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Archive for March, 2015

Odd Criteria

Posted by Dirck on 30 March, 2015

You who look in here with some regularity will remember that a while ago I was mulling how to dispose of a gift certificate I got last Christmas, and somewhat more recently there was an allusive mention of that mulling having reached its end.   Just to remind you, here’s the sort of thing I was decided to not get one of:

Ick!  Arg!  Hideous!

Ick! Arg! Hideous!

This will probably lead to some head-scratching when I show you a picture of that which I have ended up with… which I will do now:

Ooh! Ah! Bee-YOU-tee-ful!

The ideal* reader is at this point is saying either, “But… it’s… the same,” or, “What possessed you to…?”  I won’t simply hide behind the notion of human inconsistency, although you might want to look at it as the cleared ground around the actual defenses of my action.

I will point out that apart from the current entry’s efforts at comedy, I didn’t decline that wooden e-motion (by the way, what is with Faber-Castell’s model-naming practices, anyway?) because it didn’t appeal visually, but rather because I fully expected my own clumsiness to mar it with a dollop of ineradicable ink on the grain.  The resin version is not susceptible to that sort of disfigurement, which means I will have to try harder.  I did say it was a little outside my personal style, and that does get us back into the realm of inconsistency, but it’s within what I believe my tolerances are in that direction.  It is a nice pen to write with, in my subjective and tolerant opinion, trained as I am to enjoy pens of diverse sizes and shapes, and the point is hard to fault… although I will touch on it once more before we finish today.

There is also the inner keep of this supposed ring of defenses I have, over whose thick door and imposing portcullis is chiseled the important motto, “Just ‘Cuz.”  I had, on the day I was looking through catalogues, all but dismissed the e-motion before I saw this particular finish.  One I saw it, I found it had taken on a siren aspect, and in the end I was lured to the shore.  This “parquet” motif, which one might also call “basketweave,” reminded me of something of which I am extremely fond.  I mentioned on Friday last that I’m a recovered Star Wars fan, remember.  I will also own to being an inactive and low-key Browncoat, with a good eye for backgrounds:


Where did they put cargo on the Millenium Falcon, anyway?


Now, one last element of foolishness to end the day on– the pen I am even now carrying I ordered with a bold point.  “Bold?” said the nice man at Paper Umbrella?  Yes, indeed, said I, because it gives me the material needed to convert the point into a stub, rendering the writing more dashing and the pen more interesting.

However, I was not thinking of how very nicely finished Faber-Castell points are.  The urge to reshape has started to feel like an inclination to vandalism….

Today’s seed of foolishness: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue


*”5.  something that exists only in the imagination.”  It’s a pretty archaic use of the word, and thus just about the last noun definition Dictionary.com offers for it.


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Force Majeure

Posted by Dirck on 27 March, 2015

A confession, which doesn’t reveal much inky blackness of my past:  I was a serious Star Wars freak when I was a kid.  I was at just the right age when the first film came out, and already inclined to the genre.  I use the past tense because I’m also one of those accuse George Lucas of taking our childhood memories by surprise and beating them into unrecognizability with his egregious “first” trilogy; I still like Star Wars, but the passion has cooled substantially.

Today’s film brings on another, slightly darker confession; I kind of liked the Empire.  I think it’s just because their kit looks cooler, because I certainly didn’t want them to win.  In fact, once I started looking into history properly, this early fondness helped me to formulate a baseless correlation between how good a uniform looks and the underlying wickedness of the regime it served (the Waffen SS had really  good looking outfits…).  Having James Earl Jones and Peter Cushing on side helped a lot, too.

All of which is by way of explanation of the presence of today’s film.  I’m letting the me of 1977 have control of the board for a few minutes.

What this needs for perfection is some voice acting provided by too few people, based on a script that’s more concerned with justifying mouth-movement than the action surrounding it.

Today’s correct-to-period pen: Parker 180
Today’s sort-of-thematic ink, if you translate the name: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

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Posted by Dirck on 26 March, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 23 March
  • 24 March
  • 25 March
  • 26 March
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom.
  • The same…
    • …and a start on short story “Then Tell, Oh Tell…” because a rather nice opening for it came to me during my break this morning.
  • Deja Doom
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • Eight pages all told.
  • Six pages
  • Eleven pages
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 30 min.
  • 55 min.

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Let’s ALL Sing the Doom Song!

Posted by Dirck on 20 March, 2015

In a previous progress report, I included a reference to the “Doom Song”.  It occurred to me that some people might not know what that reference is… and I’m enough of a jerk to inflict it upon you:

However, I’m not so much of a jerk that I won’t add some context… although admitting to liking the show (a lot) might not shine the most flattering of lights in my own direction.

I’ll also point out that I’m being conscientiously non-jerky in declining to add a link to the product of combining a diseased imagination and editing software; if you care to look for it yourself, you can find a ten hour extended mix of the song.

Today’s pen: Kaweco Sport

Today’s ink: Quink black

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Posted by Dirck on 19 March, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 16 March
  • 17 March
  • 18 March
  • 19 March
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom.
  • …plus that entry I wrote.
  • More Choice! More Doom!
  • Ditto.
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • Six pages
  • Seven pages.
  • Nine pages.
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.

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Hairy-Chested Conversions

Posted by Dirck on 17 March, 2015

My wife suggested to me last night, as I was filling the pen that will be out for today only, that I might put in orange ink rather than green.  “Just to get the whole flag represented,” she said with a smile that suggested she knew just how inflammatory she was being.  As I mentioned in the 2010 entry for this day, I’m enough of an avatar of the Irish flag on my own not to need that, and I don’t want to get the saint down my neck for injecting a note of protestantism on his day.

Not, as I think I’ve made clear on many occasions, that I’m one of the faithful.  I am, however, inconsistently superstitious, and I’ve recently learned a thing about ol’ Patrick that seriously disinclines me from making any fun of him.

He turns people into werewolves.

Yep.  Chases snakes out of Ireland, sermonizes long enough for his walking stick to grow roots, chats up old pagan mythic heros, and makes the occasional monster.  The walking stick bit indicates he is very patient with common or garden ignorance, but the last item is suggests that he doesn’t have a lot of that virtue available for hecklers.

The story has a a couple of versions, the more impressive being the cursing of a king who pointedly declined conversion, but the one that rings more true is the one in which the saint is followed by three drunken jerks who alternate between caricatured impersonations of Patrick at his preaching and derisive laughter.  After putting up with a little of this nonsense, Paddy turns on his pursuers, says something along the lines of “You like howling so much, let’s make sure you can do a proper job of it,” and there’s three wolves with startled looks on their faces.  This version also involves the full moon as an catalyst, while others had a seven year cycle of some sort– either once every seven years, or for seven years at a time.

More impressively, St. Patrick did this (whichever version you prefer) and then walked away without getting savaged by a bunch of wolves.  That’s a hard saint.

Be warned, then, to keep your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans somewhat in line.  May your beer be the colour nature intended it to be, and may you come back from the pub the same shape you left.

Today’s pen: Conway-Stewart 106 (the sainted Patrick was, after all, not from Ireland originally)
Today’s ink: Lamy green

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Morporkia’s Fork at Half-mast.

Posted by Dirck on 13 March, 2015

I had something else in mind for today, but the news yesterday of the passing of one of the greats of modern English literature demands attention.  Do not, by the way, think that I’m following my usual course of humourous hyperbole when I say that.  Terry Pratchett may have written comedy, but he wrote comedy to cut diamonds and redirect the drift of continents.  If you haven’t read any of his stuff, you really should.  Try Good Omens or Night Watch if you want to get to the good stuff right away.  “Good stuff” being relative, of course.

Today’s main film is of Sir Terry himself, and it seems appropriate now all the mysteries are at last made clear to him.  I suspect that, like many of his characters, he will have found that revelation was a little different than he’d expected, but I’m in no hurry to find out for myself.

Those with more moral fibre than I might want to look at this somewhat more on-point and rather longer film.  You might need some hankies.

Now, just to lighten the mood, here’s a tribute to the great municipal animal of Ankh-Morpork:

Today’s pen: TWSBI Mini
Today’s ink: Diamine Denim

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Posted by Dirck on 12 March, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 10 March
  • 11 March
  • 12 March
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom.
  • Eleven (!!) manuscript pages.
  • Seven pages.
  • Five pages, and furious cross-referencing.
  • 50 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 35 min.

…and also, one of my stories (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”) just went out for critique by strangers via Critters.Org.  I may not be a perfeshunal yet, but I’m trying hard.

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After-Action Report

Posted by Dirck on 9 March, 2015

Saturday was a little less busy than I’d hoped.  Those who missed out, missed cookies.

Made fresh the night before!

Made fresh the night before!

However, it was not without some business, and some items to contemplate.  As with the October version of the clinic, I filled in some time between visitors by messing with the in-store stock.  Based on what is admittedly a small cross-section, I can suggest universal truth:  Italian pens may look better than German ones, but they lag in the ‘being useful’ department.  I found one out of seven Faber-Castells of various model that needed any attention to be decent writers, while three out of three Viscontis needed a good deal of yelling at and physical coercion to do what they ought.

It's that almost invisible silver thing at the bottom of the cap.

It’s that almost invisible silver thing at the bottom of the cap.  Easily overlooked.

The scandal of the day was also one of those Viscontis, which only got the yelling-at portion of the treatment.  A Van Gogh Irises, arrived in the store only the previous day, I was admiring the colours before a close examination of the works… and something struck me as amiss.  Stare. Ponder.  Realization!  “I say… the cap band is missing on this pen.”  I’m going to nip an image off the web so you can see how subtle this flaw is, and how easily it might have gotten out of the factory without someone spotting it.  I was not the only one doing the yelling.

Lamys were also in good form, which is a nice change from last time.  I looked as a Lamy Logo which was there to collect a new cap (something had reduced the original to a mere husk, and I didn’t want to pry) which needed to be made slightly less damp and get a tiny sharp bit seen to.  This counted as the part of the day in which I felt the cleverest, as the whole adjustment took under two minutes and the pen’s owner was, if I may say it, amazed by the amount of difference that short time had made.

I also added a paradox to my collection, as one fellow brought the pens that I was both most pleased to work on and least pleased to have to work on.  The pens were a Dunhill Sidecar and a Montblanc Starwalker, and while the problem (a baby-bottom in both cases which made for hesitation) was both easily dealt with and shouldn’t have been there in the first place, this was not the source of the paradox.  I was very happy to work on those pens, as they were models I had never handled previously.  I was sad in the same measure, because the circumstance of that handling meant I wasn’t going to be able to add them to the site.  I will just mention, therefore, that both are about as nice as you would expect pens of that price to be, discounting tipping problems, although I thought the Dunhill a little heavier than it needed to be.  I really like the shape of the point on the Starwalker, too.

The proprietor of Paper Umbrella tells me that this is routinely a slow time of year, and we both admitted to dropping the promotion ball a little on the whole affair by making not enough noise too late.  We mooted the possibility of another one, so there were no fatal disappointments on either side.  For my part, it was a fine day, with the handling of those two newly-met pens. the confirmation of a prejudice regarding Italian pens, and the collecting of my latest pen.  Oh, yes, there was a new pen! I had mentioned that I had a gift certificate to do something with, and now it’s done… but until I get a page made up for my new treasure on the site, I’ll say no more.

Today’s pen (was in attendance on Saturday): TWSBI Mini
Today’s ink: Diamine Denim


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Art… possibly.

Posted by Dirck on 6 March, 2015

If you’ve spent seven years putting together something that has no actual purpose, one would hope it rates as art.  It’s in a museum, too:

If not art, then… educational material?  Oh, the indignity!

Today’s pen: Kaweco Sport
Today’s ink: Quink black

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