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Thanks, neighbor!

Wednesday at the beach: Look at this engineering disaster plunked right in front of a nice beach front cottage. The monstrosity is actually right in front of the cottage, blocking the ocean view, although it doesn't show in this perspective. Engineers and regulators once again run amok.

Our first E-Book: Marathon: You Can Do It! by Jeff Galloway

Our computermeister Rick Gordon has done a beautiful job converting Jeff Galloway's best-selling book on marathons into E-book form. It looks way better than any other E-book on running, and in fact better, in its graphics, charts, and colors than just about anything on the iPad. It also works on the iPhone, iPod, and Kindle.
Runners who travel can take their training charts along, even on the iPhone.
Jeff Galloway's website: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/

Stormy day, shorebirds, and foam at the beach

Yesterday there was a weather warning for 15 foot waves at a 6.6 ft. high tide, so I headed over to Stinson Beach to check it out. Surf was pounding, but it was more like 6-8 foot wave faces. Foam all over the beach. Not a soul in sight. Just shorebirds and me on the 2-1/2 mile-long sandy beach. Above is, I believe, a Marbled Godwit.

I found a nice weatherbeaten 5' long 2 x 12, so I hauled it along a path from the beach to the road so I could pick it up in my truck. I discovered this nice succulent garden along the path, which is unmarked.

Construire avec des palettes

Jean-Pierre Le Bail, architecte, m’a fait parvenir quelques photos de ses réalisations. Il utilise ce module comme base de ses constructions. Son matériau de prédilection, la palette EUR, aux dimensions normalisées : 800 mm de largeur par 1200mm de longueur. Sa démarche l’a mené à déposer un brevet : « Utilisation des palettes en construction ».
Sent to us from France by Christine Durand

The Dark Side of Recent Egg Headlines

In HuffPost, John Robins wrote: "Egg lovers are rejoicing this week because the USDA, usually the last to notice anything resembling a genuine nutritional advance, has announced that eggs are much higher in vitamin D than previously thought, and also 14 percent lower in cholesterol than previously believed.…"

As I wrote in "The Food Revolution", the sad fact of modern industrialized egg production is that layer hens are crammed together in filthy cages so small that the birds are not able to lift a single wing. The amount of space the birds are given is less than they would have if you stuffed several of them into a file drawer. One building will frequently house 30,000 hens packed together under these grotesquely crowded and seriously unhealthy conditions.

The birds are driven so insane by these miserable conditions that they would peck each other to death if they could. The industry, of course, doesn't want to see such a thing happen, because there's no profit to be made from dead hens who don't lay eggs. How, then, does the industry prevent it? Not by giving the hens more room, which would be the humane response, but by cutting off a sizable part of the hens' beaks, a process known euphemistically as "beak trimming."
Full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/animal-cruelty-_b_823088.html

Running in the storm last night

About a month ago I wimped out on running with my friends in a rainstorm. (We run every Tuesday night.) So last night I was determined to get out into it. The boys went up Frank's Valley, and I headed south along the coastal cliff trail. The storm was lurking just of shore and boy was I excited. Had on windbreaker, gloves, and warm wool tuque (home-knit cap). The wind was blasting and when I got up to our lookout spot, it must have been 50-60 mph. The few drops of rain falling stung my face, felt like bullets. I had to lean into the wind to avoid being blown over. The wind whipping my jacket sounded like a Harley, or like cards in bike wheel spokes. The raw power of the Pacific Ocean! The storm was pouring energy into me as I breathed. I'm still amped.
After a pint of Guinness with the boys in the pub, I drove north along the coast to get home. The rain was kicking in, wind howling, and on the radio, the bluegrass band The Steeldrivers was playing Good Corn Liquor and I pulled the truck over to an ocean overlook spot and got out and danced a jig in the storm. Seemed like the thing to do.

Birds on the coast, buildings in the East Bay

I drove along the coast yesterday morning, heading for Berkeley. A big storm was brewing out in the Pacific and the air was supercharged. Crows and turkey buzzards were soaring in the updrafts, swooping with the wind. Later in the day, near the Home Depot in El Cerrito, there were like 100 seagulls wheeling around in the air, shooting up and floating and diving. They were playing! You think of dogs playing, but birds do too. The joy of being carried about by the wind. Oh to have wings!
I go to the East Bay almost weekly now and always take a little time out to drive through the residential neighborhoods and along the streets looking at houses and stores. More interesting than Marin with its exquisiteness and preciousness. Oakland, El Cerrito, Richmond -- the real world.
I gotta tell you, I love doing this blog. Wish I had more time. I also wish I could do a quick layout of a few pages, say of yesterday's excursion, with photos and text, but I'm limited to stacking pics on top of each other for internet expediency. Here are a few from yesterday.
Above: check out tiny 2-story house on left. I love the brick red color. All of our many doors and windows on the homestead here are painted this color.
Witty architecture in Berkeley

Nice solid old house

Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont

"Yestermorrow Design/Build School, located in the Green Mountains in Vermont, offers over 170 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design.

Now in its 30th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our 1-day to 12-week hands-on programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional."

Bill Pearl, old school bodybuilder

During the '80s, I spent a couple of years working with and hanging out with bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl as we put together his book Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Men and Women (which went on to sell over 500,000 copies). They don't make 'em like Bill any more; he was maybe the last in a line of old-time strong men, before steroids took over. Look at this photo of him when he was young, with no steroid hyper-inflated weirdness, as with the body builders of today. This pic was in Legends of Bodybuilding, a special issue of Musclemag magazine, a great compilation.
Bill was Mr. California, Mr. America, and a 4-time Mr. Universe and is a very humble and gentle person. He's a vegetarian. He still has an aura about him.  We'd go into a restaurant, he'd compliment the food, and pretty soon the chef would be out at our table. We'd walk down the street and people would come up to him.
After 8 years of work, Bill has just completed a 3-volume series called Legends of the Iron Game, the most complete record of strong men ever, going back to 300 BC when Milo of Croton demonstrated the principle of progressive resistance by carrying a calf every day until it became a full grown bull.