What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘Vacumatic’

Posted by Dirck on 18 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •   2,173 words typed.

Some real excitement here, which may have affected my rate of production.  First, there is a signed contract in place now, so I can reveal that “Free Balloons for All Good Children” was bought by Pseudopod, and that it is at least tentatively scheduled to appear there in the latter part of April.  I will of course be adding links to the story itself once it appears, in addition to yelling from rooftops and possibly breaking into your house to make sure you’ve had a look at it.  Yes, you.

The other item that has set me all a-bubble is a second note of acceptance, this time on “Without Fear, Favour or Affection,” which some who persist in following this low-impact content of mine may remember I took a hiatus from the novel about this time last year to work up.  It will be going into an anthology, about which I will reveal more as matters the phase state of the arrangement moves closer to solid.  But I am giddy on the current liquid-approaching-slurry, I assure you.

Cripes.  I can actually start to wear the mantle of professional author.

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Frosted and Iced

Posted by Dirck on 12 January, 2018

I greatly enjoy the Great British Bake Off, and its Canadian cousin.  I enjoy, now and then, baking a cake.  I shall be doing so this weekend, in fact, for an observation of my father’s birthday.

But I am not a huge fan of frosting or icing.  The former was a menace on Christmas day, during a week in which many places in Canada were being described in the news as colder than Mars.  It’s not quite that cold today… but on Wednesday it was warm. It was, in fact, only freezing, in the strict 0C meaning of the word.

Which meant that the couple of hours of rain which preceded the sudden drop back to normal winter temperatures is still gleaming on every horizontal surface.  We have been glazed.

So today’s film is a philosophical contemplation of what might happen if time stopped.  Because I think it did. Or has.  Or continues to.

Today’s pen: Parker Vacumatic
Today’s ink: Waterman vintage blue

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Posted by Dirck on 4 January, 2018

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  •  1,862 words typed (New Year’s Day, eh).

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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 20 October, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 17 October
  • 18 October
  • 19 October
  • 20 October
  • First draft of “Discoveries in the Wake of the Last Crusade.”
  • First draft plods along.
  • I’m gettin’ my Clarke on with it.
  • But not today; a task needed doing for my wife.*
  • Seven manuscript pages
  • Five pages
  • Six pages
  • Roughly 6 km driven
  • 50 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 40 min.
  • Enough to be a problem

* Lest you think nothing in the writing line transpired today: a story I sold has been published by they who bought it!  I expound upon this on the other front, but I am… rather pleased.

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Posted by Dirck on 13 October, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 10 October
  • 11 October
  • 12 October
  • 13 October
  • Flan de Café for Thanksgiving* at the wife’s parents.
  • Second draft of “Tale of the One-Handed Engineer.”
  • The exciting climax of “One-Handed Engineer.”
  • And the conclusion.  Done!
  • One recipe makes eight serving
  • 921 words typed.
  • 601 words.
  • Somewhat above 700 words, for a total of 3,240.
  • All day, if one includes presentation
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 50 min.

* Yes, we celebrate that in early October here.  Remember that it’s a harvest festival, not a saint’s day.

** The reason we use pens before selling them on– this one has needed several little tweaks to get the tine alignment just so, which little bits of scribbling hadn’t revealed.  Prolonged writing, however… well, I’d have been embarrassed to have sold it earlier.

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October Starts Bleak and Lonely

Posted by Dirck on 7 October, 2016

October!  You know what that means!

Egg nog has been in the grocery stores for more than two weeks!

I wish I were kidding.  However, the core of the month is Hallowe’en, so far as I care to consider things, and that’s where the next few Fridays are going.  Today’s is a nod to what’s going on politically in the US at the moment, although it’s slighlty less ugly.

Pardon? “Not very Hallowe’en-ey”?  Oh, my– consider for a moment the effort gone into the costume.  Imagine the stir YOU would cause at a party were you able to marshal such resources.

Today’s pen: Parker Vacumatic (a gold pearl Debutante on a test-drive after refit, soon to appear for sale)
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black (because why risk stains at this point?)

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Posted by Dirck on 7 April, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 4 April
  • 5 April
  • 6 April
  • 7 April
  • First draft of  “Poor Old Michael Finnegan”.
  • Likewise, but with a staggering realization that the point-of-view had been dead wrong.
  • Now with improved POV!
  • First draft of “Finnegan” gives way to first draft of “A Mistake of Timing” (another project with a deadline– 31 July).
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • The same.
  • What, six AGAIN?
  • Four pages, and then three.
  • 35 min.
  • 40 min.
  •  min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.

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Posted by Dirck on 24 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 21 March
  • 22 March
  • 23 March
  • 24 March
  • First draft of  “The Loss of Deep Waters”.
  • Conclusion of that first draft, beginning the second of “Wildenklausen”.
  • More second drafting, with some unexpected bonus time late in the day.
  • Thanks, bonus time!  Now it’s done!
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Two pages, then 945 words typed.
  • 2,219 words.
  • A total of 3,606 words.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 100 min.
  • 35 min.

Another new development in the past two weeks– I’m writing not merely to get the stories down, but to externally-imposed deadlines.  “Wildenklausen” and “The Loss of Deep Waters” are aimed at two different anthologies, both of which close at the end of April.  This is not a very tight pair of deadlines, admittedly, but it’s a good deal more pressure than what has been my usual practice of getting the thing written briskly but comfortably, for eventual presentation.  I think I’m enjoying it.  Probably.

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Not Minding My Own Business

Posted by Dirck on 16 February, 2016

But first, with reference to the last entry:  I did indeed come very close to dying of my labours, John Henry-style.  Too many garbage bags of things that didn’t meet the “We really must hang onto this” criteria for one week’s garbage-removal support system; the usual single bag of kitchen trash had to wait until the Monday morning collection to go out, rather than getting taken out on Sunday night.

However, it wasn’t all picks, shovels, and vacuum cleaners.  I also started on a fresh story, once I finished the schlepping, and between a bout on Friday afternoon and a little effort last night after dinner, there are now twenty-six pages of “The Mermaid’s Husband” (which I just now discovered was used as a title by none other than Lord Dunsany himself— I may have to rethink it).  What I could accomplish if left to do as I pleased on any given week-day!

There were also pens seen to during the Great Fling, and it is on this that the title of this entry hangs.  My plan was to drop off two parcels at the post office, and then back to The Regular Job to get more writing done.  I had glanced at my email this morning, which showed that payment had been made… but by not paying attention and opening one of those emails until I was ready to send along the parcel’s tracking number, I missed a request to please not send the thing until 1 March, as the client was travelling.

Poo. After apologizing, for I could do little else, I went on to the other client to give them their tracking number… and found that by not paying attention at the post office, I missed on the clerk there rather mis-entering the postal code, consigning the parcel to the west coast rather than Quebec– something like intending to go to the attic and heading for the cellar.  Phone calls suggest the problem is fixed… we think… probably, and the worst outcome is an undeliverable parcel comes back to me and then heads off in the right direction.  I have, though, had finer days.

Apart from the possibility of having to pay a second dose of postage, I found that my nerves were too jangled to usefully turn my hand to the new story.  My mind was not on that business either, and thus am I penalized for not minding my business.

Today’s pen, shaking its head in disbelief: Parker 51
Today’s ink, too polite to say what it really thinks of me: Diamine Marine

PS– as a sop to my vanity, I will mention that I at least trimmed the diaphragms properly in the Vacumatics that are rushing towards an empty house, unlike the fellow who “refitted” one of them before selling it to the client.  So there.

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