What's up at Ravens March.

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Polysyllabicgermanword!

Posted by Dirck on 2 December, 2016

I don’t speak German– I took a single 100-level class in my first year of university back when Bonn was the capital of German Federal Republic– but I can occasionally follow it if it’s spoke slowly enough and the vocabulary isn’t too complex.

So with today’s video, I’m pretty much just looking at the pictures.

Pretty pictures, though.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant
Today’s ink: Diamine Denim

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Parallel Evolution

Posted by Dirck on 1 December, 2016

If nature can throw things like the flying squirrel, the sugar glider, and Draco volans in our faces, then it seems like we have to give the benefit of the doubt to two pen designers who come up with… remarkably… similar solutions to the same problem.

I have been wrestling lately with a Sheaffer Imperial I which needs new rubbery portions.  Since the pen in question was sent to me mostly dismantled, I thought I’d take the opportunity to do an exploded view of the model, as I’ve done for others.  When I slid the feed out of the shell, I said to myself, “That looks familiar….”  In fact, the feed, and the way in which the point clings to it, are so like the same components of a Lamy 2000 that one might almost think they came from the same factory.  Here, have a look:

lamyimperial

Isn’t that interesting?  Now, before we start pointing fingers and shouting “J’Accuse!” at anyone, remember how this entry started.  What we have here is two companies facing a similar engineering challenge– how to get a small point to stay put in a semi-hooded section in which a traditional friction-fit arrangement of point and feed wasn’t possible?  That both companies came up with a very similar response to the question looks a little funny, but consider how the increasing consideration of fuel economy through aerodynamics made so many cars of the 1990s and even the 2000s look like a well-used bar of soap.  There might have been peeking at the work of the other.  But it wasn’t necessarily so.

Oh, and before the Sheaffer partisans decide that it must be that Lamy was lifting ideas from the darling of Fort Madison, because after all, the Lamy 2000 appeared a full five years after the Imperial I, a word of caution.  I can say with certainty that the insides of the 2000 are not much different from those of the Lamy 99

The 99's point-tabs look even more like those in the Imperial, don't they?

The 99’s point-tabs look even more like those in the Imperial, don’t they?

…and the 99 was a budget version of the Lamy 27, and that pen was out in the world at least five years ahead of the Imperial.  As were the ads bragging about its “Tintomatic” feed system.  Just sayin’.

And on that note, here’s the week’s progress report:

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  25 manuscript pages.

 

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I Knew It.

Posted by Dirck on 30 November, 2016

I sure did.  And I told you all.  Now, here’s the proof:

nanowrinope

Don’t let the two digits after the decimal fool you; this is a very broad estimate.

Yep, when I said there was no way I was getting the novel finished this month, I was spot on.  Good as my word.  Congratulations to all those who were actually participating, though– this is not in any way meant to kick the shins of those who took up the challenge.  And to those who are done, or who will be done by the time the bells of midnight sound… jolly good show! and how the hell do you manage that?  Heck, I don’t expect to advance that counter at all today!*

Oh, while I’m here, a teaser; I expect to actually say stuff about pens tomorrow.  Content!

Today’s pen: Parker 75 (which, after also being the Fountain Pen Day pen, gets to have a rest soon)
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

* Not because of this entry nor tomorrow’s, but because I have to go and renew my driver’s licence in writing time.

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Prepare Yourselves!

Posted by Dirck on 25 November, 2016

I know that some people are even now sticking their heads into the blenders of Black Friday sales– my condolences to your loved ones, by the way– but since we are on the edge to the frantic buying season, I thought today’s Friday film might have a reminder of how to approach ads.

Shop sensibly, folks.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Defender
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue

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Posted by Dirck on 24 November, 2016

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  26 manuscript pages.

* This combination is going to be around for a while. I’ve got a bottle with so little ink in it only a Snorkel can get at it, but not so little that I’m willing to fling it.  The pen has a very fine point, and there’s probably four or five fills to go, so expect to see it into the new year.

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History as Warning

Posted by Dirck on 18 November, 2016

I promise I’ll lay off political stuff for a while after this.  Heck, this is hardly political at all.  It’s just a quick look at a major city with a space of nine years between the glimpses.

Nothing political there.  Mere history.

Today’s pen, of a certain age: Sheaffer Balance Defender
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue

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Posted by Dirck on 17 November, 2016

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  24 manuscript pages; this is, it turns out, sort of hard work.

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Still Remembering

Posted by Dirck on 11 November, 2016

I’ve set this to post a little before 11:00 GMT.  If I wasn’t doing it manually, it seemed the right choice.  This was broadcast last year in connection with the anniversary of Liberation, but it seems appropriate to today.

And yes, I cry over stuff like this.  Openly.

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New Format!

Posted by Dirck on 10 November, 2016

The exclamation point makes it exciting!

For those who are actually enjoying these progress reports, I have another version of telling the whole world my business over at the writing establishment; a gauge showing how the work to date relates to completeness, which updates every day that I get anything written.  It’s about as silly as what I’m doing here, I admit, but it helps to keep me motivated, and since it’s there, you might as well know about it.

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  27 manuscript pages.

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We Are Now Beginning Our Descent

Posted by Dirck on 9 November, 2016

Because I am an optimistic socialist (of the non-thuggish sort that makes Scandinavia so appealing), I am seldom surprised when elections don’t turn out the way I had hoped they would.  This does not prevent me from being appalled.

I’m appalled because there are people living in the US whom I like, and since the concept of a President Trump does few people who are not named Trump any good, I’m worried about their prospects.

I’m appalled because I am a citizen of a world that in many ways needs to pull up its collective socks (environment, economy, armed struggle), and giving some of the levers of control to someone whose sole guiding principle is “what’s in it for me, right at this second?” seems like a great way to screw every last one of us badly.

I’m appalled because I live not two hundred kilometers from the US border, in a part of Canada under which oil is found and on which lies fertile farmland, and there are ghostly whispers in my ear of lebensraum and manifest destiny which cause my flesh to creep, especially since my father lived in a nation adjacent to one which gave itself, through democratic processes, to a racist-supported demagogue.  I need only remember stories of Dad’s childhood to grow fearful for my own nation’s future with this sort of president-elect next door.

I did all I could, not having a vote there.  I yelled on Twitter and Facebook, where I am followed by no one to whom my yelling seemed anything other than common sense.  That’s all anyone who lives outside the US could have done, and given how many people inside the US were shouting, it was apparently to no purpose.  This article gives a pretty clear notion of how all this has come to pass– in essence, the people who feel that they have been abandoned by the powerful have been casting about for some means of smashing the system that no longer attends to them, and Trump appeared, a convenient molotov cocktail to through through the window of the nation.  That he was the candidate of the party which has striven hardest to establish class boundaries in the US did not matter.  That he is one of those powerful who benefit from the system– born to wealth, insulated from consequences, a true avatar of the notion of ‘entitled’– also did not matter.  He used the low salesmanship which enabled him to shake people down for mail-order steaks and dubious university fees to get himself shoved into the pinnacle of political power, and to those who had become desperate enough to believe such a prodigious infant of the system will smash it, it hardly mattered how transparent the lies were.

“Drain the swamp,” we hear from his supporters.  They have now got someone who may well toss some dynamite into the swamp to destroy what currently lives in it, but only to make way for stocking it with new and more horrifying monsters.  He is, after all, a muck-encrusted swamp beast himself.

I have been engaging in idle prognostication this morning, based on the experience of ten years wriggling in the grip of one of the most villainous prime ministers Canada ever inflicted upon itself, and a whole adult life of pondering the lessons of history.  I don’t claim real prescience, though, so I can only suggest a range of possible futures.  None of them are particularly appealing.

The best, the absolute best that can be hoped for is that Trump, or those around him, make a good-faith effort to make good on what he’s promised.  This will be blunderous, because they don’t actually know how to run a country (hint– it’s not really like a business at all) and also don’t actually comprehend what life is like for people whose income is less than several hundred thousand dollars a year, so that absolute best will be something like the Reagan years but starting from a worse place (which, one hastens to point out, is thanks to the efforts of Republicans to block anything Obama wanted, regardless of what good it might have done).  The Trump supporters described in the article linked above won’t be any worse off, but they’re unlikely to be any better.

The worst… well, there’s a lot of possibility there: environmental collapse, wars foreign and domestic, and the devastation of international economies (I’m not a friend of the current crop of free trade deals, but protectionism is also problematic).  I would not be at all surprised by an assassination attempt during the first term, but I can’t quite see its genesis.  It might be someone who can’t stand the America that Trump makes, perhaps a Bernie supporter driven mad by the consequences of his protest write-in.  It might be one of the poor oppressed buggers who voted for Trump, realizing that the attempt to smash the system which had kept him down just saw him pinned in that system’s wreckage.  It might even be a put-up job by his own inner circle, because regardless of the source, an assassination attempt on President Trump would be a magnificent excuse to gut the constitution and usher in a true dictatorship.  Remember how fast everyone in DC said “Yes!” to The PATRIOT Act?  Well, imagine that with a mono-party legislative branch.

I also suspect that, in the latter case, a successful assassination would suit the planners right down to the ground, because he’s more tractable as a martyr than as a living, increasingly paranoid figurehead.  It will hardly matter, though.  Relations between Imperial Russia and the Plutocratic States of America will be so strained by then that the nuclear exchange will be a mere enraging tweet away.

Good luck, USA, and good luck to the rest of us.  We’re all stuck with this situation now.

Today’s comfort pen: Parker 75
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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