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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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What's in the box? [20080626|11:35]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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danaid_luv wanted to know what I carry around with me every day.

I've tried to carry purses and cool shoulder bags and laptop bags and all sorts. But when it comes right down to it, the only thing that really suits me is my rucksack. If I have to go out of an evening, I'll switch to a clutch or something equally tiny, but if I've got to strip down to the basics, I'd rather everything fit into my pockets. Contents image on the right can be clicked to see more detail.





  • Laptop. This is my work machine. It's cheap, it's functional, it runs Windows, which I do not love, but can't change.

  • Stamps. And airmail stickers, because when I send letters, they're usually going overseas. I also have a pack of domestic 1st class stamps in my wallet.

  • Tissues & pharmaceuticals. I don't get hay fever often. When I do, I medicate straightaway. Of course, the medication gives me the CRAYZEE, but at least I can still do my work.

  • Comb. I walk, bus, and tube to work. Inevitably, there is wind, which is detrimental to the tidiness of hair.

  • Hands-free headset. And sanity-saver, as my mobile has a built-in Walkman.

  • Pen. I often forget paper, though, which means that the inside of my left forearm often looks like Rimmer's in that one Red Dwarf episode.

  • BC pills. Because I am so not ready to be anyone's baby mama.

  • Satsuma. I often get quite hungry on my commute home. It's either the satsuma, or the arm of the bloke in the seat next to me. I figure the satsuma is less likely to get me arrested.

  • Makeup removal pads and plasters. For boo-boos.

  • Yes, those are chopsticks. They're so versatile. For eating, for hair pinning, for stabbing the person who's listening to their iPod too loudly.

  • Umbrella. London weather is about as predictable as a hormonal teenager's moods.

  • Cloth bag. Soothes my inner hippie when shopping for groceries.

  • Powder compact and four lipsticks. Okay, three lipsticks and one lip gloss. The amusing thing is that I often forget to wear makeup.

  • USB connector. For portable hard drive containing backups. (Hard drive cleverly forgotten at work.)

  • Cable lock. A remnant from extensive hostelling.

  • Planner. Full of technical notes about Cassini operations. Sequence currently in execution, flybys, maneuvers, meetings, file delivery deadlines, etc. It's deathly dull, but if I ever lost it, I think I'd cry.

  • Paperback. Book identity varies, but is often poetry. At the moment, I'm enjoying Michael Ondaatje's The Cinnamon Peeler for the fourth or fifth time.

  • Makeup bag. Normally contains a lot of the assorted frippery laid out on the bed in this photo.

  • Hand cream and tinted moisturizer. SPF me up. The yellow face, it burns.

  • Mascara, eyeliner, lipliner. It's comforting to know it's there, at least.

  • Giant sunglasses. £4 at TopShop, baby. I never pay more than a fiver for shades, as I'm much too prone to losing them. The less I pay, though, the longer I manage to retain them.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2008-06-26 15:02 (UTC)
Me too. I have everything in my backpack. Laptop too. The contents other than a few are very different. I've tried more professional looking business containers. They don't suit me.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 14:26 (UTC)
Also, they're a pain to carry! It's simply more comfortable to have the weight evenly distributed across your shoulders.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2008-06-27 14:53 (UTC)
I also like the security. No one ever thinks you're carrying anything expensive in a backpack. I usually have at least 2000 dollars worth of equipment in it. A laptop bag says, "Look I have easily 1000 dollars worth of easily fenced items inside me."
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 15:09 (UTC)
Very true. The rucksack is a look that screams "broke-ass student".

Edited at 2008-06-27 03:09 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cataragon
2008-06-26 15:17 (UTC)
Ditto on the sunglasses thing. I once paid several hundred dollars for sunglasses only to mysteriously misplace them inside two days. And on the other hand, I had one pair that cost me $10 last for four years.

Something about this seems terribly unfair, but at least it's cheap to have vaguely fashionably shaped sunnies, even if they are never especially stylish in terms of brand or whatever.

I don't think I'd be brave enough to empty my handbag on the internet. My everyday one is relatively small in appearance, but is actually a small shoulder-bag of +27 holding.
And not only is it often completely full of trash and receipts and various detritus but I once emptied it to discover 14 lip sticks/glosses, which I had thrown in there over time because they happened to be what I was wearing that day. Several of them I'd been looking for for some time.
On the plus side, my penchant for throwing change into the bottom of it means that whenever I run out of cash I can usually empty it to the tune of roughly $30.

And this was a terribly long comment for something so banal. Sorry.

C.

PS. And, just to add to this, I have to say that I deliberately bought a laptop that fits into a mid-large sized handbag, just so I can avoid having to carry a laptop bag if I don't want to. I'm not sure quite what this makes me, given it's my primary computer and it was one of the key purchasing considerations, but Dan (who is addicted to his 17" screen) thinks I'm totally off my rocker.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 15:08 (UTC)
I dropped a pair of expensive, beautiful Oakleys down a rock face. That's when I decided on the cheap sunglasses rule. Plus, as you point out, it means you can own lots of trendy shades in goofy colours and whatnot and not feel bad when you sit on them or leave them on the bus or whatever.

I understand your laptop choice. I deliberately bought a small machine and an external monitor for work, because I knew I was going to have to haul the damn thing around all the time.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 13:59 (UTC)
Not legal in this country.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2008-06-26 17:16 (UTC)
You sunburn? Really? I wear sunscreen because I fear cancer and aging and fading tattoos, but the closest thing I've *ever* had to a burn involved a very dark tan and slightly ouchy skin for a couple of days. And that was after being at an all day outdoor festival in July.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 14:00 (UTC)
Actually, no, I don't sunburn. But I too fear the malignant cells and the leather face. I'd rather be pale and healthy, kthx!
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[User Picture]From: becala
2008-06-26 17:19 (UTC)
P.S. I am shocked by the lack of multitool or at least needlenose pliers. Back when I spent more time on foot I *always* had a pair of needlenose in my bag, and they came in handy almost weekly. I once repaired my boyfriend's chronically-stuck car door with a pair of needlenose pliers and a hairpin.

P.P.S. This is a fascinating post. I think I will steal the idea, though since I drive to work and spent lots of time at home, my bag is much smaller and many essentials are stored in my car.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 14:14 (UTC)
Ah, but you see, this is because the multi-tool lives in my pocket!
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[User Picture]From: becala
2008-06-27 16:49 (UTC)
Of course it does! Silly me, thinking you'd trek about London without the essential tools.
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[User Picture]From: sadira42
2008-06-27 01:08 (UTC)
My problem with purses, even tiny ones, is that I can never find anything in them until I stick my head inside one and root around for about 5 minutes. Sticking the arm in is just never enough. But carrying a lot of crap is essential!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-27 14:16 (UTC)
Yes. I always end up overloading a purse, and then it gets uncomfortable to carry because of course they all go over only one shoulder. Plus, not enough pockets. My rucksack is full of handy compartments, so I don't have to rummage for more than a couple of seconds to get anything out.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2008-06-28 00:19 (UTC)
So organized! (Wait, did I already hear that?) ;)

So I'm to understand that you keep your more 'toolish' items in your pocketses?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-06-29 18:38 (UTC)
There must be a reason we get along, hey? ;-)

I usually have all the important stuff in my pockets, yes, like my Oyster card and money and keys and work ID. I typically only carry the multi-tool and USB stick at work. They're both cheap freebie things, which is OK for the USB stick but not the other so one of the things on my list to get in the States is a nice Leatherman.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-06-29 20:27 (UTC)
You should get a Leatherman Juice, because they are brightly colored and actually feasible to keep in a pocket without someone asking if you're happy to see them.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2008-06-29 20:27 (UTC)
P.S. That anonymous comment was me. I forgot to log in.
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