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Posts Tagged ‘Parker’

Posted by Dirck on 22 June, 2017

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

This week was a bit of a struggle, and not for want of inspiration or direction.  I knew exactly what the scene at hand was to be, but I was doing something terrible to the protagonist.  I’ve done plenty of terrible to other characters, mind you, and the protagonist has been dealing with the fall-out from it, and even witnessing some of it, but that’s all comfortably fictitious supernatural terribleness.  This week the terrible was of a true-to-life nature, the sort of thing that happens all the damn time in the news and which makes us all shake our heads and wonder at the base nature of humanity.

What made this hard is that it wasn’t something that was done to the protagonist; it was something he did.  Given who I modeled him on, and who the inspiration for his victim is, it was a steep bit of the path to the summit.  All the more so because I can imagine the sort of assumptions that will get made post-publication; if the author wrote this, then doesn’t it stand to reason he thought thus?

No.  No it doesn’t.  That’s why the slow progress.  I was axle-deep in cognitive dissonance.

Also, you’ll note there that I flatter myself with the notion that there’s going to be publication. Vanity still has a seat at my table.

OH!  I forgot, in all that– srtuggle or no, I’m out of the red at last:

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Posted by Dirck on 15 June, 2017

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

No profound thoughts this week; I do find myself having to tamp down impatience to be bloody well done this first draft, and not just because I’d like to get onto the back-up-able phase and silence worries about fire, flood and nesting rodents.  The calendar pages are flying off the wall!  Other stories want writing!

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Posted by Dirck on 8 June, 2017

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

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Posted by Dirck on 1 June, 2017

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

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Olden-Timey Entertainment

Posted by Dirck on 26 May, 2017

Today’s film isn’t, although it comes from the usual repository.  Rather, it’s an audio drama, which in ages past was called a radio play.

It’s also good fun, if rather steeped in pastiche.  If you want to follow it, they’ve got a web-abode of their own.

Today’s pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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Posted by Dirck on 18 May, 2017

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

I’m about, according to my own estimates, 70% finished the first draft.  This is not going as quickly as I might have hoped, although it’s not going quite as slowly as I’d feared.  I found another gap in my research today, which I should be able to comfortably fill in during the second-draft process, and this lead me off on another tangent of thought….

Part of me is beginning to yell at the other parts regarding the mechanical approach to the writing I’m following.  “Hand-written first draft?  Fine for a 4,000 word story, but on this scale… what is wrong with you?!”  I don’t think I’m going to listen to it, because as this late stage to shift to the the sort of writing production that most normal people seem to pursue these days, banging away on a keyboard rather like I’m doing right this minute, doesn’t seem possible without jumping right into the second-draft process.  Which would mean leaving the back 30% of the thing in a nebulous form while I re-write what already exists, only picking up the weaving when I travel back to this point… and I don’t know that the narrative would survive this sort of interruption of its gestation.

HOWEVER, for those who are (still, somehow) interested in this process, and for Future Me who will one day be writing another novel (I have vague outlines for at least eight, so I’d best pick up my pace), a couple of thoughts on this hand-written first draft stuff.  On the negative side, it is taking a long time, and it means second draft will also take a long time, since that won’t just be amending stupidities, but will be an entire re-write to transform marks on paper into an electronic format that editors and publishers will actually look at.  Also, as it stands now, my very-literal manuscript is a unique object; no redundancy, no off-site back-up.  This has been a source of some concern for about the past month and a half, as the imp of the perverse keeps painting pictures of fire, flood and brief-case theft.  I find that the difference of scale between a 4,000 word short story and an 80,000 word novel radically alters my ability to look at these potential disasters and greet them with an indifferent shrug.  I might well toss myself into a lake if the current heap of paper were to meet with a bad end.

The benefits of hand-written creation are still present.  I don’t go back and fiddle with specifics, so the flow of the work remains (generally) good.  I might be closer to done now if I had hit the keyboard ab initio, but I might also be only half as far along, having allowed myself to spend a full day getting one paragraph just so because the text is so malleable when it’s electronic.  Hand-writing harnesses the power of laziness in this regard, or perhaps lashes it to the power of cheapskate-ish-ness, because to do that sort of thing now would be a lot of fruitless scribbling and wasted paper.  At this point, though, I think I may have enough practice with rushing ahead on extruding the basic concept of the scenes without giving into the urge to fix things that aren’t quite the right shape that I may be able to conduct the practice in a keyboard-driven environment and thus be able to attack novel-length projects with better efficiency.

I guess we’ll see when I’m done this one.  Which… sigh… won’t be very soon.

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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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Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages (plus two of utterly useless gibberish that ate time pointlessly on Monday); the muse but whispers this week.

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Posted by Dirck on 4 May, 2017

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

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The Joy of Science

Posted by Dirck on 28 April, 2017

There is an argument to be made that today’s film has some educational content.

…but I don’t have the energy to construct one that will stand up.  Here, then, are two people having fun with science, but not at the expense of science:

Today’s pen: Parker Challenger
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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