'Ink Review


[This bottle of ink was sent to me by Pen Chalet, free of charge for the purpose of this review. This does not affect the review in any way. ](https://www.penchalet.com/ink_refills/fountain_pen_ink/j_herbine_1670_bottled_fountain_pen_ink.html)

The bottle is one of the most beautiful bottles I have seen. My only complaint about it is that the bottom of the bottle is flat, many bottles have a hole at the bottom to make sure that you can use as much of the ink as possible. Everything about this bottle is beautiful, but I do miss some information about the name of the ink on it, there isn’t any information at all on the bottle itself. Design is about beauty, usability and practicality, and it leans too much in the beauty direction.

I never do any dry time tests with any of my inks. There are probably some value to them, but I usually start by writing with the ink on the different notebooks I use. My problem with the standard dry time test is that there are so many other factors than the ink that will have an important role in the dry time like pen, nib and paper. The dry time with this ink is not super fast, but still fast enough to not be any issue at all for me. Left handed beginners might struggle a little, but everyone else will not have any issues.

This is not a ink I would have bought myself. But it have gotten me interested in J Herbin and a little bit more “exotic” inks. And it will be something I’m considering in the future.

I usually go for ink colours that are clearly a colour. For example, that is a blue and clearly a blue. This ink has a beautiful brown colour with some hints of red. I would call it a redish-brown. It also have some cool gold shimmer in it.

You can use this ink with, and without the shimmer, shake the bottle before you fill it up, if you want them. They do alter the colour a little bit, I don’t notice much difference. But I clearly see the gold, when I look the the page from an angle.

This is a highly saturated ink, so use it with some caution.

The conclusion is that I really like this ink. The colour is very nice, and it is something I can use both at home and at work without people fussing too much about it. For me, the key thing about any ink is the dry time. To be something I’m going to use, it has to be short enough for me to not notice it, this ink falls in that category. And it’s fun to look at the dried ink from an angle to see the gold.

Great ink. Check it out.


My New Work Notebook.


I have spent a lot of time looking for a good notebook to use at work. My previous work place(I work as a Software Developer Consultant, so I work for as long as they need me, before I move over to the next gig) had a supply cabinet with not great but good enough notebooks, so I used them.

I have been using MYN refills since I started at my current gig, but I don’t think they are the right thing to use at work.

What Do I need?

  • Short dry time
  • Be able to rip out pages
  • A notebook that stays flat, so I can read pages and take notes without having to fiddle with the notebooks.

I considered everything from the Baron Fig stuff to LT1917, Rhodia and so on.

I landed on a notebook that I have been curious about for a very long time: The Field Notes Steno Pad. The paper isn’t the best, but I know it after filling over 50 of the pocket sized Field Notes; they are not the best for fountain pens but work pretty well, everything considered. The dry time is short. It is more or less the perfect notebook for me to use at work.

The format is superior to the “book” format in this context, but I prefer a more book like format if it is a notebook I have to carry in my bag all the time, because they are more durable. But it is perfect for something that just lays around on a desk.

I also think the steno page layout is great for task management; you can use the full width, when needed; but the half width is surprisingly useful while dealing with projects with a lot of simple tasks.


Review Field Notes Wooden Archival Box


I ordered the archival box a while back. This is one of the products I have considered so many times that I don’t know how many times I have almost pulled the trigger. And it have been on my wish list for about two years, probably closer to two and half.

The funny thing is that I have almost filled it up with used notebooks within minutes of getting it.

You get a simple, well designed, but not fancy wooden box. They included some dividers, but I don’t use them. It is a very good solution, if you are looking for a practical way to store your Field Notes, without wasting a lot of space, while still having easy access to the notebooks.

All my previous attempts have been far from effective and straight out annoying and a pain in the ass. They either require ridiculous amounts of space, or makes it very hard to get access to the notebooks.

It is a little bit expensive, but the fact that it works so much better than the other options makes up for it. You have just enough space for the height of the Field Notes, and it it just tall enough for the dividers to fit. The fact that it doesn’t waste any space at all is the thing I appreciate the most about it.

Is it worth the money? Yes!

I’ll probably order another one in a while; but that one will hopefully last me at least two years.


Where to spend your money.


One of the ever lasting, and truly frustrating things about fountain pens is to figure out where to spend your money. It is very tempting to buy something new every single time you have enough in your budget.

I don’t think it is the smartest thing to do so.

The interesting thing about fountain pens is that the value you get isn’t promotional to the price. There are some pens where you get a lot of value for your buck. For example: Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari and TWSBI Eco are pens where you get a ridiculous amount of value for your money.

The TWSBI 580AL is a “better” pen compared to the Eco; at least in some aspects, but not all. While the Lamy Al Star isn’t even a better version of the Lamy Safari, it’s just a heavier version, that in my opinion is less durable, and is more expensive.

It is very easy to spend enough money in cheap fountain pens, where the total amount adds up to what you could have paid for a Lamy 2000.

Where to spend your money? Spend some money, get a few nice pens in the $15 – $30 range. You get a lot of pen for your money, especially if you go for one of the pens I mention above. It is hard to find anything that beats the TWSBI Eco or the Pilot Metropolitan when it comes to what you get for your money.

There are a lot of good pens between $30 and $150, but I would not spend much if any money there if I were you. Save a little bit longer and go for a Lamy 2000 (it’s around $150). And I have heard a lot of fantastic things about the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 (between $130 and $225; I don’t get why the prices are so different at Goulet and JetPens on this particular pen).

When you go beyond the $250 mark, that is the moment where you shop after different criteria than value. There are many very cool pens that cost a lot more than $250, but it is more about getting something very cool, instead of how much you get for your money. Are they better than a $150 Lamy 2000? Probably. That much better? I doubt it.

There are some exception to what I am talking about here, and that is custom or special nibs. For example pens with flex nibs can be very expensive. But for most pens above $250, is about a very unique design, high quality products without that much focus on what you get for your money.


I Missed a couple of posts.


I try to keep a reliable schedule here at The Ink Smudge. My goal is to always have a post out every Monday and Wednesday. I tried to do three posts a week for a while, but that became too much, and the result was a short break.

Well, I missed two posts in a row, because I wasn’t feeling that well last week. I’m all better now, but I didn’t get the time to get everything ready for this afternoon. But I’m going to publish the post I planned on posting last Wednesday, and today plus the regular Wednesday post this week.

They are more or less ready to go, and will appear tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday.

Enjoy!


The difference between bad and different.


Let’s take a look at a random ink.

Why are people buying it? I’m not that “artistic”, and I don’t own any crazy flex nib pens or anything like that, so I often just look until I find a ink that has a colour I like combined with ink properties I think is important.

It all comes down to the most important thing: what is the most important? For me it is a balance between great colour and short dry time. While others might not care at all about dry time, they just want a ink with all kinds of crazy colour shading voodoo going on when they use a flex nib or even a paint brush. And some care more than anything else about the ink being permanent.

I have some very strong opinions about what makes a good ink, but they are limited to how I use pens and ink and the properties I think is important.

This doesn’t mean that inks that don’t match up with mine or your use cases and priorities are bad, it just means that they aren’t for you.

Does this mean that there are no bad inks? No, of course. not. When you use something, and don’t like it, you either think it is just bad, or you conclude that it isn’t for you. For example Rhodia products and the Lamy Safari. I think both of them are excellent products, while I at the same time know that they aren’t for me. The same goes for the Moleskine.

The difference comes down to when you see the reason for what you don’t like. For example, the reason I don’t like Rhodia is that the ink takes forever to dry, but I understand why it is like that. I call something bad when I don’t see a positive gain from something I don’t like. For example the Lamy black ink, the colour isn’t great, and the dry time is just as bad. That is just bad.


Packaging.


I spent some time this weekend going through my desk, and getting rid of some stuff. Most of it was some kind of packaging for stuff I have bought during the last twelve months. Most of it was from stationary products, but not everything.

This isn’t about the environment, even though it can be a nice bonus.

My typical flow when it comes to product packaging if it is small enough is to unpack it, stuff the box away and then at some later point just throw it away. My two favourites at the moment are Apple’s iPhone packaging and the box my Travelers Notebook came in. Both of them are nice, but the iPhone is the nicest from a pure design perspective. It is a nice card board box, while the Travelers Notebook just came in a folded piece of cardboard.

The thing I don’t like is the obsessive need for sending everything in a “nice” plastic box, that you will look at once, start using it and then ignore until you have to get rid of it.

Both have the same end goal, keep what you bought save until you get it. You make it easy to throw out when something is made out of cardboard. It isn’t a practical thing, it’s just a mental thing: this is cardboard, let’s just throw it out with the rest. While I always for some strange reason keep the damn thing if it is made out of plastic. I’m not sure why, but I expect it is something going on in the back of my mind, like “this is nice, maybe I need it for something some day”.

It would have been really nice if everyone got their act together and stopped kidding themselves and us: make the damn thing out of cardboard, we are going to get rid of it anyways.

This doesn’t mean you have to use something ugly. Apple are really good at it. Making boxes that you can just throw out and recycle without giving us the guilt with a fancy piece of plastic that no single person will use for anything but taking up space.


'Review


The Pilot Metropolitan has a spacial place in my heart, it was my first fountain pen, and have been the pen I more often than not bring everywhere. It is cheap, has a nice nib, can take a beating, and I have never experienced any kind of ink leaking with it.

I ordered a new one a few weeks ago because my old one, while it still works, have seen its better days. The clip broke off a year ago, the nib is a little bit bent and the finish is far from pristine.

The thing that amazes me about it, is how much you get for your money when you put down around $20 for it, plus the good Pilot converter. A lot have happened to the Metropolitan since I got mine three years ago. The packaging is much nicer, you have twice as many nibs to chose from and many more colours. I went for a medium nib, this time, as the last time, and the plain black.

The colour doesn’t look exactly the same as my old pen, it is less shiny and looks a little bit closer to grey than my old pen. The nib feels a little bit firmer and the line a little bit thinner. I expect this is because my old nib is a little bit bent.

It is well worth the money, and I think you get more for the money than with most pens. It is great, it is inexpensive. But I have two minor complaints, which is more or less the same as always: I wish there was more nib options, because I think a broad would have been perfect for me, and the ink capacity is a little bit too low for me; to be fair: this is more of a Pilot converter problem than a metropolitan problem; and the solution is to get two of them. Which is what I plan to do until my old one breaks down.


Ink hoarding.


It is very easy to end up in a situation with bottled fountain pen ink where you own enough ink to supply a school for a generation. I’m lucky enough to not be in that situation.

Here is the thing: you don’t need to buy every single cool ink that shows up in your radar at once.

Like most of you that have been reading this site for a while: I like systems. I think it is partly connected to my personality and partly connected to my job as a Web Developer. I’ve had a mental system for managing how much ink I own at any given moment.

The system:

  • A hard limit of 5 bottles
  • Only once of each colour, unless I’m about to run out of it.
  • Only buy ink that I think is something I could use as my “main” ink for longer periods.
  • Give it away or sell it, if it is something you don’t use.

There are some inks you use more than others, and the only way to learn it, is by trying different things out. And stop buying stuff you don’t enjoy. For example: I don’t like Lamy inks. I don’t like the colours, I don’t like how they behave, so I don’t buy them. I don’t even consider them.

It is fine to have a lot of different inks if that is your thing, but you should try to do something about it, if you feel bad about it.

This is the question I always ask myself before ordering a new bottle of ink: can I use this to write with at work and at home in my main pen, all day, every day, for a couple of months?


The Circle.


I constantly re-evaluate everything I use, everything problem notebooks & pens to apps and electronics. It is the only way to figure out what you need, what isn’t working, and what do I need to change to end up at something better.

It have been over six months since I stopped using Field Notes or any kind of “pocket notebooks”. I might get back into them soon. Not because the change I did in November was wrong per say, but that I think they might still be useful in some aspects. The reason I stopped using them back then was that they wasn’t the ideal fit for a majority of what I was using them for. But I realise now in retrospect that they still are useful for a tiny portion.

I don’t think Field Notes or any kind of notebooks of the same size are the best for managing your paper based getting things done system or journaling. But I think there is a place for them to keep small to-do lists that you need on the go, like grocery lists or to capture things when you are on the go.

The great thing about the format is that you can have a couple of them in your back pocket at all time, something that isn’t as easy with a Travelers Notebook; even though I almost always have a bag. It isn’t just about the size, it is also about how much easier it is to take out a small notebook from your pack pocket and a pen from your front pocket.

I’m a strong believer in leaving stuff behind in order to figure out where their place actually are. This means that you need to try something different and stop using what you were using, to see where the old thing was better, and where the new thing is better.


Curiosity and expansion


Hate it, or love it. But you are probably on the way to becoming a stationary geek by buying a fancy notebook or pen. Being on the way doesn’t mean you’ll end up there.

The same thing happens more or less every time something new shows up in your horizon. Something new as a new sub group, within the larger group; this was how I got into fountain pens.

My first reaction is almost always: I don’t need that.

Then I slowly get curious as I am exposed to podcasts and blogs about it.

A lot of stuff never go beyond the curiosity stage, but some of it is something i decide to dip into, and try out. Some of it stick, and others not. But it is more complicated than that.

There are things that you figure out isn’t your thing, and you have the stuff you like, but you don’t go into the “geek” phase. And then you have the stuff you love so much that you go as deep as you need.

It is all about using that curiosity and expanding to figure out what is and isn’t your thing.


The Ideal number of refills in the MTN.


I have used the MTN for over six months now, and I have tried countless numbers of different configurations of refills in it. I currently have two refills in it. One for journaling, and one for tasks. But, I also have two refills bundled together with one of the MTN rubber bands for my “work” notebooks; one lined for tasks, and one blank for everything else.

Yes, I’m going to buy another one, or find a better solution.

The number of refills comes down to a number of different factors. But one above everything else is the writing comfort. The most practical from a writing standpoint is to use it with two refills, while the most practical from a “have as much options as possible” is to fill it up with six refills.

From a day to day usage stand point, I think two refills is the ideal, even though three is workable, if you need to. The problem with too many refills is that everything moves around every time you are trying to do something, and it is hard to fill the pages.

I wish the MTN worked better with a lot of refills, but it doesn’t. I still think it is a fantastic system, but you need to pick your poison, many refills and many MTN covers, or fewer refills.


The Retro 51 “refill”.


My journey into buying stationary online, started with the Retro 51. What makes it an amazing pen is trifold: quality, variety and the refill.

It is one of the most amazing things I have seen in terms of build quality. It feels good to hold it, and you just want to sit there and twist it back and forth. And you can find a Retro 51 model to match almost any style or design you are looking for.

But the thing that takes the Retro 51 from impressive to amazing is the schmith refill. It is the perfect for everything that want something good, but don’t care about the details. It is also everything I want from a pen, a thick black line without a lot of pressure or hassle.

It is still my goto pen when I want something I can write with for very long periods. Because I don’t have to put any pressure on the page; the weight of the pen is sufficient.

The refill isn’t for everyone. Either because you want different ink, or a thinner line. But there are plenty of compatible refills.

What I think proves my point about it being one of the best “general” refills available is that almost all rollerball pens use it. Everything from the Lamy 2000 Rollerball to the new Baron Fig pen. When I see a new rollerball pen, I see the refill more often than not.

The thing I love about is that, if you like a pen that uses it but hates the refill, or if you hate the pen but love the refill, you have plenty of options in either direction to find your perfect fit.


Digital or analogue?


One of the questions I ask myself the most often is: digital or analogue?

I tend to favour analogue, unless the digital option have some significant advantages.

For example, my current favourite app: Duolingo. It makes learning a language fun and approachable; something I have never seen in a text book. That is a significant advantage compared to the analogue.

Or my digital cameras have an advantage over it’s analogue parents, by letting me take a lot of pictures without going broke by developing or buying film.

E-books isn’t for me. I only buy them when a paper books isn’t available. My main problem with e-books as they are in most cases at the moment is that they don’t provide anything that a paper book doesn’t have. The only advantages I can see as a general rule is: lower delivery time and doesn’t require as much space. My problem with e-books is that everything disappears in the list. Either unread books or books that you enjoyed any would have read again if you saw it in the book shelf.

The thing about digital or anything that wants to replace what is needs to be better, and not just a little bit better, but a much better alternative to win.

Some people are 100% digital, while others are 100% analogue; but I expect most people to be somewhere in the middle.

I go for what works the best for me, and I need to question everything in order to find what works the best.


Good vs Good Enough


I’m writing this with my first fountain pen. My Pilot Metropolitan. A pen that I have used and abused for over three years. And it have been on the short list of being replaced for a while(Just waiting for Gulet to get the colour I want back in stock).

My only real complaint about it is the lack of nib options.

This is not the kind of pen I expect to last forever, like a Lamy 2000 or a Pilot Vanishing Point. But it is still one of the ones I enjoy the most. And lasting forever isn’t really the point.

There is something to buying a good pen that lasts for the rest of your life. Btu there is also something to going for that cheaper option that is good enough. Just get a few of them, and replace them as they wear down.

A Lamy 2000 is a good if not excellent pen, while a Pilot Metropolitan is good enough.

Neither is right or wrong. It just comes down the personal preference, and budget.


The Journaling Habit.


One of the things I find very fascinating about journaling is the struggle.

My first attempts at journaling daily started five years ago. I have to a large extent journaled daily since then. What I mean by that is that I have done it more days than I have not.

Journaling and going to the gym is more or less the same struggle for me. I can do it day in and day out for very long periods, and I have no problem with it as long as I pick a interval and a time to do it.

But it becomes hard to start again once I take a short break.

There is no easy way to fix it. You just need to force yourself back in. And set a barrier as low as possible to then start building it up again.

The easiest way to avoid it in the first place is to do everything you can to not stop.


Rotating inks


Having a lot of different inks is one of those fountain pen geek problems that most people don’t get.

Some people have different inks in different pens, while others just use the same in all of their pens. I usually have the same ink in all of my pens because then I can just pick up the closest pen in my cup when my current pen runs out of ink.

I try to use the same ink for longer periods. This is to avoid having many bottles that are almost empty. And I try to use up what I have of one colour before I move on to the next one.

For me, the same goes for notebooks and inks. I like to complete something before I move on to the next.

I obviously don’t use the whole bottle before I move on to the next. The exception is, as mentioned above, when I have two similar colours.

The way it works is that when I get something new I ink up my pens as they run out, and test out the ink with all of my pens for a while. And then I just rotate between what I have. I usually keep to one colour for 6-8 weeks.


Ordering internationally.


Every time I order something online I have a lit of stuff I need, and another list of stuff I would like to get.

How do I pick where to order from?

Well, that is a difficult question. My first priority is always to get all of my “must have” items, and then ideally all my “nice to have” items in as few orders as possible; ideally one order.

JetPens and Goulet are the two places I order almost everything from. I prefer Goulet because I love the company, but I often end up ordering from JetPens because their selection is better.

Pricing isn’t that important to me, because the difference have to be huge for me to be able to justify making two orders instead of one. Yeah, international shipping can be expensive. It doesn’t really make sense if the difference is a dollar here or there. But I do it when it comes to expensive items, where the difference can be large.

To pack as much as possible in each shipment is important because it makes the total cost of each item as low as possible. This is probably a non-issue for most americans.


Quality as a virtue.


Some people buy the cheap one while other people buy the good one.

You have probably done the same thing. A few times through your life; if you are like me, and like to get quality products. You have to justify it. Either by necessity or value. That means, necessity: you either need to expensive one to get your stuff done, or it will make it easier, value: it might look more expensive but you will save money in the long run.

Both, one or neither can be true; it all depends on the situation.

I have stopped or I do at least try to not do it anymore. This is because I think that buying quality is a virtue by itself.

How can quality be a virtue? Or, what is good about quality?

Cheap products often entails things that we don’t like, that we at least shouldn’t like.

  • Bad working conditions for those who make it
  • Bad for the environment
  • Lower quality
  • More expensive in the long run
  • It isn’t enjoyable to use
  • Bad design.

These are often true, but not always; and not always all or none of them.

A quality product is almost always more expensive to buy, compared to a cheap one. This means that it is easier to do the right thing; if they want to. Like giving people a decent wage, make sure it is sustainable and make sure it is a good quality product.

You can go out there today and buy one of almost anything that isn’t related to technology and use it for the rest of your life; if you buy a quality product and take proper care of it.

If you buy a good pair of boots in your early 20s, and take care of them, you’ll probably save a fortune by time you retire. More expensive at that point, but it becomes cheaper and cheaper for every year that passes.

Yes, money and value is important when you come down to it. But I consider that a bonus; or one out of many things that is great about it.

This is what I think is great about quality products:

  • Less waste
  • You support local and non-local, small and large businesses that focus on doing the “right” thing.
  • They usually look and work much better.
  • You take a stand and tell the world that you actually care.

Reviews.


You will probably find a huge overlap between the products that the different stationary blogs have reviewed. The reason is simple and quite obvious: there are many products that almost everyone has or at least try out because they are fantastic.

Reviews are not an important part of this site. I’m not that into it. It’s not my thing, and I don’t buy that much stuff.

But I do write reviews from time to time, either after using them for a while, or what I think about them after using them for a long time.

Are there any value to many different reviews of the same pen, ink or notebook?

Yes, there are. And here is why. The reason I think there is a good thing to have as many reviews as possible of the same products is because more information is always a good thing to have before buying it.

For me, the value of a review comes down to three things:

  • Different people have different opinions
  • Different Pro and Cons
  • How a product holds up in a first impression scenario versus after using it for months or years.

My process for figuring out if something is for me is a simple process, but it often takes a long time.

It always starts out with a product. Before I move on to watching every video review and reading every written review I can find. Before I look at the product details to figure out if it is something for me.

I prefer broader and smooth nibs. And I will probably not buy anything with a cartridge-converter filling mechanism because of the compromises the entail.

My pen wish list is very short, because of my very strict guidelines and because I know exactly what I want from a pen. For example my current wish list:

  • Pilot Custom Heritage 92
  • Conid
  • Mont Blanc Meisterstruck
  • Visconti Homosapiens

There are two pens that I have been very curious about for a very long time, while at the same time will never end up on my list because I just know that I would be unhappy with them.

  • Lamy Dialog
  • Pilot Vanishing Point.

This is about finding as much information as possible, and to discover what you like and don’t like. It is also about finding out what people that share the same taste as you, while still reading people that don’t, because they might discover something that could tip your decision in either direction.

It is something you learn by experience. There are things about pens that doens’t matter to be, that would drive other people nuts; and the other way around.

My game killer list is as follows:

  • Slippery grip section
  • Moulded grip section
  • Gold trimming
  • Small pens
  • Low ink capacity
  • Cartridge / converter.

Having a notebook on your desk


I started doing something new few weeks ago. I’ve had this A4 notebook laying around for a few months, and I want using it for anything. I found it at the same time as I was thinking about how to write more in general.

This notebook will never leave this desk. that is the basic idea. So that I have something to write in, when I feel like it, without having to locate my bag or anything.

Why? Well it is just about removing anything that can be a reason to not write. I just site down at my desk, open the notebook and take a pen(usually my Lamy 2000) and write.

Does it work? It works were well this far. I have written much more per week than I have in a very long time.

This might sound stupid to a lot of people, but I use the same kind of tricks on all kinds of things that I love to do, like writing, photography, but I find it so hard to do it.

Writing: make sure I always have a notebook at my desk.

Photography: always have a camera with me.

The goal is to make sure it is as easy as possible, to just do a little bit more every month.


On geekdom and why I care about stationary.


There are probably a community that care fiercely about more or less anything from anal lube to shampoo; and anything in between. But don’t mix them up.

This isn’t about anal lube or shampoo. I’m as interested in that as I am in watching paint dry. But I am for some strange reason very interested in watching ink dry.

It is about how someone becomes a geek, and about why I care about pen and paper.

Let’s start by putting my Philosophy Major to use. What I mean by “geekdom” here is limited to every day items; like a camera, pen or headphones. Some people get hooked on the relationship between knowing all the details, or as much as possible and finding the “perfect”. While many care about quality, without becoming a geek.

I care about quality in general because I would rather get a quality product that is more reliably and will last longer(and often so long that I don’t remember when or where I bought it), than some cheap piece of shit that I have to replace many times per year.

Am I a kettle geek? No. I just search only until I find the one that seems like the best fit for what I want and need from a kettle. Which is way more than what most people would want from a kettle, since I’m into coffee and tea. And buy the one that the reviewers agree on being the best one.

There have to be some reason for this. In other words: the reason you are a geek about X.

I blame parts of my deep dive into stationary on the Moleskine marketing department. But that came a little bit later.

It all started when I realised how much time I spent writing with pen and paper. But I don’t enjoy using them. The pens I was using was driving me nuts. And the paper was crap.

I don’t remember 100%, but from it all went very fast. In one moment I was using what ever pens was laying around the office and printer paper to using Pilot G2’s and Moleskines in a very short time span. I don’t remember which came first, or if both came at the same time. But I know that I picked up both while buying some book, and had to walk past the stationary section to pay for the damn thing.

I cared enough, to buy something, myself, when I could get something that did more or less the same thing for free. But I didn’t become a geek.

Jump forward two years, and it happens. I went deep. This was when I discovered there was a whole community out there, and that I could get something much better. This was the when I started to look for the best pens and notebooks for what I used them for.

Another way to say what I started out with is to say that geekdom is the interplay between understanding and caring.

There is a difference between the two groups of people that care. One of them just want something good, while the other are also interested. If you just want something good, buy a Mont Blanc. But you can also find something as good, or even better, for way less money if you want to put in some time, to do the research.

This is the difference between being a geek, and not being a geek.


'Load out


I can’t believe that it is April already. This is another month with just some minor changes to what I carry, plus a bigger one that isn’t related to stationary.

What I have done is that I have re-introduced a A4 notebook into my rotation. It isn’t something I carry everywhere or anywhere. It just stays on my desk. I’m going to get more into that in an upcoming post.

I also have simplified the pens I bring with me everywhere. I have dedicated my TWSBI 580AL as my “on the go” pen, and that is the only pen I bring with me. While my Lamy 2000 is my go to long form writing pen at home. And the rest are using for writing down notes where and there. I’m also going more into this in an upcoming blog post.

Other than that, I still use the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo in all of my pens, and almost all of my notebook needs are still centred around my Midori Travelers Notebook.

The big change to what I carry everywhere is that I finally pulled the trigger on a camera I have considered to buy for a very long time. Photography is one of my favourite hobbies, and I have been looking for a good camera that is more portable than my Canon, but more enjoyable to use than my iPhone. I bought myself a Fujifilm X100t.

As I said last month, the goal is to have pictures with more or less every single blog post I’m publishing from now on. The exception is my weekly link post.


Two Pens.


The two pens I own that I use more than anything else are my Lamy 2000 and my TWSBI 580AL.

I use them for two very different things.

My 580 is always in my MTN pen holder because it has a screw on cap, never leaks and is the perfect pen for writing a little bit here and there. But still perfectly acceptable to write long form on the go, if I need to.

The Lamy 2000 is a different story. It isn’t the perfect when it comes leaks, and hasn’t a screw on cap. But it is my favourite pen to write with; especially when I sit down to really write for longer periods of time, like I am doing now. The nib is wet and very smooth, and the lack of threading for a screw on cap makes the whole grip section much more comfortable to hold for longer periods.

I’m not that interesting in finding the perfect pen for everything, because that would be almost impossible.

I want the best possible pen to have in my bag, to use both at work and on the go. The most important thing for when it comes to this pen is that the nib is smooth, it never leaks any ink, cap or anywhere else and that it has a screw on cap. This is in many aspects the opposite of what I want from the perfect long form writing pen. I don’t care that much if it leaks a little bit into the cap, and I don’t want a screw on cap, because being comfortable to use it for a long time is much more important.

Are my current pens perfect for their task at hand?

I don’t have any complaints about my Lamy 2000, it does exactly what I want it to do.

My 580 is different story. While I don’t have much to complain about, I still don’t think it is the perfect. The next pen I am going to buy is intended to replace its role. This will be a Pilot Custom Heritage 92. I don’t want one tools that can make a good job everywhere, I want a set of tools that can make an awesome job where they fit.


'Finding a place for pen & paper'


One of my personal struggles in this digital age is to find a place for pen and paper. There is a time and a place for the digital tools, but there is also a place for the analoge.

There is nothing I love more than to write on good paper with a good (fountain) pen.

The struggle for me is to find the proper balance. I’m obviously not going to code on paper, and I don’t keep my long term notes on paper. The frist, because that would be dumb. And the second, because I need search and update them all the time.

But there are many things that most people use digital tools for, that I prefer using pen and paper to do.

Some of them are tasks and calendaring. My main reason there is efficiency and simplicity.

Long from writing is another area where my impression is that most people do it digital only. I think there are some big advantages to do it on paper first, even though you are going to use it digitally later.

Almost everything I write starts out on a sheet of paper or a page in a notebook. For software development it is about figuring out what to do, and potential parts, before I get started. And then about writing down everything I need to remember as I go. A notebook is the perfect tool because then I don’t need to leave what I am doing to add it to some application.

Regular writing is a little bit different. A large portion of what I write is either published online or sent as e-mails. But I do write a huge amount of stuff that never go anywhere. Either because that was the intent, or because it is crap.

To write it on paper before you bring it over to something else, and in the process, rewriting it takes more time. I think it is a very good idea to do so.

We are all reading, editing, and revising everything we write. Right?

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It is just too easy to say: “Fuck it…”. And just publish it before you gave it the proper grooming; or send the e-mail before you gave it the time. I never start to write where it is going to end up.

For example: this blog post is first written in a notebook, before I transacribe(and edit it during the process) into Ulysses on my Mac. Then I make sure all the grammar en spelling is correct. I try to always give it another few rounds of reading and editing before I publish it.

This is more or less the same process I use for everything I write. It might sound like a long and unnecessary process. But it isn’t.

You are right, it takes longer time. But that is fair compromise if it makes sure the end result is better.

Use your pens and paper anywhere you want. Figure out where it works for you, and don’t work for you. The most important thing is to find the place where it improves your work.