Sunday, August 7, 2022

Also. Art.

I spent the last couple of years really trying to focus in on arts and crafts while.  Part of me wanted to see where I could go with art, and part of me just needed that creative outlet. I don't call myself an artist.  I know that it's vague and can be applied to many fields.  Someone putting together an amazing stone mantle is an artist to me.  We all tend to find ourselves and my art self is still looking around for a firm hold on things.  

My biggest thing is that I don't worry about art.  I don't do it to stress relieve, but I also don't want it to create stress.  A few commissions have done that to me and I get them done, but I would rather just sit down with a few different kinds of mediums and create. Then at the end of the day sell it, or give it to a friend.  I have one painting I pull out every couple months and slowly add to it,  it's cathartic. But also...

I have been making jewelry:

Stained Glass Pieces:

And Painting tons of Journals and stuff

But pens have always been along for the ride.  I am still getting emails and requests from when I was more active here and I really want to get going again.  I have bins of pens and stacks of journals that I havent talked about.  If you are curious about the art,  I am Xact Studio on Etsy.  and also building out but that's still a work in progress.  Looking forward to catching up with everyone again. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Wait, are we still blogging?

I have been dying to pass along the story of how I got an amazing chicken cordon bleu recipe...kidding.  So, I still use a pen and I still have lots of paper.  And- I still can somewhat create sentences that sometimes make a little sense.  So- it is time to crank up the part of the brain that is the rustiest.  Where have I been?  Living.  Tightly, in a bubble as most reasonable people are- and that end in sight thing keeps changing its target.  So, we buy pens, we buy ink.  We create shitty reviews.  It is what we do. 

In my strange way of deciding what pens I am going with for the day, I sometimes feel the need to stick with one pen,  for the day, for the week...until I kill all of the ink inside of it and THEN I can move on to a new pen. This Jetstream Uni .38 makes me feel this way. Then it would make me feel bad that it is out of ink and I would have to buy more.  

It's near perfect, thin, light, consistent.  I don’t have a writing sample on this.  Why?

1.  I am not even sure the lights are still on in this blog. 

2.  I have had enough caffeine to jumpstart a 72 Cadillac and I might be a touch shaky. (coffee jokes, ugh)

3.  yeah, only 2. Sorry.

I am not saying I am back.  That would lead to me disappearing again for 3 years. I am just saying I have a ton of cool pens I should talk about. 

Cheers.  Missed you. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Zebra Airfit Japan

It's sort of sad...I found this pen under my workbench in a box that I haven't gotten around to sorting or going through yet. Sad, because I have far too many boxes of pens stashed away that I need to get to.  I picked this thing up in the airport in Japan the end of last year and thought "Hey, this would be a good pen to review." and well, here we are.
I have seen other versions of this on Jetpens and around the different reviewers, but I never saw this version before. The colors and design are right in my wheelhouse.  The "JAPAN" on the clip seems a little touristy to me, but I don't mind it (and it was in an airport... so...)
So apparently,  this was 540 YEN which in today's dollars is under 5 bucks.  Good deal!  Whenever I pen shop in Japan it feels like fake dollars anyway. It's kinda like Monopoly money and I refuse to go into the higher end pen stores unless I am looking for something in particular.  I went back through my photos and dug this up from one of my trips:
This photo was taken INSIDE a Japanese version of a 7-11. It's sort of pen heaven. " Oh, hey, let me go and buy a coffee, sushi  AND a shit ton of amazing pens."  It's an issue for me.  My last trip, the Frixions were everywhere. And I bought them,
This thing is very similar in size and weight of a G-2 pro but the guts are completely different. Big pen, smaller tank of ink. 
The refills are not what I thought they would be and my Sarasa refills do not even come close to fitting.  I need to do some research to see if I can get better refills for this. It's middle of the road for me in terms of writing quality.... Not as dark as I would like it,  but the .5 is thin enough to make up for it. I swear all these .38 gel pens spoil me now. 
See,  sort of ball-pointy, more than Gell-y.  Bottom line,  I like the feel of it and I will probably throw it in my travel bag.  I don't see this one going into my daily rotation, just simply because of the ink,  but in a pinch, it's a solid pen. You can get a very similar version of this on Jetpens here if you so desire and crap! I just saw that they also make a mechanical pencil version of this.  Awesome.  I need to shop. 

Feeling the need for a fountain pen review or two,  let me look through my boxes....


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shinola Medium Hard Linen Journal

I have known about the Shinola for a few years but I didn't know that they made journals...I knew them for watches and leather goods and then they added bikes and other things to take my money and I kinda lost touch with them a few years ago.  Their story is a good one, they wanted to bring jobs to Detroit with American goods and I admire that idea... I happened to stop into my local art store I found this little A5 screaming to me to purchase it. 
I use a journal for my work/life to do's (not a "Dear Diary"kind of thing) and an A5 usually lasts me about 6 months until I get bored with it or find another one that I like. For me, filling a journal is rare and I am pretty sure if I stacked all of my journals in my house into a single pile, they would be taller than the average human. Someday I will test that out. Not today, I have laundry to fold...
My demands for a journal are simple: I prefer lined paper, a hard cover, as close to non-bleedy as possible just in case I do grab an EF fountain pen- and an A5 is usually right in my sweet spot to keep it portable for travel. As much as I love technology, I force myself to use a journal to keep my pen desires active. From a check box standpoint, this one hits all the major points. Picadilly is one of the other brands that I buy, mainly because Barnes and Nobles sells them cheap.  Although after a few trips, the Picadilly's tend to start showing wear. This one has been to Japan once and 3 trips across the country and looks almost brand new. 
I wasn't lying about the lined part. That's mandatory for me. I tried dots and plain paper and none of them keep my writing organized enough. By organized, I mean that can't achieve the  higher OCD levels that I have of writing in a straight line. No surprises here...Cream paper and divider, there is a nice nice pocket on the back and a page saver (which I almost always cut off.)  
The Sarasa (.4) works incredibly awesome here (no surprises) and so does the Pilot loaded up with some Noodlers Black. I think the journal was around $22 bucks or so. For an A5 is a little on the high end, but worth it. They make these in tons of fun colors (I chose black as a fun color.)    The Shinola page tells me the paper weight is 60 LB. with 192 pages that are acid free and archival quality. The Smyth sewn binding allows it to lie flat.  They make leather covers for these, but they are $195 and I need a new squash racquet, so that's not going to happen anytime soon. Anyway,  Nice journal, 8.5 out of 10 for me.

P.S. I am once again moving stuff around on the website,  Ignore all the dead links as I get sorted. Thanks- S-

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pen of the Day

Some days,  I try to stick with a pen or two rather than reaching into the pen cup for a new option every 5 minutes.  When I reach in the pen cup I can get EASILY distracted by a fountain pen that needs cleaning or spend 4 minutes sad with the pen choice that I made.  So grabbing a pen and sticking with it helps keep me focused a bit (P.C.P... Pen Choice Problems.) So,  this morning I reached in, grabbed an old Pilot Precise V5 Extra fine and was amazed that around noon eastern, I was still pretty happy with my choice.

When I popped over to Jetpens and Amazon and saw that they still sell these.  Pretty much with the same label.  By the way, Jetpens tells me that this is made from 89.2% recycled material and refills are available (so, why do I own so many of these?)

There's some ink creep on that needlepoint. (said no cool guy ever.) I probably have a dozen or so of these kicking around but I usually reach for the smaller points (.38 or .44) but for some reason,  I can still get away with this in my notebooks and am happy with the dark ink and for me it dries fast enough.   
Look,  I get it,  I know around 12:30 I will once again reach over into this mess (below) and forget about the V5 in a heartbeat.  But,  I still like this pen.

I should go through this
Here's where my hand goes by instinct whenever I need to write something.  I only stab myself with the dip pen 3 or 4 times a day.

The irony here is thick. (or it's not) Anyway,  I might do this again tomorrow. I miss you crazy people and thanks for all the readers that still ping me. You guys rock. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Frixion friction functions failing!

Craziness...My notes are disappearing from my notebook! I think the culprit might be that I left my work notebook (Shinola) in my hot car the other day.  Today, when I went to go back though my notes from earlier in the month,  whole sections had disappeared.  The parts you see here are non Frixion.

Anyone else had this happen to them?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pilot FriXion Ball 4 Color Gel Ink Multi Pen IN .38!

So, last week I am sitting in a French restaurant in Yokohama, Japan at a business meeting. The guy across the table from me has a monogrammed Pilot Frixion in .38 and I loved it. You may recall that in the past I said that multi-pens tend to do a lot of things...but none of them that well.  

Something clicked and I needed to have this pen. (Not that exact one silly, it was already monogrammed.)  The search was on and I started swinging by the stores, but all I can find are the .5's.  I did find one .38 but it was in some sort of lavender color and I couldn't pull the trigger.
Oh, by the way,  the 7-11's in Japan have a ridiculously awesome array of pens. Anyhow...cut to the airport later that week. .5's everywhere,  but then across the display,  I spy the .38 refills.  BOOM, problem solved. Except for green, I could not find the green refills.  No biggie,  I can deal. 
Elusive little guys
So, for about 3 bucks a color, I made the pen more enjoyable for me. (I am not calling this a hack, that terms is getting overused in the pen circles.)  
I like the Frixions.  I wish the ink was a little darker, but I get it...  It's cool technology with the heat/ friction erasing capability so I will cut them some slack on the darkness level.  I am generally not a .5 anything type of guy, so thinner is better regardless.
 It was a 2 second fix, the same as refilling,  pop out, pop in, screw the top back on.  Easy.  The white ones have the ,38 tip.
Green is .5, blue is .38
It's not coming across on the paper as well,  but it is a subtle enough of difference that I prefer the thinner width. (Blue) I started taking my work notes in different colors (red is for action items) and I have been picking this pen up more and more in my daily writing. I like the weight, I like the feel and this is the most that I have used a multi-pen in forever.
 I have not looked to see if the .38's are available in the US.  I have seen the .5's for sale (Jetpens) and unless you geek out on thinner widths,  the .5 should be fine for you.
Springy Spring
The spring clip is a nice touch. It's still a pretty big pen to throw in your shirt pocket, but at least you know it will stay there.  So,  what else is new with me lately?  I bought a TON of pens and notebooks. I bought a lathe to consider making pens with. The Red Sox are on an incredible run and I rescued this little Mastiff/ Lab mix.
Meet Boden the Great. 

My next post will probably be how I have just about perfected the perfect pen cup.  Not the actual cup, but the contents.  It's close to awesome and I will get it there before I post.  Cheers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Three Amigos

Like a lot of you, I buy pens. Sometimes= for all the wrong reasons. Some people tend to eat when they are bored...some people play games...I tend to make rash, odd pen purchases.  I generally remain within budget and try not to splurge and I think this is how I ended up with these Jinhao fountain pens. Probably off of Amazon, maybe off of Ebay or possible from Jetpens.  No clue.
They are cool looking right?  Nice beefy clip, nice colors, clear all around so you can see that ...yes, those are converters in there.  I am not positive, but I think these are the 599's.  (Which is also about what I think I paid for all three.)  I could be wrong on both of those assumptions.  

I am pretty sure I know what happened...I bought these, inked one up, decided they were a little too mediumy for my taste and tucked them away.  My nib taste has been running in the EXTRA fine mode for fountain pens lately and rarely go too far away from that. I think only one has been inked. It's a small, tidy, cheap sin... I know. 
Here's how they break down,  I know what you are saying.  Looks a lot like a Lamy.  Well who am I to assume that, but yes,  it's a little eerie. 
 Spooky World!

My Lamy has a black nib, so they are clearly not similar. Case Closed, Court Adjourned, Brady is a free man. 
But, really,  these are not terrible.  The nib is smooth,  it's not a overly light pen and when writing it has a nice balance to it.  This could be on the list of pens that if I lost, I wouldn't go crazy searching the house for it. (The Mrs. is still looking for her good set of keys by the way.)  

In other news,  (and speaking of eerie)  Lewis nailed the small little contest I held and with a few tips CRUSHED the test.  Lewis your prize is... pick one of the above pens,  I will clean it, buff it up and ship it out to you.  Give me a shout and it's a done deal. 

Bottom line (almost literally)  take a chance,  skip the Venti Extra Hot soy decaf latte and go buy a cheap pen.  Use it, or give it away.  No harm- no foul.  Everyone should have a few inked up just in case.