Learning London: A day of cream tea and BauBax testing

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Soho at Christmas–but it is lit this way year round!

Aongus and I aim to make the most of every free day we have in London. I’m back at Gatwick now, flying to a speaking engagement in Dublin, and reflecting on the past 24 hours.

After work yesterday (7PM Friday), we met in Covent Garden. First strolling aimlessly, for the purpose of exercise and air, we found ourselves in Soho when Aongus’ hunger pangs won out. We stopped in for Dim Sum at the Golden Phoenix restaurant on Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE, in the heart of China Town.

Aiming to try new things as often as possible, we thus enjoyed our first dinner on Gerrard Street. The custard-filled buns at the Golden Phoenix were particularly delicious; we will skip ordering a saucy dish next time and stick to the dumplings!

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Cream tea for two at Harrod’s

Today (Saturday morning) we awoke for a trip to Kensington via the London underground. I’d booked cream tea for two at Harrod’s. The store and its surrounding streets had a festive holiday feel.

After tea, we browsed and even made a small purchase (but not Italian luxury furniture, unfortunately!).

In our photos of furniture-testing, you’ll see Aongus trying out his new BauBax 2.0 travel jacket. In a recent Kick Starter campaign, I had ordered us matching bomber jackets. Today we donned these early Christmas presents, and Aongus is delighted with his. I’m an architect and I am quite detail-oriented, so although I’m happy with several of the innovative features, I am not entirely satisfied with the overall product–at least not in the medium size for women.

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Harrods interior stair. The building is a-maze-ing.

It seems to me they tested the BauBax 2.0 design on the large size for men. Several of the features promised–most notably the interior iPad pocket–are too small in the version for ladies. My iPad is a few millimeters too long to fit, and they now say the ladies version will only fit an “iPad mini” which I have not found to be a useful tool. Nevertheless, there’s still a pocket for the iPad pencil. Not too useful if you can’t bring your iPad! It’s important to have pockets when Ryanair won’t allow baggage aboard without add-on fees. I like to travel with as few bags as possible!

So, while the garment does have several nice design features, the final product appears to have been rushed out of the factory. Many of the seams and details in mine are of poor quality. I’ll need to bring it to a tailor to remedy its shortfalls, and I’ll not buy clothing online again.

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Giving an Italian recliner and a BauBax 2.0 bomber jacket a test run

I guess it boils down to the fact that when it comes to buying cars, computers, and clothes, I’m not an Innovator according to Rodger’s Adoption model–those folks bought the BauBax 1.0 on Kickstarter. I’m also not completely comfortable as an Early Adopter, as I’ve ended up with second-iteration products that still needed some refinement–including this BauBax 2.0 and a 2004 Nissan 350Z.

I really loved my Z car but it, and its 2003 and 2004 siblings, came out of the factory without its tires balanced! They didn’t realize that tire-balancing issue until they’d rolled 14 months or so of these two-seat sports cars out of showrooms. Tires started failing at 16k miles and had to be replaced. So now I know definitively–I need to wait for v3.0. Just be an Early Innovator and enjoy the benefits of having a refined design rather than a cutting-edge showpiece.

I am, however, very happy with the smile on Aongus’ face and the fact that he says the shape of the jacket is flattering. Fortunately, with time and use, I’m beginning to identify which pockets can fit which items–which doesn’t exactly align with the BauBax info sheets that we studied meticulously–but I’m finding systems that work for me.

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Comptior on Exhibition Rd

So as you see from Aongus’ reclined testing position at Harrod’s furniture showrooms, we rested a bit on some cozy chairs, identifying ideal options for our future. After discussing chair designs with a furniture rep, we viewed some women’s fashions. We enjoy seeing the bizarre clothing designs on offer here and at Harvey Nichols, but we quickly had our fill and headed out and down to the street.

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Enjoying a chicken tagine

Following a zesty Lebanese tagine at Comptior on Exhibition Road–a cafe we had previously enjoyed with my cousin Kaitlin–we headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum to absorb some art and history. We particularly enjoyed the stained glass and the new section for photography. You’ll see photos of the building and also from the Buddist, metalwork, and photography sections.

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Cameras on exhibit in the V&A’s new photography section

The sun had set and there wasn’t much time before my flight to Dublin, so we dashed to the South Kensington tube station and jumped onto a District line train.

We said a quick but heartfelt “goodbye and see you Friday” as I disembarked at Victoria Station and climbed the stairs to the National Rail station on the ground floor. Despite construction works around Gatwick that delayed the train 15 minutes, I arrived and cleared security with plenty of time for a browse at Dixon’s and a healthy salad from Pret before I hit the runway–putting my travel jacket to work.

Ciao, Britain. See your other side on Tuesday!

Architects’ Pot Luck

These days, wild, crazy fun among architects involves Pecha Kucha style presentations.  This is a high-speed format for sharing images and ideas.  With Pecha Kucha, each presenter selects/provides 20 images.  At the Pecha Kucha event, the slides are projected on a large screen in sequence for 20 seconds each.  The presenter talks, and the slides move on wether or not the speaker is ready.  It’s entertaining — in part because it’s actually quite difficult for the speaker to stick to the 20 second window.

This format keeps the speaker from droning on too long and it leaves time for more people to present.  It’s pot luck: everyone brings something to share and you can almost always find something you hadn’t expected but quite enjoy.

An architect from Williamsburg, Dale Weiss, organized a Pecha Kucha event at ArchExchange East last November and he has uploaded the representations to his (very elegant) website.

You can view my Pecha Kucha presentation, of urban reflections from Ireland, by clicking here.

Perusing Paris

Hampton University sketches of Paris.

Hampton University sketching in Paris, on a rainy day.

Spent a lovely week in Paris, much of it with Hampton University’s architecture program.  I’ve attached a few of the pics I snapped with my iPhone.  I’m back in Dublin now, and  getting around to downloading the photos from my Nikon.  The photos will help me reminisce of my travels once I head back to the States.  I might even have time to write something meaningful on my blog once again….

For now, pictures will have to do!

Porto — Obrigado!

One last glimpse of my beautiful Porto and my Fulbright trip there, just before I introduce you to Problem-Based Learning in Belgium….

Purchasing a Reflection

Circa 1835, Dublin, Ireland, March 2011

Circa 1835, Dublin, Ireland, March 2011

I’m posting the images from my photography show, for all of you who didn’t get to attend the opening and take a catalogue home. The title of the show is “Inter-Changes: Reflections from Dublin and Beyond” and it is on display at the O’Connell House at from 9-5 weekdays at 58 Merrion Square, in Dublin 2, from May 8-31, 2013.  I’ll be there next Monday, May 27 from 12-2 for one last “Meet the Artist” session.

If you’d like to purchase one of the works, please contact me via email at shannonchance (at) verizon (dot) net.  The images are currently selling for 80 Euros or 100 dollars each, plus shipping and handling.

The copyright for these images belongs to Shannon Chance.  If you want to use them for commercial purposes, please contact me. You may use them for personal or educational purposes as long as you cite me as the author.

My most sincere thanks to all who attended the launch of this exhibition.  You have helped make my time in Ireland memorable and worthwhile!  Thanks for reflecting on Ireland with me….

Photo Launch Fun

Dave Chance did a delightful job documenting events at the opening of my first photography exhibition, InterChanges: Reflections from Dublin and Beyond.  Thanks to all my fabulous friends and colleagues for coming out to support my work!

By the way, I’ve sold six photos to date.  If there’s one you see on the wall that you’d like to purchase, please let me know.  They are selling for 80 Euro each and sales are helping me recoup the cost of producing the show.

Amazing Sights of Lisbon

...is an architectural and structural marvel.

The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has designed some of the world’s finest train stations and bridges. The station in Lisbon reflects the care and precision of Calatrava’s design work.

Lisbon is a glorious city.

I was truly blessed to spend five glorious days in this place–the capital of Portugal–as part of the Fulbright Inter-Country Lecturing Program.  I will never forget my time there, the places I visited, or the people I got to know.

I’ve attached a few of the iPhone photos snapped during my stay. (Copyright Shannon Chance, 2013.)