Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ironing-The Haiku Variant

I appreciate the ease not ironing a linen tablecloth affords, but I want the world to know I know the difference. Setting a steaming iron in place long enough to leave an embossed image of the sole plate in a prominent spot sends just the message I want to convey for the next family gathering -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Ponderous Trophy

Once the cast iron phase fizzled out, I and my loved ones began to appreciate furnishings I could manipulate single-handed. There are a couple of behemoths left in the collection, but most of the inventory is a relief both to the back and to the eye. In his benchmark Nomadic Furniture, Victor Papanek advises husbanding one piece of heirloom furniture and getting real with the rest of the collection. 

Interestingly, many of the concepts in Papanek's inventory have been improved upon by changes in technology. The basics are the same, but they're slimmer, lighter, more versatile, and far easier to acquire. The professional photographer's truss system still tempts me beyond reason. Anything designed for a road show is good value. 


Papanek was a globe-trotting design expert for the UN. Like interior designer Diana Phipps, he improvised comfortable quarters in places that on first inspection looked far from ideal -30-

More after the jump.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tight Food Rotation

I lived for months in a cabin that had no electricity. Fresh food was stored in an old-fashioned ice box, an insulated oak cupboard lined with zinc and topped with a well for a twenty-five pound block of ice. Cutting edge in its day, the arrangement can now best be described as better than nothing.

I learned to use food as quickly as possible, serving the leftovers from one meal as elements of the next one. In the process, the thinking behind hors d'oeuvres and antipasti became clear. Any comprehensive early twentieth century American cookbook will have recipes that reflect the limited power grid of the period. I swiped ice chips off the truck that delivered to a neighbor in northeast Seattle as late as 1952.


Keeping a tight food rotation greatly reduces waste and protects health by providing a sequence of carefully considered home-cooked menus. Date and label each container -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Simple Outing

Take light rail to the Montlake station on the south end of the University of Washington campus. The hospital across the street has good coffee and snacks. Hike up the main path on campus past the fountain with its ducks and roses, pass through the forest of cherry blossoms, and make your way to the Burke Museum and its treasured legacy of Northwest culture.


Cross Fifteenth to the academic bookstore and its legendary childrn's section. Up the Ave around the corner on Forty-seventh is a fish store that carries smoked salmon strips that taste indigenous. They'll give you ice if the trip home will take a while -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Price Per Pound

Assessing cost per unit of weight is an interesting way to evaluate something. Futurist Buckminster Fuller factored in the weight of a building. Weight even affects the cost of waste disposal, a critical issue at the moment.

I visualize anything the right size set on a foam tray, wrapped in cling film, and embellished with a sticker. A digital device, lamb chop, a piece of jewelry, medication-any of these contents speaks volumes when weight is noted front and center.


A fellow on Maui recently spent a million dollars on a tiny house. Presumably subsequent tiny houses will cost a little less. I'm guessing the price per pound might look reasonable when it's compared with other things that save comparable amounts of time and effort. A tiny house on a generous property with a benign climate makes a lot of sense -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Nimble House

A high rate of growth in a city stresses all of its systems. It's also quite a lot of fun to take advantage of the new goods and services that accompany change. Living in the same building since 1980, I've seen the place through many iterations of content, function, and style. I have not indulged in change for its own sake, because home furnishings have a significant carbon cost. 

The following strategies allow rapid change as demands, some of which can be sudden, require. Use existing cupboards and storage areas, but make sure that additional shelving and storage containers are freestanding, modular, and knock-down. Have the same color scheme in all the rooms.
Choose soft furnishings in plain colors. Use freestanding or clip-on lighting fixtures. Take the time to tailor living quarters to suit new requirements. -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sorting Out the Details

I bought a new side bag in an attempt to reduce my daily handicap. Changing bags is like moving to a new domicile.The first night after the change felt like an awkward one in the field.
Besides the necessities of an urban day, I tote the ten essentials of survival (search The Mountaineers), because this is earthquake country. The whole works fits into a reasonably sized purse, but my requirements are complex. Every time I thrash the kit it gets a little smaller and lighter, and the process takes less time.


This season I realized that an undedicated office table with good lighting is a perfect worktop. I blitzed the project in minutes, where I used to spend an hour or more. The cheapest featherweight on-line folding plastic office table in 30"x60" is easy to handle and convenient to integrate with existing furniture -30-
More after the jump.