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Tale of Two Cities

As much as I love NYC and New Yorkers and the ultimate big-city stimulation and delight and inspiration, I get an almost punch in the stomach when I come over the mountain and see the Pacific Ocean. Home! I just barely got back into California mode when I took off for Oregon. Coming down yesterday, everything looked so green, especially compared to parched California.

Portland is as sweet as ever. It's so mellow for a city. In fact, Oregon and Oregonians are mellow. The Feng Shui of the whole state is right. (When I first came here in the late '60s a long-haired guy came up to me when I was getting gas and handed me a freshly-rolled joint.) After coffee at Stumptown Roastery yesterday, I headed out to the coast, where it was windy and wild. Miles of sandy beaches, off-shore rocks, and a medium-sized swell.

I decided to head back to McMinnville, followed a curvy rural road west, checked into McMenamin's Oregon Hotel, a venerable 4-story brick structure built in 1905, then headed out to the Golden Valley Brewery, where they make all 10 or so types of tap beer they serve. The bar (shown here) was salvaged from a hotel that burned down in Portland. The owner, Peter Kircher, has a nearby ranch where he raises vegetables and beef for the brewery; they feed spent barley from brewing to the cattle—nice cycle.


Notes From Trip Last Week To NYC

(While waiting at the SF airport for a flight to Oregon.)
3 really good places to eat:
-Cookshop, 156 10th Ave (at 26th St.)
-Rosie's (Mexican), 29 E. 2nd
-Saigon Shack, 114 Macdougal
Great brewpub: Cooper's 8th Ave. between 18th and 19th
On Monday night I was at W. 4th and W. 11th and it was surprisingly quiet.
"Cheers" in Irish is ""Slainte," pronounced "schlancha."
China had a huge presence at Book Expo America. Over 500 people, and their extensive stand seemed to take up 20% of all the space in the hall. They had ongoing, well-attended author appearances.
Good, inexpensive classical Chinese massage, China Tai Ji, 57 W. 8th St, betw. 5th & 6th Aves. Great way to loosen up after a flight.
Citymapper is a free phone app for NYC (and other select cities). You punch in where you want to go, and it gives you directions for walking or public transport, as well as Uber rates. For subways, iTrans NYC is good and costs a few dollars.
Eric Leemon, a TV producer living in the West Village says that NewYorkers are friendly and I agree. Spaces in restaurants and bars are so tight that you sit very close to others and it's easy to get into conversations. Everyone is helpful if you need directions. Good vibes my whole week there.

The East River Ferry is a great way to get to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Terminal at East 34th Street on the river. Sure beats the subway on a hot day.

One bartender to another at Cookshop: "I mean, he was off. I don't know what he was on to be so off."

When I get to Portland, first stop will be Stumptown Roastery, then Mt. Tabor to skate. Then I'll head out to the coast.

Back From NYC, Off to Oregon Tomorrow

What a jet setter! Home 2 days and then on an airplane again. To the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, Oregon (about an hour south of Portland). On Saturday, June 6, at 11:30 AM, I'm doing a presentation on Tiny Homes on the Move; and on Sunday, June 7, at 10:AM, "50 Years of Natural Building." Both at the Renewable Energy Stage.

These Mother Earth News Fairs are great events. Good vibes. Lots of things I'm interested in. Chickens, sheep, gardening, farming, building, homesteading, cooking, renewable energy, to mention a few. They're like super-size county fairs.

Info: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/oregon.aspx

I'm getting in 2 days early, and taking my skateboard. Renting a car and probably heading out to the coast and driving south. I'll be looking for hills to skate and hunting for barns to photograph. Quite a different kind of trip than NYC.

As usual I have a ton of photos and notes from my NYC trip and will try to get some of it out before too long.

I have a big note next to my keyboard, "No appearances rest of 2015." I'm going to take a break from publicity/marketing when I get back and get a bunch of things done at home, including homestead chores, crafts projects, more fishing—and getting going on layout of Small Homes, our next book.

Music del día: Phil Spector, 1961-1966. What a genius! (at that time of his life). Da Doo Ron Ron, Be My Baby, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah…

Cathedral of St. John the Divine—Ugh!


I went there on a hot afternoon to get tickets to a free concert that night and wandered around in the cathedral. I don't like it. It's just big, is all. Huge, tall, imposing. It doesn't have the grace of say, the Wells Cathedral, or the King's College chapel at Cambridge. It's one of those Chistian monuments meant to impress its parishioners by sheer size. Worship us you dumb shits, for we are indeed mighty—and give us your money. (There are certainly other aspects to this mighty edifice, such as its tapestry collection, bronze doors, organ, concerts, and certainly its present day stone masons that seem commendable, but this is just my untutored human reaction to the feeling I get standing in the main vault.)

The high stained glass windows are really too high to see, and I much prefer geometric shapes (like these) to biblical scenes in stained glass.

Brick Buildings in Greenpoint Neighborhood of Brooklyn



 I took the subway out to Greenpoint yesterday. I was a hot, muggy day, so I didn't cover a lot of territory, but it looked like there was a lot of fine architecture and building in the neighborhood. It's the northernmost part ofBrooklyn. I got back on a ferry -- cool on the water.