Time: Sunday, May 7, 2023, 12:00 noon Eastern Time (US and Canada)
9 AM Pacific Time
Zoom link for the meetup: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8850659900?pwd=ZE9ROUs1czNiK2FTTStjTUJuVkIydz09 4
This one is going to be fun! Sönke Ahrens, the author of How to Take Smart Notes 12 will join our meetup on May 7th. Let’s start a thread on what we’d like to review with him. The meetup is not for a couple of weeks. If you have the time, I highly suggest you grab a copy and give it a read.
Of specific “note” is the fact that Aby Warburg (1866-1929) had a significant zettelkasten-based note taking practice and portions of his collection (both written as well as images) are featured within the hour long documentary. You’ll see it in the opening scenes in the background during many of the interviews, but there’s also a portion featured at the 30 minute mark which looks at a few of his zettels. Like several other zettelkasten practitioners he had a significant zettelkasten practice but did not publish much, but did lecture quite a lot and had outsized influence both during his life as well as posthumously and his zettelkasten and research remain as an archive for scholars who still study and extend his work.
Sadly, I’m unable to catch any screenshots from the film due to technical glitches, but if folks can figure out how to pull some out, I’d appreciate them.
Aby Warburg’s extant zettelkasten at the Warburg Institute’s Archive consists of ninety-six surviving boxes (of 104 or possibly more) which contain between 200-800 individually numbered index cards. Dividers and envelopes are used within the boxes to separate the cards into thematic sections.
The digitized version is transcribed in the original German and is not available translated into English (at least as of 2023). The digitized version maintains the structure of the dividers and consists of only about 3,200 items. It can be searched at https://wi-calm.sas.ac.uk/CalmView/Aboutcatalogue.aspx. As examples one can find the record for box 4a on “the Renaissance” at https://wi-calm.sas.ac.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=WIA+III.2.1.+ZK%2f4a&pos=1 and the physical divider inside box 4a for “Jakob Burkhardt” with subsections listed at https://wi-calm.sas.ac.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=WIA+III.2.1.+ZK%2f4a%2f2&pos=1
The Warburg Institute archive had this sample photo of some of his decorative/colorful boxes:
Has anyone visited the Warburg archive in London before?
Originally published on April 20, 2023 at 01:42AM
While I hope to read chunks of it over the summer in Butler’s childhood neighborhood of Pasadena, I got it to read Bloodchild for the Octavia Butler Sci Fi Book Club on 6/24/2023 at 3:00 PM at Octavia’s Bookshelf which is co-hosting with the La Pintoresca Branch Library and the Huntington Library.
As Prince of Wales, Charles was always ready with an opinion. Now, with his coronation at hand, his job is to have none. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/05/08/can-charles-keep-quiet-as-king-coronation
Day Four on the
- Rust mitigation, sanded, cleaned, and primed all four drawers, primarily the front faces and edges, though the full bottom on one drawer;
- Primed the bottom of the cabinet to prevent further rusting;
- Next steps:
- Choose a paint color and get clear coat;
- I’m half tempted to mount onto steel plate and add casters, otherwise felt stripping/feet to prevent scratching floors;
- Finish cleaning hardware (not sure how much better these might get without replating) and remount
Day two on the Steelcase stick leg office chair #2
- Spray painted all sides with two coats and left to dry
- Sanded down the chair back, washed it, and spray painted with two coats and left to dry.
- Next steps:
- Clear coat;
- Reupholster the seat (same ?);
- Fix broken foot on one leg;
- Strip and refinish chair #1
It reminded me of the growing number of stores, vendors, and service providers that are passing credit and debit card transaction fees back to the consumer. In my past experience credit card companies like Visa, American Express, and AmEx all vehemently insisted that their credit card fees, usually amounting to 2.0-3.9+% of a transaction would be borne by the company accepting their cards. The fine print in their agreements all indicated that their agreements would end and companies would be cut off if they didn’t swallow the fees themselves as a basic cost of doing business.
But it would seem that sometime during the pandemic and the financial turmoil that has ensued that a growing number of businesses, presumably feeling the squeeze of the economy, have begun passing these fees directly back to the consumer.
I first began noticing it when paying for our daughter’s ballet school tuition which charged us an extra 3% credit card fee for using our credit card instead of paying by cash or check. Then her private school tuition processor began charging a 3% credit card fee. Now it seems like every small company is taking the cue and passing along credit card fees to the consumer, including the local Mexican food restaurant.
What effects does this seemingly small, yet somehow massive shift in the economy have on consumers, businesses, and the country? How does it effect inflation and its impact on consumers? How does it effect the overall banking sector? Much the same way austerity measures within the economy ordinarily have an outsized, but “unseen” impact on women, does this additional tax on consumers hit everyone equally? What effects does this have on an increasingly cashless society that has normalized credit cards? What will potential long term changes in credit card processing will this foment? Will the tide change as interest rates decrease?
A common outlier to this pattern before the pandemic was gasoline chain ARCO which only accepted debit cards or cash and charged an automatic $0.35 fee for any debit card transactions to cover the single use banking fee that the bank charged them (though generally the debit card fee most banks charge companies has been in the $0.22 – $0.30 range; research should confirm the specific number). Sometime during the pandemic, the shift in competition/pricing apparently led ARCO to begin accepting major credit cards. However, in their case, they post different gas pricing for cash/debit transactions versus credit card transactions, typically an extra $0.10/gallon, which at about 2.0% of $4.80/gallon of regular gas at my local station in Pasadena represents a rough breakeven point for charging back the overall credit card fee, presuming they’re operating at high enough volume to get a 2% fee. What happens when gas prices go up though? Will their per gallon fee also go up to cover the credit card differential?
I’d love to see some on-the-ground economics reportage on this growing trend. Perhaps it’s something that Marketplace might take up?
But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer; and he who stood under a tree for shelter, a housekeeper.
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or, Life in the Woods (Ticknor and Fields, 1854, p. 41)
This quote from Walden becomes even more fascinating when one realizes that the Thoreau family business was manufacturing pencils at John Thoreau & Co., one of the first major pencil companies in the United States. Thoreau’s father was the titular John and Henry David worked in the factory and improved upon the hardness of their graphite.
One might also then say that the man who manufactured pencils naturally should become a writer!
This quote also bears some interesting resemblance to quotes about tools which shape us by Winston Churchill and John M. Culkin. see: https://hypothes.is/a/6Znx6MiMEeu3ljcVBsKNOw
For those unaware of his work, primarily as a political economist, he wrote extensively on media and communication theory including the influential works Empire and Communications (1950) and The Bias of Communication (1951).
While I appreciate the published book nature of the work, it would be quite something to have it excerpted back down to index card form as a piece of material culture to purchase and play around with. Perhaps something in honor of the coming 75th anniversary of his passing?
Latest Kaleido3 screen, HD and clear ePaper, Android 11, an exclusive GPU, and a Qualcomm processor. Tab Ultra C is an ePaper tablet PC designed to strike a balance between focus and enjoyment.
The space, while modest, is rich and well-appointed, as one would expect a fine stationery store to be. I spent almost as much time appreciating the small touches of hardware for merchandising purposes as I did lusting after the stationery, pens, pencils, cases, bags, washi tape, stamps, paper twine, and miscellanea. I think the first three things I asked for prices on were store fixtures. (But with a lush, rare Wabash Cabinet on display, who wouldn’t?)
If you’re looking for the corporate, completist, and cramped feel of something like Kinokuniya, this is assuredly not that. This is a place to luxuriate in stationery and spark some creativity away from the madding crowd.
Of particular note, they’ve got one of the most beautiful, well-appointed, and fully stocked pigeonhole displays I’ve ever seen for Traveler’s Notebooks. They also offer a nice selection of The Superior Labor products to which they also offer customization touches you can easily add on to make your notebook “Truly Yours”.
They seem to have a full selection of MIDORI paper products, lots of Stalogy, and PERPANEP. Also on offer were analog planners like Jibun Techos, Roterfaden, and Nolty along with brands like Classiky, Kokuyo, Kuretake, Mizushima, Postalco, and ateliers PENELOPE among others.
I’ll take a moment to note that this was the first time I’ve ever seen Roterfaden for sale in a physical shop. They truly are lovely analog items with a high level of tactile joy. I find myself needing more thick felt in my life beyond the large grey mat I use for shodo.
This also reminds me that the shop does a fantastic job of providing physical samples of nearly almost every product that you can open, play with, and try out (including samples of most of the notebook paper!) It’s small touches like this that will keep the stationery afficionados coming back every time.
In addition to all the spectacular things I saw, I would be remiss not to mention one of the kindest touches in the whole shop. Front and center in the main room is a fantastic wooden and metal table with several fine chairs. They invite the community to come in with their journals to sit and write with each other.
I arrived on the early side of their store hours, but just after, two people showed up who browsed for a bit, but then sat down to write and try out some of the available stamps on the table in their own journals. Wakako even invited me to feel free to bring my typewriter to sit and write for a bit in the future. Anyone up to join me? With such a nice space, why not use it on a Sunday afternoon to plan out your week or reflect on the week past?
Beyond the warm and inviting space, they keep things in stock in the store which seem to be marked as sold out in their online storefront. On first blush this could be written down as a potential accounting error or maybe delays in updating the website, but I suspect that they’re carefully holding onto stock for their local community to be able to see items and purchase things in person.
As rare as it is to see a shop revel in the idea of analog, it’s even more refreshing and heartening to see one doing its best to strive towards kindness within its own community the way that Baum-kuchen does.
Next time, with money in my pocket
I usually make a habit of leaving my wallet at home on first visits to nearby stationery stores. (Those inflicted with the gentle madness like me will know why.) But I’ve started a list on my pocket notebook with a few things I must have on my next visit…
- Yuruliku flat tool case and flat pen case
- Mizushima perpetual calendar stamp
- Kaweco Liliput fountain pen with bronze clip
- stamps (all of them really…)
Buried Lede: Hobonichi in the United States
There are too many things to like about Baum-kuchen, and I haven’t even mentioned the pastry origins of the German-named shop. Some will scream that I’ve buried the lede in this whole story when I mention the following exciting revelation: This fall, Baum-kuchen will be carrying a wide variety of Hobonichi products!!! I’m only aware of a tiny handful of US-based stores which carry or ship Hobonichi (JetPens anyone?), but Baum-kuchen will be one of them. I’ve generally ordered these directly from Japan in the past, but it will be ever so nice to be able to place an order to a physical shop that’s just a few minutes away. I’m hoping they’ll open up the store on announcement day and have a little party to celebrate. If they do, I’m definitely baking them a homemade tree cake!
Depending on everyone’s general availability, we could do something on a quiet day over the summer break? I’m thinking something in the 2-4 hour range depending on the level of interest and what folks think would be most productive. At the lower end we could do a few hours as a simple meetup/discussion if there are 10 or fewer, though if there is more interest, then I’m thinking that a BarCamp style (unconference) may be easier with 3-4 sessions of about 45 minutes each and to which people submit various ideas at the start of “camp” and folks can decide what ideas they’re interested in supporting or exploring. (If you’ve never attended an unconference or BarCamp style event, this IndieWeb page and related pages will give you a bit of an idea of what to expect, though we’ll do a much more scaled down version. I’m also a fan of their Code of Conduct, and propose to adopt it for participants.)
Given the potential time zone differentials across Europe and the Americas across which most practitioners I know live, I’ve found that Saturday morning starts at 8:30 AM Pacific have been historically most convenient, but I’m not opposed to an weekday timeslot if that’s more preferrable with a majority of schedules.
If there’s enough interest I’m happy to help facilitate something 2-3 times a year in smaller doses. We can start small and informal and expand as necessary.
If this is something in which you’d be interested in doing, please drop a comment on my website or send me an email (you’ll find it on my homepage). Let me know the following:
- Range of referred dates/times along with any major vacation plans we might work around
- Interest in leading a BarCamp session? Topics? Do you have a presentation/experience you’d like to present (even if it’s totally informal)?
- Your area/level of teaching (elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate, graduate, other) and institution — schedule-wise, I’d like to give the most preference to active educators, though I’m sure we’ll attract participants interested in the broader idea of ZK/PKM.
- Would you like to help volunteer time/resources to mounting this as an online only event?
- Other ideas? Needs?
My goal for a first session is to be highly creative and get ideas/discussions of experiences/improvements flowing with the minimal amount of organization and work on the part of all participants. I would hope this would be more fun for the prospective group than work.
I’ve been collecting examples of teachers/professors who used their zettelkasten for teaching, some of which include Mario Bunge, Frederic L. Paxson, Gotthard Deutsch, Roland Barthes, and Joachim Jungius. In more recent contexts, I’ve seen Dan Allosso (aka u/danallosso), Mark Robertson (aka @calhistorian u/calhistorian), Nick Santalucia, and Sean Graham using zettelkasten or linked notes using Obsidian, Roam, etc. for either directly teaching, teaching students how to start such a practice, or using it for OER related practices. I’ve also heard from a few who are planning on offering coursework with zettelkasten underpinned pedagogy in the near future.
Do you know of others who are practicing and implementing these methods? Those who plan to in the coming year? Please forward this along and we’ll see what we can arrange based on the level of interest.
All thoughts and feedback appreciated…