The Prepared/Inexpensive MIDI keyboard/Patience hack


Recomendo: issue no. 191

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Advice for the sane prepper
I’m not a prepper. I did zero prep for Y2K; didn’t even fill my gas tank. A lot of prepper talk is sheer nuts, and even damaging. However in an emergency I aim to be a help not a burden, so some degree of being prepared is needed. The least insane prepper site is The Prepared, which dials back a lot of the paranoia and nuttiness, and is more Wirecutter style reviews of gear. Their intensity is two notches above mine, but at least their advice is sane. I got some good tips about being responsibly prepared. — KK

Inexpensive MIDI keyboard
My 16-year-old daughter and I like listening to lo-fi electronic music in the car, and we got interested in making some lo-fi music of our own. Instead of buying a synthesizer, we just bought this cheap 32-key MIDI keyboard (Model AKM320). We are using it with Apple’s Garageband app, which has built-in software synths. It was literally plug-and-play, because it required no software drivers. It comes with a USB cable. — MF

Tips for hacking patience
According to this Fast Company article, patience is hackable by thinking as concretely as possible to perceive wait times as shorter. For me, what has always worked without fail is my secret grocery-store shopping mantra: “I am zen. I am floating.” And then I just imagine myself floating through the store, not bumping my cart into other people or rushing to get past them, and smiling softly like a weirdo. But it works! And when irrational anger starts to rise up, I think about this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, “Three hundred years from now where will you be and where shall I be?” – CD

Comfortable closed-toe sandals
I work from home 80% of time and was in need of comfy footwear more substantial than flip flops but not as relaxed as slippers, in case I need to run outside. These Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals were exactly what I wanted. They are cushiony and comfortable for standing at my desk, they keep my feet warm, and in my opinion, look good with jeans, plus I don’t feel like a slacker when I’m working without real shoes on. — CD

The handmade life
Many folks dream of being self-sufficient on a half-acre homestead somewhere. The person I know who’s come closest to that goal is Lloyd Kahn, who has evolved a do-it-yourself lifestyle near a city that really works and is not a fantasy. He’s put his 46 years of building his own homes, foraging for wild foods, raising plants, traveling in a van, working from home, self-publishing, and all-around DIY into one photographic book. The Half-Acre Homestead is not how-to; it’s a visual demonstration of what an integrated handmade life looks like, for real. At 85 years young, Lloyd Kahn is still doing it! He is one of my heros. — KK

Tip for Hotwire Users
I’ve used Hotwire to book hotel rooms. On the plus side, they have good deals, on the minus side, you don’t know which hotel you are reserving until after you’ve paid the non-refundable fee. But here’s a video on “How ANYONE Can Get 50% Off Hotels” that shows you how to find out which hotel HotWire is offering before you commit. — MF

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 03/22/20