Cameras, Cannabis, TiVo, Glucosamine, Music, Surfboards, Skateboards

This is a motley collection of stuff, a bunch of things I’ve run across, inspired by Kevin Kelly’s CoolTools (

Olympus Stylus 800

My pocket camera, the alternative to my heavy artillery Canon 20-D, is a little gem. 8 megapixels, huge screen, shoots extremely well in poor light. It’s more laid back, so small that people are at their ease around it.

Canon 20D

This is my heavy and serious camera and it’s awesome. I have three lenses, from wide angle to (motion stabilized) telephoto. It takes my not-always-gentle handling — dust, salt air, bumping it around, continually changing lenses. It’s a dream of a camera. I now delete as I shoot. Shoot one, look at it, then go back and alter exposure or cropping until I get it right. Intelligently designed and the settings are pretty intuitive.

Marijuana Vaporizers

You volatize the cannabinoids, and don’t smoke all the leaf, so it’s way better for your lungs. The taste is of sweet flowers, not smoke. The high end is a beautifully designed and produced unit from Germany called the Volcano. And yes, it’s $500, but how much are your lungs worth? ( On the other hand, there is a $55 unit called the Vapor Genie ( that is good for travel (the Volcano is not). It’s an ingenious little wooden pipe with a ceramic filter that reduces the heat of a lighter flame.

Canadian Weed

These strong sweet-smelling buds have probably been grown hydroponically (like feeding humans intravenously, no soil, no natural sunshine, just lonely weird plants being fed chemicals), and in many cases sprayed with insecticides. Organic growers ought to use labels. Grown in soil and sunshine outdoors, creek water, organically fed, never sprayed, no fossil fuels burned to generate electricity for artificial lights. Buyer beware, know your source. I confirmed the spraying bit with a couple of knowledgeable people in British Columbia. If a grower has a large hydroponic crop in all its monoculture glory, and a couple of bugs (say spider mites) get in there and reproduce, is he going to risk losing his entire crop or is he going to spray? If what he sprays kills bugs, what does it do to your lungs?

iPod vs. Walkman

I got an iPod. I loaded a bunch of my CDs on it and by gosh, I could play Al Green or Patti Smith or The White Stripes anywhere at any time. Tres cool, right? Well, know what? I don’t use it. I’ve found a Walkman works a lot better for me. I like to listen to albums as I get them and I don’t want to have to load it into the Ipod via my computer. So simple to stick a CD in the Walkman, a good little player is the SonyPsyc Atrac 3 Plus with MP3.

Magical Musical Night — Stephen Bruton

Friday I was heading home from a day of running around in SF and the East Bay and stopped by my favorite nightclub, the Sweetwater in Mill Valley. Two bands from Austin were playing. I went in and man, was it an excellent evening of music. Opening act, Danny Click, was fabulous. Then out came Stephen Bruton. I can’t figure out why he isn’t famous. A gunslinger guitar player, great voice, writes beautiful songs. Just 3 guys, sounded like a much bigger band. In his 50s, been around a while, it’s blues-based rock and roll, just an elegant musician. I totally recommend the album I’m listening to now: From the Five, Stephen Bruton. (


I’ve seen the light! I guess everyone knew this but me, but when we finally sprung for the full satellite package, including HBO, Sundance, Showtime, etc. it was a whole different world. There’s actually good stuff on TV. Plus the TiVo recorder is brilliant. I stretch and do various exercises while watching.

Glucosamine Powder

A friend of mine uses glucosamine hydrochloride powder, taking it twice daily, says in a few months it completely cleared up his arthritis. He buys it in a pet store, says it’s the same stuff. I got mine online, human variety, $13 for 6 ounces from I take half a tsp twice daily in fruit juice, it’s a lot better than those horse pills.

Baking Soda In the Kitchen

We buy it in ten pound boxes and put it in sprinkler. We use it on glasses (makes them glisten), washing out sink, cleaning anything. It cuts grease.

Surftek Surfboards

These are a real departure from the standard fiberglassed polyurethane foam boards. At the core is very lightweight styrofoam, glassed with resin, then a thin layer of hi-density styrofoam again covered with resin. Then the board is vacuum formed with epoxy, making it light and strong. I have a 10 footer, it paddles like a dream, and has me making more waves than I ever did before. They’re expensive, maybe $800. If you’re in Northern California, Doug Haut of Santa Cruz is a legendary shaper and master craftsman and has a shop on Swift Street in SC.

The Purple Skunk Skateboard Shop in SF

This place is unique. They have all the standard boards for ramps and street skating, but they also have maybe the biggest collection of longboards anywhere AND you can take any of them out for a spin around the block. The guys who work there are always innovating, with boards, trucks, and wheels. If you skated once and gave it up, please know that there are new materials and designs now, especially for downhillers (as opposed to street skaters and the airborne), where you want to cruise, carve, ride as long a distance as possible downhill.

Office Workout Equipment

Here’s what I have in the office: chin-up bars to hang from or do chin-ups; bungie-cord-type straps for arm exercises; set of 20 lb dumbells, weird spring-loaded exercise tool I got for $5 in a Mexican flea market; and a Back Revolution, wonderful inversion device for one’s spine and lower back. It’s ingeniously-designed so you hang from your hips and it stretches out your spine gently. AND just 1-1/2 minutes is all that’s necessary at a time. I’ve got two of them, I try to remember to hang before going to bed at night, and in the office once in a while. I found out about them from fitness guru, Bob Anderson

Bodylastics Workout Bands, 1 Kit, $40.00

Back Revolution, $400,

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:

One Response to Cameras, Cannabis, TiVo, Glucosamine, Music, Surfboards, Skateboards

  1. I realize I'm posting this several months after you wrote it, but I thought you might like to know that your link for Stephen Bruton is slightly skewed. There's an errant 'r' in the Stephen part.

    I've really been enjoying reading your blog. It's well written, entertaining and contains a plethora of interesting information.

    By the way, I'm a Canon camera user, too. I do a lot of macro stuff, but have a lens for just about everything. I recently acquired the new Canon 70-300 IS, which is totally awesome. 1/15th of a second at 300mm? No problem!

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