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, mph


Blue Moon

Sitting in Garths Tee-Pee talking about oil painting techniques at a critical juncture in Rabbits post-acid morning, he asks if we are “GD’s” and spends the rest of the day personally unraveling the mystery of our interest in building. This nor the full length title lend itself well to a proper desert pre or post fix:

  • Piano Man Dan
  • Pool Man Dave
  • Solar Man Dan
  • Thomas the Potter
  • Stefan the Mechanic
  • Kenny and Laurie the Elders
  • White Dog and Journey
  • Eggman and Turbo

A few days from the blue moon at pappys watching poolside covering harvest moon, costumed in orange felt ponchos, cowboy boots, shirtless and sun hats.

We return from LA after Olga’s dinner and performance at the squat.

  • Mint julips
  • Burgoo stew
  • RC Cola

The bank takes control in 2 weeks. The front house will be painted gold.

A day in the van with no AC and a pile of free wood from Meredtih raising the van floor 3feet. I think about the show at Mateos apt.

  • Ann Romney
  • Shelter
  • Politics of space
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Trampled Earth
  • Dreamers of Guantanamo
  • Housing Strategies

Not sure what awaits at the site for the morning. Waiting to hear back from the welders. Trying to connect with David or Josh. David has left his post at starbucks and headed north to the OC. We text for the first time.

Guys I am in OC 2nite – back sometime 2morrow

Josh is new to the property and visited the site last week. He’s from Los Feliz and working on a film about information and the way it travels.

[Interested]

We talk about digital natives, alienation, Socrates and the market, Adam Curtis. He is really stoned. He is staying for a bit doing “research”. Hope he has endured the week.

Perseids, Pipe

That’s a nice healthy one.

Yeah, I’ve been watering it.

[Crickets]

I think I saw one.

A thick one?

That sounds like a big pop, that sounded loud.

[Crickets]

It looks cool dried out.

I don’t remember if we planted that one there or not.

But it looks pretty cool.

Somebody probably got it from somewhere else and brought it here.

[Crickets, Pocket Noise, Unintelligible]

What do you think?

[Crickets, Pocket Noise, Unintelligible]

I think you’d want it closer.

Well cause we do the dishes right here.

If you want, you could go so far and you could just do a 45, a 45, a 45 and put a spicket down there.

[Chuckle]

Since you do your dishes over there.

It won’t be that much more pipe, cause whatever pipe would get ya here would go down there.

You might need one a half more pipe.

And then later on you can just split it go into the houses?

Yeah

See cause, if you’re coming like this, and then you 45 and 45, and you wanna put a thing here, and then tee off here and just 45 and come to it.

I like 45’s more than 90’s, and when it comes to the spicket I use a 90 straight up, and then a 90 threaded for the spicket head.

Otherwise, underneath all them boulders is 45’s, I don’t use 90’s.

When I was working with Randy over there on his line, I didn’t think he was gonna be that anal at all about his pipe not being slightly bent at all. So I just did a nice even curved thrench where it was easy to dig, and believe me I was hitting a lot of rock, and he out in 90’s. So every section is a SLAM, SLAM, SLAM.

Then he blamed me for doing a crooked thing.

[Crickets]

(WHOA!, WHOA!)

Well, you guys left your rebar over there.

Yeah

It’s always been too hot to grab it, we’re gonna grab it soon.

I can do it tomorrow morning when I get up.

Where do you want it?

Right here is fine, we gotta start bending.

You’re gonna get the bends tomorrow.

There’s gonna be a wall there?

Yeah all the way back.

Cool, then you got your stairs going up to that rock?

We haven’t really figured out that space yet.

[Crickets]

That’s a different section that I noticed.

[Crickets]

Cool, it’s coming along.

Laverne, but Shirley

That’s what it’s called?

I thought so.

I love that show.

Well yeah , they did Happy days and Squig Makowski.

That was his name, they always call him Sqiggy.

You gotta pay attention.

The great outdoors

We return to the site after two days in town working on the rig for the solar. We run into Rabbit at Home Depot, he says Don chased the mother bear and its two cubs away and fired warning shots. She chased him back down the hill and he retreaded.

We arrive to the caves and our site has been trashed. Terrorized. Everything is smashed, leaking, eaten. The cooler is emptied, every bin is torn open, jar lids are open and bulk foods line the cave floor. The tool bin is ripped open and a hole poked through an oil bottle leaked oil all through out the tools. Our library box is full of cayenne pepper and trail mix and our books scattered among the mud and food. Sternberg Press’ The Nightmare of Participation has two bites through it, Annie Albers: On Design is doused in olive oil and quinoa, and pages are torn out of Graphic Design History in the Writing (1983-2011). A claw hole through our first line of defense, the air horn, is the final insult.

Seems like it was just the two cubs. There are paw prints across one of our mattresses in the cave, they are smaller, cub size.

Morale is low.

We talk to Garth about the bears. Supposedly bears have become more active in the area in the last few years. They come down from Big Bear looking for food and water. Growing population and environmental changes push them further south every year. Our new neighbor Scott Pinkmountain said a trailer nearby was terrorized last week. The previous tenants walked in a bear in their kitchen, sitting on her hind legs with a jar of sugar in hand.

We spend the rest if the day cleaning the mess and counting our losses. A baby scorpion is seen gathering Chia pellets under the solar batteries, which were fortunately spared. We decide to sleep down in Nicks house for a few weeks.

Brian and Patrick the local welders come by to survey the site for the 2nd level support beams. We’ll need help Welding these to the rock. They are optimistic.

  • Marine fade
  • Food pyramids
  • Preamp technology
  • Clan of the cave bear
  • The uncook

Quasi-vegan afro futurist

Quasi-vegan afro futurist was the last thing I heard before leaving L.A. on the way back to the desert. Almost a month away for summer travel, New York, Massachusetts, Montreal, Sturgis, Salt Lake City, et al.

First things first. A 90 degree turn for Garths large storage fridge that hasn’t cooled anything for years. Organizing canned goods feels like the right logical progression after lifting a 300 pound cement sink into place. Sean “Manifest”(there are too many Seans in the world), has really taken a hold up top and seems to have filled the power vacuum left in Nick’s wake. He has been kind and bossy so far but seems to mean well.

We spend the morning helping with the kitchen and then return to the site. Decision is made we’d be more productive making a to-do list at the saloon. We run into Ted Quinn, Andrea and friends, and watch the local open mic night.

A momma bear and cubs were recently spotted on the property, and smashed up our closest neighbors Emanuel and Kilos’ camp. We sleep up top in Josiah’s rock since he’s still away for the summer. It’s stuffy; we talk about ventilation and pivoting windows.

The next morning we feel inspired and give a much needed redesign to our own temporary kitchen in the caves. Space and level ground are limited so this takes most of the day but we are rewarded with ease of use and falafels. Some scrap wood from the junk pile makes a nice two-tiered shelf and a slab of granite, the perfect counter top. A cinder block and wood shelf to hold the bulk jars reminds us to think about Enzo Mari. C’est la vie to the days of bins, and living in fear of the ominous critter. Mice, lizards, snake, bear: the kitchen is now open.

In the morning we clear dead cactus from the upper area, and Manifest shows us his Bedouin tent compound, boasting various tapestry hangings,  half a sword, an inch-long splinter he once had, and wings from a dead owl he found on the side of the road preserved with sage in a pelican box. Webs, networks, the ‘burn’, global communities, and how technology is continually squandered by corporate interest.

We pack sandbags the rest of the day back at our site.

Al (the nomad)

Some of it is brand new and never been aboard, all right, so you gotta find a place for it.

Well, there’s only a certain amount you can fit in there.

I used to think so, I’ve been living in that place for 33 years, and uh, overtime I stop I get more stuff.

Do you try and narrow yourself down to the least amount of things needed to survive?

Yeah, I’ve tried, I haven’t succeeded very well.

Where do you live the other 4 or 5 places a year?

Well, I spend most of the winter down in Salt Lake city, Some of it in Quartsite…

(Want some trail mix with Goji berries in it?)

(Yeah, thanks)

Then in the Summer time I go uphill and or North..uh, depending on how far north. Last summer I went up to Bellingham Washington, and then most of the summer in Southern Oregon. but I don’t know what I’m doing this summer.

It’s been about 42 years.

What was the reason for living nomadically in the first place?

Well, ah, buying a piece of land just didn’t seem like a viable position.

[Wind interference]

Cause the government can always come and take it away from you. They’ve gotta give you a little notice, but the government can come and take away your land at any moment. For any reason or another reason.

They could do the same with the trailer right?

Well, they gotta find me. A piece of land you can’t move, they know right where it is, and you’ve got to pay taxes on it every year, of course you gotta pay taxes on a vehicle too, but if you don’t like the taxes where you happen to be, with a piece of land it’s just tough shit, with a truck you can just go somewhere else.

Do you ever miss having a home?

I have a home, it travels.

Uh, At times I get…It was a little worrisome in the first couple of years, but now I only get nervous when the truck doesn’t work right. When I’ve got some reason that I can’t get the truck up and moving, then I get real nervous.

[Chewing, Birds]

Yep, that’s home. When I close that door, that’s my fortress.

(You ate all the hazelnuts, I picked them all out for you)

Do you run on solar?

No way you can store enough power to run that vehicle. Even with the best small car you can only go 100 miles. You just can’t store enough to go very far. Now if somebody gets hydrogen really viable, then that might be a way to store enough power. You know you can turn water into hydrogen, but hydrogen is hard to store. You know you see gases in these steel cylinders, well hydrogen will leak through the steal. Hydrogen just can’t be stored economically.

Does it need to be used immediately?

Well, not immediately, but like I said it will leak out of the steel of a cylinder, and the only way you can store it is under high pressure.

(I already fed everyone)

[Rooster]

There are some kinds of compounds that you can store Hydrogen in without the pressure but I don’t know anything about that, and I don’t think they are viable options yet. if they were we’d be using it. But ah…

Can you work out on the road?

Work? Quit cursing around me.

[Laughter]

How do you make money to keep running?

Well, I get a little bit of money from social security, and I have a little bit of money from a stock portfolio that Momma left me when she passed on. Up until that I ah, most recent thing I did was manicure pot. And I made pipes and did carpentry work and just about anything that came along.

But you have to stop to work?

(It fell in the water dish)

Well I don’t actually spend much time traveling, probably not more than 5 or 6 days a year traveling. If I get tired of the scenery, I just got find some more wallpaper. Traveling is too expensive these days with gas what it is. Garth, your half and half is in the freezer. It got a little warm in the car, so I stuck it in the freezer to give it a quick chill.

Well it’s been a lot quieter since we moved all those roosters.

By the spring?

Well they probably won’t last long unless we get them some shelter.

 

Loose Ground

A day in town to collect containers, tools, smoothies, etc. Not sure what awaits at Garth’s. The trailer off the 62 is sold and the old guy has a brand new line up, shined and price to roll out the door. Someone else’s black mold. It’s 104 degrees, the heat from the open windows feels like  waves of electric blankets. Hit by a cannonball. The summer heat wave begins.

Red Red and Krissy are in town from Montreal for the next few days. This week: leveling and grading both floors, building up the back retaining wall on the lower house, drilling holes and testing the steel supports, sneaking frequent swims at Mentalphysics, setting up the temporary office and kitchen in the caves, digging, grunting, farting. Had to call the bank to authorize the charge from Backwoods Solar, 1000 kilowatts on its way to Fontana, for pick up and install next week. Stop to send Jon PDF’s from Natural Sisters.

  • Dirt and document
  • The void
  • Yves Klein
  • Your bobos are contained and held
  • Small talk as iambic pentameter
  • Freud and Jung
  • The crack and the darkness
  • Moral barometer and regret
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Myth of security
  • Loose ground
  • Like it messy

Sneak swim at Mentalphysics.
Flute music and deep breathing on rocks overlooking the sunset over the valley

First night up top in the rocks. Found half of a steel barrel in a cave down from the site which someone welded a cross beam too at some point. With Nick’s leftover grill fragments we start tonight’s compartmentalized hobo stew. Bagged the first sand bags and made a bench for the night. Spirit is chasing rabbits. Stars light up the sky, the light from the fire flickers on the interior rock walls. Baby potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, and brussel sprouts in bags of foil on the fire.

  • Montreal reminiscing
  • Tibetan Book of the Dead
  • Gaspar Noe
  • Jalal Toufic and the angel in the room
  • Affective reality
  • Individuate
  • Catastrophic molting
  • Terry Riley

A small cute brown mouse is present in the new kitchen. The plates are in the cave. Jung claims heartbreak is essential. Talk of trying to finish the library at the same time as the living spaces.

Kale with roasted sweet potatoes, yogurt and cauliflower, and potatoes with onion and taiziki.
First night in the caves

  • Seduction of text
  • Concrete narcosis
  • Wit is for strangers
  • Gates of Babylon
  • Immortality
  • Cradle of europe
  • Subjectiveness of passing

Post-rock

Again, you guys laugh at me but…

You laugh at me.

When did we laugh at you?

When I told you I could move this fucker.

You know Neil the one thing about my memory, is I’ve got a brilliant memory. I could tell you what happened 3 weeks ago.

What happened 3 weeks ago?

Are you testing me or are you just trying to be a smart ass?

I’m genuinely curious.

A lots happened, what day.

This day 3 weeks ago.

So today is?

Tues.

Thurs?

Tues.

No it’s Wednesday.

No it’s Tuesday.

Yesterday was Memorial Day, Monday.

Oh wow.

So Tuesday 3 weeks ago.

Yeah, Tuesday 3 weeks ago.

That was the week of the party, with the rave, remember?

No that was 2 weeks ago.

2 weekends ago?

No it’s not, we had the Yoga this weekend, last weekend we had nothing, the previous weekend we had nothing, and the previous weekend we had the party.

What’s the date on that?

That was the 15th or 16th.

That’s 2 weeks ago.

Yeah, and the party was?

I don’t know, on the 3rd?

Oh, yeah so 3 weeks ago.

I’m telling you guys I’m not a fucking nut.

We never said that.

Sometimes I wonder.

You just asked me to prove that I wan’t a nut, so yes you were.

You’re testing me, and you’re fucking gonna get it, you’re gonna make me fucking dinner.

[silent]

So the merchants of rock lore…

You gonna sit here all afternoon?

Let’s go pinch some of Emanuels wood and make a fire.

There’s a bunch over here.

Yeah.

  • Hammer Drill
  • Spray Foam
  • Chisel Bit
  • Laser Level

Excrement

A 100 galloon and a 55 galloon is

more than enough for just the three of you

A day shitting?

A week

And you empty it out?

No, it empties itself out.

So if the garden is back here below, then you would want to do the methane digester right above it?

Ok, pause.

The first tank has a drop sleeve in it, where it comes from your toilet, you lift that drop sleeve everyday and whatever is in your toilet you collect in the drop sleeve. Put a little bit of water in it, slurry it, pull up the sleeve and it runs into the first tank. Then drop your sleeve again so it stays pressurized and the gas stays in there. Then there’s a pipe with an angle up that’s in the first tank. The gas pressurizes the top of it forcing the material down. As the pressure builds up in the tank, it forces the slurry up the pipe into the second tank. The second tank has a pipe coming out of it, but again, it’s also at an angle. Your taking the excess slurry from the bottom of the tank. Slurry goes up this pipe it falls into this tank, it gets into this little pipe and the excess weight pushes it out. And literally you’re left with compost on the back end. It’s a very passive system. At the bottom it releases organic matter and you just spread it out into your garden.

And how big are the two tanks?

I think 50 and 100 gallon, but if you can get a 200…ones the size of my cooker, you know. You need a bigger tank like a 200 or 100 and I swear you’ll never have a problem. If you just do 50 and 100, you’re gonna max it out and you’re going to have to wait a couple of days.

Do you have to add anything for the smell?

[headshake no]

I put a bacteria in it, the bacteria eats the shit, dissolves it, breaks it down, and separates it into methane gas and organic matter

And those are sunk underground?

The tank is not open on the top it has a little pipe. It’s fucking easy.

So you think we could run the shower down the back of this rock?

Again, if I put a shower in the back of this place i would put it…The thing is you could put a nice big water tank right in here somewhere, if it’s on the high side of your house you can have the shower on the low side and you don’t need a pump. A water tank on that side of this rock, and you run the pipe right down the floor here, and you put the shower down there. Then the gravity is down, water pressure is high and grey water is flowing out the back of your house.

You could have a porch right here and the shower on the back of the rock, and just stand and bare yourself to nature.

That’s why I don’t like working for rich assholes. “Can you move it this way?” “Can you move it 6 inches back?” Sure. Just leave me alone for 4 hours

We believe in you
I moved a rock 6 inches to make somebody happy

That’s a nice flat one

Now, we’ve gotta do the real tricky push, if I tell ya what i’m doing you’re gonna freak out. Cause you guys don’t know. What I’m doing is I’m pitching it at an angle

So you wanna pivot it out?

No, No, No. Watch, you guys are learning. I’m not tipping the rock or pinching it, I’m pitching the angle of the push to get more leverage.

Distance plus force, then I can just teeter it one way or the other

[Wind interference, digging]

what do you think?

Thursday March 1st, 2012. High winds, low 50’s.

Mixing bentonite clay, Terra, water and cement, for finishing the foundation of the rocket mass oven inside Nicodemous’s house.

[ ]…If your house is on the ground, and you have one flood your house is wrecked, all the wood will just buckle right off. That’s your house that you’re trying to maintain. I mean that’s not even rain or sun damage. A house out of the ground, you have 60% of your heat hitting the house because you have a big flat painted wall. Trying to cool a house on the land, in this environment is ridiculous.

Doesn’t matter how much the wind chill factor is because you can’t protect the heated surface from the wind. When you’re on the ground, any environmental storm, Tsunami, whirlwinds, you’re done, on every level.

What do you think about strawbails?

What climate?

In the desert.

The problem is with strawbail is you think you can build your house quick…You’ve got three factors why I’d say no…Rodents, biggest population of ground ferrets right here. The other thing is everything else is dry, literally you have to bring the straw in, it’s not even from the area, and that’s another good reason I don’t use it. Because I have to ship it in to where I’m using it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wall that big, it’s still a trailer. I’m telling you, when you think about it, two people to manhandle each bail off the truck, then you gotta peg it and put it in. Two of you guys could fill 40-50 sand bags in the time that you’ve gone to fetch a load and pegged like 5 bails. Literally you’d be driving, most of your cost would be gas.

If we wanted to build some sort of like open studio structure…like a box…

You could do that too, this doesn’t have to have a roof on it. You could build just a wall.

But what if we wanted some sort of rectangular enclosed space.

Rectangular? Your always into your fucking squares..Again, square doesn’t work in here..

But what..

OK, WHOA, just stop. Hear me out.

When you’re working the environment, when you’re an ecologist, ok, or a permaculturalist, show me anything that nature gives me that’s a square, or rectangular…That’s the problem, the second you build a square out here, it’s gonna look like a fucking box, it’s gonna stick out like a soar thumb, because nothing is fucking square.

If I look at Garth’s teepee I can go..spccceeuuyyu..speecceeuuyyuu..sticks out like a soar thumb.

but then ok, so what if we want to have some sort of open space…

Again, I can show you a hundred different ways of building a shape, and I betcha if I go up there the shape is already 2/3 constructed by looking at what you have been given, and that’s what I mean, you walk in there and you’re like..Gonna build my house here, that’s where it’s gotta be..but literally you turn around and there’s the rocks and there’s the arch, and a little wall here. That’s what happens. 9 out of 10 times people fixate on something so square…It’s not concrete.

In the mindset of looking for something organic, you walk in from the city and boom, and you keep telling me square and I’m gonna kick your ass if I walk out there and it’s looks rectangular…because it’s gonna be like, that’s your house. Nothing in nature is square…this whole shape the way it’s built, wicks water , because it’s round. What’s the strongest symbol in any cycle?

A square?

No, it’s not, its a circle.

What builds culture? What builds unity?

What about triangles?

Triangles are not on this plane, ok, they’re all elevated stakes for the stars…

What about Buckminister Fuller?

You’re living in a triangle.

I know the guy, and he studied plants, and that’s how he got the idea for it. because all plants on a basic level when you look at them, it’s poly. I mean you can go polytetrahedran, crossahedran, all these shapes you think they’re square,..go and look at them, they’re the most elaborate stars. There’s certain types of rock formations that are block, the only reason why that happens is from water going through them and breaking out layers between layers, and that’s all it is…the whole…the Asian mind about permaculture…the reason why I say the Asian mind, is because a lot of the things I’ve learned are built in to asian culture, so we’re trying to learn ecology, but nobody wants to look at China or Japan, I’m telling you, on a level of stupidity, there is so much out there that is 1000’s of years older than us, and then you go and you have a look at it and you’re like why is this like this still..and I’ll tell you, it’s because it’s been built with nature in mind, Wind and water are the two factors that you have no control over, and you go and look at Asian design , everything is round, and you look at their tiles, round and a half round, round and round…They know that wind wraps around you. If you have a square surface, you hit angles, and you have to reinforce the building against those shearing factors.

You know why I love this house? Because one day I will have an excavator, and right on the flat area here, about 2 meters from the sand bagged wall I’m gonna dig a hole. 10 feet down, and I’m gonna make a whole tunneling system, and you walk through that door, and I could have fifteen hives all built on this hill and you won’t even know it.

How do you retain those?

I dig a hole…I have this whole house ok, this house looks like, a half round here, entrance here, here’s another window bay there, here’s the kitchen over here…So basically, here’s my retaining wall. I go outside and I excavate a tunnel. Ten feet down from the ground. Then I cut out this wall and I start building with sandbags until I get up to eight feet, then when I get to the top all you do is you build your self a plywood frame, with an arch in it, between the walls, and you post. And then you pack your sandbags on edge…knock, knock, knock, knock. and then you compact the whole thing and you pull out your jacks and you go to the next one down. You can make arches, windows, anything, out of sandbags.

And so if your building off of a boulder is it the same principle?

I go up to my boulder like this, I go and put my sandbags right up to it. Boom, boom, boom. Right next to the boulder, and when it gets up to four feet, I take a drill and I drill a whole, buuuuueechhhst. I take a piece of rebar and run it through the bags. Then I build my next layer. bbuuwwwrrrrruupp..four bags up. Drill a hole. Brruupp. Put some rebar from the top down. Done. The problem is it’s only as blank as you allow yourself to see it. Options are open, literally I mean if you get a masonry drill bit and you can drill some anchors, six inches is more than enough. I mean literally you’re drilling into solid rock, I can’t pour concrete that thick. It’s the joke.

Would you be worried about earthquakes?

Again, think about it, when the earth moves, it moves all at the same rate.

This is all retained, because the walls are leaning out. Everything moves at the same rate. If your house is a sand bag wall, and it’s on the ground and the rocks on the ground, and the whole ground moves it all moves at the same rate. The earth cannot compress against itself like that. It’s one shear movement. Put it this way, anything bigger than you in a rock formation, is two tons. So anything bigger, like if it’s the size of this room…How many of you could you stand in this area?

Like 50?

So now you’re talking 50 to a 100 tons, it’s not gonna move. You’re talking about earthquakes. That’s how I’m building this thing, it’s closer to a rock than a house. Because when your walls are compressed and they lean…Really, flat out, you try and move something that’s compressed. Any building they build a footing and they put it on. Compressed building is when they build a skyrise, and then they go and they take these anchors and they shoot them, poooooffttt, poooofftt, deep into the ground, and then they put tension cables on there and they tension the foundation down with bug rubber blocks under it to keep the pad level. and that’s tension. Houses aren’t built with that in mind.