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The Song and Dance of Mexico in Arizona By Bill Steen

"…Last spring, while in Mexico (that place where it is not safe to go), we had the pleasure of watching a group of middle school and high school kids perform folkloric dances from northern Mexico. We were so taken by them that we couldn’t wait to see them again.…
I figured this was a perfect opportunity to say something positive and beautiful about Mexico in a time when it has received such negative press.…"
From Bill and Athena Steen's Canelo Project blog. The Steens are THE strawbale people, doing beautiful work and teaching many many people the art of strawbale building. (I'm working with them on 4 pages of tiny straw bales buildings in the tiny houses book.)

FYI: Why Tape Measure Claws Move Around

Today a friend asked me a question that the folks at Stanley tell me they hear all the time: why does the claw — you know, the little catch at the end of your short tape measure — move back and forth? Is it just poorly attached? The short answer: no, the loose claw is no accident of manufacture. It’s loose on purpose. The longer answer lies after the jump.
Actually, the claw moves back and forth slightly to allow you to measure both the length of an item inside the claw and an item outside the claw. To do this, the claw must slide back and forth by a small amount — exactly the same distance as the width of the claw. That way when you, for example, push the end of the measure against a wall, the claw slides in and renders an accurate measurement to the wall. When you catch the claw on the end of a stud and pull to measure a cut, the claw slides out and again you get an accurate measurement to the end of the board.
And if the claw is firmly attached and doesn’t move? Better check to see whether the tape’s calibrated inside or outside the claw before you measure or you could end up with an extra (or worse short a) 1/16″ or so.
-Chuck Cage

"It's a Burl," an art gallery of woodwork in Kerbyville, Oregon

John Fetherston just sent this pic of one of the buildings at this wild wood sculptors' gallery on Highway One in southern Oregon. http://www.itsaburl.com/

Languages are Parallel Universes by Lera Boroditsky

Excellent summary by Stewart Brand, of Lera Boroditsky's talk at Seminars About Long-term Thinking, (hosted by Stewart), at: http://longnow.org/seminars/02010/oct/26/how-language-shapes-thought/
"To have a second language is to have a second soul," said Charlemagne around 800 AD. "Each language has its own cognitive toolkit," said psychologist/linguist Lera Boroditsky in 2010 AD.
Different languages handle verbs, distinctions, gender, time, space, metaphor, and agency differently, and those differences, her research shows, make people think and act differently.
"…For Aborigines that Boroditsky studied in north Australia, time and sequence gets blended into their profound orientation to the cardinal directions. They don't use relative terms like "left" and "right," but absolute compass terms ("There's an ant on your southwest leg"), and they have extraordinary orientation skills.…"

Remarkable unicycle riding (video)

Posted on Boing Boing by Andrea James. The rock-hopping is awesome.

Big screen here: http://player.vimeo.com/video/13113979

Small screen here:

NAUCC 2010 from Max Schulze on Vimeo.

Sketches on iPhone of people on NYC subway

"Subway Sketches: Eric Molinsky draws people riding New York's subway using the Sketchbook application for the iPhone."

Molinsky sketches with his finger, not a stylus.

NYTimes video by Emily B. Hager

From Defunct Garage to Tiny Dream Home

"…Seattle homeowner Michelle de la Vega, who designed and built a new custom home from an old garage—with renovations topping out at only $32,000."


The Hansen Family Blog

I just ran across this website because of a Google Alert notice that they had reviewed Jason Sussberg's film of Shelter. The Hansen Family is a Scandinavian family of carpenters, designers and architects:

"We produce our furniture in a small atelier using ecologically grown wood, which comes mainly from massive oak and sustainable forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC. Located at the heart of the Sauerland region in Germany, our main atelier is surrounded by these forests and therefore nestled in the woods. We precociously select each piece of wood by hand, which allows us to say that not one piece is alike to the other. The design features the wood itself, giving birth to handcrafted and unique objects."

First fungi of season - Cauliflower Mushroom

We've had 2" of rain in the last 3 days. A bit early, and it feels good after the long dry period we always have (almost 6 months). Each year I seem to be late in getting porcinis, so this season I'm starting early. Not a fungi in sight at my porcini meadows yesterday, but this well-developed cauliflower mushroom was sitting next to a rotting pine stump.

It's flavorful. Sauteed last night and mixed with potatoes and chicken gravy, then this morning in a potato-chard-onion omelette.

Today I'm starting to get ready for my talk at the SF Green Festival on Saturday, Nov. 6th on "The Half-Acre Homestead in the 21st Century." Am shooting pics of house, compost bins, garden and building tools, the stuff that keeps this place running.

The Sartorialist - Underground fashion photography blog

"I started The Sartorialist simply to share photos of people that I saw on the streets of New York that I thought looked great. When I worked in the fashion industry (15 years), I always felt that there was a disconnect between what I was selling in the showroom and what I was seeing real people (really cool people) wearing in real life.…"

"I thought I could shoot people on the street the way designers looked at people, and get and give inspiration to lots of people in the process. My only strategy when I began The Sartorialist was to try and shoot style in a way that I knew most designers hunted for inspiration. Rarely do they look at the whole outfit as a yes or no but they try and look for the abstract concepts of color, proportion, pattern mixing or mixed genres.…"

-Scott Schuman, NYC


Rockaway Taco, A Selby Film

The real thing! Surfers, beekeepers, East Coast seaside tacos, fresh baked bread, cops, firefighters, skateboarders, waves. Trust me. Watch it.

Better than clicking on below, get the bigger screen at Vimeo direct: http://vimeo.com/15293107

Rockaway Taco, A Selby Film from the selby on Vimeo.

There's a lot of great stuff byTodd Selby at: http://www.theselby.com

"Todd Selby is a portrait, interiors, and fashion photographer and illustrator. His project The Selby offers an insider’s view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist's eye for detail. The Selby began in June 2008 as a website, where Todd posted photo shoots he did of his friends in their homes. Requests quickly began coming in daily from viewers all over the world who wanted their homes to be featured on the site. The Selby’s website became so popular—with up to 55,000 unique visitors daily—that within months, top companies from around the world began asking to collaborate.…"

100-year-old barn converted to house for sale Woodstock NY 335K

Ran across this a week or so ago. It's a 100-year old barn in Woodstock converted to a house. $335,000.