Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year’s Hobby Box & Red Chalk

January 1, 2014

Unable to say much about the look of things beyond the tees but the first day of 2014 along Old Dixie Lane is cloaked in a twilight of semi-darkness with all the damp of a falling mist. Does it reflect my mood of still being denied Internet access? Not hardly. Even on a less than sunshiny New Year’s day there are simple pleasures apart from gloomy weather and no Internet. Some might even get a kick out of watching their dog search out and eat fallen acorns as skillfully as any squirrel hiding in the tall trees. I happily occupy myself for a good hour digging up more empty shell casings discarded by the long ago owner-gunsmith. A puzzle just why he didn’t either reload the shells—a gunsmith, after all—or throw them in the trash. Instead he chose to throw them day after day onto a plot of ground to the right of his firing stand. And now I dig them up, no less than a hundred a day, in all sizes and caliber. 

Farina on the Picnic Table

I passed a frustrating hour on the telephone yesterday trying to get some help with a newly installed modem that lit up only halfway and left me still unconnected to the world wide web. As I suspected all along, the problem is not going to be solved by me or a tech support person on the telephone—even one with understandable English skills. Next step of the plan is a visit from a technical expert on January 3. The woman on the phone explained, “He come, you pay twenty-nine dollar.” She must have understood when I said that I wasn’t paying twenty-nine cents for a failure of their equipment because she put me on hold and came back later to say the fee would be exempted this time. Obviously, the supervisors instruct telephone representatives to try passing a charge off on customers. Similar to the methods at AT&T, one more amoral attempt at exercising greed. 

A couple of tidbits for the fountain pen aficionados wandering into these pages… Along with a new modem, yesterday brought a new issue from Japan of the magazine Stationery Hobby Box (Shumi no bungu bako) This issue (No. 28) is devoted in good part to ink from around the world, with attention to everyone’s favorites, Iroshizuku, Herbin, Montblanc, Pelikan, Sailor, Diamine and a few dozen others. I expect that many American enthusiasts will wonder if Noodler’s ink is included in the magazine’s coverage, and it may come as a surprise to learn that Noodler’s, while available in a few Tokyo stores, is not a popular brand of ink in Japan. I have friends there who won’t touch it. 

Apart from various articles on ink, one I found especially interesting is a piece on the magazine’s choice of the Top Ten fountain pens of 2013. As a great fan of Pelikan fountain pens, my reaction to the No. 1 Pelikan Souverän M800 was something like, “Naturally. What else?” Numbers two and three on the list are respectively, the Montblanc Meisterstück 149 and the Pilot Custom 743. Rounding off the list at No. 10 is the Platinum #3776 Series and except for the Lami Safari at No. 8, the most inexpensive pen on the list at about $165.00. I believe because they are popular with Japanese, all fountain pens on the list are either German or Japanese made.

Montblanc is releasing this month a new design in the Great Characters (Famous Names) Limited Edition series, this one the Leonardo 74. The 74 reflects the number of pens made, but at the price listed, there aren’t many able to afford a fountain pen costing over 3,633,000 yen. I'll leave the yen to dollar ratio to those with a big calculator. Montblanc is also releasing at the same time another Da Vinci model, the silver Leonardo 3000. At $39,000 this one is slightly more affordable…for some.

I think I can afford the new Montblanc ink being released along with the two pens. The color is taken from Da Vinci’s sketchbooks and is called Red Chalk.

1 comment:

  1. Two thoughts. You should have kept all the shell casings and put them in a nice clear glass container; that might make for an interesting shelf piece. (I once did it with all the extra keys around the house.) Since I always have Tiananmen Red in a pen, I would probably love the Red Chalk Ink.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America