Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – October 4, 2020

Photo of this week’s popular pensThe broken record continues from last week, with the Kanilea Kona Cherry being my favorite of the week. I did refill it. Later in the week, I moved my three Sheaffer Balance IIs into my pen case. These three beauties were able to make me forget about the Kanilea. The only negative is that they all have the same nib. That’s mitigated by the nib being terrific.

Speaking of Kanilea Pen, they announced a new pen material this week. The Kona Snow. While the material does look gorgeous, white pens aren’t for me, so this is an easy pass.

It’s hard for me to judge my fountain pen usage this week, but it feels like it increased over last week (not a reliable measuring system at all). The reason it’s hard to tell is that I stopped journaling in the morning. I didn’t have consistently sized journal pages that I could count up for comparison. I replaced that with more varied writing. The reason was that mornings are my more productive writing times, and while journaling has benefits, it felt like it was a lost opportunity. Besides, journaling had begun to feel like a daily accomplishment, which can be useful if it’s motivating, but in this case, it was starting to make me think, “that task is done, time for Civilization VI.” I’m not a big gamer, but I’m addicted to that one. Even if I set a timer, shutting down the game isn’t enough, I’d keep thinking about it. Avoiding the game would be relatively easy (don’t start), but the mindset of the journal being an accomplishment was de-motivating at the moment. No matter what I did next, I was less focused. I had hoped that evening journaling could take its place, but like past experiences have proven, that doesn’t work for me. I still want to play around with it a bit (lunchtime? scheduled time in the late afternoon?), so we’ll see.

Still no pens for sale this week, but for a surprising reason – there’s a shortage of USPS shipping boxes, at least at the two post offices near me. I have most pictures taken and pens inspected, but when I stopped for shipping boxes on Friday, I could only find two, bringing my total stock to four. Buying boxes at the small scale that I need costs a lot per box, so USPS boxes are the best option. That unexpected set-back was deflating, and I skipped finishing things up on Saturday. Hopefully, I can find some this week, or replacements that make financial sense. I don’t want the added stress of finding a box for a pen that’s already been sold. I’ll only list as many pens as I have boxes. So I will list at least four next Sunday. I plan to announce/list them in the Trail Log, so regular readers have first crack and a discount.

Speaking of USPS, and because I ordered a pen, and because a friend mentioned a USPS tracking issue (lack of movement), I figured I’d mention this. This (no tracked movement) first happened to me back in September with the Pen Addict Kickstarter pen shipment. Brad said on his podcast that he had multiple complaints about this. I doubt I was the only patient recipient who didn’t contact him, so many more probably had the problem too. Now, this has happened to me on every shipment via USPS since then. That’s not a lot (4 or 5 maybe), but it’s been from different parts of the country.

TL;DR – if the tracking shows Accepted, but no ETA, and shows no progress over days, be patient. It’s in the USPS system, and there’s nothing the shipper can, or USPS will do to help.

USPS, on its website, shows “Accepted” in bold letters as the status. Click into the tracking details, and it says “Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending” which seems to conflict with that big “Accepted.” From my days shipping for eBay sales and using bulk shipping software, I’ve interpreted this to mean – “The shipper dropped off a bunch of stuff (the shipment received) and they say this package is in there somewhere, but we haven’t scanned this exact package yet, so its acceptance is still pending .” There’s also no ETA listed. In the before times, I would see a further update in a couple of hours, at the latest when my local PO closed and the tracking updated to say the package left the building. Now, tracking doesn’t update until the day it arrives. My own experience is that packages I bring to the post office, and have scanned at the counter, update tracking just fine, as did a shipment I received, which I can logically assume that the sender did too. It seems to be only bulk (commercial) shipments.

If I’m in a conspiratorial mood, I say that USPS isn’t scanning (or showing scans), so they never have an ETA that would make them late, and if the package never arrives, they’ve never acknowledged that they got it, thereby avoiding liability. I’ve never had to worry about the specific terms for bulk shippers, but assume any legal agreement favors USPS. But whatever the reason, my own experience has been that the package arrives, taking maybe a day or two longer than the before times, but it does show up. And when it shows up, there will be tracking updates starting with the previous evening. The good news is the package arrives. The bad news is there’s nothing the shipper or I can do about it. (Well, I’m assuming the shipper can’t do anything, I’ve never contacted one of them, and the package always arrived with patience. I can’t believe USPS would be any more helpful than telling them to wait. With that Kickstarter pen I was a bit worried, now it’s happed so much that it doesn’t bother me in the least, and I expect it. Not to say packages can’t get delayed. Back when tracking worked, I watched as a package bounced around the midwest, and stopped for sightseeing as it made it’s way to me over two weeks. That was when lockdowns (including my state) were more severe, so I expected it. I enjoyed predicting when it would leave its current location and where it would go next. Still, that two weeks has become my new benchmark for being worried enough to contact USPS if tracking shows no progress at all.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Reading: The Aleph Extraction by Dan Moren. Still reading it, but no progress this week.
Listening: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (audiobook). Still listening, but no progress.
Watching: Ted Lasso (Apple TV) // The only show I watch the day it drops (Friday’s). The final episode of the season dropped on Friday. I liked it a lot, for reasons I won’t mention in order to avoid spoilers. If you haven’t watched it yet I recommend it. A one-week Apple TV+ free trial is available to everyone and it’s only ten 30 (ish) minute episodes.

New Arrivals

None

Incoming

  1. Esterbrook Oversize Estie Maraschino Cherry with Palladium Trim and the Journaler steel nib. Yes, I know that last week I wrote I wouldn’t buy “the” (unnamed) pen until I sold enough to pay for it. In my defense, this isn’t that pen. Hey, it’s election season here, I’ve had many examples of weaselly excuses and pretzel logic. I should be allowed to participate and benefit. This does make that other pen less and less likely. It’s the nib that drew me to this pen. I’m in a nib experimenting mindset. I like that Esterbrook (owned by Kenro) is collaborating with a nib grinder AND producing a nib inspired by a classic Esterbrook nib AND offering their pens in both gold and silver trim. Well, not so much the gold in my specific case, but I know others prefer gold and the the trims shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. The pen has shipped, but tracking is in the state I wrote about up above, the post office has it – somewhere.

Outgoing

None

Written Dry

  1. The Kanilea Kona Cherry (EF) ran dry of Montblanc Bordeaux ink while I was at my desk. I reached over, grabbed the bottle of Montblanc Bordeaux and a towel, then immediately refilled the pen. I’m never going to write other pens dry if I keep doing this.
  2. The ystudio Classic Desk Pen ran out of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple ink, as it has several times since being inked up back in August. Rather than immediately refilling it again, I decided to clean it out and consider a different ink for the refill. It’s waiting to be cleaned, sitting on my desk taunting me.

Newly Inked

None

Links

A George Raft Autograph And The Pen | An Inkophile’s Blog

A look at the Sailor Pro Gear Slim fountain pen, with Music nib. | Fountain pen blog

Shining a light on Loft Pens | UK fountain pens

Crónicas Estilográficas: From Kamakura to Choshitsu

Getting the cold shoulder | UK fountain pens

Flexible Nibs – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Once You Pop the Ritma Don’t Stop – Penquisition

The Patent That Launched A Fountain Pen Empire « The Pelikan’s Perch

Off-topic

How to Protect Yourself from the Aerosol Spread of Covid-19 // A bunch of good links in here, although I’ve yet to read everything

The intro in this article about reports on Trump’s health, reminded my about Monty Python’s Black Knight bit.

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