Beyond Black Friday

Clean it up
Beyond Black Friday Molekule for Newsweek

Black Friday has come and gone, if you didn't know because you've been hiding in whatever room Donald Trump hides in to escape the FAKE NEWS, which means anyone with an internet connection has been bombarded with deals and coupons and flyers in a melee of frantic advertising that we all know isn't likely to abate until 2019.

Here's the thing about the strange holiday that is Black Friday (and Cyber Monday, and by next year we'll surely have Torpid Tuesday and Wham Wednesday): the deals are usually not that great, and the stuff is usually not really what you actually want. If you wanted it, badly enough anyway, you'd buy it when it came out, like so many lemmings who pre-order and wait in line for the hottest new iPhone. So instead of scouring the web for 20 percent off coupons for a two-year-old television or a mediocre pair of headphones, I threw together a holiday shopping guide for things I actually own, from body scanners to luxury linens to air cleansers to skillets to vaporizers. Life-changing things. Things worth half a mortgage payment. And most of them are still on sale.

Bye Bye Beats
Psst: there are better earbuds than those made by companies that begin with the letters A(pple) and B(eats/ose). There are plenty of options out there with great sound quality, thumping bass, mids, lows, highs and the rest, but I use earphones in two environments: while working out, and while motorcycling. And there’s only one brand of earphone that actually stays in my bloody ears while I’m either sweating to the oldies or wrenching a helmet onto my dome: Shure. For the uninitiated, grab the SE215s for as little as $89 and you’ll be perfectly happy. When you’re ready to ball a little harder, step up to the SE425, for as little as $23 9. The farthest I’ve climbed up the Shure ladder is the SE846, which features four high-definition drivers for extended high-end clarity and a low-pass filter that packs subwoofer-quality bass into your ears. They normally go for $999 but can be had for $100 off at the moment, thanks to a holiday rebate. If you’ve got the ends, they’re worth it. www.shure.comShure for Newsweek

Psst: there are better earbuds than those made by companies that begin with the letters A(pple) and B(eats/ose). There are plenty of options out there with great sound quality, thumping bass, mids, lows, highs and the rest, but I use earphones in two environments: while working out, and while motorcycling. And there's only one brand of earphone that actually stays in my bloody ears while I'm either sweating to the oldies or wrenching a helmet onto my dome: Shure. For the uninitiated, grab the SE215s for as little as $89 and you'll be perfectly happy. When you're ready to ball a little harder, step up to the SE425, for as little as $23 9. The farthest I've climbed up the Shure ladder is the SE846, which features four high-definition drivers for extended high-end clarity and a low-pass filter that packs subwoofer-quality bass into your ears. They normally go for $999 but can be had for $100 off at the moment, thanks to a holiday rebate. If you've got the ends, they're worth it. www.shure.com

 
Clean it up
I came to the Molekule with a heavy dose of skepticism about “air purifiers.” I’ve bought several over the years, all HEPA filter-style devices that draw dirty air into them, trap dust and particulates and push out blissfully tasty fresh air. But I can’t say anything I’ve ever used had a bonafide effect on my wussy sinuses, which have for the past five or ten years taken a liking to infection, every six to eight weeks. If you’ve ever had a sinus infection, you’ll know that it’s like squeezing one’s head between a pair of vice grips while dousing the eyes and nose in a pollen jacuzzi. Six months ago, I switched to a different style of nasal lavage and bought a Molekule, which uses free radicals to oxidize pollutants, eradicating airborne allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds from your filthy air. I usually wake up needing to blow my nose. The very first night I stuck this beautiful tube next to my bedside, I woke up cleaner and clearer than if I’d spent the morning snot-rocketing through a mountain bike ride. And I haven’t had a sinus infection since. Price: $799, though if you snatch it up by midnight, you’ll get the Black Friday price of $649. www.molekule.com Molekule for Newsweek

I came to the Molekule with a heavy dose of skepticism about “air purifiers.” I've bought several over the years, all HEPA filter-style devices that draw dirty air into them, trap dust and particulates and push out blissfully tasty fresh air. But I can't say anything I've ever used had a bonafide effect on my wussy sinuses, which have for the past five or ten years taken a liking to infection, every six to eight weeks. If you've ever had a sinus infection, you'll know that it's like squeezing one's head between a pair of vice grips while dousing the eyes and nose in a pollen jacuzzi. Six months ago, I switched to a different style of nasal lavage and bought a Molekule, which uses free radicals to oxidize pollutants, eradicating airborne allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds from your filthy air. I usually wake up needing to blow my nose. The very first night I stuck this beautiful tube next to my bedside, I woke up cleaner and clearer than if I'd spent the morning snot-rocketing through a mountain bike ride. And I haven't had a sinus infection since. Price: $799, though if you snatch it up by midnight, you'll get the Cyber Monday price of $699. www.molekule.com

Nude Development
Like most people who occasionally self-medicate with food and who wish the jeans they bought last year still fit, I hate scales. The digital model I’ve owned for several years now would likely add a pound of dust to the reading were I to excavate it from its hiding place beneath the bed. But when I heard about the Naked scanner I must have been in a particularly self-loathing mood, because I ordered one and set it up. I’m a little too much of an early adopter to be able to describe “results,” as in “This thing helped me lose 40 pounds!” but it certainly lives up to the hype as a measurement tool that makes the digital scale feel like an obsolete brick. The Naked home body scanner plops you on a rotating scale in front of a mirror equipped with infrared light that captures not just a 3d image of your body but a number of other useful metrics, like the actual size of each thigh, and your lean mass, fat mass and body fat. If you have the courage to keep climbing up on the thing week after week, the Naked will track your progress (or degradation.) $1,395, www.nakedlabs.com Naked Labs for Newsweek

Like most people who occasionally self-medicate with food and who wish the jeans they bought last year still fit, I hate scales. The digital model I’ve owned for several years now would likely add a pound of dust to the reading were I to excavate it from its hiding place beneath the bed. But when I heard about the Naked scanner I must have been in a particularly self-loathing mood, because I ordered one and set it up. I’m a little too much of an early adopter to be able to describe “results,” as in “This thing helped me lose 40 pounds!” but it certainly lives up to the hype as a measurement tool that makes the digital scale feel like an obsolete brick. The Naked home body scanner plops you on a rotating scale in front of a mirror equipped with infrared light that captures not just a 3d image of your body but a number of other useful metrics, like the actual size of each thigh, and your lean mass, fat mass and body fat. If you have the courage to keep climbing up on the thing week after week, the Naked will track your progress (or degradation.) $1,395, www.nakedlabs.com

 
Buzzfeed
As anyone who’s tried to brew a pot of coffee using the vast majority of all automatic drip coffee makers knows, the options tend to suck, at least if you’re looking for a pour-over quality cuppa Joe. They don’t allow any control over the brew time or water temperature, among other flaws. But it’s a hassle, especially when friends or family are lurking around, to make three or four individual cups of perfectly poured over coffee, which is why I bartered my services as a writer of words earlier this summer in trade with the founder of Ratio, which makes a beautiful machine called the Ratio Eight, which among many impressive things distributes water at the perfect temperature in a spiral pattern a la Fibonacci. The result is the best cup of coffee I’ve had a machine produce. $495 and up, www.ratiocoffee.comRatio for Newsweek

As anyone who’s tried to brew a pot of coffee using the vast majority of all automatic drip coffee makers knows, the options tend to suck, at least if you’re looking for a pour-over quality cuppa Joe. They don’t allow any control over the brew time or water temperature, among other flaws. But it’s a hassle, especially when friends or family are lurking around, to make three or four individual cups of perfectly poured over coffee, which is why I bartered my services as a writer of words earlier this summer in trade with the founder of Ratio, which makes a beautiful machine called the Ratio Eight, which among many impressive things distributes water at the perfect temperature in a spiral pattern a la Fibonacci. The result is the best cup of coffee I’ve had a machine produce. $495 and up, www.ratiocoffee.com

Life Imitates Art
Ever since I first discovered (thanks to a deal on Woot) an alternative to spending several thousands of dollars (back in the early aughts) on the latest and greatest LCD or LED or 4K or 3D television, with costs increasing exponentially alongside screen size, I’ve been a projector guy. I bought a nice white pulldown screen for $100, a nice LCD projector for $500, and I had a 92-inch television, in an era where people were spending $5,000 and up on screens half that size. I’ve since upgraded the projector and replaced the bulb on it once but haven’t had to replace the screen in more than 10 years. It’s the tech hack of which I’ve always been the most proud. But I’m turning my basement into an apartment of sorts, and there’s not really enough ceiling height to stick a projector onto, and running HDMI and power cables from one place to the next is tricky (or expensive) so for the man cave I needed a “regular” old television. It’s The Frame from Samsung , which, besides checking all of the boxes for resolution and frame rate and 4K capability, includes one key feature that set it apart from the rest: when it’s “off,” it’s designed to look like an art piece, allowing owners to choose from dozens of different collections in the Samsung Art Store. Today it’s $1,199, or $100 off. www.samsung.comSamsung for Newsweek

Ever since I first discovered (thanks to a deal on Woot) an alternative to spending several thousands of dollars (back in the early aughts) on the latest and greatest LCD or LED or 4K or 3D television, with costs increasing exponentially alongside screen size, I’ve been a projector guy. I bought a nice white pulldown screen for $100, a nice LCD projector for $500, and I had a 92-inch television, in an era where people were spending $5,000 and up on screens half that size. I’ve since upgraded the projector and replaced the bulb on it once but haven’t had to replace the screen in more than 10 years. It’s the tech hack of which I’ve always been the most proud. But I’m turning my basement into an apartment of sorts, and there’s not really enough ceiling height to stick a projector onto, and running HDMI and power cables from one place to the next is tricky (or expensive) so for the man cave I needed a “regular” old television. It’s The Frame from Samsung , which, besides checking all of the boxes for resolution and frame rate and 4K capability, includes one key feature that set it apart from the rest: when it’s “off,” it’s designed to look like an art piece, allowing owners to choose from dozens of different collections in the Samsung Art Store. Today it’s $1,199, or $100 off. www.samsung.com

Rebirth of the Cool
For reasons I’ve droned on about long enough, indoor air quality is important. Studies show it’s generally about five times worse than outdoor air quality, which is why I regularly endeavor to throw open all the windows in my house even in the coldest of an Oregon winter to air it out. But most of the time, I live in a sealed box, which is why I’m trying to vacuum and Molekule up all of the bad things floating around. The final weapon in this clean-air arsenal is my Dyson Pure Cool, which is a traditional air purifier in the sense that it draws air into the machine, trapping particulates (instead of zapping them) but that also senses pollution events automatically and pushes cleaner air around the room. It’s also tall and sleek and quiet, and controllable by a remote. There are a million air purifiers on the market today, but I’ve never seen one that sat so politely and gracefully in the corner of my office. $549, www.dyson.comDyson for Newsweek

For reasons I’ve droned on about long enough, indoor air quality is important. Studies show it’s generally about five times worse than outdoor air quality, which is why I regularly endeavor to throw open all the windows in my house even in the coldest of an Oregon winter to air it out. But most of the time, I live in a sealed box, which is why I’m trying to vacuum and Molekule up all of the bad things floating around. The final weapon in this clean-air arsenal is my Dyson Pure Cool, which is a traditional air purifier in the sense that it draws air into the machine, trapping particulates (instead of zapping them) but that also senses pollution events automatically and pushes cleaner air around the room. It’s also tall and sleek and quiet, and controllable by a remote. There are a million air purifiers on the market today, but I’ve never seen one that sat so politely and gracefully in the corner of my office. $549, www.dyson.com

Pan-tastic
The health benefits of cooking with cast iron are irrefutable, and I have always said I’d use no other skillet if not for one little problem: they’re ghastly heavy. So like most people, I’ve tried a suite of every kind of nonstick, hard-anodized, Teflon 2.0 variety of the skillet, for when I want to whip something up quickly. The one little problem that seems to affect them all: the nonstick coating wears off eventually. Properly seasoned, a good cast iron skillet can fry an egg. What if you could find one that didn’t tweak the biceps en route to the stovetop? You can. It’s called the Field skillet, it comes in sizes close to 8 inches and a 10 inches, at about half the weight of traditional cast iron. It’ll inspire you to schlep your old hard-anodized relics to Goodwill. Buy one today, and the smaller version can be had for half off. By two, and it's free. $160 for the larger pan. www.fieldcompany.comField Company for Newsweek

The health benefits of cooking with cast iron are irrefutable, and I have always said I'd use no other skillet if not for one little problem: they're ghastly heavy. So like most people, I've tried a suite of every kind of nonstick, hard-anodized, Teflon 2.0 variety of the skillet, for when I want to whip something up quickly. The one little problem that seems to affect them all: the nonstick coating wears off eventually. Properly seasoned, a good cast iron skillet can fry an egg. What if you could find one that didn't tweak the biceps en route to the stovetop? You can. It's called the Field skillet, it comes in sizes close to 8 inches and a 10 inches, at about half the weight of traditional cast iron. It'll inspire you to schlep your old hard-anodized relics to Goodwill. Buy one today, and the smaller version can be had for half off. By two, and it's free. $160 for the larger pan. www.fieldcompany.com

 
A trick up your sleeve
I realize most of us can’t afford to run out and buy all these other expensive things all at once, at least not without robbing a bank first. So here’s a gift that can be had for a shockingly reasonable sum of money: it’s a handmade leather sleeve for the Macbook Pro (there are of course other varieties) from Picaso. The Active does its most important job, which is to protect the thing from being inadvertently dropped on the asphalt, as I horrifyingly did in downtown Boulder, Colo., a couple of weeks ago. But what’s special about this particular case is that it’s designed as if specifically for me. By that, I mean that the top of the sleeve is open, exposing the laptop’s two USB-C ports and its headphone jack. This matters to me because my computer spends most of its life plugged into a dock and external monitor in my office, which is to say if I owned a sleeve that covered those ports I’d be forced to pull it in and out of said sleeve every time I took the computer to an interview or a meeting away from home. With the Active, I can just unplug and bounce, and two nifty little red “suspenders” keep the ‘puter in place on its journey. $119. www.picasolab.comPicaso for Newsweek

I realize most of us can’t afford to run out and buy all these other expensive things all at once, at least not without robbing a bank first. So here’s a gift that can be had for a shockingly reasonable sum of money: it’s a handmade leather sleeve for the Macbook Pro (there are of course other varieties) from Picaso. The Active does its most important job, which is to protect the thing from being inadvertently dropped on the asphalt, as I horrifyingly did in downtown Boulder, Colo., a couple of weeks ago. But what’s special about this particular case is that it’s designed as if specifically for me. By that, I mean that the top of the sleeve is open, exposing the laptop’s two USB-C ports and its headphone jack. This matters to me because my computer spends most of its life plugged into a dock and external monitor in my office, which is to say if I owned a sleeve that covered those ports I’d be forced to pull it in and out of said sleeve every time I took the computer to an interview or a meeting away from home. With the Active, I can just unplug and bounce, and two nifty little red “suspenders” keep the ‘puter in place on its journey. $119. www.picasolab.com