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Archive for November, 2017

Posted by Dirck on 30 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2130 words typed

Why such a low week? Well, apart from the efforts called for by events mentioned on Monday, yesterday’s writing session finished with me saying, “Well, that’s it for today.  Time to save!” followed immediately by the failure of power in the entire northern half of the city.  Autosave meant that I only lost about a third of the work… but still.  Boo.

Oh, for those who are putting a bow on their NaNoWriMo efforts today, let me offer this admission of marginal defeat:

Marginal defeat, of course, because I’m not actually running that race, and if I claimed to be you could all shout Cheat! because that’s not talking about the first draft and I started in late August.  I mention it only because it’s (sort of) close to the official participant’s goal.


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Mea Culpa (Non Vere)

Posted by Dirck on 27 November, 2017

I found out over the weekend that my site was cranking spam out into the world.  Are you one of the evident thousands receiving a come-on from my front page, urging the purchase of (probably not real) Ray-Ban sunglasses.  I am heartily sorry that this has happened.

However, I deny all but the slenderest shred of fault for it.  And I’ll explain why.

The fact of the spam first came to my attention when my brother, who got the ball rolling on the whole family name-as-domain thing some ages ago, was told by our ISP that my end of the domain was up to no good, and we’d better cut it out.  When he told me on Friday, my response was in essense, “What? What the…? How? Huh?” because that’s how evident the problem was to me.  From what we could tell from the overly-complex email the ISP sent, the problem lay in a contact form.

So, I jumped into action and updated the contact form plug-in which I had got from WordPress.

And on Sunday, the ISP-brother-me chain was activated with the same message.  He actually talked to a tech at the other end, who told him yes, it’s doing it right now.  My response was the same as Friday’s, with extra vigour and some swearing.  I clambered onto my computer, and found that I was indeed using the latest available version of that plug-in. So, let’s try something else:

"Visit plugin site" link

Not that I was VERY hopeful, but explanation may lie there…

What I found was a big notice, which began thus:

Explaining that plug-in was sold to a villain

Which disjointed my nose somewhat.  It would have been nice if WordPress’s response to me poking the UPDATE button on Friday had been a declaration that I wasn’t going to get a supported item, even if they didn’t tell me “this is now a horrible infection under control of a venomous reptile.”  Having now been told about the venomous reptile, I deleted the contact form entirely.

Which means that right now, no one can contact me through my site.  But, hopefully, no one is being pestered by my site, which balances out my inconvenience.

You can see, I hope, how I decline to accept this as my fault.  Much blame to the unthinking brute who decided to abuse trust in this way.  Some to WordPress for the failure to mention this might be an issue.  I’ll take a tiny share for not paying a little more attention, but apart from not looking into the plug-in site every damn time I update, I don’t feel like I’ve really been unduly negligent.

I also save an enormous slice of the Your Fault cake for that toxic spirit of our age, Capitalism. The reptile mentioned above is clearly inspired by urge to gain profit regardless of who it might inconvenience.  Since my ISP was suggesting a possible solution to the problem was the shutting down of my site, not only would I more than momentarily lose contact with people who might like a repaired, and they with me, but the broader informational aspects of the site would be gone.  I have no illusions about the depth of my scholarship, but it is pretty wide-ranging, and more than a few people seem to enjoy having it around.

So, boo to unfettered filthy greed.  I continue to experience a breed of suffering, as an updating of the whole site leaves it looking rather funny, and I need to put that right.  I also need to find another contact form, and since I’m now afraid of all of them, this might take a while.

Today’s indignant pen: TWSBI Classic
Today’s reticent ink: Diamine Oxford Blue

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Happy Anniversary!

Posted by Dirck on 24 November, 2017

I’m breaking from my usual routine here, because today is very important to me.  And I don’t just mean that it’s a day when I’m profoundly thankful that I am not swept up in the madness south of the border, itself an odd sequel to a day of what is meant to be thankful prayer for the the good in one’s life.  I guess “good in one’s life” is somehow enhanced by a TV with a bent screen and a tatter of someone else’s scalp embedded in one corner.

BUT NONE OF THAT FOR ME!  I am happy to announce an anniversary, because today is the day three years ago that someone very special came into my life.  I’ll coax them in front of the camera for a quick snap…

Bottle of fountain pen ink beside its box with "24 Nov 2014" written inside the top flap

Smile for the camera! No, no one cares that you haven’t had your teeth whitened.

That’s the bottle of ink which is used almost exclusively for filling whatever pen has desk duty at The Regular Job.  Back in 2014, it apparently struck me as worth jotting down the initial opening date of the bottle, probably because I felt I’d gone through the previous at a startling pace but I didn’t have any documentary foundation for that feeling.

No such feeling now, although I suspect part of that is down to the colossal 80 ml nature of the Diamine bottle.   Here we are, three years later, and still going strong!

Actually… no.  We are in fact very close to the end of the bottle.  Next month I’ll be bringing in my Snorkel desk pen to finish the draining of the bottle, because it’s almost down to the point of having insufficient depth to allow even the Parker 51 to draw.  And that’s fine.  Three years of essentially constant use, including the odd dip of another pen (you can, if you’re inclined, try sorting through the last three years’ back entries for mentions of Diamine Midnight; I decline to do so), is pretty good for a single bottle of ink, and I am pleased to have associated with it so long.

But, today is the anniversary, and I discover through looking at the internet that the third anniversary gift should be either leather, crystal or glass.  I have just the thing, then, to mark the occasion– something apropos, made of glass:

Look! Diamine has slightly changed the packaging!

Today’s pen: Pelikan Signum
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 23 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2992 words typed


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Alarmed Vision of the Future

Posted by Dirck on 17 November, 2017

This is probably because I’m on a Nigel Kneale kick.  And because of the star.

Nothing to do with current events.

Today’s plusgood pen: OMAS Arte Italiana
Today’s doubleplusgood ink: Diamine Bilberry

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Posted by Dirck on 16 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2125 words typed (long weekend)

Also, here’s a thing that happened this week:

Which is encouraging in two contradictory ways.  The first is obvious enough– oh boy, halfway done!

But… am I, really?  Remember, the gauge is based on an estimate of the word count based on a comparison of previous projects’ first draft page counts to final word counts.  “Estimate” can be accurate, or not.  So, let me run something by you.  When I finished the most recent bout of typing, I closed my manuscript and held a ruler up to it.  When gently compressed, it is a stack of paper roughly 3 cm tall.  The sticky-note which indicates where I left off is about 1 cm from the top.

…so I may be more in the order of 33% finished.  Which is great in terms of what the final word count may be; possibly as much as 100,000, a much more genre-appropriate weight (in as much as this thing fits a genre– closest to horror, although… have I mentioned this?… there is a tendril extending into the camp of detective fiction).  Wonderful!  Fantastic!

Those who know my capacity for dashing cold water on my own head will already have noticed the other hand presented by this second encouragement, though– I have been speaking of an estimated finishing date sometime in the first half of February.


It begins to look as if I’m in for a longer haul….

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Looking Back at a Preview

Posted by Dirck on 10 November, 2017

Today’s film is about tomorrow’s Remembrance, although it was filmed last week.

Also, while we’re on the topic, this is something I failed to note on 8 November:

If you do as I do, you will think some sober thoughts tomorrow. More than most days.

Today’s pen: Parker Duofold
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Nuit

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Posted by Dirck on 9 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,297 words typed

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Fountain Pen Day, Hooray!

Posted by Dirck on 3 November, 2017

It is indeed that day again.  Like the reformed Scrooge, I try to keep Christmas in my heart the whole year through, but my personal deformities mean that Fountain Pen Day is the one that’s there every other day of the calendar, while being charitably inclined toward all my fellow humans remains rather more of an aspiration than an achievement.

But since it is Fountain Pen Day, let us focus upon the noble pens!  Here’s what I sent out to the wider world via Instagram earlier:

…which became this year’s OFFICIAL PEN OF THE OFFICIAL DAY because it was a runner-up last year and because it’s very pretty.  I want to share the delight, not cause jealousy.

And now, for the Friday Films– living vicariously through others’ visits to pen shows!



Today’s joyous pen: OMAS Arte Italiana
Today’s festive ink: Diamine Bilberry

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Posted by Dirck on 2 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,021 words typed

I notice a couple of things.  Yesterday was the start of NaNoWriMo, and tomorrow is the anniversary of my first word on paper for this novel.  There’s a connection, of course, because I arbitrarily set the start of the latter to co-incide with the former, and then buggered up my own timing slightly.  I continue to be pleased that I said NawNoHeyNo to the prospect of trying to finish in a month, because that expectation would have me feeling like a colossal failure by now.

The other thing I notice is that my word count for the week is low, thanks to the Hallowe’en thing I did over on my other front.  Not colossal failure, but it’s not helping the cause; I believe I’ll be doing some extra work tonight and tomorrow to advance things.  All the same, very nearly half-done the current draft, so the nebulous early- to mid-February finish line remains in place.

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