Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Not Calligraphy, and it was Refreshing!

Today I wrote a letter for InCoWriMo. It's day 7 and I'm already a day behind so I thought to write the usual, "just a short note" as I often wind up doing for InCoWriMo. But today I would make it simple, I would not use a flexible nib fountain pen and worry about the lettering and how it will look, but concentrate on what I want to say. Afterall a note saying "Just a short note for InCoWriMo" is just empty words. I chose to use an old Mont Blanc 149 and I wouldn't have to think about ascenders, descenders, weight, etc. Just write.

An it felt refreshing! 

I've been struggling with this for years. I feel as though I "owe" it to the recipient to write the letter with nice handwriting or as some call it, calligraphy. That is what I had been recognized for in the past years.  However when I focus on the lettering, I lose touch of why I write notes and letters to begin with. That I want to convey a message. As my friend Joan told me, there should be, "less focus on form, more focus on letting words flow."

This focus on form has kept me from a host of creative endeavors including art and music. Recently I posted a picture of an art set on Instagram. We bought it for our son mainly because it was really inexpensive. Someone posted a comment on that post, "Dang that's really cool!" I replied back saying I wasn't sure about the quality of the art supplies because of the price. She replied back with, "Hours of fun if nothing else-and that's what counts." 


So hopefully from now moving forward, no more "just a short note for InCoWriMo." No more empty words! After all if there's anything I feel has been my calling from God, it's writing letters. And I've been letting Him down. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I Just Want to Write

I started this blog because, for a long time I've had, and still have, an interest in writing. I thought blogging would be an easy way to share the thoughts and ideas in my writing. But after I started, something happened along the way. It's been nearly two years since my last entry.

My first problem was I made it too complicated to prepare for a post, for the most part because of the process to add my pictures. Then there was other text options like adding hyperlinks, fonts and text colors, to make it cool. It took a lot of work. That makes me procrastinate. I stopped writing. There's a new blogging tool that showed up since I started my blog, the Blogger app for my smart phone. It is limited but I'd like to use it to post most of my entries. I want to keep things simple and short. I don't like reading lengthy blog posts so I shouldn't post any right?

Also for some reason, my blog has sort of turned into a "pen blog." That was not the intent although I do love pens, fountain pens in particular. I am not a "pen person." I just enjoy good pens. So I'm going to mix it up a little.

It seems I just want this to be an extension of Instagram where I can post more than one picture at a time and write a bit more than I would. Thanks to @inkybeads on Instagram for giving me the idea and much needed motivation to start posting on this blog again.

Let's see how this goes. And bug me if I don't follow through. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is Anyone Still Interested In This Blog?

Of course no one's interested, I haven't posted anything for almost a year. Seems my pen community on social media is growing on Instagram, and that's where I've been hanging out. But there are limits on how much you can write though not limited to "140" like Twitter. And you can only post one picture at a time. But it's fast and easy. Less likely for me to procrastinate. 

I'm going to try and post here more often. And to make it easier, I'll write mostly short posts with one or two pictures, using the Blogger app on my iPod like I'm doing right now, unless I have more to say or share. 

Oh and I don't intend to do any pen, paper, and ink reviews. There are others who do them quite well. But I do want to share my mana Ľo which is why I started this blog. 

So what do you think? Oh and I'll limit my food and coffee pictures on this blog. 

See you soon...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Finally Another Video. The Pilot Pen Justus 95 Adjustable Nib Fountain Pen

It's been 3 years since I created and posted my first video, the Dance of the Falcon, and I finally found some time to do another one. I created this video to show how the soon to be released in the USA, Pilot Pen Justus 95 with an adjustable nib functions and performs. I did do a post on this pen a few months ago, I'm hoping this video will give you an idea of what the pen is about.

So introducing...

Here's a link in case the video does not play on mobile devices.

It's a bit rough on the edges and I have a lot to improve on. From this time on I want to:

* Create longer videos.
* Get better at editing.
* Get better at filming.
* Get better at writing with a pen and filming at the same time.
* Perhaps add voice overs.
* Get creative.
* Get a mani!

Since I did the first video, my interest in videos has piqued and more so after seeing a "vlog" for the first time by my now friend 808yewtube. I have a lot to learn and perhaps some day I will create a vlog to get my mana'o out there.

Thanks for reading!

Oh and psst...it was 808yewtube's idea about the mani!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Finer Points in Life

After thirty six years as an automotive technician, I have made a career move and now have a desk job. Oh I still fix cars for a living, but instead of using wrenches and screwdrivers I now use a computer and a phone. I provide tech support for dealership technicians. I still get to work on cars occasionally so I guess I can keep my name Greasemonkeyhands though these days most auto techs wear gloves and keep our hands in fair shape.

 That said I now can play with fountain pens more often at work at "my desk"...still sounds so weird to say that. When I receive a call, I write and keep notes in a notebook, and using a fountain pen does create challenges with bleed through when using medium or broader nibs. And I'm not willing to spend a lot of money for fountain pen friendly notebooks, I'll use the cheap lined ones.

Oh I love fat juicy nibs or fine flex nibs for handwritten correspondence on good paper, but this is different. I don't want to use a ballpoint pen because it can be so, blah! I'm going to try fine non flexible nibs which I have never pursued before. Today I did a test using my Pilot Prera fine, Pilot Justus fine adjustable set at the hard setting, and a ballpoint pen.

 So it may work out using a fine nib fountain pen and I bet ink makes a difference too. I do have two other fine nib pens at home, a Sheaffer I purchased at a closeout sale, and a new old Mont Blanc Meistersutck that someone gave to me though it needs some TLC.

If a fountain pen just does not work out though, there are some very nice ballpoint pens out there that are aesthetically pleasing and fit well in your hand still making writing enjoyable.

Oh and as you can see I'm not writing in cursive or script as most people expect from me, and believe me it gets a lot sloppier than that. When I get a call I have to write fast, very fast! I cannot worry about my handwriting at least at this time. Maybe because of this when I do sit down to write a letter or note, I will slow down, savour and enjoy the experience...

...and that enjoyment will be conveyed to the recipient of the letter.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Dreaded Ballpoint Pen

I've been thinking about writing a post on this subject for a while, so I finally sat down and typed it out. But after looking at the draft it really does not sound that great, in fact it sounded lame!. It's been sitting as a draft for over a month and I was procrastinating. But I guess I do need to take a break from posting about Pilot or Namiki pens.So after a bit of edtiting here it goes. 

It's funny that among the fountain pen aficionados, it seems to be a big no-no to write with a ballpoint pen. You wrote with a what??? But in my opinion, there are times when a ballpoint may be a preferable choice, and good to have as a part of your daily arsenal. 

Here are a few reasons...

Paper: There is always concern about paper being "fountain pen friendly."  There's concern about feathering, bleed through, etc. With a ballpoint, there is rarely a concern with paper choice. No need to purchase an expensive journal or notepad, you can even use one of those black and white composition book. Even rather costly Moleskine books are not fountian pen friendly. Also instead of costly stationery, you can use ink jet paper from a...OMG...ream!

Greeting cards: Have you ever tried to use a fountain pen while trying to share a Hallmark moment on a store bought greeting card? I don't appreciate "fuzzy" lettering so I wind up writing my greetings on a piece of fountain pen friendly paper and enclosing it in the card which may not be a bad idea since the card can be re gifted.

Waterproof ink: Fountain pen inks are often water soluble though I've read there may be a few that are waterproof. But it may not be a good idea to use a non waterproof ink to address a snail mail envelope when the weather is less than desirable. No problems with a ballpoint.

Also I think that some feel that you cannot write "beautifully" using a BP. I think you can. Part of my "Daily Arsenal" of pens that I carry around most of the time is a Uniball Jetstream 1.0.

I use this pen primarily for writing checks...yes I still write them. But when there is no need  for one, this is my go to ballpoint pen. It writes pretty smooth and leaves a very nice line.  You can still write decently in cursive.

If you took the time you could write in a calligraphic style though it doesn't make sense to have to "draw letters."

If you're ashamed to be seen with a cheapy $1.00 drugstore pen, or even worse a free pen used for promotion or advertisement, most of the high end pen manufacturers like Mont Blanc, Pelikan, Pilot, etc offer ballpoints and also mechanical pencils and  rollerballs. The ballpoint refills are pretty much the same quality with most of the brand names and they all write about the same, but the pen body is what separates the Mont Blancs from the Papermates.

My wife has a Mont Blanc Dumas Writer Series ballpoint. I swear it's the most comfortable pen to hold in your hand and it is very nice to look at. It certainly enhances the writing experience. Sorry no picture.

I think these are no longer available in the US, but I've had this Namiki Ball Point for a long time.

Ok so much for a break on Namiki...sorry!

The beauty of this pen was the double broad refill that is sadly no longer available. I wish Pilot would bring it back.

It writes very smooth and also leaves a "nice line" though this refill is on it's last legs.

I remember I once wrote on a postcard and sent  it to my late friend Earl of Honolulu Pen Shop. He told me that he thought it was written with a fountain pen!

But perhaps the most important use for a ballpoint pen is...

for those people who ask to borrow a pen. That's when you do want to have available a cheapy, freebie, junky BP like this to loan out!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pilot Justus 95 With an Adjustable Nib

When I started this blog, I had no intention of it being a "pen blog." I just had an itch to write and get my writing out there somehow. Well I guess it is now a "pen blog." And it may look like that it is becoming a "Pilot Pen Blog" which it is not. I've been very fortunate to receive Pilot and Namiki pens from my personal friend John Lane, general manager at Pilot Pens. He told me he sends those pens after "cleaning out his desk." But a few weeks ago he told me he was sending a pen for me to try and give my opinion on before he brings the model in from Japan to the US. So this post is kinda different for me as it is not my thoughts or my mana`o, but trying to help out a friend.

I received a Pilot Justus 95.

Oh umm click on the pictures to see a larger preview.

It has an adjustable nib. When John first told me about it, I immediately remembered a vintage Wahl Eversharp Doric I had with and adjustable nib. I had bought it from the one and only pen show I have ever attended on the mainland, the inaugural San Francisco Pen Show. Well that pen is gone, but my Twitter friend Gourmet Pens featured one in her blog posts.

This is a bit different, actually a lot different! There is an adjustment at the bottom of the body, H (hard) and S (soft)...obviously. You can see a stiffener bar that supports the nib or not.

Hard setting

Soft setting

I filled it with Iroshizuku Ama-iro.

It is not what I expected. It is not a flexible nib by any means even in the soft setting. There is no line thickness variation that you get with a Falcon.

On a side note, when I use the term thickness variation, I think of disc brake rotors on automobile brakes. Still a Grease Monkey I guess. Ok sorry...side tracked!

However when writing, you can definitely "feel" a difference. I liken the the difference in "writing feel" to writing with a stiff Sheaffer nib compared to a nice soft Pelikan or Montegrappa nib. On some papers you can see a difference in line thickness between the two settings. Maybe not so much on the Rhodia paper, but again no line variation.

I first filled it with Irhoshizuku Take-sumi, but changed to the Ama-iro hoping for better results. I do love the shading with the Ama-iro though, may be a good companion to Kon-peki.

John did later tell me that it is not a "Falcon wannabe." I personally don't know a reason to have a stiff nib. Can anyone explain please as I am not really a pen aficionado? However I do enjoy writing with a nice soft nib.  If there is a reason to have both kinds of nibs, this pen would work out perfectly as you have both and only need to carry one pen. Also it is not just hard or soft, there is almost infinite adjustment in between.

I appreciate that John trusts my judgment and opinion with this pen. We go back quite a few years first meeting at then annually at the Pen Fairs that the Honolulu Pen Shop used to hold. I think we sold out of Falcons the first time we met when no one knew the term flexible nib yet. I did write a post about it last year.

So, would you purchase this pen? I think it'll retail for around $300. Thank you and I or we will value any opinions sent.