A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another new pen blog on the block

I'm not the only new pen & paper log starting up this month. Also debuting is PENtastic, authored by "pentastic1" (and maybe others?), who has just reviwed the Pilot Hi-Tec C, which I'll be reviewing later this week.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

First Trip to Flax

Flax StorefrontNo, not the San Francisco Flax. The Los Angeles Flax. I'd heard about the place years ago in radio ads, but never visited because it is only recently that I've caught the notebook and pen bug.

So, anyway, I was in L.A. this morning for a court appearance, and decided to hit Flax on my way out of town. Well, a little out of my way, actually, but . . . well, the lure was strong, and I wasn't sure when I'd next be in the vicinity.

The store has the sort of trendy look that trendy shops do in trendy parts of trendy cities around the world. And I'm anything but trendy. But I didn't feel out of my element at all.

The store was terrific, and the woman who helped me was was very attentive. I could have spent hours browsing around in there. But I had to get back to the office and could only take about a half hour, so the stop was bit of a tease.

The notebook selection was pretty extensive. Between browsing the notebooks and browsing the inks, I never even got around to looking at the pens. Next time.

The trip was not without its disappointments, but they weren't disappointments with the store.

Disappointment No. 1: The Rhodia Webnotebook.

What? Who could be disappointed in the Rhodia Webnotebook? The sumptuous cover! The 90 gsm Clairefontaine paper! Who on earth could be disappointed with that?

The cover was indeed sumptuous. The paper felt like velvet. (I'm still dying to try writing on it.) But it was . . . small. I know, I know. You're saying "Booker, the dimensions are right there on the website." And so they are. But I was hoping the hard cover would make it feel bigger somehow. I'm still a little stunned that after lusting after one for the last several weeks, I walked away without buying it, especially since that was the main reason I stopped by.

Maybe the build-up was just too good for the webbie to live up to. Then again, that build up has also tweaked my curiosity to the point that I don't think it will ever go away. I'm sure I'll succumb and buy one eventually.

Disappointment No. 2: No French-ruled notebooks.

I got my hopes up when I saw all the Clairefontaine notebooks on the wall, but Flax doesn't carry any that are French-ruled. I can understand why, since there seems to be very little demand. I was looking forward to picking up a French-ruled notebook, though, because I've read that the French ruling is supposed to help train your handwriting. And I figure if I'm going to be using more handwriting, I ought to work on making it neater. (It could stand some improvement, as you'll see in upcoming reviews.) I'll pick one up off of eBay this week.

Still, I didn't walk away empty handed. I bought a bottle of Sailor black fountain pen ink. My first ever bottle of fountain pen ink. That was really thrilling, though that seems a little weird to say. (And, perhaps needless to say, armed with my first bottle of ink, the first thing I did when I got back to the office was install the converter in my Lamy Safari and fill that sucker!)

I'll definitely be going back. It's a very nice shop, and it's guaranteed to stay on my mind . . . since I signed up for their email list.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Those Dutch Olympians are killin' me!

In my introductory post, I explained that I am embarking on my notebook and fountain pen journey at a time I really don't want to spend much. After reading rave reviews of the Rhodia webnotebook for the last couple of weeks, it has taken a lot of will power for me not to order one.

I must say, the Dutch athletes at the Olympics sure aren't making it any easier to maintain my resolve:

Rhodia couldn't have bought better subliminal advertising!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Who the heck is Note Booker, Esq., and why is he writing this blog?

I'm a lawyer surrounded by technology.

Cell Phones. Email. Computerized document storage, editing, legal research. Faxes. (Used less and less, but I'll count them anyway.)

All of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, I tried something really new . . . for a modern lawyer, anyway. I picked up a pen, and started writing out research notes longhand. All afternoon. Not only did it feel good, it also reminded me of what a great memory aid it is to write down information.

I plan to do a lot more of it.

Along the way, I also plan to explore some great writing tools. I bought my first fountain pen in a long time a few weeks ago. I've already bought more notebooks than I'll be able to fill in the next year or so, probably. I've definitely caught the bug! But I'm trying to do so on a budget. I won't be spending $300 on a fountain pen any time soon (or $75, for that matter).

I've been reading some great blogs and websites on writing instruments, notebooks, and office supplies — blogs like An Inkophile's Blog, Black Cover, DIY Planner, Notebook Stories, The Pen Addict, Moleskinerie, and Office Supply Geek, to name a few. Everyone seems to have been into pens and notebooks for so long, I thought, "Would aficionados care what a notebook and pen newbie like me has to say about their passion?"

Well, I guess we'll find out.

Then again, maybe my primary readership will be other newbies.

One thing is for sure: I am not writing this blog in the hopes that Karen at Exaclair, who seems to send free notebooks to bloggers far and wide so they can be reviewed on blogs, will send me any. Honest. I mean, after all, I'm a newbie. What would I know?

If she wants to send me the newest from Clairefontaine or Rhodia, I'm not going to resist, mind you.