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Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer Statesman’

Some More Seasonal Music

Posted by Dirck on 17 October, 2014

There’s always a lot of controversy about when Christmas carols should start up (my position: after 11 November, damn it!), no one talks about Hallowe’en music.

This might be due to a lack of it.  There’s a very low limit to how much “Monster Mash” anyone can take.  However, I’ve lifted a couple of films for this week’s installment that have some Hallowe’enieness about them.  One classical, one modern, one all of a natural piece, one a… perverse union of sound and image, we’ll say.  I leave it to you which order you listen to them in.

We’re out to select our pumpkin on Sunday.  If we survive the terrors of the garden market, I’ll see you all next week.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire


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I Feel Like Dancing!

Posted by Dirck on 10 October, 2014

Before I get to the Lifted From Youtube feature of the week, I find I can release my exciting news rather earlier than expected.  Hang onto your hats, folks–

On 25 October, I will be conducting a free pen-tuning clinic at Paper Umbrella, which I have previously mentioned as my favourite place to get stationery and the only place in the city worth looking into if interested in buying a new fountain pen.  From noon until 4:30 p.m. that day, people within travelling distance of Regina will be able to stop around the store, see the living fossil that churns out this material, get a pen that’s not quite living up to expectations whipped into shape and perhaps buy some nice ink and paper to apply to it.  The event draws inspiration from the action in this video (shown here in July, and nibbling at my imagination ever since), although my version of it has rather less in the way of power tools.

There’s fear as well as elation, of course.  The thing’s being publicized on Facebook.  Mobs may ensue.

The combination of fear and joy brings us to today’s film, founded on a song from the HPLPS yuletide collection.

I don’t know about you, but that song moves me deeply.  Oh, I should add a link to the original story for those unhappy souls who aren’t following the references.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 6 October, 2014

WHAT: The fourth draft revision of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, and the start of a second draft of “The Healing Power of Crystals”.

HOW MUCH: A (supposedly) complete length of 4,028 words for the former, and 458 for the latter.

HOW LONG: About 40 min, of which 25 min. was on “Crystals”.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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The Curse

Posted by Dirck on 2 October, 2014

WHAT: Second draft of “The Blue Room”.

HOW MUCH: Not quite two hundred words, giving a total for this draft of 5,069.

HOW LONG: Nearly five minutes…

…so I’ve got a few minutes free to make good on the promised story about Monday’s pen choice.  What I brought up that morning to be next in the rotation was a Thin Model TD Valiant; I was hankering for a TM with a Triumph point, and it’s easier to clean than a Snorkel.

I filled it, and as an attentive pen-user, I minded the bubbles that the pen blew in the ink.  Then I said, “That don’t seem right,” in an assumed regional accent that I occasionally adopt to lighten my mood.  Bubbles were blown for only about half the time they should have been.  I emptied the pen, and nothing like enough ink came out.

Repeat. Same results.  Heavy sigh.

Since I was somewhat ahead of my time on Monday, I did a quick dismantle on the pen.  My goal was to pop off the sac protector and see if the sac had gone wrong.  What I did was pull the sac protector about the width of my palm away from the back of the section, the sac stretching comically, while tragically sticking to the inside of the metal fitting; some days, one fulfills the basic requirements for Greek drama quite easily.

Thus, the swap to the Snorkel.  I have yet to undertake a review of this record to see what inks I’ve had in that pen, although it is one of my earliest TDs and the sac is hardly what one might call fresh.  The research is called for, since the outside of the sac, once the protector was finally peeled free, was the same colour as a grape.  That’s a worry.

I think I’m going to join Ron Zorn in going to an all-silicone sac policy for the Sheaffer pneumatic fillers.  The cost isn’t vastly greater, and they’ll stand up better.  This may eventually develop into an all-silicone sac policy, period, assuming the sizes can be had.  Slightly depressing, but that seems to be a regular current in life.  I’ve pondered previously about the degradation of rubber in pens, and I ponder once again.  In the previous examination, I speculated on the internal chemistry of the trees that give us the raw material for rubber.  Now I find myself, after a recent watching of the revived Cosmos, wondering if the problem isn’t from some change in the atmosphere that’s developed since the heyday of rubber-in-pen technology.

I try not to wonder for too long, though.  It makes lines in my face.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Posted by Dirck on 23 September, 2014

WHAT: First draft of “The Blue Room.”

HOW MUCH: Six manuscript pages.

HOW LONG: 40 min.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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The Day After (Scottish Edition)

Posted by Dirck on 19 September, 2014

Since yesterday was such a serious one for Scotland (congratulations and/or sympathies, Scots; as a Canadian of a certain age, I know how upsetting that sort of thing can be, regardless of outcome),  I thought that today’s film should be non-serious, but touch upon Scotland.  Having rejected Monty Python’s Tennis-Playing Blancmanges and McKamikaze Highland Brigade, both probably rather inflammatory, I remembered something done by Scots which is extremely funny.

If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, anyway.  Mildly amusing, otherwise.

Sadly, our cats seem to be in league with whatever’s in the basement.

Today’s mostly euclidean pen: Sheaffer Balance Statesman

Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

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Public Enemy Service Announcement

Posted by Dirck on 24 January, 2014

Yes, I persist in the Friday poaching of Youtube.  Why not?

Here we find in one video two things I rather like– British cinema thugs and useful first aid tips.

The one time I’ve been involved in this sort of thing, the person down the phone said to do 400 compressions, then start with the assisted respiration mask.  Luckily, the ambulance arrived at 397.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Touchdown Statesman
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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Nothing Doing

Posted by Dirck on 20 January, 2014

One of those grim days when Regular Job’s heaps of demands have a slope failure, subsiding to cover up parts of my lunch break.  No progress on my own behalf WHATEVER today.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Touchdown Statesman
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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Two Dimensional Battle

Posted by Dirck on 14 January, 2014

I mentioned a few entries ago that I’d brought up the Parker 180 with an ulterior motive in my heart.  That motive was to refresh my memory of that pen’s feel in the hand, as it seems obvious to compare the recently-acquired Slim Targa to Parker’s skinniest child.  Let’s have a look at them together.

If there is a literal battle, this one looks a better bet.

Speaking of battles– me and consistent lighting.

Now, there is a small adjustment necessary to allow for the different trim levels– the Targa 1000S is the bottom of its particular barrel, while the 180 Imperial is not, although it’s not the grandest 180 ever.

Both pens are extremities, about as thin as either maker could manage.  Indeed, the slender version of the Targa are an extra effort on the part of Sheaffer, since they had to come up with a whole other format of cartridge to support extra thinness.  One suspects, if given to inventing stories, Sheaffer’s designers having a sudden spasm of rage a year after they’d offered the original full-width Targa as their best run at a slim pen to the then-current tastes, at least as thin as the Parker 75 and slightly longer to give more sense of thinness, seeing this unspeakably skinny object the competition had developed.  I’ve mentioned in various places that I’m not a huge fan of that push to extremely narrow pens, any more than I support the current extremities of bigness and weight (the middle path for me!), but for all that I do like the look of both of these pens.  Indeed, in the abstract, I rather prefer the slim to the standard Targa in pictures.

In pictures, though, I can’t use them.  In this, I find that the Parker is a much superior item.  Primarily, the 180 is rather more comfortable to use.  Consider the relative lengths of section– the longer section on the Parker puts the slightly shape edge of the barrel a little farther from the tender parts of the finger.  They’re of much the same weight, the balance is good enough with either, but with the Targa one has to work a little to get it to not bite.  In the modern setting, the difficulty of finding refills for the Sheaffer militates against recommendation as well, while Parker’s cartridges have ever been the same and the new ones go down the 180 quite nicely.  Capping the pens, I also find the pure tubularity of the Sheaffer a little less pretty than the gentle tapering from the joint shown by the Parker.  I also find the Parker is a little smoother in its writing, but so far as I know, its point has never needed restoring to original shape– the difference in this department may be down to my failure to quite fix the damage.

There’s the quick decision, then– the Parker 180.  The slim Targa is a nice pen, no doubt, but it’s not quite as nice.  Good news!  You can stop casting about for those wretched Skrip Cartridge IIs and start casting about for a relatively rare pen!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Touchdown Statesman
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen


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The Hensher Conclusion

Posted by Dirck on 9 January, 2014

Man, I should start writing spy thrillers.  The titles are EASY.

I did indeed finish The Missing Ink, and I continue to recommend it to any who are interested in this aspect of communication.  I have a few residual comments to make before I leave it lie.

The first regards the most difficult chapter in the whole book for me to get through, in which he waxes rather too rhapsodical about the contributions of Lászlo Biró and his unindicted co-conspirator Baron Marcel Bich to the general practice of handwriting in the 20th century.  I might be a little less venomous in this regard had Hensher avoided speaking of “expensive, laborious, endlessly refilling fountain pens” and if I weren’t barking mad on the subject of fountain pens, so my problem with that particular chapter will probably not be universal.

In his laying out of the response of the serious handwriting community to the rise of ballpoints, Hensher refers to a couple of what he believes are mutually contradictory derisions of ball-point writing– on one hand, it is said that the line is intermittent, while another comment points to the bland uniformity of the colour emitted.  Because I’m as I am (see previous paragraph), I can accept both complaints as perfectly valid.  Ballpoints skip and blob, upholding the first complaint, but the line they do actually produce lacks the variations in width which either an even hemi-demi-flexible point or an italic one can bring to a fountain pen’s output, and also misses out on the glories of shading offered by many fountain pen/ink combinations.

The chapter was redeemed in the end with an acknowledgement of problems of disposable pens and a brief mention of the untold millions upon millions of the things moldering away in landfills (and, based on an earlier chapter, in Hensher’s gut).

An alarming chapter profiles his efforts to buy a pen in London, where despite the thronging, relatively densely-packed, and not infrequently well-to-do swarm of humanity that lives there, it is not an easy thing to find a retail source of fountain pens nor staff who know the field in those sources.  I take some heart from the fact that the expedition appears to have been a very spur of the moment thing, with never a pause for a look in a directory nor a Googling of the matter; this answers the first of the trials, at least.  Lack of knowledgeable and willing staff is still alarming, although casting my mind back to the adventures of the Penquod and her industrious master, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  I wonder if Mr. Hensher has looked to the Writing Equipment Society since publication– they could surely set him on the right trail.

Finally, I heartily endorse the final “what is to be done” suggestions.  For all he paints hand-writing as slightly doomed, he urges its nurturing and gives several sensible suggestions regarding what an individual may do (usually without causing too much upset to friends, family and passers-by) to preserve the art of handwriting.  I referred in an earlier entry here to this part of his book, excerpted and now removed from the site that was showing it; his final words on the subject regard the direct connection between writer and reader that a hand-written item offers, which almost no other media can allow, and for this I honour him.  I will warn those who may be moved to look into The Missing Ink by my spotty and drawn out review:  the final five paragraphs may provoke tears, so approach with caution.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer TM Touchdown Statesman
Today’s ink: Diamine Evergreen

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