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The Thing from the Crypt!

Posted by Dirck on 30 October, 2013

Since the only thing that’s really seasonally thematic about today’s entry is the title, let me give you the extra puffery from the non-existent poster for the film of the same name– It came from the East!  Dormant for years, it rose at last!

It… oh, sorry, It! is the latest book to house my journalling efforts, which promise if I keep up the current daily outpourings to demand an annex of their own.   The last couple have been the delightful Rhodia Webbie A5, but I didn’t have one on standby when the most recent filled up.  This sounds like poor planning, but I let the situation develop because I knew I had a few other blank books at hand to fill in, and I might as well start using things I had lying around rather than buying new (even if those new buys are done at local businesses).  The only hesitation was which of the candidates to use, and the choice ended up being based on seniority.

The new book is not, to be honest, as nice as the Webbie, as the paper is thinner, rougher, and somewhat more given to feathering.  However, given how long I’ve had it about the place, I shouldn’t let these considerations prevent me from getting on with it, lest it never be used at all.  For all that there’s a bit of feathering, there’s no more bleedthrough than the Webbie ever showed, and with 224 relatively thin pages, it will allow me to rest a good long time before the next selection.  Given the length of this thing’s lay about, a long rest is appropriate.

How long is that, then?  Well, I can’t really say for sure, because I don’t remember just when I bought it.  Here’s a hint, though, from inside the back cover:


Sometime after the introduction of bar-codes, at least.

Since Czechoslovakia underwent fission on the last day of 1992, it’s entirely likely that I’ve had this unwritten-in book longer than I’ve known my wife.  I’ve had a look at this new-fangled internet thing, and find Pragotrade is still an import house in Ontario.  I don’t know if they have any connection with the most commonly found items bearing that name, industrial kitchen machinery (meat grinders and the like) and I really doubt they’ve anything to do with an asphalt recycler in the Czech Republic.

Those wise in the ways of retailing might say that the last date of manufacture doesn’t have much to do with the last date of possible retailing, and that’s entirely true.  However, I have another image, this time of the front cover, which I want you all to brace yourselves for.  It’s a little shocking.  Try not to cry out when you see it.

Oh, the inflation!

Horror!  We used to be able to afford things!

The shock, of course, is that price for a relatively fountain pen-friendly notebook, but the point of evidence is the logo on that price-tag.  I got this book at Woolco, one of the wonderful pre-Big-Box discount department stores.  Wonderful, in that the cheapness of the products was right there on the surface, but might not seriously affect the substance; rather the opposite effect seems to hold with the modern Big Box fillings.  Woolco, which lasted longer in Canada than in the US, was absorbed by the gluttonous monarch of the Big Boxes which I dare not name in 1994, so there’s no way I got this book later than then.  It has been waiting not less than nineteen years for me to get around to doing something with it; curses, vampires, mummies and this book have intense patience in common.

Now, to end on a proper Lovecraftian italicization, I will refer once more to the price tag.  It’s colour-coded, to indicate a sale item, and so you might think the regular price might be more in line with what we currently expect to pay for a capacious sewn notebook with moderately good paper.  On the inside of the front cover, though, is another tag, plain white, with the normal price indicated there.  This book, in its regular daily round of sales, cost only $1.59!

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Mont Blanc Racing Green

(The alternate title, by the way, for the edited-for-TV release, is The Student Requisite of Prague.)


2 Responses to “The Thing from the Crypt!”

  1. cybaea said

    This is a lovely story: thank you for sharing. You are not the only one who likes them: http://waynekspear.com/2012/10/14/commonplacing-considered/ : I take such care to mention the Pragotrade name because I purchased a number of these at Coles in the early 1980s and have been unable to find them for over two decades. Simple and unadorned, these dollar-something books could be had in your choice of blue, red, or black cover, the paper inside a serviceable unbleached pulp with the faint bluish lines you may recall from your grammar school “foolscap.” This was long before the market became flooded with overpriced and pretentious looking “journals,” designed to separate you from an inflated amount of your money with the implicit suggestion that nothing is too dear for your precious thoughts.

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