Root Simple

Saturday Tweets: Mostly Bikes

Show me a city with infrastructure good enough that people feel safe enough to double (to "dink" in Dutch) on bicycles…and I'll show you a happy city. #Copenhagen #Amsterdam pic.twitter.com/wLPG4NVyLI
3 Mules Update

3 Mules Update

We’ve posted before about filmmaker John McDonald’s ongoing effort to tell the remarkable story of the “3 Mules” man. John called me last week to tell me that he’s found an editor for his film and
May Morris: Embroidery as Art

May Morris: Embroidery as Art

Before the great uglification that was the 20th century there was a brief period of aesthetic hope led by the prophetic John Ruskin and his followers, most notably William Morris. A 2017 exhibition
Whacked the President with a Single Stick

Whacked the President with a Single Stick

A forgotten and dangerous cousin to modern day fencing, single stick fighting involves a short and inflexible piece of wood. Ouch. Early 20th century notions of physical therapy were obviously

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Watch

I have a love/hate relationship with computers and the internet. On the one hand I’m thankful for the platform of this blog and podcast as well as instant access to a whole world of useful how-to
The Monkey Rope

The Monkey Rope

If you haven’t gotten around to reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick you should. I just finished reading it and, next to the Bible, no other book comes close to Moby Dick’s sprawling, hallucinatory
By Hand and Eye

By Hand and Eye

I keep an ever growing list of things I should have been taught in school but that were omitted from my California public school and university education. Some examples: the art of memory, philosophy,

Saturday Tweets: Goats, Squares and Parking Lots

Good boy, Bleu! #greatpyrenees pic.twitter.com/WQx309jRqb — AngelesCrestCreamery (@ACCgoats) February 6, 2018 They paved paradise, put up a parking lot+https://t.co/HyszHYIDg5 — Donald Shoup
Gray Miscellany

Gray Miscellany

Root Simple has a large, virtual dust bin full of news and notions not quite worthy of a full blog post. I thought I’d sweep a few of them into a brief missive. Grey vs. Gray In the great greywater
Fifty Shades of Gray Water

Fifty Shades of Gray Water

I have a lazy request. Can someone with Oxford English Dictionary access please look up “greywater” a.k.a. “gray water” and/or “grey water?” I have nostalgia, for both the sake of creativity and
Water your Trees with Greywater

Water your Trees with Greywater

Root Simple reader MJ pointed out that I neglected to mention greywater as a way to deal with our drought challenged trees here in California. So, on this greywater Monday, I thought I’d round up some

Saturday Tweets: Mini Boats!

Mini Boat https://t.co/sn1LseA7of — Root Simple (@rootsimple) January 29, 2018 How to Build a Customized Astrolabe Using a Laser Cutter https://t.co/osLrVKgRKi — Root Simple (@rootsimple) January 29,
115 Inventing a New Word: Apisoir

115 Inventing a New Word: Apisoir

Wine writer Micheal Alberty was thinking of a way to promote the “terroir” of local honey so, naturally, he coined a new word, “apisoir.” Find out what happened when he tried to get this word into
My Fellow Californians, Please Water Your Trees

My Fellow Californians, Please Water Your Trees

The “new normal” here in the Golden State seems to be more along the plot lines of Dune than Baywatch. This winter it hasn’t rained or snowed much at all. I predict that when summer heat and smog

Saturday Tweets: Toilets, Energy and Deep Old Age

How much energy do we need? https://t.co/T8YSsPY1s0 — Root Simple (@rootsimple) January 27, 2018 A Lesson in Sharpening https://t.co/ZfP9sLMW40 via @rudemechanic — Root Simple (@rootsimple) January

Bernard Maybeck Mystery Solved

Many thanks to Root Simple reader JE for identifying that strange Bernard Maybeck building that I posted about last week. It turns out to have been a temporary Panama-Pacific Fair building constructed

Fun With Mortises and Tenons

Last week, in a moment of fevered DIY insanity, I decided to spend an entire afternoon tricking out our wonky breakfast nook table with mortise and tenon joinery. I found the base of this table in one

Saturday Tweets: Architectural Screw-Ups, Road Diets and Pet Dragons

A page of architectural screw-ups https://t.co/o31OCzt5h8 — Root Simple (@rootsimple) January 20, 2018 Go ahead tell me again why road diets are so bad for LA https://t.co/ZlBMWkX9nA

The Architecture of Bernard Maybeck

If I had the power to revise architectural history, I’d replace the cold machine aesthetic of Mies Van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier with the quirky, organic and dreamy work of California architect

Lloyd Kahn’s Advice to Californians Building New Homes After the Fires

Lloyd says, “I’d like to get this out to as many people as possible. Please send it to anyone you think might appreciate it.” Even if you’re not building after a fire this is a nice distillation of