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The more one sees of human fate and the more one examines its secret springs of action, the more one is impressed by the strength of unconscious motives and by the limitations of free choice - Carl Jung
I really can't escape the fact that I have an innate need to build things. Design is feckless without the tangible aspect of the feedback loop, so I've started putting together what will eventually be a wood/metal workshop.

I didn't realize until typing this out, but this is the first time I've never had access to a workshop. We torn down my family's while I was in grad school and during that time I had access to IIT's shop.

I went to an auction for a cabinet maker that was going out of business (Bolhuis Woodworking Co.) and bought a bunch of hardwood and old industrial woodworking machines. More pictures and details to come. It'll certainly be interesting.

My friend Kevin (pictured) and Derek helped me load up the roughly 1,500 BF of maple, white oak, mahogany, etc., and some old Delta Rockwell machines into a truck on the coldest day of the winter.

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This was the coach of my paintball team. He and the head photographer from P8NT Magazine ended up in fairly high-up positions in the Obama campaign. Just before the election, maybe two weeks or so, I had a few beers with both of them and some of their co-workers; all of who just happened to be the heads of their departments. My coach is an epic story teller. Not so much because his oratory skills are great but more because he can piece together the truly significant parts of a story that typically escapes others. He's also not prone to embellishment like most, so you know that everything he's saying is, if anything, understated.

Anyways, I show up late and basically get the best introduction ever as he has recently told them the story of our paintball team (apparently one guy has dibs on the movie rights). They were impressed, which is unique for me because it's usually hard to get past even mentioning paintball before the giggles and misunderstanding begins. It spans about seven years and involves the same core group of kids, being broke, going from decent novices to pro, long road trips, eccentric personalities, and plenty or moral dilemma. Sometimes I forget how all that felt, but this passage from Lao Tzu reminds me of what it was like to be that age and have those experiences.
In the pursuit of knowledge:
everyday something is added.
In the pursuit of enlightenment:
everyday something is dropped.

Photo by Dan Mouradian on a Mamiya 6x7. This was a Polaroid test shot. It was taken for a P8NT Magazine gear guide in my parent's basement... moonshine and sharpies ensued.

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This is a quote from Conan O'Brien when he was on The Nerdist Podcast.
...if you have a creative mind. I've described it sometimes as a very powerful lawnmower. It can do all this great stuff but every now and then it turns around and it rolls over you and chews you up.
When I heard that I felt an odd sense of relief. During school I would get that all the time. I'd have so many ideas and be doing so much research that I'd hardly produce anything. Information can be stifling like that. If you really consider the consequences our your actions, good or bad, inaction at times seems inevitable.

This is a reused liquid CO2 storage tank. The walls are 1" thick steel (I've cut lots of them with an oxyacetylene torch), the insulation surrounding the tank is about 4" of closed cell rigid foam, and the covering is fiberglass. They're actually fairly inexpensive. My dad uses them for hot water storage for the steam systems we build. This way we can spec a much smaller boiler and let it run overnight. Also, when you heat up water it drops all its solids, so by doing the heating in a separate tank we keep our boilers cleaner. Plus these are easier to clean out. We install the pipes which becomes the closed loop for the steam. Over a week the 180 degree water may drop just a few degrees in the dead of winter.


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"I want money in order to buy the time to get the things that money will not buy." - Carl Sandburg

This is my friend Derek on my roof a few months back. The buildings from left to right are Lake Point Tower, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, the Aon center, Two Prudential Plaza, Trump Tower, and the IBM Tower (333 North Wabash) - in case you were curious...



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I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. - John Adams
I got a job. It's part time and with school it's already getting hectic, but in this market it's hard to say no -- especially to one of if not the best engineering firms in the city, dbHMS. They're a design build engineering firm. One of the principles was my professor last year for a class called Mec-Elec (mechanical and electrical systems design). Their work includes Aqua by Jeanne Gang; the Poetry Foundation by John Ronan; and everything in the last several years at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Chicago Public Schools.

My design build team visited his office to do some drawings for our building. At some point he joked at how bad our systems drawings were to which I asked if that was a job offer; I started a few days later.

I felt awkward taking photos so it was a bit rushed, but these are my digs.
Looking north from my desk down the Brown Line tracks of the L.

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Dear Mother, 
I don't want to be a doctor, and live by men's diseases; nor a minister to live by their sins; nor a lawyer to live by their quarrels. So I don't think there's anything left for me but to be an author. 
Nathaniel [Hawthorne]
A square in Berlin near the Altes Museum. The sign you can only kind of see on the right is Weihenstephaner - my favorite brewery.

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"The gods are of no sect; they side with no man. When I imagine that Nature inclined rather to some few earnest and faithful souls, and specially existed for them, I go to see an obscure individual who lives under the hill, letting both gods and men alone, and find that strawberries and tomatoes grow for him too in his garden there, and the sun lodges kindly under his hillside, and am compelled to acknowledge the unbribable charity of the gods." - Thoreau  Journal entry April, 15 age 23


My sister in law, Gaja, picking blueberries. This photo was made with a Diana+ using 120 B&W film.