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Lesley's mini-quilt

I've had this little piece by Lesley hanging on my office wall for some years. It's 13" by 16".  I love the asymmetry within the symmetry of her quilt work. See: http://www.lesleycreed.com/

Awesome bike tricks

Danny MacAskill, April 2009
I just can't believe this guy. Sent us by Brage.

Rustic recycled small buildings in Minnesota

"16 Years of custom building, located in central Minnesota, The Rustic Way offers a custom service to create your eco-friendly personal dream in cabinetry, furniture, picture framing, buildings and an asortment of speciality items. All of The Rustic Way’s products have the warmth, character and lustre created by using wood that has experienced decades of aging; before it was carefully preserved from buildings that date back generations."

"…Dan Pauly has a passion for old wood – its warm luster, tight grain and fascinating, unique history, first as trees harvested from old-growth forests in the 19th Century and then as lumber from old structures – barns, granaries, grain elevators, warehouses, stores. 'This wood reflects our natural heritage,' Dan observes, 'and has a much richer and more attractive patina and grain than modern wood.'"


Sent us by Irene Tukuafu

Foggy night on the coast

It rained bigtime Tuesday. 1½" here, real late and unusual for this time of year in California. After running along the coast a ways Tuesday night (solo these days), then splashing along in the surf on the beach, running back to the inn and jumping in all the puddles on the way hee-hee), I ducked underwater in the creek, then had a Guinness on tap with the boys, a Gemütlichkeit night in the pub, celtic music playing softly. The rain had stopped and on the way home north along the coast, the fog was so thick it was like crawling through a tunnel. Having grown up in San Francisco, the fog is a friend.

Lawson's Landing under threat by regulators

Update, December 11, 2011: Thanks largely to the Environmental Action Committee, a well-funded "environmental" group, all trailers have to be gone from Lawson's in 5 years. Score a win for trust fund activists (anyone check the income level and sources thereof of the activists?), a loss for Californians of moderate means.

I consider myself an environmentalist. And for this reason I'm alarmed by a new and very strong movement among people who call themselves "environmentalists." If I may generalize, these are people who do not hunt or fish or make their living from the land. They often have not grown up in the areas where they are active. They want everything to return to an imaginary pristine state. They tend to be from families of wealth, have college degrees, can raise money for their non-profit groups, and know their way around in the political and media worlds.

This something I wrote on behalf of a gem of a local community that is now being persecuted. It's for people of Marin County, and for Californians in general.


In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes

I'm about to write a review of this great new book by Mike Litchfield. In the interim, check out Mike's website Cozy Digz for photos from the book: 

Also click on "Cool Stuff" in the left hand column for small house appliances. fixtures, and hardware.

Mike is a former editor of Fine Homebuilding, and author of the best-selling encyclopedic Taunton book, Renovation.

Rainy day in Oakland yesterday

Seashells from the seashore

Every day I walk on the beach I pick up shells. I arrange them in a basket when I get home, leave them for a week or two, as tableaux of days on the beach…

Silver Seabright bantam chickens

The boss boy and two girls in the afternoon sun:

Tiny Edens on urban rooftops

Article by Penelope Green in June 22 2011 New York Times, photos (slide show) by Tony Cenicola:

"Despite its leafy cover, the temperature here at midday can top 110 degrees, as it did on a recent scorcher. This garden may not win any beauty contests, but it is nonetheless a champion, one of many scrappy green spaces still blooming on roofs all over New York City, despite decades of fierce challenges by buffeting winds, searing heat, covetous landlords and evolving civic policies.

These doughty survivors tell stories of a time when “green roof” wasn’t a buzz term or a reason for a tax credit, when Brooklyn hipsters weren’t farming acres of kale on tops of warehouses and when the owners of multimillion-dollar SoHo penthouses weren’t laying in multimillion-dollar “instant” gardens, as one longtime SoHo renter and roof gardener put it. Herewith, four urban pastorals.…"


Builders of Pacific Coast in Korean

We just received 3 copies of the Korean translation of Builders of the Pacific Coast by Dosol Publishing company, who did a Korean translation of Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter a few years ago.

With both books, they didn't just substitute Korean for English, they completely re-designed each book, and it's great to see their interpretation. These people on the other side of the world appreciating the carpenters of British Columbia…Small world indeed.

(Our book Stretching is in 23 languages.)

GoPro HD Hero camera: 2010 Post Office Bike Jam

Trying to figure out how to mount my super little HD helmet hero on my Skateboard helmet this morning, ran across this amazing footage of bike riders doing the loop-de-loop mambo:

The Tom Rigney Band: Cajun, Zydeco, blues, boogie-woogie

These summer noon-time concerts at the Oakland City Center are great. I love Oakland, it's like the younger, not-as-beautiful sister of hottie San Francisco. They have to try harder. The concerts are free, the area is surrounded by food and drink shops. Good vibes.

I've been following Tom Rigney for years. He plays a blazing electric violin. His website says: "Flambeau specializes in blazing Cajun and zydeco two-steps, low-down blues, funky New Orleans grooves, Boogie Woogie piano, and heartbreakingly beautiful ballads and waltzes. Most of the repertoire is composed by Rigney, but they also mix in a few classics from the Cajun/zydeco/New Orleans songbook.…" Caroline Dahl, the boogie-woogie keyboardist, rocks.
Above, Tom with a group of music students after the concert

I play the violin a bit, and when I get the urge, I play along with some of the slow tracks on his CDs. I do this in secret (with nobody listening) and pretend I'm playing with the band. Shhh!

Cajun music in Oakland with Sherman

Wednesday I took my friend Sherman Welpton to a noon-time concert of the Tom Rigney Band at the Oakland city Center. Sherman is in a wheelchair with a spinal disconnect and Parkinson's; these days he's pretty much totally incapacitated. Physically, that is.

Mentally, inside the physical shell that's not working, he's the same funny, perceptive, and playful guy that he always was. Several years ago, I wrote something about him for our fraternity brothers (Stanford, class of '56). To see it, click here.

Over the years Sherm and I have gone to a bunch of musical events. He's the one who turned me onto Fats Domino (Yes it's me and I'm in love again) when we were teenagers, and thereby changed my life. We've gone to Ashkenaz, the Berkeley world-music club that has good wheelchair access, a bunch of times.

Even though he can't talk, or even move these days, there's  something about him, some kind of aura that people often pick up on. Once we went to a biker bar in Hayward to see a blues band. When the bikers saw us, they cleared their Harleys away so I could park the van, and helped me get Sherm in. One night we went to see Merle Haggard at the Warfield in Oakland; at the intermission I wandered around taking pictures and when I came back, Sherm was holding hands with a girl in the next row. Dude!

Sherm is always game. These days one of his caregivers always goes with us. There are four women who care for him at his home in Oakland. They all love him to pieces. The other day I said to him. Sherm, you fucker,  you've got four women looking after you, plus your wife Ruthie. His eyes twinkled.