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Archive for the ‘General Blather’ Category

A Brief Response to Current Events

Posted by Dirck on 14 August, 2017

This popped up a lot over the weekend.  It’s a little dated, and a little stilted perhaps, but it’s still worth a look, especially if you find yourself uncertain in your thinking on events in Charlottesville .

I try to not use language here, but I’m stealing a policy statement from another, much better known, blogger:

Fuck this fucking Nazi bullshit.

And to expand a little, because I like to think of myself as a tolerant guy, I’ll point you to an article which I agree with on the subject of tolerance.  Some behaviours which are inherently intolerable.

Today’s angry pen: A Waterman not quite old enough to remember the last world war
Today’s ink with a name which slightly distresses in the current context: Herbin Vert Empire

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Non-pharmaceutical Psychotropics

Posted by Dirck on 11 August, 2017

I have a friend who starts a lot of conversations with “you know what’s weird?” We have come into gentle dispute on this topic, as I don’t find the failure of a cat to sleep through the night or the way sales tax applies to clothes really qualifies as weird.  I usually offer a counter example, like magnetic putty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, or the US healthcare “system,” all of  which prompt her to suggest that the use of the word has shifted among Millennials (of which she is not one).

Be that as it may– this week’s film is weird.

Of course, this would be more amusing if world events had not taken their current turn, but let’s enjoy the mild dissociative state old cartoons induce, eh?

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

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Basic Maintenance

Posted by Dirck on 7 August, 2017

I came to discover recently that I have been letting my site slide into squalor.  Of course, with a vast media empire such as mine, it’s not surprising that some elements suffer occasional neglect from the not only the owner, but even the managers and frontline staff.

…all of whom is me.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone seeking a thoroughly incomplete but slightly helpful set of data which resides on my page for Swan pens.  Or rather, it should reside there.  The sender of the note had been disappointed to find instead a sullen note from Dropbox that they’d stopped letting all and sundry wander into the castle, tracking up the carpets and pointing in an ill-bred manner.

Oh, dear.

I thanked this confidential informant and set to work on fixing the problem.  Once I had it sorted on that page, it struck me that I was using Dropbox for several useful little tidbits, mainly scans of instruction booklets from ages past that I wanted to share with the world.  The problem had become a hydra.  Then, as I landed on another page that needed attention, I found a deeply unlovely image where there should have been a picture:

Do NOT go to that URL

On the older incarnation of my site, I had trouble uploading images, so I relied on… the service named above.  At the time, that service was fairly benign.  When I committed the overhaul of the site, the uploading of images was not longer a challenge and I had taken fresh pictures in which one could make out little details like “Which end is the front?”  What I forgot was that there were several images over on that service which I deemed at the time sufficiently adequate in illustrating a point to bring over.  Thus, as word that this service I decline to name (to keep from helping their search engine score) had ceased to be benign and was in fact a heaving mass of pop-up ads and annoyance filtered into my consciousness, it never occurred to me that I should react.  It is also likely that the lazy element in my subconscious glanced at the news, decided it would be too much work to do anything about, and concealed it from the more active parts of my make-up.

“As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is not quite apt here; the usual crop of laziness is loads of extra work, and I don’t see the equivalence.  In any event, when I realized what a dog’s breakfast some of my pages had become, I grasped the nettle and did what I could to put it right.  If you flip through the site, or indeed the back issues of this little enterprise, you will find no other reproductions of that nasty extortionist of an image, and so far as I can discover no disappointing billets doux from Dropbox.

However… I know that the real solution is to host my own images, and this I have not done.  My brother and I both have lamentably image-intensive sites, and neither of them brings in vast heaps of money (his more than mine), so I’m loath to suggest that we pay for more storage, and even more loath to suggest that I take over more of what’s there.  Thus, I’ve made a problem for another day by stuffing all these things on what are currently benign third party storage.

I just hope Google and WordPress don’t get all grabby about their monetization, the way… that other service… did.

Today’s pen: Hero 100
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Lights Out, Everyone

Posted by Dirck on 4 August, 2017

That is the catch-phrase for an old radio programme, called Lights Out, which presented listeners with creepy stuff.  What stands in for this week’s film is not an episode of that; it is, however, a reading which I think you would do well to listen to in a dark room with no other distractions.

Isn’t that a corker?

Todays pen: Waterman Whatsit #0265 (no, that’s not really its name)
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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A Dark Secret, Revealed

Posted by Dirck on 28 July, 2017

This week’s film comes with an insight into my hidden corners.  I suspect some will be shocked.

I sort of like hurdy gurdy music.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when there’s a handsome young woman playing it.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

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And Now For Something Only Slightly Different…

Posted by Dirck on 21 July, 2017

I’m not posting a film here this week because, after a couple of weeks of utter silence, I want to put the final nail in the edifice of boredom I’ve been erecting here.  Yes, it’s pictures of the vacation.  Those who are still coming here for the pens will want to stick around for a little bit of flesh-creeping horror, too.

This year’s vacation was an unusual extravaganza, funded by a long-service award handed out by Regular Job (I complain, but I know I could be in a much worse place).  The same sort of thing ran to a trip to Disney World the last time I got one, but politics and inflation took that destination off the menu.  What we did, then, was travel to exotic… Edmonton, Alberta.

OK, it’s not much more than my own home town writ large, but it has a couple of things which rendered it attractive.  There are the Alberta Railway Museum and Edmonton Radial Railway Society to pander to my son’s love of such things, which persists undiminished, and in the same vein there is Fort Edmonton Park, in which previous centuries’ modes of transit run all day long and you can ride them for free after entering the park. Another feature of the park is a hotel which costs no more than any other decent hotel in the city, and booking a room includes park admission.  Thus, we essentially spent our vacation in a very comfortable bit of 1922 (with free wifi, even if there isn’t a TV in the room).

My wife and I got, perhaps, less out of it than the lad.  What we got, though, was freedom from housework, the spectacle of a very happy son, and a trip to Stylus (where a Pilot Elite 95S was almost able to convince me that the profligate spending of a vacation could be expanded to encompass its cost; alas, reason prevailed); so, relaxation, happiness and a couple of bottles of ink.  That’s pretty good, really.

Here’s a quick tour of the trip, with a hair-raising conclusion:

The start of the trip, in which I attempt to bring a degree of civilization to the modern air-travel experience. It worked pretty well, too.

 

A brief spatiotemporal anomaly saw us taking in the sights of Melbourne in 1958. This only lasted about a half-hour (subjectively).

Our hotel. Since I wasn’t paying, so we got the extravagant top corner suite.

 

He For Whom All Was Done, surveying the view out the window, because…

 

…the view out it regularly included a trolley.

 

There’s part of the reason for the trip.

 

And here’s the PRIMARY reason for the trip. Son also enjoyed the Ferris wheel, and was less disappointed by the ride operator’s refusal to let him toot the whistle.

 

This sort of reaction was gratifyingly frequent. Son loves his rail-borne transportation systems.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not an advert one would have seen in a trolley in 1922.

 

Son contemplating the departed spirits of those who travelled across our vast nation in a sleeper Pullman, at the Railway Museum.

 

A little way down the street from our hotel was the Capitol theatre. The building was shared by a jeweler’s, who bafflingly carried no pens whatsoever.

 

Not shown within; the shop-girls who cannot possibly be paid enough to dish out ice cream to hordes of tourists in a building which was, the day we visited, the same temperature as a healthy human liver.

 

Next to the confectionery… say, I got my first fountain pen in a drug store. Let’s have a look in there!

 

AH-HAH! There’s stationery in the drug store!

 

A close-up of the packaging, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

 

There you go, pen-lovers. Your quiver of dismay.

Dismay? Well, apart from the missing lever in one of those pens and the amazing degree of tarnish on the pencil at the right, they’re all just sitting there in the light of day, slowly discolouring and not getting used for their true purpose. Sic transit gloria mundi, alas!

To end on a high note, I think I should plug Fort Edmonton again.  It’s delightful, one of the better living history parks I’ve been in; my wife said of the people who populate it in period outfits, “It’s like Disney World niceness, with a frosting of Canadian polite.”  I can hardly improve on that.

Todays pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage, but a little newer than that seen above)

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Pro Amor Patriae

Posted by Dirck on 30 June, 2017

Oh, I’ll bet I’ve spelled that wrong; I’ll be writing ROMANI ITE DOMUM all over the forum for the rest of the day, now.

In any event, tomorrow is the sesquicentennial of Canada as an independent country (as recognized by European nations).  We do this on the first of the July not to sneak in before the US’s national celebration, but because having a summer celebration is much better than one in winter, and because it one is free to choose, why not the first of the month?  It makes for a tidy calendar.

Today’s films, therefore, are little bits of national history programming which we occasionally get to enjoy rather than adverts on TV.  There’s plenty of them, and I’ve chosen ones that I think give a pretty good sense of the sort of interior mixture of pride and regret that a lot of Canadians are steeping in currently.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Chelpark Black
(Not Canadian?  Oh, dear, me– we’re a mosaic of many cultures here.  They’re in Canada, so they’re as Canadian as I am)

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Meditation Time

Posted by Dirck on 23 June, 2017

Here’s a chap messing around with a pen.  I occasionally do stuff like this… in one corner of a page, for about two minutes.  I don’t devote quite the level of resources to it that he does, either; nice paper, boutique ink.  Very inexpensive pen, though, which is worth pondering.

The trick will be to not see any of that stuff when you close your eyes to go to sleep tonight.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Mini
Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

 

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Blast… er… Subtle Menaces From The Past!

Posted by Dirck on 16 June, 2017

If you’re like me, you shouldn’t be out wandering around without a minder appreciate a carefully constructed fictional reality.  There are few more careful craftsmen of such things than the HPLHS, and this little gem is one of theirs:

If that didn’t make enough sense, or is only ringing a small and distant bell, here’s the inspiration.

Today’s pen: The Nameless One (based on past entries, it moves me toward films like that)
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black

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Electro-Quick Car-o-matic!

Posted by Dirck on 9 June, 2017

A possible side-light to my (apparently) retrograde political notions is an interest in non-combustion vehicles.  Had I but the money for a PV roof, a Power Wall™, and an electric car, I’d be revelling in the quiet joy of driving about town on the back of harnessed lightning.

But I wouldn’t expect to go quite this fast:

Today’s pen: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

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