The best are the ones that have multi-media: pictures glued in, ink or pencil drawings (all the ones from around the time of my drafting classes in college come off like Chris Ware books), random bits of life.
The one I'm using right now is a Moleskine. It's the small one (fits in my back pocket) and it was with me on that trip to Boston to meet up with many HuSians way back when. It disappeared for a while, then showed back up. It has random writing from people at Jacob Wirth's that night.
The first entries are statements of purpose. Then a quick entry in 2003 about the coming war, and a whole bunch of notes from security and penetration testing at work. A few plans for a desk, and a drawing of the midwest from 30,000 feet. Two different building maps, and a map to Kim's house.
If you were to compare this Moleskine to the notebook that spans the time from when I was 15 'til I was 18, you'd not recognize them as coming from the same person. Not unusual with the time that has passed, but if you compared my writing here to any of the journals I keep, you'd still have trouble linking the two. There is some overlap. My trip back to Las Cruces and El Paso in 2004 for a family reunion was documented here from notes in my notebook. The words in my Moleskine are much more dire, much more introspective, and not for public consumption, but there's enough in common that you can tell one came from the other. Key phrasing, that sort of thing.
I have a thing for maps. Some sort of cartographer's fetish. My Moleskine is littered with them, some quite detailed and others crude, shaky from being drawn with one hand on a phone, notebook on the hood of the car. The trip to Cruces yielded maps of the trail I hiked along with sketches of the waypoints I used.
Twenty pages from there, though, is the ballistics for .223 caliber 45 and 55 grain Hornady VMax from 100 to 1000 yards in MoA, and a sketch of the conditions and targets from the defense course.
Then two pages later, a recipe for a beef dish that I still need to make.
Just this bizarre stream of consciousness, a dumping ground for every little thing. I still have no use for a PDA (despite having a couple of handheld devices) because ink and paper is fast, convenient, and permanent. If electronics catches up to the speed and convenience that paper has, I may have to replace my notebooks...but not until then.
I wonder what someone would think if they found this thing? I mean, despite the promise of easy cash (I have a reward of $100 written into the front, along with my address and such), if I found it I'd probably keep it. It has all these Travis Bikel meets Sergio Aragones moments that make for pretty interesting reading.
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