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Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen’

Combining Interests

Posted by Dirck on 19 January, 2018

Escapism this week.  The interests combining here are adventure films, people reviewing films, history, and the work of Patrick O’Brian.  That’s pretty good for one little video.

Man, I need to watch that thing again.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Taranis
Today’s ink: Skrip Blue

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Posted by Dirck on 18 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •   2,173 words typed.

Some real excitement here, which may have affected my rate of production.  First, there is a signed contract in place now, so I can reveal that “Free Balloons for All Good Children” was bought by Pseudopod, and that it is at least tentatively scheduled to appear there in the latter part of April.  I will of course be adding links to the story itself once it appears, in addition to yelling from rooftops and possibly breaking into your house to make sure you’ve had a look at it.  Yes, you.

The other item that has set me all a-bubble is a second note of acceptance, this time on “Without Fear, Favour or Affection,” which some who persist in following this low-impact content of mine may remember I took a hiatus from the novel about this time last year to work up.  It will be going into an anthology, about which I will reveal more as matters the phase state of the arrangement moves closer to solid.  But I am giddy on the current liquid-approaching-slurry, I assure you.

Cripes.  I can actually start to wear the mantle of professional author.

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Frosted and Iced

Posted by Dirck on 12 January, 2018

I greatly enjoy the Great British Bake Off, and its Canadian cousin.  I enjoy, now and then, baking a cake.  I shall be doing so this weekend, in fact, for an observation of my father’s birthday.

But I am not a huge fan of frosting or icing.  The former was a menace on Christmas day, during a week in which many places in Canada were being described in the news as colder than Mars.  It’s not quite that cold today… but on Wednesday it was warm. It was, in fact, only freezing, in the strict 0C meaning of the word.

Which meant that the couple of hours of rain which preceded the sudden drop back to normal winter temperatures is still gleaming on every horizontal surface.  We have been glazed.

So today’s film is a philosophical contemplation of what might happen if time stopped.  Because I think it did. Or has.  Or continues to.

Today’s pen: Parker Vacumatic
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue

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Posted by Dirck on 11 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  1,889 words typed.

Another subpar week; this is not down to the old-style entry I indulged in on Tuesday, but stems from having to rearrange some plot elements convincingly and from today’s visit by Mr. Throbbing Migraine.  Fun.

It’s also the reason this appear HOURS later than usual.

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The Miracle Worker

Posted by Dirck on 9 January, 2018

That’s the title of that thing where the guy pretends to be Dread Pirate Roberts and then he gets mostly killed by Prince Humperdink, isn’t it?

Well, failing memory aside, I got to play the role of Miracle Max over the weekend, restoring a hopeless looking case to full vibrant life.  Let me introduce you to the sufferer who appeared on my doorstep, more dead than alive.

The front of a fountain pen, with the end of the point bent downward at about 45 degrees

Poor ol’ droopy

A slightly different angle of the previous image; the pen is rotated so show the deformity from the edge.

You wont get much writing done with that.

Graphic images, to be sure, but I’m sure you can all handle it, and it is in the cause of science.  This pen was dropped, and since the Carène is such an aerodynamic shape, it made sure to drop on the point.  I’m sure this saved the lacquer from chipping, but I do wish pens would understand that their points are not crumple zones.

The main problem with putting this point back in shape lies in the area of leverage.  There is not a lot of point sticking out past the end of the plastic, which limits angles from which one can apply the tools of reshaping.  This is frequently the case with more conventionally-shaped pens in need of similar reconstruction, and the answer is to knock out the point.

…which brings in the other problem.  The Carène’s point is an inset type.  Not, happily, an inlaid point, a trick almost exclusive to Sheaffer, in which the point is fused to the plastic, but still a bit of a problem.  In the usual fountain pen, the point is basically just wedged in between the wall of the section and the feed.  With an inlaid pen, it had a special little mounting that it fits into.  With a Carène, it is also glued in place.

Shocking, but true.  The glue is less to keep it in its mounting than to act as a sealant; still, it adds a layer of complexity.  One has to free that glue as the first step of pulling out the point.  I was lucky, from a morale standpoint, in that the pen’s owner was prepared to buy a whole new section anyway; if I botched the operation completely, I wouldn’t really be making things worse.  So, off we go!

How, then, to release that glue?  You need to run something up under the horns at the back of the point, providing a slight outward tug, to pull them free.  Something thin enough to fit, firm enough to provide the pressure, and also forgiving enough to not scrape up either plastic or gold.  An experienced Carène dismantler on a forum suggested a scalpel; perhaps not quite forgiving, but offering enough of the other two virtues that a skilled user could get away with it.

I don’t trust myself that far.  However, thanks to a touch of lycanthropy (a great-grandparent who would not stay on the path through the moors), the nail on my right index finger serves the bill admirably; thin, firm, and non-marking.  A little caressing, and the job was done.  Then came the tugging with my soft nylon-jawed pliers and the majority of the worry was behind me.

Fountain pen with its point separated from it. The point is shaped like an Isosceles triangle, with rounded edges on the long sides, and a rectangular cutout intruding into the base. It is made to slot into the body of the pen.

The act of tugging took about care of about 72% of the work of straightening, too.

Once the point was out, it was a fairly straightforward application of tiny anvils, burnishers, soft pliers and a little bit of finger-tip.  A few minutes of work, then, and I was able to give a cry of voilà (as I was working on a French pen).

An apparently good-as-new pen, in front of a hand-written message reading FEELING BETTER

I am entirely proud of the final result.

But… what of the matter of glue?  The little bits of thin, clear material that I found suggested something like a PVA white glue.  If I’m right, I’ve got plenty– who with a child in elementary school does not?– but I’m not sure I’m right, and I also had other qualms.  The scalpel-wielding person above spoke of the perils of glue migrating into the feed before it set, which would not be good.  That aside, while I know that white glue is impervious to water once set, I have no idea how long it would take to set in that setting, enclosed between non-permeable materials.

My response to these worries was to fall back on traditional techniques.  Rather than some modern adhesive, I made some tiny little snakes of the softened beeswax I use for a soft seal in pens of much earlier design.  It provides a fluid barrier and it doesn’t go wandering around from where it’s put.  The tiny little snakes went into the space under the point-horns on the shell, where the flimsy little glue residue had lain.  Because I don’t trust ink, I also formed a barrier on the top of the point, the line following the curve behind the big W.  And yes, it would have saved me a lot of descriptive effort if I had taken a picture.  The end result, though, is a seal which is more durable than the original (which a small blow might loosen, as some owners report) yet which won’t interfere with any future repairs.

I mention future repairs with a bow toward Fate.  The owner joked when he collected it, “I’ll likely be back in a week when I drop it again.”

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black

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Posted by Dirck on 4 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  1,862 words typed (New Year’s Day, eh).

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The Last Progress Report

Posted by Dirck on 28 December, 2017

Oh, wait, that should have “…of 2017” on it.  How sadly click-bait-y of me.

I’m doing this somewhat to camouflage the complete lack of progress on the novel this week, although if pressed I will shout something about wanting to relax and enjoy a day off with my family.  And then having to do other stuff during writing time yesterday.  It happens.

So, what of the year just passed?  I won’t just dwell on the writing, and frankly I won’t have anything at all to do with the situation of the wider world.  You can get at a reputable news outlet just as easily as I can, if you want to spend some time lamenting.

I will start with the writing, though.  You will of course remember this from August:

Well, let me show you its kids:

Three gauges reading 68.9, 57.6, and 46.22

Huey, Screwy and Blooey

What’s with the triplets? Well, you’ll remember that I mentioned back in November that my estimate of length seemed off.  Rather than abolish the probably-wrong dial, which is also the closest-to-done, I supplemented.  The least-done dial represents what the November measurement of first-draft thickness suggested.  The middle child is a mere average of the two, and on the most recent application of ruler to manuscript it seems to actually reflect reality.  This means that I can confidently declare that I am somewhere between eight and twenty weeks from finishing a second draft which will be between 254 and 379 pages long.  I will gild this uncertainty by declaring it to represent comfortable margins.

Proper professional writers will, I’m sure shake their heads at this, and I’ll accept that.  I’m not under contract, I’ve got no deadline; I’ll take what comfort the latter provides, given the chilly winds blowing from the former.

I would also, had I not been banging away at the novel, be a little worried about an apparent loss of momentum represented by this:

Oh, no! He’s falling to bits!

Now, when I add in the progress on the novel, which I don’t include in that chart until it’s actually finished, then it’s… actually, now I am starting to think I’m losing my powers, because it’s just shy of 60,000 for the year.  Perhaps I will claim the suppressant effect so many writers have noted inflicted upon them by the political events of the year.

But, to end the writing portion of this retrospective on a high note, I will remind myself that I made a sale to a relatively big-deal publication… which I still decline to mention until things are a little more certain.

Yes, I showed this recently. I show it again, because it releases endorphins every time I do so.

This went home in exactly this state (clicky for bigness, if you want to gander at the horror in detail).

In the pen department… no huge triumphs, but no horrifying debacles, either.  I didn’t utterly smash anything (important)(that wasn’t mine)(that wasn’t already mostly broken), which is nice when repairing pens.  I did fetch up against a Parker 61 which was utterly resistant to repair– bits were loose which shouldn’t be, and those that needed to be to do something about couldn’t be undone because of the loose bits.

Sleek, to be certain. Very sleek.

The latter part of the year brought a couple of minor triumphs.  Yesterday’s pen, the Sheaffer Taranis, was something I had been very curious about since its release four years ago, and a recent sale brought one within financial reach.  Hurray!  Happily, ‘curiosity’ is not quite the same thing as ‘desire,’ so the appearance of the actual object did not bring with it a shattering disappointment.  It did not, alas, bring glee, either.  I was completely whelmed by it, neither over- nor under-, because it was very nearly precisely as I had expected it, and I had expected it to be good enough as a pen but not particularly amazing… and almost certainly not worth as much as Sheaffer wanted for it.

One of the other pen purchases of the year did bring glee.  I have been intermittently enthusiastic about TWSBI for some time, but even with that as a background, I was surprised by how much I enjoy writing with their Classic.  I suspect I’ve got an unusually good example of the 1.1mm point, a real point-bit-of-bell-curve individual.  This combines with amazing mileage (if you check back, you’ll find I’ve been using the same load of ink since the end of October, and it still doesn’t quite need a reload) to fill me with glee, to the extent that I’m amazed I haven’t been shouting “You must buy a TWSBI Classic if you hope to lead a happy life!” into the faces of strangers I pass in the street.  It really is jolly nice.

Of course, you might not like this colour. That’s cool– they’ve got others.

This past year, then, was not so very terrible for me as an individual.  And I’m very, very aware how lucky I am in this.  I hope, indeed, I almost literally grovel in the dirt in hopes of convincing Fate that it will treat me no worse in 2018.  And, as the new year looms up on our collective horizon, I’ll hope that you are all treated at least as well.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Snorkel Sovereign
Today’s ink: Herbin Violette Pensée

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Joyeux Kerstfeest, Y’all

Posted by Dirck on 22 December, 2017

I hope you’re all done the necessary running around, and have plenty of free time to bake shortbread or speculaas or stollen… or in fact to not do any of that and just sit in a contented heap with people you want to spend your time with.

This last one takes a while to get through, and I suspect it’s not to all tastes, but it’s worth a look at the manifestation of Christmas Past and the treatment of the Christmas Yet To Be segment.

Stay warm, be happy, and I’ll make words at you next week.

Today’s pen: Waterman Phileas
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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Posted by Dirck on 21 December, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 3,526 words typed.

Thank you, extended action sequence! That balances out last weeks miserable plodding nicely.

This week has been remarkably productive, indeed.  Not only that great outpouring of novel, but I got a little story up on the other enterprise as well, AND… well, let me show you a very nice thing indeed from my profile on Submittable:

I have not been diligently submitting my stories, since most of my thoughts are filled with novel, but I have been poking away at it, and that poking had pulled out a plum!  I won’t mention the name of the publication just yet, fearful of drawing the ire of Fate under the Counting Of Chickens Act of 1609; rest assured, there will be a big fat link to them as the date of presentation firms up.  This is a pretty wonderful Christmas present for me, even if it did appear a couple of weeks ahead of the official day of HoHoHo.

 

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Tinkling of the Season

Posted by Dirck on 15 December, 2017

Good news, everyone!  A change of location within the Regular Job building, which I somehow failed to moan about here last winter, puts me very very very far away from the radio which produces Offensively Repetitive Christmas Music (with Some Country Versions), with a couple of walls and a ninety degree bend in the building to complete the isolation.  I am blessed with silence, at least as far as seasonal tunes not of my own choosing go.  One of the primary generators of Humbuggery in my life has been shut down, and I am far more able to say Merry ChristmasSeasons GreetingsHappy Holidays, and Gruss vom Krampus without a scowl and a snarl.  Except that last one, because the snarl is traditional.

Since I am thus liberated from woe and light of heart, let me now inflict some of my less classical musical choices on you.  If you choose to listen.  No one will make you press play.

Now get out there and smile at the other people in the shops.  You’re all trying to brighten the world, right?

Today’s festive pen: Waterman Phileas
Today’s reflective ink: Montblanc Racing Green

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