Remind me … why am I doing this again?

August 30, 2012 — 35 Comments

This is a “life” day here on Life of an Architect.

I just got off the phone with someone whose name had a vowel to consonant ratio of at least 5:1 … and my entire head is throbbing (can you have two headaches at the same time?)

I am about to start the process of relocating my website from the people who currently host it to a new provider. Why you ask? Because my site takes for-ever to load. You might not care, maybe you haven’t even noticed (unlikely) but it drives me crazy and all I can think about is how many people type in only to have to sit …

and wait … < < loading > >

and wait … < < loading > >

until the page finally loads and by that time they’ve forgotten why they were here and that’s only if for some inexplicable reason they’ve hung around enough to actually have the page load.


Welcome to “Life of an Architect Rip van Winkle”


Rip van Winkle.

So I spent the longest hour of my life on the phone working out the details with 5:1 ratio man, and that was just the beginning of my hell. As is true with most things, I know enough to ask good questions but that doesn’t mean that I understand the answers.


5:1 Ratio Man – Welcome to technical support .. How may I help you today?

Me: I think I need to change where my web pages are at on the internets.

5:1 Ratio Man – Begging your pardon, I am not quite sure that I understand your query.

Me: My Website. Slow. Need Change. Go Faster.

5:1 Ratio Man – Alright. I believe I understand now what you are trying to ask. You would like to relocate your website from your current web host provider to us. Am I correct? Great, I can assuredly help you with this endeavor. What is your name?

Me: It’s Bob. That’s B. O. B.

5:1 Ratio Man – Yes, thank you Mr. Bob, that is most excellent. What kind of service would you want today?

Me: What kind of service?? I want good service. And I want my website to be faster. [ defeatedly ] My website runs so slowly it makes me want to stab myself in the face with a laptop.

5:1 Ratio Man – Oh no, let us see if we can do something where you do not need to damage yourself with computer hardware. What type of web hosting would you like? Grid Service? Dedicated Virtual Servers? How about the Cloud?

Me: Mah ha wahnee nah?

5:1 Ratio Man – What?

Me: What what?

5:1 Ratio Man – Alright. In order for me to make a recommendation, I will need to know a few things about your current level of service.

Bob: It’s bad.

5:1 Ratio Man – What is bad?

Bob: My current level of service.

5:1 Ratio Man – Yes, of course, I understand. Exactly how much bandwidth do you currently use per month?

Bob: … sandwich?

5:1 Ratio Man – Bandwidth. How much do you use?

Bob: This conversation is so boring.

5:1 Ratio Man – Alright. I am in your control panel now and in looking at the data, things like traffic records and page views, and also taking into consideration the service level you have with your existing provider, your site is getting [ air quote fingers ] throttled [ air quote fingers ] an astounding 44,646.61 seconds in the last 24 hours alone!

Bob: Oh … Well, that explains why I have gained so much weight this last year.

5:1 Ratio Man – No it does not, that does not explain that at all. Those two items are unrelated.

Bob: Are they?

5:1 Ratio Man – Most definitely.

Bob: Ahhh … My hair turned white and isn’t as shiny as it used to be.

5:1 Ratio Man – No, also unrelated. Mr. Bob, please try to focus sir. I am explaining to you that you are on a shared server and because of the volume of your traffic, your web host provider has determined that you are using more than your fair share of available bandwidth and is intentionally restricting visitor access to your site.

Bob: [ inserting entire piece of cake into mouth ] Welmpf, thas imfin’t merrvy mumps fa mumf

5:1 Ratio Man – Begging your pardon?

Bob: [swallowing] Well, that isn’t very nice of them, therefore they don’t get any of this cake that there isn’t any more of …

5:1 Ratio Man – Of course, you are most correct in your decision. However, based on the data, including 211,347 monthly visitors and 961,858 page views, I have determined that you need to be on your own dedicated server.

Bob: [ brushing cake crumbs off shirt ] Damn right I need to be on my own server! … So, seriously – what does that mean and how do I do that?

5:1 Ratio Man – Oh, it is super-easy. All you have to do is transfer your web site via [ blahbipty blah words I don’t know ] onto our servers – or we can do it for you for an additional fee of $150. You will then need to reconfigure your site and verify that [ I wonder if that really was the last piece of cake? ] are all functioning. Then, once you are ready to make the switch and go live, you will simply need to [ do we have milk? I need a glass of milk ] in your wp-config.php file and point the DNS for the domain to your dedicated virtual server IP address. The easiest method to point DNS to [ hmmm …. why isn’t my hair as shiny anymore? I use Pert! ]  change your name servers on your domain via your registrar … and then to pay us an additional $500 a year.

Bob: $500 a year!? What the fu[ falling onto floor, cake crumbs softening the landing ] ……….. Why am I doing this again?


Look, I just wanted to be creative and have some fun with this website, maybe learn a thing or two along the way. I certainly didn’t expect to be here 415 posts later and I really didn’t think I would be sitting on the couch with a new laptop, gaining weight, losing the luster of my now non-shiny white hair AND getting to pay for the privilege to what amounts as homework for a 44-year-old grown ass man. So why am I doing this again?

Getting exposed to new things – new things are good, it’s important to continue to learn new things and seek out new challenges.

Meeting new people – despite this being a digital medium, I have met hundreds of new people (in real life!!) as a result of creating and writing for this site.

Making the practice a bit more transparent and accessible to people – since most people don’t really understand what architects do, how they work, or think about the inherent value in what we do, if I can shed the smallest amount of light onto the process, I think the architectural community on the whole benefits.

Increasing my visibility in the creative community – what was once my biggest fear (coming across as a fool) is no longer a concern of mine – that ship has left the harbor. As a result of my efforts, I get to interface with my peers in the design community in a way that would otherwise have been impossible.

Proving to people that not all architects are elitist snobs with no sense of humor – believe it or not, most architects have a pretty good sense of humor, it just doesn’t come out very often because we are generally sleep-deprived. Get a few drinks in us and change the subject from architecture and you will have a very lively group on your hands.

Improve my communication [and grammar skills] – you should have seen them before I started.

Helping the community I have been able to broaden my reach and ability to help the charitable organizations I support – either through the flow of information or through the playhouse competition I now run.

Finding my voice – something that I never thought of when I started Life of an Architect. Knowing that there are people out there that think like I do and support the same ideals that I have has gone a long way to helping feel like I’m not just “some guy in the next cubicle” … I’m “that stupid guy in the next cubicle.”

… and last but not least

Groupiesyeah! If they only knew …

I would like to thank everyone who takes time out of their day to be a part of mine. I appreciate the tolerance and patience you’ve shown me over the last 958 days since I started figuring things out as I went. I am eternally grateful for your support and that’s why I am spending a small portion of my daughter’s college education fund (she’ll just need to get a scholarship) to upgrade the servers here at Life of an Architect.

I hope it makes a difference … or I’m gonna be pissed.





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  • Dani Grebe

    I had the shittiest life of an architect day today, and this just completely made it better. Onward!

  • Patricia Collins

    Hi Bob…just found your site…love your posts…and I daresay I share your sense of humour…will check back soon!

    • Great! (and I could use some more people leaving comments that get my sense of humor)

  • OK, I chuckled several times, not because of your IT support pains, but your sense of humour being thrown around.

    I feel your pain as unfortunately as with many professionals they do not know how to converse on their specialist subject at a layman’s level.

    Anyway, I only found you as a result of your Japanese playhouse and have stuck around eating your bandwidth, cake would be better. Too many good reads.

    WordPress is great!!
    Dont be shy about having a donate button either.

    • Thanks Simon – glad you stuck around and I appreciate you jumping in and leaving a comment. Frequently the posts are just the primer for the comment section which is where all the real action takes place.


  • Fryingpan 9

    Great blog. I laughed out loud hard at least 3 times. Not the best thing for me to read as I’ve been putting off having my own website for my comedy for WAY too long, but I’ll slog on, I suppose . . .

  • I hate to say this, but I’ve never noticed any slowness loading this site…

  • Sending this link to my IT Architect. hehehe (Yeah I give him crap about this) but he can help you.

  • jb @BuildingMoxie

    Feel you Bob … Been there myself you know. Great reasons and a great read. and thanks for sharing like you do. ~jb

  • I laughed out loud at this post! Too funny! I’m glad you’re sticking around!

  • Doug Spohn

    Hey, Bob.
    Love the “van Winkle” bit. Leaves plenty of space for day-dreaming (the elixir of life). And I am sorry that you (actually, any of us – ever) had to deal with 5:1 Ratio Man. Press on. Your (sometimes criminally) insane interpretations of the life of an architect bring hope and, yes, sanity.

  • Now Bob, while I love your site, I think you may be falling into the ‘poor architect trap’. The reason architects are poor is because they do not ask for payment for their services. I think you provide a great service to everyone by educating us (professors get paid!), and I think you should ask for money from us lurkers who devour your bandwidth. I suggest adding a donation button, and see how that goes. You may be surprised (and less poor). 😉 Cheers!

    • ask and ye shall receive! (or I suppose I will receive…)
      I originally had this widget in place for fundraising efforts a few years ago, once someone stuck $10 in there and I fell out of my chair. I would never ask but if someone is so moved ….

      Cheers Brinn, that’s for taking the time.

  • Oh Bob, thank you for the grins this morning. I have been in that conversation myself but you certainly brought humour to it! Isn’t it amazing to learn the “why” about things that we do? We should all be so fortunate. And btw, your site loads just fine here in podunk Midwest America ~

    • Thanks Pat, I am glad to hear things are loading fine in the great Midwest. The transfer process is now complete and things had better be loading well (or you know, that “I’ll be pissed part” will be a reality)

  • Mikheil

    If it is technically easy to do I can contribute $5 to “Life of the Architect” blog for server charges. I’m sure other readers will do the same.

    • Thanks Mikheil but I’m not asking for money, I’m just surprised that I found myself in a position to have to address this problem.

      You could buy a shirt – I get a whopping $2.00 for that [sad face]

      ps – I’m just kidding about the t-shirt. Not the $2 part, the buying part

  • vande71

    5:1 ???? you got one of the better ones……………

    • he was extremely polite and helpful, I just couldn’t the techno jargon he was throwing at me

  • jmm

    I know what you wanted to say…”Hey, readers, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort,
    you know.”
    And we say, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you
    die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.”
    So you got
    that goin’ for you, which is nice.
    If you really would like some coin to keep this ship afloat, you can either sell some of desk items…because of your celebrity status, or take up a collection. We could each send $1 to your office each year. We could easily pay for the server dealio, but more importantly, piss off your current firm with your “fan mail”. I will throw in some Wilsonart samples, so it looks like we are conducting real business.

    • not really – at times I think I should be paying people to continue reading what shows up here.

  • Julie

    Dear Bob,
    No probleme loading over here – but then I read the majority of your posts via Email! Just to let you know that you CANNOT stop! Absolutely love your humourous take on life and work! You inspire those that read your posts – and most definitely bring interesting people together! We should all now go buy another T-shirt of yours to help finance your new 10.0 site! You are great & we love you! Your posts are the light of my overcharged architectural office management/design/production/organisational day/life!
    Donc, un super bravo et bonne continuation de la part de l’Atelier VongDC – Paris!

    • Thanks Julie – very nice of you to say. Everyone should notice a marked improvement since the website has now been successfully transferred to my new dedicated server. The email might not be working and I can’t use my debit card for a few days but hopefully it will be worth it.

      I think I need some new t-shirt designs to reinvigorate that end of the site. Funny enough, you aren’t wrong – that is the money I use to help cover my expenses here 🙂


      • kyle

        i’m sure that you could crowd source some designs for the t-shirts.

  • mbevivino

    I think you need an official LoaA fan club to help raise the money… Or at least picket in front of your current hosts building.

    • while I appreciate the offer, everything is cool. The previous web host provider was great, I just outgrew what they had to offer. I would recommend them to anyone who was like me and needed a ton of support.

      I still need the technical support actually – I might be in trouble here

  • “Mr. Bob” I do so enjoy your posts. I believe you have successfully (and still do) continue to deliver each of the items that you are striving for. I can only imagine the eye rolling that was going on on your end of the phone…I’d be multi-tasking something in an effort to not have to listen. I’m thankful for your website that is informative, funny, and makes my day on most days (there are those few days that I don’t have time to open…rare and not because your site wouldn’t load.)

    • Amy,
      Your response is exactly why I continue to do this on the days when I feel like I don’t have anything to offer and maybe I shouldn’t be doing this anymore.

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, really. Thank you.

  • Paul Gerber

    Thanks for the morning chuckle Bob! I’ve had similar tech support experiences, but I got lucky the other day and actually spoke with someone I could understand!!! There are certain MEP consultants we use where I have similar issues as this daily however :-S …and yeah, I almost thought his was your blogging resignation too! Glad it’s not!

    • Thanks Paul,
      No, I don’t think I can quit to be honest. I have become addicted to the challenge and the occasion when I sling something out that gets a positive response.

      I am a hooker-architect-blogger (not in that order necessarily) and I don’t think there is a support group in place for people like me yet.

  • OMG_I’ve heard “Mr. Bob” before @ tech support.

    • Of course you have … everyone named Bob has. I remind myself that it could be worse, I could be Mr. Humperdink

      • Sometimes I tell them that Bob spelled backwards is Bob. That really confuses them and I usually have to talk to their supervisor.

  • Ian Salamanca

    Wow, nearly had a panic attack when it sounded like this was you blogging resignation!

    As a “throttler” of your site ( sometimes five tabs at a time (guilty)), and an aspiring Architect/ blogger; let me be the first to say the inter-tubes would be a sad place if you no longer pointed out the gorilla armpits, and the face hurting; as well as the fact that one doesn’t need to be “Ghery-esque” to be an amazing, successful creator.

    Hope that was a decent reminder!

    • Thanks Ian, glad you enjoy gorilla armpits as much as I do