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Voter's Guide - June 5, 2018 Election, Santa Clara County

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time figuring out who to vote for, because there is no single place to get all the voter information you need.  So, since I have already spent the last several hours deciding how to vote, I've compiled all the information I used here, so you can decide for yourself!  This is relevant to the Santa Clara County election here in California, so if you are looking for San Francisco-specific information, you can try SPUR or other sources.  Obvious disclaimer:  I am looking for progressive candidates who support strong liberal policies on the environment, housing, education, human rights, and the economy.  If you disagree with me, you may want to look elsewhere.

For each position or proposition, I'm going to list the position, my recommendation, link to my sources, and then note other viable candidates (if any).

State & National Offices

Governor:  Gavin Newsom
Former SF mayor Gavin Newsom has an almost overwhelming amount of policy object…
Recent posts

Exhibition Review: "Architectural Pavilions"

Back in October, during my two week "experiment" of living in San Francisco, I visited the Museum of Craft and Design, a great little museum in the Dogpatch, to check out their exhibit "Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts."  Much of the work seemed familiar, either because I had read about or seen it before (DO|SU Studio's Bloom, IwamotoScott, SITU) or because it looked a lot like other work I've seen elsewhere, either in studio courses or around the web (Future Cities Lab, Jay Nelson, Warren Techentin).  Unfortunately the exhibit is over now, so it's no longer on view, but I encourage you to check out the museum regardless.

Pavilions are the playgrounds of architecture, where designers are liberated from the rules that make new materials and new shapes difficult to use (eg, waterproofing, permanence) and thus allow explorations that are sometimes otherwise impossible.  For me, though, I don't think it's enough to try out crazy s…

Book Review: The Power Broker

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro is a 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction/biographical account of  Robert Moses' career in New York City.  Many others have written better reviews of the book, the writing of the book, and even re-evaluations of the book, so I won't try to re-invent the wheel (or tire).  What I do want to try here is to express my reaction to the book, and pull out some choice excerpts that relate most strongly to my own interests in urbanism and architecture.

I have a favorite saying: Never blame on malice what you can blame on ignorance.  I had always blamed poor city planning and transit problems in New York City on ignorance.  Now, I know better.  Planners at the time of Moses knew his policies would be failures -- but they had no power to stop him, so he went ahead anyway.  You might be able to claim that Moses' excuse was ignorance, but it was willful ignorance and a blanket refusal to allow his ideas to be ques…

Book Review: Selling Jerusalem

Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks by Professor Annabel Jane Wharton*

After reading Professor Wharton's most recent book, Architectural Agents (my review is here), I knew I needed to read her previous volume, Selling Jerusalem (from 2006).  And I'm pleased that I finally did!  The book covered a wide swath of topics I find interesting: Israel/Palestine, Early Christianity, architecture (of course), theme parks, and art history.  Professor Wharton weaves a dual narrative of how Jerusalem has been "consumed" in the West by means of its images (in the form of relics, reproductions, panoramas, etc) at the same time that that consumption has changed together with changing economic systems (from gifting and barter, to monetary exchange, to late capitalism and globalization).  The brief "Conclusion" chapter gives an excellent and succinct recapitulation of the book's arguments:  "This text argues that the forms by which Jerusalem has been ap…

Stuff I Made: Moar of It

Yes, friends, it's time once again for me to show off some stuff I made, having accumulated enough stuff to constitute a post.

I have been thinking about doing this for literally years.  Why didn't I do it sooner?  Who knows.  Here they are now:

These are super easy Harry Potter-inspired wands, via this tutorial.  Next up I need to make a wand holster, via this tutorial, to make it easier to carry the wand around!  (If you're super ambitious and want to make a wand that lights up, try this tutorial instead.)

To ensure you don't think that everything I make turns out well, I present to you, unfinished & abandoned Christmas ornaments of 2017:

The laser cutter melted the edges so they were sticky and gross; the engraving was impossible to read; I couldn't figure out the paint job.  Sorry folks.  You'll have to wait til next year for ornaments.  But I did manage to cut out a bunch of squares of cardboard that may yet become something, someday!

In case you didn…

An Architect Looks at Thirty

My thirtieth birthday was last weeka few weeks ago  last month, and I seem to have missed New Year's, so here is a recap / resolutions and look back over the last decade all rolled into one.

This blog is now coming up on ten years of posts -- my very first post was in December 2008.  Since then, I've graduated from college, then from graduate school, become an urbanist, done some  traveling, moved across country to California, gotten my architecture license, and worked my way up to managing my own projects.  Now I'm a project architect with nearly five years of experience, and I'm trying to figure out what's next.

Last year around this time, in the throes of the aftermath of the election, I was feeling lost and made some general resolutions to take better care of myself.  I was hoping to exercise more, take up piano again, and plan some trips.  I was successful in planning the trips, and went to AIA Convention in Orlando; visited friends in Washington, DC; visited…

Buying a Digital Piano

Here she is, my new Yamaha Clavinova CLP-625.

Overall, I have been very happy with it.  The sound is good - I play mostly with headphones - and the interface is easy to use; no screen, just buttons, and not too many weird options.  The touch is good, it feels like a real upright, while the size is much more compact than an upright.  It fights neatly in our apartment, isn't very heavy, and has all the features I need (admittedly, not many).  It came with the bench and standard pedals, the music stand, and a hook for hanging your headphones.  All in all, everything I wanted, and very little extra.

And now the saga of how we bought our piano:

For the last few years, my only access to a piano has been either accompanying J to the sketchy music rooms his company provides, or going to my church to play during off hours.  We rarely went to the sketchy music rooms, so mostly I would practice at church -- or rather, wouldn't, since I rarely went there either; going to play right after…