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.

Mahalo!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It Ain't Easy Being Green

It's been a long time since my last post, it's been a real struggle for me the past few years. Even a week on vacation a month ago still left me with no time or energy to write a post. But I did have a chance to get to the Honolulu Pen Shop and visit Corinne, it too had been a while. I bought a new pen and ink combo, a Pilot Prera and a bottle of Iroshizuku Chiku-rin.

I saw a picture of what I thought was that pen/ink combo in an issue of Pen World International Magazine, and I just had to have it even though my friend John from Pilot Pens had given me a gray Prera before.



I've kinda been on a green kick recently and the clear pen with green ink really caught my attention! After I would look at the magazine again and see that is was not a Prera but a Pilot Heritage 92 clear or "demonstrator" fountain pen. Well the green trim on the Prera makes it even better!




I seem to have come full circle (the original title I had for this post). I think this pen is the first non flexible nib fountain pen I've purchased in years. My very first "good" fountain pen was a Jade Green Cross Townsend with a broad nib ( nib made by Pelikan). When I purchased the Cross it was also the very first time I went to the Honolulu Pen Shop when they were located on Beretania Street. Prior to that I was using a Mont Blanc "rip off" I bought at a trade show, and some disposable fountain pens. I didn't even know it was a fake Mont Blanc because I'd never of Mont Blanc before. Sadly I don't have the Cross anymore, I probably traded it in for another pen. So much for being sentimental.

What my "thing" was back then was wrtiting letters. I wrote a lot of letters. I wrote letters for my church at the time. I wrote letters to friends. I wrote letters to my fiancé who eventually became wife. My wife told me that I write really good letters. Fellow church members would tell me that the letters I wrote had touched them. And even though I was not into fancy script or calligraphy, recipients would still comment on my handwriting even though I wasn't really trying to "write nice," just wanted to say something meaningful.

And then I was introduced to the world of flexible nibs when Earl the late owner of Honolulu Pen Shop introduced me to a vintage Waterman 92. He told me I can write "Spencerian" style though I eventually learned that is something different. But I knew what he meant. I then bought and read a book on Copperplate Calligraphy, sat down with the pen and book and WOW...my life was changed!

From then on my focus with writing was on lettering or forming letters, and not composition of my letters. Of course my fountain pen purchases were all flexible nib fountain pens and I eventually also got into oblique holders and dip nibs. That is a subject for another post. But when I wrote letters in a nice "hand" using the flex pens or dip pen, I focused on forming letters but lost track of composing meaningful correspondence. I could write blah blah blah and make it look nice, but it would almost be meaningless and not heartfelt in my opinion.

So with this pen I am returning to the art of the handwritten letter!

I don't know that I will post any letter here. Often what I write may not be something to show publicly although there may be exceptions. But when I think of green I can't get the song It Ain't Easy Being Green sung by Kermit the Frog out of my head.

So...






Ahh you don't want to see the entire page of lyrics do you? It ain't that pretty!

I will probably carry this Prera around since I think it's cool to show non-fountain pen people what the insides of a fountain pen looks like.



Mahalo nui to all who read and follow my meager blog. I really do appreciate the nice comments I get and it does give me the inspiration to keep it going.


                             More posts and also videos to follow soon!


Aloha...





Monday, October 8, 2012

Time for a change!

I need to make a change!

I have slowly been descending into a rut for the past several years, in fact probably for well over a decade now. Work, family, health issues, laziness-all taking a toll on me. I cannot keep on living this way, so I need to make changes. I've read that Albert Einstein once may have said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So since this is a pen blog (I think), I will start with changes in my a few of my pens!

My two main fountain pens (modern) are my Namiki and Pilot Falcons. I've had the same color inks in them for so many years. Maybe a change in ink color will get me back writing again.



I will start with my Namiki Falcon with the resin body. I've had this pen since 1998, back when not many people had heard the term "flexible nib" just yet. Back in November of '98 the Honolulu Advertiser did an article about handwriting. They interviewed me and put a large picture of something I wrote using a vintage Waterman.



Yes those are my grubby Greasemonkey paws. Writer Will Hoover told me not to wash my hands, now I know why!

Well that picture got a lot of attention and at the Pen Fair that followed that weekend, Honolulu Pen Shop was swamped with people asking about "flexible nib" pens. They sold out of whatever vintage pens were in stock, so then we turned to the Falcons...and sold those out too!

So this pen has a story and special meaning to me, well all of my pens do but. I originally filled it with Mont Blanc Bordeaux for a while then later with Private Reserve Black Cherry. Well now that Namiki has their line of Iroshizuku Inks, I've filled it with Ina -ho.



I try to match the ink color to the pen body but that gets hard after a while.

One of the reasons I haven't been posting here a lot is because I don't know what to write. Oh I know I can do Scripture, or I can use quotes. I had a ton of books on quotes to use for writing or calligraphy but got rid of them since now they are widely available online. But hey, I've always wanted to be a writer. In fact that's the reason why I started this blog in the first place! So I should come up with my own words. I often think in narrative and I should write down those thoughts. In fact I've just ordered yet another journal of sorts since I'm still looking for one that I will actually sit down to write in. Hey I see I was in a rut back then too. And no I haven't written much in that journal either. I should have a "journal garage sale."

More on my new journal setup later.

Recently I've been dealing with a bunch of doctor's appointments and testing. One day there was a cancellation and it threw my day off. But as the day went on, there were unexpected changes and that cancellation actually was a good thing that made the rest of the day go by rather smoothly.

So I've had this in my head since then.

Written with Iroshizuku Ina-ho in a Namiki Falcon 


I don't know, sounds kinda "wonky" now that I see it on paper. That is the first and only draft. I hear writers go through this self doubt thing all the time, and I'm good at self doubt. That's why I'm not doing much art, and I'm working on that.

So here is my well used Namiki Falcon with all of it's scars...



Oh and Ina-ho according to Namiki means "Rice ear"

I took this picture in Japan during a trip there BK (before kids) 

Not quite rice ear but rice in a field in Japan. Is there a resemblance to Ina-ho?

Next post will be about my metal body Pilot Falcon...hopefully soon!







Friday, June 8, 2012

Pilot Grance and Iroshizuku yu-yake

Wow another letter and another post, I must be on vacation! But why do I only have the energy and motivation to get creative on the last days of my vacation?

Anyway here is today's arsenal.



Oh let me explain the bloody Mary. My friend John from Pilot Pens always reply to my posts on Facebook (after I get back from my 30 mile bicycle rides) that I should enjoy my mornings with a bloody Mary and a fine cigar. Well I don't smoke and I'm not about to start, I have enough health issues I've been handed via my DNA. I also don't drink except for a very rare glass of Riesling at a nice dinner out or a very small cup of fine sake. But the bloody Mary intrigued me, so John gave me recommendations for the recipe.  I've been enjoying virgin bloody Maries (Marys?) for a few days now. It does go nicely with letter writing, right along with coffee and some nice Hawaiian ki ho`alu music. Listen to my friend Ozzie, you'll know what I mean. But that's another story.

Anyway I thought I'd use a Pilot Grance that John gave me. I've had an all Sterling Namiki version for many years, but it's been sitting in my pen case in lieu of using fatter pens. But this this red Grance sorta looked like the color of a bloody Mary so...







I filled it with Namiki Iroshizuku Yu-yake. I thought of buying a bottle of a red Iroshizuku, but I'd probably never use it again. And the Yu-yake does look a little like tomato juice...sorta.



I wrote on a page of parchment paper from a pad. Don't always have to use fancy stationery though that certainly makes for a nice letter. I always start my letter with "Dear"... kind of the hopeless romantic in me!




The Yu-yake is a pretty nice match for the orange-ish parchment paper.

No auto correct. I need to get nice hard cover dictionaries and a thesaurus that will also enhance the top of my writing desk.



The problem with this pad was being able to tear the page away cleanly.


And it was hard to turn a "N" into an "A". There was a time when I would trash the whole letter and start over if I make a mistake. No more! Those mistakes in my opinion, add to the charm of a handwritten letter.

Since there is no matching envelope for the pad of paper, I used an envelope from a Korean Stationery store here in Honolulu.


I knew they would come in handy some day.

Always try to finish with a wax seal.



This one turned out less than perfect.

I'm hoping I can write a few more letters during the remainder of my vacation. Also I need to get some rest and get into a routine so I'm not too tired or busy to be "creative" when I'm not on vacation, that's the hard part for me!

I hope you all enjoy this letter and post. And John...



This one's for you!