Saturday, October 30, 2010

My First Time and a Pleasant Surprise

This is the first time I have replaced the ink sac on a vintage fountain pen.

So what did you think I was talking about???

I am not a "pen person", I'm a pen fancier and user. I don't know much about the pens I own, most were chosen and all maintained by a late friend. When I needed a pen resacced I would just hand him the pen and he'd fix it for free. Well he's been gone for over 3 years now and all of my lever fill fountain pens do not work and I did not know how to replace the ink sac.

I had to do something so I got advice from some Twitter pen friends and a local pen collector. I bought a bunch of new sacs and some tools and materials I need to resac a pen. So here I go...

I have 2 old fountain pens that I kinda forgot where I got them from. But I believe I found them when my wife's grandparents were moving out of their large home in Nu`uanu into a 2 bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility. I assumed they were inexpensive Sheaffers.

So I took them apart. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't think I was going to blog about this. I did take a picture with my iPhone when I broke the vent tube inside of the old sac.

I removed the left over section of the tube and reinserted the longer broken piece. I don't even know if this pen could write, I was primarily learning to resac a pen.

Anyway I cut off the old sac and cleaned the barrel, applied shellac and installed a new latex sac. It was not as easy as I thought it would be, it took some doing but I got the new sac on. I was going to make a joke about another latex product procedure that this reminded me of but I so won't go there!

When I was polishing the pen I noticed that it was an Eversharp and not a Sheaffer.

I looked at the nib with a loupe and found that the nib is 14k solid gold.

After letting the shellac dry overnight I filled it with Private Reserve Cosmic Cobalt.

And here was my pleasant suprise!

There was nice amount of flex to the nib and it wrote really smooth and soft. It's not a fine nib so it doesn't have the line variations I like, but it's a really nice writer.

This is a nice pen I can use to write, not letter or do "calligraphy". If I can write without worrying about ascenders, descenders, ovals, etc...I hope the words will flow from the writer in me on to the paper!

Being that it was Kung Kung's pen, I think there's a bit of mana with it too!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two of My Favorite Things, Bikes and Pens

I started this blog to write primarily about pens and writing. I got started on Twitter primarily because of bicycling. Lance Armstrong was the very first person I followed. After seeing a blog post by a Twitter friend in Sweden @lady_dandelion "pairing" her yellow Lamy Safari to her yellow bicycle... I thought, I can do that!

But I have a bike with a carbon fiber frame! Well I have a pen with a carbon fiber body, it's a Retro 51 Roller Ball. I prefer fountain pens and bought the pen simply because of the carbon fiber. There are carbon fiber fountain pens but I haven't pursued one yet. My main road bike is a Giant OCR C3.

I have a black and white Scott Speedster road bike. I paired it with my Mont Blanc 149 fountain pen!

I have a yellow Specialized Hardrock mountain bike I keep mainly to ride with my sons. I had a yellow Lamy that I was not using and gave it up for adoption and is now in a good home. But I do have a yellow Aurora fountain pen to pair with the Specialized.

On a side note I got this non stick yellow covered saucepan for cooking hot cereal. A vacation buy from Ross and yes, Rachel Ray!


Check out Lady Dandelion's blog, she takes a lot of nice pictures on her rides. Something I'm too lazy to do!

Oh that Aurora has a steel nib and is filled wth Private Reserve Orange Crush. I bought it because I was told there is a bit of flex in the nib even though it's steel. I got into a Twitter discussion once with someone who said there are no flex steel nibs. There is some flex in this one...

Just not as soft and cushy as a nice vintage solid gold nib...much like the soft feathery ride on a carbon fiber road bike!

Garage Sale Finds

Often on my Saturday and Sunday bike rides, I come across garage sales. There are a lot in the Kahala and Hawai`i Kai neighborhoods. I don't stop because I only carry a few dollars with me, and I can't really carry anything home. So it would be hard even to leave a deposit and return with my car.

Last week my wife's co-worker held a garage sale because they were selling their house and moving into a small apartment. Usually with garage sales you have to get there early because the good stuff goes quickly. We were allowed a sneak preview the night before the sale so we ventured into rainy Manoa Valley.

As it was we missed out on a lot of neat Japanese items because an early bird shopper was there before us. But I found some fun things...

I love this used goma (sesame seed) roasting pan, it reminded my of my mother roasting goma on the stove and the wonderful aroma it releases.

50 cents

A wooden Spam musubi maker. For my non-Hawaii friends, google it! Using a wooden tool feels so much better than plastic. I won't use Spam but I will use it to make other musubi...not to be confused with onigiri!

50 cents

I don't know what I'll do with this miniature metal tea pot, but I like it. I'll find a place for it as I set up my studio.


I just love this Buddha! I'm not Buddhist, I'm not even sure if it is a Buddha, but it think it will create a nice ambience for when I get back into Japanese brush work. Thinking and hoping for Zen!


Then I found this box.

It's a small Japanese calligraphy set. These were given out as gifts by different agencies. This one was from Japan Travel Bureau, I have another one from Japan Airlines.

This kit was almost complete including the instructions, but the extension handle for the brush is missing.

50 cents

Much better than those cheapy ballpoint pens we used to get from pharmaceutical reps!

I found another little box, but this one had a little laquer finished box inside.

It was another Japanese calligraphy set. No instructions but everything intact including a little water container. The ink stick in both kits were unused.


That was fun. I don't know what I'm going to do with the calligraphy kits yet, I doubt I will ever use them. But then again...who knows? After the garage sale we went and had dinner at a nearby Thai Restaurant, and yes it was raining in Manoa Valley.

Maybe I should carry more cash and stop by the garage sales on my bike rides!

In a rut in need of motivation!

I'm stuck in a rut hence no posts here for a long time! My problem is sleep deprivation. It's been going on for many years and getting worse. I don't remember how it got started, probably from a bad habit of going to bed late. Add a marriage then 2 kids and more bad habits, it has snowballed to where I don't get anything done, no art, music, letter writing, blog posts yada yada yada! And now it's begining to effect my health.

I've talked to pastors, doctors, life one has been able to help. I know it is me who has to make the change but that ain't working. Short of seeing a shrink or hypnotist I don't know how to lick this. So I will be working with a life coach, but this time I'm paying a pretty penny for his services, so there better be results. His background is in psychology so he's sort of a shrink.

I need motivation!

This week was the first time I attened a school conference for my son. I'm usually at work when they are held, but this time I was on vacation. The teacher touched on 4 areas for my son,

1. He needs to work on his "happy voice" does daddy!

2. He's moving to "chapter books". The school really pushed reading, and he's on his next step. I like that the teacher recommended books by local authors. I do want to expose my sons to pidgin since they are local boys. Daddy tries but they correct my English, maybe a book will help!

3. Math.

4. Writing. Here is my motivation! The teacher said that he is encouraged to write in his journal, but he's been doing that for a while. What caught my attention was that he is to write a story. They will bind a book and publish his story, how cool is that? I asked if write means hand write, the answer was yes! He will learn italic writing soon then cursive later...more coolness! She said he will have opportunity to use other electronic devices later, but I love that they still teach handwriting in his school!

So my motivation is to learn with him. How to write a story, blog post, letter, etc with structure! Also I'm on Twitter so tweet me some inspriration please.

Sorry to bore you, maybe this should have been an entry into my journal but...I don't have the energy.

Oh, he does like art and they teach a lot of that in school too!

His portrait of me...

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Pen Stand

I have three rather large pens that do not fit in any of my pen cases. A Pelikan M1000, a Conway Stewart Churchill and a Mont Blanc 149. I prefer large pens over skinny ones, they just feel better in my hand especially the 149. Until now I just had them lying on my writing desk or in coffee mug.

We went to a local Japanese discount store that sells all kinds of neat things from Japan: cookware, dishes, clothing, stationary, groceries, take out food, etc. We were rushed this past Sunday so I want to go back, there are a lot of neat items that would enhance my writing area.

I found a new pen stand...actually it's a temaki sushi stand.

I need to modify the the bottom where the pens rest so they don't slip. Not sure if I will do something to the wood or just lay down a non-slip material.

Got some great sencha too!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Favorite Singer and the Fan Letter

On my previous post, I put together my very first video. In choosing the the background music, I had wanted to use a track by my favorite singer Lorna Lim. The title of the track is Polinahe. Her voice is so sweet, so nahenahe! I've been a huge fan of Lorna for a very long time initially with The Lim Family of Kohala on the Big Island of Hawai`i. She is by far my favorite vocalist regardless of music genre, wahine or kane (female or male).

I literally had my dream come true when I got to meet her at a performance she and her group was doing at a mall to promote her then new CD release Polinahe. I had bought the download for the "album" on iTunes, but bought a CD that day so she could sign it...kinda hard for sign my iPod eh! I also bought a t-shirt and got my picture taken with her, truly one of the best days of my life!

Ok back to my video. I was quite aware that there may be problems if I publish something using copyrighted music without permission. So I contacted Palm Records to ask for permission to use the track and traded emails with them. Without going into detail they basically said no. I understand because I have friends who are in the music and recording industry so I repect that! So I purchased a royalty free track from an online source and it worked out quite well.

Perhaps if you want to see and hear what I had in mind, you can purchase a download of the track Polinahe or the entire album. Start my video, turn down the sound and listen to Polinahe on another player while watching the video.

Back to Lorna. I have always wanted to write her a "gushy" fan letter, but never knew where to send it to. In my corespondence with Palm Records, they told me to send it c/o to them and she would get it...yes!!! It paid to stick to my values!

So I wrote my "gushy" letter,

I hope she likes it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Dance of the Falcon

I've been thinking about creating a video of my writing with a flexible nib pen. When I write I often imagine that the pen is dancing. Sometmes the nib flashes as my desk light reflects off of it. Then I saw a video posted by my Twiiter friend @bleubug and was convinced I wanted to do it.

Here is my first ever attempt at putting together a video.

It was hard writing and holding the camera for parts of the movie. Once I got the tripod out I couldn't figure out how I could orient the camera for a better view. Also being camera shy, I couldn't concentrate on my writing while we were "rolling" film, so there were a few mistakes. But that's ok, after all it is handwritten, not word processed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

# Daily Arsenal

On Twitter I always see #dailyarsenal on quite a number of posts. They are usually refering to writing instruments and paper (pads, notebooks, etc) that one uses for the day. I think I've finally settled on my daily arsenal.

On the left is my orange Lamy Safari that I got lucky and won a handwriting contest by Tiger Pens. I hadn't used it until now, but I recently purchased a 1.5 calligraphy nib from The Honolulu Pen Shop and installed it. I want to load it with a nice orange ink which I am looking for right now. In the meantime I've inked it with Pelikan Brown. I'm normally a pointed pen writer so a broad edged italic nib will be an adjustment for me.

Next is my Pilot Falcon. That I would say is my main pen for correspondence and I've blogged about it here.

That colorful ballpoint I bought from a pen maker on Etsy. The colors caught my eye and it is comfortable in my hand. I guess it's like food, if it looks good it will taste better...if the pen looks nice and feels good it enhances my writing experience.

The black fountain pen second from the right is a Platinum. I bought it because it had a Music nib on it, but I swapped the Music on to a Platinum Urushi I bought from Pendemonium a few years ago. I put this pen with the nib from the Urushi on the side without considering how good the nib was. I recently took it out and inked it, I was surprised at how smooth that nib writes. I now use it to write when I don't want to focus on writing in script with the flexible Falcon and just...write!. I hope to use it for sketching also.

On the far right is a Sailor brush pen that I bought in Japan because I thought it was so cool. Opened it recently because I've become interested in sketching and have gotten some advice on using a brush instead of a pen or pencil.

Oh it may change I'm sure, but it is truly me daily arsenal. I carry it in my backpack wherever I go.

I also carry the obligatory cheap ballpoint pen in case someone asks to borrow a pen. I will be attending a diabetes conference this weekend, I'm hoping I will score more nice free drug rep pens since they don't give them out to the doctors anymore.

For writing media I carry a few Moleskine journals around with me. I didn't take any pictures because they aren't very photogenic-well mines aren't anyway. There are some fantastic Moleskine covers out there done by artists of which I am not...yet. I also try to carry some small note cards from Papyrus in the event I want to leave a nice note perhaps after recieving outstanding service from someone.

I also need to mention my iPhone as part of my daily arsenal which seems to be glued to my hand and needs to be charged two to three times a day.

By the way, I don't understand why it's called the daily arsenal on Twitter. Most posts seem to say that they have something different everyday, wouldn't that make it "#arsenaloftheday" instead?

Gah! Who am I to change things like that?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fisher Hawaii

A few weeks ago my Twitter friend @Bleubug put up a post on his blog about his visit to John Neal Books. Being a wanna be calligrapher myself, I was quite jealous because John Neal is a great source of calligraphy supplies like inks, pens, papers and resource books. Not just for calligraphy but almost anything to satisfy a pen and paper nut like myself!

Well his description of the location reminded me of a local office supply store here in Honolulu called Fisher Hawaii. It is far from the nice posh air conditioned big box office supply stores nearby. The building is constructed of corrugated metal, it is not air conditioned, and can be a bit dusty inside. But there is almost unlimited treasures for pen and paper aficionados!

I didn't think I was going to blog about Fisher, so I didn't bring my camera in to the store with me. After I got in I changed my mind but was too lazy to get my camera so I used my iPhone. Please forgive the less than stellar pics!

The Grand Entrance!

As soon as you walk in you are greeted by a "wall" of pens. This picture was out of focus so I shamelessly used a Photoshop filter. Aross this shelf there is a glass display case with "high end" pens like Namiki, Parker, Cross and others. Oh there are wristwatches too.

Around the first corner, did I say there were a lot of pens?

I went that day to purchase a sketchbook. Here is one of the aisles of art supplies.

Did I mention there is no air conditioning?

The great thing about Fisher is they are quite diverse. They offer a lot of the usual office supplies, and they have business machine and office furniture sections. They're a great source for backpacks too. But can any other office supply beat this?

Maybe this is why the line into the parking lot spills out onto the street when their add flyer comes out in a local newspaper. Unfortunately there's not enough room on this blog to mention everything Fisher has to offer.

Oh and when you leave their parking lot, there's Jellys across the street where you can buy and sell used books and music.

All smack in the center the Kaka`ako industrial district of Honolulu!

Iroshizuku kon-peki Fountain Pen Ink by Pilot

A few weeks ago I received my Pilot Falcon fountain pen.

Since then I have been patiently waiting for the Honolulu Pen Shop to get a shipment of Iroshizuku inks. Well I finally got the call and I purchased a bottle of Iroshizuku kon-peki.

Pilot describes kon-peki as "Deep Cerulean Blue-expresses the color of a vast and clear summer sky". I looked up kon and peki in my Japanese English Dictionary and could not find either word.

Disclaimer: I am not an ink expert! There are a lot of pen/ink bloggers out there who do a fantastic job of reviewing inks. They report on color, drying time, bleed through, flow, feathering, etc. I'm not able to do that. If it writes poorly on one kind of paper, I'll look for another. If it writes poorly in a certain pen, I'll load another. I liken this to a story I read about wine tasting. There are experts who use terms like nose, fruit, dryness, etc. I heard in Italy it's...mmm taste good!

Both have their places!

Well on to my take of kon-peki!

I've never heard of Rhodia notebooks before, but thanks to my pen, paper and ink friends on Twitter, I now know! So I went to the local Target Store and bought a Rhodia Reverse Book.

Ths paper is darn nice! Smooth and takes the kon-peki quite well!

I love it when the inkflow causes differences that look like shading!

Does it look like the clear summer sky? Pretty darn close I'd say!

Well that's it, that's my "review"...nothing fancy. I will be attempting to put together a video using the Falcon/kon-peki combo and posting it here hopefully soon, but it is a learning process for me.

I'm waiting for another color to come in, don't remember the name. I was given a small amount to try so I used a dip pen, here's a preview.

Oh if you're worried about smearing the ink because it took too long to dry, one of these may help.

Until next time I remain,

Very Truly yours!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time Management, Clutter, Figurative Objects and the Hopeless Romantic?

I have a huge problem with time management and clutter. Having two sons ages five and seven does not help, but I cannot put the blame solely on them. Because of this I don't get to do the "creative" or "artsy" things I want to do; blogging (as you know my posts are far and few in between), playing music, letter writing, watercolor and now sketching. Maybe my plate is too full but those are my passions!

A huge part of my problem besides time (or lack of it) is the clutter in my house, especially in my "studio". I would post a picture but it's too embarrasing. I have carved a path to my writing desk, but I need another area for things other than letter writing. I need the area to be free of clutter and everything needs to be easily accessible. Besides the clutter makes for bad Feng Shui and messes with what little creative juices I have in me.

I read an aritcle about decluttering that caught my attention. They said to set a five minute timer and "purge" for five minutes daily. That sounds like a good idea, but I need a timer. Oh I could use the digital kitchen timer or my iPhone, but where's the romance in that?

So I went to a kitchen specialty store looking for that "special" timer just for decluttering. I wanted the one shaped like a pig, but my seven year old insisted I get the one shaped like a pineapple. And so it was...

Or is that a lemon?

I've also become very interested in sketching, inspired by two Twitter friends. I want to do quick simple sketches, nothing highly detailed. So it was recommended I use a timer and sketch within a certain time. I was going to use my pineapple/lemon timer, but found something much more "romantic" while window shopping one night. In a seasonal store at the mall I saw this...

I just had to get it, and it was 25% off to boot!

Have I used any of the timers yet? No! Maybe I need a timer to start using my timers or perhaps I should call Style Network's Clean House or ABC's Extreme Makeover...nah!

Sad yeah?

So am I a old school gadget freak wanting/needing those "figurative objects"? Or am I a hopeless romantic.

More to come...soon I hope!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pilot Metal Body Falcon

After quite a few years, I finally got a new fountain pen. It is a Pilot Falcon which now has a metal body. I like pens with flexible nibs, and the Falcon's nib is flexible enough for my liking which is almost rare with newer fountain pens. I chose Sapphire Blue.

Ahh a nice brand new nib, so pretty!

I was told that Pilot pens will now be called Pilot, no longer Namkiki except for the Maki-e pens.

It comes with a converter I've never seen before.

When I first tried to fill it I turned the knob at the top and noticed the "piston" did not move. I thought I had a broken converter. As with most automotive technicians, especially grease monkeys, I rarely read the instructions. Well I gave up trying to fill the converter my turning that knob and read the instructions.

Oh you pump it...dang!

Well I filled it with Waterman Florida Blue ink and proceeded to write a letter with the pen right out of the box.

It's a little "stiff" and needs to be broken in. The ink flow is not quite there and it also to needs "learn my hand". Yes that is a Dear John letter but not "that kind" of a Dear John letter!

So I plan to do a lot of writing with this pen. My old resin body Falcon is still a mainstay in my collection. Wait I'm not a collector. My old resin body Falcon is a maintstay in my writing arsenal! I cannot wait for the Iroshizuku ink to come in March. I hope to write another post with the Falcon and Iroshizuku combination.

In the meantime I will just enjoy my new Falcon, and write with it until it becomes an extension of my soul!