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Archive for May, 2015

Ah, Go Fly a Kite.

Posted by Dirck on 29 May, 2015

Not last summer, but the one previous, my son and I were flying his first kite.  He was making a game of letting go of the string and watching Daddy dive for the reel, because kids are silly.  Then came the time when, after nodding solemnly at my explanation of why that’s a bad idea, he did it again and discovered that sometimes kite is faster than Daddy.  To add to the trauma, the thing stayed aloft after the reel caught in the top branches of a tree at the edge of the park, and remained visible from our house for thirty-six hours.  That’s a day and a half of explaining to a little kid why it’s impossible to retrieve that thing that’s right there where you can see it.

I suggested getting a new kite last week.  He went pale and shook his head.  Thus, I turn to watching things fly in a vicarious manner to retain my childish inward glow.

First, something nostalgic:

And then something which should be nostalgic, but which for reasons of technological advance moving in fits and starts still seems futuristic:

I think I will get a kite anyway.  One lost kite should not cut the nipper off from a lifetime of enjoying the sensation of the wind tugging on a string.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Sovereign II
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir


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Posted by Dirck on 28 May, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 25 May
  • 26 May
  • 20 May
  • 21 May
  • First draft of Choose Your Own…
  • The same
  • 3 manuscript pages.
  • 3 pages.
  • 9 pages!
  • very nearly 3 pages.
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.

The production numbers seem down, and they are (apart from the glorious anomaly of yesterday).  Part of why I’d set this project aside was that the neatening up of threads was getting a little daunting, and while I’ve managed to work up a head of courage sufficient to tackle the work again, willingness isn’t reducing the complexity of the thing.  Those who have tried tablet-weaving may recognize the difficulty of resuming a multi-thread effort after setting it aside for a while.

Today’s pen choice is driven by a writing workshop that I’m going to on the weekend (alluded to in this entry); in that setting, a favourite pen and preferred ink seem the wise thing, and today confirms that they like each other.

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Ambiguity Tolerance Test

Posted by Dirck on 22 May, 2015

Today’s entry in Entertainments Absconded With is actually a bit of a test, but you needn’t moan and you can put your pencils down. It’s sort of a test of how your tastes in the eerie run, because you will either love this very gentle little horror film or despise it utterly.

I rather liked it, but I’ll bet that even if you did too we would differ on what we saw.

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

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Posted by Dirck on 21 May, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 18 May
  • 19 May
  • 20 May
  • 21 May
  • Honouring Victoria, D.G. Regina, Def. Fid., Imp. Ind, &ct.
  • First draft of “Then Tell, Oh Tell…”
  • More first draft.
  • Fiddling with trivia marginally connected to writing.
  • five gin & tonics.
  • 5 manuscript pages.
  • 4 pages.
  • More than I wanted.
  • All day.
  • 35 min.
  • 30 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 35 min.

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Pens, Man.

Posted by Dirck on 15 May, 2015

Today’s film interlude is someone else reviewing a pen I sort of want but haven’t quite gotten around to yet.  See?  I still care about the pens!

A small comment, though; I think Mr. Brown is putting a lot of stress on his fingers, if not the pen.  Relax!  It won’t run away!

Today’s gently-gripped pen: Parker 50
Today’s ink: Chelpark black

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A Bed of My Own Making

Posted by Dirck on 14 May, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 11 May
  • 12 May
  • 14 May
  • 15 May
  • Not-quite-first draft of “Then Tell, Oh Tell…”
  • see below
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 50 min.

…and it’s a fine bed of jagged springs and low thread-count sheets; don’t even look at the pillow.  There’s a belated realization that as mere background for the story I want to tell, I have to at least figure out the plot-line for two murder mysteries.  As of the close of that particular business today, I’ve got the more mundane one worked out but the intricate and more honestly fictional one needs more gingerbread and gilding.  This because real murders are, in general, not much more than a momentary rage followed by a panicked, hasty effort at concealment; you don’t get that many H.H. Holmeses, happily.

What I could have done was take of the threads of that previous project, but there’s a couple of recursions in it that are daunting me and I frankly want more of a break than last week afforded.  There are advantages to doing writing uopn which no one has imposed a deadline.

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The Stubbening

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2015

I’m sure we all remember back in ye aulden tymes of this screed of mine when I made a noise about the modern urge to mess with point geometry.  You’ll also note that the noise was referent to vintage pens, so when I explain what I got up to this weekend you mustn’t shout “Hypocrite!” too loudly.

There is, indeed, the dust of a lot of tipping littering the cavern floor in my Grotto of Hunched Squinting.  An aside– I’m thinking of hiring an Igor to take over some of the hunching for me, although the squinting is built into the task.  A client recently left a couple of pens with me.  One, a Jinhao 159 (that company’s Montblanc 149 look-alike) had nothing wrong with it. but he thought he’d like it made over into a stub, or perhaps even an italic.


Click upon for closer examination

Since removal is relatively easy and replacement is ridiculously difficult, the stop awaiting client examination is a 0.7mm stub, which I’ve indulged in my trick of leaving as a fine round tip on the reverse.  By “my trick” I don’t mean to claim it as my own, as others have done it– it’s just something I like when a stubbing is in the offing.  There’s plenty of tipping left, but I’m at a point where it has pretty much parallel sides the rest of the way down; if this isn’t broad enough, then we’re bidding farewell to the tipping and heading for the land of italic pens.  Even this won’t get a much wider line– I figure at the place I’d have to stop for fear of the feed tapping on the paper, it would get up to 1.1mm at best.

The other pen he left with me definitely had something wrong with it.  Rather than describe it, I’ll get you to make your own visual aid.  First, press you hands together in front of you, as if in prayer or preparation for a dive.  Now, fold your fingers together, leaving only the index fingers pressing against one another.  Imagine these fingers to be the tines of a pen, with the uppermost joint the tipping.  Finally, slide the tip of the let index finger down to press right into the middle of the pad of the right.  This was the state of the Parker Urban I was handed, and the client’s description is understandable and understated: “It’s really scratchy.”  I don’t honestly know how ink was getting down that all the way to the tip.  I think another use of the word stubbed might well be applied to that poor point.  There was a limit to how much remediation I dared do to stressed tipping like that, too; it’s now writing again, thanks in large part to a removal of some tip material with the abrasives.

While I have all the articles of grinding laid out, I decided to cast a die as far as my Faber-Castell gift of recent delivery.  I mentioned that I had gotten a bold with an eye to amendment, but was hesitating in the face of how very smooth and delightful all that tipping was.  I won’t say that I don’t have some regrets.

Not visible; a vandal's tears of remorse

Not visible; a vandal’s tears of remorse

You’ll note that there’s two “post-work” samples.  The problem of doing a lot of point-grinding, with the attached hunching and squinting, is that one begins to have I want to stop doing this replace I want to do a superior job of this as the guiding principle.  That initial sample came out to the satisfaction of a guy who wanted to stop peering through magnifiers and stand with the vertebrae in the stack natural selection intended.  If that sounds like it’s not going to be satisfactory to a less afflicted person, you’d be quite right.

I emerged from the Grotto, and over the loud crackling of my spine asked my wife to give the pen a try.  “That’s a lot more pressure than it should need,” she said, after a couple of false starts.  I married well.  Indeed, I’d arranged to produce a sort of baby-bottom effect, and the darkness of the first sample is a result of my unconscious spreading of the tines to overcome the problem.

I did not instantly fly down the stairs to address the matter.  I had lunch, went shopping, took my son to a birthday party, made supper, watched Miyazaki Hayao’s latest and possibly final work, slept for several hours, ate breakfast and then sauntered back to the Grotto.  I’ve left the point in more of an italic than stub configuration, and my current regrets at the loss of that smooth, smooth blob is underlined by the very narrow lateral strokes of an almost-sharp edge, because there was a lot of household stuff to see to yesterday and I wasn’t going to rush the job.

I don’t think I’m quite done with this one.  The owner isn’t entirely satisfied.

Today’s unamended pen: Parker 50
Today’s ink: Chelpark black

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Posted by Dirck on 8 May, 2015

Well… the disarticulated corpse of Old Man Winter has made a strange and alarming twitch around here, so I guess there’s something marginally thematic to today’s slightly chilling amusement.

Slightly chilling, and rather unexpected.  Damn it, that’s right on point for today’s weather.

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

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Trembling in Every Limb

Posted by Dirck on 7 May, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 4 May
  • 5 May
  • 6 May
  • 7 May
  • Final draft for submission of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
  • see below
  • 45 min.
  • 20 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 35 min.

I sit here, having just finished saving and backing up to various clouds, and I think, “I’m done?  Can I be done?”  I gave myself a month, after all, and here I am apparently content that I have polished my story into as deathless and perfect a gem of modern literature as it can be after less than a week of furious frowning, staring at the comments of the helpful volunteer critics, and keeping ego pinned in its cage as much as possible while acting upon those comments.  Several of them, anyway.  I did throw ego the occasional, “You just don’t get me, man!” to keep it from getting outrageous.

This is the point at which I must remember that over-aggressive polishing is eventually destructive.  The plating gives way to mere brass, the fine detail vanishes.  Just put the thing down and let people admire it.

Unfortunately, submissions don’t open until 1 June, so the latter part of that admonition is not yet available.  That not only gives me plenty of time to fall to “Oh, let’s give it one more look,” but also a magnificent span to obsess about ways in which I can foot-shot during the act of submitting.  It’s going to be a fun three weeks in my head.

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Sink(o) de Bismark

Posted by Dirck on 5 May, 2015

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I mentioned Liberation Day here, and here it is Bevrijdingsdag.  There’s more than a usual amount of noise about it on the national media here, I suspect because it’s a divisible-by-ten example of the anniversary (and also because the current rump in the chair of governance in Canada, being rather militaristic and bellicose, likes to bask in the reflected glory of soldiers… but I’ll leave politics aside).  As I mentioned in the last serious treatment I gave the day, I have a foot in both celebratory camps in this matter, so I feel the effects of commemoration quite strongly.

That sort of runs me out of words to apply to the matter, though, so I’ll let pictures do the rest of the talking:

…and to fill today’s “raving loonies” quotient:

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