Road Nomads, Barn Builders, Hot Springs and Skateboarders
Weve been in production of the book for over 6 months now. As happened with SHELTER in 1973, the book has a momentum now, new material comes in weekly if not daily, and the book is taking its own shape. Some of the newest stuff:
7 Months Work, 5 Months Play
I ran across these guys at a campground in the desert a few weeks ago, and theyre going in the On the Road part of the book.
Grant Cahilll and Elissa Vaessen spend a good part of the year camping, mountain biking, kayaking, and rock climbing. Grant, it turns out, is the traffic manager for a large company in Vancouver, B..C (Canada) and says he has a deal with the owner: he works hard seven months a year: long hours, handling the shipping, driving a forklift, etc. For seven months, he owns my soul the other five months, I play. And he adds, Mind you, he pays me exceptionally well.
Their rig is a 98 Ford Ranger with a shell that cost $100. Last year they went through 14 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, took a tandem fiberglass kayak out to the Gulf Islands (between Vancouver Island and the mainland), rode their bikes along the Scorpion Trail in B.C., and went bouldering and rock climbing.
Keeping the Trade Alive
An example of how I run across stuff for Homework: the morning I visited Bill and Judy Pearl, we drove through the Rogue River valley to get breakfast; I noticed a barn under construction and Judy told me it was a mortise and tenon building and that the builder had put up a bunch of them. My always-looking-for-cool-buildings-antennae went up, so after breakfast I came back and met builder Christoph Bücher. The barn was beautiful, with each framing piece marked with a chiseled-in number. All the wood was local, mostly dead or dying Douglas Fir trees and milled in the woods with a portable bandsaw. It was then assembled completely with hand tools, and pinned together with wooden pegs. Christoph said he builds this way because he is independent of power and also . . . to keep the trade alive. I shot pictures and were doing 2 pp. on his barns in Homework.
Christophs pegged-together barn of local timber, Medford, OR
The next day I spent photographing a beautiful little cob house built by Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley in the woods south of Eugene. Ianto is a Welshman who has popularized cob building in the US in the last 20 years. Cob houses, made of soil and straw are sculpted, and usually have curves and charming idiosyncracies not possible with rectilinear construction. Cob, along with strawbales, paperbags, cordwood, earthbags are among the natural building materials being used in what is now known as green building. There will be a section on these buildings in HOMEWORK.
Artist SunRay Kellys yoga cob/rock/driftwood studio in Sedro Wooley, WA
Two things to know about these: they are smaller than the real (9x12) book + the colors are not good. OK, OK, we were rushed! The book is going to look worlds better. Also a couple of new printing developments: it will be Smythe-sewn and will have fold-over cover flaps.
Homework Slide Show Online
Check out webmeister Lews new slide show of photos from the book:
We are taking our wooden booth and will be adjacent to PGW. Ill be hauling it down with my truck and a U-Haul trailer; it bolts together. It has a curved shingle roof, rough-swan wooden walls. Its going to look great with blowups from HOMEWORK. Please come visit us. Booth number 3753.
END OF BIZ
Now the fun stuff. This has nothing to do with publishing, so you cant read beyond this point if youre at work.
Editors Frivolous Desert Trip
For about 12 years I would make half a dozen trips a year to Baja. Now with HOMEWORK in the works, I quit going there. SO, missing the desert AND having just acquired this phenomenal 4x4 will-go-anywhere truck AND needing a break PLUS having been invited by a bunch of skateboarders to a campout and skatefest at Joshua Tree Natl Park, I THEREBY headed on a Monday night down I-5, with its vineyards and monocrops and sweet-smelling orange tree blossoms and slept out in a field so I could get breakfast at The Harris Ranch (about halfway to LA from SFO). The Harris family has been in the San Joaquin Valley for over 100 years and they have built an oasis in the middle of cattle land. The food is great, and there are photos all over the walls of California farming at the turn of the century, when the soil was virgin/fertile, the wheat grew 6' high, and the bounty was prodigious. They also have a hacienda-type hotel built around a huge swimming pool surrounded by honeysuckle. Out in the middle of nowhere.
I continued south on I-5, and looking at the map, I saw Arden Hot Springs, and hey, in addition to being a desert rat, Im a hot-springs freak. It was out in cow country,and I snooped around until I saw an old rusty sign that must have been for a resort that had once been at the site. The road in was totally blocked with big boulders (often the case when farmers get tired of all-night parties at local hot springs), but I 4-wheeled it up a 60 degree grade and found my way down dirt roads to what did indeed turn out to be an old resort that had been totally trashed. Several empty swimming pools, broken-up building foundations, but at one spot there was a little one (or two tightly) -person tub full of flowing hot water. I got in, relaxed, listened to the birds, and watched the sunset. Not too shabby.
Remote hot springs, steps to tub behind me. No one else there.
Skating in the Desert
OK, now to the skateboarding: Yes, I AM a little bit old to be skateboarding (Ill save you asking the question). But for some reason I started skateboarding at age 65. I have surfing experience, but its still been a long learning curve. I ride a longboard, where the idea is to cruise downhill as fast as possible but staying in control. Just about every skater I know has more skills than I do, but I love it! I keep a couple of skateboards in the truck and have favorite skate places in SFO and Berkeley and Marin county.
The skaters were a great bunch, 30 year olds, a bunch of them had businesses producing skateboards. The attraction was a 3-1/2 mile downhill, newly-paved stretch from the state park down to the valley. I got there in the afternoon. That morning a bunch of them had been busted by the sheriff and warned to stay off the road. So the next morning we got up at sunrise, and made 3 runs (with a van taking us back up). 8 guys carving down this long deserted smoothly-paved hill in the early morning desert light. We were stoked. It was SO FUN!
I got a lot of feedback from my email on my friend Sherm. More recently Sherm and I discovered we were listening to the same music in the 50s. The Coasters, Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, Ivory Joe Hunter, Earl Bostic, all the Lieber and Stoller stuff, what was called rhythm and blues then. Last week I took him a Mills Brothers record from the 30s, Chess The Best of Howling Wolf, and Fats Dominos greatest hits.
Kevin Kellys Cool Stuff
In two issues of the Whole Earth Magazine, Kevin Kelly has returned it to its vital roots. Reviews of tools, books, gear, instruments, websites. For example I now have a beautiful brass microscope siting in our kitchen and Ive been picking up flowers and seedpods every day and looking at the wonderful world of stamens and pistils and shiny gossamer threads that are invisible to the naked eye. Ive got a bunch of other things, several books. The issues are Winter 2000, and the latest Winter 2002, Anyone who used the early Whole Earth Catalogs will find these useful.
At the end of this newsletter Im printing part of the latest Cool Tools email from Kevin concerning on-demand printing.
Music for layout inspiration:
1. My neighbor Chick, an aficionado of rare blues and gospel and country music recently told me to listen to Blonde On Blonde. Jesus, what a record! The poetry alone. It led me into a month or so of Dylan retrospective and getting live albums Id never heard: Rolling Thunder Review, and Bob Dylan Live 1966.
2. Roots & Lovers, a bootleg reggae compendium I got at an Amsterdam coffeehouse last year
3. Sonny Boy Williamson His Best, Chess Collection
Over and out. Come visit our booth at BEA/LA.
Cool Printing Tools From Kevin Kelly 4/23/03:
Books on Demand
Printing small quantities of books cheaply.
The authority of a book is astounding. Take text as it appears on your screen, print it on paper, bind between covers, and those words will get more attention and respect than they would on a website or stapled as a report. We dont know how long this cultural bias will prevail, but as long as it does, you can take advantage of outfits that print short runs of soft-bound books.
I recently produced a 120-page book that reproduced a sketch journal I kept while bicycling across America. I scanned the images and sent the printer the files of the completely designed book. They sent me back 200 copies at $3.23 per copy. And I could have ordered as few as 10 books. I did another small run of a book of weird drawings, this time only 100 copies. The curious can find it here:
This was not only cheaper than having them copied at Kinkos, it was more handsome and handy since the pages were perfect bound. I use them as gifts; they appear as authoritarian as any other book on your bookshelf.
Two recent advances are behind this service. The first is a high-speed Xerox document machine called DocuTech 6100 series, which prints rapidly (180 pages per minute) using inexpensive toner driven by computers. There is no ink, film or plate. This high tech machine is finding a home in clean rooms of printing plants; you feed it digital files; it looks like a long copy machine. For print runs of less than 1,500 copies, this process will be cheaper per book; beyond that its cheaper to print with ink. The advantage of this short-run zone is that there is little penalty for printing only a few books; the cost per copy remains the same, unlike in most print jobs. Technically, since you arent producing each book as you need it (thats true books on demand) but in very small lots, this type of printing is called Print Quantity Needed (PQN).
The second piece of equipment that makes this small-time publishing work is the binder, such as the Amigo Perfect Binder. Small lots of books can be squarely and instantly glued into paper-back books at very little cost, and with minimal skill.
The combination of both tools produces a book that is indistinguishable from one you would buy in a book store, yet can be produced in more personal quantities. (All Ive said applies to black and white printing. On-demand color printing is used primarily for the cover only.) Since Amazon now accepts any book with an ISBN number and bar code, anyone can truly be in the publishing channel. My on-demand books are sold on Amazon. (My other small book can be found here: http://www.bikereader.com/BikeReader/contributors/kelly/kk.html).
To capture the full economy of on-demand printing, you need to ready your material digitally. You should do any scanning that might be needed. The book should end up in a layout program such as Quark or InDesign, with font and picture files inserted. Aim to deliver the entire book on a CD. Any book with pages larger than a normal 8 x11 will be problematic. Theres a sweet spot in this technology at a page size of about 6 x 9, which is your standard trade paperback, so think that size. New York publishers use this technology all the time now to print the 300-500 advance copies (called gallies) that they send to reviewers. As the technology progresses they will eventually use something similar to print all the books.
Because a load of books can be heavy, delivery at the finish can be a problem. Local is good. If you find a great bargain out of state, it could be worth having them shipped to you by postal media rate.
The dream of going from a Word or Quark file to a printed book, in small quantities, for reasonable rates is here. But printers are not publishers. If you want to peddle your book yourself on Amazon (and why not?), youll need the additional advice of the Self Publishing Manual (see XX) to steer you through the procedure.
After some scouting in Calfornia for a reliable on-demand book printer I get the best quotes from DeHARTS; they printed my first two books.
DeHARTS Printing Services
3265 Scott Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95054
end of excerpt from Kevin Kelly
Lloyd Kahn, Publisher
Shelter Publications, Inc.