“Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup” ― Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings
Here’s what’s in my journal – so you don’t have to strain to read it:
Monday – August 15th 2022 7:20 Staycation Coffee
Woke up at six – not sure why, but slept well and felt good. Maybe lack of television (I’m embarking on my reading plan – finished “Desperate Characters” last night – read in 2 days) – have to try that more. Read a chapter (1) of “Mobius Dick” in the backyard before dawn – then left home on my bike at about six thirty when the sun came up. Nice ride here – went by way of Spring Valley – 4 miles – I wanted to see what Staycation was like at seven on a workday – a little disappointed – only one other customer – bought single-origin drip – an Ethiopian blend – pretty good… Let Me Sip.
I took this photo with my phone and posted it to ‘Gram/Facebook and someone asked about my pens – both the one you can see and the other three in the case. Here’s my reply:
I don’t usually carry nice/expensive pens on my bike – the one you see is one of my favorites, though it is inexpensive. It is a ten dollar Jinhao 159 with a custom Goulet Pens #6 nib. The pen cost under ten dollars (the nib was about fifteen, I think) and I have had people ask, “Is that a Montblanc?” The other pens are a Platinum Preppy, a Hero 616 Parker “51” clone, and, I guess the best, a vintage touchdown-filling Sheaffer inlaid nib pen.
I wrote some more, rode home (by a longer route to get 12 miles in) and the day was still only beginning.
“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.” ― Janet Fitch, White Oleander
I try to avoid buying stuff that isn’t necessary. I try to avoid impulse purchases. Sometimes I can’t help myself.
For a long time I’ve been looking for a certain color of fountain pen ink. Years ago, A friend gave me a sample once of Caran d’Ache Caribbean Sea. It was the color I was looking for, as close as I had seen. It’s the greenish turquoise color that a shallow, clear, tropical sea can get, from a certain angle. Here’s a photo that shows the color I was looking for:
Unfortunately, before I could buy a whole bottle, Caran d’Ache discontinued the ink. That was several years ago and since that time I have been looking for a replacement – and have tried a few. There are a lot of turquoise inks out there – but most tend toward the blue end of the spectrum. The closest so far were a couple of Diamine inks… Marine and Steel Blue.
The other day, I was surfing the net, looking at inks, when I discovered the Pilot had come out with three new colors of their Iroshizuku ink line. Iroshizuku inks are wonderful, and come in an amazing bottle – but are pretty damn pricey. But one of the three new inks was a greenish turquoise… that looked like exactly what I was looking for… and I couldn’t resist. A few clicks on the internet and a bottle of sui-gyoku iroshizuku ink was on the way to my house.
I like it. It’s the greenish turquoise I’ve been looking for. It still doesn’t quite have the luminosity of a tropical ocean… but I don’t think that’s possible in a dye mix that designed to be spread on paper. So I guess my quest for that-certain-color has been slaked for a little while.
I keep an ink journal with swatches and writing samples (done with a dip pen) of the inks I have in my inventory. Here’s a photo of the page with the sui-gyoku.
“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?” ― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
One cool thing, for me, was when one of the two point-of-view protagonists, Tengo, went into a Tokyo bookstore, Kinokuniya. I liked that because there is a Kinokuniya bookstore in Plano, Texas, not very far from where I live, and it’s one of my favorite places.
I stumbled across the bookstore online and knew I wold love the place. It’s not so much the books… it’s the other stuff. The place is a cornucopia of pens, fountain pens, art supplies, notebooks, paper… all that sort of stuff.
I had a tough time finding it the first time I went up there. It’s actually a big room off of the food court of a big Asian grocery store at Highway 75 and Legacy Drive. It’s packed with cool stuff. I’ve bought a couple pens there, some ink, and, especially, a few packs of fountain pen friendly paper (Tomoe River ).
The place is crowded… chock-a-block with cool stuff. I could look for hours. So what I do is set goals for myself and start setting a little bit of money aside. When I reach my goal, I’ll drive down to Kinokuniya and treat myself to something with the cash I’ve accumulated.
I wouldn’t have noticed the difference if it weren’t for my affection for unusual pens, which brought me to my first good fountain pen. A lifetime writing with the ballpoint and minor variations on the concept (gel pens, rollerballs) left me unprepared for how completely different a fountain pen would feel. Its thin ink immediately leaves a mark on paper with even the slightest, pressure-free touch to the surface. My writing suddenly grew extra lines, appearing between what used to be separate pen strokes. My hand, trained by the ballpoint, expected that lessening the pressure from the pen was enough to stop writing, but I found I had to lift it clear off the paper entirely. Once I started to adjust to this change, however, it felt like a godsend; a less-firm press on the page also meant less strain on my hand.
When they were little guys, back in the day, my kids were among the first Pokemon fans. Whenever they had a few bucks they would have us take them to a little tobacco shop near our house in Mesquite and buy packs of cards.
Lee actually had an original Charizard – but he ruined it by dragging it across a concrete floor – scratching it irrevocably.
According to this article – that thing might be worth 300 grand now.
Once I was asked to write an article on how you should use a ceramic coffee cup instead of a Styrofoam one. The research I did was really eye-opening. By most measures the Styrofoam cup is the most environmentally friendly option. For example, think about how much energy is used to make a ceramic cup – that clay is heated to thousands of degrees – the cup is actually semi-melted a couple times. And as far as reuse – think about how much water and/or energy is used to wash the thing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“I take pride in using fountain pens. They represent craftsmanship and a love of writing. Biros, on the other hand, represent the throwaway culture of modern society, which exists on microwave ready-meals and instant coffee.”
― Fennel Hudson, A Writer’s Year – Fennel’s Journal – No. 3
People give me Amazon Gift Cards for Christmas and my birthday – which is a good thing because I can’t hope for anyone to understand my odd and ridiculous tastes. The final box I ordered for my birthday arrived – taking over a month, probably because it was shipped from Japan.
It’s a fairly expensive ink, but that’s the idea of a gift card anyway – buy something you really like, but would be too dear for you to buy for yourself.
I wanted a new go-to color of ink and pored over the iroshizuku color charts to try and find the one I like the best – a sisyphean task. I wanted a dark color with subtle shading.
You see, once you start writing with fountain pens, you realize the quality of the writing experience depends on three primary variables. Everybody talks about the pen – people pay big money for fine pens. But the paper you write on is equally important. Some pens do better with some papers. And finally there is the ink.
Not only the color, but the qualities of the ink. Some ink works better in some pens, and the relationship with the ink and the paper is very complex.
Now I had my ink after its long journey on a slow boat. I love the bottle. Its a heavy, curved piece of glass art, with a cool little well at the bottom, to help get the last drops out.
After a little thought, I cleaned out my favorite Parker “51” and loaded it up. The ink and pen go together perfectly. It is a sweet luxury.
The southern terminus of the Cottonwood Creek trail, where it connects with the White Rock Creek Trail. The DART train is crossing White Rock Creek over the trail. This is about where the Northaven Trail could connect – tying a lot of city together.(click to enlarge)
Blood Meridian is my “favorite” – if that’s the right word.
The fates of The Kid and Judge Holden are irrevocably intertwined. Although Holden slaughters The Kid (by now The Man) in an outhouse, we’re spared the repugnant details. We’re not spared the reactions of those that spy the hideous scene. The Man’s death was not a quick, nor was it a pretty affair.
This man is my hero.
When I watch that video, it’s amazing how many of the things that make Dallas livable are a direct product of this guy’s work.
One thing I thought interesting is that, as an example of what Dallas has that is bad – he showed a photo of the High Five interchange. What he didn’t know/mention is that underneath that giant monstrosity is a really nice bicycle trail. When they built the High Five, they thought seriously about providing alternative transport and added a way to cross both 635 and 75 – two of the frustrating barriers to alternative transport in our area.
It’s also a pretty darn impressive route to ride – along a little urban creek with almost a billion dollars worth of five layers of roadway stretching upwards hundreds of feet overhead.
The problem was that the cities on either side didn’t provide the support to build access to the High Five trail for years after it was built. Now it’s connected, but not as well as it should be.
Over the past 14 months, as this issue became known and stories about the damage Museum Tower is doing to its neighbors have appeared locally and nationally, many of you have asked us what you can do to encourage a positive resolution. If you live in the city of Dallas, I would ask you to make your Dallas city council representative aware of your opinion, whether by letter, email, or telephone. If you live outside of the city and care about Dallas’ cultural institutions voicing your support and opinion to our elected officials is also welcome. The leadership of Museum Tower needs to recognize their responsibility to our community, and your council representatives can play an important role in resolving this matter.
I’d like to reaffirm that we at the Nasher are advocates for the development of the Arts District and support the goal of Museum Tower to add residencies to this neighborhood. Ray Nasher has given our community an incredible gift by building an unparalleled museum in the heart of the Dallas Arts District and making his extraordinary collection accessible to all. The Nasher is an invaluable educational, cultural and economic resource for the people of Dallas and visitors from around the world and we need your support and your voices to ensure its future contributions to the region.
With thanks, as ever, for your interest and support,|
Nasher Sculpture Center
If you would like to share your thoughts please contact email@example.com
The deadly solar rays burning down from the Museum Tower onto the Klyde Warren Park. The tower builders say this is not a problem, but take my word for it, it was nasty.
This bright shadow on the wall of the Nasher sculpture garden is not cast by the sun, but by the reflection off the Museum Tower.
I was looking at Amazon.com for some stuff and, off in the corner, I saw an ad that caught my eye. Usually I ignore web ads, but this one seemed aimed right at me.
It looked like The Parker Pen company, the venerable company that over the years has produced such legendary and wonderful fountain pens such as the Vacumatic and the Parker “51” has come up with a new pen – maybe some sort of advanced nib, or a revolutionary filling system. I was stoked.
This wasn’t a fountain pen at all. It’s like a felt pen, with a metal hood stamped around it to make it look like a fountain pen.The actual writing surface is replaced with a new refill. It even has non-functional ribs to look like the ridges on a fountain pen feed. A typical model costs a little bit under two hundred dollars. It is obviously aimed at people that want to look like they carry a fountain pen – they want the cachet – but that don’t want inky fingers.
I know that you are going to get ink on your hands or worse when you carry a fountain pen. A pen with a nib is considered a “controlled leak” and I’ve learned to wipe off the pen and clean the inside of the cap when a pen has been lugged around where it can get a shock and shake ink out into the cap. Flying is a real problem – the reduced air pressure can cause a pen to spew ink (I carry an empty pen, an airtight case, and extra cartridges).
So I fully understand someone that wants to carry, for example, a rollerball – sometimes I think of it myself – though I say no… it seems unclean somehow. What bugs me is that they make it look like a fountain pen. A triangle with a slit in it is not a nib – a good nib is a wonderful piece of design, engineering, and manufacture. It is a delicate mechanism of steel, gold, and iridium designed to deliver a carefully controlled stream of ink in a smooth flow to a piece of paper.
A felt pen is useful and deserving of its existence – but don’t try to hide it behind a stamped piece of sheetmetal.
Oh, one other point – I am not a fan of pens that have metal sections – the part right in back of the nib, the place where your fingers grip. I don’t like the feel of cold chrome. Warm plastic, rubber, or ebonite is a better writing grip.
Now that I’ve ranted a bit… if anyone actually wanted to buy me one of those… well, that would be different.