Birthdays, Spirits, Erasable Notebooks, and Moleskines
General Pencil Company has been creating pencils since 1889 and is located in my home state of New Jersey. Not only is it a great feat to have an American-run business last for 127 years, but the fact that a wooden pencil company has lasted that long is incredible. I enjoy General's products and have reviewed them in the past. While General pencils are not Tombow MONOs, they are great for what they cost. I'd recommend trying the Pacific, Cedar Pointe, and the Supreme.
Um, OK. I am always a fan of sometimes overly priced pretentious bullshit, but this sharpener makes some intense claims. From the description:
The Shin sharpener is a whetstone-style pencil sharpener that turns the ordinary task of sharpening your pencil into a meditative practice. The repetitive task of sharpening the edge of your pencil is supposed to support concentration, inspiration and inner peace...
While I have to admit that there is something zen-like about getting a point to perfection, my spirit has never been sharpened by the act. At $165, I'd much rather put it towards and el Casco or a handful of Polluxes. The sharpener itself is a great conversation piece, but to me it looks like they repurposed a stick incense holder and shoe-horned a sharpener into it. I shouldn't be surprised that this product is listed on a site that sells a $320 brass fertilizing syringe for gardening.
The Everlast Notebook is the antithesis to everything I look for in a notebook-- you cannot use pencil and it is made to be a digital product wrapped in a loose shell of an analog format. The concept of having one notebook may be appealing to millennials (the Kickstarter for this thing is almost at a million dollars!), but I like my notebooks to be permanent. There is something to be said for a stack of well-used notebooks that I can flip through and see what pen or pencil I have used. Writing in a traditional notebook is such a tactile experience, I'd be horrified to erase my scribblings after I have essentially taken a picture of what I spent time on writing. I think one positive of this product is how it can automatically catalog what you have written by ticking off a symbol on the bottom of each page. While I am first an analog junkie, being organized comes in a close second. Because one of my New Year's resolutions is to unplug, I'll have to pass on this one, but it's a cool concept anyway.
Even though this new story is written on Yahoo Sports! (I have NO IDEA why; perhaps notebook writing could be a sport), it is nice to see some coverage about analog writing in mainstream news sites. Even though I feel like the analog movement is still a niche group, I welcome any boost to my most loved hobby and passion. I wish other, more quality, notebooks got some coverage (Write Notepads, Field Notes, Baron Fig) since I have noticed the overall quality of Moleskine notebooks to be declining since I first started using them years ago. I am sure that this is a product of a need to cut costs and increase profits, but I think for the market they want to attract they miss the mark. For the same price I could purchase something that is locally produced with better quality. For a niche hobby like stationery and notebook using, Moleskine's approach falls short. I do realize that an uninitiated individual has no clue as to what else is out there, but I suppose that is why the universe that surrounds our hobby is so small.