Aug. 7, 2022

62 Paperless Stationery?

62 Paperless Stationery?

In today’s episode, we will be talking about good old fashioned letter writing, how it is good for your brain and my recent experience in going *gasp*... paperless.

Postal Bulletin

Webb Space telescope stamps

Lagrange point

Post Office shut downs

The power of the handwritten note

Step away from the keyboard, it works even if you don’t mail it

The sandwich notebook strikes again but this time with an airmail set

So many wax seals

Did you say Descartes?

The use of the Mac ecosystem with an iPad for handwriting in the digital space


PDF Expert

David Sparks Paperless Field Guide


Learn Calligraphy guide sheets for Procreate


62 Paperless Stationery?

John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 62 stationary orbit, where we are all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host

John West, and I'm joined by our co-host Evan Harris. In today's episode, we'll be talking about good old fashioned letter writing how it's good for your brain and some of my recent experience in going, oh dear …paperless. So good day. 

Good evening. Good morning, Evan. Delete as necessary. 

Evan: Good evening. How are you? 

John: Doing well, it's gonna be a crazy couple of weeks coming up, but it's good to be on the horn with you here for stationary today. So the first thing we have is our normal segment on the postal bulletin.

And we have got the

James web space, telescope stamps, which, 

Look like a graphic right out of a star Trek flyer. So that's a 


graphic there. 


Evan: I've watched almost all

of I'm a little behind on some of the new series, but I've seen everything. [00:01:00] Up to the end of lower deck, season two, 

John: Wow. 

Evan: of star Trek, including the animated 


there's a, kid's one. That's in partnership with 

Nickelodeon. On paramount plus, 

That's also very good. I have not seen any estranged, new worlds yet. I'm halfway through Picard life's scouting in the way.

We should also know

today a American who would be worthy of a stamp at some point passed away famous for playing Lieutenant Uhura and in general being an amazing person.

John: yep. And 

 My favorite tribute to her this last week are hailing frequencies are now closed, rest in power initial. 

Evan: Oh, that's very good. 

John: Very emotional to, to lose one of the original 

crew like that.

I think we're down to William Shatner. And, 


Check off. and Sulu. 

John: you're right. Yep. check off.


Hulu. Yep. Oh my.

Evan: [00:02:00] Exactly though, going from the fictional enterprise, which I imagine has definitely been on a stamp the if not, and again, they have done star Trek stamps. I'm out of those. I wish I could find them again. They were wonderful, which were all, drawings of just the original series. It didn't specify any characters, but like the James web space telescope stamp.

John: Yep.

Evan: If you've been living under a rock, because this is how much news, at least in my circles the JWST has made it is a new telescope sitting out at L two, which is fancy math for saying a long way away, but stable.

John: Yep. 

Evan: And this is the most complex and at and advanced telescope ever made.

And it has been already in the few weeks, it's been fully operational, creating amazing images and constantly breaking records that it has already set for old oldest stars, most galaxies, et cetera. The day Hubble is incredible. This makes Hubble look like nothing. 

John: Yeah, It's [00:03:00] definitely stirred some imaginations out there amongst the the star Watchers. 

Evan: That's right. And so this is a as John already mentioned a drawing of the JWST sitting in front of a galaxy these stamps will be released on September 8th of this year and are being released from

John: Washington.

Evan: Ah, yes. How did I miss that Washington DC. Which is appropriate for it being named after an administrator of NASA. 

John: Yeah. And these are forever stamps. So these


be widely available and should 

be something you can easily get onto your snail. 

Evan: Yeah, exactly. I'm sure I will be picking 

these up. Shortly after their release. And there is both a color and black and white postmark for these the color post. Both of them looked like the he grid of the JW S T and one of them has the galaxy [00:04:00] pattern on it in color, the black and white is just the head Sigal grid.

John: Yeah. And I wanted to take a step back there, cuz you had mentioned L

two and for, anyone that is not familiar with that particular astronomical term, that is for a

LaGrange point. Not LaGrange is in the Z Z top song, but LaGrange is in a particular stability point inside of an orbit

Evan: Yes. Named after a French mathematician from the late from the mid to late 18th century into early 19th century, who was also Napoleon bona parts. Favorite professor, sir.

John: All right on. 

That's a nice piece of trivia, but yeah, for all of you that are out 

there that are probably 30 and younger keep the term LaGrange stored in your memory banks, because when they 

start setting up orbital

hotels, very likely it'll be put 

on LaGrange 


Evan: Yeah, they'll be put on LaGrange sometimes also pronounced LaGrange but there are [00:05:00] five of them and they are basically points where I'm not to get into the advanced multivariable calculus, because that is what this is. But basically it is the points when two, between two gravitational objects where their gravities cancel out. So exactly where they are are relative. But. You have L two this is the earth, sun Lara point, but if you're talking earth, moon L two past the far side of the moon, L one would be between the earth and the moon. L three is all the way on the other side of the orbit.

Those three are simple mathematically. Then you have two more that are a little more complex that are along your orbital ring. And again, exactly where they are depends on your gravitational masses. L four is in front of your in the direction you're moving.

L five is behind. So I'm not gonna get into the calculus, but it is actually really neat when you see it worked out. If you 


John: I, think the way it works out in my mind is if you dropped two pebbles in the [00:06:00] water and. The L one L two L three, look like your standard interfaces between where you have what's called a negative constructive pattern and it cancels out the wave motion. That's there. When you're talking about L four and L five, those are 

like backwater eddies that are part of that same ring pattern. 

Evan: Yep. 

John: so we

are going to move along from. space above and beyond there to places where the us PS has just decided that they are going to end 

services immediately.

And I'm sure that for the locals in 

these areas,

this has gotta be jolting especially given how stable the us PS seems. 

Evan: That's right. This is not the first time this has happened, though. There are a lot more than you normally see us. PS will halt services for extreme weather or mail theft or threats to postal [00:07:00] workers. And that's what it's happening.

John: Yep. Yeah, they ended up with, I don't think somebody was actually attacked in Santa

Monica, but apparently there was a

threat against a postal worker, And that was enough to 

shut down operations there. And then there 

was a there were a series of dog attacks, one in Greenfield, Indiana, 

and one in Des Moines, Iowa.

And that has also 

shut down part of their services.

Evan: That's right. And a friendly reminder, threatening a postal worker, postal workers are federal employees. That is a very good way to get a visit from the postal inspector who might bring along his friends at the FBI.

John: actually the postal 

inspector does not need to bring along his friends at the FBI because postal inspectors are fully de or not deputized,

but fully.

Licensed law enforcement officers within the 

federal agencies. And I've actually stood inside of a 


with postal inspectors with sub-machine guns outside because I was handling

money inside of a [00:08:00] postal service office.

Evan: Yeah, there are, they are serious. Not every postal inspector is carrying a gun all the

time. But if you're threatening a postal

inspector, or if you're threatening a member of the post office, you may also be committing some other crimes that are outside of the postal inspector's jurisdictions.

That's why they'll bring their friends along. But there are a surprising number of major crime busts where the postal inspectors are part of it because you're. The postal service for various wire fraud and similar crimes across state

John: Or yeah, shipping illegal 

items such as guns or 

drugs without proper or permits. 

Evan: Correct

John: All 


Evan: as well as considered illegal without a proper

John: Yep. 

Evan: to be shipped by the us P 

John: Yep. 

Evan: if you're shipping alcohol without a permit use someone.

Then it's just against, then it would just be against company rules. Not against the law. 

John: And 

also be careful, especially if it [00:09:00] is high proof alcohol that actually falls into a flammable liquids category, which is dangerous goods. 

And that'll get you a whole different fine from the 


Evan: Oh, absolutely. If it's air shift, if it's ground shift it, it's not the FAA. The wonderful the wonderful minutiae.

John: Oh, no kidding. 

So all, and the next item in our show notes, we're going to go to Hamburg, Germany to the new Mont Blanc house. And of course, Mont Blanc has a certain amount of stake in making sure people are handwriting, but they did a great job of giving a, an interview and an article to the financial review and in.

They actually have notes in here from Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Wolf, Albert

Einstein, Ian McLean, And Carl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld. Yeah, there we go.

And yeah it's the idea of the handwritten note being one of the 

best tools you have in 

terms of personal relationships?[00:10:00] 

Evan: Absolutely. We obviously are very much in favor of letter writing here.

John: Yep. And the next article we have in our show notes actually goes more into detail into the idea of letter writing. And very importantly, I think one of the first phrases in this is step away from keyboard. Typing as easy as it is, as fast as it can be. Also changes the pathways in your brain from the way you hand write.

Even printing is different than some of the joined together cursive and the kind of pathways that it forms in your brain. So it's something that I'm actually looking at getting back into. Doing more cursive, specifically copper plate. And I'll talk about that later, but definitely a lot of [00:11:00] love here for handwritten notes.

And one of the interesting things I thought was cool about this article is the idea of. Using handwriting to think things through. And that's what I use my handwriting for a lot is sitting down and just freeform writing and doing journal notes or doing daily notes and trying to get my thoughts out in handwriting.

Not necessarily on paper anymore. Again, I'll talk about that here later, but. Definitely trying to get stuff outta my head in a form that is more like handwriting and the cool thing that they have in this. The second article, which let me scroll back to the top here is from your tango. So the name of the website and the name of the article is the time tested ritual that deepens relationships and builds intimacy.

And you would think that given the [00:12:00] website and given the article title, that this would be about love letter, But it actually goes quite a bit further than that in terms of talking about thinking things through and using letters as therapy. And one of the interesting things that I thought about this is she talks about she talks about Abraham Lincoln writing to a family that had lost multiple sons during the civil war.

And the fact. That handwritten letter meant so much more to that family than than just if it had been an email or a Telegraph that had been sent. One other thing I wanted to talk about with Abraham Lincoln is his habit of writing what he called hot letters. And I don't remember if I've talked about.

On the show before, but Abraham Lincoln, when he got mad or upset about something would sit down at his table, would write a letter and just pour everything out onto [00:13:00] the paper, just let it all go. And he would I think he was getting ready to write one to George McClellan, the general that flubbed the us. Arm's tactics up until the point where it was turned over to Ulysses us 

grant. And he was, he wrote the, just a absolutely scathing letter to McClellan and then wrote, put it in an envelope, wrote on the 

envelope, do not

sent and put it in his desk. And it was found after I think it 

was found actually 10 years after his 



Evan: Oh, wow. 

John: but yeah, he had this habit of writing these 

hot letters so that he could get his emotions out 

onto paper, and then he just, filed them away. He wouldn't 

send them

Evan: You've gotta make sure that doesn't get sent though. That can be uh, Very bad if it does, but I am a big proponent of writing to help understand things.

John: Yeah, 

exactly. And one of the things that she points out in the article here is that. [00:14:00] sometimes you need to write stuff down, especially if you're talking about something that you have a misunderstanding or a downright disagreement with somebody in the family or a friend that's sitting down and writing out a letter can actually help you work through those issues.

And even if you don't send the letter, it helps you work through the issues. And there are times where writing this stuff out and sending it out. Means something I, and it's important because you never know how long people have on the face of the planet. And especially if you're talking to an elderly part of the family send the letter, because it might be the last letter that person gets. And it might not mean a lot to them, but it may mean a lot to you that you finally got that off of your chest.

Evan: Oh, absolutely.

John: Definitely a lot of good mental health stuff to be had in letter [00:15:00] writing and note writing. So just to keep it up and keep that writing going, because it's it definitely it'll help others. And it helps you as. and so we're gonna go move along and the sandwich notebook strikes again, the the guys from. Kati Corey out of India managed to get themselves into another news article in my newsfeed. And they're the guys who came up with that sandwich shaped sketchbook that we talked about last time.

That's a small triangular shaped notebook that opens up into a square as a sketchbook. So that's back in the news, but this time it brought along a retro vintage. Letterhead and envelope set that looks like old school air mail. And apparently this is some really fun stuff. And

I think this one

actually does come with yeah, it comes to, 

with a link to their Facebook

site so that you can chat with [00:16:00] them and shop online to pick some of these

items up, which is something I hadn't seen


I think their shops were being sold through 

other third hand parties.

Evan: Yeah, a lot of cool stuff again, they're, they've got a lot of creativity in what they're making. I can't wait to see what we find from them next. 

John: Yeah, and mentioning cool stationary stuff. I think it's been a while since we've talked about wax seals, but we have got a article in here from book riot, and 

this is. an article called wax seals for all of your Regency core needs. So for anyone that has not gotten into the Regency core or have overheard about it Regency core has really taken off, thanks to the show, Bridgerton, which was said in the Regency period in Britain and Regency core


part of this whole set of. [00:17:00] 

Little nerd niches including dark academia, Golan core cottage core,

and Regency core. And I think there was another one called it's like glamor core or Hollywood core, something like 


Evan: I don't know. There's so many of them. I barely know what some of them

John: And so 

this particular one they're giving a shout out to Regency core because the wax seals were so. predominant in that era. And especially when you people look back at

it they tend to think about wax seals 

And letters that are like that. So 

this lady went through and this is just a fun article because it is nothing but like a, a shopping safari

and looking through different wax


Evan: Absolutely. So the Regency area officially lasted from 1811 to 1820, , when king George III was declared actually crazy arguably it was a lot earlier and his son George Prince of Wales later, George, the fourth became prince [00:18:00] Regents until George II died.

This of course overlaps with things like the late Napoleonic era. 

John: Let's see some of the stamps that she has in here, they've got 

a bee stamp, which I've seen before that one's fun. They have a 

Magnolia stamp that I've not seen before. And that one's kind of 

Evan: Yeah, nor 

have I that's neat, 

Sword and the sword and rose. I don't know if I've seen this specific one, but I've seen things on this on that topic before.

John: and one thing I 

wanted to note is the images that the author put into the article I think were pulled directly from some of the websites, but they tend to. A bit more ornate or fanciful than I think most people are used to seeing from wax seals and specifically for this sword and rose wax seal image.

There's a technique that's used that and I've used it before. And it's really a fun way

to do this is in this

particular case, they used a like a wine [00:19:00] red wax 

stamped. It

waited for the 

stamp to cool. And then they took a gold Sharpie 

marker. And they highlighted over the top of

the sword And roses to make it stand off of the stamp. 

Evan: That's right. And a lot of these images have the, have something on the top to make it stand out. And 

that's a, it is pretty common and can make these intricate designs really pop.

John: Yeah. 

The next one, they have a celestial wax seal and they took this one a step further. Not 

only did they use the gold highlighting technique, but they also 

mixed stamp or wax seal colors. And they put in a little bit of gold into a blue wax 

stamp. And that looks beautiful. 

Evan: Yeah, absolutely. I've seen a lot of celestial and similar designs ones for like different signs and whatnot. 

John: They do have one in here and this is actually the one that I I'm

gonna [00:20:00] probably the only one out of this article that I'm actually maybe gonna hunt 

down. They actually have a snail mail, one in here that I've never 

seen before. And it's extraordinarily. 

Evan: Uh, I haven't seen this specific one, but I've seen similar ones and it's a great way to do it.

John: yep. They do have a cat and a celestial stamp that's in here. Again, they sealed it in a black wax and then they used a silver Sharpie to highlight that one was pretty good. They do have some other. interesting ones. They have a custom wax seal in here that they actually have a link to. Some some other fun stamps in here. I do like the paper 

airplane one that's down toward the bottom and.

Evan: I like the Jurassic park. I mean, Just Dino Dino, that isn't a movie logo

John: to totally not a

movie logo. 


Evan: J just a drawing of a Terra source Rex in an interesting pose.[00:21:00] 

John: And for those of you that are out there, depending on your. Your political slash ethical leanings. If you are looking for movie logos or something that is considered to be copyrighted or intellectual property for a wax seal or a stamp, don't bother to look in the United States because all the licensing rules are effectively shut that kind of thing down.

However depending on how fluid your ethics are, the Asian markets have no such problems with creating stuff based on other people's trademarked property. So if you are looking for some stuff, that's more interesting based on artwork that you're familiar with. Definitely go look on Etsy for some of the stores that come out 


Vietnam And Korea 

and. China. and the they'll probably have some stuff you've [00:22:00] never seen in 



market, but

again, that depends on your



Evan: Yeah. And also whom you're copying to be on, which also 

affects your ethics. You can certainly find plenty of things that the mouse wouldn't allow in am to be sold directly in America. 

John: Yep. 

Including a lot of star wars 

stuff that I have found. 

Evan: Oh yeah. 

John: Because. 

Yeah, that's not, a moon Mickey 


Evan: Ooh, not, I would not consider this

ethically Dubious given all of these are pieces of art that are well out of copyright, given their ancient Roman marbles. I just found handles, cuz normally you just have the wooden handles I'm gonna add this to the show notes. These are handles that are I presume 3d printed high quality 3d print copies of like Roman busts. So one of, so the first one is Augustus. I think the second one's Mark Anthony, I don't recognize the third or fourth. The [00:23:00] fifth is I believe the top of the Venus de Mylo. It's not the whole Venus de Mylo. It's literally just shoulders up. One is I'm trying to remember my whatnot. I think that Alexander, the. And I can't name the last two, the final one looks to be late medieval, early modern English. It's not Isaac Newton, but It feels I wanna say Isaac Newton. 

John: If it looks like Brian May it's

Isaac Newton.

Evan: It does, but not in the right way. I'm pretty sure that Dr. May is also a member of the Royal society of which Isaac Newton was the president.

John: I'm 

Evan: Not the Royal society of something, just the Royal society. It's the first they just call 

John: Yep. Yeah. That's true. Doc. Dr. May 

I have

to get that one, right? Yep. Let me go look here. 

Oh yeah, 

those are cool.

Wow. Nice catch Evan. 

All right.

Evan: I got distracted and saw these [00:24:00] yes, please.

John: please. 

Evan: Who do you think that last one 



think one of them is Helen of Troy. 

John: do 

they have 'em 

you're right. It definitely looks like a 

British scholar. I, yeah, if I were to guess I'd probably


Evan: It's new. it looks like Newton, but not quite the bust of Newton I'm used to seeing. It's definitely not Shakespeare, but it is that 16 hundreds ish, late medieval , or Renaissance to early modern period. Look, 

John: Yeah, they 

did not. 

Evan: the mustache. I think it's Decartes. 

I'm almost that's, Decartes not 

John: oh yeah. Yep. French. Yeah. 

Evan: French, but that is Rene Decartes

John: Very good. 


For a moment. I was thinking maybe Spinoza, but no Spinoza is not popular

John: while I know that, 

The next time we talk about new acquisitions, what Evan 

will be getting 

Yeah. That, that, that reaction tells me it's probably already in your shopping cart.

Evan: I need to log in first, [00:25:00] but yes.

John: okay. Gonna move into something different. And as I mentioned before gasp, I have made the decision with my move to Singapore and potential moving around after this point that I've decided to go almost entirely paperless. And the way I work and I still tend to do a lot of stuff in terms of handwriting, because that's the best way I can think I have to hand mark up papers.

I have to hand mark up reports just so that I can think through things , and track things properly. And I don't work well in spreadsheets or in word documents for some things like that. I started my journey with David Spark's paperless field guide because I had a lot of stuff back in the states that I needed to scan that I needed to organize so that I would have it available once I got to [00:26:00] Singapore.

So I of started with the max Sparky field guide for the paperless field guide. And I've got a link in the show notes. In fact, I'll have links to all of these applications. I'm about to talk about. In the show notes, but that's where I started is going through his process of scanning and identifying and storing and recalling and annotating PDFs for paper stuff so that you can get stuff out of a paper form into this paperless form, but you can still work with it a little bit as if it were paper and you can keep the files.

So that's where I started and. Thanks to Mr. Sparks. , he put in he put in several PDF editors and annotation tools that he recommended. And the one that I picked up is called PDF expert. And it's used on an iPad or iPhone. You can also use it on a Mac, but I use it on my [00:27:00] iPad.

And what I have found is. That I tend to print stuff out to PDF and on a Mac or in Mac O S anytime you have a document and you go to print it, it has a small dropdown at the bottom that says PDF, and you can actually print something directly to PDF, save it to desktop. And then what I do is I use airdrop to airdrop it to my iPad.

It immediately, once you have 

PDF expert,

Installed on your 

iPad. It immediately pulls up and says, what application would you like to open this 

PDF in 

you choose PDF expert, and then you can go and you

can annotate to your heart's.

Evan: Yeah, I've looked into doing something like that before my issue as might already be a little obvious from some, from the. Previous point, I get distracted sometimes easily and can, and I find writing physical paper much better because on an iPad [00:28:00] or a Mac, as much as I do stuff, I sign a bunch of stuff digitally as opposed to printing it out.

I end up opening up different apps.

John: Yeah, I don't 

have that much of a problem on my iPad. I definitely have that problem on my iPhone because that's where I always check mail and I check my social media. And yeah, I found myself opening my iPhone and then 15 minutes later going, what was I looking for? And I just lost 15 minutes to checking on other stuff.

That was not what I 

intended, but

my iPad, 

for some reason I tend to only 


applications that work well on the iPad, like Notability 


PDF expert.

Evan: Yeah, and there are incredible applications such as Notability and I probably should try and look at the paperless field guide at some point, though. I'm well into the mostly paper sphere at this point.

John: Yeah. Yeah. And the thanks

for Talking about that [00:29:00] while I think I mentioned it before, but there's another application I wanted to talk about and it's called Notability and probably one of the best handwriting apps on the iPad that give you a bunch of different paper styles that you can

choose from. And especially if

you're an engineer that was.

Trained on E two 

paper. They have a green 

paper that is dot grid that

it's not a perfect analog for

E two paper, but it's close enough for government work. 

Evan: Yeah. The app, when , I've done a lot of stuff on Notability in the past when working more collaboratively. And it is a wonderful app for that sort of work and dot grid and cross grid by far the superior paper options.

John: absolutely. And yeah, so I go through it, I mark things up, I annotate. And then I then I just share 'em back through airdrop, back [00:30:00] to my MacBook so I can email out my reviews back to the people in my company that or people outside of my company that they need to go to. And it has been a real. Eye opener for me of getting to work that way within the Mac an apple ecosystem. And it was definitely something that until I got my MacBook to come over here, wouldn't have been an option, but I definitely encourage anyone that has taken the leap has gone full apple ecosystem that especially now with the, I think they call.

mission control. You can actually open an iPad along with your MacBook

and you can control the iPad 

screen from your MacBook track pad. 

And it's that they're definitely trying to make it to where those two E those two parts of the 

ecosystem are working well together. And I've been very impressed. 

Evan: Absolutely. I'm I've used that for [00:31:00] photo editing before.

John: yep. And the next one on the list, and I will admit that I have not done a huge amount of work with this yet, but I have been introduced to an application on the iPad called procreate.

And it is very much an artist tool and I'm actually going to be using it to 

get into my handwriting again.

And instead of using a paper guidebook as so many 

calligraphers have cut their teeth on, I am going to be

doing it in procreate.

Evan: Yeah, procreate is an app that apple shows off at almost every keynote where they talk about iOS. It has been incredibly huge for years. It seems they've only won two apple design awards. When I thought they were winning them. Every year you go to their website and it looks like you're on an apple website.

I'm surprised it's not just part of the OS at this 

John: Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree with that. Yeah. Their website is very.

Apple design [00:32:00] 

for it. 

Evan: , it's a, an art producing company. So they do a lot of really cool stuff and they know what they're doing with design much like apple does, and they now have three wait, 3d painting. Okay. That's really. 

John: 3d painting. 


known as reverse sculpture. 

Evan: I mean you could black and white 3d scan something with a LIDAR on your phone or iPad, and then paint it to be whatever color you want.

John: Nice. Yeah.

Evan: You want a custom car design. There you go.

John: Yep.

And the other thing that I wanted to talk about, again, have not gotten much into this. This is just a new experiment for me, but I found a website out here called learn and they have a 

modern calligraphy workbook for procreate. So I've bought the procreate. I bought the

workbook and now I just need to. [00:33:00] Practicing, 

but this is a copper plate course.

That's for procreate. 

Evan: I also, wouldn't be surprised if you are able to just print that out and do it in the real world, but I could be wrong.

John: They do have another version of this workbook that is PDF. I believe this version of the workbook is JPEG, which of course you could definitely print out, but it's definitely made for procreate. 

So that you can use it there. Yeah, just a, another experiment in my part of my paperless journey. But I thought that for all of you that are out there that are trying to find new and interesting ways to do more handwriting or to incorporate handwriting into your job or into your workflows that I thought I'd share some of the, lessons I had learned from. My work with the iPad in conjunction with the Mac. So hopefully that spurred some neurons firing in that direction.

[00:34:00] And, that's gonna do it for this episode of stationary orbit. Hope to be in your ears in two weeks. Be proud of your snail. mail.