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Solar-powered village rises in nation's capital

22 Sept 2011: "Hundreds of college students from around the U.S., and even a handful of other countries, have been busy this week building a village of solar-powered homes on a park at the nation's capital.
  The timing could have been better: The contest comes as Republicans grill the administration over its awarding of a $528 million loan guarantee to a solar panel company that has since filed for bankruptcy.
  The village and the grilling reflect the state of a technology first touted in the 1970s. Solar panels have gotten cheaper and more efficient, creating a new generation of visionaries, but companies are still seeking federal help given competition from China, which subsidizes its industry, and the fact that solar is still more expensive than fossil fuels.…"
Photo by Stefano Paltera  /  U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

On a divisive dam, a snippy bit of graffiti

"Anonymous activist artists recently painted a “cut here” scissor graphic on the obsolete 200 foot tall Matilija Dam near Ojai, California. As the LA Times reports, a coalition of environmentalists, surfers, fishermen, and government officials have been working for years to have the dam removed."
via Laughing Squid

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

Jeb Corliss " Grinding The Crack"

Sent in by Jan Janzen

American dream fits into 96 square feet

From the Charleston City Paper. Story by Paul Bowers, photo by Jonathan Boncek
"…A tiny house, they reasoned, takes less building material than a standard-size house and costs very little to heat and cool. And of course, if they bought or salvaged all the materials up front and built it themselves, there would be no rent or mortgage to pay.
   What's more, with a tiny house built on a standard 16-foot trailer bed, they can rent a truck, pick up their home, and move to the mountains for the summer, escaping hurricane season and seeking out less sweltering climes where they can live without air conditioning. In the long run, they can also figure out a work schedule that allows them to summer with friends who own farmland in North Carolina, Tennesssee, Georgia, or the South Carolina Upstate and help tend to their farms. For Tremols and Baele, migrant labor is the dream.…"

Extreme Treehouses

"Bill Compher reaches his 100-ft.-high Cascade Range aerie via this 44-ft.-long suspension bridge, strung from a nearby Douglas fir."

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

Treehouse in France

Wed, 14 Sep 2011
Dear Lloyd... Thank you so much for the books you've created. I came across them through my Dad who was given Builders of the Pacific Coast as a gift for a tattoo he did... inside it read "dear Jim, here is some wood porn for you". I've always dreamed of a book that contains the images you've put together.
I cycled to this amazing tree building in France. I thought you might like to see it http://erinmacairt.blogspot.com/ .
Wishing you all the best, and look forward to your next book


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.

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.

Interior of Wharton Esherick House

"…when I recently visited the Wharton Esherick house in Pennsylvania. Or rather, the Wharton Esherick Man Cave, as I began to see it. It seems almost sacrilegious to say that Esherick was a furniture designer. He was a sculptor, who worked in wood; his work was as useful as it was beautiful, it brought art to craft and craft to art. It was completely sui generis; no one could possibly imitate the lyrical, organic lines of his style. He made everything from water jugs and chairs to stairs and buildings. He might be considered the "godfather" of the Studio Furniture Movement.…"
                                                                           -Dominque Browning
I should add that it was the crew of All Ages Productions who turned me on to Esherick last week. These are 4 guys (3 from Philadelphia) who were here on Friday shooting a video of me; they are doing 30 2-minute videos of different people for Sailor Jerry Rum (which I personally approve of, ahem, ahem). These will all get posted eventually on YouTube.

Wharton Esherick House (Now Museum)

"I had never heard of Wharton Esherick before this visit, but I found his work fascinating. He started to build this house in 1926, and continued to add to it until his death in 1970. It was particularly interesting to see the house in the Fall, as he colored the house to match the fall colors.…"
(In Philadelphia/Valley Forge area)
Photo by elston (Chuck Schneider)

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: