01/24/17

My Midori Traveler’s Notebook

I have at least 50 blank books. I’ve written in a few of them, but many are still blank, because I don’t want to screw them up. I’ve got unused books that I’ve been hauling around since I was a damn teenager.

When I worked at the art college, I bought a new pack of Franklin Covey planner inserts every year. Fifteen years. Wasted a lot of pages, skipped a lot of days.

As a youngun, I kept a personal diary full of Thoughts and Feelings – mainly because I was broke and bored and had nothing to read and needed something to occupy myself, something to keep my hands busy while I nursed the single cup of coffee I’d panned up enough to afford.

Reading about my 20-year-old self’s exploits horrified me; I was a terrible kid. Selfish, shallow, thoughtless. It was jarring, and I haven’t really been able to journal since then, because I don’t want to revisit my 40-year-old self on my deathbed and discover that I’ve been awful my whole life.

ANYway, I rely on bullet journaling, and I do love my fountain pens. I researched notebooks with good paper, and was an instant away from ordering a Hobonichi, before realizing that the structured approach wouldn’t work for me.

Enter the Traveler’s Notebook. There are lots of “fauxdoris” on the market, and they look great, but I got a Midori for a good price on Amazon. Wooooorth it: the leather is spectacular. (I did debate for probably 3 weeks as to whether to get brown or black. Opted in the end for brown simply because I keep the house dark and wanted to be able to more easily locate the book.)

If you’re not familiar with Traveler’s Notebooks, they are simple things: a cover, with elastic strung down the center. You slip notebooks under the elastic. You can have multiple books with different uses and types of paper. You can replace them when full, toss them if you screwed something up, pull one out and use it alone if bringing the full notebook isn’t convenient, etc.

The fauxdoris come in a million sizes and materials. The Midoris come in passport size and standard; a page in the standard is about 4.5×8″ , which seemed odd to me, but it turns out that I LOVE the size.

Making your own booklets is really easy. A Midori #13 insert is about $8, which isn’t a lot of money, but a $10 ream of Staples sugarcane paper makes a lot of booklets and is lovely for fountain pens.

Here’s how I set mine up:

3 booklets.

Bullet Journal: for daily logging. I printed a grid on Staples sugarcane paper.

Collections: traditionally would be in the same book as a Bullet Journal; I’ve just moved them to a separate sheaf of paper. I reference the page numbers in the bullet journal as usual. These are lists, notes, diagrams, measurements, project plans, etc. This is a Midori #13 Lightweight (Tomoe River) insert. I adore this paper.

Journal: Trying to do Thoughts and Feelings, but still pretty uptight about it. Instead I goof off and play with inks and script styles. Right now this is a booklet of half sugarcane, half Rhodia dot.

When the bullet/journal sections fill up, I replace them. The collections section will stay (and take a lot longer to fill up b/c the lightweight paper allows a ton of pages.)

I also sewed a zipper pocket/pen loop/card holder insert, just because I could. I’m not sure I’ll keep it, but whatever, I was excited.

The little silver charm is something I bought on Yahoo!Japan years ago.

So, if you love flexibility, and especially if you have anxiety about “messing up” a notebook, consider this approach. I LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU GUYS SO MUCH

(I’m trying to talk myself out of a second one, a black one to devote just to fiction-related notes. The whole POINT of the system is that you can stick new segments in & have the whole thing with you at once. I’d have to either carry them both – ugh – or carry just one, which defeats the purpose, but… blaaaack. In the mean time, I’m just flipping the book over and writing fiction-related stuff in the other direction. Topsy-turvy book.)

10/25/16

Incoming Beast Machine

Incoming Beast Machine

My parents live in rural South Carolina, same house where I grew up. There are lots of older folks out there, pack rat folks, and also a lot of families who are starting to inherit their old homesteads and clean out the attics/barns.

With that in mind, I sent out the alert to my dad: please keep an eye out for vintage typewriters and fountain pens. Affordable antique fountain pens are tough to find these days. Typewriters are even trickier, thanks to rise of keychoppers – artists who clean old typewriters off thrift store shelves and cut the keys off to make jewelry.

That means that the typewriters are getting a lot more rare, and that prices have skyrocketed: both to capitalize on the keychopping trend, and to protect nicer specimens for collectors.

Anyway. Let’s just say I’ve lost a lot of auctions. And I haven’t wanted to buy a typewriter online, anyway. I do dream of someday spending big money on a pristine Olympia SM3, which I’ll have to order from a pro, but for one of these that I want to spruce up myself, I need to mess with it first. Or to have my dad mess with it.

I was up past dawn playing Mass Effect. I’d just listened to Episode 4 of In The Dark – it’s outstanding – and had finally fallen asleep, when my dad started blowing up my phone.

At first, I panicked, because that’s just how I roll.

But he was sending photos, and then called to say he’d asked his consignment-shop-owning friend to keep an eye out. He asked if I wanted this typewriter for Christmas, and yes, I did and I do, and here’s a photo of it on his washing machine at home.

I called it a beast; Shawn took one look and called it a beast, so I figure that’ll be its name. Or Bess. I don’t often name things, but this machine just begs for a name.

I have the serial number: it’s a 1928 Underwood Model 3 with 11″ carriage, and I can not wait to get with the tinkering.

04/20/16

Why you haven’t seen me in a while: convention edition

I quit going to cons ages ago because it wasn’t worth the expense – financial and emotional. It’s one thing to be at a bar and shut down a harasser, but when at a con in a professional capacity, you have to react differently to annoying shit. Celebs in the Green Room, holding the nametag on my blazer to “get a better look at” my name in the most gropeful way possible. Random stranger saying “Hold my beer” and shoving it into my cleavage, then whining “Isn’t that why women come to horror cons?” when I suggest pain is imminent. Just too exhausting.

People talk about the back channel/whisper network of women warning each other to be on guard around various gross people. I’ve never been looped into that network, for whatever reason. I’m lucky, because all I’ve had to deal with was annoying/dehumanizing stuff. But just having to deal with it, over and over again, constantly, was too tiring. Not worth paying $ to spend 4 days telling strangers to knock that shit off.

I’m sure not going to cons meant I lost a lot of opportunities. I miss the hell out of the good parts of cons – the old friends, and making new ones. But spinning all of those plates: be professional, be approachable, be social, don’t dislocate that guy’s arm – it’s draining. And now I’m older, more broke, and more easily worn out, so I have to weigh all of that pretty heavily when deciding if I’m going to register for a con or not.

I always decide not to.

02/12/16

The Saga of Ol’ Krueger

KruegDay1

Here he is right out of Animal Control on the way to his first vet visit – you can see his poor bones through his fur.

Krueger was a stray that I almost hit while driving to work one day. I called Animal Control to get him off the street safely, then got Savannah Sav-A-Life to sponsor me to get him out. He was about 3 years old but starved – weighed 45lbs and had a puppy collar tight on his throat at that weight. The logical assumption is that he’d had the collar as a puppy, then been chucked out into a back yard for the rest of his life. He had Stage 3 heartworms.

For a while, he went by the name Dog X. I’d just intended to rehab & foster him, since Eike was about 8 months old and whacko at the time. He went through confinement for heartworm treatment, getting weight on him, getting his poor muscles reconditioned, getting neutered (of course,) all that. And when he was healed up after a few months, it turned out that he was the perfect buddy for Eike: played with her enough to help her exercise, but was also really calm, which showed her that calm was an okay thing to be sometimes. 😊 So he got an official name, and stayed.

He is afraid of storms and lightning so cameras, which flash, usually make him flatten his ears. I snuck up on him in the sunshine once and got this great portrait though:

KruegerPortrait

He’s the sweetest marshmallow that ever was, but part of that sweetness is because I think the malnutrition & heartworms may have damaged his brain some. He’s never been interested in toys, treats, anything. Never chased a ball. Never wagged his tail. Never barked. He’s not shy or scared, just incredibly passive. Even wild animals don’t see him as any kind of threat: we’ve had rabbits and possums just mosey on by, up close!, like he wasn’t even there. (He didn’t notice them, either.)

It was okay that he didn’t learn things; he just copied Eike, and she was a Good Girl, so it worked out. He saw her go into her crate for dinner, so he went into his, etc. When he did things she disapproved of, like approaching the Christmas tree, she steered him away. It was pretty great.

We – with great affection – call him our throw rug.

The only thing that visibly perks him up is the opportunity to sleep on something new.

KruegCandlelight

DogCouch

He and Eike had their own couch. You can see why. No room for me!

 

Krueger’s now in the neighborhood of 16 years old. In the Spring/Summer of 2014 he developed Canine Cognitive Disorder/”doggie dementia,” which was terrible. It was like he had storm fear, but 24 hours a day. I was scared for him; not only was he suddenly incredibly destructive, flipping furniture over, etc, but he was so agitated that we couldn’t put calories into him as fast as his anxiety/activity was burning them.

We tried everything. We were about to put him on the last-ditch possibility, which is a human dementia medication – expensive and a pretty heavy pharmaceutical. Luckily a vitamin supplement (Cholodin) turned him around. His “brain pills” made him normal lazy Krueger again. I’m convinced it saved his life.

He’s very old and needs help getting around. He’s basically in hospice mode nowadays. But it looks pretty much the same as his “wild youth” – lots of sleeping on the couch, until it’s time for him to come into the bedroom at night and sleep on his bed there. (A habit we started when the dementia struck: he wouldn’t settle unless I was touching him. Slept for months with my arm hanging off the the bed, hand on his shoulder, until we found those vitamins.)

Now, with Bronte here, he sleeps on the couch with the coffee table moved up so she can’t jump all over him. He’d be fine with it, but no old man wants little’uns jumping on their heads or their bad hips. She occasionally checks in on him but is content to leave him be. He, having never cared about fun or toys or treats – hell, we don’t think he’s ever known his name – isn’t the least bit jealous of all of Bronte’s fun. Bronte doesn’t seem to be confused as to why there’s a whole ‘nother dog just sleeping all day, either. He gets treats anyway, and extra snuggles, because he deserves to be spoiled.

It may seem like it sometimes, but he’s not going to be here forever. In the mean time, he keeps the teapots safe.

KruegerTeapot