Combination pen and nail clipper

This ingenious device is called the "Make Your Co-Workers Hate You Pen." I would not use it publicly but I would use it. I'd definitely use it. From Perpetual Kid:

WARNING: You will lose friends! You may lose your job! HR will start requiring closed toe shoes in the office! Don't even think about doing this in a library!

And Amazon has a different version that folds up into a keychain!

Read the rest

Panic averted! Two empty Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks have arrived

Shipping on my favorite notebooks went from 30 days to overnight.

Last time I ordered a Maruman notebook it took a month for it to arrive. I love the Mnemosyne paper for writing upon with fountain pens and my favorite inks. I have been writing a lot lately, letters to friends as well as the mundane shit that passes thru my head. As my last notebook filled up I started to freak out a bit.

I did not, however, get off my ass and just order a new notebook.

I waited until I was surely doomed. Then I checked online and delivery times were down to 1 day. I ordered 2 notebooks. I like the "182" which is about 5"x8", spiral bound with perforated and SQUARE RULED pages.

I rarely tear pages out, but perforation is nice when you need it.

Ink doesn't feather. Pens both fine and medium glide over the surface. The white is good for me to spend lots of time staring at a blank page thinking about whatever terror I am trying to get out of my head and onto a page.

There are many size and rule options.

My go-to pen is a Parker Duofold International with a medium nib, and my favorite daily-use ink is Noodler's Heart of Darkness.

Maruman 1 Hardcover Executive Notebook (N182A) via Amazon Read the rest

This affordable Kaweco fountain pen is a pleasure to use

I picked up one of these Kaweco Sport fountain pens the other day...

I am unclear what is 'sport' about this pen, but it is a classic. The barrel is a bulbous octagonal design, something like a Rotring pencil that needs a diet. This shape feels wonderful in my hands. The plastic is lightweight and the nib puts down ink.

I bought a converter because I hate using cartridges, however the blue cart that came with the pen is just fine. I will prefer using this with Noodler's Ink however, I am an ink snob.

I tested a medium nib but was sent out the door of the shop with a fine. I will be swapping it, as the paper I am most enjoying these days really needs the broader nib. I do believe their fine is a fine and their medium a medium.

I still enjoying writing letters to folks I like and dropping them in the mail. I think it freaks people the fuck out.

Kaweco Sport Classic Fountain Pen Black M (Medium Nib) via Amazon Read the rest

Put an inexpensive gel refill in your fancy Fisher Space Pen

I've used the same fountain pen and Fisher Space Pen for years: I used to constantly lose disposable pens, costing me scads of money every year. The two refillable pens I own now cost enough that I'm always a little paranoid about their whereabouts, so I've yet to lose them. Filling the fountain pen costs pennies. To snag a refill for my Space Pen up in Canada, I can expect to spend around eight bucks, plus shipping. That's 12 different kinds of BS.

Earlier today, I ran across this video. After watching it, I picked up the Zebra refills at Office Depot. It worked!

With my ink budget sorted out, I can spend more money on fancy paper. Read the rest

When it comes to Sharpies bigger is better

King Size "Pro" Sharpies are my go-to Sharpie. Read the rest

Pens painted like iconic space race rockets

Retro 51 has issued this handsome series of rocket pens that celebrate NASA's launch vehicles of the space race era. The line includes a Mercury-Redstone, Gemini-Titan II, and the Apollo-Saturn V that carried all the astronauts who traveled to the moon. (No word on whether the pens work upside down.) From Space.com:

The Mercury and Gemini pens retail for $50 each. The Apollo pen is priced at $60.

The pens are also offered as a boxed set with matching serial numbers for $170.

Retro 51 will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each pen to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). Over the course of the past three decades, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.5 million to more than 500 U.S. college students excelling in science, technology, mathematics and engineering degrees.

Read the rest

Pilot "V" disposable fountain pens travel well

Every year or so I buy another 5 pack of these Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens.

I keep these in my travel bag. Unlike refillable fountain pens, of which I have far too many, these do not dry out if forgotten in the pocket of a jacket. They do not leak when airplane cabins pressurize. My hands stay clean and lack the telltale mark of ink on my middle finger that fountain pen travel usually engenders.

They write just fine.

Pilot V Pen (Varsity) Disposable Fountain Pens, Black Ink, Small Point Value Set of 5 via Amazon Read the rest

The classic BIC 4 color pen

Not particularly wonderful to write with, but awesome none-the-less, I had to have a BIC 4 color pen. Read the rest

Long Island officials to 'crack down' on crack pipe vending machines

Three vending machines dispensing crack pipes for $2 each were discovered roadside in Long Island. The machines were marked "PENS" and did indeed contain pens, well, ballpoint pens that had been turned into crack pipes. Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine tested the machine by inserting the required eight quarters and later remarked, "We're going to crack down on this."

ABC7NY:

Suffolk County police will decide if the machines warrant criminal charges.

"To sell a pipe is not illegal, but this is considered drug paraphernalia," Town Councilman Michael Loguercio said. "And it also is being dispensed from a machine that was installed illegally per town code."

Now, in the video, they report that the machines formerly dispensed tampons but I think they're wrong. Pen dispensing machines exist and look just like the ones found.

Read the rest

Maruman Mnemosyne remains my favorite note paper

For note taking with a fountain pen, which I do, there is no better paper than Maruman Mnemosyne.

While there is a lot of variety in ink, and I like to swap between several colors and pens, Maruman Mnemosyne is the most reliable paper I've found to write upon with my fountain pens. It takes a lot of ink to bleed through, doesn't feather very much, and allows my nibs to glide over the paper.

I like quad-ruled paper, as well. Makes it easier for me to sketch things, or to organize the page. College-ruled paper annoys me.

Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory and gave birth to the muses. "Nemo" is right there in the middle. He's my dog.

Maruman Mnemosyne Inspiration 5 mm Grid 6.3 x 8.3" via Amazon Read the rest

The EPA paid $1,560 for 12 fountain pens

Last year, one of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's aides ordered a dozen $130 fountain pens paid for with taxpayer money, according to new documents that the Sierra Club retrieved through a Freedom of Information Act request. The pens were emblazoned with the EPA seal and Pruitt's signature. From CNN:

The order from the Washington shop Tiny Jewel Box also included a set of journals that cost $1,670.

An agency spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. But spokesman Jahan Wilcox told The Washington Post, which first reported the pen purchase, they were similar to purchases made by Pruitt's predecessors "for the purpose of serving as gifts to the Administrator's foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them."

The purchase stands out not only for the cost but also because it was approved by a close aide who Pruitt described in congressional testimony last month as "longtime friend."

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The best white pen is the Uniball Signo Broad

I tried a bunch of pens that promised an opaque fine white line on dark paper, and the only one that had an acceptable result was the Uniball Signo Broad. It was in a class of its own, superior even to markers (too chalky) and gloopy paint pens (hardly even work.)

I tried equivalent models from Sharpie (the water-based marker is too thick, and the metal-tube pen just doesn't flow well), Pentel (not remotely opaque), and Sakura (fine in a pinch.)

It wasn't perfect, though, and you'll have to write with more care than normal gel pens. In particular, the pigment dries fast on the ballpoint -- even as you write -- which can result in smudgy or lost corners or thin parallel tracks instead of the expected bold line.

I tried using it as white-out, too. It did OK over Pigma ink (not pictured), but was pretty rough over Higgins ink (below). Reinking over it with Pigma and Tombow pens was fine, but Higgins required a extremely light touch with a Hunt #102 nib.

UPDATE: My results comport with those of others! Here's Jetpens with a more exhaustive and illustrative roundup that nonetheless confirms that the Uniball Signo Broad is the best.

And here's a another roundup from Rachelle at Tinker Lab, which serves as an important reminder that craft store own-brand stuff is particularly terrible and that the best white pen is, you guessed it, sound the guns, stop the presses... the Uniball Signo Broad.

So, just get the Uniball Signo Broad [Amazon link]

P.S. Read the rest

Bic Cristal Xtra Bold is the best cheap pen

I've always hated Bic's cheap Cristal ballpoint pens as much as I've wanted to love them. An iconic example of 20th-century design genius, they are unreliable, ubiquitous, and produce a nasty debossed line even when they work. But look, everyone: they fixed it. Read the rest

7-pack of erasable, multi-colored gel ink pens

Somehow having a 10-year-old around makes pens evaporate! These erasable gel ink pens are favorites.

We seem to lose a lot of pens. These fine point Pilot gel pens have become the ones to order for replacement. The ink really does erase, even after a trip through the washing machine. Very cool for anyone who folks who make mistakes.

Trust me, mistakes are made.

Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens, Fine Point, Assorted Color Inks, 7-Pack (31472) via Amazon Read the rest

A lovely leather pencil roll

Organize your pens and pencils rather than poke holes in your pockets! Read the rest

I made my own ink for the apocalypse

Meg Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. Its companion, The Book of Etta, is now available. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes like she’s running out of time.

As an author of apocalyptic fiction, I get letters from all over the globe from people who are more prepared for the end of the world than the average individual. Many of them focus on the more popular aspects of prepping: growing and/or storing food, conserving water and even building their own cisterns, and weapons training and storage to be ready for the worst. When I first started writing in this subgenre, I thought about my own odds of survival in the worst sort of worlds. Nobody really survives nuclear war, so I didn’t build a bomb shelter. I’m not the fastest of my friends, so I hope to provide means of escape for them by being tasty zombie food. But those slow apocalypses allow for me to examine what my own role might be in another kind of world. The question is: would writers still write? Could I, if I had the time?

In my second book, it’s been a century since Bic and Parker and Pilot shut down. There are no new pens and ink isn’t as simple as one might think. In most cases, it’s a complicated combination of pigments, fixatives, and preservatives. Read the rest

Prison pen is bendy, "non-lethal"

The Flexi-Pen is the writing utensil of choice in prisons because it can't be used to shiv someone. I bet it's fun to fidget with too. Amazon sells a five pack for $13.

The Flexi-Pen is made with a soft rubbery material that bends under the slightest pressure, making it nearly impossible to do lethal damage with it. It's as close to a stab-resistant, non-lethal weapon you can get, while still providing the subject with a workable ballpoint pen to write with.

It's ideal for use in interview rooms, holding cells, and in any prison or jail environment. You go to great lengths to confiscate any potential weapon when taking a prisoner into custody, so why would you want to hand him one afterward?

5pk Prison Pen Flexible Ball Point Writing Pen Tool - Non Lethal (Amazon) Read the rest

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