Wednesday, February 17, 2016

dear wichita [i hate you]

during the past few weeks i've had a chance to look at wichita from a different perspective; the view seen from someone leaving.  from this vantage point, strong feelings toward wichita start to fade into the distance and it's easier to notice things to dislike.  with wichita being the 49th largest city in the nation, i thought i'd share 49 things i hate about this city.

i hate the "keeper of the plains" and the wichita symbolism it's iconic form holds.

i hate all the new additions to the river walk and how pleasantly it connects the urban environment to a natural path that flows through the heart of the city.

i hate that damn troll along the river walk and seeing the look on peoples faces when you show them its secret location.

i hate the wichita flickr photo group for introducing me to some of wichita's best portrait takers.

i hate the coasters bicycle club and how they decorate the streets and sidewalks of wichita's with the faded color of their vintage bikes. i also hate how they were one of the first groups in town to take me in and show me how great this city is.

i hate sunday mornings at the beacon.

i hate that in the past few years wichita's culinary scene has taken off with amazing new restaurants featuring local fare.

i hate all the north broadway restaurants.

i hate 'public at the brickyard' and the amazing people that own it and how it's a gathering place for my friends which was eventually the reason why i met my fiancee.

i hate wednesday night trivia at barlycorns.

i hate that because of hard work, effort and determination,  riverfest is morphing, changing and growing into an even more fantastic party for the city.

i hate that the arena is two blocks from my apartment.

i hate the tallgrass film festival and the huge cultural event it's become and all the wonderful people who organize it.

i really hate the chili cook-off and how it keeps gaining in popularity.

i hate that for the past 10 years i've had an apartment in old town allowing me to walk to work everyday, rain or shine, making our town feel just that more urban.

i hate the hard working people at the chamber of commerce and downtown development corporation who are helping wichita's city core be what it should be.

i hate the wichita flag because and how well its designed and how its becoming a symbol of city pride.

i hate the the donut whole and tanya's soup kitchen and how they completely changed that little area of town.

i hate that we have a river flowing through our city that only wichitans pronounce correctly.

i hate that time wichita state went to the final four and our whole town was bursting with pride.  i hate how for a few weeks everyone in town was happy and in a small way felt connected to each other.

i hate final fridays and all the art and artists its introduced me to.

i hate commerce street.

i hate our zoo.

i hate the wichita art museum and it's color parties and it's art chatters.

i hate the kansas aviation museum and how it's so uniquely wichita.

i really hate morts, especially on mondays during the summer, on the patio, with all the wonderful memories made there and how one of my proudest wichita moments was getting my picture on the wall.

i hate that we have, arguably some of the best, movie theaters in the country.

i hate the whole east wichita vs west wichita issue and how it's goofy things like that, that give a city "flavor."

i hate botanica, in all seasons but especially during december when it transforms into  "illuminations."

i hate the downtown library building in all it's raw brutalist glory.

i hate douglas avenue and how our town couldn't ask for a more perfect "main street."

i hate the season ticket package for music theatre of wichita allowing me to see fantastic performances each and every summer.

i hate the downtown ymca and working out in a beautiful piece of architecture.

i hate seeing people in this town work so hard to make their own "scenes" better, such as comedy, music, art, architecture and beer.

i hate that neighborhoods in this city are starting to really develop their own local feel.

i hate delano and every wonderful store, bar or restaurant there.

i hate st. paddys day in delano.

i hate the food trucks and how you can't go to any event now without them being there serving up amazing food.

i hate disc golf at oak park.

i hate sunsets in riverside park.

i hate our beautiful new airport and how wichita finally got an entry to the city it deserved.

i hate seeing any concert at the cotillion.

i hate every single thing that goes on, or is shown, at the orpheum as well as the building itself.

i hate all the local coffee shops and how they create gathering spots within the city.

i hate the rise in craft breweries around town creating their own nighttime nodes for people to meet and interact all the while enjoying something local in their glass.

i hate any person i've met who's gives a damn about this city and volunteers their time to make this community a better place.

i hate that my family lives here.

i hate friday evenings at lucky's.

i hate that the group of people i'm lucky enough to call my friends love this city and how much they all care about making wichita a better place by actually getting off the couch and doing shit, as well as supporting any shit any other people might have going on.

why do i hate all these things?

because each and every single one of them make it incredibly difficult to leave this city.

i love you wichita and i'm going to miss you terribly.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

it's ok, i have a [pen]

this months #architalks found bob borson of "life of an architect" giving us the theme of [tool] to write about and discuss.

Note: This is the sixteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “New Year, New _____”. - See more at:
Note: This is the sixteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “New Year, New _____”. - See more at:
Note: This is the sixteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “New Year, New _____”. - See more at:

during my college internship, i received some advice i’ve never forgotten.

“always be the one with the pen”

the principal of the firm told me this one day before entering a meeting. 

“watch and see who’s holding the pen, that’s who’s in charge.”

i kept this in mind as i attended meetings that summer and sure enough, whoever was holding the pen, was the person leading the meeting.

the pen is a powerful tool.

as architects, the pen is naturally is a very powerful tool.  it’s still the quickest way for us to communicate to someone else the ideas in our head.  there’s also a very old-school romanticism when it comes to architects and pens you can’t replicate with a computer.  watching someone wield a pen and in just a few moments convey an idea is an amazing event to witness.  whether it’s a small connection detail or a full colored rendering, the pen has an amazingly simplistic power that can't be replicated.

however the way to use the pen as a [tool] that i’d like to discuss doesn’t even require the cap to come off.  during meetings the pen almost acts as a little “talking stick.”  whoever holds the pen is usually the person conveying ideas.  maybe it’s because it gives you just that [little something extra] to emphasis you point. or it could be because at any second you can take the cap off and modify a plan, site, section or elevation with just a mark; a very powerful action when you think about it.

when you keep this function of the pen in mind during meetings you’ll start to see a hidden level of language develop.  sometimes there’s a [pen pass] and therefore a change of meeting leadership.  i’ve seen some one talk with a pen, sit it down, then someone else will pick up the very same pen and start talking. 

sometimes there’s a [pen giving] where the person with the pen asks a question, and literally hands the pen over to someone new to get their thoughts or opinions. 

other times there's a [pen change]  if the meeting goes from discussing new and fresh ideas ideas the pen sometimes changes from black to red.  this also signifies a change in meeting tone.

most of the time meetings are just the [pen pointer] type, where everyone speaks when it’s their turn and has their own pen to emphasize their own point.  oddly enough the more pens in a meeting the more chaotic it gets.

this can sometimes lead to [dueling pens] a situation where two people seem to be leading the meeting, or arguing, each with pen in hand, going nowhere fast.  

 also sadly enough i’ve been in meetings where there has been a [no pen] situation, and not surprisingly a total lack of meeting direction.  thankfully most of these meeting will find someone saying, “let me get a pen,” and the meeting seems to take shape.  

over the years i’ve noticed the most successful and productive meetings have occurred when there is one pen that everyone collectively uses.  a symbol of it being their time to talk or give ideas.

a little tiny talking stick; a very powerful tool.

i’ve tried this [the leader is the one with the pen] logic in other meetings, but have had very little successes.  my mechanic still charged me the same and didn’t seem to care i could draw my car and my fiancee’ thought it was odd i took a pen into bed bath and beyond to pick out curtains.

however when it comes to design meetings [always be the one with the pen]

p.s. pictured above is the pilot bravo, my favorite [talking stick]

please take a look at the links below from the other #architalks members to see how other architects approached the topic of [tool]

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
3 Tools to Get Our Clients Engaged and Involved

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Best Tool In Your Toolbox

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The Tools That Help Make #AREsketches

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
tools #architalks

Jes Stafford - MODwelling (@modarchitect)
One Essential Tool

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Architools - Mind Over Matter

Rosa Sheng - Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
10 Power Tools to Kickstart Equitable Practice

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 17 "Tool"

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Tools of an Architect #Architalks 17

Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalks #17: Three Tools for Change

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Can we talk?

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Why An Architect's Voice Is Their Most Important Tool

Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@simplybrinn)
Synergy: The Value of Architects

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Tools for Learning

Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
Something Old and Something New

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)

Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Helpful tools found within an Architecture blog

Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Sharpen Your Tools

Kyu Young Kim - Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Super Tool

Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Construction: An Architect's Learning Tool

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
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