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!
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 I used to have a lists page but took it down because it was woefully out of date.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.
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.
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.