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Archive for September, 2013

The Trailer of the Soundtrack of the Film of the Book….

Posted by Dirck on 27 September, 2013

Well, it looks like those 10,000 angry people have mostly registered their disapproval, and the tide starts to ebb.  Just in time for me to go and have an off-campus lunch!  Friday remains film day, and since I mentioned a grail recently, this seems appropriate:

Like an real trailer, it gives no real sense of the movie it’s presenting.  Unlike a real trailer, it doesn’t quite wave the ending nor the shocking twist unavoidably under one’s nose.

On a personal note– back in 1986 or ’87, I went to a talk Graham Chapman gave.  He revealed that the combination of drugs and liquor he was indulging in at the time meant that for a couple of the more intense scenes he forgot he was making a movie, and thought that he was in fact in danger of being cast off the Bridge of Death.  Knowing that, one marvels at how collected his performance in scene 22 was.

Today’s Pen: Parker 180
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet

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This is Getting Ridiculous

Posted by Dirck on 26 September, 2013

See previous two days.  That no one has died of it yet reveals me to be a paragon of restraint.

Today’s stabber pen: Parker “51″
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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At Least Two Rs

Posted by Dirck on 25 September, 2013

The headache-producer yesterday grows into a time-eater today.  I’m going to abandon my post here in favour of being able to get away promptly at day’s end to vote in an important referendum (being opposed to the thing in question, I am of course supporting the “Yes” position).  I’ll leave you to ponder this entirely silent film showing a bit of disposable bottle retasked as a pen.

As a supporter of recycling, I’m not sure where I stand.  I love the idea of reuse of refuse, but I worry about extracting the material from the recycling stream.  One bottle should see a mess of writing done, though….

Today’s pen: Hero 100
Today’s ink: Herbin Lis de Thé

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Let’s Leave That Light Out.

Posted by Dirck on 24 September, 2013

A headache induced my The Regular Job prompts me to neglect composition today (from the Marketing Department: “We’ve just done something that will make 10,000 people angry with the company.  They’ll all be calling you about it.”).  I’ll just mention two things:

  • That deeply-resistant Vacumatic is home and functional after a social call on the owner last night.  Its problems were in the main down to too-liberal application of shellac– it is a useful substance, but it doesn’t go on every soft rubber surface;
  • Last day of the sale!  I’d come up with some ingenuous exhortation in the direction of acquisitiveness, but I’m rather down on the whole notion of marketing today.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Sovereign II (not, alas a sovereign remedy for headaches)
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen (definitely a calming shade)

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Rooftop Reflections

Posted by Dirck on 23 September, 2013

This past weekend, I returned to the roof of my previous dismay, through the borrowing of a ladder and a fixed avoidance of reading its load rating until the job was done.    The job is done, I find that a 15% overload is within the ladder’s powers, and I surge into the new week in an un-sprained state.

I mention this in part to complete the ladder chapter of my chronicles, but also to set the context for this rather short entry.  I actually like being up on a residential roof– it’s quiet, it’s not too windy, and when the reclining-upon-satisfactory-completion phase of the enterprise it provides firm support.  Restful.  If not for the fact that getting up there is a bit of a struggle and that usually just a prelude to a prolonged and unpleasant task, I’d probably spend more summer hours aloft.

While I was engaged in the disposal of the little thin forest that was establishing itself in my gutters, I was listening to the adventures of the H.P. Podcraft Literary Podcast team in their trip to the NecronomiCon.  As part of this report, they were commenting on some of Lovecraft’s writing but not, as is their usual stock, his intellectual property.  They were talking about the actual artifacts of his waving a pen around over a sheet of paper, some of which they’d had a chance to glimpse at.

Why this struck me is that, in very short form, they repeated some of my (admittedly non-original) contemplation of the connection possible between writer and reader.  It’s not a big deal, but as I sat on the edge of a yawning abyss (fourteen feet!) it was a pleasing little coincidence to cuddle up to.

Today’s pen: Parker Super 21
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

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Parkerpalooza

Posted by Dirck on 20 September, 2013

Not at all by design, I find today’s final installment is an all-Parker parade.  In the prefatory act of cut & paste:  the deadline remains the same– act before Tuesday 24 September, or seek them on my Etsy site and pay more for shipping.  Repeating yesterday’s explanation;  until this coming Tuesday, these items are only available to readers here, and there’s a $10 discount on shipping (which I’ll go into below).  Come the 24th, these things go onto Etsy, and a slightly wider slice of humanity gets a run at them.  If there’s any left.  To get at them, go to the official spam-guardian of my site and send me a message that way; first come, first grab, as is ever the way.

Parker 25 CLAIMED:

It's not much better with the top on.

It’s not much better with the top on.

This is much less of a steel pig-tail than when it came my way.

This is much less of a steel pig-tail than when it came my way.

Parker 0224wsMy Parker 25 and I have never really been cordial; mutual tolerance is all that has even grown between us, and my problem is founded entirely on looks.  I do value the lessons I learned through the deformities of point and clogs of feed it had when it arrived, and that it is now a fully functioning pen again is less testament to my skill than its durability in the face of gross neglect – $15

Parker 95:

As the valley girls said when this thing was new-- tubular!

As the valley girls said when this thing was new– tubular!

Parker 0431p

Parker 0431wsI should be selling an Arrow rather than this 95, since one of my few stated goals in collecting is to have one of every post-war numbered Parker.  However, I’m a little fonder of the flighter finish on my Arrow and I hesitate to offer my dear readers the perils of the Arrow’s jagged clip, so this is the one that hits the auction block.  It is actually a really clean example of the breed, and if I were one of those wretched eBay selling types who practiced upon such things, I might go so far as to call it “near mint”; it’s not, though, as it has seen plenty of use in my hands and likely previous to arriving here.  Which means the buyer shouldn’t hesitate to use it too – $47

Parker 51 CLAIMED:

No blue in the diamond; this is arguably correct in a 1945 clip.

Filler is present.  Also functional, although the picture can't reveal that.

Filler is present. Also functional, although the picture can’t reveal that.

This is a misleading picture.  Please read below.

This is a misleading picture. Please read below.

Parker 0221wsThis 1945 example is my first Parker “51” with a Vacumatic filler, and it has been long enough since I did it that I’m replacing the diaphragm with a fresh one before I send it to anyone.  I got a pretty good deal on it because the cap had once been personalized, and then someone thought to get rid of the personalization with… probably a knife.  The misleading picture shows the results of me trying without a proper sand/soda-blasting right to reduce the ugly effects of the improperly done removal, and it suggests I was rather more successful than is the case.  It’s not shocking, but it’s also not anywhere near perfection.  A more user-grade “51” is hard to imagine – $55

Parker Slimfold:

The filler is stained, but they're sort of an Appaloosa pattern.

The filler is stained, but they’re sort of an Appaloosa pattern.

Parker 0443p

I've got to some effort to make the crack visible in this shot, to balance the "51" cap above

I’ve got to some effort to make the crack visible in this shot, to balance the “51” cap above

Parker 0443wsThe smallest of the UK Duofold family, this is a pretty complete example of the breed.  That includes the rather stereotype crack of the cap lip; I’ve solvent-welded the crack together, but it is still visible (although less obviously than in the photo).  The point is springy, which frequently leads people into trying these pens for flex.  This one is not flexible, and probably won’t thank you if you try to force it– the previous owner did, and I got a tine-realignment challenge out of the deal – $37

Parker 15 (Proteus Package!!):

Parker 2X15

Parker 0096wsI once had two of these pens, but I sent the section of one away to someone in need.  What I have now is one pen with a spare suit.  It’s not one of Parker’s grandest achievements, but it’s a pleasant little pen to use and having a body for it one doesn’t mind subjecting to peril is liberating.  The clip of the Flighter costume is as pitted as you think it is from the picture; it’s possible (and relatively easy) to sway clips from one to the other, if that’s what would please – $25

That’s it!  No more installments in this sale, so if you’ve been restraining yourself to see what’s ahead, let go of the leash– that’s all there is.

On Shipping:(which if you read yesterday’s, you’ll recognize for a mere cut’n’paste job…twice)

Remembering that I’m taking $10 off; these are the UNDISCOUNTED prices– inside Canada, Expresspost is $15, which is insured and tracked.  To the US, Tracked Packet (which has $100 insurance built in) is $17;  if you’re buying a whole lotta pens and want more insurance, we’d have to take a step up to Expedited Parcel which is $22 plus $2 for every hundred in insurance above $100.  Outside of Canada, we start to run into problems; untracked Small Packet Air are (using the UK as an example, but it’s not much more to Australia) $10, but you’re taking the risk on your own head because all I can produce is a receipt saying I paid for SOMETHING to be sent SOMEWHERE.  To get tracking and insurance, there’s International Parcel-Surface for $40 or Tracked Packet for $47, with the same $2 increments for extra insurance; more certain, but certainly expensive.

Also, because I’m dribbling this out in installments, I won’t insist on immediate payment.  If you want something here, and have some notion you might like something in a subsequent dose (I expect to have two more entries like this), I will hold for you until all is revealed.  However, that request to hold should be understood as a binding commitment, so don’t ask me to hold something you maybe possibly want unless something better appears.

Today’s pen, which is mine, you can’t have it: Parker “51″
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Commercial Crassness

Posted by Dirck on 19 September, 2013

The second round, and even though a day has passed, the deadline remains the same: act before Tuesday 24 September, or seek them on my Etsy site and pay more for shipping.  Repeating yesterday’s explanation;  until this coming Tuesday, these items are only available to readers here, and there’s a $10 discount on shipping (which I’ll go into below).  Come the 24th, these things go onto Etsy, and a slightly wider slice of humanity gets a run at them.  If there’s any left.  To get at them, go to the official spam-guardian of my site and send me a message that way; first come, first grab, as is ever the way.

Most of the pictures below will grow if clicked upon.

Sheaffer Fashion:

Sheaffer 0423p

That’s just plating– it’s a steel point.

Sheaffer 0423ws

A Sheaffer Fashion in one of its more restrained colour schemes; one of the factors which had led me to think it was a TRZ.  The early version point without impression is another.  This is a surprisingly comfortable pen for such a slender object, and I part with it mainly because I’m not deeply enamored of the cylindrical styling.  When I got it, the section was crammed with ink and in three unconnected parts; you may rest assured that it is cleaned and sealed properly now.  I’ll be sending along an appropriate cartridge, since they’re no longer to be found ; $30

Sheaffer 74SR:

Sheaffer 0327c

Capped, one gets a better sense of the “S” in the model designation.

Sheaffer 0327p

There is a hint of brassing about the hardware (lever too).

There is a hint of brassing about the hardware (lever too).  The lint on the cap is removable.

Sheaffer 0327wsI know I’ll regret parting with this Sheaffer 74SR— I wear vests often enough that I get use out of ring-tops.  However, I’ve got others, and this is one of the more presentable and thus marketable ones in my pile.  There is engraving on the band, “KLM-WUM” which means that back in the 1920s it was stuffed with meaning we can only speculate on now.  There is some scuffing on the cap, just above the band; it’s not hideous, but it’s present and it renders this example of the model well clear of mint.  Resacked in 2011, so it should be good for a long while yet – $65

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral:

Deployed for filling-- you can almost hear it slavering.

Deployed for filling– you can almost hear it slavering.

Sometimes, the unpredictable swings of my camera make for a really excellent close-up rather than otherwise.

Sometimes, the unpredictable swings of my camera make for a really excellent close-up rather than otherwise.

Sheaffer 0105wsThere is a very modern springiness to the point of this Admiral, which I hope will not be mistaken for actual flexibility; Sheaffer would have put a second F on the point code if that were the case.  The sac and seals were all replaced about four years ago, and proper hygiene has been observed since; complete fills are taking place.  While I still call this a user-grade pen, since it’s been used quite a bit, the body and hardware are in very good condition – $75

Parker “17” Lady:

Personalization- a hook for a narrative or a defacement?

Personalization- a hook for a narrative or a defacement?

The sac isn't entirely clear, but it is certainly transparent enough to check reserves

The sac isn’t entirely clear, but it is certainly transparent enough to check reserves

PICTURES

Parker 0034wsThis “17” Lady has a personalization on it, so those to whom such things are anathema will want to move right along.  It is a very small pen, hard for the medium-large handed to use without posting, but for those who do manage to grip it, it has a very rewarding point on it– a fat wet gold one.  The trim is in good shape, but some scuffs from cap/body interaction are present – $30

Waterman Garland:

Waterman 0404p

Waterman 0404wsI had “Lady” on the brain thanks to the previous item when I did the writing sample for this, which is simple a Garland.  It is dark brown, not black; my camera is more easily confused in this than the human eye.  Resacked last year.  The body is rather matte from long use, but the cap and hardware have stood up better– the cap is, I hasten to point out, not perfect in this regard, but it is free of dents, dings, and scratches.  It is not marked as gold-filled, and to be honest the period catalogue is a little evasive on the point; the Stateleigh, which by model number is the full-length version of this, declares outright that it has a gold-filled cap, but I hesitate to declare it as such.  I find I neglected a capped picture; this is not the sort with a clear “gum-drop” tail, which is less decorative but also not given to disintegration- $47

Waterman Apostrophe:

Waterman 0451pc

If you know that corporate logo, you’re ahead of me.

Waterman 0451wsThe Apostrophe is really a student pen with some nice colours applied, and I’m not going to try to hype it up beyond that.  It has it in its power to be a decent daily-use pen which one won’t be too worried about dropping or lending; I bought it mainly to be able to include it on my site, and now it’s better off where it will be used.  When I was doing up the writing sample, I wasn’t altogether happy with the amount of tooth it showed, so it will see some smoothing before it leaves me; Waterman may not have been embarrassed to sell it in this state, but I am – $32

Parker Frontier:

Do you like a squishy section?

Do you like a squishy section?

Parker 0249wsThe Parker Frontier is also a pretty low-end pen, and this is not a high-trim version of it.  It is, however, a much more functional and appealing pen than when it arrived in my world.  It has been my practice piece for barrel polishing, leaving only a tiny crater on barrel which I suspect to have been left by an attempt upon the pen with a small nail.  I’ve had the section apart to address flow problems, which also saw some messing with the slit.  It’s a thoroughly overhauled pen, which doesn’t mean it’s any better than it actually should have been in the first place – $15

Back To School (+ some days) Special:

Take the Frontier and the Apostrophe together, and they will cost you only $41– and all the other kids in class will go crosseyed with envy! (Note – no guarantee of cross-eyed classmates is offered.  Any ocular injuries sustained through envy or other means are the responsibility of the user)

On Shipping:(which if you read yesterday’s, you’ll recognize for a mere cut’n’paste job)

Remembering that I’m taking $10 off; these are the UNDISCOUNTED prices– inside Canada, Expresspost is $15, which is insured and tracked.  To the US, Tracked Packet (which has $100 insurance built in) is $17;  if you’re buying a whole lotta pens and want more insurance, we’d have to take a step up to Expedited Parcel which is $22 plus $2 for every hundred in insurance above $100.  Outside of Canada, we start to run into problems; untracked Small Packet Air are (using the UK as an example, but it’s not much more to Australia) $10, but you’re taking the risk on your own head because all I can produce is a receipt saying I paid for SOMETHING to be sent SOMEWHERE.  To get tracking and insurance, there’s International Parcel-Surface for $40 or Tracked Packet for $47, with the same $2 increments for extra insurance; more certain, but certainly expensive.

Also, because I’m dribbling this out in installments, I won’t insist on immediate payment.  If you want something here, and have some notion you might like something in a subsequent dose (I expect to have two more entries like this), I will hold for you until all is revealed.  However, that request to hold should be understood as a binding commitment, so don’t ask me to hold something you maybe possibly want unless something better appears.

One more batch should do it– stay tuned tomorrow!

Today’s won’t-be-sold pen: TWSBI Diamond 540
Today’s ink: Private Reserve Supershow Blue

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Crass Commerciality

Posted by Dirck on 18 September, 2013

Roll up, roll up!  Kindly ignore the “Ad-Free” sign to the left, as this entry is in essence one big fat ad, although it’s one of my own making.  This is the first of what may grow to as many as three installments in my current attempt to spread the love of pens while and at the same time reducing the indebtedness that counts as being middle class these days.

What’s in it for you?  Well, until this coming Tuesday, these items are only available to readers here, and there’s a $10 discount on shipping (which I’ll go into below).  Come the 24th, these things go onto Etsy, and a slightly wider slice of humanity gets a run at them.  If there’s any left.  To get at them, go to the official spam-guardian of my site and send me a message that way; first come, first grab, as is ever the way.

Now, if we’re all sitting comfortably, let’s start the show.  Most of the pictures below will grow if clicked upon.

Sheaffer Balance Miss Universe, Golden Pearl:

and isn’t she a beauty?

Ambered, but only to the actual colour of amber.  Yes, there is a little staining in there too.

Ambered, but only to the actual colour of amber. Yes, there is a little staining in there too.

The full disclosure shot-- there is a plating failure on the clip, but the base appears to be silver.

The full disclosure shot– there is plating failure on the clip.

Sheaffer 0339wsMiss Universe is the ladies’ version of the Craftsman, so it’s a slender as well as a short pen.  User-grade, and pretty much everything I have is, with a silicon sac installed so the colour will remain as it currently is – $45

Sheaffer Balance Junior, Marine Green CLAIMED:

Not the utter clarity it would have had new, but the green fits with the general scheme.

Not the utter clarity it would have had new, but the green fits with the general scheme.

Sheaffer 0316cbr

A spot of brassing on the clip, but NOT a crack– that’s a cat hair (hopefully not included)

Sheaffer 0316ws

Sheaffer Junior, which is the same size as Miss Universe but with lesser trim and a more easily-damaged point.  In this case, the frequently questionable nickel (I think) plating pretty firmly in place, bar that one dot on the end of the clip.  If I were charging for the amount of effort it took to get the section out to replace the sac (which is now silicone), only Trumps and Buffets need apply, but since I’m not silly that way… – $45

Sheaffer Vigilant:

There is a cap, I promise.

There is a cap, I promise.

See? And it’s a jim-dandy!

The two-tone masking isn't perfect...

The two-tone masking isn’t perfect…

...and there's nothing to be done for this strange alignment failure of the blind cap.

…and there’s nothing to be done for this strange alignment failure of the blind cap.

Sheaffer 225wsOne of my early survivors of the surgery to restore vacuum filling, this Vigilant is, apart from the pre-operative oddity with its blind cap, a rather nice example of the military-clip Balance.  The cap hardware shows no brassing, the flow is good, and the filler with its new piston rubber and o-ring based replacement for the packing takes in an unreasonable amount of ink. – $65

Parker 45, Made in Argentina:

Steel point.  Don't let me tell you it isn't.

Steel point. Don’t let me tell you it isn’t.

A double-jewel 45? How odd!

Parker 0429wsArgentine Parker 45, which apart from some variations in trim is the same as anywhere else’s Parker 45.  Those differences are the treatment of the tail and a clip as one would usually find on a 61.  With a date-code of U, it could be from 1989 or 1999; either way, thay chalk-mark has been there quite a while.  Will you be the one to rub it off? – $32

Waterman Harmonie:

You'd never think it once had a dreadful disalignment, would you?

You’d never think it once had a dreadful dis-alignment, would you?

Waterman 0388def

There is, however, a break in the finish under the clip’s foot.

Waterman 0458wsThis Waterman Harmonie is one of my shelter-rescues; taken in from the hard streets of eBay with a crippling tine deformity, it is now able to go into the world a functional pen.  In setting the point right, I also had the feed out, and I’ve used it exactly once since then – $40

Mabie, Todd & Co. Swallow:

Capped, to show the interesting posting fixture

Capped, to show the interesting posting fixture

Good ol' IPG.  At least it's a decent one.

Good ol’ IPG. At least it’s a decent one.

M-T 0312ws

Swallow it is, although the claim to MabieToddship is a little tenuous, as it’s from the slightly mysterious modern re-animation of the company’s name.  While it’s a good writer and has a roller-clip that’s easy on the pocket, I find that it’s just too darned heavy for me to use with any real delight.  I admit that my disinclination to heaviness is not universal, and hope this otherwise nice pen finds a place it will be appreciated – $35

Parker 21, Mk. II CLAIMED:

Parker 0283dis

The sac is darkened…

...and there's a little scuff under the foot of the clip.

…and there’s a little scuff under the foot of the clip.

Parker 0283wsUnlike many Parker “21”s, this one is not cracked.  That’s always a bit of an open question, of course, so I don’t use this one for fear of amending that status.  If you are less fretful than I, you can revel in the pleasant writing powers of this pen, and I’ve priced it to reflect the potential for it not lasting too long – $15

Sheaffer Award CLAIMED:

Sheaffer 0439

Capped to show the slightly horrid but very effective late-model cap station on the tail.

The well-known and time-tested Sheaffer steel point, plus a squishy grip.

The well-known and time-tested Sheaffer steel point, plus a squishy grip.

Sheaffer 0439ws

The Sheaffer Award is an odd duck to me; I like it, and I’m only selling one of the two I have, but I would never hold it up as a paragon of beauty.  I would hold it up as a reliable pen, and with this finish a reasonably sturdy one as well – $20

Sheaffer Viewpoint CLAIMED:

Sheaffer Vwpt

Sheaffer ViewwsBI came into this Viewpoint as part of a lot of pens, and it’s definitely surplus to needs; I’ve got a full set of No Nonsense calligraphy points and my wife only uses the fine italic points for her writing while this thing mounts a bold.  I’m very unsure of its origin– the point suggests late Chinese manufacture, but the feed is the No Nonsense style rather than the much smaller type I’m used to seeing on Viewpoints of any age – $8

And How’s THIS for a bargain?

The industrious person who takes the “21”, the Award and the Viewpoint as a clump will get three pens for $37!  I must be slightly unbalanced!

On Shipping:

Remembering that I’m taking $10 off; these are the UNDISCOUNTED prices– inside Canada, Expresspost is $15, which is insured and tracked.  To the US, Tracked Packet (which has $100 insurance built in) is $17;  if you’re buying a whole lotta pens and want more insurance, we’d have to take a step up to Expedited Parcel which is $22 plus $2 for every hundred in insurance above $100.  Outside of Canada, we start to run into problems; untracked Small Packet Air are (using the UK as an example, but it’s not much more to Australia) $10, but you’re taking the risk on your own head because all I can produce is a receipt saying I paid for SOMETHING to be sent SOMEWHERE.  To get tracking and insurance, there’s International Parcel-Surface for $40 or Tracked Packet for $47, with the same $2 increments for extra insurance; more certain, but certainly expensive.

Also, because I’m dribbling this out in installments, I won’t insist on immediate payment.  If you want something here, and have some notion you might like something in a subsequent dose (I expect to have two more entries like this), I will hold for you until all is revealed.  However, that request to hold should be understood as a binding commitment, so don’t ask me to hold something you maybe possibly want unless something better appears.

And that’s it for today.

Today’s not-currently-for-sale pen: Hero 100
Today’s ink: Herbin Lis de Thé

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jacob Three-Three and the Hooded Fangs

Posted by Dirck on 17 September, 2013

If this notion had come upon me yesterday, I would have said something about being pounced upon while in a weakened condition.  As it happens, I’ve been laying the groundwork for this entry since last week, so having fallen prey to my conscience I can only concede that it has been sharpening its teeth and visiting the gym.

The attack happened shortly after I selected today’s pen to come into service.  Since I’m strangely obsessed with pens given to quiet reflection, the attack took the form of thinking about the various other pens this exemplar for the ages gave rise to.  From there, and here’s where the teeth and claws come into play, I went on to think of stuff I’ve said about those followers.  Let me give a couple of examples.  Of the “51” Special, for example, I have written:

Having tried both gold and Octanium points, I would say there is no functional difference between them in this pen.

And on the Hero 100:

It is very hard to tell the difference between using the example I own and one of the Parkers [I also tarring the 61 with the brush of comparison at the time].

I’ve said similar things in various fora regarding the powers of the Super 21, since it has the same stuff under the hood as the “51” Special.  Phrases like “identical performance” and “absolute functional similarity” get thrown about.

Now, conscience, having firmly clamped me in its jaws, whispered to me (it being a great ventriloquist), “Have you ever, in all honesty, tried them in direct and conscious comparison?  Is it not the case that you rely more on memory of one while using another?”

Well… damn it.  I can’t really swear that the latter wasn’t the case.  And so, rather than remain the chew-toy of conscience, I did the direct and conscious comparison, at the risk of having a week or two of rather bland and repetitive line-up shots.  Here they are, my test cases:

Marginal differences in appearance, but I imagine you’d be able to pick out the one that made off with your purse if pressed.  Those marginal differences translate, in use, into even more marginal differences in grip– I’ve mentioned before that I don’t insist on a pen conforming to my way of holding it, but such adjustments as I make from one to the other here are below the threshold of quantification so far as my tools of measurement go, and are very near the threshold of perception itself.

This means that such differences as are felt in their writing performance are not in me, but in the pens.  I sat down with them all beside me, and used them in rapid succession, in a variety of juxapositions.  You know what?

I was right!  In your face, conscience!  Had I been blind-folded and handed the pens to doodle with, I would not have been able to tell which was the almighty “51”, which its little brother, and which the alien pretender.  In fact, and I almost guarantee being put to the question by writing this aloud, the Hero is a little smoother than the “51”.

Do not, though, take that as a blanket statement– I will never endorse the proposition “Hero 100s are smoother pens than Parker “51”s”, because that green fellow is not the smoothest “51” I’ve got.  What we can take from this experience is that my statement of functional identicality is correct from one model to another, but breaks down when one starts considering the individual characteristics of a given pen.  Variation occurs within the tribes of “51”, “51” Special, Super “21”, Hero 100… and frankly any model of pen you care to name.  However, when one meets with a good example of, let us say, a hooded pen with a collector and a squeeze-filler, one is going to be hard pressed to tell from the way it puts ink onto a page just where it was made.

Speaking of conscience– the big sale starts with tomorrow’s entry, I have neither forgotten nor backed away from the commitment.  I’m busy dusting things and hanging posters even now, and all will be in readiness (assuming the Inquisition doesn’t push over too many items of furniture looking for the heretic).

Today’s pen: Parker “51″
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

p.s. – apologies for the “identicality” neologism.  “Identity” would have been correct, but lacked music.

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Grail-Quest

Posted by Dirck on 16 September, 2013

My parents and brother have just returned from a trip to The Old Country, and as is traditional for travellers, they brought back some trinkets the natives gave them in exchange for valuable gold.  The most profound gift brought back was some kind of exotic cold, which my son tried on over the weekend and is letting me borrow today– low-grade, not much mucus, generally quite comfortable as these things go.

They brought me back a bottle of something, too, which I’m to share with my wife.  Long-time readers of this nonsense may be getting excited vicariously now, as they will know that in The Old Country is P.W. Akkerman, and at P.W. Akkerman one finds the most desirable ink bottle in the world (according to some), the amazing two-stage easy-filler:

Its not just a bottle, it's art!

Its not just a bottle, it’s art!

While the bottle is not original to Akkerman (Waterman was using the same arrangement in the 1920s, as was the UK branch of Mabie, Todd, & Co.), it is unique in current production, and certainly something many of us ink-consuming weirdos would like one or a dozen of.  That the ink they contain is reputed to be pretty darned good doesn’t hurt, either.

There is, however, a problem.  Note beneath the name of the company– Den Haag.  There is more than one P.W. Akkerman, one in Den Haag (or, for those who refuse to sound it out, the Hague) and one in Amsterdam.  My family’s travels were based down in Breda, and while Amsterdam is a longer hike than Den Haag, my father has no sisters in the the latter and thus not reason to look in there.  Moreover, as hinted by the “sinds 1910” on the one site and “sinds 1929” on the other, there was some sort of schism; Stephen Brown, regularly appearing Dutch Pen Geek, explained a bit of the history on one of the FPGTV episodes, but the upshot of it is, fancy ink bottles are not to be had in Amsterdam.  This particular grail goes uncadged, which shouldn’t surprise me as my brother’s name is derived from perennial grail runner-up Gawain.

I didn’t, by the way, mention this before they went as a nice thing to get, for the same reason I didn’t mention the rather nice pen-shop in Tilburg, a city I know was passed through several times on this trip.  Why?  Because in a trip composed of my parents, my brother, and his son, adding external demands seemed like a terrible thing to do.  So I didn’t.

My reward, as I mention is a bottle.  Actually, two bottles– one of childhood delight Chocomel, which is profoundly unavailable in Canada, and the other a more persistent solace in the form 750 ml of a of a strong liqueur made by a distiller whose very name sounds like a rite of Bacchus where at least two generations of the expedition wanted to spend an afternoon face-down in the proeflokaal.  I’ll get to Den Haag in my own time, I’m sure.

Today’s pen: Parker Super 21
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

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