On writing instruments

After some trials over the past five years or so, I’ve found that I like to (physically, with pen and paper) write, I like to write a lot, and I like to write in a certain way.

In terms of paper, I seem to like either the soft, thin extreme of Tomoe River paper, or the semi-rough paper of a Baron Fig, or (more recently) Midori MD1.

The paper must have a dot grid — or, as in the case of the Midori MD, a solid grid is find, as long as it’s only lightly colored. Blank paper is no good for me, and lined paper is no good for me.

The only pens I keep around any more are either fountain pens or (for daily carry, and office use) gel pens2. For fountain pens, I have the Lamy Safari I started with3, a bunch of Platinum Preppy pens4, a Faber Castell Ambition5, and my current favorite: the TWSBI ECO6, which is my recommendation for a “sweet spot” in quality and price7.

There are plenty of more expensive pens around, but they’re going to remain in my wishlist, because I can’t imagine getting bored of what I have anytime soon.

As for the experience of writing with pen and paper, I think we need more of it, not less. There is some sort of brain-body sensation, introduced by it, which seems to make a positive difference, though I don’t understand it.

Still, if you’re at all curious, get something cheap to start with: a Platinum Preppy or a Lamy Safari, and a Rhodia pad, and then … write SOMETHING.

  1. No Moleskines for me!
  2. More recently, multi-gen pens, both the Pilot and Zebra Sarasa are staples now.
  3. Seven years ago now!
  4. Astonishingly cheap, at roughly the price of a Starbucks coffee
  5. Currently the most expensive pen I’ve allowed myself to buy, around $60-70
  6. In Fine and Extra-Fine
  7. Can usually get aroundd $30

Monthly Curations: November 2019

What the Apollo Guidance Computer looked like

Substack

(or, “Dispatches from ebbs and flows in a mind-web”)

I’ve been toying with the idea of an email subscription option, with no success:

  • I considered TinyLetter earlier on but never got round to setting it up.
  • I considered Medium once, but the aesthetic constraints never appealed to me.
  • WordPress has subscriptions too, but I do NOT want every single post to be an email update, I “mix in” a microblog within my blog, and don’t want to have the overhead of keeping that separate.

But it does make sense to have my monthly curations (the programming-specific one and the general one) be email-subscription-friendly …

… and then I discovered Substack, which seems to be a soft spot here — easy to use, easy to set up, hopefully not a hassle for you to consume from either — which inspired me to start a pilot project of sorts to use Substack to optionally serve these out.

For now, then, these posts will be duplicated there, available both on WordPress and as emails from Substack, so … pick whatever works. I myself have found it easier to subscribe to a small list of people that way, and once I saw folks like Matt Taibbi using it, it seemed “a credible enough platform” to use.

So, if you want to receive just the curation posts, by email, [Here’s the link] to sign up for updates on Substack.

(and here’s the link to (what will be) my Substack Archive)

Monthly recap (October 2019)

Leaf in my driveway

Major updates:

  • Home with Tara for a week
  • Trick-or-treating with Tara 😀
  • Poor sleep discipline 😔

Minor updates:

  • Finally got a “Real ID”
  • Met up with friends a couple of times
  • Diwali, Halloween
  • Pumpkin painting (twice)
  • Experimented with Airtable for a few inventory-ing tasks

Watched/read/made:

  • Random books in half-read stage
  • Watched (on Netflix) The 2000s, Modern Love, Oceans (one of the best documentaries ever), Death dive to Saturn, Dark Crystal (whole separate post on this …)

Random synchronicity

  1. There’s a particular house with a very elaborate Halloween setup, with movie scene recreations, and a screen playing various scenes. I take a few pics when I pass it once, about a week ago, setting out for trick-and-treating with my daughter.
  2. Passing it on my way back again, I notice a black-and-white scene playing on the screen, and there’s an air hostess and … someone I recognize, is that, hmm … William Shatner? (as in … Star Trek, and, uh, Priceline?)
  3. I make a mental note to look this up, but then forget all about it.
  4. I’m browsing Netflix, for “recommended shows”, and I like to pause at every suggestion, because I watch a few seconds of whatever “clip fragment” ends up playing, sort of gives me a flavor. After a while, I’m not really looking at the titles, just the clips.
  5. I come across a black-and-white scene, with an air-hostess walking back towards … huh? … yes, it is William Shatner, and he’s looking out, and then he sees … something or someone, on the wing.
  6. It’s literally a continuation of the scene I was watching a week ago, picking up right where that left off. It’s an episode of the Twilight Zone
  7. This isn’t some random Twilight Zone episode, it’s one of the few episodes that I actually remember, with the weird creature on a plane’s wing.

(P.S. the title for this post really should’ve been a ‘tag’, but what could I possibly put as a title then?)

Interesting links: October 2019

"Copernicus", by Stanislaw Szukalski
“Copernicus”, by Stanislaw Szukalski

(I feel I’m making up for the lack of links for the last three months …)