We watched (and enjoyed) The Illusionist last night on DVD. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth it just to see the butterflies carrying the handkerchief. What a beautiful scene!
Don’t be anxious if you find Habershons.com slow to load. It is only temporary. As you know, John very kindly allows it to run on the same server he uses for Sunlit Games. Currently he and his partner are working with the developers from Valve Corporation to develop custom map packs for the entire Day of Defeat community. In the last 24 hours over 7,000 people have downloaded the file.
Does anyone else out there love oatmeal soap?
In an effort to find the perfect bar, I sat down
and ordered every type from drugstore.com.
You can click on this one to see my collection.
Can you guess which one cost $8.00? Keep
your fingers crossed that it’s my least favourite.
And yes, the mere sight of porridge still makes
I’m growing indoor strawberries. You can watch them on the Panther Cam up there on the right.
The instructions say there will be hundreds of them and that they should be picked regularly. I’ll believe that when I see it.
The studio had a brand new carpet installed last night. It must be difficult to find a time to do this as it’s open seven days a week. Apparently the lines will be painted on tonight. Anyway, Mike, the owner was quite proud of it and gave us all the details before class started this morning. Of course, I’ve forgotten them, but he’d obviously done a whole lot of research. Something about microbiobial and no chemicals and a special glue. It smelt heavenly and was equally springy and firm and soft and scratchy and . . . well, just nice. When we went into Dandayamana bibhaktapada paschimotthanasana my toes dug in nicely as I thought, “hey, this is going to be a lot easier now.” Then came the triangle, and suddenly the room turned into an ice skating rink (a heated one, of course) as my feet slid apart and into an ungainly looking splits.
It’s going to take a while getting used to that carpet.
Check out this one. 68 floors, each of which rotates 360 degrees.
I hope this one gets built and that the plumbing works.
From today’s Wall Street Journal:
By ALEX FRANGOS
In skyscraper-crazy Dubai, tall isn’t enough. In a design to be unveiled today in the oil-rich emirate, David Fisher, an Italian-Israeli architect, has dreamed up a 68-story combination hotel, apartment and office tower where the floors would rotate 360 degrees. Each floor would rotate independently, creating a constantly changing architectural form.
Each story of the tower would be shaped like a doughnut and be attached to a center core housing elevators, emergency stairs and other utilities. Wind turbines placed in gaps between the doughnuts would generate electricity.
The doughnuts won’t rotate fast enough to give guests upset stomachs. A single rotation would take around 90 minutes. “It’s quite slow,” says Mr. Fisher.
In a project to be unveiled today, architect David Fisher has dreamed up a 68-story tower where each floor will rotate, causing the building’s shape to constantly change.
Mr. Fisher’s isn’t the first plan for a rotating tower in Dubai. Last year, a local developer showed off plans for a 30-story 200-unit condominium tower that would rotate one revolution per day. Solar panels would drive the rotation mechanism.
It is hard to say whether the plans are simply rotating pies in the sky — or projects that will actually be erected. But given what has been built in Dubai already, anything seems possible so long as oil prices remain high.
Dubai has become a playpen for architects, where the deep pockets of oil-rich developers drive some of the most eccentric building projects in the world. There is an artificial archipelago shaped like a map of the world and an underwater luxury hotel. There is also an indoor ski slope, a sail-shaped hotel and a fake chain of islands in the form of a palm frond dotted with homes.
See footage of the proposed Rotating Tower
Some see outlandish designs like these as a sign of an architectural apocalypse. “It makes me ill,” says Eugene Kohn, principal at New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox, a firm recognized for handsome, modernist — albeit stationary — designs. “Some of these buildings are going to the absurd.”
Dubai’s building spree is powered by massive government investment and money pouring in from individual investors from around the Middle East, especially people looking to park their oil wealth in real estate.
The country’s ruling family, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, realizes its oil will someday run out and wants to create a viable financial foundation for future generations by creating a commercial and recreational capital for the Middle East.
“The ruler of Dubai, he encourages us to grab the things that are super and unique in the world,” says Mohammed Jardali, general director of Mejren Cos., the lead developer. “That’s why we are going after the thing that will be a landmark and unique in the world.”
The developer is a group including Sheikh Mejren bin Sultan’s Mejren Group, Kriston Co., a developer based in Athens, and Gowealthy, a Dubai real estate marketing company. “We call it dynamic architecture,” says Mr. Fisher, who says it will rise for a mere $330 million and will make an outsized profit to boot. “It can be sold for at least 40% premium because it will be an iconic building — a landmark,” he says. Mr. Fisher predicts construction will start in six months and be complete 22 months after that.
The skyline of Dubai is powered by oil money, big ambitions, and architectural whimsy.
Mejren Cos.’s Mr. Jardali says terrorism isn’t an issue for the developers. “Dubai is the safest place in the world. It is very peaceful. So we are not thinking about such a thing,” he says.
Mr. Fisher dismisses the earlier unveiled effort at rotational architecture. “The other tower is just a cylinder that turns around itself very slowly over a week. But nothing happens to the shape.”
The architect of the other tower, James Abbott of Hong Kong-based P&T Group, confirms that his tower will rotate just once a week. “We are doing it for just purely functional reasons, not gimmicky,” he says. “The idea is for people to have 360-degree views.” He says he and the developer, Dubai Property Ring, will submit final applications to local authorities in the next two weeks.
The proposed spinning towers follow a quiet campaign to build the tallest building in the world — again — in Dubai. Code-named “The Burj,” or simply the Tower, the 240-story, one-kilometer-tall (3,281 feet) spire would beat out the currently under-construction Burj Dubai, which is slated to hit around 2,300 feet when complete in 2009. The taller Burj would be built by Nakheel Properties in Dubai. A spokesman declined to comment other than saying it is planning a “large tower.”
The Burj Dubai, designed by Chicago architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Emaar Properties, will be a hotel and condominium and is expected to reach more than 1,000 feet taller than New York’s Empire State Building. The current tallest building in the world is Taipei 101 in Taiwan. It reaches 1,671 feet.
Carol Willis, founder of the Skyscraper Museum in New York, which is about to mount a show on Dubai, is optimistic. “The future plans seem to be grounded on a substantial and intelligent plan on inventing a new city,” she said. She cites the massive government investment in infrastructure and the rock-bottom labor costs as making these projects possible.
Mr. Fisher, 58 years old, was born in Tel Aviv. He moved to Florence for graduate school and became an Italian citizen. His early projects include the never-built design for a plaza near Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.
His claim to fame is the development of the “Leonardo da Vinci Smart Bathrooms,” a prefabricated bathroom system that hotels and resorts use to quickly build new facilities.
Mr. Fisher says he got the tower idea while looking at condominiums for sale in Miami several years ago. He noticed the much lower price tags for units without water views.
Ten days later in New York, a friend boasted that hers was the only unit in her high-rise with views of both the Hudson River and the East River. “This is when I got my click,” he says. He jotted down his idea and applied for a patent in the U.S. in 2004. He has never designed a high-rise building.
But he has assembled a formidable design team, however, including high-rise engineer Leslie Robertson, who is best known for designing the innovative structure of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers that were destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s not rocket science,” says Mr. Robertson of the building’s structure. “It’s a basic structural core, a concrete silo and the doughnuts that wander around. To me, it’s largely an amount of craftsmanship — a matter of putting it together in thoughtful way so it’s constructed quickly, reliably and with low ongoing maintenance costs.”
He says supplying electricity to the floors will be similar to how a moving train captures power by staying in constant contact with a power source — in the case of a train, an overhead wire or third rail.
Occupants on the top five floors would control the direction and speed by voice activated remote control.
The other floors would be programmed by the architect or building manager.
The plumbing is more of a challenge. “We have good people working on that,” says Mr. Robertson. The architect and prefabricated bathroom expert Mr. Fisher also demurs about how the toilets will flush. “I can’t disclose all the details,” Mr. Fisher says.
Callie sent me a link to this article by Allison Berkley of the Aspen Times. I’ve reprinted the whole thing below in case it disappears.
I’m leaving in less than a week for yoga school and I’m sort of freaking out.
I figure when I get back I’ll keep the whole eccentric lifestyle choice thing going. Maybe after this I’ll become a hip-hop dancer. Or maybe I’ll learn how to play the drums and start a chick band. Anything but writing! Please, make it stop!
I’ll be the first to admit this whole yoga thing is kind of crazy. It’s a nine-week program that is often referred to as “yoga boot camp.” It’s usually held at the Bikram Yoga headquarters in L.A. but I guess Bikram has a girlfriend in Honolulu or something so they moved it there out of the blue, like two months before the session is supposed to start.
That sort of threw me for a loop. Since I’d planned on going to L.A., I’d lined up a free place to stay (Thanks anyway, Dyana!) and was going to drive out there. I pictured myself hanging out with friends and family on the weekends and surfing all those breaks on the south coast I’ve sorely missed since moving to Colorado – familiar territory.
Then one day I checked the Bikram website to verify the dates for the 50th time and there was a big poster on the front screen that said, “2007 Spring Teacher Training Hawaii” with graphics of orchids and palm trees and a guy in nut-huggers doing spine-twisting posture. I clicked on the link, but there was really no information other than the dates and the name of the hotel in Waikiki where the training will be held.
I try to get some answers via e-mail correspondence with a woman named Shelly who is the teacher training registrar. The last time I heard the word registrar was when I was forced to apply to this fancy-pants prep school in eighth grade. My parents didn’t like the crowd of 13-year-old drunks I was running with at public school so they made me go to this snotty private school I managed to get kicked out of some three years later (They said something about “not being motivated academically.” Can you believe that?)
Needless to say, the yoga college registrar is a little different. Her name is Shelly and she calls herself “The Dutchess of the Desk.” Of course I have a ton of questions like how the hell I’m going to be able to afford this. She writes all her e-mails in all capital letters so it has the affect like she’s yelling at me.
“HOUSING IS MANDATORY,” she writes. “TWO PEOPLE PER ROOM FOR $3,000.”
I’m not even going to get into how much this thing costs on top of that, not to mention the flight to Hawaii.
But if there’s a will there’s a way, I always say. It also helps that I’m a spoiled little girl who has managed to find a way to get people to spoil me even if they’re not dead blood relatives. What’s really amazing is how much I bitch about being broke, about not being able to afford this or that, and then when something I care about pops up, I can pull thousands of dollars out of thin air just like that. (See, mom? You’re wrong. Money really does grow on trees! I’ll deal with the IRS later. Isn’t that what extensions were invented for?)
I realize this means taking on a little debt and signing legal contracts and making commitments that I actually have to keep, all of which scare the bee-Jesus out of me.
But sometime after New Year’s, I decided that I would try to scare myself a little bit every day. Being scared is good. It means you’re pushing it, expanding your comfort zone, standing on the edge, peering over it even. That’s what being alive is all about. I say if you can get that kind of adrenaline rush without having to do drugs or risk your life sky diving, I’m all for it, even if it means sharing a hotel room with someone I’ve never met in my life for nine weeks.
So I just got my teacher training packet in the mail and it clearly states: “Use of drugs and alcohol will result in immediate dismissal.”
Then there’s this part that says, “This is not a resort, retreat, health spa or vacation – this is Bikram’s Torture Chamber, to kill yourself for the next 90 minutes (or nine weeks) with your smiling, happy face.”
The daily schedule goes something like: wake up, do yoga for two hours, lunch, take a class about yoga, do another yoga class, eat dinner and then take another class about yoga.
Sweet. Or sweat?
God only knows what nine weeks of this will do to me. After struggling with my weight for my entire life, I like to think that I will melt down to nothing and turn into this little puddle with eyeballs. I’ll be on the floor at Zélé watching all my friends as they almost step on me going, “Hey! I’m right here! Why can’t you see me?”
I like to think my hair will finally grow really long instead of breaking off as soon as it gets to the length where I actually start to like it. I imagine I’ll become the picture of serenity, greeting people on the street with, “Namaste,” my hands in prayer position pressed against my chest.
I’ll spread the gospel of Bikram in our sweet little 110-degree studio, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. Maybe I’ll even be as thin and beautiful as Caroline, my wonderful teacher who made this all possible in the first place. (I’ll just need to grow another 10 inches, if that’s also possible. Thanks.)
And hopefully I’ll survive this.