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Blog layout/Water on Tamalpa

I've been laying out book pages for over 40 years, and although I'm madly in love with digital communication and thrilled with phenomenal access to info on the internet, I'm continually frustrated by layout constraints. I don't know html, don't have time to learn, so I just shovel my photos and daily observations out here in blogger canned format. Can't use my layout skills. (Anyone know of a drag-and-drop blog template for the technologically-challenged?)

On the way home yesterday afternoon, it was raining. I bought a bottle of Allain-Robin alamic brandy at Vintage Wines and Spirits (great liquor store w/knowledgeable staff) in Mill Valley, and headed over the mountain. Stopped at my creekside place of power. Took a big hit of brandy, didn't swallow. Climbed up canyon, down to pool, stripped, stepped into water, and swallowed brandy just before ducking under waterfall. Yahoo! Creek pulsatingly alive from recent rains, water hitting body a tune-in to holy mountain spirit…

On the way home after creekside dip, via back road. The earth feels and smells good after the 3" of rain last week. Mushrooms getting activated.

You know, there is actually a lot of GOOD stuff going on in the world right now.

As I sign off this Sunday (got up early, so excited about my day yesterday), just heard an incredible white gospel song sung by 12-year old Mallory Ledford. I can't figure why gospel (black & white) is so good, and religion so rotten. It's occurred to me that black gospel artists have got it right. THIS is the true spirit of Jesus, thank you. Joy and rythym and compassion.

Saturday cont…cont…More on Mia, the teak sailboat

I spent about 3 hours on the boat with Paul and Julie. Julie wrote a perfect essay on their worldwide travels over the past 5 years. It's their only home. There's no fall-back homestead on land. These are 2 wonderful human beings, talented, spirited, competent, sailing the ever-changing seas in this beautiful vessel. Everything is right here. Aesthetics, hoo! If you must spend a lot of time in a small space, it's immeasurably helpful if it looks like this. Everything your eyes rest on is lovely. Every square inch is beautifully maintained.
(I gotta get this book done!)

Saturday cont…

On my way to the dock yesterday morning, I spotted this old beauty. This Caddy is the same era as my '46 Chevy coupe , so I was drawn to it. Timeless design. (Compare to today's Cadillac Escalade 400 hp gas-guzzling pig of a car.)

A good Saturday on water and land…

I had a great day yesterday. Operated-upon knee feeling good, fractured rib just about healed, being able to move through the world without pain be stylin. We've been blessed with early rains, and I drove south along the coast through the drizzle, with ocean slate grey1000 feet below. Listening to the radio. Program on NPR on Houdini, who died on Halloween, was said to be a marketing genius and perhaps the first person ever to utilize mass tie-in marketing (see Wikipedia). Houdini had instructed his wife to have a seance on the anniversary of his death, and seances are held on Halloween to this day.
Music yesterday morning:
"Momma loved Daddy,
but Daddy loved trains…"

"I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour
That's when my love comes tumbling down…"
-Wilson Picket. I'd forgotten what a great song this was. Boy!

"From the moment I could crawl,
Someone tried to slow me down…
It's everything or nuthin every day,
I'd rather wear out than rust away…"
Yeah mon!
-Vince Gill and friends, didn't get song name. It sure resonates, as they say…

Finally some poetry by Albert Collins:
"If you love me like you say,
Why you treat me like you do?"

46-foot solid teak sailboat/exquisite tiny home

Godfrey Stephens is an awesome artist and lifelong sailor (see pp. 100-109 of Builders of the Pacific Coast on his carvings and paintings). He's been hounding me for years to include sailboats in our building books. With the tiny houses books under way now, he's been deluging me with his stream-of consciousness emails and sailboat photos. (As of this moment, there are 366 messages in the "Stephens" mailbox, and 462 photos in the "Stephens" photo folder. (People who know Godfrey will chuckle knowingly at this.)
Well, Godfrey just came through in a big way (he also had a big hand in turning me on to many of the3 builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast). Friends of his had just sailed in through the Golden Gate and were anchored out in Sausalito, waiting out a series of storms before heading south to Mexico. I contacted Julie Newton and Paul Smulder by email and on Tuesday, Paul picked me up in their tiny dinghy and we went out to the boat.
Ay caramba! The boat is a dream. Solid teak hull, 46' long. Everything is exquisite and immaculate -- and beautiful. I won't go into it here, it'll be one of the stars of this up and coming book. At left is the Mia heading into the mist-shrouded Golden Gate last week after a trip down the coast from Vancouver Island; photo by John Miller aboard the Silas Crosby.

America's Oldest & Michigan's First Net Zero Energy Home

"If you want a super, energy-efficient home, you have to build new, right? Not necessarily. A 110-year-old Victorian home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is being touted as America's oldest net-zero energy house, and the first of its kind in the state.…"
From Treehugger, a great website.

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.

Cardigan Critter Cam By Paula Werme

This just in as a comment on a recent posting. Paula lives in a yurt in New England and has pics of moose, a bear, what looks like a cougar, predator tracks in the snow, wild turkeys. Some shot at night with what I'd guess is a motion-activated camera.

LET IT DIE by Douglas Rushkoff

First part of article written March 15, 2009:
"With any luck, the economy will never recover.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing.

I started writing a book three years ago through which I hoped to help people see the artificial and ultimately dehumanizing landscape of corporatism on which we conduct so much of our lives. It’s not just that I saw the downturn coming—it’s that I feared it wouldn’t come quickly or clearly enough to help us wake up from the self-destructive fantasy of an eternally expanding economic frontier…"

Out My Window - 360º Documentary

This is an unusual series of panoramic shots of people's lives in highrise apartments in various parts of the world.

"HIGHRISE is a multi-year, multi-media, collaborative documentary project about the human experience in global vertical suburbs, under the direction of documentary-maker Katerina Cizek……"

Sent us by Sheila

Pine Siskins in the Evening Primrose

A few nights ago in the garden. This is a view from our kitchen table. Every meal we eat here, there are tons of birds to watch (unless it's dark).

Sirius satellite music on my early morning trip into San Francisco Tuesday: Marty Stuart:
The bridge is washed out
and I cain't swim,
And my baby's
on the other side.

Lyle Lovett: Stand by Your Man, this is great!
Muddy Waters: Country Boy
The Itals: Smile Knotty Dread
Garnet Silk: Oh Me Oh My

Jerry's tree-branch framed kiva

Jerry Tergis built this canvas-covered structure on the banks of a northern California river.

Sunset Magazine's new cookbook

Article in today's New York Times by Kim Severson

"BEFORE Alice Waters picked her first Little Gem lettuce and Wolfgang Puck draped smoked salmon across a pizza, California cuisine meant something else.

"The other California cuisine was being served on a million patios in the Golden State by relaxed cooks who grilled thick cuts of beef called tri-tip and built salads from avocado and oranges. They used red chili sauce like roux, ate abalone and oysters, and whipped sticky dates into milkshakes. It was the food of the gold rush and of immigrants, of orchards and sunshine.…

"'What Sunset has done really well is reflect the changes in the way people in the West live,' said Barbara Fairchild, who will retire as editor in chief of Bon Appétit in November. 'It’s a style of living and cooking that really is different.' She moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles with her family in the 1960s. It was the first time she had ever seen an artichoke or an avocado. Her father began grilling over the big built-in brick barbecue while the children cooled off in the above-ground pool.

"Dinners, especially in the summer, were salads. Red meat gave way to chicken or fish — quite a radical departure for many family menus then.…"


How about Sunset's corporate headquarters? Photo by Heidi Schumann for the NY Times

Korean Underground Earth House by Byoung Soo Cho

"Korean architect Byoung Soo Cho has built an underground house outside Seoul. Called Earth House, it’s not as fancy as some iterations of the subterranean abode, drawing instead on Cho’s very unpretentious inspirations: Taoist minimalism and the utilitarianism of the silos, barns and sheds Cho has come to love as a professor at Montana State University. Arguably, the Korean House also reveals a love of big sky: the 23-foot square courtyard is really the crown jewel of the place, which consists of six tiny rooms built mainly of concrete and recycled wood."

Graffiti on beach tonight

Down at the beach tonight

Mendocino in the '70s

New book. Looks like another century! There's a great Flash mini-version of entire book so you can preview every page: http://www.blurb.com/books/31099
"The 60s happened in the '70s."

Silver Sebright bantam chickens

We now have a flock of about 24 bantams, maybe 7 of which are these Silver Sebrights. We have one Golden Sebright. I fell in love with these beautiful birds a few years ago when I saw a 10-year-old girl's flock at the Mendocino County Fair. They lay very small eggs, are a bit skittish, but oh those white feathers outlined in black! We get all our chickens from Murray McMurray Hatchery; they come via the U.S. post office overnight.

Here's a good blog with a lot of practical hands-on tips for raising chickens in urban or suburban areas: http://urban-agrarian.blogspot.com/

Into the Amazonian Rain Forest

"…I had traveled by car, plane, boat and foot — more than 100 miles from conventional civilization — to reach a place where the old ways have not been forgotten, where local people interpret the world through their dreams and the forest spirit known as arutam is said to inhabit the mighty kapok tree, and where healing and insight is sought from a hallucinogenic plant brew the Achuar call natem, known elsewhere as ayahuasca, or 'vine of the soul.'"
Article and photos in NYTimes by writer and photographer Andy Isaacson

The era of Republican Mean Girls - Maureen Dowd

"We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.

These women — Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine — have co-opted and ratcheted up the disgust with the status quo that originally buoyed Barack Obama. Whether they’re mistreating the help or belittling the president’s manhood, making snide comments about a rival’s hair or ripping an opponent for spending money on a men’s fashion show, the Mean Girls have replaced Hope with Spite and Cool with Cold. They are the ideal nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.…"

-Maureen Dowd, yesterday's NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/opinion/17dowd.html?_r=1&hp

4 guys dancing in East Oakland streets

This is so co-oo-oo-uhl. Sent by Evan

YAKfilms | October 27, 2009
for Dreal, stay up my brother. east oakland, california.


Dancers are No Noize (red jacket), Man (back jacket), BJ (striped shirt), Dreal (white shirt).

Directed and edited by Yoram Savion


Music by Erk tha Jerk!!

© YAK 2009

"Take Me Out" by Atomic Tom LIVE on NYC subway

"In October 2010, New York's Atomic Tom had their instruments stolen. Fortunately, they knew how to improvise.…"
Check out this remarkable concert done with half a dozen iPhones. Sent us by Evan of Ecential Clothing

What Technology Wants, new book by Kevin Kelly

Just published a few days ago, this new book by Wired mag "Senior Maverick" and CoolTools founder Kevin Kelly is,  as I speak  this morning,  #56 on Amazon's bestseller list (!). Reviewer Thomas King writes:
"What Technology Wants offers a highly readable investigation into the mechanisms by which technology advances over time. The central thesis of the book is that technology grows and evolves in much the same way as an autonomous, living organism.
The book draws many parallels between technical progress and biology, labeling technology as "evolution accelerated." Kelly goes further and argues that neither evolution nor technological advance result from a random drift but instead have an inherent direction that makes some outcomes virtually inevitable. Examples of this inevitability include the eye, which evolved independently at least six times in different branches of the animal kingdom, and numerous instances of technical innovations or scientific discoveries being made almost simultaneously.…"
Check out Kevin's writeup on getting his first hard copy (hard cover) of the book, and ruminations on hold-in-hand books vs. eBooks: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/
I ordered a copy yesterday. Lets see what Kevin thinks is going on tech-wise on the planet these days.

Living the Real Simple Life (ABC Nightline)

"On $30,000 a Year, One Family Lives a Subsistence Lifestyle in a Suburban House"

Video © ABC News

In American Suburbia, the Dervaes Family has created an original modern urban homestead that has "…yielded an entirely new, revolutionary alternative lifestyle." Their family farm is on 1/5 of an acre in Pasadena, (southern) California.

Read the entire story (by John Donovan and Melia Patria) at: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=4863733&page=1

The Grass Roofs of Norway

Boing Boing is the blog I most frequently check and I was rewarded with this today;

In addition to this pic, there are a dozen other photos of sod-roofed buildings in Norway. (My first building, in 1961, had a sod roof.)

Homestead/tiny farm in southern California suburbia

Founded by Jules Dervaes (Dur-VAYS) in 2001, Path to Freedom is a grassroots, family operated, viable urban homesteading project established to promote a simpler and more fulfilling lifestyle and reduce one family’s “footprint” on the earth’s dwindling resources.
Since the mid 1980s, all five members of the Dervaes family have steadily worked at transforming their ordinary city lot in Pasadena, California, into an organic permaculture garden supplying them with food all year round. They also run a successful business, Dervaes Gardens, providing salad greens to local restaurants. This helps them fund their purchases of solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and biodiesel processor to further decrease their homestead’s reliance on the earth’s non-renewable resources.
LOCATION: Pasadena, CA - (Northwest Pasadena, one mile from downtown Pasadena)
PROPERTY SIZE: 1/5 acre (66′ x 132′ / 8,712 sq.ft.)
GARDEN SIZE: 1/10 acre (3,900 sq.ft. / ~ 66′ x 66′)
GARDEN DIVERSITY: Over 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits, berries
FOOD PRODUCED: 6,000 lbs annually
URBAN HOMESTEAD SUPPORTS: 4 full-time adults, volunteers, and many clients
ENERGY USAGE: 6.5 kwh day (and going down!)
SOLAR POWER PRODUCED: 8000 kwh ( as of 5/31/08)
GALLONS OF BIODIESEL MADE (since 2003): 1,000 gallons (as of 2/12/08)
“EARTH IMPACT FOOTPRINT”: 5.2 acres per person

Double-decker goat manger at Piebird Bed and Breakfast, Ontario

Yan and Sherry have built a tiny house for farm workers on their land, and we're doing two pages on it in the tiny house book. This morning they sent me this pic of their goat architecture. Piebird looks like a great place to stay if you're in that neck of the woods. http://www.piebird.ca/the-guest-rooms

Shelter II back in print

We published Shelter II in 1978, 5 years after Shelter. At the time I felt that I'd misled people with the Domebooks, then shown them a great variety of ways to build in Shelter, and now it was time to show step-by-step design and construction of a small house. That's at the heart of Shelter II: a condensed 24-page instruction manual for the novice builder for building a stud-frame home: foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; roofing, windows, doors, interior finish, as well as plumbing and electrical work. Much of this applies also to cob, straw bale, etc. buildings, because just about every home needs a wood-framed roof.
There's also a lot on indigenous builders all over the world and on techniques and designs of past years; the rehabbing of abandoned buildings in cities; and my diatribe against the then-planned "space colonies."
Shelter was a hard act to follow. Shelter II has no color pages, and it doesn't have the irreverent joy of Shelter. But it's a solid book, with construction details our other books don't have, and we're glad to have it back in print.

Succulent in garden early yesterday morning

Tiny house wins award in Hungary

By: All Hungary News
A house with an area of only 29 square meters (about 320 sq. ft.) has won the Association of Hungarian Architects' "House of the Year" award, inforadio.hu reports.
The small structure, located on the outskirts of Budakeszi near Budapest, was designed by a couple, both architects, for their own use. Winners Gábor and Orsolya Bártfai-Szabó said the jury decided to award their house because it was outstandingly sustainable and expandable.
Recycled materials such as used bricks and paper were used during construction. Thanks to a 30-centimeter-thick layer of newspapers which serves as insulation and three-layer window panes, heating the house costs no more than a few thousand forints a month in winter.
Download more pics here: http://www.evhaza.hu/uploaded/images/statikus/101/__v_h__za_fot__k.zip

Catamount People’s Museum, Catskill NY

"A handmade People's Museum has been constructed in Catskill, NY in the form of a lounging bobcat using discarded tree branches and cut offs from local mills. The interior of this over-sized Lynx Rufus houses a collection of materials and displays celebrating the people, stories, and history of the Catskill Mountains. Content for displays are collected from both historical organizations and the surrounding community. The museum has a unique focus of seamlessly blending the stories, visions and personal collections of residents with the voices of historians. The folk legends, urban myths and favorite, almost forgotten tide bits on display make this new public space a place to soak in what this area is really all about."

Catamount People’s Museum
21 West Bridge st
Catskill NY 12414

This came in just now from Matt Bua: http://www.bhomepark.blogspot.com/

(Old fashioned) Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain

"Maybe it’s the intense heat, but ever since we saw this post at The Scout Mag we’ve been craving a visit for an ice cream sandwich: only trouble is we’re on the wrong coast. Next time we find ourselves in NYC we’ll be sure to stop in at The Brooklyn Farmacy and; Soda Fountain."
Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
513 Henry Street
Carrol Gardens, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Also great pic of driftwood-heavy beach in British Columbia on this blog
(718) 522-6260

Mockingbird by Inez and Charlie Foxx

If you thought Carly Simon's and James Taylor's version of Mockingbird was pretty good, listen to the original from 1963. Whew! Inez's got super-powered pure energy like Tina Turner at her best (when she was backed by Ike). I buy very few CDs these days, what with Sirius radio, but this was one: Charlie and Inez Foxx: Mockingbird, COL-CD 5301, Collectables Record Corp. The title song here is just brilliant singing, nothing quite like it.
I have to admit (sheepishly) to having played the song 5 times just now. Hey, after a week laid up in bed, things are lookin up.  My operated-upon knee feels good. I'm back to working on my tiny house book (wow!). It's a sunny day, some caffeine, ganja, good rhythm and blues, and stylin is the word.
Everybody, have you heard,
He's gonna buy me a Mockingbird,
Oh, if that Mockingbird don't sing
He's gonna buy me a diamond ring…

Roof top garden house in Nova Scotia

"This house in West Pennant, Nova Scotia is oriented along the south facing edge of the site, to maximize solar exposure. The roof is shaped to shed the wind and to preserve the ocean views of neighbours up the hill. The roof top garden serves as ballast against storm winds, and enhances the views from houses higher up the slope. The rain screen wall is made of woven strips of white cedar, inspired by traditional wooden baskets. The lenticular roof trusses are bent strips of small-dimensioned lumber bent to form and then nailed together. The sheathing completes the stressed skin structure in a wing-like form that also helps to bring natural light into the spaces."
By architect Richard Roeker

Running for the joy of it…

"Thanx and a tip of the Hatlo hat…" to Stewart Brand/Kevin Kelly for turning me on to Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
"CM: The key secret hit me like a thunderbolt. It was so simple, yet such a jolt. It was this: everything I’d been taught about running was wrong. We treat running in the modern world the same way we treat childbirth—it’s going to hurt, and requires special exercises and equipment, and the best you can hope for is to get it over with quickly with minimal damage.
Then I meet the Tarahumara, and they’re having a blast. They remember what it’s like to love running, and it lets them blaze through the canyons like dolphins rocketing through waves. For them, running isn’t work. It isn’t a punishment for eating. It’s fine art, like it was for our ancestors. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle—behold, the Running Man.
The Tarahumara have a saying: “Children run before they can walk.” Watch any four-year-old—they do everything at full speed, and it’s all about fun. That’s the most important thing I picked up from my time in the Copper Canyons, the understanding that running can be fast and fun and spontaneous, and when it is, you feel like you can go forever. But all of that begins with your feet. Strange as it sounds, the Tarahumara taught me to change my relationship with the ground. Instead of hammering down on my heels, the way I’d been taught all my life, I learned to run lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. The day I mastered it was the last day I was ever injured.…"

Tina's tiny house in Vancouver

Artist/snowboarder Tina is building her own tiny (100 sq.ft.) house (as art studio) in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. It's in her backyard. Siding is recycled pallet wood.

New research on antioxidants

Looks like the the human body's natural antioxidant defense is just fine without supplements. Why am I not surprised?
"…What these findings mean for those of us who work out regularly is still being determined by scientists. But one message is clear.'The evidence suggests that antioxidants are not needed' by most athletes, even those training strenuously, said Li Li Ji, a professor of exercise physiology and nutritional science at the University of Wisconsin and one of the authors of the rat study. 'The body adapts,' he said, a process that can, it seems, be altered by antioxidant supplements.
Another lesson: 'Eat well,' he said. Although this is not yet proved, it seems likely, he continued, that antioxidants from foods, like blueberries, green tea and carrots, may work in tandem with the body’s natural antioxidant defenses better than those from supplements.
But the overriding lesson of the newest science about exercise and antioxidants may be as simple as: let the body be. 'It is quite a smart machine,' Dr. Ji said. 'It knows how to respond' to stresses like a hard run, without the need for antioxidant pills."

I love the New York Times' website these days.

This house rocks!

In Nas montanhas de Fafe in Portugal: http://is.gd/fQw7f

Mark Morford column on Republicans and climate change denial

Quote from gun-slinger writer Mark Morford's latest column at SFGate titled: "You want the good news, or the bad news?" Check out his 3 links here as well.
"…Every single one of the tiny-brained Republicans on the mid-term election sheet this very year are full-blown, moron-grade climate change deniers, rejecting any notion that humble little man and his seven billion voracious frogspawn has had any real, lasting effect on planetary ecosystems.
Should these GOP lugnuts get into power, expect obscene amounts of push-back against any significant environmental legislation, much fellating of Big Energy and the intellectually constipated Tea Party, lots of new muttering about nuclear power, oil exploration and how the severity of the BP spill was way overblown by the "liberal media elite.…"

Power and grace: Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum

"Tim Lincecum pitching in the first inning as the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park yesterday." Lincecum must be the most photogenic pitcher in baseball. This photo by Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle: http://is.gd/fRYUQ

Bird in the hand

I've been lying  around, using a circulating ice machine for my operated-upon left knee (torn meniscus, thanks to dumb down-hill running during Dipsea Race). Walked out into living room a half hour ago and a little bird was flying around inside. I hobbled around after him, opening windows, but he kept flying into another room and banging into the glass on windows as he tried to escape. Finally I was able to pick him up. Took him outside and he made a few attempts to fly and just fluttered to the ground. I kept him a while, shot a few pics, then he looked at me and flew away. Looks like a baby sparrow.

Tiny house in Seattle

Converted garage = 250 sq. ft. home for Michelle de la Vega, a visual and performance artist in Seattle. Photo by Ira Lippke for the New York Times: http://is.gd/fQul3. Ira is a wonderful international photographer: http://www.iralippke.com/

Outhouse by sculptor Patrick Dougherty

Thanks to Alan Wherry for sending us this article from the New York Times by Penelope Green about Patrick Dougherty, a sculptor in Chapel Hill, N.C. There's a slide show of Patrick's work, including a log cabin and his work with "…sticks and stones." Photos by Randy Harris, a prolific photographer; Check his website: http://www.randyharrisphoto.com