This is for the rats from yesterday.

"Philosophers and scientists confidently offer up traits said to be uniquely human, and the monkeys and apes casually knock them down - toppling the pretension that humans constitute some sort of biological aristocracy among the beings on Earth." - Carl Sagan

This is the power and steam plant next to the Materials and Minerals Building (M&M, the wood shop) on IIT's campus. M&M was the first building (1939) Mies built in the US. It's also where I make all my furniture.


“My education has been so unwitting I can't quite tell which of my thoughts come from me and which from my books, but that's how I've stayed attuned to myself and the world around me for the past thirty-five years. Because when I read, I don't really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing on through the veins to the root of each blood vessel.” - Bohumil Hrabal

Travel is much the same. This photo was taken on my first trip to continental Europe. My travels; especially Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany; will undoubtedly influence my designs far more than any studio I've ever had or book I've ever read.

Cemetery in Chur, Switzerland


"Become who you are." - Nietzsche

I took some photos of my friend Derek a while ago for a project he's been working on for a little over half a decade now. He basically grows out his facial hair and then trims it into some style and documents it with photos. For his final photo he just grew out a gnarly beard.

Anyways, the first photo is a digital photo edited in Photoshop while the second is  4"x5" color slide film. I may have said this before on here, but I have a theory on film/digital photography. Digital photography tries to duplicate reality and does it very well - film does not. Film is a chemical process that was refined for roughly the last 100 years. The object was not to look real; it was to please the photographer, and to that end each manufacturer makes several types of color film that produce slightly different hues. My personal favorite is Fuji RDPIII (Provia). What's interesting to me is that digital photographers spend a lot of time in Photoshop making their digital photos look like film (think of all the iPhone apps that do this) not because they want it to necessarily to look like film, that may be what they're going for, but in reality they're just trying to make Reality (with a capital "r")  look more pleasing; which is what film does. Film is a tangible interpretation of what humans find aesthetically pleasing.


"When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature." - Sigmund Freud

Not a huge fan of Freud but that one reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Hagakure:

"Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige's wall there was this one: 'Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.' Among one's affairs there should not be more than two or three matters of what one could call great concern. If these are deliberated upon during ordinary times, they can be understood. thinking about things previously and then handling them lightly when the times comes is what this is all about. To face an event and solve it lightly is difficult if you are not resolved beforehand, and there will always be uncertainty in hitting your mark. However, if the foundation is laid previously, you can think of the saying, 'Matters of great concern should be treated lightly,' as your own basis for action." - Hagakure (27)

This is my friend Garret Santora playing at the Streetside Bar in Chicago.

This is a random unedited video of them playing that night:


"I've heard people say that the trouble with the world is, we haven't enough good leaders. I think we haven't enough great followers. I have stood side by side with great thinkers--surgeons, engineers, economists; men who deserve a great following--and have heard the crowd cheer me instead. I'm proud of my profession. I like to play baseball. I like fans, too, but I think they yelled too loudly for the wrong man." - Babe Ruth

Propane tank converted to grill pulled by a dune buggy made by the driver, Carlos. That's my dad sitting shotgun. This is the first photo he ever sent me via email - it's a new medium for him.


Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ... The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
-Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

With the killing of Osama Bin Laden there were a lot of misattributed MLK quotes floating around. I thought this one was pretty much amazing.

I recently submitted a few photos about steam engines for publication for a new journal at IIT. They only printed my black and white stuff so I thought I'd post the color photos that were left out. This is one continuous strip of film I shot in a concrete plant in Mokena, IL during my winter break the first year of grad school. This is my brother working on a scotch marine boiler.


"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything." - Yamamoto Tsunetomo in Hagakure, 38

I found this photo while I was looking for photos of the actual lathe that the legs came from in the post below. It's my older brother and father standing in our now demolished warehouse.


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

Teachers unions and getting rid of terrible teachers; cops and the drug war - judges too; populist politicians who spew idiocy, racism, and anti-science rhetoric so that they can garner the support from voters who hold similar opinions; the mega-rich in America and issues of fairness/taxes (see: Koch brothers); home contractors and using truly new materials, technology, and ideas to build responsible homes; etc. The further I go in school the more I realize how difficult true change is to accomplish - especially as the area of interest gains prominence. We had a lawyer that specializes in litigating claims related to architecture speak to us. His message over and over was that lawyers and judges, given opposing opportunities, will make legal decisions based on which allows them to stay busy and make more money. It was a way of predicting the outcome of any given trial that proved quite accurate.

So now the constructive part - how do you incentivize people to change their deleterious but self-preserving actions for the benefit of all?

Just a dreary shot of Chicago from the roof of Vetro.