Some Fun on a Monday

I was introduced to the DigitalRev TV YouTube channel this morning via The Sunday Edition of The Newsprint (an excellent site that you should be reading, by the way).

I've only watched a few of their videos, but they seem to be great fun. They don't even try to take themselves seriously. Much like me.

It's a miserable, rainy, slushy day here in Central New Jersey, and two videos in particular brightened up my morning a bit. They're very Not Safe for Work.

The Origin Story of Me

I first met Carl Holscher in a chat room for Bronies. After some back and forth, we decided to meet up for drinks and really hit it off. One thing led to another and now I find myself a prisoner in his basement.

No, wait, that's something else. Let's start again.

Carl Holscher runs a little site called Origin Stories where he asks folks about the history of their names, both online and off. For some crazy reason he decided to interview me. He must not have taken his meds that day. Regardless, it's an honor to be included in the company of such notables as Patrick Rhone and Casey Liss.

Books Read in 2014

When presenting their summary of books read, some people would make you slog through an entire paragraph for each book nitpicking and analyzing every detail they did and didn't like and offering suggestions about why you should or shouldn't read it. You'll find none of that superfluity here, dear reader. Unlike those writers I value your time. I assure you it has nothing to do with being too lazy to write that much. Nothing at all.

Instead, I give you a simple affiliate-link-filled list. Enjoy.

Notebooks 1935–1942, Albert Camus

Writers and Their Notebooks, Diana M. Raab (ed.)

Albert Camus: Elements of a Life, Robert Zaretsky

Blackbirds, Chuck Wendig

Creating Short Fiction, Damon Knight

Unnatural Creatures, Neil Gaiman (ed.)

Mockingbird, Chuck Wendig

Daily Rituals, Mason Currey

Paterson, William Carlos Williams

The Art of Haiku, Stephen Addiss

The Poetry of Zen, Sam Hamill

The Essential Dōgen, Kazuaki Tanahashi & Peter Levitt (eds.)

The Training of a Zen Buddhist Monk, D.T. Suzuki

Mountain Tasting, Santoka Taneda (John Stevens, trans.)

Zen and Japanese Culture, D.T. Suzuki

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, Leonard Koren

Japanese Death Poems, Yoel Hoffmann (ed.)

The Book of Chuang Tzu, Martin Palmer & Elizabeth Breuilly (trans.)

The Spring of My Life, Kobayashi Issa (Sam Hamill, trans.)

Bashō and the Dao, Peipei Qiu

Beowulf, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrūn, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fall of Arthur, J.R.R. Tolkien

Mythmakers and Lawbreakers, Margaret Killjoy

The Year 1000, Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger

Philology, James Turner

Pound as Wuz, James Laughlin

Ezra Pound: The Solitary Volcano, John Tytell

Personæ, Ezra Pound

The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams, William Carlos Williams

T.S. Eliot: A Short Biography, John Worthen

The Iliad, Homer (Bernard Knox, ed. & Robert Fagles, trans.)

The Odyssey, Homer (Bernard Knox, ed. & Robert Fagles, trans.)

Waking Up, Sam Harris

On the Shortness of Life, Seneca (C.D.N. Costa, trans.)

The Art of Just Sitting, John Daido Loori

The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu, James Green (trans.)

Notebooks 1942–1951, Albert Camus

Essays and Lectures, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journals 1889–1913, André Gide

Historia Discordia, Adam Gorightly

The Greek Music Drama, Friedrich Nietzsche (Paul Bishop, trans.)

The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche (Walter Kaufmann, trans.)

Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, Robert Anton Wilson

It's Journal Day

Just a quick post for Journal Day to show you mine:

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As I've mentioned, it's a Paper for Fountain Pens Tomoe River blank book with cream paper. I started journaling on October 30, 2013, stopped on January 16, 2014 and picked it back up again on July 15, 2014. Since July I've been pretty regular (must be all that paper fiber).

I've used all kinds of pen and ink combinations to write in it, but currently I'm using:

Wednesday Wanderings — Photography

Wednesday Wanderings is a thing I'm going to try where I throw some links out there for your distraction and enjoyment. It may not be every Wednesday, there may not always be a theme, but I hope it's always interesting.

This week: stunning photograpy.

Thomas Huang. I want to crawl inside his photos and live there.

Patrick Ng. He of Scription fame and phenomenal photography.

Kevin Kelly. Make sure to check out Japan's Nakasendo Walk.

Yosemite National Park. This has been on my list of places to visit ever since I first saw Ansel Adams' shots of Half Dome and El Capitan as a kid.

What's in My Bag

This seems like an appropriate place to start. I plan on writing more detailed posts about some of these, so I'll just give the highlights below. Headphones, cables, and other such doodads not shown/included.

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. I only used them in cases where the item was not available elsewhere.

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  1. The bag. I picked this up in a gift shop in Montserrat, Spain on my honeymoon in 2006. It's on the small side for a backpack, but still has a surprising amount of storage space. My attempts at finding any information on the manufacturer have been unsuccessful. Depending on how Christmas goes, this may get replaced by a Tom Bihn Synapse 19.
  2. iPad Mini with Retina Display. The 7" tablet really is the perfect form factor for me, especially since I mostly use it for reading. The case is a DODOcase Durables Sleeve in sage.
  3. Hobonichi Techo (English edition). I use this more as a logbook than a planner. Prior to this year I was using a Moleskine Daily Planner, but this is so much better. I keep it wrapped in a Kokuyo Systematic refillable notebook cover.
  4. A book. I almost always have a real, made-of-dead-trees book with me. Currently, it's Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays and Lectures.
  5. Midori Traveler's Notebook. This is where I currently do most of my random note taking. I have a lot more to say about this so I'll just leave it at that for now.
  6. Paper for Fountain Pens Blank Book. Full of cream colored Tomoe River paper goodness, I use this unassuming book as a traditional journal.
  7. Nock Co Brasstown pen case in steel/mango. This is my most recent purchase from Nock and is by far my favorite. It holds so much stuff.

Carrying three different notebook-type things with me every day seems a bit exceessive, but none of them are overly large so it's not a huge burden. Still it could probably be simplified. One thing I've considered is using a Midori refill in the journal capacity once I fill the Paper for Fountain Pens book. I'm not even halfway through it so I think I have plenty of time to work that out.

First Post

Hi, my name is Tony and I have a problem. This is not the first website I've started. It's not even the second. I've had some kind of online presence since my freshman year of college in 1997.

The last two sites were "tech blogs". I wrote and posted various Mac and Unix scripts that I had come up with and thought other people might find useful. The process of figuring out all of those little puzzles was fun. The problem is that I constantly had to be thinking about problems to solve if I wanted to "keep the content fresh". It became a burden and totally sucked the enjoyment out of it. I'm also not really a programmer so I was limited to the things I could manage to hack together.

On top of that, I've found my interest in fiddling with technology waning. Once upon a time I was the guy who would eagerly watch every Apple announcement with a gleam of excitement in his eye and then immediately buy whatever the new thing was. Maybe I'm getting old (or maturing, as they say), but I don't have that desire anymore. I still watch the Apple events, but I'm in no rush to head over to store.apple.com and place an order.

In short, I feel like I no longer have much, if anything, to contribute to The Tech Sphere.

So what am I doing here?

As my interest in technology has decreased, I've found my interest in analog tools has increased. Or rather, has been rekindled. I've always been a pen and paper kind of guy, even at the height of my digital obsession. But just like the world doesn't really need Yet Another Tech Blog, I'm not entirely convinced it needs Yet Another Pen Blog either. Other people are doing a great job with that already.

I'm going to try a slightly different approach. I like to jot things down. It could be a great quote I've come across or some random idea that pops into my head (like starting another new website, for example). As such, I'm on a quest for the perfect method and tools with which to do that. My hope is that this site will document that journey. There might be reviews and other Pen Bloggy type things along the way, but they'll probably be more the exception than the rule. I may even write about some digital tools too. I don't want to limit myself the way I have in the past.

Thanks for reading. [insert cheesy join-me-on-this-journey statement here.]