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What's in my bag? — Uri Bram

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What's in my NOW?

February 19 · Issue #38 · View online

One interesting person shares the tangible and invisible things that are influencing the NOW — 3 physical, 2 digital, and 1 invisible.


Uri Bram is the publisher of The Browser and The Listener curation newsletters, and the host of the podcast Taste.

About the bag
Astute readers may notice that my bag shown here is not exactly a bag, in the traditional sense, but rather a pair of trousers. But is a pair of trousers not, in some sense, two excellent bags (pockets) decorated with a lot of additional fabric? If a backpack is a bag, why not a legpack? Anyway, I find life much easier if I don’t have to remember anything, and pockets are the bags that automatically travel with you.
Melatonin ($3) in tiny Muji pillboxes ($2)
Nothing has had a better impact on my quality of life, but the right amount to take (~0.3mg) is a fraction of the usual pill size — I really recommend reading the excellent Gwern on this before starting. If you take it as soon as the sun sets you’ll get pleasantly sleepier all evening, and if you keep them in an endless supply of little Muji pillboxes you will always have some handy, and can give them out to friends who complain of unrest.
I know this is not the most exciting recommendation, but is there anything more valuable when you really need it? Also, another item other people will appreciate you having when they need it. These ones are from Marks and Spencers and perfectly serviceable, but all pocket-tissue-packs are mere imitations of the ideal form I bought in Beijing ten years ago, whose menthol was so strong it induced clarity of mind as well as sinus.
I swear I might have been popular when I was younger if only I’d known about these and therefore occasionally gone to parties. Through some kind of hex they block out loud sounds while letting through quiet ones, and are the sole reason I am able to enjoy nightclubs, bars, or unusually raucous cafes. They’re fairly discreet, but I am not, so I put them in ostentatiously so I have an excuse to talk about how great they are.
Anker battery pack ($36) and 4" cable ($15, 2pk)
Shown here is the Power Core Slim 5000, which was absolutely perfect and is therefore no longer sold, because we live in a broken world. But the PowerCore Slim 10000 is also grand. Having your phone die, ever, is a massive and unnecessary headache in a world where battery packs exist. Get the ridiculously short charging cable for both Apple and Everyone Else so you can save the day when someone else’s phone dies too. (Yes my primary strategy for making friends is having useful items to share).
What's in YOUR bag?
We want to hear about unusual and unusually useful items that you carry in your bag. We are especially interested in the specialized bags of doctors, athletes, repair techs, artists, gardeners, hikers, etc. Start by replying to this email with a photo of the things in your bag (you can use your phone). If you get a reply from us, fill out the form. We’ll pay you $50 if we run your submission in our What’s in my bag? newsletter and blog.
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