I just finished up another notepad. Ever since undergraduate days I've typically carried one around, mostly in my bookbag, since ones in my pocket would get compressed against my wallet or keys or (inclusive or, here) be unpleasant obstacles to sitting. They're just records of anything I have to write down, often of books I mean to fetch from a library, sometimes of appointments, addresses of people I mail things to, a mix of shopping lists from when I'm sent to a store, and many little things I run across that seem amusing. Odd signs, bizarre dialogue, anything that I might want to write about more permanently later. Some of the notes are so cryptic as to be lost to me, now: at one point I thought something worth remembering in the phrase ``Westling w/Moses'', but don't ask me what, now.
The parameters for my notepads have evolved; I like something big enough I can actually do a little mathematics work in, small enough that I can stuff it in my pocket if I must. I like perforated pages, in case one has to be neatly removed; I can also keep track thusly of how many pages were torn out, in case I should ever care. Sometimes I'll go weeks without writing anything, sometimes I go through reams in a day. My just-completed pad goes back to shortly before the big Cleveland trip of July 2008 (!). But I bought the successor book a month or two ago, anticipating faster use of the last pages than actually happened.
I'm wondering, though, whether this might be my last notebook, the last pile of handwritten life debris. Already my hand phone is taking responsibility for keeping contact information, as supplement to my laptop's address book. And I keep looking and thinking seriously about the iPad as portable writing and note-taking tool. (In particular it'd be awfully nice to be able to get listings of all the books I had sought, for example, by searching for them; I know how many duplicates and how many orphans are in my pages.) Yes, it won't fit any pocket I have or am likely to have, but I'm rarely away from my bookbag anyway. It's not unthinkable that I'll be putting whatever I have to jot down in databases from start, rather than having to remember that it was somewhere in this quadrant of the book, and with this notepad serving as backup for those times when the computer just won't do ... when will I need to buy the next notepad?
I'm not yet at the end of an era, but I know that it's coming anyway.
Trivia: With the promulgation of the postwar constitution on 3 May 1947 the government of Japan also issued twenty million copies of the thirty-page booklet Atarashii Kemp\-o, Akarui Seikatsu (New Constitution, New Life) explaining the document, which was written at the behest of the United States General Headquarters. Source: Embracing Defeat: Japan In The Wake Of World War II, John W Dower.
Currently Reading: More Than A Numbers Game: A Brief History Of Accounting, Thomas A King. You know how it is, you're in a university library, you wander down the HF stacks, you realize you know less about the history of accounting than you might possibly and therefore.