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Posts Tagged ‘Mabie-Todd’

Posted by Dirck on 2 November, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,021 words typed

I notice a couple of things.  Yesterday was the start of NaNoWriMo, and tomorrow is the anniversary of my first word on paper for this novel.  There’s a connection, of course, because I arbitrarily set the start of the latter to co-incide with the former, and then buggered up my own timing slightly.  I continue to be pleased that I said NawNoHeyNo to the prospect of trying to finish in a month, because that expectation would have me feeling like a colossal failure by now.

The other thing I notice is that my word count for the week is low, thanks to the Hallowe’en thing I did over on my other front.  Not colossal failure, but it’s not helping the cause; I believe I’ll be doing some extra work tonight and tomorrow to advance things.  All the same, very nearly half-done the current draft, so the nebulous early- to mid-February finish line remains in place.

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Imitations of Mortality

Posted by Dirck on 27 October, 2017

It’s practically here!  The most funnest day of the year!

If, like me, you’re not interested in going out to a bar and watching people in Sexy (Insert Profession) costumes destructively testing their livers, may I suggest a movie?  Here’s a couple.  The first is short and… kinda splattery.

The other is just the thing to fill an evening.  I’ll be wearing a costume labelled “Sexy 1950s British Television Licence Payer (xxxl)” while I hunker down for this one:

If you have access to the all-colour Hammer version and somehow haven’t seen it, you really should set aside a couple of hours.

Today’s slightly thematic, in terms of name and vintage, pen: Mabie, Todd & Co Blackbird
Today’s potentially mood-setting ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Posted by Dirck on 19 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,901 words typed

Hey, that’s a more productive week!  Since we’re getting close to the anniversary of this project, now is as good a time as any to announce:  This project will absolutely be finished long after we pass that anniversary.  Earlier optimism on this point was unfounded, and now that I’ve got a strong sense of my weekly output… February *mbbl*th is the likely completion date.  Not what I’d hoped, but given the tiny slice of time I can apply to the matter, I’m actually feeling pretty good about that.

Speaking of feeling pretty good, and to wrap up a slightly loose end from last week.  Doctor seen, x-rays taken, and the verdict is– if the knee is sore, put on a brace for a while, and take a mild anti-inflammatory (which most popular over-the-counter pain relief is).  No other treatment needed.  I may yet dance!

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Posted by Dirck on 12 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 793 words typed

That’s a pretty weak showing for the week. Let me explain, and perhaps even justify.  Monday was Thanksgiving up here in the Great White North, and that meant I was paddling about the house doing important house stuff prior to heading to my in-laws’ place for the traditional attempt to eat enough to last out the whole winter.  And that meant no writing.

But wait!  There’s more!  Today, indeed even as this entry is being posted by cool and unsympathetic electronic hands, I am off to see my doctor.  You may remember that in December and then again in April I mentioned having wrenched the crap out of my knee.  Up until the last week of September, I would have told you that I was pretty much recovered from this.  Mid-way through that week, for absolutely no reason I could notice, the knee was all inflamed and painful again; no new acrobatics, no attempted heroics, not even inclement weather.  That became the point at which I allowed common sense to overcome self-destructive idiotic laziness; I made an appointment to have it looked at.

Given the intermittent use of Canada’s handling of health-care in the debate over how things might be re-arranged in the US, I’m going to talk about this astonishing delay for a moment. I will admit that the distance between making the appointment and its arrival is somewhat inconvenient, although the leg is back to being merely somewhat sore.  However, I don’t want anyone to point at this and shout, “There!  See the horrible toll TEH SOCIALIZISMS takes on those poor benighted fools in Canada!” Here’s my take on this delay–

First of all, my doctor is quite good, popular and getting to be of an age where he wants to work less than five days a week; this makes for a full calendar.  Given that the most recent injury was five months ago, I can hardly call this an emergency, and even if I did call it an emergency, it’s not an Emergency Room emergency.  I could have, if moved by relentless agony, have sat for a couple of hours in any one of a number of open clinics around the city, and have my problem seen to by a competent if unfamiliar doctor (and thus left the emergency room less burdened by dummies like me and able to concentrate on people in authentic serious emergency trouble).  The delay is the price I pay for insisting on seeing the doctor I have chosen… which we can do here in Canada, honest.

Importantly, whether I wait several hours in an ER (because triage would put me waaaaay down the list of people needing attention), a couple of hours at a clinic, or a couple of weeks while the line of many satisfied patients my doctor enjoys cycles through to me, I am not paying for it.  Yes, I am paying for it through taxes, and that’s fine with me, because I’d be paying taxes anyway, and at about the same rate if I lived in neighbouring North Dakota, the same way I’m paying for police and fire departments and all that other stuff that people forget about when they complain about taxes.  However, my experience today will include no billing– I enter, I am probed, I get medical advice on my physical state, I leave and that’s that.  If I am sent for x-rays, same deal, but with extra radiation.  If the doctor tells me to come back in a month to see how I’m getting on, then it’s the same deal again.  If I have to start a long series of treatments because he notices I have a powerful and long-simmering case of The Spon Plague, then it’s still the same deal.  Watch as carefully as you like, as no time will my wallet leave my pocket.

I think that’s a pretty good deal, and certainly worth the .  I don’t know why people in the US resist it so fiercely (other than that they’ve been convinced by the people who make money off their system that it’s the only way to roll).

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Posted by Dirck on 5 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,977 words typed

I applied a little thought (uh-oh) to the pace of work, and it appears I’m not going to have something to dangle in front of publishers and/or agents until late January at earliest.

Sigh.

But, as the movie said, if you rush a miracle man, you get lousy miracles.

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New Format!

Posted by Dirck on 10 November, 2016

The exclamation point makes it exciting!

For those who are actually enjoying these progress reports, I have another version of telling the whole world my business over at the writing establishment; a gauge showing how the work to date relates to completeness, which updates every day that I get anything written.  It’s about as silly as what I’m doing here, I admit, but it helps to keep me motivated, and since it’s there, you might as well know about it.

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  27 manuscript pages.

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Posted by Dirck on 3 November, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 31 October
  • 1 November
  • 2 November
  • 3 November
  • Second draft of “Discoveries in the Wake of the Last Crusade.”
  • More second draft.
  • Done, done and done (yes, there are three endings), AND some third draft polishing of “Rearranging Deckchairs.”
  • First draft of Impossible Bodies (eeee!).
  • 626 words typed
  • 715 words
  • A total of 2,777 words on the one, and some minor corrections on the other.
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.

You’ll note the use of italics rather than inverted commas on the title of the new project. The long haul has begun!

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A Name was Dropped

Posted by Dirck on 28 October, 2016

Yes, last week I mentioned M.R. James, whose works for some reason I tend to associate more with Hallowe’en than Christmas.  Some quirky of my personality, I suppose.  In any event, here’s another.  It strays somewhat from the original text, which sets up some disappointed expectations, but this is balanced by a bunch of rather good British actors doing their quiet and effective thing for about an hour.

Today’s quiet British pen: Mabie, Todd & Co Blackbird
Today’s gently suggestive ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Pure Fabrication

Posted by Dirck on 27 April, 2015

The close observer of past entries may have noticed a bit of an anomaly lately.  While Bleu Pervenche remained the ink in use, the pen changed.  This may have nurtured curiosity in that close observer’s heart, and I can now clarify the events.  I did indeed have a moment of frivolity in my choice of pen and ink when I brought the Stylist out of storage on the 10th, although I only admitted to it for the ink.  This frivolity was repaid shortly after the entry for that day, when I found my fingers festively blued… but the source of the ink was the joint of the pen.

That’s not good.

Over the weekend, I moved the ink from a modern converter which wasn’t seating excellently into a cartridge, cleaned up the pen, gave it a couple of hours of lying on its side… and found that the ink was getting out into the barrel.  The cartridge went into the Agio and I had to put on my thinking cap.

My history with Sheaffer cartridge pens betrayed me slightly in this.  There is not a lot of dismantling to do with the old school pens nor NoNonsenses, both of which were companions of my youth.  I was thus slightly blind to the anatomy of the Stylist, but when presented with a leak, there must be a source, so rather than relying on the wisdom of the ancients (that’s me!) I actually looked inside the section.

There I found a suggestive slot on either side of the steel fang that enters the unsuspecting new cartridge.  Suggestive indeed, because it suggests that with the right tool, one could unscrew… something.  Well, unscrewing something is what inquisitive apes like to do!  There was, however, the issue of that rather important fang in the middle of the thing.  Here we meet the title of the piece, because I had to take a piece of brass tube left over from a previous bit of cleverness and make a tool to the purpose by grinding away bits of the end  until left with two protrusions.  The tube goes over the fang, the protrusions engage the groove, and I get to plumb the mysteries of the Stylist.

Anatomy Stylist2

They’re not THAT mysterious.

There’s more buffering in there than I had given it credit for.  The source of the problem was that seal mounted towards the inward end of what I will call the feed because “collector” is a part of a different pen and I think properly has to be separate from the bit that conducts ink from reservoir to point; this thing appears to be all one piece, because the threads are at the far end from the slot.  The seal is similar to ones found in Imperials and Targas, and in those situations I find it isn’t quite eternally reliable either.  I think it’s made of nylon.  My remedy, thus far functional, was to try reviving it with some silicone grease, although if that starts to fail I think the best alternative is to pack some wax into the seam between the walls of the section and the feed rather than take it apart and try to mount some kind of o-ring.

The tool I am not showing because it is extremely ugly.  It is functionally similar to the Conway-Stewart cap tool or the Visofil nut tool made by The Pen Practice, but without any of the evident skill of construction found there.  I’m shy about my limitations.  If I were to make another, by the way, I’d probably find a tube closer to the outer diameter of a Sheaffer cartridge, to get better leverage.

While I had the thing apart, I made an interesting discovery about the contact between the point unit and the feed.  There’s less of it than I thought:

Quite a gap, eh?  You can see the dodgy seal better in this one, too.

Quite a gap, eh? You can see the dodgy seal better in this one, too, just short of the right end of the feed.

The stem at the back of the point unit is bottomed out in its cup on the feed.  I don’t know if that’s some clever use of dead space to insulate the feed and add buffering space, or if it’s an idiotic leaving of places for ink to dry and cause trouble.  It saves the need to line up the little vent hole in the lower part of the unit with the air-return on the feed, and I guess that’s what the reason for it is, but it troubles me.

While fabricating things this week-end, I also ran up a tool to ease the dismantling of Snorkels, as I’ve a sick one in hand from a client.  It’s a stick with a slot in it, and a hole drilled in it.  That one I just forgot to get a picture of, which is a shame because it’s damn useful.  Maybe later.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Stylist
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche

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Exsanguination

Posted by Dirck on 20 November, 2014

Man, that’s quite a word, eh?  Classy, but absolutely dripping with menace.

…well, I guess it would be dripping, if it hadn’t all run out.  Still a wonderful word.

In the very early days of my activity here, I confessed to a youthful indiscretion involving the destruction and loss (not necessarily in that order) of a couple of authentically old pens glommed from an antique store.  I was then more given to early adoption of technology, but I was also interested in the ways of days gone past.  In addition to those pens, I also looked into…

Straight razors.  Scary!

I actually bought one, too.  After a couple of attempts to sharpen it without access to any appropriate stropping surfaces, I had a couple of goes at shaving with it.

Very tentative goes.  I’d first heard of Sweeney Todd when I was about seven, and the lesson stuck.  My youthful beard was somewhat reduced, but between the unstropped blade, the unwillingness to open a vein, and absolutely no sense of which angle to hold the thing at, the results were disappointing.  Not “head almost entirely separated from shoulders” disappointing, for which I am grateful, but the straight razor went into a drawer.  I’m sure my parents breathed a sigh of relief.

More recently, some correspondents have been talking about their entry into the Magical World of Wet Shaving.  Being in the bearded camp, my shaving has long been limited to a small band of neck (because “neck-beard” has troublesome connotations), and I have flitted between disposables and an elderly electric razor.  Moved to curiosity by these other chaps, though, I had a look at the site most of them get their stuff from.

I’m moved to give it a try, as I find that neither the blades nor the holder that constitute a safety razor are very expensive.  They’re more expensive, as a unit, than disposables, but there’s less wasted plastic involved.  The elderly electric razor remains on call, and the cost per use at this point is essentially nil, but it also doesn’t do a lot more to remove hair than that straight razor did, and appears to work mainly by generating enough heat to shrivel the beard it touches.

And now I’ve had a chance to try it.  My discoveries over the first couple of uses have been good and bad.  On the good side, it does a cracking good job of knocking down the beard, and there’s a lot less fouling of the blade than the disposables suffered which means I use less water in the process.  And it remains below 600° at all times, which puts it ahead of the electric.

On the down side… well, something in the difference of blade presentation between the safety razor and disposables means a habit I’ve been in of not applying anything to the skin but a little water is no longer viable.  The initial discovery of this was accompanied by a certain amount of yelling, and followed by a great deal of clean-up of the sort that Lady MacBeth would be familiar with.

Prosecution Exhibit A

Prosecution Exhibit A

So, now I have spent the money to get some rather well-smelling shaving soap and a proper brush to apply it (a nail-brush didn’t cut the mustard).  I now have a smooth neck without constant threat of beheading, without blistering, without adding unnecessarily to landfills, and without constant soaking of my collars in cold water to keep the stains from setting.

All thanks to a technology that slightly pre-dates fountain pens.  I’m pleased, and not very surprised.  Which is good– getting surprised by a razor usually ends poorly.

Today’s pen: Mabie, Todd & Co. Blackbird
Today’s ink: Diamine Sargasso Sea

…and because it’s Thursday, there’s a progress report, too:

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 17 November
  • 18 November
  • 19 November
  • First draft, “The Dutch Walk”
  • The same
  • Ditto
  • 9 manuscript pages
  • 7 manuscript pages
  • 12 manuscript pages
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 55 min.

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