Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 20, 2022

In last week’s Trail Log I mentioned that I was getting tired of transcribing while on my second page. By Wednesday I was restless on the first page and just wanted it done. I only made it through that first page because I had problems with the Pilot Custom 823. The 823 is a solid writer, problems are unheard of until now. The nib just dried up. And yes, the plunger was open to allow ink to reach the nib. I was able to prime the feed, which is a thrill on a vacuum filler. Ultimately it was mess free. That gave me an incentive to at least finish the page in order to test the pen. The 823 was also problem free when I used it again on Saturday.

I didn’t even attempt any transcription when Thursday rolled around. I’d been transcribing every morning so by then morning writing had become an enjoyable habit, at least until recently. So I kept writing every morning. My journaling has increased a couple pages every morning. I’ve also been making progress on my next pen review by writing one or two pages each morning. Both these tasks have me using my pens while doing something I consider productive, unlike transcribing.

I’ve been using my pens more frequently. As the Fountain Pen Companion screenshot (below) shows, all my pens had been used in the last two days. Part of this is because I’ve been writing in smaller A5 notebooks rather than the large writing pad. In addition, at least for the review, I use proper paragraphs when writing. For my journal and transcription, I just write a wall of words.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Read: A Gambling Man by David Balducci. Book two of the Archer series. I finished this one in short order. Like all Balducci books, the crimes tend to sprawl over time. Overall, I like this series better than the Memory Man books. But, I’ve only read two of these, so they haven’t had a chance to become repetitive. I like the post-WWII setting, which reads as realistic. (I’m not so old that I can judge based on personal experience.) I give this 4 out of 5 stars. The next book in series isn’t due out until next month.

Listening: Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey. Book five of The Expanse. A little progress this week. I’m still enjoying it, but my time available for audiobooks has been limited. I’m just over two-thirds of the way through it.

Reading: Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. A biography of Audrey Hepburn during the five years of the Nazi Occupation. The book got off to a slow start. A lot of words were used to cover her family history. Then it spends considerable time covering the initial German Invasion and Netherlands’ life in general. I set it aside, I just didn’t find it that engrossing. So far it’s been more about the extended family and town’s people than Audrey herself. Not unexpected since she was only 11 when Germany invaded Holland. I do plan to work my way through it. Some people complained that it was a Bait & Switch since Audrey is a minor character in the story. I don’t agree with the Bait & Switch. But, it’s not a Audrey Hepburn focused memoir, at least not yet. It does cover events that certainly affected her life. Such as the brutal execution of her favorite uncle in retaliation for an underground sabotage attempt, even though he had already been locked up as a hostage when it occurred.

Reading: Zero Day by David Baldacci. Yes, another Baldacci novel. This is volume one in his Puller series. I just started, so I don’t have an opinion, just expectations.

Out of Rotation

  1. Kanilea Kona Cherry (EF): I filled this with Montblanc Bordeaux back on January 12th. It was primarily used as my journaling pen for the last month, and it took awhile to write dry.

Into Rotation

None

Links

Deciding what I want in a new gel or ballpoint pen — mnmlscholar and The ‘last inked’ column is pretty dope — mnmlscholar

The unburdening – Pam Alison Knits

State of the collection: March 2022 | UK fountain pens

Blogiversary – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

Baltimore Pen Show 2022 Recap: This Time, It Felt Like Pen Shows Might Be Back — The Gentleman Stationer

Consult the Doctor Episode 43 | Hey there! SBREBrown // I generally don’t watch videos, but I’ve always like Stephen’s videos. I don’t watch too many of his videos anymore, but the first question intrigued me. His answer lined up with my views.

Another Shade of Green: Welcoming a New Pelikan – Chicana Writes

1935 Parker Challenger – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

2022 Baltimore Pen Show Recap and Report Card — The Pen Addict

Travel Carry, Part II — The Gentleman Stationer

Fountain Pens From My Collection: Namiki Vanishing Point | Fountain Pen Love

State of the Collection: My Franklin-Christoph Fountain Pens after Baltimore — The Gentleman Stationer

canetas e coisas: PILOT

Paper – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Off-Topic:xkcd: Consensus Time : Sounds like it could be fun. Let time we tried permanent DST, in the 70’s, and eliminated it a year before the experiment was to end, it was so unpopular. Personally, I like the idea. But, I don’t have kids or head out to work in the morning. I like writing in the quiet and darkness of early morning and having daylight to get outside once I’m done with work for the day.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 13, 2022

I’m still doing book transcriptions for most of my fountain pen usage. But this week brought a new experience. On Thursday and Friday I got really frustrated about half way through the second page and just wanted to get it done or stop. I only did one page on Saturday in order to avoid the entire issue. It’s rather sudden. I going along, enjoying the pen and ink, then a switch flips and the frustration immediately appears and I just want to be done.

I did reach a minor milestone on Saturday – I finished a Doane Paper Writing Pad. It took about 3 weeks. I only have one left.

My journaling also suffered recently. I skipped 4 straight days, which I don’t like. I got back into it and have actually been writing slightly longer entries.

I need to come up with some other reason to do writing. I have a bit of writers block when it comes to writing pen reviews these days. Rather than transcription, I may start forcing myself to write one or two pages about a pen, and eventually try to turn those into a review.

I still managed to keep rotating through my fountain pens. One pen did reach “Last Used: 7 Days Ago” and others reach 6 days. But I managed to get through them.

Fountain pen status as of Saturday afternoon. 9 inked pens

I get a tad obsessive about when I can mark a pen as used, and think about that definition far too much.

  1. If I write a full page that pen gets marked as used. Mostly this is American 8.5″ X 11″ pages. They can be A5, B5 or really any other notebook except a pocket notebook. Although I suppose if I wrote a wall of text on a pocket notebook page I’d consider the pen used.
  2. If a pen goes dry while I’m using it I will mark the pen as used, no matter how much it’s written. If it’s replacement writes most of a page I will mark it as used.
  3. My journaling pen, the Kanilea Kona Cherry, gets marked as used no matter how long (or short) the entry is.
  4. Writing notes on the go, or at my desk, does not qualify a pen to get marked as used, although part of me thinks it should be. There have been times where I’ve done a lot of notes and marked the pen as used that day.
  5. Except for #4, I consider a page a wall of text. A 25 item checklist of two or three words per item is not a page.

It would be far easier, and make more sense, if a pen was used when I uncapped it and put ink on paper, no matter what amount. I tried that, but then I couldn’t remember the pens I might of used during the day which would bother me.

But, I can be obsessive about things like this. For example, I’m keeping track of what I eat and their calories. But I can’t use an app. If I do I will obsess over the nutrition data and spend a lot of time making it match food labels. Even though I know, in my brain, that the nutrition info isn’t all that precise. Keeping it in a notebook is far less accurate, but I don’t obsess over it.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Read: Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams. Historical Fiction. Spy thriller that runs from WWII into the 1950’s. Again, I’m in the minority and found this book to be a slog. While it eventually stopped ping-ponging between the three timelines, it took a little long for my tastes, as the present timeline is the only one I found slightly interesting. Even that was ruined by the book basically telegraphing the ending. Definitely not a thriller, but a unique perspective on spying in the 50’s. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. 12k+ other Goodreads members have an average 4.1 star rating.

Read: Leave No Man Behind by Tony Brooks and Bob Welch. Tony Brooks’ autobiographical account of the 75th Army Ranger’s rescue mission in Afghanistan. It was a quick read. It’s hard to rate this book. It needs better editing to avoid repeated introductions to the same men and tighten up an already short book. Yet, it’s a compelling story. It also feels like a healing process for Dr. Brooks as the majority of it is his biography, feelings and opinions. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because it is worth reading, but from a purely technical view I’d say 3 stars.

Reading: A Gambling Man by David Balducci. Book two of the Archer series. This had been my transcription book. After transcribing 4 chapters, I started reading it this weekend with Chapter 5.

Listening: Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey. Book five of The Expanse. All the character are in this one, although many are off on their own adventures, and the Rocinante crew is split up (by their choice). My memory says I really enjoyed this one, and after getting through about a third of it my memory has been accurate. No progress this past week.

Transcribing: Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. A biography of Audrey Hepburn during the five years of the Nazi Occupation.

Outgoing

  1. Penlux Masterpiece Grande (F) – Black & White Koi
  2. Benu Scepter II (EF)

Out of Rotation

  1. Kaweco AL-Sport Raw Aluminum (EF) emptied its Caran d’Ache Chromatics Vibrant Green cartridge. I won’t be refilling it right away.
  2. Sailor King of Pen, Royal Tangerine with a custom oblique-medium nib and a Sailor Shikiori Miruai ink cartridge went dry.

Into Rotation

None

Links

Home via Chicana Writes

Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Benu Pens | dapprman

Four and a half hours at a pen show goes alarmingly quickly | UK fountain pens

Lightening the load – Pam Alison Knits

#OneWeek100People2022: Day 1 – Writing at Large

Nib Expectations — TooManyPelikans

The color-matched and the complimentary — mnmlscholar

The Turkish/Persian Divit – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Pen Show Prep 2022: A Short List of Things to See at the Baltimore Pen Show — The Gentleman Stationer

The color-matched and the complimentary — mnmlscholar

A Guest Post From Chloé: My First Pen Restoration – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Spring 2022 London Pen Show | dapprman

Crónicas Estilográficas: Eboya’s Eyedroppers

The color-matched and the complimentary — mnmlscholar

Your Questions Answered: Flying with Fountain Pens — The Gentleman Stationer

Doing the resurrection shuffle – or how to breathe new life into pens (and maybe this blog too) | Slightly unnerved

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – March 6, 2022

My transcription was down a bit since last week, but other usage was up, so my fountain pen usage probably remained about the same. I’ve managed to use three or four pens on most days, so they all get used a couple of times per week. I have a nice mix of pens and inks, so I never hesitate to pick up the least recently used pen.

Inked pens, and how long they’ve been unused as of Saturday afternoon.

Atlanta Pen Show

The Atlanta Pen Show is coming up April 1st -> 3rd. I’ll be close enough to Atlanta that I’m considering going to this show. I really don’t want to get any new pens, but a re-supply of ink cartridges (yes, cartridges) and paper would be in order. BUT, Esterbrook has a new nib offering, and I love their pens and have enjoyed both their custom nibs so far. Needlepoint is right up my alley, so I may break down if I see one there. Although, the nibs don’t seem to be in the retail channel yet, and ot on the OS Esties even direct from Esterbrook. I’m mainly sticking to cartridges, except for my ink stalwarts: Montblanc Bordeaux, Montblanc British Racing Green, and my blue-blacks: Waterman Mysterious Blue and Pilot Blue-Black.

Although, my real incentive for visiting the show is to try and sell my vintage pens. I haven’t been using them, so I really need to consider passing them on. I’d much prefer selling them in person so that the buyer can inspect them. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my vintage knowledge and don’t want to innocently pass along a pen that has hidden (to me) issues or bad information.

Pen Sale Page Updated

My pen sale page is back up with a few pens. I’ll add more as I get a chance.

Housekeeping

I’ve noticed that many of the images aren’t appearing in my posts. If you click the text where the image should be you will get the image in most cases. I’ll fix them as I come across them. If you come across a post and want to see the missing images, leave a comment on the post and I’ll fix it as soon as possible.

I was bitten by WordPress. It appears changing my theme, and image sizes, at the time I migrated was a bad idea. WordPress resizes images behind the scenes, and somehow things got screwed up. The original images are all still there.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listened: Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey. Book four of The Expanse. I finished this one early in the week. Since it’s my second time through it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I found Holden less annoying than the previous book, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. No need to break for a Holden cleanse before moving on to the next book

Stopped Reading: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandell. Civilization is destroyed by a virus. This is the story of a small group of survivors, about 20 years later. The story does jump between pre- and post-apocalypse. I gave up after getting about halfway through the book. It was a different take on a post-apocalyptic story which was refreshing. Yet the story kept jumping back and forth in time. While I don’t mind flashbacks, this seemed chaotic to me, and just made it hard for me to follow. Plus, I didn’t really care about the characters.

Read: One Good Day by David Baldacci. This is book one of his Archer series. Like Baldacci’s other books, the story grows from a seemingly simple crime, to a web of crimes. Unlike the Memory Man series, these crimes are all related and don’t involve nearly everyone in town. I rate this one 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it and have moved on to book two.

Read Billy Summers by Stephen King. After bailing on Station Eleven I considered switching the The Stand by Stephen King, but I didn’t want to tackle such a long book, but wanted to stay with Stephen King. I really enjoyed this one and consumed this 500 page book within two days. Not your typical Stephen King horror or supernatural. It’s a thriller. 5 out of 5 stars.

Transcribing A Gambling Man by David Balducci. Book two of the Archer series. I may be transcribing this awhile, since I borrowed another book that has a long waiting list and won’t be able to extend my loan for them. I forget what I already read if I need to wait long for a second loan on a book.

Listening Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey. Book five of The Expanse. All the character are in this one, although many are off on their own adventures, and the Rocinante crew is split up (by there choice). My memory says I really enjoyed this one, and after getting through about a third of it my memory has been accurate.

Reading: Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams. Historical Fiction. Spy thriller that runs from WWII into the 1950’s. To be honest, I don’t see it as much of a thriller (I’m about 45% into it.) The writing style took some getting used to. Yet another book that ping-pongs between a few timelines. I did get used it. Each chapter switches between twin sisters as the perspective used. Another woman, a Russian intelligence agent in Moscow, provides perspective in a few chapters.

Nelson’s Weblog: Goodreads Lost All My Data via Macdrifter

Out of Rotation

None

Into Rotation

  1. Diplomat Aero Volute (Oblique Fine) with Waterman Mysterious Blue

Links

The Baltimore Pen Show is coming up on March 11th through the 13th.

Fountain Pen Review: Esterbrook Estie Pink Sands | Rants of The Archer

White-Dot Lifetime Flattop – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup? – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

Fearlessly downsizing to two pens with grey inks, for the week — mnmlscholar

Yarn + Ink Palette: Spring is Coming – The Well-Appointed Desk

News: M800 Black-Red (Psst, It’s Back!) « The Pelikan’s Perch and News: Souveräns Go From Translucent To Opaque « The Pelikan’s Perch

The Queensway Dainty – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Fountain Pen Primer 104: Cleaning and Care – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

Be Bold And Decorate Your Journal Pages | An Inkophile’s Blog

canetas e coisas: PARKER

RSVP: Use the Good Stuff | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Responsibility for Nibs | dapprman

TWSBI PIPE – Is this really necessary? — The Pen Addict

How Does Nib Size Affect The Look Of Your Handwriting? | Fountain Pen Love

My plan for the London pen show this weekend, March 2022 | UK fountain pens

The many faces of shading inks, or my love affair with dry inks — mnmlscholar

Pen Show Prep 2022: Back to Baltimore! — The Gentleman Stationer

Off-Topic:Never Change Your Password – TidBITS // My pet peeve whenever I receive a “time to change your password email”.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 27, 2022

Just a quick entry today. There’s been nice weather this weekend, so I’ve was out and about all day Saturday. I had almost no fountain pen usage last Sunday and Monday, but things picked up after that, until yesterday (Saturday) where again, I didn’t used my pens. Well, okay, I wrote a few notes each days (probably), but not enough to be recorded in Fountain Pen Companion. Despite this, my pens did all get used relatively recently.

Fountain pen usage at end-of-day Friday

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listening: Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey. Book four of The Expanse. A 20 hour audiobook, so it may take awhile to get through it. I’m about 75% through it.

Reading: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandell. Civilization is destroyed by a virus. This is the story of a small group of survivors, about 20 years later. The story does jump between pre- and post-apocalypse. Written in 2014, so not COVID-19 inspired. I gave up after getting about halfway through the book. It was a different take on a post-apocalyptic story which was refreshing. Yet the story kept jumping back and forth in time. While I don’t mind flashbacks, this seemed chaotic to me, and just made it hard for me to follow. Plus, I didn’t really care about the characters.

Reading: One Good Day by David Baldacci. This is book one of his Archer series, which is currently three books. I’m about 75% through the book. Archer is an ex-con, who really was innocent, and a WWI army infantry veteran. I’m enjoying this one. I guess I’m in the mood for mysteries these days. Like Baldacci’s other books, the story grows from a seemingly simple crime, to a web of crimes.

Transcribing Billy Summers by Stephen King. After bailing on Station Eleven I considered switching the The Stand by Stephen King, but I didn’t want to tackle such a long book. So I went with this one instead. So far I’ve just been transcribing it. I’ll start reading it once One Good Day is done.

New Arrivals

Out of Rotation

  1. Esterbrook OS Estie Seaglass (EF) – It ran dry.I haven’t cleaned it yet, but once I do it will sit out for a little bit to give another pen some time.

Into Rotation

None

Schon’s ‘full size’ fountain pens have that special something | UK fountain pens

Pen collecting and the power of rediscovery — mnmlscholar

Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen Review — The Pen Addict

My Current Stationery Travel Kit – The Well-Appointed Desk

Goodwriterspens’s Blog – Fountain Pen Obsession

Chronicles of a Fountain Pen – Adventures in an obsession

My Notebook System – ratfactor via The Cramped

Journaling Reflections – The Well-Appointed Desk

Trusting my friends all the way to ten inked pens — mnmlscholar

The Regal Spot – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

what’s in my bag? – ink between the teeth via The Well-Appointed Desk

Another Rambling Post – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Crónicas Estilográficas: Nomikomi Inkwell (II)

10 years! Whoa….

State of the Art: Getting to It | Comfortable Shoes Studio

More Dip Pen Stuff – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Collecting pens as a practice in happiness — mnmlscholar

Notebook Review: The Theme System Journal — The Gentleman Stationer

LA Pen Show – Recap and Report Card — The Pen Addict

Weirdo’s Top 5 Notebooks (Part 2 of 2) – Weirdoforest Pens

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – February 20, 2022

My fountain pen usage was up this past week. I did a lot of transcribing, completing at least three pages each day, and writing six on my best day. I even managed to finish off one 50 sheet Doane Paper Large Writing Pad. That would be even more impressive if I remembered when I started using it. It was probably in mid-January, so not impressive at all.

Three that rose to the top

I’ve been rotating through my inked fountain pens at a rapid pace. Even my less-loved pens get used twice at least every third day. I’m still switching pens after every page of transcription. One nice thing about using my pens frequently is that a few rise to the top over time. In this case, three pens have found a permanent (for now) place in my Nock Co Lookout Three Pen Holster.

  • Esterbrook OS Estie Seaglass (EF): It’s a gorgeous pen with a basic JoWo extra-fine nib that performs well. It made the Lookout mainly because it’s the pen I picked to write dry by using it daily. I’ve been using it to transcribe one page every day. I’m out of the Sheaffer Emerald Green ink, so there will be an ink change when the pen goes dry. The pen may not return to the Lookout right away. But I certainly haven’t regretted having it there. It’s fits perfectly in my hand and is a joy to use.
  • Spoke Icon BRG/Brass (EF): I like this pen more each time I use it. It made the case because of that. Unlike the Estie, I don’t plan to us it daily, but since it’s always nearby it will get used more than the ones in my pen wrap.
  • Pilot Elite Steel Lined Pocket Pen (18K F). Another pen that’s grown on me over time. I’ve always been in love with its looks, but I also enjoy using it. It’s little thin for me to use in extended, multi-page writing sessions. It made the lookout because it had a traditional blue-black ink.

I should also mention, the ink did factor into my choices, I wanted three distinct colors. I also leaned heavily towards thin nibs and ignored the three pens with wider nibs. I don’t classify these as Top Three, but the three I like having handy, at least until my mood changes.

Fountain pen status as of Saturday afternoon. (fpc.ink)

Baron Fig Does Books!

I was listening to the Bookworm podcast where they talked about the book Personal Socrates by Marc Champagne. I was struck when I heard that it was published by Baron Fig. It sounds like they put as much thought into the book design as they do their other products. That makes the hardcover relatively expensive. This does seem like a book I’d get a lot out of, at least a few journaling prompts.

I haven’t bought the book yet, but that’s because I can’t decide what format to buy. I did eliminate the audiobook as the wrong format for this book. The Kindle version is far cheaper than the hardcover (I couldn’t find any other ebook formats). The hardcover seems really nice, but I sold/donated all my books and stick to library or ebooks/audiobooks these days. The Kindle version has the content, which is what’s important, but I’m looking for an excuse to buy the hardcover. Notes in the book? They seem to have allowed space for it. I’ll decide soon.

Current Reads, Watches & Listens

Listened: Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey. Book three of The Expanse. I started this one as soon as I finished book two. I finished this off early in the week. It’s not my favorite Expanse book, so it gets 3 out of 5 stars. Certainly worth reading as part of the series. It’s not bad, It just feels like a long way to go, just to get to the big event at the end. On the plus side, Holden was less annoying. Goodreads has it at 4.25 stars over 100k ratings. So, I’m again in the minority.

Read: Walk the Wire by David Balducci The sixth (and latest) installment in the Amos Decker (aka Memory Man) series. I finished this one off rather quickly once I moved from transcribing to reading. The memory man series books have a loose formula that’s a bit far-fetched, at least to happen so many times. But it’s not completely unbelievable with a view limited to that one story, so I enjoyed the books. This one has a convoluted story that can be hard to follow at times. It’s not helped by the fact that the crime they were called to investigate ends up having little to do with most of the story. Still, I reluctantly gave it 4 out of 5 stars since I did enjoy it and read it quickly. This is the last available Memory Man book, although at least one more is planned. I’ll try another Balducci book to see if the formula changes.

Listening: Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey. Book four of The Expanse. A 20 hour audiobook, so it may take awhile to get through it. I’m about 25% through it.

Reading: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandell. Civilization is destroyed by a virus. This is the story of a small group of survivors, about 20 years later. The story does jump between pre- and post-apocalypse. I’m about 50% through it, and while I like it, it’s disappointing because of all the great reviews and recommendations. I’ll finish it, because I’m supposed to love it, and maybe I will in the end. Plus, the sooner I finish it the sooner I can move to my next book. Written in 2014, so not COVID-19 inspired.

Out of Rotation

None

Into Rotation

None

Another Pencil Meet – Wonder Pens

Weirdo’s Top 5 Sketchbooks (Part 1 of 2) – Weirdoforest Pens

My Wallet is a Hobonichi Weeks! – Chicana Writes

Osmiroid – Chronicles of a Fountain Pen

Crónicas Estilográficas: Nomikomi Inkwell (I)

Pen Roll vs. Pen Case: Why Consider One Over The Other? — The Gentleman Stationer

Review: Pelikan’s Epoch P36x (2004-2007) « The Pelikan’s Perch

State of the Art: Battling Material Snobbery | Comfortable Shoes Studio

State of the Art: Material Snobbery is Perfectionism | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Conklin Crescent 2P – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

5 Best Books to Improve Your Writing – inkjournal

Wancher Bakelite Seven Treasures | dapprman

5 Steps for Getting Started with a New Fountain Pen – Goulet Pens Blog

The Pleasure of Writing – A Must-Stop Shop in beautiful Carmel — The Pen Addict

In Praise of Ink Cartridges – The Well-Appointed Desk

International Correspondence Writing – Wonder Pens

Weekly Update: Remission and Apple Watch – Writing at Large