Brain Aneurysm

When I pick Tony up from work, I drive by a tattoo and body piercing shop called Kaleidoscope. There’s a big sign on the building about body piercing. The sign features a graphic that is supposed to look like a piercing, as if the sign itself (and the building on which it’s hanging) is pierced. The graphic isn’t all that great, and I had to be stopped at the stoplight across from it at least thirty times before I realized what it was supposed to be.

When I did realize, earlier this week, I started thinking about how much better it would be if the Kaleidoscope building could actually get a giant, building-sized piercing inserted through and into it. How would it work? Would it just look like it was going through the building, or would you actually be able to see it from the inside? What would that mean in terms of insulation and heating costs? How does one make a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not type architectural decision? Obviously structural integrity has to be a consideration, but the driving force is wackiness, one assumes.

And anyway, even if Kaleidoscope could figure that out, they’d still be facing the enormous costs of creating a gigantic piercing. You wouldn’t need to use sterling silver, obviously, but even that much steel could be pricey. And heavy! Do you think they could make it hollow, I wonder?

Surely there are other options beyond steel. Couldn’t a woman create an awesome, faux building piercing with some DIY ingenuity, a hundred bucks, and a weekend? What if she used flexible duct work?

It’s not a perfect substitute, to be sure, but the basics are all there. And who says the piercing has to look real up close? Wouldn’t the important thing be whether it gives a general likeness from the stoplight down the block, where people in cars are apt to be stopped?

I said all this to myself, there at the stoplight, and then I said it to Tony when I picked him up. I actually ran through this series of thoughts twice before some neuron in my brain finally fired and I came to in a cold sweat like OH MY GOD WHY IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THIS??? WHY? WHY??? PLEASE STOP IMMEDIATELY!

I don’t pretend to be a genuis, but surely I could be thinking about something — anything – more productive than piercing the Kaleidoscope building. The thing is, though, now it’s a habit. In fact I’ve just run through the series of thoughts again just now, in writing this! The thought is stuck, lodged deep in the part of my brain that has apparently always wanted me to think about pierced buildings.

I want that building to get a piercing, damnit! Or, at the very least, I want to capture my vision of it through photoshop or a painting or a powerful and moving modern dance. I need to think about it, like I need to scratch a mosquito bite or read every book ever written by Stephen King even though I so rarely enjoy them.  I just google image searched “pierced buildings” and found this, which is significantly smaller and less majestic than what I’m envisioning but is at least approaching the idea.

There’s a blog I like that snarks on a popular healthy-living blogger. Today in the comments section the author linked to a Lewis Black video. If you didn’t understand anything I wrote in the previous two sentences, don’t worry about it.  The point is, there’s a stand-up comedy bit that gets at this idea. (The funny part starts at 1:35).


“If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” Unlike Lewis Black, my future brain aneurysm doesn’t  require any external earworm. My own brain has come up with it all on its own. Pierced buildings! Pierced buildings! PIERCED BUILDINGS!

When the news of my passing comes, days or weeks from now, please know that I’m in a better place. This world, with its non-pierced buildings, was never meant for me. I’ve moved on to somewhere full of love and light and hollow steel that passes through brick and mortar like a threaded needle. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to my family, who will need them to purchase the custom-made pierced tombstone I have recently designed for such an occasion.



About Emma

It sure is hard to type with these hooves!
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7 Responses to Brain Aneurysm

  1. mark says:

    Great post Emma–have you considered starting an architectural critique blog? You’d be wonderful. That is, if you survive the night. Here is hoping!

    Have you ever considered a building zipper / giant ant house? Good news! You don’t have to, it already exists in Philadelphia. Maybe this will help you move on / not die in the next few days, which I’d very much appreciate / can’t speak for others / maybe they will voice their own opinions? / I am realizing slashes are awesome at bringing lots of ideas together at once :

    • Emma Emma says:

      First, I did survive the night. Thank you for your concern. I’ve only thought about pierced buildings a few hundred times this morning, so the sickness may be dwindling.

      I know so very little about architecture, but then again the internet is full of pseudo experts writing about stuff they know nothing about. So I think you’re right that I’d be PERFECT for an architectural critique blog!

      When you mentioned the ants and zipper building, I was unimpressed. But that picture! I want to be there! Why does every building not feature a fastener plus an insect? Zipper + ants is good, but I’m thinking velcro + fireflies would be even better! Thank you for my new obsession.

  2. Grace says:

    Ruh roh, your link to Smugnom doesn’t work. I went there anyway, and you’re right, those commenters are hilarious and mean! I also went to the KERF blog they all hate so much, and I think KERF’s kid has the same crib as me. Dang it!

    • Emma Emma says:

      Thanks for the links heads-up. Me fixed it. I don’t think the commenters are that mean, but then again I have been hate-reading KERF for far too long. If you’re actually interested in knowing some of the KERF backstory so you can keep up with the smugnom snark, here’s the GOMI wiki entry about her:

      I realize this is a public blog and I’m trying to minimize how insane I look here, so I won’t tell you how and why she’s awful in this comment. However, I am writing you an email as we speak. You will soon know way too much about a woman who blogs about oatmeal and kale for a living.

      I like your crib! KERF copied that crib from several other bloggers who own similarly simple gray cribs. Many of those people are actual designers who know how to decorate rooms for style and function.

  3. Kristina says:

    This is my all-time favorite building, and it really makes you wonder why architects aren’t trained to make room for the dinosaurs crawling into their buildings.

    • Emma Emma says:

      Ah, I love it! The peaking in through the roof one is so, so awesome. It’s not only cool and scary, but I actually think the way the roof bends around the dino’s head is very pretty, right? Is part of architecture thinking about the lines of building? If so, I like the line of that roof. If not, please ignore that I brought up lines, that was weird.

      Why is your excellent architecture school NOT training you how to do this? Can you please do an independent study where you learn how to make dinosaur/ant/zipper/pierced/fake falling apart buildings?? I don’t how practical those skills would be, but man that sounds like a fun thing to learn about.

      • Emma Emma says:

        Oh yeah, also you and Mark (who commented above about ants and zippers) need to be friends! Mark is Tony’s brother and he is a landscape architect. Once you graduate you guys should totally open a firm together that specializes in wacky buildings and their surrounding landscapes. I could then critique all of your projects on fawnlog.

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