Here’s a short video of an “eco-village” that was defined as being “somewhere around Asheville”.

What is going on?  All these little shacks right next to each other….what’s up with that?  I remember seeing videos of field worker’s shacks on the sugar cane plantations that looked more inviting than these.  Are they for the commune members? For the eco-tourists who are sure to flock to this new utopia? I can’t figure it out.

There’s more to the village than these little shacks, but….

what’s up with all of this?

Here’s another video that I found after doing some more “Tubing”….

I have neighbors who quietly have been doing what these people are talking about doing….and they’ve been doing it for years.  They don’t live in yurts…they live in trailers and old houses (houses that were small out of economic necessity and because they could heat them…not small because of some “tiny home” trend).  They grew their own food because they needed to eat. If they grew organically it was because they couldn’t afford chemical fertilizer.

Here’s another video…looks like another tour of what’s going on up in Candler, NC….just outside of Asheville.  That’s where the retreat is located.

I used to be really into communes and alternative ways of living.

Now that I’m a parent I just want my kids to get a decent job that they can live with….and to have a good life.  Big adventure is great…but lets start with the basics, get that aspect covered, and then move into the big adventure.

I guess that’s what “maturity” does for you…turns you into the person on the other side of the conversation when your child is excited about going to live with the hippies on the mountain, the one who says “I don’t think that’s such a good idea…do your own thing, don’t align yourself with a commune…”

I shouldn’t criticize these guys.  They’re actually doing something up there…it’s just kind of weird to hear all the “touchy feely” philosophizing and crystal worshipping strangeness of living on the land while figuring out where to plop down and have a yoga session.

It’s just strange to me.

The thing that makes Asheville cool is the same stuff that makes it kind of weird….so I guess I shouldn’t complain about any of it. Western North Carolina’s a good place to live…I just like my space to be my own….no communes for me right now.

Here a link to their website…sacredmountainsanctuary.org


tiny, tiny, tiny….houses getting small

Here’s another short video about the “tiny house movement”.

The tiny house movement seems to be a nice and more socially acceptable bridge between living in a van down by the river and a typical large house…just takes a little creativity and the willingness to do with the bare essentials.

Maybe that’s the real trick to living with less….downsize the house until the only things it can fit are the things we really need.

Unless we build a 5,000 square foot warehouse in back of our tiny house to hold all of our belongings.

That’d be kind of crazy.

This movement is interesting to me.

Check out Lloyd Kahn’s blog for more great information on tiny houses and other alternative forms of building.

I couldn’t resist…here’s another short video about tiny houses and freedom

i had a dream


Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech had some weight and importance to it.  It was a major speech given by a major man.

When I wake up in the morning, and the first thing I say to my wife is, “I had a dream”….well…she hates doesn’t like it very much.  My dreams don’t make sense…it’s boring for her to hear somebody else’s dreams.

My dreams don’t carry the same weight as Martin Luther King’s dreams.

They’re often kind of goofy.

But if you think about it, Martin Luther King probably had his share of goofy dreams that didn’t make any sense, too.  He just didn’t try to share all of them with the world.

I’ve heard the phrase “lucid dreaming” before.  I guess that’s where a person is aware that they’re dreaming while the dream is going on.

I know I’m dreaming in the middle of my dreams fairly often…usually it’s kind of a relief to remember “it’s just a dream”….but my dreams are seldom lucid.

They just don’t make sense.

Last night, I dreamt that I was supposed to meet a good friend from High School at a concert close to where I used to live.

I took a wrong turn somewhere and before the dream was over I’d abandoned my old Volkswagen bus and was frantically scooting back from Atlanta on a wheeled djembe drum when I woke up.

I was wearing a pair of pink HiTec hiking shoes that I’d gotten as a hand me down from my sister. That part didn’t make sense, either…I don’t usually wear pink…but I remember that in my dream I told myself, “I can wear whatever I want…”.

It’s wacky.

You know….getting back to that whole Martin Luther King thought….I bet that he really did have a bunch of goofy dreams, too. He just didn’t try to share them with the rest of the world.

He might have tried to share them with his wife.  She might have told him, “OK, Martin…that’s fine…let’s just keep that one between you and me, though, OK?  It’s kind of weird.”

It’s not that he didn’t have weird dreams.  He was just judicious about what information he chose to pass on.

That’s a great skill to have…the ability to “self edit”.

This blogging thing is almost too easy in that way.  Type…Post, Type….Post, Type….Post….day in and day out I’m hitting buttons and putting words on a screen.

A really coordinated monkey with a few typing classes under his belt could do the same thing.

“Hit this button now, Mr. Chimpy…yeah, that’s right!!  Good boy…the “post” button…good!!  Send it all out into the cloud….good job, my simian compadre!”

Doing all this before anyone else is up guarantees that no one is going to “edit” me, either.

I’m a self directed loose cannon…ready to hit whatever inconsequential target I wasn’t really aiming at.

Now that I think some more about it, I want a bunch of goofy dreams.  Voluminous goofy dreams….a cornucopia of dangerously indecipherable dreams…DREAMS, DREAMS, DREAMS!!!

Bring on the weird dreams.  I’m ready.

Because in the midst of all those really strange dreams, I know I’m going to have at least one or two that are going to be the springboard to something great.

I can dream, can’t I?

That wheeled djembe thing sounds like an idea that could really get off the ground.

image from here.

dude with a beard singing a song

My oldest and first-born son has been into video games for a while.

Now he’s pretty into music.

When I wake up with a head full of mush, and the self-imposed responsibility of another morning blog post is staring me in the face, why not turn again to YouTube?

There’s room in my head for a little more mush.

There are a lot of dudes with beards singing songs on YouTube.

This is one of the talented ones.

He’s a pretty good “dude with a beard”.



what did he just say?

talking head

I was thinking about words again this morning.

Yesterday, I closed my post with the word “immolation”.

This morning, I woke up thinking about “emulation”.

I also thought about “emollient”.

That’s a pretty amazing thing to me….so many different words, so many different meanings.  That’s a lot of stuff to learn in a lifetime.

And the funny thing about it is how many words sound similiar…but have such different meanings and effects.

Like if we tell someone we love them it has a completely different effect than if we tell them that we loath them, even though the two words roll off the tongue with the same ease.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of a really subtle inflection in our choice of words and how we deliver them…so even the same words can have a different meaning depending on how we say them.

It’s all just some weird recipe…”lower the heat” or “misread the instructions” and we’re going to get some bad results.

How about the tribes who use a series of clicks and pops to talk to each other?  Are there masters of sarcasm in a language system like that?

Is there someone in the tribe who is constantly saying, “what did he say? What did you just click to me?! Oh no you didn’t!!”  click click, pop pop.

I’ve tried to be careful about what I say.  I’ve tried to be careful in my choice of words.  I’ve said things before that if I was fishing, I’d say to myself, “REEL IT IN!  REEL IT IN!  DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME?  I SAID YOU’VE GOT TO REEL IT IN!”

For something so ephemeral, it’s hard to get some things to fly back into my mouth and brain.

Some words seem to be boulder sized hail in a land of perpetual ice.

It’s just another bad wind that won’t float away…some dark firefly that someone’s captured and put into a Mason jar.

Because I think that’s really what I do…at least I seem to…put all the hurtful things that I’ve said or that other people have said to me into a clear container so I can look at them as frequently as I want to.

“Do you want to see my collection?  See….down at the bottom of the jar…all those dead things…yeah, that’s my collection.  It may not mean a lot to you, but it must be precious to me. Why else would I have held onto it this long?”

15 Carpenter Story

You can’t really fly a kite on a sour dead wind.  I can’t really enjoy my life with a Mason jar filled with regret and past transgressions.

Here’s the second part of that David Wilcox song.  It’s from a collection called East Asheville Hardware that he released in 1996.

16 Fearless Love

I don’t know…my intentions are usually good. But my bones get tired and my head starts to ache and soon I’m trotting out all the mean and coarse words I can muster.

Nothing really rough (usually) …but I could be kinder.

“Ideals” are easier first thing in the morning.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about the difference between “tiny fish” and “microfiche”.




PF-Albatross_1438672cI built a skateboard once when I was on the cusp of really turning old and brittle.

I’d found a skateboard truck…the part that attaches to the board and holds the wheels on…at a great price and decided to build a skateboard.

I was obsessed with surfing at the time…and I figured that skateboarding might be the closest I’d get to surfing for a while.

It’s strange how obsessions go.  I still think that surfing is pretty amazing.

I’m over any interest in skateboarding…or at least I’m more realistic about my chances of surviving an attempt to skateboard.

Anyway, I built this skateboard piece by piece…bargain by bargain…until I’d finished what turned out to be a fairly decent board.

And then I was too chicken to really ride it much.  The fear of cracking my head open was too big a hurdle to jump.

No double ollies with a twist for me.

Sometimes a blog post is like that skateboard…a word can be a springboard into something that can veer off the road at any time.

I woke up this morning thinking, “what the heck am I going to write about now?!!” and the word albatross popped into my head.


Now why would I think of that word?

In the Coleridge poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Mariner is forced to wear a dead albatross around his neck after shooting the bird with a crossbow.

The albatross is seen as being a sign of good luck, so when he shoots it down it’s an issue with the other sailors on board.

So that’s where we get the definition of albatross that explains that it’s a “worrisome burden…a hindrance to success”.

My subconscious must be working while I’m asleep.

Now that has to be a novel concept.

I suppose that I have my “albatrosses” that I carry around.

I think that there’s an app for that now.

Or at least a special sling or pouch or well designed carrier that helps to ease the burden.

Maybe that’s the thing about albatrosses…if you carry it long enough, it just becomes a part of you and you don’t notice the weight?

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m some sort of junior Woody Allen….full of neurosis and angst, nervous and apprehensive of his future.

I’m not like that.  I’m not completely like that.

And if I am like that, I try and keep a lid on it as well as I can.  My albatrosses are all figurative…they’re easier to hide that way.

I don’t know why I keep revisiting these old, dead issues, though.  I guess it’s just a part of how some of us are put together….feeling the need to figure out something that happened in the past.

All these dead issues that I trip over…the only thing keeping them alive is my tendency to pay them a visit more often than I need to.

Then again, it may be that I just liked the sound of the word “albatross”.

I don’t think that the dogs on the route can really understand me, but I know they like it when I say the word “bone”.

So maybe it doesn’t go any deeper than liking the sound of the word.

Tomorrows word might be “immolation”…that kind of rolls off the tongue.

Now I’ll just have to look up the definition and we’re off to the races.



studio ghibli laputa castle in the sky 1024x768 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_46
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Henry David Thoreau

So what happens if you slow down on your “castle building” because you just can’t remember how in the world people build proper foundations?

Or maybe you’re just scared?

Or maybe you think that you’re too much of a “realist”?

We’re re-doing a closet/storage area in our one bathroom.

When you have one bathroom for 5 people, it really needs to function as well as it possibly can.

My wife is putting together an Ikea concept…figuring out how to arrange the drawers and shelves and baskets in this upright shelving unit for maximum efficiency and aesthetic potential.

When I saw it, I said, “WELL…THAT’S GREAT… UNTIL SOMEBODY DECIDES TO CLIMB IT…” ( Our youngest is the only one who’d try something like that…but he’s very efficient at this point at making things exciting very quickly so it’s a “realistic” fear.)

Jenny was so mad at me…”You with all your positive thinking wannabe attitudes….why do you always do that?”.

I guess that I’m just scared a lot of the time.

That’s something to put on a résumé….”scared”.

Nobody tells the truth on a résumé .

It got me thinking…how do you bridge the gap between what you desperately want to be…brave and open to everything the world has to offer…and what you are…scared and “practical” and prone to rain on whatever parade you come upon?

How does that happen?

When you don’t start because you see the potential for a less than positive outcome somewhere down the road, what is to become of you?

What kind of mediocre life can you look forward to? What do look you look forward apprehensively to?

I am getting better.  Maybe they have a support group for recovering “realists”?

“Hello.  My name is Peter and it’s been 3,165 days since my last big dream. I’m a realist (i.e. pessimist).

“Hello, Peter!”

I’m not the kind of person who just wants to “drive it until the wheels fall off”.

I’m the one who wonders when was the last time the oil was changed.

But I do dream…snowshoeing into the blizzard, snow stinging my face, finally arriving at the cabin I’ve built…warming….eating…making sure everyone is safe.

Flip-flop, boardshorted…. down to the beach…wipe the sand off before I step back inside onto the tinted concrete floor, fresh fish on the hibachi…beach bikes out back next to the hammock trees.

The 66th day of a hundred day road trip….waking up with Jenny and the kids somewhere we’ve never been before.

Watching someone use a product I’ve invented that makes their life easier.

I dream.

I guess that maybe something I can work on is never trying to forecast what awkward thing might lay in wait for our projects on down the road.

What a killjoy I can be…even if I am just being “realistic”.

I have bridges to cross.

I have bridges to rebuild that I’ve screwed up the first time I went over them.

When someone’s built a castle, the least I can do is hold the ladder when they’re climbing.

And from the top of the ladder, if they listen really hard, they might hear me down at the bottom, holding tight to the lower rungs, quietly muttering….




do you know the way

If I ever got a chance to see this angle of San Jose, CA in 1968, it would have been from the backseat of our 1967 Ford Fairlane station wagon.

I probably would have been asleep…my sister Beth would have probably been asleep, too.

This is what I would have seen if I popped my head up to ask, “Why are we driving around?  What are all these lights?  Where are we?”

My parents probably would have told me to just go back to sleep…”We’ll explain in the morning…”

My parents didn’t make this movie….they had other things on their plates than driving around town with a super 8mm camera.

It’s interesting to see that some of it…even all these years later….looks familiar.

When I tell people that we lived in San Jose in the 1960’s, the common response is “well…it’s changed a lot..”.

Here’s another couple of videos of modern life in San Jose.  I guess it has changed some.

But what hasn’t changed?


Reclaim Detroit

Oh my goodness.

Don’t talk about the good things going on where it’s easy for good things to happen.

Talk about the good things that are going on where it seems impossible for something good to happen.

I think that early in the homesteading movement, it seems like land that no one thought might be good for anything was the land that was being given away.

Maybe Detroit needs to begin a homesteading program….live in, reclaim, rebuild…and get ownership of a piece of land in return for your efforts?

You look at some of the things that are going on in Detroit right now…things aren’t going so well up there…..it’s bankrupt!! How about that?  A major city….once a world power house…a titan of industry…now BANKRUPT. Holy Smokes….that’s amazing and sad and bizarre.

I’m not brave enough to move my family up to the Motor City.  I need a place out in the country…blue sky and nature…but there has to be a certain segment of the population with some moxie and the confidence that things can get a lot better than they are right now who are willing to take a leap of faith and try and save Detroit.

Maybe it’s just going to go down…I don’t know much about what it’s currently like up there  other than what I see on the news.  You really have to wonder what other city could go the way of Detroit if it does continue to fall, though.

Here’s another great video about growing food on abandoned land.  Pretty inspiring and amazing.