Typewriters, pens, pins, and more.

My Pen Chalet exclusive Typewriter Retro 51s arrived this week, and the mint one is a perfect match to my Hermes Baby (and Hermes 2000) typewriter keys. I’m happy that I splurged on this pen and the copper Typewriter edition. They are both utterly unnecessary pens that make me smile without breaking the bank. I have 11 typewriters, but these are the first typewriter themed Retro51s that I’ve bought. I only slightly regret not getting the red one as well.

It was a virtual convention kind of fortnight, and in both cases the pandemic afforded me the opportunity to go to a convention that I normally wouldn’t have been able to attend. The fun and pretty well run one was the Disney Pin Trading 20th anniversary event. I’m not a huge Disney pin trader by far – I have pins from my Disney races and a few others that caught my eye, because I’m so aware of how easily I got fall down that rabbit hole. But I was curious enough about the behind the scenes of pin creation and well aware that is probably going to be my only chance to attend such an event that I enrolled. It was interesting and fun, and a generally well thought out event that didn’t feel like a “we’re doing the same thing only on zoom” kind of thing. I wish that I could say the same about Kubecon, the second convention that I attended. It’s a poster child of how not to run a virtual convention. Still I managed to learn quite a lot from the hours that I squeezed in, and I plan on catching up on more video sessions next week.

My first Disney Pin Trading Pins, from the DLP inaugural half-marathon weekend.

This weekend was stormy, so no long run today. I had about a month of perfect running weather so far, and it looks like I may yet make my 2020 running distance stretch goal of 700km run total this year.

In a fit of anger and frustration I created an “obituary” page for 2020 in my journal, but one that listed the bad moments of the year. It ended up taking four pages, but I managed to find something positive about most of the moments and events of the year, so it cheered me up.

TV (or streaming to be exact) has been one of the high points of the past few weeks. I don’t watch much of it, but “Ted Lasso”, and the new seasons of “The Mandalorian” and “Star Trek Discovery” have been great to watch. Also I’ve been playing “Pandemic Legacy Season Zero” and so far it’s excellent and distinctly different from its predecessors.

Typewriters, pens, pins, and more.

Moleskine Star Wars Pocket Weekly 2020 Planner Review

Every year Moleskine comes up with new designs for its planners, and 2020 was no different. On the one hand, it’s great that every year there’s something fresh, on the other  hand, if you happened to really love one of their previous designs you are going to be disappointed.

I was planning on being disappointed.

For the past three years I’ve been using the Moleskine pocket weekly notebook to get an idea of how my week looks like (I also use Fantastical as my digital calendar/reminders app), and every year I’ve bought the latest limited edition. Last year’s denim edition was so beautiful and popular I had some hope that it would return in some version or other this year.

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Battered but beautiful.

So when Moleskine came out with Star Wars themed limited edition planners, I was slightly disappointed, I admit. That disappointment faded away when the new planner arrived.

The design of the cover of this planner is phenomenal. The colour choice, the overlay, the way that it looks like someone stamped or screen printed the design – very ’70s retro, and really well done.

Moleskine’s choice of elastic band colour and the quote on the cover are also great. A red band would have been too much, I think, and the quote is inspirational and makes me smile.

The branding on the back is subtle. It’s a Star Wars planner before it’s a Moleskine planner.

Continuing the retro vibe, the front and back endpapers are excellent (although the stickers do stick out, somewhat ruining the effect.

Sticker page sticks out of the back pocket, because it’s too large.

The sticker page itself is cool, but not really planner themed.

The planner itself is in the usual pocket weekly format, with a ton of pages for your information, monthly and yearly planning calendars, and general information (maps, international holidays, etc). Then the actual planner, which is a week on one page, with a notes page opposite it. The paper is thin, which makes the planner thin and light, but there’s going to be show through with everything, and it’s not fountain pen or rollerball friendly. Gel ink, ballpoint and pencil are what works best with it.

Look at that pretty ribbon bookmark!

There’s not a lot of writing space for each day, but after trying several other formats over the years, this is the one that works for me. It’s just enough to give me a feel for what the week is like, without tempting me to dump everything from my calendar and to-do list on the thing. Only what must go in the planner (appointments, running meets, races, trips, meetings with friends and other events that don’t generally move) gets written down, and so I have a way of seeing exactly how much time I have for various projects during the week. It’s a way for me to make fluid time more concrete and managed.

As usual, there’s a cool B-side to the paper slip around the cover, and this one shows how to make an origami X-Wing.

From previous years’ experience these little notebooks can take a beating, and even though the cover on this planner is white, I expect nothing less from it. If you’re looking for a weekly planner that is lightweight, durable, and well designed, the Moleskine Star Wars 2020 Weekly Planner is worth checking out.

Moleskine Star Wars Pocket Weekly 2020 Planner Review

Moleskine Limited Edition Peanuts and How to Start a New Journal

I started a new journal this month, this time a Peanuts limited edition Moleskine. This is one of Moleskine’s best designed limited editions in recent years, because of the simplicity of the design and the limited palate choice (white, black and red). So first up, here are some pretty pictures, and then I’ll get into how I start a new journal.

That sleeve looks transparent, but is just perfectly aligned, that’s all. 

“Are you happy right now?” “I guess so..”

Gramma knows best.

No Problem

Only the best end papers in any Moleskine edition to date.

The back end paper is a sweet and a little heartbreaking – like the best Peanuts strips.

Bonk! Stickers galore.

Red detail on the famous back pocket.

Build your own Snoopy’s doghouse from the B-Side of the sleeve. 

So this is definitely a top 10 edition for me, both because I love Peanuts so much, and because it is such a well-designed notebook.

Now to how I actually start a new journal:

I’ve noticed that the hardest part of journaling for me is when I’m just getting started with a new notebook. Blank pages are scary and discouraging, and at that point I’ve invested so much time and effort in my old notebook that I really don’t feel like moving to a new one. Like Charlie Brown says, “Goodbyes always make my throat hurt… I need more hellos”.

The trick is to get the new journal started well before you actually “move into” it, so that by the time you start using it full-time it’s already an old friend.

Once I get to about 20 pages before the end of my current journal I select a new one, fill in my personal info, and start filling the first few pages with various project ideas/running and training plans/writing plans/home improvement plans. These are specifically things that I know that I’ll need to start updating and referencing before I start using the new journal, so that it’ll start filling up with meaningful content ahead of time. I also use the last pages of the journal to test new pens, jot notes for myself or just for various stamps. By the time I start using it, the notebook isn’t just randomly used or “wrecked”, but meaningfully mine. It’s already working for me, being my outboard brain and eye and heart. And it doesn’t take a lot — I was too preoccupied this time to notice that my old Star Wars Duel notebook was running out, so I started the Peanuts one in a rush, only a few days before I fully moved into it. All it took was a running plan and a list of things that I want to pack up and give to charity for me to easily transition into it, as if I was merely turning another page in my old notebook.

If you have trouble starting new notebooks, give this idea a try, it may help you out.

Moleskine Limited Edition Peanuts and How to Start a New Journal

Moleskine Star Wars Lightsaber Duel Review and My Journaling Habit

Yesterday I finished a Moleskine Limited Edition “This is London” notebook. It took me a little less than 2 months to fill its 240 pages.

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My journal is a personal, private thing that I create for myself, both to log each an every day and to process things — from various frustrations to purchasing decisions. It’s a brain outside my brain and it can take a lot more than my brain can oftentimes handle.

This is my second journaling notebook filled for 2018. My first was a Moleskine Limited Edition Denim “Hand Wash Only”. It took me a little over two months to fill (I started in the end of 2017). The Denim Moleskines are probably my favourites ever, which is why I have four more lined up on my shelves. The texture of the cover and the design is just stunning.

And here they are stacked:

I wasn’t sure which Moleskine to use next, so I listed them all and just rolled a dice to see.  The Star Wars “Lightsaber Duel” came up, and it’s a lovely edition as well. Here they are old and new:

I love Moleskine’s new use of the flip side of their wrapping bands. The “This is London” band had lovely illustrations and instructions on how to make tea (this was an exclusive edition for Moleskine London stores).  The Star Wars Lightsaber Duel has illustrations and the Pantone colours of the various lightsabers used in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Look at those endpapers!

And of course Star Wars stickers. One can never have too many Star Wars stickers.

I use a Ti Arto pen with a Uni-ball Signo UMR-85 gel refill, and I fill four pages a day every day. When I started out I filled a half-page, page a day and gradually worked up as I started to get more out of the journaling experience. I write for myself only, I glue various bits and pieces inside my journal (business cards, cool wrappers or fliers, stickers), and sketch in it sometimes, even though it’s lined and not my main sketchbook by far. I use it to plan things, from my running goals to my writing goals, but I don’t try to make it bullet journal/Instagram pretty. It’s a working journal, and it’s first and foremost meant to be a tool, not a museum piece.

I use Moleskines because I enjoy using them and because for some reason beyond me these are the only notebooks that I’ve managed to consistently journal in. I tried Baron Fig, Rhodia Webnotebooks, Leuchtturm, Exacompta, Field Notes, and others and I haven’t been able to stick with them, even though some of them allow me to use my beloved fountain pens. There is just something about these notebooks that makes it a joy for me to use them (and at least when it comes to the LE lined versions, Moleskine has improved its paper stock). I pick up the regular black notebooks for work, but I love a lot of their stunning LE designs, so I splurge on those for my journaling needs.

Which brings me to the bottom line:

Use the notebook that you enjoy using, without giving a damn what other people say, so that you can journal for yourself.

That’s really all there is to it.

Moleskine Star Wars Lightsaber Duel Review and My Journaling Habit