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Archive for July, 2016

Ventriloquism!

Posted by Dirck on 29 July, 2016

That’s what it’s called when a dummy speaks, right?

I thought, in lieu of the usual Friday Film Feature, I’d recount a tale by way of making up some of the entertainment-of-visitors deficit I’ve run up on this blog.  A tale of a lost pen.

A humorous tale of a lost pen, I should say; let the smelling salts stand where they are.

I had intended to use today’s pen on Tuesday, but it was not where I expected to find it.  This was slightly distressing, because one of the few habits I have that is reliable is returning a pen to the in-battery facility; a small correspondence box with a drawer for a half-dozen pens in its base, which itself rests in a profoundly rustic Welsh dresser which came to me through my parents’ protracted move.  Since this pen doesn’t sit comfortably in the drawer, it gets to sit on top of the inks which take up the space one is meant to stick letters in the box.

I didn’t even have to open the glass doors on the top of the dresser to establish that the pen wasn’t where it should have been.  But of course, one does, and roots around.  Did it get in behind? No.  Down the side?  Nope.  And that was it for the easy possibilities.  We then start the unhappy game of I put it down somewhere foolish.

Our house is… cluttered.  My son builds railways on all horizontal surfaces.  We haven’t yet finished the integration of crap from the parents’ house with our pre-existing crap.  We have to use plastic containers full of Lego, roughly shoe-box size, to keep the insane diabetic cat off items of furniture we don’t want her to mistake for a litter box (if we’re not sitting on it, then it’s a litter box).  Setting down a pen without attending to where one sets it, even a relatively large pen, makes for problems.

So, when not attending The Regular Job and not otherwise engaged in cooking, washing, or cleaning up after the flippin’ cat, I was peering under things and into corners, all to no avail.  I was becoming resigned to the idea that the pen would not be found until the slow campaign of making the house a place for living in (insane diabetic cats already with 14 birthdays on the clock can’t last forever…) removed whatever it was hidden by.  This wasn’t a devastating blow by any means, as (i) I’ve got plenty of other pens to fall back on and (ii) this one cost less than burger at McKing&W.  I wasn’t happy, as I’d hardly had any use out of the thing since its recent arrival, but I could cope.

Coping only had to struggle on until this morning, as it turned out.  It turns out that it was in the pocket of a shirt worn on Sunday.  Not much worn* either, which is why it got hung up rather that chucked in the laundry… unlike the shirt from Saturday, which I had roused out of the hamper and given a pat down, because my search was wide-ranging if unscientific.  Hooray!

Some minutes of pointless self-castigation then followed.

There was something to learn from this incident.  Not that I have all too human failings in the areas of retention and looking after my stuff– that has, alas, been well-known for a long time.  It is the simple and happy discovery that the cap seap on this pen is very good indeed; almost a week standing point-up, but not a moment of hesitation when I opened it up to start writing this morning.  Not bad for a pen that costs the same as a ride on a city bus.

Today’s inexpensive, elusive pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

*”Not much worn” meaning duration of contact with me since last washing.  It is, in all honesty, profoundly worn and is a “Weekend when I don’t expect to interact with others” item of clothing.

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Posted by Dirck on 28 July, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 25 July
  • 26 July
  • 27 July
  • 28 July
  • Second draft of the “Swimmer’s Build.”
  • Second draft concludes, just shy of blotting out the sun with its dimensions.
  • Second draft of “Final Girl.”
  • …which is much shorter.
  • 610 words typed, and the end is at last in sight!
  • 715 words, for a total of 9,983 (sorry, feedback readers!).
  • 881 words.
  • 907 words (at least 60% done).
  • 50 min.
  • 60 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.

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Watch The Skies! …well, maybe not that high…

Posted by Dirck on 22 July, 2016

I’ve commented previously, although I can’t be bothered to find it, about some of the strange failures of the future to materialize we experience.  Things like moon-bases never happening, or the fact that hypersonic air travel seems to have peaked in the 1960s.  I guess part of the answer lies in the reach of imagination exceeding the grasp of ability, and today’s found film is status report on the poster-child for that phenomenon.

Now, I’m no aeronautical engineer, but it seems to me that if the flying wing’s inherent un-fly-ability has been handled by cramming it full of computers concerned with adjusting the inputs for the pilot, and if quad-copter drones are a modern toy, surely someone can throw enough technology at this thing to make it happen.  Why? Because it’s cool.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 1500 Lifetime
Today’s ink: Skrip black

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Posted by Dirck on 21 July, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 18 July
  • 19 July
  • 20 July
  • 21 July
  • Second draft of the “Swimmer’s Build”.
  • The same, and yes, it is a long one.
  • More of the same.
  • STILL more, although the climax is, at last, upon us.
  • 835 words typed.
  • 888 words (which I think is good news in some numerologies).
  • 821 words.
  • 827 words.
  • 55 min.
  • 60 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 60 min.

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Would You? Could You?

Posted by Dirck on 20 July, 2016

Not too long ago, I was working on a Montblanc 149, the burly gargantua of that company’s expensive output.  It actually hung around my place for about a month, because paradoxically it took longer to arrange an in-person handing-over to a local client than it would have to pop it in the mail.  I’ll digress for a quick explanation– it was her grandfather’s (an early ’60s version, if I’m understanding the signs correctly) and she was on a fence about whether it was worth the cost of getting it running again, because sending it off the the company’s quite able repair service costs rather a lot.  Getting me to free a stuck piston?  Less so, although since I lack the tool to dismount the point, the piston could still do with lubrication.

In any event, I was able to do a little semi-illicit writing with what is for many a Grail Pen, the summum bonum of pen collection aspiration.  I learned two things from the experience.  First: I have no problem whatever writing with an oblique stub.  The slight angle of the tipping hardly called for any amendment of my usual approach to a piece of paper.  Good to know.

Second, and even more important: had I the resources to lay my hands on a Montblanc 149, I would devote them elsewhere.  This is not (just) because I incline to agreement with the position that the pen is unjustified in its expense– indeed, “if I had…” dismisses that head entirely, since it implies all other material needs and wants are dealt with.  It is a nice pen, pleasing to look upon, impressive of dimension… and that’s where it falls down for me.

It’s too damn big.

The raw diameter of the section is such that I never felt comfortable in my grip.  Perhaps, over months of devoted practice, I would lose that sensation of not having closed my fingers sufficiently around it; it is said, after all, that a wider item is easier on the joints than a slender.  However, I’ve got plenty of moderately-sized pen at my command right now.  Those months of dedicated practice would be to gain an end I already have plenty of means to realize– physical enjoyment of the task of writing.  I’m already there, so why make the journey?

In light of this realization, I open the door of speculation.  If not the Montblanc, what of other modern Brobdingnagian pens?  Interestingly, my dear OMAS Arte Italiana is almost as wide, but apparently the tiny fraction of difference is sufficient that I don’t get the same almost-cramp from using it.  It is thus not impossible for me, having unearthed a hoard of pirate dubloons (very sneaky pirates of the 17th century would travel 2,500 km inland to hide their chests), to go out and buy huge pens meant to impress.  But… as much as I like my Pelikan M600, I don’t know that I’d bother taking two giant steps up the Souverän ladder to the M1000.  Pockets are only so big.

One final item to ponder before I wrap up for today.  Almost the moment I had formed my opinion about the Montblanc, I when and bought a Jinhao 159.  Eventually a quiet moment will beckon, and I’ll have time to add this pen and its maker to my site, but for the moment let me sum up what would appear on a model profile for the 159: it’s a loving reproduction of the Montblanc 149, but for a different clip and a missing ink window… oh, and it’s a lot heavier.  I apparently haven’t got my powers of insight turned up quite far enough to sort out why I would do this to myself.  Even if the Jinhao cost a grand total of $3.00, shipping included, and is thus well within my means… well, see above and it’s heavier, which is never an inducement to me.

Until something better appears, I’ll cling to the ring-buoy explanation of satisfying curiosity regarding build quality.  For $3.00, it’s a pretty good pen….

Today’s not at all widebodied pen: Parker 180
Today’s ink: Lamy Black (gotta get through those cartridges!)

 

 

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Woof. Grr.

Posted by Dirck on 15 July, 2016

Another hard week for humanity.  This and, it seems, a cycle of my interior chemistry put me very close to the intersection of Unwilling and Unable as far as sticking up a whimsical film this week.

So we’ll have a PSA instead.

Come on, world.  It’s the future.  Lay off the old feuds and follies.  Give the Roddenberry continuum a try, why doncha?

Today’s pen (complete with memento morii engraving): Sheaffer 1500 Lifetime
Today’s dark ink: Skrip black

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Posted by Dirck on 14 July, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 11 July
  • 12 July
  • 13 July
  • 14 July
  • Second draft of the “Swimmer’s Build”.
  • The same.
  • …with opposition, alas.
  • Less opposition, but a real “blood on the forehead” session.  First and second drafts diverge.
  • 769 words typed.
  • 984 words.
  • 589 words.
  • 390 words.
  • 55 min.
  • 60 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.

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Better Than Drugs

Posted by Dirck on 8 July, 2016

If you’re reading this soon after posting, you’re certainly aware of the current level of misery in the world.  For the sake of posterity, I’ll mention only that North America is experiencing what I profoundly hope is a statistical anomaly of a spike in the quotidian awfulness that surrounds race relations here, to remind us that we’re members of a species which is not having a great year (generally through its own actions).

So today’s found film is meant merely to provide a tiny lacuna, a moment and a place where it’s possible to look away from all that wretched slaughter and militant ignorance, and remember that some strive for beauty.

…however much artistry or skill they might have to bring to bear.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Diamine Midnight

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Posted by Dirck on 7 July, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 4 July
  • 5 July
  • 6 July
  • 7 July
  • Second draft of the “Swimmer’s Build”.
  • More “Swimmer’s Build,” which goes slowly because I was too timid with the first draft.
  • Second drafting persists.
  • Radical change of perspective!  And gosh, it was the way to go.
  • 532 words typed.
  • 645 words (see?).
  • 640 words.
  • With chops and changes, it’s about 800 new words.
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 30 min.
  • 60 min.

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How’d It Go?

Posted by Dirck on 4 July, 2016

Pretty well, for a vacation only from work.  Let’s get that checklist from the last entry:

  1. Throwing out stuff I should have thrown out when clearing out the parents’ house instead of letting Nostalgia shove me around;
  2. Throwing out stuff so my son won’t have to do item (1) in 35 years;
  3. Committing small acts of home repair as a proof of good intention to the house;
  4. Small acts of sympathetic magic in hopes of convincing wealth to shower upon my household (already begun, as you may note from the roster of “Rich Man’s Pens” that are showing up in my rotation);
  5. Getting my son as much locomotive time as possible in celebration of his birthday– there’s a steam engine and an archaic diesel within reach;
  6. Submitting more stories to more markets;
  7. Please, please, please some writing, because the boy’s at school still for almost the whole period that I’m not and I should have time even with the previous chores standing in my way.

On items (1) and (2), about a bag from each column.  This was balanced out by the importation of yet more track and rolling stock for my son’s toy train empire (his birthday, after all), which I should not complain about.  He also got books about actual locomotives, which pleased him at least as much as the toys, and that makes for a happy pappy.

(3) was… well, nothing new broke.  Status quo is a win in that department.  Item (4) has a similar result, and since I’m aware that there is indeed plenty of “how much worse can it be?” in the realm of household economy, I’ll not complain aloud.

That steam engine referred to in (5) is apparently laid up for the season, but…

OgLoco OgStation

…there was some fun had, even if things were a little overcast.

I will admit failure on point (6), mainly through distraction on the other points AND some repairs done for local clients, but as far as (7) goes I will offer the threatened large and oddly formatted progress report:

Writing Attempted Amount Written Pens Used (no particular order, and not just on the writing) Inks Used (likewise)
  • First Draft of “Swimmer’s Build”
  • First Draft of “Final Girl”
  • Second Draft of Choose Your Own Hideous Fate project
  • 12 pages and done.
  • 22 pages, also done.
  • about 3,000 words

That’s actually less time spent on writing than I hoped, but an encouraging outlook as far as being able to get anything like that done at all when I’m (sort of) in command of my own schedule.  Hooray!

Speaking of writing things– there’s some pens there without links, aren’t there?  I’d best get down to business on that….

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