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Missive #263

“A room of one’s own: is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape?

When writer Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was an award-winning treatise on the borders between nature and contemporary life, the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. Now Pollan turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut property—a place in which he hoped to read, write and daydream, built with his two own unhandy hands. Most of Pollan’s books are about food and eating but this one about architecture was very interesting. I enjoy the way he ties the main subject of a book to side issues that relate to that subject. If you expect this book to be a ‘how to’ build a hut then you will be disappointed but if you want to read a well written book then give this a try. I’ll be reading more of his plants, cooking and eating books as time permits.

Invoking the titans of architecture, literature and philosophy, from Vitrivius to Thoreau, from the Chinese masters of feng shui to the revolutionary Frank Lloyd Wright, Pollan brilliantly chronicles a realm of blueprints, joints and trusses as he peers into the ephemeral nature of “houseness” itself. From the spark of an idea to the search for a perfect site to the raising of a ridgepole, Pollan revels in the infinitely detailed, complex process of creating a finished structure. At once superbly written, informative and enormously entertaining, A Place of My Own is for anyone who has ever wondered how the walls around us take shape—and how we might shape them ourselves.

A Place of My Own recounts his two-and-a-half-year journey of discovery in an absorbing narrative that deftly weaves the day-to-day work of design and building—from siting to blueprint, from the pouring of foundations to finish carpentry—with reflections on everything form the power of place to shape our lives to the question of what constitutes “real work” in a technological society.

A book about craft that is itself beautifully crafted, linking the world of the body and material things with the realm of mind, heart, and spirit, A Place of My Own has received extraordinary praise.” — Book promo @ goodreads.com

I went to Sierra Vista on Tuesday for my annual VA medical check up. Had a nice chat with my ‘doctor’ that said I had good labs see you next year. That was about all there was to the visit; she did listen to my heart and lungs and said they were working great.

On Wednesday it was back to the dentist in Naco, MX where I wanted to get the stitches removed and fit the temporary dental bridge that I’ll be wearing until I come back in October and get the permanent one. Only the molds for making the temporary were taken, I still have the stitches. I’ll be going back next week to get the stitches removed and then one more appointment to put in the temporary dental bridge.

I have now been ‘on the road’ so to speak for four weeks so thought I would report; this also provides me with some motivation. I selected Interstate 5 to be my walking goal benchmark which I can use Google Maps to give me a perceptible view of my progress. The overall goal being to walk the distance from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. You can see my progress by entering this 32.542602, -117.028420 in Google Maps @ Search Google Maps, click on Directions and enter this 33.646155, -117.735731 in the Choose Starting Point Box then press enter on your keyboard.

Trump spent $400 for milkshakes and chicken sandwiches at a Chuck-fil-A in Atlanta … whereas Biden spent $400 billion forgiving student loans. Which do you think bought the most votes?

The consumer economy as it now exists was a desperate expedient installed right after the Second World War to keep the US economy from churning out more goods than people would buy, and slumping back into the same sort of overproduction crisis that brought on the Great Depression. Like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, it’s had to keep running faster and faster ever since just to stay in the same place; the offshoring of American industry to sweatshops in the Global South and the accelerating crapification of consumer products are two of many gimmicks employed to keep the game going.

Advertising plays a central role in all this. The point of advertising is to whip up artificial desires, and then shroud some shoddy piece of consumer trash with a fog of delusions that insist that it and it alone can satisfy those desires.  That’s why websites have become so frantic about trying to force you to look at their ads; it’s not just that the internet depends on advertising revenue for its very survival, it’s that the entire system depends on keeping you stuck in that trance of frustrated craving, spending money you don’t have on things you don’t want, to fulfill desires that were never yours in the first place. That’s how the consumer economy has become the most important factor keeping millions of people pinned down in lives of misery, frustration, and boredom.

No other society in history has made an industry out of renting places for people to store their excess junk. — The Secret Of The Sages by John Michael Greer

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