Recently, I’ve been thinking about technology (imagine that, being in my field and thinking about technology) and my relationship with it.
I’ve been working in Information Technology for almost 14 years now. For many years, I’ve appreciated the lure of the new shiny, and all the wonderful things that modern technology can do for you. But there are things I’ve not been able to let go of, and it doesn’t matter how nice and shiny the technological replacement may be.
I love books. Nooks and Kindles and their ilk be damned. I want to feel real paper in my hands. I want the smell of printers ink in my nostrils. So the last novel I read was a whopping 900+ pages in hard back (and I do NOT want to know how heavy it was in my backpack, thank you very much!) Sure, I could have found an ereader copy of the book that would weigh a lot less…but it’s NOT PAPER! It’s blasphemy, an abomination. I laugh about the Kindle ads on Hulu when I see them. But I relate to the woman and her reasoning about the paper books.
I’m also a map and guidebook fiend. When Maurie and I talk about taking a hike someplace new, the first stop is REI or another gear shop for a map and maybe a guidebook of the area. I grew up with map and compass as part of the 10 essentials, and will never give them up. I see so many folks replacing them with a GPS (
Gets Position Sometimes Global Positioning System). What are you going to do when the batteries die? What about where satellite coverage is non-existent to poor? I’ve been reading the Pacific Crest Trailside Reader – Oregon and Washington and read a section called “The Reluctant Guidebook Writer”, written by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (one of the contributors on the original Pacific Crest Trail, PCT, Guidebooks). In his contribution to the Trailside Reader, he argued that with everything in publishing being done digitally, guidebooks must necessarily die. What should they be replaced with, why with apps on on a GPS, of course. I nearly cried foul as I read that passage (which would have startled Maurie, to be sure)!
Paper: I love good paper. I spent years scribbling away on cheap, smooth, thin filler paper. In college, a professor required all work to be handed in on quality paper (at least 20 lb weight, 20% cotton “rag” content, watermarked and laid finish). I found that there’s really something about good quality paper. It’s the way it feels in the hands, the way it takes ink. It’s something that can’t be explained, and I know some folks just don’t understand.
I journal in a regular paper journal. I’ve tried doing my journaling on a laptop, and it works, but it just doesn’t feel right. I’ve never been able to get into writing a journal. Last summer, I decided to buy a nice journal to force myself to really focus on it. It’s been working. But I can tell you, for my journaling, there’s nothing like having a proper paper journal and writing in it with a nice pen.
That brings me to the next thing – pens. I’ve gone through so many disposable, plastic, ink-filled tubes. Most feel flimsy in the hand, and just, well, cheap. I’ve come to like a good, durable, refillable pen. I still have the Cross pen and pencil set I received from a friend’s family when I graduated High School, and I still use them. I also have a nice heavy roller ball pen pen that’s refillable that, when it has a quality refill in it, is a pleasure to write with. And then, there’s the pen that I truly love, my grandfather’s 1930s Parker Duofold Senior fountain pen. How this came into my possession, rather than my father’s I don’t know, but I’m not complaining. It needs some restoration work (the fill mechanism isn’t working right now), but when I manage to use it as a dip pen, it is a pleasure to write with.
So, there you have it. A few of my eccentricities. Do they make me a Luddite (not wanting to grab onto the latest tech for whatever), anachronistic for wanting to hold onto older method, or am I just eccentric?