General Photos of the Las Vegas Valley

Greetings 2014! The holidays delayed new posts for a bit, but don't fret, I am brewing a few good posts that should satisfy your need for grumpy design banter. To get us warmed up, I'm sharing some general photos of the Las Vegas Valley taken over a span of three visits. Note these photos don't reflect the entire collection, I had to seperate some into different albums for the brewing blog posts. Enjoy.

Album: Las Vegas [General]


Culturally Cool Lexington

Many people likely associate Kentucky with Bourbon Whisky and the South. While these things are relatively true, there are great things happening outside the Bourbon and light southern accents. An example I am most familar with is in Lexington. I  have become relatively familiar with the city due to multiple visits, and a brief residence,  there due to a great friend of mine, Jonathan Clark, residing there in his mansion. Over the years, with the help of Jonathan, I have discovered a culture of artistic people who don't discount their city because it's relatively small or surrounded by an assuming conservative culture. Below are some great things going on in Lexington that are worth noting. WRFL Studio A Great Radio Station: WRFL is Lexington's local college station, and while I don't like much about the University of Kentucky, this radio station should be the envy of most cities (Even Seattle- Sorry KEXP).  I started listening to the station online after Jonathan started DJing a show there and found myself listening more and more. The station operation has a real grungy radio station feel that one would expect for a college station, where their focus is music (mostly outside the mainstream) and not a polished Clear Channel operation.

A Great Art/Music Scene: There are great record shops (CD Central and Pops Resale), music venues (Al's Bar and Cosmic Charlies), and a generally artsy scene one would not expect. Most of this culture ties back to the radio station in some way (the stores are sponsors for WRFL and the artist and shows are featured on the station). One event that took place during my last visit, although I was not present to see it, was the Thriller Parade. The parade features a Micheal Jackson impersonator who dances out the entire Thriller sequence with a mob of zombies who also reenact the music video dance moves through downtown. It's worth noting the whole song is broadcast live from WRFL. Check out this years parade on YouTube.

Great Bars: My favorite bar in town is Charlie Brown's. This place features pitchers of mixed drinks with an old wood bar, tables with random chairs, and couches (in case one wants the living room feel). The best part of the decor is the bookshelf lined walls full of old book available for anyone to browse. Another bar, that seems to be the rage in a lot of places, is an arcade bar called Arcadium. What could be better you ask? Lexington also feature three breweries! Blue Stallion and Country Boy are my favorites, with West Sixth completing the three.

A Coffee Scene: In addition to the above featured businesses, Lexington has a local coffee scene popping up including local coffee bean roasters. My recent visit included a coffee shop, North Lime Coffee & Donuts, that would fit perfectly into Seattle's fabric with the added bonus of no weird looks when one asks for a "coffee". There is one other supposedly good coffee place, A Cup of Common Wealth, that I didn't have the opportunity to visit. While I can't vouch 100% for this place, I am looking forward to stopping by my next visit.

And finally, you guessed it- Lexington features some great architecture, but I'll save that for another post.

So if you ever find yourself in Lexington, don't worry about being bored- just turn on the radio, enjoy some fine beverages, and soak in the culture.

"Design Means Veneer"

I have been reading Steve Jobs (the biography) to get an idea of how he operated and how Apple was so successful. The chapter about the first iMac had a paragraph that hit home for me. Jobs was quoted in Fortune saying "In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer." This hits close to home and describes a fundamental problem in the design field. It's simply the look and cost of something that most people care about. For an architectural example, the outside of the building could look nice, but are the studs straight? Insulation tightly packed? electrical conduit well placed? Did the architect take the time to outline the best set of documents including every detail?  As Job's described, most clients don't want to spend the time and money to make something really great. I would suggest those are the wrong clients. Every poorly designed building will reflect poorly on the design of the architect. Making something great should include the time to focus on the design, finely detail the project, and provide satisfactory materials and craftsmanship to make a great building. The subpar building may be good for some time, but a great design will be a timeless fixture of the fabric. If architects want to build a great structures and be good designer they must do everything they possibly can to ensure the best design in the way Jobs thought of it. If clients aren't interested, designer's shouldn't be interested either (in the project).

Excerpt from Steve Jobs

The Blog is Back

After somewhere around a four (maybe more) year hiatus, the blog is back!  What you are seeing is the first phase of the site, with the second including an updated online portfolio. I am not sure what this blog will turn out to be, but I am going to strive for posting interesting findings or perspectives with a little commentary from myself.  Enjoy.