20071213

utterly annoyed

i had such high hopes for my last day of work before vacation... however, they have been completely destroyed not even two hours into the day...

i love when one asks someone official for very specific information and in return they send links to arbitrary and completely unrelated information readily available on the internet. it's as if these people think that we are stupid - my working partner and i - and that we lack the ability to use an internet search engine to do very basic research on the internet. (we sent an email asking for government-assigned ratios for determining the projected populations of buildings we are working on... we got a link to the dubai census instead. seriously, i feel like i am taking crazy pills.)

i do have a silver lining, however... 23 hours until we board our plane to the u.s.
i feel like i haven't needed a vacation this badly in my life.

20071210

four and a blog-full of lists


4 more days. 4 lovely little chaos-filled days left until axel and i make our way across the pond for some much-deserved vacation in the states.

i am unbelievably excited to go home a) because it has been a year since i have been to the states, b) because i get to introduce my guy to my family and friends, c) i get to see my family and friends, d) southern holiday food [i am currently accepting that whatever weight-loss plans i have had will be totally shot to hell within about 24 hours of arriving in the u.s. (see the next point)], and e) because lovely, lovely dara is throwing a big gumbo party the day after we arrive.

though i am totally enamored of europe, there are a few things i supremely miss about the states -
1. friends and family (as mentioned above)
2. advil
3. cajun/creole cuisine (yes, i know that they are different, but i am putting them in the same category so deal with it)
4. pie
5. really cool little bookstores with books written in english
6. really cool little crafty stores
7. mexican food
8. my library (currently in boxes and in storage at my parents' farm)

... i could go on, but i will probably just seem silly. most of the things that i miss are fairly minuscule, but they are still very important to me in one way or another.

happy pre-holiday nonsense to everyone.

20071206

the miseries of home improvement

my boyfriend, axel, and i went to ikea the other day to pick up a new desk and some household whatnot... on a saturday... not such a great plan. in fact, it was really quite stupid, as it seemed that all of stuttgart and the surrounding villages, towns, and communities had also decided to descend upon the same ikea at that precise moment. you know that a shopping experience is about to go horribly wrong when you get pissed off in the parking lot... and seriously - what designer decided that it would be such a wonderful idea to design an ikea the size of an entire shopping mall and then provide 100 parking spaces (if that)? somebody should get a gold star for that one.

i am not typically bothered by crowds. actually, most of the time, i am really quite amused by them (i love people-watching). ikea, on the other hand, is like a claustrophobic phenomenon. i had the same experience when i went there with my friend, anja, to buy my furniture when i first moved here in september - it's like the place is a vortex that just endlessly keeps sucking people in. one finds that their path is blocked my numerous groups of people-discussing-furniture-choices everywhere. one finds that people get extremely aggressive if it takes them an extra 5 seconds to reach the object of their desire. one also finds that the closer one gets to the cashier, the more obnoxious, rude, and self-important people become... no joke - perfectly courteous and good-natured people turn into monsters before they reach the check-out counter... such is the power of ikea.

of all of the treasures of human behavior and failures of design we observed that day, my favorite incidents occurred as we were attempting to leave the store...

episode no. 1 - so, as one could easily imagine, looking through endless choices of furniture and knick-knacks for 4 hours can cause a person to work up a serious appetite. the brilliant people at ikea have put a cafeteria right after the cashier's stations. the hot dogs (and i am normally not a fan of the processed mystery meat) are delicious, and the ice cream is devilishly tasty. only one problem ... the eating area, complete with tables to stand at while one consumes their junk food salvation, is a wee bit small. it would be a tight area if it were just full of people... but noooooooo, it is transformed into an impossibly tight space full of people, their junk food, and their carts. it was a frustrating situation while i was attempting to eat, but i have to be honest and say that once i stepped back to admire the scene once we were through, i found it hilarious. imagine if you will: 30 or so people - cheeks puffed, everyone looking quite unhappy, 20 carts bursting at the seems with god-knows-what, all crammed into something around 30 square feet... the result? pure, ridiculous joy.

episode no. 2 - we purchased a desk... said desk could not be found in the main ikea pick-up area. instead, the item was to be picked up at the ikea warehouse... 20 meters away. the objects people retrieve from the warehouse are typically large and fairly heavy... but the funny thing about this particular warehouse was that the loading zone was full of overflow cars from the teeny, tiny little ikea parking lot (see my note about that, above)... thus, no loading-zone-parking. so, we drove the car 20 meters to pick up the desk, only to have to drive another 20 meters away to find another parking space. then, to top it all off, the desk wouldn't fit in the car with all of the other things that we had in there - so we had to unload and repack in the middle of the street.

i. hate. shopping.

20070920

hello? i don't know if you forgot while you were doing your little political tap dance... but there is a real war going on.

i came across a disturbing new york times article this morning... discussing the american political debacle over the iraq war. in said article, this passage bothered me the most:

“senator lindsey graham, republican of south carolina, who worked to defeat the webb plan, said the republican support for the war could have a political cost. 'the republicans own this war,' he said. 'if it goes bad, the nation loses and the republican party loses disproportionately compared to the democratic party.'”

mr. graham seems to forget that it isn't a matter of political parties looking good or bad when it comes right down to it with the iraq war... he seems to forget that he is talking about the lives of hundreds of thousands of people - americans and iraqis alike. military and civilian alike. when it comes to the iraq war 'going bad,' as mr. graham so eloquently stated, it will not be the republican party or the democratic party that will lose 'disproportionately,' it will be the aforementioned thousands of people actually fighting this war and the countless number of people who have been displaced and/or who are living in constant fear that will suffer 'disproportionately' when compared to the majority of the world. they will certainly suffer more than a certain senator from south carolina, in his cushy government job, safe from the actual war going on half a world away.

i do know that some of the politicians seem to express 'concern' (i use this term very lightly) for the actual condition of those fighting and 'living' in iraq... but they need to seriously reconsider the manner in which they chose to talk about the war and the 'efforts' to shift the 'strategy' in iraq. they need to remember that they are talking about human lives, not loaves of bread, or rocks, or pawns on a chess board. they need to remember that it shouldn't be about party loyalty - or even worse still, party reputation - when it comes to re-evaluating the increasingly-deteriorating situation in iraq... it should be about doing the right thing for the soldiers and civilians there and especially for the iraqi people... but that might be asking a little much.

to think that the republicans have scoffed at a proposal to rely more heavily on diplomacy in iraq makes me so ashamed of and for the american political representatives. they are going out of their way to make sure that the proposal will not pass in the senate. umm... so i have a quick question: what is so wrong with actually trying to discuss a problem that is obviously not being solved by force? for the love of all things... i mean, honestly people... it's like beating a dead horse. it's just pathetic. sad. shameful.

welcome to the 21st century... marvel at how far we have evolved.

20070913

a war of tiny proportions

i am still moving... i'm to the unpacking the boxes i filled with all the 'super-important' stuff i schlepped from dubai to stuttgart and trying my damnedest to put my bloody ikea furniture together. we are not friends, ikea furniture and i... not friends at all. actually, one could probably say that we are at some sort of war, in my bedroom... me with screwdriver-used-as-hammer (seriously, don't ask) and ikea furniture with its minions of tiny, dull nails.

war, i tell you. war.

thankfully, my new roommates pulled me away for caffeine and alcohol... so my mood was in a much better state before trying to go to sleep (i say 'trying' because everytime i was about to doze off into one of my freaky dreams - more on that in a post to come, by the way - an ambulance or police car or some such nonsense would come blasting past my house... shattering eardrums with that gut-wrenching siren that i think i can safely say that i hate).

20070901

busy nothings amid a relocation crisis of sorts

i arrived in stuttgart, germany yesterday... a full day ahead of my luggage (convenient, you know, moving to a new place without clothes, without a toothbrush, or any of those normal hygienic comforts of home).

i arrived in stuttgart yesterday, to find that my living arrangements are now null and void. i guess that such is life... and i guess that this is what i get for counting on verbal agreements made among friends... but i'm feeling a bit freaked out at the thought of not having a place to live in a strange city where i do not speak the language (this language deficiency also makes looking for an apartment a teeny, tiny bit difficult, if you know what i mean). the current situation that i find the most amusing is that i am supposed to pick up my cargo, all 150kgs of it, tomorrow. i have nowhere to put said 150kgs of my stuff. this is me, almost completely freaking right the hell out. i know that everything will work out ok, but at the moment... at the moment, i'm not really sure what to do first and i'm feeling a bit discouraged about my spontaneous relocation. second thoughts and whatnot, i guess.

three cheers for the proverbial shit hitting the fan.
rah. rah. fucking rah.

20070823

i have not been kidnapped, nor have i disappeared... i have just been suffering from an intense case of writer's block (i think).

apparently, i needed a break from my blog. this is the only logical explanation i can find for not posting in about a year (give or take)... and my apologies go out to anyone who missed my bitter diatribes.

i have had my fill of the sandbox (for more reasons than i would dare to bore you with) and i will be moving to stuttgart, germany in about a week. i am honestly a bit nervous about the whole thing, given that i speak about four words of german and my first visit to the country was about a month ago... taking that into account, i am extremely excited to start something new. i am also extremely excited to actually be working for architects - as i have been working for engineers parading around as architects for the last year and it is not so much fun. don't get me wrong - engineers are brilliant people... they just shouldn't ever run an architecture firm. engineering ≠ architecture. but that's just my humble, slightly na├»ve opinion.

story time - so, much of my architectural education was based on the ideal of 'form follows function' - it is a lovely ideal. it is an ideal to which, one would hope, architecture and architects should strive. imagine my surprise, when my boss - the head of a multi-million dollar project in dubai - went on a rant about how the 'form follows function' principle is just an outdated, unfashionable 'observation' made by an 'alcoholic american'. he made a particular effort to look at me - the only american in the office - as he said this. never mind that this principle was one of the foundations of the modern movement in architecture and design. and never mind that a significant number of famous architects, designers, painters, photographers, poets, what-have-you are/were committed and enthusiastic drinkers. when we (my colleagues and i) pointed these things out to him, he angrily dismissed us as young an idealistic. he told us that our opinions needed to be updated, because 'architecture should be made, regardless of function.' - let me point out that this 'function in any form' architecture is what typical developers strive for. not architects. this is not architecture... he continued to rant angrily at us. refusing to discuss the issue like a civilized, intelligent adult.

i was disgusted. outraged. disappointed. baffled. i was a lot of not-so-positive things at that moment... so much so, in fact, that i had to get up and walk out of the room to keep myself from exploding at him for being so dismissive and childish and bullheaded.
this was just the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake that has made me want to leave this place. i do realize that not all companies in this booming metropolis put arrogant, (again) dismissive, thick-headed, money-grubbing, clueless bastards at the top of the decision-making hierarchy... but it's disheartening enough to make me want to get out of here as fast as i can.