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My fountain pen usage was down a little from the previous week. But, it’s still light-years above what it was January through October. My journaling is sporadic. I journaled four days this week, writing only one page each day. I transcribed 17 pages this week, a big drop from the previous week.
Despite using my pens less this week I missed using them and forced myself to fit some transcription in Friday evening. Friday was busy from the time I woke up until after supper. I typically write at least one page in the morning, but not on Friday. Even though I was falling asleep Friday night I wanted to use some pens. I ended up writing three pages, motivated by realizing that the OS Estie was nearly emptied. So I kept writing until in went dry. Then I picked up the Pilot Custom 912 and wrote another page so I could enjoy the different properties of that pen.
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed the scribe nib of the Esterbrook OS Estie. I really like the look of the Scarlet, and went with the Scribe nib. It’s Joshua Lax’s take on an architect grind, and further modified to be suitable to a larger audience. I’ve tried Architect grinds in the past, and even have one for my TWSBIs, but they just been too wide for my taste.
Joshua’s nib also starts life as a broad nib, so I expected the same from the Scribe. Instead it’s a much crisper line, and not as wide and wet as I expected. This all a good thing in my opinion. I had planned to use this pen with the MV adapter and my vintage Esterbrook nibs. Now, I plan to keep the Scribe in that pen permanently. I took my regular size Estie off the market and will use it with the MV adapter.
Speaking of taking pens off the market: while it was never officially for sale, I had planned to sell my Balance II Aspen since I figured there was little chance it would survive extended traveling. I’ve changed my mind and will keep, and use, the pen. It may be a death sentence for the pen, since there are reliable stories of the pen cracking while just sitting on a shelf, or in a safe. But I’ll be as careful as I can and enjoy the pen for as long as I can. I did sell off my other two Balance IIs, so they’ll live on.
My Pilot Elite continues to be problem free. Recap – upon arrival the cartridge ink flowed through the nib, into the cap while the pen was nib-down in my Penwell. for about 20-30 minutes I don’t keep the pen nib down for any length of time, except when writing with it of course, and it’s been problem free. I’m still liking the pen, and I love the Pilot nib.
I recently got back to using index cards for my lists, rather than a pocket notebook. The I read this: My Dad’s Lists – The Cramped. I used to use two colors for my list. That was until recently when my small number of inked pens limited the color options. I’ll be picking more colors the next time I ink my pens. And also a wider nib for the titles, so they stand out.
The sale page is back up, but I’ll be slow adding pens through January. I plan to start my travels mid-January and don’t want to complicate my life with pen sales & shipping while I’m getting the hang of traveling.
There won’t be a Trail Log next week, I’ll be taking the holiday weekend off. The Trail Log will return on January 2nd.
Current Reads, Watches & Listens
Reading: Djibouti by Elmore Leonard. I just started this one, and I’ve just been transcribing it so far. I plan to start really reading it later today. It’s shaping up to be my least favorite Leonard book, by a large margin. Hopefully it will improve once I get a couple chapters in, but I’m preparing myself to return it without finishing it.
Read: Aurora: EV-01 (The Frontiers Saga – Part 3 Book 1) by Ryk Brown. I really enjoyed this book, right up until the very end. I skipped a day of transcription and used that time for reading so I could finish the book quickly. This was the first installment of the third part, and each part usually contains a single thread through all 15 books. So, I expected a lot of time setting up the story that would be told. I accepted a slow start as characters re-capped their life since the last part, with things picking up midway. The general ending was telegraphed through the book, if the previous two parts were already read. The ending also makes me afraid that the story will enter a type of science fiction that I dislike. I hope it’s just setting up a shift in the story’s focus and won’t become a theme running though all 15 books in the part. I won’t be more specific in order to avoid spoilers. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it once it got going, but became concerned at the end.
Watched: I re-watched The In-Laws with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it. I still laugh at all the jokes & gags, sometimes before they happen. “Serpentine Shelly!”
Watched: I finished watching all four seasons of WKRP in Cincinnati. Some episodes don’t translate well from the late 70s when it was made, but overall I enjoyed it. It was perfect for watching during lunch, or when I didn’t want to watch something that required use of my brain.
Out of Rotation
- Lamy Safari Terra (OM 14k) emptied the Lamy Blue-Black cartridge.
- Esterbrook OS Estie Scarlet (Scribe) emptied the blue-black cartridge that was included with the pen.
No pens added to the rotation this week, but I will be inking some up later today.
I blew $720 on 100 notebooks from Alibaba and started a Paper Website business | Tiny Projects via The Cramped](http://www.thecramped.com/i-blew-720-on-100-notebooks-from-alibaba-and-started-a-paper-website-business-tiny-projects/ “Jump to the article”)
We had our first measurable snowfall of the season earlier this week. It stuck around longer than I expected, thanks to the cold temperatures. But, Saturday’s rain washed it all away. I really am turning into an old man. Hardly a significant snowfall, yet all I could think of was starting my travels and heading south, away from snow. At least it was easy enough to brush the snow off my car, no need to scrape off ice.
A lot of fountain pen usage this week. I kept my novel transcription going which helped a lot. I changed things up a bit, in that I’ll transcribe whatever book I’m reading and simply pick up where I left off. I transcribed over 20 pages since last Sunday. That’s a lot of ink, enough to write two pens dry. Although one went dry early in the week, so most ink reached paper the week before. The second went dry on Saturday.
I also got back into journaling on a regular basis. I did skip one day, but I’m OK with that. My volume is low, only one page per day, when I wrote.
My two main pens this week were the newly arrived Pilot Elite, with a fine nib, and a Lamy Safari with an oblique-medium nib. The Elite was my journaling pen. Not for any reason other than I wanted to use it, and for some reason I now want consistency in my journalling pen, despite consistently alternating in the past.
NaNoWriMo (which I did as NaNoTraMo) changed the way I think about what pens to ink up. In the past I tended to have a lot of pens inked up at one time, a dozen wasn’t uncommon. I had two dozen inked up when this year began.
Now, I’m much more focused. During NaNoTraMo I decided to pick a pen and write it dry, at least for the most part. I really enjoyed it, and continue to stick with a pen until it’s empty. Of course, if a fountain pen/ink does annoy me I will certainly move on. Of course, exceptions are allowed. I wanted to give the new Elite a workout, so it did both journaling and transcription duty for a day. I have no doubt I will eventually want more variety and start swapping my pen on a daily basis.
I inked up my Pilot Custom 912 with a posting nib, but I’ve yet to use it. I was missing a nice thin nib, even my Lamy Fine was a wide, wet fine nib. I held off because the Pilot Elite was expected. Then the Elite got delayed in the mail. I tried holding out a little longer, but then relented and inked it up. Naturally, the Elite arrived the next day.
The Great Ink Purge of 2021
I’ve been slowly reducing my ink stash throughout the year. Most have been given away locally since I don’t like the hassle, risk and expense of shipping ink bottles. I also brought my Fountain Pen Companion (FPC) ink page completely up to date for the first time.
I’ve ben moving to cartridges for a lot of my ink, so cartridges outnumber bottles 38 to 15. Fifty-three inks is a lot, except when compared to what I used to have, and what others have. I never entered all my inks into FPC, even so, FPC has 73 inks in my archive. There are over 800 FPC members with more ink than me, and the leader has nearly 2700 inks, with 996 of them being in bottles.
I like having fewer ink choices, decisions are less complicated and stressful.
Despite the purge, I still have two inks on order — Pilot Blue-Black and Waterman Mysterious Blue. Both of these are inks I like to use in vintage and tedious to clean pens. They are safe for all vintage pens and very easy to clean out. Both are blue-black inks, although some folks don’t classify Mysterious Blue as blue-black. In defense of it being blue-black I submit that Waterman called it “Blue Black” before they renamed all their inks, but didn’t actually change the ink formulas. So Waterman considered it blue-black.
I was quit happy to see I have four mostly full bottles of Montblanc Bordeaux. I had a fifth, quarter full bottle that I was able to distribute among the other four. I wasn’t very good at sticking to one bottle at a time. This will last me awhile.
Plus, I thought I was down to my last bottle of British Racing Green, but I uncovered another one. I really am disorganized.
Heartbreak then Joy
My Pilot Elite Lined Stainless Steel nib arrived mid-week, after being slightly delayed in the USPS system. I popped in a cartridge to get it going. The ink was slow getting to the nib. I decided to avoid doing or using anything except gravity to get it going, so I left it nib down in my Penwell.
I didn’t time it, but I guess it sat there about 30-45 minutes. When I went back to use it, about half the cartridge had flowed through to the cap. For some unknown reason I uncapped the pen with the nib pointed down. (Usually I pull the cap off nib up, cap opening down.) This avoided making a mess and I inverted the cap over an ink cloth when I noticed the nib and section were messy.
So I cleaned it out and let it dry a bit. Then before turning in for the night I popped on another cartridge. Again, the ink was slow reaching the nib. Since it was bedtime I left the pen sitting flat on my desk, well technically on an ink cloth that was on my desk, just in case.
I haven’t been brave enough to put it nib down in the Penwell again, even to soft-cap it while writing, but it’s been absolutely fine in normal use. This includes normal handling, no coddling, and spending time clipped to my shirt pocket. Well, I coddled it a bit the first day, until my confidence grew.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the pen. I love Pilot nibs and this is a nice fine Pilot nib. The nib is firm, but does have some cushion to it. Nothing close to flex.
It was listed a cartridge only, and I haven’t tried any of Pilot’s smaller converters. I plan to clean out this ink cartridge once it’s empty so I can use Montblanc Bordeaux ink in the pen. I skipped that first cartridge (where the inked ended up in the cap). While I doubt the cartridge was the problem, I have bad vibes associated with it.
Current Reads, Watches & Listens
Reading: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. Once I stopped transcribing this one, I finished it pretty quickly. It was one of those ebooks where the last 25% (literally) was promotion of other books. When I was near (what ended up being) the end I was thinking please, not more, it’s time to end, and then it did end. This ended up being one of my least enjoyable Leonard books. It probably wasn’t helped by taking a month to get through (since I was transcribing it exclusively until the end of November.
Reading: Aurora: EV-01 (The Frontiers Saga – Part 3 Book 1) by Ryk Brown. The current volume of the series, of which 75 volumes are planned across 5 parts.) I’m about 25% through it, and so far it’s just been re-introducing us to the characters, bringing us up to date on their lives, and briefly recapping (or alluding to) past events.
- Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F). It was a rough start, but as expected, I love the fine Pilot nib.
I think it’s time to retire this section, at least for a while. I want to rediscover the pens I already have and not add any more.
Out of Rotation
- Lamy Safari Dark Lilac (14k EF) ran dry of Montblanc Bordeaux.
- Lamy Safari Terra (14k OM) ran dry of Lamy Turmaline
- Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F) with a Pilot Black cartridge.
- Pilot Custom 912 (Posting) with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink
NaNoTraMo went out with a whimper. I only wrote 1200 words over the last 3 days of November. But I wrote every day, which I consider a small victory. I transcribed 28,950 words during all of November. While far short of the 50K word target, I enjoyed doing it, and using my pens. I’ll definitely do it again next year. I may set a smaller goal, or more likely I’ll accept failure and see how close I can come to the target. To reach the goal I would have to write about 2 1/2 hours a day for 30 straight days. That’s a big chunk of time.
I really enjoyed using my pens and writing them dry. There were a few days where the thought of using those final drops kept me going, so I could pick up a new pen the next day. I picked, or lucked into, pens that I really enjoyed writing with even though I ignored the obvious choice – the Pilot Custom 823.
I intended to keep transcribing in December, at least a couple of pages a day. But that hasn’t happened. I have written a few pages, but not anywhere close to my November daily average of 3.2 pages. I started reading the book since I enjoyed the story and I want to finish it without having to renew it yet again. I’ll have to pick something else to transcribe. Probably a book I’ve already read, and that I own so that I have plenty of time. (This one was a library e-book that I was able to renew twice.)
The big thing that’s kept me from writing this week is that my writing desk is a massive pile of clutter. That picture is after I moved a large stack of papers I’m sorting and scanning in order to make room for my computer. Oh, I also spent part of Friday morning sorting through stuff and cleaning it up, making this the best it’s been all week. It’s just not conducive to me sitting down and writing, and the effort to make space is just enough of a speed bump to stop me Without just moving it all to another flat surface. I get tense working in the midst of all this clutter. Typing the post is bad enough, writing is nearly impossible.
By Saturday morning I had decluttered my desk and was able to write. So along with three bourbons I was able to write a journal page and transcribe three more pages. I wanted to use my pens so just started transcribing that same book, rather than think about picking something else. I had planned to write for less than an hour before bed. But I enjoyed using the pens so much I blew past my typical bedtime and kept going. They Lamy extra-fine is near empty and I’m eager to empty it and move on to another pen.
I used a Lamy Safari with a 14K gold extra-fine nib for my transcribing at the end of November, and again yesterday. I’m less than enthralled with the nib. It’s too wet and smooth for my tastes. I’ll have to do some comparisons with a Lamy steel EF nib, but don’t be surprised if you see me list the nib on my sales page. It isn’t bad. After all, I will use it until I write the pen dry, but I have better choices available to me. Once I put it down I’m not eager to pick it up again. But once I pick it up, its performance is acceptable.
My Willpower Collapsed
Anderson Pens sends out a vintage mailer on a regular basis – I think every Friday, although with varying amounts of newly available pens. They’ve had a lot of Japanese pocket pens in the last few months. I’ve been enamored and intrigued, but I’ve always been able to find a reason and the willpower not to buy any that caught my eye. That was until today when I saw the Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen. I tried to find a reason:
- Gold Trim? Not a trace – Stainless steel and black with a silver clip. Even the nib is silver colored. Damn. I could usually count on this to cause me to reject a pen.
- Too small for my comfort? Probably, but a normal pocket pen size, and pocket pens aren’t for extended writing sessions, at least not for me. If it is comfortable for an hour long session it will be a pleasant surprise.
- Weird cartridge/converter size? No – cartridge only, but Pilot which I already use in my Vanishing Points.
- Too Expensive? Absolutely – it was the second most expensive pen in the mailer and more expensive than the few recent sales I found. But the other listings where less desirable. I’ve always found Anderson Pens used pen pricing to be fair and the descriptions to be accurate. The price did keep me from clicking the buy button for several hours. The fact that no one snapped it up for several hours enforces the thought that, at the very least, it wasn’t a stunning deal. This should have killed the purchase for me. But it didn’t, the pen is a perfect design, and this is a pristine specimen of it, at least as pristine as a 40+ year old pen can be.
I kept going back to look at it, and in the end my willpower collapsed. I bought the pens with the funds I had sitting in my PayPal account. It doesn’t seem like real money when it’s in PayPal, and has come from pen sales. I need to transfer that money out faster. To avoid future lapses, I’ve created a mail rule to sleep all Anderson Pens vintage mailers until Saturday morning. Hopefully any pens that interest me will be sold by then and I can just enjoy browsing the interesting pens.
One final comment – despite being in a vintage mailer and the vintage section of the website, I won’t be calling this vintage. My personal rule is that a pen has to be made before I was born in order to be called vintage. I feel old enough as it is, calling a pen that’s born after me “vintage” is unacceptable. At least I was still in high school. It reminds me of when I realized the “oldies”station was playing songs that I liked in high school (and were new at the time).
Original Nanami Seven Seas Tomoe River Paper Declutter
I came across a forgotten stash of Nanami Paper notebooks. All were ordered several years ago and are certainly the old Tomoe River paper. I’m putting them all into a flat rate box and offering them for sale as one bulk purchase. The box includes the following Nanami Paper notebooks:
- One Crossfield (A5 ~476 pages grid) The first two pages were used and have been cut out of the notebook with a knife. Some cruft remaining from the two pages. Noticeable, but doesn’t affect the notebook.
- One Crossfield (A5 480 pages grid) New – unopened
- One Seven Seas Writer (A5 480 pages 7mm lines) – New – unopened
- One Seven Seas Writer (A5 480 pages 7mm lines) – opened but completely unused
In addition, since this is a flat rate box I will include some misc notebooks I have in the stash. Not Tomoe River, but not trash.
There was a time Nanami sold, and I bought, factory seconds, a couple of them may be included in this bunch. I don’t think they marked them. All appear fine, and the only defects I ever found in other factory seconds were a couple of creased pages. I believe factory seconds came without blotter paper. I’ve included a few loose sheets of blotter paper, although they will need to be cut down slightly to fit the notebook.
I only ship within the US (50 states + DC). The price, including shipping, is $135.00. The offer is good through Wednesday Dec. 8th. Mail forwarding services are fine as long as my final destination is in the US. But keep in mind that paper is heavy and this is a medium flat rate box stuffed with it. If you use a forwarding service and prefer the non-Tomoe River paper be removed to lower the weight let me know and I’ll remove it. They’ve been sold. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. They’ve been sold.
I’m taking a brief break from selling pens, but plan to offer a few more before the end of the year. Neither the Sheaffer Balance II Aspen or the yStudio Classic Desk Pen are suitable for travel, so those are the only two I want to sell before this year ends. If you’re interested in either one let me know and I will send you links to current photos when I take them, and offer them to you at a lower price before they go public. (It could be a week or more) Both have been featured in past blog posts. The yStudio has developed a heavy patina since this post was made. I don’t plan to polish it. The Aspen was reviewed here and is still the same.
Current Reads, Watches & Listens
Reading: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard. I stopped transcribing and started reading on November 30. I made a bit of a dent in it on the 30th, while waiting for my car in the shop, then wasn’t able to get back to it all week.
- Esterbrook OS Estie Scarlet (Scribe) Good first impression, and I’m surprised by how much I like the scribe nib. I like the scarlet acrylic, a much darker red than the maraschino version. FYI – The Scarlet is part of their regular line-up, not a special or limited edition.
- TWSBIE Swipe Prussian Blue (EF) I haven’t ink this up yet.
- Pilot Elite Stainless Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F). It’s on its way to me.
- Franklin-Christoph Model 66 (EF)
- Karas Kustoms Ink Raw Aluminum (M)
- Sailor Pro Gear British Racing Green (MF)
- Lamy Safari USA Independence Day (1.1 stub)
Out of Rotation
- Esterbrook OS Estie Scarlet (Scribe) with the included ink cartridge