GIMME SHELTER — Pics from Vancouver Island, Latest Music, Blogging

I just don’t seem to have time to do a third of the stuff I want to do. Especially when I’m on, as I thankfully am now after 3 weeks of the doldrums. I wish I could be more stable, but stability cards I was not dealt with. I have these wonderful high periods when the energy seems to flow and I do the creative stuff, but — ugh! — the lows.

Blog vs. Newsletter

Communicating via my blog has kind of turned things around in my communications-obsessed mind. I used to get the word out to people via the physically printed word — books mainly, but also flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, booklets. I was just getting the whole production + printing press = something-you-hold-in-hand-and-read process down, when along came computers. And then the web. Yeow! Whole new world.

Most of my contemporaries (high school class of 1952) never breached the gap. Too daunting to learn alone, too difficult to get the right teachers. They’ve just given up (and seem to get along fine in the non-computer world). I was (I guess) lucky. Books used to be put together in physical “flats” with strips of type pasted down with wax, then shipped off to the printers. When that entire formidable industry shifted to computer-generated electronic files, I had to start over, and hired Rick Gordon, an experienced MacIntosh wizard of book production. As the years have gone by I’ve watched and learned from Rick. He helps me out every day with my digital struggles, putting me way ahead of where I’d be on my own. Digital communication has become an important part of my life and thoughts. So I’m struggling these days as to how much time to spend working on my blog and on my GIMME SHELTER newsletters.

Ulp! Have I said this before? Hey, it’s not that your memory turns to mush as you get older, it’s that there’s only so much storage room in your brain and when you get to be about 60, the filing cabinet is full. Stuff gets jettisoned. (I know there are some of you who will feel better knowing this.)

It’s a beautiful day with blue skies and cotton-ey clouds after a bunch of grey wet days and I’m going to spend an hour or so getting this out.


When I was 19, I lived half the time in Santa Cruz. We were surfers before rubber suits. One of my surfer friends, Rod Lundquist, rented a shack for $10 a month and had it fitted out with a record player and big speakers. He favored Beethoven, Wagner, Schubert, and at high volume. Here was this 20-year-old surfer’s shack, 10-foot (balsa) surfboards all over the yard, and — bum-bum-ba-bum, Beethoven’s Fifth, would rock the neighborhood. I started listening to Beethoven symphonies, and I’d forgotten about his music until I recently got the soundtrack to Immortal Beloved. I’m not big on “excerpts,” but this is wonderful. I played it in my truck driving over the mountain and cranked the volume up to max. Whew! The landscape came alive as the music filled my veins. It was like rediscovering an old guru. The Allegretto from the 7th Symphony gave me chills, I remember — 50 years ago (ulp!) — listening to it on a grey day in Santa Cruz, watching a group of nuns walk down the beach from our beachside apartment window.

Rod Lundquist at his surfer’s shack

Recent CD’s: Unclassified, by Robert Randolph and the Family Band; A Bothered Mind by R. L. Burnside. Also: Five Guys Walk Into a Bar, a 4-CD set of Rod Stewart and the Faces, early rough and raw rock and roll, a lot of it live.

Random Pics From My Sept-Oct Trip to

Vancouver Island and Vicinity

In the interest of speed, I’m not naming all the builders or locations here.

The Wreckage, antique and what-have-you store run by Norma Baillie, built of driftwood and beach stuff in Ucluelet, west side of Vancouver island, by Bruce Atkey in the ’70s

Woodshed by Peter Buckland

Left: Black bear on beach (eyeing me); Right: Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes, especially during berry season. Larger pile about 10-11″ across.

Stairway in woods by Lloyd House. Triangular (in cross-section) steps split from cedar, so that the risers are at at the right angle when they’re nailed to the steep rails.

Lloyd House’s dog, Choo, followed me out into the woods on this split-cedar walkway. I heard this chattering noise — a squirrel up in the tree. As Choo approached he ran down the tree, tantalizingly almost within Choo’s reach and tormented him. I’m sure he was saying, in squirrel-eze, you dumb mutt, give it your best shot, blah-blah. I mean it was a lot of noise. Then he jumped on the walkway right in front of Choo, who bounded off after him through the trees — unsuccessfully.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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