This blog…has joined the Meerkat Mob.

I have decided to join forces with the formidable Manic Meerkat and his witty mob. I think you should too. You can find my new postings at

Tagged , ,

Holi – The Festival of Colors

My wife and I attended an early version of the festival of colors in Spanish Fork, Utah several years ago, where there were maybe a hundred people awkwardly throwing colored corn starch on the people they came with to the event. It was still a rich cultural experience for us as we learnt about the Krishna religion and experience the symbolic beauty of the festival. So we decided to take our kids on what has now become a mini pilgrimage of sorts, although we didn’t realize it at the time. The festival has become almost nationally popular and was an entirely different experience. The primary of which is that as my daughter so aptly put it, you feel like you are “swimming in the rainbow.” I have included some pictures from our adventure, and this incredible video by Brian Thomson beautiful pairing of this festival and one of my favorite artists for so many reasons, Zoe Keating.

<p><a href=”″>Optimist</a&gt; from <a href=”″>Brian Thomson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Tagged , , , , ,

How to Catch Public Attention

How exciting would it be to watch this whole thing go down, not in some foreign set, but a local street corner you passed everyday. Even more powerful you just became a part of the whole story, because you where the one that hit the button. Would you have hit the button if you didn’t know what it was going to do?

Tagged , , , , ,

Homage to the Mystery of Lost Knowledge

I was sifting through the galleries of Behance and stumbled upon this image. I first perceived it to be a very interesting but unique architectural space, but soon realized from the light sources that it was some masterful art direction of the interior of a violin. This is especially interesting to me as I recently visited one of the top violin making schools in America, here in Salt Lake City. I played the violin for almost five years before immigrating to America, and was not able to bring my violin with me, but fortunately the passion remains.  I have always been mystified as to why the funny holes and the weird shape that is not entirely ergonomic. What do the makers know that I don’t. within the first five minutes of my visit I realized they are wondering the exact same thing.

For a group of young group of architects who like to visit eye candy construction sites, a visit to a violin making school seemed a bit out of character. However our tour through their school and pedagogy presented some thoughtful comparisons and insights into our own profession.

The back panel of a Stradivarius replica in its early stages.

The Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City. It is one of only 3-4 top tier violin making schools in the country, and arguably one of the most renowned.  The school embodies the tradition of painstaking craft and the eternal task of replicating the past with an ever increasing level of exactness. The interesting thing is the value of the instrument lies in the quality of the sound and the integrity of the aesthetic. However much of that craft is still shrouded in mystery, as many of the secrets to why those instruments are shaped the way they are or how they were originally created were lost during the Dark Ages. Their pinnacle of perfection would be to create the most exact replica, down to the way the varnish was created several hundred years ago. A strong contrast to what we as architects would consider the perfect project, if such a thing could even exist.

Freshly varnished violin bodies during the drying process.

In a profession that prefers to disregard work that attempts to replicate the past we can we seem to have a thirst for new technologies, new styles, new ideas, new typologies. It poses the question for us as Young Architects to decide why that is and whether those decisions strengthen our profession or not? Could we even replicate the craft of a Bernini building if we wanted to? For that matter would we even want to? That being said the trip was a refreshing one, and provided a little excitement again for the value of creating something that not only looked beautiful but created the richest possible experience for those that used it.

To find more images by the creative director of the title image and the Behance Gallery I mentioned at the beginning go to:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Media Campaigning by Sygyzy

Some very interesting thoughts on the use of social media for building your brand.

Action Ready Apparel

The jeans are designed to help not hinder butt kickery

I learnt a valuable lesson from a friend of mine that is a copywriter in Chicago. he taught me that an old pair of jeans is nothing more than future pair of frayed jean shorts. Then I found these jumpsuits on a the WANKEN blog by Shelby White, and it reminded me of a few other action apparel items I have come across in the past. I felt like together they help bring home the idea that yes,

“You’re gonna get more work done because you got more legroom.” – Dennis, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Charlie: Let me ask you a question. How come you got awesome fray on your shorts? I don’t have that.
Dennis: Well! Ha-ha! That, sir, is because you purchased blue jean shorts whereas I purchased blue jeans and cut ‘em. Thus, the fray. It’s a more authentic look. I think that’s what you’re feeling.
Charlie: Ohhhh. And then why did you cut them so high? Way higher than mine.
Dennis: Right, well, I thought you might ask that. It limits restriction of leg movement.
Charlie: You’re gonna get more work done because you got more legroom.
Dennis: Exactly. Let me do a little demonstration on you. Take the tool belt off for a second. Take a wide stance. Take the widest stance that you possibly can. Let me see what that looks like.
Charlie: Okay. Leg movement. This is— if I’m going wide— and I’m being honest with you— I’m maxing out about here.
Dennis: That’s not bad. But check this out.
Charlie: Go. Go, go. Whoa! Any more?
Dennis: That’s it. But that’s pretty wide, right?
Charlie: That is good. And you’re not getting any high ride?
Dennis: I’m getting a high ride! But, the shorts aren’t preventing me from doing what I need to do.
Charlie: And that’s the shorts.
Dennis: That’s exactly right, man. And see, your shorts, they’re holding you back, man. Well, that and your hips.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles From Space

To be honest this news twisted my knickers in a knot, and I was feeling a little frustrated, and then I began reading the comment line and found the unscripted comic relief that only the internet can provide. Allow me to share some of the gems from that rapidly growing comment thread for your enjoyment: (for a bit of context the origin beloved 80’s story of the ninja turtles is being re-scripted by the infamous Michael Bay from sewer turtle mutated by toxic ooze to some form of alien life forms coming to earth) My favorite comments are as follows:


I was about to be outraged, but then I remembered that I stopped caring about TMNT when I was 9. 


I think the biggest surprise here is that Michael Bay’s movies HAVE scripts. Are they more than five pages? Are there more words than pictures of exploding stuff? Is it written in crayon?


Im a Turtle. no wait. Now im a car. no wait , now im a turtle! i mean, im wait, im actually the last indiana jones movie… insert long sigh…


I think Michael Bay is an alien. If the Turtles are aliens, they better keep away from Arizona.


Well, he is a terrorist… and he’s about to pull another jihad on my childhood memories.


Dude, put down the hash pipe and leave the turtles be. Why don’t you take on re-imaging the Care Bears into furry automatons ravenous for human flesh? That would be awesome.


also if he’s willing to change that what will he do to shredder along with the rest of potential characters.


Who, Shredder? Oh, he’s a used car            salesman from Milwaukee..

Steve Knapp

“See, they aren’t mutants but they are now aliens. Makes it more real like that. But that’s not all:they aren’t teenagers but middle age. And they are aren’t ninjas but cougars. And finally: they aren’t turtles but rather adult women. And it’s not called ‘Teenage Age Mutant Ninja Turtles’ but ‘Cougar Town’ now. This will be awesome.” -Michael Bay


Next up for Michael Bay, a Captain Planet movie where CP is really an alien from a distant planet torn apart by pollution. So, he comes to Earth to thwart another disaster! The Heart power ring is reduced to a small speaker that plays Sarah McLaughlin songs and shows pictures of puppies.


Cartoons are $h!te now a days.  Once upon a time ago a man could sit in his underwear and enjoy children saturday morning shows.  Not content with destroying their own cartoons but they have to destroy ours.


lindsay lohan is to play Splinter.. apparently she does not need any make-up for the role..

JT Cano



Really? You are that upset…wow you have no life.


Dear Hollywood,

Please stop violating my childhood.




Anything Michael Bay devises is a bad idea, unless you’re a pyrotechnics vendor.

You can find more comments and the rest of the story, published on March 20th, 2012 by Mark Snetiker of at CNN at the following link:

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Landfill of ideas

I stumbled across the “Monument to Civilization” and passed over it as a quirky idea, but I went back to it and read into the concept a little more and was hooked. The project becomes a growing barometer of the wastefulness of a city, and towering monument the plays on the concept of cities trying to have the tallest towers, whereas in this instance the idea would be to have the shortest tower. Add to that the benefits of methane gas generated by decomposition and that it is built entirely of its own trash. I can also visualize this with a continuous circling cloud of gulls to add spectacle and ominous drama to this dark decomposing tower. Perhaps different towers reflecting different personalities with their own regionally specific “smellscapes” of trash and local color pallets of waste, with dark grey industrial towers and beige suburban towers, and psychedelic city towers. This I feel is a competition worthy idea, with a simple concept clearly illustrated accomplishing an objective with function and form inseparable from one another.

Kudos to : Lin Yu-Ta, Anne Schmidt (Taiwan), 3rd Place Entry in the 2012 Skyscraper Competition : Monument to Civilization: Vertical Landfill for Metropolises

Thanks to the following blog for the original post on this competition;
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I guess there is a reason to live in Jersey.

I can’t imagine a better quality of life than playing pick up games during lunch in slacks and a tie, just like the good ol days with my boys back at Saint Andrews in South Africa.

Check out this photo from USA TODAY’s Day in Sports gallery :

Saint Andrews School Bloemfontein, Senior Cricket Team


Tagged , , , ,

The Making, Faking and Breaking of Magic

I recently stumbled upon an image of my childhood hero Sylvester Stallone and über pop culture icon Arnold Schwarzenegger lying side by side in hospital beds. Both were in recovery from surgeries to help their heavily stunt beaten bodies. It was an odd image because it brought a sense of fragility to the image I had in my mind of these two iconic tough guys, who could be thrown through concrete walls and last 7 rounds against Mr T in a boxing ring, yet here they lay haggard and in a state of vulnerable mortality.  I tend to be a person who wants to believe in a character or a story.

One of the things I have never understood, in part because of my desire to believe, is the concept of “making of” segments on DVD’s and TV. I remember when I saw the making of Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg, and I saw the animatronics and puppetry involved in making a life-size T-Rex. While it was interesting to watch at the time, it permanently altered my perspective when watching the movie again. The magic had been replaced with science and technical visual effects. I no longer felt the emotions of fear and panic as the T-Rex was about to devour the safari cars. I compare it to having a magician show you how the trick works after performing it and then performing it again. I appreciate those mystical moments when you can’t help but think “how did they do that”. That feeling then becomes integral in the experience and your connection to that story. Perhaps this affects me more because I will watch a movie more than once if I connect with the story. It is important that I not spoil it for the next time I watch it, where as I know many people don’t do that, just as many people won’t read a book or visit a museum more than once.

This idea becomes even more interesting to me when compared to the previous example of the Elmo puppeteer I posted last month. How is that identity and idea maintained even though the puppeteer is right before you? I believe that is in part due to the fact that you are experiencing that interaction first hand, and I have a feeling that even though you knew it was the robotic shark from jaws, if you saw it in the water following you as you swim you would still swim your fastest mile ever.

So, when the special effects are at the service of the story and draw you into it, that is really the magic.

– Bill Sienkiewicz

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: