Look at this woodstove! Oo la fucking la.

Beautiful woodstove

Just look at it! Spotted in Switzerland. The strange-looking piping is meant to let the heat warm the air in the room faster. I saw them often on Swiss wood stoves.

Beautiful woodstove

Beautiful woodstove

Beautiful woodstove

A DJ for the End Times

Gramophone DJ in Switzerland

This summer I saw a lot of road. Roads in Switzerland, roads in Sweden, roads in Holland and in Germany, and a hell of a lot of roads in Ireland and France.  On tour with my band, Battenkill Ramblers, and The Corn Potato String Band, we spent three weeks driving and singing, singing and driving.  But this guy. I will never forget this fucking guy.

Up in the fog-horned Swiss mountains, we played an anniversary show for a gorgeous collective farm called Cernievillers. The food was decadent and delicious in the way that only whole, fresh foods are. The people were friendly and kind and welcoming, their farm took my breath away, there were enormous balloon jars full of fresh ice tea and elderberry syrup, and this guy opened for us. That’s right. DJ Gramophone. Stoic, serious, DJ Gramophone. Love.  When the world ends, this is who you’ll be calling to play music at your party.

PS No, there are not 1000 words in this post. I’ve got a lot of moments to catch up on here at Click Clack Gorilla, and I thought I’d start doing it by featuring a photo once a week or so.  And we all know what a photo is worth, right?  RIGHT?!?

PPS Comments were locked up tight when the site relaunched (oops), but we fixed that, so by all means comment away.  I’ve missed you guys.

The Past, the Present, and the Future: My Tiny House

A shed built from leftover materials

Today I stood on the stoop of our tiny kitchen, looking out at the other two Bauwagen (or trailers, gah, I still feel uncomfortable using that word) that make up our home, and had a moment of wonder. How far we’ve come! How much has changed! Look at that shed!  Look at that lawn!  And how about that attractively mulched path, eh?

Visitors still find Click Clack Gorilla in droves via the Tiny Yellow House video that Deek put together about what is now our guest room, storage room, and library.  I re-watched it today and was in awe.  That space has never, will never, be as clean as it was on the day we filmed, not long after I’d finished the project.  And jaysus, look at me all young and bushy-tailed and short-haired and probably getting enough sleep and doing whatever the fuck I wanted all the damn time.  Those were the days. *Shakes cane at young whippersnappers.*

Now we live in a different community—though the concept is the same: house with venue and vokü cafe, collective structures, other people living in their own tiny houses.  My life has been changed by the new city, the new person (in case you’ve forgotten during the six hundred years it’s taken to get this site back up, the Beard and I have a daughter), the new group, and a thousand other volatile details of life.  We still don’t have running water in our kitchen (though many others here do, this group operates in serious pioneer style, tell you what), but we now have access to a dryer.  We still heat with wood.  We still have to walk outside to get to the bathroom.  We still cook with gas we buy at the building supply store.  We’re still a part of a collective, though we’ve trimmed most of our activities down to the size of our family.

The present

This is where I show you what my tiny house is doing now.  Well, let me tell you.  Right now it is hiding the biggest fucking spider, a creature who lives behind the basket that holds the candles on one corner of my bookshelves.  When I enter and turn on the light, I can see it and it can see me, and we regard each other silently.  It is only a matter of time before it outgrows the tiny guest space and taps off into the city where it can lace the skyscrapers with its webs and catch small birds, helicopters, low-flying airplanes, and bankers.

The view from the kitchen stoop:

Bauwagen: A tiny house in Germany

The future

The last move may have damaged the hitch of the purple Bauwagen for good; you may be looking at the final resting place of this lovely house.  I can’t imagine leaving it behind, yet I can’t imagine living in this community forever.  There are inklings of wisps of dreams of savings and plans for building a different kind of tiny house one day in our own little patch of forest.  It is hard to imagine having to pack boxes in order to move (tiny house bonus: hitch up your house and go, no packing required, everything is just where you left it when you arrive, except for the Very Breakable Thing that you forgot to secure before you left that is now in a thousand pieces on the floor).  It may be the last stop for this structure, but it isn’t ours.  Is it ever?

One corner of our tiny kitchen:

Inside one tiny kitchen

 

Welcome to the Click Clack Gorilla Facelift

Click Clack Gorilla on the Almost Iron Throne

Well holy fucking shit. I was beginning to think this day would never come, but BEHOLD! Click Clack Gorilla has a brand new face. If you notice any bugs still crawling around, anything doesn’t work for you (or works especially well), please let me know. New face means new content. New face means old, shitty problems gone away. New face means new life in this space. Glory, glory, glory. Here we come.

Meanwhile in England…

I recently spent ten days geeking it up at Nine Worlds and the World Science Fiction Convetion.  It was a raucous good time.  And look: I even got to sit on the Almost Iron Throne.  People like George R.R. Martin were just strolling around this place, waiting to be run into.  I’m working on the gathering words to tell those stories asap.  Until then, and if you’re missing me here, I can still be found regularly on Book Punks, talking about books geeking out every single day with Young Adult Librarian Erika Jelinek.

not dead yet

Just struggling with time management.  Oh, the tales I have to tell.  But first things first, blog maintenance and fixing problems and blah blah blah.  Consider this your warning.  I am planning on moving Click Clack Gorilla over to another server at the end of the week.  If all goes well, it will be back online and looking stunning by the beginning of the next.  If all does not go well, it will take longer.  Considering these things almost never go as planned, let’s just say “see you in August.”  (If things go terribly wrong, I will still be over on Book Punks and Young Germany, so you could always come by and WTF me.)

Then there will be stories.  And pictures.  And more stories.  Click Clack Gorilla is not dead.  It’s just sleeping.  Shhh, don’t wake the baby.

See you on the other side.

 

around the platz, april 2014

Wow guys. I finally posted something that even those having trouble seeing my new posts could actually find, and all the “we missed you” and “yeys” I heard in return were awesome. Thanks for the high fives. Back at you.

Today I’ve got a few more photos of life on the Platz, though at this point they are a bit old. Instead of freshly agitated dirt, we have grass so green it looks fake. The herb garden is flourishing (and possibly saved the lives of the two sage plants I raised from seed).  So yeah, old news, and I’ll have to get new photos in the works, but hey little steps.  At least now you’ll get to see the progession.  Spring is the best time of year at a Wagenplatz.

For those you you who still can’t see the newest posts without a link from that damn year in books post, I’ve listed all the posts of 2014 below for you to get clicky with.  As well as a few morsels from Book Punks, my new book blog.  Huzzah.

The herb garden.  All these rocks were just laying around the property.

A new porch!  It still needs a few details and better steps, but they are on their way.

Like I said, all that is brown in this photo is now bright green.  The rocks have been replaced by mulch.  It is SO good.

Posts you might have missed:

If you can see this post you’ve won a prize/Kitchen photos

Oh the places we’ve been

A very tiny kid’s room

Daily life February 2014 (a low moment in time)

And then we had a kitchen and life was suddenly all marshmellows and cartwheels

Put on some rabbit ears and dance

Since I spend most of my time thinking about books

Book Punks posts you might enjoy:

Shelves of magic and wonder

German SF awards announced

News from dystopia

if you can see this post, you have won a prize. and also: our kitchen!

And the prize is that you can see this post.  SIGH.  My radio silence lately has been the result of some technical issues.  I would describe them for you and whine a bunch in vivid detail, but really, who fucking cares?!  I owe you some pictures of our new kitchen, and today I am here to deliver.  That’s right.  Uh-huh.  Look at these beauties.

You’ve seen the outside at least a dozen times already, but, yeah, it is still awesome.

No fictisiously clean kitchens in my photos! I am not fast enough to take pictures during the three seconds that is remains orderly before the next Hurricane Pickle/cooking strikes.

I think food makes the best decoration in a kitchen. So I built narrow shelves and lined them with my extensive collection of glass jars. The jars also help keep the grocery moths at bay. I fucking hate those moths.

Note the beautiful floor. Done by our awesome floor who used to live in this space.

I still can barely fathom the luxury that is having a full stove with three burners and an over. OH HELLS YEAH. Also: isn’t the stove cute? I am in love. The Beard found it for sale online for 25 euro bucks.

Love.

I still think hanging shit is the best way to make use of your space in a small kitchen. And it looks pretty too. See that cow head hanging there? It makes toast. On the wood stove. More love.

Ikea. Making the world boring, but with a real nice selection of hanging bobbles for kitchens.

Like these hanging drying racks. Such good use of space. Now we just need to get a sink in here.

Another hanging drying rack, one I got for free from freecycle, but also originally from Ikea. It also folds up. Genius.

More glass jar porn.

This is where we store towels and things.

Pancake forms. Pigs, hearts, clover, bears. Cute as fuck. Making cooking fun again.

My coffee grinder will still work after the apocalypse. Will yours? Ok, ok, you’re right, there won’t BE any coffee to grind. So what. I still love this thing.

Ta-da! What do you think?

NOTE NOTE NOTITY NOTE: I started a book-ish website, and I would love it if you all came by and said hello and liked our facebook page and stuffs. Going to keep most of my book ramblings over there from now on, and the tiny house ramblings will all still live here. Once the CCG redisgn that is happening RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE is done (whoops, cat out of the bag huh?), even more so.  GO VISIT IT ALREADY: Book Punks.

since i spend most of my time these days thinking about books

Who was that person who said, at the beginning of this year, that she wouldn’t buy any new books until she’d cleared off at least 50 books from the old to-read shelf?  It couldn’t have been me because that hasn’t happened at all.  In fact, obsessive list-maker than I am (at least when it comes to books and to-do lists), I started keeping a list of the books I acquire each month, in order to make clear to myself exactly how much I’m buying and how those titles correlate with the books I’m actually reading.  It is kind of fun.  I got the idea from Genre-Bending, which is currently one of my favorite book blogs.

It also inspires me to not buy all the fucking books, because then, when I unviel this new list at the end of the year (which I am planning to do around “the year in books” time), I will be less embarassed by the gaping canyon of disparity between what I buy and what I manage to read.  Which is really quite good.  So, yeah, I’ve gotten some books, but I’ve gotten a lot less books than I would have without that list to keep me conscious.  Yey lists.

I have now promised myself that I won’t buy any new books until I have read 20 from my to-read shelf.  As in 20 paper books; I’m not counting the ebooks that I keep reading in between.  Twenty sounds like a more reasonable number than 50, and a couple of books I am a’twitch for won’t be out for another couple of months.  This month, for example, I haven’t bought a thing.  So what if a publisher sent me three for review and I traded for four others on bookswappers.de?  Those don’t count.  Right?  RIGHT?!  Indeed.

Look, I built some new bookshelves:

what i’m reading

I always have more than one pot brewing simultaneously.  Usually something nonfiction, some easy fiction for before bed, some fucking amazing (but sometimes hard) fiction for my more congizent moments, something in German, maybe even a couple of each.

I started the year with Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series as my “I’m too tired to really use my brain” nighttime reading.  While I enjoyed it (mostly because I liked the movie and the books allowed me to keep obsessing over the beautiful beautiful actors who play in it), it is not particularly good.  I wouldn’t recommend them.  At all.  (In their case the rather cheese-balls movie was actually better than the books themselves.)  I stalled out after three books and moved on to better things.  In this case The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.

Somehow I missed this series as a kid, which is a big fat shame; I would have loved them.  The good news is that I am loving them as an adult (I’m in the middle of the third book right now).  Unlike Dealing with Dragons, a series that I did read and love as a kid and which I reread at the beginning of this year, I am finding myself completely immersed in the story and eager to read the next and the next and the next book.  (Usually I need a break between segments of a series.  With Dealing With Dragons I had fun, but could always feel myself reading; I couldn’t lose myself in them as an adult.)  And at about 100 pages each, they are delictable little morsels I can finish in a night, which is very satisfying.  They deal with sexism and gender stereotyping, and yeah, I always like books that do that.

Then there is Samuel R. Delaney’s DhalgrenHoly shit, this book.  The first two pages were so intense and so magnificently written, that I had to put it down for a while and read something else.  Mr. Delaney is a master.  I stand in awe.  Dhalgren is turning out to be one of those books that always makes it onto the post-apocalyptic (PA) reading lists, but isn’t really post-apocalyptic.  Usually that annoys me, but this is so good that I can’t be bothered to care.  Sure, there is a town that seems to have experienced apocalypse, but it is an anomaly, a mystery, maybe even a metaphor.  Whatever it is, it transcends the genre of PA and rides the air currents above us, out of reach and beautiful and god-like, a sun.

In the non-fiction arena we have Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs, which I have been trying to finish reading for, I kid you not, over ten years.  Someday, someday.  More recently, I started How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fischer which is about cooking during times of war and scarcity, and which is really interesting but something I don’t really feel like racing through at the moment.

Lastly there’s Momo by Michael Ende (you know, famed author of The Neverending Story, another book that is sitting on my to-read shelf), which is my current German read.  It hasn’t grabbed me yet, but I haven’t gotten to the time travel bits yet, either.  The characters keep telling tangential stories which don’t interest me (though I imagine they would go over very well with the much younger target audience).  Here’s hoping it gets better.  I am determined to school myself in German science fiction and fantasy this year, so help me cod.

publish it already!  the gorilla grows impatient

I have become an obsessive book blog reader.  Whereas I used to find out that an author I like had a new book (or that such-and-such tome of awesome from right up my alley had) come out when I saw it in the store.  Now I hear about them months in advance.  It is torture.

After the End by Amy Plum is the title whose as-yet-unpublished state is causing me the most pain at the moment.  It is the post-apocalyptic book I wish I had thought to write.  At least, as far as I can tell from the blurb: “Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she’d ever been taught was a lie.”  I can’t fucking wait to see how it pans out, which I will finally be able to do in May.

The second is a cookbook.  Specifically, The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks by Nina Planck.  I devoured (haha) her book Real Food for Mother and Baby when I was pregnant–I really enjoy her writing and her outlook on eating and cooking and food–and now that we finally have a full-out kitchen, I have been looking for a few new cookbooks for inspiration.  It doesn’t come out until June.  Gah!

And now I turn to you, dear readers.  What are you reading right now?  Have you read any of the books I mentioned?  You know I love a good book discussion…

PS The links above are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and decide you want to buy the books through those links, I get a little cut.  But hey, your library probably has these books too, and the library needs as many of us as possible in order to prevent extinction.  So there’s also that.

put on some rabbit ears and dance

Yep, I’m the asshole who still hasn’t managed to take photos of the fucking awesome kitchen I keep promising pictures of.  But hey, look at this picture I took of Frankfurt graffiti when I first moved here a hundred years ago! (Nine.)  I’ve always liked that one.  While poking around for pictures of Germany I could use for work, I (re)discovered a lot of old gems.  Which I also won’t be sharing because the Beard is in them, and he doesn’t much like having his picture on the internets.  We were so young!  We were so carefree!  Look, we’re drinking beer!  We are sitting still in the sun!  We are having fun!  Aaaah, the good old days.

Fast forward to now where I feel like I am just one big bag under the eye.  Getting woken up two to three times a night for the past two years has started to wear on me.  I feel like I wake up with a new wrinkle every morning.  In reality, I don’t have any real wrinkles yet, but I just feel wrinkled.  You do what you have to do and you get by, but cod damn when will we be allowed to sleep through the fucking night?  When when when?! *Shakes fist at sky and snarls.*

We’re getting Pickles off of her nighttime milk addiction at the moment, which has been SO MUCH FUN.  Ha!  Hahahahahaha!  The idea is that she might actually start sleeping through the night sometime before her 18th birthday.  That we might get to sleep through the night before we reach a mental state where murder doesn’t sound like such a practical solution.  At least in prison we’d get to sleep through the night!  Ba-da-bing!  *Weeps.*

But I hyperbolize.  There have been some cod-awful nights lately, and we’ve all been much worse for wear.  Except for Pickles, who is still full of energy and wants to spend every second of the day running in circles outside, who doesn’t nap for me anymore (but does for the Beard, though I like when she doesn’t nap because then she goes to bed deliciously early, even though it means she is nutso for the last two hours of the day).  Still, spring weather has arrived, which feels wonderful, we built a little porch, and I’m putting in an herb garden.  And Pickles finally has parents willing to spend every minute outside with her all day every day.

I think things are about to get really awesome.  She’ll sleep through the night, we’ll move her into her own bed, she’ll go to the daycare whatever a few days a week (we’re looking for some of that for her right now because she talks about wanting to play with other kids so much), and our humanity will be returned to us, unused this past year, in a neat little package.

and then we had a kitchen and life was suddenly all marshmellows and cartwheels

The kitchen is done.  Almost.  Minus a sink, but who needs a sink when you, after three years without, suddenly have a stove with an oven for baking?!  And a table!  You probably have never imagined your life without either of those things, but I am here to tell you that you probably underestimate their awesomeness.  We’ve had ours for a few weeks a piece (at the time I was originally writing this post), and I still can’t stop gushing about them.  We have a table!  We have three flames to cook on!  I can bake things without walking to someone else’s kitchen!

A table!  A stove!  A table!  A stove!  See?  I could go on like this all day.

There was very little building involved in setting things up.  There were a number of walks to the building supply store with a little cart for wood and black paint for the shelves, and there were two very disgruntled trips to Ikea for the rods to hang all the utensils from (yeah, I love those lots) and more glass jars to add to my collection (not only does food in glass jars make the prettiest decorations, they also keep the grocery moths at bay).  I had to take out the bed that was where our table (thanks, freecycle!) is now, but otherwise, it was all painting and hanging shelves with a side of organizing.  I am totally in love with the results.

It is so exciting, that I don’t even mind the extra work of lighting a second wood stove every day.  Of course Germany is experiencing the winter of spring (mud, rain, really mild weather), so it’s not as hardcore as it might sound.  For now.  And when we put Pickles to bed we finally have a room to hang out in where we don’t have to whisper.  (Tangent: Did you know that there is a baby moniter app?  I was about to buy one of the damn things when I realized I could just tell me phone to call the Beard’s phone when Pickles made noise.  Whoa.  Thanks, technology.)

I wrote all that almost two months ago.  And I still haven’t gotten any good pictures of the damn thing.  Every time I think of it, the light sucks.  So this is a little teaser, and here’s hoping that the unbelievable spring sunlight that has shown up with March provides a better stage for kitchen plus camera.

Also: My computer has been broken for a long time, but now it is fixed (FUCK YEAH) so I should be back here more often starting now.  Also also: There is a Click Clack Gorilla website redesign coming soon.  Exciting exciting exciting.

How are you?