The Mystery Mead Clipboard

12 10 2020

The Five Star Mead tag line is “built to last,” which is pretty accurate given that I acquired this clipboard thing so very many years ago that there seems to be no record whatsoever on their website of it, so I can’t tell you what it’s actually called. In my daily quest to sublimate the anxiety of this nightmare world into random little drawings, this clipboard has become for me a sort of portable desk (my actual desk has become a monument to how many unorganized objects I can pile on it without them falling over).

You can see the foundations of reality itself fracturing in this photo!

My DIY notebooks are great, but need a harder surface behind them to draw on, which this clipboard provides perfectly with its fairly firm plastic. The fabric trim all around makes it comfortable to hold onto. The lever to open the clipboard folds down, for those times when I need to put down my pencil and stare off mindlessly into the screaming void of existence but don’t want my pencil to stage an escape of its own. The metal on the clip did rust at some point, but that defect was easily covered up with some washi tape.

Ignore the eldritch hand

But the real bonus about this clipboard is not one but TWO pocket systems on the back. Up top, the big pocket holds standard-sheet-of-paper-sized documents, with a Velcro flap to keep them securely in place. On the bottom, a smaller zippered pocket which fits pencils, writing utensils, smaller notebooks/bits of paper/what have you. It’s an altogether quite handy little organization system that I’ve used in the past for several keeping-track-of-official-and-important-documents projects, and now simply use to hold my sketchbook.

If only all of life’s problems could just be covered with washi tape!

I’m pretty certain I got this from Crazy Alan’s Emporium easily over half a decade ago or more. Do these clipboards still exist in the wild? No telling. If you see one though and would like a handy clipboard for yourself, I recommend it.

Hobonichi Essentials

1 03 2018

A quick rundown of the things that make up my daily Hobonichineeds. We’ve got two pencil boards (this year’s and last years) which I’ve started turning into dashboards including exercise plans (the calendar is a sticky note with calendar template that was in the dollar spot at Target), major monthly to-dos, and decorative stickers and washi scraps. At least one (typically more) washi tape cards. Book darts—these things are fantastically thin, don’t seem to make any marks on the even thinner Tomoe River paper, and help keep track of more spots in the Hobonichi beyond what my two bookmarks can; glad I bought these. Pentel Arts watercolor paints that I put in an Altoid minis tin—these aren’t the most high quality paints out there, but they get the job done and I’ve had no issues with them. Jetstream Multipen, use this guy all the time. Zig Memory System 2 way glue pen, when I want to glue things down rather than affix with washi. Pentel waterbrush, again nothing fancy, gets the job done. A clear-bodied Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner fountain pen, almost always inked with Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink, which fits perfectly in the pen loops of my Gfeller Casemaker leather Hobonichi cover (they’re rather thin loops; this pen fits best). FriXion pastel highlighter and a FriXion stamp. And a bunch of planner stickers in a Hobonichi folder by hatuca. All of these things here I use constantly as part of my daily journaling, recommend fully, and buy refills/restocks of whenever needed.

Nock Co. Fodderstack Mini

31 07 2017

Let me introduce you to my new security blanket, the Fodderstack Mini:

Some people like baby humans, I like baby office supplies

This is the littlest member of the Nock family, designed to hold a Kaweco Liliput (or similar small writing implements) and business / tiny note cards. All the same wonderful materials as I’ve touched on before, in an itty bitty body. Since this is a Nock case, one must immediately load it up with more than the designated amount of goods.

One Kaweco Liliput, one Zebra Minna, several DotDash notecards, a credit card, a debit card, and my ID. It’s a good start

Just looking at the design of it, my main concerns were things falling out, and rain falling in, since the top is left open for ease of access. ​I did not have any rain available on my latest motorcycle trip (gosh, darn), and did not feel like creating artificial weather conditions, so that test will remain for another day. ​


yeah thanks GIF Maker, get a better logo font

You actually have to put some effort in to get something to start coming out of the case. It held onto everything wonderfully when it fell out of my motorcycle jacket pocket, and because it was so brightly colored we spotted it right away rather than it getting left at some outlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I will need more of these

The DotDash notecards are an excellent balance of the characteristics wanted for EDC. I love the unobtrusive dot and dash grid. Though the lines of writing are not tight and crisp like I like, there’s no bleedthrough up there, not even with the Copic or the Sharpie markers. The dry time is quick (about 3 to 4 seconds), which is great for making quick notes with fountain pens especially, and you can see all the sparkles in the Emerald of Chivor ink. Sure I wish there were more shading and crisp lines of fountain pen ink, but I don’t think I’d trade away something like the drying time to get it.

Made in the USA and all that jazz

Because it’s so small, the Fodderstack Mini is easy to grab and throw in a pocket, or carry in my hand; any time I am going somewhere away from a home base of stationery goods this provides a quick way for me to be reassured that I have some good paper and pens with me if needed. That’s why it’s become my stationery security blanket—someone wants a quick word at work? I don’t need to bring a notebook? Au contraire, silly other people, pens and paper are as essential as shirts and shoes. I grab the little Fodderstack and I am instantly prepared.


Being a limited release, the Fodderstack Mini isn’t available on the Nock Co. website right now. But hopefully there will be more batches, if not as a regular product then as a special goodie to acquire at pen shows.

Thanks Brad for my lil buddy!

(Brad provided this case at no charge for reviewing purposes–opinions entirely my own)

Ink Drop Soup – Boombox Arsenal

17 11 2011

Dinner is served

Feeling restricted by Twitter, I wanted to roll out a little segment, a header under which I might categorize all my random pen/ink/paper/etc. musings, to post my write-ups that are not reviews, and can’t be expressed in 140 characters. Such meanderings shall henceforth be declared Ink Drop Soup, so if you don’t care for such ramblings, you can easily avoid them.

It's a set of keys! it's a boombox! It's a wooden bench!

One of the few good things to come out of the closing of Borders Bookstores was that, in the final going-out-of-business sales, I was at long last able to afford overpriced junk like this thing and Moleskines. I probably paid somewhere between five to nine bucks for this thing. Ah, what is this thing? It’s a boombox. No really.

This thing is the epitome of what seems like useless hipster garbage. Only it's actually useful.

First, I attached my keys to it, because I keep losing my keys. Then, I started to keep stuff in it. I’m surprised how much it holds.

Amount held: one scientific unit of a heckuvabunch, or, 1.2 kilahekabunches

The essentials: one mp3 playing unit, to plug into the boombox; one matchbook of Writersblok perforated sticky notes; one Zebra mini-pen; 8GB of memory (one of the two flash drives I use to hold all my pictures for this blog). Optional, not pictured: coins, small sewing implements, band-aid(s), stick of gum, what have you. It’s my favorite mini-arsenal that I’ve assembled so far, and is always handy wherever my keys may go.