Issue 56 Nov 19, 2023

I tried an analog calendar

A while back I needed to keep track of, well, things. I didn’t want to use my normal calendar, but the actual day mattered, and I didn’t want to rely on me remembering to actually update a text file. I could’ve solved this a ton of ways, but I happened to have a Field Notes calendar notebook nearby. So I figured, what the hell, and gave it a go.

There’s something inherently nice with paper calendars. I remember getting my first Filofax (modular calendar system) when I went to school, and it was my ever-present notebook for several years. It wasn’t particularly good as a notebook, but getting add-on pages to the ring-bound Filofax was a lot more attainable for a poor school kid than getting a Moleskine in the local bookstore.

Paper calendars has the added benefit of being historical documents, or at least a document of what we’d planned to go. Maybe it didn’t always go down in history, but if you’ve ever found an old paper calendar and flipped through it, you know what I mean. It’s a bit like old notebooks, but for our social life. Or, as it was for me, both at the same time. I had book ideas, short story ideas, role-playing game ideas, all those ideas in my calendar-slash-notebooks.

Then I got a decent phone. Then I got a smartphone. Then I forgot my paper calendar for an extended period of time for the first time. Then I stopped using it.

(Incidentally, I had the outline for the second Automatonen book in a notebook which I’d left in our country house deliberately. Change of plans meant I was without it when I’d planned to start writing, which annoyed me tremendously. Being able to sync things, to access them from anywhere, is a good thing.)

I’m not going to lie, using a paper calendar these days wasn’t a good experience. Exhilerating at first, I soon got bored with copying meeting invites into my paper calendar, and later changing those as people rescheduled. The digital calendar wins the convenience round, hands down. And while I never forgot to bring my paper calendar, I know it would’ve happened sooner or later. That wouldn’t have been a big disaster, I don’t need to be able to tell people what I have planned at a moment’s notice, but updating the calendar based on notes on my smartphone (which has a calendar, obviously) just seems like a hassle.

So, no great revelations there: Paper calendars are poorly suited for today’s day-to-day needs. It works, sure, but it adds friction, something I certainly don’t want from a calendar.

Carrying a paper calendar did come with a nice added benefit, though. Since I had to bring it, and a pen, I also brought a plain old notebook. I’m an avid note-taker, and if you followed my Switch to iPad adventures, you know I use an iPad with Apple Pencil for, well, a lot of things. However, at times, I think better putting pen to actual paper. It comes and goes, and the paper calendar certainly pushed me into such a phase.

Paper notebooks I get, and use. Paper calendars however, no, sorry. They’re better left in the past.


💥 Amazon is finally making true on their threats, and are retiring the Comixology app on December 4th. Luckily, the updated Kindle app does a decent job for your comic book needs.

📲 The default app movement is going strong, as per Robb Knight’s update on the App Defaults project (which got a cool mind-map feature). I published mine last week, as you might recall.

🤡 I’m not wasting my time on Twitter/X, nor with Elon Musk’s shenanigans, these days, but I have to note how big advertisers are fleeing the cesspool after having ads published alongside fascist crap, and Musk is going to sue because of it.

🪦 AI vs. Death, by Tom Gauld.

🐴 Downgrading Proton shouldn’t be this hard.

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, hitting up on Bluesky, or any of the other means that appeal to you. Thanks!


📚 I’ve read some Usagi Yojimbo in the updated Kindle app, to see how it holds up against Comixology, but that’s about it.

🎵 Dolly Parton released Rockstar, which is (mostly) covers and duets. Sort of like Jerry Lee Lewis’s Last Man Standing album, albeit not as good.

📺 I was surprised to enjoy the Blue Eyed Samurai anime on Netflix as much as I did. Go watch it.

🎮 The last tracks and drivers for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe arrived, so I’ve been playing that with the kid, as well as some Super Mario Wonder. Not much of any, though.

It’s been a week, leaving me exhausted. We had a friend over from Thursday, she just left as I’m getting ready to publish this, so between work and play, there hasn’t been many moments to breathe. Which is fine and all, I just haven’t had the time to read or write as much as planned. I did finish a painting, and are close to wrapping up another one too, so that’s good.

Until next week, remember to breathe.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

Want letters like this in your inbox?

Subscribe for free, cancel anytime. No spam, no evil tracking, I promise.