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Van Life, Foster Huntington's Brand New Book

Foster Huntington quit his job, where he was working 70-hour weeks for Ralph Lauren in New York City, and took off living on the road, first in a (very) used VW Synchro van, later in a Toyota Tacoma truck with a spiffy fiberglas camper shell. He started The Restless Transplant, a blog that became enormously popular. I remember seeing it years ago and thinking this is my kinda guy.
These days he's living in a treehouse in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, just northeast of Portland and he has 1 million (!) Instagram followers.

His latest project is this book, and the publishers have printed 35,000 copies. Vans are tremendously popular right now, and this book shows them in all their glory.

https://www.amazon.com/Van-Life-Your-Home-Road/dp/0316556440/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502834221&sr=1-1&keywords=van+life



http://www.arestlesstransplant.com 

Loggers' Jubilee in Morton, Washington Last Weekend

This just came in from Paul Jensen. The event took place in Morton, Washington last weekend. A bunch of photos of loggers, lumberjacks and logging trucks, plus this tough 4x4.

"We went to the 75th Annual Morton Logger's Jubilee…A unique slice of Americana that hasn't changed much since it began…Men with sharp tools, rope, strength and courage…The parade seemed like a stream of postcards from the 50's…"

http://pauljensencustom.blogspot.com/2017/08/morton-loggers-jubilee.html


Otis and My Book on the '60s

On the last leg of my trip to Oregon this week, I had a great visit with Foster Huntington before heading home, saw his incredible new video project, spent the night in his treehouse, and went to the airport yesterday afternoon, delay of flight, dragged into home about midnight, got up this morning, for some reason had a hard time getting going on my book on the '60s. I even thought of dropping the project and going ahead with my book, "The Half-Acre Homestead."
But I did what I advise people to do when they don't know what to do about a project: "Start." Which I did, and it started flowing. I started writing about the Monterey Pop Festival. I was there and thought it was the beginning of a wonderful new world. For me, it wasn't about Jimi Hendrix, or Janis (her first appearance with Big Brother, I believe), or Bryan Jones wandering around in the crowd, but it was about Otis. Good god a-mighty…
He appeared Saturday night. I hardly knew who he was, had certainly never seen him. He was wearing a green suit, was maybe the most beautiful man I'd ever seen, and was an entire other universe of music. I pulled up the Youtube video of him singing I've been Loving You Too Long, and -- I didn't cry, but it sure brought tears to me eyes. For Otis, who's gone, and for the '60s, which never quit materialized the way I thought it would.

Gambrel Roof Home, Corvallis, Oregon


This was in a large field, maybe 2 acres. It looks like it could be fixed up for living. I always look to see if the eaves are sagging in old buildings; if not, it probably means the foundation is OK. There wasn't a "for sale" sign, but if I lived up there, I'd track it down. It could be a great home, with a lot of land for gardening, chickens, a few farm animals.

Floating Homes in Portland

On my way to see Foster Huntington in Washington this morning, crossing the Columbia River on Highway 5, I spotted this floating community.
Some quick Google research:
"The Portland region has more floating homes than Seattle or San Francisco. Hayden Island alone has four moorages for floating homes, including West Hayden Island Moorage, with 57 floating homes, on the far west side, Jantzen Beach Moorage, Inc, the largest with 176 Floating Homes (south of Home Depot), Island Cove Floating Homes with 55 units (just west of Lotus Isle Park), and Tomahawk Island Floating Homes with some 72 community members…
http://www.hayden-island.com/floating-homes/
(I can't get this link to work, so copy and paste in URL.)

One of Our Youngest Fans

Ayla Rose, 16 months, reading the mini book of Small Homes yesterday at the Mother Earth News Faire. She kept turning pages, and then followed me over to the stage where I was about to do a presentation on the book. (She even had the book right side up, i.e., not upside down.)

Small Home in Corvallis, Oregon


A Perfect Barn

This is on the outskirts of Corvallis, Oregon. Barns in this area (the Willamette* Valley) typically have gambrel roofs, as you see here, where the straight lines of a gable roof are raised to provide more room in the loft or 2nd story.

I had a great time at The Mother Earth News Faire, now heading for Portland where I'm doing a TV interview on AM Northwestern Live, KATU-TV, that will appear between 3-4 PM today (Monday), then an appearance at Powell's on Hawthorne in Portland at 7:30 tonight.

* pronounced will-lam-ett, emphasis on middle syllable

Washing Dishes

We wash dishes by hand (in a rectangular Rubbermaid dishpan), rinse and place in this drying rack/storage unit, built maybe 20 years ago by Lew Lewandowski.
When we had goats, I had installed a dishwasher, but found that we practically had to wash the dishes first (so as not to have food particles going into the septic system). Plus it used a lot of water and electricity, so I took it out and we've used this system ever since.
Another feature in this kitchen is a 5-gallon electric water heater right under the sink. While I'm not fond of electrically-heated water, this unit is so small, it's energy-efficient, and we get instant hot water.
We use rubber spatulas to get food off plates, pots, and pans; edible scraps go to chickens, non-edibles (coffee grounds, avocado pits, etc.) go in a stainless step-operated trash can for the compost pile.
After I finish the book on the '60s, I plan to do one titled The Half-Acre Homestead, all that I've learned abut building and raising food over 50 years.
Apropos of nothing here, the Amazon series "Sneaky Pete" is wonderful. Great story, fabulous acting all around.
I'm off for Oregon early tomorrow morning.

Fabian Popovici and Kaitlyn Wright of Vancouver in Muir Beach, Calif. on their way to San Diego on their #harley

My new car


This time I kid you not. 1999 Mercedes E320, 180,000 miles, reportedly 22-29 mpg, $3500 thru complex set of circumstances. Purrs like kitten. We'll see...

I'm Doing 3 Appearances in Oregon in the Next Week

I'm heading up to Oregon (a state I love in its entirety) on Friday. I'll be doing these events:

Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 AM, SMALL HOMES at The Mother Earth News Faire in Albany (70 miles south of Portland on I-5)

Sunday, Aug. 6, 2 PM, 50 YEARS OF NATURAL BUILDING at TMEN Faire
 Schedule: http://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/oregon/schedule/

I heartily recommend the TMEN fairs, They're genuine country fairs, with chickens, goats, dimensional lumber mills, a ton of workshops, great food, good country vibes. There are 2 more coming up, September in Pennsylvania, October in Kansas

Monday Aug. 7, 7:30 PM SMALL HOMES at Powell's on Hawthorne in Portland: http://www.powells.com/locations/powells-books-on-hawthorne/

On Tuesday I'm gonna go hang out with Foster Huntington, surfer, skater, filmmaker, Instagram master at his treehouse/skate bowl complex just over the border in Washington. Back home Wednesday. Then back to Oregon in a week (driving this trip) for the solar eclipse.

The Gag-Me-With-A-Spoon Summer of Love

My annoyance at all the lame krap floating around now about 1967 in the Haight-Ashbury district, "The Summer of Love,"just about turned to repulsion of late. Yeah, strong word, but man is it bad! We went to the deYoung Museum in San Francisco (an architectural catastrophe) Friday for their exhibit. $25 entrance fee! Most of the exhibit consisted of posters and yes, the posters were magnificent, but the exhibit was mostly '60s drivel.

The "hippie clothing" was awful. No elegance, no simplicity. People with bad taste and too much time on their hands; bad colors, mishmashes of design. A truly awful crocheted bedspread commissioned by Bob Weir. Two rooms of flashing video montages of blurry dancers -- senseless, dumb; not trippy — sloppy.

And the clincher: when you leave the exhibit, they funnel you into The Summer of Love Gift Shop. I kid you not. T-shirts, hats, trinkets, a poster of lame buttons -- all made in China.

These curators are giving the '60s a bad name.

The "Hippie Modernism" exhibit at the Berkeley Museum was way better.

As is the exhibit at the California Historical Society. Really good b&w photos, tracing the '60s from the Beats-on. $5 entrance fee.

There was a conference this weekend, some 45 presentations on the era, mostly by college professors.

Sorry, I've been brooding over all the distortions, all the weren't-there, don't-get-it pontificators.

"The Haight-Ashbury was a neighborhood. The '60s was a movement." -Ken Kesey

PS The "Summer of Love" (1967) was in actuality a disaster in San Francisco.

The Sky is Falling by Albert King

My new car. Just kidding. #lamborghini

My Take on the '60s

Jim Morrison said once that when they (The Doors) finished a record, only then were they released to start thinking about the next one. When I finished Small Homes, I couldn't think what to do next. I'd sort of run the gamut of 9"x12' building books, each with about color 1000 photos, from Home Work to Small Homes. Retire? No way! I'm just getting warmed up.
About the same time there was an explosion of articles, TV specials, museum exhibits, and conferences rehashing "The Summer of Love." (Yes, I know I've written this before, but I'm further into it all now.)
Since my take on the years was so different from everything being written or presented, I decided to write my own version of the '60s. (I was there.) The project seemed to gather momentum as I proceeded. I started having fun. I hadn't looked back at those times in any sort of organized way, and I found myself not only marveling at what happened, but having new insights with the perspective of 5 decades.
Plus, the 60s weren't an abstraction for me. The concepts, the spirit, the new knowledge profoundly changed my life. (I just realized this now.)
Stop, children, what's that sound,
Everybody look—what's going down.
                             -Buffalo Springfield

Great! Our 1st post on Cabin Porn. Kindred spirits.

For years, Cabin Porn has posted gorgeous photos of pristine cabins all over the world; these photos are of snowboarder Mike Basich's cabin in the Sierras as shown in our book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter
cabinporn.com

30% Off Small Homes with Discount Code

Shameless commerce department: We want to get these books out there!
We're offering a 30% discount off of our newest book, Small Homes: The Right Size, with the promo code SMALL30. Cheaper than Amazon!

New iMac!

I've been struggling with my 9-year-old MacPro for months. Continually hanging up, getting the spinning globe in Mail, Chrome, Photoshop, etc. Rick tried just about everything, but we just couldn't figure it out. Finally, rather than wait around for the new MacPro, we decided to go with this machine. Oh man, what a delight! Such elegant design, wireless keyboard and mouse, sparkling monitor. Rick's got it rolling, now tuning up before he takes off for Hawaii.
Just today started working on my book on the '60s (which is looking more and more like a book) on it.

27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
With the following configuration:
• 3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
• 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
• 512GB SSD • Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB video memory
• Magic Mouse 2
• Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English

Mercedes SLX 350

Smallest 'cedes I've ever seen. 

Ship in Light Bulb in Museum in Mallaig, Scotland

This was in the Mallaig Heritage Center, a charming small museum in Mallaig, on the west coast of Scotland.

Jay Nelson's Latest Nomadic Home

Built on a Subaru Brat. Jay got the idea of the tiny wood-burning stove from Bruno Atkey.
http://www.jaynelsonart.com/

She's pissed!

Dust My Broom - Elmore James

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKo80b-QfK0

Bride of Frankenstein

What a masterpiece! Funny, going back, looking at films years later, my perceptions are so different. This time it knocked me out. The lighting, the gorgeous black and white photography, the acting, the miniature people in the jars, Elsa Lancaster's electrifying performance at the end (she said she studied the swans in Regents Park, who were "…very nasty creatures, always hissing at you…" for the role).
Directed by James Whale.
You could do a 3-part series: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and Young Frankenstein, all masterpieces.

Documentary film of the Romani People -- Latcho Drom - Taraf de Haidouks


The full movie: https://youtu.be/DTuXveZStUo

From Wikipedia: "Latcho Drom ("safe journey") is a 1993 French documentary film directed and written by Tony Gatlif. The movie is about the Romani people's journey from north-west India to Spain, consisting primarily of music. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival."
"The use of music in the film is highly important. Despite the fact that Latcho Drom is a documentary, there are no interviews and none of the dialogue is captioned. Very few of the lyrics are captioned and the whole film relies heavily on the tone of music to portray emotions and the history of the Romani. Music is included from the Romanian Romani group Taraf de Haïdouks, La Caita (Spain), Tchavolo Schmitt and many others."

Drone Footage Jack O'Neill Paddleout

Africa - Angel City Chorale

A bunch of the You Tube songs I've posted in the last week or so are from Godfrey Stephens.

Jack O'Neill, 1923-2017

Photo by Dave McGuire: Martinis at Jack O'Neill's cliffside home in Santa Cruz in 2013. L-R, Betty Van Dyke, Richard Novak, Jack, Lloyd

I graduated from high school in San Francisco in 1952. I had to make up some grades in order to get admitted to Stanford, so I took some morning classes at a private high school and worked as an office boy at an insurance company in the afternoons. Each day I had a couple of hours off, so I started going to the beach.

Kelly's Cove is the beach right next to the Cliff House at Ocean Beach, and I met a bunch of guys who were starting to bodysurf there. Cliff Kamaka, a Hawaiian who was a lifeguard at the nearby Fleishacker Pool* had taught the boys the art of bodysurfing. Charley Grimm, Rod Lundquist, John Stonum, Jim Fisher, Bill Hickey -- and Jack O'Neill -- were some of the gang.

The water averaged in the low '50s, so you had to really be motivated to endure the cold. They'd build a big fire on the beach to warm up after getting out of the water, and had constructed driftwood windbreaks that you could get inside to lay in the sun.

Jack was working for a company that sold firefighting equipment. He and his wife Marge and their 6 kids lived in an apartment on Sloat Blvd., across from the zoo, a few blocks from the beach. His first attempt at staying warm was a "dry suit," as used by divers. It was thin rubber. Jack bought one He showed it to me and he was wearing long woolen underwear underneath it. Where it might have worked for diving in calm water, it didn't work at all in the turbulent ocean. Water would come in at the sleeves, legs, and neck.

Jack didn't invent the wetsuit. According to Wikipedia, "Hugh Bradner, a University of California, Berkeley physicist invented the modern wetsuit in 1952…" The US Navy then developed wetsuits for their divers and the first ones were being sold in stores. The wetsuit was neoprene and allowed the water to get next to your body, but kept it warm. Before they started lining them with nylon (maybe Jack's invention), they were difficult to get on, so we had to coat our skin with corn starch so they would slide on.

I may be the only person in the world who knows this, but one day Jack went to Roos Brothers, the big department store on Market at Powell in San Francisco, and bought a wetsuit in their sporting goods department. He took it home, took the measurements off it, and returned it the next day. Voilá, he had the pattern for his first wetsuit. I know this because I stopped by to see him the day he brought it home. Like Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, but perfected it and made it available to millions, so it was with Jack and wetsuits.

I'm A Rocker - The Raspberries (1973)

I don't know why the Raspberries never made it big. This one sort of reminds of "Hot Legs" by Rod Stewart. Ultimate rock & roll!
 

Total Solar Eclipses, 2017 and 1991

It's happening on August 21st. I'm heading up to Oregon, with stop-offs at Stewart Mineral Springs near Lake Shasta (also, looking forward to seeing Shasta full for the 1st time in years), then to see legendary bodybuilder and good friend Bill Pearl and his wife Judy in Medford/Ashland area, then to Umpqua hot springs, then somewhere in totality zone for the big event.

Here's link to where it will be visible in the US:
http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/total-eclipse-of-sun-august-21-2017

I witnessed a total eclipse in Baja in July, 1991, and it was (sorry for the hackneyed phrase, but…) awesome. Never to be forgotten.

My friend Chilón alerted me to it a year before, and I reserved a hotel room in San José del Cabo ($25 pr night). The morning of the eclipse I got up at 6AM, caught the 1st bus into Cabo San Lucas, rented a Honda motorcycle, and drove up the Pacific side towards Todos Santos, took a dirt road out to Playa Margarita, which turned out to be a spectacular miles-long sandy beach. As it was early, I went bodysurfing; there was abundant fool's gold on the sand and as I swam (no goggles, but water was clear), flecks of gold swirled around me. What a planet!
It turned out there were 6 other people on the beach:
From left: two hair dressers from Denver, Craig and Frank; and 4 young Mexicans from Monterrey: Enrique (in foreground), Marta, Arturo and Juan. Craig and Frank had weed, the kids had a bottle of tequila, and it coalesced into a party.
The boys had eclipse glasses so we took turns watching the moon gradually blot out the sun. The sky turned blue-dark and everything was bathed in a light I'd never seen before. Incrediblé!
We finished the bottle, and then, after 2-3 hours together, our eclipse family took off in different directions, never to see each other again. I swam some more, then returned the motorcycle, went back to San José and had dinner at Le Baguette, a lovely French restaurant in this desert town. I'd call that a perfect day.

The Lost Files

I was looking through one of my many filing cabinets (which contain old school file folders containing papers and photos) the other day and discovered about 15 folders on a book I started to write in the late '70s. It was going to be called Home Work* and was about my building experiences, starting with my first building (studio with a "living roof" in 1962), then building homes over the next 17-18 years. I took them out of the filing cabinet and put them in this box:
Back then, I felt that I could offer guidance to novice builders, based on the fact that I started building from scratch. No carpentry training or previous construction experience.

I'd made a lot of mistakes that I could warn first-time builders about, and I had ideas for simple homes based on practicality and economy-- and ones that felt good.

I wanted to encourage people to use their own hands to build their own homes. I'd done it, and never had a bank mortgage or paid rent.

The project got interrupted by my publishing Stretching by Bob Anderson in 1980 and then 20 years of publishing fitness books. Karma, I guess.

Woman Power As Seen in Times Square


IBM Selectric Composer Font

I came across this the other day when cleaning out old files. It's a font from an IBM Selectric Composer, a $9,000 souped-up IBM Selectric typewriter, which was used for typesetting in the '60s and '70s. It was the step in between linotype (hot lead) and the Macintosh. There was a different ball for each typeface, and when you wanted to switch from roman (plain) type to italic, you changed the font. The Composer was used by Stewart Brand for the Whole Earth Catalog and then by us for Shelter and our subsequent books up until the early 90s, when we switched to the MacIntosh.

Popiver somniferum seed pod before opening. #papaveraceae #poppyseeds #opiumpoppy

Looking (Way) Back

Working on a book on the '60s now. Looking back at my photos from then (and before) is like opening boxes of memories, or viewing grainy old movies. Fun! This is me in 1952 at age 17 at Lowell High School, which was in the Haight-Ashbury district. 

Blue Whale Lunge Feeding


A drone was used to capture a blue whale swimming in Monterey Bay. Unique shots of whale taking mouthfuls of water.
Check out the photographer: https://www.slatermoore.photography

Scaramouche


Fabulous 1923 silent movie with Ramon Navarro and Alice Terry on TCM tonight, stunning B&W. Who needs color? Who needs words?

Letter From a Prisoner

A letter like this makes it all seem worthwhile. This is from a prisoner at a multi-security prison in New Hampshire. We sent him 3 building books. (We have a long-standing policy of sending free books to any inmates that request them.)

I apologize for the delay in responding to your last letter. It's just that you left me in a state of shock, so all I can say is: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

It is easy to become dehumanized in this place. After a while we all buy into the rhetoric about how useless we are, So when someone comes along and does something that reminds us that we are still human and worth something (if only in the hearts of a few), it can be disorienting.

Thank you for disorienting me!

I have finished with all three books, and they have now been donated to our library. I have an entire composition book full of notes and designs based on these books.With the present status of my case, I have no idea when I am getting out. However, when I do get out, I will have a plan, and your books will have been a significant contributor to that plan. Who knows, maybe I'll build something that will eventually appear in one of your future books.

Anyway thank you! Not only for helping me, but for creating a ray of hope for others in this place.

Shalom aleichem,

JZ