What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘Pilot’

Posted by Dirck on 12 April, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • Second draft of “The Monster in the Cabin,” which is, despite appearances, a much better title.
  • Bag of Bones,” which is a result of a Steal-a-Title Challenge I decided I should get in on.
    • 3,627 words typed.
    • 1,040 words.

I will admit that I’ve actually spent some moments giggling and clapping at the scale of the latest story– not only being able to get to “show it to the readers” stage so quickly that I can actually remember what the weather was like when I began, but being able to hold the whole of the narrative in my head easily.  All the more giddy to find I had sufficient think-tokens left in my reserves to work on a second story at the same time!

Something else I got around to setting myself up with this:
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
I’m not going to give it any more time on this branch of my online existence than this mention, but over at the writing preserve, it’s now an inescapable fixture in the sidebar.  I do not expect it will make me a rich person.

…but I will hope, every so slightly.

The sharp-eyed will notice that I’ve done away with the “Duration” column of the chart.  I know none of you care how long I’ve been at the task on a given day, and I’m finally convinced my own inward monitor that however long it it, it’s long enough.

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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 5 April, 2018

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 April
  • 3 April
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • First draft of “Destroying the Abomination” (very much a working title).
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • 50 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.

Yes, it’s the return of the previous version of the progress report form.

I… don’t hear anyone cheering.  Fair enough.  I had meant to do something of more interest this week, but I’ve honestly had hardly a moment free at home, and I need several moments to get some necessary pictures out of my camera.  The coming weekend should offer a span of minutes I can grasp, although I fear my wife’s play director may insist upon more rehearsals at inconvenient times.

I was able, last Saturday, to take this happy snap:

This close, and no closer. So far. This too is progress….

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Posted by Dirck on 22 March, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •    3,416 words typed.

My effort to get some work done on weekends was done in by attending a writing workshop.  Still, that’s a pretty good week, and I think it’s rather more words than are left in the first draft.  If I didn’t have a couple of {INSERT SCENE HERE} markers lurking about midway through the current draft, I would be entirely certain of having it settled by this time next week.  That marker is, by the way, how I dodge any hint of writer’s block; put the foot down on the gas and shout “I’ll deal with it later!”

It’s still looking pretty likely.  Then, I think before I give it a final skim for utter illegibilities prior to unleashing it upon my well-loved beta readers, I’m going to put in a couple of weeks of down time, leaving it to rest like a steak fresh off the fire.  I may even talk about some pens, despite the mad clamour of short stories that desire my attention.

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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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Huzzay!

Posted by Dirck on 2 March, 2018

I was mentioning yesterday the need to sequester myself with my own computer for some hours on the topic of my site’s semi-collapse.  That was to do with the media library showing as entirely empty.  As the ongoing presence of pictures here indicates, the files are still there, they’re just… hiding.  This should be something which can be overcome.

The other problem I was facing was the pages themselves.  They’ve all turned into blog-posts.  It was looking like what I would have to do is:

  1. Edit out all the odd garbage characters that somehow appeared in them;
  2. Copy the post;
  3. Paste it into a new page;
  4. Edit the title of that page so it was the same as it had been previously;
  5. Repeat 630 times.

Well, item 4 was proving very problematic, so I was overjoyed to finally discover in the WordPress Codex (yes, this is a thing) that there is an available semi-automatic thing which will turn posts into pages.  The process had become less labour intensive, and in the case of item 4, possible.

So I rejoice.

I do wish that the WordPress Codex were a little more forthcoming.  It’s not like it’s the Liber Ibonis or De Mysteriis Wormis, after all.

Today’s pen: Pilot Elite
Today’s ink: Diamine Syrah

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Posted by Dirck on 19 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,901 words typed

Hey, that’s a more productive week!  Since we’re getting close to the anniversary of this project, now is as good a time as any to announce:  This project will absolutely be finished long after we pass that anniversary.  Earlier optimism on this point was unfounded, and now that I’ve got a strong sense of my weekly output… February *mbbl*th is the likely completion date.  Not what I’d hoped, but given the tiny slice of time I can apply to the matter, I’m actually feeling pretty good about that.

Speaking of feeling pretty good, and to wrap up a slightly loose end from last week.  Doctor seen, x-rays taken, and the verdict is– if the knee is sore, put on a brace for a while, and take a mild anti-inflammatory (which most popular over-the-counter pain relief is).  No other treatment needed.  I may yet dance!

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Posted by Dirck on 12 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 793 words typed

That’s a pretty weak showing for the week. Let me explain, and perhaps even justify.  Monday was Thanksgiving up here in the Great White North, and that meant I was paddling about the house doing important house stuff prior to heading to my in-laws’ place for the traditional attempt to eat enough to last out the whole winter.  And that meant no writing.

But wait!  There’s more!  Today, indeed even as this entry is being posted by cool and unsympathetic electronic hands, I am off to see my doctor.  You may remember that in December and then again in April I mentioned having wrenched the crap out of my knee.  Up until the last week of September, I would have told you that I was pretty much recovered from this.  Mid-way through that week, for absolutely no reason I could notice, the knee was all inflamed and painful again; no new acrobatics, no attempted heroics, not even inclement weather.  That became the point at which I allowed common sense to overcome self-destructive idiotic laziness; I made an appointment to have it looked at.

Given the intermittent use of Canada’s handling of health-care in the debate over how things might be re-arranged in the US, I’m going to talk about this astonishing delay for a moment. I will admit that the distance between making the appointment and its arrival is somewhat inconvenient, although the leg is back to being merely somewhat sore.  However, I don’t want anyone to point at this and shout, “There!  See the horrible toll TEH SOCIALIZISMS takes on those poor benighted fools in Canada!” Here’s my take on this delay–

First of all, my doctor is quite good, popular and getting to be of an age where he wants to work less than five days a week; this makes for a full calendar.  Given that the most recent injury was five months ago, I can hardly call this an emergency, and even if I did call it an emergency, it’s not an Emergency Room emergency.  I could have, if moved by relentless agony, have sat for a couple of hours in any one of a number of open clinics around the city, and have my problem seen to by a competent if unfamiliar doctor (and thus left the emergency room less burdened by dummies like me and able to concentrate on people in authentic serious emergency trouble).  The delay is the price I pay for insisting on seeing the doctor I have chosen… which we can do here in Canada, honest.

Importantly, whether I wait several hours in an ER (because triage would put me waaaaay down the list of people needing attention), a couple of hours at a clinic, or a couple of weeks while the line of many satisfied patients my doctor enjoys cycles through to me, I am not paying for it.  Yes, I am paying for it through taxes, and that’s fine with me, because I’d be paying taxes anyway, and at about the same rate if I lived in neighbouring North Dakota, the same way I’m paying for police and fire departments and all that other stuff that people forget about when they complain about taxes.  However, my experience today will include no billing– I enter, I am probed, I get medical advice on my physical state, I leave and that’s that.  If I am sent for x-rays, same deal, but with extra radiation.  If the doctor tells me to come back in a month to see how I’m getting on, then it’s the same deal again.  If I have to start a long series of treatments because he notices I have a powerful and long-simmering case of The Spon Plague, then it’s still the same deal.  Watch as carefully as you like, as no time will my wallet leave my pocket.

I think that’s a pretty good deal, and certainly worth the .  I don’t know why people in the US resist it so fiercely (other than that they’ve been convinced by the people who make money off their system that it’s the only way to roll).

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Posted by Dirck on 5 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,977 words typed

I applied a little thought (uh-oh) to the pace of work, and it appears I’m not going to have something to dangle in front of publishers and/or agents until late January at earliest.

Sigh.

But, as the movie said, if you rush a miracle man, you get lousy miracles.

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