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Yellow house, red car

In San Francisco Tuesday, Geary/Clement around 8th-9th avenues

Exploded Bug poster by Peter Aschwanden

The Power of boingboing: we got over 6000 hits on our website for our septic systems book from this mention on boingboing by By Mark Frauenfelder on Feb. 23, 2010:
"The late Peter Aschwanden was best known for his extremely detailed and humorous illustrations for John Muir's 1969 book, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot. His cover illustration for The Septic System Owner's Manual almost makes me wish I had a septic tank."

At Peter's website, you can order books, posters, and T-shirts. His "Exploded Bug" poster (above) is amazing! http://www.peteraschwanden.com

Rainy/sunny day in city

Tuesday I left around 6AM to meet someone in Berkeley. The rain started as I left home, and when I was driving around the lagoon, under big Eucalyptus trees. It was coming down in sheets. A half hour later as I came down the road into Mill Valley, rain pounding, it felt like I was in a speedboat on a river. Every once in a while - like then - I'm amazed that I can be warm and dry in a heavy rainstorm and moving through space in my truck.
I grew up in San Francisco, so I think of myself as a city boy. But I've lived in the country since age 17, so I'm a country boy too. I get totally excited each time I go into the city for a day. So much going on. I generally do a 3-county circumnambulation: Berkeley/Oakland; S.F.; and Marin County. I get home with days' worth of inspiration.
Graffiti just off either Howard or Mission in S.F.

Hillary & Cristina yukkin' it up

What a contrast to male politicians! I spotted this in the NY Times yesterday and it was such a contrast to the male dogfighting in today's government. Yeah, call me sexist, but it makes me think how much better things would be in the world with more women in power  (notwithstanding exceptions such as Margaret Thatcher or Sarah Palin).
Photo by Jorge Araujo/Associated Press
Caption: Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina on Monday.

Sculptural concrete fish house in Veracruz

Jennifer Ring from Ontario sent us this photo she took in Mexico while traveling/camping in her van. She says: "This cement fish house was located in Veracruz state overlooking the gulf coast, Mexico-it wasn't there last time I went. There was no one around at all so I was unable to get any information or interior pics.…

The revolution underway in publishing/article by Jason Epstein

Publishing: The Revolutionary Future by Jason Epstein, New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010

The publishing world is changing hugely, and fast. Strange, we don't seem to be that affected (yet). Maybe because we do so few books and take lots of time to do each one; people are still buying them. It may also be that we're small and can move fast, unconstrained by big corporate complexity. We're adapting.

Charlotte Mayerson, my friend and former senior editor at Random House, sent me a link to this perceptive article by Jason Epstein, former editorial director (for 40 years) at Random House, and co-founder of The New York Review of Books, and it seems important enough to pass on. Here's the lead paragraph:

"The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Meanwhile, for quite different reasons, the genteel book business that I joined more than a half-century ago is already on edge, suffering from a gambler's unbreakable addiction to risky, seasonal best sellers, many of which don't recoup their costs, and the simultaneous deterioration of backlist, the vital annuity on which book publishers had in better days relied for year-to-year stability through bad times and good. The crisis of confidence reflects these intersecting shocks, an overspecialized marketplace dominated by high-risk ephemera and a technological shift orders of magnitude greater than the momentous evolution from monkish scriptoria to movable type launched in Gutenberg's German city of Mainz six centuries ago."

Full article here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23683

Tons of photos of houses in New Orleans

"Housewatcher" roams the streets of New Orleans, shooting pix of houses and house details: http://www.flickr.com/photos/housewatchertp/sets/

Homebuilt Homes on Mississippi in New Orleans

Article on the dozen or so houses in the "batture" of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, titled: Homes on the Mississippi River batture in Jefferson Parish have whimsical appeal, by R. Stephanie Bruno, Feb. 26, 2010, at: http://bit.ly/cYnrpA
"The word batture is used to describe portions of the Mississippi River bed that are exposed intermittently, depending on whether the river levels are high or low.…"
One house is described as looking "…like something out of central casting for a fishing camp -- wide porch all around, driftwood artfully inserted between pilings, buoys strung from the porch ceiling. It even has faded Barq's root beer signs on the walls."
-Photo from housewatchertp's photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/housewatchertp
-Sent us by Lou Commons

Tiny House Book Is Rolling

For the last year I've been saving URLs of websites, blogs, anything on the internet on the subject of tiny houses. I ended up with over 100 URLs and about a month ago I started going through them and printing out photos and text, which I then file in folders in a filing cabinet. I have maybe 70 file folders now. I have 2-3 weeks more of checking out the blogs and websites. Each reference I go to usually leads me to find other things on the web.

I have no idea right now what the book will look like. After I have all the files assembled, I'll go through them and make notes and start figuring out the categories, and the flow of the book. Then I have to contact all the bloggers and photographers. I'll then do non-electronic layouts, sizing photos on my 10-year-old HP color copy machine ($250 new). I'll get Lew to look stuff over. It will then go to David for artistic tune-up, then to Rick for book construction.

I've got some wonderful material. There might just be a movement out there of people simplifying their lives, taking care of their own shelter needs with their own hands. Sort of looks like that to me. This is gonna be a great book! We'll try to keep up our standards of 1000 photos per book. The vast amount of material we have in our books means that we can only pay a few major contributors. But we do offer blog and website publicity for all participants.
-Above photo from: http://www.betterbarns.com/. These guys are an example of what's out there.

Posting on Greenhouse Book from HomeGrown Evolution

How to become the chicken coop Frank Gehry
Haven't laid my hands on a copy yet, but it looks like author and publisher Lloyd Kahn has another winner, in this case a painstaking reproduction of a turn of the century catalog The Gardeners’ and Poultry Keepers’ Guide: Illustrated Catalogue of Goods Manufactured & Supplied by W. Cooper Ltd. Kahn says, on his blog,
"It’s hard cover, linen-looking finish, foil stamped, printed on off-white paper — a book lovers’ book — the kind that us bibliophiles love to touch and thumb through (and feel secure in the knowledge that no stinkin’ ebook will replace the “hard” copy). Also, it’s useful: it gives homesteaders, gardeners, builders, and architects still-practical designs."
I'll note one detail I like in the chicken coop in the catalog above, the "dry run." I included a small dry run space in my coop and the chickens really like it--a place for them to hide out when it rains.