All in a days work

February 9, 2012 — 14 Comments

Pretty sure I’m an architect … pretty sure, although it doesn’t always seem that way. Things have been crazy around here and I wouldn’t be surprised if some people have noticed that I haven’t been as responsive lately. It certainly isn’t intentional, I’m just running out of time … I haven’t even had time for my groupies lately! So you think having a blog might be cool – and it is – here is  Here’s a look at what blog related non-architect type stuff that I’ve been doing over the last week:


screen shot of my outlook calendar

This is a screen capture of my outlook calendar from last week – these are all the architectural type things that I did between the hours of 7am and 5pm. It looks pretty full but that’s only a portion of what’s going on here in Bob-land. I had lunch with a friend of mine on Tuesday and we discussed a lot of the behind the scenes aspect of writing a blog like this one. Why? Well, I am about to start putting together my presentation for the 2012 National American Institute of Architect Convention and I wanted to see what areas he found interesting. The topic is:

Architects Who Blog: Connecting Online for Influencing, Educating, and Inspiring About Architecture

Sounds pretty good right? I don’t know … maybe. If you are someone who is going to be attending the conference, my seminar is at 2:00 Thursday, May 17 (seminar TH205). I am going to do what I think I do best – deliver my message using self-deprecating humor and anecdotes. I feel honored to be among the people chosen to present to my peers but last week it just felt like more work I needed to get done.


The ISSUE Collective Trialogue "Remnant"

I was also asked to contribute to The ISSUE: Collective – which is a student run blog that serves as a school-wide forum covering current issues, new directions, and dilemmas at my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. How could I turn down my alma mater?!? The premise is that 3 people are given a single word and you can write about whatever comes to mind. My word was REMNANT


That has got to be one of the more depressing words. Despite the fact that I generally try to keep things light and upbeat, I must have written 10 versions of my “REMNANT” post only to think how depressing is this? I finally hammered it out and while I don’t think it’s bad, it has to be the most depressing post I ever wrote. (you can read it here)


You may or may not have known that I have started writing for some other sites – which I can’t even begin to tell you how much that blows my mind. Since you are here – and presumably reading this – you know that I am a terrible writer (let’s not even bring up my grammar and punctuation, we all know I make up my own “rules”). But apparently that’s okay, it has more to do with “your voice”. I think my writing voice sounds like Abe Vigoda – apparently there are people out there who really like Abe Vigoda.


Architects Guide to Glass and Metal - articles by Bob Borson

I have been writing 1 article a month for the website ‘Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal’ for the last 7 months. I mostly talk about glass (I couldn’t tell you why metal is getting ignored but it is…). These articles are a challenge to write because I can’t just make stuff up like I do eleventeen percent of the time here on my site. I had a article due last week and I decided to cover the role of glass in the new Morphosis designed Dallas Science & Nature Museum. I mean, if Thom Mayne was so jazzed up about it, shouldn’t other people be??


Interiors UK - The American Bob Borson

I also starting writing posts for an United Kingdom based furniture, lifestyle and design website – Interiors UK.  Every 4 weeks I have a post due but these ones for the most part are pretty easy because I can talk about whatever I want as long as it has something to do with design, furniture, or lifestyle … or being an architect – and I know a lot about 3 of those things.

Life of an Architect Playhouse CompetitionLast week I rolled out the Life of an Architect ‘Playhouse Design Competition‘ which was super exciting and very satisfying. I think it’s important to give back to the community in some way and this is a competition worthy of anyone’s time and effort (it’s for the kids). I have had a very good showing so far and we are just getting started. Every person who sent me a registration email received a personalized email back with instructions and design guidelines. I know I could have lumped everyone together and sent out a few mass emails but that didn’t seem like the right thing to do – I want each individual to know that I appreciate them.


server issues

Because you can’t appreciate the joy without a little sorrow, I have been having all sorts of difficulties with the company that hosts my website. Over the last few months, page load times have slowed down to an unacceptable level. I call the company to voice my concerns and all I can bring myself to share is that when I get on the phone with them, explain the problem (over and over again every time I call), they start talking to me in the most complicated techno-nerd talk I’ve ever heard that causes my eyes to roll back into my head and send stabbing pains through my chest … I think I might even have passed out once or twice. Basically my site is too big to be hosted on a shared server for $7.95 a month and I need something more along the lines of $79.00 a month (that’s right, there’s nothing in between).

Lastly, there are the comments and emails to respond to – which is generally an enjoyable experience except when you get called a “diversity hater” and told that I am “ruining this country with my bigotry” (FYI – not all hippies are for peace, love and understanding, some can be really mean). I try and not let that stuff not bother me but it does – oh well.

Last week I was asked by someone (in a really nice email) if I would send his wife, who is a fan of the site, a Happy Birthday email – except he didn’t actually give me her email address. It didn’t matter because I got busy and forgot to do it … I felt like a complete jerk. While that’s bad, it’s nothing compared to what I ran up against on Monday. I received an email from someone who was looking for advice on “what sorts of classes should I take?”  because she wanted to be an architect. Fair enough, no harm in asking – that’s a good question right? So I sent off a response. Done … but then I get a response back from that person and she tells me that she is 11 YEARS OLD!!!!! My first thought was “you’re eleven, you shouldn’t have to be thinking about this sort of thing just yet” and then .0045645575 seconds later I thought “Oh My GAWD! I can’t be exchanging emails with an 11 year old girl!!! So I tell her that I’m not going to respond to her in the future unless the email is sent in from her parents. Now she wants to know why not? What has she done? … Look, I’m not going to tell her why not, we all know why not.

When I started this site 2 years ago, I never EVER in any capacity thought I would be dealing with any of the things I’ve listed in this post. Some of them are super cool, some of them completely suck. These are some of the things I might be talking about at the National AIA convention. Hard to believe where things are at and how fast they’ve arrived considering that I am still new at this and just making it up as I go.

Thanks for letting me ramble – I think maybe tonight I’ll get some sleep.



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even better stuff from Life of an Architect

  • I have a feeling the day will come will you’ll have to choose between being a full-time architect or a full-time writer. You’re excellent at both. Maybe get an 11-year-old intern to do all the uploading and photos and such-like. Mostly they’re smarter than we are anyway. You wouldn’t be happy if you weren’t busy. Luckily, you know how to say No. Just don’t try it on me!

  • Now the bigot haters have one more stone to throw at you….you 11-year-old hater you…

  • Haha! Started out with a furrow on my brow (usual for me) and ended up rolling on the floor laughing!! Especially about the 11yr old girl part!!  HAAAAAA!! Well, I’m sure your AIA presentation will be just as entertaining as this post.

  • Read your “REMNANT” article. You have to remember that the prophet Isaiah describes the coming Messiah as the remnant of Judah. So a remnant can be a very good thing.

  • Bob, thank you for posting this. Having a blog is cool, and while I’m thrilled with the attention, the day job on top of the day job is getting…um, exciting? (Doesn’t that sound so much better than “Ack!”) 

    I don’t have as many blog jobs on the plate (phew) but all the other projects and requests sure are adding up. I have a collection of full-moon email as well, but no 11-year-old fans. (Phew.)There has to be a support group somewhere, right?  

  • Lauren

    Bob you shouldn’t let these things stress you out – your blog is readily available on the internet which means of course there with be crazies and people trying to cause controversies attempting to stir the pot – just ignore them! You are not a senator or any kind of politician so you don’t need to censor your thoughts or opinions either. You write a fantastic blog about something you love and are kind enough to share your thoughts with the greater population – you are under no obligation to appease everyone! So for us who genuinely enjoy reading your posts, understand your passion and take things with a grain of salt – keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Robin

    breathe, bob, breathe. I think you are hyperventilating!!!!!

    • that’s when I’m at my best (I think)

      If I’m not busy, I tend to get bored – it’s a trait I think most architects and designers share

  • Anonymous

    you know the drill – do what you think is best and don’t worry about anything else (stuff beyond your control).  Agree with JOV, though, don’t burn out.  Otherwise you might have to change your avatar – droopy, bloodshot eyes,… a frown,…. that wouldn’t be any good.

    • hah – there’s a reason I use an Avatar in the first place…

  • JOV

    Bob, the blog is great – only one I subscribe to – but do not burn yourself out!

    • trying not to – so many interesting things out there!!

  • That stuff should bother you. I there wasn’t any diversity we wouldn’t have any diversity.

    • ironic isn’t it?

      Thanks for the chuckle Robert.