Tuesday, December 07, 2010

blue yonder

Back in the summer we went to go pick some blueberries.  Now those blueberries are in the form of a very tasty blueberry wine made by my father.  He asked me to make some label art for the bottle.  Since every digital device I touch seems to explode these days, I am currently without the crutch of Photoshop, so this was a fun exercise for my hand as there was no ctrl-z to help. In the end, I am very happy with the way it turned out.  The inspiration for the label came while we were out on a family sailing trip to see the home town Blue Angels fly their season ending air show at NAS Pensacola in November.

 Blue Yonder | 2010
Touchablue Berry Farm, Molino, Florida
12% A.B.V.

A couple more pics @ Flickr.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Marathon: 365 days and counting

Not much to update on regarding my preparation for the Rock'n'Roll Savannah Marathon next November.  I have been keeping to my moderate schedule of running whenever the hell I feel like it at whatever pace and distance feels good....minus one time.

I will admit that I consciously chose one run about a week or so ago to 'go fast' and boy did I.  With my new Garmin GPS on my wrist I could tell exactly how FAST I was going.  I won't blame my addition of fancy running gear for what happened next, but I will say it was probably a combination of the watch and my ego.  That being said, my body did what it was told.  It went fast.  Then I did what it told me...by not being able to walk effortlessly for about a week.  The morning after, something was definitely not right.  A pulled muscle at my best guess, on the outside of my left leg.  The one you feel if you point your toes down and inward.

The first response received was that "its probably because you weren't wearing shoes."  Of which I disagree. Yes, I may not have received the injury if I was wearing shoes, but who knows what else I may have suffered had I been.  The problem, shod or not, was that my running form was improper.  Running unshod comes pretty naturally after some time doing it, though I had only traveled at speeds that were 'natural' for me.  By forcibly increasing the speed of my run, my body could manage the movement, but not control it.  This allowed for improper, over exaggerated form that was not apparent until the run was over.  Bottom line, it was my own damn fault for being impatient.  Almost two weeks later and I am still feeling remnants of the injury.  I have been sticking to dog walks and a cycle here and there.  The couple short runs that I have managed felt ok during, but after the pains returned to some degree.  So I am continuing to take it easy until all pains have ceased.  I don't expect this to impact my running schedule, as I have none, but I imagine I will have to start hashing out some sort of vague schedule before too long.

With the clock ticking to next November, I thought it was appropriate that there was a NYTimes article by Christopher McDougall yesterday, were he stated his reasoning for returning to the marathon; an event he had sworn off due to his past injury and frustration with, put simply, the idea of the marathon.  A good, quick inspirational read.

365 days and counting...

Friday, October 29, 2010

practice fun

Upon visiting Christopher McDougall's blog today, I see he has posted one of his recent lectures; this one via TEDxPhoenixville.  I thought I would share it, as he again speaks about barefoot running, but also about having fun while doing so.  To me, that was one of the main reasons I began the whole barefoot thing; to make running and being healthy enjoyable again.  But this lesson does not simply apply to running, I feel it can also be extended and updated to fit into our modern lifestyles.  I think it would be a mistake to forget how we arrived here at the present.

I agree, as McDougall points out, that we should all:
:have more connection with the Earth on a daily basis.
:live in the realm of pleasure, instead of fear.
:remember our childhood more often...and practice fun.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This last week I have had the great opportunity to aide a deserving family in receiving a brand new home (via ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and as I sit today job hunting, thinking of the future, of what I want to be, what I want to do with my life, it occurs to me that I want be in the 'helping others' business.  In a way, I have always known this, and I think that is what has always intrigued me about architecture. Underneath all the other designer bullshit, the bottom line is that you are creating an intimate space for someone to live their life with greater ease, comfort, and pleasure than they did the day before.  To me, that is what it is all about.

This realization has been building for some time now, and as it does feel amazing to have finally realized what gives me passion to work, it also greatly reduces my list of available jobs (to my knowledge).  It seems emerging from college and finding the 'right job' in a recession (or whatever this is) is increasingly complicated by having newly discovered morals and an actual positively motivated and enforced goal in my head.  Nonetheless, I have a goal.  There will be highs, there will be lows, but the desire remains.  It is what makes you.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

new toy

Received a new toy for my birthday; a Garmin Forerunner 110.  I have been known to love a little statistical analysis every now and again (or always), and my $10 Target watch disappeared mysteriously from the top of the Jeep.  I know I left it there.

This Garmin is the entry-level device of their GPS wrist watch line, but its functions are more than enough for me right now; tracking HR, calories, pace, time, and of course, location.  All the others seems a bit too bulky, with minimal trade-off in my opinion.  Once I get more into biking (and actually start swimming) I may need more, but I will cross that bridge when it arrives.

I feel a hint of freedom now.  Before I would usually plan out where I was going to run before I hit the road, making a mental image on Google Earth as to where mile markers were on my course.  Any stray from that course would not allow my internal calculations to make much sense, plus manually logging a new course every time you are out can get tiring.  It was just easier to stick to the predetermined path.  Well, no more. Perhaps I can reach a little calculation-free running, clearing the mind more than normal.


Thursday, September 30, 2010


I am a little over half way through my latest book, My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, and one of her realizations on recovery hit the spot on an issue I have been thinking about for some time.  I have heard this type of speak before, but always in a very metaphoric, fantastic sort of way (read: hippie-speak) and never from a scientific point of view.  So I thought I would share an excerpt from her book.

A very brief synopsis: Dr. Taylor is a neuroanatomist (brain doctor) who experienced first-hand what a failing brain feels like, living to tell the experiences of her stroke and how she recovered.  Here she speaks of recovery after losing her left brain functions (calculation, past/future, details, "brain chatter").

"One of the greatest lessons I learned was how to feel the physical component of emotion.  Joy was a feeling in my body.  Peace was a feeling in my body.  I thought it was interesting that I could feel when a new emotion was triggered.  I could feel new emotions flood through me and then release me.  I had to learn new words to label these "feeling" experiences, and most remarkably, I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong it in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


What a delightful weekend - turned week - visit to the Atlantic. St. Augustine is a lovely city. It holds much of what I love about Savannah. My main purpose for visiting was accomplished in the first 15 minutes of my arrival: delivering items to the bro's new apartment. The secondary purpose wasn't revealed until I felt it was time to leave: a mental break from the rut and the routine.

I managed to meet a bunch of cool new people, get some burden-free alone time, and, believe it or not, actually get some work done. Finished my book, too; Born to Run. It took a while, with a few week-long dry spells here and there, but I slammed through the second half all at once. I good read for any level of runner, not just the unshod and ultra types. I also managed to get in a couple of runs in unfamiliar territory. Always a nice refresher as you really have no idea where you are going, or how far you are going. My last run was over 6 miles and felt like 3. Crazy.

When logging the run, I realized I had just crossed over 100 miles of running barefoot. More if you count all the Rowdy walks, but the counting is not what matters. If my past experimental endeavors where to bear any resemblance to this lifestyle change of going bare, then it wouldn't be out of the question to begin seeing it fade away. However, I am pretty sure this one is going to stick, as I see no need to go back. I enjoy running...again? (I think I liked it before).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

stroke of insight

While at B&N tonight looking for my next book to read, Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint, I came across another book that may jump ahead in queue.

The book in question is by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, titled creatively My Stroke of Insight. I first came across her story during my thesis work (and what a beautiful, humbling, and hopeful story it is) in the form of a TED lecture; a neuroanatomist who experiences first hand a massive stroke and lives to tell about it.

I have watched the video quite a few times since then, mostly when I need a little grounding or inspiration. I find it to be very powerful and motivating, so needless to say I was excited to stumble upon it in book form tonight.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Marathon: Day 1

Ask me why I did it in 457 days and again 26.1 miles later, and you may get two different answers. I have been needing a goal of some kind for my running. I have not taken it too seriously in a few months knowing full well that having a goal is a good way to stay in some kind of shape.

Upon seeing the announcement of Savannah getting a marathon, it sounded like a fitting goal; a way to conquer two goals at once, complete a long distance run and guarantee a return trip to Savannah.

My furthest run (that I can remember) was a cool, rainy 11.3 back in January, with shod work that could have been the culprit for my once aching knees.

Since I have not been wearing my running shoes for several months now, I see no reason to put them back on. I find I enjoy running a lot more when it is not about the time or speed, but about how it makes my body feel. It can be quite a rush.

So...let the count down begin. Long way to go. 457 days and counting...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Universal concern is essential to solving global problems.
Each individual has a responsibility to shape institutions
to serve the needs of the world."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

So....what is my philosophy? What are my ideals? On architecture or on life?

Well, lately they have become one in the same, and I am enjoying that; and though I have yet to apply and execute my ideals outside of student projects, I can tell you that they are not static, they are ever-changing, growing with each new experience. And, to me, that is exciting.

Here. Now, as I am sitting down this morning, typing to muted SportsCenter, at this moment everything seems so very clear, so very simple. Lucky you. Lucky me. Let us start at the base of all things.

[...if a bulleted list is more your cup of tea, I won't judge, just scroll to the end...]

We humans are driven by purpose. Daily we strive to define ourselves - with education and knowledge, with responsibility and order, and with collection of material possessions - hoping to appease our mind into believing we have a reason for breathing. Therefore, a measurable unit has been bestowed upon the purpose we seek; as all the emotion that lies within that of joy, peacefulness, comfort, and ease become condensed into one all-encompassing unit: Happiness.