What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘Parker 51’

Posted by Dirck on 29 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,481 words typed.

Say, that wasn’t much of a week, was it? Oh, but it was busy. You see, this fellow…

The darling Hercule

…has been going increasingly mad from loneliness since the death of his closest and final chum, Oberon.  It’s not that we humans neglect him, but we do not speak his language well. Last weekend, we finally found him some companions.  We had been looking for either siblings or a cat that was very friendly to other cats.  We ended up finding two of the latter:

Names TBA. We’ve just met them. Also, someone else took this picture.

They are, as far as anyone knows, not related.  But they clearly get on well with other cats.  They were, in fact, required to be adopted together by the rescue group whence we got them.  The older one is great with cats, but shy with people, and thus was hard to adopt.  After he had provided support to the younger during a phase of convalescence from the illness which took his mother and litter-mates (which sounds like Victorian melodrama, but is all too true), the idea of separating them seemed monstrous.

Of course, when brought into our house, they vanished like a dew.  I spent part of Sunday convinced that the little fellow had been killed by some unknown hazard in our basement.  By last night, though, they were both at least visible, and the big guy has apparently convinced Hercule that no one is going to get eaten by anyone else.  Progress toward a happy household.

However… none of this has a lot of bearing on the low word-count.  What brings that about is the fact that one of the words typed this week was END, all by itself at the bottom of a page.  Very nearly 90,000 words, which is a great deal more than I thought the manuscript ran to and a pretty good number for a novel.

This years-ago version of my son is SO PROUD of his dad’s persistence!

This doesn’t mean I’m done, alas.  There’s a little polishing of the whole before it gets put in the hands of feedback providers, then reacting to that feedback, then hiring a professional editor to do some horrible things to my ego… at the end of which I will start sending query letters out.  If this seems a timid and over-baked approach… well, yeah, but since it’s the first novel (bar the ones I never even tried to publish) I’d like it as shiny as possible before pestering gate-keepers with it.

It is done enough that I can get on with some other projects, though.  Hoorah, hoorah!

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The Cold Depths of Space

Posted by Dirck on 23 March, 2018

Let me start with a still photo.  Outside my window at The Regular Job, right this moment:

Yep.  Three days after the vernal equinox.  That’s Canada for you, I guess (portions of south-west coast subject to exemption).

ANYWAY, let’s use that as a jumping off point.  Snow, wind… these are as nothing to the hostile depths of space, right?

Two final observations:

  1. I am very affected by the end.  I blame a confluence of good acting and a very subtle trick of the writing;
  2. Because I am a Canadian and used to harsh conditions, I was slightly distracted by the fact that he never put on his damn hat.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

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Posted by Dirck on 15 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    4,723 words typed.

I have the brazen effrontery to be slightly disappointed with this week’s production.  One day was a little shy, because a change in the precise manifestation of a character’s motivations had some serious effect on a particular scene, almost of “Oh, right, Pennywise does NOT just hand each kid a loot bag and a balloon giraffe here” proportions.  That said… man, oh, man, am I ever close to the end.  It’s not impossible, if I work like a whole platoon of steam-driven digging robots, to see me done by this time next week.  More realistically, though, two weeks.  At which point I will tip over and catch fire (in the way a steam-driven digging robot might).

Also, for the purposes of 99.9993% of anyone visiting my site, I have it sorted out.  There’s some decoration on the headers that resists correction, but all the pictures, text, and links are useful… to the extent that they were before the problem started.

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Posted by Dirck on 8 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •   4,983 words typed.

Funnily enough, I was thinking on Monday that I’d be apologizing for the light count on the week because the weekend session was less spectacular than the one previous.  The words have been pouring out the ends of my fingers this week, mainly because unlike some earlier weeks I’ve whined about the current patch of first draft hasn’t needed quite as much polishing.  Plus I can actually see the finish line, bobbing along on the far horizon.

The completion of this draft will see a looooong hiatus of while I press a (purely notional) gun to the heads of dear friends and demand that they read it and give honest feedback regarding flaws I have grown blind to, which rather lets the meaning out of “finish line,” but I will at least be able to turn my hand to other works while they struggle through the unexpectedly deep drifts of prose I’ve emitted.

In other happy news, I’ve passed the half-way mark of fixing pages over on the site.  As of this moment, only 233 posts remain to be converted back into pages and have various \ extracted from their text… and a couple of dozen of those are actually just posts, announcing updates on the site itself.  By this time next week, things should be mostly back to normal.

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Posted by Dirck on 1 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  4,685 words typed.

Why, yes, I did let writing come between me and what counts for sports in my world (which is: twiddling my thumbs in a specific way to make pixels do stuff) last weekend.  It has had a useful effect, hasn’t it?  Please don’t say “You’d be done long ago if you’d done that sooner” because I’m exquisitely aware of this.

No forward movement on the site, alas.  There’s a couple of things that I will be trying this weekend, because I need my home computer for several hours at a stretch to try it rather than stolen moments of Regular Job access.  I might have done it yesterday afternoon, which I took off after commiting very few words of novel indeed, except I did that thanks to Mr. Migraine abducting me.  Moaning and vomiting took up the whole time between lunch break and bedtime.

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Tap Your Troubles Away

Posted by Dirck on 23 February, 2018

It has been a somewhat miserable week, and the semi-resuscitation of the site leaves me looking at the possibility of having to hand-edit back into proper shape rather more than six hundred pages of information.  This makes for, as I’m sure you’ll understand, a little blueness.  Also, it’s still February.  But the weekend is looming on the horizon, so let’s have a little fun.

As one who has danced in full armour in his youth… well, I’m glad it was a stately pavanne rather than the sort of thing those lads were getting up to.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

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Posted by Dirck on 29 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 18 manuscript pages (thin air up here.  Thin indeed).

The annual summer silence is about to descend on this enterprise, as my two weeks away† from The Regular Job begin on Monday.  Of course, the way things have been running lately, the interruption will be almost imperceptible.  As it ever the case, I’ll hope to get some writing done around the expectations of family and fabric of the house without expecting to.  This will make for a good deal more physical work than last year, carting the giant heap of paper home and then shifting it out of the way while doing whatever it is that gets in the way of writing is; we remember that another translation of codex is “lump of wood.”

We will try to overlook a more colloquial use of the word by native Latin speakers; blockhead.  I’m sure I shall feel like one in a fortnight when I’ve failed to advance the work beyond its current state, however much I hope to.

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Anti-Nausea Treatment

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2017

A bonus entry!

In the progress report, I have today’s pen down as the Parker Challenger, but I am in fact carrying a second pen today.  This is not the only transgression of my usual policies, because that second pen is not mine– it belongs to a client.

I am at least as shocked as everyone else.  But it’s done for a noble cause.

The reason this pen is in my clutches at all is because it has been throwing up in its cap.  That’s not good.  It’s also very unusual behaviour for the model.  The Parker “51”, after all, invented having enormous buffers between ink and outside world, and the only thing I could think of was that the owner wasn’t filling it properly… except in discussion with that person, I got a sense of someone who actually knew what was what in the filling of pens.  Like me, they are a user of collected pens, seeing little point in a pen left sitting on a non-marking velvet pillow in a safe-deposit box.  If it wasn’t pilot error, then… what?

Exterior inspection first.  The “51” is well known as being durable, but it’s not Kryptonian.  Might there be a covert crack in the hood?  Careful, well-lit turns under the loupe said no.  And that meant I had to take it apart and look at it’s guts.

There are, of course, two main sorts of “51”.  There is the initial wave, using a Vacumatic filling mechanism, which was swapped out after seven years of production for the Fotofil press-bar rig, which we call today the Aerometric… and actually, this word is of some importance.  It described a breather tube in the very heart of the filler, so long that it reached to nearly the end of the Pliglass sac (oh, so many neologisms out of Parker!).  This allowed the sac to fill fully by working the bar several times, but to avoid catastrophic leakage during air travel, there was a teeny little hole in the side of the tube, close to the open end of the sac that equalizes pressure inside and outside the tube; that’s what was originally meant by “Aerometric”.  This pen has a Fotofil reservoir, and all the other outward signs of being a post-1948 product.

…so imagine my surprise when I opened the pen and found the stubby little breather tube of a Vacumatic filler peeking out the back of the collector.  There was a 1951 date-code on the point, which is entirely appropriate, but the feed and the associated breather were Vacs.  It seems that at some point before the current owner got this pen, something awful happened to the feed.  Whoever had it at that point cast about for a spare, and had only the older Vac type at hand; the breather tube in question was a new plastic item, not the original celluloid, so modern monkeyshines are indicated.  “Oh, well,” said this imaginary repair-person.  “It all fits; where’s the harm?”

Frankly, I don’t really blame my figment, because it took me a while to figure out how the symptoms developed.  That short breather would prevent a complete fill, and I suspect if it had been a little shorter, nothing would have come of it other than the owner occasionally wondering at how frequently fills were needed.  However, the narrower ink chamber of that style of filler meant that the relatively shallow fill was still enough to cover the inner end of the breather tube, and also gave slightly greater thrust when the air in the reservoir expanded.  If the collector was partially full, as it might be in a freshly-fed pen, that’s enough to overwhelm it, and there’s your cap-full of ink.

What remedy, then?  Ideally, an Aerometric feed and a fresh tube.  But I don’t have a spare feed.  What I do have is about a meter of the very same Teflon tubing Figment used to make the problematically correct Vac-length tube, which fits very nicely in the back of the Vac feed, and so I cut an Aerometric-appropriate length from that.  I also have a pin and the capacity to warm it, allowing me to put a teeny little hole in the tube, close to the open end of the sac.  Theoretically, then, problem solved.

But I’m in the business of practical solutions.  So, we need a field test.  The first aspect of the test was see if the pen filled at all; the Vac tube is of a wider bore than the Aerometric, and there was some chance this would afflict filling.  Trial proved this fear unfounded, and so we move onto phase two of the field trials.  That is me sticking the pen in my shirt pocket, staggering around for a few hours and exposing it to my raging personal furnace (I have a surface temperature approaching 30C!), and then taking the cap off.

Carefully.

Over a disposable sheet of paper.

SUCCESS!

Alas, I lack an aircraft to test against serious changes of external pressure.  My parents live on the fifteenth floor of their building, but I don’t expect the 0.07 psi change will really prove much one way or another, so any visit to them will be purely for the pleasure of their company.

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Move It, Soldier!

Posted by Dirck on 7 April, 2017

I have, sadly, more or less stopped fighting in armour.  Time constraints, fears about (more) concussions, equipment failures… it all adds up.  Something that I don’t entirely miss about it is that “scalds with safety” thing Shakespeare mentioned.  However, I did enjoy, when we did public demonstrations, people being surprised at how well we could get about in our outfits.  Just check this chap out:

…and yes, I wish I had that gear.  Look in your heart– I’ll bet you do, too.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 30 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 20 manuscript pages†

†I think I actually brushed up against writer’s block this week!  I found the strands of the novel had gotten out of their bundle and would not be gathered for almost half of Monday’s session.  I’m sure there are some writers in the world that would like to skin me very slowly for having dealt with the problem after only about twenty unproductive minutes, but I am pleased that I found a cure (this time, at least) in thinking very carefully about the sequence of events in the as-yet-unwritten chapters.

Also– this happened this week:

I am pretty pleased about that, especially given that I took almost a month off it to work on something else.  I can now pretend that I’m on the downhill part of the expedition, rather than the bit where a sensible climber is breaking out the oxygen cylinders.

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