Traveler’s Notebook

December 8th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Nerd | Travel - (1 Comments)

In which, yet again, I become what I judge. This time was quicker than usual! (It took twenty years for me to end up fat and the owner of a fake Christmas tree, but only weeks to end up with a Traveler’s Notebook!)

Behold. My Traveler’s Notebook.

Traveler's Notebook

This object has totally captured my imagination. I’m not really sure why, as it’s just a piece of leather and some elastic, a tin clamp, a waxed thread bookmark, paper, and accessories, but I adore it. (No hyperbole. Sometimes I just sit and hold it and look at it.)

So elegant and clever. So satisfying. The smell of the leather, the feel of the paper. The thoroughly modern faux-rusticity.

You feel as if, should the world end, you’d carry this with you always, and scribble in it with the smallest and most cramped hand to save what little paper was left. Future feral generations would marvel at the even-cut edges, the fineness of the paper, the way the leather was treated. The impossibly complicated dried-out old plastic-and-steel pen, and the precision-milled pen clip. It would be scarred and bent, but beautiful, and you’d have put all you knew in it for them.


(Of course, what will really happen is that when this journaling generation goes, there will be millions upon millions of these things, stuffed with inspirational stickers and craft paper flowers and tabs and clips and cutesy drawings and a personal, woman’s-eye view into life way back in the teens, unearthed in boxes in grandmas’ houses and glutting the antiques market and whatever will pass for eBay by then. If they come back in style, like Polaroid cameras have now, people will probably buy them and gut them and re-use the by-then antique leather covers.)

I got the notebook itself (a “fauxdori,” made by a company called September Leather) for free, using points from my Chase Amazon card. (I can’t tell you how much I’ve spent on accessories since it’s completely embarrassing.) I soon restrung it with a Midori repair kit, even though the original elastics were just fine, to make it look more like a Midori.


I’ve purchased hand-made inserts, official Midori inserts. Pencil boards, kraft folders, pens. Colored pencils, brush pens, a couple of stencils. Book darts, washi tape, a repair kit, double sided tape, pen holder clips, and Midori post-its designed to fit inside.


And, if all that weren’t enough, I also bought a passport-sized Midori, plus a few accessories for it, too.


I use the little one as a wallet. It’s the most expensive wallet I’ve ever carried, and it’s not even a wallet! But it does hold one’s passport perfectly, plus money and cards.

I looooooooooove it.

The big one, the standard size, is my daily journal. And sketchbook. And spiritual journal. And place for lists and to-dos, and a catch-all for random bits of paper, and post-its dispenser, and pen holder, and it just looks cool and feels cool and is fun to handle.

Traveler's Notebook

It’s really nice to journal by hand again; I haven’t done so regularly since high school. It’s different than writing online or even typing, and I’m enjoying it very much. My wretched handwriting is slowly improving, and I’ve begun to sketch and doodle, too — something I’ve never really done.

Sometimes I sketch things from books I’m reading; other sketches are scenes from what I’m watching on TV. I have no talent for art but it’s fun, and feels better than wasting time scrolling endlessly on social media.


I discovered the Traveler’s Notebook by accident when looking up Bullet Journaling. And here’s where the judgement comes in.

In August, I posted this innocuous entry about the chores I’d done that day, and Jinjer, whom I blame completely for my journal obsession, told me about the world of BuJo and posted a handy link.

I clicked.

And fell down the rabbit hole of modern planner obsession. Just like standing in front of a Franklin Planner display back in the day, only seemingly infinite. Instagram hashtags, Pinterest, endless blogs and YouTube flip-throughs. And eventually I stumbled across the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, a refillable Japanese stationer’s flagship product, and that was that. Had to have one. Had to have two.

The judgement thing was that, at first, as I looked at all the stuff, at the endless pictures of piles of planners and journals and pens and stickers and stamps and tapes and myriad other stupid meaningless and often plastic accessories, I thought, “Gross. Wasteful. Needless. These people could bullet journal with a Bic and a two dollar spiral notebook!”

I came across online stationery and pen stores, and thought, “How fucking stupid and pretentious can anyone be? Nobody needs a two hundred dollar fucking fountain pen.” But before two months were out, I’d placed my first Jet Pens order, and read through maybe half of their lovely, clever tutorials, learning several useful things.

Full disclosure: I did buy a fucking fountain pen, but it was under two bucks. I just wanted to see if I, as a leftie, could write with it. Turns out I can, but I have to hold it upside down, in order to pull rather than push the nib. I’m not super fond of it because I prefer superfine pens, and it writes medium-to-heavy.

Fauxdori Traveler's Notebook

So my knee-jerk reaction was a negative judgement, and I ended up turning into what I’d judged. In almost no time at all.

Do I need not only one but two relatively expensive journal solutions? No, I could write online here, or in a private local document. Or if I simply had to go analogue (which I felt I did, as there appears to be evidence it’s good for brain plasticity), any pen and pad of paper would do. It’s just typical Western gluttony and wastefulness (even if it does stimulate the economy (which I’m not confident is wholly good no matter what they say)).

Do any non-professionals need special paper types, wide varieties of writing utensils, or other accessories? No, not at all. I’m no artist, or famous diarist, or world traveler.

But do I really need most of what I have? No. And I’m ashamed of it, honestly, but not enough to force privation on myself. I focus instead on my gratitude and good fortune, most of the time.

Much of my adult life I couldn’t have afforded to buy these things on a whim; I would have put them on wishlists and eventually forgotten about them. Now that I’m in a spot where I can drop sixty bucks on a glorified wallet I don’t need, well, I did. So I’m just like everybody else and I use my discretionary income to buy shit I do not, in any way, shape, or form, need, but only want.

I love this thing

It feels weird. It’s strange that when my life is at its most abundant and comfortable, I’m mentally so Spartan in outlook. I frequently feel a sense of melancholy about how normalized my relative wealth is, when so many are still suffering heartbreaking lack. I have so much, from hot running water to grocery delivery to the luxury of enough free time to make my own bread and pickles and salsa and soups and sauces and hats and socks. Other people are literally shooed off of the park benches they’re trying to sleep on.

Oh, well, enough pontificating. The positive outcome of all this is that not only do I have a couple of objects that give me great pleasure every time I use them, and a new habit of offline analog time, but also I donated an equal amount to the local food kitchen and shelter just so I could stand myself! True story.

Link roundup

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Nerd | Soapbox | Social | Web - (0 Comments)

In which it’s so political out there that it’s just better if I bitch here, where nobody but, like, five people and a couple of bots will ever see it.

This article just showed up in my timeline. Being a woman, I clicked on it.

The Reality That All Women Experience That Men Don’t Know About

Oh. My. Fucking. GOD. Don’t click through. It’s awful. Let me summarize it for you:

“Men have libidos and they look at us, beginning as soon as we go through puberty. We’re totally TRAUMATIZED by this and expect to be protected from ever being looked at or desired, ever. Because we’re inherently weak victims by nature.”

I am so sick of this idiot “narrative” that can’t tell the goddamned difference between evil (murderers) and horniness (young males), between actual danger (ISIL) and vague interest (a guy who looks at you), and which remains so completely convinced of its intrinsic worth and right to a voice that its adherents complaint-blog about men everywhere, constantly, all the time.

Sometimes it’s not even about “sexual harassment” (aka being human in public); they’ll blog about males simply being nice to them, because their victim-as-identity mentality is so deeply embedded in their psyches that they can’t tell the difference between a male with bad manners and a male that is trying to be helpful. Literally.

Any time a male interacts with them and doesn’t cower and grovel and spew “feminist” platitudes, it’s “harassment.” And if a man tries to help them, they’re instantly pissed off and insulted because they don’t need help from men and are perfectly capable, and being offered assistance is an insult!

Ladies: you’re not “feminists.” Feminism died before most of you were born. Actual feminists fought for equality and had legitimate academic clout. “Feminism” has degraded into a male-hating pogrom and it’s ugly, unbalanced, ignorant, privileged, immature, selfish, sexist, and wrong.

I loathe this article. It’s simple, petulant, and privileged, and sounds like it was written by an indoctrinated twelve-year-old still struggling with puberty and the measurable, demonstrable fact that boys and girls are different.

If I were more attached to my sex than my humanity, I’d be embarrassed by it, and go on apologetically about how most women aren’t nearly half as stupid, self-obsessed, and immature as the author appears to be, and I’d say that most of us are quite capable of rational thought and can tell the difference between being looked at and the legal definition of harassment.

Except judging by the massive volume of complaint-blogs about males and re-posts by women, apparently it’s not true.

This kind of thing isn’t groundbreaking, it isn’t useful, and it isn’t feminism. It’s privileged whining as a wrapper around full-on hatred of the masculine. It’s sexism.

I can’t believe how many otherwise intelligent women are applauding this article. Wives of husbands, mothers of sons! And if they’re instilling this kind loathing into their boys, well, it’s no wonder they’re all transgender. (Three of the women who reposted the link are mothers of boys who want to be girls.)

This was posted, in earnest I believe, on Facebook yesterday:

Smithsonian Admits to Destruction of Thousands of Giant Human Skeletons in Early 1900′s

Really? Are you not even gonna use any part of that university education you paid tens of thousands of dollars for? I won’t even bother to say that both Nat Geo and Snopes say “hoax,” because it’s obvious.

Filed under chemtrails. Ye gods, people.


A more mature rant, but still about the same shit: ZOMG SEXISM IS EVERYWHERE, ENTRENCHED AND RAMPANT!

Please. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Women abandoned tech because they didn’t want to be there. I personally spent my career — what there was of it — in tech. Women don’t like tech for two reasons: they don’t like being on call all night because they have families to deal with, and nerds expect them to be competent. The ones who aren’t competent find that using feminine wiles on (most) nerds is an epic fail, because (most) nerds either don’t notice or don’t care but they definitely know you have no idea how to configure a border router or do subnetting in your head.

Being annoyed once in awhile by an idiot who happens to be male and says dumb shit does not equal rampant, entrenched sexism. The rest of your male employees and clients were capable of behaving normally, but the occasional reject proves “sexism” to you? Really?

Sexism is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of sex.” It’s when someone says, “I do not believe you are capable of doing this because of your chromosomes.” Not getting a job in the engineering department because you don’t know how to subnet is not sexism.


‘And then I turned 40 in the office,’ and confused sexism with ageism. Any idea how many males get let go because they’re “old”? Our culture is obsessed with youth.

And let us not forget that our culture undervalues motherhood as a whole and half of “our culture” is voting women who haven’t bothered to do shit about it. If you chose housewifery over a job that undervalued home and family and valued only itself, that was capitalism, not sexism.

It’s not men who say that making money at work is so important that it must take precedence over caregiving, it’s all of us. If women wanted it fixed, they’d get it fixed. Our society in general feels, if pay rates are anything to go by, that being the CEO of a successful corporation is valuable, being a doctor is less valuable, being a teacher is even less valuable, and being a mother is worth nothing at all.


Amazon Prime Now: Fun, but weird!

November 7th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Nerd - (0 Comments)

In which the lack of integration and the strange selection of available items is weird.

Prime Now. It’s a thing where, if you live in a designated big city, you can order stuff from Amazon and have it delivered in a couple of hours rather than in a couple of days.

The stuff arrives in Amazon-branded paper shopping bags. Which is a cute but unnecessary touch:

Amazon Prime Now

Seems like a great idea, except, well, it’s not integrated with your existing Amazon account at all. You can’t shop Prime Now from, you have to use the app. (The app which doesn’t even run on Fire devices! You can only run it on Android and Apple devices.) You can’t tell if anything in your cart or on your wishlists is eligible for Now unless you search for it in the app. You cannot see your current cart or lists in the Prime Now app, either.

The selection is massive but weird. You can get a coat tree, toilet paper, or a skein of black wool yarn delivered; you can’t get a plain ol’ gallon of milk (unless it’s organic or almond). You can get candy, game controllers, electronic cables, and snacks. You can get Amazon devices like Kindles and Paperwhites and a selection of cases for them.

You can get orange juice and organic TV dinners, high end kettle chips and most of the items you’d find in the organic or health food sections, but you can’t get much else food-wise that isn’t snacks. You can get some AmazonBasics items, but not the armless office chair you actually want now that you sat in this chair for 40 hours:

My new desk!

I mean, it’s a very cool chair, but it’s not height-adjustable and the cushion is quite lumpy and flat.

All in all, Now is pretty cool if your car is in the shop and you need certain specific things within a couple of hours, but the lack of dotcom integration and the unintuitive nature of the stock makes it a strange service.

Kickin’ back

November 30th, 2012 | Posted by Mush in Nerd - (1 Comments)

In which I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Work’s been slow lately. I’ve been stymied trying to migrate websites from one server to another because my fucking end users can’t update their DNS; it’s beyond rocket surgery to these people.

“But… but… why can’t you do it?” they whine. “Because I DON’T HOST YOUR FUCKING SHIT!” I say. I have sites I’ve been trying to upgrade since August. Literally. It takes people that long to login to GoDaddy or what the fuck ever and click the Edit button.


My gig-free month ends today. Tomorrow night I’ll be with the Kings in Richland; looking forward to performing, yeah, but not so much the driving and loading in and setting up and tearing down and driving.

Sunday afternoon I have a date with g’ma. We’re going for pedicures. Taking a pedi with your g’ma on a Sunday afternoon is a wonderful thing, by the way.

I started going to yoga again, and I’m here to say fuck chiropractic, really. I realize Westernized yoga is categorically and emphatically not yoga, but it does provide the best spine health ever ever ever. (I hadn’t even realized how locked up my lower back was until walking out of the studio Wednesday night.) Also, in partially related revelations: I have short arms and long shins, so certain poses are, like, impossible for me.

I got paid yesterday and promptly spent all but a couple hundred bucks of it. I bought stuff for Xmas gifts, I sent my dentist a payment on my root canal, I paid for the DSL, I paid my absurd fucking cell phone bill, I paid my housing donation, and I bought about $100 worth of assorted clothes for myself — mostly bras and undies and socks but also a pair of jeans and a jacket. (I found myself wearing panties the other day that were literally sagging off my butt. Unfortunately I was half-naked in TinyChat at the time, so, yeah, that was awkward and caused an immediate NOTE TO SELF TO BUY SOME GODDAMNED UNDERWEAR and full-on follow through.)

I’ve been rockin’ the jazz Christmas carols up in the office this week. I should put some Christmas lights up around the door, too. I love Christmas lights.

In other news, riding one’s bike to and from work in freezing fog in the dark is FUCKING COLD. Just FYI.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s my lunch hour and I’m going to the post office now.

Baffled By Broadcasting

October 11th, 2009 | Posted by administratrix in Nerd - (6 Comments)

In which universe does this make any sense?

Okay, so I don’t really know how wi-fi works. I assume it’s some sort of transmitter/receiver relationship like radio or old-style television. I figure there needs to be an appropriate amount of proximity and an inversely appropriate lack of obstacles between the two stations, but once you’ve got a device that’s transmitting and a device that’s receiving, it should just work barring interference on the same frequency, right?

So why does my wi-fi signal degrade over time?

I have a cheap-ass Encore wireless DSL modem. It’s in the guest bedroom, which is at the front of the house. I do 99% of my computing from my bedroom, which is upstairs and at the opposite end of the house.

I can get online just fine most of the time; but then everything gets really shitty. I can barely surf, let alone watch vids on Netflix (which is, yes, my main use of my connection these days. So sue me). If I run a tracert, the first hop – between my computer and my modem – takes FOR. FUCKING. EVER.

And here’s where it gets weird: no standard troubleshooting (refresh wifi adapter, reboot computer, reboot modem, etc.) has any effect whatsoever, BUT if I just carry the netbook down to the router I can then put it back where it started and it WORKS JUST FINE for a week or more.

In my room I get two bars. Next to the modem, duh, I get five. All I have to do is get the netbook close to the router for a few minutes and my problems are solved for days. I have experienced this phenomenon too many times to dismiss it as coincidence. I don’t have to reboot anything, or even reconnect: I just have to get physically closer for a few minutes and my connection stabilizes for up to a week.

My question is this: WTF, over?

VUBOQ Rocks!

September 28th, 2009 | Posted by administratrix in Nerd - (0 Comments)

In which there’s a totally awesome t-shirt!

Last week, VUBOQ posted a picture of his new bedazzled Storm Trooper t-shirt and I was totally all OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1! THAT IS SO BITCHIN’!!! and you know what he did?


Bedazzled Storm Trooper Tee

Geek Stuff

April 7th, 2006 | Posted by administratrix in Nerd | Web - (2 Comments)

In which I tell you technical crap you probably don’t care about.

I’m trying to move this site from one of LISCO’s old Cobalts over to the outsourced server. Thing is, the site’s got a secure form on it and I don’t really know shit about SSL/HTTPS. I activated SSL on the new server, fine. But the secure form? Was built in FrontPage, which I loathe and hate. And which, incidentally, doesn’t seem to be allowed to connect to the secure folder on the target server. If I disable FP extensions so I can connect using FTP to upload the form, it won’t work. But I can’t seem to upload it with FP.

Good thing I enjoy a challenge.

I’m also the webmistress for the Amma Fairfield Satsang. I let both of its domains expire because I couldn’t find my fucking login for, which is where I registered the domains. I finally got in (more or less accidentally) and renewed them, but now one of the sites can’t find it’s MySQL database, probably due to some DNS problem and/or some side effect of the domain having been disabled. Believe me, this is a total pain in the ass, especially since I can’t remember the cPanel login nor the FTP login. They should both be saved in my password app, but they’re not. Which means either that I’m a slob or that I accidentally overwrote the app’s db when synching with my PPC. Ugh.

Technology, as much as I adore it, does not really make things easier.

In other news, it’s fucking nice outside and I absolutely love not being cold. I love rolling out of bed without wincing and shivering. I love standing outside the back door while brushing my hair. I love Iowa in the spring, it’s so balmy and sweet.

And for no reason whatsoever, this is a picture of some farmer’s random spring brush fire I drove past the other day:

Burn Pile

Work machine

January 24th, 2006 | Posted by administratrix in Nerd | Work - (2 Comments)

In which you get to see my desktop!

I haven’t posted a pic of my desktop in like a thousand million quadrillion years, so here it is:


(Click to embiggen.)

I’m running Windows2kPro with WindowBlinds and Iconoid. Can’t remember where I got the wallpaper from.

Goddamn I’m cute.

Newton Love

December 21st, 2005 | Posted by administratrix in LOTD | Nerd - (4 Comments)

In which I totally drool over obsolete electronic devices!

OMG, you guys, OMG I totally want this:

It’s the Newton Museum‘s entire collection! One of every single model of Newton ever made, plus a bunch of software!

I used to carry a Newton or two, back in the day. They were cute, cute, cute! I had storage cards, cases, even tiny little keyboards – the Newton will always have a place in my heart. The opsys was adorable. And the easter eggs! And the handwriting recognition!

Go win me that auction. I’m so worth it. *wink*

iPod Love

October 26th, 2005 | Posted by administratrix in Nerd - (1 Comments)

In which I absolutely gush about an electronic device you don’t give a shit about.

I haven’t been doing much with the blog these past two days because I’ve been playing with my new iPod. Doin’ stuff like finding missing music and putting it back in my collection, adding album art, updating tags, putting anything redneck into a folder to go on Brett’s iPod (he got my old mini) etc. etc. etc. It’s fairly labor-intensive.

Oh, plus work’s been busy too, but whatever. RDSL installations, cross-connections, DSLAM ports, customers wanting to have me walk them through changing their damn email settings (LOOK IT UP ON THE FUCKING SUPPORT SITE, THAT’S WHAT IT’S THERE FOR!), employees calling me to look port numbers or circuit IDs up for them: whatEVer. Back to iTunes.

My music library is so hot. It’s all organized and tagged and shit ~ I can hardly stand myself. (Good thing there aren’t any busses in this town, because I’d probably get hit by one the minute I step outside: that’s how nice my ID3 tags are.)