• Subscribe to
    Lloyd’s Blog via RSS.
Instagram
  • Check out TheShelterBlog.com
  • Tools for the
    Half-Acre Homestead
 

Cantilevered bridge with troll booth by Dieter Klose in Alaska

Dieter Klose is a designer-builder, sailor, skier, and mountain climber living in Alaska. We ran five pages on his building projects, van travel, and design philosophy in our book, Builders of the Pacific Coast in 2008. A month or so ago, Dieter sent us these photos of a recent project in his present hometown of Petersburg, Alaska, along with the letter below.

It made me reflect on how innovative and tuned-in are all the builders in this book; they just keep creating wonderful and witty structures.

Greetings Lloyd! I'm sending you these pics just because I thought you'll enjoy the bridge. I offered the local park (my services) to design and oversee construction of a bridge over a 40 foot wide creek for free, and they let me have my freedom and got a grant for $10,000. I had an Eagle Scout get his big project by having him organize a big gang to move two 42' logs and two 26' logs — I did the rest and it was fun! The two wings don't touch, I wanted th cantilevers to bounce a bit when you walked across and they do just right! My version of a glorified log crossing. There's something for everyone — old ladies can make it to the troll booth to sit, or you can risk the no hand-rails bounce to get across — I've been getting lots of thanks which has been a blessing: it worked!
Thought you'd enjoy it too.
–All the best, Dieter Klose

Winter & Spring/Whining & Exulting

Winter has been long and cold (for our part of the world, that is). It seemed like 4 months of darkness and rain. The only heat I have in the office is an 800 watt radiant electric heater that I keep right next to the computer and turn on for maybe an hour in the morning. Otherwise. I wear 5 or so layers of clothing: cotton, silk, and wool. A homemade Merino wool scarf and wool hat, sheepskin Ugg boots, and fingerless gloves complete the early morning attire.

In running each Tuesday night, it was chillingly cold at the start of each run, then invariably feet wet from the puddles. In the evenings we were going through firewood at a good clip.

Then the world suddenly changed. The rains have diminished, the sun has been out (a lot), the hills are a verdant green, life is more relaxed. The time change has helped. It's also my time of year, born in late April. Last week I ran on the beach to get warmed up, then swam across the channel and ran on Stinson Beach. I was almost ecstatic with the sunshine and blue water, running in and out of the white foam from the waves. The beach is the interface of land, water, air, and sun, a powerful chi generator. Red-winged blackbirds are chirping their Spring notes, and a robin has been warbling melodic triplets. Spring has sprung!

ebook sales exploding

From Mark Coker on his Smashwords blog March 20, 2010:
"According to the AAP (Association of American Publishers), in 2009 ebooks accounted for 3.31% of all trade book sales, up from only 1.19% in 2008. Even if sales stay flat from January onward in 2010, we're looking at ebooks accounting for 6-8% of U.S. book sales in 2010. If sales accelerate further, a 10% monthly run rate is certainly likely by the end of this year. These numbers are dramatically higher than most reasonably-minded industry watchers predicted even a few months ago.…"
"In January, during Amazon's quarterly earnings conference call, Jeff Bezos announced that for books it sells in both Kindle and print formats, ebooks were then accounting for 60% of unit sales.…"
"…the latest Book Industry Study Group survey.…BISG found that 47% of all ebook reading is happening not on these new-fangled devices, but on ordinary computer screens."
http://blog.smashwords.com/2010/03/ebook-market-exploding-says-new-idpf.html

Graffiti in San Francisco yesterday

On 24th street in the Mission district

Devil Makes Three in Petaluma last night

Devil Makes Three, a band from Santa Cruz  (Calif.) plays bluegrass, rockabilly, and blues, and performed before a wildly cheering crowd last night in Petaluma (Calif.). The crowd, mostly in their 20s and 30s knew all their songs, and things were jammed close to the stage. Every so often someone would get passed along above the crowd and the big bouncer at left would jump in, grab the person, and hustle him/her off to the side.

Here's one of their songs on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fut6zeXtyN0

Soulful old VW van

This van some how just had it. (I'm sure this will only make sense to past or present-VW van owners.) It was rigged up nicely for living inside.

Into San Francisco early this morning…

I drove in to the city along the coast as the sun came up. Heading down Fulton St. here, which focuses on city hall (unfortunately painted black and gold).
Storefront next to Ritual Roasters on Valencia. Your guess as good as mine. Sometimes there's a cat prowling around or sleeping in the window.
Another store window on Valencia ( near 20th-21st -- a vital couple of blocks in contempo San Francisco)
It's now 8:20 AM, I've had a latte and donut, now going to check the NY Times and email on speedy wi-fi. Billie Holiday CD playing.  I love coming into the city.

Vintage VW vans


Greg Urrutia with his '60 VW van. There were 3 of these old vans downtown last Friday. I'd just swam across the channel and ran on Stinson beach and when I got back, I grabbed my camera out of the truck. (I'd owned a '60 VW van that I'd driven across the river into Puerto Vallarta in '63, to NYC and back in '64 (December-brrr!), and on (and in) which I'd carried half of the materials for my house in Big Sur in '67, so I love these old vans.)

This is a group of guys who own vintage VW's.
Check out: http://www.beetleball.com/
Requirements: that you have a VINTAGE CLASS VW (1966 and Under): Bugs, Bus, Single Cabs, Crew Cabs, Ghia's, Fastback, Notchback, Squareback

Canyon climbing and bushwhacking yesterday…

Yesterday 3 of us went exploring up a narrow, steep canyon out in the hills. There was Tomas -- a botanist,  Peter -- a local organic farmer, and myself. Tomas and I are both trained runners and I guess we both thought we'd have to go slow for Peter. We got about 10 minutes into the hike, up a steep fire trail and I notice Tomas and I were breathing heavily — and Peter wasn't. We were at it for 5-1/2 hours, wading through the water, crawling over logs and ducking under brush.
Peter and Tomas
It continually amazes me what"s in one's own territory. If you get away from electronics and roust around in the nearby world, there's a treasury of riches -- true wherever you live.
Bones of a deer, laid out in precise order, deep in the canyon. Peter says coyotes would scatter the bones, but this was a mountain lion, who meticulously consumed its prey. You can barely see the skull with horns at the top. An artistic predator, leaving something that resembles a cave painting.

When we got as far up the canyon as we could, we climbed up the side and headed vaguely in the direction of a place called Pablo Point. For an hour and a half we bushwhacked through the brush, following the faintest of animal trails, doubling back, crawling and sometimes bellying along until we finally reached Pablo Point, trails to which are now abandoned. I won't say Peter kicked our asses, but I'll say that keeping up with him had me totally exhausted at the end of the day. We had just the greatest time. A beautiful day, exploring unknown territory, little waterfalls on the sides, listening to these two guys swapping info about trees and plants and — getting a killer workout.
Lloyd and Peter

PS I love doing stuff and coming back and writing it up like this. There just ain't enough time to do as much of it as I'd like. 

Chubby Mitchell walking the nose in Santa Cruz

Chubby was about 5'7" and weighed 285 pounds. He, George Kovalenko, and I lived in a couple of small cabins on Moran Lake, near Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz in 1955. This was the year of the Big Flood (water over the parking meters on the main street, 3 bridges washed out). The floods deposited a sand bar at the Rivermouth and there were Rincon-type waves there in the Spring. Chubby was a pure Hawaiian, a football player, and in spite of his bulk, a good surfer. Here he's gracefully walking to the nose at the Rivermouth that year.

Mark "Tuba" Smith in New Orleans


Mark "Tuba" Smith

This is a companion website for the book Sidewalk Saints: Life Portraits of the New Orleans Street Performer Family: http://www.sidewalksaints.com/bands/51-mark-qtubaq-smith
(Sent me by Rick Gordon)

"I get back to New Orleans, they had agencies was giving away instruments to all the musicians. Everybody getting brand new horns, but me and a brand new horn, oh no. A new horn you gotta nurse it like a baby. The horn gotta grow up with you. I ain’t got time for that shit. I said let me get this here tuba, some forty years old, donated from Wichita, Kansas. Everybody saying, Tuba what’s wrong with you getting that old horn? Let me tell you something, ain’t nothing like a horn that’s ass done been whipped and beat up on. That way before the horn can beat me up, I’m beating up on the horn. It’s gotta have the seasoning, the flavor. Just like frying chicken. You can’t fry no chicken unless that skillet been seasoned. See, with chicken they got something called Tuba’s chicken, you know my momma and daddy done taught me. And that’s the best damn chicken. Now, I could tell you how to make Tuba’s chicken, but you go home and your chicken ain’t gonna taste the same. Why? Cause you ain’t go the same pot. Your pot ain’t been seasoned. See, me and my music done been seasoned. I gotta have me a horn that got the same flavor..."

Two-tier yurt by Bill Coperthwaite in Oregon

Posted March 9th, 2010  by Kiko Denzer on Chelsea Green's blog at: http://is.gd/aM7ax

"Here's the lovely, two-tier yurt that Bill Coperthwaite helped us build last October. It's on the grounds of the Ancient Arts Center near Alsea, just a long leap over a couple of ridges, into the next drainage south of us (the Alsea River). We'll finish the woven willow and mud walls this May. If you want to come help, we'll be having two workshops, 1st and last weekends in May…"

Movies on Market Street, streetcar monkeys, San Francisco, in the '40s, Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco in the '90s

On Tuesday night, my friend Roger (also a native San Franciscan) gave me an old scrapbook he'd picked up at a garage sale. Someone had cut out articles from 1948-'49 newspapers and made a period scrapbook. It was perfect, and brought back memories of those years, Jeez, SF was even more breathtakingly beautiful and wonderful in the 40s and 50s, when it was still a real port. Ah, well, ain't it true everywhere?

We lived on the last block of Ulloa Street (26 kids on one block), near the "L," "M." and "K" streetcar lines. This rare photo shows one of the old-style streetcars from the '40s. The cowcatcher is being lowered here. When direction of the car was reversed at the end of the line, the cowcatcher would be tied up on the back end via a cable through that round fitting in the center.

Throughout the city us kids would creep up behind a slowly moving car (crouching so the conductor, who was in the back, wouldn't see us), then run up and jump on the cowcatcher.* We rode all over the city. The 2-mile long tunnel from West Portal to Castro - -  whoa! Sparks flying overhead from the electric trolleys, lots of alcoves where someone on foot in the tunnel could jump when trains came by, 30 mph rocking through the darkness. To come out into the dazzling city at Market and Castro.

Every Saturday I'd go to the movies. I loved the movies. There was no TV. Market Street was, among other things, an arcade of film palaces, the Fox, the Warfield, the Paramount… I'd walk the 6 or so blocks, looking at marquees; sometimes I'd go to two movies. Actually, come to think of it, when I was maybe 10, my grandmother used to take me for what she called "a toot:" taking in two movies on Market Street. (Different eras, different "toots.")

These days I don't watch too many movies. But once in a while I get stunned. Donnie Brasco (1997), with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp is a great film. It snuck up on me; halfway through I realized that the dialogue was brilliant, the chemistry between Al and Johnny perfect. I think it's Pacino's finest role. And Johnny can actually act, as opposed to the weird roles he's been playing in shitty movies lately). The dialogue is on the level of "The Wire" or "Deadwood," by which I mean tight, funny, finely-crafted dialogue. Check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119008/quotes for dialogue from the film.

Music du jour: "Are you lonely for me baby?" by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. And a beautiful version of "Something is wrong with my baby;"stands right up there alongside Sam and Dave's version. Both songs on CD King and Queen, 11 duets of Otis and Carla (including "Tramp").

*Fred Van Dyke, who grew up closer to the beach, says that sometimes if a conductor spotted you, he'd roll open the rear window and slap your hands so you'd fall off (not at high speeds).

Go to the post page…

On Tuesday night, my friend Roger (also a native San Franciscan) gave me an old scrapbook he'd picked up at a garage sale. Someone had cut out articles from '48-49 newspapers and made a period scrapbook. It was perfect, & brought back memories of those years, Jeez, SF was even more breathtakingly beautiful and wonderful in the 40s and 50s, when it was still a real port. Ah, well, ain't it true everywhere?
This rare photo shows one of the old-style streetcars from the '40s.
z

Why proofreading is no longer necessary

Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! …

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/huamn
-From Lew this morning. (Lew mines the webosphere daily.)

Me and Movies

Architecture of IRAN during Islamic times

There must be over 100 photos here, many of them stunning.

"Although much of Iran's architecture during the Islamic period has been destroyed over the years, even those of the legendary cities of Nishapur, Ghaz, Ghazni and Tabriz, due to earthquakes or barbarian invading armies, there is still a number of very impressive buildings to show. Iranian architecture has traditionally always been admired and influential throughout history, and Iranian architects have always been highly sought after - resulting in even the Taj Mahal in India -- being designed and constructed by Iranian architects."

http://pesaretabrizi.livejournal.com/1595.html

Tiny house near Seattle for 160K

I'm running across great stuff as I work on our Tiny Houses book. Check out this 510 sq. ft. house in Washington. Up Hwy 405 a ways from Bellevue. Striking distance of Seattle!
$157,790
18834 142nd Ct NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
"Move in ready — this cozy free standing cottage offers new carpets, paint, updated kitchen with maple cabinets and new tile backsplash. Patio & garden space is partially fenced for privacy. Excellent location close to freeway access, shops, movie theater…excellent use of space with lots of windows making the home open and bright. Great condo alternative. Stop renting & enjoy the benefits of home ownership!"
-http://www.redfin.com/WA/Woodinville/18834-142nd-Ct-NE-98072/home/270856
-found on the excellent: http://thistinyhouse.com/

150-Yr.-old house Seneca Falls, NY, $169,00

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. A five-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath Gothic revival from the mid-19th century PRICE: $169,000
SIZE: 3,160 square feet
"The house was built between 1864 and 1866 for a businessman, and the current owner uses its first floor as an art gallery. There are many original details throughout, including hardwood and parquet floors, and a carved wood staircase; the rest is in period style. the chimneys have been taken down, putting the four fireplaces out of commission."

Posted NY Times 3/09/10: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/greathomesanddestinations/10gh-what-1.html?scp=8&sq=/greathomesanddestinations&st=cse
CONTACT: Mel Russo, Senecayuga Properties (315) 246-3997; senecayugaproperties.com

Windswept tree


On road from 4 Corners down to Muir Woods. The cleft you see in the background is part of the Dipsea Race trail.

Does the wind blow up this canyon or what?

Quail on fence last week

We watch birds every morning from the breakfast nook. Better than TV. There's a 3" by 5" hole in the bottom of the gate that the quail file through to get to the bird seed that Lesley puts out. There's generally a male (ones with head feathers) sentry that keeps watch from a high point. Here a bunch of them had hopped up onto the gate in a semi-alert (being wary, but not fleeing). When they all take off in a full alert, it sounds like a helicopter.

Piled-high stuff on 3-wheeled bike in Nairobi

Photo by Kyohei Sakaguchi: http://www.0yenhouse.com/en/Nairobi_Works/

More San Francisco grafitti


The regenerative power of the earth…

Old baseball in nearby field on rainy day.

Vertical Clay: Cob classes and construction

Sasha Rabin and Massey Burke teach and build cob works:
"Vertical Clay works with projects from their design conception through their construction. Our designs are guided by the setting of the project, the group that will be building, using and interacting with the project, and our own structural and aesthetic experience. We take particular interest in projects that show off the beauty and versatility of natural building in a public or urban setting. Our projects are built by crews ranging from owner-builders to classes to volunteer crews of widely ranging physical ability, age, and skill set."
http://www.verticalclay.com/gallery/

Stormy cobbing it up

Email from Chris McClellan a few days ago:
"Last September after Sarah and I saw you, my youngest daughter Stormy and I went to Tennessee to teach a cob building class…
(Here) she is building a cob wall, pushing the lumps of sand-clay-straw into the cottage wall to make it monolithic."

Check out Chris' photo gallery at: http://www.industrialrustic.com/nb/ and his website of green building books: http://is.gd/a9fUa

Joy amid destruction/Haiti ingenuity


NY Times article "The Kite Makers"
By LAWRENCE DOWNES
Published: March 6, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

Haitian improvisation: "…door hinge at the Pétionville Club camp: the torn sole of a plastic sandal, fastened by nails through bottle caps, which act as washers."
Photo: Lawrence Downes
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/03/07/opinion/07haiti_slideshow_3.html

How to Grow Fresh Air

"A recent NASA study has determined the top 10 plants for reducing indoor air pollution.…Dr. B. C. Wolverton rated these plants for removing chemical vapors, ease of growth, resistance to insect problems, and transpiration (the amount of water they expire into the air).…Dr.…Wolverton, researcher and author of How to Grow Fresh Air — 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office (1997, Penguin paperback, $15.95), conducted plant studies for NASA that determined that plants can clean pollutants in homes, offices, factories and retail outlets.…"
http://community.ecoseed.org/_The-Top-10-Plants-for-Removing-Indoor-Toxins/blog/1823757/29468.html

Photos of Peruvian Andes/Like Titicaca/Machu Picchu by Bob Harris

There's a wonderful series of photos of a trip to the Peruvian Andes, incl. Machu Picchu, by Bob Harris on boingboing. com. This is a photo of one of the floating houses on Lake Titicaca:

"Lake Titicaca is at about 12,500 feet, about 2.4 miles up in the air. By comparison, Denver is at 5280 feet, altitude sickness starts affecting sensitive people at just 8000 feet, and the MacBook I'm using is only rated by Apple to function up to 10,000 feet. (Above that, the thin air can supposedly cause a dynamic imbalance in the spinning hard drive.) Lake Titicaca is, in a word, somewhat high.

As a result, it's one of the most vividly colorful places on earth. You're missing almost two and a half miles of air that normally stand between you and the sun god, plus you're near the equator, so Inti is bashing you pretty straight on. So the blue is BLUE. The green is GREEN. My camera couldn't possibly do it justice. The colors are so bright they almost vibrate…

And on this beautiful lake -- several kilometers out, just, like, floating out there -- live several hundred members of the Uros, a people whose culture predates the Incas.…"

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/03/05/bob-harris-trip-to-t.html

Poem by Emily Dickinson

Each that we lose takes part of us,
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
-- Emily Dickinson

Old gardner's shed for sale in Wales

Just ran across this in doing research for tiny houses book:
"The Gardener's Shed, The Coombe Estate, Near Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA33 5HP
Of interest to self builders and developers
Situated in a rural idyllic setting. A detached derelict house on a large plot with previous planning for multi dwellings - Vacant.
Description
*   The Gardener's Shed is an unusual detached building
*   The property is currently derelict and therefore in need of complete modernisation and renovation
*   Planning permission submitted for a contemporary dwelling set on a large plot
February 14th, 2010 by Wilco
For Auction with Savills of London"
http://is.gd/aaiXZ

Large photovoltaic solar panel assembly in Northern Italy


Michael McNamara, one of the builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, sent us this photo yesterday, describing it as: "Solar panels in a sound deflection wall along the autostrada in northern Italy."

Wild woman of the woods mask

Tsonoqua (Wild Woman of the Woods) Mask by Wayne Alfred - Kwakwaka'wakw (Namgis). At Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, BC, Canada
"Wayne Alfred was born in 1958 in Alert Bay (on Cormorant Island — about 3 kilometres off the Northeast coast of Vancouver Island). Alert Bay remains one of the most important artistic and culture centres on the Northwest Coast. Its isolated location protected the community from much of the effects of assimilation and remained not only a heritage village but also one of the most continually developing cultural areas on the coast. It is the home of the largest free standing totem pole in the world and the U'mista Cultural Centre which houses a major historic collection which had been returned from major museums as part of the changes to the Cultural appropriation legislation of the Federal Government."
http://www.spiritwrestler.com

Rural Studio/Samuel Mockbee/Alabama

"Fine architecture is usually reserved for wealthy patrons or grand civic spaces. But in 1993, Auburn University Professor Samuel Mockbee set out to change that. He founded The Rural Studio, which guides students in the design and construction of homes and community spaces in economically depressed Hale County, Alabama."
-Above quote from: http://www.ruralstudiofilm.com/home.html
-Above photo from:
 http://www.cadc.auburn.edu/soa/rural-studio/Default.aspx
-sent us by Vaughn Wascovich

Sun setting Tuesday night

On way down to Muir Woods from 4 corners. Hard to believe it was pouring rain earlier in day…


Yellow house, red car


In San Francisco Tuesday, Geary/Clement around 8th-9th avenues

Exploded Bug poster by Peter Aschwanden

The Power of boingboing: we got over 6000 hits on our website for our septic systems book from this mention on boingboing by By Mark Frauenfelder on Feb. 23, 2010:
"The late Peter Aschwanden was best known for his extremely detailed and humorous illustrations for John Muir's 1969 book, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot. His cover illustration for The Septic System Owner's Manual almost makes me wish I had a septic tank."

At Peter's website, you can order books, posters, and T-shirts. His "Exploded Bug" poster (above) is amazing! http://www.peteraschwanden.com

Rainy/sunny day in city

Tuesday I left around 6AM to meet someone in Berkeley. The rain started as I left home, and when I was driving around the lagoon, under big Eucalyptus trees. It was coming down in sheets. A half hour later as I came down the road into Mill Valley, rain pounding, it felt like I was in a speedboat on a river. Every once in a while - like then - I'm amazed that I can be warm and dry in a heavy rainstorm and moving through space in my truck.
I grew up in San Francisco, so I think of myself as a city boy. But I've lived in the country since age 17, so I'm a country boy too. I get totally excited each time I go into the city for a day. So much going on. I generally do a 3-county circumnambulation: Berkeley/Oakland; S.F.; and Marin County. I get home with days' worth of inspiration.
Graffiti just off either Howard or Mission in S.F.

Hillary & Cristina yukkin' it up

What a contrast to male politicians! I spotted this in the NY Times yesterday and it was such a contrast to the male dogfighting in today's government. Yeah, call me sexist, but it makes me think how much better things would be in the world with more women in power  (notwithstanding exceptions such as Margaret Thatcher or Sarah Palin).
Photo by Jorge Araujo/Associated Press
Caption: Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina on Monday.

Sculptural concrete fish house in Veracruz


Jennifer Ring from Ontario sent us this photo she took in Mexico while traveling/camping in her van. She says: "This cement fish house was located in Veracruz state overlooking the gulf coast, Mexico-it wasn't there last time I went. There was no one around at all so I was unable to get any information or interior pics.…

The revolution underway in publishing/article by Jason Epstein

Publishing: The Revolutionary Future by Jason Epstein, New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010

The publishing world is changing hugely, and fast. Strange, we don't seem to be that affected (yet). Maybe because we do so few books and take lots of time to do each one; people are still buying them. It may also be that we're small and can move fast, unconstrained by big corporate complexity. We're adapting.

Charlotte Mayerson, my friend and former senior editor at Random House, sent me a link to this perceptive article by Jason Epstein, former editorial director (for 40 years) at Random House, and co-founder of The New York Review of Books, and it seems important enough to pass on. Here's the lead paragraph:

"The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Meanwhile, for quite different reasons, the genteel book business that I joined more than a half-century ago is already on edge, suffering from a gambler's unbreakable addiction to risky, seasonal best sellers, many of which don't recoup their costs, and the simultaneous deterioration of backlist, the vital annuity on which book publishers had in better days relied for year-to-year stability through bad times and good. The crisis of confidence reflects these intersecting shocks, an overspecialized marketplace dominated by high-risk ephemera and a technological shift orders of magnitude greater than the momentous evolution from monkish scriptoria to movable type launched in Gutenberg's German city of Mainz six centuries ago."

Full article here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23683

Tons of photos of houses in New Orleans


"Housewatcher" roams the streets of New Orleans, shooting pix of houses and house details: http://www.flickr.com/photos/housewatchertp/sets/

Homebuilt Homes on Mississippi in New Orleans


Article on the dozen or so houses in the "batture" of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, titled: Homes on the Mississippi River batture in Jefferson Parish have whimsical appeal, by R. Stephanie Bruno, Feb. 26, 2010, at: http://bit.ly/cYnrpA
"The word batture is used to describe portions of the Mississippi River bed that are exposed intermittently, depending on whether the river levels are high or low.…"
One house is described as looking "…like something out of central casting for a fishing camp -- wide porch all around, driftwood artfully inserted between pilings, buoys strung from the porch ceiling. It even has faded Barq's root beer signs on the walls."
-Photo from housewatchertp's photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/housewatchertp
-Sent us by Lou Commons

Tiny House Book Is Rolling

For the last year I've been saving URLs of websites, blogs, anything on the internet on the subject of tiny houses. I ended up with over 100 URLs and about a month ago I started going through them and printing out photos and text, which I then file in folders in a filing cabinet. I have maybe 70 file folders now. I have 2-3 weeks more of checking out the blogs and websites. Each reference I go to usually leads me to find other things on the web.

I have no idea right now what the book will look like. After I have all the files assembled, I'll go through them and make notes and start figuring out the categories, and the flow of the book. Then I have to contact all the bloggers and photographers. I'll then do non-electronic layouts, sizing photos on my 10-year-old HP color copy machine ($250 new). I'll get Lew to look stuff over. It will then go to David for artistic tune-up, then to Rick for book construction.

I've got some wonderful material. There might just be a movement out there of people simplifying their lives, taking care of their own shelter needs with their own hands. Sort of looks like that to me. This is gonna be a great book! We'll try to keep up our standards of 1000 photos per book. The vast amount of material we have in our books means that we can only pay a few major contributors. But we do offer blog and website publicity for all participants.
-Above photo from: http://www.betterbarns.com/. These guys are an example of what's out there.