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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend Reads 2/18/12

Get ready for yet another Weekend Reads! This is edition #8, so we're nearing 10 already. :)

Are you all ready to relax and enjoy the weekend!?

Well, before you do, here's an important piece of news:

This week, we are testing out the very first Weekend Reads Podcast!

You heard that right! Sort of a spur-of-the-moment type of thing. I grabbed my iPod Touch 4G, got some notes, and recorded the very first (possibly of many) Weekend Reads Podcast! Please give it a listen folks, and let me know what you think of it! It's very important that you give me your honest feedback on this - love it, or hate it - I want to hear from you.

Some notes on the podcast:
  • How's the audio quality? It's my iPod Touch 4G mic, and I'm actually pretty impressed with it. I thought it'd be horrible. It's fairly decent, though certainly not professional. Let me know if it's tolerable.
  • This is just a test-run! Excuse any mistakes or errors in it. :) But please feel free to make comments and suggestions. Just know that this is my first time doing a podcast, so it's far from perfect. Lots of room for improvement!
  • How's the length? Too long? Too short? Or is it just right? 
  • And be sure to let me know if you want more details on (x) and less on (y), etc. 


Again, please give it a listen, and leave me a comment. I need your feedback to make this podcast work, if that's what we want. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Now it's time for: Links of the week: top picks from my favorite blogs and forums!

#1: Wow, this is a cool pen! If you guys know me, you'll know that I have a thing for black matte pens. This one is calling my name, and it's taking a lot of willpower to resist it! A Schrade Tactical Pen? I didn't think such a thing was made, but it is, and I need one... :) There's a more detailed review here, of an orange-colored one.

#2: Speaking of black matte pens, anyone remember this pen? Well, I couldn't help myself... I bought a MonteVerde Invincia Stylus just yesterday afternoon!  I'll probably sell off another pen to make room for it... But it's just such a cool pen, I needed one in my collection. Read the review to learn more about it - it's a sweet pen, and it sports a capacitive tip (on the cap) for use with touchscreen devices!

#3: And speaking of FPGeeks and their Awesome Reviews (literally), how about this one: Delta Dolcevita Piston. It ain't from this week, but that doesn't change the fact that I read it this week, and now I want another pen! Oh man, FPGeeks are killing me! My wallet to be specific.

#4: Ever been injured by one of your fountain pens? I know I sure have! If you're like me, and you've been speared in the hand before, check out this topic and add your experiences to it! I posted this on FPN because my Ahab gave me a nice cut the other day. How dumb am I, for getting a 1.5" cut from a fountain pen?

Q&A Time!

Q: "I've had bad luck with factory italic nibs, so I'm a little hesitant to invest in others. I find that the ink flow on these nibs isn't able to keep up with the amount of ink layed down.

I'd love to know what you think of the TWSBI italic nibs and I'd be interested in your thoughts on italic nibs in general."

A: I too have had very bad luck with factory italic nibs. I find they are often horrible due to a lack of QC, and the fact that the art of grinding a good italic is simply being lost. Machines just don't grind as well as a good nibmiester. :)

My thoughts on italics are as simple as this: If you're serious about italic nibs, I would highly recommend a custom ground one. You get more choice, you get it writing right, straight out of the box, and you get a nib with real tipping material as well.

Many of these factory italics have no tipping! I don't like this personally. Think back in time to the vintage Esterbrooks and their folded steel tips. Those wore out fast so why shouldn't these steel tips?

I think the TWSBI italic nibs (and others) have their place however. They're cheaper than a custom ground nib, and if it's your first italic, it can actually be nice to not have all the dizzying choices available with a custom grind.

Q: This is a question I get asked frequently, and it's in line with the above topic: "What's the difference between a cursive italic, stub, and crisp-italic? Which one is best for me?"

A: The differences are quite simple, once you get tot know them. Click on the diagram to the right, and give it a good examination. Try and memorize those shapes.

To make it simple, it goes like this:

  • Round nib - no variation - maximum smoothness
  • Stub nib - moderate variation - very smooth
  • Cursive italic - great variation - smooth, but with a little "drag"
  • Crisp italic - maximum variation - not smooth at all, very sharp
That's the basics of the different nib shapes. for more info on nibs and the different shapes, check out my extensive nib article here.

Q: This was a question from a guy who had a skipping Parker 51, only to find that it was the ink causing the skipping! "Do you have specific inks you would be more apt to recommend for the Parker 51?"

A: Yes, I definitely do. Here's my list, in order of most safe, to least safe:

  • Waterman inks - superb inks, best behaved on any available. Not a lot of color selection though. :(
  • Pelikan inks - very safe, fair amount of colors
  • Diamine inks - good cross between safe, and variety. Tons of colors, and most of their inks are very safe to use.
  • Noodlers inks - I LOVE noodlers inks, so don't get me wrong. I'm specifically talking about the Parker 51 here. Some of them are fine, but most definitely shy away from the Bullet-proof, and Eternal ones. Same goes for other brands - no waterproof inks in a 51.
Now, you may disagree with me, that's fine. :) I'm not telling you what to use in your P51. Those are just my recommendations for keeping your 51 in tip-top shape. None of those inks should (even the bullet-proof ones) hurt your pen, especially if you're good at cleaning it out. My final advice?: Use common sense, and enjoy! :)

Time for the Blog-Forecast:

Coming up this week!
  • Ahab Flex Pen Review: This Sunday (tomorrow). My apologies on the delay guys! I'll explain more in the review and podcast about why I was delayed.
  • Ink Review: Noodlers BayState Blue
  • Ink Review: J.Herbin Verte Olive
  • Paper Review - Wal-Mart composition books: cheap and good. :)

And that there sums up this edition of Weekend Reads! Please leave me a comment below guys, and let me know what you think!

I want your feedback on the podcast too. Was this a hit? Or is something I should stop? You decide - and let me know!

Have a great Weekend everyone, and enjoy!

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