Saturday, June 23, 2007

alternatives to vinyl siding.

i know it's affordable and easy to maintain, but vinyl siding really doesn't sit well with me. i started to write a little statement to share my reasons, but i need to think more about it. for now, check these out and observe your response to each. the first two types of house covering are quite radical. the last two are options i would seriously consider for myself.

this artist takes his inspiration from cliffs in places like venezuela and malaysia:

crushed aluminum cans of various colors, silver spring, maryland:

something a little less extreme? off the top of my head, i'm thinking of reclaimed barn planks:

then, there's also cob (a mix of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, similar to adobe) as on this beautiful house:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

i guess it's about time i posted again...

i've been so busy this past week. training in manhattan started monday, which means leaving home at 5:50 in the morning to catch the train. a quick subway ride later, i'm walking into the building where I'm enrolled in a six week training program to prepare me for entering an apprenticeship in the union of my choice. options include electrician, painter, plumber, carpenter, elevator mechanic, and many more.

so i've completed four days. the first week consists entirely of classroom experiences; i'm excited about what next week will bring. we've been focusing on math (fractions and more fractions) as well as learning about the different trades and how a union apprenticeship works.

i'm not sure union work is for me, but i'm not going to make a definitive statement until the end of this experience. it's interesting to meet the other women in the project. there are about 16 of us in this group--one, like me, used to be a teacher, and is orthodox (!). another went AWOL from the army because her assignment was changed without her consent to drive trucks in iraq, which is a job with a lot of fatalities. some are super shy, others are boisterous. many are single moms who are looking for a better living. some of us really just want to do something different. a girl that i sit by in class used to work for verizon and commuted 2 hours each way--then she got laid off and so this is the plan.

so...that's it. next week we'll be learning about painting, or doing it--hopefully some of the latter.

my investment in this program is the 12 hour days i put in, the approximately $350 i'll pay for train fares, and six weeks of my life. at the end, i hope to have acquired more skills with tools and materials, and if nothing else, feel more confident in approaching a remodeler or contractor for a job where i can pick up skills.

my sense is that union work is highly specialized--you learn a trade and do that. personally, i'd rather have a variety of skills--some wiring, plumbing, carpentry, and landscaping, which i can offer to clients. so i'm still reading my books and researching possibilities for later.

today, over lunch, i wandered in the direction of the hudson river and came across some galleries and a bookstore in chelsea. the photo above shows "dream raft" by thomas beale (i didn't see the raft--just stole the photo). he works with wood he finds or buys from salvage places.

i think i'll do more wandering over my lunch breaks.