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News Flash!! Jay Shafer Taking His Tumbleweed Tiny House to Occupy Wall Street NYC

Jay is kicking it up a notch. He's on his way to NYC. Brilliant! 
'When I found out that living in a tiny house is illegal, I just had to get myself into one. This is the coziest form of civil disobedience I’ve found. It’s the tiny Trojan horse with curb appeal'.…Jay Shafer is headed towards Wall Street, fully cognizant of the pepper spray and billy clubs that have increasingly intimidated those who have chosen to freely assemble. He knows that when a society puts consumption over safety, it not only depletes bank accounts, causes citizens to face possible disclosure, but risks residences with enhanced dangers of earthquakes, floods and fires, one of the unfortunate by-products over larger houses. It is the time for him to speak out. The Small House is coming, Wall Street. Viva la tiny revolution!…"

(There are 6 pages on Jay's Tumbleweed houses in our Tiny Homes book. He's been on Oprah, the Today show, was the subject of a New Yorker article last month.)

Unbelievable Skateboarding

Thanks to D. B. Day IV

My MacBook Air and 77-year-old High School Friends

It's early morning and I'm in San Francisco, with my 11" MacBook Air (the single most beautiful tool I've ever owned), with a latte at Caffé Roma. Ex-mayor and uber-politico Willie Brown is being filmed here, at another table. Talking about something or other. Willie dresses impeccably.
   At noon I'm meeting friends from Lowell High School, Class of '52, for lunch at Schroeder's 100-year old German restaurant. San Francisco natives, an endangered species… Next year will be our 60th reunion, ulp!

Relativity and Tomorrow Night's Full Moon

Yesterday late afternoon, when an almost-full moon had risen over the ridge, Lew informed Rick and me that if you have somone hold a quarter up and view it from a distance of 8 feet, it will be the same size as the full moon. Sure enough it worked.
In the Chinese Zodiac, this is the year of the Hare. Next year, ta-da! -- The Dragon. Who knows, maybe things will get kicked up a notch. Maybe things need to get kicked up a notch.

Beer, Sausages, and Aretha

Last night I drove over the mountain to meet with my running friends for our semi-annual-or-so sausagefest. I took Lesley's Mini, and played "Aretha's Gold," a masterpiece of an album produced by Jerry Wexler. "Respect" at high volume oh yes! You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Chain chain chain, chain of fools...a beautiful dark cold moonlit night, gemütlichkeit inside a cozy cabin…

Water Towers from Around the World


Milano's Vertical Forest

"Did you know that Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Italy? Apparently urban sprawl and increased emissions are major causes for slumping air quality in the international fashion capital. So Italian architect Stefano Boeri has formulated an unusual plan to give the city back what it’s lacking: namely, some greenery.
Bosco Verticale is Italian for 'Vertical Forest.' The project took inspiration from traditional Italian towers covered in ivy. Boeri has simply multiplied the amount of foliage to a dramatic degree, envisioning residential buildings that resemble tall boxy trees. Each apartment unit has a balcony attached, with a lush garden enveloping the structure. The two towers will provide roots for 900 trees, as well as plenty of shrubbery and other floral vegetation. Their footprint, when flattened, is equal to 10,000 square meters of forest. Bosco Verticale provides a plan to make reforestation possible within the confines of a developed city.…"
(The above is a rendering, but the project is well underway.)

Low Tide, Mud Flats, Seaweed

Beach Art

Just ran across this photo, a detail of beach art, from a few months ago. I've got tons of photos I just can't get to.

From Fair Companies: Tiny, portable, prefab cube shelters in medieval French town

From Fair Companies of Barcelona, which has a ton of great videos of tiny homes, and people doing real things: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/tiny-portable-prefab-cube-shelters-in-medieval-french-town/

Chance Encounters of Good Music

Last week I was driving home around midnight through San Rafael. Checked out 4th Street Tavern, no one there, then into Fairfax, went in through Peri's swinging wooden doors, . No kidding, just like a western movie. This rockabilly trio, The Continentals, was playing -- really good.. Two other people at the bar. One woman in 40s, the other maybe 60. And me, audience of 3.

Years ago, I was in northern Massachusetts on a press check, driving a rental car on a rainy night. I got some fish and chips and saw a bar on a corner that said "Live Music." $3 cover charge. Maybe 20 people in audience, and an absolute kick-ass little rock 'n roll band. One guy had a bad complexion -- not darling boys like the Beatles, but they were musicians in a groove. Channeling the Stones, raw and pure.

I treasure these unanticipated moments of good music. Little bands. Obscure bars. No stress. Oh yeah, there was that night at a bar in Victoria, the sun hadn't even gone down…

Obama Comes Out Swinging

I just happened to hear him on the radio while driving around yesterday, and by golly, he was hot!. Talking at a high school in Kansas,  It was like Destry Rides Again, putting away the umbrella and taking out the 6-guns. This is the guy I voted for. Blast these greedy motherfuckers!

If I'm not mistaken, he was voicing the tenets of the Occupy guys. Can it be Prez got message?

The "…president’s starkest attack on what he described as the 'breathtaking greed' that contributed to the economic turmoil still reverberating around the nation. At one point, he noted that the average income of the top 1 percent — adopting the marker that has been the focus of the Occupy movement — has gone up by more than 250 percent, to $1.2 million a year."

Jeez, I hope he keeps it up.

Someone said to me yesterday, "People are rising up all over the world and saying "What the fuck?"

Elvis on the radio right now doing "Stuck on You."

Wondermill Grain Mill

For 30 years we had an electric stoneground flour mill. It finally gave out and I got a steel-ground mill, and is it great. I realize the stoneground is the better way to go, but the new mill is so fast (20 times as fast), it's a joy to use. We're grinding most of our own flour for bread etc. We grind organic California short-grain brown rice for cream of rice cereal. Easy to cook, delicious (a little butter, dark sugar, milk), and it's a meal of whole grains, freshly ground. I also use it to grind whole oats (called groats) into flour to make sourdough pancakes. No wheat. They're delicious, and thanks to the sourdough, chewy. Fresh ground whole grains. Easy to do. http://www.thewondermill.com/

Deek Diedrickson 's Next Book

Deek Diedrickson, the guy who puts the fun into the tiny homes movement, is working on a sequel to his charming book of tiny homes, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here -- a funny, inspiring, informative and friendly scrapbook of plans. He plans to draw up 60 cabins, shacks, etc. in the next 60 days (and worries that doing so is a death wish).

National Enviro Group Smears Local Oyster Farm

Posted on November 28, 2011, Russian River Times by John Hulls & Todd Pickering
"The National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) campaign against the presence of historic Drakes Bay Oyster Company farm (DBOC) in Point Reyes National Seashore has a readily apparent pattern of inflammatory press releases and petitions timed to influence public input. The allegations in these press releases and petitions from NPCA and its coalition show a reckless disregard for the truth, using incendiary language such as, “threats to endangered species”, “repeal of the Wilderness Act”, “causing the deaths of harbor seals”, “wiping out endangered eel grass” and a host of other words and misinformation designed to shock the public into responding to public comment periods for National Park Service actions and to their legislators. These releases are distributed to a wide range of national and local environmental groups who re-release them, creating an echo-chamber of misinformation. None of their charges are true.…"
Long article with pics at: http://russianrivertimes.wordpress.com/

Old School Meets eBooks

It's true. I started out with hot lead. Editor of the Sembach Jet Gazette at Sembach Air Force Base in Germany, 1958-60. a twice-monthly paper, it was printed in Kaiserslautern using linotype machines, hot lead made into slugs, then stacked by hand in trays for the presses. I loved going in for press checks. It was medeival.
   Next came the IBM Composer (have I gone through this before? Well, if you insist…) It was a $10,000 "selectric" typewriter with those ball fonts. To go from Roman to Italic, you manually replaced one font with another. It had a 3000-bit memory. It was used by newspapers for maybe 10 years (as well as by the Whole Earth Catalog and our first 20 or so books). Pages assembled (pasted up) by hand for printers.

Then along came the Mac. And cut to…

eBooks. I was listening to some very sharp people discussing the new eWorld, 300% growth for eBooks, looking like another 300% growth this year -- whew!

Well, what can a poor boy do? (Except to sing for a rock 'n roll band…)

I'm listening to all the dire news for physical books, and the rosy future of eBooks, and thinking about the book we just finished, after 2 years' work. We keep looking at the few advance copies we have here, and it looks SO good. A lot of this due to Paramount Printers. The paper is high quality (and FSC etc.), it's got a sparkle. The builders come alive.

It's a journey you hold in your hand, a physical presence, a work of art. It's a a real …book!

Wednesday in Berkeley

On the way to a publishing conference last week:

Monday Morning Blue Skies

Etta James' latest album The Dreamer (probably her last) is on, listening to her version of Otis' Cigarettes and Coffee, a lovely song, sun is shining. Hey, just got an idea, took out my CD, The Otis Redding Anthology, (a great 2-CD set), and put on the Otis version. I don't want no cream or sugar, I got you baby…How is it that a singer can make you ache?

Beach Last Night

Sold in One Day! The 84 Sq. Ft. Microhous, $16,500

From Steven at Tiny House Listings, Dec 4, 2011:
"Glenn’s off the grid tiny house made quite a buzz around the internet the past couple days. It was featured in a number of major publications including the New York Times, Tiny House Blog, The Denver Post and more. Yesterday Glenn posted his tiny house on Tiny House Listings for sale.…
   Earlier today he sent me an email informing me that the tiny house has already sold! His tiny house listing received over 1,000 views in less than a day and he received a high volume of emails and phone calls from his listing. Glenn also shared with me that he is potentially about to take six more orders for similar tiny homes to be built.
It’s nice to see that the demand for tiny homes is alive and well. If you have a tiny home for sale you can list it here."

Yurt on Lake in Colorado

From Kent Griswold's tinyhouseblog. "This weeks Tiny House in a Landscape is of a yurt set in a valley somewhere in Colorado. I am a big fan of yurts as I love there simplicity and ease of setting up. They seem perfect for a wilderness hideaway such as this one. Yurts are also used to live in full time, sometimes built with solid wood walls, and range from small to quite large in diameter.
The one drawback with the yurt for me is the lattice walls and how they affect your view out of the windows. You probably get used to it after a while and I know there are alternatives.
This photo is courtesy of the Colorado Yurt Company."

Simon's Hobbit House in Wales

"You are looking at pictures of a house that Simon Dale built for his family in Wales. It was built by him and his father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. 4 months after starting they were moved in and cosy. He estimate 1000-1500 man hours and $5000 put in to this point. Not really so much in house buying terms (roughly £60/sq m excluding labour).…"

Simon's Hobbit House is featured in Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter. Check out the comments on this website: http://ciracar.com/build-a-house-for-less-than-5000

The 84 Sq. Ft. Microhouse For Sale $16,500

"LOUISVILLE, Colo. — For many Americans who bought more home than they could really afford in the giddy days before the crash, the big-house dream has become a nightmare in the ashes of foreclosure and regret.
   So after all that, how does 84 square feet sound?
   Glenn Grassi, in building his prototype one-room microhome — 7 by 12 feet stem-to-stern, including a wood-burning stove, an antique parlor chair that also serves as a seat for the compost toilet beneath it, and a shower under the bed — is hoping it sounds, well, like shelter in the old-fashioned practical sense.…"
NYTimes story by Kirk Johnson Published: December 2, 2011
Photo: Matthew Staver for The New York Times

Badass Bridge of the Day

"This incredible 'sunken' bridge located in the Netherlands is giving visitors a unique way to access a beautiful 17th Century Dutch fort. Designed by RO & AD Architects, the Moses Bridge literally parts the waters that surround the fort, allowing pedestrians to pass through. The bridge is made from sustainable Accsys Technologies Accoya wood, which is both FSC and PEFC certified.…"