The analog equivalent of having too many blogs

The notebooks I’m actively using right now. Seriously. We all know that I have too many blogs. What’s less obvious is that I use too many different notebooks. Here’s what’s currently in rotation: A yellow legal pad. It’s nice to just throw stuff on the top page without thinking. Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Notebook (lined). This is my sort-of bullet journal. I keep lists and notes here, mostly. Hobonichi Techo. This is my calendar/planner....

September 29, 2023 · 247 words

At my analog desk

I still call this my “analog” desk. It’s for reading real books and articles. It’s for journaling. It’s for painting and drawing. It’s for sitting and staring out the window, even if the view is only that of a cul-de-sac in a boring middle-class suburb. I sat here for a good portion of two days during a recent power outage. It was refreshing and mentally invigorating. But that was last week....

September 1, 2023 · 89 words

Silver is better

Back in’s and’s prime, there was a gruff, opinionated, brilliant, and helpful forum member and photographer named Al Kaplan. He helped me a great deal after I got my first Leica. When he died in 2010, his family sold mugs and T-shirts to raise money. I’ve kept the mug on my desk ever since. Silver is Better Al Kaplan mug. Leica MP. HP5. Silver is better, indeed.

August 28, 2023 · 69 words

The Emergent Task Planner

Let’s try the paper-based Emergent Task Planner again

August 21, 2023 · 181 words


At the end of each month, I convert my Org-journal entries into a nice PDF, print it, and put it into a binder. It occurred to me that my website content is just a bunch of markdown files that could be treated the same as my org-journal files and perhaps printed as well. I started by concatenating March’s entries into a single Markdown file, like so: cat 2023-03*.md >> ~/Desktop/202303-MarchBlog....

April 1, 2023 · 456 words

My read-later service is made of paper

I’ve tried so many “read-later” services that I can’t remember half of them. They’re all basically the same: visit a website, click a button, and the article is saved to a list somewhere with all the other articles I’ve saved. Some newer services get fancy with recommendations, UI improvements, social integration, etc. but they all just gather a list of articles that I almost never end up reading. But, you know, just in case, right?...

March 30, 2023 · 231 words

Renumbering my index cards

When I started building a new index card note box, I followed Scott Schepard’s lead and used the Wikipedia Academic Disciplines as the overarching structure. I’ve come to dislike that system. It’s too dependent on hierarchy, and one I don’t really follow. So, this morning, when trying to install a new note about Libertarianism (topical!), I became frustrated and renumbered everything. I’m now using a simpler, more Luhmann-like card numbering system....

March 14, 2023 · 204 words

My Antinet and Barthes' "Camera Lucida"

The first book I read with my Antinet in mind was “Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography” by Roland Barthes. I’m not doing a book review here, but I wanted to say a few things about the process of reading with the goal “installing” notes into my Antinet. I’m not someone who needs a Zettelkasten. I’m not working on a book or paper or anything. I want to use what I’ve read....

February 2, 2023 · 441 words

Indexing my paper notebooks

I keep a simplified version of a Bullet Journal in paper notebooks. I write in it every day. In it, I write tasks, log meals, write journal entries, copy quotes, etc. This way of working fits my brain, and I see no future in which I’m not doing some version of it. But I must admit that y’all are right, searching paper notebooks kind of sucks. However, I’m not moving my notes to digital just so I can search them more easily....

January 29, 2023 · 247 words

Darkroom printing with borders

I like the way prints look with a small black border around the image, like this: I know some people file their negative holders but that means no cropping and there’s no way I’m precise enough with framing to not crop about 90% of my images at least a little. What I did instead is cut a piece of poster board ever so slightly smaller than my usual print size. I place this over the image after making the initial exposure and do one more quick 5-second exposure for the border....

January 5, 2023 · 192 words

Back to scanning film with a real scanner

I tried, I really did. The Wise Old Internet guided me into changing my film scanning process from a dedicated flatbed scanner to using a mirrorless digital camera setup. I did everything right. I bought good equipment and the right software. I hated it. To scan using my flatbed, I load the negatives, hit “Prescan”, confirm that things look ok and press “Scan”. I go do something else for a while and come back to a folder full of JPGs....

December 30, 2022 · 349 words

Comparing film and digital: Mom

I had lunch with my parents recently and took a few photos with both my film and digital cameras. I shot about the same number of photos with each camera, with close to the same number of “keepers”. Which do I prefer? ...

April 7, 2022 · 266 words

Fiber-based silver gelatin prints are a wonderful PITA

I hate making fiber-based silver gelatin prints in the darkroom. But I love having them to hold and to hang. Fiber-based papers have this deep, magical sheen, and the surface is smooth yet has a distinct, subtle texture that is missing from resin-coated (RC) papers. Compared to RC papers, fiber-based paper takes twice as long to process. It requires additional washing and optional toning steps. It eats up fixer and takes more trays than I have comfortable room for....

March 8, 2022 · 198 words

Highlighting in notebooks

One valid criticism of using paper for notes is that searching through notebooks is rather difficult. With my poor handwriting, scanning for certain information in a wash of squiggly lines can be painfully slow. For a couple of months now I’ve been going back through my notes periodically and highlighting key words and phrases. I’ve found that if I emphasize the most relevant bit of each note, I can find most things fairly quickly....

February 25, 2022 · 150 words

From workbench to writing desk

I put together a workbench in my basement office that was supposed to house all of the cool “maker” projects I was planning. You know, little electronic builds, equipment repair, that sort of thing. I’ve come to realize that these projects are infrequent and the workbench space is mostly wasted. I’ve found myself occasionally standing at the bench to write in my notebook or read a magazine, just as a chance to stand up for a while....

November 29, 2021 · 125 words

Pilot Custom 823 Fountain Pen

It’s been a while since I bought a new fountain pen. This is about the Pilot Custom 823. Literally every review I’ve read says the same things: “It’s not a looker, but what a great writer!” I can only resist that kind of consensus for so long, so I bought one. I have the “smoke” color with a fine nib. I ordered it from JetPens for $270. I’d say this puts it well into significant purchase territory, so I was very excited when it arrived....

June 11, 2021 · 538 words

Joys of well-engineered mechanical devices – Macfilos

Keith James, Macfilos: Perhaps because life in the third decade of the twenty-first century, for those of us in technologically developed countries, seems to involve almost total submersion in an ocean of digital devices, I suspect I am not the only one who enjoys occasionally being cast away on an island of mechanical wonder, where devices involve moving parts more than moving electrons. Mmmm, mechanical memories.

May 17, 2021 · 66 words

reMarkable is sleeping

I’ve been using the reMarkable 2 tablet for almost three months now. I’m often asked what I think of it. The short answer is this: I use the reMarkable tablet every day. I love writing on it, but it won’t be replacing my paper notebooks. If you are thinking about getting one, I have no reservations recommending that you do. The hardware is very nice and the experience of writing on it is terrific....

April 30, 2021 · 424 words

My Holy Grail Pen and Paper – CJ Chilvers

Writers spend way too much time and money seeking out their “grail” pen and paper combo — the tools that will make their work so much “smoother.” It’s a pattern we’ve seen repeated in all creative pursuits. CJ Chilvers Why does he quote “smoother” here? Is that from something? It’s an odd word for describing creative work. I’m happy that Chilvers has a setup that works for him and that he doesn’t feel a need to try anything else....

April 18, 2021 · 160 words

Am I losing interest in shooting film?

Film photography is a lot of work. Not so much the actual shooting part, that’s work no matter what the medium, but lately I find the rest of the process (developing, scanning, storing) to be more trouble than it’s worth. Thing is, I enjoy spending time in the darkroom, processing film. It’s meditative; the perfect hobby for an introvert. I have various wonderful old cameras, which are often reason enough to shoot film....

November 10, 2020 · 340 words