Monday, February 21, 2005

Window Licker

Today, in a Very Special Episode of “CAD Monkey in the Cubicle Jungle,” CAD Monkey comes to terms with her terrible secret: she has gone retarded when it comes to the one of the simplest aspects of AutoCAD usage. She does not know how to create a viewport in paperspace. (For all you non-AutoCAD users, this is akin to forgetting how to read!)

[tries to select existing viewport and move the contents, fails] Dangit! How the hell do I make a new one? I don’t know how! I. don’t. know. how!

[e-mails the calvary]

CAD Monkey: This is a sad, sad thing to admit, but I've gone completely retarded over the last 10 months. I honestly don't know how to create a viewport in AutoCAD paperspace. At Firm 2, they had a custom menu for it, and at El Hellhole, I didn't work on any project long enough to have to do it.

Liz: Do you need some assistance??

CAD Monkey: Gawd, yes. I'm a window licker. "0" is the current layer, and I type in MVIEW, right? I think that's got it.

This is just scary. How could I forget something like this? It is testament to the fact that if you don’t use something often enough, it leaks out through your ears. First, I lost any ability to use MicroStation, now I’m losing AutoCAD capabilities.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Reason #486 Why It's Good That I'm Not Having Any Kids

Because I make cakes that look like this:

Posted by Hello


Friday was a good day.

Friday afternoon, I hit a lull in my current project. We had just sent out drawing sets for schematic pricing, and I wasn’t scheduled to get on anything else until Monday. It was 3:00, and I didn’t want to spend the next two hours sitting at my desk surfing the ‘net. I commented to my Project Manager, “I think I’m gonna take off early.”

He said, “Well, you’ve earned it. Have a good weekend.”

I was off like a prom dress.

Even with “permission,” I still felt the need to make a stealthy escape. I quietly gathered up my things, and make a quick retreat down the fire stairs. Even though he told me I had earned it, I still felt guilty. Because I dislike what I do, so intensely on some days, I have to sometimes remind myself that I do actually work pretty hard- even when it doesn’t feel like I’m working as hard as I should.

I took full advantage of the opportunity to go do some shopping during a time when all the other eight-to-fiving schmoes wouldn’t be out as well. After I’d finished shopping for necessities, I started to drive home. The weather was nice; overcast, but cool and comfortable. I was reminded of this post by Anonymous Cog. I was happy.

I was also dangerous. After driving past Calloway’s, I immediately made a U-turn and went back. I bought $75 worth of plants and mulch- a luxury I don’t allow myself often enough. I mean the plants; not the mulch. Heh.

The rest of the afternoon I spent out in the yard; digging, planting, mulching. It was work, but it was fun. Then, ManThing came home, and we met up with some friends for dinner. There was pasta. There was wine. All was right with the world.

I wish I could start off every weekend this way.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Basis of Monkey Anger

Maybe my head has gotten bigger since I scored a mention in the Archinect listings, but I have started to feel it is my duty to inform people about what the real world of architecture is like- or, at least what it’s been like for me. Architecture school has a very bad habit of glossing over- or omitting entirely- the various levels of tedium that are part of the real working world.

Another fun thing I’d never heard of upon graduation was the BOMA standards. BOMA stands for the Building Managers and Owners Association. They publish a set of standards by which property owners determine the amounts of rentable square footage in buildings, which they then use to determine leasing rates. This is done through a series of measurements and calculations.

The more I deal with BOMA calculations, the more I think BOMA stands for Basis of Monkey Anger.

First, you measure the GROSS BUILDING AREA. Then they tell you that measurement is useless for the rest of the calculations. It’s only “for record keeping.”

Next, you measure the GROSS MEASURED AREA of each floor. To do this, you have to first determine the DOMINANT PORTION: this is whether the majority of your exterior walls consist of wall or glass. Clients usually ask for BOMA calculations at the beginning of the project, before we’ve figured out how much glass there is going to be. We fake it. Then they get angry later in the project, when the true window placements cause the rentable area numbers to drop.

Third, you find the FLOOR RENTABLE AREA by subtracting the vertical penetrations, i.e.; elevator shafts, stairwells, and mechanical shaft. Even developers don’t feel right about charging rent for holes, apparently.

Next, you add up the areas of all individual office spaces, if you know them…

You know, just trying to find a witty way to describe the process is pissing me off…suffice it to say it’s long, tedious, and often confusing. On my current project, the client gave us a “target ratio” to shoot for. In office buildings, the way to get the best ratio is to have the vertical circulation core in the middle of the floor, and let the lease spaces form a “donut” around them. However, our client insisted that we break the core into two pieces, one stairwell at each end of the building, and run a 6’ corridor along the entire length of the floor. This tends to make your numbers take a nosedive. Because of this, I have been forced to do silly things. I moved one half of the core 30’ inwards, and re-did the BOMA calcs. Still didn’t make the target ratio. I moved the windows toward the face of the exterior wall an inch, and re-did the BOMA calcs. Still didn’t make the target ratio. I waved a chicken foot over the plans, and re-did the BOMA calcs. Still didn’t make the target ratio. Ad nauseum. Ad infinitum.

Every time I make any kind of plan change, (and I have made a LOT), the client requests, “can you send the new BOMA numbers with those plan updates?” The building has seven floors, plus an elevator penthouse. Re-running the BOMA calcs consists of me doing the seven steps in the process, separately, for floors 1, 2, 3 through 6, 7, and the penthouse- because they are all different in plan. We finally made the target ratio of 1.15, but on the spreadsheet, the number showed up as 1.156. Thus, I had to go back and mess with the plans over and over, until I improved the number by 3 thousandths of a point.

“Can you send the new BOMA numbers with those plan updates?”

Sure I can! (bangs head on keyboard tray)

Big Ol’ Messy Arithmetic
Boil On My Ass
Boo-hooing Over My Apathy
Bring On More Asskicking
Baboons Outdo My Architecture

Everybody…play along!!!
(Update 2/20/05: ManThing contributed: Bastards Often Make Alterations)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I forgot the earphones to my iPod, so I will have to listen to Hack-and-Snort Guy all day. Also known to me as Unfortunate Dandruff Guy, Hack-and-Snort has what appears to be a chronic sinus issue; allergies, I guess. When I don’t have my earphones, I have the joy of listening to him sucking down snot (snort) and clearing his throat (“hem-hem,” hack) every few minutes. It is 8:45 and I am already annoyed beyond belief. I want to get up from my chair, walk the eight steps between our desks with increasing speed at each subsequent step, leap into the air, and throttle him; my teeth bared, growling, “take a fucking Benadryl, you moron!”

There's no courteous way of telling him this, is there?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This is how my afternoon went

It's two-for-one day, kiddies!!

(CAD Monkey note: In order to establish the “emotional background” for this entry, keep in mind that I spent the entire experience alternating between nasty heartburn, and the feeling of Impending Hurl.)

There was a meeting scheduled for 2:30, with the developer coming to our office. They showed up at 1:50. The drawings had not been printed. Fuck. With AutoCAD, you cannot just print multiple files at once…oh no. You have to do them individually. This process takes around a minute per file- and that’s when AutoCAD is cooperating.

Yesterday, in order to get the drawings more prepared for the construction document phase, I had taken all of the columns out of the individual floor plans and put them into their own file. So now, in addition to having to print the six plans, I first had to insert the column file into each drawing I needed to print. Add another 90 seconds per file. Crap crap crap.

AutoCAD started misbehaving by not accepting my commands. HR lady was showing two new interior designers around the office, and introducing them to everybody. When she got to my desk, I made a wonderful impression with the “I don’t have time for this right now” vibe.

I managed to send the drawings to the print room downstairs. I made a pit stop at the restroom on that floor. Got “caught” by the maintenance guy again. I think he’s doing it on purpose.

Got drawings. Went to meeting. The clients didn’t even look at most of the stupid drawings. Another stress-filled effort well-spent. Crap.

Anybody know how I could impale myself without piercing any major organs?

I was having dinner with a friend last Thursday; and she mentioned something about how it sure would be nice to have surgery, if only so she could have some time off to sleep. Now, this particular friend is a prime example of the worker I sometimes wish I were. She works 50-60 hours a week, but that’s acceptable to her, because she loves her job. That’s why it surprised me that she would wish for hospitalization just to get some rest. That sort of thing sounds much more like a fantasy of mine.

I was reminded of that conversation last night, when I was having pains in my lower right abdomen. I thought for a minute, “Ooh, maybe it's appendicitis! I could take off for short-term disability and lay on my ass for a week or so. That would rock!”

Who thinks this way? Who would wish themselves bodily harm just to get out of dragging ass to the office for a little while?

Apparently, I’m not the only one. I told Lori about my wish for a life-threatening condition, and the following conversation arose:

Lori: No such luck. That is really sad...yes, I have the same thoughts occasionally. Like the other morning when I didn't feel so hot and would maybe throw up. Turned out to just be a hangover. Damn!

Mikey said: I'm still trying to find the loophole that allows a massage a month under the health plan I've got. It may just be a rumor, but hell, it's worth a try.

CAD Monkey: Booze Therapy? Is that covered?

Mikey: Hey you know how these union gubamint jobs are in them LIB AHH RALLL states are. I just need to wade thru all the by-laws, or deep enough that nobody else will check and it just may be covered. I think it's somewhere around the discount for Goodyear tires.

Maybe I could try my luck on the Tollway. I've lived in Dallas for five years, and haven't had an accident. I'm way overdue.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Slackers Unite!

Bleargh, I say. I am putting myself on hiatus for a bit, if you couldn't already tell. I felt like I needed to post something, even if it's just to say that I'm not posting for a while. I am in the middle of doing a gluten challenge, and things will likely be unpleasant until it is over. Work has continued to be more of the same, and I don't want to write about plain ol' bitching if I can't make it interesting (which I can't seem to). So, if you're interested in perusing the archives, read this one- it's one of ManThing's favorites; or just go see ManThing himself.

Ponder this for a bit:

Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.

-Alexander Solzhenitzyn

And here I thought I was just being an underachiever.
I found this quote on a great site- Veiled Conceit.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Seagull Architecture

Our primary contact with the developer is a very pleasant man to work for. He is apologetic for the many ridiculous changes his company has asked us to make over the course of this project. He is personable, and very laid back. We have taken him out to lunch a few times, and he is fun to talk to.

He is also, unfortunately, under the thumb of his CEO.

His CEO practices Seagull Architecture. This is where a person swoops in, shits all over what you have been working on, and then flies away.

Why do some clients feel the need to attempt designing the building themselves? We are trained monkeys professionals; we know the history of why things were put where they were, the code implications, and how it will affect the building from the ground floor through the top. This CEO apparently looks at our drawings, decides he doesn’t like something, and we then receive a faxed sketch of his latest “masterpiece.”

The latest edict to come from this design genius is thus: we are to move the first floor coffee shop into the parking garage across the street. That’s right. The parking garage. In compliance with one of his prior sketches, we placed the coffee shop behind the elevators. He doesn’t like it there. Where he told us to place it. Yes, the parking garage would be muuuuuch better. Uh huh. Why don’t we just put a Starbucks cart in the dumpster yard? That would be cheaper.

And the saddest thing is, since he's the guy ultimately signing our check, we have to do it. We have to study it, and try to find some non-smartass way of showing him what an idiot he is for making this suggestion. Not that this strategy worked for the last big proclamation; after we spent four weeks working on the building, getting all the issues worked out, CEO swooped by and we ended up having to “just” rotate the building 180 degrees on the site. That was five weeks ago.

When I grow up, I want to be a CEO just like him. I want to have more power than sense, and an over-inflated ego to match. I want to stroll past peoples’ offices, make ridiculous demands, and watch as the poor souls cower and whimper. And I want to carry a whip.

Somehow, today I managed to attain a state of architectural zen. I believe it resulted from letting the wave of countless plan changes wash over me, instead of trying to swim against the sea of faxed sketches. My usual reaction to the next swell of changes is to become angry; enraged, even. Not so, this afternoon. I just let it flow right over.

Cough. I think I got saltwater up my nose.

Shoe Haiku

This is dedicated to Anonymous Cog...

stupid brand new shoes
you bring me pain like white fire
why did I buy you?
I realized that I have, once again, Lost the Funny in my recent entries. I’m sure they’ve been boring and painful to read. You’ll have to excuse me; my CAD Monkey Collar has been chafing a little, and my wittiness has suffered for it. The majority of what has made me smile at work has been of the “you’ve got to be kidding me” variety.

I do, however, “lurve” my PA. He makes up his own words, like “unfetteredness” and “legitimacized.” On a recent Monday morning, he showed me a ridiculously scaled back plan, saying, “look at this latest fax I just received from [the client].” After I had finished cussing, he told me it was a plan he’d made by using White-Out on one of their actual faxes. I’m still showing that plan to the other team members, just to satirize the insanity of the client.

On another note, at my last job, the annoying thing that would happen to me in the restroom would be the lights shutting off after two minutes. Here, I have the uncanny ability to be sitting in a stall right when the (male) housekeeping person wants to clean the restrooms. It’s happened three times now. Update 8:57pm: It happened twice today.