Inksmudge

What I use paper for in 2017.

May 08, 2017

I think using analog tools like analog cameras, pens and paper are enjoyable by themselves. And I use them as my primary tool in any situation where it isn’t a hassle.

My calendar is on paper(I use the Field Notes 56-week planner), I keep a journal(a Midori Travelers Notebook), my to do system is in a Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal(I also have parts of it in a Taskpaper file on my Mac) and everything I write, including this, started out in a Lined Leuchtturm1917 notebook. And I also keep a Field Notes in my back pocket; it contains my shopping list and the hours I work; it is the perfect format for the stuff I need on the go.

My guiding principle is that I need to be able to use the analog counterpart without loosing anything I care about, without it being a hassle. But the reason at the end of the day is that I think paper works better for me.

I write drafts on paper because its forcing me to do multiple drafts, I use a planner instead of an app because I can’t stand calendar apps and I prefer managing tasks on paper because I find it easier to maintain focus.

Leuchtturm1917

May 01, 2017

I got the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal in the mail a while back, and I honestly believe this is the best notebook available to run a to do list system, or Getting Things Done system on paper.

My personal system is similar to, but not closely related to bullet journaling. I use a small sub section of [Patrick Rhone’s Dash Plus system], and I use things like underlining and boxes to put emphasis on sub projects or important tasks.

The reason I think it is the perfect tool is a combination of the page layout and the multiple page markers(!)(the Bullet Journal version has three, versus the two you find in the regular version). A dotted page layout is not something I have used a lot, because I’m mainly a writer, and lines are awesome when you write. But you get a lot of the same from a dotted line, while you at the same time get more or less the same flexibility you would get from a blank layout. And the multiple page markers, in contrast to just one is a game changer for me. Because you can for example use one to mark where the point where blank pages starts, where all the tasks behind this point is done and what you are working on.

I have written about the paper in Leuchtturm1917 notebooks before, and I still love it. It is for me the perfect compromise between absorption and dry time. Moleskine and Rhodia is on the other side of two different sides of the wrong compromise.

I love it, and it will probably be my task list / work notebook until I see something “better” or more shiny. And I recommend everyone that are doing some kind of task management system on pen and paper to at least check it out.

Daily Carry

April 10, 2017

This post is long over due. I have tried to write it at least ten times over the last few months, but it never came out right.

You have the stuff that are in my main bag, and then you have the stuff I either wear in some fashion or have in my pockets. They are both a integral part of my daily carry. The weird thing is that I carry my Tom Bihn Pilot almost everywhere.

In my pockets or on my person.

I have been a “listen to audio everywhere I go”-person for as long as I can remember. It probably started when I was around ten years old, maybe earlier. It started with Music, before it morphed into the current mix of music, audio books and podcasts. This means that two of the most important things I carry are my headphones and my iPhone.

My current headphones are the black B&O Beoplay H7, they are okay. They look great, and the bluetooth functionality is awesome, but I wish they were a little bit moer comfortable to use for hours upon hours. And the touch crap on the site triggers accidentally too often.

I currently have the iPhone 6s Plus (space grey) with the product red Apple Leather Case. It replaced the silicone case a few months ago, when it started to fall apart. They are both fantastic, the silicone is a little bit more of a pain to get in and out of your pants, but it feels better in my hand and it feels like it gives more protection. You can’t go wrong with either one, and I think they provide the perfect compromise between protection and minimal bulk.

Then we have my Apple Watch. I don’t think it is a great watch, it is a horrible watch. But I think it provides a few other things that makes me forgive its faults. The notifications are very useful, especially if you like me often need to keep an eye on all the notification in case you need to run and put out some kind of fire. And looking at the Apple Watch is far less intrusive than looking at my phone all the time. I also think it is a excellent device to track things like activity, heart rate and sleep. There are better devices for each one, but again Apple have made a device that delivers on “good enough” in a way that most people can use. I have the Series 1 (black or space grey or what the hell its called) with the Product Red Sports band.

Yes I have a thing for red.

My glasses. Black, with a little bit of white on them. I think they are made by converse. They gets dirty all the time and drive me nuts, but I need them and contacts don’t work for me.

The Trove is one of my all time favourite things, and the best wallet in the world. The problem with wallets is that you add more and more crap to them over time and then you clean out some of the crap but the material is leather or something that isn’t elastic. Which means that all of your cards start falling out if you hold it the wrong way. The trove is made out of an elastic material, which solves this problem. And it also has my favourite design, two small pockets on each side and one larger in the middle; easy access to the stuff you use every day and a room for the stuff you use now and then.

My keys. I still use an old school key ring. I have tried to find something better man times by now, but I never find something that give enough on the “better side”.

My bag.

I still use my Tom Bihn Pilot. There are times when I wish I had a little bit more room, but it is the perfect compromise most of the time. Which is exactly what I want.

The main compartment consists of my 13” Space gray MacBook Pro (the 2016 model with the escape key) and two A5 notebooks(currently the Field Notes Steno), used to keep track of tasks and general note taking. One current and one spare.

The middle front compartment. I have a charger for my laptop in the bottom, and my “bag of everything” on top, My “laptop charger system” is actually a little bit interesting. I have four chargers for my laptop. I have one plugged in in the living room, one at my desk at home and one at my desk at work so that I don’t have to climb under and unplug a lot of crap every time I’m going somewhere. The one in my bag is only for when I am somewhere I usually don’t charge it.

And the bag of everything is a cloth bag filled with various “stuff” (I think it was the bag I got with my headphones). I started to put all the various cables, dongles and other stuff floating around in my bag when it started to drive me nuts a few months ago. I currently have two lightning to usb cables, one micro usb cable, one Apple Watch charger, a small usb- hub, two rolls of 35 mm film, a few SD cards, a usb power bank(small one) and spare batteries for both of my digital cameras.

My left side pocket is usually occupied by one of my three cameras, and the inner pocket is filled with a cleaning cloth for my glasses and a bunch of moistened wipes for my glasses. I have three cameras a my Canon 650D, usually paired with my 40mm pancake, my Fujifilm X100t mirrorless camera and my Nikon FM, an Analog SLR usually paired with a 50mm f1.8 E series lens. I carry either my FM or X100 most of the time. I have three cameras because, there are times when I just want to shoot, get the pictures developed and don’t do anything more: analog, my Canon is what I use when I’m going to take a lot of pictures because the battery life and performance is fantastic and my X100 is what I have when I want something small and “SLR-like” because I can’t stand shooting with an iPhone.

And the right side pocket is filled with stationary. I have a Field Notes planner, my Travelers Notebook filled with two lined refills(used for long form writing and journaling) and my <a href="http://Nock.co">Nock.co</a> Hightower. The Hightower is amazing, you can fit three pens and at least four Field Notes in it, probably more. I use it to carry my passport(the only valid ID I currently own) and two Field Notes. I use them to write down shopping lists and other “projects” I need to have access to without pulling out a larger notebook. And three pens: A stainless Retro 51 with black refill that I don’t use enough or at all, but you never know when you need a “regular” pen, my Lamy 2000 (medium nib) filled with Fuyu-gaki, and my Pilot Vanishing Point(medium nib) also filled with Fuyu-gaki.

I use my Vanishing Point the most, especially if I’m just writing a few lines here and there. But I use the Lamy 2000 a lot of long form and when my VP runs out of ink.

Ink Bottle Design.

April 03, 2017

There is more to how a bottle of ink look than the pure aesthetics of it, even though I probably enjoy a good looking bottle more than most people. But, there are also some practical concerns that are really important when it comes down to how much of the ink you’ll actually be able to use.

One one side you want something that looks good, and a design that lets you use as much of the ink as possible. But you also at the same time want to have something that is as cheap as possible, because you’ll only use it once.

A potential solution would be a ink well that was designed to let us use as much of the ink as possible, but I think that’s kind of unpractical for most fountain pen geeks, since most of us have a few bottles of ink.

There are two different factors that have a important role when you are looking at how much of the ink you will be able to draw from a bottle. The width of the bottle determines how much or little ink is wasted: wider means more and narrower means less. And then you have the shape of the bottom.

The problem is that you need to submerge a certain part of the nib of your pen in order for the pen to be able to draw ink into your pen. This means that a tall and narrow bottle will be better than a wide and low bottle. Some bottles have a “hole”(in lack of a better word) in the middle, to lower the lowest point and therefore make it easier to use more of the ink. It does help, but isn’t completely without problems. You need a thicker bottom(Pilot Iroshizuku) or some ugly plastic thing to balance the bottle(Lamy).

What Lamy and Pilot are doing, together with many other companies is less wasteful, but what I am wondering is: what cost me as a consumer more to produce fancy bottles or the wasted ink?

Japanese vs German nibs

March 27, 2017

One of the first thing I noticed when I got my second fountain pen (A Lamy Safari) was how different Japanese and German nibs were.

On one side you have the very wet and smooth German nibs, and on the other side you’ll find something is a little bit more scratchy. When I say “scratchy” I don’t mean it in a bad way, just in the way where are a little bit more resistance.

I enjoy both.

I’m not going to turn this into a Philosophy discussion. But I’m of the belief that form and substance follows each other. This means that how you write is determined by the kind of the writing instruments and paper that are available to you, and how they develop over time is a result of how you write.

The difference between Western and Eastern writing instruments is huge and obvious. Where western writing instruments like the Lamy 2000 focuses on being smooth and moving across the page with as little friction as possible, does a Pilot Vanishing Point focus on giving you as much control as possible.

My western understanding of languages of the east, like Chinese and Japanese is at best limited. But as I understand it their symbols are more or less the same as a word.

In a western language like Norwegian, French or English, either you write with cursive or not, you move fast, and your letters don’t contain much detail if any at all. This means that you move fast, and moving fast without any friction over the page is more important than a lot of fine grained control.

While in a eastern language on the other hand all the details matter much more, and you don’t need to move that fast over the page, because the lettering is much more detail oriented.

The result is that Western pens like the ones of Lamy is much wetter and broader, while Eastern pens like ones of Pilot is much dryer and finer. Both is a result of the interplay between the writing instruments and the kind of writing they have been used for in the different cultures.

Which is better is a difference of taste. I personally love wet and broad nibs, while others prefer something finer.

Pilot Vanishing Point

March 27, 2017

I’m not sure what to say about the Pilot Vanishing Point. There is a lot to like about it, but there is just as much to not like about it. The most striking thing about it is the unique look, and it is not a good one; at least not for me. You can either get a regular blackish one or one of the other. My biggest problem with all of the other designs is that they kind of have a Mont Blanc vibe going on or as I usually say “a little bit too grand daddy for my taste”.

The regular black is very utilitarian and that is fine. Not every pen you own need to have be considered a piece of art (the Lamy 2000) to be great.

My two “gripes” with this pen is the clip and ink capacity.

The clip on this pen is placed in the grip section, which means that it is either bothering you or not. My impression is that it is either a little bit or very annoying to fellow lefties. I can see why some people hate it, but I’m not that bothered by it itself. But I do not for the life of me understand why Pilot can’t use the lower profile clip they had in the past or why they can’t make a left handed version that is reversed. For christ sake, you can get a replacement nib section, and you can’t get a left handed version of the outer casing? There should be a large enough section in the market for lefties for this.

Pilot Converters and me is an old problem, and I’m pretty sure it will go on until they make them bigger or I die. I’m betting on the latter. It drives me nuts that they can’t make something large enough to get me through a day of a lot of writing. It usually lasts me 2-3 days if I’m only writing tasks and so on. But that can be cut down to somewhere between a few hours and half a day if I write a lot. For example if I take a lot of notes in a meeting or if I am in charge of taking the minutes.

This is why I always carry more than one pen.

Where this pen shines is in the coating and the utility of it. I love how fast I can go from “not writing” to “writing”. And the coating on the pen makes it very comfortable to write for longer periods without feeling slippery. It is the thing I go for the first if I am not going to sit down to write for longer periods.

It’s the perfect “office pen”.

My first fountain pen is retired

March 19, 2017

I bought my first fountain pen around three years ago. It was a Pilot Metropolitan, with what we today call the medium nib. There was no choice back then. Today is the last day I’m going to use it or bring as a part of my “everyday carry”.

I have used it a lot, the clip broke off, the nib is kind of bent out of place and the barrel is all scratched up. But I do love it for what it has become.

This does not mean that I’m ditching the Metropolitan, I got a new one to replace this one around six months ago, and will without doubt continue to be a part of my EDC in years to come. And I do love if for being the best al around “cheap” fountain pen out there, either for experienced or beginners.

A review

March 15, 2017

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As anyone that have at least browsed around a little bit on this site should know: I love Pilot Iroshizuku. They provide me with exactly what I want from a ink. A consistent great compromise between fantastic colours, lubrication and short dry time across many great choices.

I think all of their colours look great, even though I know that some of them are a little bit too light for my taste. The ink we are talking about today have been on my wish list for a very long time. It have been on my wish list since the time when I went through all the Pilot Iroshizuku colours and made a list of all of the ones I wanted.

But I got some serious cravings when Myke Hurley added a picture of the ink in use to the show notes of a episode of The Pen Addict. And it is amazing. This is one of my two all time favourite inks, together with another Pilot Iroshizuku the Tsuki-yo. I would, without any hesitation order another bottle of either when I run out. Something that isn’t true for my other inks. I might, but it isn’t 100% sure.

As with all Iroshizuku inks (with the exception of the black one) I initially thought it was a little bit light. But I have come around (as always), and it is more or less perfect. This is not a “pure orange”, to me it looks more red-orange. And Iroshizuku inks are not for you if you want a “orange orange” or a “blue blue” and so on. But if you want a really good looking orange or a really awesome blue, then it is for you.

Sorry

March 15, 2017

Sorry everyone. I have not had much time to poste lately. The weird thing is that I have had drafts laying around it various notebooks, but I have simply not had the time to transcribe them. I have some posts lined up now. And my hope is that I’ll get the time to publish at least bi weekly moving forward.

– Eivind

Bag Philosophy.

January 13, 2017

My old bag philosophy or lack of one was always to always carry everything I might need. And I did so for way too long. It started when I went too school, I just did everything I could to bring everything I might need in order to not having to think about packing the damn thing, and always having what I needed to do whatever I had to do.

I still think that the general idea is correct.

I currently use two bags. One of them are the bag I use every single day when I go to work, and the other is when I just need to bring more than I can fit in my pockets bag. They are both picket because they have room more just what I need with a little bit margin.

What if I suddenly need to bring X? Yeah, that does not happen that often for me. And the more space you have, the more crap you accumulate to fill that space.

Here is the thing, everything I have in my primary bag is stuff I either use every day or most days. This is good for my back because the bag is lighter and it is much easier to find what I have in the bag because I can get something that fits my needs much closer.

My other bag is something I bought for when I want to carry a small camera, a notebook, a few pens and my phone. Another thing I made sure was that it is easy for bouncers to search and small enough to not fit bottles of booze or wine without being very obvious. Something that is very useful when I end up bringing it when I get drinks.

I also have a camera bag. It is useless for 90% of what I need a bag for. But it is very useful for when I want to bring my big camera, a flash and potentially my other two cameras.