What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posted by ravensmarch on 15 April, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Wish Away”.

HOW MUCH: 1212 words.

HOW LONG: About 55 min.

Today’s pen: Waterman Lauréat
Today’s ink: Diamine Turquoise

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Posted by ravensmarch on 14 April, 2014

In addition to the status report, I’m sticking up a few pictures of pens that will be going on the flog in the very near future on either Etsy (if they’re old) or eBay (if they’re not).  The pictures themselves are going into The Store tab above.

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Wish Away”.

HOW MUCH: 559 words.

HOW LONG: About 30 min.

Today’s pen: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

 

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Things to Avoid

Posted by ravensmarch on 11 April, 2014

An odd entry on the Friday Filched Film– someone else talking about pens.  What’s odd is that I’m giving it space here, even though I disagree with almost everything said in the first five minutes, and spend the rest of the item switching between quite nodding and surging to my feet, finger poised in the attitude of argument, shouting, “Now just a darned minute, buster!”  I don’t necessarily agree with the suggestions or the reasons, but I support the reasoning process that leads to the suggestions.  Plus, there’s some pretty pens.

He also has the grace to not say, “If you disagree with me, U R STOOPID!!!1!”  For my part, I am more given to positive recommendations than negative– I’ve got pages crammed with suggestions for new users young and less so, while the only pen I really urge anyone to avoid is that horrid Apis.

Today’s pen: Wality 52
Today’s ink: Noodler’s La Coleur Royale

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Posted by ravensmarch on 10 April, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Common Wall” (working title).

HOW MUCH: 663 words, for a total of 1,446.  Yes, some day I’ll do something that breaks 5,000.

HOW LONG: About 30 min.  I appear to be speeding up.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant
Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Posted by ravensmarch on 9 April, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Common Wall” (working title).  I got to the conclusion of “Ring and Run” during an end-of-day lull yesterday, which finished at 1,550 words.

HOW MUCH: 783 words.

HOW LONG: About 45 min.  I appear to be speeding up.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Mini
Today’s ink: Pelikan Royal Blue

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Posted by ravensmarch on 8 April, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “Ring and Run”.

HOW MUCH: 980 words.

HOW LONG: About 50 min.

Today’s pen: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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Manos: The Hand of Writing!

Posted by ravensmarch on 7 April, 2014

If you’re anything like me, I’m sure one day a cure will be found you like silly old horror films.  In that genre, few are sillier than one made on a bet by an El Paso insurance salesman called Manos: The Hands of Fate.  Very difficult to watch in its undiluted form, it is much what you’d expect of a film made by a man with no experience in film-making who had to keep his budget under $20,000.  I can’t remember if it’s Joel, one of the Bots, or a reviewer who pointed out that the title basically means “Hands: The Hands of Fate”….

This outfit always reminds me of a beach blanket I had as a kid, a Green Giant Vegetables promotional item.

This outfit always reminds me of a beach blanket I had as a kid, a Green Giant Vegetables promotional item which a herald might describe as argent, a human footprint vert.

In any event, when a client recently offered to send me, merely for the joy of sharing it, what she described as “the most horrible pen to use in the world” which bore the trademark… Manos!

Apart from the connection to the well-loved (or at least fondly-regarded) film, the idea of something that might be worse than my hated Apis was intriguing and intimidating, and I all but begged for it to be sent along with the pen that was intended to be fixed.  Want to see it?

Manos, the Pen of Cheap!

Manos, the Pen of Cheap!

Made in Austria, eh?  Well, we won’t hold it against the Austrians.  The client was of the opinion that it was made in the 1920s, and I can’t really say otherwise.  It looks like black hard rubber, but the smell test suggests it’s not; this would be more conclusive if the last thing my son brought home from his school’s Advanced Viral Infection Crafting program hadn’t done some long-lived mischief to my olfactory powers.  The cap suggests an earlier date, as it was only prior to 1913 that Montblanc gave up on efforts to trademark an all-white cap derby and switched to the bird-splat device.  I make a vast assumption that the all-white top on this pen is an effort to latch onto Montblanc’s huge velvet coat-tails, an effort with bears diminishing fruit the longer past 1913 the production date of this pen is.

Functionally, it was described as filling a drop or two at a time,  which I said must reflect some disablilty.  Client replied that she thought it was doing what it was supposed to.  I did not give outward voice to my next thought, “Fiddle faddle, no fountain pen takes aboard one drop of ink by design,” and that’s a good thing because I’m wrong.  When it arrived, I had a ponder of it, and I thought two things: first, might it be a twist filler; second, there’s not much of a joint at the back of the section, and that will make it a pain to open up.  Since I didn’t have direct experience with the model, it was time for the research which proved that a drop or two at a time is about it.

I found a thread on a forum from someone in a state of confusion similar to my own, and the response was an eye opener.  It’s here, for those that want to see the insides of a Manos pen, and the upshot is it’s sort of not quite a fountain pen, but more of a dip pen with a range extender.  I could saw, “Ah hah, see, it’s not a fountain pen so I’m right” but that’s grasping for straws.  As small as it is, there is an interior ink reservoir, so I have to admit it as a technical fountain pen; the theory is the same as my Esterbrook puck, but the details are different.  That thread also warns against attempting to break into one of there pens, as they are designed to be unfixable– a very early example of planned obsolescence.  Where this would move one to buy another Manos rather than go and get a proper fountain pen is extremely debatable.

Sadly, I can’t quite decide whether it’s knocked the Apis from its throne at the nadir of pens.  It’s very old, possibly old enough to support a claim of not quite knowing how to do fountain pens yet; the Apis has no such crutch.  With a plated point that replaces tipping with a dimple in the metal, it is really not a brilliant pen for writing with, and the mechanism does appear to be on its last legs… but it is still nicer to write with than the Apis.

It’s conundrum enough to make Torgo stand up straight.

Today’s pen: Parker 75 Insignia
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussiére de Lune

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A Little Travelling Music

Posted by ravensmarch on 4 April, 2014

I mentioned something at the start of the week about proving the Germanic sense of humour.  Well, I may be accused of cheating a little with the current Found For Friday Film, as the humour is a mere byproduct.  No one is deeply surprised at the sudden appearance of music in Vienna, after all.

I know if I found myself suddenly surrounded by Carl Orff, I’d probably put on my face of confusion.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant
Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

By the way– “E.Z. Notes” is complete, at 4,634 words, and a little 500-worder called “Migraine” has had first and second draft as well.

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I Did Not Go to the Mountain…

Posted by ravensmarch on 3 April, 2014

…and so it came to me.  Thanks to a client who still became a client after my disappointing admission of inability to deal with cork seals, I’ve finally handled a Montblanc pen.  Apart from allowing me to slowly get a page together for that maker (not yet complete) and demanding that I start differentiating in my written correspondence between Montblanc and Mont Blanc (the latter being the lump of rock in Europe), I’m finally able to comment with some foundation about the pens.

The item in question was, by the way, a 114P.  The letter indicates cartridge filling, in German, but it might as well stand for “petite.”  Let me show you the item in question next to a couple of other pens for scale.

A Pelikan M400, which I’d call of medium size and which some people call smallish.

The very chap, in all his wee splendour

The very chap, in all his wee splendour

And just so it doesn’t feel badly, a Peter Pan (which really should be called a Tinkerbell, but that wasn’t the name of the popular play)

I’m going to be brief, as I want to get the last few paragraphs of “E.Z. Notes” sorted out, so in point form and based, as all good judgements are, on a sample size of one, here’s my impressions of Montblanc Pens :

  • They are nice.  The fit and finish are very high-end, and I’m sure most sellers don’t blush too deeply when they speak the price to the prospective buyer;
  • However, as far as I can discover, the price for this tiny and mechanism-free model is rather over $500, or about 25% more than that Pelikan which I also rate as rather expensive… but it at least has a filling device in it;
  • Also, the reason I had it was it had been sold with a point with such a profound baby-bottom, enhanced by a contorted tine, that it was very unwilling to start writing.

Thus my underlying notions about Montblanc are essentially confirmed; basically nice pens, labouring under the weight of price-tags no pen can easily bear.  That last point is deeply irking; the basic raison d’être for a pen is to write.  An expensive one should, in theory, write freely.  The pens I’m using this week, including that cheap little TWSBI, all share this feature, and the combined price I paid for them doesn’t equal this one tiny Montblanc (granted, all but one were second hand…).  If you’re paying that sort of money for the thing, you’d thing someone in the factory would glance at the working part.

Here endeth the rant.  Time to get back to work feeding the fiction furnace.

Today’s entirely functional pen: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s slighly ironic ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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Posted by ravensmarch on 2 April, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of short story “E.Z. Notes”.

HOW MUCH: 598 words.

HOW LONG: About 35 min.  and I’d resent The Regular Job’s intrusions into this time less if it did a more complete job of paying my damn bills.

Today’s pen: Parker 75 Insignia
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussiére de Lune

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