Ford v Ferrari and Burning Desire

I just saw Ford v Ferrari, the Hollywood blockbuster (?) starring Christian Bale as Ken Miles and Matt Damon as Carol Shelby.

I mean, yes, it's a Hollywood formula movie, and highly entertaining (fantastic editing and soundtrack). But also: there are people who have a Burning Desire to achieve something. In the world of racing - or the world of architecture - that Burning Desire is a combination of passion and technique. And SO MUCH of what we desire to achieve is thwarted - or delayed - by corporate-indoctrinated jackasses who *don't* have a Burning Desire, but do have a desire to make a bunch of money and thus find a sense of security for themselves.  LOL there's no security in this world.

Be smart. Be knowledgeable, and also open-minded (aka creative) and skilled, and devoted, and above all Know Your Shit. If you Know Your Shit, you are much better prepared to stand up to the people who don't know any shit but want to be safe and will stomp on you to continue feeling that illusion.

And also: a desire for speed connects us, but speed is a manifestation of knowledge and skill. Even though I hate car culture, I also love my sports car and totally respect the desire for speed. But the battle for speed can be fought safely, on the track. Let's not fight about belief, but fight about skill. Skill is earned. 

My Burning Desire is to build cool smart shit. I'm about to build a house, and it will not be of a style that many people will like. But if it can be skillfully designed, and built with a craftsperson's ability, it will be amazing.

Nov 24, 19 10:47 pm

Build On!

Nov 24, 19 11:40 pm

There's also a lot of unsung heroes who don't have a Burning Desire and yet still are knowledgeable, smart, skilled, devoted, and Know Their Shit. These are the people who assist and enable those who do have the Burning Desire. So if you find yourself in the position of authority, recognize those who may not feel the ambition you do, but would love to help you achieve the dream that, if it is enabled, will benefit from your mutual skillsets.

Nov 25, 19 11:58 am

Yes, anyone in an ownership or management position really has to surround themselves with the best people they can find. In my organization, we have really woken up to that in the past couple of years.

Burning desire for money is the root cause of much evil.

Nov 25, 19 12:33 pm

I loved the movie, and left with many of the same questions. The more hands that touch the thing, the more money there is to be made, and the more frustration by those motivated by the thing.

Nov 25, 19 4:26 pm

Does Glenn Murcutt still work solo exclusively?

Nov 25, 19 7:27 pm
liberty bell

It’s not yet 6:30 AM and I’ve done two searches: one for where to install vapor barrier under Hardie board in a mixed climate and the other for Marcia Clark makeover (for people younger than me: Clark was the prosecutor in the OJ Simpson trial). 

My Burning Desires are varied. 

Nov 26, 19 6:28 am

Check section 1405.3 of the IBC for your climate zone. I’m a big fan of Certainteed’s MemBrain product for mixed climates. Sorry I can’t help with your makeover.

Wood Guy

There should be no vapor barrier in wall assemblies in a mixed climate. I assume you mean vapor retarder? (One of my burning desires is to be less pedantic, but it's not going well...) I agree with EA that Membrain is a decent product, but I prefer Pro Clima Intello because it is much more robust, can be taped as an air barrier (Membrain rips if you look at it sideways), and it is slightly more vapor-closed when dry.

I learned something new today. Thanks Wood Guy

P.s. Being less pedantic isn't as fun. I like to watch people's eyes glaze over when I talk about the different classes of vapor retarders.

Wood Guy

I started a group called BS* + Beer (*building science) so I could talk about this stuff at a local microbrewery with fellow nerds. The idea has caught on and other groups are starting all over the country. Building nerds unite!


I'd be into that. Any groups out West yet?

Wood Guy

How far west? I know there's one in Kansas City, two in Minnesota, something similar in Golden CO, and I'm trying to get a friend in Oregon to start one there. It's not hard, you could start your own. I have a list of tips and topics, and no copyright on the name. (If you do start one, I would like to know about it so we can add it to the Pretty Good House website.)

Donna, sorry to hijack your thread.


If I drive an hour west I'll drown. :)

OMG BS+Beer sounds amazing! But I agree that in a mixed climate - which Indy very much is! - that a super tight VB isn't a good idea in a regular building (doesn't apply in PassivHaus, of course). I have a client insisting on a vapor barrier. So I'm really trying to figure out the best option to both serve their needs/wants and CMA.

Non Sequitur

Ooooooo. Vapour barrier pillow talk. My favorite. I have 2 clients right now where I’m installing one In their interior walls. We typically do vapour perméable air barriers when budget allows.

Non Sequitur

Wood Guy, you’ve mentioned your beer group before and it’s always fascinating. Don’t think we have enough interest up here for this.


Could always try the perfect wall from Lstiburek...

There is a pretty strong local chapter of the Building Enclosure Council (BEC) where I’m at. I’d like to see a BS+Beer meeting take hold here, but I think the BEC chapter meetings already fill that niche.

Wood Guy

Donna, an advantage of Intello is that it is a class 2 vapor retarder when dry--at -.3 perms, it's very close to a class 1 vapor retarder, essentially blocking vapor movement. Then if the assembly accumulates moisture it becomes vapor-open, up to 13 perms. There's lots of info on it at

A comparable product that is even tighter is Siga Majrex, from It's a little tighter when dry, still not quite class 1 but close at 0.2 perms. It doesn't open up as much when wet (0.7 perms) but enough to allow some drying. It just isn't safe to try to block all vapor flow in a mixed climate unless it's with an insulating material, because the dewpoint location moves within the assembly as temperature and humidity changes. 

Wood Guy

Non, I forget where you're located? I also forgot that I had brought up the discussion group idea before, sorry. I'm in a rural part of Maine, only about 30 people per square mile and one of the lowest per capita income counties in a low-income state, yet I still get 10-25 people each month. So I truly believe that if I can do it here, it should work pretty much anywhere.

Non Sequitur

WG, I'm in Ottawa (CAD)... so not a low-income place and certainly not rural (but definitively rural compared to montreal or toronto). The public here is almost 75% undeserving entitled government employee and they have a terrible habit of complaining and filling lawsuits on everything. I'd want to attend a Beer and BS thing here, but not with this crowd because it'll quickly turn to real BS.


This is more than I ever knew about vapor barriers, usually we just hire an envelope consultant and do what they say. Makes me wonder about the decline of the profession. Maybe starchitects just don't have the Burning Desire to keep the walls of their buildings water and mold free.

Non Sequitur

^We(I) spend a great deal of time picking the right product for my assemblies because I need solid ground to stand on when Mr. scummy contractor comes along and tries to sub parts of my clients walls because they have a "better" product.

Wood Guy

Non, I understand. A couple of architect friends are starting a BS + Beer in Lake Placid, NY, which looks like is about 3 hours from you. I know that'a a haul but should be fun. There is an existing group in Burlington, VT. You can message me for contact info, michael at michaelmaines dot com. Or fast forward to the end of this presentation:

If it's not clear, this thread is now my personal blog space for the stuff I don't put on Twitter because I am really trying to keep my Twitter architecture-focused, and sometimes I think about things that are longer that 144 characters or whatever the Tweet limit is.

To Sneaky Pete: Agreed, and I've been that Burning Desire Support Person for most of my career. At age 52 I'm ready for a change, because I'm sick and tired of keeping my mouth shut in meetings because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the (male, usually) people who think they know better than I do. 

Nov 26, 19 8:59 am

Please don't keep your mouth shut, you have things to say that are worth hearing.


Kahn was 50 when he started his main body of work. You are still young!


But he died broke in a public toilet stall. Probably not the scenario you want for yourself.


I don't think that's necessary for the recipe of success to work out.


At the end of the day its all about perspective. I could be working at Costco, but have a Burning Desire to be an excellent cashier/customer service rep. Is that in the same league as Ford vs. Ferrari? I dunno...

Nov 26, 19 3:06 pm

I think the problem starts with this sort of ranking. People put too much self worth into what other people think about their chosen method of living happily.


Costco actually pays their employees well and has good benefits relative to other retail.


As i said, its all about perspective

atelier nobody

When I was a 22-year-old college dropout with no clue what I wanted to do with my life, becoming the best bagel-baker, then the best barista, were awesome goals to work toward.

I'm incapable of doing anything without wanting to be the best at it. Except domestic crap around the house.

I watched Dolemite Is My Name last night. Very funny, exceptional acting, and another version of Burning Desire - in which the character keeps hearing no, no, no and so keeps making his own yes's.

Nov 27, 19 11:01 am
Wood Guy

I agree! My wife and I watched it a few weeks ago, with low expectations--while I enjoyed Eddie Murphy movies when I was young, they haven't aged well. We loved Dolemite Is My Name. Definitely inspirational for following your dreams.

My favorite musician; ever frustrated, ever hopeful: 

"I've always been interested in human struggle and triumph, whether it's as simple as the struggle to find fulfillment or a struggle with addiction or the struggle to find love. I don't know if I've ever gotten to the triumph part, but I've still got a few more albums left in me."

Nov 29, 19 9:25 am

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