Thursday, September 29, 2011

Messy Bengal Baby

Koa is a drenched disaster. He is obsessed with the sound of water pouring, and this fountain. As soon as water is poured, he comes running to wreak havoc upon it. He doesn't have this kind of interest in a standing bowl of water. If you're wondering if you should get your cats a cat fountain, be aware there may be a messy area to tidy up afterwards. However, it provides endless entertainment for myself and cats alike!

This is the reason we don't use clumping litter. They get wet paws and then dig around in their box. If it were clumping, it would stick to their paws and clump on and the would have to groom their feet to clean them, thus ingesting clumping or clumped litter. Not so good for their tummies!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Miscellaneous Pen Porn

Hi folks! Boy I'm getting my butt kicked by... well... myself. My body seems to hate me. Or maybe it just hates me because I decided to up and move it to Austin which is frying my brain. I love warm weather but this is ... painful.

Anyhow, while I recover, I wanted to share a few pictures of some of my pens! Why not, right? Who doesn't want to just sit around and peruse blogs where all people do is post pictures of their pen collection(s)? I dunno about you but this sounds like my dream come true. Though I won't lie, it's pretty much what I do all day as it is.
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This collection of Pilot Hi-Tec Cs has grown since this picture was taken. But this is just an example of my dad who likes to buy things in mass amounts (a trait which he has passed on to me)!
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This picture is not unlike the background of my Twitter!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More Homesickness

Just a quick update so you don't think I've abandoned you all! One of my medications was changed last week but it turns out it was a bit of an overdose so I was violently ill all weekend and am only now recovering.  Nothing makes you miss home and your mom more than feeling so sick you want to die temporarily. Hopefully I'll be back on my feet soon! Mostly because I'm going insane being an invalid...

In the meantime, the more I think about it, the more I come to the disturbing realization that I may miss winter.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ellie Bites Peaches

A sad and hilariously tragic event. Peaches' ear was fine though. She was just a bit frazzled. They don't usually share a bowl, this was just a one off thing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: Stabilo pointVisco Fine 0.5 mm

This is a review of the Stabilo pointVisco 0.5 mm fine gel rollerball pen.
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- Rollerball with a completely new gel formula: Moves faster over paper.
- Smudge-proof, blot-proof, dries quicker.
- Non-slip grip zone and pocket clip.
- Robust tip.
- Available in 2 wallet sizes: 4 standard colors for the office, 10 colors for private use.


- This is a very unique looking pen with its pencil-ish look! I think it’s really cute.

- Comfortable rubbery grip that doesn’t wiggle around or spin around the barrel. It’s very comfortable and doesn’t feel sticky or attract cat fur like some other tackier grips (sticky). I figured I’d toss this tidbit in because a lot of stationery lovers seem to also love cats and dogs!
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- A vivid, intensely colored ink! The purple here is really beautiful. I had to restrain myself when I was picking colors and had narrowed it down to light blue and lime green but I ended up picking this purple.
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- Ink dries quickly. Surprising given how inky this pen is. This is a plus on premium papers which tend to be so smooth that it takes all inks a smidge longer to dry. I was impressed how fast it dried in the Habana I was writing in.

- Nice variety of colors available for both professional and “fun” use! Although my dad uses purple pens for professional use and doesn’t seem to care.

- I usually expect hand fatigue when I write a lot with a thin barrel pen or a light pen but I was surprised to find I had no problems writing with this one. Despite being light and on the thinner side, I was pretty pleased with the writing experience.


- I hate that I can’t see the ink level. I haven’t figured out how to take apart the pen without wrecking it so I’ll just have to wait and see what the ink is like. Judging by how heavy the ink comes out, I’m going to guess it won’t last very long.

- Tip feels much thicker than 0.5 mm - feels more like a 1.0 mm bold tip. I compared the line of the pointVisco to those drawn by three other 0.5 mm tip sizes: Pilot Hi-Tec C, Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5, and a Dong-A-Miffy.
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- Very low precision because of how thick the tip feels. Not very good for detailed work but great for filling in big spaces with color. Though this will seriously deplete your ink level.

- Very wet and inky writing - ink feels very free when it flows. This can be good but it will go through ink quickly and can bleed through your paper (even on premium paper!)

- Expensive for a simple gel rollerball-type pen. I’m a bit disappointed by the price because I otherwise like this pen - it’s fun and cute. I bought mine for $2.25 at Paper Place in Austin, Texas.

Overall, this pen is fun and cute but not particularly outstanding in any way. I have other pens that have beautiful ink and write nicely... However, if you’re the type of pen addict who likes to try pens regardless of what others say about them, it won’t put you out too much. I’m one of these - I just like to test different pens, feel how they write and see what the ink is like. At least it’ll make some pretty doodles!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mailbox Goodies: Rhodia Premium "R" Pad

This beautiful gem arrived in the mail for me yesterday! This is the new Rhodia Premium "R" Pad N. 16. Thank you to Karen at Exaclair for sending this - I won it in this giveaway held by Rhodia Drive!!!

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A full review to come! I can't wait to take it out of the wrapping...

Comparison: Micro Tips Pilot Hi-Tec C vs. Uni-Ball Signo DX

This post is a personally-based comparison between Pilot Hi-Tec C (0.3 mm and 0.4 mm) and Uni-Ball Signo DX (0.38 mm).

Pilot Hi-Tec C Price:
JetPens - $3.30 each
Refills - $2.20 each

Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Price:
JetPens - $2.50 each
Refills - $1.35 each

Both Pens Have Things In Common!
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- Similar size and weight: Hi-Tec C - 0.40 oz and Signo DX - 0.35 oz
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- Refillable - makes my eco heart feel a little less guilty.

- Low smearing ink - great for lefties! And for anyone who just naturally smears their hands all over their writing (me). Unless you get an ink blob. Which can and will smear.

- Both lines are micro tips!
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- Great for precision work and fine details - the tiny little nib sizes will let you do some magnificent things. Not me though, because I have no artistic talents whatsoever. But hypothetically.

- Ink doesn’t bleed through the paper with these nib sizes.

- Ink doesn’t last very long. Most people I know who use these pens write often or doodle and burn through the ink rather quickly. That’s the price to pay for precision, I guess.

- Writes really nicely on premium paper (Clairefontaine/Rhodia) - although everything writes really nicely on premium paper...

- Doesn’t work on Post-Its. This may not be a bother for some people if they don’t use sticky notes. But it really just scratches on the paper and no ink comes out. Must be the ink + paper coating mixture.
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Top: Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 mm Bottom: Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm

Why I’d Pick my Hi-Tec C 0.3 mm & 0.4 mm Pens

- Comes in a large variety of colors! A huge, wonderful, rainbow spectrum to please every picky eyeball! I lovelovelove the colors that are available.
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- This is totally personal, but my writing looks nicer with these pens. When the ink is flowing well, I feel like I have more control over my writing than with the Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm. I think the reason for this is because of the weight of the pen - the Pilot Hi-Tec C aren’t bottom heavy like the Uni-balls when they are capped. This probably seems very nit picky... well... it is nit picky. This is a nit picky comparison of two pens.

- Ink doesn’t bleed once it’s dry.

Why I Want to Strangle my Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.3 mm & 0.4 mm Pens

- Sometimes they’re just scratchy - like when starting up writing after not using it for a little while. And for the life of me, I don’t know how to fix it short of continuing to write until the ink gets going. I’m “forced” to use premium paper (Clairefontaine & Rhodia). I use the term “forced” lightly here... it’s never upsetting to have to use premium paper but say I wanted to write on crappy paper but couldn’t because my pen kept scratching across it and collecting tiny, itty bitty little paper fibers until it was so plugged with them that it just refused to drop any more ink?? What would I do then?

- The tip of the smaller sizes (0.3 mm) feels breakable. If you look at it closely, it looks like it could break, too, although I’ve never broken it. Yet. But I should be confident in my writing utensil, right??

- No grip in the Hi-Tec C line. A pretty grip to match the ink color would be so awesome. The colors are so gorgeous that a matching grip along with the colors on the cap and ends would look seriously soooo good!!! But aside from no grip, they’re tough to hang on to for extensive writing. Or if you get sweaty hands (what?? It could happen!), your grip will just slip on the plastic. There are ridged lines in the plastic which actually dig into my fingers when I am holding the pen tightly for a lot of writing.

- I have experienced ink blobs with 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm nibs. Kind of annoying when you’re trying to make a perfect line.

- The ink doesn’t flow smoothly right away. It takes a little bit of writing to get the ink going and it’s so nice to write when it’s flowing. When I’m doing writing samples, it’s a real nuisance because I have to keep uncapping and recapping the pen and scribbling on some scrap paper to get the ink moving. It has taken me awhile to break in my new 0.3 mm nibs and the occasional 0.4 mm. I hate that when it’s breaking in, I have to write with the pen straight up. It’s uncomfortable and weird and drives me insane.

 Why I’d Pick my Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm Pens

- Sturdy tip that can withstand a lot of heavy handed writing. I’m very confident with this tip. I never worry that I’ll bend it or break it.

- Somehow the design of the tip prevents scratchy writing and ink skipping (which plagues me with the Pilot Hi-Tec C line), even on poorer quality papers. Which means it always writes like a dream on premium paper.

- Both the pen and the refills are cheaper than the Pilot Hi-Tec C. Significantly. Which adds up over time. When you buy giant amounts of pens *coughs innocently*

- Easier to hold than the Pilot Hi-Tec Cs are, especially after extensive writing; the grip is helpful.

- A solid feeling pen that still boasts an impressive micro tip.

Why I Want to Strangle my Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm Pens

- Not enough colors! Such a wonderful pen and so few colors available! How disappointing. That’s not true. There are quite a few colors available but they could expand so much more and add some more shades. I would love it.

- The grip! The grip ends before the metal nib so there’s a bit of plastic barrel in between... which happens to be right where my fingers sit.

- I don’t like the weight when the pen is capped. The bottom is too heavy and it throws off my writing, especially with smaller nib sizes. I often write without the cap on the back.

- I have experienced ink blobs (although fewer than with the Hi-Tec Cs).

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Left: Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 mm Right: Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm
It does appear that I don’t like the Hi-Tec Cs very much, but that’s not true! I really do like them. I am a huge fan of the colors and despite the downsides I mentioned, I still love them. The Signo DXs are also great. Although they have comparable nib sizes and ink qualities, they’re such different pens that I have a hard time admitting they’re completely interchangeable. In conclusion, I’d say, just get both.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Learning: A Wet Noodle Nib

I have a new pen in my arsenal... Well, it's not actually new. It's rather vintage! I know, I know, I have plenty of pens and fountain pens to last me ten lifetimes. But this one is special for several reasons: it's my very first flex nib, and it's very unique (it is, after all, from the ~1930s). I really have nothing else like it in my collection.
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My ever so thoughtful husband surprised me with this beauty one day. It's a Waterman 52V with a 14K Waterman Ideal #2 wet noodle nib. He told me he was expecting a parcel but to allay any suspicions and/or undying curiosity I may (would) have had, he then convinced me it was just a letter. I spent all day racking my brains trying to figure out what letter he possibly could be expecting that would be so important. I had no inkling that the parcel was an awesome gift for meee! He said it was for no particular reason but it may have been because for the few days leading up to this gift, I had been lamenting that Jim loves Pam and bought her a house and what a sweet boyfriend he is and isn't he amazing etc, etc. Kevin claims that had nothing to do with it and it was purely coincidental. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt though, because I love this pen like crazy.
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This page is my very first attempt at learning to write with a flex nib. There truly is an art to it so I have a loooong way to go before I'm any good at it, but I was still excited by the results I produced in just a few minutes of practicing! Don't judge me just yet. I was only dipping and hadn't yet filled the ink sac at this point.
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I will be doing a full review on it - it's in the review queue. Although it may skip ahead because of my excitement about it...
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I've fallen in love with this pen though. It's adorable and makes even my penmanship look awesome. Not to mention that it's an absolute dream to write with in my Habana and Rhodias. Premium paper really shows its stuff with this kind of pen - inks look absolutely spectacular! But more on this to come...!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Moleskine Indigo Special Edition A4 Notebook

This is a review of the Moleskine Special Edition Indigo Journal. These journals were made for Indigo in Canada. It is very rare that things are made specially for Canada...
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In the world of fountain pen friendly paper, Moleskines don’t rank very high and most people aren’t too impressed with them for that very reason. I was hesitant when I bought this notebook but, as mentioned, I got it at Indigo in Winnipeg and it was only $5. That’s right. $5. I would have been crazy not to buy it. It was on an awesome sale after Christmas. I decided to get it and try it out. Although I knew I would go insane with the sheer amount of paper there is in it...


- Hardcover
- Elastic closure
- Ruled format
- 8″ x 11″
- Expandable pocket on back cover
- Bookmark

The official Moleskine Seal of Learning is embossed on the front cover of the A4 notebooks collection: Vidi, scripsi, memoravi (Latin for "see, write, remember").
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- I must say, I was surprised with how much I liked this notebook. First, it’s a really nice looking notebook. The solid cover is a rich red and with the embossed logo, it looks really cool.

- Even when I buy one, I always know I can’t use a Moleskine for fountain pens. BUT! Somehow this paper feels different. I can’t find any information on its weight but it feels heavier than regular Moleskine paper. I don’t know if it is, so it’s entirely possibly I could just be crazy. It’s not completely fountain pen friendly. My broader nibs and wet inky fountain pens did bleed through the paper. But if you observe the pictures, you can notice the finer nibs looked pretty slick and there was no bleeding with those. I guess not enough ink could soak through!
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-  A fine point Sharpie did bleed through the paper but most people don’t write with Sharpies in notebooks like these! And if you do, no biggie. Just don’t use the next page. It’s a massive notebook anyway. You won’t miss a few pages. In fact, skipping pages that way may allow you to actually fill the notebook so you can get the high of starting a new one.
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- It handles rollerball and gel ink pens well. No bleeding in my tests with these either!
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- Most fountain pens wrote without much feathering of the ink. I did find that my J. Herbin inks feathered the most on this paper. This doesn’t mean J. Herbin inks aren’t awesome. They are. I really like them. It just happened to feather on this particular paper with the fountain pen I used. Maybe I should try a different nib size next time?

- Lays flat! I love journals that have this oh-so-desirable quality without me having to assault them and break their spines. I couldn’t imagine a large notebook that wouldn’t lay flat. It would drive me insane. But lo and behold, this one lays flat and because of the solid cover, it’s a cinch to write on either side of the paper. Notebooks with lots of paper benefit from a solid cover over a flexible cover. They’re just easier to write in.

- Accepts micro tip pens well. I had no problems with scratching and although the paper is not nearly as smooth as vellum 90g Rhodia paper, for example, but sometimes when you write with a micro tip pen you can just feel it dragging across and collecting fibers at the tip. Not the case with this paper, surprisingly!

- The large paper and slim ruling gives a lot of writing space. This could be good or bad. For those with ADD and need to have small journals to use up quickly - there is a LOT of writing surface in this notebook. It will last a loooong time and it may drive you bonkers. Especially if you write with micro tips on both sides of the paper.


- Not amazingly fountain pen friendly, like Clairefontaine/Rhodia paper is, but it’s not too bad. Especially for $5...

- Allows feathering with certain inks. Tolerable though because this does not happen with all inks.


I haven’t seen these at Indigo in awhile and I can’t find them online anymore so I don’t even know if they’re still available. If you can get your hands on one, I wouldn’t recommend against it because they’re quite nice. At full price, it’s a bit steep ($30 or so?). For that price you can get a stellar Rhodia or Clairefontaine or something.

I don’t have a whole lot to rant about for this notebook. Mostly because my discussion isn’t applicable because I haven’t seen them available in awhile. But the pictures are cool. You can gaze at the pictures and imagine how long it took me to write in it with all these pens. Can you imagine how awesome this book will look when it’s full of writing? Mmmm...
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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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