Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bunny Lane by Adam Kalkin

I've mentioned it before, but if I had been smarter during my brief college stint, I would have majored in architecture instead of starting down the whole psychology path. I had forgotten my first childhood passion, although I guess you could call psychology a passion from my teen years. The truth is, dwellings fascinate me. I'm not interested in building office buildings or skyscrapers, but pushing the boundaries on how homes can be constructed and lived in is something for which I'd be willing to pay thousands of dollars in order to get a thorough education. I don't just want to look at pretty pictures, either. I want to know how to build these dwellings myself.

Years ago, I saw a magazine article about this fantastic house. I fell in love with it immediately, but eventually, I forgot the name of the architect and what the house was called. But I've found it again! It's called Bunny Lane, and it was created by artist/architect Adam Kalkin.

What Kalkin did was to surround an original white clapboard farmhouse on Bunny Lane with an airport hangar. At the other end of the hangar, Kalkin built square, stacked cinder block cubes to create more rooms. In the middle of the hangar, he placed a large, comfortable seating arrangement. Quirky rolling doors on the sides of the hangar allow it to be opened to the breezes in good weather.

I adore the fact that the traditional farmhouse is encased in this modern behemoth. It looks so cozy and warm inside the large space. And yet, you step out the door and enjoy hundreds of square feet more of modern/industrial living space. The whole thing makes me giddy.

View the Architectural Digest video tour of Bunny Lane here.

Read an article and look at pictures of Bunny Lane here.

Alternative building materials excite me. Shipping containers are one of those building materials that, I think, have finally come into their own. A DIY enthusiast could conceivably build a home for thousands less than the cost of timber-frame construction for the same square footage. Plus, storage containers are so incredibly sturdy that they would last generations (provided they are protected against rust, of course).

Anyway, I was so excited about finding Bunny Lane that I had to share.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lingering in the Depths of Chopin

I hit the music jackpot at the thrift store yesterday. Elannah needed some jeans, so we started the shopping trip at the thrift store because if I can spend less than retail and still keep the girl happy, I am good with that.

I headed to the book section while she sorted through the racks. There's always the chance that some life-changing book is sitting on the shelf waiting for me to take it home, and I wasn't disappointed this time. An entire bottom shelf had been devoted to music books (the pickings are usually slim to none), so I plopped myself right down on the carpet and started sorting. Pretty soon, I had a tall stack picked out: two thick jazz piano books, an album of easy classics that I thought Sophia would enjoy, several thinner piano books, and the rest of the series of cello+piano books that I didn't have--all in extremely good condition.

When Elannah came looking for me, having found a great pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I showed her my treasures. I must have been waxing rhapsodic because she laughed and said, "Mom, are you going to cry?" I very nearly was. The entire stack cost me $16, which was less than the retail price of just one of the jazz books alone, but the best part was having new music.

I enjoy playing jazz, and I spent far too much time yesterday going through the three or four jazz books I'd picked up. But the life-changer was the book of Chopin. I didn't already have any of the pieces included in the book I bought yesterday, so when I pulled out that book towards evening, I was enchanted. I played through the entire thing in between ferrying children to varying destinations from 3 in the afternoon until 8:30 at night. We ate a little late because I was being completely irresponsible with my piano playing.

This morning, after I'd taken Sian to the bus stop, I glanced at the piano and was so tempted that I sat down to play Chopin before 7 a.m. rather than going back to bed. I played with the headphones on (this is the reason an electric piano is sometimes very desirable) until both Gabrielle and Husband had left for school and work respectively, and then I took the headphones off and played quietly into the room.

Little Gary was sitting on the couch.

"Mom, that music makes me want to cry," he said.

Welcome to the world of Chopin, Son. It's a beautiful, heart-wrenching world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Libertarians Are the Only People Who Want to Take over the World in Order to Leave You Alone

I have found that my political views are far more radical than that of those around me, so that's one more reason that I keep my mouth shut, literally and figuratively speaking, when it comes to general discussions, my blog (for the most part) and on Facebook (on which I have not posted one political comment in months because I don't post anything anymore).

I think you could pretty much call me a small "l" libertarian. You could also call me a classical liberal, which is vastly different than the current sort of liberal--in fact, there is a 180 degree difference. I am conservative in the sense that I believe in the values and traditions that support and sustain strong nuclear families in a civil society, but I don't completely identify with Conservatives, who seem to worship the military and love the idea of being the country that spreads democracy. There are so many things wrong with worshiping the military and wanting to spread a demonically tyrannical system of government to those who never asked for it that I can't even begin to list them in this post. We were formed as a Constitutional Republic, not as a democracy, though most of us seem to have forgotten that critical tidbit of history. Democracy is evil. You have probably heard before that a democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner, and that's exactly what pure democracy is. (And before anyone accuses me of hating military people, I have friends who are or have been military, and many of them are not at all pleased with the way the military is used. There's a difference between despising the people, which I do not, and despising the system, which I heartily do.)

In a nutshell, a good start to getting back to being free is forcing the federal government to get out of everything except what the American Constitution assigns to it, even if the Constitution is not a perfect document. However, I'm leaning more heavily these days toward anarcho-libertarianism simply because all governments of men will eventually end up bloated and tyrannical. No one should be able to violently encroach on anyone else's property or person, including any government (we can discuss the nuances of "violently" in this context at another time). Government produces nothing and can only be a parasite on the people. Even a "good" government must be a parasite on the people because that is the nature of government. Government attracts the sociopaths. Eventually, the sociopaths control the government, and they create a system whereby the power-hungry sociopaths cannot be ousted even as they fool the teeming masses into thinking they have a say in who is and is not leading. Once the sociopaths control everything, they take everything they can and lead the people into decadent decay and ruin unless the non-sociopathic people foment a rebellion and succeed in a revolution, after which the process starts all over again. Give me one good example of any civilization or society wherein this has not eventually happened--aside from the City of Enoch-- and I'll change my viewpoint.

Just call me Ron Swanson. I'm almost that adorably ridiculous.

And having said that, I also acknowledge that my views are not perfect and I'm always refining them as I gain new information and insight. But by now, I'm thoroughly convinced that, all things being equal, the natural tendency of human beings in a society is consistently toward passiveness, decadence, and eventual destruction. Government by imperfect human beings over imperfect human beings always hastens that ruin.

I have no fool-proof solutions, either, so don't be thinking that I think I know what should be done. No earthly type or style of government will ever remain just and true over the long run. I don't even think we could maintain a sort of anarchic system where everyone agrees not to harm anyone else's person or property for more than a few years or decades. Well, we couldn't maintain such a system until the glorious Millenium, of course, which will be a very interesting contrast to what's going on now.

Since I find all news is now biased, I completely ignore mainstream news outlets (I NEVER watch televised newscasts these days) and focus on some of my favorite alternative news sites where at least I can get a bias that feels less government propaganda and more independent. I love lewrockwell.com for their thoughtful collection of insightful essays. I also really enjoy Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief. Each week, Skousen (who is a nephew of W. Cleon Skousen (one of my favorite authors) and a seasoned political analyst) puts out a newsletter covering some of the top national and global stories and discussing their impact on our freedoms. I so much look forward to reading that newsletter that it's like getting a new Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. The anticipation is heady.

Also good are the Mises.org/blog for good, solid Austrian economics and zerohedge.com.

There are other sites: drudgereport.com and breitbart.com are both good. I read others, as well, but this is a good start.

Now you know. Let's just leave it at that. If you have a question about where I stand, you can generally assume I'm going to take the position that government intervention slows down progress, always costs more than it's worth, and will inevitably erode our freedoms and liberties. If you disagree with me, let's celebrate the fact that at least we can disagree with each other because we are free-thinking adults and have the right to our opinions. Just don't try to force me to think your way. I guarantee that I'll leave you alone if you leave me alone.