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Holy Cow! Check the lineup at this weekend's Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival


Free in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.( I just discovered the lineup…boy!)
Merle Haggard, Charlie Musselwhite, Emmy Lou Harris, Del McCrory, Ralph Stanley, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Blind Boys of Alabama, Steve Earle, Robert Plant, Earle Scruggs plus all the bands I've never heard of…only in San Francisco!
I take my bike in the truck and park out at the beach, then ride to the park and ride back and forth between  the stages.

Boats at anchor yesterday

The last couple of years, with lousy fishing, there were hardly any boats anchored here. This year, the salmon and other fish have more or less returned, fishing is good, and everybody's back in the water.

Mandy's Firefly Tatoo

Mandy is one of the baristas at Trouble Coffee in San Francisco. She had this done last night, in one sitting. "I have a pretty high pain threshold."
I asked about the fireflies and the jar and she said something like, "You know how kids will collect fireflies, and they'll put the top on, and then they'll be dead…" She designed it herself. Tattooing by Nick Rodin at Blackheart Tattoo

Old Beach House in San Francisco This Morning

Godfrey Stephens' Sailboat Mungo

Sailing in BC waters this summer. Photo taken in the middle of Juan de Fuca Strait by Henrik Lindstrom when Godfrey and his wife Megan sailed the Mungo to Port Townsend, Washington, from Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC. Henrik's boat "Misty" is featured in Tiny Homes.
Sent us by Tilikum

Godfrey's website 

MTV Meets SunRay Kelley

Here's a film of master natural builder SunRay Kelleys homestead in Washington, as shown on MTV's Extreme Cribs series. MTVs sound track sucks in  my opinion, seems like they're trying too hard to be hip and peppy, but it's a chance to meet SunRay's daughter Kumara and see a bunch of his wild buildings. SunRay was featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Tiny Homes Finish Line in Sight

I don't mean to go on and on about it, but the book looms so large in my mind these days, it's the main current running through my life and we're in the final week, Been agonizing over the cover and title page for several weeks, a dozen mock-ups. Yesterday my friend Louie showed up to help me, and he hung in with me all day as we tried dozens of things. Louie says what he thinks, and it's great getting fresh perspective. At the end of the (hot) day, we went down to the beach. I went swimming; the tide was coming out of the lagoon fast and the water was warm, maybe 60º, and I
swam with the tide, felt like I was flying.

This morning I came out and surveyed the results (+ the carnage, shown here) and it's lookin pretty good. Lew and Rick are coming in today and the 3 of us will work on it. By the time we get it done, the cover will be the work of 5-6 people.

Confucius was a joker, Kafka was a spook…

Lyrics to Come a Rain by Kevin Welch:

Jesus was a pagan, Woody was a punk
Gandhi was a soldier, Hendrix was a monk
Leonardo was an alien, Plato was a scream
Vincent was a flower child, Elvis was a dream
Kurosawa was a samurai, Achilles was a gimp
Django was a miracle, Rasputin was a pimp
Piaf was a siren, Callas was the sea
Martin was a king on earth
in all his majesty

Come a rain, come a rain now

Confucius was a joker, Kafka was a spook
Rumi was a homey, Bukowski was a duke
Fellini was a scientist, Dante was a thug
Buddha was a cowboy, Amelia was a stud
Einstein was a psychic, Stalin was a hick
Marilyn was Marilyn, Picasso was a trip
Marley was a preacher, Columbus was a dope
Houdini was a rascal, Hank Williams was a ghost

Come a rain, come a rain now

The Barefoot Architect, Eco-friendly Cabaña, Surfing in Nicaragua

Surfer couple Kim Obermeyer and Holly Beck using our book The Barefoot Architect to build an "Eco-friendly Cabaña in Northern Nicaragua." When you go to this site, check out Holly riding her longboard -- she rocks!  (It's on right side, under "Recent Posts," titled "Longboarding at La Bahia." She just floats up from paddling to standing position and then shreds. She also runs a women's surf camp in Nicaragua, Suave Dulce.
http://hipehabitat.com/2011/09/14/designing-an-eco-friendly-cabana-in-northern-nicaragua/

Still Life in Windowsill

 I walked into the house last night and just about fell over when I saw these dahlias illuminated by the late afternoon sun on the breakfast nook windowsill.

Stewart Brand's Summaries of the Seminars About Long-term Thinking


It takes me too long to get into San Francisco to see the seminars hosted by Stewart Brand, but I really enjoy Stewart's succinct summaries. (Back in the Whole Earth days I was surprised that no one ever commented on the quality of Stewart's pithy, concise, often witty reviews.) 
On the "Learning to Learn Fast" seminar by Timothy Ferriss last week:
"To acquire 'the meta-skill of acquiring skills,' Ferriss recommends approaching any subject with some contrarian analysis: 'What if I try the opposite of best practices?'  Some conventional wisdom---'children learn languages faster than adults' (no they don't)---can be discarded.  Some conventional techniques can be accelerated radically.  For instance, don't study Italian in class for a year before your big Italy trip; just book your flight a week early and spend that week cramming the language where it's spoken.  You can be fluent in any language with mastery of just 1,200 words.…"
Here are 100 of his pared-down summaries of the SALT seminars for three bucks on the Kindle:

Little Trailer on Street in Oakland

Spotted this last week in an east Oakland neighborhood (on the edge of the really tough part of the city). Something about it just looked right. A guy came down the street and asked what I was doing. I told them that I  was working on a book on tiny houses, that I liked the trailer. He said it was owned by a woman and she paid $500 for it. He was wearing a pale jade pendant, and I pulled out my New Zealand jade pendant to compare. He wanted to know when the book was coming out; I said February, so he showed me where he lived (the little place behind that pink house) and I agreed to bring him a copy in February. Gonna get word out every way I can.

Tiny Homes Book Out of Here Monday

Photo of (l.-r.) Rick, David, Lew, me here last week, working on book cover. Today Rick, Lew, and I are going over the pages one last time, and Rick will FTP (send via computer) pages to our printers in Hong Kong on Monday. Our color tests seem to be right on. Next week we get the cover finished (still up in air). With 1,300 photos to choose from, it's an "embarrassment of riches." It's been a long haul, starting 2 years ago, and the last say, 8 months, in production. When the cover goes off, it'll be a huge burden lifted. (The book looks spectacular!)
I'll be going to Hong Kong in late October for the press check. In bookstores February 2012.

Plans for 7' x 8' Garden Shed

From Popular Mechanics:
http://is.gd/grdnshd
Illustration by Eugene Thompson

Down Home Girl


I just ran across this great version of the song. I didn't know it was written by Jerry Lieber and --not in this case Mike Stoller, but -- Artie Butler. A beautiful bit of singing by New Orleans R&B singer Alvin Robinson: http://funky16corners.lunarpages.net/?p=1755.
Then check out the quite different Coasters' version. The Stones version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp2q3yK8Lrs
Apparently there are no CDs or compilations of Alvin's singing -- a shame. Lost in time.

Satsuma Plums in Copper Pot

Música de Semana Pasada

Forgot to post this last week:
Photo at left from: http://physics.lunet.edu/blues/Mamie_Smith.html
Came into San Francisco on foggy coast at 6:30 this morning. The air was dense with negative ions from the big surf. Deep breaths energizing. As I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, there was a Bach cantata playing; then as I was on Union, heading to Cafe Roma in North Beach, Mamie Smith singing "Crazy Blues," the first blues song to be recorded, in 1920, which, according to the DJ on BB King's Bluesville, sold 1 million copies the first year.

Purpose for the trip was to get filmed by Channel 7 news, riding my skateboard. Mike Shumann, sports guy (and ex-49er linebacker) for KGO (ABC) local news, is doing a story on me skating. Plus I like an excuse to come into SF on a Sunday, when much of Golden Gate Park is closed to traffic, and one of the two big downsides of skating — falling on pavement, and cars — is removed. There's a whole layer of stress removed when you can skate without worrying about cars.

Music du jour; "The Horizontal Bop," by Bob Seeger and The Silver Bullet Band, pure 100% rock n roll a la say "Hot Legs" by Rod Stewart.

Honeybee on Sunflower in Garden

Butterfly/Sunflower

In garden yesterday. Butterflies and honey bees have been working the emerging sunflowers.

Recycled Wood "Parklet" at Trouble Coffee

Yesterday in San Francisco. Built in the last few weeks at Trouble Coffee on Judah Street by Ajax and crew. On the interior side are benches and plants.

Skating In Golden Gate Park This Morning

I got filmed in the park this morning for KGO Channel 7 TV. Mike Shumann, ex-49er wide receiver, the nightly news sports anchor, is doing the story. Abe Mendoza was the cameraman. After we finished shooting, I got this little girl, Maya Rose Wayman, age 8, onto my skateboard for her first standup ride (holding on to my arm, me walking alongside). Her dad, Wayman Lew, took the photo. More on Sunday's adventures later.

Tiny Homes Book in Final Stages

Detritus of about a year's work as we start our 4th and final printout of all pages, this time on high-quality proofing paper. Rick has sent a selection of photos to our new Hong Kong printers (Paramount) to begin the process of insuring we get the colors right. In our usual seat-of-pants book production process, we'll now turn to working on a cover, and me to probably several more rewrites of the intro. (I'm still figuring out just what we've got here.) Each time I look at it I get more excited.

California Dreamin

First, the sun is out and it's morning. We've had two months of fog, maybe clearing in the afternoon. But now with the slightly harsher colors of fall in the air, it's a sunny morning and the blackberries are ripening. Second, the entire California coast is surf city right now. Big south swell. Third, bi-coastal exchange: we are actually getting theNew York Times delivered in our driveway on this dirt road. A miracle! What a relief from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Moon and Mountain








Here's Mt. Tamalpais with the 2-days-from-new moon from a parking lot near Sushi-Ko in Larkspur Wednesday night.

Killer Baja Off-Road 4x4 GMC Motorhome For Sale

$9000

http://is.gd/NyZZFx

From Lew Lewandowski

You're Gonna Miss Me- Lulu and the Lampshades


Sent us by Richard Jones

Traditional Woodworking With Hand Tools Only

This came in last week:
Hello-
I'm a longtime fan of your books (and more recently, your blog) and wanted to let you know about my current project, as you are partly to thank. Largely because of discovering Shelter in the early 90s, I've had a deep interest in traditional woodworking. Combined with with Eric Sloane and Roy Underhill, my appreciation for the older, time-tested styles has been maturing all this time. We moved out to Coastal Oregon a couple years ago, and I've been delighted to find some examples (few and far between as they are) of "Sheltery" structures, and have tried my hand at making some small ones (chicken coops and the like). I dream of building a small off-grid cabin on our house and spend hours late at night tinkering with the design... it started as a cluster of drydocked VW Vanagon campers, but as my woodworking skills improved, I am thinking more and more Gypsy Vardo. But I digress!
I wanted to let you know about a project I have going on, which I hope you will enjoy. I want to preface it by saying that I am NOT seeking backing or contributions (I have met my goal) so with that out of the way, let me tell you a little about it.

Andy Couturier reading from A Different Kind of Luxury in Pt. Reyes Station Sept. 8

Author and photographer Andy Couturier will discuss his new book profiling people living simple, sustainable, extraordinary lives in rural Japan, A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance. This book lets readers feel the flavor and texture of the lives of farmers, artists, philosophers, and craftspeople who’ve chosen lives of reduced consumption and increased satisfaction. Andy will read from his book and show slides from these artists' ways of life.
Thursday, September 8 - 7:00pm, Point Reyes Presbyterian Church, Pt. Reyes Station, Calif.
Read more about Andy Couturier's book: http://adifferentkindofluxury.blogspot.com/