Archive for the ‘Humanity is a virus’ Category

Unplugged

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Body Count, Humanity is a virus, Shovels

When MTV still did meaningful music, there were two or three times they made a difference.  One, oof course, was the Nirvana unplugged broadcast, and then there were two times they had REM do it.

And here you go (mikey should love this one) featuring the goddess Patti Smith:

 

Because I had the weirdest day in my office today, in that I came in and the internet connectivity was wonky.  Now, this is not that weird and a bit of rebooting of the hardware usually makes it stop.  But this time it didn’t

I spent much time on the phone with actual humans, and we tried several things.  Of course, the service provider would not do anything past their machines, which seemed to be functional.  So I reworked my routers, and reset all my settings, swapped out my routers, and nothing worked.  In the meantime, I was using my phone as hotspot.

So in a final call, I was hoping for a schedule of a technician, and the phone tech managed to ask me about which piece of hardware I was plugged into.  And here was the array of shit they had installed and left me plugged into:

The big tall thing is my Apple router, and the other four things are….something else.  I brought them all in for internet and phone, and the cost is like 1/4 of what AT&T was charging me.  But they had me plugging my router into the tall thing with blue lights, and that’s where we we falling down.  So after talking with the tech, she asked me if I was plugged into the short thing, and I said no, they told me to plug into the tall thing.  So when I plugged into the short thing, everything turned green.

Here’s the weird thing.  The white box on the left is a wireless router that I apparently never used.  Never asked for.  but it was wired in.

So, the upshot is that the guys wiring this shit didn’t know what they were doing, I don’t know what the fuck I am doing, and somehow it’s working now.

John Oliver, who is being a heavyweight offsetting that fucker Maher, had a great episode on the ERA.

As he does, on everything he does.  But his show reminded me of a younger zombie.

A zombie who joined a couple of buses of people., going to DC (my first time!) to attend a rally in support of a final push to ratify the fucking ERA.  Because, of course, America!  where equal rights has always been a controversial idea.  It did seem, at the time, that a few loud voices would help push it over the finish line, and holy hell, how optimistic was I?  All of it, Katie.

Kind of distressingly, a reporter from a Madison paper stopped and interviewed me while we sat on the Mall.  Ignored, of course, my wife and all the other women around, to do a ‘fish out of water’ curiosity rocks piece about an actual MAN that supported the ERA.  Because, fucking patriarchy.  FWIW, even my parents, who had no knowledge of our participation, noticed the interview, which was funny as hell.

One of the things Oliver brought back to cognition was the existence of ambulatory horrorshow Phyllis Schlafly.  I understand if you wanted to never think about her ever again, I know I didn’t.  But Oliver detailed the intensity of her hate for her gender and how ardently she worked to make sure they did not have legal protection for their rights.  Yes, she is one of the most horrible people that had ever existed.

We are one state away from ratifying the ERA.

Ratified-States-Map-Nevada

Illinois ratified the ERA last year, which was the 37th state.

Phyllis is a loon, who is a tool of the patriarchy.  She lied.  She once thanked her husband for allowing her to make a speech.   She lacquered her hair.  I really did not like her, and I am not happy that I still have to think about her.  Tolkien would have left her out of Lord Of The Rings as too evil to be believable.  I have read several alternative novels about hell, and  none of the levels seem to suit her perfidy.

I don’t like her, is the feeling I am trying to get across here.

But most of all, let’s think about this.  I went on this demonstration  THIRTY FUCKING YEARS AGO.  This is a terrible statement on our country’s lying about our dedication to equal rights.  Yeah, like all those years of enslavement, rape and brutalization of brown people, and the way we are now putting slightly brown children in cages is not able to demonstrate that we have never, not really, grown beyond it.

Well, I started out being kind of cheered by John’s show, and now I think I will start drinking.  Anyways, here is his show….

 

 

well, hey.  You remember the other day, when I said Wisconsin was closed?  Well, we took a WHOLE GODDAM TWO DAYS OFF, not so much from the snow but from the 20 below temperatures right after.  But since then, we have had TWO fucking deep snowfalls, not to mention a couple of warm days in-between, which allowed some of the snow to melt, then get piled up behind the snow that did not melt, and then it all froze again.  Which then got covered by new snowfall, providing slip-n-fall hidden traps designed to kill Wisconsinites.

or, as the Eskimo say, kaniktshaq moritlkatsio atsuniartoq.  strictly translated, it says “Observe the snow. It fornicates.”  But the intent is clear:  LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKING SNOW.

This is the toughest snow year in a long time.  When I moved to Milwaukee, we had a snow year that had heroic piles of snow along side roads, and the intersections, you had to lean out and peer along to see if cars were coming.  And that was when I wasn’t even a property owner, where now I have to shovel that shit my own bad self (I keep an eye on the smartwatch, making sure I don’t over do it.  You know, if you read the past).

But this is what we do in Wisconsin.  We are all shoveling today, and tomorrow we will just go to work like normal.  Because we have boots and brandy.

So, now I got that off my chest, I have to get heavy.  Me, very heavy.

Some might expect that I might be talking about Ryan Adams, and I feel tough enough about that, but it’s not.  But it is related, in that his early work was released through an awesome label, Bloodshot Records in Chicago – they release Langford and Mekons content, and that should make them cool enough.

What I found out tonight is that the life partner of one of the founders of the label, was abusive and grabby toward one of the label’s artists.

This is appalling.

I friended this guy on Facebook, and have been a fan of his music.  I unfriended him tonight, as soon as I heard.

This is so sickening.  Every woman I know has these stories.  I start to look back and wonder, “when did I do something a woman did not appreciate and still hates me for?  And I don’t know when.  I feel queasy when I think it might have happened.  When I have been an employer, I never treated my employees in any other way, but maybe in my personal life….it makes me feel bad for anyone I might have.

FOR FUCKS SAKE, MEN, THIS IS NOT THAT HARD.  when they say no, they are not kidding.  back the fuck off, and if the deal changes, they will come back to you.  Being asked to call a cab is a pretty good indicator, don’t be a fucking rapist dick.

As has once been said, men are afraid that women will laugh at them.  Women are afraid that men will kill them.

The difference in power is what women say when they rail against the patriarchy, and the change is what men want to resist, because the status quo is a fucking good deal for them.

At this point, I don’t know what to say.  I am heartened that the Me Too movement is encouraging women (and men, let’s not forget the bravery of people like Terry Crews) to come forward even when the perpetrators are not the richest, most famous people.  The idea that this massive outpouring of stories of abuse and sexism need to stop being treated as some fakery by a small number of people, but that this is endemic, it exists everywhere.

I am very disheartened to find that people in the music industry I respect, have been embroiled in this.  I am particularly chagrined to find that a Musician I liked, is one of the perpetrators.

I think the only alternative is to continue and deepen the Me Too movement, in that people who feel that they have been abused in any way, come forward.  In a way, certainly that allows the accused (if named) to defend themselves or provide the alternative memory.

But this still taints me for musicians I liked.  And I hate them for that.

Related videos:

I recognize that second video is different, but as a black belt who helped teach women (and men) self defense techniques, I felt the attitude was good.

Meanwhile, guys, can you fucking just pull back a little?  Or a Lot?

 

OK, out of curiosity, I have watched the competing FYRE Festival documentaries. I was peripherally aware about the failure of this, but holy fucking shit, the complete cluelessness of a rich white guy who is able to convince people to send him money, it was like a new millennia version of a religious huckster. Oh wait, it was a more like a social media version of modern religious huckster.  Oh wait, it was like Trump decided to do a hipster music festival.
 
But seriously, what the hell did people think? Here in Milwaukee, we are home to the largest music festival in the world, over eleven days, serving more or less 100,000 people every day. When the festival ends, every year, they take a couple of weeks off and then start planning the next festival (in reality, I am pretty sure they start planning the next one during the current festival.  And since they are constantly rebuilding and improving the actual physical portions of the site every year, I figure they start planning well in advance of a year). And that is at a location that not only has dedicated facilities (including toilets!) but also the built in ability of an urban area to absorb the needed hotel rooms, traffic, parking and transit.
 
And not to mention that the festival grounds support various ethnic festivals, pretty much every weekend for the entire summer. And they all come together well, mainly because they are planned for most of a year in advance, and are based on expectation of infrastructure and support in place.
 
What I find absolutely inconceivable is that so many of the people involved, many of whom may have been admittedly very young and many of whom had no experience in planning or construction; at the same time there were others who were older and more experienced and had experience in how much effort it takes to do this kind of thing.
The Hulu version presents him as a con artist.  As a professional, I will not say I have not been burned by con artists.  But I will say that I could see early on that their plans did not make sense; I recognize that the normal thinking is that architects do no know anything about spending money, but the reality is that we have to run businesses like anyone else, and within a few years of working on many different ways of completing projects, it becomes apparent that it takes money.  It takes investment.  It takes time and it takes FUCKING EFFORT.
I often say that I have seen projects die for all kinds of reasons.  And a not uncommon one, is that the primary mover on the development team is either a scammer or he is completely clueless.
It was a minor example, but recently I was contacted by a building owner (through a reference). I actually was familiar with the building through a public improvement effort guided by the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the building is a small mess.  The owner said the inspectors told them they needed an architect, and I explained, patiently, that what they were trying to do required the entire building to be reviewed for current codes (which include Existing Building Codes, which can be complex).  When I sent him an estimate, he started to try to cut me down, piecemeal it, and otherwise dismiss the value of my fees.  After a couple of responses, I refused to be drawn; it was obvious he was going to dispute my bills at every step and that he wanted me to try to help him shortcut around building codes.  I have seen it before.  I cut him the fuck off.
What I wonder is why nobody else did that to this shithead?  I mean, he seems like a douchebro at best, how was it that no one saw that?
I do not pretend to some ability to magically find the real impulses behind various folks I deal with.  But I will say that after one bad example, I need see no further reason to work with them, and I have extended that to say to new clients “my insurer requires that I receive (and without saying, having the check clear) a retainer that is based on the scope, extent, and urgency of the services”  Because, you know it, your emergency based on your ignorance or idiocy does not allow me to ignore my current clients (or this current video game) unless you pay accordingly.
So how did all these people just give this guy some inconceivable amount of money, and the people working on it continue to work, when there is no amount of planning being done?  IN fact, the one guy who said the original island selected had NPO CHANCE of supporting the proposed number of attendees, and he said the only way they could support that number needed mooring a boat off shore.  Asshole said, ‘we are not doing the boat, and your services are no longer needed”.
Seriously, at that point, every professional on the project should have walked.
And the original island used to be owned by a drug lord, which was abandoned when he got arrested.  The contract for the island stipulated that the ownership of the island would not be mentioned, but the first marketing efforts prominently displayed his name.  Which voided the contract, leaving them scrambling to find another island.  With like 6 months to go.  I mean, fuck?
But I do not want to spoil too much, if you are interested.  Check them out, one on Hulu and one on Netflix.  You will be amazed at the blindness allowed by models and drugs.  Or maybe not.
OK, maybe I am just a fucking old guy, but what makes me wonder is the ability for people to ignore all the fucking warning signs.  This guy made his mark by creating a credit card that added fees to your existing credit card, for the privilege of having a credit card made out of metal.  The only surprise is this was not Trump-branded, except the Trump family doesn’t have that level of inventiveness.
Fuck.  I tried like hell to just be good at what I do.  When I started my first firm/partnership, with a woman and a Latino, we discussed whether we wanted to approach it as some kind of minority firm, but the rules said it had to be EITHER a woman, or a racial minority; and when we appealed, they just looked confused.  What did we think, forming a firm with one of each?  And none of us wanted to commit to 51% to one or the other, so the whole thing turned shitty and I bailed.  I named the damn firm, too.
So yeah, good at what I do.  I think I am.  Have won some awards.  More importantly, I have done projects that have had positive changes to local neighborhoods, and real families.
But I never cheat, I never scam, I never inflate my fees, I never blow smoke up anyone’s ass.  When I walk into a project, I always start a discussion about the difficulties and the hurdles we will see. When something goes wrong, i let the client know as soon as I can, so we can start working toward solutions.  In the case of serious changes to my fees, I do not bill until the situation is resolved.

OK, now I know why I am not rich.

Finest Worksong

Posted: November 9, 2018 in Fridge Note, Humanity is a virus, Shovels


I have been talking recently with a potential client, who owns a small, scattershot industrial building that is filled with a weird mix of tenants doing a weird mix of businesses, with a nearly incomprehensible of access and exiting that is pretty much not illuminated.

It’s not the first time I have been through the building.

NWS site

But the Owner, much as I like him personally, apparently figures I will be willing to work on the basis of a  couple of hundred bucks.  I AM NOT.

After going back and forth a bit, he keeps asking for me to do something shortsighted and cheap.  Here is my answer:

Andy-

A change of use resets the code to the requirements of the new use.  That is why they asked you for a Change of Use Analysis.  The use as furniture storage and showroom is treated differently in the code, and that’s why there is a need to review the new use in relation to the rest of the building.  Also, not having seen the history of the building, it is entirely possible that the prior use was not properly approved.  Which, of course is not your fault in any way.
You may be able to use that area as storage, although storage of furniture may also be problematic, and use as a showroom will be an entirely different aspect. Without an analysis on my part, I am unable to proffer a professional opinion on that.
I am unsure what you would need me to do, because your stated plans for the space are changing.  The building itself has gone through decades of incremental changes, that seem to have never been adequately assessed for code compliance. Conversion of a portion of the building to residential would STILL require analysis of the entire building for exiting and accessibility.
On a professional level, and with respect to my fiduciary duty to you as a client and the protection of public health and safety, not to mention in order to maintain my professional license and my liability insurance, I have an obligation to not only work on your behalf and in your best interest but to ensure that your building remains safe and occupiable and meets the standards of Milwaukee and State building codes.  In my prior experience, when clients insist on abbreviated scope of services, invariably we find that we have to do more work, most often finding ourselves performing the original scope of services, if not more, caused by trying to short cut things on the front end. The scope of services I have proposed is based on the years of experience I have in doing these kinds of things.  
After years of doing these kinds of projects, I have found that trying to shortcut, especially on the front end design and code elements invariably end up costing the Owner more money, resulting in blaming and bad blood.  
That is why I send out my proposals with an itemized estimate, so a potential client can see how my time would be broken down to various tasks.  When I look at them, I do not see any particular task that is not reasonably apportioned.
It seems to me that we may not be a good fit between client and professional.  I am not willing to provide you with a piecemeal approach to your building plans; invariably, I have found it results in more work that expands outside of the original scope of work.  
I really enjoyed meeting you and I like you on a personal basis during the brief time we met.  I also like your building a lot.  But on a professional level, I think we may not be the best fit.
Best regards and my sincere regrets.
Not sent yet.  Someone tell me that is wrong and ill-advised.
Maybe I shouldn’t watch the Walking Dead while writing these things.
Last year, we attended a fundraiser for Tammy Baldwin, attended by Elizabeth Warren.  It was at a brewpub, and it was packed.  We didn’t even get close in the line to get our pictures with these two political rockstars before we bailed;  but I bumped into Tony Evers, who was just former School Superintendent at the time and had just announced his candidacy for Governor, aiming at Turdwaffle.  So I shook his hand, and wished him the best of luck.  He smiled, saying “We don’t need luck.  We’re going to win.”  I laughed and congratulated him on his confidence.  But you know what they say – If you come at the king, you’d best not miss.  Tony knew what he was talking about, and didn’t miss.  He’s going to be excellent, and it should be mentioned that Mandela Barnes, his Lt. Gov, is also going to be excellent.

And since I just finished the biography of Scott Miller, Here is his band Game Theory with their take on the post title; they used it as an interstitial noise collage before the classic album Lolita Nation started proper with the song “Not Because You Can”.

 

I went to bed with the Gov race essentially tied, and my wife preceded me with a disgusted “that fucker Cruz won, and it looks like Walker is going to pull his own ass out of the fire again”.  I agreed, and rather than hit the bourbon, I went to bed too.  But I woke up before the alarm, and checking my phone, I found that Milwaukee had coughed up 47,000 additional ballots which put Tony over the top.  Milwaukee hates hates hates Turdwaffle since he was County Exec, and got out of town just before the pitchforks and tar-and-feathers crowd got to him.

And in one of the most delightful bits of schadenfreude ever, Walker and his craven Lege had passed a restriction on recounts, only allowing them in the state when the difference is less than 1%.  How much was Tony ahead?  1.2%!!!

Sad to say, Ironstache could not pull it out in Paul Ryan’s old district, which was disappointing but given the demographics, was a long pull anyways.  Randy will be back.

Also, disappointing that Beto did not take down that simpering asshole Cruz.  But let’s remember, he was never even supposed to get into striking distance!  However, as I said, if you come at the King, you’d best not miss…. but Beto gives a memorable speech to his supporters:

If foot-in-mouth Biden can be a VP, Beto who drops an f-bomb is certainly qualified.  Just saying.

But the real deal is that the Democrats made a historic wave, against all the structural advantages the Republicans and the small-population states have, and against all the ridiculous gerrymandering that has been going on for decades.  Democrats have to outperform Shitheads by at least 7 points to just break even.  In the Senate, the Democrats out performed the Crapweasels by something like 12 points (for some reason I can’t find the actual numbers right now THE INTERNET IS BORKEN!) and still lost seats…

So the Democrats have taken decisive control of the House.  More than the supposed Tea Party wave, but we expect the calls for civility and reaching across the aisle to start before this weekend.  But fuck that:  Nancy, use that hammer!  Maxine, start beating on banks.   In any case, Trump now has to face a check on what he thinks is unrestrained power, and he will not react well; he already is melting down and taking too many of his medications.  I would not be surprised if seeing Jim Acosta on his blessed Glass Teat inspires a full-fledged stroke or heart attack.

But here’s the thing.  For two years, us liberals have been reeling and feeling like we have lost everything we have worked for, and suffering from more than a little depression and PTSD.  And yes, we have lost things; but I came of age with Reagan, and had to live through TWO fucking Bushes.  We lost a lot over many years.  And we can survive, and we can be better; remember when there were no such things as same-sex marriages?  And there are people you know, right now, who can remember when women could not access safe abortions.  The Shitweasels never stop trying to spread their hatred and authoritarianism.

We can’t, stop, either.

 

 

 

Weirdness abounds.

I designed buildings for a suburban development several years, ago, 8 family condominiums in a squiggly road suburban silliness, but still I did what I could to make them better than the average.

And then 2008 happened, so the developer let the sites lay fallow.  And since then, he (and I ) have moved on to larger, different  projects that do not depend so much on the largesse of bankers, and the remaining sites have been allowed to be sold off to people on a piecemeal basis.  And since I am the Architect of Record and the official holder of Copyright, some of them contact me….

This is not a difficult thing, but neither is it straightforward.  The original permits, which included all the buildings in the development, were obtained in 2004.  And admittedly, we used previous plans as a starting point, but we altered them to include basements and changed the elevation to make them look  a fuck of a lot better.

These were developed as condominiums, intended for young singles and couples and being relatively inexpensive and fitting into the suburban sprawl.  And the Bush Debacle killed them all off.

So I have been contacted by a developer who wants to take a couple of these on, and I wish him the best.  He is going to develop them as rentals, until he can sell them, WTF.  So I am engaged to update the plans and obtain new State approvals.

Here’s the thing. in the intervening 14 years (!) we have adopted a couple of iterations of new building codes.   As I am going through those old, old plans, we had designed a couple of different elevations and a couple of color schemes.

And today I was trying to update the plans for sections and plans, particularly roof plans.

And I discovered the roof plans as recorded were not accurate.  And the drawing essentials, like elevation references, were not properly referenced, as well as all kinds of goofy computer drawing weirdness.

This is the thing that CAD is supposed to allow us to avoid.

I recognize that the setup of these drawings was done before the modern drafting systems.  But they were still confused and not simple.

So I spent a few hours making the roof plans make sense, and correspond to the elevations we have.

I have no anger toward the architects who helped me draw these up in the first place.  The probably did not understand the the way CAD could be referenced and layered, and not the way drafting actually made input to drawings. And the Software we use, has changed-a lot!- over the intervening time. And it is hardly not inconceivable  that I was spending my time on some other issues and did not review it in the amount of detail it should have been….

Which is always the aspect i have struggled with.  I am way more concerned with the specifics and details of the construction and specifics of the buildings I design.  And frankly, I spend WAY more time on design issues than I should on a day to day basis, especially on these smaller scale projects.  I have always been very hands on, until I am not, and then I trust people who are maybe not ready for it.  I never claimed to be the best project manager, all  I am is the best project manager I can be.

So I have been spending a fair number of hours, straightening these drawings and making them conform to the standards that I now use.  I will not, of course, bill the clients for these;  hardly their responsibility.  But it makes me way aware of the importance of seeing the abilities of the CAD software we use, and how to be aware of how to use it on a daily basis as well as use it on our older documents.

It is simultaneously annoying in the extreme and amusing to work through these issues.  And it informs me in a visceral way with how I will interact as a supervisor in the future.

If I ever do again.