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Archive for April, 2016

A Friday Puzzle

Posted by Dirck on 29 April, 2016

No film today, because I have a small mystery I want to share.  The mystery is today’s pen.  Let me show it to you:

Parker 0466

Parker 0466c

I’m not quite sure what it is.

At which point, you begin to back away from the guy who is clearly losing his grip on reality.  It says pretty clearly on the barrel, right?  “Parker Victory,” in nice block letters.  Where’s the mystery?

Well, if one looks at the historic descriptions of the Victory, a pen which gave Parker its foothold in the British Isles as a domestic producer, one finds there are five different versions.  In fact, I invite you to look; this description of the breed has some jolly nice pictures to illustrate three variations, and it’s the last two that concern me.

My pen has the deco arrow clip and is shaped like a Duofold, like a Mk. V… except it’s too fat.  And it has an aluminum button filler, like a Mk. IV… under entirely the wrong shape of blind cap.

It is very like a contemporary Duofold in shape, too.  Here’s one for comparison:

The sections are not quite the same, and check that thin band.

Which is cool, except the Victory Mk. V should look like a thin version of this.  The one comment I’ve had from the collected scholars of a forum suggests a previous version of Duofold, the sort produced from 1948 to 1953, with a Victory imprint.  This is not impossible, especially if one accepts the view that the Victory is a low-income Duofold, but I find it hard to accept that I’ve got the only extant example of such a thing– a Duofold AF marked as a Victory because it’s past its “sell-by” date.

All of which is why I don’t have a page on the site made up for today’s pen.  I don’t know what it is.  It is, though, today’s pen, because I got it working (the point was bent and the sac ossified) and man those Newhaven points are nice.

Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black


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Progress Report AND A Recurrence of Brag-Dad

Posted by Dirck on 28 April, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 25 April
  • 26 April
  • 27 April
  • 28 April
  • Second draft of “A Mistake of Timing.”
  • Second draft finished.
  • Second draft of “Poor old Michael Finnegan.”
  • So very close to finished!  Arg!
  • 1,052 words typed.
  • Total of 4,779 words.
  • 1,044 words.
  • 909 words.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.

While I’m here, let me tell you all about something that I’m very pleased with.

Last weekend, while I was going through a drawer in an annex of my pen storage facility (which is to say, a bedside table), my son asked me how many pens I have.  It has been quite some time since he took any interest in such things, and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t have the answer readily to hand.  If I were a petty fellow, I’d ask him to tell me the count of his wooden locomotives and when he came up blank I could have said, “There.  See?”

Since I’m not petty (too often), I made up a number based on a quick mental visualisation of the primary storage facility (the basement office), and then to avoid follow-up questions, I produced from the very drawer I was investigating a pen in a box.  A blue Pelikano Junior.  I told son that this pen had been bought specifically for him.

A moment of silence.  “Really?”

This was a true thing.  I did not remind him of the Griffix set, the pen of which he… neglected, we shall say, throughout 2013 and 2014.  It would have injured the moment.  I then asked if he wanted it brought out and inked.  This was greeted with some enthusiasm, which continued when that suggestion was put into action:


I dare you to tell me he’s not delirious with glee in this picture.

After some initial doodling with the pen, during which he attended to instruction, the pen was carefully placed in a selected location in his room, where it will be safe but accessible.  He hasn’t used it much since, and only for special purposes, but he looks in its direction frequently.

What I’m really proud of, because rendering my son gooney over a possession is a mixed triumph at best (I don’t practice Buddhism particularly well, but I do read it), is the way he holds the pen.  He has not only reached the age of reason, he has reached the age of sufficient manual dexterity:


That, folks, is a nicely relaxed grip of the correct shape, even if the pen is slightly rotated.  The buttons on my vest are under serious pressure.

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

Spring Tune-up Upcoming

Posted by Dirck on 25 April, 2016

Caution: Goon at Work

Caution: Goon at Work

A small self-promoting note; there will another free pen-tuning clinic at the usual venue, Paper Umbrella, on 14 May from 11 am to 3pm.

Of course, I’m also promoting Paper Umbrella and fountain pen use in general.  It’s not all about me.

Today’s pen which is mine: Waterman Master
Today’s ink that I chose: Waterman Florida Blue (which when a sample is actually on the page, this parenthetical note will vanish; this is my foolish blunder, mine alone!)

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A Note to Extras

Posted by Dirck on 22 April, 2016

Back when this province had a flourishing film industry, I occasionally found myself joining my wife as a background extra.  This is not acting, as such, because one doesn’t need the layers of character and motivation nor the deep well of skill and well-honed craft which makes people like… well, pretty much everyone on Downton Abbey or Sherlock so fascinating to watch.  It does, however, take a little attention to the notion of creating a fictional reality.  For example, the scene is set in July, so you need to ignore the fact that it’s late April and bloody cold as you walk idly through an amusement park in a t-shirt and believe it’s a nice summer day, otherwise too many people who want to watch an actual actor do interesting things will be distracted by the cranky, slightly blue person rubbing his arms as he passes between Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, incongruously freezing to death in the middle of a heat-wave.

Also, as a background extra, even if you in fact walk in front of the big-name actors in the scene, do not look at the camera.  It is a visual challenge to the viewer, and draws them away from the story they came to enjoy.  Here, check this out:

See?  You want to see what life in Paris a century ago was like, but you end up in a staring contest with someone’s ghost.

Today’s pen (as promised): Sheaffer Saratoga
Today’s ink: Quink black


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More Than Usually Complete Progress Report.

Posted by Dirck on 21 April, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 18 April
  • 19 April
  • 20 April
  • 21 April
  • First draft of “A Mistake of Timing.”
  • Second draft of “A Mistake of Timing”.
  • More second draft effort.
  • Yes, still more.
  • Ten manuscript pages, and done.
  • 1,070 words typed.
  • 804 words.
  • 934 words.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.

…and also, let me brag a little.  Last weekend, after a bit of a dry patch, I got an absolute mass of pens repaired, all but one one of them for other people.  These included a PFM, three Snorkels, a Vacumatic with a lock-down filler, and a Balance First Lady, plus some slightly less challenging objects.  The Balance, Vacumatic, and two of the Snorkels were moving between generations in one family, which I find always provides a happy glow the the work.  Since the Balance and one of the Snorkels were more than usually resistant to being taken to bits, a happy glow was a welcome counterbalance to black vexation.

The PFM, which was otherwise in quite good shape, had suffered a refit at some past date under the hands of one who was mislead into thinking rubber cement was an appropriate sealant.  I’ve grumped about this sort of thing before, so I’ll leave that link and its contents to express my refreshed thoughts on such behaviour.

The third Snorkel dealt with was, for a joy, one of my own; yet another donation from a friend mentioned many times before who keeps finding things at garage and estate sales.  It is also not a model I owned until she handed it to me:

That model being a Saratoga

That model being a Saratoga

I have a before picture, but it failed to quite capture the squalor this pen had fallen into.  I suspect it lived in a smoking house, because the yellow-brown patina I mercilessly polished away certainly seemed to be nicotine (I know this because our own house was owned for fifty years by the same smoking person, and the hallway still breaks out in a nicotine sweat every winter).  It cleaned up nice, and I’ll be taking it out for its first run tomorrow, making very very very thin writing in pursuit of the day’s labours.  The Sheaffer catalogue of the day only claimed to go down to extra-fine, but this thing, despite acceptable wetness, is toying with the limits of human perception in the fineness of its line.

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Repurposed Technology

Posted by Dirck on 15 April, 2016

With the appearance of birdies singing in spring, a Found Film of a musical sort seems appropriate.

Well, “of a sort of music” might be more accurate.  I remember the old days, back in university, when I had to flee the room when printing my assignments lest I go deaf.

Today’s pen: Waterman Phileas
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Posted by Dirck on 14 April, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 11 April
  • 12 April
  • 13 April
  • 14 April
  • Third draft of  “The Loss of Deep Waters,” followed by more first draft on “A Mistake of Timing.”
  • Pressing on with “A Mistake of Timing”.
  • Struggling against many interruptions which should not be….
  • The interruption pendulum swings back, hoorah.
  • Six manuscript pages on the latter
  • Eight pages.
  • Five measly pages.
  • Eleven pages.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min., over an actual 50 min. span.
  • 55 min.

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Friction Fit

Posted by Dirck on 8 April, 2016

I would be comfortable betting that most of the people who look in here are fans of craftsmanship in its general meaning.  With that in mind, here’s a little bit of pornography which is entirely safe for work.  Heck, you could share it with your kids and no prude in the world would say “boo” about it.

Isn’t that astonishing?

Today’s pen: Cross Century II
Today’s ink: Quink Black

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Posted by Dirck on 7 April, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • 6 April
  • 7 April
  • First draft of  “Poor Old Michael Finnegan”.
  • Likewise, but with a staggering realization that the point-of-view had been dead wrong.
  • Now with improved POV!
  • First draft of “Finnegan” gives way to first draft of “A Mistake of Timing” (another project with a deadline– 31 July).
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • The same.
  • What, six AGAIN?
  • Four pages, and then three.
  • 35 min.
  • 40 min.
  •  min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.

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Doin’ the Charleston

Posted by Dirck on 4 April, 2016

Just a quick note, by way of proving that I still occasionally do things to make pens feel better:


It’s also a fine proof that I still do not have complete command of my camera and attendant software.

Today’s pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Waterman washable blue


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