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…potato chips and pondering…

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I make potato chips on occasion. They are the sort of thing, a bit like crackers, in that I’ve never found ‘the recipe’ as much as different ways of making them. I suppose this all comes with a disclaimer that this isn’t really a recipe so much as an idea that has results. I have found that any potato, sliced thin and cooked in fat, then salted isn’t ever really a bad thing. So feel free to enjoy and embellish and play.

And really it is all about the play. That is the reason I cook and love to have mis-steps, foibles. They always make me wonder and as a result I start to ask questions as to why.

Growing up, I found that at a certain age the question of “why?” was to be forever met with the uncaring and utterly lame answer of “That’s Why!”. It’s the underlying message that hurts when you discover it; that you aren’t to question things any longer. Just accept it, get a subscription to the National Enquirer and move along being spoon fed crap. Somehow I’ve never really been able to buy into that. In fact, “That’s Why!” is such a shit answer to anything and anyone that I instantly lose any sort of love or appreciation for a person who deals it to me. I am always happy to say, “I don’t know”, or “I know this much and am guessing about the rest…” or, simply, “Interesting…” filing it away for further rumination and research if it so compels me…

So much is on my mind lately. I am being audited for continuing education as a new requirement to maintain my Architects license. I went to Europe for a month, read books about and rode the Paris subway, have found and followed a group trying to build a subway in Seattle… I have read books about skulls, about dinosaurs, have interned at a butcher shop and experimented with potato chips and other things in my kitchen. I have roasted pigs for people. Sadly; none of this is continuing education, even though in my mind it is the ultimate education. I am delinquent and will fail my audit, because I did not comply. Because the idea of sitting in a dry seminar and listening to how people build out of wood to the latest code is the least relevant form of education. Listening to someone speak about a high rise in Dubai isn’t meaningful at all. Somehow it all smacks of the same mindset – the same shit reply to the question of “why?”… That’s Why! It is the arrogant shitbaggery that bothers me most; that people tell you what you like. What you love. What you are to be interested in and pay attention to. If you don’t, you will be drummed out and be failed.

I don’t know if I’ve been drummed out, or I’m just simply tired of the charade. The ever growing game of changing rules and having to spend a few hours a month listening to things that are no more relevant then relearning to wipe my ass or putting diapers on a pig makes me bitter. I am sure it isn’t only Architecture that is so ridiculous. It is every profession. It is the manner in which free thinking people are pushed to find other outlets and conformists flourish.

Truth be told, I’ve never loved Architecture… I’ve always been told I’m good at and I’ve done OK at it, but years ago I had a thought about it that is truer ever day, “while I can do architecture, I can’t do architecture”… Always, I have wondered what that meant and tried to explain it to people close to me who found it utterly un-enlightening. While I can do something, it isn’t something that allows me to be myself at all. What I do in it is always a sacrifice. Architecture is taking ideas and turning them into something build-able. It is the taking of something borne in the realm of extraordinary and making it ordinary. It is the antithesis of everything I am…

Truth be told, I would much rather simply take ordinary things and just stare at them for while and wonder why they can’t be something extraordinary…

Follow up… I passed my audit. I sent in pictures of my Europe sketches and documented my experiences with subway projects and other things and received a letter back from the state that I’d complied… Wonders never cease…

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