Where I'll Be, and When.

Cairo, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I've had a couple people ask for our travel schedule, so I figured I'd just post it.

J & I will be in Los Angeles from 10 Feb until 14 Feb. J will be leaving from there to go to Ho Chi Minh City, where she will be staying until the end of June. If anybody would like to write to her, her address will be:

c/o Brian Zittoli, SIT Academic Director
161/3 Nguyen Van Thu Street
Dakao Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, VIET NAM

I'm sure she'll like getting mail.

I will be kicking it with my Minneapolitan friends from 10 March thru 13 March.

And I'll be in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 25 May thru 29 June. J & I will be returning together.

I'm also considering going to San Antonio for a couple of days for the national APA conference in April.

If anyone wants to hang out, pop me an e-mail. And of course, if anyone will be in Boston, I've got plenty of space with the little lady gone.



New Urban-Orleans-ism

Boston, Massachusetts
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I read in the news that Andres Duany, the Miami based architect/planner who is one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism got the job as chief planning advisor for the reconstruction of New Orleans (+16 something Mississippi communities), which is basically what I expected would happen.

It's kind of funny that this giant win for New Urbanism is coming at a point when the intellectual steam behind the movement is kind of changing direction, but perhaps that's what has to happen before something gains public acceptance. It will be interesting to see what the first large scale New Urbanist city will look like

Rebuilding an entire city is basically every planners dream, and it often adds a lot to the character of the city, for example, it is because of the great fire that Chicago has brick residential architecture while every other Midwestern city is primarily wood.

I'm thinking the Duany is a good choice. In the context we're talking about, it'll mean new urbanist planning (which is it's strong point) while the architecture will be left to private home owners (for the most part). Even in the areas that New Urbanist architecture is used, the neo-traditionalist architecture will work well with the traditional French influenced designs.



one would think it might be a dark day...

just for shammonds
Originally uploaded by illona.
...but when it comes down to it, a minority government by one of the most liberal conservative parties in the western hemisphere could be worse.

oh, Canada... why?

At least the socialists took Bolivia and Chile this month. Hugo called Boliva, Venezuela and Cuba the "axis of good." he he. Anybody see the new Bolivian president's sweater?

By the way, according to the news I now live in EaBo, not Eastie. Apparently we've been "rebranded" for the sake of all the new condo buyers. That's progress for you.



I Shot a Man in Reno.

London, England
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
We went to see Walk the Line today. I typically don't really like biography movies, but I have to admit it was good. I've always like Reese Witherspoon, too, except that I've never liked any of her movies. Nice to have one that I can name now.

In other news, J & I have noticed a disturbing trend. Those portable dvd players that they make now... So, we were in a resturant in New Hampshire last weekend, eating at a random little family resturant, and this chubby family had a dvd player sitting on their table. TV dinner at a resturant. Today, it was a guy in the subway. Now, I'm a pretty wired person, I have my computer with me most of the time and I use the dvd player on long flights and so on, and I have my iPod (which I never use when I'm with people), but are we honestly so disconnected from the world that we need visual stimulation when we are out with our families? Come on!



hump day

Alexandria, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I had the general annoyance of having someone try to use my credit card number this morning. The company caught it right away since it was a 10 cent charge to a foreign internet company. I guess they do that to test if the number works. But anyways, I'm stuck with no card until they send a replacement and I pretty much never use cash, so it's annoying.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in a good novel, I just finished Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, who is an Egyptian author that J brought back from Egypt. It's very good. It centers around a bunch of charactors who all live on the same street in 40's Cairo. You really get a feel for life there (it kind of reminds me of Pete Hamill's stuff about New York or Wladimir Kaminier about Berlin).

Must be off to class now.



I've been waiting soooo long for this...

Luxor, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
We're back from NH. Unfortunately, it was 50 degrees and raining, so skiing didn't really happen, but we did have a good time hanging out.

I just finished uploading J's pictures from Egypt. You can click on the picture to the right. It's a large set, but there were a lot of great photos.

Most importantly, 24 starts tonight. I think I might like Lost better, but 24 is still my favorite Republican TV show. If only the stupid football game would get done...

Hour One Update: ...so, I'm glad I scheduled my classes around this show. I can't believe they killed ... and ... Fricken wow.



The fireworks are for you guys...

Boston, Massachusetts
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
It's been a busy couple of days for my best friends.

Ryan & Bethany have a beautiful new baby girl, Eliot Satie, who was born on the 11th.

And Mikee C was married today to Becky Meurette (and on Friday the 13th! Gutsy.)

So here's to everyone... Wish I were there...



Eid Mubarak!

Cairo, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Today is pretty much my favorite bi-annual day: the day I buy books for the new semester.

My classes look good. I've got Public Policy, Housing and Community Development and The Environment, Technology and Society.

The envir. books look the best. The Public Policy teacher is using a book that he/she wrote, which is one of my pet peeves. It's up there with people who wear a t-shirt of the band that is playing at a show. It's like a kindergarten teacher in summer... no class...

I also bought tickets this week to LA (an ocean's gargled vomit on the shore...) for Feb (J is leaving from LAX for Viet Nam) and to Mpls (only $135!!!) for March for myself. Fun, Fun.

Naja, J is home on Thurs! We're going up to northern New Hampshire this weekend to cross-country ski. Should be fun.

bis bald.



Art and the City

Cairo, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I can't believe I forgot to write about this. A couple of weeks ago the Globe had an article in the arts section comparing the art scenes (I should clarify, they mean high art, like museums, theater groups, and the like) in Minneapolis and Boston.

Both cities are currently undergoing a large bout of expansions in their biggest art museums, Minneapolis being near the end of the process and Boston just starting it. Minneapolis has been doing the Walker, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Guthrie and the Children's Theatre Company. Boston is building or remodeling the MFA, Peabody Essex, Institute of Contemporary Art, Calderwood Pavilion and the Arsenal Center for the Arts.

The article was quite kind of Minneapolis. If anything, it kind of puts down Boston. It kind of made the point that we rely on the other cities that are so close (New York, New Haven, Providence) whereas Minneapolis is so far from everything that people are very willing to invest in their museums.

I also found it interesting because I had just finished a book called Rise of the Creative Class by an urban sociologist/economist named Richard Florida. His basic premise is that creative workers form a new class that is the most in demand in current economy. One of the major changes about the way this class works is that they don’t stay with companies very long, so they tend to choose where they live first and then the company, instead of the other way around; therefore, the companies need to locate themselves where the creative people are.

Basically, he went about corresponding the heterogeneity of a place, the arts and music scene and so on, and how well their economies had fared. He found that they were extremely closely related. The idea behind it is that instead of giving companies tax breaks and building highways to draw them to a city, cities will be better off by investing in the arts and trying to draw more creative people.

Minneapolis and Boston were both in the top 10 (Boston was 3rd and Mpls 10th). I found it interesting personally too, since the list of the top fifteen contained pretty much everywhere I’d think about living in the states.



My Monday

Saqqara, Egypt
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
I finally had a day off of work today. I went for a walk from Kenmore Square through the Fenway and Mission Hill and did some shopping.

I got to talk to J for awhile, which was, of course, great. She's having a great time. She said Cairo is much less modern then she expected. She likes the donkeys.

I was reading on Planetizen that the Conservatives in Canada have put forward a program for tax breaks for people who buy monthly public transit passes if they win the election (which they won't). Man... even the Conservatives are better up there. How awesome would that be? Besides the fact that I only spend $44 a month on transportation (what is that, a half a tank of gas now?) but you'd actually get tax money back. Let's hope the greens or democrats pick up something like that down here.


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