Seat Belts!

Hey Lloyd. First of all it was good to meet you at the show in Pleasanton. Also enjoyed your talk.

Of course you’re aware of the power of seatbelts. Yesterday I found out the hard way. I’m passing this on to friends to reiterate the importance of wearing seatbelts. I haven’t always been diligent about that.

Greetings,
Rolf Pot

(Yes, that was my beloved 2004 Toyota Tacoma, in perfect condition. But that’s just pressed metal in the form of a truck after you manage to crawl out of it in one piece.)

This makes me get my seatbelt on fer shure. (I have the same model Tacoma.)

Rolf’s red housebus is on pp. 204-205 of Rolling Homes.

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Optical Illusion with Cedar Shingles

Hi Lloyd.

I was renovating this garage/workshop that faces the main street of Sointula, BC. The garage door that faced the road was always awkward to drive in and out of so I moved it around to the side. This left a blank wall facing the street. I asked the owners if I could do something artsy on this blank wall. It has now faded to grey but still catches the eye.

Thanks,
Robbie Boyes

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Lowell High School, 1949–1952

This is an uncorrected chapter of a book I’m working on provisionally titled Live From California: The ’60s — Before, During, and After — 1935-1973.

It’s sort of an autobiography of my first 38 years, which includes my observations on the ’60s. Having grown up in San Francisco, going to Lowell, which was the edge of the Haight-Ashbury district, having dropped out of the straight world in 1965, I have a different take on what went on in these few years, before everything — at least in the Haight district — fell apart.

Lowell, class of 1952. There were about 250 of us.
Note the eight or so of us facing each other — not the camera — in the second row down from the top. (Click or hover over the image for a zoomed detail.)

Lowell was at the Corner of Hayes and Masonic streets, just across a narrow strip of park from the Haight-Ashbury district, until 1962, when it moved out to the Lake Merced area.

Lowell was the one high school in San Francisco you could attend, regardless of what district you lived in. It was one of the best high schools in the country and many graduates went on to Stanford or Cal (UC Berkeley).

(Interestingly, Lowell was the subject of a New Yorker article titled What Happens When an Elite Public School Becomes Open to All in March, 2022. There was no test required to get into Lowell in my day, but in intervening years, demand to attend was so great that testing was required and this became a controversial issue ​— ​too much to cover here.)

I had skipped 5th grade,* so was a year younger than my classmates. I didn’t know many kids there when I started; most of them were from different parts of the city. For the first two years I hung out with a few kids, and had a steady girlfriend, Cora Mae Bolles.

*Mrs. Wasp, my fifth grade teacher told me I should study to be a lawyer, I guess because I argued so much.


Teachers

My two favorite teachers were Mrs. Cooper, who encouraged me to write, and Jack Patterson, the journalism teacher. Years later, at a reunion, three of us discovered we were in our present occupations (English teacher, staff the San Francisco Examiner, and publisher) ​— ​largely due to “Captain Jack.”

Patterson had been a captain in the Marines and had a Silver Star from World War II. He was small and wiry, bald, and had piercing blue eyes that twinkled with humor and mischief. It turned out he was gay, although he never came on to us.

He was a great teacher. I remember to this day how he described the “five w’s and one h” of journalism that, he said, should be in the first paragraph of every news story: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

And how a journalist’s duty was to report objectively (as far as that was possible). Opinion was for the editorial page. How relevant that is in these days of “fake news.”

He got fired eventually. At the time, he owed money to a bunch of friends and since he’d lost his job, he decided to rob a bank in Texas. He entered the bank with a tear gas gun and a .22 pistol. The tear gas gun didn’t fire, so he fired the .22 in the air three times. He was apprehended before he could get away, and because of the gunshots, was imprisoned for armed robbery.

One of Patterson’s former students had been Pierre Salinger; Pierre had been the editor of The Lowell, the school newspaper. Pierre went on to become President Jack Kennedy’s press secretary.

From jail, Patterson got in touch with Pierre, who got Kennedy to issue a pardon and he got out of jail. The athletic director at Stanford gave Patterson a job on the campus. I’m so sorry I never went to thank him in person for his guidance.


Sports

Football

I’d played football in my neighborhood in earlier years, but for some reason didn’t go out for high school football until my last year.

I wasn’t successful. For one thing, all the other guys had two or three more years of high school experience than I did. For another, the football coach was also the swimming coach, and he didn’t want me playing football.

I wanted to play halfback ​— ​I knew I could run and catch passes from neighborhood games ​— ​but the coach made me play defensive halfback. The first time at practice, our 220 lb. fullback George Schwarz broke through the line and was charging towards me. I weighed 150, and decided then and there I wasn’t going to put my head down and tackle him. Law of physics, or self-preservation. I didn’t get to play too much that season.

In later years, I was glad I wasn’t the football star I aspired to be, as I saw all my football friends suffering years later from the contact aspect of the sport ​— ​something that wasn’t noticeable in younger years.

The 1952 Lowell football team, which ended up with four wins and five losses. The highlight of the season was an upset of favored Washington, 6–0, on a second quarter pass from quarterback Pete Kistler to wide receiver Gary Friedman.

But a couple of good things came out of football:

  1. Each night after practice at the polo fields in Golden Gate Park, we had to run around the ¾-mile track in full gear. I did it faster than anyone else, and it led me into going out for cross-country and then running the half-mile on the track team.
  2. On the bus to and from practice I started sitting next to Gary Friedman, a star wide receiver. Gary liked me, even if I wasn’t playing football at his level. He “adopted” me, in a sense.**Looking back, I can see that at various times in my life, people have “adopted” me. It happened again at Stanford, and a number of times in the publishing business ​— ​people who for some reason liked what I was doing and helped me move along through life.


Swimming

I was on the swimming team — ​diving during 10th grade, the 100-yard butterfly my last two years. I was on what they called the 130s, a team for lighter weight, smaller guys and I got first place in each event. But it wasn’t the same as varsity swimming.

Track

Bob McGrouther and I were the school half milers. Bob was 6′4″, and the track coach said I took 3 steps to every 2 of Bob’s. Bob was consistently faster than me. My best times were 2:06 in the half mile, and 4:53 in the mile. Good, not great. (Bob ran the half mile in 2:03 and a sophomore, Pete Ryder, ran the mile in 4:45.)

(These were years when you didn’t have to concentrate on one sport, as nowadays.)

My three best friends, the guys I hung out with, went to parties with, had adventures with turned out to be Gary, John Brazier, and Ron Chapman.
Read More …

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Could Homes Built of Bamboo Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

Photos by Jonathan Davis / Spaces808.com/. Reprinted with permission

From The Mercury News, Sept. 28, 2022

Julia M. Chan | CNN

While bamboo has been used in construction in Asia for thousands of years, it’s starting to catch on in sustainable housing development in parts of the United States and other places in the world.

Bamboo Living co-founder and chief architect David Sands is at the forefront of modern sustainable bamboo construction. His Hawaiian-based company specializes in creating bamboo homes and other buildings, with clients including rock star Sammy Hagar, actress Barbara Hershey, music mogul Shep Gordon, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — and Sands himself.

The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Why bamboo? What makes it an ideal material for construction and the environment?

The giant bamboos are the fastest-growing woody plant on the planet. If you go to the Guinness Book of World Records, I think it was between two and three feet a day that they recorded it growing. So you end up with these plants that are 100 feet tall in just a couple of months. By year three, you’ve got incredible building material, and that’s when we harvest for our houses.

Because it’s the fastest-growing plant, it’s probably the fastest natural way to get CO2 (carbon dioxide) out of our atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, it’s taking that CO2 and turning it into sugars and then into actual fiber, the storage mechanism for the atmospheric carbon. And that’s a big deal in terms of getting the CO2 out of the atmosphere rapidly.

Normally when you harvest a tree, you kill the tree, and it’s got to start all over. And with the bamboo, every year it’s sending up new trunks, so you just harvest a percentage of those trunks and it just keeps growing. The plants can live up to 120 years. You know how you just keep mowing the lawn and the grass keep popping back? It’s really like that — it is a grass. It’s the biggest of the grasses.

From an architect’s perspective, can you talk about bamboo’s strength and flexibility?

It’s an incredibly strong material. On a weight basis, it’s actually stronger than steel, which is much, much heavier than the same cross section of bamboo. Bamboo has more than twice the strength of the wood usually used for construction, and it’s got a compressive strength similar to concrete.

We’ve had our buildings go through multiple Category 5 hurricanes, up to 200 mile-an-hour winds. We’ve had our buildings go through up to 6.9 on the Richter Scale in terms of seismic events, or earthquakes. Because the bamboo is so much lighter weight and stronger on a weight basis, it can flex and then recover.

Where have you built homes? And is there potential to go elsewhere?

We’ve got homes in the Caribbean, in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, (and) Southern California now. I was just in Florida working on a project. I’m going to India to meet with a group that wants to build our homes there.

There’s definitely the opportunity to go pretty much into any climate. I think stylistically the homes that we’ve done thus far have all had that kind of tropical feel to them. But there was a client yesterday that wants to do a project (on) Long Island, which would be really fun.

Have you seen an increase in interest in bamboo homes?

Yeah, there is. We have never been busier and we’re expanding production now. I think the concern with the climate crisis has really gotten to the forefront of people’s attention, and really being able to make personal choices that directly impact that is a big deal.

It’s certainly what got me started. I built a home for myself on Maui 30 years ago and I was trying to be as sustainable as I could be. But then they delivered the lumber to build the house, and it was really a gut punch of, like, that’s a whole forest! And that’s happening every time, for every house in the United States. And I just felt like, “I’ve got to do something different.”

You live in a bamboo home now. What’s it like?

I love it. There’s a connection to nature in terms of just knowing that the house itself is helping solve the climate crisis. But then the beauty of it, the shapes and forms we’re able to do with it that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do with dimensional material; it really is like living in a piece of furniture. All of the handcrafted joinery, beautiful radiating rafters and beams, they add a level of beauty to the building.

Article sent us by Maui Surfer

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