Top 12 of 2012 (#1-#4)

In the final installment of looking back at 2012 and highlighting my Top 12 articles of the year, I walk through my top four (list 9-12 is here and 5-8 is here).

4. The first week of 2012 offered a Sports Illustrated print article on new Nike-made technology used primarily for football and soccer training. The story that took me to Portland and Eugene to cover the new Vapor Strobe glasses and see them in use on the campus of the University of Oregon. I also chatted with Greg Jennings, among others, about his use. Take a look at my SI article here and a teaser to the SI piece on TIME here.

3. As a magazine writer, live event coverage isn’t a regular assignment any longer, but I enjoyed covering a losing Vancouver Canucks team in Rogers Arena on deadline for Sports Illustrated, trying to have fun with the writing along the way. It wasn’t fun because the Canucks lost (I also covered the team’s Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 loss for SI and TIME in 2011, so was hoping they could return to the Finals), but it made the article more interesting, or so I thought. See what you think here.

2. A dream combination of Olympic and sports technology/apparel happened in one article for Popular Mechanics, pinpointing what new features we could expect for London. I chatted with designers from some of the major apparel brands to see what they were rolling out for London-bound athletes and the reporting included a trip to Italy. Read the result here.

1. In what was one of my most well-read articles of the year, I took time to chat with Christian musicians, such as Lecrae and TobyMac, for a TIME article to discuss their rise in the secular charts, the role their music plays in culture and how they see the genre interacting in the music industry. The article led to a spin-off Q&A in TIME print with Lecrae (behind a paywall). To read the main article, visit here.

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Top 12 of 2012 (#9-#12)

My writing life was varied in 2012, a busy year of diverse beats and assorted assignment types. In my first “best of” list I look back at 2012, offering my Top 12 of 2012 articles. Thanks for following and reading.

12. A somewhat hard-to-get tour of the Nike Research Lab on the company’s Beaverton, Ore., campus led to a Popular Mechanics’ article/slideshow outlining the scientific surprises inside the Mia Hamm Building. I especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the making of apparel and the technology that goes into it. Check it out here.

11. The greenest commercial building ever built is nearing completion now in Seattle, but I was able to showcase just how sustainable this structure really is in a TIME print article. A full-page spread, helped with plenty of visual cues, revealed the tactics used in the structure to give this building meaning. Look at the online version here.

10. I’m a major fan of the Olympics, so walking readers through all the new London Olympic venues for Sports Illustrated was certainly an enjoyable assignment. I was able to talk to everyone from architects to athletes to get perspectives on venues that we watched for weeks during the Games. Take a look at the article here and a slideshow of the venues with my text here.

9. I merged the built environment with sports motif for an article for Dwell covering the design of retail space pushing the athletic experience. Interviews with artists and architects helped drive this visual article. Take a look here.

Talking shoes: I chat with a Brooks designer about running shoes, colors and the market

The Brooks PureDrift shoes arrived to my house encased in a chocolate egg. Sure, it was an odd marketing ploy, but Brooks attempts to stand out as a quirky company, fully focused on running. While not as flashy as some of the big-name launches I’ve attended, the chocolate sure was tasty and I made plenty of friends spreading the wealth. Having talked with all kinds of designers and marketing folks from Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour and more, I took the opportunity to chat with Carson Caprara at Brooks to see what makes his newest running shoe, The PureDrift is set to release on Jan. 12, 2013, different. And just how he hopes to stand out in a crowded market. Check out my wide-ranging interview for Sports Logos here.

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Expect plenty of bridge coverage from me

I included two bridges in my recent Popular Mechanics article on the 10 biggest builds of 2012, have written countless ENR blog posts about bridges and have another upcoming PopMech article on bridges (watch for that around the New Year). So it comes as no surprise that my latest ENR blog post discusses bridges, specifically ice falling off and hitting cars on the shiny, new $2.5-billion Port Mann Bridge outside of Vancouver. Check out the blog here.

Christmas ’tis the season to try selling more shoes

Nike has three signature lines of basketball shoes, one for Kobe, one for Lebron and, the newest, for Kevin Durant. Today the shoe company released “colorways” for all three in Christmas-themed designs. Of course, the shoes won’t be out until the day after Christmas, but this was more an excuse to launch another color more than anything. Here’s a bit more information—and additional photos—on the release via my Sports Logos post.

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Uniforms are for recruiting, that’s the bottom line

Do you think the University of Oregon (or Nike, for that matter) cares all that much what a 40-year-old fan thinks of duck wings locked in chrome on the side of a helmet? Of course not. All anyone cares about is if an 18-year-old recruit thinks those flashy wings look good. And those recruits largely do love the craziness that has become our college football uniform landscape. I followed up an article I wrote for Sports Illustrated about a year ago by revisiting the subject for sportslogos.net today. In the end, if a uniform helps a school get noticed, think of it as a win for both the institution and the apparel company marketing the threads.

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Second PopMech.com piece on same day

Sure, I’d love to spread out the clips a bit this week, but already my ENR blog has gone live this morning, a feature on the 10 biggest, boldest builds of 2012 debuted as the main feature on PopMech.com for today and, now, another story I did for PopMech has gone live, this one on LNG-powered megaships for cargo hauling. After a recent announcement by TOTE Inc. that they would build the largest LNG-powered ships in the world, I talked to their president to get the story of why. Read the piece here.

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Featured piece on PopMech.com on Big, Bold Builds of 2012

My editor at PopMech.com asked me recently what I thought of putting together a list of the biggest, boldest built items of 2012. Obviously, I jumped at the chance while thinking I wish I had come up with that idea myself. What resulted was a 10-piece slideshow of some of the coolest construction projects of the year, complete with the Olympics, bridges (one of my favorite construction stories), tunnels and more. I sifted through a variety of projects and whittled it down to these 10, leaving out a few along the way. Check out the slideshow here.

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A bridge update via my ENR Evergreen blog

Each week I tackle a bit of news from the world of construction and design out of the Pacific Northwest. This week’s Engineering News-Record Evergreen blog took a look at two bridges, one finally complete and one having all kinds of trouble getting off the ground and over a river. Check out the latest news for the Columbia River Crossing and Deh Cho bridges at my ENR blog home.