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Baja beach photo

Photo from Baja California Sur por mi hermano Chilon

New VW 4x4 diesel van

"Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has introduced the Transporter Rockton 4MOTION. The all-wheel drive, rough terrain variant of the T5 Transporter includes a fourth-generation Haldex four-wheel drive system with a rear axle differential lock and a 30 mm increase in ride height on the standard model. Heavy-duty springs and dampers make for a gross vehicle weight rating of 3.2 metric tons to carry large loads across hard terrain.
…a 2.0 liter TDI engine with an output choice of either 140 PS (138 bhp / 103 kW) and 180 PS (178 bhp / 132 kW). Standard is a six-speed manual gearbox…Prices…begin at 34,545 Euros…"
http://www.worldcarfans.com/110120829942/volkswagen-transporter-rockton-4motion---for-the-toughest
Sent to us by Evan Kahn

Dragon gate sculpture by Mark Nichols

This is at Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California. The dragon's eye lights up at night. It's brilliant! It grabs me every time I see it. (See other sculptures by Mark on pp. 208-09, Builders of the Pacific Coast.)

Latest GIMME SHELTER newsletter/Our iPad Stretches up for award

I do an irregular email newsletter called GIMME SHELTER and send it out to about 600 people in the publishing business, friends, acquaintances. Here's the latest:
http://www.shelterpub.com/_gimme/_2011-01-12/gimme_shelter-2011-01-12.html

Also, our iPad Stretches has been nominated in the non-fiction category by Digital Book World Publishing Innovation Awards.
"The Publishing Innovation Awards will recognize the best ebooks and book apps based on their merits in the areas of origination, development, production, design, and marketing."

It's free and so far we have had over 19,000 downloads.
http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/2010-dbw-publishing-innovation-awards-longlist/

Squirrel in chicken yard this morning

Is life exciting around here or what?

Panorama of lagoon last night

As I rode back home, the water had a pink sheen from the sunset. By the time I got camera out and positioned, the pink had faded. Still...

Mountain lion spotted on bike trip


Took off on my bike around 3 yesterday afternoon. As soon as I hit the gravel road, potholes and all, I felt excited. This bike is like a motorcycle. Vroom-vroom! A few miles from here there's a small winding steep paved road going up to the ridge of the mountain, it's a good workout and yesterday was the first day I went all the way up. Hardly any cars. Bike muscles coming back. Boy, it's good to cover (and see) so much territory.
Speaking of which, my thrill of the month: came around a corner, saw what I though was a big bobcat bounding up the road. He spotted me and crossed to run into the brush, and just before he melted into the landscape, I saw that his tail came down to the ground! My 3rd mountain lion spotting. This is the most elusive and arguably, most beautiful graceful, powerful animal in our territory. Tot-uhl thrill!

A friend, a hunter with a bunch of guns, recently told me he would never shoot a predator, not even the coyote who was snatching his chickens. Made me realize the beauty of our local predators like cougars and red-shouldered hawks. They're built for speed, and therein is beauty. Form derives from function.
Above, a spot on the road, a double creek, magic spot I'd say, that only flows in wet months; I stop and drink. Hello mountain!

Tiny house in Toronto

"Built in 1912 by…contractor Arthur Weeden… it's the smallest house in all of Toronto…One day, Weeden noticed the tiny open lot on Day Avenue that was tucked between two existing houses and decided to build on it.…
After he finished building the house, which is on a lot that was originally intended to serve as a small thruway for cars between these two existing houses, Weeden lived in it for twenty years with his wife.…"
Sent us by Kevin Kelly

Small buildings

This is on the blog of Ches, Alt Bldg Blog: An Exploration of Alternative Building Techniques and Design Ideas. The upper story here must be nice inside, with the large dormers and recessed balcony. http://altbuildblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Small%20Buildings
This adobe casita is near the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dead fat possum on Berkeley street this morning

This guy looks better fed than our country possums. I've just never wanted to skin and gut a possum although I'm sure they are good eatin' Actually I hear people trap them and feed them for a few weeks before offing. I've skinned squirrels, 2 foxes, 2 skunks, a weasel, a bobcat, several raccoons, many deer --  all road-kill, no problem, and have the beautiful skins. One of these days I'll do a possum, then roast him. Country people, you'll understand this.

The Last Men, fully adorned New Guinea tribe

This photo from The Last Men, by Iago Corazza: "Indigenous New Guineans are presented in their full body paint, with extremely striking colors and patterns representing their tribal identity.…fully adorned, fully committed, fully made-up for special occasions, pedal-to-the-metal New Guinea, and the effect is viusually stunning. This is quintessential MAN AS ART …"
–Amazon review by James I. Cole

I discovered this book about a year ago and put it on my calendar for this month, and sure enough, the price dropped. I found a copy on AbeBooks for $15. Also ordered a copy of Man As Art for $6 used from Abe, which is consistently cheaper than Amazon.

Treehouse in LA

"This isn't your ordinary tree house. Designed by the architecture firm RPA, the Banyan Treehouse is a small home/art studio/getaway overlooking downtown Los Angeles. Made of wood and glass and raised 12 ft. up on steel pillars, it's nestled into the base of a large pine tree. (And we love the outdoor shower!)"
http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/green-style/green-style-teeny-tiny-luxury-tree-house-105756

Tankless water heaters

This seems to be a good guide to a variety of instant hot water heaters. For some reason they have not listed Paloma water heaters -- we have had one for 25 years and it still works fine. However, it has a pilot light, and many of the new ones don't. If this one wears out, I'll get one sans pilot light.
Tankless water heater guide: http://www.tanklesswaterheaterguide.com/
Paloma tankless water heaters: http://www.palomatankless.com/