What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. Show us your bag in this forum post. This week, we’re featuring Russell Brandom.
I travel light. Occasionally I need a camera, but most of my work gets done on a single laptop, so I’m happy to keep my go-bag light enough that I can trek over to the library without too much fuss. I also don’t like backpacks (or at least, not outside of a camping context), so I’m limited by how much weight my arm can handle. It’s a good thing: less to worry about. I’ve found I only have the mental capacity to carry five or six important objects before I start losing things (for instance: my hat, earlier today), so it’s important to keep things pared down.
To be honest, I have to travel light: my choice in bag doesn’t leave me much room. I got this briefcase on eBay for $50 a few years back. It came with big grotty leather straps on the front that I threw out almost immediately. I’m pretty happy with what’s left. As you can tell, it’s taken a lot of punches over the years, and I suspect it’ll take many more before it gives out.
MACBOOK AIR 13-INCH
This is the standard-issue for Vergers, and although I was skeptical at first, it’s totally won me over – more with speed than anything else. Solid state drives are a beautiful thing. I’ve got a MacBook Pro at home, but at this point I only crack it open for music programs like Ableton and whenever I want to hook something up to my TV. Otherwise, the extra startup time just isn’t worth the wait.
I bounce back and forth between reading my Readability queue on the subway and reading old-fashioned paper books. I like the paper version a lot better, so I’ve always got one on me. I got this Michael Paterniti book as a galley from a friend at Random House. It’s about cheese and betrayal, and I’m interested in both of those things.
I got a Droid 4 because I wanted with a physical keyboard to take notes with. It's faster than typing on a touchscreen, and that part of it still works. Unfortunately, the battery now lasts me less than two days, and the camera is so bad that all my snapchats look like gray-blue fuzz. Sometimes, in life, we make mistakes.
I have a good pair of Sennheisers at home, but these Urbanears are easier to lug around. They’re not much for bass, but it’s good enough for transcription and emergency playthroughs of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. Also crucial: they’re slim enough to fit under a wool hat, as they did for most of this winter.
I try to keep a bunch of different notebooks around in case I need to grab one on the way out the door. This one’s a limited-run Doane Paper model from a few years ago, probably the most photogenic of the bunch. So far there are notes from two stories in it: last summer’s Maker Faire and a book review I wrote in March of 2011. The rubber band is to keep it from flopping open, because I’ve kept it in my back pocket so long that the spine is completely wrecked. But the paper still works fine.