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Photos Williamsburg & NYC Tonight

Abe & Morgan

Lincoln before his beard (photo exhibit on civil war at Metropolitan museum), Morgan Freeman in wax at Madam Tussaud's

Photos NYC #3

From top: Barefoot & Flying, excellent cajun band in subway; great doo wop group outside Metropolitan museum; an ain't-it-the-truth book title from Chronicle Books, more turn-of-century subway station tile work

Photos NYC #2

I'm just going to throw photos out there. Monday was a pleasant 70 degrees. Yesterday it poured rain at times. When rains come, vendors pop up on the corners with $5 folding umbrellas and $5 clear plastic ponchos. At bottom: tile work in subway station, probably from early 1900's. See here.

Photos NYC #1

The city has just enacted a huge bike system. You pay $95 a year (or $25 for a week) and pick up and drop off these bikes all over the city.
"NYC Launches Largest Bike Share Program in the Nation -- The privately funded Citi Bike bike-share program is launching with 6,000 bikes at 330 docking stations in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn" Click here.

Manhattan Monday

Got to my hotel around 8AM Sunday, no room available, so I walked over to the Le Pain Quotidien bakery/ cafe (wonderful chain with farm tables, country kitchen ambience), had a Belgian waffle and latte, then took off on foot for the Museum of Natural History.
   25 years of trail running has given me certain mobility skills negotiating busy streets and crowded sidewalks. I think of it as ballet. I jaywalk at every opportunity (which most pedestrians do not, surprisingly, do here in Manhattan). If I have to rush to get across an intersection and have my backpack on, I do a sort of shuffling run.
   The city is in a good mood. This organism that is Manhattan definitely has its moods, depending on weather, world affairs, planetary influence, and other intangibles. Check out this lovely little park on the Lower East Side; birds were singing loudly in the trees:
Houston Hall, 200 block on West Houston

"Homeless" tiny home city reality:
All his gear in cart at right. The guy was inside the darker blue tarp.
Could hear him talking. Privacy.
What ingenuity!

Laird Hamilton on Huge Teahupoo Wave

This video is way old now, but it still takes my breath away. Check out the clip starting at 4 min. 17 sec.

Whale Exhibit at Museum of Natural History

I love this museum. I get dizzy after a little while in most museums, but I could spend days here. The whale exhibit had special meaning for me because in the last year I watch the disintegration of a 47' fin whale on a California beach. The size of the skeletons is stunning.  Below is the fin of the larger skeleton on exhibit. Note similarity to human hand.

Longboard Skateboarders in Park

Were these guys hot! I thought California boys had the fancy stuff all locked up, but these guys were busting one move after the other. One of them skidded his board into a 360 and kept going. I didn't know there was a downhill in Manhattan, but this was maybe a 500' run, in a paved section in the park adjacent to Central Park West between 72nd and 74th. No cars.
They meet up through Meetup.com, Longboarding NYC here.

Central Park is Verdant/John Lennon: Imagine

After the dryness of California, the greenness of New York is vivid. Flying in, everything looked so green. Weather perfect here. The park was -- voluptuous, if you will. What an incredible park. The bridges, stonework, lakes slabs of granite, green meadows. Half the city must have been there. Here's the memorial to John.

More Art at United's SFO Domestic Terminal

Hey, I've got good wi-fi, and can't sleep on airplanes (plus an electrical outlet to plug MacAir into). What's a poor boy to do?

Golden Gate Bridge/Styrofoam Hummer

On way to SFO on Airporter. The GG never ceases to be beautiful.

United's terminal always has a great art exhibit.  Styrofoam Hummer by Andre Junge.

Sk8ing again…

 For months I've been wistfully looking at the downhills, especially the newly-paved. Just couldn't risk a fall with shoulder not healed up. But things feel together enough for me to venture back on the pavement. So much fun!
   Since I've never learned to slide (whereby you can control yr. speed), I need to get off the board before getting to the speed where I can't get off and remain vertical.
   For now I'm just skating gentle slopes and carving. No (well not much) bombing. I wear Loaded gloves with hockey pucks velcroed to the palms. Cliff Coleman, downhill speed legend, told me that when you fall, remember 4 words: Get On Your Hands. Meaning get those hockey pucks sliding on the pavement so you're not sanding off skin.
   The other part of the equation is to also slide on your knees, i.e knee pads with hard surfaces, so you're on all fours, sliding on knee pads and hockey pucks.
   The one time I had the presence of mind to do this was in San Francisco late at night when my board hit an unsurmountable crack in the pavement, and I skidded along on 4 noncorporeal surfaces.
   Boards shown from my, ahem, sponsors: at right my smooth turning, stylish carving bamboo Bhangra from Loaded Boards; at left my carvy cruzer with drop-down deck from Santa Cruz Skateboards----for bombing and sharper turns,
   On the road again...
Posted from 30,000 feet, pretty good United Airlines wi-fi hookup, 1/3 of the way to JFK. Stylin' it in business class, free ticket from frequent flyer program.

Tips on NYC/Brooklyn?

Places to eat, espresso, music, art, theater, bookstores, buildings, adventures?

I'm off for NYC

And am I excited! Born and raised in San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the US, but, but…it never fails when the cab crosses the river and we enter Manhattan, my pulse kicks up a few notches. I like to take the red eye, can never can sleep on an airplane anyway, get in to the hotel around 8AM. Half the time a room will be available, but if not, I check my backpack suitcase (Rick Steve's model that fits easily in overhead bin -- I'm never checking baggage on a flight again -- got my gear stripped down) and hit the streets. Years ago I discovered that if I go for a run in the park, after about 45 minutes and sweating, the jet lag is side-stepped. I stay up until that night -- no naps --and voila, I'm on NYC time.
   I've probably been to NYC 50 times, used to go at least twice a year when Random House was our distributor. Hotels of note over the years: Gramercy Park Hotel in the '70s; then for some years, the Pickwick Arms, in east '60s, around the corner from Random with very small cheap (like $60) rooms. It's been redone as the iPod or something. Then the Mayflower at the southwest corner of the park (my fave part of park), wonderful hotel, big rooms, European feel, good restaurant.
   I hit the streets with zest. All the years of running training have given me manuevearble street skills. Watch the traffic, not the lights, I tell my kids. In my fanny pack, a camera, notebook, pen, phone, glasses, magnifying glass, etc. Last week I was walking around in the Valencia district in SF with friends, a great part of the city nowadays, but it seemed bleak in comparison with, say, the Village, with its trees and density of people and shops and restaurants.
   Now as Hank Williams is singing Hey Good Lookin and it's a windy clear day, I'm getting ready to go.
  Watch for dispatches from NYC next week. Hey, Good Lookin' by Hank Williams on Grooveshark

Tiny Home in China designed to be stacked and packed

"In December, Designboom showed the full scale model of a housing unit by Chinese designers Studio Liu Lubin that was '…based on the minimum space people need for basic indoor movement, such as sitting, laying and standing.' Now the first unit has been placed in a Beijing park.…"
Click here.

Timber Frame Cabin in the Trees (France) by Yogan and Menthé

Today, from our brothers in France, Yogan and Menthé, prolific carpenters, whose work appears in Tiny Homes, and will be in Tiny Homes on the Move:

"hi lloyd, with Menthé we construct a new cabin, "the boat of tree," we finish it in two weeks, i send you the first photo..."

Yogan's website here.
Yogan's blog here.
Menthés blog here.

Building Your Own Tractor From Scratch - Marcin Jakubowski

'Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that's only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).…"
Sent us by Al Whittle

The pump don't work because the vandals took the handles…

"Hello Lloyd,
Thought might enjoy this Bob Dylan´s Subterranean Homesick Blues video found here.

Freddie King - Hideaway

Hideaway by Freddie King on Grooveshark

Video Shot With Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Nate T's comment on the post (below) about my new camera: "…taken my first day playing with the RX100 video capture mode.

Primitive Pond Ice Curling from this winter in Groton, Mass.

…Be sure to switch viewing to HD and marvel at the pan/focus/tracking capabilities of objects in motion. I was pleasantly surprised."

Shelter at The Maker Faire

The Maker Faire was just great. I'd never think that something so nerd-oriented would appeal to me, but  there was soul in addition to all the robots and tech wizardry. We had a booth in the "Homegrown Village" section and sold more books than we have at any event ever. The booth, designed by Lew Lewandowski and manned by Lew and my son Evan, was mobbed the entire 2 days, most of the interest being in our Tiny Homes book.
My talks on "The Half-Acre Homestead” went well; maybe 125 kindred spirits in the audience each day.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

On Saturday, I got up early and went to Palo Alto prior to going to the Maker Faire. The reason: going to Keeble & Schuchat Photography to check out the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP 4/3, which my friend Bill Steen had just got and was raving about. Since I could use all the lenses I currently have for my Panasonic Lumix G1, I was interested in the much less shutter lag of the Olympus.
   I've been dealing with Gary at K&S for years, and he bas guided me in pretty much all the cameras I've been using of late. During the course of our conversation, I took out my Canon Powershot S110, with which I shoot most of my pictures, and asked if there was (yet) any camera in this class. Yes, there was, and I ended up getting the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, a powerful and innovative little camera, about the size of the Powershot, but with significant advantages: a Leica lens, a sensor that is 4 times that of the Powershot, a great panorama function, and other features.
   This will be, as was the Powershot, the camera I have on me in a fanny pack most of the time. I'm willing to pay a little more at a "bricks and mortar" store as opposed to Amazon. Here, I would never have known about this camera by rooting around on Amazon. It's worth something. Most of my photos that will appear here in the future (starting next week) will have been shot with this camera.

Manhattan shoebox apartment: a 78-square-foot mini studio

"In Luke Clark Tyler’s last New York City apartment, his shoes had some unusual companions in the closet. The shoes sat, in neat pairs, on a rack, directly below his dishes and right next to the microwave. A few inches away, a hip-high refrigerator lived beneath his desk. And the apartment was so narrow that Mr. Tyler could sit on a sofa pushed against one wall with his feet propped up on the opposite wall.
     This was because Mr. Tyler’s entire home was only 78 square feet. And while his “Midtown mansion,” as he called it, was a far cry from the lavish town homes and shimmering penthouses that have spawned a thousand lustful television shows, a video tour posted on YouTube of Mr. Tyler’s little room has been viewed nearly 1.7 million times over the past year and a half. A similar video, about a 90-square-foot apartment on the Upper West Side, has been viewed even more times.…"

How About A Flock of Ducks?

"When folks think of home-produced eggs, they tend to think of chickens: after all, it is chicken eggs we usually see for sale in the shops. Yet ducks have undergone much the same selection and breeding processes as chickens over the centuries to create domestic waterfowl that fulfil the same objectives of providing a source of meat and eggs.
   Sure, there are the fancy fowl within the duck group (just as there are with chickens) where looks are the endgame, but there are also breeds of domestic waterfowl that can and do exceed the capabilities of chickens in terms of working livestock.
   Campbells and Indian runner ducks are a case in point. Over the years they have been used as the primary laying breed within waterfowl and they are incredibly productive, producing 250-300 eggs in a season, which outstrips some of the best layer breeds of chicken. …"
Click here.
From a comment by Anonymous

Maryland Couple to Retire in $19K Tiny Home on Wheels

"When Greg Cantori and his wife, Renee, are ready to retire, they will not only have to pack up their respective offices, but also downsize their home, in a big way. The Cantoris of Pasadena, Md., plan to retire in a 238-square-foot house on wheels they purchased two years ago for $19,000. The couple lives with one of their two grown daughters in a 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home on the same lot where their future retirement home waits on wheels. 'We don’t know how many years it will be but we’re getting there,' said Cantori, the president of Maryland Nonprofits. …"
Click here.
Photo: Kenneth Lam/MCT/Landov

Flat-Pack Urinal: Composing Straw Bale for Outdoor Events

When I was hitchhiking in France (in 1957), a truck driver that had given us a ride stopped, got out of his truck, walked over to a fence by the side of the road, and took a piss. So simple; why not? He was facing away from traffic, unit not visible. In this country (or the UK), it's not de rigueur for some reason. The French don't seem to have that Puritan body-as-shameful attitude.
   Here, from Mike W., is a great alternative to toxic chemical toilets for males (at least for urine) at outdoor events. Totally makes sense. Save that nitrogen!

   "It is inefficient and unsustainable to haul human waste back in from remote festivals and other places typically populated with port-a-potties. So why not use on-hand materials to make something simple and green?
   Thus L’Uritonnoir by Faltazi which turns an everyday farm item into a urinal by means of simple funnels attached on various sides and connected via a loop running around the perimeter. The composted results can be recycled right back into the local land. …"
Click here.

The Treadmill Desk

"I am writing this while walking on a treadmill. And now you know the biggest problem with working at a treadmill desk: the compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk. It’s a lot like the early days of cell-phone calls, when the simple fact that you were doing what you were doing seemed so amazing that most conversations consisted largely of exclamations about the amazingness of the call. …
"…people don’t run at treadmill desks. They walk at one or two miles per hour, which is slow enough so that it doesn’t interfere with typing or talking or reading. …"
-Susan Orlean in the May 20, v2013 issue of The New Yorker here.

What a brilliant idea. I'm looking on Craig's List for a treadmill.

Malissa's Very Tiny Home in Washington

Name: Malissa
Location: Snohomish, WA Square Feet: 170
What I Love About My Small Home: The most powerful feeling that I have about my small home will always be the love I feel while nestled inside it. It's cozy and comfortable, a great space to do my creative art, while also serving as my perfect retreat. I love everything about it!
Biggest Challenge of Living in a Small Space with two people and two cats: finding your own place. My house is only 170 square feet, and in a space that small, it's important that you feel you can go to your own place and do your own thing. It's amazing that we are able to work on our own projects while in the company of the other. My husband will be working on his photography on the computer while I'm up in the loft diving into a good book. The house was designed for us, and that's what makes it work.
Click here.

Lloyd's "Half Acre Homestead" Talk at Maker Faire This Weekend

Two years ago I did a "1/4 acre homestead" talk at the Maker Faire at the San Mateo County (Calif.) Event Center). This time around, I have a lot more material, plus URLs on all the tools I'm going to show. I'll be doing a presentation on the Maker Faire Stage, at 2 PM on Saturday, May 18th, and at 2 PM Sunday, May 19th. Information on the Faire: http://makerfaire.com/.  Reviews of the Faire: http://www.yelp.com/biz/maker-faire-san-mateo.

I'll be showing slides of our homestead, and the various tools we use around here in the kitchen, garden, and shop -- from 40+ years' experience. I've picked the tools I think are unique and maybe not so well known, and left off all the ones that I think people may already know about. We've posted the URLs on our website here: http://www.shelterpub.com/_homestead/tools.html and I'll be passing out cards with a QR code so people in the audience so they can check out any of these tools when they get home. I'll also have copies of our Tiny Homes mini book (2" x 2") to give out.

Lew and Evan will be manning a booth (#4925) in the Expo Hall. This is the largest hall, and our booth is at the back. We'll be showing the process we use in producing books, including the first draft layout pages done with scissors and scotch tape. We'll also be selling copies of our building books, and giving away mini books.

Photo: draining dish rack in our kitchen built (20 years ago) by Lew Lewandowski

Tiny Cabin With Fold-out Porches

"Now here’s a tiny cabin with a twist that I wanted to show you. It’s best built on stilts so you can make the best of use of the fold out porch area. The tiny home is named The Forrester’s Cabin. It was built in 1996 and has a 24′x12′ footprint. Once it’s closed up it looks just like a shed. But once the porch platforms are dropped it reveals the beautiful home inside. It has a double bed alcove inside with a kitchen, bathroom, and more.…"
By Alex, May 8, 2013, on Tiny House Talk here.

Roderick James Architects

Airhead Composting Toilet

SunMar composting toilets are well known, but this one is new to me. Seems to be primarily for boats, but some people apparently use them in tiny homes.
   "A workable system for small to medium sized boats, giving even pocket cruisers the independence of a large vessel" http://www.airheadtoilet.com/