It's been a few years since I've kept you all up to date on the contents of my EDC bag. And I know what you've all been asking yourself: "What's Mike got in his bag today?"
Now keep in mind that this is an Urban Dad kit. So an extra Metrocard is much more useful than, say, a fishing kit. Tool-wise, I ditched the Victronix SwissTool because of its weight and bulk, opting for smaller and lighter single-use tools. The only thing I miss not having is the pliers, but you've got to make choices.
First, the bag itself. I switched out of the camera bag I'd been using for years and into a Muji Travel Organizer:
Advantages of this organizer are 1) it opens like a book, giving me easy access to contents; 2) lots of little pockets and things; 3) it looks more "professional" than my old bag; and 4) most of the storage is in two separate packs that velcro to the bag's interior. The two packs enable me to switch out one pack for another (e.g., removing the Emergency Pack and replacing with the Computer Cable Pack.) It also means I can make the whole bag "flight safe" in about ten seconds.
The "Urban Dad" Pack
"Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
I'm not sure of the total package weight, but it certainly feels lighter than the old bag. So there you go, my obsessive listing of my obsessive bag. At least you know that when push comes to shove, I'll be the one with the duct tape.
Where Should I Eat? Fast Food Flowchart. Via Debbie.
So all is well in the Jewish community here because the Hasidic rabbi is helping the Montana cop speak Hebrew to his dog. Thanks to Susie for the article.
I like to give people gear. Being a gearhead, I don't want all hoard all my research on which doohickey is the absolute best doohickey to solve your doodad problem. Gear is useful, and it's the kind of thing that non-gearheads don't usually buy for themselves.
Today's gear guide: Keychain Stuff!
That's all for today's gift guide. Go Give Gear!
1 How does an LED dim, you ask? It actually flickers on and off very quickly.
Still working on my upgrade to Ishbadiddle -- wrestling with Drupal is like wrestling with angel, only with more extensive documentation. 1
What I have in mind is to collect data streams from the Greater Ishbadiddle Community. The new Ishbadiddle will take in Twitter, LiveJournal, blogs, delicious links, RSS feeds, email, and however else the Ishbadiddlers want to post their information. Sort of what I've tried to do with the "On Our Blogs" section with Yahoo! Pipes, but integrated into the main blog. Suggestions on redesign / retooling are welcome (but email me, because the comments here are nearly broken).
In other news, I have a couple of job interviews coming up (yay!) and sold my first Zepto Dice (wahoo!) And here's the first video of Science Mondays With Dad:
I started doing science stuff with the boys after they went to Carmello the Science Fellow for a week over the summer. They wanted to do his after-school program, but 1) it's pricey, 2) it's not close to home, and 3) we weren't that impressed with the week-long program. Carmello showed them a lot of TV. And we're not talking Cosmos re-runs, either. So I figured I'd do it myself. Coming up next: Electromagnetic Crane, and Which Takes Up More Volume: Ice or Water?
1 Apologies to all who read this joke already on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
We're fixing things up around here for the big move over to Drupal. More to come.
We've finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter saga aloud to the boys. So here are some things that I want to know (spoilers ahead, but if you haven't read it by now you probably won't care):
Light posting of late as I'm getting over a virus -- of the digital kind. This one was particularly nasty. Our PC wouldn't boot at all in any mode (just giving us the lovely Blue Screen of Death) and, after running numerous diagnostics, I decided to re-install Windows. (Fortunately everything is backed up in the Amazon cloud -- thank you, JungleDisk!)
My bleary eyes lit up with success when I finally heard that XP Startup Sound 1 -- and then dimmed with tears as Security Tool began bombarding me with Dire Warning Messages. I had Trojans! I had viruses! My programs had been infected and were sending my credit card information to overseas hackers!
Hold on there just a minute. I don't have a program called Security Tool. The malware was camouflaged as an anti-malware program. We're through the looking glass here, people.
It was also blocking my AVG anti-virus, and any other process it didn't like. I'd tussled with spyware this belligerent before, so went to get Malwarebytes which took care of the problem. Nice. I now have it in "Protection mode" all the time. It was certainly worth the $22.45.
LHC story via Rebecca Blood.
So there's been quite the debate going on in the NPIN (Nonprofit / Philanthropy / Internet Nexus, a term I just invented) about Kiva. Kiva is a microlending site where you can pick an entrepreneur and make them a loan. (Sort of a P2P Grameen Foundation.) Poor people get to start their own businesses, you actually get your money back (to re-loan or cash out), what's not to like?
Well, the problem is in that "pick an entrepreneur" part. Apparently all the entrepreneurs on the site have already received their loans. Their stories are real, and the funds you gave will actually help them, but the idea that you are choosing where your funds are going is an illusion.
Lots of debate is going on, from an opening salvo (Kiva Is Not Quite What It Seems) to the CEO's response. You can read more over on the Tactical Philanthropy blog, whose author was kind enough to put my comment into its own post. I'll reproduce here for those of you who won't read any other site than Ishbadiddle:
The central issue, to me, isn't that the pool of money is fungible (i.e., my donation goes into a large pool, out of which the partners are funded, out of which individual loans are made). Nor is the question of microphilanthropy vs. the need to fund overhead. The issue is that Kiva implies that the lender's choice helps determine who gets a loan.
Kiva gives the impression that if lenders do not fund a project, that project will not happen. Right now there's a project with $250 left to go, and it "expires" in 8 hours, 15 minutes. That gives me a sense of urgency. I might even give the whole amount. But if the loan has already been made, then the "expiration" isn't true. There is no real choice.
I worked for a number of years at DonorsChoose.org, and I can tell you that giving donors an actual choice is hard. Good projects will go unfunded. You have to return credits to donors who have partially funded a project that never happened, and convince them to reapply those funds to a new project, which itself might not be fully funded, etc. Tracking it all is no piece of cake, either. But if you don't do all of this, you're not being transparent, and you're not giving your donors real choice.
I don't believe that microphilanthropy (or microfinance, peer-to-peer giving, etc.) is a good solution for most problems. DonorsChoose.org has an advantage, in that they are funding discrete classroom projects within public schools, but do not have to fund the infrastructure of the schools themselves. Most problems just couldn't be solved in this way. ("I'd like to fund only the violas in the orchestra, please.") But if you're going to advertise yourself as giving choice to the donor, you'd better do it.
I must say that I'm disappointed in Kiva. Time to switch to GlobalGiving?
Zepto, the world's smallest dice game?
Available now on Etsy! Only $9 plus S/H!
(Yes, that's my hand again, and yes, I'm selling this.)
If September 11th were my son, he would be eight years old and just starting the third grade.
If September 11th were my son, he would be playing video games right now.
If September 11th were my son, he'd be into Star Wars and Lego and Harry Potter and Pokemon.
If September 11th were my son, he would like to play soccer and baseball.
If September 11th were my son, he would be laughing.
If September 11th were my son, he would love to run.
If September 11th were my son, I would kiss his forehead every night as he slept.
But September 11th was buried long ago.
You are my son.
And each year you grow.
And each year, my grief gets smaller.
I am such a sucker, and I'm always the last to know.
Just two more months and then I'll only have two months to go!
night all. sleep well my kings and queens of all things fermented!
Cold sheets and pillows are the greatest thing ever invented :D
I can't decide if I want to rap this page or set it to some folksy guitar.