10 Random Thoughts

Hi friends. I’ve had several random thoughts over the past few days.

1. It’s back to school time. I’ll be going into my third full academic year teaching at Chatham University. One of the many positives of my position there is that the personalities of groups of students as a whole completely differ from year to year. Its always fun to see what the new group has to offer.

2. Its unfortunate, but it sure seems like the media LOVES natural disasters. I mean, when else do you find yourself flipping to the Weather Channel on a Saturday night? On that note, I’m glad that it has not been as severe as anticipated. I’m especially glad it didn’t make its way here – an earthquake and a hurricane in Pittsburgh in like 10 days? Boy, that would blow the whole safe geographical region theory out of the water. BTW, did you see the FOX reporter covered in ‘sea foam’?! Gross.

3. I generally dislike most things Cleveland, with the exception of a few great friends that live there of course :). I did think it was very cool though that Jim Thome has returned to play for the Indians. If you don’t follow sports, you won’t get it. But I can appreciate how cool that must be for Indians fans, and I’m happy for them.

4. Every year at this time I wish I could have played in the Little League World Series. There were more people watching one game there than PNC Park can even hold!

5. I’m determined to get back in shape [or in for the first time? :/ ] Nonetheless, here we go. Been at it for about 2 weeks now at the new gym, and it feels great. I look back at what I grew up eating and I feel so sick about it that it gives me motivation to gain back whatever health I lost from all of that junk. If you’ve never done one or never heard of one, a community supported agriculture [CSA] program is a great way to start eating healthier and supporting local farms. Highly recommend it.

6. Highmark and UPMC need to get their you know what together. There’s no denying that UPMC provides good health care, but their guise of operating under a non-profit status has allowed them to become a dangerous monopoly. Of course, though, the man at the top of the political food chain here won’t do anything about it. He’ll get swatted like a fly if he buzzes into that conversation. Good for Highmark to step up and try to compete.

7. What on earth did people do before cell phones in the business world? Specifically the iPhone? Did projects take like 6 times longer to produce? I can’t even imagine it.

8. In what setting do you find yourself running into the most ‘Yinzers’? Steeler games, Kenny Chesney concerts, 4th of July Fireworks, where? To be honest, they annoy me and do not reflect the modern day Pittsburgh. I always hear people making fun of Pittsburghese n’at, but I rarely hear it anymore. Count me as one person that is happy about that. I love what we are about here, but come on, we’re a bit more civilized and cultured as a region than some people you stumble across around here.

9. I’ve never let myself watch Jersey Shore because, well, talk about an embarrassment to the identity of a country. However, I’ve let myself get sucked in to this season in Florence. At least they haven’t destroyed anything there yet. Its pretty surreal seeing those fools running around in the same areas we were in back in the day.

10. I’ll be in Vegas with the wifey next weekend for our first anniversary trip. That went by fast! Was a fantastic first year though :). We even added to the family: Reindeer Herding. Cheers to great and long lasting marriages…see yinz in awhile.


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A Trip Through ‘Bat’Burgh

So, I had to take a quick drive today to pick something up in Mount Washington. It was 3:00, and I was in Homewood. I started thinking, “OK, I have to go through one tunnel, through a detour downtown, over a bridge, and up a hill nearing 4:00.’ I was not anticipating this being a pleasant trip. However, to my amazement, the trip was not only smooth but very memorable…especially the return route. I swiftly made it up to my destination in about 20 minutes. As I started back, I decided to take a different route that I knew wouldn’t be as bad as the Parkway East Outbound 4:00 daily nightmare.

First, while on Mount Washington, I was reminded of how unique this neighbrhood was – very blue collar, but 30 seconds away from arguably the best view of a city in the U.S.. So unique. Then I passed Chatham Village, pocketed right in the middle of Mount Washington. I was taken back to Architectural History at Kent, when I researched and wrote on this neighborhood as one of the best planned residential areas anywhere. Its preservation is stunning. I came down the hill and within 5 minutes I was in Oakland. Well documented, obviously, but noticeably urban – I pass it every day, but always feel like more of Pittsburgh should feel like Oakland. Then, I pass Batman. Yes, Batman. How cool is it that we have become a destination for Hollywood to come shoot big time films? Zoomed through Shadyside, the affluent, old money beauty that resides in city limits. The best residential area of Pittsburgh. Before I knew it, I was in Squirrel Hill by the Jewish Comunity Center – such a timeless community with deep heritage.

I made the entire round trip in under an hour. Not that this surprised me, really, nor had I not seen all of this stuff hundreds of times [besides Batman] but my return trip reminded me this about Pittsburgh: it is so very cool. Where else could you possibly live that in that short amount of time, you can see so many unique, authentic, beautiful, and vibrant neighborhoods? And along the way, you see Batman?!

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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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The Masterbuilder

If there ever could be a single essay that described my philosophy as a design professional, this is it. I don’t ever have to even write it myself. This guy wrote it for me. It is thoughtful and perfectly true. The role of masterbuilder that Mr. H. Robert Dinsmore, Jr. writes in this article is exactly who I want to become, the role I am lucky enough to be learning right now. I have a long way to go, but everything you need to know about Bob’s career goal is right here.

Read this.


Please comment as well. I’ll probably make a series of posts about this article, I’m just so pumped about it right now I need some time to think about how to break this down.

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Interactive Dining

Copyright Moxie Design

Pretty cool article by ArchDaily about MOJO Icusine, the first totally interactive restaurant in Taiwan. I’m all for users interacting with their space. Ordering food to a real person would eventually be missed, though, right?

Article Link: http://www.archdaily.com/121567/mojo-icusine-interactive-restaurant-moxie-design/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_campaign=0&utm_content=383045

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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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Designer Exploitation

Well, someone gets it. I’ve written posts about the business side of the profession:

Should Design Schools Teach More About Business? …..

Then I saw this article about star architects taking on interns for no pay because they can…and how there are many signs pointing to many firms vanishing soon if architects don’t learn how to run a business.

Star Architects Urged to Stop Exploiting Students

The above is a good read. Its very true.




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