What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘Parker’

Posted by Dirck on 17 May, 2018

Before we get to the week’s numbers, I want to mention to for those who are relatively close to me geographically that I will be conducting another of my pen-tuning clinics at Paper Umbrella on Saturday.  Precise details of when and where are in the link.

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 14 May
  • 15 May
  • 16 May
  • 17 May
  • Third draft of “The Monster in the Cabin”
  • First draft of “No Easy Way Out”
  • A genteel sufficiency.
  • 19 manuscript pages.
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Time for Another Story

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2018

…but not one of mine.  I happened upon a person with a very mellow voice reading one of the stories that H.P. Lovecraft wrote that isn’t tainted by racism, and I thought that would be a nice way to observe a Friday.

Note that I never said it was without problems, although it seems to me that the class and formal-education snobbery Lovecraft also dabbled in isn’t too chunky here; there’s even a bit of “experts don’t know as much as they think,” a very modern sentiment.

Today’s pen of eerily unplaceable hue: Parker Vacumatic (the shadow-wave (eek!) which as of posting time isn’t yet visible on the site)
Today’s ink, mysterious of composition: Waterman Blue, vintage

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Posted by Dirck on 10 May, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 7 May
  • 8 May
  • 9 May
  • 10 May
  • Second draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men”
  • The entirety of “Seeds of Empire
  • 3,047 typed words.
  • 1,472 typed words.

That’s a pretty productive week in the fiction department. I also got a somewhat gummed up Parker “51” Vacumatic done and on the way home, and a SERIOUSLY gummed up Speedline filler working in a Vac Debutante which the friend who so often gives me pens handed me about a month ago.

What I didn’t do was get a picture of it or the Esterbrook “Transitional J” she also gave me.  Dang.

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Another Delivery Story

Posted by Dirck on 3 May, 2018

But first, the usual business of a Thursday:

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 30 April
  • 1 May
  • 2 May
  • 3 May
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Second draft of same.
  • 3 manuscripts pages.
  • 2,386 typed words.

Now, let’s see what I got in the mail two days after The Wettest Pelikan:

Does that say “Lamy” under all that tape?

Say, that is exciting!  After eventually figuring out where the flap of the box was through the very thorough layers of tape, I slowly got to the core, the meaty filling.

Why… it is a Lamy!  The box didn’t lie!  Aside: this sort of pen tube might have made a difference to that Pelikan’s packaging.

Yes, indeed, a not-at-all-shiny new Lamy 2000!  Oh, boy!

“Um… don’t you already have one on those?”

Yes. I do.  Or rather, I did.  A very strange fate overtook that pen.  The threads which extend off the front of the barrel to hold the section (picture here, if you need it) broke.  A crack had opened up, following the cut of the threads, which allowed seepage out of the holes the cap-holding ears.  I didn’t realize this was the cause of the problem until I had opened the pen several times to stare at the washer in a state of confusion and then tighten the section back in place… which finally snapped the terminal third of the threads right off.

I claim to repair fountain pens.  But I also, frequently, claim to understand my own limitations.  Seamlessly reuniting broken pieces of machined Makrolon™ is outside my skill-set.  So I sent the pen off to Lamy (which I was able to through their local retailers, since I’m lucky enough to have one of those in my city).  After a rather long wait, I got the expected message back from Lamy’s Canadian distributors:

  • This is not fixable;
  • This is not under warranty.

I had a look in my records last night.  I got my original 2000 in 2011 and thus it is certainly out of warranty, so I have no problem with that… although I do find myself wondering about the genesis of the original crack.  The 2000 has a reputation for durability.  The location of the break is such that I’d think it would only develop if I left the section slightly undone and then really leaned on it sideways.  All academic, though.

Also in the message from Lamy was an offer to get a replacement at… I want to say probably less than wholesale cost, although I don’t know that.  Cheap, in any event. Not trivially cheap, alas, so I had to ponder it a couple of days.  A cheap Lamy 2000 is still not a purchase I have the resources to make with an untroubled spirit.

In the end, the fact that the original was bought as a somewhat self-directed anniversary gift shoved me into buying the replacement.  I am sadly given to romantic foolishness.  Also, I sold a story, remember, and there was some residue left from that to cushion the expense.  Payment was sent to them and pen was sent to me.  Then, it was only a matter of cleaning it so I can put it into rotation in time for the upcoming anniversary, seven years later.

“Wait… clean it?”

Ah, yes.  As I mentioned in the terrible tale of Tuesday, there’s always some in ink ’em.

About half full, in fact. It’s kindly intended, I’m sure, but… well, there’s a lot of crannies inside this thing’s cap.  Aside: Like our new tea towel?  The camera sure does!

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Posted by Dirck on 19 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 16 April
  • 17 April
  • 18 April
  • 19 April
  • First draft of “Stuckman’s Miracle Men.”
  • Lucky Day,” a draft-and-a-half flash.
  • 26 manuscripts pages (four of which didn’t work at all).
  • 999 typed words.

Just a little note on the pens to finish off– I found myself wondering why the Parker doesn’t get into the cycle more often when I filled it on Monday morning.  Two hours later I was reminded.  There’s a factory-original vent hole in the cap at exactly the level of the point, ensuring without fail that it will dry out before next use.  Someone at Parker UK in the mid-1960s really dropped the ball.

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Upping Their Game

Posted by Dirck on 10 April, 2018

I have been distracted lately, by both my (over-documented) artistic endeavours and the collapse of my site… in addition to all the other current events stuff people spend much of the day screeching about.  The distraction momentarily cleared recently, and I find that the world as I knew it has changed and one of the bedrock foundations of my understanding has become alarmingly wobbly.

I am shaken to discover that Wing Sung can no longer be discounted with, “Oh, they make the cheapest pens you can imagine.”  At least, not completely.

Two pens of recent development bring this home.  First, there’s this thing:

No, it’s not a TWSBI Diamond.

All right, I guess it is a cheap pen.  In fact, the main expense in getting a Wing Sung 3008 is the cost of postage, and even that seems to be available at a cut rate; some people are getting them for three dollars.  I do go into some detail in my profile of this pen regarding the evident cheapness of the materials, but for all that, it has a functional piston filler and it costs less than a Pilot Varsity.  If it lasts through three fills, it’s well worth the price, and mine is in the middle of its second with no sign of impending failure.

“Well, fine, but that’s just one pen, and it’s still a cheap, rickety piece of plastic.”

True.  But then there’s this other, even more recent development–

Yes, it’s a familiar shape. And yet… it’s not quite what you expect.

A lot of Wing Sung pens can be called a Parker “51” knock-off, but I’m inclined to call the 601 a loving recreation, right down to the Vacumatic filler.  The only things it lacks which the Parker had is a gold point and a network of factory-supplied service centres backing it up.  It also costs more than the 1947 Parker which it closely emulates– about $16.00 rather than $12.50.  However, when you start factoring in seventy years of inflation…

Also, the Wing Sung is very slightly bigger than the Parker. That’s not just perspective at work.

One might say that the Chinese pen is in some ways an improvement upon its predecessor.  There’s an ink window (although, in some body colours, it’s absent– baffling!), and the mechanism is made to be removed with a simple crescent wrench rather than an exotic and specialized tool.

Note also; you can’t just stuff one mechanism in another body. Even if they’re compatible diameters (which I don’t know), a Parker blind cap would have nothing to cling to.

They have even started to improve upon the mechanism itself– I have a variant creeping its way here on the proverbial slow boat from China which sees the diaphragm replaced with the sort of piston-head found in the 3008, which should reduce the rate of filler failure and incidence of serious maintenance.  Since there is not a network of service centres and… well, I don’t know if the (relatively) readily available Parker diaphragms fit the Wing Sung mechanism, a more durable filler seems like a splendid idea.

And all for the cost of burgers and shakes for yourself and a companion.  In Wing Sung terms, sixteen dollars is a massively expensive pen, but on the broad spectrum of genus Fountain Pen it is very cheap indeed.  It’s right in the same neighbourhood as the Pilot Metropolitan, which is my personal go-to as a recommendation when someone expresses an interest in trying a fountain pen but doesn’t want to spend a load of money.  The only disadvantage the Wing Sung has in shoving the Met out of that default position is that it’s not available in so many outlets… at least in North America.  Balancing that is the fact that it has a built-in filler and a huge ink capacity compared to the Metropolitan’s converter, so I’m a little torn.  If the notional someone is expressing interest in vintage Parkers, and has no experience with a hooded point, then I have a pen for them, all right.

What these two new objects from Wing Sung indicate, and I’m not the only one saying this, is a willingness to explore outside the “cheap pen with a press-bar filler” territory they’ve staked out for a long time.  This is excellent news for we fans of fountain pens, and not just because it gives us a couple of new toys to play with at a price most can afford.  If Wing Sung is getting experimental, perhaps their augurers see the continued revivification of the market for this kind of instrument.  That is a thought I will cuddle to my bosom.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Mini (and looking somewhat nervous of this new competition, too)
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

 

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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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