Thursday, June 21, 2007


Here's a flickr set of the port of oakland as seen from the ferry ride between Alameda and San Francisco (I take it most every day to get to work and Arwen takes it quite often to come visit). Goods movement is not the greatest thing for the planet, mostly because the ships that sail internationally are not regulated (too hard to enforce?), but it is fascinating and I am learning about it over time. Stilgoe (Arwen's professor from back in the day) says that one can learn a lot from looking at the place around you and asking questions. In this way I have learned (among other things): where Monrovia is and why it is called Monrovia, which bird is a coot and which is a grebe, which shipping company is the biggest in Hawaii, and I have watched over months some of the process of steel recycling at Schnitzer Steel (my favorite because of an old sign they have by the side of the channel that shows a crocodile munching on three cartoon cars).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Drip irrigation

I saw this in the neighbor's yard—a very cheap drip irrigation system. This way the water has time to soak deep into the soil and you don't have to stand there watering for an hour a drip at a time or have all the topsoil get hard or run off. All you do is drill out a hole in a plastic bucket, put a stick through the hole and then fill the bucket with water so that moisture seeps out slowly through the cracks and fibers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Plant Gallery

On my way to and from work I pass a long, empty and abused parking lot. People fish from its edge, which abuts the channel between Oakland and Alameda (we look over the channel at the Port of Oakland, one of the busiest ports in Northern California). From drainage pipes that dot the curb sprout weeds that began to look like gallery pieces to me after a while, kind of like natural bouquets because a few plants were isolated against a neutral background. These photos hardly do it justice. They were taken at sunset, which is now at about 8:30.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Painting with Stuff

This fairy-tale spread in Le Figaro (I'm guessing this is the French equivalent of the New York Times Style section) completely caught my imagination. Not because I'd actually want my dining room to look this way, but because every single item on the table and in the room is literally dripping with such exquisite attention. Overall, the look is a bit much for my taste, but I love the idea that everything in a room should have as much attention paid to it as everything else. It takes the idea of the still life to the next level: in a photograph or painting, each object is hallowed by the glance, made important by its inclusion. Without being documented, it's not always clear why things are the way they are. In the vein of living as art that I am currently pursuing, since making art as art didn't really work out so well, choosing each object in a room is like painting with stuff. Plus, now I really want to figure out how to crochet that damn chair.