29 March 2010

Correspondence: Cosmo edition

Dear Library, 
Can we talk?  Let's talk.  About your clothes, and your complexion; your general appearance, gentle Library, must be addressed.  We are not being superficial; we are simply considering the entirety of your impact.

Let's talk about your skin first; your complexion is thus far unclear.  

What sort of palette do we have?  Let's think.  There's the naturals - stone, wood, limestone (which would be locally quarried, what could be earth-friendlier?).  There's the industrials - metal, glass, concrete.  And there's the synthetics - laminates, plastics, alloys.  All right.  I think we can go ahead and discard this last, at least for your skin; we'll return to it later if we decide to accessorize.  That leaves naturals and industrials.  Considering that the place is urban and modern, considering that this is an up-and-coming funky neighborhood, I think we should also discard strictly naturals.  We can incorporate them; maybe even prominently.  But not exclusively.  Okay, we're making good progress!  Keep thinking.  That leaves a combination of naturals and industrials, or strictly industrials.  I think we should go with the combination.  Although too much natural material leaves a place feeling rustic - absolutely not our intent, gentle Library, I know! - there is also the homey and comforting feelings it evokes when used in appropriate scales and proportions.  So let's keep these in mind.

There is more to discuss on that front, gentle Library, but let us leave this aside for a bit and let it simmer on the back burner, so to speak, as we discuss something else: just how dressed do we want you to be?  This is an issue of how much light to let in; how much visibility to allow, in and out; where to reveal and where to protect.  Oh, dear, gentle Library... I feel a diagram coming on.  All right.  Next step: to make a diagram of the parts of the program that need light and those that must eschew it, and possibly some sense of the gradation between.  It's possible that the sorts of programs in each particular area may then begin to suggest their own coverings.

You've done well, dear Library.  I'll complete this task - it's like a Cosmo quiz, for buildings - and come back to you with more questions soon.  

your architect

27 March 2010

The beginning of the correspondence

Dear Library,
I have been thinking about you a lot lately. The sort of thoughts that seem to swirl without coalescing in a particular direction if I don't talk about them, and that would take a LOT of talking, and it's hard to find ears with that much time. So I have decided to write to you, gentle Library, as a means of working some of these ideas out in a productive manner. ...hopefully the men in white jackets don't find these letters.

I am currently away from my sketchbook (and waiting for the first baseball game of the season to start) so my head is not as in the game at the moment as it could be. I will start by asking you two questions:
How do we make you civic but not institutional? As a corollary to that, I guess I need to decide just how welcoming I want to make you. Hmm. Welcoming, yes, but not a home away from home. How much of that is space and how much of that is materiality? Oops, that's an extra question.
Also: how do we make you public without being monumental? You're rather big right now - through no fault of your own, and you might even stay that way - but that's not the kind of experience we're trying to create for your visitors. Or is it, you tricky thing? Sometimes I think your intentions regarding your future differ from mine. I hope that we can compromise without a battle of the wills, gentle Library.

Okay. You ruminate. I'm going to cheer for the Diamond Wolverines - that doesn't ring nearly as well as the Diamond Dawgs; sometimes I miss Georgia in funny ways - and I'll get back to you in a little while on your thoughts.

your architect

24 March 2010

I give

Okay, Anya, I give.  You were right.

Problem:  Astronomical anxiety about not being prepared enough to present research and project development thus far to cohort and colleagues.

My proposed solution: presenting to a small group.

Anya's solution: bump up the presentation date by three days with 90 minutes' notice.

     1.  No time to question decisions; all presentation decisions were made and executed with little development between the two.  
     2.  No time to create new material.
     3.  Completely unrealistic expectations led to overload of anxiety fuse: tripped the breaker.
     4.  Frustration with lack of ability to prepare adequately* (*in my opinion) => it felt pointless to be invested in a 'final' product in which I had little confidence; divorced opinion about work from opinion about self.

     1.  There was only minor appreciable compromise of production quality.
     2.  No half-assed elements were present in presentation.
     3.  Short-circuit of anxiety fuse led to an unexpected serenity when presenting.  I felt like I was clear, concise, and comprehensive; the high value and relevance of the critics' feedback seems to reflect my perception.
     4.  I hate Anya for being so very right about changing the date on me.  Also I love her.

Moving forward:
     How can I short-circuit the anxiety fuse to begin with?  It never drives productivity, efficiency, or creativity in ways that are actually helpful.
     How can I better balance my time between big moves - design, presentation, layout - and fine-tuning?  I suspect I need an objective standard up against which I can hold up my work.  Does such a thing exist?  Can I create it?
     Never forget: I could always bag architecture school in favor of being a waitress instead.  Although after this project, I don't think I want waitress to be my backup career choice any more: I want to be a librarian.  Or a rocket scientist.  You know, something less stressful.

18 March 2010

You just can't make this stuff up

Some of the results from a Google search for universal signs and symbols.   I did not find what I sought, unfortunately; but some of these almost made up for it.

13 March 2010

why mehitabel jumped

well boss i saw
mehitabel the cat the other day
and she was looking a little
thin and haggard
with a limp in
the hind leg on the starboard
side old feline animal i said
how is tricks still in the
ring archy she said and still a
lady in spite of h dash double l
always jolly archy she said in
spite of hard luck
toujours gai is the word
archy toujours gai how did you
get the game leg mehitabel i asked her
alas she said it is due
to the treachery of
one of these social swells who
is sure one bad actor he was a
fussed up cat with a
bell around his neck on a
ribbon and the look about him of
a person that is currycombed and
manicured from teeth to
tail every day i met him
down by the east river
front when i was scouting
about for a little piece of fish since
the high cost of living has
become so self conscious archy
it would surprise you
how close they
watch their fish nowadays
but what the h dash double l archy
it is the cheerful heart that
wins i am never cast down for long
kid says this gilded
feline to me you look hungry i
am all of that i says to him i
have a vacuum in my midst
that is bigger than i am i
could eat the fish that ate
jonah kid he says you have
seen better days i can
tell that from looking at you thanks
i said what you say is at
least half true i have never
seen any worse ones and so
archy one word led to
another until that sleek villain
practically abducted me
and i went with him
on board a houseboat of which
he was the pampered mascot
such evidence of pomp and wealth archy
were there that you would not
believe them if i told of them to
you poor cockroach that you
are but these things were nothing to me
for i am a reincarnation of cleopatra
as i told you long ago you mean
her soul transmigrated to a cat s
body i said it is
all one archy said she have it your own
way reincarnation or transmigration
is the same to me the point is
i used to be a queen in
egypt and will likely be one again
this place was furnished swelly percy i
said the furniture is
fine and i could eat some of it if
i was a saw mill but
where is the honest to g dash d food
the eats percy what i crave is
some cuisine for my stomach let us
trifle with an open ice box
for a space if one can be
persuaded to divulge the scheme of its
interior decoration follow me
said this percy thing and led
me to a cabin in which stood a table upon
which stood viands i
have heard of tables groaning archy
but this one did not it
was too satisfied it purred with
contentment in an instant i had eaten a
cold salmon who seemed to be
toastmaster of the occasion and a
whole scuttleful of chef dovers what
you mean is hors douvres mehitabel i
told her what i mean is grub said she
when in walked a person whom
i should judge to be either a butler
or the admiral of that fleet or maybe
both this percy creature who had led me
to it was on the table eating with me
what do you think he did what
would any gentleman friend with a
spark of chivalry do what but stand by
a lady this percy does nothing of the
kind archy he immediately attacks me do
you get me archy he acts as if i
was a stray cat he did not
know and he was protecting his
loving masters food from my onslaughts
i do not doubt he got praise and had
another blue ribbon for his heroism as
for me i got the boot and as i went
overboard they hit me on the limb with
a bottle or an anchor or something
nautical and hard that archy is why i
limp but toujours gai archy what
the h dash double l i am always
merry and always ladylike mine archy has
been a romantic life and i will
tell you some more of my adventures
ere long well au revoir i suppose i
will have to go and start a pogrom
against some poor innocent little
mouse just the same i think
that mehitabel s unsheltered life sometimes
makes her a little sad
By Don Marquis in archy and mehitabel, 1927.

the song of mehitabel

this is the song of mehitabel
of mehitabel the alley cat
as i wrote you before boss
mehitabel is a believer
in the pythagorean
theory of the transmigration
of the soul and she claims
that formerly her spirit
was incarnated in the body
of cleopatra
that was a long time ago
and one must not be
surprised if mehitabel
has forgotten some of her more
regal manners

i have had my ups and downs
but wotthehell wotthehell
yesterday sceptres and crowns
fried oysters and velvet gowns
and today i herd with bums
but wotthehell wotthehell
i wake the world from sleep
as i caper and sing and leap
when i sing my wild free tune
wotthehell wotthehell
under the blear eyed moon
i am pelted with cast off shoon
but wotthehell wotthehell

do you think that i would change
my present freedom to range
for a castle or moated grange
wotthehell wotthehell
cage me and i d go frantic
my life is so romantic
capricious and corybantic
and i m toujours gai toujours gai

i know that i am bound
for a journey down the sound
in the midst of a refuse mound
but wotthehell wotthehell
oh i should worry and fret
death and i will coquette
there s a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai

i once was an innocent kit
wotthehell wotthehell
with a ribbon my neck to fit
and bells tied onto it
o wotthehell wotthehell
but a maltese cat came by
with a come hither look in his eye
and a song that soared to the sky
and wotthehell wotthehell
and i followed adown the street
the pad of his rhythmical feet
o permit me again to repeat
wotthehell wotthehell

my youth i shall never forget
but there s nothing i really regret
wotthehell wotthehell
there s a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai

the things that i had not ought to
i do because i ve gotto
wotthehell wotthehell
and i end with my favorite motto
toujours gai toujours gai

boss sometimes i think
that our friend mehitabel
is a trifle too gay

First published in archy and mehitabel by Don Marquis, 1927.