Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsmanis a gorgeous book about how to learn better, and how to place yourself in your career to be able to maximize growth through mentoring. Most code books teach you jargon - how to type this, how to say that. What they don’t teach is the rest of the trade; where to learn, how to learn better, when to position yourself. This book aims to help with that, and was one of the more instructive books.
Having eyes is important. When I switched to Warby Parker glasses, to get away from the square black frames I had been using to look emo for over a decade, I kept my old ones around, just in case. I normally pack them in a small bag, and keep them in a box in my luggage so that they don’t get damaged.
Never get caught without some cheap, good headphones. These don’t fit in my ears too well - they tend to come out on the slightest pressure. But they’re better than nothing, and just in case I get stuck on a long flight, I bring them with me. They don’t weigh anything.
Bang Bang Con is a conference in New York City every year, organized by The Recurse Center. My friend Rafik, who I sailed from Sicily to Malta with on my boat in 2012, gave a talk there on making a floppy disk drive play MIDI files by ejecting back and forth at a certain speed. I went along for the ride, and enjoyed the conference enough that I was glad to have the shirt.
I use an external keyboard that I don’t need to plug into my computer manually. The downside of this is that I have to carry extra batteries. These weigh a lot, and I think a better, wired keyboard would be better. It’s also not a bad idea to make sure that your headlamp takes the same batteries - mine take AAAs, so I failed that test here. You can shave some pounds off by making sure they are compatible.
A pair of boots is the most important item you can bring with you, after a good backpack. They will get you through anything. I bought these boots, Lowa Renegades, at a hiking megastore in New York, and I’ve walked with them on four continents, over hundreds of miles, from the mid-winter wastes of Svalbard to the summer in Buenos Aires, from the jungles of Thailand to the streets of Berlin.
Normally, I take a picture of a business card, and then throw it away. Sometimes, I keep them around, in my wallet, to remind me of other people. I don’t recall what the top card is. The middle card is for an antique bookseller I met in San Francisco. I was reading Gödel Escher Bach at The Long Now in San Francisco, chuckling to myself, when I saw a man next to me reading a book about the Silk Road.
I carried this around with me, but it weighed a ton. The Nikon D7000 weighs almost two pounds (780g), which is far too much to justify carrying it around all of the time, considering I had my phone as well and that, at the time, I wasn’t doing any major photography. I did take a few beautiful shots with it - in particular, when I was heading down to Koh Lanta by a train out of Bangkok.
My ex-brother in law bought me this. He was Colombian, and when I tried to speak Spanish to him, he would gently laugh. I often messed up pronouncing cuñado, meaning brother in law, and would say coñado, which means nothing but sounds like coño, a not-very-nice word in the States. Of course, he’s me ex-brother in law now. Turns out coñado was the right pronunciation after all.
I lost this nondescript carabiner when I clipped it through a loop in my Rothco top-loading army bag I use for moving mountaineering equipment, hoping that it would keep the damn thing closed, when I flew to the UK to go hiking on the West Highland Way for a week. It was cheap, but I used this particular ‘biner for years as a grip for a 5-1 multiplier line when I was tightening my slackline, and I miss it for that purpose, at least.
“Always carry a headlamp.” This was my motto for years. It is less useful now than it once was, as I generally seperate out my hiking gear from my travel gear better, and as my iPhone tends to have a light on it when I need one. However, after too many times trying to maneuver through catacombs in Malta, sewers in Paris, or caves in the Adirondacks, I tend to think that carrying an extra few ounces isn’t the worst thing to do in the world.
This Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is pretty lightweight, and works well with a wireless mouse and a Roost laptop stand, something I have now which I didn’t when I made this inventory. If you don’t have a roost, you can easily prop up the keyboard using a couple of books, which is my standard strategy. This particular board is slightly bent, so I’ve had to carry around a small piece of cardboard with it to put under it to keep it from clacking.
Finding good painkillers can be difficult, when you need them. I always carry some backup. My mother has a habit of taking a few of these every day, for the migraines she gets. She used to wear heavy, red lipstick, and when I wouldn’t be able to swallow the pill alone when I was sick while traveling, I would sometimes have to use her water bottle if we didn’t have anything else.
My friend Todd got me this mouse, when he visited family in San Diego. I could have bought one down the street in Germany without an issue, but I didn’t know that at the time. I’m grateful to him, and I still use it today. Save your fingers and use a mouse. There’s a song by Sun Kil Moon about his friend Brett: My friend Brett, my friend Brett, my friend Brett, my friend Brett, he liked to play the guitar.
Nalgenes are the single greatest water bottle known to man, unless you’re interested in shaving every ounce off of your backpack, at the expense of durability. Friends of mine have shot a Nalgene multiple times with .22 caliber rifles and failed to break them, and dropped them full of ice from buildings. Some of mine - like this one - have been with me for around a dozen years. The only downside is that the opaque white ones are a bit cheaper made, and don’t hold soda or coke well without tarnishing the inside.
I met this guy at the back of a coworking place in Bali, who looked like he had just walked off of Miami beach. The cocktail was still in his hand, and he had Boromir-length hair with a surfer’s grin on. We became friends almost instantly. Turns out he had walked into the jungle and found a village of people whose only real skill was carving water buffalo bone into trinkets for tourists, which they sold for pennies.
I came downstairs one Christmas to the Christmas tree, a few hours early, expectant, excited. Slowly, my family trickled in, and we all sat around, opening presents. My sister’s boyfriend Brian was there, and he had a few, too. He opened one of them, from my sister, and there was this lovely floral belt, army green, that looked like it had come from a pair of cargo shorts from Old Navy.
Standing in the scooter rental place in Chiang Mai, my friend was adamant. “No, we’re not letting you get a scooter.” “But I’ve ridden one before” “That’s not the same as driving one.” “I used to own ATVs and snowmobiles, I’ll be fine.” “That’s what my girlfriend said last month. Then I was holding her head, making sure her brains stayed inside, followed by weeks in the hospital and surgery. No.
I sent this message to Bintang, after The User is Drunk came out: Hey there, So - I made a site two weeks ago which has since gone viral, with 300,000 unique hits. It is called theuserisdrunk.com, and I offer a service where I get drunk and review people’s websites. I’ve been exclusively drinking Bintang to achieve the state of mind needed to do this service, and I realize that I have been mentioning this in each video I make and post on my website - this equates to something like 100,000 free impressions for you.
Nalgenes are fantastic, but they weigh a lot, and they are the worst choice possible for anything other than water, as the plastic tends to keep the flavor of whatever you put in them. I wanted a small thermos I could use for coffee. I bought this at the Alite Outpost down the road from my house in the Mission, when I worked for Hipcamp and had a discount there as we were a camping company, too.