Monday, September 18, 2017

Tiny home life

why would one Live for years in an 8 foot wide building?

I have lived most of my life in a series of tiny buildings that I built for myself. I prefer to stay far outside of cities, and actually feel more comfortable in a dwelling that is small and cozy. I have been looking at tiny home groups and sites, and have noticed some things.

For one, it is easy to tell that many of the posts are insincere. A certain percentage are super rustic cabins that appear to be isolated. It is clearly not a persons house, but just an outbuilding that has been denied paint and attention. The outbuilding is not visited, but is also not remote. The other buildings have simply been left out of the photo. These posts appear to be from city people who are taunting each other. The caption is something like: ‘wouldn’t you love to live here?’ For me, these are both amusing and irritating. I have seen city people trying to live like that for a few days before they go racing back to the comforting press of humanity.

It is also common to see super large and costly homes posted. These are like a good tiny home that is bloated to beyond it's maximum size. Then, a sad type of 'crowing for a free tiny home' ensues. The participants take turns finding flaws with the floor plan and the appliances. They attempt to outdo each other with complaints about the absurdly high price. There are often claims that the commenter could build it way better for one quarter of the price. When I ask, such authorities have usually not purchased materials, used tools, or created anything during their lifetime. They have remained in a large city, squawking into a telephone or pecking at a keyboard. They seem to be trying to shame the builder into giving them the product for free. While this sort of flaw finding seems to be fun for the urban office workers, I can tell you that it is not fun for a builder. This is the reason that one sees many generic and charmless tiny homes for sale, and few creative and charming ones. If one whines about the cost of a long lasting zippo lighter, they end up purchasing a Bic disposable each week.

The homes that get posted are interesting but quite often not livable. What makes them non functional is the lack of space and a sense of unbalanced clutter. The home is a typical suburban house, deflated so that there is barely room for the people. Nothing has been left behind. All the junk is lined up along either wall of a long room that is only 7 foot 9 inches wide! This leaves a narrow corridor or walkway through the stuff. If more than one person enters the home, They will become irritated without knowing why. They can not pass each other in the 2 foot swath of open space down the center. Moving about an overfilled space is an elaborate dance that is awkward rather than fun. ‘Cleaning’ this sort of space is time consuming and complicated. It does not really ever become ‘clean’. Windows must be kept tiny, because there is little unencumbered wall space for openings. And, there is no subsitute for widows!

After living in a series of truly tiny tree houses, cliff dwellings, and vehicles. I have found that an empty building with movable units works best.  Fixed carpet is a total no-no, as is any attempt at a bathroom. Unless one breathes through a different orifice than the one used for detecting odor, there can not be a single paarticle of poop in a truly tiny building!  I use a separate storage space for my stuff. In a trailer, the storage can be underneath, on the roof, or in the towing vehicle. A crew cab pick-up works really well for towing. Fancy stuff can be in the back seats, while smelly, flamable or bulky stuff ride in the truck’s bed. Tiny home life is not for the lazy. There is plenty of shuffling things around and lifting.

Tiny homes are not meant to being stacked like cord-wood in a densely populated area. A great tiny home is the opposite of a prison cell. It is all windows and doors, so that those inside are constantly invited to look out of the windows and go out of the doors. The location and orientation of the building is of the greatest importance. I don’t want to go into great detail, but solar gain, view, sound proofing, aroma, and esthetics come into play. If the building faces the wrong way, smells bad, or is located where the occupant does not want to live, it quickly becomes a prison cell.

The size and shape of the home are important. As Americans, we are often interested in appearing to be wealthy, and in bringing the size of everything we own to it’s maximum. Tiny home folks need to resist this temptation. If the home must travel down the road, the 8 foot width and 14 foot height are constraints. Weight is a  huge concern. While I am amused by the giant ‘tiny’ homes made in factories, I feel that they lack personality, and tend to be non functional containers for expensive appliances and way too much stuff. If they are created just to obtain money, they will never be ‘right’. Many have roofs that do not work in the climate for which they are intended, or ‘lofts’ that will never be used. These Non functional lofts are added to increase the square footage. Solar energy and passive solar heating are typically ignored.

A 10 by 12 foot building that is nearly empty is more functional by far than an 8 foot by 50 foot overfilled warehouse. For me, a 10 foot ceiling is far better than a 6 foot ceiling and a 3 foot 6 inch loft.

And finally, there is the actual purpose of tiny homes. I knew when I started building them that I wanted them to be constructed and used by people like me. In practice, they are sought by back-to-the-land city folk, and sit, unused, beside giant homes just like RVs. The fad provides city dwellers with the feeling that they could leave their confined life at any time with the turn of a key.  And, captive city dwellers have the ability to pay for more and more things that they do not need. Hence, we note the belief that tiny homes are not allowed in the US. They are simply not allowed in US cities. Likewise, a well built tiny home costs as much as several rooms of a really nice house. You don’t build a foundation, but a double or triple axle trailer is just as costly. It is too expensive as a decoration for a rich persons estate, but it is perfect for actually living in.

I was present when the town of Moab, Utah banned homes smaller than 500 square feet. The reasons given were obvious lies. Many homes in Moab are moldy single-wide trailers from the mining era. Yet, it was stated that quality tiny homes would lower property values, and invite the wrong type of people!

The real reason is that there is no room for home ownership in the current degraded version of our society. The folks that have money are the ones that don’t mind harming the earth or their fellow humans. Causing harm is how this type of human has managed to get 'their' money. The poor have been squeezed and squeezed, until they have no hope of owning a decent car or home. They rent these things, and pay the entire value of their home or car periodically, instead purchasing it a single time. The rich have developed an attitude that the poor are infected with a poverty disease, which befell them because they were lazy, drug addled, or stupid. That allows the rich to treat the poor like zombies, with tall walls and machine guns.

I believe that we can fix this. A new sort of business structure can be devised, where human beings are much more important than quantities of money. Altruism can be rewarded, and harm to humans and the environment can be punished and taxed. Cities seem absolutely crucial to the modern person, but a properly distributed network of cottage industries can change that. People could work with tools and valuable materials at ‘home’. They would not be forced to live too close together. The cities would be depopulated in a natural way. A balance between population density and sustainable quality of life would be reached. People would live where they really want to be, and measure their success without quoting quantities of currency. We have seen how well it works when decisions are based on money alone [it doesn’t!]

Mobile buildings that are fully owned and made to last are part of this plan. Solar, wind power, and rooftop water capture would seem clever without our constant ‘bean counting’.  And really small structures would seem large when placed far apart on great ground. Gouging rents and junky disposable products would not be attractive to a population that is mobile and financially solvent.

Folks might prefer to stay home a lot if ‘home’ was a quiet and nurturing spot. The concepts of ‘insurance’, ‘vacation’, ‘pleasure driving’, etc, would fade from memory. These are coping mechanisms for tightly squeezed Homo Sapiens. I suspect that autism would decline, as would drug addiction, crime, and suicide. We must admit that the white invasion of the United States was poorly done. It now looks like we should have emulated the native Americans instead of fencing, poisoning and murdering them. They had it right. Portable dwellings, a tribal structure, and overwhelming respect for the earth provided excellent [if short] lives. Gifting does work better than exploitation, and war is best as a sort of violent recreation for itchy young males.

So, you see that tiny homes are not just a product or possession to me. They are a way to live with less harm to the earth, and a way to arrange ourselves so that almost no motorized travel is required. If We 'stay home' more and consume less, we will find life more rewarding. Can we make the transition? As hopeful as I am, it does not look good. The current ‘haves’ really like being rich! They have shown that they are willing to wreck the whole thing if they can not keep the majority of the toys. Thus, any new type of structure has to exist at the same time as the current 'war on the poor'. By analogy, Einstein had to write the equations for his new physics so that every one of Newton’s laws still worked.

There are rural areas of the US where a network of cottage industries can take root. One can only hope that the members of the current system would see the benefit, and refrain from destroying each attempt. Perhaps, a less exploitive system can be allowed if it is presented as a return to previously held values like good neighborly behavior, self reliance, and barter. Perhaps it would be seen as a form of welfare that takes care of elderly, homeless and disabled at no cost to the super rich. To the desperate, failing bean counters, it has to be cheaper than chasing the vulnerable around as economic refugees. This takes an ever increasing force of police and soldiers. It requires more and more body and street cameras, surveillance systems, and other measures that degrade our quality of life.

In my mind, the question is not ‘why buy a tiny home instead of a used travel trailer?’ It is ‘should I remain in the current system, to live in a sort of dystopian prison city, on the refuse and effluent of the super rich?’ The stuff that the rich throw away is better than our very best stuff. I am accustomed to this inequality, but see beyond it to a possible future where people live where they like without the need to pave everything over.  A possible future where Americans do highly skilled work without all of the captivity. Where they are healthful and filled with vitality, instead of obese, and overly concerned with cars and health insurance.

So, lets do this!

A plan for man

We probably can not break up the giant corporations that have taken over the governments of the world. The events of 911 were engineered to give them nearly perfect control of public opinion as well as a firm hand on the controls of each government.

They have used their monopolistic control of the media to work some real magic. People have used quantities of money to make their financial decisions for a long time. But now, they have been frightened into using money to make ALL decisions.

Human concerns, and ethics are no longer considered when making decisions. That is the result of lots of fake terrorism, fake wars and constant brainwashing. My fellow Americans spend much of their free time soaking up suspicion, violence and fear from their TV sets. If more attention is available, the ugly American is dosed with an overwhelming greed for things and sex.

Now led by a shining example of runaway greed and bad taste, the desire to injure other humans in exchange for money is overwhelming. This is supported by a helpless feeling, where the brainwashed person feels powerless to change what is going on, and too poorly connected to completely understand it.

So, is my goal simply to expose this loss of the pioneering spirit among Americans? It is not! I hope to find a way out. There have been movements of late, such as Occupy, and Black Lives Matter. They are worthy causes, but flawed. We can not vote ourselves into being wealthy landowners, and we will not become safe from brutality through media events and snappy slogans.

The system itself has to change. The corporations will not give up until they hold all the money and power on the planet. Each one is willing to trade the health of the planet, and the quality of life of the humans, plants and animals for a larger share of the collective pie. And, the ‘economy’ supports their greedy attempts. Forceful, damaging groups tend to succeed. Altruistic entities tend to fail, with the notable exception of Elon Musk.

How has the Tesla company managed to make altruism pay on a large scale? In my opinion, Elon is a one off, or ‘perfect storm’, like Einstein. Albert came at a time when theoretical physics was wide open, and he had the tools and motivation to do a complete make over of our way of thinking. Sadly, his astounding efforts were hijacked misdirected, and very nearly resulted in the destruction of Earth.

Elon is a different story. Although he started by learning about money [Paypal], he quickly realized that money is just the water in the pipe, and moved on to the important things that money can do. New forms of energy production and transportation could possibly avert the destruction of earths atmosphere and land. And, he found a way to make them profitable enough to continue his work.

The next step is to change our way of living and organizing ourselves. Yet, our current practices are self reinforcing and deeply entrenched. Altruistic people and groups typically fail economically, and success with money is our measure of value and goodness. Greed and cruelty are rewarded economically, and the best practitioners of selfish deeds are adept at staying slightly ahead of the law.

What is to replace the corporations? How can it be done? We have seen that the folks who have control now will set the world alight instead of relinquishing their wealth and power. So, violent revolution is not the answer. Whatever we try must exist along with the current toxic structure. I send my mind back into history. Things that worked before are likely to work again. What did we have before corporations?

The first groups to be ‘incorporated’ [made flesh] were diggers of canals and builders of transcontinental railroads. We required these improvements in infrastructure to become great [pun intended]. And, we were willing to give these newly fleshed beings extraordinary powers so that they could accomplish seemingly impossible feats. They would have the legal advantages of an individual, without all of the responsibilities. Basically, they were not taxed much, could make a big mess, and did not have to clean it up.

For some reason, we did not dissolve these super beings after the infrastructure was complete. We made more and more of them. Instead of building something that we need, corporations learned to insert themselves between something that people need and the people themselves. They seized control of water, energy, land and political power. Since it is easier to destroy than to build, Corporations switched over to harmful pursuits like Wars and walls [Halliburton], and large scale poisoning and propriety seed stocks [Monsanto].

Again, these groups were allowed to destroy for money, and were not asked to clean up after the destruction. An example is the use of depleted Uranium in the middle east wars.  It was convenient to shoot our spent nuclear fuel at targets in Iraq. One does not pick up ones cannon shells after a war. Sadly, in this case, our cannon shells will poison millions of people for thousands of years. Another is the loss of much of the planet's viable seed stock, and the destruction of many of the pollinators on earth. The most glaring example of corporate greed was the privatazation of the water in Bolivia. Further, when the Bolivians attempted to have water without buying it from Bechtel corporation, a brutal war against the population in general was waged.

What came before corporations then? Did people bang rocks together and grunt? No! industry existed. At first it was dispersed. A grain mill by a river, where energy could be obtained from nature. A group of knitters that were given raw wool, and made sweaters at their homes. It is now called cottage industry. It did not require large cities, or a captive work force, so this form of business provided income without cooersion or captivity. People led shorter lives, and there was still brutality to deal with [the African slave trade, the genocide of the native Americans, etc]. But, at least, people could own some land, and stay home much of the time. Polluted cities with large forces of police came later, when new forms of energy were found, and factories required a steady supply of semi-enslaved labor. A new system of slavery replaced legal ownership of human beings. It was great for the factories, because this new type of slave could be beaten and killed without loosing the value of a good slave. Further, they would feed and house themselves, and prevent themselves from escaping!

That is what is happening now. The poor slaves sit in traffic jams in gigantic cities, waiting their turn to enter into their cubicle prisons. They do not have real work to do. They spend their days like pigeons in a cage, pecking at this key or that, and squawking into devices. There is very rarely anything to show for their decades of wage slavery. Little is accomplished, and they get almost no reward.

Most folks have kids. The system holds the kids hostage, even locking them away from the parents each weekday in sterile concrete buildings. What a system! As the billions of people increase, it gets worse, with no end in sight. It is already much worse that Huxley and others had predicted.

How can cottage industry come back in this situation? Picture an assembly line for a complicated thing like a portable building. But, instead of housing it in a gigantic building, and compelling the workers to live very close together, and to come to the building every day of their adult lives, The product instead moves through their various home shops. A way is found to keep track of the work until the product is sold, bartered, or rented. At first US currency could be used. As long as it passes from hand to hand, it is not taxed again and again. The human parasites that ride the currency without performing useful work get no cut of the proceeds until the final sale of the product.

Cities would empty out in this type of scenario. They do not work without 'modern' industry. The internal combustion engine can finally be laid to rest, some half century after it became outmoded. A bizarre system of captivity and violence underlays our notion of motorized freedom. We think that we love the internal combustion engine in town, but inside, we cringe at the explosions, the bright lights, and the rapid movements. We have made our world dangerous and unpleasant, and then provided lots of fortifications and armed guards. We hold the collective illusion that our motorized steeds provide a kind of escape or freedom.

The internal combustion engine provides neither freedom or any kind of safety. A curious relationship has developed between American people and their motor vehicles. The poor will often spend the majority of their money renting a car and keeping it full of hydrocarbons. This leaves almost nothing for their junky trailer, food, tools, etc. Before the brain washing, people knew how much to spend on their home, and how much should be used for transprotation.

Also, poor Americans have largely stopped eating good food and taking exercise. Their cars, in effect, have become their bodies. So, we see obese, pasty creatures staggering into sleek, gaudily painted chariots. We have become like snails, who are helpless and ugly outside of their shells. Indeed, we are ugly snails that become mean, predatory beasts when charging about in our noisy, dangerous shells. We have allowed the corporations to squeeze us together, and to control us by setting us against one another in large, energy wasting machinery.

Let us design a better way to live, and then pull the rug out from under the banks and the whole idea of the corporation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


The upper buildings at The Last Hurrah. To the left side of the main structure is a gathering place with one bedroom.  To the right is a separate bedroom with bath. To the right of the timber building are 2 amazing luxury Hogans.

The gathering room. Large windows provide views of the river.

The detached bedroom

Kick back on a vast porch with bathing pond, sweat lodge, and all the equipment needed to enjoy the desert.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Let us get a divorce from the United States.

There is always a bully on the block. As one is defeated, another steps up to the plate automatically. US citizens tend to forget that we pretty much wiped out a people to come here, purposely destroyed the native creatures so that we could replace them with cattle, and have perpetrated a long list of quite serious war crimes.

The US was set up with a robust system, so that it would work for a long time. The 'founding fathers' [maybe there should have been some founding mothers!] determined that the states would function as separate countries that would unite when threatened from outside by other countries.

This would make foreign wars of conquest unlikely, but would prevent conquest of the continental US. Well, this plan did not work, and the federal government found that they could take the power from the states if they invented fake emergencies, and stayed involved in wars [covert or overt] .

It was also found that the states could be forced to do anything if they were levied with high federal taxes, and then the tax dollars would not be spent in state that were willing to do the bidding of the federal government.

Now, we get to 2017, where the oil companies have taken over the US federal government in a bloodless coup d' etat. The federal departments that would not follow the new regime into intolerance were gutted.
A vast propaganda campaign is being waged from the white house itself.

It seems that Americans need a war on US soil. It was not enough that US soldiers saw Europe destroyed and Germany divided. They long to see that sort of fighting. here. The military thinks that they can win any conflict. This is based on indecisive wars intended to grab oil from weak countries. China is not like Iraq!

We can not leave Trump in power, after he has refused to distance himself from his money making, filled his cabinet with greedy zombies, and showed us that he lacks the ability or desire to govern skillfully.

Yet, there seems no legal way to get rid of this group of abusive oilmen. The answer is for the states to leave the US. Any state that stays in the US wants border walls followed by mandatory participation in a world war. Concentration camps will very likely be used in states that remain United.

California is leading the way. The state has taken over some of the science tasks that were once done with federal dollars. People there are not interested in continuing with fossil fuel, excluding people for gender or race, or fighting in foreign oil wars. Cali will leave the US first, followed by Oregon and Washington. Others will follow, forming new countries that are groups of states bound together. At first, their main enemy will be the warlike US!

If we are lucky, Trump will be left president of the landlocked country of Wyoming. Uniting these states was a good experiment, but it has failed now. We should split up voluntarily before the rest of the world defeats us in war, and splits us up.

The differences between Trump supporters and the more educated liberal people have increased. We are now like a dysfunctional couple that needs a divorce. It is very tempting to stay in the relationship even though it is no longer productive. There is fear of being single, and fear of change itself. As a nation, we have learned that sometimes one has to take action when one's plane is hijacked. In the case of such strong action, remaining calm and in your seat means that you will be flown into a building!

I would like discussion on this, but it must be logical and polite. the comments section is open to non cursing Trump supporters, but not available to any portion of the Trump propaganda machine.


About Me

My photo
I am a fine art photographer and filmmaker. Lately, I have been doing panoramic images of the Canyonlands area, and printing them using archival materials. These large images are placed in work cubicles and homes, and can sometimes briefly transport the viewer to a contemplative location.