Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Big Sunday Geek Gear Post

Lifehacker recently requested that their readers let them know what they carry in their backpacks.  They then published some of the more clever collections.  Last year, Lifehacker editiors revealed what they carried in laptop bags. Three years ago readers revealed the contents of their "go bags."

I would like to think of myself as a minimalist, but I have a bit of survivalist streak that I think comes from reading The Road and The Odyssey.  Of course, I could be an inveterate pack rat.

Last summer I rewarded myself with a Saddleback Leather briefcase.  (Anyone who has not taught a foreign language in the past 15 years and then tries to teach a full year class in four weeks over the summer deserves a huge reward.)

The bag has four small inner pockets. I put assorted pens in one, assorted small tools like a tape measure in the second.  Another has 3x5 cards and a packet of Starbucks instant coffee; the final pocket holds my cell phone.  I usually have a timer clipped to one these pockets.  The bag has two small outer pockets.  I stick a glasses case in one of them.  The case holds some clip-on sunglasses and a lens cloth.  Bifocals are a bitch.

I use a small portable hard drive case to hold my mp3 player, head phones, and any SD cards or spare thumb/USB drives I might have.  I modified a usb case into a small survival case.  It holds a Leatherman Micra, a Leatherman P4, duct tape, matches, a small flashlight, needles, thread, and safety pins.  I bought a corduroy pencil pouch with 3 zippered compartments.  I put aspirin, Advil, antacid, gum, lip balm, and other incidentals in one.  I put pencils, highlighters, and a pencil sharpener in another.  The third compartment holds assorted cables and chargers.  Finally, I have small surge protecter with three regular outlets and two USB ports.

All of this gear goes in the bag's front partition along with a book or graphic novel.  I also carry a Levenger Circa Junior notebook.  The back inner partition holds work related material.  The back outer pocket holds assorted files or magazines or another graphic novel.  I clip an umbrella to one of the extra D rings.

I don't carry a laptop.  I use the phone to surf the web and keep track of tweets.  I have a computer and work and home,and I can't type well enough to flow a debate round, so the laptop seems to be extra weight.

I feel as if I have too much stuff, although I can honestly say that I've used nearly every item during the past year.  What is essential in a teacher's laptop bag/briefcase/satchel/backpack?  Am I missing any cool geek gear?

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