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Posts Tagged ‘Conklin’

Posted by Dirck on 24 September, 2020

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 21 September
  • 22 September
  • 23 September
  • 24 September
  • First draft of “Hobb’s Landing”.
  • 239 words added, plus a lot of the chop and change nonsense I usually avoid by hand-writing the first draft.


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Posted by Dirck on 17 September, 2020

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 14 September
  • 15 September
  • 16 September
  • 17 September
  • First draft of “Hobb’s Landing”.
  • 739 words typed.

The progress is still painfully slow, but I am nearing the end… of the first draft. I’ve just realized I need to get some themes better inflated now that I’m approaching the endpoint, so the second draft isn’t going to be quick and easy, either. Probably. I’m bracing for it.

And while I complain about the speed of production, the fact that this first draft is going straight into a machine provides me with a small comfort– it’s now twenty pages long, which by my standards is a fairly lengthy number.

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Dreaming of Travel

Posted by Dirck on 4 September, 2020

The pandemic will, one way or another, end eventually. We’ll be able to go to places that aren’t home.

And since this thing is being released, according to those in the know, in 2022, I’m letting myself fantasize about going about in it.

Yes, the video is three years old. The reports I mention above are three weeks old.

My wife and I briefly owned a 1979 VW Bus. It was in wretched shape, and for reasons no mechanic could discover, it slowly filled it’s oil pan with gasoline. We still loved it. We are very much in accord in the desire for this successor.

Today’s pen, also designed to look like something old: Conklin Cresent Filler (no page yet, but I have the pictures taken)
Today’s ink: Diamine Oxford Blue

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Show Me The Money

Posted by Dirck on 20 March, 2012

As studiously as I avoid Tom Cruise references, this one is too appropriate to avoid.  I am, at last, getting onto the Dark Parker Secret that I’ve been making noise about, and I figure that I’ve over-hyped it just enough to make it really disappointing.  Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?

To the point.  Last week I got a bit of a gift from an admirer, who shall at request remain anonymous.  It was not an extravagant gift by any means, but it plugs up a bit of a hole in my Parker wall; the second pattern of IM.  This follows precedent for that model, as the first pattern was a gift from my parents who were faced with the ugly response to “What would you like brought back from Europe?” of “Oh, a fountain pen would be nice, but not too expensive.”

The newer IM struck me immediately as a rather grander object, coming as it did in a more elegant presentation box, and generally giving less impression of being a Vector that’s been dressed up for a big date.  However, a moment’s contemplation of this new pen brought a new realization to me.  I was being reminded of something else…

One of these things is not like the other... but it's rather hard to tell, isn't it?

The object on the right of this slightly blurry photograph is the newly-arrived IM.  The one on the left is that non-fountain pen Ingenuity which I was given for review purposes.  There are some subtle differences, but on gross examination, they’re extremely similar.  The box for the Ingenuity is rather more posh, with its hinged lid and greater breadth, but the little mattress is the same under each pen is of the same material and thickness.

Once they come out of the boxes, we find that there is even less to tell between these two pens.

Obviously, these are rather different pens when the caps come off.  Even without the shenanigans at the front end attracting attention, the Ingenuity is a bigger pen and apt to pull the eye.  However, if the kindly observer will allow for the slight variations in light level I seem unable to fully manage, the similarities begin to outweigh the differences.  Bright chrome and a smooth black finish on a metal body.  Clips that are less likely to upset the fabric of the pocket than you’d think from looking at them.  They also feel much the same, at least as far as texture goes, since the Ingenuity is heavier than the IM by far more than the size difference quite accounts for.

And here is my small problem.  I want to call out “Fraud!”, because the trim levels are so nearly the same, but one pen costs not less than $100 more than the other.  I’ll not go into the enforced replacement of the writing portion of the more expensive one, as that’s aside the point.  It seems that Parker is asking people to pay more for a pen mainly on the basis of weight, and my initial reaction is to climb the side of my cage and rattle the bars.

But then I allow my thinking portions to moderate.  Let’s look at a couple of other pens:

I offer a couple of other Parkers, contemporary with one another, of which one is slightly smaller than the other and costs an order of magnitude less.  Here, the differences are at least manifest in terms of materials.  The “51” and the “21” weigh about the same, but one is far more likely to survive a short drop, and one has some gold involved in its making.  However, the principle appears to be much the same, and even moreso if one skips ahead a few years to the Super 21.

I now need to try and decide whether I make a big stink about Parker using some dubious practices to shake extra money out of people by means mainly of applying a different name to a not-very-different product, or do I want to revel in the notion that the impecunious can experience much the same joy in writing as the idle rich?  I may try to hold both positions at once, as they’re not entirely mutually exclusive, although I suspect I’ll get a cramp.

This is not, by the way, something only Parker has ever gotten up to.  The most obvious other example is Sheaffer’s mix’n’match routine with the various members of the TM line, and it’s only the waning of my lunch break than prevents me from offering more.  I suppose that it’s why we urge caveat emptor so frequently; the evidence is right there before us, and it’s mainly a question of our own individual vanity and estimation of value.  Like the great flappy sleeves of the houppelande, sometimes the reason for buying something is simply to prove that one has the means to do so.  For my part, I’ll stick with the more manageable sleeves of a well-cut suit-jacket, and with actual writing performance rather than label.

Today’s pen that proves me something of a hypocrite: Conklin Signature
Today’s ink at a democratic price point: Diamine Emerald Green

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Abandonment Issues

Posted by Dirck on 2 December, 2010

I have previously spoken out against pretense, yet I am here about to admit to an extremely stupid manifestation of it in my own conduct.  I conduct several correspondences with people around the world.  I do this in part because I’m anxious not to become locked into my own way or my locality’s way of thinking.  The pretentious element is a notion of sympathetic magic, noticing that H.P. Lovecraft kept up a vast correspondence and look at his literary reputation.  I should, if I were smart, look at his literary career, then burn all my stamps, but sometimes I’m the opposite of smart.

Writing letters is still writing.  Writing lots is, some vast excresences not withstanding, one of the ways to become good at it.  I write to know my writing better.  That’s the story I should stick to.

I have, however, not done much writing lately in this direction.  I’ve not received a letter in ages.

I do not blame, though.  For a start, I’m given to rather leisurely composition (or rather, my son insists and forces my wife to also insist that I pay attention to other matters), and if I can cling to a letter for two weeks before mailing it I can hardly fault the person at the other end of the chain for doing likewise.

When the delay begins to draw out, though, there comes an element of worry.  Has the letter gone astray?  Gone down a sewer?  Been consumed by nesting Postal Gerbils?  Have I somehow inadvertently offended the correspondent?  Has the correspondent gone down a sewer or been consumed by gerbils?  In almost all cases, the only reliable contact information I have is the address, and sending a follow-up “Are you OK?” note seems extremely needy and/or pushy.

I have non-postal word from one of them that my letter got neglected in a tide of bills, and that’s understandable, and I know another to be engaged in an effort to wrestle grad school into submission, and so don’t want to press.  I suspect at least one, in England, has since the 2008 economic follies been forced into a choice between stamps and food, a choice with only one obvious correct direction.  For the others, I am apart from the needy/pushy worry restrained by Canadian manners.  We, or at least the we of my generation, wait our turn.  It’s the same sort of thing that has us apologize when you step on our foot.

But… I’ve not received a letter in ages.

I think what I will probably do, since the season favours it, is launch a mass of seasonal greeting cards, and see what comes of it.  This indeterminate mass, which me may label X for convenience, can go forth on in the spirit of seasonal good will, and hopefully will bring forth the gift of renewed visits from the postal carrier.

I just hope I don’t get a writing cramp(us).

Today’s lonely pen: Conklin Glider
Today’s slightly pathetic ink: Lamy blue-black

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Local Boy Who Went Far

Posted by Dirck on 29 November, 2010

My community, in the geographic sense of the word, has suffered something of a loss.  I am not, I hasten to point out, speaking of a sporting event which was conducted to decide the momentarily transcendant team of Canadian football, and which I understand the local boys went far (800km or so) only to not win.  I speak rather of actual mortality– our long-departed son Leslie Nielsen has gone to meet his final reward.

I have no reason to be particularly affected by Nielsen’s death apart from the whole Dickensian line about mankind being my business.  I suppose I’m having a reaction to the repeated mentions on CBC this morning, variations on “You probably remember him best from Airplane!…”  Not true.  I remember him best from Forbidden Planet, from the first phase of his career when he was a dramatic actor (and a film with a surprisingly Canuck-heavy cast).  What made his performances in Airplane! and the various Police Squad great was his foundation in the earlier form of film– a time when the hero was a stoic, upright pillar.  The comedy in those later films comes not from him bounding around and making faces, and when he tries that sort of thing the comedy fails.  The comedy derived from his absolutely straight, unselfconscious reading of utterly ridiculous material, and the difference between some of his earlier works and the later stuff is the fact that the writers and directors meant to be funny.  This is not my own observation, but one I heartily agree with.  A problem with the current crop of parodies is that there’s so much self-aware winking at the camera in the source material that it’s hard to tell the difference between it and the parody.

I suppose I’m also somewhat mopey because the passing of this person who was prominent in the background media of my life counts as a notably loud tick from my own countdown clock.  Which is a lamentably narcissistic way of viewing thing, of which I am slightly ashamed.  Thanks for the laughs, Leslie, thanks for yelling at Morbius, and thanks for standing as a shining example that starting out in a slightly uncosmopolitan prairie town is not an impediment to achievement.

Today’s pen: Conklin Glider
Today’s ink: Lamy blue-black

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{insert clever here}

Posted by Dirck on 19 October, 2010

Told you I wasn’t here.

Today’s hectic pen:  Conklin Signature
Today’s frantic ink: Noodler’s red-black

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Confidence (Ltd.)

Posted by Dirck on 2 September, 2010

My walk today took me past a shoal of teenagers, freshly returned to school, who trundled along heads bent in obeisance to modern god Connectedness.  Similarity of posture aside, there was such a uniformity of dress that I thought they might have joined the army, but for knowing what the modern Canadian Army looks like.  This is the hook upon which my contemplation hangs today, for I wondered what was driving this behaviour.

Dim memories of that largely unpleasant phase of life provide the answer.  While much of youth culture today celebrates the unique and doing what one will, the actual teenager is keenly aware that standing out means making a target of one’s self.  The motto of high school, rather than diverse trite sayings or things in Latin the kids won’t get anyway (Ex ignoranita ad sapientem, e luce ad tenebras is one of my favourites), should be the Japanese saying– “The Nail Which Stands Up is the First Pounded Down.”  Ah, good old childhood’s end.

My wife, who sells jewellry of her own making now and again, has frequent opportunity to speak with young people at her sales.  She has found that the most satisfactory sort, the pleasantest, brightest and most engaging, tend to fall into two categories.  In naming these categories, I will likely not use the appropriate modern versions, as I’m extremely out of touch with the teen of today; they are Punks and Goths, or whatever the current variant title that sort of person goes by today is.  Why?  Well, they’re still adopting a group look, but it is at least not a majority group look.  These are nails which have chosen to run the risk of a pounding down.  They know themselves sufficiently to keep that self together against community disapprobation.

They have confidence.  The same can be said of anyone who has chosen a lifestyle out of phase with the majority, where that choice isn’t simply about getting attention (which of course is a manifestation of low confidence).  Fountain pen users, in a small way– remember that not only do we use a writing instrument some people don’t recognize, but we have to be willing to wear with a smile a shirt with a great ink-stain depending from the pocket.  One can also look at  fedora wearers, decreasingly so as hats return to fashion, although I maintain that there is a great difference between just plopping a hat atop whatever you’re wearing (majority) and arranging an outfit so the hat is actually a complimentary finish (my own self somewhat,  one or two of the other bloggers I keep up with moreso, and anarcho-dandists in general).  “I am I,” we say through our actions, “and you don’t get to tell me what I am.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret– confidence is worth having.  It allows you to face the grubbiness of modern existence with decent posture.  It is an attribute of the laudible.  It makes people who are physically indifferent or possibly actually ugly into objects of attraction.  However, like firearms and cars, its the sort of thing that one must be careful about using.  Over-confidence is even more dangerous than the lack.  Too little confidence reduces one eventually to a figurative welcome mat, but too much can lead to a quite literal transformation to bear poop.  Don’t confuse confidence with recklessness or actual ability.  Too often, the very last lesson someone learns is humility.  Be confident, but know your limitations.  It’s an interesting balancing act.

Today’s pen, holding its head high: Conklin Glider
Today’s ink, quite prepared to teach a lesson in humble acceptance of misfortune:  Mont Blanc Racing Green

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Improving my time

Posted by Dirck on 7 May, 2010

I have my usual Friday lack of time to devote to this enterprise, so I will merely say that sick though I was yesterday, I did not lounge.

Actually, that’s not true– there was a quanta of lounging done, but even with that, I managed to apply myself to a small update of the sadly languishing web-site. Visitors will find a few more pen profiles available, and hints in the form of unlinked names of many more to come.

Today’s newly-catalogued pen: Conklin Glider
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Vert Empire

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Can I Borrow a Pen?

Posted by Dirck on 8 April, 2010

Words to strike fear in the heart of a fountain pen user. I’ve previously considered the conundrum which faces someone who is inclined to spread mannenhistu-do, but in that situation the pen-owner is the object of the action. When the pen-holder becomes the subject of the action, when pounced upon by a penless person in need of writing, the conundrum gains an element of politics.

I can picture the scenario from the other side. Here I am, with something in my head that burns to be written down. “That chap has a pen!” A polite request is met with… a puzzling and possibly psychotic pause. “May I borrow that pen?” is after all not the same sort of question as “Did I see you dragging a coffin into your cellar?”

From the potential donor’s side, of course, there is a cascade of considerations. How fragile is my pen? What are the possible consequences of denial? Is this considering pause making me look (more) insane (than I usually do)? Do I have any other sort of writing implement to sacrifice in place of my beloved pen?

We stylophiles are not unaware of our own oddity, nor are we entirely blind to the modern general attitude towards pens– somewhat in the same order as the attitude towards tooth-picks, in that they’ll be used as needed, and heedlessly tossed away when the need is assuaged. The potential borrower is entirely unlikely to have any sense that there is such a thing as a pen which is expensive, delicate, and precious to the owner. There are stories of pens momentarily unattended being snatched off desks, smashed into uselessness by someone who’s never seen such a thing, declared junk, and tossed into a wastebasket– stories told by the grieving survivor. This is frequently a boss-type performing the destruction, so raises and continued employment have been contingent on not smashing a chair over their head or saying, “I’ll have $200 to get that replaced, thanks!”

This current consideration is prompted by a friend’s story; she found herself in a class, where a sign-in sheet had been brought, but no one else had a pen. We must wonder about the instructor of the class, and I suppose must assume some kind of computer note-taking by the other participants. The friend, having signed in, was asked if she’d circulate her pen with the sheet. The Pause occurred, with a room full of staring, anticipatory eyes, a room full of people who are so uncomfortable with hand writing that they did not think to bring a pen to a class. A spectral Dennis Hopper appears, crying out, “What do you do?”*

If you are not a fountain pen user, whatever are you doing reading this? I urge you to make sure to carry some kind of pen or pencil of your own. You may save a fountain pen user a stroke as they try to rapidly estimate the pros and cons of handing over.

For my own part, I have a very quick hand-pocket reaction (some will simply grab at the pen without asking– under the Criminal Code of Canada, this can be construed as assault and theft), and a couple of responses that I practice regularly to overcome The Pause. If I’m carrying something of unknown durability as I am today or something of known flimsiness as yesterday, I will instantly say, “This one is too fragile. I dare not lend it.” This confirms that I’m a raving lunatic to the average inquirer, but that’s fine with me. If I’m carrying something that I think can withstand all but a directed effort at destruction, like Tuesday’s choice, I will hand it over, saying, “It’s a fountain pen. Use it carefully.” Also confirms me as a raving lunatic, and frequently leads to the request being withdrawn, and that’s also fine with me (if the person is willing to persist, they might be the sort to enter into mannenhitsu-do). Others promote the myth of the adaptive fountain pen– “Oh, this is a fountain pen; it’s shaped to my way of writing, and won’t work for you.” Evaluate the sanity of the statement as you will, unless you know how fountain pens work, it’s hard to argue against.

There are some who carry a throw-away pen that they can lend without hesitation, but to me this has as much potential for interpersonal ugliness as the simple negative response. The observant borrower, having seen a gold-tipped, marbled-body confection in your hand a minute earlier, may take it unkindly to be handed a nasty old goop-filled Bic.

To finish my friend’s story– unwilling to let the pen travel through all those untutored hands, she decided to, as she describes the event, impress upon them the fragile nature of the pen in terms shaped to modern understanding. The irony of the statement caused me to kick my feet in delight: “Actually, this pen is kind of high-tech.”

Today’s marvel of technology, not for untrained use: Conklin Signature
Today’s ink, very dangerous, are you WHIMS-certified?: Private Reserve Burgundy Mist

*This is not to be taken as an endorsement of the film in which Hopper spoke the line, nor of any of the works in which star of that film, a well-known and oddly named block of Canadian hardwood, has acted.

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