Ink Review: Platinum Blue-Black

Platinum Blue-Black

Platinum Blue-Black. This is a blue-black ink, but with the emphasis on “blue.” It’s not a traditional gray- or green-leaning blue black; instead it’s more of a dark blue. Platinum Blue-Black performs well on regular paper; it’s attractive; and it’s water-resistant. Best of all, it’s very easy to clean from a pen.

Why doesn’t everyone use this ink?

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A Peek at the Sailor Professional Gear Shooting Star of Jonuma and the Sailor Medium-Fine Nib

Sailor Shooting Star of Jonuma fountain pen

So here’s my “I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any more new pens” new pen. This is the Sailor Shooting Star of Jonuma, from a retailer in Japan. It’s a full-size Sailor Professional Gear in a transparent, sparkling blue-green, with white end caps that remind me of pencil erasers, and a medium-fine nib. It’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t resist.

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I Go to the DC Pen Show: the World’s Worst Pen Show Photo Essay

I was just in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC for a week, which means I was in DC during the world famous DC Supershow. Though I was there to see family and friends, I did manage to sneak away to the show for a short time Saturday afternoon.

Like a real blogger, I shall now share my impressions of the show. Huge, and packed.

It was quite an experience. Amazing crowds. Of course I knew that DC was the biggest show. And I’m not a novice: I’ve been to pen shows for years; I help run a big pen show. But the DC Show in person still surprised me. Now, I was there only about ninety minutes on a public day, but it was mind-boggling.

I confess, however, that I am a total pen show failure: I took no photos. Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me to take photos. I was just trying to experience the show, find people I knew, and take it all in.

But here is a pen show photo that we can pretend was taken in DC:

2016 Chicago Pen Show fountain pens for sale

Look, pens.

So what did I see at the show besides a sea of humanity? I saw people I knew, which was great. And the usual pens, inks, cases and paper. I saw Kanilea, who won an impressive-looking award from the readers of Pen World magazine. They had only a handful of Hanauma Bay pens left for sale by late Saturday afternoon. Hugh’s going to be busy before San Francisco.

I saw Dan Smith, and he had a tray of Sailor Professional Gear Oceans, which drew many admirers, including me. I also saw a Sailor Professional Gear in a woody sort of finish at the Andersons table, which I also really like. Those were the two I would have bought, if I could have.

My one quest to purchase something ended in failure because neither Vanness nor Dromgoole’s had the new J. Herbin ink. I think I forgot to check at Andersons because I was talking, and I was looking at Sailors. The pens.

Jonathon Brooks continues to make really creative and beautiful urushi pens. His other pens had almost fully sold out by the time I got there. I should have photographed the urushi pens.

Oh, I saw the new metal black-and-silver-stripe Pelikan M805. It was a little … unexciting, perhaps? Another large black-and-silver-stripe Pelikan, except with thinner stripes. It’s business-like, though.

Well, in lieu of the pen photos I didn’t take, how about some vacation snaps? Everyone loves those! (said no one, ever).

So this is a statue in Philadelphia.


I have no idea why I took this. I think the statue is Benjamin Franklin. Honestly, I was standing fairly far away. There was a thin ribbon of shade where I was, and I wasn’t giving up that shade to walk 200 feet in the blazing sun just to read a name on a statue.

Assume it’s Franklin. He’s all over Philadelphia. Along with heat stroke, probably. The temperature while we were there was in the high 80s or low 90s. But at least the humidity was, too.

Ah well, despite its terrible summer weather, Philadelphia is a fun city and I had a great time visiting. Philly gets an A. We saw some historical things. We saw the Liberty Bell — in passing, though a window, because there was a long line for it, in the hot sun. I did go into Congress Hall, the home of the US Congress from 1790 to 1800. And I lingered there. The former American History major in me absolutely loved it. Also, it was air-conditioned.

In the 30 hours we spent in Philly, we had dinner with my best friend from grade school, and I had coffee with a wonderful pen pal, who had two pens, which I did not think to photograph for you. And I had a wonderful dinner at a tiny ramen restaurant, which I now think about every day, which is perfectly normal, I’m sure.

I also spent a happy hour in a small museum called the ICA Philadelphia, which had delicious pastries, air-conditioning, and art. My favorite work was an installation by a British artist named Jade Montserrat, hand-drawn in charcoal along a very long, two-story hallway. Here’s a tiny piece of it.

Jade Montserrat installation ICA University of Pennsylvania

And a closeup of an even tinier piece.

Jade Montserrat installation ICA University of Pennsylvania

Then we went to Baltimore, where we had lunch with another old friend, which was lovely. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was very nice. There were no pens to not photograph.

We got to spent more than three days in DC, where we had lunch with one of my closest friends in life, who happened to be there with his family. Such a great time. (Ballpoints only.)

DC is very hot in August, too. Like, eleventy million degrees hot. Like, Philadelphia hot. Although Lisa Vanness told me that it is nothing compared to Arkansas hot. So this trip I realized that I can no longer complain about Chicago weather.

No matter the weather, I always love DC. There’s so much to do, and very nice people and good restaurants. Unfortunately, we ate a lot of vacation food — things like fancy cupcakes from a cupcake store and fancy ice cream from a “milk bar.” I am not exactly complaining. But I now need new pants.

I took one photo in DC. Here it is:

P-Funk Mothershpi

That, of course, is the Mothership, from George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. I was delighted to see this in the Smithsonian’s tremendous National Museum of African American History and Culture. The music wing was joyous. The history wing was wonderful and wrenching. “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

Then we came back home. It was pouring, and had been for hours. The freeway through the city was jammed. Flash flood warnings were going off on all our phones. But it’s always a beautiful sight. Home.

Chicago traffic