WeekEnd Review May 15th, 2016

Halfway through May already! See below for how I spent last Sunday. 

I’ve been thinking about this post a bit the last few weeks. I think at times I’ve focused on quantity, so this week I switched to a focus on links that I wanted to add my .02 to. This is also because I just didn’t have as much time to keep up with rss feeds this week, but I like spinning it as a considered decision. In the future I want to try some themes, such as older posts, or blogs that are newer to me. I love link posts, but my favorites (Azizah’s, Pete’s, etc.) are the ones that push me off the normal pen blogs we know and love, so some variety seems like a good idea.

Otherwise, the most exciting news is that my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black arrived last week, about a week and a half before the earliest estimated delivery date. I’m working on a post about it because my experience with it has been very different than a lot of other pens. I’ve liked pens, even loved them, but this one is different. It’s the first pen in awhile that is making me want to come up with reasons to write, and more than that it’s making me ACT ON those impulses. I’m about a third of the way through a converter after just a week or so, which is unheard of for me. From the looks, to the feel in hand, to that 21k nib, it’s hands down the best pen I own. 

 

WeekEnd Links

The Lure of the Ltd. Edition. - The Finer Point
Agree wholeheartedly with this, and love how even-handed it is. I’ve backed away heavily from ltd edition stuff. It’s a marketing gimmick 98% of the time, and while that’s not bad in and of itself, it does mean it encourages you to buy before really considering because you don’t want to miss it. I got bit by the field notes bug in late 2014 and started chasing older editions and non colors ltd. editions before I realized I wasn’t using them that often? They’re great books, but for a person who loves his fountain pens the most, they’re really not a super good fit. So I didn’t renew, and only go a single pack of sweet tooth because I like how they look but I don’t need more than one of each color. It was freeing to realize I don’t need to own them all, I just felt like I should as a ‘good stationary addict’. And none of this is to say collecting the limited stuff is bad. I just realized I don’t want to chase that anymore.

The Write Tools - From the Pen Cup
And of course, having said all of that above, look at this package! I can’t justify this right now, but I am very curious to watch what Write Notepads does with their subscription. Because I think this is very very cool. The scissors and ruler, while not part of the sub, complement the subscription package so well. I really love the aesthetic they have and may just need to get that ruler and some of their standard notebooks soon.

Five Months with the Hobinichi Techo - The Gentleman Stationer
I love Hobonichi posts in large part because it seems to invite such idiosyncratic uses of the page setups. I love how the monthly pages look as ink swabs. Super cool idea. I’ve finally gotten back to my daily-ish Hobinichi use. I really love the notebook, although my usage is pretty stratighforward. I write, usually in the morning, a general here’s how I’m doing, what’s going on update. 

Fantastic Nibs! - The Pen Addict
Cool rundown of some of Susan’s favorite nibs that are readily available. A friend got a Pilot Metropolitan a few months ago and I was yet again floored by how good that nib is for the price. 

A Tour of My Home Office - KatieFloyd.com
I dip in and out of MPU. I like to tweak my mac but I also don’t in general need too much automation/workflow complications. That said, Katie and David are two of the smartest folks about how to get stuff done on your mac, and I loved this peek into her office and all the ways she keeps herself working. For me the unflattering is most exciting because I’m the same way, in that a messy cluttered workspace can just stop me in my tracks from getting stuff done.

Lambic Brewing Update - A Beer Diary 
And lastly, something different! My friend Ethan has a crew in Philly that have started a micro-brewery. He was one of the first folks to introduce me to sours and lambics and geuzes and goses and all the wonderful weird beers that are out there. He doesn’t update much, but when he does it’s fascinating (and usually long!). Here they do a big brew as part of their long running solera lambic project. Can’t wait to get back to Philly and try some. 

WeekEnd Bake

Basically nada! Was out a few nights this week and could never make scheduling work. I have a spin off starter going now though and will plan to get some walnut fig sourdough started tomorrow evening after work as part of the sourdough during the week experiments. 

I did make some pizza, but even that was hasty. e.g. didn't use my normal multi-day ferment in the fridge formula and went with a formula that would be ready in a couple hours Sunday evening. The good news is it was still pizza! And delicious.

Consumed

Not too much again. I re-read one of my favorite books ever, Bluets, by Maggie Nelson, and still rank it very very highly in my personal pantheon of poetry. Ialso saw Lemonade, the visual album/movie for Beyonce’s latest for the umpteenth time last week, but in a theater, and once again really loved it. Otherwise, I think Slow Regard for Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is on deck. It’s short, and I really loved his first novel and liked the second one a lot. This one is a novella about a character from the main novels. Who knows after that!

WeekEnd Review April 17, 2016

Happy Sunday, although for the first time in weeks I’m actually writing this on Saturday in advance. A nice change of pace and an attempt to get back to a more sane schedule. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get past the craziness of the last few weeks at the day job, and as always one of the first things I came to was to get back to a regular schedule for the blog, because I really like writing these round up posts, they’re a nice way to review the week, review my bakes, review what I’ve been reading and a chance to write a bit for semi-public consumption. (I guess it’s fully public, but let’s be real about audience size here.) So an early morning review this Sunday, and a bunch of great links.

After a very long spell of not buying stationary items at all, I have a few new arrivals. I took part in the Massdrop buy of Super5 inks and got a bottle of Australia, Dublin and Atlantic. I’ve only opened the Australia so far, but at first glance it’s a really gorgeous dusty purple. This overview at gorgeous.ink is a nice summary.

And finally, after my self-imposed pen buying hiatus was successfully seen through (the one cheat was buying a Pilot Penmanship that I gave as a gift to a friend getting into fountain pens, and I feel good about not counting that), I used the set aside money to get what I’ve been calling my reward pen. The link still works for now, we’ll see how long it lasts I guess. I’ve been eyeing this Morgan in Mandarin Acrylic for over a year and a half. I bookmarked the link above just to check in on it every few weeks. Ordered it with a steel EF and I just saw it has arrived at my office over the weekend, so will eagerly get that on Monday. I don’t know what it is about this pen, I tend to not love brightly colored things in general, and am usually not a fan of gold furniture, but I think this pen is fantastic looking, at least in the pictures. Will obviously talk about it on here as I use it and have in-hand impressions.

On to the links!

WeekEnd Links

A Small Tale of Pen Grail - petedenison.net
Come for the pen talk, stay for the writing. Pete's blog is a favorite not just because he talks about coffee and pens, two of my favorite things. He's a great writer, and this tale of realizing exactly what 'grail pen' might mean to him is a great read. 

Making of a Grail Pen - Penucopia
Woah. This pen. It makes perfect sense that he is the enabler of enablers. Really beautiful.

Apple Pencil Hacks - #mykewasright
I’m not sure I’d ever use the Apple Pencil enough to justify the cost, so these aren’t of personal interest necessarily, but I thought Myke’s hacks were rad. I love seeing how he personalizes his stuff. From the stickers on his apple devices, to his pencil-looking Apple Pencil. Just a cool rundown of really making something your own. (Also I like that Myke is writing more, I think he's good at it.)

Airmail 1.1 - Macstories.net
A great write up on what is easily my most loved app on my phone. Airmail makes it so trivially easy to handle incoming mail, and I’ve found over the last few months it pushes me to DO things with my email in a way I never have been before from an app. I love seeing the inbox zero, so for example, I’ve gotten very good at figuring out how to snooze things in ways that prompt me to truly follow up on them. And where I used to just keep shipping notices in my inbox, I now quickly shove them into a separate folder/tag that makes it easy to check on them/make sure I’ve received everything I’ve expected, and then even easier to just archive and remove them when the item arrives. I know I’m probably nowhere near the power user that the Macstories guys are, but I do really love this app.

Franklin Christoph Pocket 40 - Pencilcase Blog
I have one of these in the fire and ice and while I agree it’s a really great pen overall, it just has not clicked with me. A great review, thorough, and I love all the close up photos. There’s no denying these pens are lovely, I just have to chalk it up to not loving pocket pens.

(And as a brief aside, I’ve been very torn on whether to sell it or not, but I think the time has come. I’m actually thinking I’ll add a for sale page soon to try and part with some of my lesser used pens, and a couple of pens that just need some nib work to be perfect. So expect deals, as this is more about thinning the collection than a need to raise funds.)

Nock. Co Blue Label -  Nock Co. Blog
I don’t tend to post things from stores, as product announcements end up everywhere, but man alive do I love the look of this ltd. edition case, the first one in their new experimental/trial/ltd Blue Label line. This rocketed to the top of my “Reasons I’m Sad I’m Not In Atlanta This Weekend” list. Which I’m assuming all of us not in Atlanta have someplace.

Empires of Eve - The Verge
I talked about this book last week and finished it up Friday night. I was very impressed, and happy to see the author getting coverage places. This is a nice writeup/interview with the author. Really, if you have any interest in video games, or sci-fi, or even just interesting history/sociology I recommend the book. It’s about ten bucks on Kindle I believe.

Sailor Bungbox Blue-Black - Well Appointed Desk
I need this ink. I need it to be in my possession. I just can’t quite get over the 43 dollars a bottle hump. But if I can find it at the SF Pen Show this year, I will buy it. I have no illusions about this.

Tekker Ink Emerald - The Pen Habit
Tekker has been popping up a bunch of places of late, and for good reason. It’s a really interesting idea, and one that seems almost too good to be true. From the instagram chatter and some mentions here and there it does seem like the color matching can be not 100%, but this review makes it seem like a solid ink. It’s nice to hear that at least the ink itself is fine, even if the color-matching part may not be perfect. I might give this a try at some point, we’ll see.

Japanese Office Supply Roundup - The Pen Addict
Nice roundup of some cool looking things. I talked about it a bit in the load out post from January, but I really do love the Life notebook I’ve been using. Not familiar with the other stuff, but can definitely vouch for Life’s paper quality.

Weekend Bake

After last week’s baguette success, I decided to take a bit of a chance and do an experiment with my starter. I’ve read about folks who can take their starter out of the fridge and feed it maybe once to get it going, and then 12 hours later build a levain out of it (the thing you make to help sourdough rise, which is a small amount of your mother starter and then flour and water to the weight you need). In the past I’ve given my starter three or so days before I bake with it, but this time I gave it one feeding and then built the levain. I think my starter is just still a tad too young/I was pushing it too far, and the loaves were complete disasters. That all said, this week was about getting the starter up to full health. Some pictures from the week in case anyone is curious what a healthy dark rye starter looks like. After a solid week of regular feeding, I’m excited to get some more parmesan/black pepper loaves going tomorrow to bake Monday morning, and am thinking of trying my hand at a walnut raisin sourdough this week.

In lieu of bread pictures, here's some glamour shots of my dark rye starter, affectionately named Slime Season, of course after the Young Thug mixtapes.

Early in the week, you can see after 12 hours there’s some solid craters/bubbles, which is the visual indicator that the bacteria and yeasts are eating away happily.

But really this is what I want. This is a slightly fake diptych, as the before is from Friday morning I believe and the after is this morning, but it illustrates how active and happy the starter is. Before is about a minute after feeding and is identical to how it looked this morning when I fed it. The after is from about 5 hours post feeding. Huge craters, bubbles of irregular sizes throughout, all are indications of how it'll make the bread turn out. And all are looking very pleasing.

Consumed

A lighter week again. Although I did read Ready Player One last weekend. I enjoyed it, but definitely think it is in some ways a really frustrating book. Even with that, it’s a fun romp, and if you like video games at all you’ll probably enjoy it.

Finished the Eve book mentioned last week, and not much else. Although next on the plate is Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. A nice non-video game read, a change I’m looking forward to a good bit.

 

WeekEnd Review April 10, 2016

When life hands you lemons, sometimes a week later you just get a second round of lemons. That’s been the last few weeks at the day job. There are times you just have to focus on figuring out how to get some lemonade made. Looking forward to a lemon-free week (fingers crossed!), and getting back to something like normal. Lots of evenings spent like the photo below with coworkers, commiserating, trying to figure out next steps, etc.

It’s April! And I have successfully bought zero pens this year so far! I’m still waffling on resuming the purchases in all honesty. Like I’ve said other places, I’ve really enjoyed focusing on what I have, but I do want a few things and I want to at the very least keep any purchases to a minimum and make sure I’m buying something I really want. I had a reward pen in mind from Edison that I’m pretty sure will end up in my hands sooner rather than later.

There’s been a ton of great stuff the last two weeks. I tried to pare this down to a manageable list of favorites or things that struck me in particular. For me the best part of link roundups is the commentary. I look forward not just to links (let’s face it at this point I probably follow most of the folks who’d be linked) but to reading what other people have to say in response. So a good number of links, but a focus on the things where I had something to say or thought was especially interesting. Otherwise, a bunch of baking and a few book recommendations. On to the links!

WeekEnd Links

Now for something completely different - Just a few non-pen/non-bread related things to start.
Eames Molded Plastic Chair - Tools&Toys
This truly is one of the most iconic chairs ever made. I love how simple the top is compared to the complexity of the bottom. How even though there’s a lot happening in the legs it still feels clean and crisp. I’ve been in the position of either living with folks or living alone and not having money to really furnish a place for years, but this chair is perpetually on my list when I really have a place I can call my own.

In Praise of the iPad Air2 - Pete Denison
A great post detailing how and why Pete has ended up with the iPad Air 2. I have said it before, but I love these in depth posts chronicling specifically why people use the tools they do. I have spent a good bit of time thinking about my computing set up over the last year or so, ending up with no desktop, an iPad mini and my trust macbook air (13”). I’ve given up certain things, big screens, gaming for the most part, etc. but I feel really good about what I have and how I use each device I own. With the hype around the iPad Pros it’s easy to feel like you SHOULD use the new shiny thing, but it’s worth putting the time in to figure out what you actually want and what you actually need vs what is available.

Always in my Pocket - Backup Brain
I’ve been toying with getting a knife or two. I have a nice Opinel that I carry with me pretty much everywhere, and I really like the look of some of these. Not sure if I’m ready for another expensive interest, but some of these are really beautiful.

Pens to Love
Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe - FPQuest
Great review, and another example of someone trying to write about why they like a thing, not just an overview of specs. Those are always going to be my favorite write ups, with the more personal take. I’ve been tempted by this before, but this review seems like the tipping point of deciding the shininess isn’t for me. Glad Ray likes it so much though. It’s always satisfying when you feel like a pen really fits you. My heart still belongs to the long lusted after Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black.

Pilot Custom 74 - The Pen Haul
This is similarly high in my own pen ranking. I think it’s a great pen for the price, and the nib is a dream.

Baron Fig Squire - Well Appointed Desk
Another look at this, and another fan. I’m pretty tempted to grab one of these.

Deal-Breakers - two reviews of pens that looked really appealing until I hit the deal breakers.
Lamy Imporium - Pencil Case Blog
This is a COOL looking pen. And that is really not the list price I was expecting!! Yeeeeesh.

Faber Castell Ambition Blue Ocean OpArt - The Pen Addict
Again, a beautiful looking pen. But then I saw that section, and that really seems like a complete deal breaker for me.

WeekEnd Bake

Two weeks of baking!

Two weekends ago I did a batch of white bread with poolish and then two sesame sourdough loaves. Turned out well, and I’d really been craving the sesame loaf.

The big experiment this weekend was baguette attempt #2. And it was FAR more successful than attempt #1. I used this formula from freshloaf.com. It’s a very forgiving formula and allows me to worry less about dough development and focus my energy on shaping. And the results? I am very pleased! I think the flavor was good. Shattery crust, creamy crumb with great irregular holes. Not as deep as it could be with a preferment or as sourdough, but good and worth making again. And this is the time I got the shaping down. In the finished loaves the two on the left were shaped well but didn’t transfer to the pizza stone smoothly so ended up with odd shapes. But the two on the right! Those are baguettes to be proud of in my opinion. Going to keep at baguettes, a couple more times with this formula, and then I’ll move on to some of the sourdough versions.

Today I am starting up some sourdough loaves. Some folks have expressed interest in buying bread so baking some country loaves to share/sell.

Consumed

A couple weeks ago the designer of one of my favorite games ever, Spelunky, released his book about making it. Spelunky is a procedurally generated platformer (think Mario) that appears very simple at a first glance, but the more you play the more you realize it’s an almost infinitely complex series of interlocking systems. All the enemies are consistent in their behavior, and all of the rules of traversal are the same across levels. It’s about reflex and prediction and building up instincts. There’s a wealth of tidbits in here about how Derek designed certain things and solved some design problems. Recommended, but more than the book, I recommend Spelunky the game.

Empires of Eve was just released as well. It’s an attempt to recount some of the largest battles/wars in the history of the game EVE Online. Think Battlestar Galactica, but the people flying the ships are real people playing an insane and fascinating video game about spaceships, mining and conquest. It’s a shockingly engrossing read so far, very recommended.

WeekEnd Review March 27, 2016

It’s Easter weekend here in the US. The extent of my celebrating has been oohing over the pictures of eggs dyed by my niece and nephews and relaxing a lot. After two weeks of not baking much I’m back at it this weekend. Loaf of white bread with 50% poolish and a couple loaves of sesame sourdough. Today is mixing/fermenting day and I’ll bake the poolish loaf today and sesame sourdough tomorrow. 

Otherwise I’m going to wrap up images for my review going up this week, probably tomorrow, of the Italix Parson’s Essential, and get to work on a couple of other posts for the next couple of weeks. I’ve been keeping up with my reviews most weeks and am going to start adding in an attempt to do another post a week. Last week’s post was a revisit to what I’m using these days, new pictures and some thoughts on what I’ve changed. I think I’ll keep the load outs to every two to three months for now, but may do more what’s inked posts. Mostly, I’d expect a bunch of posts about embarking on fixing up old pens! I’ve pulled out the vintage lever fillers I have and will start some research to get sacs and any tools I may need to fix em up. 

More to come, but for now, on to the links!

WeekEnd Links

My Time with the iPad Pro - And Why I Returned It - KatieFloyd.com
I’m always interested in hearing why things didn’t work for folks and this is a great example of that kind of post. A really thoughtful and thorough recounting of her time with the device. 

Kaweco Mini Fountain Pen Converter - The Pen Addict
A second swing and a miss. As much as I love the idea of a converter for my Sport or Lilliput, part of me thinks they should give up on this idea entirely and just double down on saying these are cartridge pens, full stop.

John Gruber Shows His Work - The Cramped
I have never fully embraced markdown the way the rest of the nerd internet has, but I do use it a bit here and there and it’s been an ubiquitous part of the productivity conversation since the 43folders days. 

First Impressions: Baron Fig Squire - Gentleman Stationer
I am inching closer and closer to preordering this one. I missed the kickstarter, but a new body for that Schmidt refill is always appealing.

Petit Punnet Notebook Review - Pens! Paper! Pencils!
I really love the look of these little notebooks. Going on the to-buy list for sure.

Nakaya Heki-Tamenuri Writer Portable - Gourmet Pens
This color combination kills me. I really want a Nakaya!

Field Notes Sweet Tooth - Well Appointed Desk
I did not re-up my subscription this year and think I made the right choice. I bought one pack of these and they are really fun looking. Great write up from Ana, who was on the most recent episode of The Pen Addict podcast. I listen to every episode, although at times I’ll skip around. But an Ana episode is a listen all the way through episode for me. Wish I could make a trip to Atlanta make sense, but alas. I bet the pen show will be a really good time.

An Index of Ideas - ShawnBlanc.net
Really love this idea of creating an alternate index for books you love. I have been thinking all week about the idea of making an uber index of ideas, linking back to any number of books. Some of these sorts of problems were part of my brief foray into library science, perhaps this is a good reason to 

WeekEnd Bake

A distinct lack of baking! Instead I’ve decided to post some more links. This time to some of my favorite bakers to follow on Instagram. There’s a range here of home bakers to home bakers starting business to full on bakery owners. I’ll have more of my own bread photos next week, but for now here’s some great bakers to follow.

Bird Patrol Bread - https://www.instagram.com/birdpatrolbread/

Ty Bakes https://www.instagram.com/tybakes/

Humboldt Baker - https://www.instagram.com/thehumboldtbakingcompany/

Tartine Baker - https://www.instagram.com/tartinebaker/

Tivoli Road Bakery - https://www.instagram.com/tivoliroadbakery/

Alchemy Bread Co - https://www.instagram.com/alchemybreadco/

Consumed

More New Yorkers, and not much else again this week. Between work and catching up with friends I didn’t spend much time reading. Have some bread reading in mind over the next week so might report in on that.

WeekEnd Review February 22, 2016

Weekend before last was President’s Day weekend here in the US, and a nice little reprieve from normal life. It got warm here, which I hesitate to call hot given my time spent in Florida and Texas, even so it was bad timing for baking. I had planned on the third attempt at the Tartine croissant recipe, but laminating dough and butter in an 80 degree non-air conditioned house is a recipe for… well… not disaster, but annoyance for sure. More on that later though.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the pen world! LA Pen Show, FPN drama, the Omas news. And in my little life it’s been a little, if not busy exactly, full of distractions. I made some pretty big life decisions, reversed some plans, made some new ones, etc. It’s all for the good, but meant my mind wasn’t on the blog for a lot of those days. I missed last weekend and as you can tell (it’s barely Monday after all), basically missed this one, but I’m back!

One thing relevant to this blog’s normal subjects, I have finally purchased a new desk! I’ve always held off on taking pictures of where I keep pens and where I write because my desk was such a disaster. It was around 45 bucks from Bed Bath & Beyond probably 5 years ago? It had become rickety and had no storage. Thanks to some good news at work I realized I could spend a little to upgrade. I’m a little in love with the new set up. Still organizing and figuring out just where things should all go, but it’s great to have actual shelves to display some ink and my two Dudek(/Kara’s Kustoms) pen holders. See below for a peek at the new setup in progress.

On to the links!

WeekEnd Links

The Clicky Post Posts
Collecting the Impossible
Kum Masterpiece
Both of these are great posts. I’m on a spending freeze for new pens until at least April, so no grail pens, definitely no grail sets. I have a nice list of pens I want but am focused on enjoying what I have and finalizing a list of things to sell off. I want that Kum Masterpiece though!

Guide to Handheld Pencil Sharpeners - Pen! Paper! Pencil!
Nice guide, and a bunch I’d never heard of before.

LA Pen Show Day 1 - The Pen Habit
I am not that far from LA, but just couldn’t make the timing work so I had to miss this show. Matt did a great job recapping, this is the first of four posts on his blog, recommend them all to get a taste of the pen show experience. I’m already looking forward to the SF show(tk) in August.

Pen Economics on Pen World Drama
FPN Hullabaloo
Vale Omas
Less pleasant, but worth a read. I have no real stake in the FPN controversy. I tend to agree it’s a bad look to remove posts at the request of a manufacturer when by all accounts the posts were just discussions of new products. I’ve never spent much time at FPN and with this information, regardless of if Dr. Dean is 100% right, don’t see that changing. The Omas news is sad, and I hope they figure out a future. I haven’t had the scratch for any of their recent L.E. pens but still love those cocktail ones and looking for a used one is on my someday-buy list.

Nakaya Decapad Mini Kuro-Tamenuri - Alt Haven
In SF this year I am really hoping to try out a Nakaya. I’ve had them on my list since seeing them the first time, but I really want to feel one in hand. This is a great write up of an absolutely gorgeous pen. Very few pens appeal to me as much as the Nakayas.

Cleaning Pens: Meditative or Just Annoying - Gentleman Stationer
This is pretty in line with my feelings too. I like that a few folks are starting to come out as converter fans! I’ve always loved the convenience of that filling mechanism, and honestly I wouldn’t even benefit from some of the larger capacities. I write throughout the day and do a little journaling in mornings/evenings, but for the most part a standard converter lasts me a good long while.

If My Toddler Ran the Library - Put It Where It Goes
One of my favorite people in the world updated her blog! Everyone go visit her and enjoy her hilarity.

Clairefontaine Triomphe - The Pen Addict
A great reminder that I have one of these and really should get it out to write some letters. InCoWriMo totally passed me by. I didn’t start on the 1st and then let life get in the way. I’ll say it here on the blog, next week I hope to start the WeekEnd Review reporting on two letters written and sent! And on this lovely paper

WeekEnd Bake

A few weeks of baking to report on. The biggest successes were my two parmesan/black pepper loaves. I made one as sourdough, with my trusty new rye starter, and one with standard yeast and a bit of fresh basil. People at work went crazy for these breads. I have a certified hit on my hands. It’s two huge flavors clashing, and while I do think I can do some tweaking (slightly less black pepper mostly), I’m very pleased.

Last weekend like I mentioned above, was croissant attempt number 3. The schedule for these puppies is a little crazy, feel free to read through it here. My apartment acts almost like an oven itself, so if it’s 75 degrees outside it’s usually about 80 inside. Butter and 80 degree ambient temperatures are not really friends. So not flaky as they should be, but still delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with 400 grams of butter.

I’ve also been making more pizzas again. For awhile my housemate and I called our place House of 1000 Pizzas because between the two of us it was normal for there to be 4 to 6 pizzas made in a given week. Things got busy, we both moved on to other food obsessions, etc. But the last couple of weeks I’ve been making a lot again. A few are below. I linked it before, but for a starting pizza crust, the recipe in this NYT piece is easy to work with and totally workable. For a more advanced option, the Reinhart recipe is perfection.

Finally this weekend was a simple weekend, a batch of two sourdough loaves. I was a bit hasty in using my new starter originally. And while it has performed well I wanted to take this past week and be very rigorous in my feeding schedule. Baked the two guys in the last picture of the slideshow below this morning and it would be an understatement to say that I am very pleased with how they turned out. Visually, these are two of the best loaves I’ve produced, and that follows through with taste. The best crust I’ve achieved for sure, and a good tang when fresh, developing into a solid sourness over the next few days.

Consumed

Wrapped up M Train, the most recent book by Patti Smith. As I said on GoodReads, I’m not sure why I liked this book so much. Nostalgia? Affection? Who knows. But it was nice to dip in and out of over the course of the last few months, little glimpses into her world.

I started something large, this collection of John Ashbery’s writings on art. I love his poetry so much, and this has been sitting on my shelf for years. It felt like the right time to dive in. I may not go straight through, although the first few I’ve read made me think I might just binge on it all.

Finally, a video game! Firewatch is a game made by a small company of very talented people. You play as Henry, a man looking for a summer of solitude for some very big, personal reasons. The gameplay is simple, easy to pick up if you’re not really into games, and the real draw here is the beautiful art and the really well done story. There’s been a push towards more sophisticated writing in games of late, and I think Firewatch is one of the best examples of this. The interactivity does something here, and while you could tell similar stories via fiction, THIS story is definitely one best told via a game. It runs on Mac and PC and is out on the PS4. It’s only 20 bucks and is well worth your time.

WeekEnd Review February 7, 2016

My sickness last week lasted into this week, so home from work a few days and then a couple of lighter days in the office. Just a head cold, but it hit me really hard. I had planned to bake during the week but decided to prioritize early to bed and lots of tea. I also didn’t even remember until the 4th that I had planned for InCoWriMo because my schedule was all off. I’m planning to start up on Monday sending off letters and cards to folks. I had already planned to do a slightly lessened schedule, something like 3 or 4 things a week instead of 1 a day, so it’s not the end of the world, but I was bummed when I realized the cold had thrown me off that much.

A lot of links again this week! Not much baking, and not much consuming. But most exciting, new content here on the blog! I reviewed the Kaweco Lilliput Brass Wave and enthused all over that thing. I really love that little pen and tried to explain why. It was a fun thing to write, and took me awhile because I was at first trying to review it in a more straightforward way. Here's the pen, here are the specs, is it worth it y/n. I realized last week that what I actually wanted to write was a piece on why I love that pen even though I don’t tend to get along with pocket pens at all. I’m happy with what I came up with, and I think the process of writing through why I in particular liked the pen is a nice model for how I want to keep writing about stationery. Not reviews as shopping guides, mostly because I think so many other people do that so well already and I don’t think I’d be great at it, but reviews more as explanations for why a specific thing works or doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s a subtle distinction without much difference? But it feels good to me as a way to think about the blog, and it’s very much in line with how I used to write about music (did you know I used to write about music? I used to, it (mostly) all lives here). Anyway, enough navel-gazing! Onto the links!

WeekEnd Links

Watches - Marco.org
I love love love this post. Of late I’ve started to really appreciate how strongly held his opinions are. You may disagree with him, but he’s a good writer, and a great photographer, and sometimes it’s just nice to read someone with a strong point of view. His dismissal of analog watches early on in the Apple Watch conversations online seemed perfectly made to follow up with a post like this, and sure enough he’s been lured over to the mechanical watch side. I have a 40 dollar Seiko 5 Military Watch that I adore. I got it last year and it was the first watch I’d tried wearing in years and years, now I feel naked without it on my wrist if I’m leaving the house.

A Tomoe River Paper Rival: Life Writing Paper - From the Pen Cup
Definitely ordering one of these in the not too distant future.

25 Resources to Jumpstart Your Pen Adiction - Gentleman Stationer
What a FANTASTIC post! I think he’s filled a nice niche. It’s a great overview of other posts, resources for information and education, and a perfect link to send to anyone who expresses an interest in our weird hobby. Really well done, definitely check this out.

Pen Review: Classic Pens LB5 - The Pen Habit
This pen is beautiful! Way out of a price range i’d feel comfortable spending this year, but that green especially is so striking, so beautiful.

Lamy Studio 14k Nib Review - Ed Jelley
I like this pen a lot more than Ed, but I got a good deal on mine, and didn’t have too much trouble with the grip section. I think the nib is fantastic, way better than I expected, and I love that I can swap it out to a Safari if I want to. What I liked most about this review was how well he handled a pen that he felt was fine, but just not worth it in the end. I think it’s hard to do a negative review that still leaves room for the reader to figure out if a pen would work for THEM, and Ed did that here.

What Pencil Dreams Are Made Of - CW Pencils
CW Pencils with a really cool post on their visit to Caran d’Ache.

Airmail for iPhone Review - Macstories
Federico Viticci goes deep on what is now my iOS email app. When Mailbox went away I was annoyed, and bounced between a few different apps (Spark and Outlook were the two primary contenders). I liked the look of Outlook a lot, but missed some of the swipe functionality and liked the functionality of Spark but kind of hated the user interface. Airmail is great on my Mac, and even better on my phone. Happy to have this issue solved again.

WeekEnd Bake

Like I said above, not a lot this week or even weekend. The loaves I posted last week turned out really well. Great open crumb, a nice tang but not overwhelmingly sour. I ate through one of the loaves in a few days and sliced the second one up to freeze. Sourdough freezes really well! I wrap two slices in aluminum foil and then it takes about ten minutes in a 400 degree oven to have two fresh feeling slices of bread.

This is the batch I’m making this weekend, a new formula to try. Sourdough with parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. I had the idea on Friday and looked around for some formulas to try and then built up Slime Season from the fridge. Will report back next week, and hopefully have a bit more bread to talk about. Baking has been lower on the list of priorities the last few weeks and I’m itching to get more bread out.

Consumed

Another lighter week for consuming media. Started a very odd collection of Felix Guattari’s writings on Japan called Machinic Eros. It’s great and I’ll probably finish it later today. I think the plan for this next week is to do an audit of books that are in progress around my place and then turn my attention to finishing some of those up.

Otherwise, you should all watch the new Beyonce video because it is fantastic.

WeekEnd Review January 24th, 2016

Missed last week, obviously, so here’s a doubled up WeekEnd Review. 2016 so far hasn’t been what I expected! Lots of things have worked together to make the first few weeks pretty tiring.

That said, I’ve been baking a little less, but with more focus, and writing a lot more, with sometimes less focus. Both of which are good. I’ve come to really love my morning/evening ritual with the Hobinichi. A couple of times a day I check in, write with my pens, reflect on the day and do some light tracking for things like what I’m eating, what I’m drinking, etc. Already in January I’ve written with my pens more than I did the last few months of 2015. It feels good!

I’m still really in love with my Kaweco Lilliput Brass Wave paired with Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses. Easily my favorite combo right now, which still surprises me!

But on to the rest of the post! More links than normal, a longish bake report, and some thoughts on recent novels.

One programming note, as I figure out how this weekend post is going to shape up, one thing I’ve decided is to start including some older links in these. I frequently revisit old posts, or get curious about an ink and find older reviews (Pennaquod is a huge help here). So much of what goes on online is about the NOW, and the NEXT post that it seems fun to prompt people to revisit older content they may have missed or forgot. That starts next week!

WeekEnd Links

Ten Questions for Work That Matters - Seth Godin
I’m spending a lot of time these days thinking through where my career is going, where personal projects are going, and how to best spend my time. These questions echo a lot of things rattling around in my brain in a concise way.

Top 5 Pens Winter 2016 - The Pen Addict
I love top lists from folks! Brad is king of our world for good reason and it’s always fun to see how his tastes/usage has changed. I used to have a lists page but took it down because it was woefully out of date. Getting that back up on the site is on the todo list for the blog.

Adele Rapping Nicki Minaj's Verses from Monster is Everything - Kottke.org
This video is delightful. Adele is great, but watching/hearing her rap along to Monster was pretty amazing. Not pens or bread, but incredibly charming.

Fountain Pen Contentment - FPQuest
There’s been a few posts along these lines of late, and this is one that resonates a lot. I think a lot about how much of this hobby can be focused fully on acquisition and consumption. This post definitely echoes my thinking for 2016. I do still want things, and have a wishlist for sure, but as I’ve gotten back into using pens regularly I’m realizing a) there's two tiers to my collection, at least, and b) a good number of my pens fit in the highest one. I’ve set aside a batch of pens that I’m planning to sell in the near future in large part because I think I'd really like to make sure whatever stays long term are pens I really love. If I just like them, why not send them off to a home where they can be loved?

Pilot Decimo Capless Fountain Pen - Pete Denison
When Pete writes a review he does not play around. This is a great read the whole way and wonderfully thorough.

Reconsidering Moleskine - The Well Appointed Desk
Loved this post checking in on a brand we stationery snobs tend to write off carte blanche. It does sound like they have made some upgrades to some of their paper, and I could easily see trying some of the newer form factors/materials from Moleskine.

InCoWriMo 2016 - Goulet Pens Blog
InCoWriMo is coming! The idea is to write a letter or postcard every day for the month of February. I put together a little form for friends to help me update my address book I’m going to lower my goal a bit I think since going from nearly zero letters to 29 in 29 days seems overly ambitious. But I’m already looking forward to playing around with inks and trying out some of the 100+ ink samples I have laying around. Obviously a lot of this post is focused on things you can buy from Goulet Pens, and they're a retailer I like a lot, but mostly I'm sharing because I love the shared doc with a wide range of famous people to include in your InCoWriMo list.

WeekEnd Bake

Last weekend was a pretty busy bake week, what with the long weekend here in the US.

Continued on the ciabatta-off with two variations of the poolish ciabatta, with and without olive oil. Housemate and her partner agreed that the olive oil tasted nearly identical but had a better crust and crumb. I also baked with the new starter again. A loaf of sourdough with pancetta, parsley and shaved cheeses (asiago, romano, parmesan), and a plain loaf of sourdough.

Pancetta loaf was good, a promising start. But I’m wondering if I need the pancetta really. Thinking of trying again with some cheese and parsley only. The plain sourdough was an interesting thing. Something happened to make it… off. Tasted like I didn’t salt, even though I know I did, and the crumb wasn’t bad but it did seem overly moist. Could be a matter of needing more rise time, could be that I mis-measured the water? Took a break from the starter for a bit since he’s expensive to maintain now that he’s all dark rye flour, will get him going again this week and bake more on the weekend.

This weekend was a single loaf just to have some bread around, the everyday loaf but with a longer fermentation time. Mostly though about getting back in the pizza making game. First pizza in a few months shown below. Spinach, hot italian sausage, fresh mozzarella. Very, very good.

Consumed

I’ve been reading a lot! (Thanks library hold requests all coming in during the same week.) Will mention a couple things I read, and share this link to GoodReads if you want to see other stuff I’ve read of late.

10:04 - Ben Lerner
I’ve known of Lerner for awhile, but mostly as a poet. I was resistant to reading his novels for no good reason, and I’m glad I’ve given that up. His first novel was rambling on purpose, but it felt a little torn between traditional narrative and something more fractured, and to me, more interesting. 10:04 immediately felt more confident. It’s hard book to know how to talk about in part because it does a lot. There’s formal experiments, no clear line between reality and fiction, some attempts at meta-commentary, and a more well realized protagonist/Lerner stand in. There’s grand ideas about poetry and literature and writing, alongside trivial, even frustration digressions in the poet’s voice. But it all works beautifully into abarely organized mess that I was tempted to start on again immediately. My favorite section recounts his time in Marfa, TX, which at times reminded me of my trip there in 2014.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi is also very very good, and highly recommended.


And that's a wrap! See you all next week, and am hoping to get enough daylight time post work to take the lilliput review pictures, text is mostly done. Also here's a bonus picture of my cat.

WeekEnd Review - January 10th, 2016

I’ve toyed with doing some roundup posts for links and such since starting the blog. I was hesitant at first because who needs another one, right? But at the same time, I look forward to each and every one of them, especially when they can point me to blogs I didn’t know about or haven’t spent much time with. So here’s my take on it. It’ll change over time I’m sure, but for now it’ll be what I baked, anything I read/watched/listened to that’s of note, and links from the week.

WeekEnd Links

Top Ten Pens of 2015 - Leigh Reyes : My Life As a Verb
Leigh’s posts are scary for my wallet, but she has such great taste in pens and takes beautiful pictures of them. A nice round up of her favorites from 2015. (The Model 20 is inching it’s way up my list.)

The Conid Minimalistica Demonstrator Review - The Pen Addict
There have been a few reviews of this pen floating around, and while I think it’s not in the cards for now, I’m keeping an eye on Conid. I love the way this one looks.

Lostwithiel Salt Marshes - Pens! Paper! Pencils!
I really like when Ian’s posts about his sketches and painting pop up in my feed. This one in particular was open in a tab for a few days just to revisit. Really lovely painting.

Parker 61 Jet Flighter Fountain Pen - The Clicky Post
This is a very cool pen, and a reminder I should pull out the three or four vintage pens I’ve been gifted. Most of them are simple lever-fillers that just need a new sac, perfect for starting out on restoration.

DIY Proofing Box - The Fresh Loaf Forum
An old post on The Fresh Loaf, but it prompted a couple hours of planning and scheming today. After a few weeks of temperature issues (e.g. my shelf for bread making being ~15 degrees cooler than normal sometimes) and a complete disaster of a loaf this morning, due in part to both temperature and what I think was spent yeast, I have decided I need to put something together like this so I can finally control temperature. I'm sure I'll post about it when I pick up all the pieces needed.

How to Make Pizza - NY Times
My housemate and I at some point called our house House of 1000 Pizzas. We haven’t quite lived up to the name the last 6 or so months, but even so, it’s a subject dear to my heart. This is a great introduction if you’ve never tried making it at your house. Yes, a peel and a stone help, but his cast iron skillet method gives you an option not requiring either. I’m making a batch of this dough tomorrow after work for pizza later this week.

WeekEnd Bake

Two loaves this weekend. On the left, Everyday Loaf, which is a variation on the Saturday Bread by Ken Forkish. (commercial yeast, no pre-ferment, four-ish hour rise and an hour proof because the kitchen was about 80 degrees. It looks good which is a nice change from the disaster loaf, and will accompany some soup my housemate has been making all day. On the right is the first sourdough with my new all dark rye flour starter. It’s a young starter and I shouldhave given it a few days honestly, but even so I’m hopeful that when I cut into it it’ll be workable.

I tried a stopgap solution for temperature today, using a heating pad for seedlings. It ended up being just a bit too warm to keep on the whole time, but until I build out a proofing box it might be workable.

Consumed

It was a really busy week back at work so I ended up pretty exhausted most days and didn’t read or watch much, so a short list of one this week.

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (links to a review that is pretty in line with my feelings, if a bit more positive)
I finished the first book of 2016! It’s a slight thing, but overall I enjoyed it. There’s some interesting thoughts on how to write poetry/what makes good poetry, which was a nice addition to the main story. And the writing itself is really the draw here. As the review linked above says, the protagonist really does have a way with words.


And that’s that! I have a post about a ciabatta bake-off that’ll go up in a few days, and am planning to start on my Kaweco Lilliput Brass Wave review as well, probably for later this week/next week.

Hope you all enjoy the week ahead!