A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dot Grid Webbie Winner . . .

The winner of the dot grid webbie is . . .  Shangchin.

See how easy that was? In fact Shangching could have won even if the comment merely said: "--".  The content of the comment does not matter. You don't have to butter me up -- in fact, you can tell me I'm crazy, if you like -- the winner is completely up to the random number generator at random.org.

I'll be hosting another giveaway in a week or two. Keep checking back!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My pen-less vacation

Well, "vacation" is probably an exaggeration. But I stretched last weekend into four days spent with family about 500 miles away.

I had grand plans of relaxing with some pens, paper and new ink samples. My wife drove up ahead of me, and I made sure to send the ink samples with her so I wouldn't risk having them confiscated at the airport security checkpoint when I flew up later in the week. I made sure I had some completely empty pens to take with me on the plane. I packed stationery and notebooks.

I didn't use any of them while I was there. But I did get some peace and quiet, which is probably what I was planning on with the pen and paper. I played two rounds of golf with my brothers in surroundings that were beautiful and very, very peaceful.

Now, I have to brag to the golfers out there. I hadn't played in two years. Yet, on the first day, I was putting for eagle on no. 18 (missed, but sunk the birdie putt), and the second day I had the game of my life off the tee. I must have hit 10 fairways. My scores? No idea. I didn't keep score (but I do know that I was a combined one over par on the top four handicaps on the second day).

All that excitement, you might think I forgot about the pens. No, I remembered they were there. There just wasn't enough down time to get to them.


Friday, July 15, 2011

I hate to admit it, but digital is making a comeback

I remember a partner at one of the big firms I was at in the 90s. She reminisced about how much nicer it was to practice law in the 70s, before opposing counsel could send nasty demands via email and fax, demanding immediate responses. She thought it was bad in the 90s? It's much worse now. The flow of information for a modern lawyer is torrential.

So, recently my paper calendar succumbed to digital. I've migrated my calendar from paper to iCal, making it accessible from any computer, my iPhone, and my iPad. Carrying my phone or the slim iPad is easier than the bulky Circa notebook I was using for my calendar, and it is much easier to check my calendar.

I still think analog management of my projects makes sense. I work so much more effectively from a piece of paper than a screen. But finding things and keeping everything straight? Well, digital has its advantages. I'm hoping to stay with analog tracking, then maybe electronically archiving my projects so they are searchable later
But I've also been dabbling with Microsoft OneNote and Remember the Milk again lately. I'll probably end up tasks tracked digitally but reference material stored on paper.

This is all a work in progress. I figure I'll get the perfect system in place about 5 minutes before I die.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review (and Giveaway!): Rhodia Large Dot Grid Webnotebook (Update - Giveaway entries are closed)

Large Rhodia Dot Grid WebnotebookThanks to the generosity of Karen at Exaclair, I was able to take a Rhodia Large (A5 size) Dot Grid Webnotebook for a spin recently. And, I am forwarding Karen's generosity on to one of my readers by giving this puppy away! Details on the giveaway at the end of the post.

There's been a lot of excitement about the dot grid "webbie" after the runaway success of the original webbie and the Rhodia Dot Pad. The Dot Grid Webnotebook is a combination of the best of both worlds.

The Review
 The heart of any notebook is its paper and, as you'd expect, the paper in this notebook does not disappoint. Silky smooth, as always (too smooth for some people), and wonderful for fountain pens. Even with heavily saturated inks, you have to really let you pen nib linger before you'll see any bleedthrough. Only the darkest inks show through to any noticeable degree. And feathering? Fuggedaboutit. All this means the paper also has the same drawback you're used to: slow drying times. If you insist on using a fountain pen, this is not a good notebook for on-the-go writing, because closing the notebook too soon after you've written in it is going to result in lots of ink transfer to the opposite page . . . unless you use a sheet of blotting paper for a bookmark.

Dot Grid Webbie Writing Sample
Great ink handling at the price of slow drying time. Note the dot grid ruling.

So, tell you something you don't already know, right? OK, let's start with the purely subjective stuff.

I gotta say I liked the orange cover a lot more than I thought I would. It looked much too loud to me when I saw it on the website, but when I opened the package from Karen, I said, "Cool!" For me, the color would be quite practical if it was to make this my work notebook. That orange really stands out on a messy desk! Like the black webbie (version 1, anyway), the end papers, ribbon bookmark, and elastic closure all match the cover, so there's an awful lot of orange. Not sure you'll like it? I say try it!

As much as I like the orange cover, I'm not as thrilled by the ivory paper. It looks way too yellow to me, but that seems to be an effect of all the orange around it. When I placed this notebook side-by-side with my first generation webbie, it looked like the paper colors were identical.

Webbier Paper Comparisons
Old ivory and new ivory appear identical side-by-side, but can look different based on cover color.

The dot spacing, like the grid lines on Rhodia graph pads, is 5mm, so it's very easy to adapt to if you're used to the pads. This is a very frustrating spacing for me and my writing style — too large for me to write every other line, too small to write every line — but that's just me. The dot grid is for more than just writing, anyway. The unobtrusive dot pattern provides just enough guidance for spacing drawings, diagrams, or doodles without getting in the way.  (Does one ever need precise doodle spacing? That's taking OCD to the next level!) I don't draw much, though. My notebooks are full of boring text.

The notebook has the standard back pocket, but the gussets on this one appear exceptionally sturdy. Same soft leatherette cover, same embossed Rhodia logo on the cover, as the old webbie.

One surprise is that this webbie did not lie particularly flat, because that was supposed to be an improvement over the first generation. When I looked at the picture I took, though (I'm finishing this post away from home and the webbie), it appears I did not have the binding flat on the table, so who knows how flat this thing lies. All I know is that it will break in, as even my old webbie lies pretty flat.

Overall, a great notebook!

The Giveaway

To enter, do BOTH of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post, AND;

2. Email me at notebookeresqATgmail.com. Your email must give the name you used for commenting and the subject line must read EXACTLY:


I do it this way to be sure I can contact the winners and so I can set up an email filter to group all entries as they come in. I will keep the giveaway open through at least midnight Pacific time on Tuesday, July 19.

The winner will be selected using the random number generator at random.org.

Good luck!


Monday, July 4, 2011

A very TWSBI Fourth of July

OK, so the top one isn't actually white, but this is as close to red, white and blue as I could get with my pens — my three TWSBI Diamond 530s in red, clear, and blue:

To those of you wondering about using pens from Taiwan to commemorate American Independence Day, let me point out that fireworks were invented by the Chinese!

Happy fourth, everyone!

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...Image via Wikipedia
Enhanced by Zemanta


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fountain pen nibs as apparel?


Pen Nib Dress from John Nussey on Vimeo.

Thanks to Geeks are Sexy, which explains the movement of the nibs.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Quo Vadis Habana Winners

Quo Vadis Habana Notebook v. 2.0 - rear pocketCongratulations to Economy Pens and Carmen, winners of the large and small Quo Vadis Habana notebooks, respectively. Look for another notebook giveaway after the fourth of July!


My vanishing Pilot Vanishing Point

That is not a typo in the title of this post.

I refer to my "vanishing" Pilot Vanishing Point because (1) at the moment, I can't find it (unfortunately, my relatively newfound fastidiousness has slipped a bit lot of late); and (2) it is vanishing . . . from my collection; I'm about to sell it. Point 1 will take care of itself in time. Let's concentrate on point 2, and figure out why I am putting this pen up for sale on eBay or Fountain Pen Network.

There's nothing really wrong with this pen, but I think I bought it for the wrong reasons.

What sold me on it was the clickable nib. I thought it would be convenient because even though I do almost all my work on a computer, I probably pick up my pen between 50 and 100 times a day between notes to my assistant and keeping my timesheet.

Aside from the click nib, there was nothing else calling out to me from this pen. I don't find it particularly beautiful. In fact, I find it somewhat ungainly; with that clicker on the end, it just doesn't look right. The nib doesn't write as smoothly as some of my other pens. In short, it didn't hit any of my hot buttons. It seemed to have so many devotees on FPN, though, that I figured I'd grow to love it.

A clickable fountain pen nib?
What will they think of next?
I've had it two months, and I remain very "meh" about it. It writes great, and unlike some, I haven't found the placement of the clip to present any problems for my grip on the pen. And the click nib is not only functional and convenient for the reasons I mentioned above, it has a sort of geeky wow! factor to it. (When I first saw a VP last year, I thought to myself, what will they come up with next? Then I learned the pen has been around for more than 40 years.)

But I'm never drawn to pick up this pen, except to try it "one more time" to figure out what I don't like about it. I have to keep forcing myself to use it. I shouldn't feel that way about a pen that retails for $160. I'm sticking to my hot buttons from here on out.

So, it's going up for sale. When I get it posted on FPN or eBay, I'll update this post with the link, so keep checking back if you're interested in it. (I figure to price it around $110.)

UPDATE: (1) Found it! (I'd left it with my notebook-loving colleague to try for a few days.) (2) The sale listing is up on FPN. $110 with box and converter, includes shipping to USA address.