Ink

“Ink, a Drug.”

― Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

My new ink shelf, with RGB LED lighting.

A few years ago, I bought a little wooden shelf unit at a thrift store for a couple dollars and mounted it on the wall above my secretary desk – which I mostly use for handwriting.

I’ve been reorganizing my office room and decided to use the shelf to store my fountain pen inks. It was about the right size and in a good spot. As I looked at it I thought it would look good with some illumination – so I went onto the internet and bought a one meter RGB LED light strip. It was from one of those cheap places so I had to wait a long time for it to arrive on a slow boat from you-know-where – but I was in no hurry.

When it arrived I drilled some holes in the shelf and the wall and ran a USB cord up to the shelf. I glued the strip down behind the ink bottles (I tried behind and in front – behind looked better) and there is was. The strip does blink and flash and rotate colors and all that stuff (It comes with a little remote) but I usually leave it shining a more or less “white” light. I thought that the colors of the ink would show but they are way too opaque and appear black.

Still I was very happy with how it turned out.

The beautiful fantastic Pilot Iroshizuku Ink bottles.

My favorite inks and, especially, ink bottles are the Pilot Iroshizuku ink from Japan. It is expensive, but I save the bottles and reuse them. When I have something I want to accomplish I will give myself the reward of a bottle of Iroshizuku if I meet the goal, as an incentive. I love the little well in the bottom to help get the last bit of ink out. The glass is heavy and really attractive.

Another bottle of Iroshizuku plus a couple bottles of vintage Waterman ink.

Down on the end of the shelf are four bottles of vintage Waterman ink. I bought these in a box at an estate sale for a dollar. They are old (the blue ink in the photo above is called “Florida Blue” has a new name now – “Serenity Blue”) but it seems to still work well. Very well-behaved ink.

Vintage Sheaffer Skrip ink bottle, with some green ink in the well.
Vintage Sheaffer Skrip ink bottle. There is a little well on the lip to hold ink when the bottle is almost empty.

If you look on the shelf you can see a couple of vintage Sheaffer Skrip ink bottles. I’m always looking for these at antique stores and such. The ink is long gone, but I refill them with modern ink from boring bottles. What is cool about these vintage bottles is that they have a little well along the lip of the bottle. When the bottle is almost empty, you tip the bottle up to fill the well. You can get the tip of a fountain pen in there and thereby use every drop.

It doesn’t work as well as it should (the well is too small for some modern large-nibbed fountain pens) but I still like the idea and history.

Pay No Worship to the Garish Sun

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Grapevine, Texas

What Your Myth Is

Deep Ellum, Texas

“Everybody acts out a myth, but very few people know what their myth is. And you should know what your myth is because it might be a tragedy and maybe you dont want it to be.”
—-Jordan Peterson

Almost every important thought – definitely every decision I make – takes the form of a conversation. I’ve been paying attention – this is really true. But if it is a conversation, which person is me?

And if I can figure that out – who is the other guy?

Fashion Shoot at the Farmer’s Market

I had plans this afternoon to meet a friend at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and shoot some photographs. For days I watched the weather and despaired that the cold and rain seemed to reign over North Texas. Sunday morning was cold, gray, and the water still fell. Looking at the forecast, though, they predicted that the precipitation would end precipitously at about two in the afternoon – so I decided to hold out hope and drove down there.

Sure enough, right at two the sun broke out. Within two hours there was not a cloud in the sky.

In a continuation of good omens, as I was driving down there, coming off of Good Latimer Freeway, I cut through a new urban condominium development and spotted someone doing a photo shoot on the sidewalk – either a fashion shoot or a set of senior pictures. There was a photographer, a model, a couple assistants off to the side, and a small collection of lights, diffusers, and reflectors.

I love taking pictures of other people’s photoshoots – like the one I stumbled across in Pirate Alley in the French Quarter. I guess it’s because I don’t have any models I can use – so I like to steal images from other people.

The problem with shooting in a condominium complex is that people keep walking by. Nobody seemed to notice anything.

I'm actually taking a photo of the STOP sign. The others just showed up by accident.