A little bit of this… and a little bit of that…

24 Sep

Sorry for the delays in posting this week!

My little boy has a lung infection, and that takes precedence over everything else. Oy.

Here on RR, we’re talking about repurposing ISBUs (shipping containers) and turning them into affordable housing for the masses.

And that brings up a ton of questions. Believe me, I get mail like you wouldn’t believe…

Sure, some of it is of the “You must be crazy!” genre, but some of it is actually good stuff, asking hard questions about how you can use these seemingly small spaces to create affordable, livable, space, that you ‘ll be more than happy with, for decades to come.

As things get harder, as unemployment continues to stalk us like hungry sharks smelling blood, we’re all starting to think about “tomorrow”.

I just read the new Census Report… Okay, It took a few tries, as my blood pressure kept spiking with each page of bad news;

Conservatively, 43.6 million Americans  are living at the poverty level.

That’s up 4 million people from 2008. That’s the largest number of impoverished Americans in the 51 years of recorded Census History.

Over 50 million of us don’t have health care programs or insurance.

(My family is in those ranks as well.) I just read a supplemental report that says the real number is closer to 75 million Americans.

Unemployment is in double digits in most major cities in America.

In my county it’s WELL into double digits… like over 20% and climbing.

And people are starting to get nervous. This has spawned a deep seated desie in many families to “pull back and restructure.

With foreclosures running rampant, and houses sitting on the market for “months and months” that “look and feel like years”… many of us realize that if we want to find a better way to live, we’re not only going to have to do it ourselves, we’re going to have to pay for it ourselves, as well.

As a result of this, lately more than a few of you have asked me how to turn a single shipping container into a small home. And some of you have asked me about building kitchens into these small spaces.

So, I’m going to start featuring products and concepts that play to these small spaces, to give you some ideas and starting points. I’ll call it;

Stuff that contributes to Corten Coolness;

It’s all about design and application.

This kitchen workbench by Bulthaup is a kitchen in a single element, ergonomically designed for access from all sides. Included is a cooking area, a flat sink for preparing and washing food, and a deeper sink integrated into a utility recess. Also, the chopping board and slicer can be moved across the entire sink surface to create a highly functional system.

Note: Source measurements and installation requirements.

See the entire line of innovative products at Bulthaup.com.

Stay tuned.

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5 Responses to “A little bit of this… and a little bit of that…”

  1. Karma September 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Its somewhat ironic reading your comments within sight of the traffic feed widget showing people visiting from other places in the World.

    The US is in the first stages of an inevitable realignment with way the rest of the World lives.

    The US was built on two things – 1, the hard work of immigrants from all over the world seeking a better life and willing to take risks and work hard to achieve it and

    2, the systematic pillaging of the natural resources of the vast new world . It began with killing 10 million Bisson in 10 years and continues today – the US with 4.5 % of the worlds population consumes 25% of thew worlds energy.

    The US citizens have for the most part lost their “hunger” – they are fat and happy as they say and the world is running out of resources to be able to take take take as you have for the last 200 years there is only one possible outcome looming.

    You will become like the rest of the world – some ( a handful ) will become even richer and mores successful than today and the rest will descend into poverty – just as it is in almost every other country on earth.

    Its inevitable, it is the way it has always been and always will be.

    • Renaissance Ronin September 27, 2010 at 3:06 am #

      In the spirit of “free speech”:

      I’m reminded that the “Creation narrative” says ‘In the beginning the Almighty created…’ And I was taught that this meant that He only “created the beginning”. The remainder is left to us.

      Many can stand outside the walls of the US and throw stones. In my view, it’s a hollow gesture that most of us simply ignore.

      While it’s clear from my writing and even deeds, I’m not “pleased” with how things are going. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t take advantage of the fact that I live in a country that allows us the freedom to try and change things (many times in a manner that simply isn’t even a possibility in other countries) to actually make a difference.

      Sure, it’s hard. Sure, sometimes I feel like I’m just spitting into the wind. Sure, in some regards we have a “troubled past” and “rough seas ahead”…

      But in the end, men are measured by what they do and not by the stones that they throw, usually while they live in “glass houses”.

      As for the implication of “Karma”…

      A lot of brave American men and women have lost their lives on foreign soil, trying to improve the lives of those who couldn’t protect themselves from tyrants.

      What’s important is that people living outside the US remember this: Consider the “hearts of America” and not necessarily it’s politics.

      Despite what you might believe based on your local news… America isn’t the “Beltway Boys”. It’s the residents of places like Kansas, and Texas… It’s the people who live here, struggling daily to do the best that they can for their families. And on most days, they’re also reaching out to help “other” families. THAT generosity of spirit is what is going to keep America going when times get harder.

      We’ll survive this by working together for the common good, in spite of those who would rather watch us fail.

  2. Karma September 27, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Your missing my point.

    America is still and will remain one of the most desirable countries to live in the World.

    100’s of Millions of people in the World would give just about anything just to be given a chance just to get a start there.

    My point ?

    There is an old story about the man that was complaining about the fact that he had a hole in his shoe and just then a man with no feet crawled past.

    Life in the US might seem difficult at the moment compared to how good you had it over the last fifty years but I don’t think you should complain about medical insurance when there are millions without clean water and will go to bed hungry tonight.

    Why do I make this point ? Your comments that 43 Million are living in poverty !

    I think your idea of “poverty” and the rest of the World are very different there are 307 Million in the US – 14 % are not living in poverty there, struggling to pay a mortgage that you got to keep up with the Jones and “poverty” are different things.

    • Renaissance Ronin September 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

      Based on the tone of your original comment, I don’t think I missed your point at all.

      IMHO – America is what it is because our forefathers built a system that allowed us to grow and prosper, based on hard work. Granted, the conditions for growth were all available, and capitalism provided the fuel.

      This could have happened ANYWHERE on the rock, but in most places, it doesn’t. It’s about “agendas”.

      While your point that others outside our “realm” would “give just about anything just to be given a chance to get a start there” is well-taken, we still have problems that seem abnormal here, based on the beast we created, and the life that we’ve spent 200 years crafting for ourselves.

      Forgive me for sounding callous (and I’ll point out that I spent MUCH of my adult life in the Third World doing Humanitarian Aid) but sometimes in order to help others, first, you have to help yourself.

      While it’s noble to be the “World’s Policeman”, and even the “first responder to most of the world’s woes”, it comes at a price, which unfortunately also includes skewed priorities where American children are going hungry, homeless and without medical care in one of the most progressive countries on the planet.

      An administration that throws billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into the wind praying that somehow as if by magic “it will create change” hasn’t worked. Wait, it HAS worked. The change we got was DEBT… debt that our children and grandchildren will labor under, probably held like indentured servants by some other “Lender/Master”.

      THIS is what seems out of whack to me.

      Clearly, those idiots in DC are out of touch with reality. I can’t imagine how that could happen… We hold them up like little demi-gods, clustered safely and securely in their mutual admiration societies, as the power races to their heads, and America’s wealth finds it’s way channeled into their pockets.

      It’s a given that the nature of man includes greed and it can’t be bred out.

      That’s unfortunate. But the very idea that in America, healthcare and even education are sacrificed for “profits by the few” makes things “difficult.” It’s “flawed thinking” from the ground up.

      IMHO – The “Beltway Boys” are intent on proving that you can indeed “build castles on sand”, and they’re doing it by reducing much of America to rubble. (I’m being polite here, my actual feeling about this issue are “unprintable”.)

      Americans need to find a way to retake control of the country, recreating the “spirit of the blood, toil and sacrifices” of the men who founded it.

      Hopefully, the upcoming elections will send a message to those power-mongers in Congress and beyond, that if things don’t change, the rampant unemployment rates will include THEIR jobs.

      And despite the knowledge that there are those without food or water elsewhere, it doesn’t “soothe the local ills”, it just brings even more heartache and sadness. We (the majority of the American People) wish NO ill or hardship on ANYONE.

      (Sigh!)

      It’s “Tough Love” time…

      In order for us to help others, we have to heal ourselves first, and that starts with safe housing, jobs, and food.

      And THAT means that perhaps it’s time that America focused on it’s own health for a while and let other countries take on the responsibilities of resolving their own issues, locally.

      Here on RR, we “can’t solve the world’s ills”. It’s a monumental task that is beyond the width of MY shoulders. But I’ll help families build strong affordable housing out of anything that they can find.

      And then I’ll show them how that self-reliance and self-responsibility will change their lives for the better.

      It’s a start. THAT is something that I can do.

      And maybe some of the things that we do here will find there way to other shores…

      Baby steps… but one placed after the other… can cover a lot of ground.

      And it’s far easier to start that journey in your own yard…

  3. ted yrizarry September 28, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    And now here is Mr. Not-so Nice. Ahem.
    Based on what I have read from “Karma’s” posting, Armerica is chocked full of greedy, wasteful, uncaring, and destructive people. Our American past is one of rapeing and pillaging of everything, everywhere within our land.
    You DO realize that the first one’s here were not “Americans” per-se…but a collage of people from all over, likely even from what ever little skewed world you are writing from. And so I think it more appropriate to blame human nature and not America the country for the things of the past. Humans are not perfect. We all have flaws and issues and shortcomings. And as we progress in technology and the world shrinks virtually…even a small, out of the way incident has the potential to reach around the world.
    You say that people all over dream of coming here and enjoying what we have. How do you think that happened? Or more to the point…would it have been any different (referencing your bision and energy use comments) if people from say…Etheopia came here originally? Or from Russia? Show me what nation on earth can honestly claim, 100% beyond the shaodow of any doubt, that they are perfect!??!An nation that arose from nothing (born of Eve ans Adam/crawled from the ocean/whatever)and through their entire history has never, EVER commited a single act of harm. GO on…
    And yet the ever growing masses of the rest of the globe all look to us.?. Why?? A great deal of the world is moving to dislike, maybe even hate us. We are subjected to global attacks on our symbols, our beliefs, and even our people. American flags are burned so often it has become almost passe.
    And what do we do about it?
    Nothing.
    Form the poorest hovel on some dark continent to the downwardly spirialed middle east (from what they acheived thousands of years ago)…we, America, continuously offer much.
    We send billions of our dollars to all corners of the world…but that is just money, irrelevant really.
    But let there be an earthquake or a flood or a famine…who rolls into action to help? America. Who brings medical aide and material goods and even the attempt to bring peace through “policeing” up the warlords, mass murderers, and tyrants so those people can have even a hope at freedom.?. We, America Does!
    Conversly…when was the last time some other nation sent help in mass to us? When 9/11 happened, where were the small and large nations across the globe saying “Hey! We’d like to send something…people or aid…do yo guys need anything?” Didn’t happen. Never happens. Katrina levels our southern coast line and how many Egiptians or Bosnians or Somalians showed up to help? Not a one.
    So before I actually start to let your disrespect and poorly aimed accusations get under my skin and accidentally let out some of Mr Not-so-Nice…I offer you this little thought..
    Suppose we, The uncaring American heathen roll up shop tomorrow? What if we pull all those soldiers and civilians and dollars we have all across the globe back home. We stay in our own little world and let you and the rest do as you please. We no longer offer aid or assistance of ANY kind…I wonder how perfect your little fantasy would play out then…?
    Ronin, sorry if I’m walking the thin line here..I just get really tired of being accused of being the bad guy. Having folks all over the world with one hand extended to snatch up what we give so freely while the other is giving us the bird!

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