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Country boy/City boy

This flurry of posts is because I'm in the Big City for 4 days for the Green Festival.
Ocean beach yesterday, surfers" paradise, shadows in the sea mist...
An Irish coffee last night at the Buena Vista, Ghirardelli sign with  its handsome typography...
Cafe Roma in North Beach at daybreak today…





Lloyd House's carpentry in Builders of the Pacific Coast

Lew just put together this Yudu mini-book, using a bunch of pages from Builders of the Pacific Coast, of Lloyd House's work. I love these tiny books. These pages look great miniaturized. Maybe we'll do the entire book this way. Micro electronic edition free. Would it help sell books?
http://www.shelterpub.com/_builders/BPC-house.html

Reborn running

Skateboarding isn't dangerous. Running is! Running has put me in the hospital twice, and bestowed upon me dozens of injuries over the years. As my knee slowly and surely heals, I've been rethinking my future running career. Hey, I want to run another 30 years.
Thanks largely to a pretty wonderful book, Born to Run. It's got me into the idea of "chi running." Running lightly with minimal foot cushion, feeling the ground. I'm gonna give up running (as) fast (as possible) in favor of running along the trails with more sensitivity, lightly.
Tuesday night was my first run since the operation a month ago. I wore these Sanuk shoes. They're pretty close to being barefoot, just a bit of cushion, they're made by surfers. I ran about 4 miles on coastal trails, with a bit of Ron Rahmer-type bushwhacking. It felt good to feel the trail with my feet.

At the beach big surf day #1


Check out waves in background (at a usually wimpy-wave beach).

Live the life you love and…

Nice geodesic dome makeover

Spotted on recent coastal run. This is a really nice job of spiffing up a wooden dome. Put together with hex-head sheet metal screws with rubber washers. I especially like the mini-overhang of win dows.

Day at the - wham! - beach

Surf has been huge. Triple overhead at Kelly's cove in SF yesterday, no one could get out. I went down to the beach this morning, very high tide. Three of my neighbors were down there, including fisherman Josh, and we watched the water pouring into the lagoon like mad, waves pounding out in the channel. Josh reminisced about when Jerry Dunn flipped his boat going out. "He tried to turn around and the wave tore the cabin off…"
Tide was high, tricky to get to the high sand area of the beach, so I made a dash for it. Ulp! Miscalculation. Waves washing in, getting higher and higher, up to my knees, and also logs and lots of flotsam bouncing around. Small log whacked my ankle. Please, Madame Ocean, I prayed, don't slam me against that wall in front of these people. Luckily I made it through, my sweatpants soaked up to the crotch.
I wandered around on what little sand there was. All kinds of driftwood, ocean actively ripping up piers right now. Surfers getting the occasional good ride, abut mostly hammered.
Couldn't go back the way I came, so I walked to the other end of the beach. There's a seawall you have to run by to get to the opening shown above. Made it!

I like Java, I like tea, I like the java jive and it likes me…

I went down to the beach early this morning. Sign at coffee stand…

Tiny house

Shot last night on my first real run in months. Somewhere along the NorCal coast…

Hum babe

My folks had season tickets when the Giants moved west in the '70s (along with Willie Mays) but they never got to see a world series. I watch very little sports, but this week was an exception. I mean, it's my home town, they've got a long-haired dope-smoking pitcher, a shortstop who looks overweight, but moves with grace and bats with power, a baby-faced (23 y.o.) rookie catcher who catches flawlessly, has a rifle arm, and hits homers. Boy!
There are moments of grace and beauty in baseball, but normally I don't have the patience to sit through the slow tempo of the game + the motherf-----g commercials. So I was thrilled to see these very decent young guys pull it off this week. And their elegant athletic catches, tosses, and quick thinking…
"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,
I don't care if I never get back…"
Image from: http://is.gd/gCZev

4th richest man in world builds billion $$ home

And at the other end of the spectrum from our tiny houses theme, this report from the (London) Daily Telegraph:
"Mukesh Ambani, his wife and 3 children have moved into the (27-story) building (in South Mumbai, India), which is named Antilia, after a mythical Island. It contains a health club with a gym and dance studio, at least one studio, a ballroom, guestrooms and a range of lounges and a 50 seater cinema.
There is even an elevated garden with ceiling space to accommodate small trees.
The roof has 3 helicopter pads and there is also underground parking for 160 cars, which will come in handy for guests at Ambani's forthcoming housewarming party.…
The 53 year-old tycoon is…the fourth richest man in the world. In total there is reported to be 37,000 square metres of space, which is more than the Palace of Versailles.
To keep it running smoothly requires 600 staff.…"
http://is.gd/gCVzM

I'm talking Saturday & Sunday at Green Festival in San Francisco

This Saturday, 11/6, I'm giving a short talk (with slides) in San Francisco titled "The Half-Acre Homestead in the 21st Century." It's from 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM. I went around and shot a bunch of photos around home and garden (below is living room). The idea is to show people what I've learned in 50 years of building, gardening, maintenance, and useful tools.

On Sunday, from 1PM to 1:45 PM, I'm doing a presentation titled: "Creative Carpentry: Builders of the Pacific Coast," which chronicles my 2 years shooting photos and interviewing carpenters in the Pacific Northwest.

The SF Green Festival is this weekend, Nov. 6-7, at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center (a cool building), 635 8th St (at Brannan), San Francisco, CA 94103. It's usually jam packed, a good-vibes event. We'll have a booth and be selling books.
http://www.greenfestivals.org/sf/updates/



4 Master

Continuing with the nautical theme. From Godfrey Stephens

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…"
-Wildfire

"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.
http://is.gd/gwSxE