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robertogreco : kombolói   5

Rev Dan Catt: The Pen
"I've been asked about my pen (for reals) a couple of times, so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. It's a Tombow Zoom 707 Ballpoint Pen (amazon UK/US), it cost £28 and I bought it for myself as a Christmas present.

I keep two Field Notes notebooks in my pocket, at night I take them out and put them on the bedside table. My life is dense, not hectic, not crazy busy, just every moment is filled. We have three kids, we home educate, the start-up I'm involved in is blowing up, I try to swim, I try to run, I'm learning the bass, I try and put together a podcast that takes an age, sometimes I even try to write a blog post or two. In all of that there's hardly any time to do other stuff, although that doesn't stop me thinking about other stuff. That other stuff goes down in one of the two notebooks.

When I think of something I often can't get to a laptop or my phone in time, I tried, the thoughts don't stay in my head long enough to survive the gauntlet of children asking me things on the way upstairs. If you've watched the film Memento it's like that scene where he's looking around for a pen to write the thing down before he forgets it. I decided I needed notebooks and a pen with me at all times.

I think it's the most I've ever spent on a pen.

Before this I used the Field Notes pen that came with the notebooks. It's a good pen, feels nice to hold, flows well but the clip doesn't clip it in my pocket properly. I can't slide it into my jeans without having to put a fingernail round the back of the clip to make sure it clips properly. When I sit down the pen didn't stay in the same place.

It was all kinds of wrong.

The Zoom 707 slides into the pocket right next to the seam, and better still it stays there, after all I didn't want to lose a £28 pen. For the next few days I'd reach down and feel for the red ball on the clip, to know it was still there.

Now it's a reflex action, I'll brush my hand past the side seam of my jeans and feel if the pen's clip is still there. When I feel it I know I can't forget anything, life is speeding on but in that one moment I know I haven't left anything behind. If I need to remember something it's in the notebook, if it's in the notebook I don't need to remember it. I can clear my mind and move onto the next thing.

When I stop to take a moment, I can touch the red ball feel it against my fingertips and the memory of the last thing I wrote comes back to me. It's a shortcut to having to open the notebook and read it back.

It's a memory machine, a meditation device and an anchor."
worrybeads  fidgettools  anxiety  anti-anxietydevices  2015  pens  revdancatt  notetaking  memory  notes  notebooks  outboardboardmemory  ideas  kombolói  cv 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Fidget Tools: Anti-Anxiety Technology and Magic — In Real Life
"I was playing Twitter with @rogre the other night, and we made a conceptual leap that led me to recognize one of my favorite forms of technology. I was asking around for opinions on the best Qur’an translation (I ended up going with this one), and @rogre suggested some apps I could use for text search and audio while I read. He then added this, which I found inscrutable for only half a second:

@ablaze No substitute for beads, though. http://t.co/DVE93ngqYx + http://t.co/c5SDdvEC87 Maybe in a jam, I suppose.

— Roberto Greco (@rogre) November 2, 2014
His post showed this beautiful contrast between the car key remote he’d used for 11 years and the other key, which had never been used. The amount of wear on the object in 11 years was amazing, and @rogre reported missing the comforting texture of the old one after it was replaced with the immaculate copy. It “served not only as the key to the car,” @rogre said, “but also as my fidget tool or Kombolói-like Anti-Anxiety Device.”

If his point was that reading scripture is no substitute for fidgeting with a sacred object, I agreed wholeheartedly. I love tumbling sacred verses in my mind as much as the next religious person, but I need my fidget tools.

[image]

I did not have to look up what “kombolói” meant, because I was already intimately familiar with the idea. Since I was a kid, I’ve kept rocks and crystals I use as my “fidget tools.” I certainly think of them as anti-anxiety devices, although their significance to me is really on the level of magic or spiritual power. My latest one is a tektite, a rock-like glass formed from terrestrial debris by the impact of a meteorite. It means a great deal to me — it’s even implicated in the completion of In Real Life — and I roll it in my hands constantly to absorb its good vibes and release my bad ones.

As I told @rogre, I think I learned the practice from my mother’s father, who had a set of Baoding balls that mystified me. He gave me his tefillin, another kind of fidgety sacred object that I get plenty of use out of, but I think he took the Baoding balls with him to Heaven.

Sure enough, kombolói are a long-standing technology for passing time and defraying anxiety. They look like prayer beads, but they need not have explicitly religious meanings. Such objects can definitely serve as powerful totems — and mine do, as I said — but I’m particularly interested right now in just that more basic, immediate way of using them as “anti-anxiety devices.”

@rogre opened a vast wormhole of links to read here (his ongoing catalog of sacred objects and theories thereof can be found on Pinboard), but I think the treasure at the bottom is this post from Julian at Near Future Laboratory. He designed a high-tech, light-emitting kombolói with lots of craft and care.

There’s a category of technology here that I care deeply about. I’m still seeking a name for it that will suffice for me. “Totem” only covers the magic part, “worry bead” only the anxiety part. Neither name conveys the critical role of the tactile sensations by which this technology works. I could just go with “kombolói” precisely because of its enchanting lack of precise meaning for me. For the purposes of coming up with a tag for this blog, though, I’ll call them fidget tools like @rogre did.

I hope it’s clear that fidget tools are a technology, and that their technology-ness does not reside in components or engineering. Whether they’re painstakingly wired and programmed or fused in the blast of a meteorite impact, all fidget tools operate in the exact same way: by fitting reassuringly in a human hand."

[Referenced here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/101657563708/november-begins-with ]
worrybeads  jonmitchell  2014  comments  fidgeting  fidgettools  tefillin  baodingballs  kombolói  religion  anxiety  ritual  technology  tektite  anti-anxietydevices  rituals 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The noPhone: A fake phone to help you talk to people - CNET
"Your phone is like your teddy bear, isn't it?

You like to talk to it occasionally. The real pleasure, though, lies in just being able to clutch it. Somehow, it makes you feel more secure.

Unlike your teddy bear, however, your phone is an active distraction. It wants to notify you all the time. It flashes at you at the most inappropriate times.

Which is why there now exists the noPhone.

This looks like a piece of plastic that looks like a phone. In fact, it is exactly a piece of plastic that looks like a phone. On its Web site, its creators boast that the noPhone has no camera, isn't Bluetooth compatible, and doesn't make calls.

It is, however, "toilet resistant."

Its purpose is, you see, to act as your phone surrogate. It enables you, the makers say, "to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment."

This is a joke, right? Yes it is. One of its creators, Ingmar Larsen, told ABC News: "We wanted to make people aware of their addiction by creating a product that can be used for their addiction. It works as a placebo."

The best jokes, though, have their core in truth. How funny, then, that the noPhone might become a real product.

Co. Exist was told by its creators that they'd received an "overwhelming" number of begging messages, saying that people really, really need this non-device to combat their non-sanity.

I can imagine that, soon, there will be noPhones of many colors. You'll be able to match them to your outfit.

People will sit at bars, squeezing them tightly, while actually looking another human in the eyes.

How difficult it will be, though, for the other human -- if they are noPhone-less -- to return the gaze, as they desperately look away to see if they have an urgent Twitter notification."

[See also: http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/09/maybe-you-should-get-a-nophone-instead/379881/ ]
nophone  antiobjects  objects  placebos  2014  via:ablerism  mobile  phones  technology  worrybeads  securityobjects  kombolói  securityblankets  fidgettools  anti-anxietydevices 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Worry Beads | Tricycle
"We are not called upon as Buddhists to deny the world, and certainly not to escape from it. We are called to live with it, and to make our peace with all that is. In Buddhist terms, that peace is called Tathagata. The Thus Come One is enlightened as he is, not as he would wish himself to be. There is no escaping this. The world of worries we wish to escape from in the beginning of Buddhist practice is found to be enlightenment itself in the end. We don't understand this, of course, and so we keep striving for a distant, idealized kind of Buddhahood, only to reach its threshold and be turned back the way we came. In this way, we receive the teaching of the Buddha with every mala we say."
buddhism  religion  beads  worrybeads  rosaries  2014  clarkstrand  kombolói  acceptance  mala  glvo  tomake  fidgettools  anti-anxietydevices 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Kombolói: An Anti-Anxiety Device
"This is a quick, quick sketch for an idea I had for a intimate personable device that is best described as a digital worry bead or Kombolói — not so much a worry bead as something to capture and diffuse your anxiety."

[See also: https://web.archive.org/web/20120113034550/http://nearfuturelaboratory.com/projects/worry-wand/ ]
julianbleecker  touch  kombolói  electronics  continuouspartialattention  anxiety  interaction  emotive  anti-anxietydevices  worrybeads  fidgettools 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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