Sometimes you step back and look at all those notebooks you have writing in and realize it's about four too many.
Jotters: All Day, Every Day
In March I asked my friend Brennan to write about his EDC because he's spent a lot of time building it up to be the best possible for him. I work in an office at a desk most of the day and his job in a bike shop is very different from mine. We have a great time talking about what pens work best for his job. He kindly agreed to write a bit more about the pens he reaches for any time he needs to jot something down. Take it away Brennan...
At this point you have seen my EDC, and as pens go I carry a Vanishing Point and a Hex-O-Matic on me. My Vanishing Point is my go to pen, but there are a lot of instances during the day I simply need to jot something down. I am a soft goods buyer at a bike shop, so I am constantly in need of easy access pen and paper to jot down quick notes and reminders about the numerous phone calls, emails, and conversations I have with employees, customers, and brand reps. This is where my jotter comes in, I don't have to use my Vanishing Point or any specific pen — it's whatever pen is easiest to access — any pen on any paper — pocket notebooks, sticky notes, scrap paper, and sometimes receipts. I need pens that work consistently, so I have a collection of pens that just work always in reach.
These are my go-to jotters:
Retro 51 Hex O Matic Ballpoint As I mentioned in my EDC post, this pen lives in my pocket and gets the most use and abuse of any pen I own. The Schmidt Easy Flow 9000 blue refill is currently in this pen, and I have been impressed with its performance. Mike Dudek, of The Clicky Post, has a great review of this pen and refill.
Lamy Al-Star Rollerball This pen is one of my first “nicer” pens I purchased for myself. I love the aesthetic and feel in hand. Lamy’s black M63 Rollerball refill lays a nice smooth consistent line down. My black Al-Star lives at home on my desk and my silver Al-Star lives at work. This pen is awesome at work because it is not intimidating and any one can pick it up and use it comfortably, which cannot always be said about fountain pens. Brad Dowdy, of the Pen Addict, has a nice quick review of the pen if you are interested in more info.
Big Idea Design Solid Aluminum Pen I picked this pen up because I love aluminum bodied pens and the list of refills that this pen can take is huge! I appreciate a well designed pen with flexibility. I have a handful of refills on hand that work in the pen, but currently I have the Mystery Black Mont Blanc Fineliner Broad refill in this pen.
Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Bordeaux Ballpoint My dad gave me this pen recently because he never used it and thought I would appreciate it. I do — this is a pen I would probably never buy, but is a pretty awesome pen to own. The Bordeaux is no longer produced so it is a nice pen to hang onto for the future. The Mont Blanc Pacific Blue Medium Refill lays down a tackier and broader line than I prefer, but the quick dry time and classic look are nice.
Thanks to Brennan for this great write up. The Mont Blanc is gorgeous and I love the Hex O Matic's Rotring inspired vibe. Let me know what your favorite jotter pens are on Twitter or Instagram, I'm always looking for new pens to try.
As a person who fills two or more Field Notes/Doane memo books per month, being able to go back and look at what I wrote down is important to me. But, by the time I need to revisit an idea, it's often three or four books back. Until now I've had only one little way to keep track of what's in each of my memo books (more on that next week).
The process is amazingly simple.
Add a new book by giving it a name, and if you choose, a start and end date. I use the Field Notes inside cover as the template for the information I put in all of my notebooks, so I always include a start and end date.
From there, you are taken to a simple entry screen where you put in the topic, an optional page number, and hit add. I go through the book and pull any broad ideas, quote attributions, and short phrases I might want to reference in the future. I turn those into "topics" for Indxd to track.
After indexing the contents, it's just a simple Search or browse through the Topics tab to find which book I need to pull from my Field Notes Archival Wooden Box and I've got the page number where I need to look for more information.
For me, Indxd is the perfect system for indexing my notebooks. It's light and simple to add information to, allows for as much or as little organization as I want, backs up all my data, and is quick and easy when I need to find what I'm looking for. I have a running task as part of my Sunday review to add any new completed notebooks to Indxd and, I'm in the process of adding all 25 of the notebooks I filled in 2014.
If you're looking for a way to keep a digital log of the contents of your memo books, but don't want to go through the hassle of scanning them, look no further than Indxd.
I have always taken notes. Half-filled notebooks and scraps of paper filled the drawers of my childhood desk and boxes in my closet. It took me 22 years to finally find a system that stuck. I have to credit Myke Hurley and Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict Podcast for introducing me to Field Notes (drink).
Field Notes motto, I'm not writing this down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now. is what I live by. Now, with these amazing 3.5''x5.5'' memo books, I have a place where all of the things I need to remember now and later can live. I fill a memo book in about two weeks, so I always have fresh ones handy.
I was given a Field Notes COLORS Subscription for Chistmas in 2013 (which is the perfect gift for any pen and paper addict in your life) and now I have two yearly subscriptions. I never have to worry about missing out on all of the amazing editions they create, and it keeps me stocked with kraft notebooks to give to people as a way to spread the joy of using a Field Notes notebook.
The spring edition for 2015 is absolutely incredible, and the covers are my favorite yet. Not only is each and everyone unique (which made me open every one of my packs, something I NEVER do), but the story behind them is incredible too. I highly recommend ordering the maximum number of packs you're allowed and donating to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.
The fact that every cover has a unique print blows my mind, and it kind of throws a wrench in the "gotta catch 'em all" attitude I used to have about my Field Notes. I intend to fill every single one of these beauties over the next few months.
My Every Day Carry post was inspired a lot by the daily texts and weekly phone calls that I have with my friend, and fellow Hendrix College alumnus, Brennan McGinn. We share the same, "buy less, buy better" philosophy, so our discussions tend toward how we can get the best quality product for our relatively modest, post-graduate, money. Our conversations and buying habits cover a wide range of topics, namely cycling, menswear, photography, and most recently, pens.
Although Brennan already had good taste in regular pens, I'm going to take full credit for his relatively recent love of fountain pens (sorry Hailey). I sent him a Kaweco Sport about a year ago as an introduction and since then his collection has grown considerably.
Brennan has been working on his EDC for about as long as I have, so I asked him to write about what he carries and why. Although he works in a bike shop, and I in an office, you'll notice a lot of overlap in what we carry. Without further ado, take it away Brennan.
I have known Bruce since sophomore year of college I guess. We knew of each other and were acquaintances for a bit, then everything snowballed as we started to discuss clothes, photography, cameras, and film. This continued with bicycles, watches, knives, shoes, etc. Bruce asked if I wanted to contribute a post, and of course I was willing.
Bruce and I probably discuss EDC items on a weekly basis - the big reason... it is relevant to everyday life for the two of us. There is a lot of similarity between what we carry because we have similar taste, and as Bruce stated, simple, well designed items are appealing.
So here is what it looks like.
Pilot Vanishing Point - Matte Black, Fine Nib I agree withBruce about this pen. The construction, knock, clip, and nib are all outstanding. I rotate blue black inks through this pen and use it as my daily writer at work and home.
Retro 51 Hex-O-Matic It’s my jotter. It lives in my back pocket and I love the hybrid Schmidt refill. I have been incredibly pleased with the feel of the pen in hand and writing quality of Retro 51. I have both a black and silver pen, and the mechanical pencil.
Notebook - Field Notes, Rhodia I carry a small pocket notebook for quick notes, but primarily use a range of larger notebooks for note taking and planning. I have become really fond of Rhodia No. 11 or 12 for the perforations and more fountain pen friendly paper despite the overall thickness (not as pocket friendly as the Field Notes).
Benchmade Mini Griptilian This is probably my favorite EDC blade. You can get a variation of blades and scales to meet specific needs. It is on the smaller side for some people, but it doesn’t take up much room in my pocket and fits my hands well.
Esee Candiru I carry this small fixed blade in my front pocket. I like the reliability of a fixed blade over a folder for certain uses. While it does not get as much use as the Mini Grip it is very handy to have.
Shop Keys You need them when you get to work early and stay late.
Corter Leather Copper Bottlehook There are a lot of ways to open a bottle and a lot of things I carry can open a bottle. But, a true bottle opener on a belt loop keeps my keys where I want them and is always handy.
Wedding Band 4mm Rose Gold band from a local jeweler. All day. Everyday.
Shinola Runwell 41mm I prefer checking the time on a watch to my phone. I have a few, but this is my go to watch for everyday wear.
BillyKirk N0. 92 Card Case Monogrammed and getting better with age. It is the perfect size to fit all my cards, and cash on rare occasions. I prefer a smaller wallet and this is a fantastic balance for front or back pocket use.
iPhone 5 Phone, text, email, social media.
Handkerchief Lip Balm Smith Dolen Chromapop
Thanks again to Brennan for the great write-up of his EDC. I love that blue Benchmade and the Shinola. If you want to check out more of what Brennan does, his Instagram is a great place for photos of his EDC in use and the kick-ass bikes that fill his life.