Business Cards

Every time I walk into an establishment I grab a business card. I almost never use this card to contact said establishment later, I just keep it with all of the other cards I have. There is absolutely no reason for me to be doing this, aside from the odd joke about me having a card for “My Shaman” etc.

So why in the world do I do this? Well, I just like to, and business cards can be useful. I know several (okay more than that) businessmen (people) who would get sick to their stomach at the idea of taking in more business cards than they already do. I’m sure many people routinely purge their business cards either from their systems entirely or import them into something digital and forget them. I don’t have enough business interactions nor do I walk into enough establishments that have prominently displayed cards for that to be necessary.

I (as with many things I acquire) like having them. But in this case I “can” (should I want to) use them later as well. When indexed properly I can easily find businesses or people in whatever area I’m in that I frequently go to and find contact info or even business hours (and since I’m in the middle of nowhere and many places have no web presence it’s sometimes the only way to find out information like that). And sometimes they are wacky and unique (see “Shaman” above), or pieces of art. But many times they are good examples of what not to do on a card, and upon occasion something you can point to as the best way to make a card ever (that would be my business card, I’m sure of it).

As far as collections go, this one is nice because it doesn’t take up much space and some people can understand why you would want to keep information easily available. And sometimes I realize I’m just a graphic design junkie and I like having all of the styles, sizes, and materials available for reference or brain training or something similar. The cards just look pretty sometimes, which just cements their place in my collections.

Some Fountain Pen Flaws People Seem to have Embraced

I’m a fountain pen user; I just really like the experience. But the experience for me is mainly in the writing itself. The smoothness and ease of writing a fountain pen allows is wonderful in my opinion. But I know that it isn’t always the best way to write and has its detractors. There are quite a few problems that prevent the majority of people from using fountain pens, and prevent me from using them for all tasks. I still carry around a ballpoint with me every day for any writing tasks that I need, and I would say I write more with ballpoints than with fountain pens, and more with fountain pens than rollerballs.

So it seems strange to me that many of the things that I consider to be flaws with fountain pens are embraced, even loved, by the current fountain pen community. That’s not to say I think they’re wrong; I just find it odd. The first is not a particularly cared for phenomenon, but one that is tolerated more than I would think it would be, and that is nib creep. Nib creep is when ink escapes from the channel through the nib slit and onto the top of the nib due to flaws in the nib slit and lubricants in the ink. This ink, while it doesn’t really affect the performance of the writing instrument, can be unsightly, but even if people don’t mind the look, it is a sign that there is a flaw in the pen. With less expensive pens it’s understandable, but companies who make more expensive pens should know better.


Another thing is ink shading. I know I’m a bit boring when it comes to ink because I use black inks 85% of the time, but that’s because they provide the most consistent experience available. Many other colors of ink “shade” or become more concentrated in certain parts of the line due to a variety of factors, resulting in some parts of writing being dark and some being light. To me this is obviously an ink flaw that many companies have worked hard to get rid of, both in ballpoints, and in fountain pen companies’ main inks. Many pen companies’ inks, like Parker and Sheaffer, are made it seems specifically to eliminate this (and make them easy to clean up). I’ve never been partial to making my writing harder to read and unprofessional looking (again, my opinion) but many people seem to love it. It adds some amount of expression to writing that shows one is writing with a fountain pen (well, 95% likelihood). And it just happens more with the more colored inks that people like these days which also show some more expression and that they’re more than likely writing with a fountain pen. But I just like writing, and I like to make my writing as easy and consistent as possible, and shading just isn’t my thing.

Another thing I’m not a particular fan of is ink on my fingers. Now, unlike other people, it seems I can refill a pen without getting ink on me the majority of the time. I’m not really sure why that is, probably because I spend too long doing things and really don’t want ink on my fingers to rub off anywhere else. But I do know that fountain pens can be messy. And I do get ink on my hands from time to time. But I can effectively remove it the majority of the time using a variety of ways. And that has been what the majority of people have done for the better part of the fountain pen’s existence. I would certainly call it a flaw and an extra hassle. I’m not particularly a fan of broadcasting that one of my hobbies can make my hands look dirty, or bloody. But some people use it as an indication that they use fountain pens or as a badge to show what their hobby “costs” (That’s a bad way to phrase that, but I can’t think of a better one.)

Now, obviously none of these things are a deal breaker for me, and I’m not trying to insult people who enjoy (or don’t care about) them. But I’m just not quite sure why most people don’t consider these things flaws. As far as I can tell they obviously are. And people have spent lots of time trying to fix these things. But I guess if it can’t be gotten rid of, it might as well be looked at in a different light.

How-To: Improperly Set Up a Work Routine

Everyone needs to work– at least, well, sorta. But anyway, if you want a good life you need to work. I think. Whatever. But in order to get this work done, you need a good way to get the work done, and that means things like having a workspace and a schedule. And while it’s easy to identify what makes a workspace, it’s much harder to identify what makes a schedule. Not so much in the physical aspects, but in the psychological aspects that make you actually adhere to the schedule.

Now if you’ve read my last How-To, you’d know exactly how important sleeping is, so I’d recommend reading that before proceeding. Next, print out a bunch of pieces of paper and date them. Blank Excel documents or form templates will work well for this. Then begin to schedule out all of the things that need to be done for your work. Do this in one long stretch; it is absolutely imperative that you take no breaks during this process.

Once you have finished writing down everything you need to do for the next five years, go to the store and buy the cheapest binder, and some cookies (because you earned them). Then stuff all of your planning into that binder and place it in the done pile of your desk. Place everything you complete on top of it and forget about it for several months.

Now discover it and remember that you have no discipline and scheduling isn’t your thing. Neither is sleeping.

How-To: Screw up Your Sleep Schedule

People need sleep, but not everyone needs the same amount. The secret is finding out how much sleep you really need, and after following these few simple steps, you’ll find out it’s surprisingly little.

First, isolate yourself from other people; they will only slow you down. If you have a job, quit that job in a spectacular fashion and start making 50K online right now. Now that you’re working from home with no friends, you are the master of your own domain. Name it a pun based on your name, and proceed with the next phase.

Second, using the massive amounts of money you get working from home, purchase all of the soda you can from the nearest store. If you break the shopping carts there you get bonus points. Begin drinking all of this soda as if you were a programmer, only it’s not diet soda, and you don’t need it as a requirement for your job.

Using this technique, start going to sleep an hour later each day while working. If your work doesn’t allow you to work later, pretend you have friends (remember what it is like; it’s surprisingly easy to get caught). And set your alarm for the same time each day. When you don’t get up with your alarm, don’t worry. Just keep repeating the process until you sleep through every alarm, are tired all of the time, and have no sense of what time even is.

Quickly you will find that you have gone to sleep at 7 in the morning, and have no idea what time it is when you wake up because all of the batteries in your house have died. Congratulations, you have done it. Now celebrate with soda.

Lessons From Board Games – Love Letter and Letting Go

Love Letter is a giant of a game, quite disproportionately to its components. I carry a copy around in my backpack every day with a deck of cards. It is that universally appealing and easy to teach. Its popularity is a testament to how many other people feel the same. The game has reached such a wide audience and is such a runaway hit that I’d be surprised if we didn’t have it in print for years to come.


But still, the game is pretty luck based, even though it might seem like it’s not, with its layer of theme and modern game design. But that can really be attributed to the fact that it’s a modern game. It’s designed in such a way that it makes you feel like you’re much more in control than you are. In the end you’re just at the whim of the deck and it’s quite possible to draw a hand with which it is impossible to win.

But that doesn’t make the game not fun, just light. People have enjoyed games in which there is only luck and no strategy for centuries, and this game does have elements of strategy and theme, which make it more fun to play. But neither of these are at their most prevalent. With Love Letter one just has to let go of the idea that they can control the outcome of the game by having the absolute best strategy and outplaying the other players (which still isn’t possible in most games) and also the idea of having a theme that is so immersive that one can’t separate it from the mechanics (A Princess and Batman being the themes of versions of Love Letter make that point).

It’s a great game, and a lot (a Lot) of people really enjoy it. It has a balance of theme, strategy and luck that draws a lot of people to it and keep them coming back for games (and its length helps with that). But one does have to let go of some strategic and thematic preferences to embrace the luck and enjoy it at times.