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Archive for the ‘General Blather’ Category

Technical Solutions

Posted by Dirck on 17 September, 2021

Hey, my site is working again! You may imagine a look of happiness upon my face.

That look, though, is nothing compared to the delight you’ll see in this video (CW: a well-healed amputation).

As I’ve said previously, while living in the eerie future of the 21st century (yes, in know some of you have lived in no other century) is frequently disappointing when compared to the non-dystopian fictional version presented in the 20th… sometimes it really does live up to expectations.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Pelikan blue-black

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Boys Being Boys

Posted by Dirck on 10 September, 2021

I hesitated over the title, because it’s often used to excuse crappy behavior. In this case, it’s just jolly rough and tumble.

I can’t offer the citation, but I have seen it said of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow that all technical excuses for making a bad movie were no longer available (script, acting and direction remain lamentably available). I think we can point to this as a proof of that notion– these guys did not have big studio budget to throw at their effects, and yet… well, just look at it.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant TD
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Thinky About Inky

Posted by Dirck on 1 September, 2021

Last week I put two Pelikans into the current roster, which is (apart from the week around a Pelikan Hub) contrary to policy. As I said on Friday, I set the rules, so breaking them isn’t a big thing… and I had a reason.

A few years back, Pelikan 4001 blue-black became encaustum non gratum in the US for some extremely silly bureaucratic reasons*, and since Canada is in the same shipping lane as far as ink is concerned, it vanished from stores here as well. This got somewhat up my nose, because Pelikan blue-black was a favourite ink– I liked the somewhat protean colour, I liked the permanence, I liked the lack of cost, I liked the way it played with most paper.

At the time, I thought that I could probably fill the gap by ordering from a source in Europe. About twenty minutes after I’d had that thought, I dropped it– the ink wasn’t expensive, but the shipping was.

A few years later, though– a sale at a UK stationer who ships everywhere, the relatives costs of shipping and ink changing, and the ongoing disintegration of the British Pound from the bumbleshart that Brexit in the hands of an enormous floppy pink Johnson has become got together and convinced me that I could probably have a go at importing a couple of bottles. Given my current hoard of ink, 125ml will last me through as much future as I can foresee.

So, here I am, bootleg illicit ink in hand, happy as a… um.. about that. Buddha teaches us that desire is the seat of all suffering, right? The reality of the desired item never lives up to the imagined glory. Thus, I should not have been surprised to find that my reaction to finally, at long last being able to put Pelikan blue-black into my Pelikan M600 was “That doesn’t seem right…”

It’s too blue! It’s hardly grey at all! Have they amended the formula? Here, have a look at it next to a sample I wrote back in the pre-prohibition days.

More ink samples
The paper is the rather good stock which tax refund cheques are printed on– fool that I am, we’re now on direct deposit.

You’d hardly know they were related, right? Oh, the bitter disappointment!

But because mannenhitsu-do is a contemplative path, I retreat from the initial impression and give it a bit of a think. Thinking about the means by which the ink gains its permanence through a touch of ferro-gallic chemistry… which leads me to wonder if dissatisfaction with new laid next to old is not unlike castigating a seed for not being a tree. Let’s have a look at a preserved sample of the old, when it was fresh.

Picture of some words

Well… perhaps I lament prematurely. I remark in my profile of the ink that it has a different character in just about every pen, and I hadn’t seen it in this one yet, had I? Thus do I transform my dismay into anticipation of future wonder (and if you point out that this is very like misery-breeding desire, I’ll ask you to mind your own business). The old sample is still grey-er but it’s still more blue than the aged sample. I can’t remember what pen I used to write that aged sample, but I imagine it’s a dryer pen than the M600. There’s hope that I can look forward to stuff I’m currently writing getting all vintage-looking.

There’s a bonus possibility in hand as well. It turns out that TWSBI blue-black looks a lot more like its Pelikan counterpart than I had thought. I hasten to point out that they are certainly not the same ink, because the TWSBI is more given to feathering and the Pelikan doesn’t smell all flowery.

Rather less-good quotidien paper from the Regular Job’s photocopier

…which means it might also one day be cool and vintage-appearing. Yay!

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Diamine Honey Burst

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It’s Not Going to Clean Itself

Posted by Dirck on 27 August, 2021

I am a big fan of the sort-of-dull exploratory science fiction films from the very dawn of the space age, like Destination Moon (which is not the same at the Tintin adventure of the same name, but the storylines are remarkably similar). Just about my favourite, though, is Conquest of Space. That one was somewhat based upon the Chesley Bonestell images in a book of the same name written by Willy Ley, a German rocket enthusiast who got out of Germany before the war and thus had less practical experience and fewer potential war crimes.


The plot of Conquest of Space was an mildly utopian and extremely mechanistic description of an expedition to Mars. It’s great. And today’s film pokes some of the same buttons.

I suppose naming the ship Bradbury would be a little too on the nose. I think I might have gone with Burroughs, for a laugh.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR
Today’s ink: TWSBI Royal Purple

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DIY Homebuilding

Posted by Dirck on 20 August, 2021

I don’t have anything clever to say. Just watch this and be amazed!

If you haven’t seen Howl’s Moving Castle, you should address that. It’s weird and fun.

Today’s pen: Pelikan P1
Today’s ink: TWSBI Blue-black

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A Brisk Walk

Posted by Dirck on 13 August, 2021

There’s been a fair amount of noise recently about stacking starships (which sounds like a deeply unwise version of Jenga). While I’m not a specific proponent of SpaceX, not a Musk-ovite at all, I do like the idea of the current future including (semi)realistic plans for space-faring.

This sort of thing, after all, is what I grew up with as “what to expect from the future!”

I can’t decide if it would be a good idea or not to wave this under the noses of those pushing space currently. The existence of the Segway suggests we might be able to work out more intuitive controls… but the “make mistakes and break stuff” mode of at least one of the parties makes me fear for potential test-pilots.

Today’s pen: Eversharp Skyline
Today’s ink: Monteverde Malibu Blue (which I chose because I happened upon something written on a date I was previously using this ink, but it’s nothing like as vibrant– either I was using something else then, I didn’t clean out the Skyline well last time, or I can still be surprised by how much effect the pen can have on the look of the ink)

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The Clothes Make the Ma…AAAAH!

Posted by Dirck on 30 July, 2021

I have recently begun (because I am still a bit of a Luddite and chronically underfunded) the process of moving the vast crowd of films my wife and I own onto an external hard-drive thousands of times more capacious than the brain of Johnny Mnemonic, so that we may watch them on the big TV in the living room without having to walk to shelf to DVD player and back to chair like we’re cavemen. Oh, no, we’re joining the world of… the current decade, more or less, using the home computer to send files to a phone which then transmits them to a doodad plugged into our television. SIMPLE!

This pursuit has given a couple of subsidiary enjoyments. The most frequent is the feeling of virtuous rectitude each time I get to the message from my DVD-to-file software telling me I have to affirm that the file is only for non-commercial home use, because that’s exactly what I’m at.

The other is being reminded of the existence of some of the stuff in our collection. Some, like Fiend Without a Face, are extremely subjective sources of enjoyment. Others are generally held up as classics by people qualified to make that kind of pronouncement.

For example, one is always well repaid for a re-watching of Alien.

Today’s pen: Montblanc 32
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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Bro, Do You Even Art?

Posted by Dirck on 23 July, 2021

This week’s film is neither whimsical nor (specifically) educational. I was somewhat startled by it, given what I had seen from its creator in the past, and I honestly think that watching it improves the soul. Also, as one who occasionally stretches his attempts at craft into the realm of art, I think it’s important to recognize art when it happens.

I parenthesize about education above, because there are lessons to be taken here– something about hidden depths and hidden burdens, both of which we tend to forget exist in pretty much all other humans.

On a side-note: I showed this to my wife last night, and we realized that between the two of us we’re on the same prescriptions as this chap. I don’t think there’s any deep meaning to that…

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Diamine Honey Burst

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Double Pfizered!

Posted by Dirck on 22 June, 2021

No, I am not actually magnetic now. This is a silly trick to make fun of foolish people.



  hours  minutes  seconds


Full Immunity Fully Achieved

…or as close to full as the interaction of technology and human immune responses can manage.

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Family Resemblance

Posted by Dirck on 18 June, 2021

In addition to being four days from my second COVID vaccination, I am thirteen away from my annual summer vacation.

Which is why I’m feeling extremely depleted and non-clever. Here, have a video featuring someone talking about two pens which, despite brand and model, are not at all the same.

Her speculations about the feedback of the older one– any or even all of the above.

Today’s pen: Platinum Curidas
Today’s ink: Platinum blue-black

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