My Stuff

As a long time reader of Vanity Fair, the first thing I turn to is a section called “My Stuff,” where famous people tell you what they use daily….. everything from sheets to watches to toothpaste. It’s amazing to me how many people make millions in different industries, and yet still love Crest.

(Well, now it’s the first thing I turn to……….. Dominic Dunne and Christopher Hitchens are dead…………….)

I’ve never done such a writing exercise, so I thought it would be fun to do my own. I’ll divide everything up into categories for easy reading. If you have something better that I absolutely must try, leave it in the comments.

Health & Beauty

  • I have a huge morning allergy regimen, because inside or outside, I’ll find something that makes me sneeze.
    • Pills- Zyrtec (getting Allegra next week) and Sudafed (NOT PE)
    • Sprays- Fluticasone and Sinex
    • Eye drops- Bausch + Lomb Alaway
  • Soaps
    • Bioré Charcoal (face wash)
    • Suave Professionals Shampoo and Conditioner in Almond + Shea Butter
    • Axe Body Wash- Fresco in the summer (sage and mandarin), Dark Temptations in the winter (chocolate and vanilla)
    • Nivea for Men shaving cream
    • Neutrogena Make-up Removing Wipes (a must-have with a tubing mascara)
  • Fragrances
    • Winter
      • Axe Dark Temptations body spray
      • Axe Dark Temptations deodorant
    • Summer
      • JASON Tea Tree Deodorant Stick
      • Liz Claiborne for Men
  • Hair Products
    • Garnier Leave-in Conditioner
    • Viking Revolution pomade or Gorilla Snot (moco de gorila) Gel
    • Aussie Sprunch Spray
  • Makeup
    • Mascara and eyeliner in “Brynn” (a deep black) by Thrive Causemetics
    • Lipstick by Burt’s Bees in Plum
      • A quick note about makeup- this is all I own. Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist before he started acting and he says you only need to frame your face. I’m going to go with Hawkeye on this one….. foundation on a hot DC summer day is for dummies)
  • Dental Care
    • Colgate Essentials with Charcoal- toothpaste
    • Crest ProHealth Advanced Enamel Care- mouthwash
  • Sleep
    • 10mg melatonin
    • Weighted blanket (basically a human ThunderShirt)


  • AMD Desktop running Windows 10 with 32-in HDTV as monitor. Bluetooth remote control for Kodi Media Center.
  • Original Kindle 7-in (useful for reading long periods at a clip)
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Apple Watch
  • Logitech K480 Bluetooth Keyboard
    • I cannot recommend this product highly enough. It’s relatively full-size and comfortable, yet will fit in a messenger bag/medium to large purse. Plus, it has a switch on it so you can connect three different devices- I have my iPad, my iPhone, and my desktop hooked to it now.
  • Android tablet connected to a Bluetooth alarm clock- makes an AWESOME stereo
  • AMD laptop running Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” and Cinnamon as the window manager
  • MPOW H7 Bluetooth headphones (80’s “can” style)
  • Sandisk Fuse+ MP3 Player running Rockbox
    • I listen to so much music/so many podcasts that having one of these saves hours of phone battery.


  • Mobile
    • Carrot Weather
    • Clue (period/ovulation tracker)
    • Just Press Record
    • Amazon Prime Music Unlimited
    • Spotify
    • Pocket Casts
    • LastPass
    • ProtonMail
    • Reddit
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • WordPress
    • Google Chrome
    • Washington Post & Post Select (Select has an Apple Watch app)
    • NY Times
    • Goodreads
    • Uber
    • Blood Donor (Red Cross)
    • Ambience
    • NordVPN
    • Mega
  • Desktop
    • Operating System Agnostic
      • NordVPN
      • Kodi
      • LibreOffice
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Mozilla Thunderbird
      • GNU Image Manipulation Program/Glimpse
      • Google Chrome
      • Vivaldi Browser
      • VLC Media Player
    • Windows
      • Amazon Music Unlimited
      • Spotify
      • Netflix
      • Microsoft OneNote
      • Picasa 3
      • MusicBee
      • White Noise
      • iTunes
    • Linux
      • Nuvola (streams music and videos from all sources on Linux)
      • Variety (wallpaper changer)
      • Conky Manager (adds widgets to the desktop for looking at processes and internet speed)
      • ANoise (short for Ambient Noise- has everything from forests to beaches to oscillating fans)
      • LollyPop (music manager)


  • The Moth
  • Modern Love
  • Risk!
  • Unlocking Us
  • The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber
  • On Being with Krista Tippett (I generally download the unedited version)
  • The Robcast
  • Pod Save America
  • The Rachel Maddow Show
  • The Daily Show: Ears Edition
  • Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
  • SpyCast
  • Death, Sex, & Money
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage
  • Wild Goose
  • and, like, a hundred more but these are the ones I anticipate

Books I Read Often

  • Dynamics of Faith, Paul Tillich
  • The Solace of Leaving Early and A Girl Named Zippy, Haven Kimmel
  • All of William Barclay’s books on the Gospels
  • Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
  • The Giver, Lois Lowry
  • One L, Scott Turow (pretty sure this was in my bathroom for three years in college)

Clothing Brands

  • Nautica
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Ralph Lauren
  • American Giant
  • Dockers
  • Levis
  • Dickies

My Bags

  • XINCADA Men’s Messenger Bag, L
    • Not a messenger bag in the classic sense. Looks way more like a travel purse, especially since the canvas is advertised as “Blue/Black,” but is actually purple. The only reason I went with the large is that I needed it to fit my 10-in tablet and keyboard. If you have a seven or eight inch tablet and a foldable keyboard, the small is perfect. I was amazed at the quality of the bag for the price. It will last me years on end.
  • Swiss Army Backpack
    • Perfect for my 15-in laptop and all its accessories while traveling. Not my daily driver because it’s too heavy….. I call it “Leviathan” (Veep joke)

So that’s my stuff. I’m not going to include movies and TV because those things change frequently. If there’s something I haven’t covered that you want to know, just ask. I’m not energetic enough to be cagey.


Let’s Get Some Shoes

The tread on my Bistro Crocs was wearing thin, and I didn’t notice until we were cleaning the floors. I was sliding around more than normal, and started to calculate exactly how long it had been since I’d bought them. I got them when I was working at Biddy’s, so that’s at least ten years.IMG_0069 Plus, I’d gotten them a size smaller on the advice that they would stretch out, which they did, but they are also scuffed where my big toes stuck out in accommodation. So, it was time for a new pair. I asked my bosses what the rules were for crazy pants/shoes in the kitchen, and they said go for it. We don’t care. I probably need another pair of pants, but those can wait. I have a dish washing shift coming up next Sunday, so shoes take precedence. Bet you didn’t know I could switch hit.

Some of my chefs would agree with you that I cannot. However, there are long stretches of radio silence in which to catch up on a Sunday, so I’m not worried. I’d do anything just to be there. Being in a professional kitchen is where I feel the most alive.

I really want to meet Anthony Bourdain now, because he said on No Reservations that he’d never seen a white person apply for a dishwasher position before. I didn’t apply for it, that’s just where they needed me, but it still counts, right? Right?

Keep in mind that I would not be going for the crazy pants/shoes look if I was doing fine dining. I work in a brewpub, where our basic uniforms are jeans or chef pants and company t-shirts…. and most of mine are black and red, the logo for Lowest Lord ESB. Well, technically the logo on the beer tap/can is orange, but the t-shirt made for it is black with white, yellow, red, and grey printing. Even my official logo shirts are black. I am so in style now… well, for the kitchen. It’s not like I’m going to wear these to the opera (wait… I can’t promise anything).

It’s not enough to dress the part, though. Getting new shoes and new chef pants is just an adornment on what is often technically difficult and demanding work. For instance, we have the same french fry cutter that In-N-Out Burger does, the one that slices the whole potato into strings at once.

You cannot imagine how difficult it is for someone of my stature and lack of strength to cut through a huge baking potato lengthwise by pulling a lever that tends to get stuck halfway through, or the potato bends, without an enormous amount of pressure. Part of it is that my upper body strength is weak. Part of it is the placement of the slicer on the wall. I have even less body strength when I have to reach that far up. I’m only 5’4, and I always feel like I’m trying to slice a potato on a professional height basketball goal. For most of the guys, the lever is at their waist. On the plus side, I now have a gym at my disposal. Pretty much anything in the walk-in weighs at least 40 lbs, and cardio is 20 tickets on the rail and 20-30 that won’t fit yet behind them. Also pretty sure I could use the potato slicer as a chin-up bar (that was like, half a joke).

The reward at the end of the night is always a shift beer, but I’ve only taken them up on it twice. This is because all I really want when I’m done is a large pitcher full of ice water and a straw. But both of the beers I’ve tried were wonderful. One was Georgia Avenue White Peach Weisse, and the other was Third Party Belgian Tripel. I can’t recommend one over the other, because that would be like comparing donuts to Chevrolets. They’re both amazing in their own ways.

In terms of after-work activities, I don’t have any. I’m too tired. I’ve been watching a little TV, starting Fargo from the beginning. I absolutely love it 20 minutes at a time…. which is about how much I watch before I fall asleep and have to rewind when I wake up.

Last night I was so exhausted I left both Rachel and her sheath at my workstation. It’s not like anyone will steal/destroy her, but I am so possessive that if the weather weren’t this horrible, I’d go get her just to make sure. In a professional kitchen, I don’t even care if she goes through the dish machine…. or as my old chef reminded me, Leslie… it’s a dish machine, not a dish washer. What, you think when you press the button little elves are going to jump out and wash your dishes? Professional dish machines are mostly for sanitation, getting the dishes hot enough for reuse. Not much washing is going to get done in a two minute cycle.

That’s why human dish washers are so important- all the food has to be off the dishes and the pots have to be scrubbed before you put them into the machine, where the water is hot enough to burn Satan’s asshole.

Oh, look. My kitchen vocabulary is coming back. My mother will be so proud.