Friday, July 17, 2009

Foundations of a Good Pavement

I've been interested lately in the ancient ways of laying down a foundation because I'm thinking of doing a large 80m sq outside pavement that will more or less serve as a canvas for some mosaics I have in mind. Maybe make a few bronze legged ancient couches and such for lounging around said pavement.

The books of architecture by Vitruvius in classical antiquity really cast a light on how they built things to last, and why some of the buildings in the Roman forum are still standing, even with several tons of stone supported for thousands of years. I also think those Seven-Eleven convenience stores on the Appian Way will be there forever because of this.

In Book 7 chapter 1, Vitruvius covers the proper way to lay down a pavement or foundation. First, they hammered the soil down to compact it tighter than your glutes after an hour of squats, and then set a layer of logs on the ground on top of that. Next, at least six inches of stone were set down on the logs, followed by 12 inches of the smaller stone cemented together with lime which was compacted by beating it with wood.

But that's not all... Then an upper layer of another 6 inches, this time more rich in lime, was set with stones and leveled off. Finally the slab pieces or mosaic tessarae were mortared on to that. So back in the day, they used 2/3 meter thick foundations. Very impressive, much more thick and longer lasting than the foundations of today.

And now for something completely different, OtherWorldlyOne (warning, a bit salty sometimes) picked me for another one of those questiony things. I like her comments and blog, so who am I to turn that down? Feel free to do this one if you like.

So here are ten things not previously published about me (that I'm aware of).

  • On the piano, I can pick out a note I hear in the first try, but it's always exactly 1 and 1/2 steps off. I blame years of playing the trumpet, which is a B flat instrument to the piano's key of C.

  • The tops of my feet have absolutely no hair.

  • I've never had a tattoo or piercing of any kind, and never felt the need to get one.

  • I karaoke sometimes, but unfortunately I sound similar to Billy Joel.

  • As a kid, I always wanted to play hockey, but there was not much ice in Texas so I couldn't.

  • I was blessed with an unnaturally good sense of balance and can still do an unhealthy amount of skateboarding tricks including multiple 360s.

  • When I make margaritas, they always use small amounts of Cointreau and pineapple juice, and are always on the rocks because frozen is just not the way to go.

  • I have never been to South America, even though boat chartering is less expensive there. At some point, I want to go hiking to see Machu Picchu.

  • I used to be able to throw a really wicked baseball breaking pitch, but haven't tried in a while.

  • When I was 12 years old, I took the SAT (college admissions test) because Duke University wanted me to.

So there you have it!

Have a great weekend all, I'll be working the marble and studying the Italian if you know what I mean...
PS - Like my ironic subject made in Photoshop?


  1. See, I enjoy reading little things like that about people, even when they're hideously wrong, like not liking their margaritas FROZEN. :):)

    I don't have any tattoos or piercings either. Oh actually my ears are pierced twice but that's it. I don't even consider that piercing. Haha.

    In other news, I'd like to make a mosaic portrait only using regular household items. I might do it too. Don't try to stop me.

  2. I never knew laying a foundation could that difficult and intricate! But if someone knew how to do and do it right, it was the Romans :)

    I always like the interesting awards people get cause this way your readers find out things about you you probably never would've mentioned :) Like the hairless feet: how lucky are you! Most of the men I know need a top-of-the-foot-wax in the process of not looking like a monkey.

    Like the sign as well: reminds me of the Stephen King movie "Dolan's Cadillac" where the guy misleads some people in a very similar way. Classic film ;)

    Thank you so much for the comment on my blog; without you realizing it, you helped me through a difficult time.

  3. I was watching something on the history channel that talked about some super ancient civilization that had rocks that seemed to be carved with a diamond-tipped tool (or just diamonds themselves, I imagine.) I'm guessing you've seen this or at least heard some of the arguments? I don't know why I'm asking...I guess this post just made me think of it.

  4. Uptown girl
    She's been living in her uptown world
    I bet she never had an back street guy
    I bet her mama never told her why

    Ahum... sorry.

    We play hockey without the ice. See:

    The only thing I can do on a skateboard is break my nose. That's about it.

    A college admissions test??? When I was 12 I started to use make-up. Maybe, I'm not the right person to take over the world after all.

    P.S. An outside pavement? Your batteries never die, do they :-) He-Man lives in Texas.

  5. Hey I so would love to see macchu picchu (spelling?) as well!

    And sailing cape horn would beat making pavement right?

  6. I've been to Duke University.

    When I see ads for the History Channel show about life after people, there's always one of the "experts" on there who claim that, after a thousand years, there will be no evidence that we were ever here.

    However, the Roman roads are 2000 years old, and still in use. Let's go back a little further and look at the pyramids. Maybe very little of our modern stuff will still be standing like the ancient monuments, but there will still be plenty of evidence of our existence.

  7. Oh, sounding like Billy Joel isn't that bad - it just depends on which Billy Joel songs you might be singing (some of Glass Houses is pretty OK, but I may think this because it is part of my college soundtrack - and also because he's from NY, approximately)

    Those Romans certainly knew how to build a road! I wish they could come here and fix a few of our city streets because nobody knows how to build roads here.

  8. So do you have 80m squared of your own? Or is someone gonna wake up one morning with their drive turned into a mosaic?

  9. I kinda like Billy Joel. He's the king of the schmaltzy song, but sometimes I'm in the mood for that.

    Oh, and you are very right about the margaritas. Frozen = bleh!

  10. So you're not a hobbit?

  11. Vegetable Assassin
    Nuh-uh, it says it 'rocks' right in the name, 'margarita on the rocks'.
    I don't mind when other people have some piercings, it's just kind of gross to me when girls make it a whole lifestyle choice.
    I can't wait to see your mosaic!

    The Romans just went a little crazy with the volume of materials, huh?
    Monkey = bad... :)
    Thanks for the Steven King film recommendation, I have not seen that one.
    On the comment, I'm glad to have helped in any way. I like your writing style and you are quite interesting, so count on me to read often.

    I did not know they used diamonds to carve back then! Very cool.

    Dutch donut girl
    I don't sing that one!
    WHOA! THAT'S a hockey player? Where can I sign up for this ice-less hockey???
    Yikes, stay away from skateboards then...
    I'll bet you could take over the world, at least until I took it over after you did.
    LOL, no the batteries never die, there's always something to do. :)

    Mr. Condescending
    Yeah ancient culture with ruins and amazing natural beauty. Raise it a pretty girl that speaks Spanish and what else is there?
    LOL, nice nautical pun. Cape Horn would be a fun.

    I agree, there would have to be some manufactured items that would survive. Rolex watches for example.

    LOL, my 'go to' songs are 'Still Rock and Roll' and 'You May be Right' if I'm forced to sing.
    I can't even imagine how much it would cost to build a road 'Roman-style' today...

    Yeah, it's a big yard here. On the plus side, the pavement could be seen from space.
    I like the idea of mysterious 'mosaic elves' that mysteriously do all the work, mostly because of the mysteriousness, and mystery...

    Well thanks for not laughing too hard about all that then.
    Yes, rocks margaritas! Who wants a sno-cone drink, really?

    Hahaa! No, I'm apparently the anti-hobbit!
    I hope your trip is still going / went well, you guys were doing some amazing things.
    Oh and thanks for stopping by, you just reminded me that I still need to find some sterling cuff link bases for a jewelry idea I have.

  12. I'm guessing that you live on a vast estate to be able to make yourself a pavement. I found the foundation information fascinating - and I will be right over for one of your Margeritas

  13. Billy Joel is my favorite artist of all time.

    Please to come do karaoke for me, immediately...

  14. It never fails to amuse me that when people link back to my blog, they put up a warning. Love it.

    I'll forgive you for not preferring frozen margaritas, but only because you don't have hairy feet. Feet...yuck. Hairy feet...double yuck.

  15. Ditto on the margaritas! At my wedding I had 'margarita on the rocks' cocktail hour forcing everyone to enjoy it the REAL way! muahhahahha!!! I'll have to try the addition of pineapple juice.

    I've always been a lover of cobble stone streets. And how they are perfect for miles. Their technique explains why our patio is settling...

  16. Lulu LaBonne - Oh it's an estate, but not vast. I get hedgerow / garden envy every time I go to Versaille...

    LiLu - lol, ok, I please for to do karaoke, for you. Hope the day is going better.

    OtherWorldlyOne - I just want some of my gentle readers to be aware for the wild ride they might be in for... :)
    Oh no, you are a 'frozen' too???

    Nikki, Yeah! A true margarita connoisseur!
    I pretty much like all stone and stonework, regardless if cobbled or not.
    That's interesting about the settling patio, sorry to hear it's happening to you. Kind of like the tower of Pisa, huh? Except shorter and wider?

  17. When were you at Lehman? I was there from 2000 - 2005, e-Commerce group.

  18. Hey WendyB!

    I was there from 2003 until the demise... It was the IMD / Alternatives / Private Equity as the purchase of Crossroads Group and Neuberger Berman. So, I'm working for Neuberger in Dallas now. Small world huh? We might know some of the same people.

  19. Hey eric are you up to participating in my "will you be my guest" project?

  20. Mr. C, see the next post...

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