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Posts Tagged ‘Annual Fountain Pen Day’

A Fine Day

Posted by Dirck on 6 November, 2020

A fountain pen, the cap off, lies upon a note pad. On the pad, this message:  "I hope Fountain Pen Day finds you safe, healthy, and with at least one pen which warms your soul.  "Nothing more profound than this today. Enjoy some contemplation upon the noble fountain pen."
Because I am a fiend in human shape, I’m going to let you seek Part II on your own.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M600
Today’s ink: Krishna Pakeezah (another one not on my site– this will take you someone else reviewing the ink at some length).

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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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The Next Best Day of the Year

Posted by Dirck on 2 November, 2018

I don’t know if it’s altogether wise for Fountain Pen day to necessarily fall within a few days of Hallowe’en; what do we have, then, to keep us functioning and joyful for the next few months until this golden confluence is less than half a year away once more?

(Overdramatizing for comedy is how I have fun)

ANYWAY, while I sit here and quietly enjoy scribbling with (probably) the oldest pen I’ve got, here’s a fellow expressing his thoughts on the day:

There is, by the way, nothing wrong with even an XXF point on a pen. Sometimes you need a fine line in your life. I revel in all widths of point.

Today’s pen: Waterman 12
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue  (so as to not startle the poor oldster)

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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!

 

Sigh.

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

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The Second* Best Day of the Year

Posted by Dirck on 4 November, 2016

It’s fountain pen day!  Huzzah!  Rather than just a single video, I’m offering a whole heap of them, plus some cheesecake shots of pens you may well have already seen from me.  Well… you get to see them again, because it’s FOUNTAIN PEN DAY!  Let’s start with a look at who won the random draw to be the Pen of Fountain Pen Day in my life:

Oh, stop whining. NONE of us get the day off.

Oh, stop whining. NONE of us get the day off.

It beat out the Arte Italiana, the Targa 1005, and the Souverän M600 in a fair fight refereed by Random.Org.  Here’s some photos of the lovely runners-up, provided by their publicist (me):

OMAS Arte Italiana Milord in Arco Brown (say that five times, fast).

Honorable mentions to… well, almost every other pen I own.  Now, on with the celebrations:

A poster from 1937

A poster from 1937

Statesman Triumvirate, 29 August 2014

Enough of this, though– the true observance of the day is taking your pen out and giving it a good long write!  Go and get some in on a page!

Today’s pen (who is going to have lots of fun, really): Parker 75
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

 *Hallowe’en owns the top of the podium, but second place is contested by today, Christmas, and various family birthdays.

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Posted by Dirck on 5 November, 2015

But first, important stuff: tomorrow is Fountain Pen Day. Celebrate responsibly!

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 November
  • 3 November
  • 28 October
  • 22 October
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic”.
  • Second draft persists
  • The Regular Job (see below)
  • Getting a new story run out on the fiction front.
  • 448 words typed.
  • 804 words typed.
  • A recurrent Wednesday problem
  • G’wan, have a look.
  • 25 min.
  • 45 min.
  • see below
  • Enough to prevent fresh writing.

I was struck on Tuesday at the relatively grim words/minute stats that the second drafts work out to.  Take it was proof that there is actual revision in that stage of the exercise, not mere transcription.

…because otherwise I’ll be horribly embarrassed.

Also, due to an illness-induced short staffing of The Regular Job, I feel I have to include yet another animation to suggest how the past couple of weeks has seemed (complete with inexplicable interruption and repetition).  Unavoidable working through lunch breaks!  Monstrous!

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Posted by Dirck on 6 November, 2014

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 3 November
  • 4 November
  • 5 November
  • 6 November
  • Second draft, “The Third Act”
  • First Draft, “And then the Screaming Started.”
  • Ditto
  • Yet again
  • 1,022 words, for a finished total of 3,012
  • Ten manuscript pages
  • Also ditto
  • Eleven manuscript pages
  • 40 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.

While I’ve been beavering away at my writing, I’ve been somewhat negligent regarding the approach of Fountain Pen Day… which is tomorrow!  As I’ve commented previously, like the reformed Scrooge’s take on Christmas, I hold Fountain Pen Day in my heart all the year around; I hope you do to, but even so, let’s all be a little more fountain-pennie than usual tomorrow and spread the good cheer.

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A Strangeness of Sheaffers

Posted by Dirck on 12 May, 2014

A post over EIGHT DAYS in the making!

…mainly because setting time aside for photography and image editing is tricky.  I think I will start to push for “strangeness” as the collective noun for Sheaffers, though, in the same way as crows come in murders, cats in clowders and politicians in plagues.  There is almost always something that’s a little off spec in any group of Sheaffer pens larger than one.  In the instant case, I have three of the blighters under consideration.

Not last weekend, but the previous, a friend who I have mentioned frequently stopped around.  I mentioned her because she habitually turns up wonderful pens at garage sales and presses them on me.  That was not the way of things this last visit, though.  She had turned up something as a church rummage sale, which is something else entirely.  Would you like a look?

Everything you need for a fantastic night on the town, c. 1964.

Everything you need for a fantastic night on the town, c. 1964.

The serious Sheaffer-spotters in the crowd are even now going “Hmmmmm.”  For those who are not quite as in the swing, I’ll explain.  It’s blindingly obvious that this is a pen, cuff-link and tie-tack set, as unlikely as that is to the modern sensibility.  Leaving the modern sensibility out of it for a moment, there’s a couple of things here that don’t quite line up.

The pen is a Canadian-made Imperial I (which necessitates a slight re-writing of the page down that link).  The jewellery could be meant to match an Imperial of some breed; it’s all simple silver squares, possibly reflecting the squared-off ends of the pens, but I have some serious doubts that the lowest of the low in the Imperial clan would be the companion to a set of cuff-links.  This is a class-ist way of looking at the thing, but it’s not without foundation.

The other thing that bugs me is the logo on the box.  The pen still has an apostrophe on it’s clip, something which fell away in about 1964.  SHEAFFER with a big gooney S marks the box as a post-buyout, 1966 or later item.  It’s not impossible for old stock to still be in circulation after the official end of use– heck, I’ve hardly ever seen a Parker “51” whose point and barrel date-codes matched– but combined with the low-end nature of that piece of old stock it strongly suggests to me that the original pen isn’t that one.  I’d be more inclined to believe a more splendid sort of Stylist or at least a higher-end Imperial/Lifetime.

…even if that one shows almost no sign whatever of being used, as one might expect in a gift pen.  “Oh, it’s so nice, I don’t dare use it!”  We’ve all heard it, even if the sensation hasn’t come over us.  I will use it, eventually, and the cuff-links, although I hesitate over tie-tacks.  I’m more of a tie-clip chap.  Perhaps next Fountain Pen Day I’ll take the whole ensemble out for a stroll, and damned to the hole in the tie.

The other strange thing is less strange for its attributes as its timing.  I’m changing my desk pen off schedule, and it is also a Sheaffer.  A year ago last September, I got an Imperial-style fountain pen, which I commented upon at the time as being “so very corrugated that I’m not sure I can recover it.”  Well, after some months of desultory poking at, I managed to bring it back to a functional shape; as is so often the case in my attempts on the horribly bent, there is some remaining deformity to hint at the extent of the original injury, but it works as it originally did.

The patient, post-recovery.

The patient, post-recovery.  You actually can’t make out the remaining deformation at this scale, which pleases me greatly.

All well and good, but without a base, a desk pen is a purely decorative object.  During the recent spate of tossing things at eBay, though, I found this which arrived last Thursday:

A good weekend for my camera to put aside sucking for a while.  Thanks, camera!

A good weekend for my camera to put aside sucking for a while. Thanks, camera!

And suddenly, I’ve got another desk pen!  There is a little bit of a strangeness inherent to the set, as both pen and base are from the narrow window in which there are Imperials and apostrophes in the impressions.  Something I hadn’t seen previously is the Imperial-style squaring off of the trumpet; that pleases me greatly.

To complete the strange Sheaffer effect, I decided to use today’s pen.  It’s a carnival of weird all on its own.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800 (aka The Dolphin)
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet (Pelikan inside a Dolphin?  Dada-esque!)

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First Principles

Posted by Dirck on 1 November, 2013

Merry Fountain Pen Day!  I hope you’re all enjoying the day in an appropriate manner.  I’m being slightly inappropriate, stealing a few minutes from The Regular Job to be inflate my usual Friday output, because I want to mention some of my reactions to today’s pen… because it’s my first.

Not, THE first, which as I’ve mentioned previously is long since lost to the careless actions of a much younger me, but it’s of the same mold.  It has been rather a while since I used one of these, and I was curious, at the end of a cycle of relatively snooty, upper-shelf pens, how I’d react to this old chap.

It’s… a little scratchy, and I won’t whitewash that with the euphemistic “toothy”.  However, this is mainly because it’s one that has seen a lot of use– it’s starting to get a foot on its tipping.  In fact, if I’d not lost and/or abused into uselessness that pen from the long-ago days of elementary school, it would probably be in much the same state as this one, so the illusion of it being that initial pen is strong.

It’s also quite wet, which makes me wonder how I avoided making unconscionable messes of all my school work, especially considering the school-provided notebooks were made of paper not much different from the horrid brown paper towels in the school washrooms.  No wonder, though, at the rate of cartridge use; good thing they were much less expensive then than now, with inflation figured in.

It is ergonomically undistinguished… but by comparison to the Bic sticks all the other kids were using, it at least has the a little shaping on the section to inform the fingers that they’ve got a place in the operation.  In this, it’s essentially the same as a Pelikan Souverän to a willing mind.

No, it’s really not as good as the big kids I’ve been using lately.  But for something that cost as much as five of the cheap Bics it shared shelf space with on the stationery shelf at the old neighbourhood drugstore, it’s a damn good pen.  I’m glad I’ve still got it… er… one.

Now, because it is Friday and Fountain Pen Day, a couple of short features.  The first is a quick examination of the charms of the fountain pen, and the second is an explanation of how it’s not, as of right now, too late to get in on a big Fountain Pen Day contest.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer cartridge pen, third generation
Today’s ink: Skrip blue-black

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Boxed In

Posted by Dirck on 8 August, 2013

I occasionally see debates on the merit of keeping the boxes pens come in appear on the fora, and I don’t get involved because I can see the merits on both sides.  I’m going to externalize my notions on the topic today, as a means of filling some space and celebrating last night’s nearly-decent sleep and the consequent ability to not ramble about flaky crap as I did yesterday.  A side effect of the healing process in my mostly-recovered arms has been broken sleep, since when one is lying quietly in bed there’s fewer sensations to distract one from a slowly-unwinding bruise lodged between radius and ulna, so my judgement might have been a little off on yesterday’s screed.  I’ve had a better time with insomnia than some, so even in this I’m not really complaining.

Let’s start with the foolishness of keeping boxes.  I refer of course to the boxes they leave the factory in rather than the diverse box-like objects that on-line auctions see pens stuffed into; those that are reusable obviously get kept for outbound voyagers.  The manufacturer’s boxes generally fall into two categories, the first of which is useless little pieces of tat.  Mere folds of heavy paper only just able to support the name of card-stock–

Falling to bits even as you look at it!

These things were never meant to be kept, and exist primarily to keep dust off the pens while they await stocking on shelves.  Their one virtue is that they don’t take up too much space, which is exactly the problem with the other category of pen boxes.  Behemoths.  Leviathans.  Devourers of domestic real estate.  Meant as window dressing to assist the sale of the pen that lurks somewhere near their core, they are certainly durable enough to be hung onto, and indeed are apt to be commented upon by archaeologists fifty generations hence, but unless one has an Indiana Jones-style warehouse (complete with bent, patient porter) in which to lodge them, keeping them is an act of madness that fits within the general mental abberation of hoarding.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a pen in there.

To be fair, there is a slender little eyedropper under the pad. That needs plenty of elbow-room.

These are practical, logical considerations, but as many have observed before me, mankind is an impractical and illogical creature.  I incline towards the keeping of these boxes, and while I can give a reason, I’m not sure that the reason can overcome the counter-reason of “you’ll die when the stack of them topples on you.”  True, although for the moment the stack is non-threatening and mostly confined to a bed-side table’s drawers.  The reason has to do with preserving the context of the pen.

You see, while the pen itself has some indications about the aesthetic of its originating time and place, the box has a lot more of that attached to it.  That Hero box at the top, while a little bit of an anachronism, is redolent with the ideas of marketing in China at the time of the pen’s production.  As much as I’m very informal about my collecting of pens, I am likewise a well-meaning but inefficient historian of them.  I keep the boxes, when I get them, because they help to identify, because they expand the sense of the pen’s age, and because they offer a better insight into the similarities and differences of mindset between people as they exist now and as they were over the previous century and a bit.

All of that can be elided into “Well… they’re pretty cool.”  Some of my pen boxes on the tat side of the equation are items of wonderment merely because they have survived for so long; someone else not only gave a damn, but thought others might one day as well:

Tat, but it’s pedalling mighty hard with its little flocked bed.

Well… they may not have given much of a damn, but it’s still a cardboard box with a metal hinge-pin, and it’s been around since the late 1950s

On the more durable side of the equation, I’m sure one day this thing…

…which is the size of a VHS cassette…

…will one day evoke the same sort of tremors of fond nostalgia as these:

Man, that's some fancy digs.

Man, that’s some fancy digs.

Even a little squalid, it’s still pretty

Oh, the splendid mystery!

I’d have taken a picture of the box my Pelikan M600 came in, but I find I can’t stand back far enough from it to get the whole thing in frame.  One day, I’ll rent a helicopter for the job.

Today’s space-age pen: Pelikan M20
Today’s ink: Diamine Prussian Blue

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