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A Bit of What’s Going on Here in the 1st Week of 2015

Blogs I’m putting most of my posts on building on TheShelterBlog now. I’m starting to link to those from this blog. TheShelterBlog focusses on building, homesteading, gardening, and the home arts, whereas this blog tracks my eclectic path through life. Note: if you go to the “Categories” button on the right and select a subject, like, say, “Natural Materials,” you’ll get all the posts on that subject. The info available this way is growing each day. This is getting to be a body of work.

Dwell Magazine I can’t help myself from continuing to knock this soulless, sterile publication. Who are the people that live this way? Certainly different from our tribe.

Stretching—The Pocketbook Edition Rick Gordon is about halfway through building a 5″ x 8″ pocketbook edition of our best-selling book (3-1/2 million copies, 23 languages). Pocketbook editions of Stretching have been very popular in Spain and Germany and we feel it’s time to introduce it in English. Out in 2015.

Small Homes Our next building book is under way. Contributors are beginning to send us photos, descriptions. Note: Contact us if you know of (or have built) an imaginative, artistic, practical, and/or economical home in the 400-1200 sq. ft. range: lew@shelterpub.com

Mini-Skeleton I was looking through Cool Tools for Christmas present ideas and one of the items led me to this unique little (9″ high) skeleton, available from Amazon. One of the comments from a nursing student said that both the leg bones (tibia and fibula) were switched; same with the arm bones (radius and ulna) This is true, but I was able to switch all 4 of them into the right positions. This is a fine little skeleton, ingeniously produced, for a very low price. BTW, there is a great children’s book on anatomy that’s selling on Amazon or $.01 these days: The Human Body by Ruth Dowling Brunn and Bertel Braun.

My Life Since I quit competitive running, I’ve been taking long walks in the woods, looking for mushrooms, wild foods such such as yerba buena tea, cattail pollen, watercress, miners lettuce, etc. Been getting clams, fishing for eels. Picking up oak trees knocked down by storms on the roads for firewood. Skateboarding when I can.

Yoga started again after a year’s absence, it’s so good for stiff, banged-up bodies like mine.

-Kauai Going there the last 2 weeks of January, to get in the warm water, do some hiking, shoot photos of small homes.

Comedian David Dean on the radio last week:

“Honk if you love Jesus.

Text and drive if you want to meet him.”

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New Octave

I’m easing up on the one-a-day posts on this blog. Change of course in my life.

Finishing Tiny Homes on the Move was sort of a punctuation point in my work. And now, having finished a couple of months of promo (I love being out there, meeting tons of like-minded people, seeing old friends, exploring new territory, but getting there and back is the problem — air travel and too many hours of driving/sitting).

I knew an artisan dope grower years back in Santa Barbara and he said that his plants would be almost dormant for a while and then, in a burst, would grow. Ideas are like that: you’ll think about something on and off, now and then, and suddenly—Eureka!—breakthrough. You’ve put it all together, a new level of, um, consciousness.

Likewise I was in the Gasser photo store in San Francisco once and a hip tattooed bike messenger was telling the counter guy that he’d just had his first kid. “It’s a whole new octave, man.”

Body and Soul Plato had it right: balance intellect/mind with the physical. I’ve gotten too far away from the body of late. Now that I’m back home, I’m swimming a little, running a little, about to cycle and kayak. I have 15 lb Reebok dumbbells at the computer, by the TV, and you can do a lot of light weight training this way. (I’m going to do a short video of office workout equipment soon.)

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Why Burning Man is like the Bohemian Grove

In the early ’70s, John van der Zee, a San Francisco writer, got himself a job at the Bohemian Grove, posing as a waiter. He then wrote the book, The Greatest Men’s Party on Earth, about the Grove and its wierd right-wing shenanigans. Now he has written this article, comparing it to Burning Man:

Why Burning Man is like the Bohemian Grove

 It is a kind of annual human migration from opposite poles.

     Each year, in midsummer, significant numbers of people abandon their homes, jobs, partners and families and travel, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles, to take up residence in a distant, intentionally remote corner of the American West, where they reconstitute a self-contained society, a retreat from, and in many ways a critique of the larger society they have fled.

      One destination is wooded, arboreal, druidic, the other desertine, hermitic.  Yet both involve at their core, the shedding like an outer skin one’s routine response to the outside world’s demands and constraints.  Both involve the celebratory cremation in a fiery spectacle of a totemic figure. Both form communities, divided into tribal camps,  under a nominal devotion to the arts that are as brief, fleeting and ephemeral as frontier boomtowns, yet have had profound influence on the society at large.

     Both have influenced our lives, whether we choose to admit it or not.

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Early Morning CBC Radio Show

Got up at 5:45 this morning, caught cab to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) Newsroom for my 10 minutes of early morning fame. Host was Rick Cluff who, among other things, was vastly amused by the mini-version of Tiny Homes On the Move. The newsroom was exciting. Big Time.

I said to him before we went on air that the internet sure hasn’t destroyed radio and he heartily agreed.

Good vibes everywhere I go in Canada. A lot of Canadian builders know me from Builders of the Pacific Coast. I point out to people it’s a book by an American about Canadians. How often does that happen?

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New GIMME SHELTER Newsletter Out

Pre-blogosphere, these newsletters were my sole form of “instant” communication. They’re a lot less frequent these days, but I still send them out — for one thing, they reach people who don’t look at my blog.. Right now there are about 600 people on the mailing list. We also post them on Shelter’s website; here’s the latest: https://www.shelterpub.com/_gimme/_2014-09-11/gimme_shelter-2014-09-11.html

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Tuesday Morning Fish Fry

Blog Posts I just did 2 posts for our new blog — they’ll be up within a week — https://www.theshelterblog.com/, as I transition to a different blogging mode. Not as much stuff as this (although I can’t resist blabbing now and then). More material on building, the home arts, gardening, farming. Especially building.

I feel like I have a lot to communicate with builders after all these years of non-academic study of carpentry and other methods of construction.

Back in the saddle with this new blog.

Coming off 5 years of building domes, I set about to learn the most practical methods of building homes, small buildings, and barns. It can be so simple.

Sample future posts:

•Drawings of 5 tiny homes (including every stick of wood in framing (from Shelter)

•Barns of my acquaintance

•Timber Framing

•Master Builders of the Middle Ages

•Architecture: architects need to know that the definition of architecture is “…the art and science of building.” Building.

Dwell magazine: occasional comments on this paragon of soulless living

•Rad Rigs: More tiny homes on wheels

I’m really excited to be shifting to this mode. I have something like 70,000 photos, both film and digital, to draw from.

Today’s New York Times has a terrific science section, including a stunning photo of the moon by the Lunar Orbiter V, and an article about a combo robot/man diving suit that will be used to explore a Roman ship believed to have sunk in the 1st century BC, and which carried “…the Antikythera Mechanism, a mechanical device for predicting celestial movement.”

Serena was just superb on Saturday. Power and grace. Beautiful.

Surfing Without Catching Waves Went out on my 10′ Haut Surftek board the other day, too many surfers for me, just got a couple of krappy rides in the foam. Then a few days later could not get out through 6′ surf with my surf mat BUT as I get older I settle for just being in the ocean AND I’m gonna get waves — going to Kauai in November with surf mat and fins.

Over & Out I’m leaving tomorrow for Pittsburgh, then to Seven Springs, PA to do a presentation Friday,  Sept 12 at the Mother Earth News Fair. Anyone know if Pittsburgh is worth exploring?

Photo: grapes at Louie’s

I've Got You Under My Skin by Diana Krall on Grooveshark

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