What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘Parker Challenger’

Concession Speech

Posted by Dirck on 3 February, 2014

I’m having a moment of self-clarity, and it’s just as uncomfortable as one could expect.  My current powers of dashing letters off are such that I dare not commit to InCoWriMo even so far as I did last year.  The most I will manage is getting caught up with the current smallish backlog of smallish letters and sending an apologetic post-card off to someone to whom I owe a great deal of writing.  I’m unwilling to give up these little clumps of nearly-satisfactory fiction writing I’ve been engaging in (see previous comments re: momentum), and I somewhat doubt it would work anyway.

Today, for example, all the sutures on my skull have let go, and my brain is exposed to the air.  Or so it feels.  Before I subside into utter insensibility, though, let me encourage all with a whiff of spare time to mount the InCoWriMo barricades.  I seem to recall it was fun.

Today’s Pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

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Posted by Dirck on 28 January, 2014

WHAT:  Typing and re-editing a first draft of a short story “Eyeing the Neighbour” (working title).

HOW MUCH: 229 words.

HOW LONG: about 35 min.

DONE?:  This phase, and a quantity of proofing for typos.  Once those are put right, it’s time to importune some friends and family for external input (because I accept that not every word that falls from my open head is a peerless pearl).

Today’s Pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

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Bullies, Redux

Posted by Dirck on 25 October, 2012

I find that I must be away at other duties over this lunch hour.  Those at leisure might wish to read something uplifting, and then contemplate how less measured their own response in the face of such provocation might be.  I suspect the author will still get called a terrorist by the person he’s responding to.

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

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Mulled Whine.

Posted by Dirck on 23 October, 2012

I find myself unable to focus on any of the usual topics I digress upon here, as I’m on the horns of a bit of a dilemma.  We’re having an election tomorrow, and I have yet to sort out who I dare to vote for.  It’s a civic election, and given a city of under a quarter-million inhabitants, one might be forgiven for yawning and pulling the covers up until the whole thing is passed, but the frequent reader will know that I take my franchise seriously.

We are constantly told that the local economy is not only firing on all cylinders, but has been replaced with a carefully restored Merlin 130.  Which should mean the livin’ is easy, right?  Well… the tangible benefits are a little hard to point out, and the downside is surging costs of living (still low relative to many places, but wages are not keeping up as they seem to be pegged to the more sedate national numbers), infrastructure that’s not able to hold together under the demands being placed on it (the roads don’t do well anyway, given the sub-soil ’round here), and a failure of policy to keep up with reality (loads of people moving here = school closures).  Given that many of the problems that can be addressed at a municipal level are the result of having a city council made up of an amazing proportion of real estate agents and the attendant although evidently non-actionable conflict of interest which arises from setting local land use policy and handling local land transactions, I’m fairly interested in putting my vote in the right place.

Alas, there are no parties at this level of politics.  This is generally a good thing, in that there’s no party discipline forcing foolish behaviour (vis, the shouts of “If he says up, we say down!” heard from the US capitol these last four years), but come time to cast votes it makes getting a real grip on candidates a chore, since one can’t just say, “Ah, the Baby-Eater party; not for me… hmmm, Nihilist-Lumber party hasn’t really got a sound platform….”  Like party-based politics, the talking points are all very similar, and one loses the handy livery to know how to interpret the noise.

…and then there’s the stadium.  How dare one mention the stadium?  I’ve commented briefly in the past on how mad on sports the local population is, with certain holdouts like your correspondent.  The old-style open-air arena in which The Big Game is held every damn weekend from April through November is getting long in the tooth, and there is a move afoot to spend HYYYOOOOOGE! amounts of public money on a new place to play, with a magic roof and fairy-warmed seats and so forth.  My wife has aptly described this exercise as buying a 90″ TV and all accessories for a house with a dodgy floor and half the shingles blown off.  There are a couple of candidates for mayor who have had the bravery to say similar things… but one of them appears to blame the Assyrian Empire for some of our troubles, and the other (honestly) suggests that some of that money would be better spent on a motorsport track.  We’re probably stuck with it, but I’d like to complain with a clear conscience when the inevitable cost over-runs appear and we’re told we have to give up public transit and street lights.

So, you see why I’m having trouble thinking about pens, handwriting or obscure early 20th century weird fiction today.  Heck, even the release of the TWSBI Mini has gone to a back-burner for the moment.  I need to consider platform statements… again.

Today’s pen (a relatively easy choice): Parker Challenger
Today’s ink (hardly considered for a moment): Herbin Vert Empire

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Uplifted

Posted by Dirck on 27 July, 2012

Spirits up, blood pressure down. Yesterday picked up immensely when I returned home to the happy antics of my son and all the moreso as he was pursuing his interest in Warner Brothers cartoons.  On the off chance that anyone looking in here needs a lift, and doesn’t mind the slightly racist notions of the late 1940s, here’s something to brighten the day:

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Tulipe Noire

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Otherwise Occupied

Posted by Dirck on 25 July, 2012

I was formulating one of my usual digressions when a thought occurred to me; I’ve got some other writing that needs work.  I’ve got four or five new maker’s pages to put a ribbon on for my site, plus profiles for the newly-catalogued pens that make this expansion possible.  Given the recent recurrence of Fullweekenditis (a side effect of Too Many Irons Syndrome), I should probably devote a lunch-hour or two to this.

So, while I’m off doing that, you might enjoy a cartoon that indicates I’m not the only one who’s seeing acromegaly in modern pens.

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Tulipe Noire

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Look! Over There!

Posted by Dirck on 23 July, 2012

I was feeling a little unproductive when this lunch hour descended; the weekend was full of worries about my wife’s father (who, if you’ve got plenty to spare, can apparently do with a new kidney), the foundling cat’s relapse into mysterious snot production (abscess or tumor to be decided next week), and whether I would succumb to the unknown airborne allergen or an overdose of antihistamine. The last item is at least off the table today, but since I didn’t have anything profound in my waiting room, I decided to fill the time making a new permanent page. Look upwards, and you’ll see “Those Who Stand and Wait“, where I mention the pens I don’t mention every day. It’s not much, but it kept me off the streets for a half-hour.

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Noodler’s Tulipe Noire

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Augury… Positive!

Posted by Dirck on 18 November, 2011

Assuming the greater technical challenge bends as readily as the lesser did yesterday, this last step of the effort should go pretty smoothly.  Those looking in at the site itself over the weekend may find that it’s gone altogether intermittently, as I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a side effect of the combative struggle occuring behind the curtains, but by Monday the whole over-hyped restart should be in place for people to look at and say, “He was making a big deal about this?”

I would like to take a moment to briefly deride Internet Explorer 8, which has been making this whole final effort much more difficult than it needed to be.  While editing in stolen moments at The Regular Job, I have several times found an image removed from a page, and all the text between it and the previous image converted into a caption for that previous image.  Vexing?  YOU BET!  I blame IE because, apart from it being a fashionable scapegoat, this has never happened while working in Safari or Firefox.

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: vintage Quink Washable blue

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Technicolor Smile

Posted by Dirck on 16 November, 2011

When I have a free moment, I like to expand my viewing of silly films.  Over the past few days, I’ve made my way through one I recorded about a week before Hallowe’en, which I think gives a sense of how my few and far between my free moments are.  The film in question is questionable indeed– Doctor X, a fine lashing together of Jack the Ripperesque murderer-seeking mystery and mad science.  What moved me to record it in the first place was a review I read a while ago which, while not exactly fulsome with praise for the film, indicated that the good bits were the sort of thing I rather enjoy.

It had been shown on Turner Classic Movies, which is increasingly what I think of as “what’s on TV tonight”.  They do seem to make a serious effort to show oddities of ages past, and in the case of Doctor X they commited a bit of a coup; it was presented in the original two-strip Technicolor version.  The odious comic relief/lead male (yike!) was thus balanced by some delightfully mellow images showing colours of a time we have trouble imagining as non-monochrome.  Alas, the specatcle couldn’t take the sting out of the tacked-on romantic conclusion.  The colours are no more realistic than the later fully-expressed Technicolor would offer in the 1950s, but rather an extra layer of artistic sense is granted to the enterprise of film making.  I certainly appreciate the effort to reproduce this sensation in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow more fully, which has the same flavour of pulp-magazine cover art.

I may be off base, I suppose.  The T in TCM is the evil genius behind colorization, the devilish technology that seemed bent in the 1990s on removing the charm from black and white films.  What I saw could have been an application of an improved modern technology, one that doesn’t make everyone’s eyes the same colour as their cheeks.  If that’s the case, it is at least an indication that colorization is not irredeemably wicked.  However, the very fact of the depth of colour and the unlikely choices leads me to think that it was the real deal.

I did manage to draw a couple of lessons about the early 1930s from the film, too.  While I couldn’t make out any pens sufficiently to identify them (I believe Lionel Atwill had a Wahl metal pen in his lab coat, but I wouldn’t swear to it), but I can say that lab assistants carried a lot of different pens.  The real astonishment, of course, was in the colours of the men’s clothes.  Because of the predominant lack of colour in the media of the period, we are inclined to think that people dressed in a drab manner, even though the clothes themselves are still extant and sometimes even worn.  I was thus very interested to see Doctor Xavier and his colleagues/fellow suspects gadding about in… diverse grey suits.  I guess just because one has colour doesn’t mean one will use it.

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger, a festive celluloid pen in… black and grey
Today’s ink: vintage Quink Washable grey blue

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Ester-Book

Posted by Dirck on 28 July, 2011

As I’m undertaking The Great Work of website re-writing, I’m working at expanding my scholarship.  A recent arrival has helped immensely with this– a book devoted entirely to Esterbrook pens.  It’s a slender volume, but it’s extremely heavy in utility, and I recommend it unreservedly.  It ties together a lot of diverse strings of information I’ve previously discovered, and it’s also a love letter (or at least a note of extreme regard) to a pen that has occasionally been somewhat disregarded.

Have I piqued your curiosity?  Are you anxious to get your own copy?  Well, you can get it from the author through his website, and if you’re interested in the history of pens as all, you really should.  The Fountain Pens of Esterbrook by Paul Hoban– a bonanza of information at a bargain price!

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger (but there is an Esterbrook 444 not forty centimeters from my right hand)
Today’s ink: Wancher Asuka (the brown one)

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