The Road Never Travelled
I'm back on the road in a serious way these days, and amassing a ton of material on builders and buildings. My Canon 20D digital SLR camera is enabling me to get better exposures, better composition, and more photos in general. I've been interviewing people for over 40 years now, and developed a method of making notes in a spiral notebook instead of using a tape recorder. Travelling is tough, however I do it. I'm always working when on the road; whenever I get to a nice place and think about kicking back for a few days, I wonder what's just around the bend. I like having something to do, and searching for unique buildings invariably leads to meeting great people. And there's nothing like going down a road you've never been on before. (Except when it ends up like this!):
OK, OK, I know I should be watching the shoulder (especially when there isn't one) when backing up. For details of this dumb debacle, see below blogsite. As the truck was rolling over, it seemed like everything was in slow-notion, I was thinking this can't be happening.
I did something new on the recent trip I took up the Northwest coast: I posted blogs, as well as photos while travelling. It was unique to get back home and have already told people about the trip. I've thought a lot about blogging since starting to do them 6 months ago. I like the immediacy factor, but can't do them on any regular basis. Too much stress to post something every day (or every week). So I'll go on doing them on and off. To read what I wrote when travelling, go to:
Or, you can get there at any time by going to: www.lloydkahn.com.
My latest posting is on the sentencing of my long-time friend lawyer Tony Serra last Friday to 10 months in prison. (Yeah, I know it, I'm all over the place. but it's too late in life for me to begin sticking to a few subjects.) Read all about it at above website.
Rearrangement of Priorities
Before I took off on the trip, Hugh Brady, familiar with the builders on islands in British Columbia, told me that there was nothing in HOME WORK like work that had been done in B.C. He was right. Now that I've been back a week and the dust has settled, and I've had time to review my photos, I'm thinking that my next full scale book on "shelter" will be on the builders of the Northwest coast. The ostensible purpose of the trip was a book on builders in North America in general, but I found such a body of unique work on the coast, especially in British Columbia, that it seems to merit a book on its own. Working title is BUILDERS OF THE NORTHWEST COAST. I'll keep shooting pictures of builders throughout America, but will take another trip to the Northwest this year to shoot more pics.
Before hauling out some more photos from my travels, here's an update on changes to one of our fitness books:
"Repurposing" of GETTING STRONGER
There is no book like GETTING STRONGER, with its 100+ training programs and its complete instructions for 350 weight training exercises. Here's what we're going to do with this books:
New back and front covers of GETTING STRONGER
We're changing the cover from the rather 50s-looking bodybuilders to sports photos as shown. The new cover will emphasize the most unique part of the book, the do-it-yourself training programs for 21 sports. With all the interest in sports training these days, we're hoping bookstores will put it face out more often. We are also updating photos of the different sports inside the book, with new, more contemporary photos of baseball, basketball,football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. GETTING STRONGER has sold close to 600,000 copies. We hope to increase its usage as a text book for high school and college athletes.
The new book will ship in December 2005.
Back to other matters:
Greed and the Lack Thereof
Driving up the Mendocino/Humboldt coast of northern California I ran across two unrelated situations that, upon reflection, were diametrically opposite images of human behavior, to wit:
||If You've Seen One Redwood You've Seen 'em All”
In several newspapers, in towns from Pt. Arena through Ft. Bragg to Ferndale, were stories about Pacific Lumber Company's destructive logging practices, and the fight to stop them from destroying watersheds. In the old days Pacific was a family-owned eco-conscious logging firm. They had so much acreage in redwoods that they'd rotate logging around, and they didn't go after the few remaining old-growth redwoods. In 1986, Texas corporate raider Charles Hurwitz and his company Maxxam, with the help of greed king Michael Milken and over 3/4 billion $ in junk bonds, took over Pacific and began liquidating assets to pay off the debt: increased logging, clear-cutting, erosion of top soil, deterioration of watersheds. These greedy creeps are trashing the planet in our backyard. And they own 1/3 of the planet's old-growth redwoods. Check out the sad story at:
And On the Other Hand
During the same couple of days I was reading about Maxxam, I photographed Tony and Julie Anderson's house up a steep hill from the Mattole river, one of the great California coastal rivers. (I had this great connection with Tony, the last time I'd seen him was when he was about 5 and I worked for his folks as a carpenter in Mill Valley). The Andersons had bought their land in 1990 from Albert and Laura Saijo. Albert had built a simple little funky cabin, filled with books, heated with a wood stove. "Albert called it 'biodegradable architecture,'" said Tony. Albert would park his truck nearby and run a wire from the battery to power 12-volt lights. Water came from a pipe in the creek leading to a 5-gallon storage tank. Simple! Anyway, the Andersons and Saijos sat down and agreed on a price for the land. A few weeks later Albert came back and said. "Laura and I think that price is too high." And so they reduced the price (not inconsiderably), and the young Andersons had a beautiful homesite. Albert and Laura just walked away, leaving everything, including a huge library of books, behind. Zen freedom.
A week later I thought about the Saijos and how this spirit of the '60s, of treating the earth with respect, and people with fairness, has faded. How different from today's government-sanctioned corporate pillaging. I said something to Lesley the other day about what's coming with the Supreme Court and she said, "We're going into another dark ages."
A Few Photos From Northwest Coast Trip
Well, we gotta accentuate the positive here, so here are a few pix from my trip - - 20 other pics posted on my blogsite: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com
House built overlooking the water by master builder Lloyd House
Steel-framed sculptural house overlooking sea by Dean Ellis.
Architect Michael McNamara's homestead on Denman Island
Dome at a meditation center deep in the woods. It's rare for a geodesic dome to have such good vibes.
The China Cloud, a by-now-legendary 3-masted junk-rigged wooden sailboat, now at a dock west of Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C. The China Cloud was sailed for over 20 years with no motor. It was built by by Allen Ferrell at the age of 70 over a period of two years out of beach driftwood, with no power tools. It was featured in the book SAILING BACK IN TIME by Maria Coffey and Dag Goering, about a 3-month cruise along Canada's west coast. It now belongs to boat builder Gerry Fossum. It's beautiful, a boat with soul.
Guys who run my favorite coffee stand told me they call the "non-fat de-caf latte" the "Why Bother?"
Mongolian Cloud Houses
Oh yeah, this book is coming along handsomely. Yurts in this day and age. It will ship Spring of 2005. This book, by Dan Kuehn, not only tells you how to build your own bamboo yurt, but lists all the great yurt kits you can buy these days. Dan's drawings are wonderful, as well as clear and instructive: