The hand-painted background scenes of the original Star Wars trilogy — Jason Kottke

The hand-painted background scenes of the original Star Wars trilogy — Jason Kottke

Back in the 70s and 80s, before photorealistic computer graphics became commonplace, elaborate background sets in movies were hand-painted. Sploid’s Jesus Diaz took at look at the background art featured in the original Star Wars trilogy and the artists who painted them.

These are cool.

Big News from Baron Fig

We don’t often post about Kickstarters at The Cramped, but Baron Fig’s always have excellent results. Three years ago they Kickstarted their first product, the Confidant notebook, and it’s since become my daily driver.

Today Baron Fig is launching a Kickstarter for their newest products: three awesome-looking bags. Specifically, the Minimal Backpack, Messenger, and Tote. Each of these looks excellent—simple and beautiful (and check out those colors!). And they’re designed specifically to hold things like pens and notebooks (as well as laptops and anything else you need to carry, of course).

Each tool has a clear purpose. They help you do what you do best. Our goal with these new bags is to provide you with functional tools that are also beautiful items in their own right.

Check out the Kickstarter here.


Baron Fig Metamorphosis and Pocket Confidant Review

By Petey “Pete” Conklin

Look, I’ll be straight with you. No jive. This is a Baron Fig Confidant notebook. They are calling this limited release edition Metamorphosis. But it’s just the same ol’ Confidant y’all know — but it’s pink. With a blue ribbon. Same features as you get with the gray Confidant notebook. Same paper. Same quality. Only in pink.

Now, I got nothin’ against pink. I have a pink shirt that I wear with my gray summer Sunday best suit. I even sometimes pair it with a blue tie. But, where I live here in Elsewhere, they already think I’m a bit strange.

Let me tell you about this place — just to give you a picture of what I’m dealing with. We’ve got three things still operating downtown. A bar, a cafe, and an oil well. No one ever goes to the oil well. The nearest gas station is two exits west on the highway in a town called Otherwise. But, it’s always ten cents cheaper three exits east in Sumsutch. My point being, this is not the place a grown-ass man caries a pink notebook and not have some talk about himself going around.

So, I gave the pink notebook to a gal I’m sweet on. Which was a surprise to her because I don’t usually give a notebook to a body unless I’m planning on getting serious. And she knows this. So, now I suppose she’s expecting a ring next time…

But, the folks at Baron Fig also fairly recently introduced a tiny pocket version of the Confidant. Now, that’s something I’ve been carrying with me just about everywhere. It’s smaller than the Moleskine pocket sized models and has the superior quality and features of it’s big brother Confidant. There’s lots to love and such a little package. I’ve been using this sucker for everything. Writing down conversations I overhear at the cafe. Logging the cigars I smoke every so often. And jotting the occasional poem when nobody’s lookin’ (gotta keep that secret, elsewise people talk about that being strange too).

So, I say both are worth buying if you live anywhere better than here in Elsewhere, OK.

Petey “Pete” Conklin is an almanac aficionado and reliable raconteur. His writing can be found various places around the way or the no-door stall in the restroom of his favorite bar in his hometown of Elsewhere, OK.

What I Talk about When I Talk About Running Journal

By Sean Sharp

I recently finished the book by Haruki Murakami titled, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which, for lack of a better descriptive phrase, is a meditation on distance running. It’s outlines how he came to be a distance runner, how that intersects with his life both as a writer and in terms of his daily routine. Murakami states, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.” As one who runs regularly this is something I can relate to a lot.

After completing this book I decided to create an analogue journal of my running, naming it after the title of Murakami’s book. There are a lot of digital tools to track one’s running, but I wanted to have some notes that I would write following the run (hopefully immediately afterwards) which would capture my thoughts on my distance, pace and anything I noticed, saw or felt while running. A simple reflective journal is what I wanted.

I use a Field Notes larger notebook from the Arts & Sciences edition (though one can use any notebook) and I keep it on my kitchen table where it waits for when I return from a run. Reading back through I can see where I’ve been, what part of my body felt off, what I saw, and anything else I wrote down.

I recommend both the book and a reflective journal for this type of activity. Even if you’re not a runner the book by Murakami has themes around the ideas of perseverance, boredom, an pushing through to which we can all relate.

Sean lives in Eugene, Oregon, where he works as an Educational Technologist for the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon. When not helping faculty and students with technology, he enjoys time with family, reading, writing, running, seeing friends, watching and playing baseball, & hiking. Sean can be found online @seansharp and at