You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2009.

This doesn’t surprise me at all, but it’s disturbing nonetheless.  Although what can we expect, between automobile addiction, questionable building and manufacturing material choices, and decaying urban infrastructure?  All those toxins must end up somewhere…

Report from Next American City about American air quality

I’m still having residual geek-out episodes, and probably will for the rest of the week.  Suffice to say, Brickworld was awesome.  I took lots of photos, and some video.

Click here to see photo album via Facebook

Click here to see video via Youtube (to see all, search for my other photos via username)

What I learned:

1) Lego is an extremely versatile medium.

2) “AFOL” = Adult Fan of Lego; MOC = “My Own Creation,” i.e. a piece built from a creator’s original design, rather than a specific set (though it may use one or more elements of a particular set).

3) “Dark Ages” = the term for the period of time between when one originally played with Legos as a kid, and the time when they rediscover and/or repurchase a set of Legos and get addicted again.  (By this timeline, I would be in the very early Renaissance).

4) There are other conferences around the US, as well as Lego-building clubs which meet regularly and put on displays at conferences and other events.

5) The closest meet-up to Ithaca, NY is the one in Washington DC, and I need to try to make it there next year.

6) Legos really do make the world a more awesome place.

And a final note:  my especial admiration and thanks to everyone who built for the conference – I’m so glad I was able to see so many awesome pieces of artwork and design!  I haven’t added any names to the pieces in the photos but I am definitely not trying to take any credit for their work – only share it with more people.  Please add comments if you want to include more info about this awesome event and the people who build!

My one "artsy" photo - a close-up of the Sears Tower and Chicago Spire, large-scale (7+ foot) models built by Brick Structures of Chicago

My one "artsy" photo - a close-up of the Sears Tower and Chicago Spire, large-scale (7+ foot) models built by Brick Structures of Chicago

I came across this article via Planetizen and it reminded me of another one about which I was very excited earlier this month.  The subject of collaboration in design, particularly urban design in this article, but the principle can extend to other fields.

This might sound Future-Shock-meets-World-Is-Flat (oh the name dropping) but it seems like a recent major shift in our working culture is toward more mobility – in terms of where work is done, outside the office and on the phone or at home or in a remote location, as well as the number of jobs (or even careers) an individual holds over the course of a lifetime.  The next logical step, then, is to allow this mobility to influence *where* we actually get work done, and with whom.  If one isn’t tied to an office desk, and one can work at home or on a bus or in a coffee shop, is this necessarily better or more productive if one is still alone?  Why not congregate and collaborate in a place of everyone’s choosing in order to be productive, feed off of each others’ creative energy, address and solve problems face-to-face rather than by indirect communication – was this not the point of having office space in the first place?

These articles describe two different collaborative environments and how they promote a positive culture of design.  As I currently work in an environment that is thoroughly stuck in the mid-20th-century in terms of workflows and productivity and their approach to the creative process, it’s really exciting to think that there are alternative work environments out there, that they produce good results, and that *someone* else out there recognizes the importance of people working together, enjoying where they are and who they’re with, and making work an effort rather than a toil!

Fast Company – “PieLab in Rural Alabama” – recent article about a group which seeks to promote community and good design, with a side of pie.

Urban Omnibus – “Work and the Open Source City” – this article really got me excited about collaborative workspaces.  Less excited about the whole “cloud” cliche.

I debated whether to post these, as they aren’t planning-related, but they are practice for other more relevant city photos, so it works out.  Why not.

In a pensive mood tonight.  Found myself lying down staring at my glasses.  Decided to focus distracted thoughts into visual representation.  Photoshop gets a thumbs up.

Things close at hand come into clearer focus

Things close at hand come into clearer focus

... other things are too close to see clearly

... other things are too close to see clearly

The stars have aligned.

Brickworld, described on its site as “an event created by Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs),” is in Chicago.  Or rather, out in Wheeling IL, a short drive away.

Thursday and Friday are for registered conference attendees (it looks like a lot of building goes on in those days!) but Saturday and Sunday are also open for the public to view their creations.

I am so. freaking. there.

Check out photos from last year’s conference on Flickr (linked from their site)

I’ve been at best negligent in writing lately – in part because I’ve been doing a lot more exploring in the city, as it turns out.  More from those adventures to come.

In the meantime, I’m going to officially start learning Photoshop!  (And by “officially” I mean “stumbling around with RGB curves because I now have Photoshop.”)  The first efforts feel pretty clumsy, but I can already see a difference.

Speaking of difference – I know it’s still about a week away, but it officially feels like summer in Chicago.  Today we suffered through the oppressive heat and humidity, but for me it was sitting by the river on Wednesday evening that really ushered in the change of season.  Especially compared to the decidedly not-summery deluge of rain from the evening before.  Compare below.

Tuesday:  ridiculous rain and fog

Tuesday: ridiculous rain and fog

Wednesday:  clear sky, lazy river, cool breeze as the sun set

Wednesday: clear sky, lazy river, cool breeze as the sun set

Note:  these photos were only ever-so-slightly color-adjusted!