Posts Tagged ‘notebook’

Shopping For The Zombie Apocalypse

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Almost anyone can tell you what you need to buy today to prepare yourself for a civilization-ending disaster, like, of course, the zombie apocalypse. That’s easy.

Survival gear. Lots of it. Maybe an underground bunker, too.

Except that you need to be near your gear and get to your bunker when the dead rise up. All of that stuff is less useful if you’re somewhere other than your bunker when things fall apart.

What’s more useful is knowing how to shop AFTER the the zombie hordes start rampaging.

Personally, I do not expect the dead to rise, but as a fan of science fiction I’m well versed in apocalyptic visions of the future. There are numerous ways civilization could crash and burn. Asteroids. Runaway robots (think Terminator). Disease (The Stand), and the most likely apocalypse while I was a child, but hopefully not now, nuclear war.

As a Boy Scout I learned that being prepared wasn’t carrying everything you need with you at all times (although I still carry a pocket knife wherever I am permitted). Being prepared is being INFORMED. It’s knowing how to do things, not so much having the tools to do ANYTHING ever present.

That’s how you’ll survive the end of the world. At least for a little while.

This series will provide you with a few tidbits of information to help make you better prepared to face the end of the world.

What you need to know today: embrace the analog world. Ditch your phone, computer, or anything else that requires electricity. Pick up a notebook and pen and pick up any stray pencil you find.

The Best Time To Write

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The best time to write is very much like the best time to prune a bush.

I asked my landscaper when I should trim a bush in my front yard he said, “Whenever you find your pruners in your hand.”

Find a pen in your hand? Write.

Your notebook is in front of you? Write.

You are sitting at your computer? Write.

Don’t wait for some “best time.” There is no best time to write.

People who have writing routines and rituals tire me. If they write, good for them, but don’t make writing something that requires so much forethought and work.

You have something to write with, write. That’s all that you really need.

Word. Notebooks Built For To Dos

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The folks at Word. Notebooks sent me a few of their notebooks to take a look at. They’ve sat in my “Action” file during my recent convalescence, but I’ve been giving them a go recently. I can’t help but  compare them to the Field Notes Memo books that I regularly carry and love.

They are very similar in several ways. They cost within pennies of each other for packs of three notebooks—Field Notes for $9.95 and Word. for $9.99. They are almost exactly the same size. Almost. I’m looking now at an example of each. They both have 48 pages. What is different is their “fit and finish.”

The Field Notes Memo book lies flat on the desk surface. It is exceptionally well crafted. The Word. notebook bulges up and the cover points out at nearly 40 degrees from the desktop surface. That’s a matter of paper stock and how they’re manufactured. It’s not a big deal for many, but it can matter to the rather compulsive notebook connoisseur like me. The flatness of a book that you carry in a pocket, especially a shirt pocket, makes a difference. The Word. notebooks are stiffer and perhaps sturdier, but they bulge.

Perhaps the bigger difference is the purpose of each notebook. The Field Notes memo book has only a general purpose: write things down. The Word. notebook is designed for to dos. Each page has a very simple symbol running down the left side of the page—a circle with a dot in the center, faintly printed. The inside cover has a key that allows the notebook’s owner to capture things to do and then use the symbol to highlight the following:

  • Darken the center dot to indicate a bullet point
  • Darken the circle to indicate that this is important
  • Draw a slash through the circle from left to right ( \ )through the circle to indicate that the item is in progress
  • Draw an X through the circle to indicate that the time is complete.

This isn’t a bad system. It’s very efficient and properly used one can maintain a very neat notebook of captured and working todos.

But I’m not a neat person when it comes to note taking. I capture far more than things to do. I capture ideas. There’s nothing that keeps me from using a Word. notebook to capture an idea, but it rankles me to do so. I’m messing up this very specifically designed notebook and feel like I should be making the note somewhere else. That’s just me and no fault of the notebook.

Frankly, I prefer Patrick Rhone’s notation formula and find it much more flexible. It doesn’t require special paper and it can be used mingled amongst other types of notes. I’ve been using it since 2006 when he first published it and I find it easy and effective.

I can recommend the Word. notebooks, especially if you are dedicated to capturing to dos. You can purchase them here.



Writing Assignment: Write Five Notes Today

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The habit of making notes can be very useful for writers of all types. The habit of carrying a notebook and using it can be useful for almost any profession or calling.

The art of note-taking is very simple. It’s really the act of mindfulness. Anyone can carry a notebook, but it takes an act of will, a habit, to experience something and then to stop, think, and then note down your thoughts.

It takes practice. It does not have to become an obsession. And it can be very valuable.

For today’s assignment, carry something to make notes on and make five separate notes throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter what you carry. You can make the notes electronically on your phone or you can fold a piece of paper and write on that. The notebook is not the assignment. What I am assigning you to do is to remind yourself to make notes, to stop and think, and to pause long enough to process your thoughts and to make notes. Do not write whole, finished observations. Jot down the basics and save the rest for later work and writing. Just write enough to remind you of what you saw, experienced, and thought.

Your notes can be as simple as, “remember to buy milk and eggs,” to “The cottonwood fluff is so thick here that it is drifting up around my ankles and filling the sky like a fluffy, warm storm of summer snow.”

Spread your note taking across the day. You don’t have to limit yourself to five notes, but make at least five. Then at the end of the day, review your notes, take action where required, think about what you observed and noted, and then consider writing more.

That’s why we take notes.

Three Rules Of Proper Notebook Management: 3-What To Do With Filled Notebooks

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

It doesn’t matter.

I very rarely look at my older, archived notebooks, but I like having them. I don’t need them. Perhaps someday I’ll build a bonfire to send them back into the void or bury them in the ground and let them gently return to nature. Perhaps I’ll urge those who carry on after me to just dispose of them, send them in shreds into recycling.

It is the act of making a note, stopping just a moment to think about something and taking the time to write it down, that etches the concept, the object, the event, the thought into my memory.  Scribbled notes on the page is the artifact, not the idea that prompted them.

I use my pocket notebooks to capture things in the moment, then typically within the day I transfer those things somewhere else. Or not. When the notebook is full, worn beyond repair, or when my fancy is captured by a new notebook, I review the contents of the old one, then typically add it to the stack of others accumulated across the years.

The notebooks that I fill serve their purpose within days of being used. Their life after that is, for me, only nostalgic.