Nothing earth shattering to see here, just a overdue, short post about two things that I have carried with me everyday since since graduating college in 1989: a pen and some kind of pocket notebook.

It really started earlier than that though, around 5th grade; I evidently was lying about the amount of homework I had, and my mom made me carry a notebook that I was to use to write down everything that I had to do. She probably had the teacher sign it too; I can’t remember the details, but it worked, and I have used and carried notebooks ever since. In school I would carry it my bag, but since then it has resided in my back pocket.

I take notes on my computer too of course. I have used a variety of apps in the past; I am currently using a combination of Vim, Joplin, syncthing, git, and nextcloud. Notes stored on my computer are more often for procedural or repetitive task, or things that I may want to copy and paste. In most cases these digital notes are as important to me as config files, and other things I routinely back up, but the pen and paper notes server a different purpose, and are also just quicker, easier, and more convenient. My analog notes tend to be more list-like in nature, compared to the ones I keep on my computer, and almost never need to be digitized, as they are a mainly a complementary supplement to my digital note taking.

Since graduating college and entering the work force, I have used a variety of pocket sized notebooks, spiral bound flip books, pads of paper in a cover, pocket calendars, and day-timers; but for the last 20 years or so, I can say that of all the pen and paper solutions I have carried, the best I have found is simply this: a Fisher Bullet Space Pen coupled with 3.5”x 5.5” dotted, memo books, carried in a leather cover.

pen and paper

What I love about this notebook, is that the leather cover makes it very durable and comfortable to carry in my back pocket, and it can hold 3, 64 page notebooks. In one leather cover I can carry one notebook for long term work-related things, one for mostly linux-related things, and one for archived material from the previous year.

The Fisher Bullet Space Pen is almost indestructible. The one I carry now, I found near my driveway after losing it for over a year. It had been run over by a car and exposed to the elements and still serves as my everyday pen. It’s not the best writing pen, but it is small and comfortable, and easily carried.

It may seem trivial, or an insignificant geeky thing, but my pen and paper pocket notebook make me happy.