Grid-It: Knoll your everyday carry
Cocoon's Grid-It organizers are flat, rigid boards criss-crossed with tough, strong elastic straps, which let you lay out every small and useful thing you own in a pleasing, knollish layout. Cory Doctorow's carried one for a month now, and can't imagine how he ever lived without it.
It all started when Paula showed up for brunch with one, a little red 7.25" x 9.25" model, with her keys passed through the loop on top. Everyone at the table stopped talking and looked at it. All of her bag-clutter, every one of the little thingamabobs that normally rattle loose at the bottom of your bag until they are ground into uselessness as surely as if they had been in a rock-tumbler, there they were! Perfectly organized, in a neat grid that seemed to imply a mastery over the chaos of daily life. We immediately bought one of each size (9.6" x 15.1", 12" x 8" and the 7.5" x 9.8") in a variety of colors (they come in grey, red, blue and black) and set to testing them out.
It's been more than a month since I started out with one, and you'd have to pry it out of my fingers to get me to part with it. I took it on beach-holidays, train-journeys, the daily commute to the office, long-haul flights, car-trips, and to the World Science Fiction Convention. They've held up superbly (I'm hard on my stuff) and I think I've sold a couple dozen of them just by pulling them out in public places, because if you have a bag full of useful but impossible-to-find kipple, you immediately lust for these. They're Everyday Carry for people who want all the corners to line up.
Each one has a zipper-pocket on the back (I use mine for a small notebook), and can be infinitely reconfigured. I'm especially happy to have my sunglasses case in a safe place, and right at the top of my bag, too. It's also really easy to, at a glance, check to see if you've got everything for your trip. They make secondary security screenings at airport checkpoints incredible easy. My only complaint is that you can't stack them one atop the other without tugging your stuff out of its elastic cocoons, and that's only because I want to fill my bag with them.
The elastics are strong and stuff doesn't fall out if your pass it through a couple-three loops. The boards are light, too: from 0.4lbs for the smallest to 1.06lbs for the biggest. There are also a lot of weird sizes that the manufacturer advertises but that can't be readily had in stores. I'm interested in the suitcase-sized 11"x15" suitcase-sized one -- I'm going to order a couple for my next book-tour and try using one as a toilet-case -- I love the idea of hanging it up in a hotel bathroom and being able to see all your stuff at a glance.
Cocoon knows a good thing when they see it -- they've expanded into car sun-visor organizers and tablet cases, backpacks lined with grids, too.
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
Octavia Butler (previously), the brilliant Afrofuturist, McArthur Genius Grant-winning science fiction writer, died far, far too soon, leaving behind a corpus of incredible, voraciously readable novels, and a community of writers who were inspired by her example.
EFF has just posted a job listing for a development director, seeking someone to "take charge of EFF's eleven-person Development Team in their efforts to raise over $13 million each year," starting late 2019 or early 2020.
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