Picture Sundays: Doberman Chariots

“Ready for the race! Brutus of Quintre and his charge are ready for the sulky races, a regular feature of some of the South African sporting events.” Photos via The Doberman Insider. Now that we are without a car, it’s time for us to figure out alternative forms of transportation. Our late dog was a Doberman and I remembered a book we used to have about the breed that showed some unusual events that used to be held in South Afr...

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Saturday Linkages: Poison, Pee and Plagiarism

Birdhouse shaped like a Google Map icon. Via Dornob. For the birds Avian Accommodations: Google Map Pin-Shaped Birdhouses | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/avian-accommodations-google-map-pin-shaped-birdhouses/ … Thar she blows . . . Here’s to No-Blow Gardens | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2013/03/heres-to-no-blow-gardens.html … DIY Pure Salvage: 10 Eclectic Tiny Homes Built with 99% Scrap | Designs & Ideas on Dornob...

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We’re Car Free

Street art by Skullphone. Well, at least temporarily. Some idiot piloting a SUV sturdy enough to patrol the streets of Kabul rear-ended me last week. He was probably busy posting a Yelp review on his smart phone.  I’m still in pain and our car is totaled, but I’m thankful I’m alive. In the meantime Kelly and I have no car. Normally this isn’t much of an issue as I can get around by bike/public transit. But my neck and bac...

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Notes on Mark Bittman’s “Behind the Scenes of What We Eat”

Last week Erik and I went to see well-known food writer Mark Bittman speak on food policy. He spoke in a huge room in The California Endowment–and it was a full house. Afterward, Erik and I compared it to being in church. We were surrounded by people of the same faith, being told things we already know, and being reminded to be good. And I don’t mean that in a bad way! It never hurts to meditate on how to be better, to do more. Bitt...

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A Primitive Bow Workshop

...ithout breaking. A bow is actually a very complicated tool, something that should inspire respect for our distant ancestors. Paul Campbell author of an excellent book Survival Skills of Native California was along to co-teach the class and help us all shape our bows. The first step was to find some suitable wood. We used willow, a wood used by Native Americans in our region. It’s plentiful and makes an acceptable if short lived bow. Ash an...

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City Repair LA

Mark Lakeman stares down the new Bimini Street salamander. Portland architect and activist Mark Lakeman, founder of the City Repair movement, is in Los Angeles for a week of lectures and activities. Lakeman believes in actions that correct what he believes is our disassociation from nature and our alienation from each other. He’s a passionate opponent of the grid, the imposition of street networks and regimented thinking that he traces ba...

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Humanure Dry Toilet Made From a Milk Crate

Modern toilets take two valuable resources, water and nitrogen rich human waste, and combine the two to create a problem: sewage. In a dry or “humanure” toilet, you cover your deposits with a layer of non-toxic sawdust. Once the toilet is full you dump the contents into your outdoor humanure pile and compost the waste at high temperatures for at least a year. You can then use that compost as fertilizer for plants. The ubiquitous fiv...

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Keeping it Local

A depression ear local currency The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating article, Cash-Strapped California’s IOUs: Just the Latest Sub for Dollars on the history of IOUs and local currencies. It seems that Depression 1.0 spurred quite a few improvised currencies, including the “Minneapolis Sauerkraut Note”, for a good reason. Just as today, a lot of people want the rewards for our labor tied to tangibles rather than moneti...

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Apron Contest Winner

...e me laugh, so I had to choose her as our winner. Lots of people cook and craft, but Katie cooks and crafts with an irreverent and sassy sense of humor. My kind of girl. Her entry was rather long, so I’ll just give you the highlights. She said she would first roll around on the floor and wrap herself up in the apron like a “sexy burrito.” She cooks, of course. She even makes her own recipe books of tasty treats. In addition t...

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When the Crate’s Better Than the Chair

Steve Badgett of the design/art/architecture collective Simparch tipped me off to Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld’s set of chairs built out of crates, done back in the 1930s. As Rietveld put it, “A piece of furniture made of high-grade wood and manufactured completely according to traditional production methods is transported in a crate to avoid damage…no one has ever ascertained that such a chest embodi...

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