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Posts Tagged ‘Rotring’

Confounding Expectations!

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2019

In an attempt to create the bloggish equivalent of a jump-scare… I’m doing the films TODAY!

I’ll give you a moment to calm your pattering heart.

It’s Hallowe’en, after all, and I have no inclination to see what sort of online video content I can get that’s thematic with All Saints’ Day. So, because it’s the most funnest day of the year, a bonanza of distractions. Yes, distractions, to keep you from noticing what’s creeping up behind you even now.

No, you’re sophisticated. You don’t need to look. You know I’m just playing a little trick. Anyway, here’s some fun stuff:

Before I go, I will suggest that those who haven’t yet go and look at the final entry in my Inktober effort (which I’m sure graphic artists will forgive my little appropriation of their month). It’s a jim-dandy!

Today’s pen (my one nod to costume, as my son is not a Hallow-weenie): Rotring Core
Today’s ink (really, disappointingly, non-thematic): Waterman Florida Blue


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Posted by Dirck on 29 September, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 26 September
  • 27 September
  • 28 September
  • 29 September
  • A day off.*
  • First draft of “Tale of the One-Handed Engineer.”
  • More “Engineer”
  • Still first draft.
  • The Witch and 10 Cloverfield Lane count as fertilizer for my fields.
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Six pages.
  • A full indolent day.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 50 min.

* A thing to do with The Regular Job demanded six hours of “volunteer” labour in the middle of both days of the weekend, so I converted some built-up vacation hours into not going on a chair-throwing rampage that would have livened up a slow-news Monday (locally; the US presidential debate was likely to hold onto the national ratings, regardless).

†Did I mention I got a whole lot of this stuff in a donation?  Expect to see it in a lot of pens that accept Waterman cartridges.

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The Year in Rear View

Posted by Dirck on 8 January, 2014

Last year I went to a little bit of trouble and put together a couple of year-end lists.  This year… well, apart from engaging in a “make your own foie gras in your spare time” experiment (complete with abdominal discomfort!) I didn’t really think about the prospect until the last moment.  Rather than attempt another best/worst evaluation, which really requires me to have my notebooks at hand to at least remember what pens are the pens of 2013, I present…

Lessons I Learned Last Year Which I Found Somewhat Valuable:

A little something in some of the engraving, but generally clean and functional.

A little something in some of the engraving, but generally clean and functional.

That's as clean as ammonia, naptha and jeweler's rouge managed

That’s as clean as ultrasonics, ammonia, naptha and jeweler’s rouge managed

1)  The first lesson is a late one.  Supply delays were added to my own previous inertia, so it was not until the very end of the year that I discovered what many people have known for ages– Rapido-Eze is a marvellous goop!  The pen I lamented and raged about back in November is on its way home, indeed may well be there as I write, its barrel a reasonably clear medium amber and its point mostly free of blue.  I’ve included before and after pictures of the latter, which give a vague sense of the power of a mysterious set of chemicals to get… substances… off of a pen.  Now that I have a bottle to wave around, the local arts supply store that carries Rotring products is in for some extremely incoherent demands when my stocks run low.

2)    The Parker 75 Ciselé might be my favouritest pen even.  I went on at some length about this previously, but the fascination commented on in that earlier post remains.  Just about every round of pen selection includes a certain amount of “Look, you just used it.  Leave it lie for a while.”  Even today, when the selection effort included an ulterior motive (to be commented on in a near-future entry).

3) I have very nearly lost the power to write with a regular Bic.  A little while ago, while I was still technically convalescent from my big wrist spraining adventure, I was by my supervisor’s desk at The Regular Job with that day’s pen left back at my own, and I needed to take down a secret account number… or something like that.  Rather than walk all that way to collect my pen, I merely asked to borrow one of hers.  Agony and illegibility were all that resulted.  Now that I’m entirely over the sprain (99.8%, at least), I still find getting a Bic to do anything but make horrid noises on paper is a problem.

4) I have gained the power to sell my pens without going blind or mad.  More mad, I should say.  This is comforting, as it starts to appear they’re what will pass for a retirement fund.

5) Entirely off subject, but of joy to me and hopefully delight to my son, I find that there’s a shop manual for the Flying Scotsman, which is a steam locomotive rather than an obscure superhero.  I’ve got one on order against his birthday, and perhaps one day we’ll use it to build one of our own.

There’s more of course, but that’s all the lunch break allows.

Today’s pen: Parker 180
Today’s ink: Private Reserve Supershow Blue

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Bomb Site

Posted by Dirck on 4 January, 2013

In lieu of a film, here’s a little toy I’ve stumbled upon which fits the backward-glancing I’m currently engaged in (and will soon drop).  Some industrious folks have charted out the places in which bombs were dropped during the London Blitz.  A friend of mine (in spite of the so-called generation gap which should yawn between us) who lived in East Finchley during the festivities declares that the bombs on his block are misplaced by a matter of several feet, but we may perhaps forgive a little error seventy years on and perhaps include the old saw about close being good enough for horseshoes to medium and large aerial munitions.

What I find really astonishing about this map is that, at the end of the blitz, there was something recognizably London-ish still standing.  Zoom out until you can see the whole of the city, and join in my amazement.

Today’s pen: Rotring Skynn 
Today’s ink: Lamy green (I just realized… there’s noting in my pocket today that’s not German)

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Posted by Dirck on 2 January, 2013

I feel myself coming down with a dreadful case of retrospectivity.  Like the common cold, it often strikes in January, usually doesn’t last for more than a few days, and there’s no use trying antibiotics on it.

Today’s exercise in this terrible malady will be happily brief, as I’ve just stood around the post office getting a client’s pen away (around which there is a small story I may tell).  I got a little present of data from WordPress over the weekend, and there’s some encouragement for me to be found in it.  So, let me tell you a little bit of where my website has traveled in the past year.

…although it might be quicker to list where it hasn’t gone. 105 countries!  That’s nearly everywhere!  Given my sense of humble location, that sort of widespread readership is astonishing and gratifying.  I suppose I shouldn’t be astonished, given the nature of the internet, but apparently some of my inner works remember their pre-digital origins and retain a willingness to be astonished that someone in Singapore is reading something little me wrote in my basement.

For reasons I can’t begin to fathom, this sense of glee at international consumption was sharpened by one of the last looks-in.  On the very threshold of the year itself, a visitor appeared from the Isle of Man.  Apart from my son’s interest in the fictional island between Man and England, I have no particular connection to the place, and yet the notion of a Manx examination of my site is thrilling to me.  It’s probably something to do with the possibly-exaggerated sense of Man’s isolation and the power of modern communications to overcome isolation which do the trick.

…or I may be falling victim to a frequent confusion I suffer between the Isle of Man and Craggy Island.

Today’s pen: Rotring Skynn (chosen to play the part of the swaddled new year, and also the sort of thing people of my age expect pens of  2013 to look like)
Today’s ink: Lamy green

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Out with the Old, in with… Something

Posted by Dirck on 29 December, 2011

With the new year impending, one’s thoughts tend to turn to the passage of time.  One who dresses anachronistically and regularly uses half-century and older artifacts, even moreso.

Today’s contemplation grows out of the consideration of ink for today’s pen.  It is, let us be clear, old.  When I’m using a pen which is very specific about being extremely old, or one that is quite vigorously modern, I tend to think about the agreement of ink and pen.  I have mentioned elsewhere that some inks don’t wish to pass through some pens, but this is a more shallow form of agreement; will it look funny?  A Rotring Core producing a subtle sepia line does look a little funny, likewise an Evans laying down some mad fuschia, and while I’m not opposed to cognitive dissonance (the very foundation of comedy!) since I’m about the only one who will notice at all and thus be the only one with jangling expectations, I tend to keep older-looking inks with older-looking pens and zippy inks with modernist pens.

However… while cognitive dissonance has limited charm, there is more to life than compliment.  When applied well, contrast can be extremely pleasing without making the artistic nerves rattle.  One remembers, too, that these pens might have used some slightly sizzling inks back in their day.  Grandma may not dance the Charleston any more, but that’s a matter of maintenance rather than inclination.  The pens, metaphorically speaking, still have plenty of snap in their garters.

Today, then, a contrast, of a somewhat faded old pen and a rather vivid ink.  Dissonance is the soul of comedy, but graceful counterpoint is a necessity in the best music.

Today’s harmonious pen: Sheaffer 5-30SR
Today’s melodious ink: Noodler’s blue

An aside– I was in such a state yesterday, I was incapable of properly celebrating the benefits of existence.  Via the FP Geeks’ podcast, I am again to receive a free pen.  This time the item is a startlingly orange Sheaffer VFM (a modern item, not to be mistaken for the desirable PFM), which I’m interested to try as an example of Sheaffer’s current output and as a rarity for the company– a pen that doesn’t take Sheaffer cartridges.  Does this imply anything for production of the cartridge that has been feeding Sheaffer pens since the mid-1950s?  Only time will tell, but while we all wait, I get to play with a new pen; thanks, Eric and Dan!

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How’s Tricks (and Treats)?

Posted by Dirck on 31 October, 2011

I’m taking my son to a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and could let this little blab-fest lie fallow today… but not on the Most Wonderful Day of the Year.

Going to hide from the kids in a dark back room, rather than hand out treats?  Why not pass the time reading a rather good item of scary fiction– I recommend The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen.

If you want to really, truely upset yourself with a film, The Mist is just about the hardest horror film I can think of.  Bleak bleak bleak, from the fellow currently bringing us The Walking Dead.

For my part, while my wife takes our tiny hooting ghost about the neighbourhood, I’m going to put on a Hammer Studios Dracula film which our DVR has (hopefully) captured, and then switch to something with Boris Karloff when they return.  Unless the terror of Mickey Mouse Club House is forced upon us by our tiny dread overlord; he’s taken a fancy to it lately.  Brrrrr.

Today’s pen: Rotring Core (almost the whole of my very subtle “Visitor from Parallel Dimension” costume which is guaranteed to not win the Regular Work costume contest)
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Pervenche (because it’s a colour one can believe in this pen)

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Dream Pen

Posted by Dirck on 22 February, 2011

Shall I tell you about a dream I had on the rather extended week off I’ve just enjoyed?  I’m not one for public airing of the sleeping mind’s laundry, as it’s frequently extremely personal, and I’m certainly not seeking opinion on the possible meaning (anyone who suggests that a given item in a dream must always represent a given notion, regardless of the dreamer, is with all due deference to Jungian archtypes either a looney or trying to sell you something), but in this case I feel the venue and the dream suit each other.

I was walking through a local shopping mall in a state one would have found it in the late 1980s– fewer chain stores, more subdued lighting– although I was as far as I could make myself out at all I was much as I am currently.  I stepped in at a book store long since departed from that location, and was delighted to see that they had set up a counter for fountain pens.

Prominent in this display was the newest Parker pen.  I will pause here to dispute the popular notion that one cannot read in a dream (I don’t know where this got its start, as a cursory effort on Google turned up very little in actual psychology for dreams, and I didn’t feel like digging out my old text books to investigate), as the maker’s name was very clear on the barrel, picked out in silver capitals above a band of gold and turquoise chequer on an otherwise smooth matte black surface.  It was really very striking.

Picking one up to look more closely, I found that the point was extremely large and strangely shaped, like someone had committed an act of origami upon the point of a Rotring Core.   Odd but pleasing was a double ridge along the back of the point, creating a very sharp centre-line valley.  Odd and infuriating was a strange upward kink in the point as it passed the feed, a shape my waking mind can’t quite envision clearly, but which was plainly aimed at making the pen best suited to writing with the barrel perpendicular to the paper.  Holding it like a proper pen would make it if not useless then at least horribly uncomfortable and given to plowing up the paper.  About the time I realized this terrible thing, I awoke.

So, it seems even when I’m asleep, I’m crabby about how much modern pen makers seem to pander the to tastes of the ball-point set, at the expense of fountain pens.  Also, I am indeed frequently as tedious in the world of dreams as I am while awake… assuming I am awake now.

Today’s pen, which has not  turned into a spider even once: Sheaffer Valiant TM
Today’s ink, quite suggestive of reality: Mont Blanc Racing Green

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What I did on my vacation, Part 1

Posted by Dirck on 2 July, 2010

Well, here I am, halfway through, and I can’t say I’ve been idle. A Parker 25 set right for a client (blue trim rather than green, and I actually forgot to snap it for my album!), a Parker “51” pulled apart to replace the breather tube in the Aerometric filler, and a little something cobbled together for my son’s birthday.
A wooden play structure.
That’s a thirteen man-hour job, allowing for backtracking when lack of clarity in the instructions left a part in upside down or mirror-wise. Seen enjoying it are my son on the platform and his older cousin on the slide. You may detect a hint of myself lurking in the background, although like a sasquatch, I decline to come out and wave.

The picture was taken at the lad’s birthday party, held the day after his actual birthday. This allows the whole family to attend, as the nation’s birthday is the one after his, and everyone gets the day off to pursue patriotic sunburns. For extra feelings of good citizenship, I highly recommend this explanatory poem (which was performed at the opening of the last Olympics, which the video is not actually of).

That’s it for the moment. I hear some Vacumatics calling out for diaphragms, and even on vacation, time moves with a grim inexorability.

Today’s pen: Rotring Core Lysium
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Bleu Pervenche

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I wonder if there’s enough tea?

Posted by Dirck on 11 June, 2009

This is going to be one of those miserable meta-entries, mainly concerned with the blog itself. For those who don’t have their non-real estate here, there’s a little gizmo in the understory that tells you how many view one has in a day, and what was looked at.

This blog went briefly mad yesterday, and it went mad for, primarily, the entry of 9 June. I’m not sure why, exactly, as I’ve mentioned the Parker “51” elsewhere. Perhaps the new form of looking up (marginally) dirty words in a dictionary is to Google them, and the title misled.

Another lunch I should devote to writing a letter, this one to a UK acquaintance. The update to the site is awaiting a proper set of real-world references I can only work on at home, where I can hardly work on it at all.

Today’s pen: Rotring Skynn (it never gets out to play and it’s a magnificent day)
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Lie de Thé (whose old-world brown-ness balances the pen’s Sci-fi-itude).

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