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Poppy in Sunlight

And today we've had over an inch of rain…

Publisher Floored by New Book!

This is the 29th book I've done in 44 years of publishing, and something different has happened here.
   Our output is slow because we put books together 2 pages at a time. Grown-up publishers get a book totally prepared -- text and graphics -- before starting production.
   I collected materials, for about a year, stored both on the computer and in old-school 5th-cut file folders. Once it got to a tipping point, we started production. I'd pull out the best stuff, do layout with a cheap color copy machine and scotch tape. Our artist-sometimes-in-residence, David Wills, would tune up the designs, whenceforth they went to Rick Gordon for InDesign/Photoshop preparation for printers. Lew Lewandowski unearthed a lot of this material, and designed a bunch of pages. Evan Kahn contributed in various ways. The book assumed its form, with categories, 2/3 of the way through its production.
   Bob Easton and I developed this seat-of-pants method of production out of necessity with Shelter in 1973: we only had maybe half of the materials ready, so we just started. I continued to shoot photos, write, and edit the book while it was in production. Photos kept coming in from contributors. Still our M.O.

Sleek Angle On a Community Garden Shed

"I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words “garden shed,” I don’t immediately picture a gorgeous, sleek and impossibly well-designed structure.So I thought it was pretty great that for the Woodlands Community Garden Club in Vancouver, Brendan Collander Design and UBC architecture students so excellently thought “outside the shed” when designing this multifaceted and very attractive structure..."
Click here.

"All Hands on Deck…"

Tiny Homes has been selling so well that we have to do a speedy 7th reprinting. I just wrote to Rick and Lew -- regarding our 3-man team needing to converge Monday to get the changes done -- and said "All hands on deck Monday."
  Which brought to mind Procul Harum's "A Salty Dog," an epic of the sea which starts out with seagull cries and "All hands on deck…"
   Which I'm playing now, still amazed at this masterpiece of a rock opera. Wonderful still, 45 years later…

Steve Arene's Dome in Thailand

"In 2011 I had a wonderful visit with my friend Hajjar Gibran. For years he has inspired me with his creative ideas. This time he was building domes at his retreat center in northeast Thailand. He and his wife offered me a spot on their mango farm to build my own dome.
With Hajjar's guidance and design ideas, along with my own, and his son-in-law Tao's masonry skills, I had my dome home up and painted in six weeks.
For a lot of great photos, click here.
Sent us by David Shipway

Why This Tiny Home Did Not Work Out in the Long Term

"Well… I feel a little sheepish about not writing for so long! But. It is my blog. ;)
   Actually though, I feel more sheepish because we moved out of the tiny house in December… and I am just now posting about it! Yes. That’s right. We no longer live in our tiny house. What happened? Well, ultimately, the Tiny House was just not meeting our needs.
   We still have it, and will be using it as a guest house on our new property. But it was just too small! Both Shane and I agreed that we could live in a tiny house ALONE no problem. Haha? We lived in it full time from May 2012 through November 2013 – 18 months – a year and a half. I’d say we gave it a good run.…"
This was on this blog a year ago. I keep telling people that the important message in the tiny house "movement" is to get smallerKudos to Carrie and Shane Caverly for their honesty (and follow-through). 
Click here.

Thursday Morning Fish Fry -- Home on a Wing and a Prayer

WELL! In retrospect I think it was sheer exhaustion. Finishing the new book after a speeded-up schedule, too little sleep, too much caffeine, 3 major trips back to back -- I don't do airplanes/airports well at all -- and I got to Hawaii -- long anticipated, oh boy, warm water -- wrote a blog post the first morning there about how rich my life was, and keblam, the next day folded like a limp hot air balloon…Long story short -- it's been about 2 weeks of feeling like shit + severe neck pain and I'm finally on the other side…I recognized a couple of things during this episode: (1) I'm a total wimp about  being sick. It's the end of my world; I don't suffer feeling bad or low-chi gladly and (2) I haven't had sufficient empathy for people that are ill or in pain. The neck thing made me realize what people who have say, back pain, are going through. Holy shit! Well, a big fat (800 mg) Ibuprofen cured the neck pain -- voila -- plus there was a music documentary of George H. W. Bush's 1989 inauguration -- blues, baby! -- and a killer version of "Hey Bo Diddley" with Bo and Ronnie Woods that was extraordinary -- and I started to move my neck, and sweet Jesus, I feel alive again, and ready to get on with my life. I might even jump on my skateboard this afternoon.
   Whenever things break down like this for me, I can count back to at least 6 dumb things I've done, in combo. Here there were like 9. Look at the amount of stuff I was carrying -- no checked bags -- plus I was walking up all the stairs, not using escalators, in airports, to get a workout. Yes, yes…

Curved Tree House

From Pinterest here. Unfortunately, like so many photos on Pinterest, there is no way to track down the photogtrapher.

Jimmie Rodgers Blue Yodel #6

Blue Yodel #6 - 1930 by Jimmie Rodgers on Grooveshark

Emi Sunshine Sings the Blues

Lew just showed me his on his FaceBook page before he left the office tonight. Sure brightened up the rest of the day!

Photos From Hong Kong #1

Been going through photos from recent trip; will post a few now and then when I get time.

Stewart Brand's Summary of Mariana Mazzucato's Recent Seminar at Long Now Foundation

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014
Subject: [SALT] Government as radical, patient VC (Mariana Mazzucato talk)
"The iPhone, Mazzucato pointed out, is held up as a classic example of world-changing innovation coming from business.
   Yet every feature of the iPhone was created, originally, by multi-decade government-funded research.  From DARPA came the microchip, the Internet, the micro hard drive, the DRAM cache, and Siri.  From the Department of Defense came GPS, cellular technology, signal compression, and parts of the liquid crystal display and multi-touch screen (joining funding from the CIA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy, which, by the way, developed the lithium-ion battery.)  CERN in Europe created the Web.  Steve Jobs’ contribution was to integrate all of them beautifully.
   Venture Capitalists (VCs) in business expect a return in 3 to 5 years, and they count on no more than one in ten companies to succeed.  The time frame for government research and investment embraces a whole innovation cycle of 15 to 20 years, supporting the full chain from basic research through to viable companies. That means they can develop entire new fields such as space technology, aviation technology, nanotechnology, and, hopefully, Green technology.
   But compare the reward structure.  Government takes the greater risk with no prospect of great reward, while VCs and businesses take less risk and can reap enormous rewards.  'We socialize the risks and privatize the rewards.'

West Vancouver Rustic Waterfront Cabin for Sale

"... this is the best waterfront value in the Gulf Islands & only 8 min from Vancouver. 17,000 sq ft lot with 65 ft of WATERFRONT frontage. This rustic cabin is in original condition with lots of life left & an incredible waterfront view. Features include, low bank access to water, rain water catchment system. Private westerly facing lot with deep water moorage option directly in front of property. Can be sold together with Lot 40. Call listing agent for details..."
Click here.

How Tiny House Communities can Work for Both the Haves and the Have Nots

"Ryan Mitchell lives and breathes tiny houses. He has been running the popular website The Tiny Life for the past five years; is currently planning a tiny house conference for approximately 120 people in Charlotte, N.C., where he lives; and has written a book on tiny living that’s due to be published in July. To top it off, he recently finished construction on a tiny house of his very own..."

Click here.

Tiny homes making big inroads in inner city Portland

"According to Michael Andersen at the Bike Portland blog, tiny homes (or ADUs, accessory dwelling units) now make up about three percent of new dwellings in the city of Portland, with one in ten new homes considered 'tiny.' These living spaces of 800 square feet or less are tucked into backyards, built on wheels and ready to be towed around to their resting grounds, or made-over from old garages."
Click here.

Montana Mansion!

"Hello, My boyfriend and I stumbled upon your book, Tiny Homes, and were so inspired by all the other tiny home dwellers around the world! We, too, have chosen to build ourselves a tiny home in the hills of Paradise Valley, Montana. We have lived here a whopping 4 weeks so far, battling the wind, snow and bitter cold, with nothing but a potbelly stove to warm us. But spring appears to be on the way! We're crossing our fingers! Anyway, here are a couple of photos for you. We have a lot of work to do still (we haven't even had a break in the weather to paint the exterior!), but we plan on being all buttoned up by mid-summer. I'd love to take and share more photos as we make progress! Our tiny house, 16x14, 224 sq ft with Emigrant Peak reflecting in the window. The view from our front door, Emigrant Peak elev 10,915ft It's nearing dark so the lighting isn't ideal for any interior photos. More to come! :)"

Kate & Sam, Emigrant, Montana...

Edith Refused $1 Million For Her Tiny Home in Seattle.

"In the corner between Northwest 46th Street and 15th Avenue, in Ballard, Seattle, wedged between a Trader Joe's and an LA Fitness, lies a little cottage. Surrounded by towering concrete walls on three sides, the hundred-year-old house belonged to late Edith Macefield, a stubborn old woman, who famously turned down $1 million in 2006 refusing to sell her home to make way for a commercial complex. In doing so, she became something of a folk hero cheered by Ballard residents who were tired of watching the blue-collar neighborhood disappear under condominiums and trendy restaurants. The publicity surrounding her case was so widespread that it forced the developers to build the five-storey building around her 108-year-old farmhouse. In 2009, Macefield’s iconic house became inspiration for the 2009 Pixar movie 'Up'.…"
Click here.

Tiny Houses Made Of Bamboo, Hiding Inside Abandoned Hong Kong Factories

"With more than 7 million people living within a little over 400 square miles, Hong Kong doesn’t have much space for new housing. It’s also an incredibly expensive place to live--so much so that the poorest residents often end up renting tiny, rundown “cage homes” that are only big enough for a bed. Architects from AFFECT-T now hope to help with a new set of modular bamboo homes that can be built as a mini-neighborhood inside old factories and other former industrial buildings.…"
Click here.

Go-Pro's View of Underwater Crab Pot

My son Evan put a Go Pro camera in a crab pot.

America’s New Generation of Farmers

"All across the country, young people who were not raised in agricultural environments are getting involved in sustainable food production. Aliza Eliazarov, a photographer who has long had an interest in environmental issues, decided to document the various manifestations of this movement in her series, 'Sustain.'…”
From Slate, click here.

Eagle owl in flight high speed camera AMAZING slow motion

I posted this a few years ago and notice the version on my blog got scrambled, so here it is again; full screen recommended:

Hong Kong’s Guerrilla Gardeners

“…'We call him the Mango King because he loves mangoes so much,' Leung says after we dodge an oncoming taxi. The Mango King is one of a growing number of urban farmers in Hong Kong, maximizing the city’s tight spaces to produce his own food. He currently grows sweet potatoes, 45 papaya trees, five mango trees, three banana trees, and two lychee trees on 700 square feet of land.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, famous for its skyscraper canyons and gritty, neon-lit streets. But most of its 1,100-square-kilometer territory is actually undeveloped—country parks alone account for more than half of the city’s land area. Instead of fostering a close connection between city-dwellers and nature, though, the opposite has happened: Hong Kong today is a city largely devoid of greenery, despite being surrounded by a spectacular procession of green mountains and craggy shorelines.…"
From Slate, click here.

Tiny houses help address nation's homeless problem

While tiny houses have been attractive for those wanting to downsize or simplify their lives for financial or environmental reasons, there's another population benefiting from the small-dwelling movement: the homeless. There's a growing effort across the nation from advocates and religious groups to build these compact buildings because they are cheaper than a traditional large-scale shelter, help the recipients socially because they are built in communal settings and are environmentally friendly due to their size.

Click here.

Still Down & Out...

What a revolt in' development, as Jimmy Durante used to say -- referring to my lamed-out state of health. ) I'm still pretty flat-out wasted and have decided to go home Wednesday rather than head to Kauai as planned. Sigh. One slight consolation is that it's been stormy and chilly here this week, so I wouldn't have been able to surf even if healthy…a couple of observations about Oahu: (1) There are really a lot of natives (non-Europeans) here. Unlike where I live and the natives (Miwok, Pomo, Ohlone) have been completely obliterated…(2) There is really a lot of surf (which I saw when I first got here); it's everywhere -- shore break, point break, cloud break…I'm gonna come back when I'm firing on all cylinders…my friend Tom has been a godsend, letting me stay at his place and recover. Been mostly sleeping for 5 days. OK, enough whining…

Tiny House movement is an Alternative to the McMansion Era

"At the Melleray Farmstead near Bear Creek in rural Chatham County, pine trees surround a field of garden beds, Icelandic sheep, chickens and ducks. On these 32 acres, the Byrne family lives in a 144-square-foot main cabin. They cook using propane in a nearby cabin of equal size. Since their cabins don't have electricity and running water, they use an outhouse..."

Click here.

Hobbit Hole in UK

Click here.

Down & Out in Paradise

Well, it all caught up with me. 2 totally sleepless nights in one week, too much travel, coffee, beer, and stress and I pretty much collapsed and have been sleeping for 4 days and still feel weak as a kitten. Dumb! Never miss the water til the well runs dry. Never realize how energy stores are depleted until the body shuts everything down.  Slowly recovering at my friend Tom's house here on the North Shore. I hope to be up and out there before long. Below: dollar bills pasted on surfboards at Breakers Restaurant in Haleiwa.

A Couple of Buildings in Haleiwa

How to Pack a Whole Lot of Living into 221 Square Feet

"One of the key limitations in the design of many tiny houses is the fact that they have to be built on trailer chassis. Many zoning bylaws have minimum building sizes to keep the riffraff out and the property taxes up; many building codes have minimum room sizes and other rules that make it very hard to build small. By having wheels, it becomes a recreational vehicle and it can sneak under a lot of radars. But it's really tough to design a decent space in an 8'-6" wide (exterior dimensions!) space..."

Click here.

Zalipie, The Painted Village

"Zalipie is a village in southeastern Poland, 68 km east of the regional capital Kraków, known for its wonderfully painted houses. The tradition of decorating both the exterior and the interior of houses originated at the end of the 19th century when old-fashioned furnaces were replaced with new furnaces with chimneys. Early furnaces had little more than a hole in the ceiling for smoke to escape, which being inadequate led to blackening of the walls by soot. In order to cover the unsightly walls the women of the houses began painting over the spots of soot with whitewash. Later, these whitewashed walls became backdrops for more immaculate designs. Using flower compositions, the women put special emphasis on decorating the wide stoves..."

Click here.

Next Day on North Shore

Along one stretch of road are shrimp farms. They have ponds, raise shrimp, and serve them at outdoor tables. What a great concept. Locally raised protein, no transportation fuel or costs, served right next to the source…4-5 big wind generators, white blades, turning slowly in morning breeze…traffic along North Shore (Sunset Beach, Pipeline, etc.) is horrific. Haleiwa packed with turistas, but if you look close enough, some of the essence remains…like San Francisco: for years I bitched and moaned -- no more a port, the Ugly Transamerica building, the difficulty for natives who did something other than manipulate contracts, stocks, or digital data for a living…but one day, I thought, stop bitching, it's still the most beautiful city in America, there's still North Beach and The South End Rowing Club, Ocean Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, new hip districts like out at the beach (46th & Judah), steep hills and clear vistas, a city surrounded on 3 sides by water…so here, in Haleiwa, a tourist-inundated area, there are pockets of soulfulness, of things that attracted so many people in the first place; am seeking them out…I start getting sucked into negativity on this blog on occasion, and have started writing the occasional boilerplate letter for critics: here's what I think about your opinion, whether it's not obeying the Rangers or printing books in China…and now I'm getting on with it…this isn't a forum, I'm a broadcaster, don't want to get slowed down in debates…to tell the truth, the criticism  is sometimes thought-provoking, but hey…

Hong Kong/Guam/Hawaii

My life is so rich right now I can't get more than a hint of it here. Left HKG Monday night 11 PM, after harried stopover in Guam, arrived Honolulu 5 PM Monday night; go figure. Got rental car, headed for North Shore, where I'm going to stay with friends for a few days. I remembered Haleiwa as being a soulful little town, and sure enough: Breakers restaurant: local beer on tap, pulled pork sandwich w/good fries, loud, raucous good surfer vibes, bunch of healthy people, reggae (what else?), these are my people! Made me think of how I essentially left the beach life in 1957, that is, I got into other things, and for some reason at this time in my life, I'm coming home to the beach. Cowabunga!
   There were a bunch of women having a very happy birthday party, thrown by Keri (at right with her daughter) it was Anna's 55th, they were calling it the "speed limit" birthday. Keri's a dynamo, a force of joy and good vibes. Blurry photo, but you get the idea.
Been giving people here the mini book, they love it…they get it.
   In all the various communication stuff I do, I love it when people get it.
  Heading out to see what I can find to do in this land of friendly people and warm water.
One of my favorite Bob Marley songs. I like it-a-like this…Don't Rock My Boat by Bob Marley & The Wailers on Grooveshark

Some Photos From Macau Yesterday

 There is sure a lot of money in gambling!


In Some Central Portland Neighborhoods, 1 in 10 New Homes is Now Tiny

"... Four years after Portland slashed its transportation and parks fees for "in-law" units and other secondary dwellings in hopes of increasing the housing supply in its most in-demand neighborhoods, the city has gotten its wish. Though they're still far from common — it's only about 3 percent of new dwellings citywide, and fans say those that exist remain in hot demand — the backyards, cellar doors and underused garages of Portland's central neighborhoods are rapidly filling up with "accessory dwelling units," which the city defines as living spaces of 800 square feet or less that have an entrance, bathroom and kitchen to call their own..."

Click here.

Monday Morning Hong Kong Fish Fry

This is my 6th day in HKG. It took me a couple of days to get off California time. I totally love this city. Right now am in one of the Pacific Coffee shops with a latte and donut and will soon head back to hotel and pack up…Going out to pick up F&G's later the morning (Folded and Gathered, meaning unbound pages of the book). I can't wait -- I may be this book's biggest fan…overf the past 6 months, it's unfolded itself before our (I include Rick, Lew and David) eyes, day by day. The photos and words became as sort of collective muse -- the book put itself together and we helped…Back to HKG: it sparkles, it's got soul, fung-shui, gemütlichkeit, the food is just great -- by avoiding any place with gringos, looking for places that are packed, I've had one great meal after another, the most expensive being $15 (with big bottle of San Miguel beer)…the rice diet is right up my alley…Yesterday Trevor & I took the Turbojet ferry to Macau. Holy moly! What a place! What a day! The Casino Lisboa is another planet, the most wild building I've ever seen, and impeccably built and detailed…I'm going to throw out a few pics here, have other things I need to do…That one shot is of jerky Macau is famous for…leaving for Hawaii tonight…mas despues…

Two Great Reviews on Cool Tools This Morning For Builders

The Owner-Built Log House * Log Construction Manual: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14097

Wiring Complete: http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/14159

Random Photos Hong Kong Yesterday #1

Spacy Mall

I didn't have the right lens, so shot these two and photo-merged therm -- sort of distorted, but it gives you the idea. Spacy places like this all over HKG…

Out & Around in Hong Kong

I'm on the 22nd floor of the BH International Hotel in the Kowloon District. It's a mid-range hotel, no doormen, you carry yr. own bags, etc. Right down the block is Parkes Street, which must have 50 restaurants in 2 blocks. Kowloon is rich, colorful, old, funky in parts as opposed to the glitter and elegance on the other side of the water, the mall of all malls on Hong Kong island…two places to eat: (1) Mak Man Kee, 51 Parkes St., world-class won-ton soup and noodles, chef  working in 12 sq. ft. kitchen, always crowded, you sit at small tables with other people, every seat taken (2) my sussing out of restaurants paid off last night; this place on next block down Parkes St., no name or street number in English -- hip, friendly, no gringos in sight, fabulous (hot) hotpot w/ noodles, clams, San Miguel beer…bamboo scaffolding still famously in use in HKG…At a time like this, the limitations of this method of blogging bugs me; I really want to do a book-page-type layout, but don't have coding skills, so am limited to one pic under another -- going to change this soon…Trevor and I catching ferry to Macau today…

Around Hong Kong this Afternoon

A few scenes from Hong Kong this afternoon: crossing on the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island on a misty day; two girls throwing a birthday party for the third in the mall; Greater Flamingos in  the Kowloon Park. More pics to follow.