27 March 2006

Thou Shalt Lay Flat

I commented recently that one of the best features of my new A5-size Filofax ("Philo") is that he lays flat. As I work with him further, I am increasingly realizing the significance of this feature.

I spend most of my workday at a desk. My desk is L-shaped. I face two computer screens (their backs are to my office door, thank you very much). To my right is the other arm of the L, where I keep my phone and pads of paper and the like. It's a convenient parking spot for my Filofax, because I can see what I need to see by just turning my head away from the computer screen and to my right.

However, when I turned my head to see Philo's littler but older brother ("Fax"), all I saw was a brown piece of leather. Try as he might, Fax just could not lie down. I would try to help him stretch by gently pushing him down, or folding his spine backwards (ouch!). But he is just an inflexible fellow. So any planner activity at all required me to manipulate Fax with both hands. Once open, I had to use one hand to keep Fax in an open position, while the other wrote, or turned pages, or caressed him and said, "It's okay, boy, you'll get it!"

Philo lays like a frickin' show dog. I mean, he is flat as a pancake. I generally keep him open to the current week's spread. But with a couple finger-twiddles, I can get Philo to show me anything I want. Given my generally astounding laziness, keeping Philo open helps me use him more efficiently. A closed planner is a forgotten, or at least underused, planner. Who wants to go through all the effort of opening a closed planner? I only have so many minutes in the day. An open planner, however, invites attention. It says, "I'm here for you, do what you will with me, oh god, oh god, OH GOD!" You can use one of the pen loops for a cigarette.

And, thus, a rule is born: Thou Shalt Lay Flat. Once you go flat, you'll never go back.

25 March 2006

Hello, Please Meet Philo

I've been getting to know my new Filofax, let's call him Philo, for the past few days. Let me tell you, I could not be happier. I was afraid that Philo would leave me deflated, feeling like I had really lost my mind when I decided to replace its older and smaller sibling (let's call him Fax) just for some extra square footage on the page.

Philo is so much more than size, though. Here, let me introduce him to you.

World, meet Philo.

Here is one trick Philo can do that Fax could not. Philo, lie flat!

Good planner! Good planner! (Oh, also, Philo: "Carry two writing implements!" Good boy! Good boy!) Poor Fax would just flop around and roll on his spine when he tried that trick.

Philo has lovely vertical calendar columns too:

Good boy! (On the above photo, I have disclosed that I will be traveling to "Jamica" in May. Now you both know my vacation plans and are witness to one of the most egregious spelling errors I have ever made. Seriously, I usually don't even bother to spell-check because me and spelling, we are CLOSE. I prefer to think of "Jamica" as a brain-hiccup of sorts, rather than a spelling error. Because I know I am not going to "Jamica." Please.)

When you have a new child, clothing is a real hassle. Luckily, Philo makes it easy for me to use Fax's hand-me-downs. Look, Fax's clothes fit on Philo:

That trick is possible with just the slightest alterations to Fax's clothing -- I can't even sew and I managed it!

(No, you don't get to see the details of my checking account.)

Thanks to his lie-flat trick, Philo spends each working day keeping me company at my desk. I've got a cleared out little area for him.

Fax, poor sap, is in a drawer. I don't even bring him home with me. He's in a cold, dark office this weekend, wondering how his little world so quickly fell apart. "Where's Papa? Where did he go? Where did my big brother Philo go? Gosh, I'm sure they're coming back soon, with ice cream or something else sweet and tasty!"

Not so, Fax. Get used to your cold, dark drawer. There's a new planner in town.

21 March 2006

The Eagle Has Landed. Repeat. The Eagle Has Landed.

Breaking news: I have received my spanking new chocolate brown, Cross-pattern, A5-size Filofax. A full report will follow, but here are some preliminary impressions:

The Good:

* The week-per-two-pages calendar is vertically oriented. I greatly prefer this to the modified horizontal format of the personal size. It also has time designations, missing in the personal size calendar.

* TWO PEN LOOPS. Let me make this clear: TWO PEN LOOPS. This is a real boon. I can carry pen and pencil now.

* Blank, not pre-labeled, tabs. I'll have to give them some serious thought.

* Pad of pre-punched paper included. Huzzah! It slides into a slot inside the back cover and will really make freeform paper insertion easier.

The Bad:

* The blank tabs are coated in a slick plasticine substance that makes ink bead up. Each tab helpfully states, "Label the tabs with a permanent marker." But now I have to find a "permanent marker" with a tip small enough for legible tab-making.

* It does not include the really useful URL/e-mail pages that came with my personal size planner. I keep (kept) all my passwords on them (using an inscrutable code no thief could figure out). I'll have to buy some, methinks.

* The rings are the same size as the personal planner. In stock form, the planner bursts at the rings' seams. I would have liked to see another 1/4 inch or so of diameter. Edit: The rings are, in fact, slightly larger. Still wouldn't mind a little more slack though.

The Ugly:

* My bank account statement, after paying for this oversized hunk of leather.

16 March 2006

Why Must You Torture Me?

Goldspot.com, you surely are a cruel mistress. I placed my order for my new, improved, larger, better-tasting Filofax a week and a half ago now, and your website still says it has not shipped. And you have not responded to my e-mail. Nor have I received any damn indication at all of what is going on.

Come to think of it, when I ordered my first Filofax from you, something similar happened. There was an unexplained delay, and there were unanswered e-mails. But it all ended up okay in the end.

Listen, I'm supposed to be telling everyone about how great my new Filofax is. And wouldn't you like it if I could tell everyone how great Goldspot.com is? Also, with each passing day, I lose one day of the included calendar's utility. It will die on December 31st, regardless of when I receive the Filofax. And, as though to add insult to injury, I will have more and more stuff to transfer into the new Filofax because I am still using the old one. Please, this will already be a day-long project.

If this persists, I shall have to take a measure most drastic: I will pick up the phone and call you. That's right. I will be forced to abandon the emotional fortress of e-mail and attempt to have a human conversation with a regular old human at your company. Highly unorthodox, I know. But soon, I will have no other option.

I don't want to invoke the nuclear option. Please send me my Filofax. Pretty please. With Jot Pad pages on top.

13 March 2006


See, I was just testing you with that extended silence. If you're reading this, either you've been waiting for my next post with bated breath or you are yet another misguided Googler, stumbling into this space because you were looking for a pornography storage solution called File O' Fucks.

Either way, feast on these breaking news items.

I never could quite get over my regret over getting a "personal" size Filofax instead of the A4 size. For months now, I've been justifying it. "Gee, isn't this personal size handy and small. Why, it fits in my bag with no problem!" But every time I said that, my boss would pop up from behind a file cabinet and say, "Hey, nice purse."

So, I decided to throw caution and a sizeable chunk of change to the wind. An A5-size, chocolate-colored Cross model is on its way. (Or at least it should be. The folks at Goldspot are masters at setting low prices, but as to quick service: Not so much.)

I'll report back when it's here.

One other thing, not explicitly related to Filofax. My wife is pregnant and we expect to have a little Philofaxer on the ground in August. (See, this is one of the top-secret personal things I was alluding to when I went on hiatus.) We have not yet observed its gender and, thus, by well-accepted laws of quantum physics, it is neither male nor female but instead is a probability wave.

This gives me lots of fun things to write in my Filofax, like "Get on fricking wait list for daycare" and "Write check to fricking daycare people" and "Accompany wife to doctor appointment and pray that no fricking third arm is identified on the ultrasound. Unless it's not a third arm, but just appears to be. In which case, RIGHT ON MY BOY!"