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Posts Tagged ‘Parker 45’

Back to work

Posted by Dirck on 19 February, 2014

WHAT:  First draft of short story “Old 237” (working title), then first draft of short story “E.Z. Notes” (working title).

HOW MUCH: Five pages of manuscript, 3½ being the new project.

HOW LONG: About 40 min.; the new project has rather been yelling at me to get on paper.

DONE?: Some translating of “Old 237” still wants doing, but otherwise it’s ready for the next stage.

Tday’s pen: Parker 45
Today’s ink: Private Reserve Supershow Blue

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Hidden Shame

Posted by Dirck on 25 July, 2013

Searching through this extended exercise will find plenty of instances of both Hubris and Irony.  I fear the former, since the comeuppance is generally quite rough, and the latter has rather worn out her welcome.  Apparently, though, yesterday’s entry was the rolling out of a welcome mat for both of them, although it’s not what they wiped their shoes on.

I had an item of work which Regular Job Superior had to initial.  RJS is sometimes elusive, and I couldn’t count on her having a pen to hand when she appeared.  Yesterday’s pen seems robust enough, but it’s relatively old and I don’t know it well enough to know how it would stand up to a non-fountain person; thus, the Hero 616 bait pen I keep on hand went into a pocket.  My shirt yesterday has a superfluous pocket above the main, meant for stowing glasses, and to ensure I came out with the right pen that’s where the Hero went; I know my own powers of Klutzy well enough to know that if they were adjacent, I’d produce the Pelikan, and didn’t feel like looking like a pen-fixated twit through swapping after the fact.

It is, of course, known at The Regular Job, that I am a pen-fixated twit, but there’s no need to emphasize the point with Jerry Lewis style flailing.

A couple of hours later, I cornered RJS in her office, she provided the initials with the instruments she was holding, and that was that.  I returned to my desk, went about my duties, and about an hour later, thought that I should return the 616 to its lurking place before I forgot about it completely and took it home.  I took hold of the clip, began to slide it out of my pocket, and realized it was suspiciously light.

Things I learned about the Hero 616 that previous inspection hadn’t really brought forth:

  • The cap doesn’t grab on nearly as well as anything Parker made of a similar shape (bad);
  • It doesn’t dry out if the cap is about 50% engaged (should be good, but isn’t);
  • The collector doesn’t hold anything like as much as that in a Parker 51 (should be bad, but isn’t).

The pen had dropped well down into the pocket, and while it had remained upright it had the entire contents of its collector to donate to the fabric it now found itself in contact with.  This should have been a disaster, except that the peculiar multiplicity of upper-left quadrant pockets put and unusual number of layers between the pen and the viewing public.  Ink passed from the outermost layer of the interior pocket to the innermost layer of the normally-present pocket, with a great deal of lateral creeping in both cases.  The presence of a note-pad in the standard pocket limited contact between its inner and outer portions, even though it was below the source of ink, so only a little vestigial stain got onto the outermost element.  That happened on the back of the turn-over at the pocket’s top– a hem, in effect, three layers of cloth wide.  The ink didn’t have sufficient drive to push all the way through to the outside.

In a sideways manner, one could call me lucky at the outcome.

Other things I learned from the event:

  • It might not kill me to offer someone a ballpoint– I can touch it without either using it or bursting into flames;
  • Amodex has limits of effectiveness;
  • I am apt to harbour a grudge towards the Hero 616 for a while;
  • I can overcome a grudge against an inanimate object sufficiently to keep it where I can see it.  It’s right there!  I’m pointing at it, the dog!

On the Amodex note, I don’t mean to decry its usefulness.  While the innermost stain remains in place, it’s reduced to a slightly bluish tan, and the little stain just inside the pocket is abolished outright.  It’s just that there was a lot of ink involved.

Today’s pen: Parker 45
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

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Culture Shocking

Posted by Dirck on 19 July, 2013

In a reply to a comment about last week’s film, I mentioned Yokai Monsters.  As off my usual path as Japanese monster/samurai movies are (unless it’s October), I thought it only fair to show a trailer for one of those.  Watch at your peril!

For those who want to really get beaten up by this stuff, some industrious creature has put the whole of that movie up for public consumption, and neither Youtube nor the current copyright holders have gotten rid of it… as of this posting.

Today’s pen: Parker 45
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

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Words I Usually Like

Posted by Dirck on 11 July, 2013

Grand.  Apart from a slang connection to yesterday’s chest-thumping, it’s got the associations of magnificence and bigness in a positive sense.  What’s not to like?

Toy.  It was only Monday that I mentioned Lego, and one of the great things about having a son is the way his interests feed my childish elements to a marvelous extent.  Of course I like toys.

Stick them together, though… and I start to find fault.  The Regular Job’s office supplies are provided, in the main, by Grand & Toy.  While I was away on vacation, we appear to have had a new shipment of paper for the printers.  Once we regaled upon “premium copy paper” which was… about as good as one might expect from semi-generic bulk paper.  Now, though, we have “premium laser recycled” and while it doesn’t say so directly, I assume from my examination of it that it is also paper and not finely-ground disused lasers.

On paper (ho ho!), the new stuff is superior.  96gsm as opposed to the old 92 (that’s 24lb v. 20, for the imperial thinkers), and a whiteness of 96 rather than 92.  Those four points of difference are extremely apparent, too, which leads me to think that like decibels and richters the whiteness scale isn’t precisely linear.  It is also a very smooth paper to the touch; not quite slick, but with perceptibly less friction upon the fingertips than the old stuff.

However, from the point of view of probably only one person here at The Regular Job, it’s a degradation from the previous paper.  It’s far more given to feathering, and allows a substantial degree of show-through and bleed-through when exposed to fountain pens.  I’m going to add pictures to prove my point, but the other big discovery of the past 24 hours is that the scanner of The Regular Job is either much better or worse than my home item– it strives to conceal the bleed-through.  I’m going to take my samples home and edit in new evidentary images later, but for now I will presume upon your imagination to make up for what these pictures don’t quite show. {the editing of photos has been done, after an amazement of delays; enjoy the authentic evidence, and relax the fibres of your imagination}

New and improved image of new and degraded paper (now with clever insert!)

New and improved image of new and degraded paper (now with clever insert!)

For your convenience; the stuff you wrote on the other side of the paper.  No need to flip back!

For your convenience; the stuff you wrote on the other side of the paper. No need to flip back!

The conclusion, of course, is to not make a journal from Grand & Toy premium recycled laser (ptew!).  Or, really, do anything with it other than cram it in a toner-based printer and carry on making a mockery of the notion of the modern paperless office.  I manage to get through about 300 sheets of the stuff each day, and I’m not even one of the major users.

Today’s pen: Parker 45
Today’s ink (also not agreeing with the new paper): Jentle blue-black

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A Bare Essential

Posted by Dirck on 5 December, 2012

Is a credit card an essential of modern life?  Possibly.  I’d prefer it if they were not, I think, but they do certainly grease some many skids.  The reason I mention this is a little convoluted.  Back in the spring, I’d mentioned that there was an adjustment in my financial landscape to allow the purchase of a new vehicle.  This adjustment involved the mortgage, and since my wife is down on the title she was necessarily involved.  Our banker commented at that point that the enterprise was a little unusual, as my wife had no credit rating.  Not a poor one, but none whatsoever.  No loans of any kind had ever been made to her, no major purchase (like, a house) on her own hook.  She’d passed from living with her parents to living with me with no stops between, and so had remained in a bit of a fiscal eclipse.

I pause, to reassure the reader: she was not trading one domestic tyranny for another, not swapping arrested childhood for a sort of throwback marriage-as-chattel-slavery.  It just happens that I and her parents happen to view the household economy in a similar way; money comes in, becomes common property, and such payments as are needed are handled by the commonality.  Since they and then I were in better paying work (I only slightly, and only because the world undervalues BFAs horribly), we tended to be the face of that common fund in the eyes of the world.

Returning to the banker’s office, now, where it was mentioned that an absolutely null credit history was neither here nor there in the current matter, it might one day pose a problem.  What if her husband were to get bonked by a statistically improbably meteorite or be carried off by a swarm of hungry bat-boys?  She would have, potentially, some trouble with various financial institutions in getting herself taken seriously, if indeed she could convince them of her existence.  The solution was to take out a credit card and, in a highly irregular manner, use it.  So long as the payments were not similarly irregular, she gains solidity in the mystic world of money and the future can be faced, whatever perils befall her hapless husband.

Now, coming at last to the point; a credit card makes purchases via the internet possible.  Thus, when said hapless husband drops a ponderous hint about a certain pen he’s interested in, she is able to act, even if that pen is only available from a British source….

Good heavens!  Another pen!?

Good heavens! Another pen!?  Surely he’s got enough by now.

That big fellow is a Parson’s Essential, one of the Italix line of pens, which is the house brand of Mr. Pen.  I’ve been hearing good things about the fora for a while about this pen, and since I’m not immune to crowd-following, I discovered I was pining for one.  It’s not very expensive, but it’s enough that to buy it for myself would be too much of an indulgence (see yesterday and the reasons for my paucity of Cross pens).  As a birthday present, though… it’s just about perfect.

The buzz on the fora is right.  It’s a jolly nice pen, in a reasonably old-school manner.  The cap design is highly reminiscent of late UK production Swans and Watermans, although the band is a bit consciously “retro”.  It’s not a light pen by any means, but is has stopped on the right side of the line between pleasant heft and pointless over-larding.  Posted or not, it’s a very comfortable length, with bigness that doesn’t seem imposing.  It also has a very old-school barrel impression, but one so subtle that it cannot annoy those who dislike barrel impressions:

I have done everything in my power to make this impression visible.  You really don't notice it without seeking for it.

I have done everything in my power to make this impression visible. You really don’t notice it without seeking for it.

It’s not perfect, of course, as no work of Man is.  It’s a cartridge/converter pen, which is not my favourite, but the converter is a relatively huge Schmidt piston, and “not my favourite” is not equivalent to “a constant irritation”.  I think there are some technical deficiencies in the conversion of the point from a common medium to a 1mm italic, but they are small and really don’t affect the writing.  There is one aspect to the thing that I consider extremely charming, but which in the eyes of some folks has ruined the pen entirely.


Oh, my! A laser-engraved personalization on the cap!

Yes, indeed.  That is my pen.  As it was given to me in the name of both wife and son, I’m deeply unconcerned about the effect that marking has on resale value.  I may even start using it before I’ve got a page on my site written!

Today’s pen: Parker 45
Today’s ink: Pelikan blue-black

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Attack of the Relapsicon

Posted by Dirck on 3 December, 2012

Ramblyblargle,” says the brain from its solid armour of packed sinuses.

It’s things like this that make a guy fall behind on his pen repairs… which reminds me of some emails I should be about.  I’ll try for more coherence tomorrow.

Today’s pen (not up to much): Parker 45
Today’s ink: Pelikan blue-black

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Lights Gone Out

Posted by Dirck on 29 September, 2011

In addition to wishing some words banished from the language, the Great Work is threatening to lay me out under an nice thick clinical depression.  This is hardly from a new discovery, but a result of concentration.  I’m considering at some length the histories of all the pen-makers I’ve sampled the works of, and it distills into a rather grim song:

Once mighty, now fallen.
Once mighty, now fallen.
Once mighty, now fallen.
Once mighty, now fallen.
Once mighty, now reduced.

If it weren’t for occasional holdouts and boisterous new emergences, and the occasional smile from my son, I’d probably give up the effort and spend my days hiding under a desk and listening to my toe-nails growing.  My increasing return to this blog is an indication of my growing inability to face that music.

It’s almost done, though.  Nearly there.

Today’s pen, the work of a damaged survivor: Parker 45 Flighter
Today’s ink, from a hold-out more intact than many: Pelikan 4001 violet

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Collateral Damage

Posted by Dirck on 27 September, 2011

In the Great Work, I’ve been reviewing my heap’o’pens as mentioned earlier.  I begin to have tingles in an uncomfortable area; the notion that I have not only more pens than I need but more pens than is… not “sensible”… perhaps what I want to say is “defensible”.  I love my pens, in a way appropriate to a pen-human interaction, but there is such a thing as too much.  It’s a similar concept to that of having too many pets; above a certain threshhold, there’s just too many to give sufficient attention to.

This is another of my foolish resolution entries; I’m culling the herd… eventually.  Once the new site is up and running (and you may be able to see its top-masts on the horizon even now), I’ll be setting up a slightly better commercial mode than I’ve had to date, and a vast swarm of decent pens excess to my own capacities to see used properly will be offered to the world.

Irony would have one person buy them all, of course.  I hope not.  I’d rather be Johnny Appleseed than the Comstock lode.

Today’s pen, probably a keeper: Parker 45 Flighter
Today’s ink, distributed with some freedom: Pelikan 4001 violet

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Posted by Dirck on 3 June, 2011

Since I’ve been gold-bricking the past couple of Fridays, I thought I’d do penance in the form of a week-in-the-making comparision of this week’s pens.  The Parker 45 and the Sheaffer Stylist were meant to be direct competition for each other (at least, that appears to have been Sheaffer’s notion), and I thought it might amuse to examine them in that light.

In this corner: Sheaffer Stylist 404C, the challenger

In that corner, the Parker 45GT; holder of the field through getting there first

Round 1: Getting ink in, and keeping it there

It so happens I have period-appropriate converters for both of these pens.  Parker uses a steel-cage press-bar type, functionally similar to the Aerometric filler in the “51” but of rather lesser capacity.  The Sheaffer converter is a very trim cylindrical job with a button filler (the sort of mechanism patented by Parker decades earlier), and I will admit that I’ve never been in the same room with one before I got this week’s Stylist.  Looking at the hard plastic fore-end of it, I thought to myself, “I wonder how that seals?”

The answer is– poorly.  I got a quantity of ink on my fingers on Tuesday, but happily none on my clothes.  Since my wife is currently using all my other Sheaffer converters, modern screw-piston numbers, I had to resort to filling an empty cartridge to use the pen two days later.  Was this a problem when all was new?  Possibly not.  Probably not.  But I know a converter that’s becoming a mere historical oddity in my house.  This round to Parker, although I have seen some very whimsical herniation of the sac in a Parker converter and it is thus only a marginal victory, and one of the moment.

Round 2:  Who’s a pretty boy, then?

Aesthetics is a very subjective thing, and I should hate to come across as the arbiter of fashion… in pens… made in the 1960s.  Actually, that job may well be open.

That aside, I should rather be comparing the Sheaffer to a Flighter model of 45 than to this week’s (slightly) more common plastic barrelled version.  I do find the brushed metal with gold highlights an extremely attractive finish on a pen, and this does incline me slightly towards the Sheaffer.  There is, however, a fly in that particular ointment.

The clip.  The very reliable, deeply utilitarian, and hideously ugly clip on the Sheaffer.  It’s no better on the lesser model I’ve got than on this 404C, but in this case the gold plating somewhat highlights the want of beauty; it’s like gilding a wrench.  The fact that the way it’s mounted leaves a lot of pen sticking up out of the pocket is a minor issue, as we’re at least a generation past caring about the US Army’s pocket-flap rules, and it’s not the cap of the Stylist that moves children to tears.  Still, the clip in form and function is a big strong point for the Parker.

The trim-ring at the joint of the pen is also something of a sore spot for me, and this is literal.  In the Sheaffer, it is slightly recessed, and winks out of a gap between the cap and barrel (I assume this is how it’s meant to look, as closing it flush leads to the inner cap getting stuck), while in the Parker it is more or less flush; there’s a gap, but it’s not tactile.  I quite like the looks of the Sheaffer approach, but the effect is to put a rather sharp barrel edge out where it can catch your fingers.  In the less expensive Stylist, there’s a step in the barrel which makes for a flush cap, but a similar irritant.

For all that, if we turn the clips to the wall, I still incline towards the Sheaffer, finding the treatment of the ends a little more congenial than that of the Parker.  I shall have to call this round a draw which was contested in a very grim manner.  Both have the Star Fleet futurist-cool of their era (down to the the point badge on the Stylist), and if one finds that sort of thing appealing, it’s hard to choose between them.

Round 3: Make It Go!

The real test of a fountain pen is the making of marks upon paper.  In this, these pens are pretty close matches, especially when looking at the steel points for the 45.  I don’t want to encourage the point-snobs in the room by suggesting that the Parker’s access to gold points is a great mark in its favour.  The gold points on the Parker can have a bit of spring to them, and that’s nice but that can be as much a detriment as a benefit.  A springy point is more likely to become a sprung point in an enthusiastic hand.  Since I’ve been using each pen at The Regular Job this week, this has been something I’ve had to watch.  Steel points are rather better at filling in a three-layer form with confidence, and material aside I have to give the Sheaffer the mark in this very particular sub-category; that simple, flat point, supported top and bottom and more at home with a high writing angle is much better for manifold documents.

When in the past I was complaining about the Stylist, one of the major heads of complaint was flow.  This example is less culpable in that regard, and I’ll admit that I’ve run into some 45s in which shrinkage of the section has compressed the inner passages in such a way that they were extremely contrary, but the Parker seems to be ahead on this all the same.  I find that the Sheaffer wants a little tap on the paper after any length of capping to get things running, and that’s not good performance.  The 45 starts pretty much immediately after a full day set aside.  This relative willingness is balanced by the smoothness of the point, in which I find the Sheaffer has a very slight advantage; once the Stylist is convinced that it is time to write, it does so very nicely.

On a more subjective point, I find the Stylist slightly more controllable.  They’re both comfortable pens in use, but for reasons I can only imagine as connected to the slightly more cylindrical section, the Sheaffer obeys me better when I’m making an effort at decent writing.  I can’t really take that as a point in the Sheaffer’s favour, since it’s specific to me, and I think in general terms this round comes down to a draw as well.

The Decision

Well, since the Parker actually took one round, we’ll have to call it the victor.  It appears that the invisible hand of the market (which I generally despise and shun) agrees with me, since the Stylist was unable to sustain a run of even five years, while the 45 was in production for nearly five decades.  While I suspect that the looks of each pen was a decisive factor in this reception by the public, my own inclination is to follow the ink.  A reliable filler was certainly not outside Sheaffer’s grasp, and I find as I wrap up the week that there is a little question with the seal between the cartridge and the nipple– Sheaffer had been at cartridges rather longer than Parker, and this shouldn’t have been a dark mystery for them.  I’ll never say that one should avoid a Stylist, but I think it is more of a curiosity than a pen for regular use.

Today’s pen:  The Winner! 
Today’s draught of victory: Herbin’s Bleu Myosotis

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Posted by Dirck on 1 June, 2011

The god for whom the first month of the western calendar had two faces, and was capable of looking in two directions simultaneously.  I know how he felt.  Hoorah!  I have won an interesting hard-rubber button-filling pen… of modern make!… at an extremely reasonable price.  Oh no!  Yesterday’s entry is still valid.  Two entirely different viewpoints on the very same event.

Today’s pen: Parker 45 with a fine French-made gold point applied
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Bleu Myosotis

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