Late Adopter Chronicles: the Kakuno fountain pen by Pilot

Best fountain pen on a budget, even with its (his?!) weird anthropomo branding. 

Wow, the Kakuno with fine nib totally outperforms my longtime go-to fountain pen, the Lamy Safari with extrafine nib—for a third of the price. I got mine for the stunning price of 1200 yen, but it can be had in the US for about that much ($10-12 on Amazon, for instance). Writes smooth to give a generally crisp line of ink. Just wish the cap had a clip on it to secure the Kakuno to pants or backpack pockets.
Kakuno fountain pen on a Baron Fig Apprentice notebook
The winking smiley face on the nib may add some playfulness to the pen for some, but I don’t like the idea of writing with ink coming out of the top of someone’s head.
information sheet accompanying the pen

My Idea of a Corner Office

Cost effective but ergonomically taxing. 

Window-counter seating at Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.

Window-counter seating at Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.

For about $20 $10 more, I could hang out in the common areas of a coworking space, but I love the opportunities to people watch and overhear conversations here. And the cold brew coffee is fantastic.

Currently Reading: The Art of Creative Thinking


A creative person can’t refuse to grow old but they can refuse to grow up. They maintain the playful attitude of a child throughout their lives. They understand that some things are too serious to take seriously. They never lose the urge to throw a snowball at a businessman. All creativity is about mind over matter. That matter might be paint, ink, paper or almost anything. The matter doesn’t matter, because it’s all in the mind.

Rod Judkins’ The Art of Creative Thinking is a fantastic collection of thematic stories, perspectives, quotes and guidance. A great philosophical complement to Austin Kleon’s more pragmatically oriented Steal Like an Artist. That’s not to say that The Art of Creative Thinking is all theoretical, but it excels at conveying an attitude toward creativity, as opposed to getting into the mechanics of doing creative work. Continue reading

Open Notebook: The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing

Here are some perspectives David Morley shares in his fantastic book The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. 

Writing proceeds forwards slowly, like a sand dune moving through night and day, simultaneously accreting and eroding. Much is lost or invisible, millions of grains of sand, millions of grains of language

You have now begun to walk in the open space of the page. The journey becomes an elaborate series of gambles, and there is no sense of forward progression as such; there is shaping and reconfiguring, stepping back, inking in and beginning over.

A notebook is a movable workplace… A notebook will make the difference between a book being born and one that never achieves conception.

…we have to use the right words and the right words in the best order.

Most writers agree that the best way to write well creatively is to write for yourself.

It follows that the best way to read as a writer is to read for yourself.

Toward Self-Actualization In Career: How to Find Fulfilling Work vs. Alternatives

The title of this blog post may be somewhat of a misnomer, because WordPress won’t allow me to italicize or underline words in that title. It’s not referring to finding fulfilling work vs. settling on drudgery that pays the bills; it’s referring to the School of Life’s book and video How to Find Fulfilling Work and how it compares to a few other resources of the same ilk.

Imagine five parallel universes, in each of which you could have a whole year off to pursue absolutely any career you desired. Now think of five different jobs you might want to try out in each of these universes.—from How to Find Fulfilling work

Do More Great Work, coverWhile the book How to Find Fulfilling Work and its accompanying summary video (below) offer some good thought-prodding perspectives, I’ve found that beyond the exercises offered in the book, How to Find Fulfilling Work is not as directly actionable as the guidance given in Do More Great Work and Finding Your Element. Those two books contain nicely guided activities aimed at leading you to specific and useful insights. Also, Simon Sinek’s Why Discovery Course is an invaluable approach to the “know yourself” portion of  How to Find Fulfilling Work‘s recommendations, and Simon Sinek’s discussion of The Golden Circle in Start With Why (and his now classic TEDx Talk, embedded below) provides an excellent framework for understanding not only our own nature but that of organizations and movements.

How to Find Fulfilling Work is a good starting point, but readers of it should go beyond it by taking its advice to “think a lot” and structure that thought with additional resources.

What helpful resources for self-actualization and career fulfillment have you found?

A Fun Week Wraps Up Constructively: The Conclusion of Bored and Brilliant

6. Dream House: tasked to build an ideal abode with the contents of my wallet as the last Bored and Brilliant Challenge (this one coming from artist Nina Katchadourian), here’s what I came up with: Verdant Hills, Lakeshore Solarium (situated somewhere in Western Massachusetts or Oregon, maybe Northern California or Shikoku if it came to that…)
As you can see, I don’t keep much in my wallet, keeping it slimmed down and comfortably pocketable. No receipts, no rewards cards, no coins—I deplore metallic currency; as soon as I’ve accumulated enough change to meet the $5 minimum for getting a no-fee gift card from Coinstar, I’m at one of their machines, dumping those coins.

BoredBrillant_NTC_SquareWhat a fun week! Thanks, New Tech City! Loved all the insights from research and wonderful interviews you shared with us, along with all the great prompts to tame some of our tech behaviors! I wish this were a month of challenges, but maybe now it’s time to continue building the challenges into habits. Looking forward to upcoming episodes and hearing about how other listeners experienced Bored and Brilliant…

Eagerly Awaiting: Bored and Brilliant’s finale is tomorrow

16216863478_bf12a7db47_mIt’s been a fun week of Bored and Brilliant challenges from WNYC’s New Tech City. I’m psyched to see how this all wraps up with the final challenge tomorrow.

Here’s a rundown of how the week has gone for me…

  1. In Your Pocket: the challenge of keeping my phone in my pocket/bag while in transit was made way easy by being snowed in; I don’t use my phone as much when I’m at home, opting for a computer as my portal for all things Internet (66 minutes on my iPhone; about half of that was streaming video in the evening).
  2. Photo Free Day: I didn’t take any photos… but I did record some video; the snowy woods were just too scenic during my late afternoon walk. (77 minutes)
  3. Delete That App: Tasked to delete my most time-sinking app, I was stumped;  Continue reading

Almost Time to Get “Bored and Brilliant”

After listening to the latest Studio 360 Science and Creativity podcast featuring Manoush Zomorodi talking about smartphone addictions, boredom, creativity and the default mode network, I am psyched to take part in WNYC’s Bored and Brilliant project! The plan: for the next week, resist/avoid smartphone tendencies, get bored, work on creative daily challenges.

If that sounds like fun to you, jump on in. At least listen to the Science and Creativity or New Tech City podcast on this the topic of boredom/daydreaming and creativity; great stuff there.