Soylent and St. Louis.

So funny thing happened today. I’m in St. Louis visiting a couple of big clients for work. One of my Account Executives tried Soylent at my recommendation. Turned out it wasn’t for him. He had 5 brand-new bags of powder he didn’t intend to use, so he gave them to me. Score! More for me!
So I know what you’re thinking…this guy had an issue with TSA. Yes, but it got a little bit more complicated. So I already knew that TSA would flag the bag, so I had a small side-bag, detached with JUST the Soylent to help move this inevitable process along. I fly an insane amount for work, so “this isn’t my first rodeo”. Plus I was running a little behind and wanted to ensure I caught my flight home.
Everything’s going exactly as I expected until I see the testing device flash red and start making noises. Tested positive for explosives or something. I wasn’t entirely sure what it tested positive for. At that point, the TSA employee became much more assertive and by the book. Yeah, Soylent created a “Security Incident” at the airport.
I know my story sounded fishy. I can just imagine the TSA agents not believing my story of “I got these bags of powder from a coworker”. To be perfectly honest, it was pretty chill after that. I know I had nothing to hide. I was totally chill, let the TSA do their thing. I got the full pat-down, a detailed search of ALL my bags. I was carrying a TON of computer equipment with me so I know it was a lot of work for the TSA folks. They were all very professional. I know they’re just hard working folks trying to make a dollar, so why give them grief? (This is a happy story so please take the TSA-hating elsewhere. Thanks.)
The Eye-in-the-Sky was directing the agents as to what to do next. I was told I had to open the bags and inspect the powder first, then the TSA agent. He was apologizing to me the whole time because we had to break the seal of the bags. I told him it didn’t really matter, because they were a gift and didn’t cost me anything. “Still, this is your personal property, I feel bad we’re having to do this”.

I started to stress a little when time started to drag. I was already cutting the time closer than I wanted to. We finally got the ALL CLEAR from the Eye-in-the-Sky. I reconstituted myself and my belongings and hauled-ass across the airport to the gate home. Luckily, the flight was slightly delayed and hadn’t boarded yet. I made my flight.

I must say, this was an interesting experience. Everyone was very polite, professional, and courteous. It was not the horrible experience I was anticipating. I think there are some obvious lessons learned here for the next frequent-flying Soylent drinker. 🙂

TLDR: Moving bags of powder through TSA check-points is probably not a good idea.

Business Travel (aka Road Warrior) Packing List.

So I’m about to embark on another trip across the US to discuss Cyber Security controls with a bunch of different companies across the West Coast. I’m looking forward to it. However, I absolutely hate packing for trips like this. You never know what exactly life has in store for you, if the weather will cooperate, or if you might spill a ramekin of cocktail sauce down the back of your last nice shirt (true story). So anyways, I’m trying to make it easier on myself by keeping a “living packing list”. I’ll continue to update this list as time goes on with whatever need-to-have items I require while traveling. Anyways, here’s the list so far.
[ ] Dress Shirts
[ ] Slacks
[ ] Dress shoes
[ ] Belt
[ ] Underwear
[ ] Undershirts
[ ] Socks
[ ] Swimsuit
[ ] Shorts
[ ] T-Shirts
[ ] Running Shoes
[ ] Baseball Cap

[ ] Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Floss/Mouthwash
[ ] Shaving Razor/Shaving Cream/Blades
[ ] Comb/Hairbrush
[ ] Hair gel/hairspray
[ ] Nail Clippers
[ ] Deodorant
[ ] Talcum Powder
[ ] Ear Plugs
[ ] Sleep Mask
[ ] Tweezers
[ ] Hand Sanitizer
[ ] Aspirin/Tylenol
[ ] Afrin Nose Spray
[ ] Benadryl

[ ] Pens & Notepad
[ ] Laptop Charger
[ ] Laptop
[ ] Hacking Toolkit
[ ] Business Cards
[ ] Breath Mints
[ ] Dry Erase Markers
[ ] Wireless Mouse (Purposely Vulnerable)
[ ] VGA to HDMI Adapter

[ ] Sunglasses
[ ] Phone Charger
[ ] HooToo Travel Mate
[ ] Roku Stick
[ ] Amazon Dot
[ ] VR Headset
[ ] WifI Hotspot
[ ] Noise-Canceling Headphones.
[ ] Wired Headphones
[ ] Kindle
[ ] iPad
[ ] Watch Charger
[ ] Flashlight
[ ] Umbrella
[ ] USB Battery Pack
[ ] HDMI Cable

It’s a lot, but I’m able to typically carry this all in an average carry on and a brief-case or backpack. Free free to print this packing list as a PDF out as well for your own use.

Roadwarrior Gear

So if you follow me on twitter, you already know I travel. A lot. My wife is also a “travel-hacker”. Over the last year I think I’ve been to Alaska, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, New York, and Boston. I’m sure I forgot some along the way too. Internationally, I’ve been to Australia, the Bahamas, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Aruba, Hawaii, and later this year the Dominican Republic. So yeah…I fly, a lot.

So between my work life and my professional life, I’ve found a few things that make my life just a little bit easier. I speak highly of these particular products to the point that based on my recommendations, my friends, co-workers and family have bought a bunch of these different products. Here are some of my favorites. Feel free to buy through the links below and give ole Rainmaker a little kickback if you don’t mind. 🙂

Read more “Roadwarrior Gear”