Where we came from

 

**UPDATE**

I figured out after I wrote this, that the staples brand composition book is fountain pen friendly!! See photo at the bottom.

I want to take you back to a post I did about not forgetting about the value of inexpensive supplies, and leaving behind the idea of calling them junk…now I’m not here to scold anyone today.  Today I want to take you back to your roots, or in the case of many now, the roots of their parents.

First you have to set the mood right.  We are going to go to a great place that sits positioned strategically between the 1980s and 1990s (some from the 90s may have drug this habit into the 2000s with them kicking and screaming.)  We are going back to slide rules and Lisa Frank.  We are headed straight for The Breakfast Club and Full House.  Bring on The Cure and Alice in Chains do what it takes to get yourself there.  Me personally, I can set the scene fairly well by flipping on Family Matters, specifically at night, and hopping in the living room to write, thats my easy switch on the way back machine, but I have a ton of them.

Who knows what those things in my picture are?  Anyone?  See to many of us from the 80s and 90s (90s for me, however the 80s lived strong on television and my mothers music cabinet) those devices served the same purpose as a blog.

Now before we go on I have to tell you that I live by a theory concerning decades.  Here is The Ganger’s (Bledsoe’s) law of the commutation of culture: Each decade is still largely the previous decade until the fourth year of the current decade, and it gets less and less each advancing year.  For instance when FRIENDS (GREATEST SHOW EVER) premiered in 1994, that was the first truly 90s year, and when it finaled in 2004 that was truly the 90s wishing us goodbye.  When Cheers hit in 1982, it was still culturally 50% 1970s, if you do not believe me, go to Netflix, and watch the first episode of Cheers, you will understand.  I explain this theory so that you will understand why Geny Y 90s kids love the 80s, it was exposure, it was a carry over, and we had all of these things.  The true millenials think of Ed, Edd, and Eddy as their re run cartoons of yesteryear.

Before the internet and world wide web and their endless reign started there was the composition book.  How did I get back to it?  Well the story is contained in the photos, which I will photograph for you at the end of this.  The short, I was in a Staples with my Aunt Connie, specifically the staples where I used to buy my school supplies, and we were waiting an excrutiatingly long time for some copies to get made, and so I wandered the aisles.  I layed eyes upon a large and colorful pack of BIC pens, which when combined with the composition book, I first realized they would cost around five dollars, and after that I took the stroll down memory lane.

We used to get one of these every year or so, and this was no ordinary journal, journals we have in plenty, no no no the composition book was where you poured your heart out, and usually only in multi-colored pen.  This was the place to write down your angry songs, your teenage longings about the one which the adults simply could not understand that you really did love so much that it hurt.

Let us not forget the pens either.  This was a process a ritual, turning paper into a stiff crinkly parchment covered in roller ball ink, and engage your senses, there is the smell, the smell of roller ball ink that comes along with the ritual scribing of your deepest thoughts.  Have you broken one out in a while?  The complete experience will have you breaking out Alice in Chains and The Cure before you know it.  I am willing to bet that some of you still have a small stack of these things hidden away, what do yours say?  Where did you take them?

I was very glad that I ended up in that Staples with people who could not make the copy machine work, because in a sea of blackwings and field notes how else would I have been tempted to buy these just to toy with the notes of a blog entry, you see I believe smell to be the strongest sense, and the one best linked to memoryl, and rollerball ink has that distinct scent I keep bringing up.  I am glad I paid for these things, because I took a walk back to crappy songs, bad poems, angst that makes me want to hop in with Mr. Peabody to go kick my own can for being so whiny, all in all a good time.

I encourage every one who has gone down the proverbial rabbit hole with our pens, pencils, and notebooks, and go grungy with one of these just to see how it makes you feel.  I will admit I will have to search for a heavier duty brand, more like the old days, but I almost want to throw these back into my regular notebook rotation.  Grab one, BIC rollerballs, and give the old world “anablog” a try, better yet, go re read your old ones all Harriet the Spy if you still have them.

Ganger Bjorn

P.S. I tried to go for the weird look we wrote in back in the day.

Fountain pen friendly at .99 cents.

Gone for a bit…

The title in this case is correct, I have spent some time away.  Oddly I have gotten some more readers, which is not something I am going to argue with, welcome, and I hope what you see here makes you want to stay.  Reasons I have been gone?  I am glad you asked.  School of course always takes up a good bit of my time, but the semester has been out for a while now, I am actually finding that I need to begin preparing for a return in September, that is no easy task as I have to figure out child care for Zander.

FACT:  attempting to retain suitable infant child care, even before you factor cost, is enough to put anyone into a “dealing with beuarocracy” coma.  I am one of those people who hates having to call the bank, fix errors at the post office, deal with insurance, and the registrars office, daycare in the state of Massachusetts is a tangled nightmare of laws, rules, and stuff you are not sure about.  The daycare provided by Framingham State University is excellent, however my son was bitten by a problem child, and I may have lost some of the composure I pride myself on when I asked which child and the worker stated very simply the law did not allow her to tell me.  I wrote her an apology, she did her job very well, but that is one of those laws that I just do not quite understand.

That was all just a side note.  It has been quite a while since we go into the gear and rules.  A brief recap, at this point you have some form of a bag you are comfortable carrying for a good bit, and either in it or your pockets is a note book (and a spare) some pencils (maybe pens too) and a knife.  The Knife also makes rule #1, always have it.  I recommend of course, out of all my others, a good Swiss Army knife made by Victorinox, do not by knock off, your paying for your own security here.  In all seriousness, I used the tweezers out of mine to pull the thorns out of my son’s hand the other day, no waiting, just work.

So your new rule is going to sound familiar.  In my world we say “know your route of ingress and egress before proceeding.”  In army medic terms that means we were taught to not go after the wounded before we knew we had a way out.  It sounds rough, but the medic is a resource the entire team needs, and cannot be wasted being shot by the same guy who created your casualty.  You may have heard it as “when in doubt know your way out,” from “Zombieland.”  Mine goes deeper than that though, it is this “Rule #2 Have a plan inlcuding going in and getting out.”  In this case it refers to travel, but also the ability to lodge or travel.  This is where you ask yourself what could go catastrophically wrong with this trip, and render me unable to continue on, eat, lodge, or if am hurt.  This is the contingency phase, think up the problem, write it out and fix it.  In my story the catastrophic thing was relatively small, the possible death of a debit card, but the consequences were possibly immense.  

Here are a couple of stories to go with this.  The aforementioned travel.  The Ganger took a little trip back to Tennessee for a wedding.  My Cousin decided some time back to ask his girlfriend to marry him, she says yes, much more recently they had a very lovely wedding.  Everything was excellent, the music was superb if I do say so.

The trip is rather long, and as I took the four year old with me, rather stressful.  That is not to say it was not a good trip.  It was actually an amazingly good trip, but I am a planner.  There are too many variables in long distance, long time travel, many dangers.  Add in a kid and the risk goes up fast, The Bear intends to come out on top of everything from a car accident to an attack.  Call me paranoid, but we all made it through right?  I prepare, I follow the rules, I drive one of the safest cars in the world (Outback, 2016) and I ready myself and my tools.  We had stopped in Washington D.C. to go to the National Postal Musuem, when we left the gargage my debit card would not register when I tried to pay.  Here is where my plan came in, I do not hit the road outside of my main stomping grounds-where friends can help-without about $120 in my pocket.  I called my wife and told her I would stop and test the card as the boy and I needed some food.  I had used some of the cash to pay the garage, and I sized the situation up calmly.  I was calm, as I knew that I could provide a meal for my son and I, and if I shopped around well enough I could get us a room, or if my mileage math was right I could get us back home on about $60 with room for another meal if need be.  Whichever way it went, my son and I had the basic needs covered for that night until help could be Western Unioned, or we could go home.  That peace of mind came not from money, but from a rule that was followed to the letter.  In the end, the garage machine must have been faulty, as my card worked fine and the trip proceeded as normal.  I had given this kind of advice to a friend who lives abroad.  She did not follow it, and was not registered at the embassy when the Paris attacks occured.  The only real consequence was that she had to listen to the ganger gripe at her.

     This is just one possibility.  Most of my problems can be at least “treated” by a small amount of cash until help can be gained.  We also carry a first aid kit, maps, and my edc kit, which now includes a pay as you go phone and minutes card.  My phone failed while we were there, but again we established reliable communication, and borrowed a GPS, but if not we had maps.  Rule 2 is have a plan, so sit back and say, what’s the least that could happen and then plan for it.  

This is just kind of a comeback, we will get back to all of those things we love to do here and more.  You will notice a name change as the Ganger decided to not simply copy the title of his ancestor.  More posts to follow, after I have made some decisions how far I want to take this in some ways.  Follow on for pictures from the trip.

Ganger-Bjorn

Couple of notes, we went to the PEZ visitor center, yes just yes.  The chain on my cousin is a Grimfrost King’s chain like I recieved for father’s day, and speaking of which I got to spend mine at Fenway parl with my family and run the bases with my sons.  During my son’s birthday we played a record breaking 65 games of skeeball.

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