Posts Tagged ‘Waterman Crusader’
Posted by Dirck on 13 November, 2014
Posted by Dirck on 23 October, 2014
|First draft, “The Third Act”
The same, now completed.
About 45 min.
|Private Reserve Supershow Blue
Is this more tolerable, d’you think? As I said on Tuesday, I can’t give up entirely on the idea of external oversight, as tedious as that is for the draftee overseers, but it won’t come up more than once a week.
…and I still get to mention all the week’s pens in public. The internet is nothing if not the panderer to strange pleasures, and it turns out that’s one of mine.
Posted by Dirck on 16 October, 2014
WHAT: First draft of “Funeral Notice.”
HOW MUCH: Seven manuscript pages (but VERY high quality).
HOW LONG: About 50 min.
Posted by Dirck on 29 November, 2012
A recent meditation on the current state of hand-writing (some of which conducted while I reclined in the box of recycling paper in my fever-fugue yesterday) bore some interesting fruit. One of the points in favour of handwriting, which I go into somewhat last month, is that it puts the reader in almost direct contact with the writer, a brushing of fingertips at one remove, and one of the problems with electronically-moderated communication is that there is insulation preventing such contact. Even Skype, while one is more or less talking right to the opposite number, is not much different from chatting with a Mi-Go brain-jar.
It was in part the notion of technologies as construed by ages past which knocked my train of thought down a bit of a siding. What, in the past, was there apart from letters? There were telegrams, of course, which in the absence of very clever composition had all the warmth of a Dalek wearing a clown nose; when the message was REGRET TO INFORM SAM BLOGS KILLED AT FRONT 10/10/18 there was a limit to how clever a compositor wanted to be. The telegram also had the charm of being rather expensive, since one was paying by the character.
This brought me to a very interesting if short-lived phenomenon. During the interbellum period, microfilm came into its own. In this age of terabyte drives, it seems rather quaint, but when all data storage was hitherto done on paper, any sort of compression was seen as a boon. When the Second World War irrupted the technology was, as most other technology available at the time, pressed into service. One of the less bellicose ways in which it was used was V-Mail; the name of this service has now been co-opted in some quarters to mean “voice mail’, but in its original incarnation is was a way of shipping mail to the boys at the front without clogging the supply chain with letters.
The way it worked: the letter is written on a specific form, then shrunk down to a mere dot on a strip of film after being read and redacted by military censors who probably had the odd laugh in a working day. The film, with a mail-bag’s worth of Dear Johns aboard, was shipped to a distribution centre near the action, printed onto a piece of paper (embiggened, if you like), and passed along to the intended chap, whence bucking up occurred.
…or so one assumes. Given the dire circumstances in which the readers found themselves, contact from home in any format was no doubt very welcome, but one wonders if the distant G.I. while crouching in the shelter of a tree felled by enemy fire would look at the item of V-mail most lately delivered and say , “Gosh, this looks like May’s handwriting, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite right.” It is, after all, filtered twice through technology, and thus loses that my hand to thine aspect of actual mail.
However, it is a reproduction of the writing itself, rather than the mere impression of words as you are looking at now. Since I find that I have a readership from which opinion may be solicited, I will attempt to do so now; do you find that you got a better, or at least different, sense of the author of this raving nonsense from having read it as it came from my hand, as one could back on Fountain Pen Day, than from the arrangements of scraped-together pixels that constitute the regular entries? While not in paper form, the effect is much the same as V-mail; scanning and reconstituting a hand-written page that it may be read at a distance with radically lower shipping costs. The fact that it’s not a paper reconstitution may be balanced by the fact that it’s in very nearly the original colour and density; V-mail demanded black ink or dark pencil, and the reproductions were rather higher contrast than the originals. I don’t suggest for a moment the answers will change how I do things here, since I indicated in that previous entry what a trial the other way of doing things is, but I am curious to find what folks think on the topic.
…and I’ll beat you all to it: “Curious? Downright peculiar!”
A reminder to all– the big pen draw is less than twenty-four hours away. If you’re not in, and you want to be, you’d best get on it!
Posted by Dirck on 27 November, 2012
Say, that would make a good title for a ballad of some sort, wouldn’t it? Never fear, folks; the poetical urge has fled, and will hopefully remain lodged firmly in the collective bosoms of authentic poets and thirteen year old girls, where it rightfully belongs.
To call what I’m about to describe a battle is to grossly overstate the matter, and frankly to horribly cheapen the very notion of “battle.” There are no scenes of grand heroism, no moving tableaux of struggle. There is, in fact, me sitting in front of my computer, about a week ago.
Right next to “amateur poetics” in the spectrum of Tedious Things to Drive Readers from Your Works is “loving descriptions of a session of Warcraft,” so I want to reassure you that we’re not traipsing down that path. No, far from the (relative) excitement of Warcraft, the scene we glance at is a quick review of the then-current offerings of eBay. Among them was a not-overpriced example of the Sheaffer PFM. “Ooh,’ said past me, “I haven’t got one of those.”
True. The PFM is, for various reasons, one of the prestige pens for vintage collectors, and when they appear tend to go for rather a lot. As it happens, at the moment I’ve got a pretty plump PayPal account (thanks, various clients and buyers!), so looking at a PFM was not mere wishful thinking. A closer look at the listing gave me reason to hope. The inlaid point, that innovation of the PFM, had a pronounced bend in it. A big, obvious bend, of the sort that puts may people off, as it draws the thought, “I’d have to pay someone a bunch of extra money to fix that, if I were to win the auction.”
Well… that’s not a thought I’m frequently given to, these days. Fixing bends in inlaid points is, to a certain extent, all in a day’s work for me. So, I gave a good hard think about how much I would spend on that particular model if it didn’t need the point repair; if, that is to say, it only needed the usual replacement of rubber components, which I also do for myself, but requires some spares… and frankly, if it’s not mint, why pay mint prices? Still, the amount I put down as my maximum bid was, for the state of the pen, relatively high.
The auction ground down, and this morning I found… I’d lost. Not only had someone outbid me by five dollars, but someone else outbid that person. My dreams of wrestling poor Bendy Endy back into function will forever more be just dreams. This is not a complaint, which one finds rather a lot of on pen fora, about some stupid jerk who outbid me at the last second, because frankly that was all I wanted to bid and having more time to counter-bid wouldn’t change that. No, I’m just venting off my confusion about why someone would bid that much more than me. I have these options:
- someone has no idea that it is, in fact, broken;
- someone thinks that, in bidding thus and then paying for the repairs, they are still ahead;
- someone thinks they can fix that, and have deeper pockets than me and the will to reach down into them.
The first would be sad, and lamentably seems likely. Another regular topic of discussion on the fora is something along the lines of, “Why are these idiots bidding against each other on a Parkette in increments of $50?” and the answer always seems to come down to enthusiasm untempered by any research at all. The second is possible, perhaps even reasonable given the cosmetic shape of the pen, and it’s the one I hope for, if only because it gives a boost to the craft I’m trying to make more of a living at. The third….
Here’s where I have a bit of a split in my own head. I’m very much in favour of DIY, as proven by the fact that I hand out free advice on the subject. But if too many people decide it’s something they can do for themselves, them my dream of making it a regular and useful component of the household income vanishes in a puff of fairy-dust and talcum powder.
See? I don’t need my son’s help not to get a good sleep. I can mess it up for myself!
Posted by Dirck on 16 December, 2011
Pensive (adj.): descriptive of the sensation one feels when the pen has been in transit for a little too long.
There’s a Waterman I grow concerned over, it having been sent before other things now arrived. I expect to apply the Seagoon Treatment to this condition; lashings of brandy as the patient calls for them.
Posted by Dirck on 14 December, 2011
Yesterday at the dentist, I was asked to fill in a bit of paperwork. I hauled out the Pen of the Day and proceeded to do so, while interacting with the receptionist on insurance.
…and then she complimented me on my writing, saying how she wished hers was better. Very much like heaving an oil lamp into a powder store, of course. I restrained myself mightily, and what was shaping up to be a five minute monologue on the virtues of the fountain pen became a mere modest declaration that my writing looks as it does thanks to the gentle pressure requirements of my chosen mode of marking.
I admit I am slightly awkward in the social dimension. However, through decades of making an studied effort, I have become able to pick up on interpersonal cues at least as well as a normally developed nine-year old. I believe what I received yesterday was a hint of, “Oh, good, an enthusiast in something I really don’t care about.”
This is a troubling development. If what I think is a mere hint in the direction of the interest is coming across as raving, something is dreadfully wrong with my self-perception. How, apart from a month or so of desert-island stranding, does one reset that mechanism? I don’t mind being tedious on the topic of fountain pens in the right context (hey, you came here of your own free will), but I’d like to avoid it when it’s involuntary.
Side note– I now have a deal less silver/mercury amalgam in my mouth. Perhaps I’ll grow stupid more slowly than I’ve been doing!
Posted by Dirck on 12 December, 2011
At the Regular Job, I have occasional uncharitable thoughts towards my co-workers. This is, I think, a common condition in the modern workplace, and as I don’t nurture these thoughts at any length, nothing come of it. However, there is an item of activity that is starting to unsettle me greatly, as small and annoying as a grain of sand in the shoe. The fact that it comes in what should be a season of charity and forgivness makes it all the more vexing, as it is also a behaviour which is motivated by the season.
The mis-use of the word “gift”. It’s driving me right up the wall. You see, there is a seasonal promotional item being handed out to customers, and a co-worker keeps saying with clocklike regularity, “You can keep it, or gift it to a friend.”
A small thing, yes? A mere nothing. Certainly nothing that someone who accepts the role of the Oxford English Dictionary as a descriptive rather than proscriptive organ should kick against. And yet I almost pulled my hair just typing the quotation. I may find “blog” slightly distasteful, but I come close to physical pain when faced with the use of “gift” as a verb. I suspect part of the reason is that there are no advantages in using it rather than “give”. Only two letters different, and it’s even phonetically more work, with the voiced rather than unvoiced friccative and the following plosive.
One certainly can’t use it as a straight substitution, either. “Giving the gift of education” becomes a Porky Pig joke. “Give me the idol and I’ll give you the whip” agitates humour if transposed. “Give me a break!” becomes even more self indulgent.
I think it agitates me so because I view it as a symptom of a growing inability in the modern English speaker to access our shared colossal (or shall I say “cyclopean?” “Brobdingnagian”? “Capacious?” ) vocabulary. Rather than scrape about through the hundreds of thousands of words we’ve invented or pillaged from abroad in search of the mot juste, the impulse appears to be to just press common verbs and nouns into service as the other part of speech where possible. That this is viewed as a clever way to conduct communication just vexes me all the more.
I cannot be placated by an observation that it’s hardly a new phenomenon, nor that it’s an accepted English practice. I admit that mine is an irrational anger, and it will not answer to reason. I vent thus because flinging a stapler might bring forth a reprimand and because not venting at all would see me turn a funny colour and pitch to the floor. I’m sure the etymology doesn’t bear out the sensation, but I comprehend entirely the use of “gift” in German. It’s a noun in that language, too. It means “poison.”
Posted by Dirck on 26 August, 2011
phone book TWSBI is here!
…and by here, I mean there, at home, where I’m not. Look forward to a report on Monday.
Today’s pen, used while out at lunch: Waterman Crusader Taperite
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Violet Pensée
Posted by Dirck on 24 August, 2011
I was letting my imagination wander a little this morning, constructing in the air the pen and book shop to be opened the moment vast piles of money appear in my life, and part of the exercise was inventing a name. I kept trying various
goofy clever puns and clenches involving “Stylo(something)”, and the same objection came up for each of them: an endless parade of slightly vacant young women wondering, in a slightly confrontational manner, why a sort with style in the name doesn’t carry handbags and dark glasses.
Which led, as unfettered though so often does, in a different direction entirely. Is there an etymological connection between “stylus” and “style”, and thus between pens and over-priced fashion accessories?
…and as I write that, I realize that in a certain part of the pen market the connection is obvious. That aside, I had a quick look about these Inter-Webs and found that the two words do both arise from a latin root which can mean “stake”, “writing implement” and “mode of written expression,” the last of which nicely covers another use of “style.”
Funnily enough, the “y” in style is a late amendment, imported to make the word seem more classical, more of a recent Greek import than an evolution of Latin via mediæval French. There is thus also a connection between pens, clothes, and turn-stiles, and someone whose son didn’t rouse him at 3:30am could probably make a very clever joke out that or possibly tying oneself the the stake of fashion. I’m not that guy, today. The fact that style in the sense of dress and stylus as a regular usage in English appear in the early 1800s suggested the vaguely Jane Austen-ish title for this entry, which gives a sense of how well I’m functioning today.
Today’s stylish stylus: Waterman Crusader Taperite
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Violet Pensée