Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our office has a bunch of high-end iMacs as workstations and a MacPro as a server, but the equipment that gives me the most headaches is our motley collection of field tools. We have two banker's boxes full of carpenter's rulers, tape measures, flashlights, awls, cameras, work gloves, and so on. On any given day I'll need some or all of those and the question comes up: how the hell do you carry it? Most briefcases and shoulder bags work very badly with irregularly-shaped objects and I've tried a bunch.

This month's experiment, a "contractor's briefcase." Less than $30 and nylon, so how bad could it be? This picture shows the "office side" of the bag; the "equipment side" has bigger pockets.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rear Window

The view from one corner of our office. The left is our window jamb, the right is the building across the street. The big thing on the left with the blue tarps at the top is the "Freedom Tower," up to about 300' of its 1776' eventual height; the tall glass building is the replacement 7 WTC; the two cranes crossed in front of 7 WTC are working on the  WTC memorial; the bare area on the right with a single crane is where the new (fourth) train station is going and currently has the 18th C ship archeology. (Click on pic for extra-largey goodness.)

Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm on the phone with a client and he hasn't said anything meaningful in...and I glance at the phone and the call has been going for 38 minutes and it was just to set up a fucking site visit and now he's repeating himself, repeating himself and why won't you DIE DIE DIE

"Dan, I gotta run. Call on the other line."


"Dan, as soon as I have a report ready, I'll email you."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The List, Part 5

The "technical" "writers" who create camera instruction manuals.

Yes, they meet the second criterion.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Technology Marches On

I recently had to explain to the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission why my office was proposing using GFRC (fiber-reinforced thin-shell concrete) to replace damaged terra cotta ornament on a historic building. The short version is that the original system for some of the ornament was badly flawed, and rather than recreate the flaw 90 years after the fact, we prefer to fix it.

Something I didn't say, and shouldn't have to say to a bunch of preservationists, is that architectural terra cotta in its day was not a precious and highly-regarded material, but rather an inexpensive way to fake carved stone. This is exactly what GFRC is today. So our proposed replacement copied both the appearance and the rationale behind the original while improving structural performance, while a painstaking recreation of the original would have been false in terms of constructive logic and would have the same problems (inadequate handrail capacity at a balustrade, terra cotta exposed to leaks from a poorly-placed gutter) as the original. I'd like to believe the A/E/C community is capable of learning from mistakes and can improve a detail when it has failed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anything for Smut

Mrs. __B, ordinarily:

Mrs. __B, right now:


My new camera arrives in a day or two. Then I'll post my own damned pictures instead of trolling the inner-tubes.

Meanwhile, a self-portrait:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

While I'm At It

Having exposed T&U's true appearance to the world, I might as well continue.


Smut Clyde at work:

A night at the bar with B^4:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The List, Interlude

Because T&U asked so nicely*, here are the incredibly complex criteria to get on the list:
  1. Be a douchebag.
  2. Inspire others who would not ordinarily be douchebags to be douchebags.
  3. Not be a politician unless your douchebaginess and douchebag-inspiring abilities far exceed those that are the ordinary stuff of politics.
  4. Annoy me directly, either in person or by proxy.

*T&U asking nicely:

Can I refuse a pardon?


     We have received your appeal regarding your blog Upon further review we have determined that your blog was mistakenly marked as a TOS violator by our automated system and, as such, we have reinstated your blog. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused in the meantime and thank you for your patience as we completed our review process.

     Thank you for for understanding.


     The Blogger Team