A History of ….. Journaling

I WAS going to title this post “A History of Violence” where I detailed my mis-spent youth kneecapping old ladies for protection money but since that Illegitimate Rat Aragorn already made a movie by that name I figured the self appointed guardians of all things legal, or goons, would knee cap me. So better safe than sorry. Also,  this mention about said movie is in no ways an endorsement of it. It is a “real” violence filled movie [as opposed to John Wick] and I found it extremely disturbing.

Last year I posted about my Book Recording and the journey that has been and continues to be. Today I want to talk about journaling and the various kinds of journals that I’ve used over the years. I love this kind of thing to be honest and is probably the closest I’ll ever come to being all arts&craftsy.

I started my journaling back in middle grade. I’d scribble in an 8 1/2 x11 spiral notebook for a couple of pages, then tear them out a week or 2 later, throw them out and not write again for months. It never even occurred to me to write in something more permanent. Of course, I suspect most of my writings was about girls anyway, so no big loss 🙂

However, when I began attending Bible School in the fall of ’97,  I began writing every evening in this little guy:

j1Little 4×5 inch notebook. I ended up writing in 5 of these suckers


j2Corn and potatoes. I was well on my way to a Pulitzer, even back then!



After awhile, I felt my needs increasing and I moved up the Classy Scale a step. Not a lot, but I was definitely upwardly mobile.

j3You think I’m obsessed about journals, you should see some of the entries I made about various pens I try and what works and what doesn’t. And that hasn’t stopped. I just did an entry in my latest journal about 4 months ago about the joys of using the Pilot G2 premium gel roller fine tip pens.


Then I graduated in 2000 and life got real. I had a job, a car, I was renting a place of my own, I made my first proposal. After that it was time to start expressing my inner torment and utter pain in a journal that meant business. I wanted something that would last the ages and remind me in years to come just how much suffering and anguish I had gone through. Yeah, I was that guy.

j4Pure black, like the pain and misery deep within my soul. Sense a theme yet? 😀


Oberon Design to the rescue! I’ve used that cover for 4 of the black blanks and it is still as good condition as when I bought it back in ’05 or ’06.

j5But a journal looks even cooler and more soul’y when it has a real leather removable, re-usable cover on it.


Then I met Mrs Bookstooge [well, she wasn’t Mrs Bookstooge at the time, obviously!] and once I’d filled up my latest tome of despair, I quit journaling for almost 5 years. But getting married makes one a hostage to fate and once again life hit me in the nads and I had to write. But I was beyond black, I wanted something to express how mystical and above the common man my thoughts were.

j6There are CLASPS! and lots of shiny lines! The “Common Man” does not write in such a tome as this.


Nowadays I write in something that opens, and stays open [VERY important when writing while sitting in a pew], and will look cool on my shelf.

j7The text on the flap is “Arthur Conan Doyle”.  No clasps, but the flap makes it easier to write in in public.


j8My journaling now is usually a gigantic bitch session, where I vent on paper so I don’t vent in public. Names of jerks and super-jerks blurred for reasons. I AM that grumpy old guy, whooo!


What does the future hold? Well, I’m glad you asked  *grin*  I am currently writing in this small leather journal as a medical journal, keeping track of my blood sugars, food eaten, insulin taken, with times and amounts. It’s a lot of detail but it is what I have to do to keep my diabetes under control. I like the tie, but sadly Barnes&Noble only has it in 5×7 [which is pictured] and nothing larger. If you know of a nice leather, tie down journal that is in the 7×10 or preferably 8×11 range, please let me know in the comments. Lined or unlined doesn’t matter.

j8 (1)This leather one travels with me everywhere now.  And it has its own G2 roller gel pen *wink*


And there you have it. More information about Bookstooge and Journaling than you ever wanted, thought possible or even knew existed. Remember folks, I am a Dichotomy [make sure you say “dichotomy” in an appropriately sepulchral tone of voice]. I use a machete or a pen with equal ease and familiarity.  Except for when I’m tired, then I’m just a problem.


The Serious Book Tag? Input Please…

Most book tags I see convey the idea that they were initially written by giggly, squealing school girls who are in a group all admiring Captain Hawtness as he walks by. What I don’t see are book tags that convey the strength of character it takes to get up every day and go to work. I don’t see book tags that relate to your car breaking down and not having enough money to fix it and to have to bum rides to work for a week from a neighbor or friend.  I don’t see the tags that convey the choice of buying something you want or letting it go and buying something for your spouse. How would you convey doing taxes in a question? I hate doing taxes by the way.  What about cleaning up puke from a sick kid who didn’t “quite” make it to the bathroom in time? Or dusting? Dusting is tedious but a month without and my goodness, things are pretty fuzzy.

In other words, I do not see mature minded book tags, only frothy milkshake ones. Now maybe that is a good thing. I suspect a lot of people, and I am one of them, read to escape for a few hours. When you are trying to escape, who wants to be clawed back down by a Serious Book Tag? The other thing is that I am good at poking holes in things and showing problems but I am NOT so good at suggesting solutions or fixing issues. I wish I could sit down for a week and come up with a series of questions about books that convey my middle aged’ness.  Something that conveys that I actually do LIKE shredded wheat instead of honey-sugar sweetened blasto bombs. Maybe I’m not reading the right book tags either.

What do you consider a serious question and how would you turn it into a book tag question? I really am at a loss here and I’d like to rectify that. If I’m going to take issue with the frothy nature of most tags, then I should come up with an alternate and as of right now, I can’t.


03_pixarup_edwardellie1I want THIS kind of book tag


pixarpost-monstersuniversitydigitalreleaseNot this

The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag

Thanks to the Orangutan Librarian for putting this tag on my radar. Didn’t want to write a review after a day of setting granite bounds all day, so this was mindless fun.



Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

battlefield_earth_book_coverBattlefield Earth by L. Ron. Hubbard

I first read this in the 90’s and it was my first 1000 page book. You never forget your first time.


Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?



I read it because it was popular and I still cared about knowing what was popular.  And I did enjoy it. Enough that I read the sequel and that is the book that made me rage.


Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. (I had Mrs Bookstooge pick a random number from between 1-3000 and chose the one it corresponded to in my calibre library) How did you discover this book?

candidate-for-goddessCandidate for Goddess

A small manga series that I read back in 2007. I was on a manga kick for that whole year and was devouring everything that our local library had.


Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?


The Great Darkening

My good friend Jefferson asked me to read this, as he knew the guy. It was pretty bad and I had to say so. Thankfully, I don’t know the author, so it was no problem on my part.


Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?


Three by Jay Posey

KrazyKiwi had reviewed this on Booklikes and while it sounded a little off my taste, I tried it. Turned out to be some of the best reading I’d done in a long time. Posey shot up to the top of my radar very quickly.


Find a book on your shelves or ereader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

71tnypdat0lHogfather by Terry Pratchett

I was doing my initial readthrough of the Discworld novels and this one was pretty much the best. The only one I’ve got in hardcover I believe.


What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?


Jumper by Steven Gould

Watched the horrible movie with Anakin Pukewalker and Rachel Bilson [hubba hubba] and figured I should check out the source material. All 3 books in the series turned out to be pretty good.


Think of your all-time favourite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?


Way-farer by Dennis Schmidt

Best. Book. Ever. Read this in highschool when I saw it in the SF section at our local library. Spaceships and a dude with a sword in a pose that even I knew was Japanese? How could I NOT pick that up?

Exhausting Week

Today is the first day this week that I haven’t had to go in to work early. We’ve been doing a survey job on some railroad tracks that has some pretty exacting requirements. The hoops we had to jump through just to get on the tracks themselves, aye yi yi! We’ve got paperwork signed all the way up to the State Attorney General. Then throw in the Union people on the railroad company’s side of things. And to top it all off, the job is about 1 3/4hrs away from our office.  We get paid for driving time, but still, it really cuts down on what we can accomplish in one day.

Get up, drive, drive, drive. Work. Drive, drive, drive, go home. Fall asleep by 8pm almost every night. Thankfully yesterday we finished up. And we have a 4day weekend with July 4th falling on a Tuesday next week.  I am planning on doing a lot of reading and drinking soda [Vanilla Coke Zero to be exact. See Dan, I’m keeping you employed!]

Prepare for an onslaught of posts over the next couple of days. I mean, at least one whole post, PER DAY!!! Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that too *grin*



Got Myself A New Oasis

I am a big proponent of ebooks, and hence ereaders.  It helps that I like gadgets 🙂  I started my journey into ebooks back in ’07 with a Palm Pilot Tungsten E. I could put txt files on it and read them at lunch time at work.  Much more compact and fit into my bookbag much easier than a paperback or hardcover. Around the house I didn’t use it because it was more convenient to use a paper copy. It also helped that by ’07 the model had been discontinued and hence was wicked cheap on ebay.

At this time Amazon introduced their brand new Kindle ereader.  For me, it was lust at first sight. Imagine, an ELECTRONIC GADGET that was dedicated to reading books! Life as I knew it had obviously reached its Ultimate Form and simply could not get any better. Sadly, the starting price was $400. I had just bought a condo, was courting Mrs Bookstooge [which involved flying cross country for one of us every 3 months] and the economy was just starting to dip and it was already affecting the land surveying business, so an unnecessary gadget was not in the cards. With the success of the kindle, every electronics company got in on the game.

In late ’08 I scraped some money together and bought a used Sony 505.  It was as good as I was expecting. Suddenly having the ability to carry around a hundred books, if I so desired, changed how I viewed books.  At the same time I started working Security part time and had a lot more time of sitting around, so having those books on one device instead of caring around 3 or 4 paper copies was very nice. I worked my way through the 505 and ended up trying a variety of other readers as well: the sony 350, sony t1, nook simple touch and eventually a kindle 4 non touch [the last kindle to have buttons, at the time].  I bought 2 of them on Black Friday in ’12 and have been happily reading along since then.

With how much I read though, the page turn buttons on one of the units had started to go. Sometimes it wouldn’t turn the page at all, sometimes it would turn 2 pages. The buttons were just wearing out. I figured I was all set though because I had the second unit, which I had gotten for Mrs B but she ended up gravitating towards the Tablet side of electronics, so it was pretty much unused. Then I made the mistake of using my brother’s Paperwhite for a weekend. Oh, the light, the weight; it made my K4 seem like a dinosaur. So I began scheming and saving up for a new kindle. But I am a button kind of guy. I can handle touch screens, but I don’t like them. And all the new kindles were touchscreen. Until the Oasis was announced. Suddenly, there was a lighted, premium ereader with buttons on the market. Then Amazon had one of their periodical buyback programs where you can trade in your old kindles for giftcards and put them towards a new kindle. I got rid of my old kindles, used the reward points from our credit card and voila, I was suddenly the owner of an Oasis with no money out of pocket!

I ordered it Monday, and because we’re Prime members, had it by Thursday. I plugged it in and didn’t touch it until Friday night. Friday night I registered it, downloaded all 27 collections and then transferred all 145 books from my old k4 to the Oasis. Once I got all the books in the correct collections, I was good to go. Spent the evening reading on it and have to say, I am pleased as punch. I thought my k4 was light [especially compared to the metal sony505] but the oasis feels like half the weight. I can comfortably hold it one handed and I have small hands. The light is easy to adjust and in all honesty, doesn’t even look like “a light” is shining on the page. The text just becomes visible. And the buttons. They work out perfectly for me. While the Oasis is a bit pricey at the get go, I’ve come to realize that reading is what I “do” and hence need to treat it as such. Which means a good reader.

I’ve included some pictures of my K4 next to the Oasis and then just the Oasis with my hand for comparison. Each picture should be linked so if you click it it comes up big.


k4Oasis on the Left, K4 on the Right (in their respective covers)


k3Same Screen Size.  Amazing


k2Hand size for comparison


k1You can see, kind of, how it nestles into the palm of my hand. It is so light that it is not top heavy and there is no strain holding it.

In Remembrance of my friend Amy

A little over 2 weeks ago my friend Amy succumbed to her cancer and passed on.

Amy’s Last 15 Months

She chronicled her time and her husband Nate wrote about his experiences as well.

I grew up being best friends with Amy’s brother Andy. So she was always around. I went to Bibleschool with her and learned about her as a young adult. She was on the group trip to California where I met my future wife. She attended our wedding. We grieved when her father passed on due to an unexpected heart attack. We watched her just glow when she showed off Nate. We attended her wedding.  And this past Sunday we attended her wake.

There are a LOT of memories.  You don’t grow up with someone, go to Bibleschool together and then be part of the same 20 something’s group without collecting them. They are good memories, very good memories.

Amy was a devout Christian and I know that I’ll see her again so I am not in despair. But the pain of knowing I’ll not see her again in this life hurts. I grieve.



Victory is Within My Grasp!

When Leafmarks folded last year [Leafmarks was a Goodreads type site but without the censorship] I was able to export all of my book data to that date.  It was becoming apparent to me that Booklikes wasn’t cutting it [and with no Export function, what’s the point?] and I couldn’t really go back to GR [as an aside, I did briefly join up, for the 3rd time with GR only to quit when they started sending me those “You’ve just read a book. Congrats!” emails which I had not signed up for. So instead of opting out of the emails, I opted out of GR. And it just reinforced my bitter dislike of the incompetence of those running the place]. I spent a month checking out all sorts of various places.

I checked:

  • Librarything [ended up crossposting there and getting a free lifetime membership]
  • aAnobi [which was an italian site and just as dead as Booklikes]
  • The ReadingRoom [was just a huge advertisement]
  • Some other sites that were so small I don’t even remember them.

Nothing was what I was looking for. Eventually, I chose WP as my social site. But what to do for my reviews? I wanted to be able to search them by as wide a variety as possible but putting them just into a Word document wasn’t enough. So I started using Calibre, which is an ebook manager. It can also manage empty books, so this was perfect for me. I had something like 2400 entries in a CSV file from Leafmarks that I imported.  Then it just became a job of polishing everything up, ie, adding ratings, covers, splitting re-reads into their separate entries, etc.  Today, I will get my Working Library under the 1000 mark. Going from 4digits down to 3digits is a significant morale booster for me.



Working Library: Where the Magic Happens



The Review Library: What the Magic Looks Like

*smiley face*

I am pretty happy today. Thank you for your time.