This time, I’d like to study another accessory of the geekinistas (or geekinistos…whatever): the notebook.
While a laptop is, no doubt, the primary accessory, it’s analog sibling, the notebook will pop-up sooner or later. There’s just times when you need some paper and pen.
Pen or Pencil?
Perhaps that’s the first thing: pen or pencil. I have no real ruling, but if you’re gonna use the old graphite, you definitely want one of the extremes: either old school yellow #2 or high-tech mechanical. I feel like going middle of the road on a pencil is just boring.
That said, I don’t use pencils myself since about 5th or 6th grade. Pens are just so much nicer. Unlike pencils, pens come in a wide gradient of quality and attractiveness. There’s your Bic rollerballs and hotel provided pens at the bottom, filled in by the middle-rung pen du jour (currently, the Pilot G-2 07, blue if you please), and then the pens you, like, spend real money on and worry about keeping track of. Call up Nick Cage and ask him about his pens: Monte Blanc likes to spread him over the inflight magazines.
Getting to the Moleskin
Pen taken care of, what are you gonna write on? First up are the note-pads companies and hotels give you at conferences. Occasionally, you’ll get a smart looking note-book branded with the conference or company. More likely than not, you’ll get a glue’ed up pack of pages from some hotel cellar box.
Oddly enough, I see tons of people use these glue-papes. I’ve used them myself before I got a proper notebook. Namely, a Moleskin.
Now, the GTD freaks out there over the past few years have brought the Moleskin back into the forefront of use. Before that, I’m not sure anyone cared for the quant little notebooks.
Thanks be to the GTD-freaks, though, as these notebooks are freakin’ awesome. Not only do they work well functionally and are sturdy, but they look good too:
The Little Notebook used by…uh…those old, dead men who married 5+ wives and cheated like they had a cold they couldn’t shake, snaggling up their snot instead of just using a damn Kleenex to – PLEASE! – blow their nose once and all
The Moleskin is a small notebook, just rightly sized to fit in your sports jacket pocket or back pocket. It’s got a nice little elastic band to hold it closed, and a cheesy little paper pocket at the back whose cheeseatude is rivaled only by the historical marketing schlock that comes in that pocket. “Old bearded Nobel laureates used this notebook. So did people who’s name you can’t pronounce and feel guilty for being bored by.”
The point of the lore, the mythos – nah, the bore-thos – is to tell you, little soulless geekinistas, here is a genuine brand-artifact of history you can graft to your image! Cast into the depths or history, art, and literate, and pimp your pocket!
Coté’s quite-night of the soul late in Barcelona, aside, it’s a damn fine notebook. Yay! The paper is high quality and it’ll withstand being sit on for months on end – I know, I’ve tested it in my back-pocket.
The Moleskin Model Matrix
Now, you have several Moleskin options. First, you have the pocket size vs. the larger versions. I saw go pocket. As a body-accessory, the Moleskin should always be on your person, not “forgotten” in that laptop bag you left in the München Sofitel to go out to 3AM drinks with those rock-star SAP programmers. No, no, you want the Moleskin on you at al times. As such, getting the larger version is lessoning your fashion impact potential.
Size settled, you have two choices for the “how’s it open” vector: reporter style – hinged on the top – and normal – hinged like a book. So far, I have gone “normal”/book style. I can’t quite get into the reporter style. That said, I feel like the reporter notebook would be the true beauty, I just can’t get myself to upgrade to that form-function.
Now, book vs. reporter style diced up, you have another choice to make: lined pages, graph-sheet pages, or blank pages. Be careful here – easy, boogalie, easy! – the blank pages are actually 4 times as thick as the other two options and, well, not really very freakin’ easy to write on. (Can you tell I’ve made the mistake?)
Our fearless fashion leader, The Other Thomas Otter has a graph-paper Moleskin which lends a certain engineering precision to the mystic of “let me write that down.” As it stands, I prefer the simple lined – nah, “ruled” – paper.
Put That Dirt on Your Moleskin…?
So, you’ve got your Moleskin now, slipped nicely in your jacket’s pocket or you slack-jeans’ back pocket. Somehow you’ve sorted out a pen – did you lay-down money for a heavy weight, or do you signal your harried status by just using whatever hotel pen you skanked last (“yeah, I didn’t know where I was last week until I looked down at my Hilton Singapore pen, and I was like, ‘holy shit! I’ve gotta give a keynote in 2 hours, and I’ve got no black socks – let’s hit that Johnny Red again!'”). The next question is: do you go eccentric and sticker up that black hide, or keep it midnight matte?
I will have a frank moment of honesty with you here. I don’t know the answer, dear readers. It’s a tough one.
Ultimately, like a pair of cracked and dusty Converse – at least in my neck of the woods – signs of use, wear and tear, are the height of expressing your over-all Prêt-à-Porter: I’m not just wearing this ’cause it looks good, I’m wearing this ’cause it’d my God-damn life-uniform. Maybe adding Moleskin stickers helps advance that along like stomping in the dust or safety pinning a Misfits patch on your Pierre Cardin blazer. Who knows?