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NorCal Beach Graffiti #5

"Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers?
Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those eyes?
Gosh all git-up, how'd you get so lit up?
Gosh all git up, how'd it get that size?…"
-Song written in 1938 by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer

Sauerkraut and Kombucha in Berkeley

I just discovered this place. Best sauerkraut ever, (some with seaweed) Kim Chee, pickles, and — what I (who am admittedly given to superlatives) — consider the best drink I have ever ever had: a bottle of Tumeric/Ginger Kombucha ("A Naturally Fermented Herbal Soda)," bottled while we were there. This is a unique and brilliant shop I recommend to anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lacto-fermentationn gets probiotic action going in your digestive system. I think their stuff is in some stores as well. Top quality. http://www.culturedpickleshop.com/

Anyone Find Substitute For Eudora With Mac Lion?

The only thing really bad about my MacBook Air is that Apple's new operating system, Lion, does not support Rosetta, which is the engine that makes the robust Eudora mail program run. I have used Eudora deeply for years and we can't find a substitute. MailForge is thus far an embarrassingly krappy mail program. Anyone solved this problem?

Old Beach Houses and Homemade Teardrop Trailer Today

Out on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach in San Francisco:

Overcast Skies, San Francisco Morning

I'm at Ritual Roasters on Valencia Street, serious baristahood + good wi-fi. BTW, Valencia between say 18th and 22nd Streets is a vital and hip part of SF these days. Just walk along these blocks and check out the cool shops and cafes.
   The City Lights event last night was great. I'm getting overflow crowds. This book has hit a nerve -- or nerves. Everyone seems to relate to it. People show it to a friend, and the friend won't give it back. I feel honored to appear at City Lights, one of the most gutty, independent, and artistic bookstores in the world.
   I'm just going to toss out some images from yesterday, all in North Beach except for the surfing:

Andrew Dickey: Unbelievable Trick Bike Riding

I surfed in Santa Cruz in the 50s, on long balsa wood boards, and sans rubber suits. By the 70s, surfing had evolved mightily, with warm wetsuits, lightweight polyurethane foam boards, and acrobatic maneuvers. I remember meeting one of my 50s-era surfing pals, Rod Lundquist, in the 70s, for a cup of coffee in Santa Cruz, and in talking about the new surfers, he said, "You know, if we could have looked into the future back then, and seen these guys, we would have thought it was science fiction." That's the thought I get watching Australian Andrew Dickey here.
Thanks to Kevin Kelly

Stormy Monday (Well, Tuesday & Wednesday)

Only 4 of my Tuesday night running friends showed up in the heavy downpour last night. They took off up the valley, and I dressed in head-to-toe rain gear, with Muck Boots, and headed for the beach. Wow! Wind felt like 40-50mph, driving rain in from the ocean. You know how raindrops might be as big in circumference as say a pea, well, these were the size of cherries. I couldn't look directly at the churning ocean, I needed swimming goggles. I was in the eye of the storm. Foam from waves was skidding along on the sand. The creek (of the estero) was pounding, sluicing out to the ocean. Good to be alive.
   I was struck by the power of the natural world. Maybe the earth IS a living entity, and these worldwide catastrophes are the planet reacting to shoddy treatment by humanoids. Whatever…
   The rain is better late than never. The soil in the woods and on the hills is moist and fragrant. Gonna be a lush Spring…
   I'm in North Beach in San Francisco right now. BB King was playing Stormy Monday as I drove in along the coast in the pre-dawn darkness.
  I'm excited to be doing a Tiny Homes slide show tonight at City Lights, a still vital and relevant independent bookstore.

Tiny Studio on Salt Spring Island

"DestinationOM's Studio on Saltspring Island, BC.… It happily stood up to 100km/h + winds the night before last. I built the entire studio (8' x 12') including all the entire trim/electrical and finishings for $2300. The floor and the stairs cost $1100! So the rest of the building cost $1200 - free windows, door, metal roofing and almost free bevelled cedar siding. The floor is made of birch ply with 5 coats of hi gloss varathane; the stairs were custom made by a friend on the island called www.toughtinywelder.ca.…

Music & Notes From the Road

I have "content" up the kazoo these days. Don't know what to do with it all. I'm continuously compulsively shooting pics and making notes. I'm way backed up. I'll just toss bits and pieces out when I can. 2 weeks ago on the road I was listening to the Elvis station on Sirius radio. Are You Lonesome Tonight is a breathtakingly beautiful ballad. Next they played Elvis doing What'd I Say; never heard this version before. Same arrangement, orchestration, vocal backup as the great Ray Charles original.
  Sign at sleazy looking fundamentalist Christian church on the road near Weaverville: "His blood was poured out for your sins." Yeow! Speak for yourselves, brethren! Patti Smith said it elegantly: "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine…" in the intro to Gloria on Wild Horses, brilliant song, brilliant album.
  Last week in Santa Cruz I visited a friend who, like me, is, um, bald on top. When I left he said, "Keep the shiny side up."
  A comedian on Raw Dog said, "…so I took it old school."
  The Stanley Brothers: "I'll hush up my mug if you'll fill up my jug with that good ole mountain dew."

Buckminster Fuller Exhibit in San Francisco

Pictured: 1913 Alfa Romeo Castagna Aerodinamica
This Thursday is the opening of The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's exhibit: "The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller." They called a few months ago, wanting to interview me on my experiences with Bucky. I told them it would be a negative interview, to wit:     1. Fuller did not invent the geodesic dome; the first geodesic dome was built in Jena, Germany in 1922, designed by Dr. Walter Bauersfeld. Fuller secured a patent in 1954, and always claimed he was the inventor. (Full story on pp. 180-81 of Shelter.)
 2. Nor did Fuller invent the tensegrity sphere or the tensegrity mast, both of which he claimed credit for. They were invented by a student of his at Black Mountain College, artist Kenneth Snelson.
 3. His Dymaxion car was obviously based on the 1913 Alfa Romeo Castagna Aerodinamica.
 4. I was an early fan, but as time passed, I became disillusioned with Fuller and pretty much all of his concepts. Don't get me started.
   So they filmed me expressing these admittedly negative views, and it apparently will be part of the exhibit, from March 31-July 29, 2012 at SFMOMA, 151 3rd St., SF. I like to accentuate the positive, but sometimes it's just not possible.

My Appearances This Week

Yesterday I spent 2 hours at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Spring Gathering in San Francisco. I signed and gave away 50 copies of Tiny Homes to various booksellers. It's wonderful to be in a room completely filled with book people.
   This Wednesday I'm doing a slide show/ book signing for Tiny Homes at City Lights Bookstore (7PM, Wed., March 28, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco).

Small Modular Buildings of Recycled Wood

Just sorting through my notes from the past few weeks, this is a company in Oakland, California, that designs homes, but also has a series of small buildings (144 sq. ft. and larger) featuring salvaged wood and modular construction
   "RIKYU House blends the elegance and sensitivity of traditional Japanese design with a sincere and holistic commitment to green building. Through a patented building system enabling custom design and the use of standardized parts, RIKYU House is aesthetically beautiful, environmentally conscious, and affordable."

House on Its Own Island in Panama

Hello Lloyd,
…I was first introduced by my husband 12 years ago to your work. One day I plan on building a home of my own with my own hands.
   Anyway, I thought you might like this picture I took a couple years ago while on vacation in Panama. We were staying in Playon Chico, this is a tiny island nearby that I think was no longer lived in when I took this. It is the most beautiful and peaceful place I've ever been, full of kind and wonderful people.
   Hope you're well, thanks for all you do,
Caitlin and Shannon

Remodeled Tiny Home From 1940s

"…This remodel was completed using all reclaimed materials. This small house was first built in the 1940s. Since then it has been through a lot. From a goose-check station, to rental house, and now this wonderful remodel.
Photos by Lincoln Barbour/tiny house design by Jessica Helgerson…"

I Shall Be Released by Nina Simone


Old Craftsman House For Sale In Berkeley

Not tiny, not cheap, but nice.
"…Built in 1907 and almost untouched since, this Craftsman Style cottage hasn't been on the market in five decades, and yes, it needs some serious updating, but at least you won't have to rip our someone else's misguided attempts. While there's no indication from the realtor who the architect might have been, the carpenters of this 4-bed, 1.5-bath house deserve some credit as well.
Inside, box beams, paneling and built-in cabinets in redwood, from trees we'll never see the likes of again, and two pantries-- on serving the dining room, and another with a vintage icebox from a time when ice was delivered in blocks by a man with a horse and cart. Three fireplaces, and in addition to two bedrooms down, there are two wonderful rooms upstairs…
2821 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, $729K…" http://shltr.net/berkcrafts

Tiny Texas Houses

One of the featured sections in Tiny Homes is this demolition/construction company near Austin, Texas, today written up on the inhabitat.com website: "Based out of Luling, Texas, Brad Kittel has been working in the salvage mining and building business for 30 years and for the last five years or so has been practicing "pure salvage building". Kittel and his crew deconstruct and salvage old buildings, mining them for materials that they turn into tiny, handcrafted homes. Tiny Texas Homes are rustic, smartly designed and efficiently built in their factory before being delivered to your site.…"

For San Franciscans

If you grew up in San Francisco long enough ago, you knew Laughing Sal, now in her new home on the Santa Cruz boardwalk:

Down at the Boardwalk Yesterday #2

Down at the Boardwalk Yesterday #1

Three tiny buildings

100 People at Bookshop Santa Cruz Last Night

Each time I walk into Bookshop Santa Cruz,I get this happy feeling. It's a wonderland of books (and magazines), tons of books face-out. A great aspect of a great bookstore is the discovery of unanticipated treasures…

Over 100 people showed up for the slide show. Mostly young, maybe 80% in the 20-30 yr.-old category. Preaching to the choir: everyone loved the book, so we were in tune, good vibes. They've sold about 100 books in the bookstore. One guy came up and said "I want to thank you for my 38 years of building." He'd been inspired by Shelter. I just can't convey how many people's lives were changed by that book; I hear it all the time these days. Another guy came up and said he'd been a student at MIT in 1972 when I'd attacked domes and plastics at a conference titled "Responsive Housebuilding Technology." (As a result of the conference I ended up writing an essay, "Smart, But Not Wise."

Next Wednesday I'm doing an appearance in San Francisco at City Lights. (I'm giving out tons of mini-books at these appearances, encouraging people to give them to friends, and especially to children.)

Cowells Is Rolling

Shot this with my Canon Powershot S-95 from the pier yesterday. Not bad for such a small camera at such a distance (maybe 2-300 yards). Cowell's has got to be the best place to learn to surf in NorCal. Forgiving waves. No slash-and -burn hotshots. And right around the corner from the mighty Steamer Lane. I stayed at a great near-the-beach motel, the Edgewater Beach on 2nd Street. It's across the street from the pier, up on a kind of knoll, and you can actually see the surfers at Cowells from the parking lot.

60 Acres in Maine With Tiny Home For Sale $7K

$6900, 60 acres, 200 sq. ft. cabin, Cornville, Maine:

Thatched Roof Trailer/1964 Plymouth Barracuda

Sea Otter at Steamer Lane Yesterday

I could swear this guy had an abalone on his belly and was hammering it with a rock. Floating around just outside the wave zone, livin the good life…

"The sea otter is a secondary consumer and feeds on animals such as sea urchins, clams, mussels, mollusks, abalone, snails, crustaceans, small fish, etc. A fully grown sea otter can eat over 25% of its own body weight."

Sunny Morning/Coffee Artistry in Santa Cruz

Boy do I love this town! Yes, it ain't what it was in the '50s (what is?), but it's got so much. A lot of it having to do with the town's Feng Shui, perched as it is on the northern edge of the huge Monterey Bay (Monterey is at the southern edge). There's a clarity in the air from the ocean. Colors vibrant. That extra warmth we don't have in the San Francisco zone that allows for the occasional avocado tree, and better corn and tomatoes.
This temple or whatever has been here (West Cliff Drive neighborhood) for at least 60 years.
There's that Southern Cal vibe. I've always felt that southern California starts in South San Francisco. The further south you go, the warmer things get, and the looser. It's just more relaxed. More fun where the livin' is easy. Skateboarders flying all over town. Surfers out everywhere yesterday. A town of serious cycling. This morning I'm at the ultra-cool Verve Roasters, 816 41st Ave, serious barista folk, good wi-fi connection (pic below). That's a Hungarian wild cherry pastry there. In same block on 41st is the Cliff Cafe, great breakfast, the Freeline Surf Shop, The Santa Cruz Skate Shop, Pink Godzilla Sushi -- lively hood just a few blocks from the Hook.

On My Way to Santa Cruz

It's 7 AM and I'm at The Java Beach Cafe on Noriega and The Great Highway in San Francisco. On the western edge of San Francisco -- Ocean Beach. Been a while since I was at this cafe and in the interim they've fixed it up; tables shaped like 1940s Wakiki surfboards, and the coffee is really good, as is the fresh crumb donut.
   When I come into SF from Marin county, I usually skirt around the northwestern part of the city. A sharp right after the toll gate, thru Army base, along bay, past Palace of the Legion of Honor, then out to the beach on Geary or Lake.
   Then this morning, down Highway One to Santa Cruz, where I'm doing a slide show/book signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz tomorrow at 7:30 PM. 1520 Pacific Avenue. It's one of the country's best bookstores. I also get to see 13 months old grandson Maceo, now walking and as well,  playing his own set of conga drums.
   Santa Cruz is my former turf. I spent 3-4 years there on and off in the '50s, a rare time for surfers in retrospect, before rubber suits. Think four guys out at Steamer Lane on a foggy morning with 8' surf (don't get me started). I love going down there, even though it's over-populated and expensive. It's still got that slightly SoCal climate and looseness and the beaches are still there, and there's a good feeling. People play a lot: surfing, skating, biking, paddling, all kinds of activities possible in the warm climate.
   Off I go, making this coastal drive for probably the 300th time, through the fields of mustard and artichokes and brussels sprouts, with waves breaking at dozens of beaches.

The Reality of Dreams in Westport and Dark Clouds in Redding

More Details on Nature-watching Studio

Thanks to Justin for sending us this link to the full facts on the little house pictured in my post of March 24:

"A small writing studio (just 100 sq. ft.) in the Willamette Valley, Oregon that the owner calls her “Watershed.” The owner is a philosophy professor and a well-known nature writer. She commissioned the studio as a retreat for herself and for visiting writer friends. Her first request was for a roof that would let her hear rain falling.
The designer is the owner’s daughter. Erin Moore currently teaches design studios at the University of Arizona School of Architecture. She uses her own small firm, FLOAT, and her residency at MOCA Tucson to conduct small-scale projects that engage architecture with ecology.
The writing studio site is a small piece of land along the Marys River about 20 minutes from the owner’s home in town. The studio sits just uphill from riparian wetlands that are part of a project to restore hydrological and ecological function to the whole Marys River watershed.…"

Hand-made Axe Video

Hi Lloyd and friends!
This is the only email address I could find for you; thought you'd like to add this to the blog. It's simply exquisite.
-Dawn Owens

"This is a short documentary movie that shows the whole process of how the John Neeman tools are being hand crafted.
   'It is a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.'
Mahathma Ghandi"

Louie's Shop

I stay in the circular room on the right. Yesterday morning, it was drizzling, mist in the trees, cozy in the radial room with the wood stove. I can get some good writing done here, away from the almighty //www.

Two Buildings in Eureka

There are tons of wonderful buildings in Eureka.

Shit-kicker Offroad Vehicle of All Time

Day 5 Heading Home

Slide show in Arcata last night went great. Packed house. Couldn't find a place to eat, or a room in Arcata, so about 9PM I got a tank of gas, Sobe soda and some, ahem, Dorito barbecue nachos, and headed east through the hills, destination Reading, on Hwy 5. Found a nice little motel in Weaverville, $50, took hot bath on cold night, got donuts and coffee at bakery this morning and am now in Reading.
I have a problem on the road. I keep seeing things to photograph. My friend, photographer Jack Fulton and I can hardly get anywhere on a road trip. Every 5-10 minutes, one of us will say, "Um…" and we'll stop and jump out with cameras. In the next few days I'll post various images from this trip.
Above: Heading north from Mendocino yesterday
Below:Great hunting/fishing/diving store in Eureka. The real thing

(Below: maybe my favorite brewery anywhere, The Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka. Had a 9.5% dark stout, corned beef and cabbage (was St. Patrick's Day). I couldn't have eaten a plate of food this size when I was 18 and surfing every day.

Saturday Morning in Mendocino

Forgot to mention: last night at the slide show, a tall young man came up and said "I'm Caleb." Turns out his photo is in our book Home Work, at about age 6, living with his folks and sister on a beach in NorCal, in a driftwood house. His mom, Karen Knoebber was there also; I'd corresponded with her when we did their story, but had never met her. Caleb's become a builder.
  Right now am in Moody's excellent coffee bar in Mendocino, good wi-fi, checking mail and getting ready to drive 3 hours north to Arcata for tonight's event. I treasure 2 ingredients while traveling: barista-level espresso, and good wi-fi. On the road again…
  These spectacular towns like Mendocino or Sausalito, which have succumbed and largely capitulated to the Mighty Tourist Trade, still have some of the old soul in their hearts. Like here this morning. Mostly locals. Semi-sunny, colors bright, surf pounding in the cove. The beauty of a place is often reflected in its residents. Like there's a feeling in the oasis town of San Ignacio in Baja California, a peacefulness, a vibe in the town square, people are smiling. Now, where was I? Oh yes, it's a good morning, and Lew Lewandowski just sent me this photo (from Byron Bay, Australia), with the title "Old Soul:" http://mitchrevs.tumblr.com/post/7528547437/heaven

Now I'm off northward, shined upon by Morning Sun, cameras at the ready; goin huntin.

On the Road Days Two and Three

Yesterday around 4, Louie and I rode the cable over the river (http://bit.ly/A9mmMd) to his cabin to have dinner. We opened the medium size Hog Island oysters and had them raw with a lime juice sauce. We split a wild duck (Sprig), had it with salad greens and red wine, listened to '40s big band music, and I rode back before it got dark. Every time I go on this journey I can't believe I'm doing it -- or that Louie is doing it at age 84. Good on ya mate!
   Drove up the coast to Mendocino in the rain this morning -- glorious-- no one on the roads. Mendo pretty deserted, storm blowing in.
(No one knew about this lovely town in the '60s, when I first came here.)
   Used my recently-developed Feng Shui/intuitive/divvy (a la Lovejoy) sense to find great coffee/wi-fi at Moody's Organic Coffee Bar, then a nice room in an old house for $100 (off season) at the Sweetwater Spa, which has a great hot sauna and a robust wooden hot tub, all free with the room.
   Geared up with parka, rain pants, Muck Boots, and walked on the beach with wind howling and rain pelting. Good to be alive.

The slide show, at the Gallery Bookshop, one of those great and brave independent bookstores that is surviving the Amazon onslaught, went well. Everybody was with me, great to see people nodding and smiling. Rapport. My people. Signed a lot of books. One guy brought a tattered 30-year-old copy of Shelter for me to sign.
   Nice dinner at The Moose Cafe. Tomorrow heading for Arcata to do a signing at Northtown Books. Maybe some music somewhere in this cool little town afterwards and back home Sunday.