Another week in the books! And a mostly normal one. Back to some regular writing routines, a bit of fountain pen related excitement, and as I’ll talk about below I did my first run of teaching folks to bake bread to great success! I also started a review of my Italix Parson’s Essential with its medium italic oblique nib.
First though, last week a coworker mentioned she’d bought ‘a nice pen’. After a few minutes of questions and answers I discovered she has another friend who’s into fountain pens, and he took her to Flax in SF where she got a Pilot Metropolitan! She was asking about cleaning and how to change inks and I ended up funneling my itchy stationary buying fingers towards a little starter pack. She loved the idea of mixing ink colors so I got her the Pilot Parallel mixing ink cartridge pack, the con-50 converter, a bulb syringe and finally a Pilot Penmanship so she can switch out the nib to the needle-y EF in that pen. Meanwhile another friend, actually the one who made the image up above way back when this blog was called Hastily Written, said she’s thinking of getting another pen. It’s fun to encourage folks about stationary in general, but fountain pens really are my first love, and I love being an enabler (although I’ll never be one of the King Enablers).
I also got in one of the Kickstarter pens I backed last year, the Nova Minimal by Namisu. I ordered it in the gray and it’s a beautiful pen. Mine was missing the steel nib unit, but they’ve responded immediately and sent one out. I had ordered an extra titanium nib to try so I got to ink it up but have barely had a chance to use it. First impressions are positive, and hoo boy is that titanium nib a beauty. It is FLEXY.
On to the links!
Work Focus, Rest Focus - Shawn Blanc
I have been slowly making my way through Shawn Blanc’s Focus Course, which I highly recommend, and have come to really appreciate his approach to helping folks do work they’re proud of and spend time on things that matter to them. I really loved this post, as it echoes things from the course that I’m starting to implement. I’m a person who mostly hates self-help and after a long run of obsessing over productivity 7 or so years ago I’ve grown very suspicious of productivity gurus who mostly seem to encourage tweaking systems and forget about the real goal, doing things that matter. Shawn’s work is special though, and has really helped me ask tough questions about what I do with my time and how I want to be spending it.
Short on Games Jan/Feb 2016 - Uninterpretative
Ben is both my friend, and one of my favorite folks to read about games. He doubled up his monthly column, and the first part I especially love, on Tap My Katamari, and really clicker games in general.
Pen Addict Links!
TWSBI Vac Mini Review
I keep seeing praise for this pen and am baffled by why I can’t work up much excitement. Part of it is probably that a big draw in vac pens is capacity, and realistically I don’t need capacity in my pens, not really. It’s a very attractive pen to me, and seems like a great deal at the price, but I still end up feeling kind of meh about acquiring one.
LIFE Index Cards on a ring with Leather Cover
This post is going to cost me a lot of money I think, primarily because of her idea to use a Fuji Instax printer along with these cards. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I really love the idea of putting together a small gallery of pens or my bread, or friends or my cat, whatever, all on nice paper, with a small caption and a great picture.
The Pen Habit Links!
The Pen Habit Currently Inked Log
Ordered! I think this is a perfect excuse to finally try out a Midori Traveler’s Notebook. I like the idea of having one of these and another notebook, and maybe a little pocket in a Midori cover that lives next to my pen holders.
Pelikan M1000 Review
It’s always frustrating to hear about nib issues on such expensive pens from such huge brands, but even so I can’t help but want one of these. I’ve only dipped my toes in the lower Pelikan range, seen here, and I think this year at the SF Pen Show, trying out one of the larger Pelikans is a must-do, along with trying out a Nakaya in hand.
Nakaya Rumiko Skull - Leigh Reyes
I was not expecting to love this as much as I do. This is a beautiful, beautiful pen. Serious enabling on Leigh's blog.
I didn’t bake at all during the week, but this weekend tried a couple of experiments. One in teaching, and one with a new flour.
I don’t realistically have the space or time to bake bread in quantities I could sell, but I do have a lot of knowledge, and when a coworker asked if I wanted to help him put together a bread baking starter kit as a gift I had the idea to offer a lesson as well. Friday night I went over to their house and we talked about baker’s math, the chemistry of baking, and all the steps in the process, then mixed up a batch of a slightly modified Lean Dough from Peter REinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. Then spent a fun evening hanging out with friends and drinking great beer, and the next morning we shaped the bread, proofed it and voila, she had baked her first loaf of bread! They asked good questions, and were helpful to me in figuring out what I need to do next time/in the future/for people who I’m not close to, but it was a rousing success and I’m excited to slowly grow this into something a little more serious. Her first loaf is below, it’s a beaut.
For my own baking, nothing complicated. Have a loaf started as I type this, an experiment with einkorn flour which a lot of people like for a bunch of reasons, the most interesting to me is that it is supposed to be easier on people who have weird reactions to gluten/more processed flours (not celiacs, but intolerances and sensitivies). It’s also supposed to taste GREAT.
Read a novel this week, John Martin by Anakana Schofield. It is a weird novel, on an uncomfortable subject. I enjoyed parts of it, the first half especially when the subject was more opaque and it felt like you were starting to really inhabit the very troubled mind of the protagonist. As it all got more straightforward and explicit about the action I kind of lost interest.
I also read a few small things, but am now taking my time with The Pulp Vs The Throne, an exquisitely beautiful and messy book of poems and wordpiles by Carrie Lorig. Highly highly highly recommended.
One last note, I think some of the of the conversations going around the pen world now about pen shows and new vs old and young vs established are good, and healthy. But realistically I'm not involved in the IRL pen world enough to feel like I have much of a stake. I may chip in thoughts at some point, but for now I'm not going to link to much and will just say I think it's good that our little world is talking about this stuff. I have had good experiences and bad at both pen shows, from new and old alike, and there will always be turbulence as things shake out and new folks enter. I just hope we don't build walls, because we all love our analog tools, and whether you're a user or a collector or as we all are really, some combination of both, the more the merrier. And with that, I'll leave you with a picture I took during an evening writing sessions.