Ink Drop Soup: Shout out to Michigan!

23 05 2014

If you follow my Twitter, you’d have pieced together that I recently visited Michigan. For those of you not familiar with Michigan, it is a state made up of two landmasses (one shaped like a mitten, one shaped like a shark) that borders “lakes” so large you will frequently refer to them as oceans. There are waves. There is sand. There are shells. There is water stretching out to the horizon. What more do you need to qualify as an ocean?

Is it salt? I have salt. Here, I'll give you some salt.

Is it salt? I have salt. Here, I’ll give you some salt.

I had originally planned to lobby for a Lake Michigan circle tour (or perhaps half circle tour, cutting back across the lake by ferry), with the nefarious pen-related goal of visiting the Anderson’s pen store in Wisconsin, but it was still solidly winter when we got north of the 45th parallel. There was snow. Snow in May is a terrifying prospect for a North Carolinian.

Hiiiii, random Michigan lady! I assume you are a Michigander because you were appropriately dressed for the weather. I envied your coat, as I had to double up with discount hoodies and my running windbreaker. Plus a hat and gloves I got from a hardware store in Mackinaw City. I wasn't trying to film you; you just got in the way of my southern wonderment of snow.

Hiiiii, random Michigan lady! I assume you are a Michigander because you were appropriately dressed for the weather. I envied your coat, as I had to double up with discount hoodies and my running windbreaker. Plus a hat and gloves I got from a hardware store in Mackinaw City. I wasn’t trying to film you; you just got in the way of my southern wonderment of snow.

On the pen related front and entirely related to this trip, are any quality pen makers doing anything with pen bodies and Great Lakes stones?

I have a lot more where these came from

I have a lot more where these came from

Between the fossils and the striped agates and whatnot? I’ve seen Great Lakes stone jewelry, but what about a nice fountain pen with a stone set on top of the cap? If anyone needs stones to test on and want someone to review the result, I have an excess of both rocks and opinions.

 

I’m trying to get my reviewing rhythm back up to speed (I have more responsibilities now at work, which is exciting but has curtailed my ability to work on reviews in my downtime), and we are within 10 reviews of 200! Which means a giveaway! Of lots of things I’ve acquired! Hooray! Also, the Triangle Pen Show is coming up (next week?) and I will be there (mostly Friday) so look on my Twitter and if you’ll be there, feel free to find me and say hi! That’s about all the pen news that’s fit to print for now. Soon, reviews.

 

 





Ink Drop Soup: Someone Buy Me One (HMM RULE/ONE Kickstarter)

16 05 2014

This Kickstarter for the HMM RULE/ONE is so close to almost funded with six days to go…and it looks so sweet…look at it!

It’s magnet close (a feature that was added thanks to backer feedback), and the refill is Uni 0.38! And it’s black anodized aluminum. And you can use it like a bookmark thanks to the teardrop shape. And you can put in a lanyard loop. UGH I WANT ONE. Someone else go fund this thing all the way so maybe one day I can get one when I’m not so poor.
 
EDIT: they’ve reached their funding goal! …and I went ahead and backed them anyway. Ramen dinners and cool pens ahoy!
 

HMM RULE/ONE by HMM PROJECT on Kickstarter





Ink Drop Soup: Pen Chalet Giveaway!

1 04 2014

A giveaway that I don’t have to run??? Yes, awesome, sign me up and sign you up, too. The folks at Pen Chalet are having a gift card giveaway which you can enter here. They’re also offering a 10% discount to us all! :) The coupon code is NOPENINTENDED

 

Good luck!





Ink Drop Soup: The Curious Case of the Moldy Sheaffer

8 03 2014

This story begins the slow summer of my first job, when I and my lab-mates tackled the task of cleaning up the lab and discovered, tucked away abandoned in a drawer, a few old Sheaffers that probably belonged to the previous professor of the lab. The current professor of the lab gave us his blessing to keep them, and thus the unknown Sheaffer entered my personal collection. This was also the summer I discovered JetPens—my memory is shoddy but I suspect the two are causally related.

If this looks like a classy old man pen, that's because that's probably exactly what it was

If this looks like a classy old man pen, that’s because that’s probably exactly what it was

For quite some time, the pen wrote well. We probably used some bottled black Cross ink from the university bookstore in the beginning, up until I found the converter sac had a leak, and I switched to self-contained cartridges. I ran through a pack of lovely turquoise cartridges, and then made the switch to the ill-fated brown.

Here they are, complete with ill fate. Or perhaps that ill-fated feeling was just the hot dogs and potato chips I unwisely had for dinner

Here they are, complete with ill fate. Or perhaps that ill-fated feeling was just the hot dogs and potato chips I unwisely had for dinner

What exactly happened, I don’t know. Perhaps the pen was low on ink, and I was intending to clean it before switching to the next cartridge. All I can say is that I opened the cap and found this:

Cue the terror-violins

Cue the terror-violins

That’s not cotton candy. That is the horror that haunts this earth. That is a waking nightmare beneath a twist cap.

SCREAMING WILL NOT SAVE YOU

SCREAMING WILL NOT SAVE YOU

My reaction beyond a wordless “HUAGHUHHGGH!” was to put the cap back on, mentally brace myself first, and come back to clean the pen once armed with some information.

euhghghhh??

euhghghhh??

Time only made it weirder. The cotton candy transformed into black crusts. The black crusts were probably the last step before the mold gained sentience.

White crusties was a new, but no less concerning color

White crusties was a new, but no less concerning color

With no end of conflicting advice available, I decided on a cleaning regimen: first water, then vinegar diluted in water, then water, then J.B.’s Perfect Pen Flush, then water again. The vinegar, I somewhere read, could turn the nib black if it wasn’t real gold; my nib is still golden, so either it’s real-deal gold or that tidbit of advice was bunk. But in spite of all the cleanings, the pen just wasn’t right. The flow was off—I suspected the feed, in which you could see new white crusties had formed, and got in contact with Sheaffer.

Old feed: misleadingly easy to take apart

Old feed: misleadingly easy to take apart

We were making good progress in resolving the situation (no, I don’t want new cartridges; cartridges caused this problem in the first place; yes, I do want a new feed because your nefarious ink killed this one), and it even seemed like I’d be getting that new feed around the beginning of December. I sent Sheaffer my address and waited patiently, while my contact at Sheaffer presumably embarked on an epic quest to hand-forge my new feed in the mouth of an active volcano, because I didn’t hear from her for about 3 months.

The squeaky bird gets the grease

The squeaky bird gets the grease

I sent follow-up emails to no avail, and had given up all hope of ever hearing back from Sheaffer when I tweeted my disappointment. And almost as soon as I sent the Sheaffer twitter people my contact information, lo and behold the person I’d originally been emailing suddenly emailed me back! She survived the Ordeal of the Mt. Sheaffer Feedforging! I was so worried.

Not exactly the same! But compatible! And the only reason I figured out what this Sheaffer pen actually was? Listed on the part inventory: Connaisseur feed

Not exactly the same! But compatible! And the only reason I figured out what this Sheaffer pen actually was? Listed on the part inventory: Connaisseur feed

And whaddaya know, I got the new feed and the pen works now, the flow back to normal. Granted, I can’t get the nib to go on this new feed as far as it would go on the old feed—probably need special tools, or at the very least the legendary Mjolnir because I swear this new feed was friction fit with the force of the gods and only Norse magic can get this nib to go all the way in. I certainly couldn’t get the feed to come out. I doubt Sheaffer could either, since they sent the whole screw-in grip section with the feed.

You may now cue your favorite mystery music as appropriate

You may now cue your favorite mystery music as appropriate

What was it about those fateful brown cartridges that caused the pen to mold? Why does Sheaffer probably use hard to reach volcano gods to create impossible-to-take-apart feeds and grips? These mysteries may never be solved. What matters is that this old Sheaffer Connaisseur writes once again, and with that I’m willing to conclude the curious case of the moldy Sheaffer.





Grandluxe Dialogue Quotes Soft Notebook Giveaway WINNER

25 02 2014

I wish I could give everyone notebooks. But, I can’t. Here are the numbered entries, and here’s the winner:

A winner is you! Provided that this is you! If it's not you then my apologies!

A winner is you! Provided that this is you! If it’s not you then my apologies!

Congratulations, Rose! Email me as soon as possible (link in the upper right links menu on the webpage) with your contact information so I can mail you this notebook and hopefully it will go on to a better life with you! Everyone else, thank you for entering!





Ink Drop Soup: Is This a Trick Question?

29 01 2014
This post has too many words and not enough pictures. Hopefully this makes up for it.

This post has too many words and not enough pictures. Hopefully this makes up for it.

Some exciting little updates for No Pen Intended (title to this post inspired by the first thing I think whenever someone contacts me asking if I’d like to try one of their products and review it…..um OF COURSE!!!!)

Zait Pens Resident Reviewer – what what??? Yes, the good people at Zait Pens liked my review so much that they want me to review more (all? many?) of their pens, and have named me their Resident Reviewer. There’s even a rare picture of what I look like (if you were looking at me under very specific conditions…)

JetPens Sponsorship - they’re gonna send me things! Things to review! More on this later but get excited for now!

200th Review Giveaway – we’re not there yet (we’re somewhere in the 160s I believe), but once I post my 200th review I will be immediately following it with a giveaway of various pens, pencils, notebooks and such that I have stockpiled over the course of a while. The only rule for objects I’ve collected for the stash is that I had to get them on sale, and believe you me, I got some good stuff on sale. Brace yourselves!

I’m also still working my way through a 9lb box of various notebooks sent by Grandluxe, I’ve got one more Daycraft diary to review,  updates to post on my attempts to learn a thing or two about nib grinding, and plenty of other good stuff in the works! Also, I’m learning to run again. Running is hard. If I were running around to catch a package of Reese’s Cups in the plains, maybe I would be better at this running thing.





Billet Pens and Markers Kickstarter Giveaway WINNER

16 12 2013

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, and a big big thanks to everyone who went and backed the project!!! YOU ARE ALL SO AWESOME! The Kickstarter was successfully funded! GOLD STARS FOR EVERYONE! Now on to the winner. Here are the numbered entrants, and here is the winner:

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

Congratulations, Tim G! Email me as soon as possible (link in the upper right links menu on the webpage) with your contact information and let me know which pen you want, so we can get this pen to you as soon as possible!

Thanks again to everyone and to Billet Pens!





Ink Drop Soup: Pen Bros

12 11 2013
20131112-032155.jpg

Brought to you by randomly deciding to organize some of my pens

I just noticed, this Chelpark Emperior and this Rotring Surf could practically be brothers (clones is probably more the word I’m looking for). Anybody know which one of these two came first into this pen world???

P.S. They are totally different under the hood:

20131112-033031.jpg

It’s like when you look at twins. Then you look closer and you’re like OH WHOA OK YEAH you guys are actually two different human beings

But the outside was just too uncanny to go without comment!





Ink Drop Soup: Monsieur Notebook on IndieGoGo

28 08 2013

Exciting notebook news! Monsieur Notebook has started an IndieGoGo campaign today in anticipation of their launching in the US. Backers can get their own artwork laser engraved on some awesome-looking leather notebooks! I’ve heard good things about Monsieur Notebook, so go check it out.

Monsieur Notebook Campaign on IndieGoGo





OfficeMax Private Brand Writing Products GIVEAWAY WINNER!

15 08 2013

Thanks everyone who entered this OfficeMax giveaway! I apologize profusely for posting the results late, but in my shoddy defense I spent most of Tuesday in a vehicle and on about 4 hours of sleep, having only a tenuous grasp on what day it was (an unfortunate side effect of working night shift). Anyway, here are the numbered entrants, and the winner is Heather!

Better late than never. Better not to have been late though. Never going to be better.

Better late than never. Better not to have been late though. Never going to be better.

Congratulations, Heather! Let me tell you about the Kuru Toga, and how I’ve seen it everywhere now from Wal-Mart to JetPens.

Leave a comment on this post so I’ll know you know you’ve won, and send me an email (link in the upper right links menu on the webpage) with your contact information so we can let OfficeMax know where your pens need to go.

 

Thanks again, everyone!








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