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Archive for the ‘General Blather’ Category

Profligate

Posted by Dirck on 6 December, 2019

I’m going to share a couple of things I’ve watched this week, rather than hoard one away for future use. Such extravagance!

First, a bit of charming semi- or perhaps quasi-traditional animation, which follows a mythology I’m not familiar with:

Now, since it is a mythology I’m not familiar with, I don’t know how closely it holds to tradition, but I’m willing to accept it is traditionally Finnish (I’m not a subscriber to the mad idea that Finland itself was a Norse myth and only gained existed in 1923 as a scheme to frighten the Russians).

The other thing is just an excerpt from an old favourite of mine, presented by a chap with a good voice for the purpose. What struck me, though, is that it’s the first time I’ve experienced the words in connection with maps, which re-framed the action wonderfully in my imagination.

I really dig the old illustrations, too.

Today’s pen: Ohto Tasche
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert de Gris

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Posted by Dirck on 29 November, 2019

Well, that was a week. I was otherwise engaged yesterday; let me hint at it:

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 25 November
  • 26 November
  • 27 November
  • 28 November
  • 29 November
  • Second draft of “Grand Finale”
  • Assisting a fallen father
  • My wife’s day surgery (two days)
  • Catching up on the Progress report
  • 690 words
  • Lifted
  • So much waiting
  • You’re soaking in it!

I had thought to have been here yesterday, probably finishing up on that second draft. Oh, well. For those who are concerned– a long-awaited gall bladder removal was the wife’s lot, and the extension of her hospital stay was an excess of caution on the part of the hospital as she reacted with unusual (lack of) vigour to the morphine. And since we’re in Canada, this all cost a grand total of $2 for parking and $9 for the post-op Tylenol III I picked up from our neighbourhood pharmacy after bringing her home at last†.

And my Dad’s tippiness did him no actual harm. He needed more encouragement than hoisting.

Oh, but look, it’s not only Friday, but Friday right next to my birthday! Let me indulge myself a little–

Ideally, next week will be more normally arranged. My lightness of tone here belies the stress felt, which I’m rather more conscious of now that I’m an official owner of An Depression, and I’d like rather less of that stuff, thanks.

† Full disclosure: The opioid-laced pills would have cost more but for some insurance provided by The Regular Job. Something like $20. So, for those in the US concerned about the insurance industry, take heart– it still has some function in a setting of socialized medicine.

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Nothing Lasts Forever

Posted by Dirck on 22 November, 2019

Image result for gahan wilson nothing sacred"

One of my favourite cartoonists is no longer with us, so that’s what today’s about. I’m probably going to get in trouble for using that image, to which I respond– I’m giving you free advertising, Mr. Publisher. Also in the line of a free ad, here’s a trailed for a biographical film I have yet to see, but will seek out presently.

I started looking at Wilson’s stuff in high school (and to indicate how innocent a lamb I was, I was somewhat surprised to discover how many of them had originally appeared in Playboy) and I’ve been a fan ever since. I believe when I get home tonight, I’ll take down Nuts and read it through while having a small rum and a tiny weep.

Today’s pen: Wing Sung 3013
Today’s ink: Edelstein Topaz

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Topical Humour

Posted by Dirck on 15 November, 2019

Oddly, that’s not humour that is rubbed directly onto the source of irritation.

With all this talk of Peach Mints wafting up from the US, I though it would be nice to cast our minds back to a time when moderately-competent forces of evil were a source of amusement rather than the makers of any nation’s policy.

OK, you got me. Moderately-competent evil has always directed national policies. What’s new is that blunderously incompetent evil has moved in and yet somehow it remains unthwarted.

Today’s pen: Waterman L’Étalon (slightly deformed, occasionally rude)
Today’s ink: Diamine Bilberry (perfectly pleasant… until it’s pen cleaning time!)

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Red Planet Venus… wait, what?

Posted by Dirck on 8 November, 2019

I don’t know what I’m doing to be treated so well by the Youtube algorithm, but I hope it persists. I’ve read about this film, and been curious to see it, and all of a sudden, there it is in the suggestions panel– an East German/Polish co-production from 1960 (and thus very very much under communist influence), in which space travelers check out a mysterious message from Venus in the dazzlingly distant year of 1985!

It’s not exactly an edge-of-the-seat thrill-ride, but I think it has some real advantages over… Queen of Outer Space, let’s say. I have no interest in driving a Trabant or standing in a long line for a strictly limited ration of vodka, but I may very well try to chase down some more Soviet-bloc sci-fi.

Today’s pen OF THE UNSPEAKABLY DISTANT FUTURE: Lamy Studio
Today’s DECADENT IMPERIALIST ink: Herbin Violet Pensée

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Case of the Mysterious Spoon Thief

Posted by Dirck on 1 November, 2019

I hope everyone is having a happy Fountain Pen Day. First Friday in November, right? A big event, for people like me.

It kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been at my silly Inktober exercise (which I have decided in an act of vicious ret-conning is an excuse to not participate in NaNoWriMo), but when I realized what today was, my reaction was something like this:

I should get something really splendid out and fill it up. But… I’d have to look back in the blog and see what I had used. And then go all the way down a single flight of stairs to get it out of storage. God, and then it would join all those others that need cleaning. Poo. Too much effort. Let’s just go with this not-yet-empty thing.

Which is slightly alarming, coming from me. Well, it turns out that an inclination to depression which I’ve been nuturing since… oh, about 1992… has finally borne fruit.

You’ve heard the spoon metaphor, I imagine– a person with a fatiguing disability has a set number of spoons to dig through the day’s activities, and once those spoons are used up, that’s it for the day’s activities, regardless of whether they’re onerous or delightful (go to movie with friend and clean toilet are equal demands upon the spoon drawer; indeed, the former may be a two-spoon affair). Well, I have come to realize that someone has been making off with my spoons, and it’s finally at a point where I need to get some outside assistance with it.

I suspect my recent decision to pull back from repairs is also founded in this development. If I’d realized it at the time, I’d probably be happier (ho ho, a joke about depression!) now.

But, realization has dawned at last, and calls are being made. I am lucky, in that I live in Canada and have an employer who has some resources to throw at this kind of problem, so all it took was noticing there was a problem… and then carefully building one extra spoon out paper clips and tape to actually act upon the realization. Because I actually knew I should be doing something about a week ago, but figuring out what that something was required, oh, poo, it’s too much effort and so on.

Anyway. Here we are. Not yet, quite, getting help, but listening to the mechanism for getting help running its motor up. And that in itself is helping.

For those who are right now wondering how many spoons I’ve squandered on this little screed, never mind the whole enormous pile of stories over the past month— it turns out that, at least in my case, writing is no more than tiny souvenir teaspoons of effort. Perhaps it even uses forks instead. I could to a lot of this and not affect the useful spoon count. Another thing I’m grateful for.

Today’s pen, which is very nice and a perfectly adequate Fountain Pen Day observance: Sheaffer Sovereign II
Today’s ink, the maker of which claims to be an avatar of Fountain Pen-ness, so of course it’s right for the day: Montblanc Royal Blue

PS – I suggested yesterday that this would be the usual progess report. Well, I decided to do this instead. That’s not a metaphorical spoons thing, that’s just a question of available time.

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Confounding Expectations!

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2019

In an attempt to create the bloggish equivalent of a jump-scare… I’m doing the films TODAY!

I’ll give you a moment to calm your pattering heart.

It’s Hallowe’en, after all, and I have no inclination to see what sort of online video content I can get that’s thematic with All Saints’ Day. So, because it’s the most funnest day of the year, a bonanza of distractions. Yes, distractions, to keep you from noticing what’s creeping up behind you even now.

No, you’re sophisticated. You don’t need to look. You know I’m just playing a little trick. Anyway, here’s some fun stuff:

Before I go, I will suggest that those who haven’t yet go and look at the final entry in my Inktober effort (which I’m sure graphic artists will forgive my little appropriation of their month). It’s a jim-dandy!

Today’s pen (my one nod to costume, as my son is not a Hallow-weenie): Rotring Core
Today’s ink (really, disappointingly, non-thematic): Waterman Florida Blue

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There Was a Hill…

Posted by Dirck on 25 October, 2019

My enjoyment of creepy stuff goes far back into my childhood, and part of it was exposure to Vincent Price. Without anyone prompting me to do so, I picked up an LP of Price reading stories on a trip to the library, and I’ve always remembered it.

Guess what I just found:

What really stuck through the years was the opening line of the penultimate track, “Gobbleknowll”. Listening to it again… man, my parents were not vetting my selections at the library very well. I was no more than seven when I listened to that thing.

It may explain a little about how I am now.

Today’s pen: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s ink: Diamine Bilberry

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Penultimate Effort

Posted by Dirck on 22 October, 2019

So, I mentioned that I was giving up on repairs, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have some repairs to deal with. One of the items still in the queue was this poor creature, of which I took a couple of horrifying pictures against the possibility I might actually do something to help.

Oh, lord, what happened to you? Were you frightened by Winston Churchill on V-E Day?

What I was trying to capture was the way one shoulder was all hunched up, like an over the top actor doing Richard III

Seriously, when the problem was described to me, my first response was, “Well, I may be able to scare up a replacement,” because it sounded exactly as bad as it was.

I got down to that end of the repair line on the weekend, and everything I said earlier about the effect of fixing pens for people swung into full effect. Disenchantment. Constant self-monitoring to not cut corners or hurry recklessly so that it would just be done already.

Fortunately, years of trying to be aware of my internal state have paid off. Corners remain square. Sufficient time was devoted to the task, despite the usual contrariness of inanimate objects….

Actually, let me emphasize that last point. When getting tines that are radically out of sorts back into the right shape, there is a lot of back and forth in the final stages, at least in my experience, between “Good in an up/down relation, but splayed right at the end so there’s risk of breaking the weld on the tipping” and “correct taper on slit, but one tine is way too high.” This little monster had plenty of that style of grief to hand out, and yet, I persevered.

Yes, it really is the same item as the previous pictures. I’m as surprised as anyone.

You can just make out a remaining wow in the tine, which is much more evident when in the same room with the thing.

Since I’m not doing this anymore, this is not me trying to prove that I’m the guy you should look to for all your fountain pen de-mangling needs. I’m just… quietly bragging. I’m also pleased on behalf of the owner, because what spares I’ve got are nothing like as flexible as this pen. It’s a delight.

However, I will end on this– I indicate that there are imperfections there, however unwilling the camera is to reveal them. The fact of them leads me to mention that however impressive that stuff above might be, this guy is, according to all reports I’ve heard, much better at this than me. So, if you need a pen de-mangled, there’s still a Canadian option.

Today’s pen: Lamy 27
Today’s ink: Lamy black

 

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The Light Grows Dim

Posted by Dirck on 18 October, 2019

That’s a rather grim title.

Well, of course, because Hallowe’en is slowly winding us in its coils, preparing to give us all a big thematic hug! HOORAH!

It is, too, the time of year when a lot of creatures start looking for places to stay warm, so be careful what you turn over when you’re out raking the leaves…

In fact, I try to leave the leaves alone entirely. It’s how you get a bonanza of ladybugs in the spring!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Sovereign II
Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue

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