Saturday, March 24, 2012

On The Arts of Manliness and World Domination

You know those emails you get from acquaintances that look something like "Fwd:fw:Subject" containing ""?  If you're like me (a tad lazy), you automatically check the box next to them, cursor on up to that little trash can, and "click!" away it goes!  My family members like to send me these emails, and while I do pass over most of them, every once in a while, when I don't have anything better to do, I open them up and, much to my great surprise, find something worthwhile!

My brother's been raving about two blogs recently, which translates to an increase of link shipments to my Inbox.  Its Saturday, but since its been raining all morning, I came over to the library to take care of some online business and check out these sites.  The first, "A Brief Guide to World Domination", sounded a little intimidating.  While I haven't finished it (I don't quite know how to dominate the world yet), it really strikes me as something that would appeal to Tiny Housers.  The author, Guillebeau, doesn't focus on the traditional methods of conquering the world, but rather "The Art of Non-Conformity".  This isn't middle school non-conformity that involves wearing outlandish clothes and promoting anarchy, but rather a process of concentrated thinking about what your life goals are as an individual and how you can use those to benefit the rest of the world.  Most of us Tiny Housers have probably come to the realization that "McMansion" ownership won't give us satisfaction on our deathbed; Guillebeau takes it to the next level and challenges people to find fulfillment in all parts of their lives.

David has been sending me posts for a while from this next blog, "The Art of Manliness" (for an engineer, he sure does read a lot about "art" :p).  To be honest, I thought the most recent one was about Walt Disney, so I didn't even bother to open it until today when I had nothing better to do.  When I saw it involved Clint Eastwood and "Gran Torino", I immediately got excited.  There's a part in the movie when the young boy, Thao, is envying Walt's collection of tools.  Walt simply hands him a can of WD-40, vise grips, and duct tape and says, "Any man worth his salt can do half the household chores with just those three things."  Jay Shafer preaches a similar talk (albeit in a less gravely and awesome voice), claiming that you only need 14 tools  to build your own tiny house.

Jay and Clint aren't saying that a true do-it-yourselfer never owns more than the basic equipment.  There are some jobs that require specialized, rarely used devices.  But, its a good reminder that corporate sales people will sell you anything, whether its a set of wire strippers to a plumber or a chainsaw to an apartment resident.  I've definitely had my moments when I just bought tools because it made me feel more like a man.  But, building this house has shown what can be done with those basic tools and a group of people willing to share their equipment and expertise.  Why, just yesterday I needed to shave some thickness off a piece of trim and almost gave up, thinking I'd have to buy a pricey Delta planner.  But then I found my dad's old hand planer, gave it a try and found that, like in the "olden days", it still works just fine.

P.S. A post about non-conformity would not be complete without mentioning Shannon Hayes, a highly educated author and "radical homemaker" living near the Catskills of New York.  A few years ago, I bought one of her cookbooks on grilling grass-fed meats, which led me to find an internship at her neighbors' farm, Heather Ridge.  In her latest book, Hayes argues that people can lead successful and fulfilling lives by ditching the traditional 9 to 5 careers and "rekindling the home fires".  If you want to save the world, reading her book is a good start.

Friends I made in New York while earning $8 an hour
and enjoying some of the best food in the world!

1 comment:

  1. My husband is a huge fan of The Art Of Manliness blog, I'm a big fan of him. Hadn't heard about Shannon Hayes, thanks for the tip. Enjoying your blog but please don't ever refer to me as a friend unless my assumption about you being a carnivore isn't correct, ;-)