Fountain Pen Favorites for February 2016


We have an extra day this February, which means I’m celebrating with an extra post.  Sorry, readers!  But let’s do an Oscars theme, in honor of yesterday’s Academy Awards.

The “Mad Max: Fury Road Sweeping All Categories” Award goes to KWZ Ink.  I’ve only reviewed four KWZ inks this month, I think, but I’ve got at least two more in pens right now.  This mighty little brand continues to impress me: beautiful inks, different styles, all so easy on my pens.

The “Gosh, That ‘Room’ Kid Has Gorgeous Parents, Too” Award goes to MY63’s beautiful leather pen cups. Here and here. Put them next to his wonderful leather pen cases, and the whole family is beautiful.

The “Chris Rock Rocks” Award goes to Lamy, a company that certainly could diversify past the color green, but at least is finally making its fans happy with a forthcoming purple Safari.  Now on preorder, by the way. I’ve seen a lot of people excited about that purple Safari, and about the Charged Green Al-Star that arrived this month. It’s nice to see people excited about pens.

More Inks for Lamy’s Charged Green Al-Star


Here are a few more ink possibilities for the new Lamy Charged Green Al-Star, these suggested by readers of the original post, here.

The first is Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin, as suggested by Rafael.  I think Chiku-rin really works with the suggestion of celery green in the pen.  It might be slightly greener, and the pen slightly more yellow, but I like more green, and I like this combination.


Second is Derek’s suggestion of Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün. This is a very popular ink with nice shading, that I think of as an avocado green.  And I think this color really works beautifully with our Charged Green Al-Star, too.


Chiku-rin and Alt-Goldgrün are both yellow-greens.  With the Charged Green Al-Star, that’s clearly the way to go — or else greenish yellow inks.  Thanks to Rafael and Derek.

Music Break!

I just like this song.  Stevie Nicks famously wrote Landslide in the 1970s, after a fight with her boyfriend and bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.  Fleetwood Mac recorded it in 1975, on the brink of stardom, but this particular song didn’t actually become a hit till years later.

I still have the record, but I like the version in this video, filmed at a concert in the 2000s.  There’s a different resonance thirty years later. Nicks survived hard times with drugs and difficult relationships, and I can’t imagine not rooting for her.  I like seeing Nicks and Buckingham playing together now, each seemingly in a happier and more peaceful place.  If we’re lucky, we all get through uncertain or hard times.

That said, the most moving version I’ve ever heard of this song was when my older daughter’s high school chorus performed it when they were seniors. It was an incredibly moving song from young adults, on the brink of so much that’s exciting, but also challenging and uncertain.  “I’ve been afraid of changing / ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you / But time makes you bolder / Even children get older / And I’m getting older too.”

Stevie Nicks dedicates this version to her father.  That’s part of getting older, too.  “Can I sail through the changing ocean tides / Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

I like seeing this video, because its answer is “yes.”

Finding Inks for Lamy’s Charged Green Al-Star


Being an unreconstructed fan of the Broadway musical — aka a total nerd — I really wanted to title this, “How do you solve a problem like the Lamy Charged Green Al-Star?” But, yeah, few will know what I’m talking about.  And those who do will shake their heads.

So, here’s the issue.  As our commentator Elizabeth noted, Lamy’s Charged Green ink isn’t perhaps the greatest match for the new Charged Green Al-Star.  It’s a little light in color and it’s a little too green.  Though as an ink I like it, personally.  I’m totally into light green ink.  I grabbed a few for this post.

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So, It Really Could Be the End of the World Now?


I read the other day that the Chicago Cubs are the heavy preseason favorites to win Major League’s Baseball’s World Series in 2016.  This is serious.

I’ve mentioned that I grew up a Cubs fan. That is not a prudent thing to be. The Cubs have the longest record of championship futility in American professional sports.  I grew up watching Cubs teams lose. Every single year. Some bad teams, yes, but also some good teams that still managed to claw defeat from the jaws of victory. Every. Single. Year.  I’ve been there, done that and I do actually have the tee shirt.

The idea that people would bet real money on the Cubs winning the World Series this year, at only 4-1 odds, is perhaps not technically crazy. One team will win, and there are only 30 teams. But are the Cubs at 4-1 a good bet?

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Well, if these are the end of days, at least I have enough ink.

Pen of the Day: Kaweco Sport


Kaweco Classic Sport with 1.1 mm calligraphy nib. This blue pen is my small tip of the cap to the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Pitchers and catchers reported last week, and spring training opens this week.

I am using a Kaweco calligraphy nib in 1.1 mm size, because I mentioned it last week and thought it would be fun to show. I also have the 1.5 mm version. These are excellent stubs, smooth and wet, around $10, and easily swapped into any Classic Sport.


The ink is KWZ Iron Gall Blue #6, which is my last blue iron gall KWZ ink to sample (sob). It’s quite similar to KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise, which I’m testing at the exact same time. I think both are lovely.


Pelikan Go!


Here’s something from Laura’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Pelikan’s very nice, very affordable Go! fountain pen.  A piston filler with a steel nib from Pelikan for $20 or so, at least on eBay, where I picked up mine.

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Grab Your Life Jackets

We have not had the greatest ten days or so in our extended family. But the very same day we hit that iceberg, I got something in the mail that I turned out to be a life raft of sorts.  My new album Art Angels from Grimes arrived.

Now, Grimes is, to me, an awe-inspiring genius, but she’s no Adele in terms of appeal.  So I fully expect most people to be saying, who?” Or, if you know her stuff, maybe even, “hmm.” And you know what?  You are fine with that.  I am not pushing her. She’s definitely not for everyone.  Bless her, she doesn’t want to be.  I love that about her — she is singular and she is true to herself.

To give you an idea of Grimes, what’s probably the best song on her new album is called Kill v. Maim, and she said she wrote it from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Part 2 except he’s a vampire who travels through space. So.

You like to think she’s just playing with people there.  However, the video lends some support to that concept, since it’s so bloody that I wouldn’t link innocent people to it.  Tarantino fans, though, could Google it. And I think it’s great — especially before the rivers of blood begin to run down people’s faces and necks.

But, while it’s perhaps not as fantastic as Kill v. Maim, my favorite song on the album might be another song, called California. Grimes has explained this one as an f-you song, aimed at a music reviewing site.  However, what I love about California is its irresistibly happy pop beat.  It’s an upbeat f-you song.

My favorite part is  when she sings, “And when the ocean rises up above the ground / baby, I’ll drown / in Ca – al- al – al – al- California.”

Okay, maybe that sounds … not upbeat.  But when you hear it, it’s a happy, even triumphant, drowning.  (I mean, she is in California.)

I took a meditation class last year with an awesome teacher who said when things get difficult, remember to ride the waves. Don’t try to fight what’s happening — you can’t change it any more than you can change ocean waves. Just ride the waves. I’m going to say that it’s nice to do that with a smile on your face.