Lion of the Blogosphere

Review of the Baron Fig “Confidant” (paper) notebook

My Baron Fig “Confidant” notebook arrived in the mail today. That’s a paper notebook, not a computer.

Baron Fig, it’s kind of a weird name for a premium notebook company. Sounds like some sort of small sweet fruit, similar to a royal date.

I discovered these surfing the web after I blogged about Moleskine notebooks a few days ago.

The argument against Molekine is that you are supporting a huge publicly traded Italian corporation and the notebooks aren’t even made in Italy, they’re made in China. With cheap paper that’s said to suck with fountain pens. Although the Baron Figs are also, presumably, made in China (what isn’t made in China?), at least you are supporting four hipsters in New York City instead of a big Italian corporation. And the Baron Fig hipsters claim to have made improvements to their notebook. Maybe they did, maybe it’s just marketing bogusness. The Confidant has a nice clothbound hardcover and it comes in a single color, light gray. This lack of color choice is actually an advantage from a branding perspective. In case I ever see someone else using a clothbound notebook that’s the same color, I will know that we are both members of the same exclusive club. I also give Baron Fig credit for not emblazing their logo anywhere plainly visible (it’s printed at an out-of-the-way location on the inner back cover). As Paul Fussell could tell you, big legible logos are prole.

Missing from the Confidant is an elastic strap to hold the book closed. It was my understanding that the elastic strap was one of the key features of the Moleskine. Maybe it’s not so key after all?

The only place to buy a Baron Fig (that I know of) is from their website, and the price is $16, which includes free shipping from their warehouse in Long Island City. A few dollars less expensive than a Moleskine, plus you get better paper and all those other alleged improvements.

To test the fountain-pen-friendliness of the paper, I wrote a line of text with my fine-nibbed Lamy Studio filled with Waterman Florida Blue ink. Pass. No bleed-through. And now that I’ve broken it in by writing in it, I hopefully won’t feel too intimidated by the high cost to write more stuff in it.

Except I have no idea what I’m supposed to write in it or why I need it. It was more of a “wow that looks cool” impulse purchase rather than something I have any need for. If I had a job at a company where they have meetings at which notebook computers are banned, I suppose I could use the Confidant to take old-school pen-and-paper notes, but I never worked for that kind of a company, and I don’t have any job now at all.

The marketing material says that their notebooks are “for creative people and their ideas.” The problem is that I must not be very creative. Surely if I were creative, I would have had a much better life experience than being middle-aged without any prospect of finding a job worthy of my talents, or even a crappy cubicle job that’s beneath me. I guess that companies like Baron Fig sell the hope that maybe your problem is not a lack of creativity, but the lack of a high quality and expensive notebook in which to write those lucrative creative ideas which, until now, just got lost.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 25, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

31 Responses

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  1. Lion, you need to stop spending. You’re not working, stop spending. Listen to this guy:


    February 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    • $16 doesn’t make a difference.

      Even your “Mr. Money Mustache” hero admits to spending $24,000 a year.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      • You have to read that article. $16 here $16 there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.


        February 25, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      • It’s not $16 here and $16 there, it’s just $16.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 25, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    • One of the best books available on how to save money is “573 ways to save money” by Jennifer and Peter Sander. It contains a lot of the standard suggestions, of course. But it also gives tons of websites to help you become frugal. Until I came across this book, the best book I’d found on frugality was “1001 ways to cut your expenses” by Jonathan Pond. This book was written before the internet, so some of it is dated now, but it’s still worthwhile. Of course, the cynic would say that the first thing you should do is to stop buying books about frugality to save money! But books on this topic generally pay for themselves pretty quickly if you follow the advice they contain.


      February 25, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      • Moving out of New York City it the first step to save money.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 25, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      • @Lion, Most places out of NYC you need a car. If you don’t have a car, you are less than a prole.
        @MaryK, I will check out that book. One way to become more frugal is to make more money and keep spending habits in check. I need to practice this.
        @Lion, you also buy expensive pens. That’s $16 plus $X.


        February 25, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      • I haven’t bought any new pens since I left employment. And I never bought any really expensive pens like Montblanc.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 25, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      • “If you don’t have a car, you are less than a prole.”

        “Less than a prole.” It sounds like the title of a horror novel written by Lion about some kind of omega type.

        “His woman left him. He’s in debt. His neighborhood is overrun with NAMS. His last vacation was (gasp!) a Carnival cruise he’s……”Less than a prole” – coming soon to an HBD bookstore near you.


        February 25, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      • Less than a prole

        Add, “he’s got a notebook with TWO big logos emblazoned across the front”


        February 25, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      • “If you don’t have a car, you are less than a prole.”

        You can say that again. In the USA (and in much of Canada and Australia too), outside the biggest cities, someone who cannot drive is lower status than *any* of the ethnicities or orientations or other groups beloved by SJWs. I cannot understand why the left is totally silent regarding the oppression of the non-driver. They get angry if you even dare to compare them to “real” oppressed minorities that have their stamp of approval.


        February 26, 2016 at 7:22 am

      • Perhaps Lion and Maryk could collaborate on a screenplay entitled “Less Than A Prole.” It might not have mass appeal, but it could work on the independent/art house circuit.

        Lewis Medlock

        February 26, 2016 at 11:06 am

      • “Less than a prole.” I’m glad to see this little phrase has taken root come up with some hilarious ideas. Honestly, when I was writing it, I was reflecting on my one experience living upstate NY, where I noticed the follwoing: 1) the vast majority of the cars were no more than 3 years old 2) the vast majority of the cars were foreign imports 3) most houses had multiple vehicles, usually a sedan and some kind of SUV combo (does anyone pay cash for this or is everyone in deep hock?), some kind of snazzy sports car; 4) a very few people drove shitty old jalopies – and these people were at the lowest level of prole, and lastly 5) those who had no cars – less than proles.

        Category 5 were very sad people indeed. They got by with cheap rentals (Enterprise had a $10 day on weekends deal), and using the county public transport. There was a van system that would ferry people around to major places. I was returning a rental when I ran into two women who were doing the same. They looked like something out of people of Walmart – wrecks in human form. Very, very sad.

        Capitalism – ain’t it grand?


        February 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  2. If you’re looking for a good job, you could probably get one through one of your readers. I’m sure you have some readers who are in management positions or own their own businesses and could hook you up with a job. It’s sort of the least they could do for reading your blog for years for free.


    February 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    • I would certainly help the Lion find employment if I could. He’s a very talented man and any company would be lucky to have him.

      Don’t get discouraged, Lion, Keep on searching, you’ll find something. I’m in the same boat. And don’t let anyone get you down with cynical talk about your age. Several months ago I emailed a man who comments on another blog I frequent regularly. I asked him about job advice thinking he’d offer me some. He responded that he needed more information but then wrote “Frankly, most jobs are closed to you due to your age and years out of the workforce.” I understood this to be his attempt to discourage me from trying (so I didn’t respond.). I wondered why he’d do this since I’d always treated him nicely in my comments on the blog. I don’t know if this man is unemployed also, but he isn’t in the same line of work I was in so it’s not like I’d be qualified for the kind of job he’s seeking. Maybe he’s just a competitive type in general and can’t stand to see anyone else succeed at anything. I was so hurt by his behavior. I’m trying to do the decent thing and forgive him, assuming that he has some inner conflicts I was unaware of.


      February 25, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      • > I understood this to be his attempt to discourage me from trying

        Why would you think this? Furthermore, why would you think that there was any malice behind it?


        February 26, 2016 at 1:19 am

      • To me, he sounded stumped rather than actively nasty. Could it just have been honest, brusque male advice? Anyway, if you can’t find salaried work due to your resume, I’d recommend looking into starting your own business in some way. Contracting (perhaps including temping), making stuff on etsy, whatever. I’m not sure about your background, so I’ll leave it at that. Try to choose something that can be formulated as an active, energetic, productive role for a future SWPLish CV.


        February 26, 2016 at 5:27 am

      • No, I read him correctly. Here were his three sentences:

        I need more information. What do you want to do? Honestly, most jobs are closed to you due to your age and years out of the labor force.

        See what he did? He wanted more information largely so he could target what jobs I would try for and then shoot down those attempts as a waste of time. He also knew I might not be willing to give more information, and wanted to get in that last cynical line in case I caught on to his attempt and refused further communication (which is what I did.) Did he really think I don’t know that when you’re over 50 most jobs are closed to you? How stupid does this man think I am? What if a guy emailed a woman on the internet and asked for advice about how to find a nice woman? What if she responded “I need more information. What kind of woman are you interested in? Honestly, most woman would bypass you because of your disabling war injury and the fact that you have a child under the age of 6.”


        February 26, 2016 at 8:29 am

      • “I need more information. What kind of woman are you interested in? Honestly, most woman would bypass you because of your disabling war injury and the fact that you have a child under the age of 6.”

        I’m sure most men have heard far worse than that. That’s not even his wife leaving him because he’s disabled, kicking him out of the house and taking half his money and future income. Given the above, a man would probably think “OK, so I’ll be a rehab fanatic for a while, practice some online game and see what happens, and when my kid gets into school it’s time to get serious. Let’s do this.”


        February 26, 2016 at 9:04 am

      • MaryK, have you thought of part-time employment? I was in your position (older, out of workforce for more than a year) and I decided to look for part-time employment and found it. Now I’m looking for full-time, and also writing a book on the side. Think about writing a book, you are certainly intelligent enough.


        February 26, 2016 at 12:28 pm

  3. Being out of work is the best thing you can do to enhance your creativity. The more I become entrenched in the routines of my career the more I lose my imagination. Perhaps this happened for a reason.


    February 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    • Getting out of routines is good advice for activating the imagination, though I’d also recommend getting away from consuming media, particularly TV and movies, and maybe even the internet as a whole. My most actively creative periods have always been without any shiny distractions beckoning; a bit of boredom might be required even. (Me? These days I just comment on blogs.)


      February 26, 2016 at 5:19 am

    • Only up to a point. At a certain point being without income is bad for the soul. Being able to command resources, even at a shit job, is empowering. One of the reasons The Donald is so charismatic (to his followers) is that he radiates an aura of command.

      I would never tell an aspiring creative to quit their day job. Keep the day job and create at night and on weekends. This takes focus but it’s doable.


      February 26, 2016 at 12:31 pm

  4. What’s with all the product placement lately?

    for only $19.95

    February 25, 2016 at 8:04 pm

  5. I don’t understand what bound notebooks are for. I want to tear off most pages I write on and throw them out. I use loose leaf pads and paper clips.

    The only use I can imagine for a bound notebook is a chronological maintenance, expense, or professional billing record. You want the binding and lack of torn pages to convey that everything was recorded in true order and seriously for real correct.


    February 25, 2016 at 8:49 pm

  6. I will know that we are both members of the same exclusive club.

    I suspect this is the main selling point of Moleskines. Only it’s not so exclusive if a high school kid can walk into B&N and get one for $20. That’s why I carry a $2 Meade Composition book. I’m sure my ideas are $18 less creative but I’ve managed to survive.

    I also give Baron Fig credit for not emblazing their logo anywhere plainly visible (it’s printed at an out-of-the-way location on the inner back cover).

    I agree that big logos are annoying and should be avoided. But they’re not annoying enough for me to spend another $18 for a notebook.

    The marketing material says that their notebooks are “for creative people and their ideas.”

    SWPL’s are obsessed with the idea that they’re special snowflakes brimming with creativity and good taste. They’re willing to pay a premium for things that reinforce this self-perception (self-deception?). So tapping into their conceit is a great marketing ploy.


    February 25, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    • As with many other hobbies, it’s easier to buy the trappings than actually doing it.


      February 26, 2016 at 5:20 am

  7. BTW Federal Supply Service cloth bound log books used heavily in the DoD are available easily for about $5 a piece.

    I really need to figure out my way to cash in on hipster naivete.


    February 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    • Wow! Thanks for the tip. Those look really nice in a retro sort of way. I am not sure if the green color will be off putting or not, and I prefer blank pages, but I will give them a shot. If I understand correctly, Federal Supply Service is part of the US government. Who would have thought that the US government makes notebooks?

      Making money is always tough. I have a job, so that is my major source of income. But it is worth noting that the oil price is very volatile right now so maybe you can make money on that. I am trading a fund called IXC profitably, and there are also high risk leveraged funds. Maybe I will try those if the price really drops again.

      Have you considered taking a photography course? I am thinking about opening an account on iStock photo. Maybe if you have 1,000 photos on it you can pick up a few hundred dollars per month.

      The Shepherd

      February 26, 2016 at 5:53 am

  8. Forget “creative”. How about a diary along the lines of Samuel Pepys? Sample, Sept 7, 1662: “Thence to my Lord’s, where nobody at home but a woman that let me in, and Sarah above; whither I went up to her and played and talked with her and, God forgive me, did feel her; which I am much ashamed of, but I did no more, though I had so much a mind to it that I spent in my breeches.”


    February 26, 2016 at 3:43 am

  9. Well all this stuff has got me hooked. Does anyone have experience with this notebook? The reviews on Amazon are very enticing.

    Worth it?

    PS Lion, I was half joking. A few treats here & there are good for the soul. And I don’t really agree with that miser dude in the NYer. The key to a successful retirement isn’t being a miser, it’s having a good enough income so that you can save, and you save by not buying things you don’t need w/money you don’t have.

    But scrimping all the time is soul-destroying. We need beauty. If you want a diamond, buy a diamond, not cubic zirconia. But buy a half-carat diamond if that’s all you can afford. It’s still a diamond.


    February 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

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