oregon home

the magazine ´oregon home´is doing a small feature on the kitchen i designed, and worked on with my friend matt kaylor. it is coming out in the march-april issue. i´ll create a part of the website for press, since i´ll hopefully get a little more, of the good kind. also a section for links. bueno.

concrete in mexico

it´s funny the things one notices about the world after ageing a little. i came to mexico sometime in the spring of 2000. i noticed people a lot. poverty, situations, people begging, smoking, eating… the weather, the land. this time around, i can´t help noticing the structures. everything is made out of concrete. i can´t get over it. tons of buildings with cinderblock and mortar roofs! an earthquake would wreak havoc here. so i have to practice little meditations of giving up and surrendering before falling asleep in the concrete hotel room. i guess mortar and lime and aggregate are cheap here. it looks like most of the re-bar is cut and tied by hand, as well as concrete mixed by hand or with small mortar mixers, towed behind trucks and sometimes rick shaws. the creature quality of the building is charming and magical. colors of true pigment and deep intensity… but not a whole lot of thought or care put into them. yesterday, however, i saw a couple of homes that had been designed, thought about and well executed. they were so remarkable in their situations that i´m going back to do a photo study of them today. i´ll figure out soon too how to upload photos to this blog. if the buildings are not concrete, they are often made of palm wood, at least where we are in the yucutan… and palm roofs. that´s an incredible technology as well. it insulates from the heat quite well and is a completely bitching water barrier. afternoons here often bring torrents of rain and one is dry and content in the little palm building. i like the palm roofs much better than the concrete ones. they are light and easily replaceable as well as inexpensive. i don´t understand the concrete. i guess wood is prohibitively expensive here. i have seem some really neat full hardwood trees washed ashore on the little beach near our hotel. it would be wonderful to harvest those for a building. they are beautiful and strong. i´m working on a piece of writing about concrete, so i´ll certainly include mexico in there. other cultures, of course, are quite adept with it as a building material, like the japanese… but i think few work as slapdash as these mellow peoples here. for example, in the hotel room we´ve got right now, there is not one square corner and a huge load bearing pillar stands in a room that is 14 feet by 10 feet, separating the two beds. ?? but they get away with it somehow? another nice building feature is that there are large cisterns of water on many roofs, painted black, that warm in the day´s heat and provide the soul source of hot water, or so i imagine. very good. also lots of wind generators on roofs as well as solar panels. in this sense, this poor little region is much further advanced than the stubborn americans. they just need a little design. more soon.

new year

happy new year everyone! i never really understood the business about resolutions, but this year i decided to make one: to be clear and intentional. so far this year i’ve been pretty good. i went to starbucks (i had a gift certificate) this morning with the intention of getting something to eat. i hadn’t been there in a long time and was surprised to find that all they have for snacks are pastries and doughnut type things and, of course, the bagel. this selcetion did not meet my expectation, so, resolved, i left without buying anything. i am also going to work on being more resolved in some other areas of my life. we finished up with our kitchen remodel, so i’ll be posting picutres within the month. a portland/oregon magazine is coming monday to take pics of the project. i’m feeling hopeful about that. my sister and her husband (tom) have now moved to portland. it’s very nice to have them here. i am therefore sad to leave for seattle so shortly. more news: i may be going to new orleans to work on deconstructing a building in the downtown area that was affected by the hurricane. i will keep you informed about the progress of that operation. books: i’ve been reading some good books lately: one, i just finished up called “the natural philosophy of love…” whose title i didn’t understand fully until close to the end of the book. it’s by remy de gourmont. very worthwhile; it has just about the right ratio of science to completely unbased opinion; he goes through so much of the natural kingdom and its sexual behaviors that it makes your head swim, plants, insects, fish, amobae, monkeys, women, etc. also, i’m reading some poems written by my doctor friend, michael, called “straight c’s”… all commencing with a “c” word: casserole, cross, cucumber, cement, etc. please let me know if you want more information. who are you, anyway? in addition: as always, “la gaya scienza” by friedrich nietzsche for my bathtub time. and: a great short story collection by t.c. boyle called “after the plague”… perhaps one of the more consistent, sustained books of totally wicked borderline evil stories, reminiscent of roald dahl’s adult work mixed with o’henry, you know, with real clincher endings. so; so. i’m also continuing to read “crossing the rubicon”… i’m pretty sure the republicans don’t read this so i’m probably safe. the guy who recommended the book told me not to pay for the book with a debit/credit card because, quote, “they might find out you purchased it.” “they”: the ubiquitous they, the evil ones, watching everything you do, good and bad. it is quite serious and very unoptomistic about the outlook for our great country. it’s a little bit of a conspiracy thing, but quite enthralling. i recommend it. anyway, more soon. lots of love and happy happy new year.