Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Khan on "deep old age:" "Old people get weak more from lack of activity than from ticking of the clock"

Lloyd Khan runs Shelter Publications and was the shelter editor for The Whole Earth Catalog. At 82, he is quite active, as a skateboarder, paddler, home remodeler, and hiker. In a recent blog post, he reflects on 84-year-old author Philip Roth's observation that "...in just a matter of months I’ll depart old age to enter deep old age — easing ever deeper daily into the redoubtable Valley of the Shadow...”

There was something about turnng 80 that I relished. It’s so o-l-d. I'm still upright.

Some things I’ve learned: Old people get weak more from lack of activity than from ticking of the clock. I’m so interested in my work these days, I don’t get out as much as I should. BUT each time I go for a hike, or paddle, or jump under a cold waterfall, I feel invigorated, alive, inspired. Bob Anderson says, “You never hear anyone saying, ‘I’m sorry I just worked out.’” What I learned in those years, from those guys, was the value of staying fit. I work on posture every time I think of it. If I see as person with good or bad posture, it's a reminder. Shoulders back, down, relax. If you don't use it, you are gonna lose it fer shure.

So this is a reminder to myself to get my ass away from the keyboard more often. Mind and body are not separate entities.

Here's Lloyd's home gym:

And here's Lloyd going through The Whole Earth Catalog: Read the rest

Seven useful tools by Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn is one of the coolest people I know. He was the "shelter" editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. He is also the publisher of Shelter Publications. In this video, he demonstrates seven of his favorite tools.

Below, a video from 2011, when Lloyd was just 76 years old, about his passion for skateboarding: Read the rest

Whole Earth contributor Lloyd Kahn walks us through a rare first edition of the iconic catalog

When I was a teen, I traded the first nickle ($5) bag of weed I'd ever acquired for a friend's copy of the 1971 Whole Earth Catalog. I traded intoxication for knowledge, for "access to tools," and I have never looked back. That 1971 catalog set me onto the DIY path and I have never wavered from it.

In this wonderful video, by way of Kevin Kelly's Facebook feed, another hero of mine from that era, Lloyd Kahn (of the amazing Shelter books) thumbs through his copy of the very first Whole Earth Catalog, the 64-page, fall of 1968 edition. Lloyd claims in the video that not even Stewart Brand has a copy of this edition.

I love how Lloyd's copy is all marked up. I recently found my 1971 edition in the attic. I too had marked, circled, checked, and made notes to the entries where I'd sent off for books, magazines, and other resources. It's so surreal to be able to lay my eyes upon the moment I discovered books, tools, places, and people that would go on to become hugely important in my life.

BTW: If you want to learn more about the history of the Catalog and read some of its seminal essays, check out The Whole Earth Field Guide from MIT which I reviewed here on Boing Boing earlier this year. Read the rest

Whatever happened to utopian architecture?

The Tale of Tomorrow: Utopian Architecture in the Modernist Realm collects photos and commentary about the mid-century heyday of utopian architecture, from Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti to Bangladesh's National Assembly Building. Read the rest

Are you planning to downsize your home?

"Tiny Houses" may be an impractical fad for most, but the hankering for smaller, more efficient, more well-designed homes is reaching critical mass. The BBC covers how young Americans want to live in the expensive city, too—and the developers salivating over them. Read the rest

How the Whole Earth Catalog jumpstarted west coast publishing

Lloyd Kahn, founder of Shelter publications, writes about how the success of the Whole Earth Catalog 48 years ago lit the fuse of a west coast publishing explosion.

Having run a base newspaper in the Air Force, I had a journalistic bent and as all this information began manifesting in the mid-60s and, especially since people were starting to write me for dome building instructions, I thought I'd mimeo up some fact sheets—so I didn’t have to write every person individually.

Stewart saved me the trouble. He had more information, a game plan, the financing, and went on to publish the first Whole Earth Catalog in fall '68. (I still have that crude, funky and by now tattered first edition—one of my treasured books.)

It was an instant hit. Contributing to this were Stewart's pithy haiku-like reviews, and very accurate and complete access information on all the books and items reviewed. I joined forces and went on to edit the Shelter section of three of the catalogs. To go back a bit further while still in this "credit-where-due" mode, The Dome Cookbook by Steve Baer in early 1968 gave me the first flash of insight. By God, I could do a book like this! Funky typewritten text, grainy photos, handwritten afterthoughts in the margin—just do it!

Read the rest

Who wouldn't want to live in this enchanting Swedish microhouse?

Pack your bags--but not with too much stuff!--we're moving to Sweden.

Tiny Homes on the Move – nomadic houses that offer an adventurous yet simpler way of life

As a continuation of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, author Lloyd Kahn (former Shelter editor of Whole Earth Catalog) brings us Tiny Homes on the Move, which showcases 90 nomadic homes made from trailers, school buses, vans, trucks, boats, and even a tricycle. Each entry includes an essay by or about the home’s creator, who talks about why and how they converted a vehicle into a house. Each dweller has a unique story:

A corporate man in Manhattan quit his job three years ago to live a simpler life. He bought a camper van and converted it into his home, which travels between the desert and the beach where he can surf.

A struggling family with young children sold their traditional house and converted a 76-passenger school bus into a new home. “We desperately wanted off the bureaucratic treadmill and to get into a simple life.” The result is astonishing, with a colorful, clean, modern living space that looks more like a trendy pad in Manhattan than a house bus.

A woman who lost almost everything she owned in a house fire says, “It was almost like a burden lifted off my shoulders.” She decided to reinvent her life by living a minimalist lifestyle on a sailboat and exploring the world. With only 100 square feet of cabin space, she doesn’t miss a thing.

Although no two stories or homes are alike, what these people all have in common is their love of freedom and simplicity that their alternative housing offers them. Read the rest

Cool Tools Show 007: Lloyd Kahn, Editor-in-Chief of Shelter Publications

On the latest episode of the Ask Cool Tools Show, Kevin Kelly and I interviewed Lloyd Kahn, editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications. He shared with us many useful tips, ranging from how to get the most out of your camera lenses, to alternative activities for the senior surfer. Read the rest

The Septic System Owner's Manual

Nothing has fed my ridiculous, personal anxieties like moving to a house with a septic tank. Lloyd Kahn's fantastic The Septic System Owner's Manual helped educate me enough that I'm back to worrying about other things.

When I bought my home, back in 2008, the fiberglass septic tank was leaking. I got all sorts of advice from folks that seemed to involve a lot of voodoo and very little science. I found this book and have been able to confidently make good decisions ever since. I replaced the tank with a very basic concrete design.

Kahn is clear, his story telling is whimsical while at the same time pointing out construction or political tragedy. His solutions are always steering you towards the simplest solution and to avoid adding points that can break. Complications in this type of system are messy.

Now I'll go find something else to worry about...

The Septic System Owner's Manual by Lloyd Kahn Read the rest

Google hangout with Lloyd Kahn, master urban homesteader

Kevin Kelly is doing a Google Hangout with Lloyd Kahn today at 5pm PT.

Lloyd is one of the coolest people I know. He lives in a beautiful wooden home in Bolinas, California, that he built himself from salvaged materials. He homesteads, heating with wood he scavenges from windfalls along the road, growing organic veggies in his raised beds. He’s kept backyard chickens forever (he turned me onto backyard egg goodness). He eats roadkill. He hunts mushrooms. He makes books about homemade shelters. Runs mountain races. He visits San Francisco once a week to hear the latest music. He surfs, and skateboards. He is 79 years old!

Read the rest

Blendtec Home Blender: powerful home blender can chop, juice, grind grain, and more

I’m tempted to say that this tool is a life changer, but I’m prone to exaggeration, so I’ll just say it’s a game changer. The game being that by mid-day I’m usually rolling with my writing or book layout and don’t like to take the time to make a decent lunch.

Enter the Blendtec and “green smoothies.” I combine greens plus fresh or frozen fruit, vitamins, protein powder, almonds, hemp seeds and whatever else I see around, turn on the Blendtec and have a delicious drink while working. I do it 2-3 times a week.

I’m getting fresh-from-garden raw greens — parsley (which is fragrant in drink), kale, chard, or lettuce, whatever looks good, plus fruit, protein, carbos, vitamins. There are tons of recipes for green smoothies. I use Gold Standard vanilla whey protein — good flavor, high protein (something like 55 grams in 2 scoops).

This is a big powerful machine and it can be used for any number of things. It’s nothing like the blenders most of us are familiar with. In addition to smoothies, you can chop, juice, grind grain, and make soup or ice cream.

I got it for $400 from Amazon. Expensive, but high quality, highly useful, long lasting.

Here’s a comparison between the Blendtec and the other super blender, the VitaMix. You can also do a search for “Blendtec vs. VitaMix” in Google for more comparisons.

-- Lloyd Kahn

Blendtec Home Blender $360 Read the rest

Gweek 056: Kevin Kelly's Silver Cord

Click here to play this episode. (Link has been updated to point to correct episode!) Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My co-hosts for episode 56 are:

Wes Calimer, writer and director of the upcoming films “Prologue Of A Deadman” and “Sex Lives Of Superheroes," and the producer of YouTube’s “Nicki’s GeekGasm!”

Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s software wrangler and the Johnny Appleseed of weird awesomeness.

Kevin Kelly, senior maverick at Wired, editor of Cool Tools, co-founder of Quantified Self, and author of books.

Here are a few of the things we talked about in this episode:

The Silver Cord graphic novel by Kevin Kelly and his co-creators.

Bulkr: an Adobe Air desktop app to download photos on Flickr.

Prologue Of A Deadman, a short film about how Boston Brand became The Deadman.

NickisGeekGasm YouTube channel

Kevin 1 second/day video of Asia

Dean asks Kevin for an update on Kevin's story from the very first-episode of This American Life: "After he goes to Jerusalem and sleeps on what is supposedly the very spot where Jesus was crucified, Kevin Kelly has a revelation: that he should live the next six months as if he would die at the end of them."

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

Kevin Kelly's Death Countdown Clock

The iOS version of Kevin’s book, What Technology Wants

Cool Websites: Topless Robot, Greatist, Tim Anderson’s Instructables, Lloyd’s Blog, Text Fixer Read the rest

Tiny house in Oakland built for $5k

Lloyd Kahn, author of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, posted this photo of a 120-square-foot house built on a trailer chassis. The house will feature a full kitchen, composting toilet, outdoor shower, sleeping loft custom built in furniture and a fireplace. The siding is reclaimed redwood fensing and flooring is maple re-purposed from an old roller skating rink in Petaluma.

Oakland Tiny House Read the rest

Making Shelter Simple: An Interview with Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn is the editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications. His latest book is Tiny Homes: Scaling Back in the 21st Century.

Avi Solomon: What do you see in your childhood that pointed you onto the path that your life took?

Lloyd Kahn: When I was a kid I had a little workbench with holes in it, and the holes were square or round or triangular. And you had to pick the right little piece of wood block and hammer it in with a little wooden hammer. And so I'd hammer with it, put the round dowel into the round hole, and hammer it through. And then maybe the most formative thing was when I was twelve - I helped my dad build a house. It had a concrete slab floor, and concrete block walls. And my job was shoveling sand and gravel and cement into the concrete mixer for quite a while. We'd go up there and work on weekends. One day we got the walls all finished, and we were putting a roof on the carport, and I got to go up on the roof. They gave me a canvas carpenter's belt, a hammer and nails, and I got to nail down the 1" sheeting. And I still remember that, kneeling on the roof nailing, the smell of wood on a sunny day. And then I worked as a carpenter when I was in college, on the docks. I just always loved doing stuff with my hands. Read the rest

Quadcopter video tour of treehouse in BC Canada

[Video Link] Here's a quadcopter video tour of a treehouse somewhere in BC, Canada. (Via Llyod Kahn's blog) Read the rest

Whimsical playhouse built by former Disney artist

Former Disney artist Arthur Millican Jr., maker of "exciting fairy house manors" built this excellent storybook style playhouse from found materials. It reminds me of the "witch's house" on Carmelita street here in Los Angeles.

If the storybook style appeals to you, here's a book about it that I like: Storybook Style: America's Whimsical Homes of the Twenties.

Whimsical Playhouse (Via Lloyd's Blog) Read the rest

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