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Archive for October, 2011

How’s Tricks (and Treats)?

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2011

I’m taking my son to a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and could let this little blab-fest lie fallow today… but not on the Most Wonderful Day of the Year.

Going to hide from the kids in a dark back room, rather than hand out treats?  Why not pass the time reading a rather good item of scary fiction– I recommend The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen.

If you want to really, truely upset yourself with a film, The Mist is just about the hardest horror film I can think of.  Bleak bleak bleak, from the fellow currently bringing us The Walking Dead.

For my part, while my wife takes our tiny hooting ghost about the neighbourhood, I’m going to put on a Hammer Studios Dracula film which our DVR has (hopefully) captured, and then switch to something with Boris Karloff when they return.  Unless the terror of Mickey Mouse Club House is forced upon us by our tiny dread overlord; he’s taken a fancy to it lately.  Brrrrr.

Today’s pen: Rotring Core (almost the whole of my very subtle “Visitor from Parallel Dimension” costume which is guaranteed to not win the Regular Work costume contest)
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche (because it’s a colour one can believe in this pen)


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Delivery Error

Posted by Dirck on 28 October, 2011

Here’s a piece of whimsy to stand in for an actual entry:

We are currently looking into an email problem when accessing email through Microsoft Outlook.  Webmail is unaffected by the problem though. 

If you find your email isn’t working properly, please use Webmail for now, by going to {link to a website owned by the Regular Job}.

We will advise once the issue has been resolved.

{Guy in the IT department}
Help Desk Analyst
Technology Services

…which is very helpful, when sent in an email.  Alas.

Today’s Pen:Sheaffer Imperial II
Today’s ink: Noodler’s La Couleur Royale

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Posted by Dirck on 27 October, 2011

I’m anxious to be at The Great Work, but I needed to get this off my chest.  I was watching a bit of Top Gear during the brief window of TV time offered by site, son and housework, and in it The Hamster and Captain Slow were engaged in one of the silly races the show frequently engages in.  They were trying to get from the Scilly Isles to the Orkneys faster than a letter they had just mailed.

I’ve embedded a Google map, to give a sense of the undertaking.  A bit over 900 miles (or, for those of us in the 21st century, nearly 1,500 km).  That’s not an insubstantial drive, so I’m going to forebear from my usual bashing of the English sense of what a “long” distance is.  What arrested my attention was the time-frame; the letter, dropped in a common red box with domestic postage on it at 8:30 am, would be delivered at that great remove by noon the following day.

NOON. The NEXT day.

Since our recent postal strike, I’ve been a little more aware of Canada Post’s movements (fearing the degree of disgruntlement the “settlement” of that event might cause).  Yesterday I got an item dropped right at a postal outlet using domestic postage, on the 17th of this month.  I grant, it travelled 1,000 more kilometers to get here from Ontario, but still….

My complex hatred/envy/love of the UK is restoked, as is my similar emotional involvment with my own nation and its postal service.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant TM touchdown (because that eyedropper from Tuesday has burnt some bridges)
Today’s ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun (grey)

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Bad Pen Day

Posted by Dirck on 26 October, 2011

…or should than be, “I just washed my pen and I can’t do a thing with it?”  As I hinted at the bottom of yesterday’s entry, yesterday’s pen was being whimsical in the way of a pen drifting near its hundredth birthday.  Rather than end up all gloved in blue, I grabbed the Hero 616 I keep on my desk at The Regular Job as a fallback (and bait for the unwitting ballpoint user seeking to borrow a pen).

On getting home last night, I put the eyedropper away until cleaning day comes ’round, and then remembered something amusing I’d seen on the drive home and wanted to write down.

…and I was all gloved in black.  It seems that the hood on the Hero had cracked.  Who could have expected such behaviour from a pen that cost under two dollars?  I am now made to regret once again my bragging about “oh, that never happens to me” as this seems a delayed exercise in the retribution that falls upon the boastful.  I am grateful that the inky Nemesis didn’t see my shirt inked up in the bargain.

I do have to review possibilities for the Regular Job Bait Pen now, but that will have to wait until the conclusion of The Great Work.

Today’s hopefully docile pen: Sheaffer Imperial II
Today’s ink: Noodler’s La Couleur Royale

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Flight Delay

Posted by Dirck on 25 October, 2011

As I’m creeping along the proof-reading, and discovering great rafts of text that I apparently forgot to type (little notes like “INSERT BIT ABOUT MONKEYS” are less helpful than one might hope), I come to realize that I’m not quite going to get done before the end of the month.  I might, if I were an utter brute, ignoring wife and child for the next several days… but I don’t think the goal is quite worth the cost in household comfort.  Likewise, quitting The Regular Job to accomplish the task in question before the entirely artificial and self-inflicted deadline.

I’ll not overshoot by much, I’m sure.  And it’s OK, because it’s not a cure for anything fatal.

Today’s pen: Diamond Point overlay eyedropper (which clearly should have had its joint-sealing grease renewed)
Today’s ink: Diamine Majestic Blue (which looks less splendid on my fingers than on paper)

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Posted by Dirck on 24 October, 2011

I was signing in at an SCA event over the weekend (and yes, I did lose time on the Great Work out of it, although it was a mere two blocks from home), and the person signing in ahead of me was using… a fountain pen!

“Ooh, an Al Star,” said I, “and is that… hmm… Pelikan violet?”

Just the cartridge that came with the pen, she replied, but then mentioned she had an eyedropper filled with Noodler’s Bay State Blue.  My internal voice says Ah hah!  That’s someone who is seriously a part of the fountain pen way of life. Since I essentially never run into anyone of this sort in the world, I became slightly giddy.  As a way of indicating fellowship, I held up the Parker “51” I’d brought along for the day.

“Huh.  That’s a small nib.  What it is?”

After a moment of confusion, I said the name.  “Oh?  Neat.”  And then, having finished filling out the needed forms, she departed to watch the fencing.

My lesson from this encounter is a warning about making assumptions about degrees of enthusiam.  Yes, someone who has begun to dabble in Noodler’s inks is beginning to swim in the deep end of fountain pen use, the that’s not yet making at attempt to paddle across the English channel… nor indeed does the former necessarily lead to the latter.  I, for example, have swum in non-metaphorical pools, but I’ve no interest in prolonged exercise in the literal ocean.  Just because my interest in fountain pens has stepped into unhealthy obsession serious scholarship does not mean everyone else who takes one up will join me.  A fountain pen might merely be a comfortable means of getting some writing done.

I wonder what that’s like?

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Imperial II
Today’s ink: Noodler’s La Couleur Royale

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Posted by Dirck on 21 October, 2011

A friend of mine has been in correspondence over the past week about getting a pen and some ink.  The culmination was the arrival of a nice TWSBI 540, with an impending denoument of some mail-borne ink.  Because I had a miserable migraine-addled sleep (until 3.30am when “sleep” could no longer be said to be happening), I find myself now slightly wondering at the nature/nuture aspect of fountain pens.  Was this move prompted by an inclination towards fountain pens, known to be present previously, simply reawakening?  Was it some subconscious peer emulation, in the mode of “Gosh, he’s sure enjoying fountain pens, maybe I should give them another try”?

Since the last sentence there was based on the knowledge that the man himself looks in here with some regularity, we may get an actual answer (which will spoil the fun of the 17th century-style natural philosophic inquiry, in which facts are less useful than speculation).  I sort of hope the latter; I’d rate it a victory if I discovered that I was in fact nudging susceptible people into fountain pen use….

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Lifetime 1750 
Today’s Ink: Diamine Steel Blue

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Time of Troubles

Posted by Dirck on 20 October, 2011

I’m working up my links pages on the new site (yes, plural) and it’s driven home to me what a bad few months it’s been for the on-line pen buyer.  Three well-respected sellers have folded their tents of late, and this looks like bad news for the world of fountain pens.

Looks may be somewhat deceiving, though.  One of the three I’m thinking of, Pear Tree Pens, declared that the reason for getting out was a surplus of success.  Pen sales had been a part-time enterprise, a mere supplement, but the enterprise had grown to the point that it could not be sustained without full-time attention but (and this is my supposition) would prove less lucrative than the owner’s own Regular Job.

Bad news, then, but with a core of hope.  It’s also dangerously suggestive to one whose Regular Job doesn’t pay so very much….

Today’s pen: Waterman Lady Patricia
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Tulipe Noir

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Posted by Dirck on 19 October, 2011

I was contemplating the current state of hand-writing earlier this morning.  I was brought to this by yet another in a long series of nigh-indecipherable items of inter-office communication at The Regular Job.  There’s a lot of forms here filled out by hand, and many of those pass through my hands, which increasingly tremble with rage and frustration.

Communication.  At the base of this word, etymologically speaking, is “making common.”  If there’s only one person in the world who can read it, then it’s not getting shared and it’s not communication.  If the person who wrote it can’t make it out, then it’s not even data storage, and why are they bothering?  I’m not concerned about printing vs. modified italic vs. Palmer vs. D’Nealian vs. whatever; the problem doesn’t lie in the particular form of the writing, but in the lack of basic motor skills.  The title of this entry is an effort to do in a typeface what many of my co-workers manage with a pen; make something that is almost a word, but also almost a different word.  Frequently this word turns out to include some numbers.  I can’t quite work out whether the problem lies in lack of application to the physical task, an actual organic inability (although none of them, to my knowledge, have recently been forced to start writing with their feet), or an unwillingness to understand that it’s not the act of making the marks but the actual shape of the marks that matters.

A mere rant.  A use of the internet as a valve to release the pressure growing in my skull before my ears shoot off.  I now return to the proofreading of the new site, so I may avoid hypocrisy charges.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Lifetime 1750 (a once and future Imperial VI)
Today’s Ink: Diamine Steel Blue

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I’b zick.

Posted by Dirck on 18 October, 2011

Apparently working with a non-fountain pen over the weekend devastated my immune system; I’ve been laid low by a cold which my son barely noticed.  I am thus writing from my own Fortress of Fortitude, many inches beneath the surface of the earth, from which I will be using the day wisely in pursuing The Great Work.

…while taking lots of fluids.

Today’s pen: Soyuz Luna 2 Commemorative Desk Pen
Today’s ink: Lamy Blue

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