Why was I at the show? Dan Smith, the Nibsmith, needed some table help. He brought Tim Hofmann of The Coffee Mess to help, and also me. I know: bringing me was a tremendous lapse in judgment on his part. But it was so fun.
Except, wait: fun is not what this blog is about. We want pens. Reel it in.
This pen is also from Chicago. It belongs to my friend Rich, who is in my pen club and who reads this blog. I recently decided to re-name him Dave. Because Dave is a name I can remember, apparently. And isn’t the pen a beauty? It’s a Conway Stewart and commemorates his recent trip to London. Enjoy that pen, Dave.
Okay, enough pens already. Back to the San Francisco Pen Show.
The very best thing at the show happened before it even started. It was Thursday night, and the three of us, Dan, Tim and I, were standing in a Target in San Mateo County, a few hours after getting to town. Tim had brought one suitcase packed wall-to-wall with coffee bean bags. When he zipped it open, it looked like a scene from Sicario or Ocean’s Eleven. (My crew, ride or die.) The next step in our caper would require a coffee pot and grinder — hence, Target.
Now, being lazy, or practical, I had suggested we try Amazon Prime same-day delivery. But there we found ourselves, at Target, standing in front of two shelves of slightly forlorn-looking coffee makers. Underwhelmed by the selection, Dan said something like, “We should have tried Amazon Prime! I bet they’d have same-day delivery.”
At which point I fixed him with the required side glance, and said something like, “Great idea. And remember when I said that back at the hotel?”
Dan, flabbergasted, said something like, “No way! I guess I didn’t hear you.”
Very typical male-female conversation.
But then! A woman who was also looking at the coffee pots turned to Dan and Tim and said, triumphantly, “You see: always listen to your mother.”
“Exactly!” I said. And I was not even laughing. Because it was true!
Sure I was laughing once she left. Since they aren’t actually my children. And since my real children are age-appropriately at least a dozen years younger. But heck, I’ll take it. It’s not like she said “listen to your grandmother.”
Greatest pen show kickoff ever.
Okay, fun’s over. Now it’s time for pens. Here’s what I got at San Francisco:
I bought four bottles of ink: Robert Oster Pacific Ocean Teal from the San Francisco Pen Posse (very nice people), and three Japanese-made inks that Taccia is bringing out later this year. Also some paper and a notebook from Yamamoto Paper of Japan.
You can also see a T-shirt that says San Francisco Pen Show — thanks, Fred. There’s a Jim Rouse pin in there, which is lovely, and two stickers, one of which says “Nudie Banana,” which I like way too much. And special ink samples from my friend Jon. Thanks, Jon. There is also a pen: I finally got the Lamy Safari in all-black for 2018.
The pen show was wonderful. As everyone always says, the best part of pen shows is the people. If you’ve never been to one, you should go, and try to stay for the weekend.
I met the nicest people at San Francisco, tied only with the people I met at the Chicago Pen Show. I won’t name people, because length. But a special shoutout to John, blog reader extraordinaire whose email address I unfortunately did not get. Because my brain is bad. So, John, if you read this, can you email me at the Contact-Me menu at the top of the page? (Everyone else can, too, of course! That’s why it’s there.)
And then there was Jon: I finally met him and Mary in person, which was wonderful.
The best part was that I don’t run this pen show, so I could stay up late and just enjoy it. Some of us closed down the hotel bar one night, which sounds pretty hardcore, except, it really wasn’t. I’m almost embarrassed to say that the bar closed at 12:30 or 1 in the morning. In Chicago, a lot of bars have 4 am closing times.
And okay, maybe Chicago’s bar closing times sound a little unhealthy. But consider instead that it totally rules.
Anyway, I had a blast. I only wish I had more hours to spend at pen shows.
Alright. Actual Pen Content.
Here’s a tiny corner of Jonathon Brooks’s Carolina Pen Company table, very early Friday, before he was totally bought out. Do you see that sparkly orange one? That was calling my name, though I had to refrain. Except, this is so cool: I know and like the person who ended up buying it, which is perfect. As the show went on, I met people who bought a number of these, which was fun. We need to have a club or something.
It was fun working Dan’s Nibsmith table. I have to say, of all his pens, the one that probably attracted the most notice was the Pilot Custom Urushi, which is so oversized that it looked like that one kid in third grade who was already six feet tall and 160 pounds. Thanks to that pen, I got to say, “Look at the size of this nib” an awful lot.
Dan didn’t bring TWSBIs to this show, but the TWSBI GO got a lot of attention generally. It’s reasonably priced at $20, and I’d never heard of it, so I was intrigued. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the looks, but at that price I was going to get one just for the heck of it. Until I remembered that I am over-penned.
Yes, I am also over-inked. As a teenager I live with would say, “I’m not listening.”
I’ll post later about the paper I bought and the inks, all of which deserve posts of their own.
I did hear that Sailor’s new fountain pen color for the US will be in the 1911 line and a yellow-green. If that turns out to be the case, I’m really going to want one. With that, and rumors of an upcoming orange Pelikan M600, I’m afraid this fall may be just a little too wonderful.