A while back, I published a post describing my experiences with iron gall ink and how one specific ink ate a pen and a spare nib. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend doing so before reading this post. This is going to be a long, photo-heavy article, so I’m not going to rehash the initial story, which has proven to be really popular. It’s sparked quite a debate across reddit, including one in which a lovely redditor repeatedly called me… Read More
This is Part 6 of my Mega Monster Review series on pocket notebooks. You can visit the main Mega Monster Review page for a listing of all the notebooks reviewed in this series. You can also open the massive Master Spreadsheet to see all the aggregated data on these notebooks. Note: This is a work in progress and will take several weeks to complete.
Scout Books Pocket Notebook
This series is all about the collision between the Fountain Pen and EDC worlds, and finding the notebooks that are most appropriate for fountain pen users who want to write on the go. The perfect pocket notebook handles ink well, never feathers or spreads, showcases shading and sheen, dries immediately, and is durable. That notebook is hanging out in Imaginary Land with Sasquatch and Nessie… Read More
My friends, you may be whatever you resolve to be. Resolution is omnipotent.
Determine that you will be something in the world, and you shall be something.
Aim at excellence and excellence will be attained. This is the great secret of effort and eminence.
“I cannot do it” never accomplished anything; “I will try” has wrought wonders.
– Joel Hawes
Let’s Close Out this Asshat of a Year, Shall We?
I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a couple decades ago. They never worked and I really don’t believe in them. But I’m making some anyway. Why? I don’t know. It’s probably a fool’s game, but sometimes you just need to act the fool, you know?
2017 was a rough year. Come to think of it, most of the BS my family dealt with started in 2016, so goodbye, good luck, and good riddance to both years.
I try to be a positive force in my corner of the world, so as I’m waving goodbye to 2017 (with one finger), I’m heartily welcoming 2018 and all the potential awesome it might bring. It’s a fresh start. A clean slate. A blank page. And any other cliche you can think of for a new beginning.
One thing’s for certain, though: my blogging schedule took a beating in 2017. I spent a lot of time being exhausted and stressed out, and I didn’t publish much. That’s something I need to change. I’ve got a bunch of reviews and some other silliness in the works while my pile of unused pens continues to grow. Gotta start digging my way out.
New year. New hope. New plan.
Simply declaring resolutions won’t improve my chances of success (and I’m fairly certain that making resolutions will only catch the attention of the Fates and serve to decrease my chances). But these are the things I want to accomplish in 2018, so I’m tempting the Fates and writing them down anyway:
1. All Health’s Breaking Loose – Hey, hey, have you read the news?
Weight is up. Stress is high. Numbers are out of whack. I’m kind of a hot mess. This aging business is a bunch of crap. I know, I made it sound like I was going to focus on writing reviews, but I really need to improve my health if I expect to improve anything else. I figure if I can trim down, eat better, and get more sleep, I’ll have more energy to pour into this site. The good news is that I’ve already started this one. Around the middle of November, I cut out sweets and fried foods, drastically reduced my intake of saturated fats and meat, and forced myself to get to bed earlier.
Although I fell off the wagon over the holidays, I’m still down about 6 pounds (2.7 kg) from where I started. Getting back on track should be relatively easy, and if I can pepper in some meditation and a little exercise, I’ll be in good shape (insert rim shot here). Can I keep it up forever, though? Good question.
2. Whole Lotta Reviews
I started 2017 fairly strong, posting a number of reviews through April. But I about fell off the planet after that, only covering a few pens and notebooks over the last eight months of the year. I have so many pens sitting around, many of which I haven’t even inked up yet, not to mention a huge number of notebooks and several hundred inks. I really need to step up my game. I do have several pen reviews in the works, though, and my photography is already done for them. So it’s just a matter of cleaning up the images and writing the text.
I think I’m going to try batching things as much as possible so I can maintain some semblance of a regular schedule.
3. Welcome to My Journal, We Got the Fun & Games
I tried bullet journaling a couple times late last year and early this year. I loved it but found it hard to keep up with. If I got behind a few days, getting caught up was a chore. And if I was a few days behind as a new month rolled around, I had to get my calendar and trackers all set up on top of remembering several days’ worth of events. It was just easier to toss it on a shelf and say “the hell with it.”
But I’m trying something new this year. I’ve set up all my monthly calendars and trackers in advance, so I only have to worry about recording each day’s events and managing my to-do list. I’m hoping this staves off the feelings of being overwhelmed and helps me keep it going.
4. Rock N’ Roll All Nite, and Doodle Every Day
Okay, I admit it: this one is a long shot. I’m a terrible artist. Even my stick figures are lame. Earlier this year, I visited the Kinokuniya in New York, and walked out with a B6 Stalogy 365Days notebook and no idea what I’d use it for. For the sake of mindfulness, I thought trying to draw/sketch more often would be a good exercise, and using a 365Days notebook would be a great way to track a drawing every day for a year. I seriously doubt I’ll create a drawing every day, but it will be fun to try.
5. I Want it All. I Want it All. I Want it All. And I Want it NOW!
The vast majority of my posts are reviews. I need to branch out more. My Pen Pain posts have been pretty popular (please pardon the alliteration), so I want to do more things like that. Plus, I have a few other ideas that (I think) would make good reading. And in case you didn’t know, I’m part of the team organizing the new St. Louis Pen Show, so I’ll undoubtedly have some posts on that over the next few months.
What Do You Want to See from Me?
So that’s my plan for 2018. What would you like to see from me in 2018? Are you interested my bullet journal setup? Or my daily doodles? Are there missing pieces in my reviews that I should add? Or are they too long already? What should I add? What should I do differently? What should I stop? Is there something you’d like to see that no one is doing? Hit me up in the comments and let me know!
I lived in the dorms for almost my entire college career. About this time of year (every year), my hallmates and I started getting a little cranky. We were tired of being cooped up together all semester, antsy for Christmas break so we could see our families, and stressed out over upcoming finals. There was a lot of bickering, accusations, and insults.
I’ve seen something very similar going on across the stationery community the last couple of weeks, and it’s really sad and disheartening. I’m not going to rehash the events that unfolded, and I’m not going to call anyone out. I am, however, going to let you know what I saw, how it made me feel, and hopefully add a little perspective that makes you think… Read More
This is Part 5 of my Mega Monster Review series on pocket notebooks. You can visit the main Mega Monster Review page for a listing of all the notebooks reviewed in this series. You can also open the massive Master Spreadsheet to see all the aggregated data on these notebooks. Note: This is a work in progress and will take several weeks to complete.
Kokuyo Systemic Refill Notebook A6
I know, I know. I’ve already heard from some of you that A6 shouldn’t be considered a “pocket notebook.” I have pretty average-sized pockets, and an A6 fits in almost all of them. The only ones it won’t fit into are the shirt pockets with a built-in, stitched pen pocket…but Field Notes doesn’t fit in there, either, so I say A6 is fair game. And that’s a good thing, because this unassuming little notebook is quite the… Read More
Something a little different…a little special…a little “oh yeah!”
Newton Pens Eastman Fountain Pen
Nib: Extra Fine (Bock)
Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (Standard International)
A Different Approach:
This will be a slightly different type of review for me. Up to now, the pens I’ve reviewed have been mass produced in factories, rolling off well-oiled production lines. But this pen is different. It’s as much a piece of art as it is a tool for writing. So you may notice that I’m using different terminology for some sections and not assigning scores.
About Shawn Newton:
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Pendom lies a cozy little hamlet where wildly talented (and sometimes eccentric) artisans sit in their basements, garages, or workshops, transforming various slabs of raw materials into fine writing instruments with their bare hands…and typically with machinery that consists of sharp things that rotate at high speeds. One of these wizards is Shawn Newton, and the pen I’m reviewing is his Eastman model. If you’re unfamiliar with Shawn’s work, you need to drop by his website or his Instagram feed and check some of his amazing work.
Shawn is a former art teacher turned full-time pen maker (see what I did there?) who’s made quite the name for himself in the pen world. He has developed a number of different designs and you can work with him to build a customized pen out of any material you want. His work is highly regarded for its beauty, uniqueness, and functionality. And as if creating beautiful writing instruments wasn’t enough, Shawn has also devoted himself to… Read More
This is Part 4 of my Mega Monster Review series on pocket notebooks. You can visit the main Mega Monster Review page for a listing of all the notebooks reviewed in this series. You can also open the massive Master Spreadsheet to see all the aggregated data on these notebooks. Note: This is a work in progress and will take several weeks to complete.
Fabriano EcoQua Pocket Notebook
Despite the dearth of decent options available in most US office supply & big-box stores, there are actually a ton of companies out there producing interesting, high-quality paper products in a range of shapes and sizes. Some companies are very prominent and well known (Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Leuchtturm), while others fly under the radar. One of these lesser-known gems is Italian stationery wizard… Read More
A small but spiffy slate of pen mail this week. Hot on the heels of the latest Field Notes edition, the Fall 2017 Write Notepads “Fingerprints” edition quietly arrived. And all the way from Japan, my Platinum #3776 Century Nyhavn came in like a yellow ray of… Read More
This is Part 3 of my Mega Monster Review series on pocket notebooks. You can visit the main Mega Monster Review page for a listing of all the notebooks reviewed in this series. You can also open the massive Master Spreadsheet to see all the aggregated data on these notebooks. Note: This is a work in progress and will take several weeks to complete.
Nock DotDash Pocket Notebooks
Nock Co. is a small company in Atlanta, Georgia: a collaboration between bag/everyday carry (EDC) designer Jeff Bruckwicki and pen blogger/podcaster Brad Dowdy. Although Nock is mostly known for their (rather awesome) pen cases, they also produce a small range of paper products intended to be both great for EDC and friendly for fountain pen users.
In this review, I’ll be taking a look at their Nikko Blue DotDash pocket notebook. One thing to note… Read More
This is Part 2 of my Mega Monster Review series on pocket notebooks. You can visit the main Mega Monster Review page for a listing of all the notebooks reviewed in this series. You can also open the massive Master Spreadsheet to see all the aggregated data on these notebooks. Note: This is a work in progress and will take several weeks to complete.
Field Notes Original Kraft Pocket Notebooks
When it comes to pocket notebooks, Field Notes doesn’t really need much of an introduction. They’re basically the gold standard against which other 3.5″ by 5.5″ notebooks are measured. Field Notes began as a partnership between graphic designer Aaron Draplin and advertising designer Jim Coudal back in 2007. They were inspired by the hundreds, if not thousands, of small, promotional memo books distributed to farmers by agricultural and farm equipment companies throughout American history.
Although Field Notes has their permanent production editions of pocket notebooks, they really made a name for themselves with their