Tuesday, February 20, 2007

People Who Live In Straw Houses...

Most people, when undertaking a project to build a house, think wood, brick, concrete. Then there are the dreamers. The iconoclasts. The people who think they can make a real difference and blaze a new trail.

They build a house from straw.

Yep, you read it right. Meet Leslie Miley, the man of vision in question. I've had the pleasure to work with Leslie and call him a friend. But make no mistake about it: Leslie is a man of vision. He also is a man who is driven. Why, you ask, would a man of Silicon Valley buy a property in Paso Robles (in San Luis Obisbo county, about halfway from San Francisco to LA) and build a straw house? As Leslie says:

In the year 2000 I started straw bale dream house that would be ecologically sound, environmentally friendly, and a place to finally call home.

When Leslie explains it, in his uncompromising way, you actually get it. You believe it. And then you read the incredibly detailed blog of everything that went right, wrong, and in between. From the nightmare of contractor hell, fires, freezes, and every other imaginable thing, you can see what a militant black man who is the Forrest Gump of Silicon Valley (Inktomi, Yahoo, Google) experiences in trying to build his 40 acres (no mule, though the Kick Ass Coffee shop was a good substitute) and his house of straw in the heart of SLO. He says it best:

"...trying to run a coffee bar in a ultra-conservative, racist town. Who and what I am was fundamentally changed and not all for the better."

Read on...keep the faith, Shaft. You did what many of us could only dream of.

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