Review: Best Pencil for Notes #1

I decided to do a competition  among my regular classroom pencils to see which I deem the most perfect note taking pencil.These are the pencils I reached for over and over again as I took notes in class. I have a pencil box with between 8 and 10 pencils, each sharpened in the Carl A5 aka “The Classroom Friendly Sharpener.” I try to use each until it is dull and then grab another from the box as I need it. I work my way through the pencils as I wear each down. Now my note taking style is of the capture then reflect method. I capture the basic ideas, and then reflect upon them later. Getting everything down is less important than capturing the interesting bits. Most of my professors load their powerpoints and sometimes notes to a class blackboard site. Anyway, after class, as I ride the train home, I will reflect upon the class and jot some information down on the opposite page or flesh out my notes. Mostly I do this so that I have a good basis for which to write my papers.

The 9 pencils currently in my pencil box are:

  • General’s Kimberly B
  • General’s Test Scoring 580
  • MitsuBishi Hi Uni HB
  • Dixon Ticonderoga Target Neon Blue HB Soft
  • USA GOLD “vintage” Megabrands label, metallics HB
  • Musgrave Test Scoring 100
  • Staedtler Noris HB
  • Staedtler Triplus HB (Regular Size)
  • Blick Studio 2Bclass pencils

Since I’m looking at this as a competition as to the best pencil for my note taking needs, it is important to note that I’m taking notes in a Staple’s College Ruled Composition book. This is the made in Brazil version with slightly smoother paper that is fountain pen friendly.

I do not consider erasers as I have a Sakura Foam in my pocket at all times.

I took a number of things into consideration. The first two considerations were availability and price. This took some of my favorites out of contention. For classroom note taking, I don’t want to have my Blackwings*. In availability, I rule out anything vintage, like my beloved ECOwriters. If I can’t easily get them in a store they don’t make the list. The USA Gold that I have listed, is no longer available. I kept it on the list for the sole reason that it has the same core as a regular USA Gold, so it basically represents the cheapest of the cheap. If I’m ruling out champions due to price, the General’s Test Scoring 580 at over $1 a pencil is a loser, as is the Hi Uni HB.

The next consideration was point retention. The leaders in this were the Ticonderoga, USA Gold, Noris, and Musgrave TS 100. The Blick Studio was a miserable failure and was kept in the pencil box only for it’s capabilities for drawing.** The Triplus has decent retention but wasn’t in the top  5.class pencils

The next to last consideration was darkness. Did I have to jab the pencil to the page to get a decent line? Or was I able to write lightly and get decent line integrity? The Musgrave TS 100, Triplus, Kimberly, and Noris were all fantastic in this regard.class pencils

The final consideration was aesthetic. The Noris, Triplus, Kimberly, and Ticonderoga all were winners here.class pencils

So based on these considerations entirely unscientific results are as follow

#1 Musgrave TS 100
#2 Staedtler Triplus
#3 Staedtler Noris HB
#4 General’s Kimberly B
#5 USA Goldclass pencils

The Musgrave TS 100 will never win a beauty contest, but there is something I really like about its thin silver paint, cheesy printed logo, and craptastic eraser. I finally got a few with flaking paint to, but the dark core with decent tip retention really means I reach for it over and over again. The Staedtler Triplus, has no eraser, but it’s school bus yellow paint, and dark core had me reaching for it over and over again for both quick and long term notes. It’s rounded triangular body was comfortable and easy to grip. The Noris’s black and yellow striped body with smart red cap just looks awesome. The fact that it’s dark and holds a point make it even better. The Kimberly in B allowed me to do some sketchnoting as well as regular notes. It’s smooth dark core was a winner every time. I even enjoy it’s cheap bras cap against the thin green paint. Nothing says American Made like a shitty paint job. Finally the USA gold brings up the tail end. When I had to write for long periods of time and I would not be able to grab something out of the box fast, I grabbed this. It’s point retention is great, and I’m able to scribble on my articles and notes for the entire train ride into school (lasting about an hour.) With a cap it’s a great pocket pencil.

I took out of consideration the Staedtler Norica Blue (canadian) version because it’s not readily available, though lately I ALWAYS have on in my Twist BP. I also removed the Tombow 8900 in HB and B because it’s not as readily available as the rest of the pencils. I considered adding the Staedtler Rally, but felt that Staedtler was already well represented. Added to this list should have been General’s Cedar Pointe #1, but they decided to cease production right after I bought my first 12-pack. The CP#1 is a great note taking pencil. Dark, good point retention, and the raw wood finish, oh baby…

Of course, I reserve the right to revisit this list with entirely new pencils for my summer classes and then my fall classes, and maybe just because.

Continue reading Review: Best Pencil for Notes #1

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything on here. I’ve been hard at work on papers and other class related things. I’ve not had time to write anything but papers. Though I’ve been sneaking a few words here and there on my novel for Nanowrimo Camp. I’ve written 7000 words on my novel since April 1st.coffee

For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you know that I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. I’ve been doing really well with my diet and exercise. I’ve lost about 25 pounds and I’ve been feeling a lot better, except for a few weeks ago where I just felt like crap. At first I thought I was getting a cold. But the feeling persisted for a week then 2. I did a little research and my blood sugar was good, really good. But my blood pressure was low. It turns out I was overdosed on my blood pressure medication, likely due to the weight loss and exercise. I’ve been tapered off the BP meds and I no longer feel drunk.

It really hard to try to think and to study when you feel kinda drunk all the time. Needless to say, it was weird and I’m glad I feel normal again. Or as normal as I can. 😛

I’ve got a bunch of new pencils to review once the semester is over. I’ve decided that each of the pencils that I review will get at least a week or so of continued use. I’ve got a rotation of pencils  in a pencil case that I sharpen and get ready for class and rotate through them. But the point is that each pencil reviewed will get some serious use before I review it. I’ll have a “first impression” sheet in my notebook, but then the rest of the review will be based on real use. You won’t see a full length pencil in my reviews, unless I shoot a pic of it first. More likely, you’ll see a half used and abused pencil.

Anyway, I’ve been learning a lot of good stuff and I have a paper mache clay recipe to share with you in the upcoming weeks. As well as a few things you can use in your art journal.

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NEXT! Using up pencils till i can’t sharpen them anymore! #Measuredlearning

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The inside of that bowl.

A photo posted by Less Herger (@lessherger) on

New Tool/Review: INDXD

I have written about my indexing method for my pocket notebooks before. I had mentioned that I use a master index, but failed to show an image of the index.

To recap- at the start of every one of my pocket notebooks I create a 2-column index. Basically, I write the numbers 2-48 on the first page, with just enough room next to it to log the topic in a word or two. In my master index book, each book gets a single page. At the top is a brief description and dates of use. Under that the same index is repeated. At the bottom of the page I write down any loose inclusions- such as letters from friends, post it notes, and other odd items. These are always tucked into the back of the book.

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Generally, when I copy the index to the master book I will expand upon the topic on an as needed basis. Sometimes I’ll have written “novel” and I’ll change that to “NOV. Character Name” or “NOV. Scene.” This helps me find info quickly in the master book. Then I know to pull the green field notes from January 2015 and turn to page 25. It definitely helps me to find stuff faster.

I recently began using INDXD, a nifty little website where you create an account and log your notebooks. I was quite skeptical at first. I have been holding off on going digital with my index for awhile. Now that I’ve logged 21 books in my master index it’s getting to be confusing as to which book that novel idea or cord wrap design was in, so I find myself paging through the index searching, and searching. I considered creating an index on a spreadsheet where I logged a topic and then logged each page and book, but the idea was cludgy and seemed like a pain in the ass to set up, so I decided against it. And here is where I kind of just stopped thinking about it. I knew I wanted something as simple as my master notebook, but something more searchable. I considered getting a scanner and scanning each book into Evernote, but the idea of scanning 21 48-page notebooks (not counting the notebooks I’ve drawn and journaled in…) was painful, and who has the time. The idea for me isn’t to recreate my books digitally (though I’ve played with that in my zine, Evidence.) but to make them searchable digitally.INDXD INDXD

That is where INDXD comes in and works beautifully. The reason it works and works so well, is that it’s powerfully simple. You set up a “book” give it a title and dates of use, then log the topics and pages they are on. Also it’s ridiculously simple to use. It takes me between 5 and 10 minutes to log a book, depending on number of topics and how bad my handwriting was when I recorded it.INDXD

Once logged, you can search. Enter in one term and up pops the pages and BOOKS it lives in. Enter another term and the search is dialed down to those two terms. You can then pull the book and find what you need, fast.INDXD

I’ve tweeted at the creator, David Rea, and he says that both Android and Apple apps are in the future. Having INDXD on my phone or tablet would make this even more flexible and easy to use.

As someone who clings to her analog tools and resisted moving toward a digital system this powerful simple tool makes it easy.

A suggestion. I’d like to see the date entry method offer different layouts or more flexibility for entry. I use 20150325 for my date style; year, month, day with no spaces or interuptions. This isn’t an option when entering in chrome. Fortunately the date entry doesn’t work quite right in firefox (don’t fix this yet) so I’m able to enter in my dates the way I use them. On the topic/tag page it would be easier to read the large amounts of text on the screen a little easier if the lines alternated color- cream-tan-cream etc. This would also help on the search results page.
Honestly, this is a great tool and I’m looking forward to entering in all my books

Friend in Need

Well folks, I just learned that Jay of Huckleberry Woodchuck’s home burned down. He’s part of the duo that brought us the awesome Twist Bullet Pencil. He’s a nice dude and Jon Fontaine is trying to raise some cash for him to help him through this troubled time.

This is from Jon:

As you now know Jay [Huckleberry Woodchuck] lost his home and shop in a fire the other night. I’m hoping to raise some funds to help him out through a raffle of one of our prototype bullet pencils. After the first prototype we made 6 other for the Kickstarter photos. These are slightly different than the production ones. Biggest difference is the eraser end is not threaded so it will not hold the pocket clip & cap system we have. It also only accepts the white erasers (I’ll include a bunch).

So the raffle is for the pencil shown with all four bullets. A bunch of erasers and some Blackwing 602 pencil nubs. Thanks to Cliff Gillies we also will include a Northerly Edition single.

Each raffle is $5 paypal friend and family to jon@gosimracer.com I was originally targeting 3/31 but may extend a bit to raise more.

There are a bunch of great things that will be given away in this raffle, so even if this isn’t a 503c charity with tax exempt status, Jon and Jay are great guys, and Jay could use some help. Buy a raffle ticket and be entered to win one of the many great prizes.

Practical Carry
You can see my Twist on the right next to my Kershaw Chive knife.

 

Review: KUM Stenographer’s Handheld Sharpener

I purchased the Carl Angel-5 crank sharpener a few months back. It’s a great sharpener but I don’t want to be that kind of hipster asshole in the coffee shop with a hand crank sharpener. That’s just too weird for me. What I love about the sharpener is the wickedly long point. I can write for a page or two (depending on the pencil) without sharpening. Which is amazing. The KUM 2-hole is another favorite of mine, it also puts a nice long point onto my pencils but it’s 2-step process is somewhat annoying to do when I NEED a sharp point immediately. What I really wanted was a single-hole long point sharpener, so I ordered the KUM stenographer’s sharpener from PencilThings.com. It is often referred to as the KUM handheld long point, on a fancy European site I found it called the KUM 500-5L.KUM Longpoint Handheld

KUM Longpoint Handheld
The bottom point is from the Carl A5 Top the Stenographer.

Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for it. Sharpeners tend to be little blocks of metallic disappointment.  I expected another sharpener that does little stubby points, not the writer’s block piercing points I adore. What I received was something between the KUM 2-step automatic long point sharpener and the Carl Angel 5. I wasn’t expecting the awesome point of the Carl A5 out of a handheld sharpener but it came as close as any other handheld sharpener. I can get- well over a page out of most of my pencils with this sharpener. Not bad when compared to other sharpeners I like, such as the Alvin Brass Bullet, which requires frequent use to write a page of text.

The one downside of the Stenographer is that it has these dumb wings to help one’s grip. This turns a great handheld sharpener into something that can only be carried in a pencil box or a bag, not in the pocket. That is, unless you like small pokey things in your pocket. I am tempted to take my dremel to the wings and grind them off. What I really want is a Bullet type sharpener that puts a long point onto my pencils. Is that so hard KUM? (Or heck Jon Fontaine, hint hint, make one and hawk it via kickstarter, I would PLEDGE the heck out of a pocket-able long point sharpener.)KUM Longpoint Handheld

KUM Longpoint Handheld
Top: KUM Automatic 2-hole Middle: Stenographer Bottom: Carl A5
KUM Longpoint Handheld
Top:Alvin/DUX Inkwell 2nd: KUM Automatic 2-hole 3rd: Stenographer Bottom: Carl A5

For anyone looking for a long point sharpener that is ALMOST pocket-able but certainly something easily carried in a bag, the KUM Stenographer’s is the way to go.

Review: Zebra Surari 4C

I really don’t understand the love of the Zebra Surari. I want to love it. The body of this pen is sharp- pretty in a way most multi-pens are not. It’s got smooth lines and it feels really good in the hand. I was able to get mine in a nice dark teal, it’s a fantastic shade. It’s also available in other colors too. The knock is smooth and snaps into place with a satisfying click. The tip has minimal wiggle and wobble. If that were the review, it would get an A+ and we’d move on, sadly, I used this pen for a a couple of weeks and that is where this pen starts to fade.surariI purchased this pen specifically to be on my on-the-go in-my jacket-pocket pen to be paired with my Field Notes, my mind dump Mt Tom, and to use the red or green ink to highlight something important. And for the occasional highlighting it does just fine. The issues arise when I use it for something more lengthy than a couple of words. That’s when the blobs and, for lack of a better description, webs begin.surari surari

As I write with this pen it blobs and from those blobs, as I move from letter to letter, and word to word, tiny strands of the ink stick to the tip and are stretched across the letters. These strands stick to the paper and are ugly. The blobs are bad enough, but the webs are even worse. It makes my already crappy cursuscript look even more horrible.surari

Let’s discuss the drying time. It’s horrible. When I use my Field Notes I fold it over on itself and sort of hold it with my thumb on the page I’m writing on, and move my thumb around to stabilize the notebook. I suspect this is how most of hold them. Sometimes my thumb is under the stuff I’m writing and others it’s over it. When I’m placing my finger on top of the writing it picks up the ink, even if it’s a few minutes old. I also found that this occurs on any paper. Usually all my pens dry in record time on the Staples comp books- they are so absorbent that they dry things fast. Not so with the Surari. I did a brainstorming session of about 15 minutes and found that at the end my fingers were still picking up ink from stuff I’d written at the beginning. I thought that maybe this was simply a one off incident, but then I noticed that it also happened in my Field Notes and my Mt Tom notebook.surari surarisurari

If I want ink on my fingers I’ll use a fountain pen.surari surari surari

The Surari is a really good looking pen that blobs and doesn’t dry quickly enough for my needs. I really don’t get the fervent love for this pen that I see in every review on the net. They mention the blobs, but in passing as if they “aren’t that bad.” They are bad enough that I found them annoying and frankly I LIKE pens like the BIC crystal and the BIC 4-color. I would use the BIC 4-color over this pen on any day. I don’t care how smooth this pen writes. It makes a mess of my ingers in all 4 colors.

Reflection: I Write Heaps of Words

For those of you who have followed my blog for any period of time, you know I write. I write many words, some of them go here. Many of them are wrapped up in half finished art guides that need editing and photography to be finished. While cleaning my office, I came upon one of these manuscripts. The large binder clip that held it together was stretched to gaping, and the stack of paper was marked up with my favorite blend of Noodler’s red inks; Nikita and Fox red. It looked as though I had cut an artery open on the page. Each page with edits had a orange post it tab letting me know they were on that page.

It brought me back to the frustration of making the edits, knowing that an edit was on page 55 when I made the edit wasn’t helped by the fact that by the time I’d made the 100 edits before suddenly it was on page 75, and thus hard to find.The back and forth of editing has never been my favorite part of writing. While it is something I’m perfectly capable of doing, I’ve avoided it out of annoyance. That is why you get blog posts with misspellings, various typos, and grammatical errors. I lack patience.

I started writing a novel a few months ago. It began as a way to unwind from all the heavy reading and writing I’ve been doing. Because I’ve been reading heavy nerdy stuff, it’s definitely getting to be heavier than intended. It is also slow going because I had no process on how to write. I was sort of throwing ideas on the page and seeing what I liked and as I went I  developed my characters. I got 10,000 words into it and realized it would never work as a novel because, well it just wasn’t readable. As an exercise in writing, well it was something else. I realized I needed to write my novel like I write my researched papers. Start with an idea, flesh it out, make an outline of the points i need to hit, then flesh those out, and soon enough I have my 10 pages of researched goodness.

Except with a novel I’m creating a world, and shit needs to be consistent, and ideas need to be right for the character. Anyway, I’m figuring this stuff out and it’s a necessary distraction from all the heavy stuff I’m reading. I’m relaxing my brain and with the relaxed, creative mind I’m finding new ways of thinking about the heavy stuff I’m reading. I’m able to come up with better ideas, my papers are flowing more smoothly, and I think my writing has gotten better. well, not my blog writing. This stuff could still  you some serious editing.

Anyway, my novel may never end up being anything serious, right now it’s serving it’s purpose by helping to relax my mind,  but who knows what the future holds?

Coffee: Keep Cup

Travel mugs. We all use them and no one really talks about them. Everyone has one that they think is the BEST ever, and they aren’t shy about telling you why theirs is better than yours. We’ve all been disappointed by one in the past. Well, at least in my circle of friends. I’ve gone through a slew of travel mugs over the years. Most of them I have destroyed through dropping, dishwasher, or some other mishap. The big problems that I’ve found with mugs is that they leak either through the sippy mouthpiece or from around the lid. Either way it’s shirt disaster.

I’m always on a search for a good travel mug, and I’ve accumulated a lot of them. Save 3 of them, they are in my cupboard abandoned. Occasionally, one gets taken to work and abandoned, mostly they sit and collect dust. I really ought to toss them in a bag and take them to the thrift store.melchiorThat brings me to today’s review. Keep Cups. I realize I’m slow on this product, they have been around for a few years but I was finally able to get one locally.

Keep Cups are plastic travel mugs with a lot of silicone leak-proofing offered in many color combinations. When ordered online you can get any color combination you want, which is nice. When I bought mine in person I had to make a choice between a few color combinations that I really didn’t like all that much. In the end I chose a blue cup, orange band, light teal top, with a green stopper. It is a bright, eye searing color combination, one I actually like quite a lot.* Everywhere I’ve used this cup I’ve gotten compliments on it, and people ask me where they can get one. In disclosure, mine was purchased with my own cash, at Equal Exchange on Causeway Street near North Station in Boston.

Mine is a medium, which means it will hold 12 fluid ounces of my favorite beverages. It has a line in it so that it can be filled with only 8 ounces if one so desires. The plastic is sturdy and doesn’t break when dropped. Yes, I know this for fact. The grippy textured surface of the plastic reminds me of old Tupperware cups, in a good way. I like it. It’s tactile and nice. It’s easy to keep clean too, it washes by hand or in the top shelf of the dishwasher with ease. All the parts and pieces disassemble to a thorough cleaning. I like this very much. One of the things that I hate with a travel mug is that sour stale coffee taste you get when old rancid coffee is held in the mug since the last time you used it. Gross, the Keep Cup’s easily separated parts solve this issue.

The lid of the Keep Cup is easily sipped through, and allows a decent amount of coffee through, large gulps and small sips are possible. The vent is hidden and seals as you turn the stopper. It doesn’t leak so I didn’t get a nose full of coffee as I walk and sip, or sat and sipped.

As much as the Keep Cup solves many of my travel mug problems- unbreakable, leak-proof, right size, and is lightweight, it has two main issues. The first is that it is made out of plastic. I really hate drinking out of plastic. HATE it. Plastic is gross, leaves a taste, and just blech. I feel juvenile drinking out of a mug that looks something like a sippy cup designed for my 3 year old nephew. If this thing was made out of stainless steel, oh baby, it would solve so many problems, not to mention, dead sexy. They do offer a glass version, but that defeats the breakable beauty of these cups. The second issue is that it is not insulated. A fresh hot cup of coffee quickly heats the body of the cup to scorching and it’s all cold from there. These cups quickly lose their heat. The cup’s warmth doesn’t last, and soon enough the brew is chilly.

Overall, I really like the Keep Cup. It’s small and light enough that I can toss it into my bag and not notice the additional weight. I don’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it.** It’s bright, and many of my friends (and a few Baristas) have complimented me on it. A stainless steel double wall version would still be lightweight, unbreakable, and insulated. It would be the perfect travel mug.

Continue reading Coffee: Keep Cup

Coffee: A Tale of Two Grinders

I purchased a Hario knock off coffee grinder on Amazon around six months ago. It’s worked great for me. The version I bought has an all steel drive system and has worked flawlessly at grinding anywhere from 16g to 40g of coffee almost every morning.  Grinding my coffee in the morning has been a  great way to get the blood flowing and a somewhat meditative exercise. In all fairness, I did make a lid for the grinder, since I was slopping beans all over the kitchen and irritating my spouse. To do so I simply cut the soft plastic lid from a tub of cashews to the right size. It works well at keeping my beans in the grinder and not making a mess. When I purchased the grinder it was $25, it is now hovers between $25 and $30 on amazon. When compared to all the other hand grinders on amazon that is not a bad deal. If I were to do it over again I’d go with the Hario portable version. But that is a whole other blog post that goes into hand size and grip and, yeah, not going there.

I troll the waters at kickstarter on a regular basis. I love kickstarter. I’ve backed a few really awesome things (Twist Bullet Pencil and Metal Comb Works Titanium Page markers,) some things that have been just okay,  and one thing that I’m STILL waiting for (Let’s not talk about it, I’m sore about it.) J love the idea of helping someone create something awesome or even mediocre, makers need help, and I’m glad to do it when I can afford it, and it fills a need. I happened upon a couple of coffee grinders. One that I’m considering backing and another that smacks of hucksterism and snake oil.

Let me explain the hucksterism and snail oil aspect of the second grinder I linked to. First, when I got my Hario knock off grinder, I took it apart to wash and clean oils and any unsavory particles that might have remained from manufacturing. Manual coffee grinders are very simple machines. Basically, you’ve got a handle and a crank that rotates a ceramic burr against another burr resulting in the grinding of the coffee. To adjust the distance of the burrs from one another you rotate a series of nuts and washers along the long bolt that goes through the whole assembly. If you don’t put it back together properly, it rotates sloppy, just like in that GIF. When you adjust it right, it’s not sloppy. Also until you get beans into the grinder the top burr will seem to float around. This is normal and not a problem.

When a creator offers a solution to a made up problem such as the “sloppy burrs” of a coffee grinder that is obviously not put together properly, well my red flags go up and my spider sense screams out, “Watch out!” In short, my opinion is that the guide they have created is worthless and not necessary. (I also think that what they are billing as a bearing is a bushing, but that may just be ignorance of the difference by the creator.)

Then we come to the general design of the grinder. Yes, the glass is different and there is a necessary lid, but inside it’s not so different from the grinder I bought on Amazon 6 months ago. The little silicone base is the same, the same frosted black plastic, the same lid for the cup. This grinder is so similar to the grinder I bought on Amazon that I at first thought it was the same grinder.

The grinder I bought on Amazon is a damn fine grinder. It is simple, easy to use, and cheap. It’s not going to win any design awards but it does the job. So for $25 to $30, this kickstarter item isn’t a bad deal, even if it does claim to solve a problem that really doesn’t exist. Any price over $30 is a waste. Personally, I wouldn’t back it because it encourages this hucksterism and snake oil sales on Kickstarter and that is a damn shame.

Addendum:

As an addendum to this piece I want to point out that I’m a tad on the hyperbolic side of writing with my opinion here and that snake oil may have been a strong term to use. The main issue that I have with the kickstarter in question is the GIF used of the grinder in a position that can’t possibly grind beans. If I were to adjust my grinder so that it had that much slop when I dumped beans into the hopper they would pour through the grinder, without grinding. Some amount of play or float is expected with these simple grinders.

In my mind when you buy a hand crank grinder in the $20 to $50 range you look for one that is well built, has a metal drive mechanism, and of course, has good reviews. Even though it’s only a $20 to $50 investment you still want it to work well for however long you need it.

I digress. My point is that some amount of slop, float, and movement is expected in these grinders. I happened to get one that grinds pretty well, some do a shitty job. I picked well, others don’t. You can’t expect a $20 hand grinder to do the same job as a $200 electric machine. It’s just not going to happen. What you do need to do is be aware of what is acceptable to you and what grind you plan to use. For me, my cheapie Hario knock off does the job because I keep it at a medium fine setting, which allows me to use it for both my aeropress (modified brew method not tradition aero) and pour over. When I want to use it for French Press I have to adjust it. I don’t very often, it’s a pain in the arse. Anyway, these grinders, while they do the job, and do a better job of grinding than other grinding methods, they aren’t perfect. To expect an antique method of grinding beans to do as good a job as the grinder at the local cafe or even the large grinder at the supermarket is the way to madness.

So when I said that this was an answer to a “made up problem,” I am specifically speaking to the slop they show in the GIF. I believe in truthful advertising, and when someone shows me a picture of something that is so unrealistic as to not be usable, I feel I have to then question everything else they are saying. If they aren’t truthful to make a point in one space, it is likely they aren’t being truthful everywhere. Ethics, it’s not just a thing for Doctors, Attorneys, and Therapists, it’s something we should all strive for. And yeah, I think selling something based on a half truth or a stretched truth or exaggeration is unethical.

Perfect Pair

I particularly enjoy Staedtler Wopex pencils, sadly they do not perform well on my notebook paper. I recently started to write in a Poppin Medium Soft Cover Notebook. The paper is smooth and allows my pencils to glide over it’s surface. This got me to thinking that if my harder pencils are not only gliding over the surface but leaving a nice dark line then maybe my Wopexen would work especially well.

And I was right. Not only do the Wopexen work really well on this paper but so do the generally horrible Write Dudes Recycled Denim* pencils. They write well on this paper but they still sharpen horribly.

Finding a paper that works particularly well with a particular pencil is kind of awesome. I happened upon this perfect combination randomly. As I mentioned that I use the last page of all my pocket notebooks as a place to test my pencils and pens for compatibility. Which is what I was doing with the poppin notebook. I’m really happy that I tested the pencils and found these perfect combinations.

Continue reading Perfect Pair

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