Monday, September 29, 2008

Look what I found at the Art Store - Little packages of Strathmore ATC papers

Look what I found at the Art Store

Yesterday, I did a quick stop at my local art store, and found this new rack of Strathmore Artist Trading card blanks. Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) are minature (2.5" x 3.5") artworks that people create and trade with other ATC artists. ATC's are not meant to be sold, but ACEO's are. (Art Cards Editions and Originals)

While I personally don't participate in the ATC/ACEO movement, I just couldn't pass up these tiny packages of paper. They came in Smooth Bristol. Bristol Vellum, Acrylic, Textured, Watercolor. Illustration Board, Textured and Canvas Paper. I decided to be a big spender and pick up one of the Assorted Packs for $2.49. If nothing else, it's a great way to sample the different papers that Strathmore has to offer.

You can buy them online here. And here is a link to the Strathmore Great Holiday ATC Swap.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweet Inky Goodness Batman! InktoberFest is coming!

New Waterman Blue-Black ink

Rumor has it that Pear Tree Pens will be running a HUGE ink sale for the first 2 weeks of October. 25% off of 3 or more ink related items, and free ground shipping on all orders of $108 or more. (October 08, I get it!)

Now I can load up on those J Herbin inks that I've been eyeballing, and maybe a bottle of Sailor Blue, and a bottle of Noodler's Cayenne... I mean after all, I'm going to need some kind of new ink for my new Sailor 1911!

And Psssst! Check back with the Bean for upcoming reviews on Diamine Imperial Blue and J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir inks!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday's blog brought to you by the letter, "M" for Mandala

Purple Barbed Mandala

Purple mandala drawn with a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner marker

All mandalas were drawn in a Fabriano Classic Artist's Journal. Each is a meditation of sorts. I start, and typically don't stop until it's completed. You start at the center and work outwards, expressing yourself as you go.

Flowery Mandala

Blue mandala drawn with a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner marker

Mandala to pass time

This one was done while waiting for a phone call.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's 80's Big Hair Friday and Steffie Turbo Lives!

Me with big heavy metal rocker hair and look-a-like doll circa 1986/87 (Wearing a cut off Duke t-shirt - Greg Howe's old band)

Circa 1986-87, wearing trademark teased Steve Stevens styled hair, upside down rose tinted glasses, and cut off t-shirt emblazoned with Greg Howe's old band, "Duke."

Mattel had released a series of "Rocker" Barbie dolls, and I had to have one. I teased and styled her hair just like mine, and I made her a little pair of "Steffie Turbo" style sunglasses.

And just who is "Steffie Turbo?"

80's High School Art - Steffie Turbo
Vintage Steffie Turbo drawing. (Maybe I should sell it on Ebay?)

Steffie Turbo was a caricature I used to draw of myself, based on Bloom County character Tess Turbo. I loved Bloom County and especially Opus the Penguin.

Sometime in the mid-90's, I was pretty embarrassed with how I used to look in the 80's, and subsequently destroyed most images of myself from that time period. Luckily, I did spare a few of my more favorite images, this being one of them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's missing in this photo? (This one is for my fellow fountain pen users)

Rhodia ePure, Large Moleskine & my current favorite fountain pens

Looks like a writer's dream, right? Wrong. Why? Because two things are missing from this photo.

While this image shows my three favorite fountain pens, (Red Lamy Safari with EF nib, a Pelikan M200 with F nib, and a Sailor Sapporo with a M nib) it doesn't include my NEXT favorite pen, (fingers crossed that it truly will be) a Black and Silver Sailor 1911 with a Fine nib that I just purchased ever so slightly used from my pal Ryan Roossnick from the Brassing Adds Character blog.

Ironically, it was Ryan's post on an extreme example of Sailor's customer service (read it here) that pushed me over the edge in wanting to buy another Sailor.

The full sized 1911 is reputed to be a Cadillac among fountain pens, with it's ultra smooth 21k gold nib. It's not an inexpensive pen, as it's selling for $205 at Pear Tree Pens, but when you need a tool to do the job, you buy the best tool that you can afford to buy, even if it puts a bit of a strain on the pocketbook. I am not a collector of fountain pens - I'm a user. This means that 99.9% of the time if I go to put ink to paper, it's with a fountain pen. I use fountain pens because of how effortless it is to put ink to paper. Effortless = no more hand cramping & fatigue. Effortless = the ability to write for longer periods of time.

So what's the other thing missing in this photo? Can you guess?

It's missing my idea of the perfect journal for using fountain pens/ink.

With all of the options out there, Moleskine, Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Miquelrius, Quo Vadis, Hand*Book, etc., you think I could find SOMETHING that fits the bill of "My Ultimate Journal." But sadly, no.

My number one pre-requisite is that the book lie flat. I personally have no use for a book that doesn't like flat. Spiral bound books don't count because I don't appreciate having the metal coil dig into my hand as I try to write on the reverse side of the paper. (Moleskine has this one covered, as does the Quo Vadis Habana.)

My number two prerequisite is that the book be hard bound. I prefer a hard bound book because half the time I'm not writing on a flat surface. I'm sitting in an easy chair, or in a Doctor's office and I write with the book propped on my knee. A hard back journal (assuming it also lies flat) lets me write effortlessly on either the left or right hand sides of the paper. (Moleskine again has this one covered, as does Clairefontaine..)

Number three is the paper quality. I want/need/have to have paper that does NOT bleed or feather, or show through when fountain ink is applied. This is where things get tricky, because so many journals are made with thin, cheap paper. (Think Moleskine.) Clairefontaine seems to be cornering the market with some of the best fountain pen friendly paper out there but their hardback books don't lie flat. (I'm also not keen on the blinding white paper that they are famous for. I prefer to write on ivory paper.

My perfect journal is very close in design to the large Moleskine, but with better quality paper.

So what I'm not understanding is why with the hundreds of journal options out there, why one of these companies doesn't tweak their products to meet the needs of not only me, but of the 17,000 registered users of the Fountain Pen Network?. Yes, you read that number correctly. There are a lot of us out there, and there are literally hundreds of different colors of fountain pen inks available, but it's hard to buy them when 80% of the time you end up with a bottle of ink that misbehaves on cheap quality paper in a $20 journal. (Yes...I'm talking about Moleskine again.)

With what we are spending on pens, ink & paper, I hope someone listens...really listens...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review: Rhodia ePure Journal. Pretty sweet paper!

Rhodia ePure Journal

This is a large black Rhodia ePure journal.

The Daily Planner is currently selling them in the US, but Karen from Exaclair (the company that imports Rhodia) said that there were no future plans to import the ePure, so I'd suggest checking with the Daily Planner about current and future availability so grab them while you can!

In the UK, you can order them from: The Writing Desk.

Rear of Rhodia ePure wrapper

100g paper makes it thicker than the typical 80g Rhodia paper found in the orange pads we are used to seeing.

Large Rhodia ePure on top of a large Moleskine

Showing the size difference. Large Moleskine on top of the large ePure. The cover of the ePure is a thin leatherette reminiscent of the covers on the Miquelrius flexible journals.

Rhodia ePure  - doesn't lie quite flat

The book doesn't lie quite flat, but it seems like the more you use it, the flatter it will get. I might be willing to overlook the lack of a hard cover, and it's inability to lie perfectly flat for good quality paper...

Rhodia ePure glued binding

Showing the glued binding.

Rounded edge of the Rhodia ePure journal

Rounded spine. Page corners are also rounded.

Trying everything in my pen case in the Rhodia ePure journal

And now for the "everything in my pen case test"

Handwritten Rhodia ePure review

Handwritten review.

"Paper is SMOOTH, but isn't as "shiny" as typical Rhodia paper. Made very single fountain pen tested feel like an ultra smooth writer. Ink appears to dry quickly"

I'd like to add that despite the picture quality, this paper is unruled white.

Reverse of the ink test page in the Rhodia ePure Journal

Reverse of pen test - the permanent markers bled (to be expected) but everything else seemed to behave rather well. Minimal to no feathering and only an occasional blood dot. All FP inks looked great, with the exception of the ink in the Pilot Petit which lightly bled through.

Of note - I'm not sure what "Thin and removable paper" means on the Rhodia site. This paper does not appear to be perforated like their other pads. In tearing out a page, it did not come out easily.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review: One year later, and why I still love it

A bevy of Lamy Safari's on Moleskine

The red Lamy Safari pictured above, was my first fountain pen. Even after owning 20+ fountain pens in the last year, my Safaris are still some of my favorite pens.

And why is the Safari still one of my favorites?


* Cheap - about $30 with a converter - very cheap for such a well made pen
* Very durable ABS plastic
* See through ink window - lets you know when ink is running low
* Grip - better handwriting when the pen can be held securely
* Replaceable nibs - $11 and very simple to replace
* Easy to flush & refill with a different color ink
* Very firm nib - no flex - great for drawing
* Custom nib grinding $15 from Pendemonium

Even though the Safari is quite wonderful and a great first pen, there are a few things that some people don't like about it. I don't really have any of these problems, though I did have a hard time with Diamine Imperial Purple staining my yellow Safari. Luckily, I was able to get it fully clean again.


* Large pen - when posted, (cap on back of pen) can be too large for some people
* Grip - some people find the angled grip annoying
* Plastic can get stained - especially white or yellow pens
* Nibs run wide - too wide for some people
* Nibs are inconsistent. Same size nibs can write different than another. Once in a while, can get a scratchy nib. I think I've only had one scratchy out of 7 nibs, and that one I sent off and had turned into a cursive italic nib.

When I bought my first one, I bought it with a medium nib. The Lamy medium is a smoooooooooth writing nib, but it ended up eventually being too wide for me. I now prefer the Lamy extra fine nibs for daily writing. Remember that the Safari nibs run wide, so there would be a world of difference in line width from the Lamy to say... a Sailor extra fine because Japanese pen nibs tend to run narrow.

This is what I've gone and done in just one year of using fountain pens. Some were purchased new, some were from eBay, some were bought used from the Marketplace on the Fountain Pen Network.

4 Lamy Safari (One is always in rotation)
1 Lamy AL-Star (Too large - doesn't get used)
1 Lamy 2000 (Sold it - too many issues with this one)
2 Pelikan M200 (Love it - use one all the time)
1 Sailor Sapporo (Love it - use it often)
1 Sailor 1911 (My new big sexy pen. It's in heavy rotation now.)
1 Hero 329 (Never use it)
2 Wing Sung Celluloid (Junk - threw away)
1 Pelikan Future (Sold)
1 Waterman Phileas (Sold, but was damaged when I bought it)
1 Namiki Vanishing Point (Sold almost immediately)
2 Parker 51 Vacumatic (Sold)
1 Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi (Sold)
1 Sheaffer Fineliner (Sold)
1 Sheaffer Calligraphy Set (Use rarely)
1 Reform Piston Filler (Gave away)
1 Esterbrook J (Doesn't get used - I should sell it)

Things I've learned:

* I don't like hooded pens (Parker 51, Hero 329, Lamy 2000)
* I don't like pens without some kind of grip (Lamy 2000, Parker 51)
* I prefer piston fillers to C/C (Piston: Pelikan M200, Lamy 2000, Reform 1745. C/C Lamy Safari, Waterman Phileas, Sailor Sapporo.)
* I don't like Vacumatics or Aeromatic pens (Parker 51, Hero 329, Wing Sung Celluloid)
* Lever fillers are ok (Esterbrook)

Why do I use a fountain pen? Click here to read that post.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Somewhat of a review of Metallica's Death Magnetic - but probably more about Growing Up Metal.

Autographed CD insert from when I met Metallica in 1989

I really wanted to love the new Metallica album. I knew that this was the one that everyone was waiting for - the one where they were going to return to their true metal roots. The one that would take us back to those hard crunching metal days and pick up where Master of Puppets left off.

To some degree, I think it goes back, but a part of me- the ultra critical part of me, is having a hard time with it. I'm first questioning the recording itself. Like many of my newer CD's, once I put it on my iPod, it sounds blown out if I try and turn up the volume. And from what I've heard, I'm not the only one experiencing that problem. Seems like they are running it through some kind of compression process to boost the volume, but it actually ends up sounding worse than it should. I've listened to Death Magnetic 5 times on my iPod, and sometimes I can't make it through the whole disc because the sound quality is so poor. I'm not going to listen to it at a Grandmother level of "it's loud enough." I want to crank it up till my ears bleed, and this album just won't let me do that.

My next issue is that of James's vocals. I think on a number of the songs, that his vocals sound disconnected. Like they recorded it with him in an isolation booth and the rest of the band is jamming in another room having a great time without him. But maybe instead, it's that James is 45, is clean and sober, and has taken vocal lessons ever since blowing out his voicebox on the Black album. It's not the raw vocal style that drew me to the band in the first place, but a more refined sound that just doesn't speak to me the way it once did.

It just also might be that I'm too old to appreciate it for what it is. And I don't necessarily mean that I'm too physically old, but just that I'm no longer in a place where this kind of music appeals to me. With Metallica, I've always been a 1-2-3 girl - a Kill 'em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets kind of girl. Everything after that just hasn't been the same for me. Those 1st three albums came along for me when I was just 16-17 years old. I was a high school drop out moving around to live with various friends, then eventually living with my Grandmother and working a minimum wage retail job. I had no car, had to take the bus or bum rides everywhere- but during that time, music was my life. My paychecks went towards new albums, concert tickets and gas money for someone to take me to the concerts. This was also the time when I was totally and completely in love with someone that did not express those same emotions for me. This was the guy that I'd sit and cry over, sitting in my room at a friend's house listening to Fade to Black over & over and over again just crying my heart out wanting John to feel the same way about me...

When And Justice for All came out in 1988, my life had completely changed is a really short period of time. My pining for John was gone, and at 19, I met the man that I would eventually marry. Early in 88, we moved in into our apartment and are still together to this day. And Justice for All was a pretty damn good album, but I just wasn't in that same space anymore- that place of teen anger, frustration, and angst. And so by that time, they still might have still been one of my favorite bands, but it's like And Justice for All was just another metal album that came out in the late 80's and I just didn't see it in the same way as I did the previous three albums.

And it's kind of been like that for me ever since. Even though I've stayed faithful to Metallica from 1985 on, through people saying that they "sold out" on the Black album, to the whole Napster bullshit, I bought every new album, every video, went to the concerts, but it was never the same as seeing them in 1986, opening for Ozzy on the Ultimate Sin tour. Cliff Burton banging his head and hair flying...

That time is just gone to me. It's dead. It will always be remembered, but nothing that comes along afterwards (by Metallica) is going to pack that same emotion, because I'm just not in that space any more. But don't get me wrong. I've found boatloads of new music over the years to feed my emotions- whatever they may be. I'm just not ever going to be an angst ridden teen again, and as good as this album may be, it's going to probably speak to other people more than it will to me.

For anyone out there that's feeling the same way I am, take my friend Karl's advice. Karl hasn't been able to get through the album either. He said instead, that he's been listening to "Live Shit..Binge & Purge."

Fuck.... I forgot all about that set. I'm not sure I've even listened to it in the 15 years since it's been released. I quick slapped it on my iPod late Thursday night and listened to the whole thing, all three discs- twice all day at work on Friday. And more in the car today... And you know what? I can listen to all that and it's like a wormhole in time rips open and pulls me back - even just for a few moments. I can close my eyes and it's 1985...86...88...91... And I think that's about as far as I really want to go.

On to new things.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Handpainted Remo Buffalo Drum for Shamanic Journeying

Hand Painted Remo Buffalo Drum

This is a Remo Buffalo Drum. It's made of synthetic materials, and I painted the original designs with fabric paint purchased from a local hobby shop.

While frame drums are common in many cultures across the globe, the Buffalo Drum is typically used for ceremony and shamanic journeying by Native Americans.

Hand Painted Remo Buffalo Drum

Unlike a Celtic Bodhran or a Middle Eastern Frame Drum, the Buffalo Drum typically has some sort of support on the reverse side of the drum for it to be played (held) in one hand, while striking it with a padded drum beater in the other. You can play a buffalo drum with your hands, but they are usually played with a beater.

Handpainted Remo Buffalo Drum

I've used this drum at drum circles, and to be quite honest, it may just be a matter of personal preference, but it's got a pretty different tone that I'm not sure blends well with traditional drum circle instrumentation. It may have to do with the way the drum is constructed, because these Remo Buffalo Drums don't really allow for a lot of tonal variation- and in some ways, it's hard to make them sound musical. Sometimes I'll stand it upright on my lap, and strike it with one hand and hit the side of it with a cowbell beater so it's a mixture of thumps and knocks.

The lack of tonal variation makes them ideal for shamanic journeying. When inducing a journey by drumbeat, the drum is typically played at a very steady 80-120 beats per minute which alters the brain's alpha patterns and induces a dream like state for the journeys may take place.

Click here to learn more about Shamanic Drumming

Or take a look at Steven Ash's book on Sacred Drumming

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How was I supposed to know that the Hollywood sign wasn't lit up at night?

The first time I visited Los Angeles, my friends Lisa and Steve took great lengths to take me to see the "Hollywood sign."

We didn't realize that it wouldn't be lit up at night.

Believe it or not, I'm actually quite close to it. I don't know where we were, or how we got there, but I was able to see it by moonlight.

When I went back a year later, I managed to make up for missing the photo op by having my friend snap this from outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. This was the same day that we went to see a revival of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (The Pat Boone version) at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre.

Finally! Me and the Hollywood sign

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shopping for new glasses - which do you think I picked?

Shopping for new glasses - which do you think I picked?

Better one -

Shopping for new glasses - which do you think I picked?

Better two -

Shopping for new glasses - which do you think I picked?

Better three -

Shopping for new glasses - which do you think I picked?

Or better four.....

If you picked four - you are correct! LOL!!! Can you believe that people actually used to wear glasses like these? Ugh!

* I really picked the second pair.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Bean plays shekere on Jingo Ba, with Jim Donovan's Drum the Ecstatic International

That's me playing shekere with Jim Donovan's band, Drum the Ecstatic International. He invited me up to play on the last song of the night, (Jingo Ba) at the Rhythm Renewal concert earlier this summer.

I need more shekere.

From the LP Website: "The shekere’s history begins in Africa where this unique instrument serves as a shaker, a rattle, and a drum. Traditionally made from hollowed gourds wrapped in a lattice of stones, the instrument is played by shaking or twisting it to get shaker and rattle sounds or by hitting the bottom of the body with the palm of the hand to get drum-like bass notes.

LP has created a number of different versions of the shekere, all with excellent durability and a variety of sounds. Synthetic cord provides a great deal of flexibility allowing the beads to move freely, yet still controlled. This is great for faster playing and the execution of more complex rhythmic patterns. We also use very different materials for the bodies of our shekeres, including metal, plastic, and fiberglass."

Jim Donovan's Drum the Ecstatic : Jingo Ba. Live at the 2008 Summer Rhythm Renewal in Loretto, PA. Featuring Jim Donovan (Rusted Root), Elie Kihonia, Bill Burke, Harry Pepper, Brandon King, PJ Roduta, Mike Deaton, Bryan Fazio, with special guests Stephanie Smith, Connie Donovan and Moe Jerant.

Jingo is a traditional West African song brought to us by master drummer Babtunde Olatunji and made popular by the Latin-Rock group Santana. Filmed by James Gerraughty at Saint Francis University on 8.2.08.

More Jim Donovan videos on You Tube
Drum the Ecstatic on MySpace

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's soooooooo Friday.

Hand Mandala, originally uploaded by biffybeans.

It's Friday, it's raining and I'm tired. Still another 2 hours and until the work week is over.

It's been a screwy two weeks for me. Lots on my mind.

Visited the doctor on Wednesday, and if you don't know me, I'll tell you that I do everything in my power to stay out of the doc's office. I am a firm believer in holistic medicine, but in this case, I feared that it could be a situation that I couldn't handle so it was time to have things checked out. Hopefully it's just hormonal BS that women my age start to experience and nothing more. Several tests were performed, and have another one next week. Fingers crossed, "Everything gonna be allright."

Yesterday on my way home from work, I stop at the local Library book sale. I buy a few books and 4 very random CD's. Bad Company, Bete Midler, Creed, & Tracey Chapman. Then I drove home to find that my husband couldn't wait for me to get home and he had shredded open the Amazon box to pull out and start playing the new Metallica album. It pissed me off because I was the one that ordered it like, eight months ago and I wanted to listen to it first. Oh well. Whatever.

I noticed that two flies had gotten in the house but I didn't pay much attention to them. I also wasn't into listening to the CD right at that moment so I went upstairs and laid down on the bed for about half an hour. When I went back down, Jeff had fallen asleep on the couch and I was on the computer when I got buzzed by a fly.

Er. I really hate flies. I get up to find something to chase it down and kill it when I see the other one. But wait there's more - more flies... ERRR. Now I'm pissed.

I grab the nearest thing I can find, a copy of Tony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential in one hand and Jeff Greenwald's Scratching the Surface in the other, (so sorry guys!) and get whacking. I grab the magnifying glass and confirm that these little bastards are ugh - get ready - flesh flies. (reddish eyes, cool silvery black checker board pattern on their backs - in case you really wanted to know.)

This happened to us before, about 10-12 years ago. Fly infestation overnight. Woken up by flies buzzing my head. The exterminator told me not to bother to use chemicals to kill them. That something most likely died in the wall or roof or whatever (there was no smell) and to just swat them until they were dead. And that's just what we did the first time, so that's what I've been doing this time as well. Except this time, I decided to pull out the heavy artillery and suck them up with the vacuum cleaner wand. I killed about 10-12 last night, and Jeff got another 4 this morning. Here's to hoping that we don't have any more when I get home. That's it's not all Amityville Horror with the flies and a pig named Jody. I had heard scratching in the walls a few weeks ago, and thought it may have been a mouse. Now I'm guessing said mouse went and up and died somewhere that's beyond our faculties to detect. (Meaning once again, there's no smell.)

I can't wait to go home and pour myself a nice glass of wine....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Metallica's Death Magnetic is about to be released and I can't get past the whole "We met them 19 years ago" bit...

My Husband Jeff with James Hetfield of Metallica 07/29/1989

In 1989, (yes....I'm almost 40) my husband Jeff and I got to meet Metallica.
That's Jeff to the right of Papa Hetfield. They are both big guys - each pushing 6'3".

My husband Jeff with Lars Ulrich of Mulletallica, I mean Metallica 07/29/1989

This is Jeff making Lars look really small. (Lars has a mullet.)

Me and Jeff

This is me & Jeff today. As you can see, the long hair, 80's tinted glasses and bandanna around the neck are all gone.

Jeff Dancing Animation - Click on "All Sizes" and view the original size to see him dance.

This is Jeff dancing. He's happy that the new Death Magnetic CD is on it's way. We may be one of the few people that didn't illegally download it from the internet before it's official release date. Still trying to decide if we should go see them on this tour. We are getting really old for that sort of thing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quo Vadis Memoriae Themed Journal - "My Joys" Version

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The Quo Vadis Memoriae is a themed journal and in my opinion, it would make an excellent gift (think wedding, graduation, travelling, new baby) for someone new to journaling, or someone that needs a little help with organizing their thoughts.

Me personally? I prefer a blank journal that I can fill with reckless abandon. :o)

The most important feature for me with any journal is that it be fountain pen friendly, and I am happy to report that YAY! the Memoriae and it's smooth ivory 80g "prestige" paper did not feather or bleed with any number of fountain pen inks and nib widths that I tried in it.

My next most important feature is that the book lie flat for writing. The covers are imitation leather and have some flex to them - just a little, not a lot. This journal needs encouragement to lie flat. A combination of the stitched binding and thicker paper (which is a good thing) means that you have to push down on the pages if you have the book sitting on a flat surface.

Per Karen at Exaclair, "As of now, we do not import Memorarie in the US, although they can be found in some specialty stationery stores in Canada if anyone wants to order them."

View more versions of the Memoriae, and order Here from the UK.

- pocket size 10 x 15cm ( 4" x 6")
- hardbound imitation leather cover with round corners
- matching color elastic closure

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Back of packaging

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Without wrapper - it's a very nice, well made book.

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Other available versions

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Stickers that you can add to the tabbed index pages.

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Inside the front cover

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- 224 pages, "prestige" 80g ivory paper

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I think the index is a great idea for people to organize their thoughts, but I'm not crazy about the tabbed pages. Pick up the book, flip it open, and it always wants to go to the first tab of the index. Like when you open a magazine with an advert card in it. It always flips to that page. Perhaps some people would like that, I'm not sure.

I'm not crazy about the index headers being listed in 3 languages. It seems to be a waste of space, and it's a little confusing for me to look at.

Various sections in the index of the "My Joys" version.

First Times
Childhood Memories
Most Memorable People
Blank section (Add Stickers)

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Back pocket - extendable folder inside back cover for storage of items like photos, ticket stubs, etc.

Read the original Quo Vadis Blog about the Memoriae Here

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"There is something in everything...."

Mandala - There is something in Everything

I am a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason," even if it's not immediately apparent. I also believe that "there is something in everything," meaning that there is something to be learned or gained from any situation.

In my case, I've had good, bad, and seemingly trivial things happen over the course of my almost 40 years that have made me who I am today. There is one small incident that happened to me over 12 years ago that has radically affected my current life in a VERY positive way- but it didn't become immediately apparent for the first 9 years....

So when a certain something happens, I like to look back and reflect how I've arrived, because it helps you to understand how everything and everyone is connected. Once you start to see patterns, (good or bad,) you can see if you need to move more in one direction or away from another. You start to develop foresight. You learn how to protect yourself from making repeated mistakes, and you learn how to move in a direction that allows you to create a rewarding life.

Once in a while we get dealt a hand that seriously challenges us in many ways. Mentally, physically, spiritually, or financially, they can cause us pain and much suffering. When we are in the midst of one of these situations, it's not always easy to step outside of ourselves and see what we are supposed to learn, or what we are supposed take away from it. It's not usually until after a situation has passed that you can gain clarity through hindsight. But you need to take that hindsight and LEARN from it. And sadly, again, the reason for the hardship isn't always going to be apparent.

They key to this- and it's a tough one, is to not take the situation personally. If you wallow in self-pity, or if you suffer from needless guilt, you can't grow. You will ultimately end up shielding yourself from what you were supposed to learn, and limit your growth. The same can be said for people that insist on complaining all the time. They worry so much about how a situation is affecting them, but they don't use that energy into attempting to find a solution to the problem. Their complaints, worries, suffering, and guilt become like a protective wall around them that they keep adding to, rather than tearing it down and supporting themselves through positive energetic actions.

Just remember, no matter how much a situation sucks, there's always something to be taken away from it. Always. No action is ever wasted except for those you didn't take.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review of Nomad Adventure Journals

Just got my new Nomad Adventure Travel Journal, and I'm happy.....

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This is the zippered case. You can order a journal with or without a case, and the cases ARE available separately.

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Unzip the case, (which seems to be well constructed) and there is a pocket on the left, the back of the journal slips into a pocket on the right, and there is a pen holder to the right of the journal.

Journal only: 5”x7”
Journal w/case: 6”x8”

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Cover of the Travel Journal

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First page of the journal

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In this Travel Journal, detailed sections allow for documenting your excursion. This is the 1st page for an entry.

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This is the 2nd page for an entry. (Reverse side)

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This is the comment page, which is the same on the reverse. A total of 4 pages per entry.

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This is the most important feature for me. This recycled paper *IS* fountain pen friendly. Each page is a thick and smooth, and the only negative thing I can say about the paper is that some of the inks came out a little thin on the page, probably due to the light, barely discernible graphics that are printed on the page. (Graphics look like a topo map.) The Staedtler permanent pen bled through a little, but the paper help up to everything else. Whoo-hoo!

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The journals have a super thick and stiff set of covers, that would absolutely allow you to use the journals without a case.

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Small Moleskine journal shown on top to show the size.

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And Wait! Check this out! My Cachet Watercolor journal fits in the case perfectly!

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Thinking about how else I could use the case, this shows a small watercolor Moleskine, a Windsor & Newton Bijou Box, and several watercolor brushes. The brushes were a little too long, but I'm sure I could choose a different brush or somehow modify.

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The day I received this, I grabbed it and used it to review a new local restaurant. 4 pages was plenty to document the experience. Nomad has a plethora of different journals for different adventure purposes. I personally would like to see a "Dining" version, thought the options available in the Travel version suited me just fine. They also make blank journals that could be used in any fashion.

From the Nomad Website: Nomad Adventure Journals is a company devoted to preserving your most memorable adventures. Through detailed record keeping, the Nomad Journal helps you to preserve your experiences and create a personalized guidebook.

These journals are a product of our passion for the outdoor experience and the desire to remember, in great detail, each and every adventure. Whether your passion is bird watching, rock climbing, hiking, travel, fly fishing or live music, detailed entries in your journal will serve as a reminder of special moments as well as a valuable guidebook. Nomad Journals offer plenty of room to log every detail, from hiking/driving directions to local accommodations or camping. Details previously found written on corners of maps and pages of your guidebook can now be organized and easily referenced."

"Nomad Adventure Journals is a company committed to protecting our fragile environment and supporting responsible environmental organizations. All journals are minimally packaged, produced with recycled paper, and printed with soy based inks."

Available journals include: Climbing, Travel, Bird Watching, Fishing, Fly Fishing, Music/Festival, Paddle, Camp-Backpack-Hike, Trail Journal, and Blank Journals

New journals to be released soon: Bouldering, Mountain Bike, Peak Bagger, Wine Tour, Surfing, Sailing, Diving, Nature Discovery, and a Children's Journal

$27 w/ weatherproof zippered case - refills are $15-$16

Shipping via Priority Mail is $5.95

Blank journals are available

Weatherproof zippered case is available alone for $12.00, leather case is $14.00

They also sell waterproof writing journals for $8.50

Visit the Nomad website here: Nomad Adventure Journals
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