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Archive for October, 2014

Tricky Treats

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2014

I’m going a little overboard, perhaps.  It’s a special day, though, and I love to hand out treats.  First, because it’s the early part of the entry, a little something for all you folks with little trick-or-treaters to see to:

Now, I have spend the past week mulling which story to post here, and in what format.  Since it’s a longish one, I’ve decided that the best bet is to embed it thus as a PDF file, and let it be read in a separate window.  It being… well, not a Lovecraft pastiche, but certainly a direct reference to one of his works (and not one of the overtly racist ones), I have some doubts about it ever being commercial.

The other film for today is aimed at those who don’t have any kids to pilot through the dark and leaf-blown streets.  Those who find themselves walking all alone through the echoing spaces of a house that, for one night at least, fails to be a cozy sanctuary.  Those who listen with straining nerves for the sounds that should be the cooling of the timbers without another human in the place to turn to and laugh dismissively at the atavistic fears a dark October night may conjure….

If you want something to take the taste of that out of your head, there’s some other creepy stuff available here that’s worth a look.

Today’s unutterably ancient pen:  Waterman 12
Today’s grimly-hued fluid of inscription: Noodler’s red-black


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Posted by Dirck on 30 October, 2014

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 28 October
  • 29 October
  • 30 October
  • Second draft, “Funeral Notice” (finished)
  • Third draft, “The Blue Room”
  • Second draft, “The Third Act”
  • 1,153 words (1,914 total)
  • All amendments it wanted… on this pass.
  • 1,301 words
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.

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The Working Weekend

Posted by Dirck on 27 October, 2014

Oh, wah, wah, I had to play with other people’s pens for four hours in a public location.  I’m so oppressed.

Now, turning off cynicism, counterfeit complaint and ironic posing:  I had a rather good afternoon on Saturday, and some pens were put back on the path of righteousness and rectitude.  For those who are in the area but were otherwise engaged, there’s a very good chance of a repeat performance at some point in the foreseeable future; management at Paper Umbrella is reviewing the calendar at the moment looking at possible dates.  Also, for those in the aforementioned category or those for whom geography is an insurmountable obstacle to just dropping around, there is a little bit of video now online showing me muttering darkly at a particularly resistant Lamy Safari.  The living fossil is documented!  Gigantopithecus stilograficensis is a myth no longer!

Also, if you’re inclined to buy a Visconti Van Gogh Irises, the one at Paper Umbrella is definitely working properly.  Now.  For shame, Visconti!

I set aside my fiction for today to share an anecdote some will dismiss as fiction, but I swear it is the truth.  About midway through the clinic, a nice lady came in with a pouch full of pens.  She has come in merely to see what the shop might offer, as she does regularly (just as I do), and was surprised to discover the living fossil and his pen-righting equipment in one corner.  When this terrifying presence was explained to her, she reviewed the contents of her pouch to see what might need attention.

It is, by the way, a pleasure to watch someone who knows how to interact with a Pilot Falcon’s soft point enquire of it how it’s feeling.  She had… two or three, which is startling to me; she’s an artist, and the swarm of pens is kept at hand to answer her muse if it descends unexpectedly.  Of the bunch, only two needed any sort of looking-at by me, since sensibly she doesn’t carry the contrary pens around with her.  One was a Lamy Safari (one of the seven looked at that day*).

The other was a Montblanc 144.  Small disalignment.  Touch of baby-bottom.  Nothing much.  She wasn’t actually positive is was a Montblanc, because it was an older slip-cap version and a slip-cap is apparently a sign of fakery.  I’m far from current on the tell-tales of unreal Montblanc pens, but the amount of detail in the point impression and the presence of actual gold in the point inclines me to think it’s the real thing, der echt Artikel.  I said as much to the owner, which pleased her.

…because it had come to her through someone at her place of work saying, “Man, I’m sick of tripping over this pen.  Someone toss it out!” and her making off with it before anyone could do something silly.

I would very much like to infiltrate this office for a day.  I’d do my part to help relieve the drifts of unclaimed Mercedes in the parking lot, or reduce the inconvenient heaps of gold ingots lurking in the corners.

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

* This glut makes sense with the right details:

  1. Paper Umbrella carries Lamy
  2. Paper Umbrella is essentially the only place in town to buy a fountain pen
  3. Paper Umbrella customers were most likely to know about the event
  4. Safari is the popular model of Lamy

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Small Forgotten Things

Posted by Dirck on 24 October, 2014

Two items I dare not leave until next week, so we get a special Late Edition (please imagine an urchin in a flat cap shouting “Extry! Extry!” has just placed it in your hands).

First, a reminder of my all-singing, all-dancing* fountain pen tuning clinic at Regina’s own Paper Umbrella tomorrow from Noon until 4:30pm.  If you’re in or near the city and have a pen that needs a stern word or two, stop by and let me do my thing for you.  Free!

Second, an email I got which I reproduce here as a public service:

Hi everbody!

You’re getting this email because you’ve helped to support the Newton Pens Scholarship in the past.  If you don’t wish to receive any more emails like this in the future, please let me know and I’ll be sure to remove your email from this list

See the full post with answers to frequently asked questions, photos of past raffle pens, and a few pictures of materials at:http://newtonpens.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/2015-newton-pens-scholarship-october-2014/

Want to win a custom pen and help some lucky deserving students with their college expenses?

Enter to win a custom Newton Pen for the Month of October to support the Newton Pens Scholarship!  So far we’ve raised $2969 with those awesome student art post cards and other donations and contributions.

Read all the rules on how to enter here.

Entry period starts October 16th and ends Saturday night, November 1st at 9pm Central US time.  If you have ANY questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask.  I’m always more than happy to answer.

Thanks for supporting Newton Pens Scholarships!

That’s it for this week.  Really.

*dancing and singing are entirely unlikely

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It’s For The Kids….

Posted by Dirck on 24 October, 2014

Like most folks in North America, my understanding of the eerie underpinnings of Hallowe’en came long after I had learned to look forward to putting an uncomfortable vacuum-formed plastic mask based loosely on Boris Karloff across my face and screech for chocolate.  I’m very pleased that this tradition continues in my own part of the world, too– this “mall trick-or-treating” drives me toward apoplexy.

Hallowe’en is, in my mind, for two constituencies.

Observant pagans who want to keep the spectral influences at bay.

Kids of most ages with room in their heart for innocent scares.

For the earlier cohort of the latter group, I offer today’s longish film:

Next week will be devoted to the older cohort.  People who think it’s about drinking while being in a room full of Sexy {Occupation} costumes can go hang… from any convenient hook or rope.

Today’s pen: Waterman Executive
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet

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Posted by Dirck on 23 October, 2014

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
22 Oct.


23 Oct.

First draft, “The Third Act”


The same, now completed.

14 pages


11 pages

50 min.


About 45 min.

Waterman Crusader


Pelikan M600

Private Reserve Supershow Blue


Herbin Bleu Myosotis

Is this more tolerable, d’you think? As I said on Tuesday, I can’t give up entirely on the idea of external oversight, as tedious as that is for the draftee overseers, but it won’t come up more than once a week.

…and I still get to mention all the week’s pens in public.  The internet is nothing if not the panderer to strange pleasures, and it turns out that’s one of mine.

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Fair Comment

Posted by Dirck on 21 October, 2014

Ah, meta-blogging– how long I’ve avoided it!  However, it’s time for a little navel-gazing, with a small hint of resentment (but not for obvious reasons).

Those who look at comments will have seen the one on yesterday’s progress report.  For those who don’t, the main part of it:

Pssst,… can I talk to you for a second? Uh… please, please, please forgive me but, … uh… I think you’re grossly over estimating your readership’s interest in “what”, “how much” and “how long”, especially since we never get to see the results of this effort [emphasis added for reasons to follow]. I know, I know we got to see one, but still… these progress reports read too much like, and are about as interesting as the log my gastroenterologist had me keep for a while many years ago. Please, please, I,… WE beg you, go back to your missives and musings.

I would be lying if I didn’t  admit to wondering if this wasn’t the case.  However, there have been a quantity of “like” button pokings and even some new “follow” activity that plainly isn’t just robots trying to sell me stuff.

When I started with the progress report entries back at the start of the year, I had in mind two silly things.  Thing one– if I stop making a noise on a daily basis, people (read, my father as perceived by me at age 13) will think I’m not actually working and become disappointed.  Thing two– how will everyone know what pen I’m using on a given day?  The celestial spheres will catch in their tracks without that intelligence reaching the world!

It has been a LONG time since I referred to the primary reason this enterprise came into being.  While I’m happy to point people at the main site and in that way drum up some business for one of the things I’d rather be doing for money than The Regular Job, that’s not why I started yelling at the internet during my lunch breaks.  I did it so I wouldn’t spend far too much time pondering the various auction sites of the world and getting into trouble when the temptation of a fixable and almost-affordable pen becomes too much to resist.  This avoidance is still an important part of daily routine, indeed all the more so as the federal and provincial governments keep stamping on the middle class with both feet, but the turn to fiction (which is also high in the list for rather doing than The Regular Job) is quite handily turning me away from the sirens of internet commerce.

We will not, out of politeness, mention that even in the absence of the fiction distraction, this thing would have dried up about the same time for want of non-fictional material to chew over.  That first five years of working here really emptied my shot locker.  The infrequent non-progress reports are about all I had in me.

So the only reason I’d keep at what, as I have already admitted, is something I wonder at anyone reading is because some people are clearly interested; this gets me back silly thing one, above. I’d probably give up on the whole progress update concept entirely if I didn’t know my own powers of slacking off if entirely unobserved, so what I think I may do is this– some sort of week’s workings report, possibly on Thursday to avoid distracting from the fun of the Friday Fumbled (from someone else’s pocket) Film, and otherwise silence unless I’ve got something interesting to offer.  Interesting within my previously established idiom, that is– let’s not get over-excited.  I forget that with that “follow” button poked, people who are actually interested in what I’m at, whether it’s carving a story out of my brain, contemplating odd choices of style in mens’ wear, or being beaten into an unrecognizable heap by a pen unwilling to be fixed, will have the new developments thrust upon them.  Daily howling is not strictly required.

Which leaves me with a couple of loose ends to tie up, or possibly down.  Let me first address the emphasis added to the quote, which is another thing I’ll admit to some guilt about.  On that, while I’m not going to instantly open the vaults, since some folks have turned the phrase “First Worldwide Rights” into a terrible lurking entity in my world– “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh First Worldwide Rights R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!“– but as Hallowe’en is coming up I am planning on putting something out where it can be (potentially) enjoyed by one and all.  I may also post that contest entry from the summer here too, since First Worldwide Rights the Great and Terrible has caused the forum all the entries are on to hide them from non-members and web-crawlers.

Finally: resentment.  Yep, there’s resentment infused into this entry.  Not, as I hope I’ve made clear with all the preceding, regarding the content of the message.  Rather, I find myself simmering because I’ve spent time blogging about blogging when a perfectly nice first draft story lies hardly begun.  This suggests some degree of addiction.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Valiant (fully recovered from previous surgery)
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Lie de Thé

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Posted by Dirck on 20 October, 2014

WHAT: First draft of “The Third Act.”

HOW MUCH: Ten manuscript pages.

HOW LONG: About 55 min.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

…oh, yes, and happy 132nd to Bela Lugosi; may your rubber bats always flop vigorously on the ends of their strings.

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Some More Seasonal Music

Posted by Dirck on 17 October, 2014

There’s always a lot of controversy about when Christmas carols should start up (my position: after 11 November, damn it!), no one talks about Hallowe’en music.

This might be due to a lack of it.  There’s a very low limit to how much “Monster Mash” anyone can take.  However, I’ve lifted a couple of films for this week’s installment that have some Hallowe’enieness about them.  One classical, one modern, one all of a natural piece, one a… perverse union of sound and image, we’ll say.  I leave it to you which order you listen to them in.

We’re out to select our pumpkin on Sunday.  If we survive the terrors of the garden market, I’ll see you all next week.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 16 October, 2014

WHAT: First draft of “Funeral Notice.”

HOW MUCH: Seven manuscript pages (but VERY high quality).

HOW LONG: About 50 min.

Today’s pen: Waterman Crusader
Today’s ink: Private Reserve Supershow Blue

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