Author Archives: DELively

Phase Two is About to Begin

I showed my young apprentice, er, my colleague, my collection of ink swatches, figured out her preferences, and then realized she’s ready to move to the next phase.

I’ve mentioned before how my frequent display of my abundance of fountain pens has led my colleague to experiment with fountain pens. She started with cheap Chinese pens, including a LAMY knock off endorsed by the Well-Appointed Desk. Today I tried to figure out what kind of ink she likes. This led to an hour or so long discussion about the properties of the various inks. I’m especially pleased that she’s not distracted by pretty swatches full of sheen but instead focuses on how the ink actually looks when it’s put on the page by a fountain pen.

At one point, she tried to find one of her cheap pens that seems to have vanished, but she couldn’t find it.

Her main problem, at this phase, is that she doesn’t have a proper pen case which has led to her pens being scattered hither and thither.

This means she’s ready to enter the next phase: penphenalia, which includes pen cases and snot suckers used for cleaning.

First I’ll introduce her to Nock. Co., but I suspect Japan has enough goods on hand to store her pens.

After that, we’ll see how far down the rabbit hole she goes…

Moving Beyond the Filler

My worst class was the Guinea Pig for a lesson. Thanks to them I’m going to have to change a few things.

The first week of class is usually filled with welcome back activities and reviews. This lets us get our teaching legs back under us and gets the students back in learning mode, in so far as that exists at the school where I work.

However, because of a quirk of the schedule (six days of entrance exams) my worst class only meets four times–possibly five; long story–and I won’t see them again until February. This means I had to teach an actual lesson.

This also meant that they’d be getting the first taste of the lesson, well before I’d worked out the bugs. Normally, in a regular week, they get the lesson last, after I’d had two other classes to fix mistakes and timing. Also, because they are a bad class, they are often a bad test case.

Today they got through the material so quickly that I had to fall back on a back up plan and actually get them to work in the textbook. This means that once I get to the better classes, especially the higher level one, I’ll have to have lots of extra material.

I doubt they’ll be that good again, especially after not having my class for three weeks, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Reconsidering the Play Room Again

Note: Another one that’s out of order because LAZY

Last week I gave the chance to be responsible for their own actions and seating. This week I’m rethinking that decision.

Because this is the final term of the school year, I give first year junior high school classes a chance to choose their own seats in the hope that they will be better classes. (Normally they have to sit in alphabetical order.) Two of my classes, including my worst JHS 1 class, chose to change seats.

The theory is that the class will be more manageable because the birds of bad feathers will sit together and this will calm the class. (Something like that.) If it doesn’t, I will sit them in a different order.

In my worst class, the worst students did flock together, but not completely. For reasons I don’t understand, the student who has literally not finished a single assignment in class all year, chose to sit near better students. This has resulted in bad students talking across the room to each other.

Next class, if the situation doesn’t improve (and it probably won’t) I’ll have a new seating chart with a “play room” where the worst students congregate and do nothing and a “study room” where students who aren’t quite as bad occasionally do work.

Luckily, there aren’t that many classes left, so to quote Miss Hoover in the Simpsons:  I have nothing left to say to any of you. So if nobody minds let’s just quietly run out the clock.

 

Not My Problem But My Problem

This week one of my colleagues has the flu and is banned from working for at least five days. As a result, the head of the English department at the school where I work is making demands of the rest of us. At one point she outlined a long list of steps the most senior of us was supposed to follow. I ended the list by adding “And make sure you send a bill to Random Other Dispatch Company.” (Note: not the company’s real name.)

This earned me funny looks.

A former colleague of mine used to mock my habit of saying “Not my company” when I was asked to cover for an absent colleague who worked for a company that wasn’t the company for which I work. (Long story.) He did this until a person who worked for the company for which I work started being absent regularly and he was asked to help. Suddenly his refrain was “Not my company.”

I understood his attitude.

Part of the problem is that although none of us actually work for the school where we work, the school likes to treat us as if we do. The other problem is that being a team player earns no tangible rewards therefore there’s no incentive, other than being seen as helpful, to help out. The next time there’s a problem no one will cut us any slack for having helped out the company for which we don’t work.

That said, I did help out the substitutes, both of whom I’ve met before, and was on my best behavior.

Hopefully, things will settle down next week.

2018 Pen and Stationery Resolutions

They are a little late, but here are my 2018 resolutions. The theme for this year’s resolutions is “Less is used more.” This is even true of the resolutions.

Pens:
One–End the year with fewer pens than I started with. (Note: I’m counting the pen I ordered last year but haven’t received yet as part of the current total.) (Second Note: Already cancelled a Kickstarter I was considering supporting.)

Two–Continue to stay the hell away from the nightly Kingdom Note pen sales.

 

 

Ink:
One–-End the year with fewer inks.

Two–Change “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) to NOMO (No fear Of Missing Out).

 

 

Paper:
One–No new notebooks this year. (Unless five get used up.)

Two–Scan the old stuff before it molds and moulders.

Other:
One–Take pictures of stuff.

Two–Review stuff.

 

 

 

The Ghosts of Resolutions Past

For today’s post, I thought I’d revisit last year’s pen and stationery resolutions to see how well/badly I’ve done with them.

Pens:
One–Refine the collection. Focus more on quality rather than rapid and random acquisition. Get rid of what doesn’t set your soul on fire.

Two–To help accomplish One, stay the hell away from the nightly Kingdom Note pen sales. 

Three–Actually use your so-called “work horse” pens at work.

Four–Sell the pens that have been in storage for a long time.

 

One and Four: A mixed bag here. I did quite well by shedding a substantial chunk of my collection and only acquiring a couple new ones.

Two: Another mixed bag. I acquired two pens via the Kingdom Note nightly sales. One was an OMAS and the second an orange  Faber-Castell Ondoro (acquired in no small part thanks to a substantial amount of built up points).

Three: Done. Also close to finishing a second bottle of my workhorse ink: Noodler’s Old Manhattan.  Would have finished it all, but rotated with a couple other workhorse pens.

 

Ink:
One–Sell the large stockpile of Kingdom Note inks once the weather warms, and/or find pen addicts who live in the tropics.

Two–Limit the ink rotation. Use up the inks you like, sell off the rest. Match pens with ink and make a system out of them.

Three–No more new inks (after you’ve acquired a couple you have your eye on.)

Four–Formalize the ink business or run away.

 

One: Sold a large portion now working on getting rid of the last bit after the thaw.

Two: A jolly good start, then a spectacular failure.

Three: Actually did quite well at this. Only acquired three new bottles of ink. (And a few samples…)

Four: Still running away, slowly, after outreach to an ink manufacturer went nowhere, but a have a few ideas for acquiring inks that require actually visiting stores. (Without me actually having to visit the store…)

 

Paper:
One–Stop collecting scraps to bundle into notebooks.  Remember that you can’t spell “scrap” without “crap”. (“It’s crap” said quickly and repeatedly eventually sounds like “Scrap”. I think “scrap” actually derives from the Elizabethan English pronunciation “S’crap.” Look it up, forsooth.)

Two–Do one push up on the floor in the store for each 100 yen of price before buying a new notebook you suddenly can’t live without. (Don’t forget to wash hands after doing this.) Also, consider doing this for pen and ink purchases: Cheapest Montblanc Hemingway = 1,763 push ups (followed by spending the pen money on hospital bills and physical therapy.)

Three–Scan, scan, and scan old notebooks and then retire the moldering hard copies.

Four–Retire the last of the handmade writing tablets. Keep only the ones currently in use at work.

Five–Use up as many notebooks as you can before you get better at push-ups.

 

One: Accomplished. Have only saved Rhodia paper and some Tomoe River Paper.

Two: Never stood a chance of doing this. Did do push ups, though, just not related to purchases.

Three: Did some of this, then scanner/printer died. Bought new all-in-one and stopped scanning.

Four: Done except for a few that I’m still using up.

Five: Been doing a good job of this. Have also given away extra Field Notes, including a few Colors editions.

 

Other:
One–Take pictures of stuff.

Two–Review stuff.

Three–Just say “NO” to Massdrop and Kickstarter.

Four–Listen to the Pen Addict podcast, but do not check out the show notes. If you do check out the show notes, do NOT click on any interesting links.

 

One: Did well, but need to organize office better to establish a better studio space.

Two: Partially accomplished, but have a lot more to review.

Three: Mostly accomplished. Avoided Massdrop, for many reasons, but gave into a few Kickstarters.

Four: Mostly accomplished. Except I do now own a pen with Bomb Pops on it.

 

The Future:
In the next post, I’ll figure out my 2018 Stationery Resolutions. (Note: one has already been accomplished, so that my count as cheating.)

Out with the Techo; In with the Bullet

I bought the Bullet Journal two and a half years ago via Kickstarter but decided I didn’t want it anymore once I got it. Now, after all that time, I’ve decided to use it.

Part of the problem was the size. It was too cumbersome to carry around every day unless I was carrying a bag. However, soon after I decided not to use it, I bought a Hobonichi Cousin that was about the same size and started carrying that to act as a daily log. Then I decided I didn’t want to carry it around and it became a colorful version of a diary.

Last  year I used the pocket sized Hobonichi Techo as a daily planner. I quickly adopted a version of Mike Rhode’s bar system, mostly because it gave me a chance to use lots of colorful inks on the Techo’s terrific Tomoe River paper.

The problem was that I spent a lot more time scheduling activities and making them look pretty than I actually did doing them. By the end of the year I wasn’t carrying the Techo every day, although I did spend time filling in activities for every day. When I was carrying it, I barely referred to it.

In addition, I’ve also slowly embraced online versions of planners as they can be programmed with reminders and can be changed more easily.

Because of this, and because the Leuchtturm1917 paper is pretty good–and because it forces me to use something that’s been sitting on a shelf rather than buy something new–I’ve decided to use the Bullet Journal as my planner/organizer this year.

I like the simple lists and bullet system especially when supplemented with an online calendar that links to all my devices and my main email account.

There is still the problem of the size of the thing, but I’m willing to give that chance. I will also tear off the annoying binder elastic strap thing.

At this point I’ve used it a week and am already rethinking how I want to use it. I kind of miss the daily log, especially recording the weather and what I wore that day, and want to incorporate a version of that in some of the extra space on the page.

I’ve already incorporated a “number of times postponed” system when things that get scheduled one day get moved to another.

Once I settle on a system, I’ll take some pictures and offer a follow up.

Until then I’ve got planning to do. Oh, and a few things to do, too.

Starting the Wrong Things in the Wrong Place

One of the problems with visiting the in-laws for the new year’s holiday is that the new year gets started in the wrong place.

Any plans I have to start something new have to be delayed until I get to my usual place. Until then I’m subject to the plans and whims of others, much of which I’m not informed about until the last minute.

The result is that the bad habits have already started.

Today I did get a few merciful hours of time alone which I used mostly productively. The problem is I don’t have all the usual tools and it was easy to waste time doing other things.

Once I get home, I’ll already be out of the habit of starting new habits and will most likely end up falling back into old ones.

I’ll find out tomorrow when we get back to the usual place.

I will also probably have to shed a couple pounds or four that have been put on thanks to the permanent “all you can eat and drink and if you say no there’s a fight” system at the in-laws. We’ll see about that too.

New Year’s Booze, Breakfast, and Detox

Although I know it’s bad for me, having beer and sake with breakfast is kind of cool. Of course, since that’s more or less the same thing I had with dinner the night before, then I’m probably due for a detox.

Correction: A detox is very much in order.

Tomorrow we’ll be out and about which will give all of us a chance to detox a bit, but I’m betting that supper will be huge. I also suspect there will be beer and sake with breakfast.

Part of the problem is that the parents of She Who Must Be Obeyed have reached the age where they don’t drink as much as they used to. However, they continue to serve the same amount of booze that they used to. This means, for reasons I don’t fully understand, it’s my job to finish all the unfinished booze.

Note: I’m now responsible for finishing a bottle of wine. For some reason, this is a responsibility I take seriously.

Luckily this year they’ve switched from bottled beer shared amongst everyone to individual cans served to individuals. This means there’s less interruption as Mother of SWMBO insists on filling my beer glass even when it’s already full. I suspect this means that I’m actually drinking less than usual as it’s hard to keep track of the half-full glasses and I always end up having to finish the bottles.

With cans, there is, of course, lots of concern that my can might be empty within a few seconds of my taking the first sip from it, but that’s less intrusive than having to drink half a small glass of beer right after I’ve taken a bit of food.

I’ll also need a food detox, but that’s fodder for a future post.

Travelling By Snow

For complicated reasons we decided to drive to the in-laws. The trip is normally not that difficult, however, it is winter and we were heading to snow country.

We acquired snow tires from She Who Must Be Obeyed’s family (it used to be their car before they stopped driving) and had them put on at a local place.

The trip itself wasn’t that bad even though SWMBO had never driven a mountain pass in snow. (Note: I think I’ve done it once. Maybe twice.) I did prepare a winter car kit in case we got stuck because of heavy snow and accidents not involving us. Also, our car is four-wheel drive and our snow tires are new.

We started in perfect clear weather and then as we climbed and passed through tunnels we slowly passed through autumn and early winter before entering sky fall. Once we passed through the tunnel into snow country, we were in blizzard conditions that lasted until we hit windy conditions.

Along the way we had to take odd detours where traffic officials blocked the road and forced us into parking lots where traffic officials assessed our tires. If any car had tires that didn’t pass muster, they were forced to attach chains to their tires, even if it meant buying them on site.

There were a couple interesting moments involving other cars and merging traffic, but we arrived safely.

Now we are putting our lives at risk by eating too much, but that’s another post.