This weekend I photographed the 2023 Canada-United Kingdom Colloquium: The Global Order Beyond Ukraine: Strategic Priorities for Canada and the United Kingdom
The period since at least July 22nd has been so consistently busy that I haven’t had time to pause and think any of it through.
The one big Toronto achievement is that now, for the first time since I came to the city in 2011, I am on the lease for a place to live. It’s expensive (adding to the urgency of the job hunt) but I have protected long-term legal status there. After having to move probably 40 or more times during the PhD, it will be a comfort to have a place I can more fully rely upon.
I’m a big fan of former Mythbusters host Adam Savage — his enthusiasm and curiosity, dedication to making the most impressive and beautiful things he can, and his entertaining thoughts and storytelling style.
Fairly shortly after learning that he had designed a shoulder bag for Every Day Carry (EDC), I ordered a Savage Industries EDC ONE in March 2020 for US$225. I have used it nearly every day since, and in my view it is superbly designed and functional both as an urban commuter shoulder bag and a bag for outdoor exploration and long-distance urban walking.
I got the model with the original concept of an all-white interior and exterior. The idea for the white interior is brilliant — “first order retrievability” where the absence of pockets and the ability to see everything in the brightly-lit interior means everything is easily found and nothing gets lost in a sub-pocket because it is not visible with the bag open. I have found this very effective. Inside I carry a Klein Tools 55470 Utility Bag in Orange/Black to hold my keychain and SAK as well as my wallet. Those are the only things that ever go there, and those are the only places those things go, so a momentary glimpse at the bag confirms that I have my wallet and keys. The Klein pouches are deigned to be tough enough to hold tools, so I don’t need to worry about the sharp edges of my keys cutting other things in the bag or the upcycled sailcloth of the EDC ONE itself.
Speaking of the sailcloth, both its toughness and its water resistance are excellent. I routinely carry books and electronics in the bag without fear that even heavy rain will get past the sailcloth and tough (but not indestructible, if you overfill the bag) main zipper. As I understand it, the all-white exterior is part of the concept for the bag too, and meant to develop a unique patina which is revealing about the specific uses each owner puts theirs to. I always wear mine over my right shoulder, because of my injured left shoulder, so I see a wear pattern and pattern of light staining that shows where it always rubs against my blue coat. The bag actually gets most worn of all in the perhaps-unexpected spot where the handle on the body-side attaches to the main body of the bag, since walking motion causes one piece to routinely rub against the other there.
In addition to the pouch for my wallet and keys, I carry a 9″ x 7.25″ Defy Bags (made in Canada, so no international taxes or customs chartes) Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) water-resistant pouch containing an Anker 20,000 mAh external battery which will cover my original iPhone SE for at least three days of heavy and data-intensive use, as well as make sure to start the phone reliably even at temperares around -20 ˚C. I have a less tough pouch for my Bose noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, for when I am not wearing them. I use a 4.5″ by 3.5″ Defy Bags DCF pouch as a micro first aid kit, with Aleve; antihistimines; diarrhea pills and Pepto Bismol tablets; a pair of non-latex gloves; and a few tiny adhesive sutures for serious cuts. In the one small wallet-sized internal pocket, I carry a Bic lighter, PaperMate Sharpwriter pencil, ballpoint pen, and Sharpie. I also have a vanilla and myrrh scented lip balm which I am using in an Andy Warhol-inspired memory experiment, to try to reinforce my recollection of approximately six-month periods by associating a distinctive lip balm odour uniquely with each.
I don’t have anything bad to say about this bag. The strap might seem a bit thin, but I have carried it a long way and sometimes with a lot of weight and it is solid. The bottom of the bag is sufficiently waterproof to let you fill the bag with water in the bath and pick it up, as well as to float quite tolerably if it ever tumbles out of a canoe (though the bag does have holes in the side to let air escape when it it closed and gets squashed down, so it won’t float forever). The handles are excellent for when it is heavily laden, and very comfortable and intuitive with the embedded dowels and magnets. The way the large zipper unzips to leave the bag standing open, ready to look inside, reinforces the functionality of the “first order visibility” from the white interior. The only trouble I have ever had was when I damaged the zipper by forcing it shut around too many groceries which were pushing up and keeping the lid open. The manufacturers at Mafia Bags in San Francisco graciously replaced the top panel and zipper for me for free, as part of the lifetime maintenance warrantee.
I have found the bag to be well-sized to carry my day-to-day needs, to pack away a layer or too for if/when the weather changes, and usually to pick up a supplementary batch of groceries on my way home from an exercise walk too.
Perhaps the strongest testimonial for the bag is this: if you see a photo of me taken outside since March 2020, this bag is probably over my shoulder or on the ground beside me. I have carried the bag on by far the greater part of 6,000+ km of pandemic exercise walks, so I can testify to its durability, suitability in adverse cold and rainy weather conditions, and general toughness and ability to exclude water.
(If you are Adam Savage Googling reviews of your gear, thanks for making such cool stuff with people who have a manifest commitment to quality construction and long-term customer support. I have the EDC ONE and EDC THREE, plus your pouch set and tape measure. I also have v2 of your bedroll currently in the hands of UPS.)
One of the reasons I have always found the internet so exciting is because it facilitates a kind of interaction which I find a bit magical: any time it is possible for somebody to help someone out by using information or material which has been publicly shared. That way, the person who needs help can make use of the photo or follow the instructions without any need to correspond with the person helping them, or for that helper to even still be alive.
My photography is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate such usage. My usage guide explains the generous set of things you can do for free, including making prints for personal use or for inclusion in anything you aren’t selling.
My friend Tristan arranged a group bonfire at a scenic spot in the Don Valley. We did a little light painting.
I got some photos of the many creatures at the aquarium — including green sea turtles which I saw up close for the first time.