Tools of the Trade

As a one-man features section, I never know when I will encounter something of interest to my readers, so I am never without the trusty implements that enable me to translate real-world adventures into the written word.  Because I want you to get to know me and my personal style more and more as I develop my new blog, I thought I would share some information about the tools of my trade and how I use them.

The Moleskine Note Pad

This leather-bound beauty beats the socks off of dime-store note pads both in terms of style and reliability.  It fits perfectly in my inside coat-pocket, has highly durable pages that don't tear easily, and just feels great in the palm of my hand.  I gravitate toward older aesthetic forms and feel a sense of continuity from using a descendant of the famous notebook series used by geniuses such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald.  I don't use it for long interviews because I'm a painfully slow hand-writer, but it's great for jotting down little details and reminders about my surroundings, especially in shops and museums that don't allow photography.

A tiny silver pen

Standing at all of three inches long, this little lightening bolt clips easily to the cover of my notebook.  It hits on the perfect balance of being small enough to fit anywhere and long enough so that even my large fingers can manipulate it with ease.  Usually little novelty pens don't write very well, but this one glides as gently as its more conventional big brothers and has a long-lasting ink supply.  Sadly, I don't know who makes them!  Please let me know if you find out.

Sony Digital Voice Recorder

I wish I could remember all of the specs, but I believe this essential convince has more than a day's worth of digital recording time.  It allows you to store your sound files in several different internal folders and even has some on-the-spot basic editing features.  I don't know the technical terms to describe its sound-quality, but it's good enough that I'm considering using it to post audio clips to this blog.  Remember I said that I can't write fast enough to take down interviews?  This is how I get around that little defect of nature.

The Canon Camera
I couldn't use my camera to take a picture of my camera, so I will just tell you that it is a Canon IXUS 9515.  I am nothing close to a professional photographer or graphic designer, so for my purposes this tiny 10-megapixel gem that fits in a pocket with the recorder does just fine.  It's easy to pull out on a moment's notice and its battery lasted me an entire day of heavy picture-taking in Canterbury.  It even has a pretty good video recorder, but I'm not quite sure I want to use it for regular video postings.

The Hat

Don't know what in the world this has to do with information gathering?  Then I suggest that on some rainy day you attempt to hold an umbrella while taking notes and pictures.  Hand-woven woolen tweed, it keeps my head perfectly dry no matter how severe the downpour.  I picked this up while I was earning my Masters degree in Ireland.  Contrary to what some of my friends over there seem to speculate, I'm not pretending to be Irish, I'm just trying to avoid a cold.