A big list of stuff I've bought on Amazon over the years. (updated 2013.09.22)

Kitchen Tools

18/10 stainless measuring spoons
18/10 stainless measuring cups
Stainless measuring cups and spoons are are indispensable.  Much more expensive than the plastic version, but they won't snap off and end up in a landfill anytime soon.

Simple, robust, and inexpensive.  Saves time, reduces the number of things you have to wash, and greatly improves the consistency of results when baking.

12" cast iron skillet
Fun to cook with and indestructible! I wax poetic about cast iron here.  Takes a while to warm up, but it really holds its heat. Becomes more and more nonstick as you use it. Also great in the oven.

10" chef's knife, stamped steel
7" santoku knife, stamped steel
5" mini chef's knife, stamped steel
knife storage block, 20-slot
12" honing steel
It's surprisingly inexpensive to put together a decent set of practical kitchen knives. With proper care, they will keep their edges for years before requiring resharpening. These knives are stamped, so they do not have the heft of a forged blade. They are full-tang and have good balance. They should be handwashed after use, avoiding harsh dishwashing liquid, stored in the knife block to prevent damage to the blade edge, and honed for a few seconds with the honing steel before each use.

Microplane grater, extra-coarse
Microplane grater, coarse
v-slicer mandoline
slash-resistant gloves
Rounding out the collection of cutting tools are a set of graters and a V-blade mandoline. If you only get one grater, get the 'extra-coarse' - the 'coarse' is really more like a 'medium', and you need that extra coarseness to handle softer cheese like mozzarella. The mandoline is constructed of plastic, but the blade is extraordinarily sharp and customers have reported using it daily for up to a decade without any issues. It can significantly shorten the preparation time of salads and stir-fry, reducing the activation energy to using more fresh fruits and vegetables.

baking tray, aluminum half-sheet
non-stick baking mat, silicone half-sheet
baking cooling racks
broiler pan
oven gloves
balloon whisk
Everything you need to begin some pretty serious baking and broiling. The baking half sheet is best-of-class aluminum with a rolled edge. The 'Silpat' is a mat made of silicone reinforced with fiberglass threads; when placed on the baking sheet, baked goods don't overbrown on the bottom and slide right off without the need for any butter or oil. Aluminum will discolor with a thin coating of black aluminum oxide if you run it through the dishwasher with a harsh dishwashing liquid; the Silpat helps doubly by keeping the food off the pan, reducing or even eliminating the need to handwash it between uses. Having a dedicated porcelain-enameled broiler pan will help discourage you from broiling with the aluminum baking sheet, which can cause it to warp and is generally not a good idea. The oven gloves, made of the same Nomex firefighters use, will not make you invincible while handling a 500F baking sheet, but they will give you a good few seconds until you begin to feel the heat. Cooling racks help baked good cools faster, reducing post-oven overcooking. In a pinch, they'll also keep a hot baking sheet or pan from scorching your countertop. The balloon whisk is a cooking essential.

french press, 8 cup
popcorn maker
Popcorn and tea, for lazy people.

microwave oven, full-size 1250W
This thing is pretty gigantic.

sprouting seeds (broccoli, clover, radish, alfalfa)
Combine with a rack of Mason jars to sprout your own sprouts at home. Simply put two teaspoons of seeds in a 16oz jar, place a piece of cheesecloth over the top, and secure it with the metal band lid. Rinse and drain the sprouts twice a day through the cheesecloth, set them somewhere with indirect sun to green them, and they'll be ready to eat in salads and sandwiches in 4-5 days. These sprouts include broccoli and radish, so they have a very pleasant bite to them.

Office Tools

Pilot Precise V5 Pen, Micro Point, 0.5 mm, Black 
Pilot Precise V5 Pen, Micro Point, 0.5 mm, Assorted Colors
These are the pens you're looking for. Simply the best. Order extras though, because everyone will steal them.

Adventure Tools

Deerfly Patches
They actually work. Stick one on the back of your hat, and the deer flies will land right on it, becoming trapped in the adhesive. Then, feed them to the fishes!

Magnifying Sheet, 10"x7"
Why a magnifying sheet? This thin, flexible, durable Fresnel lens is fantastic for starting a fire on a sunny day. Just make sure you don't wait until dark to try it.

Swiss Army Knife
A great light, a great knife, and a simple small 'adventure pack' to put it in. This knife features 4" blades that lock in place, which are infinitely more useful than the flimsy 2" blades on a standard pocket knife.

Insect Repellent (40% DEET)
Head Bug Net
You may look silly today, but they will look sillier tomorrow when they're continuously scratching a hundred mosquito bites.

Merrell Men's Hiking Shoe
Not just for hiking! Great for everyday use too.

Gold Toe Men's Cotton Sock
A good choice for standardizing your short socks.

injinji toesocks
Significantly reduce the risk of blistering when getting accustomed to 'toe shoes' like the Vibram FiveFingers. Really helps for longer-distance runs.


Filling, healthy, and inexpensive, and with 'Subscribe-and-Save' you get an extra few percent off and they'll deliver you a new box every month.  Costco is usually cheaper, but they typically only carry one or two varieties.
Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Cereal
Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Cereal
Kashi GOLEAN Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble
Kashi GOLEAN Cereal


LUCID by LinenSpa 10" Memory Foam Firm Viscoelastic Mattress
Sleep Tite Universal Fit Mattress Protector
Pinzon Signature Cotton Velvet Flannel Sheet Se
BIO PEDIC UltraFresh Standard Pillows
Rest Right 100% Cotton Zippered Pillow Protector
Pinzon Microtec Blanket


Klein 11055 Klein-Kurve Wire Stripper/Cutter, Blue
Klein 11057 Klein-Kurve Wire Stripper/Cutter, Blue
Why two different wire strippers? One strips small-gauge (10-18 AWG solid, 12-20 AWG stranded), one strips tiny-gauge (20-30 AWG solid, 22-32 AWG stranded). In addition to the painted gauge values, they're also stamped on the reverse side so they can never wear off. These will work a million times better than the cheap worthless 20-in-1 multitool or 'autogauging' strippers. Klein makes quality tools.

Hakko Soldering Station, FX-888
Definitely one of the best hobbyist solder stations available. Comes with a soldering iron, power supply, soldering tip, iron holder, and a sponge and wire ball to clean the tip. The power supply allows you to set the temperature at which it will hold the soldering tip, which is very useful when using solders of a wide variety of melting temperatures and for avoiding thermal damage to delicate components.

Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder (63/37) .031" 1 lb. Spool
A good old-fashioned tin-lead solder. Because it's a 'eutectic mixture' (wiki) of 63% tin and 37% lead, it has a very well-defined melting point and is easy to work with.

Edsyn Deluxe Soldapullt
Desoldering 'solder sucker' for trying again when you inevitably solder a 'cold joint' (wiki).

BB830 Solderless Plug-in BreadBoard, 830 tie-points, 4 power rails
Big breadboard, much higher quality than the cheaper Elenco equivalents.

BB400 Solderless Plug-in BreadBoard, 400 tie-points, 4 power rails
Small breadboard. Multiples of this model can be slotted together to make a larger breadboard.

Alligator Test Lead Set
You'll need these!

Relatively inexpensive multipacks of resistors, LEDs, capacitors, jumper wires, and switches to get your microelectronics toolbox started.  Another good supplier is Jameco.
Joe Knows Electronics 1/4W 86 Value Resistor Kit
Joe Knows Electronics 5mm Clear Round LED Assortment
Elenco 100 Capacitor Component Kit
Elenco 350 Piece Pre-formed Jumper Wire Kit
microtivity Assorted Switches

Great for powering microelectronics projects. The power adapter allows you to screw on leads to power your breadboard without cutting any wires:
Wall Adapter Power Supply - 9VDC 650mA
CCTV Camera 2.1x5.5mm Female Power Adapter

Playing with serial port interfacing using the 'PySerial' (link) module in Python is a great way to get started with computer interfacing:
TRENDnet USB to RS-232 Serial Converter
50ft DB9 M/F All Lines Extension Cable


Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
This book is the best introduction to basic fermentation techniques that's currently published.

The Art of Fermentation
Awesome, awesome book.

The Tempeh Cookbook

Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
If you want traditional German sourdough pretzels (or lutefisk!), you need food-grade lye (aka caustic soda, sodium hydroxide, NaOH). Shipped in two-pound containers that seal to keep out moisture; NaOH is highly hygroscopic and will hydrate itself by pulling water right out of the air, so a good storage container is important! Significant price break for ordering 10lbs.


Buying in bulk can save you quite a bit! Delivery right to the front door is also quite a bit more pleasant than dragging this stuff home from a retailer.
Ziploc Freezer Bag, Gallon Value Pack, 30-Count
Tom's of Maine Whole Care Fluoride Toothpaste
3MScotch Masking Tape
Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge
Ivory Simply Bar Soap
Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages, Flexible Fabric
Hydrocortisone Cream
Reach Dental Floss, Waxed, Mint
Q-tips Cotton Swab
Glad Food Storage Zipper Sandwich Bags
Tide Free and Gentle


Planet Bike Blaze 2Watt LED Headlight
Blackburn Mars 4.0 Rear Light
Kryptonite New York Standard Bicycle U-Lock with Bracket
Avenir Tightrope Cables
Some of the best lights and locks on the market. Whatever bicycle you have, it will work much better if it's not A) crumpled by impact with an automobile on a night ride or B) stolen, when someone cuts your cheap chain lock with a good pair of scissors.

Park Tool Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit
Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bike Repair
TEKTON 40mm Double-Face Soft Mallet
Kano Kroil Penetrating Oil
4-Rolls Teflon Tape Thread & Fitting Sealant
Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves
Get serious about bicycle repair. Learn an incredibly useful skill, make lots of friends, and, in the long run, save a bunch of money.

Avenir Quick Release Front Hub Skewer
Avenir Quick Release Rear Hub Skewer
SRAM PC Bicycle Chain
SRAM PG850 Cassette
Shimano UN54 Bottom Bracket
Shimano Alivio Mountain Bicycle Crankset
Components break. With a little effort, you can save quite a lot by buying replacements online and installing them yourself.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire
Highly flat-resistant (as the Germans say, 'unplattbar') with low rolling resistance. A great commuter tire.

Schwalbe Bicycle Tube - 40mm Presta/French
A bit more expensive than generic bicycle shop inner tubes, but well worth the investment. In my experience: hold their air better and require less frequent topping off, and less prone to puncture by minor pinching or rubbing damage due to the thicker rubber construction.

Rema 25mm Round Patches, 100/Box
Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool
Quality tools for on-the-road repairs. Note that you'll still need to pick up vulcanizing fluid and little squares of sandpaper to use the patches — try an auto repair store.

La Crosse Technology Alpha Power Battery Charger
Sanyo eneloop AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries
Sanyo eneloop AAA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable nickle-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries for your bicycle lights and other miscellaneous electronics. Best charger on the market, with configurable charge rate and 'dead battery' revival mode. These precharged Eneloop batteries have lower capacity than some other NiMH batteries, but their unique chemistry ensures they hold their charge much, much longer in storage, which is best for low-drain applications like a bike light.


Oster 76076-010 Classic 76 Professional Hair Clipper
A professional clipper, fit for a barber shop. Heavy duty and constructed entirely of serviceable parts, it may outlast your hair. Use it on yourself, your kids, your pets, your friends... or your enemies.

Oster Professional 10 Universal Comb Set
A set of combs, from 1/16" to 1 1/4", that provide a standoff for cutting hair to different lengths. Plastic with metal locking clips.

Logitech X-140 2.0 Speakers
Not the best speakers in the world, but much better than built-in monitor speakers and solid for the price.

Mediabridge - USB 2.0 A-Male to Micro-B Cable
Mediabridge - Blue RJ45 Cat5e Ethernet Patch Cable
Mediabridge makes solid computer cables.

3 Prong to 2 prong grounding converter

DAZZ Deluxe Pop-Up Hamper, Black

EatSmart Precision Premium Digital Bathroom Scale

Everyone warned me that Northern California is not warm. I didn't listen.
Fun!  A great introduction to the wider world of Board Games For Adults.