Hello.

My name is Jason R. Carroll. I'm a real estate developer who used to be an architect. I currently serve as Vice President of Acquisitions and Development at a multifamily real estate development company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the past 20 years, I've been involved in a leadership capacity in completed transactions totaling over $700 million—spanning nearly every aspect of real estate development, from finance to design. My specialty is creating value in underutilized assets. More details: LinkedIn.

To keep myself sharp (a person doesn't really understand something unless they can explain it simply), I teach real estate investment and development to grad students at Kent State University's College of Architecture.

I try to keep creativity flowing through photography, travel, reading, drawing on my old Dietzgen drafting table, a keen interest in all things design, and an ongoing amateur attempt to study philosophy. I'm an avid tech junkie, love collecting (and using) vintage audio equipment and electronics, and can make espresso that gives any barista a run for their money. I have a number of other hobbies as well, but why would I take your time with all of that?

I'm an alumnus of Cornell University (graduate) and Kent State University (undergraduate), and currently reside with my wife, son, and daughter in Shaker Heights, Ohio—a beautiful, old, tree-filled, first-ring suburb of Cleveland.

LinkedIn — Twitter — Instagram — Facebook — Photography



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(Personal blog begins below.)

Mini Watercolor Axonometrics


Drafted these in pencil, then rendered in ink, followed by a splash of watercolor.
Move quickly, but never rush.
I'm a collector of places. When I've been to a place I love, it's mine forever. You can do it, too. It has nothing to do with ownership. It has everything to do with your emotional experience there.

Typewriter

Just made this diagram using my old typewriter and drafting table.


"Pardon him, Theodotus; he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."
Do things you're afraid to do. Then, you survive them, and it's an accomplishment. Excel at them…and it's a bonus! Great moments come at unexpected times. Resist fatigue, resist negativity, and—regardless of the situation—make the most of the moment you're in.
Reality cannot be changed outright, but it is slightly malleable.
Happy Birthday to Esmé (11) and Max (14)!
On this morning's flight I observed some parents with young-adult daughters who had never flown before. It was refreshing to see the sense of wonder in young adults, in this age of "I've already seen it all because of the internet". It was adorable, actually.

Inconvenience Vs. Problem

"One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience." — Robert Fulghum

Barn On Stilts

Found an old sketch I did in architecture school.


On Working, and Not Working

"If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly, but the good endures." — Gaius Musonius Rufus

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." — Marthe Troly-Curtin
My wife's parents always had an extra table-setting at dinner, for anyone in the neighborhood who might stop by. It was such a beautiful tradition.
If you know a friend you can fully trust,
Go often to his house:
Grass and brambles grow quickly
Upon the untrodden track.

— Havamal ("Words of the High One") Translated by W.H. Auden and P.B. Taylor.

Thursday

"One Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.

"Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, and so the idea was lost, seemingly for ever."

— Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Reel-To-Reel

Further down the vintage hi-fi rabbit hole…(don't tell my wife). It's a 1971 Akai 1720W reel-to-reel tape deck. I bought it from the original owner, who himself bought it in Vietnam during the war (subsequently bringing it home to the U.S.). I love the "Made in Tokyo" stamped on the back. What can you find that's made in Tokyo anymore? The exterior of the case is fully trimmed in wood, and it comes with a wood latch-on transport face cover. The build quality and the satisfying 'clunks' of the interface just can't be matched by most things made today.


Coming home to the sound of your children playing piano beautifully…one of life's great feelings. What a blessing.
"If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches." – Rainer Maria Rilke

Merry Christmas 2016

However you choose to celebrate it…happy winter solstice!


"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms." — Proverb
Something I've learned over the years: When in doubt…do stuff. Just start moving, it's amazing what starts to become clear when you do.
If it comes from deep inside you, you don't need to ask anyone whether or not it's good. The question becomes mostly irrelevant.
"Be grateful for every hour, and accept what it brings." — Henry David Thoreau

New-Old Cassette Deck

Just acquired: A beautiful Akai GX-M30 cassette deck. Manufactured in 1979, purchased from the original owner for $30. Functions perfectly, sounds fantastic—time to pull out the old mix tapes!


Time

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

From "The Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot
"Wisdom lies in correctly discerning where we are free to mold reality according to our wishes and where we must accept the unalterable with tranquility." – Alain de Botton

Problems of Scale

Last night, while flying home at fairly low altitude, the Midwest rural landscape appeared as a beautiful painting, lit by the low-hanging sun. One particular moment, I looked down to see a solitary tree casting a long shadow across a curving dirt road and onto a plowed field. The colors, the shadow, the location of the tree, the exact composition of lines—altogether it was beautiful.

Though this spot couldn't be more than 80 miles from where I lived, in all likelihood I would finish my life without ever visiting this particular point on Earth. How would I ever find it? There was nothing particularly notable about the location. Once again, the profound huge-ness of our world had struck me.

Staring Out The Window

Yesterday I spent the day on a field trip with my daughter's fourth grade class. It was a great day. On the bus ride home, my daughter decided to sit one row behind me (piling in with her friends), so I had a few minutes of free time. Taking advantage of this, I—of course—decided to spend the next half-hour staring out the window.

What I learned was this: I quite enjoy staring out the window. In our family, I'm usually the driver, so I'm looking ahead. But I enjoy staring out the window so much, I could do it all day. Have you ever *really* focused on the stuff you see as a passenger? Every car, every house, every person—they all have a story. Every object, every thing—designed by someone.

There are so many fascinating details and so many stories out there, no one ever has an excuse to be bored. I think that's why I'm a real estate developer. I'm fascinated by how people live and work, and enjoy creating spaces for them to do so.

Links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The Complex Task of Directing One's Life

"Socrates compared living without thinking systematically to practising an activity like pottery or shoemaking without following or even knowing of technical procedures. One would never imagine that a good pot or shoe could result from intuition alone; why then assume that the more complex task of directing one's life could be undertaken without any sustained reflection on premises or goals?"
Tonight I was driving home, and happened to be talking to my daughter (9) on the phone. Out of nowhere, she decided to play me a song on the piano. This is why life is good.
"What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

On The Dangers of Over-Valuing Rare Events

"You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight... I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!"

― Richard P. Feynman

Edison Wax Cylinder Phonograph

This weekend we took a little road trip, and happened upon a beautiful Edison wax cylinder phonograph in an antique shop. (It was the earliest sound recording medium.)


Letter 62. On good company

We are deceived by those who would have us believe that a multitude of affairs blocks their pursuit of liberal studies; they make a pretence of their engagements, and multiply them, when their engagements are merely with themselves. As for me, Lucilius, my time is free; it is indeed free, and wherever I am, I am master of myself. For I do not surrender myself to my affairs, but loan myself to them, and I do not hunt out excuses for wasting my time. And wherever I am situated, I carry on my own meditations and ponder in my mind some wholesome thought.

When I give myself to my friends, I do not withdraw from my own company, nor do I linger with those who are associated with me through some special occasion or some case which arises from my official position. But I spend my time in the company of all the best; no matter in what lands they may have lived, or in what age, I let my thoughts fly to them.

Demetrius, for instance, the best of men, I take about with me, and, leaving the wearers of purple and fine linen, I talk with him, half-naked as he is, and hold him in high esteem. Why should I not hold him in high esteem? I have found that he lacks nothing. It is in the power of any man to despise all things, but of no man to possess all things. The shortest cut to riches is to despise riches. Our friend Demetrius, however, lives not merely as if he has learned to despise all things, but as if he has handed them over for others to possess. Farewell.

— Seneca the Younger

Old Pipe Organ

Detail of a pipe organ that was built into a mill in Zoar, Ohio.


The motion of the mill powered the airflow for the organ. How strange and beautiful to have music at the mill.

Archiving the Ephemeral: Twitter 12/1/13 - 3/31/14

My favorite Twitter conversations from earlier this year…

Religion:
Philosophy:
Society & Culture:
Politics:
Personal:
Psychology:
Economics:

Harmony, East And West

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4:
Take the shortest route, the one that nature planned—to speak and act in the healthiest way. Do that, and be free of pain and stress, free of all calculations and pretension.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Verse 8:
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
I love the philosophical similarities here.

New Photo, 'Depth of Place' Series



A new multi-layered photo I've been working on recently.

Great Twitter Conversations, 10/1/13-11/30/13

From the recent archives—my favorite conversations on Twitter from late last year. Thanks to everyone listed for making it so fun and interesting!

Psychology:
Religion:
Politics:
Media and Social Media:
Economics:
Non sequitur:
Philosophy:
Art:

"Hacker Spirit"

My definition of the "hacker spirit" is:
  • Exploration, playfulness, cleverness. 
  • Pushing the limits of a system (whether cultural, technical, or physical), but never in an illegal, harmful or immoral way.
  • Working smart, not just working hard; getting the most output for the least energy.
  • Being like water, which always finds the path of least resistance, and is not afraid to go into the low places.
  • Using all the tricks of the trade to your advantage.
One need not be a computer hacker to embody the hacker spirit.

Esmé-Dancer

Here's Esmé bounding at her second-grade ballet "final":


Love this girl.

Milemarker: Interesting Twitter Conversations, 8/3-9/30

Here are my favorite conversations from Twitter during August-September 2013. Thanks to all for making it so interesting!

Values, society, morality:
Politics:
Religion:
Psychology
Arts & language:
Non sequitur:
Social Media:

Hiromi Arrives!

Hiromi, whom we met five years ago in Japan, is staying with us for three months while she studies English at Case Western University. We are excited to host—looking forward to learning from her, and showing her our corner of the world!


Fortune Favors Chaos

When I think of the Earth as something created by God, it is not impressive. Although it is beautiful, it is full of pain, suffering, destruction, defects. What god would allow such flaws?

However, when I think of the Earth as something that evolved by chance, it is an amazing, serendipitous place. Although it still contains pain and suffering, these are merely the result of an indifferent universe. And when I consider that the tremendous beauty of the world has largely come from chaos, that is when I realize how profoundly fortunate I am to be alive, to be a part of all of this.

Interesting Twitter Conversations (6/21 - 8/2)

Conversations I want to remember from my Twitter timeline from the past couple months:

Philosophy:
Politics:
Morality and values:
Non sequitur:
Health:
Religion:
Economics:
Media:
Sustainability:

A strange dream

Last night I had a strange dream: My family and I attended some sort of non-denominational morning church service. There was a forgettable message, at the end of which a large screen slid down into the stage opening. We spent the last part of the service watching a film of various nature scenes, accompanied by symphonic music. It was a bit like Roth’s “going home” scene in Soylent Green. I whispered to my wife, “Well, this minister is taking a few shortcuts, isn’t he?” Another member of the congregation turned around and attempted to explain the purpose of the film, but his voice was drowned out by the music. Near what I thought might be the conclusion, the theater became disconnected from its moorings: the entire room tilted toward the stage, to about an angle of 60 degrees. Everyone held onto their seats to stop from sliding and falling. No one seemed particularly bothered by this.

Links 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Birthday Kids

Max just hit the double-digits, and Esmé is now seven. Where does the time go? 


Signpost: Interesting Twitter conversations, 4/28 - 6/18

I continue to enjoy the varied and deep conversations I have with people on Twitter.

Philosophy, Spirituality & Religion:
Urban Planning:
Politics & Economics:
Privacy:
Infrastructure:
Photography:
Science & Technology:
Non sequitur: