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Archive for May, 2018

Posted by Dirck on 31 May, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 28 May
  • 29 May
  • 30 May
  • 31 May
  • First draft of “Until Regrets Take the Place of Dreams”
  • 23 manuscript pages.

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Get Over It!

Posted by Dirck on 25 May, 2018

The Atlantic ocean, that is.  I found myself watching this earlier in the week, and for once Youtube algorithms were not completely out to lunch, because I found it jolly interesting.  I hope you will too (even though he does a little bit of advertising in the middle for his sponsor).

None for me, thanks.  I’ll take my trans-Atlantic flying pressurized.

Today’s pen: Pelikan P1
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 24 May, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 21 May
  • 22 May
  • 23 May
  • 24 May
  • Terrified obeisance to the spectre of Queen Victoria
  • First draft of “No Easy Way Out”
  • Third draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men”
  • Dig Two Graves
  • Second draft of “No Easy Way Out”
  • Lawn mowed (she’s not that bad, really)
  • 2 manuscript pages.
  • That which was needed
  • 1100 words banged out and posted
  • 1983 words typed, and done.

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Down with Gatekeeping

Posted by Dirck on 18 May, 2018

A little change for this week’s film– something academic! A rather good speech, this, on the confluence of reading and writing, and why mocking someone for not having read a given thing is a terrible thing to do:

While listening, I cast my mind back to my own Why I Read moment, and I can’t really discover the lightbulb moment.  The house was always crammed with books, including once got for the infant me, and there was little other entertainment available at the time (you think daytime TV is rough now? Oh, no). If pressed, I might point to an installment in the Hardy Boys series given to me by my grandmother on a sick day; I remember being faintly pleased with having got through it in an afternoon.

Was that grade 1? I believe so.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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Posted by Dirck on 17 May, 2018

Before we get to the week’s numbers, I want to mention to for those who are relatively close to me geographically that I will be conducting another of my pen-tuning clinics at Paper Umbrella on Saturday.  Precise details of when and where are in the link.

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 14 May
  • 15 May
  • 16 May
  • 17 May
  • Third draft of “The Monster in the Cabin”
  • First draft of “No Easy Way Out”
  • A genteel sufficiency.
  • 19 manuscript pages.

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Time for Another Story

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2018

…but not one of mine.  I happened upon a person with a very mellow voice reading one of the stories that H.P. Lovecraft wrote that isn’t tainted by racism, and I thought that would be a nice way to observe a Friday.

Note that I never said it was without problems, although it seems to me that the class and formal-education snobbery Lovecraft also dabbled in isn’t too chunky here; there’s even a bit of “experts don’t know as much as they think,” a very modern sentiment.

Today’s pen of eerily unplaceable hue: Parker Vacumatic (the shadow-wave (eek!) which as of posting time isn’t yet visible on the site)
Today’s ink, mysterious of composition: Waterman Blue, vintage

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Posted by Dirck on 10 May, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 7 May
  • 8 May
  • 9 May
  • 10 May
  • Second draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men”
  • The entirety of “Seeds of Empire
  • 3,047 typed words.
  • 1,472 typed words.

That’s a pretty productive week in the fiction department. I also got a somewhat gummed up Parker “51” Vacumatic done and on the way home, and a SERIOUSLY gummed up Speedline filler working in a Vac Debutante which the friend who so often gives me pens handed me about a month ago.

What I didn’t do was get a picture of it or the Esterbrook “Transitional J” she also gave me.  Dang.

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The Original Release Date was the 25th

Posted by Dirck on 4 May, 2018

But apparently that doesn’t stop people from making today into a Star Wars event.  So why should I resist despite my strong grip on history?

Good fun.

Today’s pen: Pelikan P1 (has never even attempted the Kessel run)
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire (Strikes Back)

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Another Delivery Story

Posted by Dirck on 3 May, 2018

But first, the usual business of a Thursday:

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 30 April
  • 1 May
  • 2 May
  • 3 May
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Second draft of same.
  • 3 manuscripts pages.
  • 2,386 typed words.

Now, let’s see what I got in the mail two days after The Wettest Pelikan:

Does that say “Lamy” under all that tape?

Say, that is exciting!  After eventually figuring out where the flap of the box was through the very thorough layers of tape, I slowly got to the core, the meaty filling.

Why… it is a Lamy!  The box didn’t lie!  Aside: this sort of pen tube might have made a difference to that Pelikan’s packaging.

Yes, indeed, a not-at-all-shiny new Lamy 2000!  Oh, boy!

“Um… don’t you already have one on those?”

Yes. I do.  Or rather, I did.  A very strange fate overtook that pen.  The threads which extend off the front of the barrel to hold the section (picture here, if you need it) broke.  A crack had opened up, following the cut of the threads, which allowed seepage out of the holes the cap-holding ears.  I didn’t realize this was the cause of the problem until I had opened the pen several times to stare at the washer in a state of confusion and then tighten the section back in place… which finally snapped the terminal third of the threads right off.

I claim to repair fountain pens.  But I also, frequently, claim to understand my own limitations.  Seamlessly reuniting broken pieces of machined Makrolon™ is outside my skill-set.  So I sent the pen off to Lamy (which I was able to through their local retailers, since I’m lucky enough to have one of those in my city).  After a rather long wait, I got the expected message back from Lamy’s Canadian distributors:

  • This is not fixable;
  • This is not under warranty.

I had a look in my records last night.  I got my original 2000 in 2011 and thus it is certainly out of warranty, so I have no problem with that… although I do find myself wondering about the genesis of the original crack.  The 2000 has a reputation for durability.  The location of the break is such that I’d think it would only develop if I left the section slightly undone and then really leaned on it sideways.  All academic, though.

Also in the message from Lamy was an offer to get a replacement at… I want to say probably less than wholesale cost, although I don’t know that.  Cheap, in any event. Not trivially cheap, alas, so I had to ponder it a couple of days.  A cheap Lamy 2000 is still not a purchase I have the resources to make with an untroubled spirit.

In the end, the fact that the original was bought as a somewhat self-directed anniversary gift shoved me into buying the replacement.  I am sadly given to romantic foolishness.  Also, I sold a story, remember, and there was some residue left from that to cushion the expense.  Payment was sent to them and pen was sent to me.  Then, it was only a matter of cleaning it so I can put it into rotation in time for the upcoming anniversary, seven years later.

“Wait… clean it?”

Ah, yes.  As I mentioned in the terrible tale of Tuesday, there’s always some in ink ’em.

About half full, in fact. It’s kindly intended, I’m sure, but… well, there’s a lot of crannies inside this thing’s cap.  Aside: Like our new tea towel?  The camera sure does!

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Horror Stories, Fun and Otherwise

Posted by Dirck on 1 May, 2018

I start with fun, although I promise the “otherwise” isn’t too terrible. The fun horror is something I announced already on my fiction front, but I should shout it here as well– Pseudopod, the eminent horror podcast, has published my story Free Balloons for All Good Children, both as a text and in audio form.  I’m delighted with the results, and I want to share as widely as possible.

Now, for those who have either resisted the urge to scramble over to Pseudopod for the good stuff, or are now returning from that enjoyment, let me tell you a story of true domestic horror. On the strength of being paid for a story (see previous), I treated myself to a glance at eBay.

This is not the horror.  But you’re right to be shocked.

The outcome of this fall into weakness was the purchase of a Pelikan P1 with a rolled gold cap and the Continental Tires logo stamped on the barrel.  I’m not a particular fan of that company, but for a that pen at a price I can afford, I am willing to be indifferent to the presence of its mark.  The transaction concluded with a tracking number being sent me that had little use other than to prove that it had been handed to Deutschepost and should eventually arrive.  No later, it was suggested, than the 26th of April.

It did not.

It arrived yesterday:

The box, as found on my doorstep (with redactions because of Internet).

You are probably saying to yourself right now, “Gosh, that box seems a little irregular in its outline.”  You would be correct.  I took this picture before opening, because I thought I might need to talk to Canada Post about compensation.  Not the seller, I hasten to mention; that good soul did as much as a reasonable person might to prepare the pen for the trip.  They even spelled my name right, which is almost unheard of.  I am an unreasonable person when it comes to pens, and I might have done a little more, although I’m not sure how effective even my own packing habits would have been in the face of whatever happened to this poor parcel. Because I think it would be fair to say, perhaps even accurate to say, that it had been through the wringer.

I don’t think this is what they mean by “ordering some flat-pak”.

My heart sank a little, looking at this.  As I carefully cut through the tape and began excavating the contents of what had once been a box, I discovered that the deeper I got, the damper things were.  Moist, even.  On the way home to find this object, I heard on the news that there were floods underway in the eastern part of the country, and that lies between me and Germany. Perhaps I should consider myself lucky that this small item was not swept away from human sight by mighty nature.

In fact, I do, because in the clammy embrace of an appropriate quantity of newspaper, I found this.

Damp, but then pelicans are waterfowl, aren’t they? All that wet is on the outside of the bag, seeping out of the newspaper meant as padding.

There you go. Not all the horror stories I produce lack a happy ending. The pen is now dried off, cleaned out (because there’s always some ink left in ’em), added to my page for the model, and in standby to enter the rotation. Sometimes luck does indeed smile in my direction.

Happy May Day, everyone.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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