Friday, May 8, 2009

The Pocket Notebook

This isn’t directly related to survival and preparedness but its one of those things that has helped me a lot and I’d like to share with you all.
If you are like me, I’m sure you’ve suddenly reached for a pen and piece of paper while driving a hundred times, suddenly hit by a good idea or remembered something important.
In today’s world of Iphones and PDAs the humble pocket notebook has gone into oblivion but apparently people are rediscovering it again.
Here are a few pocket notebook examples:

Left to right; Moleskine Pocket notebook, Hand made notebook, modified commercial cheapo notebook

The one with the wire coil is my old notebook, the one I used last year and was mostly dedicated to help with my book. I carried it around all day and made small notes of what I wanted to write down later that day, or ideas I thought I’d be missing form a certain chapter.
I found this to be incredibly useful. It also worked for everyday work such as writing down measures, making floor plan sketches, even writing down improvised signed receipts so as to keep track of work begin done and money paid.
The notebook ended up pretty messy, yet functional: If I wrote something down somewhere else I just glued it to one of the notebooks pages, if I need more space I’d use another larger page, fold it and glued it too. If I needed more space to continue a line of thought wrote somewhere, I just cut a couple more pages with my pocket knife and glued it where it was needed.
If there was something very important I needed to keep handy, I used a bit of tape to make a marker that would stay easily accessible, and when I didn’t need that data anymore, I’d just cut the tape marker.

Examples of how to organize

Notes from the Close Combat class
This may sound a bit complicated but it certainly does help organize much better.
My old coiled notebook had some girly cover, I had bought the cheapest “Bratz” notebook I found.
Since I found it so useful, I would constantly reach for it, and the little girly cartoons in the cover brought a few stares. Of course I’m not exactly very feminine or girly so no one ever mentioned anything but it still it was pretty ridiculous, so I just used a bit of extra thick gabardine cloth I had left from the pockets I made for my bag, and simply removed the covers, glued the cloth to it, and replaces them. A thick rubberband helped keep everything in place, and a small envelope glued to the inside of the back cover came in handy for cards and other small yet important papers.
When I saw I had few pages left I started looking for a new, an hopefully better pocket notebook.
That’s when I found Moleskines, which are largely responsible for the comeback of the pocket notebook.
Their aggressive marketing campaign talks about how Hemingway and Van Gogh used this same notebook for their notes and sketches. Adventurers writing down their memories during their journeys.
It is a very appealing idea, and I wish I had thought about it when I used to travel more.
Still, it’s mostly marketing lies since the Moleskines you buy today are made in china and, other than being a small black cover notebook (plastic instead of cloth) , that’s all the similarity there is.
Trendy people with bohemian illusions ate this up like brownies and ran to buy their cool little notebooks, and heck, the Moleskine is a pretty nice one though a bit expensive compared to others of similar or even better quality.
Since I sometimes use water colors and mostly use a Parker fountain pen, I wanted thicker pages.

Watercolors for teh sketches

After seeing the Moelskine for the commercial, mass produced item it was, as good as mass produces may be if done right, I wanted something truly unique.
So I ended up buying some quality sketching paper and did my own handmade notebook, with waxed canvas cover, but that’s for another post.
All I can say is get yourself a pocket notebook, I assure you you’ll find it very useful and gratifying.



Blackeagle said...

I carry around a cross between a notebook and a Hipster PDA. Rather than keeping a long term record of stuff, I tend to write things down then not have any use for them after a day or two, so I wanted something that would make it easy to take notes with a simple way of getting rid of old stuff.

I took a Moleskine notebook (one of the Japanese Album types with the thick accordion folded paper) and cut all the pages except for one out. I use a binder clip to attach a stack of 3x5 cards to the remaining page. I've got paper clips set up to hold another 3x5 card to the front, so I can write on it without even having to open the notbook. When I'm done with whatever I wrote down, I just throw away the card and replace it with another one from the stack. The stack gets refilled every few weeks.

For what I want to do, it works great.

theotherryan said...

I like the thinner ones Moleskin makes a lot. Carry one on me except if the weather is bad then it is write in the rain.

The last cause said...

PDA's like palm 505's are dirt cheap on Ebay, but you can't draw those cool sketches like you did in that paper notebook.

Good stuff FerFal..