Put Parking Spaces to Better Use

What a great way to bring awareness to our use of space in urban centers. If I created a collapsable version, could it be put in any parking space?What if I transformed a flatbed trailer into a mobile park or common area? If the meters were paid and rules followed, I don’t foresee any problems besides taking alcohol into the street. However, the Pub Trolley allows drinking on a vehicle (?) in the street.

San Francisco


Park(ing) Day at Ritual Coffee Roasters

Airy Thai Library

Fifteen Norwegian Architecture students went to Thailand to build Safe Haven Orphanage’s first library on a budget of $4,650 in January of 2009.

It is amazing the climate demands only one wall and an overhang. Removing the midsection to play with light was a great idea and it throws in the use for a gangplank!

If only Americans were more willing to embrace nature instead of sticking to the confines of a controlled climate! Really, who needs conditioned air all the time? I only like it at home, work, in my car, while I’m shopping, at the gym…..oh. 

Source: Great Spaces

P.S. I don’t condition that much of my air, only the hottest of nights in the bedroom and the hottest of days when I’m in the office (the rest of the house doesn’t have AC), which was probably only 30 times total this year. Also, I spent the first half of the summer in the house because I broke my right fibula and the second half starting a food truck – which means no work or gym AC.

An Exercise in Gender Awareness

I read a few articles in the New York Times using a Chrome extension called Jailbreak the Patriarchy and found it empowering and revealing. It functions to swaps gender-specific words on any webpage to it’s opposite. For example, “he used his sister’s computer” is switched to “she used her brother’s computer”. From a gender-swapped perspective, never have so many women, worldwide, run the most powerful economies, businesses and laboratories, nor had they resorted to such violence.

Here are a few (swapped) observations and headlines: women were dunking in the NBA without fanfare; a group of armed women killed 7 peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast; men are very concerned about their looks; the Venezuelan government is a one-woman show; Mrs. Taylor, former president of Liberia, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes including rape, use of child soldiers and mutilation; women dominate the Fortune 500 and move a lot of money.

Certain themes seemed to be more predominant with one gender than the other but hopefully this will not always be so and some themes would be best as a thing of the past.

Be aware.

The Best Chefs in the Triangle are…Women!

The poll results from the Independent Weekly’s Best of the Triangle were released this week and I immediately noticed that all the Best Chef awards went to women! (Coincidently, all their names start with A.) The rest of the finalists were men save for the husband and wife team at Magnolia Grill in Durham (now closed).

The Winners
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s, Raleigh
Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill
Amy Tornquist, Watt’s Grocery, Durham

The culinary world is famously male-dominated but it seems the citizens of the Triangle are gender-blind! Here are some gender-related culinary statistics: in 2011, the James Beard Foundation nominated 96 chefs, 18 of them being women, up from 16 in 2009 (both Christensen and Reusing have been nominated); at the Culinary Institute of America, men outnumber women 7 to 3; of Michelin’s 106 3 star restaurants, there is one female chef.

Congratulations winners (and voters), this is a step in the right direction and a great achievement for women, the Triangle and the culinary world!

Thoughts on Digital Photography

A photographer once told me, “not everyone who owns a piano is a pianist”.

With the rise of digital photography the number of horrendous pictures of pets and food on social networking sites has increased exponentially. The excitement and anxiety of opening the 24 pack of developed pictures from the Kodak store has been replaced by instantaneously accepting or rejecting the shot by analyzing each picture on the cell phone or camera’s LCD screen. There is literally no time involved in taking a picture; the world’s fastest camera can capture up to one trillion frames per second.

I am not an expert on photography, nor do I consider myself a photographer, but in high school I learned to appreciate the time and work that goes into creating a memorable image. I took two semesters of a manual photography class. With only 24 exposures and having the skill to apply a filter or add an effect to impress a college professor is not comparable to a camera with  unlimited images and applications with pre-set filters.

Digital photography has positively changed the media landscape by allowing anyone to send a photograph anywhere via an internet connection. However, I mourn the loss of the physical object, the connection created when an image slowly forms on a blank page in a chemical bath or while being fanned in midair. A connection so severed, Polaroid famously stopped production of its instant film camera in 2008 after sales of chemical film bottomed out (which spawned The Impossible Project).

The art of photography has been drowned in the mediocracy of accessibility. When developing a photograph was a passion or an occupation, only serious photographers spent the time and money to produce an image. Now, in its simplest form, all is needed is a cell phone, which does not make one a photographer (nor does the use of Photoshop).

 Ansel Adams’ Darkroom  ///  Digital Darkroom

..and here is a short video on a tintype photographer in San Francisco – talk about a hard copy…

NC Amendment One negatively affects ALL Relationships

The proposed amendment to the NC Constitution in its entirety: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only  domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Facts about this amendment you should know:

1. This amendment is not needed to prevent gay marriage: there is already an NC law forbidding gay marriage.

2. This amendment bars the state from recognizing any legal domestic union other than marriage, including partnerships between unmarried men and women.

3. Similar laws in other states have been struck down by the courts – meaning NC will face substantial legal costs to defend the amendment if it passes.

4. This amendment would take away legal protections for the children of unmarried people, including healthcare and prescription drug coverage provided though an unmarried parent  and child custody, child support and visitation rights.

5. A child could even be taken away from a parent who has taken care of them their entire life if something happens to the other parent.

6. This amendment would take away domestic violence protections for all unmarried people and could lead to the convictions of their abusers being overturned. This has already happened in another state. (Ohio)

7. The amendment would automatically strip health benefits from unmarried people who receive coverage through their partners, including people with severe pre-existing conditions.

8. The amendment would interfere with the right of unmarried couples to visit one another in the hospital and to make emergency medical and financial decisions if one partner is incapacitated. It would also invalidate certain trusts, wills and end-of-life directives.

9. Seniors wanting to keep these legal protections would be forced to marry, which could cause them to lose their pension, health care and Social Security benefits.

10. If passed, it would be one of a handful of times our state constitution has been used to take away rights rather than grant them. You have to go back over a hundred years to find similar instances (notably forbidding interracial marriage and taking away the right to vote from African-Americans.)

Don’t forget the FACTS when you weigh whether Amendment One is worth it.

Source: ProgressNC.org