Why Pen + Paper are good for you

Even though I love technology and incessantly download productivity apps, I still am a paper-and-pen guy. I love the feel of fine artisanal Japanese paper notebooks and extra-fine nibs of my Sailor fountain pen. I draft my weekly newsletter in the note book. I use it to make my to-do lists, and I write all sorts of random things I learn during the day. Of course, I make notes of my meetings in my notebook — which sits with one or more fountain pens, along with my glasses and a Kindle, in my Dsptch Musette.

My paper and pen obsession has many upsides, as a recent article in Fast Company outlines:

A letter from Om

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The Must-Have Lens for your Leica SL

You might have heard that Leica has a new lens called the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 1: 2/50 ASPH. For a few weeks now, I have had the opportunity to use a pre-release version of the lens on my SL. I’ll cut right to the chase and tell you that I’m very happy with the results.

Before I dive into the details, let me be very clear: I don’t shoot anything but landscapes, mostly long exposures. About two-thirds of my photos are shot with my camera on a tripod. I am painfully slow, and I treat my digital cameras as if I am using a film camera. Where most people use techniques like multiple exposures and are more adventures, my style is very staid.

Attempting to capture a few dozen photos in 24 hours is adventurous for me. Even getting two to five images on a given day is a great personal achievement. In other words, don’t look to me to give you feedback on the lens from the perspective of a travel photographer, a portrait photographer, or a casual photographer. So, don’t think of this as a review. I am simply sharing my experience.

The irony of Allbirds socks

Before you read, disclosure: I despise Allbirds. They are tasteless and are a perfect allegory for the technology sector’s idea of aesthetics. I can’t for the love of god figure out why folks wear these abominations, the equivalent of shapeless sweatpants in the form of shoes. So now that you know where I stand let’s talk about the Allbirds socks,

In 2014, New Zealand-based Allbirds launched a Kickstarter for its sneakers made out of wool. The called them “Wool Runners.” And their first selling point was “A World First: woolen running shoes specifically designed for sockless wear.” In other words, their main reason to exist. Ironically, the same sockless sneaker company is selling socks. What that tells me is that sneaker sales might be plateauing and the company needs to make new revenue from higher-margin products like socks.

There are better, cheaper options that Allbirds socks. Muji makes great socks for about a third of the price. I highly recommend Mujis. You want to go high end, then buy Falke. But if you are an Allbirds fan, well, I can’t save you from yourself.

A letter from Om

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10,000 Steps in a New York Summer

The first thing you notice is how less crowded the streets are in the city. Of course, the old synapses kick in, reminding you that everyone who can has left town until the cooler temperatures return. For someone accustomed to living in San Francisco’s cardigan-only temperature band of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity and the heat are a left-right punch. But after a few minutes, I recover my senses, and I am back in familiar emotional and mental territory: New York City, where I spent enough long summers, working every day toward an idea of success.

Back in my (current) hometown, I saunter. Here, like a pitcher who suddenly finds a reserve of energy in the middle of the season, my pace picks up. I smell the summer as I move. You know the smell of New York: a heady blend of stench from the gutters, cigarette smoke, and sidewalk stalls selling everything from hotdogs to kebabs. It’s the strong smell of hustle.

And apparently, the Mayor has declared Le Labo Santal 33 the official fragrance of the season. Every girl walking on the street leaves a whiff of it behind. All the beautiful ladies (and they are all lovely) are lost in their own worlds, listening to their AirPods, which seem to be more commonplace now than white sneakers were a few seasons ago. It is no surprise that Apple’s earnings from wearables and accessories are going through the roof.

I walk around in Noho, Soho, Chinatown, Tribeca, and all the way to the Battery Park City. I am not tired, but my short sleeved shirt is clinging to my body. I need a cold shower, but I have to finish my 10,000 steps. It is a promise I have made to myself.

New York is so familiar and yet so different. I walk across Wall Street, which is shaded by shadows that never end, making it a tad cooler than the rest of the area. I used to work around the corner, and I still remember the thrill of walking down this mythical, magical street, which is now more an ideology than a real field of financial dreams. I enjoy trying to remember the past, reminding myself how it all started and how long (or short) the journey has been. I walk down to the East River, and then make my way back towards Noho. A cold shower awaits. I’ve clocked 11,500 steps. I feel virtuous.

In fact, my adventure is only beginning. Later today, I plan to spend time with one of the newest members of the True Family. Their youthful enthusiasm is infectious. And then off to dinner with some friends in a new French place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Mercifully, only one of them works in technology, while the rest are in music, entertainment, and fashion. This is going to be a great conversation. What else would you expect in this city?

Freshly dressed and ready for more, I head back out.