Archive by Author

You Were Right, SHH. Online Dating Does Suck.

27 Oct

Eamonn is the third member of this site to weigh in on online dating…listen.

Somebody once told me that it was impossible to eat 5 saltines in one minute. I didn’t believe them until I almost asphyxiated on shards of gluten and salt that refused to move past my uvula.   I’ve seen youtube videos of people attempting to eat a spoonful of cinnamon; those people Continue reading

An Architectural Bike Ride: Part 2

31 Aug

I will try to explain The Big Dig in the simplest of terms.  Officially beginning in 1982, the Big Dig buried the six-lane, elevated portion of  I-93 that ran directly through downtown Boston and replaced it with a park system. There was once a tangle of steel, cars and smoke and now there are flowers and merry-go-rounds . . . seriously.

A discussion about The Big Dig and Continue reading

An Architectural Bike Ride: Part 1

22 Aug

I woke up early on Saturday August 11th with a mission. I was going to ride my bike across the city to explore and document two of Boston’s newest architectural additions. One a recently completed Massachusetts College of Art high-rise dormitory designed by architecture firm ADD Inc; the other Continue reading

Eamonn – Roger Waters at Fenway Park and Why I Don’t Like Live Music

2 Aug

I am a bit ashamed to say this, especially on this site, which is so thoughtful about its musical content, but the truth is I don’t enjoy going to see live music.

For me listening to music is a private endeavor. Continue reading

Science Fiction Fantasy

31 May

My favorite pop culture genre is science fiction. I also have an overactive imagination. This can be problematic at times because I often imagine unpleasant things happening to me. Other times what I imagine amuses me, although most of what amuses me has to do with some violent science fiction topic, and what scares me has to do with something relatively mundane. This article is about those thoughts that amuse me. Continue reading

Monolithic Architecture

12 Apr

I came across an article about a month ago entitled “Megaexterior,” which according to the blog I found it on ( was originally published in the moon issue of Volume magazine. A friend of mine sent it to me and when I first read it I thought it was a joke.  This is not unusual since we send each other funny things we find on the internet with some regularity. The article was strangely written in my opinion and lines like “ the proverbial ‘really good’ science fiction movie” and “boxes he notoriously had specially fabricated so that they fit snug; just so” threw me off; however, the more I read the more I realized it was not a joke and by the end I was captivated.

Focusing on the monolith, featured originally in Continue reading

I Don’t Like St. Patrick’s Day

16 Mar

I am an Irish American. My name is Eamonn, and this is no exaggeration, every week of my adult life I have to correct someone on the pronunciation of my name (or I just ignore the mispronunciation). As we approach March 17th I have come to the conclusion that I don’t actually like St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to get wasted just as much as the next guy (actually, I’m and old man (26) and I can’t handle getting wasted anymore), but I feel like St. Patrick’s Day is completely devoid of Irish culture. It’s just a bunch of drunk people.  A bunch of drunk people that don’t know who Oscar Wylde, James Joyce or Continue reading

New American Ruins

26 Feb

A few summers ago while in graduate school at the University at Buffalo, I was lucky enough to be accepted into a study abroad program that allowed me to spend an entire summer studying architecture in Barcelona, Spain. I took a course which comprehensively explored the evolution of the city in terms of its urban planning and architecture. It was a great class.  I came away from the course knowing more about Barcelona than I did about my hometown. I also came away with a slight sense of jealousy; I was jealous that Barcelona and other European cities had so much historical wealth inherent to there built environment compared to American cities. I was amazed when I visited Rome that I could stand next to the ruins of a Roman aqueduct, which stood next to a gothic cathedral, which was across from buildings constructed in the 21st century. So many periods of time existed within the same moment.

I left Barcelona and returned to Buffalo resigned to Continue reading

Bus Etiquette

9 Jan

Every day I ride the bus to and from work. I would not call myself a bus veteran, but I have been riding it long enough to know that there is an etiquette that should be followed by all patrons. The problem is that this etiquette has never been defined.  In an effort to make the bus riding process more enjoyable for everyone, I will attempt to distill this etiquette into a list of clear rules and regulations.

If you are paying with cash, go to the back of the line: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been standing behind someone on a rainy day waiting for them to cram a moist dollar bill into the machine.  It’s not going to work!  Continue reading

Building vs. Architecture

4 Dec

Architecture is meticulously designed with the explicit intent of expressing a concept; building is the result of economics.

While architecture is more complex than the statement above, I think it succinctly expresses the difference between careful thought and mindlessness. I bring this up because while home for Thanksgiving, I encountered an example of mindless, economic driven construction that has actually made me a little bit angry, though annoyed may be a more accurate description. The building I am talking about is the new drive-through CVS at the intersection of Balltown and Van Antwerp roads in Niskayuna.

There has always been a CVS at this location, but originally it shared a building with Blockbuster Video and later Hollywood Video. The original building wasn’t great but you could tell it was specifically designed for the site, the front or main entrance faced the major intersection, the shape of the building conformed to the shape of the site and maintained the edge of the existing streets, all basic principles of good design.

As a result of the Internet and Netflix taking over the world, Hollywood Video went out of business, and so for a while that part of the building was vacant. Eventually CVS acquired both the vacant portion of the original building as well as an adjacent property on which a single-family residence stood. They demolished the residence and the original building in which it occupied and constructed a brand new building to house themselves within.

The new building is horrendous; unlike the original it does not take its specific site into consideration. I am almost positive CVS has something like three or four stock designs from which they choose. This makes constructing a new store really cheap and easy. Once a site is acquired all they have to do is pick a plan, orient it on the site and then do some minor site design, like deciding were the parking spaces will be and how the drive-through lane will circulate cars.

In this scenario, there literally is no design; it is simply a result of economics. Stock plans eliminate the need to hire an architect.  There is no cost in producing construction documents, and coincidently the same design for every CVS in the country is good marketing.

The result in Niskayuna is a building which has a scale slightly larger than the scale of the surrounding buildings, a shape with no relation to the streets or site, and a front entrance that doesn’t face anything! To top it off, I don’t think it is that much bigger than the CVS that was there before. It is my suspicion that the entire project revolved around incorporating a drive-through window. This hardly makes sense to me because one shouldn’t be driving on certain medications.

I’m mostly upset because it is my opinion that buildings like the CVS I have just described damage communities. Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Christmas Tree Shops all fall into this category. Architecture is important, design is important, it connects with us internally and I believe as human beings we need this connection to live a healthy life. Even before humanity conceptualized money, people were adding art to the place in which the lived; not because it was directly necessary to their survival, but I suspect it was necessary for there psychological survival. As a society we have a choice. We can choose between “buildings” or “architecture.” I hope we stop passively allowing buildings to acquire more space in our built environment and start actively demanding architecture.