're contagious.

I'm certainly smiling that George W. Bush is no longer the President of The United States. I'm definitely smiling as I look at President Barack Obama and I hope for a better tomorrow. I hope you're smiling with me as you think about how things from here can only get better.

Question of the Day.

Is it wrong that for the Inauguration Celebration my friends and I feasted on a bucket of fried chicken?

A Day in History.

So who's ready for President Joe Biden?


Bahahaha I keep cracking myself up with that one. No one else seems to be laughing when I say it though....hhmm.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Note On the Weather.

To all you sissies complaining about how cold 10 below is (-25 this morning with the wind chill), I have one thing to tell you, an old Scandinavian saying: "There is no such thing as bad winter weather, just bad winter clothing."

Now quit your whining and learn how to bundle up. Layering is not a difficult skill. Boo-hoo and get over it. It'll be warm soon enough.

*snap snap*

Don't Try This At Home.

So I definitely made myself eat a big peanut butter and jelly sandwich yesterday. Who cares if people are dying? I want to live life on the wild side! It's like a game of Russian Roulette where I most likely will win!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes, I Know.

One of the stranger things about me is how much I love Winter. If I were stuck in Winter 6 months out of the year I'd have no complaints at all. And people call me crazy for this! But to clarify, I love Winter for these reasons.

First off, I love winter fashion. Call me a fag (ha! that's original), but I love to see scarfs and gloves and coats and boots and everything else that makes up winter gear. It's a drastic change and I enjoy the variety that winter fashion brings.

Second, I'm enthralled by every sensory function involved in winter. I love the feeling of the cold on my cheeks, I like watching the snow fall, I find it fun to barrel through the heaps of snow. The taste of hot chocolate or hot coffee in the wintertime is so appealing and almost healing. I like to make snow angels, to go sledding, I love watching Hockey...Gah! I could just on about it forever.

Lastly, Winter makes people truly appreciate the other seasons. If I lived in a place where it was always hot, I don't think I'd be as active as I am. Because of the cold I tend to spend a lot of time outside during spring and summer because I'm taking advantage of the good weather! In other places, I'd only take it for granted.

So, there you have it. Why I love winter so much. It's the best time of the year! :-)

Minneapolis--No Caffeine!

So I'm addicted to coffee. So much that I take my little green cup everywhere with me. So today, for the first time in my life, I found out something negative about Minneapolis--they don't like Caffeine!
The second annual HealthSaver Caffeinated Cities Survey, commissioned by HealthSaver, a national emerging health care discount service, found that Minneapolis/St. Paul is the fourth least caffeinated metro area in the country, compared to 19 other major American cities. Tampa ranked No.1 as the most caffeinated city, while Riverside/San Bernardino was the least caffeinated.
The article tries to say this is a bad thing. But to me, it seems that those who rely on caffeine (me included) are very busy and very stressed. So, maybe it's not such a negative thing...

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's Resolution.

That's our gym at Ohio State. Isn't it pretty? Well, it's been my New Year's Resolution to get back in shape and train for a marathon, and so far has been so good. Too bad it's not even two weeks into the new year though! :-)

My Resume. (Click to Embiggen)

So, this week I'm speaking with literally 20 different companies about possible internships over the summer. I've tweaked my resume and I'd like to share it with you, online world. (Well, except a few things like where I live and where I work. This blog sometimes gets 300 hits a day! Some of you might be crazy and try to visit me. So I blocked some things off. Please don't take it personally.)

I'll take tips, suggestions and of course--jobs! :-P

(Click on the image to see it)

The New Ohio Union!

If you're interested in seeing what the future Ohio Union will look like, click here! It's a nifty video visualizing what the exterior and interior will turn into once completed at the beginning of 2010. (Right as I graduate.Yay.)

Things are DOWN!

Ouch. What a way to close for the day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In Which I Welcome Myself Back.

I'm back. Sorry. I don't have internet at my house, so once that last final was taken I put myself out of commission. But now that school is starting back regular updates will return!

So my break was eventful. I worked a ton, went to Chicago for a few days, and rung in the new year with my boyfriend...someone I've left unmentioned on this blog until now. :-)

This year I will be training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. This will be my fourth full marathon, but I feel particularly out-of-shape due to a difficult school year which drove me to frequently forgo running. I have four months to prepare, so I'm hoping for the best. In addition to said relationship and marathon training, I still work a full-time job and I take 21 credit hours in school. I have no idea how I still maintain a competitive GPA, but I do! But alas readers (if you still exist after my month-long hiatus), I will still update daily! :-)

2009 will be my last full year in Ohio. I am not scheduled to graduate until the beginning of 2010, but most of those days in 2010 will be spent preparing my move to Minneapolis. So, my goal this year is to make my final year at OSU the best yet and also to fully enjoy Columbus. I tend to harp on it a lot here, even though in so many ways it's a fantastic city. So my New Year's Resolution is to make the most of my time here. I only have 442 days.

So that's about it. Here's a picture of Drew and I. (If you read my blog and have no idea what I look like, now you know! Ha ha, that or maybe this was your impression of me...hee hee hee...)

The Ohio State University.

This was the "Photo of the Day" Yesterday on OSU's website. I love winter, and I love OSU. Thus, I love this photo!