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Posts Tagged ‘Lamy Safari’

Posted by Dirck on 21 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,997 words typed

Not a terrible week, I guess, and more than I thought I’d manage– a couple of segments attacked this week were very like pulling teeth.  I’m also not going to manage to present a new work at the other outlet this week, as I have the last couple, because this week The Regular Job entered one of its infrequent “this is as much fun and effort as juggling flaming bears” phases.  I know I’m disappointing some people, and I’m also disappointing me.  The reproachful looks over the bathroom sink are going to be very hard to take.

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Salve Atque Vale

Posted by Dirck on 15 September, 2017

Uh-oh.  Like the school film presentations this Friday feature of mine was inspired by, I’m veering perilously into undisguised educational material.  Well, too bad.  Today was the last day of the Cassini space probe, and as one who grew up watching things like the latter Apollo missions (which, damn it, were real) and Skylab I take a small interest in the probing of space.  Apart from the science expansions it offered, which I admit to comprehending imperfectly, the whole enterprise produced some really cool pictures.  Thus, we have a retrospective of a fallen robot’s valiant efforts.

Also, I rather like the fellow’s voice.

Today’s pen: Lamy Safari
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

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Posted by Dirck on 7 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,926 words typed

Yes, it should be more. A long weekend and a trip to the eye doctor conspire against me.

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Posted by Dirck on 31 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,812 words typed

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Blood Pressure

Posted by Dirck on 26 July, 2012

The source of my father-in-law’s kidney ailment is an untreated hypertensive condition.  A fate I’d like to avoid, to be sure, and so it is with vast dismay that I pass though mere existence today.  We’ve all had them; all efforts go astray, all inanimate objects turn kamikaze, all conversation is perplexing at best and enraging as a general rule.  I’m extremely glad it’s not a pen-fixin’ day, and that today’s pen is both robust and not very dear.  It’s a balance, I suppose, to yesterday’s advancement in the writing I mentioned as the cause for a stub entry, but that doesn’t relieve the clenched-heart sensation of a repeatedly-renewed and maladaptive fight-or-flight response.

Running will likely just see me under a bus.  There’s nothing appropriate to grapple, and inappropriate grappling leads to cops and yet more stress.

Rather than expand on this complaint, I think I’ll find some part of the internet that plays quiet classical music for free and hide under my desk.  It probably won’t collapse on me.

Today’s anxious pen: Lamy Safari
Today’s rather jittery ink: Herbin Perle Noire

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Unwanted Refinement

Posted by Dirck on 24 July, 2012

I gave into a very foolish impulse yesterday.  I had a look at eBay.  This is frequently a prelude to looking at a huge list of not very large bids and thinking, “Oh, I hope I don’t win on most of those” (the same effect comes, I hear, from a not very large list of huge bids).  However, it appears the only urge I was open to was the investigative one; the investing one was out round the back with the brandy, I guess.  I should be happy that I have not got myself into a monetary bind, and I am, but there was an obverse to the coin that showed itself, and the happiness is tinged with concern.

To some extend, the exercise was one of seeing how well I could spot makes and models from the frequently dreadful pictures (I’ve taken enough of them to know them when I see them).  This is even more of a challenge when looking at “Grandpa’s desk drawer had all these!” lots; a great jumble of pens, pencils, and other similarly-shaped objects.  Given the nature of my site, I don’t think it’s bragging when I say that I’m not too bad at this sort of spotting.  Had I been in a buying frame, I certainly would have known it was a Parker “21” rather than a “51” and felt a clever chap for knowing it was already over-bid.  However, this cleverness appears to be somewhat alloyed to a cynicism I hadn’t felt creeping up on me.

Looking into one of those Grandpa’s Drawers photos, after about a minute of doing it that I was actively cocking a snook at the lower-tier pens.  I willingly concede that I don’t have much love in my heart for a lot of the post-1950 Wearever lineup, but I had never thought to find myself snorting derisively and even, indeed, sneering at Remingtons, Eclipses, and similar decent if lowly pens.  If this sort of thing keeps up, I might find myself chuckling at the notion of Esterbrooks with the wrong sort of intent.

I suppose it is to be expected that several years of playing with some of the better pens history has to offer will result in a somewhat jaded outlook.  While those lesser pens are as nice as their nature allows, there are some limits on them.  A pen with actual tipping cannot fail but be nicer to write with than one with a set of folded “butterfly” nibs.  A good solid Permanite or Radite barrel gives a better sense of security than an extremely thin mystery material.  If I’ve got the nice ones, why not treat myself?

Well… in part because I might forget that there are some charms to the deadly cheap pens.  I might not recommend Wearevers as a group, but I should continue to commend the Supreme for the amount of performance that it shakes out of a 29¢ price tag.  I might not altogether enjoy the way a very cheap pen writes, but I should remain open to the merely skin-deep beauty of many depression era pens, since looks were frequently all they could offer and they went quite over the top on them.  I should, in short, remember where I came from and not give into the urge to be a snob.  That’s a narrowing of mind, and I’m of the opinion that that’s not a healthy activity.

As an aside; if the first sentence in the third paragraph doesn’t draw some Google hits for people looking for an entirely different sort of online experience, I’ll be very surprised.

Today’s relatively lowly pen: Lamy Safari
Today’s ink: Herbin Perle Noire

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Birthday Suit

Posted by Dirck on 30 November, 2011

No foolishness with the title today; I am indeed prancing about at The Regular Job in my birthday suit.

It’s a dark grey wool pinstripe three-piece.  My father has a frightening spasm of giving a couple of weeks ago, and the suit was ready in time to wear today.  It’s the most expensive item of clothing I’ve ever worn, and certainly the best fitting.  I am well on my way to becoming spoiled on non-tailored clothes.

I am indulging myself a little today, in that I am not going to go on at any real length here today.  Yesterday’s terrors at the prospect of aging I have put behind me, as nothing important dropped off when I rose from bed this morning.   I’m using one of my current favourite inks, regardless of the current rotation.  I decided, in opposition to the aforementioned terrors, to use a pen designed in the same year as me, and which is also one of my (many) favourites.  It’s holding up pretty well in the face of change; why shouldn’t I?

Now, a final indulgence; a podcast about pens.  I may even put my feet up on the desk, once lunch isn’t in the way.

Today’s pen, hardly showing its age: Lamy 2000
Today’s ink, timelessly classic:  Herbin’s Bleu Myosotis

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Post with Postage

Posted by Dirck on 18 February, 2011

I’m still not here. However, I am here, if you follow me, and here I have just received a pen bought from eBay which claimed to be in Germany, but which came bearing these stamps:


It seems that Lebanon’s post office is quite down on drugs and smoking, and that it costs 7,000 Lebanese Pounds to send a pen to Canada.  Isn’t that interesting?

Today’s pen: Parker Duofold Senior (yesterday’s, too!), although as the day progresses I may swtich to a Lamy Safari.
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Bleu Nuit (Safari, if it happens, will get Lamy Blue)

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The Arsenal of Literacy

Posted by Dirck on 14 September, 2010

An assortment of unmounted Lamy Safari points

You remember that scene in The Matrix, when in preparation for the rescue of Laurence Fishburne’s character from the hands of the film’s villains, there’s an exercise in perspective using rack upon rack of weapons?  This picture is my own pathetic version of that.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Lamy Safari, and to celebrate that event I ordered in a set of points of diverse sizes.  I don’t want to contemplate the anniversary too closely, to be honest, as 1980 is the year I started high school and it makes it hard to maintain the illusion of immortality to consider the changes in the world and myself since that personal watermark.  The Safari persists very little changed, and in its relative stasis there is some comfort.

 Unlike Osmiroids and Esterbrooks, the points on the Safari aren’t technically meant to be interchangible.  However, they are extremely user-maintainable, so swapping points isn’t a big deal.  The trick is to work from the back, and some people find the best way to go is to slap a piece of Scotch tape onto the back of the point and using it as a handle to draw the point straight forward off its mounting on the feed.  I find that I can get a fingernail purchase behind the point and press it off that way.  I imagine after too many repetitions, the mounting points will wear and the points won’t hold snugly, but I’m not expecting the changes to be very frequent.

Some people will scratch their head at the prospect of having more points for Safaris than bodies to hold them.  This is a remarkably protean pen, appearing in a bewildering array of colours, clear “demonstrator” bodies, and an aluminum-bodied version called the Al-Star.  I don’t know if anyone has a comprehensive listing of all the variants of Safari, but I should not be surprised if there are dozens (edit— no definitive list found with a cursory Google, but this discussion of the matter goes on for 22 pages).  For my part, because they are really just different colours of the same thing, I’m content with a couple bodies to mount an assortment of points.  Given how many pens I’ve got, this may seem a strange stance, but if you consider how much space all those other pens must take up, I think you’ll start to understand my position.

You’ll notice that I’ve got points with two different finishes, dark and light.  My two pens of this line are of quite different natures.  The transparent Vista is well complimented by a bright, twinkling point.  My other one, which I mentioned in passing when relating my vacation earlier this year, is dark.  Dark.  If not for current trends, one might have called it villainous.  When I refer to the weapons racks at the start of this entry, my inspiration is lying quietly in my pocket, awaiting deployment:

Intimidating, isn’t it?  And at thirty, just entering the prime of active life.

Today’s stealth pen:  Lamy Safari (and there’s also a picture right there ↑)
Today’s subtle ink:  Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

post scriptus:  I’ve just read this blog describing the horrid thing Amazon.com is up to.  I urge you to read it also.

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Diamond… Mine!

Posted by Dirck on 22 July, 2010

Today (and also some of yesterday ) I’m doing an uncommonly full review of a pen. This is the first product of a new pen maker, TWSBI, which has as part of their business model been sampling the brains of the Fountain Pen Network. This must be a frustrating effort, because a nuttier squirrel academy to seek opinions from is hard to imagine– we are very certain about what we like, but we all like very slightly different things.

What they have come up with is, to avoid hyperbole, utterly amazing. I’ve made up a little photoplay of what you get in the mail when you order one of these things. After removing the outer wrapping, there is the exterior box with the company logo printed on it. I can’t decide what that logo reminds me more of, an item of Imperial blazonry from Star Wars or a biohazard warning:

This is as much as a Lamy Safari gets for a box– there’s nothing wrong with that, and Lamy is fairly clever about it, but in this case, this is just the first layer. Within the cardboard, the actual plastic box is further protected by foam and a thin-film wrapper:

Once you’ve fought your way past all that, you find the pen suspended in a little cradle in the plastic shell. This, I imagine, is what they expect you to get to see in the display shelves of any store than might carry this pen. You will notice a couple of design award markers cluttering up the otherwise minimal interior of the box. The Golden Pin is apparently a thing instituted in Taiwan (whence TWSBI) simply to pat upon the back any product their Ministry of Economic Affairs thinks is cool, but the Reddot is an actual big international deal, which has also been given out to heavy hitters like Apple:

Having released the pen from the box, you’ve got a jolly big pen, with extremely good finish. It is slightly larger than the Pelikan M600, and has much the same internal mechanism (the Pelikan, by the way, costs about six times as much as the Diamond). The barrel of the pen is faceted, a reflection of the pen’s name, in alternating triangles and lozenges, which are not only decorative but also help to keep the pen from rolling to briskly off a desk if put down without the cap attached at either end. That’s not something I do a lot of myself, but it’s a nice little feature all the same:

I refer again to the Lamy Safari, because this pen costs about the same as that German product, which is frequently suggested as an entry-drug for the prospective pen addict. I don’t want to run down the Lamy, which is a good pen, but the little bits of trim on the Diamond elevate it to something rather more wearable than the wire-clipped school pen so many of us enjoy. The point is made for TWSBI by Schmidt, a firm which specializes in making parts for fountain pens; it’s imprinted with the same slightly sinister logo and the maker’s initials, with no claims of German origin in sight. This is not as firm a point as that found on the Lamy—it’s not flexible in any sense of the word, but there is the springiness associated in modern pens with the higher-class gold point.

I should mention that the haziness of the section is a result of having test-filled the pen with water and then emptying it before taking this picture. It’s just condensation, not something inherent to the pen.

What really makes this pen is what lies beneath it… literally. In the space under the box is a very detailed instruction sheet, along with some maintenance items– a spanner and a tiny bottle of silicon grease:

These items are a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because they make it clear to the average user that this is something that is not inherently disposable. The maker has provided the tools to keep the thing in operating trim, so why not maximize the return on your investment by giving it a little attention now and then? A curse, because it encourages idiots like me to take the thing apart every twenty minutes. In fact, I hadn’t had it out of the wrapper that long when this happened:

Now, it’s not wrong to do this. It is encouraged. But it is also unnecessary… sort of. This is one of a pre-production set of 300 released to FPN members (if the writing on the wrapper has any meaning to it, this one is number 231). While they were in transit, the maker put a public announcement out that some of the piston seals, the little black object at lower left, are not quite up to the correct tolerances, and may allow ink through to the “dry” side of the barrel’s interior. Part of the public announcement was a request to be informed of the problem developing, so a replacement seal could be sent. How’s that for customer care?

I should mention at this point that I don’t altogether recommend completely undoing the filler mechanism as I’ve done here. It’s a bit of a Chinese puzzle (if I may be facetious) to get it back together again, not in as much as getting the parts to cling together, but in getting them aligned in such a way that the piston has the correct length of travel. Happily, if you’re one of the folks awaiting the replacement seal, you don’t have to take it that far apart—until the blind cap is entirely unscrewed from its base, and the base is the part that the spanner serves to remove from the barrel, the filler remains a contiguous unit, and the seal can be replaced without the full strip-down seen above.

I haven’t had this pen long enough to be able to recommend it with a straight face– heck, I don’t know yet whether mine has one of the bum seals, and I’m as yet aglow with the happy sensations of a new pen. Demonstrator pens are a bit of a conundrum for me in general– while one is entirely aware of what is going on within, which negates a lot of the crummy surprises a pen is capable of springing, it is something like a hairless cat in that you’re seeing stuff that’s not always appealing, with every blemish and thumbprint manifest. I am reasonably sure that when the honeymoon ends I’ll still like it, and will certainly offer a link to their English-speaking online store if for no other reason than to help them become known in the world of pen enthusiasts. At very least they’ve managed to make a pen competitive in performance with pens twice its price.

On the subject of becoming known– TWSBI? That’s a lot of letters, isn’t it? The maker’s representatives on FPN suggest “twisbee” as a pronunciation, the first part as “twist” without the final letter, and since it’s their name I won’t suggest otherwise (despite an inclination to assume something with that many consonants must be Welsh). “Bi” is pen in whichever flavour of Chinese language holds sway in Taiwan, and the remaining letters are for “San Wen Tang”, the meaning of which I’m unclear on and the reasons for the inversion remaining obscure.

Future developments for the company include diverse colours of barrel for the 530 (all, for the moment, transparent), and more interestingly a projected vacuum-filling pen, which promises to be a lot more service-friendly that the Sheaffers of the 1930s and ’40s, and hopefully a little less dear that the Conid pens out of Europe. I think I mentioned previously that there are some signs of the writing instrument pendulum swinging back from cheap’n’dreary, and TWSBI is certainly a hopeful indicator in that direction.

much later: Ah-hah. It is one with a duff piston seal, and I do recommend it with a straight face all the same.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Diamond 530, on its maiden flight.
Today’s ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun (although I now think a more festive ink would have looked better)

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