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On the Road: Husky Camper/Housetruck

Saw this a few weeks ago arked in San Francisco; looks like a serious on-road/off-road explorer vehicle:

It's A Sad Day To Be An American

I love this country. I love the land and I love the people. I say this from having been in 45 states, from 6 round-trip cross country coast-to-coast car trips, from hanging out with cowboys in Nevada, surfers in California, publishers in NYC, and farmers in Kansas. I love the canyons of the southwest and the woods of New England and the shores of Cape Cod and the beaches and arroyos of the west coast from Canada to Baja. My mother's family has been here since the 1700s and fought in the American revolution. So I feel I can criticize what my own country has become. A pervasive sickness has crept into America and is manifested in all its ugly and greedy and homicidal horrors by the Bush Administration. My heart is sick with what this corrupt bunch of corporate thugs is doing in the name of America, and it's become so serious and pervasive that I feel compelled to mention this bummer aspect of today's reality. The American flag, as it's being flown by individuals these days, represents support for the destruction of Iraq. This administration should be brought before the international war crimes tribunal, especially Rumsfeld and Cheney, the Himmler and Goering of the 21st century. God, how can we get rid of these criminals and shift this country's perspective and behavior? Before they invade Iran.

Hold the Chicken Salad/Stinking Badges/Little Richard Getting Hysterical

I heard the great Jack Nicholson scene in Five Easy Pieces on the radio the other day and found it on YouTube:
Then I looked up the "stinking badges" scene from Treasure of Sierra Madre: http://youtube.com/watch?v=HaxURLFn6jU
Then I went looking for the scene in Down and Out in Beverly Hills where Richard Dreyfuss and Nick Nolte discover their common love for baseball over a late night sandwich, a beautifully acted scene. It wasn't there but there was this very funny bit of hysterical acting by Little Richard: http://youtube.com/watch?v=D3tApItjnKI

Vagabonding/Summer of Love/Natural Building Materials/ Green Building Materials

Vagabonding — Slow Travel

The other day on the radio, Rick Steves interviewed a guy named Rolf Potts, who's written a book about slow travel, called Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. The concept is to stay around long enough — wherever you travel — to tune into the people and the land. One great thing Rolf said was that when you end up in a town and have no fixed idea about what to do: "Walk until your day gets interesting." Also: "Time is your most valuable asset…"

Summer of Love Horseshit

It was over by the "Summer of Love." Anyone who was actually in the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood in say 1963-66 knows that the SOL wasn't the death knell…the unique love and energy was already long gone (departed, not dead). The San Francisco Chronicle just did an article on the 40th anniversary and they trotted out the usual '60s experts. Wavy Gravy, Peter Berg, Peter Coyote (can you imagine someone naming himself after a sacred animal?) I always thought the Diggers sucked, with their hipper-than-thou concepts. They brought hard East Village NYC vibes to gentle California. Their "everything is free" hype drew losers to San Francisco.

Canine-powered Skateboarding

The other day I saw a guy on a skateboard in San Francisco being pulled along at a pretty good clip by 3 dogs on leashes. He looked pretty happy.

Natural Building Materials, Green Building Materials

The difference between "natural building materials" and "green building materials" is, I believe, that natural means that it is used as it comes from the earth. Wood, adobe, straw, bamboo. Green materials include "natural materials," but can also include processed materials, such as roof shakes made from recycled plastic bottles and wood fiber. Green in the sense of minimum impact on the earth and its systems…

Builders of the Pacific Coast/Book Expo America

I've done rough layouts of 160 or so pages, maybe 2/3 of the book. It's starting to assume its own form. I saved meisterbuilder Lloyd House for last, because I have such a mountain of material on his work. The day I started was sunny and no one was in the office and I alternated between the computer (printing out pix for layout), the layout table, and playing my fiddle and then the jug, along with '30s Texas swing music by Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies. Fun! The book is looking good, but it's taking me a lot longer than I anticipated — (what else is new?). We are in the midst of preparing about 14 mock-up pages for me to take to Book Expo America in New York in early June.

Flying Skateboard Crash

Last Thursday I was skateboarding on the Presidio (Army base) in San Francisco, and inadvertently got into a faster-than-is-safe-for-me situation. Accelerating, gaining speed, not able to carve back and forth enough to slow down. When it gets past the point when I can no longer bail and stay on my feet, I'm in trouble. In my mind for months has been Cliff Coleman's mantra regarding a skateboard crash:
Just remember 4 words:

which assumes you are wearing gloves with hard-disc palm pads, and that once you're sliding on pavement, get on your belly (or knees) and let the pads take the friction.
As I got down to the end of the blocked-off block, with a lot of cars to pile into, going maybe 25mph, I headed for a grass bank, jumped off my board just before it hit the curb, and did a skimming front-first dive onto the grass. Just lay there taking stock of body parts. Pain in right shoulder, but not bad. I just lay there in the sun, glad to be alive and unbroken. No one had seen me.

Something I learned from competitive diving in high school: go right back and do the dive again if you blow it, especially there's pain involved. So I took my board back up and started from a more reasonable spot, and had a nice multi-turning in-control downhill run.

It was a great day. On the way home I went for a run on the mountain, and went down a canyon to a creek where there are pools with waterfalls, ducked into one, revitalized by the spirit of Mount Tamalpais.