Author Archives: DELively

Waiting for the Storm

Typhoon 5 (aka Noru) is coming and I’m waiting for it to start messing with my head.

Because it appears that it may be a direct hit, I’m waiting for air pressure changes to start triggering headaches. This happened a couple years ago and both my youngest and I had reactions. It wasn’t a full migraine, it was more of a constant annoying pain, like a sinus headache or a hangover you can’t shake.

The other worry is that the storm will interfere with our oldest’s music contest. Granted, this is a minor thing, although we’re all worried that we’ll get either soaked, trapped, or soaked and trapped by the weather. (I’ve been fooled by the eye of a storm before, and I ended up spending a long time in a train station.)

Luckily, the storm is losing strength and appears to be changing direction which means we will mostly get wet. Unfortunately, that will be followed by heat and humidity.

Queasy Rider

For some reason I’ve been thinking about motorcycles lately.

My father always had a motorcycle, there’s even a picture of me when I was little on one of his cycles. He also went through a biker phase that morphed into a different style of biking but technically never ended and we had at least two motorcycles at our house. He had a dirt bike and cruiser (complete with fairing and detachable saddle bags) and one of my favorite moments was riding on the Kawasaki (probably a Kawasaki) with him to Denver where I got my allergy tests to eventually be mostly cured of my allergies.

Despite this, I only drove a motorcycle once. Dad, out of the blue (i.e. for reasons I don’t remember) taught me how to ride. (We were in our house which means it had to be in the early 80s which meant I was at least 14 or 15). After I mastered the “down one up whatever” shifting nonsense on the dirt bike (a Honda I think), I rode down a dirt road near our house and actually had a great time. (I didn’t ride enough to get confident/stupid.)

After I returned to our house I got off the bike and never drove a bike again.

Although that was a great moment, I never had the desire to drive a motorcycle again. Maybe if I’d driven one earlier things might have been different, but at university one of my friends had a nasty motorcycle accident that put his leg in a cage and that pretty much eliminated any interest I had in driving a motorcycle. Another friend recently pointed out, whilst questioning why anyone would want to ride a motorcycle, that every motorcycle rider he knew had an “accident story.”

That pretty much explains why I’ll probably never own a motorcycle.

Music and Bolt and Hunting for Soft Serve

Today we wandered down to a music contest starring our oldest and her band, er, her band club. The adventure ended with ice cream and disappointment.

The contest featured dozens of high school bands each with 10 minutes to perform before they were rushed off for pictures and waiting. There were lots of rules, mainly no pictures or video in the concert hall unless you buy it from the professionals.

Our oldest’s band did well (and will be moving on the next part of the contest) although I felt it was not their best performance of the song.

After their turn, I took the opportunity to bolt for home as our oldest wouldn’t be performing again.

On the way home I decided I needed some soft serve ice cream. In fact I was craving it. I even passed better, more expensive variations of ice cream because was in the mood for soft serve. I went for the cheapest only to discover that particular McDonald’s branch didn’t sell ice cream. Then I went to a different restaurant where I got a big cup and a little bit of ice cream for a substantial price.

It was tasty, but it was a disappointment.

Later, She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest came home. It turns out they had also been craving soft serve, but they’d found a better version. I broke at least one commandment involving coveting at that point and committed ice cream adultery in my heart.

However, because our oldest is moving on, I’ll have the chance on Tuesday to get real soft serve.

Of course, I’ll probably be craving something else at that point. I hope I’ll be able to find it.

Mistaken Not Wrong

As near as I can tell, as I was writing yesterday’s post, events were happening that, on first glance, appear to invalidate everything I wrote. However, as you will see, I may have been mistaken, but I was not wrong.

Two Facebook groups related to pens and stationery split into different factions.

In once case, the problem appears to have been related to the personality of one of the moderators. I personally had a strange message from him that may have been a result of the moderator being a non-native speaker of English rather than someone giving attitude. I had just joined the group and am now a member of a different group. I guess.

In another case, a group that had gathered to worship a particular brand of notebook, split over matters of style/taste.

One part of the group objected to the constant sell/trade posts even though the group was designated as a buy/sell group.

In another case, some one apparently posted pictures of an every day carry set that included pens, notebooks, and a firearm. This person then claims to have been subject to abuse from those who get queasy at the site of firearms.

Comments to the posts were stopped and then the firearm related posts were deleted and, as near as I can tell, such posts are permanently banned.

(Note: I never saw the posts, so this is what I’ve been able to gather from reactions to the banning. If anyone has more accurate information, please let me know and I’ll post another update.)

At about the same time, the group was changed from buy/sell to club.

In the former case, I’ve not been in the group long enough to know all the details, therefore I feel I have not been proven wrong.

The second group split over capitalism and firearms, not pens and stationery. Therefore I am still not wrong.

Pen People Are Not Like Knife People

I’m pretty sure today’s post will be less coherent than usual because there are a few mysteries of life I’ve been trying to solve for quite long time and I’m not sure if I’ve worked them all out:

1) Why do Japanese cellphone providers suck so bad at providing decent texting services?

2) Why do all great and popular pen makers make such crappy converters?

3) Why do pen people get along so well when knife people don’t?

The first two are mysteries that will never be solved (it will be easier to prove God’s existence than to explain number two), so instead I’ll focus on the last. One of the things I’ve noticed about the pen community is how friendly it is. At its worst, it’s nowhere close to the anger that can build in the knife community.

The pen community has some disagreements, but there are no angry rants or personal attacks from people who like handmade notebooks against people who say they like trendy notebooks (and vice versa). People who don’t like Nakaya fountain pens will get stern looks (if in person) and some discussion from Nakaya fans (if in a forum), but neither side will start hurling invective or ad hominem attacks. People who like Montblancs will get stern looks (if in person) and some discussion from every other pen addict (if in a forum), but even people not interested in buying a Montblanc can appreciate how well made they are and how attractive some of them can be.

By contrast, there seem to be gangs supporting every brand of knife produced. If you criticize a Bark River Gunny Hunter (which is a terrific knife) you will be attacked by dozens of BR fanboys who will call you lots of interesting names, provide you with a detailed list of your personal failings, and suggest you perform extremely difficult sexual acts. If you fail to show proper reverence to a Hinderer XM-18, you quickly learn that you are unworthy because you are not an operator so shut up.  In one case, a popular knife and gear podcaster who gave a popular knife a terrible review was directly challenged on his podcast by the owner of the knife company.

For example, if I say I’m not interested in The Well-Appointed Desk and Skylab LetterpressCol-o-Ring Ink Testing Books I’ll be met with a couple lists of their benefits rather than something like this:

Pen Community: Your and idiot.
Me: No, they look awesome, it’s just that I live in Japan and can find many similar things.
Pen Community: WTF does Japan no about stationery? Your and idiot.
Me: No, it’s just that the shipping would be too expensive.
Pen Community: You don’t make notebooks do you? BOOM mic drop.
Me: In my free time, yes.
Pen Community: Well you must suck at it.
Me: Well, yes I do, that’s why I don’t sell them. They’re just for personal use.
Pen Community: Your and Nazi.

I’m not sure why this is, but I think some of it stems from the fact that knives, in their various forms, are seen as a primal tool whereas pens are not. Yes there are cave drawings here and there, but to my knowledge we’ve never found a pen in an ancient archaeological dig (note: my office/variety room does not count as a dig even though digging is often involved to find things) but early knives are found all the time. A fountain pen can help earn you some money, but it’s not a survival tool and no one recommends you include one in all your survival kits. (Even though you totally could.)

Because of this, there’s a level of machismo and posing in the knife community that doesn’t exist in the pen community. There are no backyard pen users, but there do seem to be an awful lot of backyard commandos.

In the knife community you’ll quickly learn what knife is carried by Special Forces soldiers or DEVGRU and if you are not at least a member of the Army Compartmented Element (if it exists) then your opinion is garbage if you don’t like the knives. You are not an operator and therefore cannot disagree so shut up. You may only like the knives or GTFO.

You also learn, quite quickly, that you are not a knife maker if you criticize knives from popular makers. If you are a knife maker then, clearly, you suck at it to hold such an opinion so no one will ever buy your knives which have never been carried in combat anyway so they must suck. A similar happening in the pen community might be:

Me: Wow, why do Sailor, Pilot, and Platinum make great pens but crappy converters?
Pen Community: Your and idiot. Do you make converters?
Me: No.
Pen Community: Than your and Nazi so shutup.

In the pen community, perhaps because it is smaller, the disagreements are friendlier. If a popular YouTuber seems underwhelmed by Nakayas for being little more than a cartridge/converter pen (and remember, all converters are crap), Nakaya fans will at least hear them out before killing them with knives, er, sorry, wrong forum, offering a defense of Nakayas. (Verbally, not violently.)

I know people who don’t understand why cheap Bic pens or slightly more expensive gel ink pens are not enough for anyone (heck, even the Pen Addict himself used to express that opinion) but they are not as vitriolic as people who don’t understand why someone would pay $300 for a handmade knife when they could get a Victorinox Swiss Army knife (complete with toothpick, corkscrew and knobby hook thing) for around $30.

(Note: My solution is to get both.)

The closest we’ve seen to this level of vitriol in the pen community is some issues between an economist and a fountain pen forum moderator over Montblanc related news and exposes of questionable products (such as this and this) from other sources.

There are a couple smaller knife fora that are a real treat because they have moderators who crack down on personal attacks. They are more like the pen community, so I frequent those.

 

Keeping Place

A mercifully boring day today, so this will be little more than a place keeper.

Been scribbling on other writing projects and have a few posts I’ve been avoiding finishing. Not because their long or controversial, but because I’ve not been able to get things down the way I’d like.

Luckily, it remains unseasonably cool. (Cool enough that She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted the windows closed this morning because the breeze was too cold.) This does bring rain, but since I have no reason to go out right now, I don’t care.

The biggest problem right now is the only thing being kept in place is my butt. I may have “butt in seat” but it’s not translating to finished projects. Everything is sort of stuck in place right now.

 

Just a Random Walk With Thee

Today was one of those days where lots of random things happened because of people behaving in random ways.

It started with alarm app trouble and getting up late.

I cooked breakfast not knowing that She Who Must Be Obeyed planned to cook breakfast for me once she came back. (Note: she wanted to use up old English Muffins so was going to make me a homemade egg McMuffin.) This was a shock as she hadn’t announced her departure which meant I didn’t realize she’d left.

Then people seemed to come and go at random leaving me wondering if I was supposed to cook lunch. I never learned what was supposed to happen because suddenly lunch was made.

Then there were random computer issues that delayed my working on today’s house arrest-related work which slowed down my other projects.

I also had to help our oldest resend birthday pictures as her phone had autofilled my email address with the wrong word. “delivery” vs “delively”.

After that I couldn’t be bothered.

Not Bad for a Monday

Today, for complicated reasons I’ve discussed before, was a paid holiday. Because of this I was in a good mood and more productive than usual.

Although I was nursing a migraine hangover I got a lot of small projects finished. Some of them were actually useful, too, and not just plans to do something.

I managed to feed our youngest, although that amounted to mostly saying “food there. you make you food.”

I also packed and posted a sale pen, which also might have contributed to the good mood, especially as I broke even on it (and all the most recent purchases).

Tomorrow, though, house arrest starts again for a few days. That will make me cranky. It means, at least for this week and next week, I don’t like Tuesdays.

A Forced Day of Rest

Not much to report as I got the migraine spot early and that ruined the rest of the day. At least until it got better.

Everyone was out and about doing various things when I got the migraine aura and took some medicine. I suspect it’s because the unseasonably cool weather has been messing with my head (or I need to get up and about some more).

Either way, taking medicine led to me being sleepy the rest of the afternoon which led to me accomplishing  very little.

Eventually, though, I got better and we enjoyed our youngest’s birthday.

More on that in a future post.

No Good Sale Goes Unpunished

I’ve been in this odd cycle of watching American Pickers and selling pens. I’m not sure how the two are connected, but since they both involve people selling bits of their collections, one may be serving as inspiration for the other.

I bring this up only because I’ve now sold my seventh pen. This is both good and bad.

It’s good because the most valuable pens sold at good prices but it’s bad because I’m left with the secondary set of pens. They are nice, but less desirable to others and will cause me more effort to part with. Also, because some of them are cheap whilst shipping is expensive (Japan post eliminated it’s cheapest fast option some time ago) I have to convince people to buy more than one pen at a time.

The other problem is that the ones I sold were the ones I wouldn’t have minded getting stuck with. The others, with a couple exceptions, are not ones I’m interested in using again.

I suspect this means there will be a big bundle offered in the future.

The goal of all this is to pare down the collection to ten pens that I use, in some form or another regularly. (Note: Those of you who think ten pens is outrageous should realize that to serious addicts ten pens counts as a collection starter kit, not an actual collection.)

I’m also approaching the point where the pens I have inked are pens I like a lot. Storing any will make it harder to buy new pens as I’ve been sticking, or at least attempting to stick to a one in/one out rule.

Then again, that may be a good thing. Maybe.