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RDU’s “Vision 2040” master plan is absurd

When Raleigh-Durham International Airport embarked on its $2.7 billion “Vision 2040” master plan in 2015, its facilities were actually the newest they had been in decades. Terminal 2, the main terminal at the airport, had been completed in 2011 at the cost of $570 million. The new 900,000-square-foot terminal featured designs from Fentress Architects and The Freelon Group. It had high undulating ceilings of beams made of Douglas firs, abundant natural light, a layout that was easy to navigate, and connections for travelers with laptops. It was the most modern terminal the airport had had in a long time. Terminal 1, the old “blue box,” as it was known, also had just finished renovating in 2014. Far from being dilapidated and spent, the RDU’s facilities in early 2015 were the newest they had been for decades. It was the culmination of the work of the airport’s 1994 master plan. So the question is: Why did RDU officials insist on doing a new master plan at all when its facilities were mostly new? Actually, Raleigh-Durham International …

Blog post: It’s March! It’s springtime… Isn’t it? Here are two music videos that remind me of spring.

Anyone ready for spring? March to me is a transitional month between February and April. I’m very aware of February. I’m happy and excited for April. March is that month where I’m a bit in a daze and often feel like, Um, is it winter still? Is it spring? I don’t know. Should I still cook some stew? Is it watermelon season yet? I’m so confused! In March 2018, I was commuting and working a lot and barely experienced the outdoors and the weather. Last year, I was more local at a job but I felt like I was in a cave, and again, barely went outside. This year, because of the coronavirus, there’s an air of fear and disgust everywhere. What to do about this? If I go on a hike, should I wear a mask — because, you know, fresh air might infect you? Just kidding. But this is how people are feeling and behaving, isn’t it? Like some random fresh air will infect you. The panic over the coronavirus has been crazy. …

No, the light rail was not a good idea. Part 1: Going through the route in detail.

It has been nearly a year since Duke University rejected plans for the controversial Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit, leading to GoTriangle ending the project, and questions surrounding it still abound. To sum up, the light rail was planned to be a 17.7-mile train with 19 stops, and estimated to cost $2.5 billion. Construction was supposed to begin this year and last until 2028. The train had been proposed back in the ‘90s, then fallen out of the political conversation for some time, and GoTriangle, the organization in charge of transit in the greater Triangle area, brought this project back to the table again halfway through 2012. In 2014, analysts told GoTriangle there was room for growth in the bus system and the light rail, or DOLRT, was not needed. In 2015, Duke University told GoTriangle it was not on board. But by late 2018, GoTriangle put the light rail at the forefront again and that’s when this light rail became a politically charged, toxic and explosive issue. First of all, even in 2012, this project …

Lucia Micarelli’s performance of “Kashmir”

If you can, wait until night to watch this video. This is not just another classical music concert. A violinist plays barefoot, wild yet controlled just enough. Her sound on the violin is smooth, the kind of smoothness that you think would lead to overthinking and coddling the violin. But she is more free, and passionate and graceful. She also plays barefoot, a preference of hers. This is Lucia Micarelli’s performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Pay attention to the build up, half crazed, to the moment at the 2:45 mark when the first note for Kashmir drops. The entire stadium’s soul feels elated. This is the kind of artistry you want to rhapsodize about. Micarelli is one of the young stars in current classical music. Born in Queens in 1983 to a Korean mother and an Italian father, Micarelli began studying violin, piano and dance when she was three years old. When she was six years old, she was a violin soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. By age 11, she was studying at the …

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are 7 movie scenes of love and romance (Spoilers)

The English Patient (1996): “Cathedral paintings”   One of the most romantic scenes in cinema. Hana (Juliette Binoche), a vibrant and capable nurse who takes care of the titular patient played by Ralph Fiennes. One day, when she is playing the piano in the bombed out shell of a building, Kip (Naveen Andrews), a lieutenant and bomb defuser in the British army, runs to her and tells her to stop playing. There might be a bomb in the piano, he warns her, and sure enough, there is one just inches away from being detonated. “I’ll probably marry him,” she later tells her patient. “Really? That’s sudden,” he quips. She answers, “My mother always told me I would summon my husband by playing the piano.” Not long after came this scene, full of kindness and lightness, as Kip gives this gift to Hana of a little grace and beauty during wartime. Before Sunrise (1995): “The space in between”     Thoughts about love and relationships, dilemmas about ambition and family. Celine (Julie Delpy) feeling torn about …