It Is a Very Good Thing I’m Off Pens

Okay, I was supposed to be enabling everyone else last week. So what the heck? How is it fair, or right, for people yesterday to start enabling me? That is not how this is supposed to work. I am officially “off pens.”

But if that happened, hypothetically, and those very bad people did that, it’s possible I ended up buying another pen yesterday. But that probably would be okay, right? Because it’s totally their fault.

And then, if you think about it, I actually saved someone else from having to buy it. I mean, looked at a certain way, that’s helping others. Maybe, and I’m just going to say it, maybe I am a hero.

Which means, and again we’re talking hypothetically, if there were two pens, I’d be twice as good, right?

Well (and maybe don’t listen to this part) but what if there was a mechanical pencil, too? That’s a little harder to just glide over, perhaps. Maybe we’re on shaky ground when we come home with three writing instruments, when we are “off pens.” But if the pencil was included, say, in a set, then maybe it shouldn’t even count. I didn’t seek it; I had to take it. Also, looked at a certain way, I kept a family together; I did something good. Really, I’m seeing similarities to Clive Owen in Children of Men. And Pongo and Missis when they escaped with all the puppies, not just their own.

Well, wow. Good for me! Some people would reward themselves with a pen. But I’m not like that.

Music Break: MLK

On this date in 1964, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Martin Luther King, Jr.

This beautiful little song was written by M. Ward for Mavis Staples, based on a King speech called “The Drum Major Instinct,” which King delivered on February 4, 1968, exactly two months before he was assassinated. The speech is about following Jesus’s teachings by aiming to serve others, rather than seeking recognition or fame at the head of the parade.

As he winds up his speech, King says that, in that light, he’s been thinking about what he’d want said at his funeral. “Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important…. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.”

The great Mavis Staples is a Chicagoan who has performed since childhood, now with her own band but in her early years as one of the Staple Singers, a legendary gospel, R&B and soul group. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a friend of her family. Mavis Staples says she had to stop at times while recording this song, because it was as if she could hear and see him.

Today, I want to remember King. For the Nobel Peace Prize, but more as he wanted, as a person who tried to serve others. (As we all can.) That he tried to love not hate. (As we all can.) That he helped somebody as they passed along. (As we all can.) That in the crawl for justice he helped somebody run; that in the walk for the hungry, he fed someone; and that in the march for peace, he played the drum.

I’m All In on the Pelikan M605 White, Fashionable Accessory, and First of Its Name

Pelikan M605 White

Okay, I pulled the trigger. I preordered this icicle yesterday.

It’s been a will-she-or-won’t-she saga, at least in my head. When I heard the rumors early in the year, I was on the fence. Leaning no. “White? Another pen?” Then after it was announced and photos released, I leaned yes. But I didn’t preorder right away. Because I do nothing right away.

Until my usual drug dealer (sorry, pen dealer)* reminded me yesterday that, uh, you need to order, duh.  So I did so immediately. Because I’m swift when it’s the last minute.

But then after I paid, I had second thoughts. Well, familiar thoughts. Like, “It’s, um, white.” And, “I have no money.” And, “Wait, why am I buying a pen?”

That’s the real issue. I don’t need another pen. I don’t even want another pen. And I don’t have the boredom or craving for excitement that sometimes makes us shop for fun. It’s really the opposite: my life has been so hectic in the important areas that I’m fine with no controversy or change in the pen lineup, thanks. Dead calm, that’s what I’m after.

But while I don’t actively want any pen, I do like this particular pen. I think it’s going to look great. And, true, I’ve never been sure about the white, but I’m starting to cotton to it. I’m starting to see it as nicely wintry. Sure, one could read it as “icy hellscape,” but even that appeals to me right now. We’ve had record heat here this fall, California is on fire, Puerto Rico is under water, and yesterday brought news of not one, but two, “supervolcanoes” getting ready to wipe out all life on the planet. In my own personal Apocalypse Watch slash drinking game, each of those events is worthy of “Drink!” So why not add a melting polar ice cap pen?

Not to mention that this pen totally reminds me of the winter coat that Daenerys put on to go north of the Wall in Game of Thrones.

dany-coat-1.w710.h473

And that was such a cool look, it was fire hot. Sure, the White Walkers and the Night King are sick and scary, and have our guys surrounded. But I’ve got dragons, and Jon Snow is hot, and if I have to fly on a dragon to the frozen north, I am sure going to wear my fashionable coatdress and look my best.

So, I’m on board with the white Pelikan, once more. It’s worthy of both Jon Snow, king in the North, and Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. I am looking forward to it, again.

*I bought mine from the Nibsmith. Not for nothing, my Pusher Man the Nibsmith is offering a discount on all pens and ink of 10% using the code SAVE10 through October 20. That’s if anyone else is similarly gripped by insanity interested in buying Pelikan’s coatdress or any other pen. I point it out here because, when you’ve signed up to bungee jump into the gorge, you want as many friends possible going with you. Yes. This is me, enabling you.

Lamy Safari Your Holiday: Halloween

Lamy Safari Halloween Holiday

I have breaking fountain pen and hockey news: The Chicago Blackhawks beat the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins last night by the score of 10-1, (For those who don’t follow hockey, a team doesn’t often score that many goals, especially against a top opponent. It would be like Barcelona beating Read Madrid 10-1.)

Now, I’m not saying that yesterday’s Chicago Blackhawks Lamy Safari is what spurred on the Best Team Ever last night. All I’m saying is, clearly, it didn’t hurt.

So with Karma on our side, let’s keep going. As much fun as it is to Lamy Safari our favorite sports teams, some people don’t actually like sports. And that’s okay: Lamy Safaris are for everyone. So let’s start a round of Lamy Safari Your Holiday, with Halloween.

First up is the Halloween Candy Lamy Safari. It bears the colors of a piece of candy corn, the ubiquitous symbol of Halloween. But despite the popularity of candy corn, it is a fact universally acknowledged that the best Halloween treat a child can pound the pavements for, and bring home to mom, is a box of Milk Duds. So to inspire the children, I’ve filled the Halloween Candy Lamy Safari with a chocolate brown ink, Waterman Absolute Brown.

Lamy Safari Halloween Holiday Candy Corn

Next is my Wicked Witch Lamy Safari. A black cap and pen body represents the witch’s hat and clothes, while the lime green section calls to mind the face of the Wicked Witch as played by Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz.

Lamy Safari Halloween Holiday Wicked Witch

The Ink is Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue, for added spookiness.

So there you go. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Lamy Safari Your Holiday.

Lamy Safari Your Team: A Totally Made-Up Thing That I Do, As an Adult

Sports Lamy Safaris Cubs Blackhawks Oilers colors

After an almost interminable wait, the NHL started the 2017-2018 regular season last night, though it’s only tonight that the Best Team Ever (the Chicago Blackhawks) will drop the puck. Go Hawks.

Then, tomorrow, the defending World Series Champions of 2016, “Ladies and Gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs,” will kick off their National League Division Series against the Washington Generals. Or is that the Nationals? (Hahaha, sick burn.)

Faithful readers may remember that last year, as the Cubs began the World Series after a record-breaking 108 year drought, we here in the Fountain Pen Follies World Headquarters and Television Control Tower made a Cubs Lamy Safari for good luck. It was constructed from the body and section of a blue Safari and the cap of a white Safari with red clip, and was filled with J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage for the green ivy of Wrigley Field.

Now, I am not saying it’s the Chicago Cubs Safari that was responsible for the Cubs improbable seventh game, rain-delayed, extra-innings, curse-breaking victory after 108 years. But it might have been, right? A baseball fan in general, and a Cubs fan in particular, is superstitious. So I’m putting the Cubs Safari back in action today.

Sports Lamy Safaris Chicago Cubs colors

This time, of course, it’s filled with Papier Plume Ivy 108, the Cubs green ink. Go Cubs, Go. And thanks for a great year.

But then, I felt a little bad, because I was leaving out the Best Team Ever (the Chicago Blackhawks). So I pulled out a few more Safaris, in red, black and white, and fashioned a Chicago Blackhawks Safari. It’s filled with Caran d’Ache Infra Red ink.

Sports Lamy Safaris Chicago Blackhawks colors

And then, well, I actually like almost every hockey team, because I’m a mom that way. So why not make one for my second favorite hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers? Parts of a blue, orange and white Safari did the trick. This is filled with KWZ Northern Twilight, in tribute to Canada.

Sports Lamy Safaris Edmonton Oilers colors

All sports teams have home and away sweaters, so I snuck in white on the sections of the Blackhawks and Oilers pens to represent the road jersey.

Sports Lamy Safaris Blackhawks Oilers colors

That photo is a metaphorical representation of both teams rocketing to the top of the standings, where I see them playing in the Western Conference championship. Where the Oilers unfortunately must fall to the Blackhawks, so the mighty Hawks can win the Stanley Cup again. So that’s a shame, but it’s great just to get that far, and maybe next year, Oilers.

And you know what? Anyone can play this! Are you a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, defending champions? Here you go.

Sports Lamy Safaris Penguins Bruins colors

That same yellow and black color works for the Boston Bruins, too.

And what about the enemy of the Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers? I’ve got you covered.

Sports Lamy Safaris Flyers colors

(Obviously, the Flyers ink would be Skrip Red, because of their Broad Street Bullies history.)

The combinations are endless. So I say onto all, try it. It’s fun. Lamy Safari Your Team!

(That Oilers one could double for the Chicago Bears football team, for instance, except, hahaha the Bears don’t deserve a Lamy Safari. Maybe a Bic. That someone stepped on in the hallway.)

I also will just drop here the teensy weensy reminder that, although October is the home of both the baseball playoffs and the start of the hockey season, we’ve heard nary a hint of  #Trophtober. Nor #Hocktober. Because sports have dignity.

Dignity, the watchword of Fountain Pen Follies. Now please excuse me, I need to go play with my Lamy Safaris, yell at the tv screen and pound some nachos.

Department of “No, Just No”

“Inktober.”

Gah. (Not the project, which I’m sure is fun. Just the abysmal name. The hackery, the butchery. The base assault on the language of Shakespeare, Milton and Austen, of Dylan and Ishiguro, too. Of far humbler wordsmiths who still take the time to write and rewrite, to find the perfect word, to hew the soundest sentence.)

Sure, at first I just ignored it. As one does. As when your brother-in-law talks politics at Christmas. But after only a few days, it’s un-ignorable. The merchants have seen this opportunity, and cannily jumped in. Instagram has been infected at levels last seen in the movie Contagion. And October is 31 days long.

So sure it’s going to be hell, but at least it’s an extra long month. Gah.

Pelikan Hubs 2017: Chicago

Pelikan Hubs Chicago banner

Sorry i couldn’t get this up more quickly, but “better late than never” is the motto made for me. So, better late than never, here is my report on the 2017 Pelikan Hub in Chicago, held this past Friday night.

In two words: so fun! For (many) more words, it’s on to the next page.

(click Page 2 below to continue)

Field Notes Dime Novel

Field Notes Dime Novel

The Field Notes Fall 2017 Quarterly Edition arrived yesterday. It is Dime Novel, a set of two slightly larger notebooks, which is modeled after inexpensive paperback “dime novels” sold between 1860 and 1930. The Field Notes Dime Novel is slightly larger than the usual Field Notes memo book, with 72 blank pages of thicker-than-normal paper. It’s beautifully done.

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Deep Thoughts, of Pelikans, Lamy and Kaweco

Pelikan M605 White

1. To buy or not to buy, that is the question. For the first time in a long time, I am tempted by this new Pelikan, the M605 in white, that’s coming out in mid-October in the US.

I’ve been on the fence a bit. On the positive side, as an M605, it’s my favorite Pelikan size and my favorite rhodium trim. I like the silvery look of the stripes. The pen looks like a cross between a demonstrator and a pinstriped suit.

On the negative side, well, it is a fountain pen, and I have way too many of those already. I’d have to sell something to buy it. And it’s very white. Do I like white pens? I don’t. Though, strictly speaking, the cap and section of this “white” Pelikan are off-white, the same as on the M600 Pink and the M400 White Tortoise. It’s still going to lack any color, which those two pens have.

But I like it when I see the photo. It’s frosty.

Normally, I like to wait to see Pelikans in person before buying, because sometimes the pens look different in person. A number of excellent European stores are offering tempting prices, but without US warranty. And I’d have to buy without seeing it first.

On the other hand, I just found out from Dan Smith, the Nibsmith, that the MSRP in the US will be $475. Which means it will sell for $380 with the standard dealer discount.I think that’s still a bit more than the European price, but it comes with a US warranty. That’s incredibly tempting. Heck, that’s lower than the price of a standard green striped M600. Maybe we should all buy one quickly, before Pelikan changes its mind.

It’s a special edition, too, so not available forever.

Hmmm. Anyone else have any thoughts on this pen? Anyone else tempted?

2. Can you keep a secret? Someone I know is going to become a Kaweco and Lamy pen dealer. And I’m just super excited. Those are the two pen brands that I use all the time. The Lamy Safari is my favorite pen, and has been since it first came out. I love Lamy so much if I were seven years old some other kid would say, “you love Lamy so much why don’t you marry it?!” and everyone including me would laugh. But my laugh would be different; my laugh would be thoughtful. Because I would think it’s a pretty good idea.