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Cramped Apartments in Hong Kong Shot From Directly Above

"In the middle of last year, The Economist released rankings for the world’s most livable cities, and Hong Kong was found at the top. What many people don’t know, however, is that there is a percentage of Hong Kong residents living in rather horrid conditions. In an attempt to draw attention to the issue, human rights organization Society for Community Organization recently commissioned a series of photographs showing what a number of unacceptable living spaces look like when viewed from directly overhead.
   According to the SoCO, over 100,000 people live in tiny “cubicle apartments” in the city. These are 40-square-foot living spaces created by dividing already-small apartments into multiple units. Residents go about their lives in these confined spaces, sleeping on one corner, eating in another, storing their belongings in a third, and perhaps watching a TV that’s found in a fourth.
   SoCO’s wide-angle photographs capture how cramped these spaces really are by showing everything within them in a single frame. The images were likely captured by simply fixing a camera with a wide-angle lens to the ceiling, and then triggering a shot remotely (the photographer cannot be seen in the image).…"
Click here.

Friday Morning

Our Book World It's been a busy, people-filled week. We've got 44 pages of Tiny Homes on the Move completed (1st pass), and another 30 or so designed, so we've got a third of the book scoped out. Two great things right now:
1. High-quality material coming in practically daily.
 2. The design process, with me, Lew, David and Rick, is flowing now. The pages are looking good. Took a while to get going, but now stylin.
Solo Fridays With all this activity, I love the chance to be alone out here in this used-lumber studio, with sun now streaming in, some happy and melodic bird calls out in the garden, the little tin windmill showing a slight onshore breeze, music playing. Seems like rain is coming, we need it. I don't agree that these bright sunny sharp days are "beautiful." Give me clouds and a changing sky and pelting rain.

Around Here Photos of a day's egg production by our Golden Seabright bantams, and my first wooden spoon (crude, but I'm learning fast). Going to start making spoons out of apple wood, all the other pieces of wood I've been collecting for years.
Justified This only for fans: Great performances the last episode, when Arlo dies. Raylan, Arlo, especially Boyd. Some terse, highly-polished script writing. In one particular scene (during opening credits) when Raylan is talking to a guy in prison and the dialogue is great, the credit, "Elmore Leonard," rolls across the screen (series based on his stories).
Music Earlier listening to Dan Bern ("Hooker"). Right now listening to "Sinatra: Best of the Best." This is a perceptive collection, put together in 2011; they really chose the best stuff. What a rich voice!
I grew up with Sinatra (from the '40s-on), never paid much attention to him, and then in the 60s, upon discovering Dylan, the Stones and Beatles, I put him in the "square" category. Oh, puhleeze, not Sinatra!
   I overlooked (and misjudged) a bunch of things back then in pursuit of all things hip. In the excitement of the very real cultural revolution, there was the "hipper-than-thou" syndrome, resulting in a less-than-wide outlook on life and culture. So it is with delight that I go back in time and discover such excellence. I must confess, when I heard this version of "MyWay," I got a chill.
Birds The red-shouldered hawk cruises in and terrifies the chickens once in a while, but they are fenced securely. Yesterday two very perky blue California Scrub Jays in garden. Resourceful, strong, smart (therefore wary) birds. Doves and quail on ground this morning, bunches of small birds. Lots of huge Canadian Geese in yonder flatlands.

"One Toke Over the Line" by - - - Lawrence Welk!

Rick Gordon just brightened up this foggy Friday morning with this, from the late '60s:
…along with this note: "Notice the cough on the intro here, and at the end, Lawrence Welk calling it a "modern spiritual."
Some background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewer_%26_Shipley#Early_history

Japanese Architect's 120 Treehouses

"Takashi Kobayashi, a self-taught designer, carpenter and architect of 120 amazing tree houses in Japan — some are sleek and modern cubes, some are fairy-tale cottages…"

Click here.

Thanks to "Anonymous"

Bach, played on two pianos at the same time, by Evan Shinners

Posted on Boing Boing today by Xeni Jardin

Spiffy Office Building in San Francisco

Shot with iPhone 5 in panorama mode.
Model at right is Louie Frazier.

Adventures on the Water in the Pacific Northwest

Read about Kees Prins' adventures on the water with friends along the northwest Pacific coast. (Kees and his little trailer-pulled adventure sailboat will be in Tiny Homes on the Move):
"Eric drove a Ranger 22, which is a small tug with an inboard diesel…"

Sinatra While Driving Along Coast Last Night

Drove along the coast last night to meet my running friends. I don't mean to go on about my new Honda Fit, but sheesh! I can't believe that such a relatively inexpensive little car handles and corners and rides like this. No, I have not been hired by Honda to say these things.

Probably partly due to 40 years of driving trucks, this is like dancing along the road. Spiffy. Plus my neighbor Chick, who has eclectic taste in music (previously turned me on to J.B.Hutto and the Hawks and gospel singer Dorothy Love Coats), gave me "Sinatra — '57 In Concert," and it made for a great cruise along the ocean.

Sun Sticks & Mud

This is a wonderful (self-published) book. We've been publishing books on building for 40 years, and have an extensive library of building books. There are about 25 books in the adobe/earth/cob category, and I'd put this book among the very top few.
   It's written and photographed by people who obviously love and understand the art and construction of earthen buildings in the U.S. southwest. There are 400 photos of homes, churches, barns, and commercial buildings, mostly in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, and I like the photographer's eye for authenticity.
    It's not meant to be a how-to book. It's historical (lots of great vintage buildings), practical (gives you ideas for design), and inspirational. I was surprised at the variety of design, and excellence of construction in this desert area.
   As they say, "Mud is the unifier."

Tiny Cabin, Giant View

Mike Basich was our #1 featured builder in Tiny Homes. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal came out with an article on Mike and his cabin, written by Conor Dougherty, with 15 photos by Jason Henry. Mike's got an old ski lift that he's rebuilding so he can ride up and ski down. A remarkable guy. Article here.
Mike is very media-savvy and documented the construction of his cabin in this book called "The Making of a Dream, viewable here."

395 Photos of Tiny Homes

Posted by Yvonne Wade Sanchez on Pintarest here.

The Mummy Returns—Berlusconi Runs Again

From an op-ed by Frank Bruni in Sunday's NY Times, titled "The Mummy Returns:"
"…Oh, yes! He’s back! Although some of you may recall that Berlusconi retired from political life in late 2011, pledging not to seek re-election, he reassessed the situation in late 2012, realized that his hobbling country desperately needed him, and announced that he would pursue what would be a fourth stint in office, though he was doing so 'at great personal sacrifice.'
…The opera of Italian politics provides endless amazement: how can people so good at living be so bad at government? It provides solace, too, enabling the aghast American to glance from Sarah Palin or Herman Cain to a theater of arguably greater absurdity, with an actor of unsurpassed shamelessness and self-delusion. We suffer much in this country, but we don’t suffer the likes of Berlusconi.…"

How about Donald Trump?

Click here.

How Much Can You Fit in a Fit?

This just in from my friend Peter Kohlsaat, fisherman, diver, cyclist and fellow Baja adventurer, now living on the shores of Lake Superior:

"Hey Lloyd,
We got a Fit, 2008. Only new car I've ever bought.(Couldn't find any decent used Toyota Corolla wagons.) In the advertiser brochure, they picture the Fit with an alpaca in it, and if I had one, I'm certain that I could put one in it. It is an amazing car. We took it on a two-week RoadTrip! from Minneapolis out and around Utah/Colordo/mts. Camping. All that camping crap (and we don't travel light), everything fit. It holds more than our Subaru Forester. And we drove it where it definitely shouldn't be driven. But it went. And it drives like a little Go Kart. Put a roof rack on it, and drive it back to Baja. I'm sure you could figure out a way to live in it.
 -Peter (Kohlsaat)"

Coping with Critters

I got some great comments on my post (below) on trapping rats. I just remembered an article I wrote for Mother Earth News a few years ago on how I deal with rats and other homestead invaders: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Protect-Your-Home-From-Critters.aspx#axzz2LvooOokH

The Academy Awards Last Night

I'm mildly curious about the Grammys and the Academy Awards. I live out in the sticks, not very tuned into popular culture, so I like to know a bit about what's going on in the entertainment world.
   Our M.O. is to tape these programs, then go back and fast forward through commercials and boring stuff. I went through the Grammys in about 20 minutes—a lot of really shitty music, the one exception being Mavis Staples and crew doing "The Weight," a tribute to Levon Helm. They were channeling the band fer shure.
   Well, the Academies sort of blew my socks off last night. We skipped all commercials, almost all the speeches, Barbra Streisand, and what remained was surprisingly good. Hollywood's finally got it together. MC Seth MacFarlane was a great choice—smart, witty, composed, funny (at times edgy), great timing—good move to get beyond Billy Crystal.
  The whole production was bold, flashy, and professional. A brilliant film collage of the music from James Bond films. Halle Berry wore a stunning dress; Jamie Fox had a great outfit. "Amour" director Michael Haneke gave a really nice speech. A great musical number, "All That Jazz," by Catherine Zeta-Jones with a reunion of the cast of Chicago. My old pal Richard Zanuck, who died last year, was shown saying: "The most important thing is the story. Not the script, but the story."
   When the time came for best picture, out came Jack Nicholson, and you can never tell what this crazy guy is going to do, and lo and behold he introduced——Michelle Obama. Huh?
   Here she was, broadcasting from DC and looking radiant. Just beautiful. She announced the best movie. Holy Cow!

Lloyd's Photos in Lucky Peach's "Apocalypse" Issue

In November I got an email from Peter Meehan, who, along with David Chang, is co-editor of Lucky Peach, a quarterly foodie magazine published by McSweeney's. They were doing an "apocalypse" issue and wondered if I had off-the-grid photos they could use.
   A few months later, Christine Boepple, an LA-based writer, came up and went through about 10,000 thumbnails (in binders) of my photos.
   Here's the result, just out in the magazine. Kinda strange for me, having someone else do layout of my photos. I ended up liking what they did. The shelter stuff they chose is all pretty funky. Also pics of food from the wild and garden, preserves, roadkill furs, and kitchens from both our homestead and other places I've been.
   PDF of the 6-page article here.

The Best Rat Trap

There are certain less-than-glamorous homesteading chores that I am really good at. Shoveling, doing dishes, and trapping rats. Sigh.
   Rats around here are not the loathsome Norwegian variety, but rather wood rats, or pack rats, which look like a big mouse, Kinda cute. In the woods, they build pyramids of twigs 3' or so high—rat architecture—always in secluded spots, so you have to be bushwacking to come upon them. In semi-rural areas like this they cruise human habitations for easy pickins. One year I trapped over 40.
   For years I used the standard wooden Victor traps and would put peanut better in a little piece of plastic (with punched holes), tied to the trigger with baggie ties. Then I started sheet-metal-screwing a 1/2" copper pipe cap to the trigger, which I filled with p. butter.
  I went through maybe 4 types of other traps until I discovered these. They have a bait cup so the rat has to tug at it, thereby releasing spring—plenty strong enough to insure fatality.
  I'm writing this after getting one last night that had been eluding me for a week. Outwitted by a rat night after night.
  Method: I washed 3 traps (getting rid of scent), smooshed some bacon in the cups, surrounded by smears of Skippy peanut butter—mwah!
   And whack! Mighty hunter.


Houseboat With Sail