books (261)

The English Cottage

This exquisite painting is from one of my treasured books, Old English Country Cottages, edited by Charles Holme, published in 1906. It’s a paean to the English cottage, with wonderful pen and ink drawings by Sidney R. Jones, as well as 14 paintings (such as this one) interspersed throughout the 168 pages. I picked up a tattered copy in London in the early ’70s. It’s apparently been recently reprinted, but it looks as if there are copies of the original available from Abe Books for about $30-$40 (from the UK).

Right now, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis came on Sirius radio, such a lovely song. It’s 50 years old.

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A Whole New Octave

Years ago I was in the Adolph Gasser photo store in SF and a bike messenger came in. He told the guy behind the counter he’d just had a baby. “It’s a whole new octave, man,” he said. (He was a musician.)

I think of this phrase whenever I’m about to change directions, like about now:

I feel like I’ve finished a cycle with my 7 building books, from Shelter in 1973, up through Small Homes in 2017, each book with over 1,000 photos. I’m working on a new book, to be called something like Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead. I ought to get it out by the end of 2018. Then a new direction.

Small books

I have a bunch of maybe-not-for-prime-time books that I want to do. After publishing Driftwood Shacks, an 86-page digitally printed book, I realized that this and other books I want to do are for friends, probably not for bookstore distribution. I want to do these books without worrying about sales, “marketing.” The next one, a shrunk-down copy of a scrapbook I put together 25 years ago, hand-lettered, hand-bound, original 11″ by 14″, 48 pages, called Pop’s Diner, about a trip through the American southwest, hot springs — jeez, I’ve written this all before … us old guys…

I have 200-300,000 photos I’ve shot over the years. A great thing about Google Photos: you upload all your photos with Google Photos, then you can go in and do a search for “barns,” or “Baja” and Google Photos will come up with just those photos. Man! How does the computer tell a barn from a house? Beyond me.

Subjects of these books: barns, Baja California Sur, trips in Southeast Asia, motorcycles, facsimiles of scrapbooks I’ve put together over the years, and yes: architecture. Have I said this before?

I’m going to get the homestead book done and then do some of these smaller ones.
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Wednesday Morning Fish Fry

I seem to be in a period of dicking around with extracurricular pursuits. I’ve been playing the jug and my box bass today along with a CD of The Memphis Jug Band, recorded in the 1920s. These guys preceded Robert Johnson. Jug, kazoo, harmonica, vocals. It’s all there, blues in rudimentary form; I play the jug with sliding notes, like Jab Jones does here:

Usually I play the jug like the Mills brothers did with their voices, with a plucking sound.… hey, listen to the next one, Blues in the Bottle by the Jim Kweskin Jug band.… My friend Louie got me started with a blowgun he made; I bought some darts and have been practicing with a target outside the office.… The little book we just did, Driftwood Shacks, opens up a whole new octave for me with books; I don’t think they’re very saleable, but they are fun to produce, and can be done at a reasonable cost. I love giving books away, not having to sweat marketing, etc. If we can keep the machinery rolling here, I think I can do a couple of these little books each year.… I am looking forward to doing one on my 12 years exploring Baja California Sur…

Been gathering seaweed, drying it, grinding it into powder/flakes, and putting it on just about everything… Am starting to go clamming seriously, both for littleneck clams (cockles), and the deep-in-the-mud horseneck clams; clam broth, steamed clams, clam pasta, and (with the white meat of horsenecks), clam cakes… I’m working on a garden chair made out of old split fence posts… Also fiddling around making abalone shell neck pendants; dust from the cutting, grinding, and polishing of abalone shell is a serious lung problem, so I’ve got a dust collector that attaches to my shop vac, and just got a grinding wheel with a water trough from Grizzly Tools… Our homestead is working pretty well; we’ve been on this half-acre for 47 years now; new batch of baby chicks coming in a couple of weeks; this time, Rhode Island Reds and Auracanas, both heavy layers; I’ve had enough of the beautiful, but not-so-productive birds. Will however probably keep the little Silver Seabrights, they are so beautiful… Taking off tomorrow for the Rebuild Green Expo in Santa Rosa Friday, Feb. 23rd., for people rebuilding after the fires… Over and out…

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The People of Kau by Leni Riefenstahl

After our duck dinner Thursday night, Louie and Titch started looking at this book, which I had pulled out of the bookshelf a week before. We all started looking at it. The photos were stunning. We were fascinated. The photographer obviously had close and unusual rapport with these beautiful people. Used copies of the book are available online for $18-20.

Leni Riefenstahl was a very controversial artist — a dancer, swimmer, filmmaker, and photographer who is perhaps most famous for having produced The Triumph of the Will, which was used for propaganda by Hitler and the Nazi party in World war II. You can read about her on Wikipedia,

In a way, it reminds me of people I know, say high school and college friends who are Trump supporters. The latter fact doesn’t mean they are no longer my friends. People can be a combination of qualities. I can resonate with some people on many things, yet be on completely a different wave length on other subjects. Go figure.

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On the Road // On the Beach in Sonoma County

I took off from home about noon yesterday, on my way north on Hwy One to Pt. Arena to hang out with with my pal Louie in Pt. Arena and environs.

I’m in midst of publishing 64-pg. book, “Driftwood Shacks,” and about halfway up the coast, spotted a nicely symmetrical tipi-shaped beach shack from a cliff. Whoa! Totally timely. I climbed down the cliff and discovered a strung-out village of maybe 15 beach shacks over a mile and a half, perfect day after rains, good surf, jogging along beach, gulls, turkey buzzards soaring, beach vibes rich in chi.

I think my book just grew another dozen pages. Will be out before year’s end. Digital printing by Ingram’s Lightning Source. Color, 8 by 8”, probably $20. This is a shot of my computer screen this morning.

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