Category Archives: Uncategorized

#82. The Streak is Over.

There’s probably not a better occasion to revive the blog here. This evening in Texas, the Pittsburgh Pirates secured win number 82 on the season, ensuring their first winning season since 1992. Many of you that read this don’t care about that. Many of you might.

Sports are often times scrutinized, rightly, for being too large a part of the American diet. We consume sports more than ever. However, the emotions we have regarding sports often stem from childhood memories. Probably more than any other sports event in Pittsburgh history, #82 means the most to me.

It was October of 1992. I was in Catholic elementary school. I lived with my mother and grandparents at the time. My ‘pap’ was basically my best friend then. I picked up some bad habits like drinking too much pop and eating Pop-Tarts with him, but we spent countless nights in the game room. The game room was legendary. A small, smoke filled basement with a worn La-Z-Boy recliner perfectly placed in the corner. It angled right towards the TV, with a 25 gallon aquarium built flush into the wall right beside it. I normally had to feed the fish. His home-made cardboard and lauan plywood shelves displayed his beer can collection that started during his time serving in World War II. I still display them to this day, proudly, in my own game room. Our favorite past time while watching Pirates games on TV was to play our own style of baseball. Bowling figurine baseball. See, my pap loved his beer-league bowling buddies. They gave each other funny trophies of sorts each season. If you need a visual, they were exactly like this: Image

There were enough to field 8 guys in the field [the game room carpet]. We had made up names for two rosters. Ping pong balls and a 1950’s wooden toy chest created the action. I whipped the ping pong balls at the toy chest at various speeds and angles. If it hit a figurine, its an out. If not, then score as necessary. The proportions were perfect, see, because a fake fireplace sat in the rear of the outfield. Make it in the fireplace, ground rule double. Hit above the mantle? Home run. Knock a beer can over? Automatic out. Can’t risk denting the beer cans.

We sat that night in October of 1992 playing just another game of bowling-figurine baseball when Sid Bream slid in to home and shattered my heart. The Pirates haven’t been winners since. Until tonight.

PS- Today, Sid Bream and I sit in the same row in church most Sundays.

Lets go Bucs.

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Universal Design is a Great Thing

As this video explains, universal design should not be a restraint, but it should become an integral element to the design process in the same way that sustainability has…this video is definitely worth the 5 minutes.

Ed Roberts Campus—Building Community from Leddy Maytum Stacy on Vimeo.

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R.I.P. Kenny ‘Lemonade Guy’ Geidel

Pittsburgh lost a great one yesterday. Anyone who has ever been to a Pittsburgh sporting event knows about Kenny Geidel, aka ‘Lemonade Here!’ guy. For as long as my memory can recall going to Pittsburgh sporting events, I’ve seen him working at every single one of them. He’s the true definition of a hard working Pittsburgher. Tirelessly stomping up those stadium seats all night long, night after night, twice the pace of those half his age. I have no idea if he knew how popular he was to all of those thousands of Pittsburghers who knew who he was by the sound of his voice. He was part of the fabric of a Pittsburgh event. If he didn’t ever know, then from heaven, now he does. Here’s a nice snapshot of Kenny in action – let it play through the end…

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Reindeer Herding

This post has nothing to do with the primary focus areas of this blog…but it does focus on something that should be a focus of this blog….dogs. I love dogs, and we just adopted Zoe from Animal Friends about a month ago. They had her named Polamalu, and as much as I love Troy, we had to change that. Anyhow, here she is in all her glory…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have no idea what breed she is, but a PetSmart employee tipped us off to the Finnish Lapphund. The what?!? Yeah…

Finnish Lapphund.

They herd reindeer.

Now THAT got us excited about this dog. She sure does look like at least partly that huh?

Doggy DNA tests don’t even recognize that breed, so we’ll never know. In the meantime, we’re going to pretend that’s what she is so we can say we own a reindeer herder.

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A Day Made of Glass

Pretty cool video by Corning that shows a bit of the future. I think it is a fairly interesting concept to be in a room where virtually no material is static…

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Igloo Living!

I don’t like snow, or cold, or winter sports for that matter. But these igloo resort pods are VERY cool. Check them out, courtesy of Freshome.com

WhitePod Alpine Ski Resort

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Weddings + Architecture

Professor Justin Hilton told me in my first year of architecture school that we were all in the program because something in us was a control freak. We could control virtually all of a person’s senses by the way we crafted space. We control the way people circulate, what they see, what they hear, what they feel, smell – about everything but taste, unless they feel like licking some hardwood floor.

I now pass this saying along to my students, as I feel it is critical to understand the effect a designer can have on an occupant of space even at a subconscious level. This brings me to my real topic: have we over controlled space?

I bring this up because I got married last Saturday. It was the most beautiful day a person could ever ask for outside, and it ended up being the best day of my life. The only hitch in the entire day happened during the ceremony, which I will get to in a few.

Think about all of the common interior spaces people hold a marriage ceremony- a beautiful cathedral, a neighborhood church, a Vegas chapel, a city courthouse. These spaces evoke different emotions and actions, and are very controlled. The environment is created by the architecture itself, and occupants react accordingly – subconsciously or consciously.

Exterior spaces however present an element of the unknown…nature. Sure, a beach setting for a wedding ceremony will bring the gentle crashing of waves, the distant sounds of boats cruising along the shoreline, and the rustle of palm trees in the breeze. At any moment though, those sounds change. An airplane might fly over the gazebo at the most inopportune moment. Its a part of the elements – and where true character is found.

Now, back to my wedding ceremony. We got married at a local mansion, where we used the exterior areas for the ceremony. An angry neighbor decided that it would be fun to throw a child’s birthday party facing over top of our exterior ceremony site, inflatable jump and all. Despite the fact the children were saying ‘Shhhh its a wedding!!’, the angry neighbors egged them on to scream even louder at the beginning of the ceremony. Now on top of being nervous and emotional from seeing my beautiful bride, I am now increasingly frustrated with the lack of respect these people are showing towards our big day. They suddenly quieted right as we said our vows [because the police showed up] so ultimately it worked out wonderfully.

Looking back on it now, I feel like I will remember my ceremony a bit more distinctly that this happened than if it was held in a controlled environment. We had character. Its a story to tell. It gives me a renewed sensitivity to how beautiful nature is, how beautiful the character of a city is. Whether it comes at an inopportune time or not, sometimes the character of the unknown is refreshing.

So I sit and think, do we control space too much? In an era where character is diminishing all around us, should we let more of our surroundings in and enjoy it, good or bad, while we still have it to enjoy? For me, I now get to enjoy life and all of its unknowns with my love – and there’s no sense in not enjoying everything life brings.

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