More on Leather Moleskine Covers, Python Scripting, Dynamic Notes, Firefly, Vrenna and the White

by Mike Shea on 24 October 2005

Today I received another shipment of Renaissance Art Leather Moleskine covers. This time I got two of the small wrap journals with some plain pocket Moleskines and a larger traditional leather cover for a large Moleskine with two large lined Moleskine notebooks.

I never liked the large Moleskines. They seemed to dismiss one of the best traits of the smaller Moleskine - portability. The elastic always seemed goofy, large and floppy instead of tight like the smaller notebook.

However, with the traditional cover, these notebooks are a lot nicer. The leather cover gives it a much nicer feel, the feel of a real book instead of an enlarged Moleskine. It dismisses with the elastic band by wrapping it around the back cover of the Moleskine before one tucks the Moleskine into the leather cover flaps. The larger notebooks cost $13 from Renaissance Art, $2.75 less than normal and have 240 pages instead of the 180 pages of the pocket version. I can write nearly 50,000 words in each large journal, half of a novel. I'm going to save my first large notebook for a new story and finish the one I'm currently working on, Vrenna and the White, in the plain pocket variety.

I also got R.A. Salvatore's The Two Swords, the Lost Empires of Faerun D&D book, and Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys on mp3 CD. Gaiman's book is the first time I have seen a book sell in raw mp3s instead of some sort of proprietary evil DRM format. I applaud him for it.

I've been teaching myself Python over the past couple of weeks. I wrote a very simple "Memory Hole" application that lets me save any web page locally so if the remote page changes or goes away, I have a copy saved on my server. It can do HTML or images but not a full page including images. Here's the Memory Hole Python sourcecode.

I also rewrote the whole content management system I wrote about before in Python. It cut nearly 100 lines from the code. Here's the Mike Shea Python CMS sourcecode.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my new notes.txt file. When ever I have a random bit of text to save, be it some sourcecode, a URL, a quote from an article, or anything else, I will cut and paste it into a form I keep handy and it saves remotely to my notes.txt file. The file will no doubt get very large but memory is cheap these days. Here is my Notes Writer Perl code. I even wrote two handy bookmarklets so I can save URLs and selected text with a single click.

This notes.txt file is backed up every day to my battery of hard drives and USB drives so I always have a copy of it around.

Thanks to Chris Graber, I recently became a fan of the twelve episodes of Firefly, a sort of low-tech fringe SF TV show. You have to respect a show that focuses on story instead of special effects even if it does have some pretty stupid things in it. I may run out to see Serenity tomorrow while it's still in the theater. Someone had an excellent quote about Serenity: "The more I watched Serenity, the more I was pissed at George Lucas." That's about the best review I can think of.

I'm just about half way through a story called "Vrenna and the White". It's a lot of fun to write even though it has very little action in it so far. The story is a mix of a bunch of ideas that I had floating around in my head. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if the story is too good for me to write it, but that's a pretty snobby statement. Unlike some other stories where I got hopelessly stuck, this story is burning right out of me five pages at a time. I'm about 3000 words in so far with probably another 3000 to go.

After that I think I'll write "Vrenna and the Little King" in my new large Moleskine and then I might take another hack at "Vrenna and the Bandit Lords" with an entirely new story but the same characters. Either that or I'll just finish it the way it was heading anyway even if it isn't that great.