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Archive for November, 2015

The First Half-Century

Posted by Dirck on 30 November, 2015

Good heavens, is it really that long?  At some point this afternoon, I’m embarking on my second half-hundred years (and I don’t, in the face of genetics and increasing medical comprehension, expect it to be the last, but ill-driven dump trucks can confound).  I don’t think I’ve gained more than what should be the common amount of wisdom over those years, but since such markers call out for pontification, I’m going to make a few observations.

  1. I’m tired of people saying “Do what will make you happy.”  This is not because I don’t, indeed I had such a round of pen repairing yesterday that I discovered ink between a couple of toes, but because it’s not the sort of advice one can follow to the exclusion of all other activities without having the good luck to discover that happiness-engendering something early enough to arrange one’s career path just so, and finding the career path that will allow it at all.  It is also a little too bound up with this miserable YOLO nonsense, which is little more than an excuse for selfish narcissism.
  2. As a follow-up; remember what makes you happy.  Just because you can’t get at it as much as you could wish, don’t toss it away entirely.  I’ll admit that I have left book-binding aside for my son’s entire life, because it calls for vast uninterrupted sessions (unlike pen repair or writing), but I still look at the equipment and consider its use, when one day time allows.  I’m a little ambivalent on the whole “live like it’s your last day” thing because the underpinning of may be profoundly true (dump-truck!) but it also makes every day that your didn’t do everything you wanted to a bit of a failure.  I allow myself the luxury of future gratification.  Note that the vast increase of boredom available on this blog is a result of my eventually taking up the pen of fiction after leaving it aside for… at least a decade.
  3. Don’t give into the notion of acting your age… entirely.  I think that acting like you’re 12 in all things is idiotic, because I freely admit that at that age I had a lot of stupid in me.  I still do, but the layers of experience help to filter it into something less toxic when they don’t contain it entirely.  However, I think that gleeful exuberance is a great thing to hold onto.  I may be this old and (purportedly) wise, but I still giggle now and then.  I even look forward to The Force Awakens because it might fix the damage Episodes I through III inflicted on the most perfect entertainment that 12-year-old idiot ever knew, and which I still hold as a standard.
  4. Also as a follow-up; don’t lament the fact that you’re getting older.  While every passing month makes the possibility of rewarding career in professional sports just that much less likely, if you’re using you’re time properly, you are building up that filter/containment vessel of experience and thus become more able to deal with life.  Consider how easily babies cry at minor things; this is because whatever it is, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever encountered, and I don’t know it won’t kill me!  You get over that, right?  Likewise the failure of the first romantic entanglement, which seemed pretty fatal at the time but which in retrospect was merely the conclusion of a pretty brief chapter in a long and complicated story.  I’m pretty happy that I’ve got a depth of armour against such insults of life, and I rather pity people who haven’t got the same.  Some of them are the same age as me, too.
  5. This is not to say I encourage the burning out of emotional capacities.  I’m not one to fly into a passion, but I will shed the odd emotional tear, whether from woe or joy.  Not to do so is to become inhuman.
  6. Fight the power.  But only after careful study, because a lot of people who think they’re doing just that are actually propping it up.
  7. Eat your vegetables.  Seriously.  A functional bowel is a joy forever.

That should do. I’ll see you all here when I’m 100, fifty-one years hence, to see if anything else has occurred to me in the interim.

Today’s pen, about the same age as me: Parker 75
Today’s ink, a little fresher: Herbin Bleu Nuit


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My Shoes are too Tight

Posted by Dirck on 27 November, 2015

This week’s Friday Found Film explains why so many men are embarrassed to get up and dance.  Look what we have to live up to:

The other lesson to take from this– those olden-timey folk did, in fact, know how to shake it.

Today’s pen: Pilot L-150MS
Today’s ink: Pelikan Brilliant Brown

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Posted by Dirck on 26 November, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 23 November
  • 24 November
  • 25 November
  • 26 November
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic.”
  • Still second draft.
  • Metaphorical landslide at Regular Job.
  • Back to the second draft work, with both hands.
  • 923 words typed
  • 824 words.
  • 0 words.
  • 1,063 words.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • All of it.
  • 50 min.

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Massive Cute Injection (subjective)

Posted by Dirck on 20 November, 2015

It has been a slightly trying week here, despite actually making headway on the writing front, and so I fill today with films of very cute animals.

My notions of cute are not, I understand, quite on the North American bell-curve for such things, but honestly– small, soft and fuzzy.  How can that be other than cute?

Today’s pen: Pelikan M30
Today’s ink: Pelikan black

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Posted by Dirck on 19 November, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 16 November
  • 17 November
  • 18 November
  • 19 November
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic.”
  • …which presents a very rough bit.
  • More second draft, the resistance overcome.
  • The same.
  • 504 words typed
  • 240 words.
  • 622 words.
  • 632 words.
  • 30 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 33 min.

ALSO, for those who don’t look into the fiction wing of my enterprise, I’ve got a slightly challenging contest on right now with a pen offered as prize.  No winners as yet, there’s still time, but the skill-testing question is a bit of a poser.

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Little and Often

Posted by Dirck on 13 November, 2015

Say, look what I forgot yesterday. The short-staffing at The Regular Job persists.

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 9 November
  • 10 November
  • 11 November
  • 12 November
  • Last week’s woes extend.
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic,” plus this.
  • Contemplating past events
  • Contemplating past works
  • Zipperoo, writing-wise.
  • 379 and 315 words, respectively.
  • Never quite enough.
  • Inconclusive (see below).
  • Unendurable, really.
  • 45 min.
  • All day, but peaking at 11:00.
  • Enough to prevent fresh writing.

In part, today’s film is a mere public service; if you find yourself suddenly called upon to fill this role, it is good to know what you should be at.

Yesterday’s distraction was not shovelling coal, whether actual or metaphoric, but did involve a quantity of smoldering.  I’ve had news that a publication which I would like to submit to has reopened their submissions desk after a long hiatus, and I was trying to decide which of the things I’ve got in my shot-locker is most apt to the forum.  I’ve got a couple of candidates in the tumbler getting final polish now, and should have something away by Monday.

On a side note; I think “little and often” is probably a good policy in most things.  I lament that, while I’ve got the “little” side of writing locked down brilliantly, “often” is becoming elusive.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Snorkel Sovereign
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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The Day in Review

Posted by Dirck on 6 November, 2015


It’s also Friday, and that means films.  First, from another observer of the day:

Next, last year’s festivities in Poland, where they apparently take Fountain Pen Day quite seriously.

And to finish, some TV commercials for pens that are no longer in production, but are warmly thought of by pen nuts fanciers even now. The incidental sexism in some of them is included free, because I can’t get it out no matter how I scrub.

My own pen for today, also warmly thought of and no longer in production, has been mentioned here previously, but I’ll save you having to poke around the back issues for the story; a gift from my wife to replace a twenty-year-old item which broken under over-vigourous use, and the trigger of the mania which led to me having a whole damn website and a very tiny repair business.

Today’s trigger object: Waterman Phileas
Today’s ink: Diamine Denim, because making final preparations for a piano arriving in my house kept me from filling it until I got to work.  Don’t expect the full story, though– that was the interesting part.

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Posted by Dirck on 5 November, 2015

But first, important stuff: tomorrow is Fountain Pen Day. Celebrate responsibly!

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 November
  • 3 November
  • 28 October
  • 22 October
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic”.
  • Second draft persists
  • The Regular Job (see below)
  • Getting a new story run out on the fiction front.
  • 448 words typed.
  • 804 words typed.
  • A recurrent Wednesday problem
  • G’wan, have a look.
  • 25 min.
  • 45 min.
  • see below
  • Enough to prevent fresh writing.

I was struck on Tuesday at the relatively grim words/minute stats that the second drafts work out to.  Take it was proof that there is actual revision in that stage of the exercise, not mere transcription.

…because otherwise I’ll be horribly embarrassed.

Also, due to an illness-induced short staffing of The Regular Job, I feel I have to include yet another animation to suggest how the past couple of weeks has seemed (complete with inexplicable interruption and repetition).  Unavoidable working through lunch breaks!  Monstrous!

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