Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thank you Sam, Jesse and Jennell

Thank you for being some of our favorite neighbors ever. Your gentle and fun and loving energy has been instrumental in creating our very special little neighborhood vibe.

Best of luck in Chicago and please visit and stay in touch. We miss you already.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eau de West Oakland, 2.

There's forty dollar water that comes from under the sea, from "a freshwater iceberg that melted thousands of years ago and, being of different temperature and salinity to the sea water around it, sank to become a lake at the bottom of the ocean floor. The water has been collected through a 3000ft pipeline off the shores of Hawaii."

There's water from various volcanoes, aquifers, glaciers and whatnot, and of course the infamous tapwater of the town of Voss in Norway, which is bottled in perfume-bottle like, heavy, unwieldy containers and sold to unsuspecting Americans. The townspeople of Voss are annoyed because they now have to purchase their drinking water from the next town, but like three of them have made bucketloads of money from this scheme.

According to The Guardian, "a handful of five-star Los Angeles hotels now employ water sommeliers to advise on the best water accompaniment to spiced braised belly pork or fillet of brill with parmentier of truffled leek."

There's got to be water under West Oakland, and money to be made from digging a well, harvesting and packaging it. George Clinton Water! The Funky Choice. Lead, chromium and nickel particles filtered out by the latest in double reverse osmotic purification techniques. Drink it and unleash your positive light, in these uptight times! Let's get satisfied!

Water theme snagged from bldgblog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hannibal Erudite had a Farm

Hannibal's chickens had a secret: they could actually fly. By night, they would cross vast distances, from Oakland to Krasnojarsk or Tasmania and back, occasionally laying eggs in strangers' chicken coops or in the nests of altogether different birds.

Hannibal Erudite knew his chickens' secret but never let on, not even to the chickens. He carefully hatched new flying chicks from their eggs and sometimes experimented with different types of feed or vitamins to see if the chicken's behavior would change. Nothing had any effect on the nightly flights, except Hannibal's dancing. Sometimes at night Hannibal would put on Michael Jackson videos and dance to them by himself. The chickens would stay home on those nights. They would gather behind his windows and french doors and look on, clucking and nodding to the beat, watching a human attempt to fly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My House is a Parasite

Architect Somnath Ray has designed this concept: buildings that grow like fungi on other buildings. The "para-city" lives on its host in the negative spaces of a city.

I think this would vastly improve the silhouette of the Oakland skyline.

Spotted on bldgblog.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shaman Child

My godson's sister who is four is a shaman. Since she was born it has been obvious that she is connected to other worlds.

She doesn't look at you, she looks through you. I don't mean in that way that babies do because their eyes can't focus. I mean she can see what's behind you, really behind you, in the past and in dreams.

When a fly sits on the side of her plate of dessert, Taimi has a conversation with the fly, her fly friend. She feeds the squirrels and she takes the lambs on walks. Luckily, she lives on a farm where she gets to interact with lots of animals. Luckily, she has parents who understand when she has to run off into the forest to yell at the trees.

Taimi has been given a medical diagnosis that is somewhat irrelevant to the fact that she has an extraordinary guardian spirit and has been called to one of the most difficult lives imaginable. Her family is blessed to have an extraordinary child, but they will also be challenged in ways most parents never will be.

This all sounds like new agey nonsense, and it's difficult to explain how I can believe it and hate new agey nonsense at the same time.

It's a Finnish thing.

Finland Still Has Groove... 28 years later

Urban Hick Utopias

Empty warehouses, empty lots, toxic businesses, West Oakland, blah blah. Why can't it all just be verdant farmland?

No, really. High-tech greenhouses that maximize space usage, generate their own power, collect rainwater, host their own bumblebees and require hardly any chemicals, are already operating at full blast in Camarillo, CA. Houweling Nurseries operates a space age farm that employs 450 permanent employees.

"Virtually nothing is wasted in this ecosystem. Workers have dug a four-acre pond to store rainwater and runoff. This water, along with condensation, is collected, filtered and recirculated back to each of the greenhouses. That has cut water use to less than one-fifth of that required in conventional field cultivation. Fertilizer use has been reduced by half. There are no herbicides and almost no pesticides, and there is no dust."
It would beat aluminium processing, right?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No, really. How Finland got its Groove Back

How Finland got its Groove Back

The Harmonization of Dandelion Ploff

Severed heads bothered Dandelion nightly. They floated in the air above his bed with their tongues hanging out and their eyes half open and would not let Dandelion sleep.

Was it advisable to try to engage them in conversation? To feed them? Kick them? Seek the help of an exorcist or psychiatrist? Dandelion, in the end, decided that his experience in the choir at his church was what was going to be most useful.

The next time the severed heads appeared, Dandelion taught them the harmonies to La Marseillaise, and found that they were able to pronounce French most admirably. Allons, enfants, belted out the heads, and many more songs thereafter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Imaginary Houses

I have several imaginary houses in West Oakland. Some of them are real houses that I have refurbished and decorated in my imagination, and some are completely nonexistent. This is the foundation of one of my imaginary houses. It's a very fabulous container house, and it looks a lot like this.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Consonant Catcher

These ingenious devices, installed on a roof, catch consonants. They capture extraneous consonants in mid-air, chop them, send them inside the building down those pipes, and the consonants are then compressed into brick-size packets, ready for shipping into the Czech Republic.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Do you think furniture grows on trees?

Austrian designers mischer'traxler have made a solar-powered machine that spins spools of thread into an incredible selection of furnishings. Depending on weather, light, time of year, and other environmental factors, their color, size and shape varies.

The spinning motion of the spool is dictated by the amount of sunlight, so during cloudy winter days the wrapping motior is slower and the resulting pieces denser, smaller and heavier. Each piece is made during one day, and harvested at night.

Spotted on Inhabitat.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thanks, neighbors!

Thanks everyone who showed up for the West Oakland Toxic Woes house party! Not to mention the afterparty on the roof, which we will not mention.
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