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*mda's company has a plantation in Sumatra. They've not heard anything regarding how this town is fairing following the tsunami. It's in a more mountainous area, but in the north, which was hit v/badly; and also felt the effects of the earthquake. I'm hoping the consortium will do something nice, but mda hasn't found out anything. I still think they should do it.

*I've started reading the FLLW bio. It's like a long essay. It's well written. She's a Pulitzer Prize winner. It's obvious she's never been to Tal., just from what she writes, or does not write, about the building. I've found a few things, the most egregious so far is that she's wrong about the # of people killed in the 1914 fire. It's true that on the day of the fire, 3 people were alive, but 1 person died the next day, leaving 2, not 3, survivors. How could someone get something that basic wrong? I get so sick of this. [the Ken Burns documentary got the year that Wright's mother died wrong. It's not like this is some incredibly obscure fact. ppphhht.] I'm not asking for some dry, over-footnoted tome, but can we just get the facts right? That'll be a good start.

I'm sure I will write more. I'm reading it while holding a pencil [1 of the joys of owning a book].

And, oh, she describes TII (the building after the first fire) either ambiguously or doesn't understand that rebuilt structure. It's at the point that I wrote the word "bullshit" at the bottom of a page. I think she might have looked at a 1924 floor plan that shows a detail of the building that did not exist in TII. She doesn't have to be an expert in Tal., but (a) most of the people who study/write about it talk about the fact that the plans are inconsistent and (b) there are TII pictures that she could have looked at.

*speaking of writing, Susan Sontag died today of leukemia. She was 71. I think I referenced her in my thesis. I know I read her "Notes on Camp" somewhere along the way at that time.

*I found out today that we've got a new health insurance company, our premiums will be lower, and I won't have to have $69 taken out every paycheck! I've figured that amounts to an $.87/hour raise, or about my half of the car payment per month.
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Me to mda:
"I did go to the house, and my feet weren't as cold as my hands. I brought along a floor plan so I could take a rough estimate of the red stones on the floor. There weren't as many as I thought, but there were sections where there was a lot of red. It's certainly not consistent. I also tried to note any noticeable masonry breaks. There aren't that many either. I took a xerox along that was taken by the *Tsuchiuras after the fire and tried to figure out what I was looking at from the photo. Problem is that there's what looks like a stairway in the photo that shouldn't be there. At least, as far as we know. It could just be some pop-out stone that looks like a stairway. I don't know. We might have luck if we coordinated it with the downstairs.

so, that's my day.

"Illegitimus non carborundum"

mda to me:
"I really liked "the Tsuchiuras" in that episode where Odo and Dax have to find the missing Bajoran mediocrity crystal!


*The Tsuchiuras were Kameki & Nobu, a Japanese couple that worked as draftsmen for FLLW. They were at Tal. from April 1924 through December, 1925, and so they were there during Tal.'s 2nd fire (not the 1 that gets so much write up). They took photos of the immediate aftermath. V. confusing b/c everything's destroyed, so I have a hard time orienting myself.
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The point of gravity for a wall is usually equal to its width.

And, damn, at least 1 Tal. floor plan might have actually been correct about a part of the building even though there aren't any pictures to prove it.
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You can pretty much guess what this is going to be about, can't you. When I say I'm right about something, it can only relate to 1 thing.

Anyway, when I went to FLLWater in October, the guide said that it was the 2nd commission that FLLW did for the client, Edgar Kauffmann. That the 1st one had been his office in Pittsburgh. I thought that was wrong. I didn't say anything, b/c I didn't want to challenge the guide. Makes ya look like a punk-loser-jerk. I was just sitting here looking up something else, and I remembered to look up the commissions FLLW did for Kauffmann, and FLLWater IS first, the office came later.

Speaking of "punk-loser-jerk", I need to get back to work. Seriously.
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When searching for construction terms via Google, be prepared to find sexually tinged web pages when you put in the words "furred out."


Nov. 1st, 2004 12:18 pm
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In 1998, I began our end-of-the-season awards for the tour program. Eventually, these awards have been broken down into several parts:

1) We have a listing of various crazy stories that have been collected over the year, such as one person saying to me, "My guide at the Dana house told me that FLLW designed Tal. with rooms for both his wife and his mistress!"

2) general staff awards

3) Awards for the various departments involved in tours: tour guides, house stewards, bookstore staff, office staff, and a new one this year, drivers (in part b/c I got reamed out last year by someone b/c I didn't have a category for them. That's the problem w/giving the awards--someone's always pissy).

4) Answers to the question: "What is the biggest lie you've ever told a tourist?" My answer was, "Our restoration architect was a dream to work with!"

5) Answers to the question: "Aside from 'How tall was FLLW?' what is the most frequently asked question?" Including things like, "Where's the House on the Rock? How late is the HotR open? How much does the House on the Rock cost? Do they have bathrooms there?" and things like, "How do you pronounce this word? Tally... tala... talahassee... talisman... talispin?" etc., etc.

6) And answers to the question, "You know it's late in the season when..."

I had wrestled with the fact that, for the first time, I would not be giving the awards this year. cut for friends pages )
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Ok, so I spent Wed-Fri at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). They were based at Carnegie Mellon for the conference, w/trips to rehabilitated mines, slag heaps, mountain tops that have been completely destroyed, etc., and sessions on a whole host of issues. In addition to talking about reporting them, they hear from members of the EPA and employees of the energy producing industries. They're actually quite balanced in their questions to these people, b/c they're journalists and may want to use anything these people say for a story. I was there b/c 1 of their trips went to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob (another FLLW building about 20 minutes away from FH20). I was asked to talk about FLLW on the drive there. So it was a little bizarre when I found out I was going all that way just to talk for 15 minutes, but I acted the tour guide for the rest of the day, anyway. I can't just not be a guide when I see a bunch of people on a group tour. Read more... )
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*I dont' expect you to check out all the hyperlinks below. I'm just referencing them by hyperlinks b/c this is a public post and I don't want to use their names.*

Well, it's still going on, and despite the fact that I would love to be invited to a gala tomorrow b/c I feel like I've been the star, I will be doing 2 Hillside tours [the 1-hour tours we give that are "a nice overview of FLLW's life."--one of the tour guides had a friend die unexpectedly, hence, I've stepped in]. A hillside tour will bring me down to earth, I betcha.

Oh, yeah. I told mda tonight that in my small universe, and from the feedback I've heard, I get the feeling that in the end, people will come away from this conference acknowledging that I was one of the highlights.

As I told WI-C, right after the presentation on Thursday, a big wig in the FLLW world came up w/the first question: when are you putting out your book? I was there, surrounded by 5 people, and he and I talked and talked, while another FLLW big wig said to me, "You clearly love your job." [damn--I have to get that guy's contact info.] I've had other people talk to me and say, "you have to realize that these guys are the old school. They see you and realize there's someone new." These guys, and others, seemed really blown away by the presentation. I had 1 person tell me that it was the best thing she's seen in the conference. She said, "You didn't give us the usual stuff--this is new!" I had another person tell me that it was put together in a way that was well thought-out, but specific, and well illustrated. I had big wig 1 tell me to contact big wig 2 to tell me where I should publish an article (I talked to big wig 2 today, more below). I had a Noble Prize-winning architectural critic *ask* about me. They went so far as to inquire about my education. Damn--they told him I was a student of someone I was not, not not! [the man didn't like me, let's say. I'll have to clear that up.

So, I wondered about going from star presenter to lowly guide today, but it worked out well. B/c this whole group--175 FLLW freaks at Tal. for 3.5 hours, and going through 3 buidlings, not inlucding our visitor center. Our bus arrived at 1, and we got them off 10 minutes late. These people were nuts. Respectful, happy, but just snapping photos everywhere. I can't believe these people felt they got their money's worth (well, that's before I found out how much they were charged for this tour--$20/person), but they were psyched. For the most part, they really had a good time.

We went to the house first, then to our visitor center, so they could shop (we ended the bookstore day at $7,000, mostly due to them). That's when i got in touch with big wig 2. "Big wig 1 told me to talk to you about publishing an article." "You want to publish an article? Oh, good!" and he gave me places to look at. Damn--I really should have given him my card, but he didn't ask for it, so I wasn't sure how to proceed. But he complimented right away on my presentation.

This is totally a high feeling. I came to Carol and TG last January with the prospectus for this conference and said, "I want to do this. I think we should do this, and I think we can." I thought--and still feel--that doing this was good for us. That it was only natural, with a conference called FLLW: On Home Ground, that we would be involved. And my organization did sponsor 1 event, but only I am responsible for our organization having a noticeble presence, a contribution, in the presentations. Well, to give homage to TG, he didn't plan this, nor did he put together the PowerPoint presentation, but he stepped up to the plate and did wonderfully. But I was the one who got us in there in the first place.

Damn--now I have to follow all this up. And I'm still going to PA next week. I hope the Pulitzer-prise winner will be there.

Ok, I'm totally high from this. And I can't believe I don't have to worry about it any more! Except I've got PA next week, and I have to work on getting published.

Those who know me (and this is partially why this is public) will give me credence, and give me uplift only the way they can, b/c they've seen me struggle w/my own issues for years. I want to thank all of them for their bolstering over the years.
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I have only a little bit of time to write.

I'm wearing one of 2 suits that I own. I'm wearing make-up! I've got a CD for a powerpoint presentation by the door. I'm going to the conference, where at 11:15 today, I will start the 1 hour presentation that I was accepted for last spring. "Taliesin: The Problem of Working w/a Laboratory."

I'm trying not to let the tumbling in my stomach get to be too much. I was given advice by CJ last night: just psych yourself into believing that you're just taking a break from a tour; so that you think of the audience as people you've already been talking to, and who are on your side.

I hope it goes well, and I'll try to download later (much later probably). Although I will say this: I was talking to 1 higher up in the organization that's holding the conference last night, and he said, "There could be an entire conference just on Taliesin.... There needs to be." And I was saying, "You don't know how right you are."
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Went to a formal last night at Tal. w/mda. I wore a dress that I've had stuck in a garment bag since we moved in here (so, December 2001). Fortunately, taffeta, it appears, responds well to a hand steamer. And no one got too close to notice that the dress smelled like the upper floor of a garage (sort of like an attic, but a little more leafy). mda got to wear his tux, which is good, b/c I bought the damned thing for him and he's only worn it 1 time before. He jokes that he looks like a butler, but I think he looks quite good.

Our seating mates were good, for the msot part. Tom G and his wife, Mike the apprentice, who've I've found to be very sweet. There's this nutty woman who shows up every once in awhile at the end of the season. She'll loll around in the living room of the house, which we bring tours into. She's totally unexplained and totally unexplainable. She'll interrupt the tour guides w/god knows what. She was at our table last night, and it turns out that she lives in a FLLW home. I'd heard about her from the other way--someone who'd worked w/her, but obviously I had no way of putting it all together. Anyway, food was good, music was pretty good. Pachebel Canon in D major by Bach... I just spent 20 minutes looking for some post last year where I mentioned how much I disliked that song. Well, it simply shows up in too many weddings.

Then there was some poetry, and a Piazzolla piece with cello, piano and violin. He was an Argentinian composer, and I happen to know who he is b/c I'm [supposed to be] working on an etude by him. It's really cool and beautiful; a little challenging. Well, we're talking about me here, so that doesn't mean much. No, the [new] flute teacher has said that it's a challenge for everyone.


Sep. 24th, 2004 12:28 pm
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I forget about fall flies until they show up. There always seem to be about 3 in any one location. And I never have my act together enough to purchase a fly swatter, so I make useless motions with my hands shooing them away.

I just looked 45 degrees to the right and saw a bunch of bills I'm afraid to look at. What happened to the money in the last few months? Not that I have ever possessed much of it since I was 18 (half a lifetime ago), but I had been able to get by without buying new clothes or taking long trips. I could still afford my 2-Diet Pepsis & 1/2 a pack of cigs per day habits. Now I'm not sure of those, either. I think it's just a matter of things finally catching up to us.

Yesterday, the reporter for 1 of the Madison newspapers called, asking for a list of famous people that have come to SG/Tal. This is in anticipation of John Kerry's arrival on Sunday. I got them quite a list, although FLLW did have a disappointing B-list of famous friends, if you ask me. I swear I thought that the inventor of the zipper came to Tal, but I couldn't find the reference. Then I was e-mailed today by some poor assistant asking if I could send them scans of these photos of all these famous people at Tal. I had to tell her that most of my list was not based on photographs; that any images we do have tend to be bad photocopies; and that we don't own any of these images, anyway. I gave her a few leads, but I would have been there 5 hours tracking down all the photographs of famous people at Tal. and who owns the rights to the photos. It did irk me just a little. It's not enough that I put together a list of about 45 people in 3 hours and sent them to you, now you want photos? Who's job am I doing here? But of course, she can't be faulted for not knowing this. So I try to keep the annoyance to a minimum.

I'm going off to meet with CAW in a little bit; he's going to make me into an electronic slush-pile reader for his & his partner's on-line magazine. Then I suppose I'll come back home and practice the flute. I have tours tomorrow, so I went into work for 2.5 hours today. I did get the news that my insurance payments ($67/paycheck, 26 paychecks per year) will no longer be taxed. That makes me happy. That's about $1,700 I won't have to pay taxes on.

Ok, that's all very exciting. I'm out to smoke, then off to meet w/my new boss. heh.


Sep. 18th, 2004 08:48 am
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Ok, I've got to get motivating. Today I give a House tour, and I've got to leave in 1/2 an hour. We'll see how it goes.

Our fundraiser called me Karen 3 times yesterday. I've worked w/her for 15 months. WTF!? When do I get to start called her Pam?

I've also started on FLLW's The Natural House, which is a book published in 1954. The beginning was lifted straight from his autobiography, but then he gets into the specifics of home building. I think he thought of it as a guide for people who wanted to build their own houses rather than one of his polemical speeches. Well, in addition to one of his polemical speeches. I'm not that insane. Really weird--he's telling people to move beyond the city and the "dormitory towns" of the suburbs, but for transportation, he suggests they get rid of their big cars, and get a little car that gets 30-40 mph to save money on the commute.

Ok, the man in no way ever drove a car like that ('cept for the Crosley Hotshots) and he's certainly not thinking about oil consumption the way we are, but still, giving that advice 50 years ago from that guy was pretty unexpected.

Ok. Just used the new deluxe Euro-coffee grinder today. Now I gotta go.
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I don't know if I should have done this, but I've not been getting anything done at work. Life's not good when the alarm goes off in the morning and you yell at it in frustration. I'm in one of those moods about life lately, that it's just flying by and nothing changes. I keep going into work a little late and wanting to leave a little early. So I needed a few days to get some things done. Hopefully. I have a list here somewhere.

One of the problems with work right now is that I'm trying to prove that one part of the building changed after Wright's death. I know it did, or at least I feel it in my gut. However, I don't have enough evidence. The only pieces of evidence are something that a fellowship member said (which you can't always trust) and a floor plan (which you can't always trust). So I keep coming into work, dawdling around, opening up this document, and remembering that, oh shit, I don't know what I'm going to write or how I'm going to prove this little bit here. Then I end up closing it and trying to figure out how I'm spending the rest of my day. Makes me feel really guilty.

And I do really have to do a bunch of stuff. I want to see about getting our homeowner's insurance more locally (instead of in Midland, Michigan, where they think we're looking at the Wisconsin River, and they don't seem to comprehend that we can have a woodstove and indoor plumbing at the same time), I want to call around on chimney sweeps, and I want to check into rates on CDs. I also need a haircut b/c I'm starting to look disastrous.

On a completely unrelated note, I keep seeing this ad when I go to my hotmail account for a dating service called "" It flashes pictures of guys and one of them looks like the boyfriend I had when I was a college sophomore. I keep thinking, "man, if Rob had cut his hair like that, he'd seem a lot hotter in my memory than he does." Doesn't matter anyway, since he's the asshole who slept w/5 women in our 6 months together. Asshole. Plus, it was, god, 17 years ago and there have been (a) a lot better lovers than him and (b) a lot bigger assholes than him.
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I sat on the floor on Friday, with a magnifying glass, looking at a photo of the stone foundation of the area I'm working on. The photo was taken during the winter. Half covered in snow, so not so easy to figure out the stone patterns. That, if I've not said before, is one of the great things about Taliesin--the stone work is so particular, and the chosen stone is so individual, that you can pick out the stones over the decades. After much looking at the 1967 photo and a contemporary photo, I was able to pick out a space probably 3' square (if there is such a thing), comparing it to the contemporary photo.

The stone has changed since 1967, and I can prove it.


Other than that, while my parents could not make it this weekend, we still had N&M out, as well as [ profile] jujupees, WI-C, and their daughter Z on Saturday. It was excellent--great weather, got all the food to the table at roughly the same temperature, ate outside on a table that mda repaired from his old computer job, and we bought rubbermaid chairs so we didn't have just our little canvas chairs (now down to 2) that have started to fall apart. WI-C made an amazing appetizer of lightly toasted bread w/olive oil as the conduit, roasted red peppers, artichokes, onions, and goat cheese (not all together, but w/cheese on all).

Z was in a cranky mood before coming and had a nap in the car. She was still cranky I guess, but N&M (who will be parents at the new year) managed to distract her, and of course there was mda and myself. She met my cat, but wasn't overwhelmed by her or Little Spot, who made an appearance and even butted his head under her hand. Not as exciting to her as never seeing them at all.

All 4 adult guests liked our paint job in the bathroom and my lampshade.

Then yesterday I got my car washed by mda, while I pulled out the new weeds that are growing where the brambles used to. pfft. Last night? Old Time Radio Drama with Nero Wolf, X-Minus One, Escape, and Lights Out. Pretty good over all.


Jun. 19th, 2004 09:51 am
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It's such a weird thing not giving tours anymore. Here it is, a Saturday. And it's my Saturday. I've not had a situation like that in about 10 years, maybe? At least not through the summer (or May-October). There is a disadvantage to working M-F. You can't get doctor's appointments on Saturdays, the paint store closes at noon instead of 5pm, the malls are more crowded. But if I work Sunday-Thursday, that automatically means I basically have to give tours.

I love giving tours. I hate being a tour guide. It's been 10 years. That's a long time. I've gone from talking, talking, talking to people non-stop at least 4 hours a week, to sometimes working by myself all day, being in my brain.

Of cousre, I got to send off something to the Wisconsin Historical Society Website, I sent pix off to Architectural Record, just had my article come out (I must work on more things--when did Taliesin get its front door, and what does that mean??? Is the Hillside Drafting STudio literally as well as figuratively built like a Gothic cathedral, and what does that mean?). Have to practice my conference presentation. So there are compensations, definitely.

Am I a geek who doesn't make any sense to anyone else? Do I understand FLLW and Taliesin to such an extent that I can't explain it? I don't know.
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Ah! I'm sitting here wanting to have a beer and there's this devastatingly beautiful flute piece on the radio right now. It's telling me in its beautiful voice that I have to practice, and that I'll be all mouth-mushy if I have a beer. On other flute related notes, I got the wedding present off today to my flute teacher. It should get there Monday, and they get married a week from Saturday.

On a work related note, I can tell you about the Coonley house.

And I spent about 5 hours coming to a theory on one part of the house, building up an argument, and was foiled by Edgar Tafel, of all people.* The shame.

in Tafel's book, the picture's much bigger proves something I was hoping wasn't at the house when Wright died was at the house when Wright died. This is in part why I'm good at what I do, I think. Even though I would sometimes like to hide these sort of finds when I find something I don't like, I don't. Oh, curse my positronic brain!

*an attention whore who's like, 147 years old who studied w/Wright and won't let anyone forget it.
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From the National Historic Landmark nomination form:
Begun in 1911, Wright was working on the site until his death in 1959 but there have been no changes since that time. No, of course not, not when you tell people that the trippy pool, "Moon Gate" and spiral staircase were built in the 1950s. WOuld this place even achieve national landmark status if it were in this condition today?
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"My tour guide at the Dana Thomas house in Springfield told me that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the original Taliesin so that it had a room for his mistress and his wife. Is that true?"

My reaction must of spoken volumes to this guy, as I struggled to refrain from saying, "Jesus fucking christ, of course not!" I finally said, "Well, Wright did plan for awhile on having his mother come to live w/him at Taliesin, and I think there is a plan labeled, 'Mrs. Wright,' but meaning Anna Lloyd Wright..." Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he wasn't a brilliant architect--he was just a sex god w/a 10" dong who could go all night. Yeah, that must be it. Fellowship>? 24/7 orgy, man.
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Of course, I could always just steal this from this site, "created and maintained by Chuck LaChiusa (also a tour guide and speaker) as a public service": Wright returned to Oak Park in 1910 (but not to his home and family), and the following year, he began building a new home and studio near Spring Green, Wisconsin. The complex, called Taliesin, was built on ancestral farmland. On Christmas Day, 1913, following Mrs. Cheney's divorce, he announced she would live with him at Taliesin.

In 1914, Taliesin was set afire by Julian Carleton, a crazed servant who, newspapers reported, was underpaid and driven mad by the unconventional lovers. He started a fire during lunch, locked all the doors except for the lower half of a Dutch door, and as Mamah and each of her two children and four of Wright's leading workmen crawled out, he chopped off their heads.
Gotta love those tour guides.
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I did mention that I submitted an abstract to a FLLW bigwig event, right?

read here for over explanatory abstract by me, the research goddess )

dance dance dance....

I got an e-mail today

dance dance dance....

My abstract's been accepted. I'm going to the conference in October.


likethebeer: (Default)

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