May 2007 Archives

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." -Rogers Hornsby

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I love baseball. I am not sure how to describe it except that it has been a part of my life as long as anyone in my life except my immediate family. In all honesty, I had baseball before I had my brother. But, as people say, "baseball is just a game". The fact of the matter is that baseball is much more than a game. Baseball is a fever that you get inside of you and it doesn't let you go; at least it is for me. Baseball is the one sport that no matter how lax I am about following or enjoying I come back to every time and it puts a smile on my face. Some people say that a bad day fishing is better than a good day working. I think any day of baseball is better than both.

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Anyhow, my friend Jessica bought tickets for the two of us to go to the Twins game on Memorial Day and I made a couple of off-color comments about other attendees. This basically led me to go through what I think belongs and does not belong at the ballpark. I thought it would be amusing for my readerdom to be able to share in this rant, so I'm piecing things together into a little manifesto on baseball interspersed with some of my favorite quotes and a few pictures of my Minnesota Twins. And no, for the record, it is not a dumb name. When we inherited the Senators from Washington, they couldn't very well stay the Senators. We're the Twin Cities and hence the Twins. It's better than the freakin' Wild!

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Foods that belong at the ballpark:
1) Any type of packed meat... this includes sausages, weiners, brats, kielbasa, etc. and in buns please
2) Anything mentioned in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". We're talking peanuts and cracker jacks people.
3) Anything that a player eats during a game (i.e. sunflower seeds, bubble gum, etc.)
4) Any food which you would traditionally buy at a fair or carnival such as cotton candy, hot pretzels, but not stick food, except corn dogs... as Mills Lane says: "I'll allow it!"


Foods that do NOT belong at the ballpark:
1) Ethnic foods. This includes pizza, nachos, any Asian food dish, falafel, etc.
2) Ice cream cups. Although I don't really approve of cones either, I really hate malt cups and lemon chills.
3) Salads. You want health food, save it for outside the ballpark, we serve sugar and heart attacks here.
4) Pulled pork, ribs, etc. Save the smoker and tailgaiting fair for the tailgate... or football season.

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Other Notes:

1) Don't get so drunk you can't function.
2) Don't swear at the players/umps. Ballgames should be family events, treat them like that.
3) Participate in "the wave" it will help your team.
4) Don't get upset when people in front of you stand up to cheer. They are excited and they paid too. Stand and Cheer.
5) I don't want to hear "God Bless America" or "Proud to be an American". The only two songs that are allowed at the ballpark should be the National Anthem and "Take me out to the Ballgame".
6) Tip the vendors, they basically run stairs the whole game.
7) Don't answer your cell phones in your seat. If you want to make a call, go to the concourse or to standing room. You'll be able to hear and we'll be able to watch the game.

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"I don't know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts.... The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You're never sure how it's going to turn out." ~George Foster, 1978


Quote of the Day (in honor of my ongoing tribute to the Sultan of Strikes):

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"Every hitter likes fastballs, just like everybody likes ice cream. But you don't like it when someone's stuffing it into you by the gallon. That's what it feels like when Nolan Ryan's thrown balls by you." -Reggie Jackson

Well, I made it to 100 entries which is pretty exciting. I know I still have some backlog to deposit, but I'm getting there. Today I spent the day working through another bit of my thesis and updating this bad boy as well as doing some financial planning for the move. I also went for a drive in the Explorer today and it's driving like a million bucks.

Tonight, I am going to pick up my friend Nick from work and then we're going to get some dinner and hang out. Is it an uneventful day for such an eventful blog? Probably.

I'll spice it up with a link to one of the photo projects I have compiled entitled: "I'm the one on the right..."

Today draws Operation: Tuesday to a close and I want to say what a joy it has been to put into motions my permanent place on the coast and see so many great friends. I have to say that I haven't mentioned my friend Amanda (who is actually called Amanda) whom I missed by a matter of hours when I arrived last Tuesday.

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Amanda was one of the sweetest people I have met on the coast and was a Grade-A ass-kicker out in the field leading crews with Brannon and doing really amazing stuff. I had to say that I missed her a lot but wish her well in her work back at Stanford and hope to see her back in the future.

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My last day was pretty low key. I worked in the morning over at the center then headed over to Hands On with M who had to speak to the new AmeriCorps people. Alas, the pups had returned to their temporary home, so I didn't get to see them, but I did help Heath put up a big pen in the back for Sarah's dog Moxie so she wasn't so cramped up. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful day. Two of the studio students from the semester are staying the summer so they were there for 'Corps training and made the exact same structure of blocks during one of the team building exercises... architects, go figure :).

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Anyhow, I'll be leaving for the airport shortly for my last stay up in Minneapolis before the big move. My facebook network has been changed to Gulfport/Biloxi, and in modern times I think that spells the end for a time to my Minneapolis life. The next chapter is about to begin. Thanks for everyone who helped me turn pages to get to this point.

To start of this entry, I have to introduce you to the newly crowned Jessie/James plot to take over the world. It starts with theme parties (such as colors dressing as your favorite animal or alter ego, etc.), but will also include mix tapes to be played at the residence at different points in the day. The first of such mixes has been decided upon and will be Wake Up Music. Jessie's entries are forthcoming but she has made sure to let me know that a song called "King of the Carrot Flowers: Part 2 & 3" is on the mix which begins by a peculiar admission of love for the Christian savior Jesus which Jessie LOVES to sing along to at pretty much any time of the day despite her apparent religious ambiguity. I think it is due to the fact that the singing is mostly pseudo-off-key and occasionally annoying. Anyhow, I put in for a couple of Beatles favorites (I'm Only Sleeping & Here Comes The Sun) as well as "Wake Up April" by the Promise Ring. If you have others to add, feel free to send them my way. The thought is that each roommate gets 5 songs per mix.

On the way into the center we saw a car with a scooter on the back which had a "I'm not tail gatin, I'm draftin" which cracked me up.

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Moving along... today the Minnesota Crew which is here for an M-term was in full force at the Center plotting and meeting with Bill and David and one another to get going on a design/build project for John Henry Beck Park. It is really good to see them all in town and ready to get to work on what we all hope will be another great project.

On the thesis front, I got another 20 pages or so reformatted today and worked for the afternoon on the Boost Home project. I also got a chance to have a great talk with Derek who remains one of the best guys I've met down on the coast and I am glad to see him staying down to help out with the M-term coordination. We talked on the way over to the Salvation Army tent which I am proud to say still serves the best free sandwich lunches in East Biloxi :) and enjoyed its redness along with my fellow Golden Gophers.

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We also got a visit from Kate Stohr, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity which was a nice suprise since I thought she was going to be dropping by on Wednesday after I left. Anyhow, for a little background, Kate was down here with me and the group last Spring as part of the AFH/U of MN trip organized by her partner Cameron Sinclair who was the College's visiting professor of Architecture and one of my instructors last spring. It was really great to catch up with Kate as well as see her darling daughter who has grown a bunch since I last saw her in February.

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Kate and Cameron in their "ass-kicker" pose from a Wired Article on AFH

After the afternoon of visits and work, I headed back to Hands On for dinner since it was my last dinner during Operation: Tuesday and the last opportunity to see some of my friends who would be gone by the time I got back in June. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the kittens that were housed at Hands On back for a visit as well as a couple of yellow lab/chow puppies which were a bit sick and kept off of a transport to Denver for adoption. Prepare for egregious and shamelessly puppy and kitty pictures.

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Me and Otis

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Derek w/Coffee

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Sarah w/Otis and Kaitlin w/ Coffee

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Sid(ney) Vicious

Anyhow, we got to play with puppies until dinner and had a great time. One is named Coffee and I named the other two Gwen and Otis. I would love to adopt a dog during my stay in Mississippi and these guys definitely have me leaning towards a Yellow Lab, but we'll see. Deloris doesn't get along too well with other dogs, so that precludes me from getting a dog during my stay with Jessie.

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Wrapping up the night after a lively dinner meeting which I hosted (and featured the Question of the Day: If you were a Pirate, what would your Name be?) we headed over to The Pub. Since this was my last night there and the last I was going to spend with Heath (who was leaving Wednesday to go back and finish his degree) we got together with G-Mo and a short-termer to play a couple of games of pool and later a game of Baseball on the ol' dart board which I won with a 9th inning rally of 5 runs! Anyhow, I may not mention Heath a ton in my blog, but I don't think I could enough. He ended up being on of my best friends among the long termers and really is a stand-up guy.

I wish you all the best in the degree Spartan, can't wait to see you in August.

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Today, the Sacramento team took off from Hands On for a week in Texas and then they are off to Key West. I will say that I really got along with the entire team and I'm going to miss them. I was planning on going over for breakfast at Hands On after my morning make-out session at Jessie's... with her crazy dog Deloris, but I guess their Team Leader Maureen moved up the departure time and I missed them! So to Mara (My Minnesota), Heather (My Lime-Aid Lover), Salem (Meow), Amanda (Kitchen Maven), Lindsay (Danger is her Middle Name, Mo (Don't call her Mo-Mo), and the other members of Gold 7, out on the road... take care and I'm going to miss you a lot. Come visit soon!

Secondly, for all of those who read my blog and have checked out the profile for the GCCDS and its many superstars, you will notice the extremely poor quality inflation of Kristin Zeibler's picture. Since I am now a flickr friend of Kristin and she was kind enough to post a picture of it, I give you the new and improved Kristin with the Kicky haircut photo. May you strike the former photo from your minds and replace it with this little ditty. I dub thee....

Photo of the Day!

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Looking good girl.

Chapter 91: Operation Tuesday

Everyone who has seen my current status on ye olde Facebook has been inquiring as to the identity and details concerting what I have been dubbing Operation Tuesday. For those assembled I will spell it out presently:

Operation Tuesday is a one week trip down to Biloxi before the big move to work out details of my job through Mississippi State with David Perkes and to try and secure some housing. Jessie and I are looking at the Bangkok House on Thursday which should be fun and then we will try and figure out alternate plans if it isn't all we dreamed it would be and more. Anyhow, I was departing and returning on Tuesdays, hence the name.

NOTE: As I have forgotten the chord attachment for my digital camera, I will instead include the story behind each inside joke from my graduation speech as an anecdotal appendage to these visually challenged posts until I can get my photos up. Additionally, I will re-institute the Photo/Video of the Day to add to the visual exuberance of the entries. Look for bits starting in Chapter 92 and reference Chapter 89: Graduation is for Lovers for a complete Graduation rundown via video and transcript.

Video of the Day:
Check out number one there at the end. Nolan Ryan = Badass.

Appendix G is for Graduation

I am going to use this post to bolster my other grad posts with pictures and an explanation of the inside jokes for my friends that my not get all of those. Pictures will be first with the explanations of the jokes coming as I feel like recounting the stories.

Graduation Pics:

Inside Joke Explanations:

We've gone Behind the Architecture with Arthur and Bernard refers to a video we made as a farce on an assignment for the end of our first year, first semester. Arthur and Bernard were fictional clients and subdivided the semester into two conceptual design projects working with six parallel walls and a cube of space. We decided that doing a Behind the Music type documentary on the two brothers as the characters from televisions Perfect Strangers would be hilarious so here it is in its entirety. And yes, that is me as the narrator doing my best Robert Ferguson impression.


Walking the Walk


Talking the Talk


Reading the Talk:

As my fellow classmate and historian of the immediate future Phil Fossen once told me...
We are gathered here today to talk about tomorrow.
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will soon be today.
I guess I’m really here to talk about the past and the future.
And as our esteemed professor of Gothic and Renaissance Architecture
Leon Satkowski has said, “history is where it’s at, or at least where it was? so I’ll start there.

Three years ago I was corralled onto a bus with a bunch of strangers and a few random acquaintances.
We were off on an orientation weekend to all get to know each other.
I’m sure you’ve all been there in one form or another.
Is a mandatory weekend retreat really going to bring us all together?
Is this any way to start a dynasty?

Now, I'm sure that many of my classmates in the Masters of Architecture program were thinking the same thing that I did when we got there...

Weekend away at a University we don't attend
Sleeping in dormitories
Going on nature walks in the forest looking at trees and plants
Making natural art using twigs and berries
No rip and tear modeling supplies in sight.

I think they sent us on the Landscape Architecture retreat.

But somewhere amongst the bikes in trees,
discussions of diets with faculty,
delicious cafeteria food,
crazy potters,
and Andy Goldsworthy-esque Exquisite Corpse exercises scattered throughout the woods of St. Johns
it happened. We had formed our family.

Now I'm sure a lot of you might be thinking that this is another
"what a wonderful family speech" and in a way it is.
But it isn't without its share of adventure and bickering just like any other real family.

Since the inception of our Masters of Architecture quest,
we've designed the most beautiful house in the world,
one of which looked suspiciously like Ryan Grunklee.
We've gone Behind the Architecture with the perfect strangers Arthur and Bernard.
We’ve learned that phenomenology is more than just a rose.
We've tried to work the most preposterous words imaginable into presentations. *point for phenomenology*.
We’ve exchanged the contents of the R-Factor’s desks by the cover of darkness.
We've engaged in graphing almost any activity you can imagine.
We've travelled to Chicago and learned the power of a handshake.
We've made decisions on how much to cut off of a site model,
which perhaps could have been handled more delicately.
We’ve contemplated the brickness of the brick.
We learned the importance of Horos, Topos, Kratos, and Manos.
We were witness to the death of tectonics and had classical revivals WITH victory laps around the balcony.
We've played all manner of ball sports indoors and have only broken a couch.
We've been treated to the finer things in life by our own French ambassador and his luxurious loft.
We've studied in Port Cities both foreign and domestic.
We have had delicious pot lucks and eaten more meatballs and ice cream dessert that you can fathom.
And most recently and importantly,
finished what we are gathered here today to celebrate with all of you...
the completion of our degrees.

I am proud to say that despite the difference in study and school
all of the graduates assembled here today are a far cry from the people we were when we showed up here three, four, five or more years ago.
For those who are outside of our program
I’m sure you have just as many stories and jokes you could tell to, with, and about one another.
We’ve all shared so much with our classmates
and that’s why this speech may sound so familiar.

We've lost a few classmates and gained a few classmates.
We have grown together and apart and together again,
but we have all grown.
We have made the decisions to steer our educations and our careers in trajectories that have been influenced by faculty and lectures and one another.

Our colleges have bonded together forming the new College of Design and are presented with the opportunity to push collaborative efforts between the many disciplines which it encompasses.
Just like the strangers who show up on the first day of orientation
I hope that this new College can continue to evolve and have its schools challenge one another in promoting a commitment to a sustainable framework for not only designing and building but for living.
Most importantly, I urge the college to share this framework and what it produces with the amazing communities outside the doors of academia here in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a quote from Robert Terwilliger who said:

“Committing yourself is a way of finding out who you are.
A man finds his identity by identifying.
A man's identity is not best thought of as the way in which he is separated from his fellows
but the way in which he is united with them.?

Let's not all get so caught up with trying so hard to define ourselves as the next great individual.
Let's not sit in front of that desk for the next four or five years of our lives and think that that is what defines us. Let's allow ourselves to interact with the communities in which we design, and build, and live.
But let’s not only be designers.
Let's be artists and musicians.
Let's be advocates and teachers.
Let's be mothers and fathers.
Let's be friends and most importantly let's be family.

Thank you and good luck.

This will be a short one because as the title dictates, I am doing a lot of work on a little sleep trying to polish off this thesis book. Anyhoo, I thought I'd show you what I am currently working on and show off the first piece of paperwork out of three that gets me my diploma. Cheers.

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The beginning of a pull apart axon diagram

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The "acceptable for defense" sheet from my thesis defense on the 19th

Here's the diagrams that Studio 4284 developed featured in a former post for some reference... I also just want to say that John Dwyer, Tom Westbrook, and the entire studio did an amazing job putting this studio together and really rocking it all semester. They are hopefully doing a time lapse video of deployment this week sometime and I'll link to the Solutions website which I hope will be hosting a feature. They also got a bit of press on Minnesota Public Radio. Check out this article and don't miss the audio interview!

For the next month, the design will be refined, tested and presented to various NGO’s, investors and other humanitarian agencies. After that, early in June, it will be shipped to its final site in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans where it will serve as infrastructure for an ethnobotanical garden.

I am hoping to be there when it gets delivered in early June... so, without further adieu, I give you Clean Hub.

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Here are some pictures of the Clean Hub deployment from the other day courtesy of one of my favorite undergrads Sandra Wahba taken unceremoniously from her Facebook site.

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Pre-deployment

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Ramp deployment

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Lavatory module deployment

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Solar panels are now in place

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Assembly of rain catch/roof armature

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Interior water tank divider and foot pump sink

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Entry to bathroom, notice the hot plexi stencil

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A view from the back side of the Hub

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Near full deployment

It's been a crazy couple of days with a lot of Moveable Type Manual reading and a big help to lead me to some fresh code templates from my friend and editor of There Vol. 4 Aaron Westre (pictured below) but I finally got the site back to normal. I even added the banner I was trying to add on Thursday night as well as a Search function and some links to some of the websites I frequent.

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Now that the blog is new an improved I can once again get back to posting. I just found out that one of the studio people Nadene is going to be staying in the area for this Summer! I am real excited to have Nadene around because not only is she a good designer, but she's a helluva person.

In other news, people are starting to head home from the Design Studio which has got to be pretty sad. It was hard enough to leave when I did, but I don't envy having to be down there as long-termers and studio mates are dropping like flies.

Finally, I wanted to, if any of them read it tell everyone that hung out last night that I had an awesome time and was very impressed with the veteran and rookie skills of everyone while thrashing on some Guitar Hero. Today I have totally overbooked myself with the race being at Richmond and under the lights tonight that I want to watch with my Pops, a birthday pint with Hans at O'Donovans, and some Wii playing with Scott and Co. at his place downtown. Too many fun things and all on one day. I wish people would spread out their social events so I wasn't so bored the rest of the week. Geez! :) Coming Soon: A report on the Solutions Vol. 1 event I attended... sneak preview: It was fantastic.

and one more thing... Happy Birthday to Chandler. Safe travels buddy.

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So, I started playing with Movable Type and got my Links section all set up as well eliminating some dead weight from the sidebar. It was pretty sweet, let me tell you. And then I decided to play with the banner and I ended up messing something up. Figures. Anyhow, I'm trying out the logo in the previous post. Check it out and let me know what you think. Meanwhile, I am going to try and fix my Main Index template. Cheers.

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I spend a lot of time here...

Chapter 80: Happy Domain Day!

This morning, I finally had some time to work on some things that I've had on my "to-do list" for a while. One of which is the acquisition of the "up your architecture" domain. So, I am happy to announce that you can now enter "www.upyourarchitecture.com" and it will bring you straight to my blog!

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In that vein, I have a really great day ahead. I have some time to work on my thesis book this morning then I get to go out to Minnetonka to have lunch out at the 'rents house and hang out with my Dad this afternoon and then have dinner at the new Christo's (a great greek restaurant) that just opened up in Tonkatown.

On a Biloxi note, my friends Jessie, Sarah, and Jennifer have been scoping out places down south for us to live as Sarah and Jennifer's Americorps agreement with Hands On only guarantees them housing for the first half of the term and Jessie would like to have some roomates and cheater rent :) Jessie recently stumbled across a former Thai restaurant in Ocean Springs (just east of Biloxi) that is a couple blocks from where she lives now and is for rent. It is really just a house with a tack on where the bar area used to be but it looks pretty cool and as four architects, it holds a lot of intrigue for us. Anyhoo, here is a link and a picture. We'll see how it all pans out, but this is just one of the many possibilities...

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So I'm continuing to work on putting my thesis book together which means I am basically resizing boards, finishing other graphics and then formatting them so that they fit the University's standards.

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Anyhow, this of course leads to me having something else going on to keep me sane such as a movie, trailer, music, or random clips I come across in my journey through the world wide web. To illustrate how much I am working on my thesis book, here is the list of movies playing in the background over the last couple of days:

Thank You for Smoking
Punch Drunk Love
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Old School
Amelie
Garden State
Clerks
Hellboy
Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind
Chasing Amy
Venture Bros. Season 2
Lost in Translation

So that's about it for the past week. I've also been listening to the Old Crow Medicine Show a lot. I picked up their latest album: Big Iron World which I have really been enjoying, especially the first track "Down Home Girl". Anyhow, this next week is pretty chalk full of events. Today I am acting as a critic on a design jury for my thesis advisor Ozayr Saloojee's Undergrad 2 studio and then this evening in the Twin Cities Solutions Vol. 1 mentioned in my last post. Tomorrow will be an all day, knock-down, drag-out book day with possible stop offs for lunch with my folks downtown and maybe a run. Friday will be more of the same, and hopefully I'll have a chance to relax with some friends I haven't seen for a while and play some Kubb. I will probably just post anecdotal events that I haven't mentioned since my time home or things that happened in Biloxi that I forgot to mention until I get my book done and have more to post from thesis.

Anyhow, I thought I'd leave you all with a quick little story. Back in February I believe, the folks at studio stuffed our buddy Phil Fossen's Tigger Halloween suit up, put a basketball for a head and put a beer in it's hand and sat it at my desk in studio where it remained for over a month and a half. Putting pictures on facebook of it and then telling me it's so good to have me back, but I should get more sleep and not stay at studio all the time.

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Sooooo... when I got back and found the Tigger suit slumped over under my desk, I decided to put it on and have a little walk around the building in between some of the thesis reviews lunch break. All in all, good times, it was hot as a mother lover. Enjoy.

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Jumping Jacks on the Balcony

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Thug Life w/ Andy Part 1

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Thug Life w/ Andy Part 2