The following film has nothing to do with the elections underway in France. It’s just a little look at history which will likely get up the noses of French people of most political stripes, offered by a guy I find amusing, because I was amused.
None at all, because I got 16 pages done on this Victorian project I really should put a title on.†
†Keeping in mind that this is a short week, Monday having been Family Day in this province. That’s a contraction of “Please don’t destroy yourself or your Family because it’s the worst month of the year; here, have a paid vacation Day.” You can understand why no one uses the whole name.
When I started doing these Friday films, the conceit was a return to grade school c. 1977, when a frazzled teacher would throw something on the projector in part to add to the students’ hoard of knowledge, but also to give her voice a rest and keep the little monsters distracted for a few blessed minutes. Today, although the need for these entries has waned, I’m pleased to be able to close the loop on the conceit; you can almost feel the purr of sprockets through the 16mm celluloid on this one:
Closed loop is not to say closed conceit. Friday Found Films will persist. Also– VOTE
only five manuscript pages, but seventeen for that Victoria-era thing. Progress, I calls it!
I’ll also remind everyone to have a look at the previous entry if for no other reason than to rush to the end of it and give your input on the matter of the Challenger challenge which challenges me. There has been some response there, but not quite what the pollsters would call statistically significant (although the unanimity to date is pretty suggestive).
Well, I promised an old-style entry. Not only lots of gabble about fixing pens, but as you shall see presently there’s also a powerful demonstration of my camera’s unreliability at close-up work. We start all of the above with a Parker 51 that wanted to destroy itself rather than be repaired. The client got it for cheaps, happily, the first 51 to come his way, and thus the rather amazing bend of the point wasn’t instantly obvious as a problem; there was no other damage to the pen, and it worked, so why question one more element of odd configuration in a pen that is, from the tradition fountain pen design standpoint, made of oddities? After playing with it for a while, though, he realized that all was not as it was meant to be, so he handed it along to me.
Bent point, and also very blurry. I’m not sure I can fix that.
The first thing I said when I looked at it was, “That shouldn’t be so haaaaa…. oh, hell, it’s going to be a big hassle to get that hood off!” And so it was. Why? Well, after the first rotation of unscrewing the hood, you’d have the very thin plastic of the widow’s peak riding over the upthrust metal of the point. Like this:
It’s not just an unnecessary upward bend presenting gold to the writing surface, it’s an effective stop-peg!
I foresaw the pointiest bit of the hood snapping off, and then there’d be extra hassle in cosmetic remediation which would still leave the end of the hood looking more like a manicured finger-nail than a vampire’s hairline. The solution was to rotate the shell only half-way, leaving enough clearance for my tiny little pliers to get in and do a rough re-shaping ahead of full disassembly. That did the trick, allowing me to then pull the point right out and get at it with all the necessary tools, and return it to something very like the original form.
Although it’s still blurry. I don’t have the tools to get that dealt with.
I haven’t actually contacted the owner yet, as there was also an unusually splendid Eclipse turned in for a new sac at the same time, and I haven’t had time after the shellac’s setting to put it back together. Oh, on that point– if the lever of a pen isn’t working properly, it might not be just an ossified sac. It might be that some underpaid person in a long-ago factory put the pressure bar in sideways and the lever binds on it during travel. This would go a long way toward explaining why the pen seems to have never been used.
Seriously, I don’t think anyone got past “this thing isn’t going to fill”. As a bonus, it’s not blurry, either!
This weekend I also got a pen of my own back in shape. Today’s pen, in fact, which has been laid up for… cripes, years with a bad case of shattered collar on the point/feed unit. A big hoorah to Custom Pen Parts for running up brand new components for old pens, and a big smack on the back of the head for me for not asking them for the part sooner.
The final triumph of the weekend was getting this poor thing back in shape:
“Never been used” is not something I suspect of this item.
This was sent to me by a… I hesitate to say “client”, because the Pelikan 140 she sent me a while back needed little more than a sharp look and an imperious gesture to return to function, and only slightly more effort was called for with her Parker 51. This was not only more challenging a Challenger than she wanted around the place, it was surplus to requirement, so she passed it on to me– not for my own enjoyment (I too, have a sufficiency of Challenger in my life) but so I could act as a link in a chain seeing it into worthy hands. We’re about to enter the audience participation portion of the programme…
I think this will have slightly better performance now.
My first thought was to find someone who hasn’t had a vintage pen and hand it to them, a kindness in a world in need of such things. But… apart from figuring out how to find a recipient, that damage I sorted out is likely a result of someone who had not previously used a vintage pen overdoing things. I don’t want to deprive someone of a chance at a pen of this sort, but I also don’t want their experience of vintage pens to be “Oh, boy! A vintage pen! *gloink* Awwww….”
Plus, who would wish more injury upon this poor waif?
So, I turn to my long-suffering readers for advice. Do I persist with the original plan, with its potential for disappointment? The other alternative that struck me is to auction it, careful to point out its not-quite-mint condition, with the stated goal of gathering money for a charity. If I get shoved in this direction, I may come back asking which charity to direct the proceeds to; I’ve got some in mind, but I don’t think this thing will draw in enough to make splitting the donation a sensible prospect.
So, everyone who isn’t me reading this: OPINE! I’ve got a poll, but comments are also open for reasoned arguments for or against the options, and to provide alternatives. I’ll give this a couple of weeks, and then with a decision in hand I’ll start the process of acting upon it!
This week, somewhat out of the blue, a friend sent me a couple of videos. They’re… odd. Almost Gahan Wilson cartoons granted movement. I feel well inclined enough to them to share… but in much the same way I spend a couple of weeks wandering the nigh-deserted streets of the windswept city asking passers-by if they had read Sutter Kane.
17 manuscript pages, plus a whopping three pages for a story aimed at that anthology of Victoria-era weird tales I think I mentioned, which closes in mid-April (that’s painfully close).
Some of my scribbling time has been eaten up this week in getting research details in hand for that short story, which I haven’t been quite able to convince myself to not bother with. Fool! Don’t I know how few hours of productive writing I can count on in a week? The novel must be done this year, not next!
While I’m diverting myself from the effort on the novel, I’ll also mention that coming up… sometime this month, I’m going to go old-school with a look at a slightly wicked pen repair and a call for input as to what should be done with a blameless orphan pen that has come into my care. As usual, it’s a lack of pictures that makes these things not happen yet.