July 2016

Monthly Archives

Bed Side Read: The Hand Of the Architect



August has always been a dream heavy month. Its a time to recharge, revamp and rediscover why I’m on this planet, basically. So I find I like to turn to the more abstract reads, the ones that broadly inspire and encourage new ways of looking at the world. Β Enter: The Hand of the Architect.





I love all aspects of architecture, but I think my favorite aspect (really of anything made or manufactured) is the design process. The spit ball idea phase always held this fascinating magic for me, I guess because this is the point where there is the most possibility. This beginning point, where the architect let’s their mind go wherever it pleases, unconstrained (as yet) by the limitations of budget, materials or location is the part where the mind soars highest, where no compromises are needed because nothing is real quite yet.


This gorgeously bound and beautifully designed book is full of the rough sketches of architects across the world. Drawn on everything from notebook pages and graph paper to napkins, these are the rough first inklings, the most broad of first ideas to come out of the brains of some of the most innovative architectural firms in dozens of countries. Many are mostly just shapes (these happen to be my favorite), with ablong blocks, globes, domes and abstract patterns serving as structures. I found these often to be the most fascinating, as it revealed how humble the origins are of many of these massive buildings that come to dominate cityscapes and urban centers. It shows how simple the design palette for architects is, and yet, from these most basic of shapes, mind blowingly beautiful design is created.




Hello world, indeed

Howdy. I’ll start this off with a bit of advice I received from one of my great (and now deceased) all time heroes, Jonathan Waiter. Jonathan was a Β fashion photographer, and he was one of the only fashion photographers who acknowledged my existence not only as a VALIS (voice activated light stand, as Joe McNally calls his assistants) but as a human being. I have no idea why he did this. Maybe he saw something in this scruffy mid twenty something, still holding onto his dreams with bloodied, boney fingers tips, the death grasp of someone too stubborn to quit and to stupid to do anything else. I’ll never know, sadly.

For what ever reason, he answered my email, and one cold winter’s day in Brooklyn there I was, helping out with a shoot. When we broke for lunch we grabbed sandwiches along with the rest of the crew. We got to talking, and we bonded over our apparent mutual romantic entanglements with europeans (he’d been married, briefly, to one, while I was in the throes of a long distance relationship). At one point I asked, as one often does when eating sandwiches with a bonified hero of one’s own, how he went about becoming a photographer and if he had any tips.

I sat, waiting with bated breath, expecting to hear a long, eloquent speech about working your way up the ladder, of doing good work no matter how humble that work was, of being nice, of the need to sweat it out over back breaking grunt work to get your shot. Here’s what he said: “I went on exactly one assisting job and I fucking hated it. I was also terrible at it. Then I just said ‘screw it’ and started sending out my portfolio to magazines and publishers and editors. If you want to be a fucking fashion photographer, just go be a fucking fashion photographer. Don’t wait, or ‘work your way up the ladder’, just do it. There’s no secret. ”

This, for a bright eyed, painfully innocent and naive sort like me, was shocking. I thought there was some sort of karmic system worked out. I thought there was this whole track laid out, tough but fair, of points that got connected until boom, all your hard work paid off and you were where you wanted to be, roughly. It never occurred to me, as I am now painfully aware of, that life isn’t that fair or orderly, that assistants work their asses off for much longer than I ever did and never even come close to getting their shot. It never occurred to me either that you could jump the line, or that there wasn’t really even a line.

But of course there isn’t. Lines, systems, maps- These are all our modest attempts as a species to apply logic to our larger issues, a way for us to pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves that it’s all going to be ok, the universe is looking out for us because things make sense, and if they make sense than surely it will all work out for us, right?

Wrong. The universe doesn’t make sense. It is a cold, harsh, unfeeling thing that will crush you and your dreams without so much as a glint of recognition. This might sound harsh, I know, probably because it is, but it also means something else: FREEDOM. You have as much of a shot at getting what you want as everyone else does.



Another one of my favorite quotes, this one from William Wordsworth:

To begin, begin.


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ARMOIRE: look great so you can focus on what matters.

Armoire is an intuitive real time apparel planner and scheduling platform. It optimizes your daily outfit selection based on:

  • Apparel/Accessories/Shoes you already own, your current geocoordinates, amongst other factors (time since last worn, color coordination, amount of likes by friends etc.).
  • Incorporates: Ruby on Rails Relational mapping: PostgreSQL User authentication and session: Devise Bootstrap customized with SASS Early Beta currently located on Heroku: intense-harbor-75235.herokuapp.com/




  • Users can uploaded pictures, set attributes of their favorite garments, shoes and accessories.
  • Users can create their own unique outfits, and preview before adding to their Armoire.
  • Alternatively users can generate random outfits, or view customized recommendations based on a proprietary algorithm.
  • Users can friend, favorite outfits and communicate with other users.
  • Weather API integration (Forecast.io) for real time updates based on season/weather reports.
  • Clean, user friendly interface

Authors: Jen Abella, Chris McGuigan, Chris Bradshaw, Maisie Athens


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Made with:

  • Ruby
  • Rails
  • HTML5
  • Javascript
  • Bootstrap SASS


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Smooth To-Do List



Click HERE to see this on my Github!


  • Utilizes React JS and the Flux architecture. It’s meant as a tutorial or guide for how to build a React JS application.
  • Npm and bower for package management, the default Bootstrap theme, LESS CSS for minor style and positioning adjustments, and finally brunch to build it all up and provide a simple web server.
  • EventEmitter for event notifications as per the Flux architecture.



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Click HERE to check out GoodliΒ live on Heroku!


LinkedIn for the social conscience.



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The core features of the app were built in two weeks as part of Flatiron School’s project mode. We began Goodli as a way users to create socially impactful events and highlight their involvement in socially impactful events. The app promotes engagement through the exchange of karma points for event participation.

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Event and Karma CRUD Actions – Change.org API Integration – Integrated Bootstrap Theme with Ajax functionality – User Registration and Session functionality with Devise

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Fork it (unless you’re core team)
Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
Commit your changes (git commit -am ‘Add some feature’)
Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
Create new Pull Request


Evan Hawk (@evanahawk), Chris McGuigan (@chris_mcguigan) , George Toothman (@georgetoothman)


Goodli is MIT Licensed. See LICENSE for details.