So I gave my two-week notice three weeks ago. I’m not really sure what that makes me to you, the reader. But I’m not at HOK anymore.
Anyone who would have talked to me on a regular basis or saw the black bags under my eyes from stress would have probably known something about it. I actually kind of regret the way I left as my last day was first supposed to be my birthday (September 15th), then the following day, then the Friday, and then I was gone without any real goodbyes.
I have to admit I’ve probably written this blog post probably three or four times, because I really wasn’t sure how …
Not too long ago, fellow HOK blogger Justin wrote about the perception of architects. I rather enjoyed that blog and wanted to do a sort of counter/comparison with the perception of engineers.
For starters, I went to a search engine and typed in “structural engineer” images. I was not surprised to see some rather silly images…but also a lot of construction site images…
The next thing I did was to ask around to see what the perception was of an engineer, or …
With this week feeling quite lengthy and my birthday coming up, I thought I would share with you all a story from a couple of years ago, when I was going into my third year at Ryerson University.
It was the week before Labour Day, 2003 (School doesn’t start until after Labour Day in Canada.). I had been living in Residence (Dorms) for the past two years, and was convinced that I should become an RA (Residence Assistant) or Don as you may have referred to it at your own alma mater.
Going into the position, I was really indifferent about the whole thing. I never was a fan of the whole ‘frat’ guy …
One of my favorite things as a kid was sitting on the porch watching the thunderstorms come rolling through over the cornfields. Where my grandmother would get out the holy water and start telling everyone to get into the basement. I use to love watching things blow up.
Now I’m not sure what the weather is wherever you are located. But here in Toronto we have had quite the strange year (or two). First we had a bitterly cold winter, followed by a very wet spring. Which made way the coldest June/July in 15 years. But lately what has been happening are these very large …
With all due respect to Brad Pitt and his ‘Make it Right’ Foundation, what they are doing in New Orleans is wrong.
Yes, I understand what happened in August of 2005 was horrible, and yes I also know it takes a lot of effort from Mr. Pitt and everyone involved to accomplish what they set out to do: build 150 houses for the residents who lost everything in the 9th Ward. So bear with me for a second, or until you think I’m just an idiot.
Having never been to New Orleans, I can utterly say that I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting the French Quarter to be so dense or Bourbon Street to …
Washington, D.C. is like Disneyland. I was there one day and all I saw for the first hour and a half was two attractions (Union Station, U.S. Capitol), a bunch of concession stands, and a whole lot of grass in-between. No one ever told me that it took two hours to walk from one end of the ‘Mall’ to the other. On TV, it always looks so inviting and small. But when you get there it’s the complete opposite. It was the hottest day of the year (so far), and they blocked off anywhere that might have a little bit of shade to walk under. So imagine me, walking up-hill, both ways, …
It’s Saturday morning. Most people would describe their Saturday mornings the same way as they describe a visit to IHOP: slow-moving, waitresses with the smell of whiskey on their breath, and really bad food. While I’ve just spent another night sleeping on the floor.
Normally I wake up, do my daily routine of stretching and scratching, have a shower and stand in front of the window in my birthday suit. Welcoming each and every day the same way, as any normal person would do. Suddenly I notice there are 10,000 people standing outside my window. Not knowing if I should stand still and hope no one notices me, or move quickly to get out of the way. When out of my …
We had a deadline Friday: 50% conceptual design, and if you’re wondering what the design intent, or how we made out. Nobody died in the final production, so that was the intent.
Now while I could over-sensationalize the outcome or describe how innovative the design was, I’m not going to do that. See for any presentation or deadline, doesn’t matter what profession your in or what role you may play, there is going to be stress and anxiety. I’ve seen Vice Presidents nervous, managers anxious, and myself terrified. The tapping of a finger, the biting of a lip, chain smoking, even the infamous ‘shaky mouse cursor’; it’s kind of strange how you could be told that someone hates you and that …
As you’ve read, HOK is big into sustainability, and part of our committment is personal – we’ve signed up numerous teams to compete in national bike-to-work month, sponsored by the cascade bicycle club (see Blake’s posts on HOK vs. Copenhagen and Calling all HOKers). Tim O’Connell cooerced me into signing up using fear of public humiliation as his primary tactic.
It’s a bit of a long ride for me (13.824 miles each way, according to Gmaps Pedometer) and I’m not much of a cyclist, but what the heck! My route takes me along Cameron Run in …
It was 9:00am, and we were already running behind. We were supposed to meet up with Joe Pettipas, the newly transferred Senior Vice President in the HOK Calgary office at 10. But we couldn’t help stop at the Dinosaur Valley before making our way into Calgary.
Drumheller, the Dinosaur Capital of the world as they call themselves, has had the largest concentration of dinosaur finds in North America. It just so happens it also has the most inflatable dinosaur heads per capita as well. Its kind of strange to see plastic dinosaurs running amuck while you’re exloring thousands of years of history….
We made it to the Provincial line in due time. It was a nice day for driving. I’m not sure what it is, but I just don’t find driving through what looks like your typical suburb exciting. Manitoba was nice, but forgettable. Northern Ontario had its moments when we were isolated from civilization. But I could relate to Saskatchewan, it was my kind of place. Probably because it appears dull and boring, but more than likely would have a good story to tell. Think Texas Chain Saw Massacre meets Little House on the Prairie. Everywhere you looked it could have been right out of a horror movie set. If those cows could …
Yes, it is true. Winnipeg is the heart of the continent. For those who don’t know what a continent is, it’s North America. I have never thought Winnipeg was anything until I read this sign. But, if Winnipeg wants to call themselves something to draw up tourist attention, I will humbly agree.
We hit Manitoba like a fury in the wind. It was kind of strange to see snow still on the ground in May. But I guess when you’re in one of the coldest places on the continent, cold weather should be expected.
Manitoba is one of those places that you like to visit only …
Last week, while most watched Obama do his 100 day thing and also witnessed the American media continue to create fear in viewers eyes over the swine flu pandemic. (How many people are going to visit Mexico after this whole thing is over? Probably not many who consistently follow the views and opinions of some of the American media outlets.), I tagged along and went on a trip of a lifetime, the Great Canadian road trip out west. Now I know most people that view this blog don’t usually look at content that is Canadian specific. But I hope you will come along over the next five days, and enjoy some great Canadian landmarks along the way….
A continuation of ‘So what I hear you saying.’
It was like a chess match, and he was waiting to call checkmate. At first we just sat in silence, staring at each other. Flexing our eyebrows in different, unique shapes. He was actually looking at a piece of paper, but I knew something was about to happen.
“Hello” was his first word, making each word thereafter even more important then the first.
“I looked at your performance review, and … umm Justin?” I couldn’t concentrate.
“Oh, sorry. I was thinking about what I had for lunch.”
I had been going to Quiznos almost everyday for the better of three years. I would enter and without even a single word spoken, have my meal prepared …
It’s Sunday morning, cloudy. Doesn’t look many people are on the streets because the highways are closed all weekend. So I decide to go for my usual Sunday walk to Tim Horton’s to get something to eat and read the newspaper.
( The point of the story isn’t about what I had for breakfast, as I’m sure most wouldn’t want to hear my description about the coffee and donut I had. )
I spent about 45 minutes in Tim Horton’s. Top up on my coffee before I leave, and head out the door. I’m walking down the steps to meet the sidewalk when I notice the lid of my coffee cup isn’t on all the way. So I start to go back …
I woke up this morning, like every morning, rolling out of bed.
I brushed my teeth, ironed my shirt, got ready in my head.
I walked to work, went to work, even grabbed a cup of coffee.
Today was just like any other day, except it was a Friday.
I sat at my desk, on my desk, even in a chair.
I checked my back, even looked back; I forgot to fix my hair.
This day was going to be long, too long, when will it ever end.
Thank god it’s the weekend, I think I’m going to hit the fan.
I left work, didn’t do much work, my head was in a spin.
I checked my watch, running to watch, it was a quarter past ten.
I was cutting …
Last week in the Toronto studio, Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa, Executive Director of Walk and Bike for Life and the former Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation for the city of Bogotá, Columbia, joined us for a talk about his work, both past and present. The nearly 2-hour presentation, which could have easily been 6 if he wasn’t forced from the microphone, was one of those occasions where you left the room feeling motivated to create change. Now while most people would write an eloquently written article about the information he was conveying, I’m not about to do that. But what I am about to do is talk about the faults of his presentation.
I’m not sure about anyone …
Robert Venturi once wrote a book entitled Learning from Las Vegas, in which he describes the essence of Las Vegas and the opposing architectural styles of the ‘duck’ and ‘decorated shed.’ Now I’m no Venturi, but I thought I would introduce you to this little oasis to the north – Niagara Falls.
Internationally known, Niagara Falls is listed as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, and also the ‘Honeymoon Capital of the World.’ Its history dates back thousands of years, but has only recently taken on a new form. While the waterfall still remains, the surrounding landscape has changed quite dramatically over the years.
If you’re not familiar, or have never been to this attraction, Niagara Falls the …
Every weekend I do my usual routine. Get up, brush my teeth, probably go to the washroom … have a shower, get dressed, drink a some warm brown water … go to the bookstore, and after all of that fun. I walk around the city endlessly until the sun goes down. But this past weekend I did something a little different. It was sunny and warm, probably because it’s spring, and I happened to notice something unusual happening: a migration of ‘urban animals’ coming from the heat of the south. Coming out to play.
So I thought I would do us all a favour, and document some the animals I found downtown. It’s actually refreshing to see the animals come back …
This week being the same as last week has taken on a whole new meaning in Dubai. While most are counting the seconds until the upcoming weekend, Dubai is in the midst of celebrating their third biannual event – Canada Week. (This isn’t an April Fools Joke, it’s actually happening.)
Now why would a city, completely opposite and having little to do with Canada, want to do such a thing? Because the Canadian traditions I complain about are only folk tales in the land of the sun. From knitting a scarf to making maple syrup, even shoveling the fake snow off of the driveway. Nothing says ‘visit Canada’ like …
This is a story full of laughter, fear, and courage. A story about 3 guys — my brother, my cousin, and myself — on our travels from Brownsville, Texas, to Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, my brother along the way became ill and therefore is absent from this video. Enjoy.
A special thanks to Jamie Andrew for his editing, acting, and not killing me in the process.
***This Video qualified for my Pecha Kucha presentation. Unlike everyone else that has done this exercise, I went beyond the normally 20 seconds/20 slides, and went for the 20 seconds/ 20 locations/ 20 arguments/ 20 bathroom breaks/ 3500 images format.***
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I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been fascinated with architects’ and interior designers’ homes. It’s strange to hear what they will try selling a client, which is a complete opposite from what they chose to live in themselves. Imagine being told you should live in a minimalist type of space similar to an art gallery, but then they are an avid antique collector and have a large collection of doilies. The easiest way to imagine what their homes might look like is to take a look at what they are wearing (That’s if they buy their own clothes, or go by an image they see in a magazine.).
I attempted getting a few images from some of the designers …
I was sitting front row centre, right on the aisle. I had made sure to dress appropriately for the occasion. Sweater vest, tweed jacket with leather elbow pads, black leather zipper tie, and slicked-back hair; I honestly was just trying to fit in with the crowd. It’s not every day the bingo hall has a concert.
He came onto the stage with a swagger in his step, a glass of water in his hand, and a set of desire in his eyes. Even before he said his first word of, ‘Hi’ the ladies were yelling his name and attempting to rush the stage. I honestly just looked around, trying to figure out what was going on. It’s not every …
I’m sure some of you may have seen this already. But I find anything to do with animals fascinating, and especially this video.
It’s 8 minutes long, so if you don’t have the time to watch the whole thing wait and watch it when you get home (and you have to watch the whole thing).
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Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. It’s March, it’s probably cloudy, maybe even a little bit of precipitation in the forecast. We don’t need another day of talking to the coffee machine, or dragging ourselves out of bed. So tomorrow when you wake up (or after you read this nonsense) I want you to tell yourself, ‘Today, is the best day of your life,’ and then you make it the best day of your life.
Having a positive attitude is contagious, and if you start your day full of cheer and happiness then you will have the best day of your life because you will make it the best day of your life, because that’s what this whole …
This is a story not about myself, but my friend Chris. Some may have met him. Few forget him, and unfortunately when he started. He was sitting next to me.
I have to admit that when he first joined HOK, I was a little hesitant talking to him. They’ve always had to convince people to sit next to me, so it was a little strange having someone excited to be there. It was almost as if he was meant to counteract my usual glum demeanor. But there he was, smile on face, no bags under eyes, and an over enthusiastic voice.
“Hi, I’m Chris,” were his first words. “What’s your name?”
My name wasn’t important in this conversation. The last guy …
I have to be honest about something. My head has grown from this whole Blog thing. Well not really grown in size, but you get the idea. I was so pumped to be a part of HOKLife that I’ve made quite a few changes to go along with my newfound ‘popularity.’
Now I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve had a fair share read my content, just like everyone else on this Blog. But I’ve even obtained a bit of attention on this whole Internet thing. It’s almost as if I’m starting a new trend of everyone wanting to Blog. It’s kind of scary being an innovator. (Did you know that …
Valerie showcased some of her photos of Bukit Timah last week, so I thought I would share a few as well.
Tommy Thompson Park (soon to be Lake Ontario Park) is one of those areas that you go to let your consciousness loose. Although it’s a derelict space, full of empty Coke bottles and broken bricks, it’s a tranquil environment off the beaten path, allowing you to escape the city and venture off on your own.
Not many people make their way out to the lighthouse that greets those arriving on a vessel, but it’s one of those hidden gems of the city.
So over the weekend – well not exactly the weekend, but yesterday — I had to do something that I really don’t enjoy. Not that there are many things that I enjoy doing in the dead of winter, but I had to leave my comfort area of 6 blocks by 10 blocks of downtown and venture off into the hinterland I call the suburbs.
I have to admit that whenever I think of the suburbs the image of a horror movie and someone running around with a chainsaw comes to mind. So I wasn’t really thrilled to be going.
If you’re familiar with my blog posts, I’ve mentioned a few times about my …
Last week, Jodi illustrated how large the American Stimulus package really is. Although it has garnered a lot of attention on the Internet, I had a difficult time understanding it because I live north of the 49th Parallel, and our dollar is called a Loonie, not to be mistaken for the Toonie.
So I thought I would help my Canadian friends and translate it.