Tuesday, April 28, 2015

'nother new pen

This one is going to be mine: it's another Waltham--a pen company which has fascinated me since I learned of the company's shenanigans and ultimate fate.  I mean, seriously: a pen company whose owners were such stellar individuals that they cut one of the three brothers out of the war profiteering and tax evasion, which is what led to the company's downfall and breakup, has an interesting story, even if the pens are "third tier" pens (pretty or not).

And this one is a pretty pen.  Unfortunately, the nib is bent.

Here, you can see some of it--it's bent a little bit to one side, but bent down pretty significantly.

See what I mean?  Poor thing...

This pen is a button filler: unscrew the black cap on the back end to uncover the button (it squeals, by the way), push the button down, put the entire nib and a little of the section into the ink, then let go of the button and wait for about 5-10 seconds for the rubber sack to fill with ink.

Unfortunately, the button wouldn't depress.  It took a bit of application of the heat gun to pull the pen apart, where I found...pen poop. 

Impacted pen poop.

That's fairly solid hardened rubber and ink pieces.  It came out, with the aid of a pair of forceps, bit by bit...and with the pressure bar attached. 

Unfortunately, the pressure bar was rusted. (Pictured with the dental pick I used to scrape out the inside of the pen barrel).

I have one on order--it should arrive just after the sacs do, sometime around the end of the week, right when my grading schedule clears up. 

Once I have everything I need to fix the pen, I'll show pictures reversing the process, ending with a pen ready to load with ink and write with.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What is it...

...that causes a six year old to try to lie, even when he knows that the lie will get him in four times the trouble that simply admitting what he'd done wrong would have?

He got a green day...which he then colored blue (first attempt), then tried to tell Daddy was green when the teacher had written yellow in Sharpie (second attempt).  All of which stemmed from some misbehavior on the playground that would have gotten him scolded at worst.  A green day would have seen him permitted to watch TV.  A yellow day would have seen him permitted to play in his room.  He's being treated as if he'd gotten a red day, simply for the lies.

Seriously.  Why?  This simply does not compute for me.  I do not lie, and have done my best to teach him not to.

One down...

Today was the last regular classday Monday.  There are two more class days to go before semester is done.

I am so ready for that. 

So are my students--hell, all of the students I've talked to or overheard on my way to or from the classroom. 

For some reason, few have had a good semester, and it has seemed endless; however, it's almost over.  As of Friday, I will not be going back to campus.  Because I refuse to hold a final for a skills class, and the students that need to can turn in revisions by email.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another one of those days.

Gave the kids each a dose of Zyrtec syrup just before taking them up to my mom's today.  It seemed to help the pixie...but it made the imp sick.  Really sick.  Badly upset stomach and awful headache and fever sick. 

He started getting better as it started wearing off...right before bedtime.

But the poor little guy spent a miserable day, and I spent an afternoon with little boy pointy bits (I swear, the kid's all angles--he's about 4'2", and 43lbs) poking me in the legs and stomach where he'd curled up in my lap. 

pen post lot #2, pen #5

One of the pens that came in the second lot of pens I ordered off of ebay really caught my eye because of the color: a lovely bright green.  It didn't rattle, and the section wouldn't come out of the barrel of the pen, so I set it aside until I had time to mess with it a bit. 

The brand name on the clip is Arnold; Made in U.S.A. is engraved on the lever.  On doing some research, I found that there is still a pen company under the name of Arnold or Parrot Pens, but that company doesn't make fountain pens at all anymore, if it ever did.  The Fountain Pen Network is where I've found the most info: Arnold was a third-tier cheap pen company at best.  They were supposedly low quality, and sold at $1.75 for a dozen. 

I'm not so sure about the quality assessment--the nib is a bit skippy, but the plastic of the barrel is in incredibly good condition: it feels solid, and is mostly unscuffed.  It's very plain, especially compared to the ones pictured in the thread I linked.

Here--why don't I just show you the pen, and the writing sample?

Simple little pen.  Kinda plain, since I can tell you're not seeing the color properly.

The shape is a lot prettier with the cap removed, isn't it?  And the color shows a little better in this picture. 

Yes, I was tempted to keep it.  Out of all of the pens I have, I don't have a green one.  I have several in burgundy, in black, in blue, and some reds.  But the only green I have is a Parker Vector with a medium nib, cracked barrel, and wrecked clip, and that one is a sort of pale gray-green that Parker calls Jade.  Not a true green.

But it is a nice pen, and I have several.  I'd like to sell it to someone else who'll enjoy having and using it, someone who'll appreciate it. 

And there are no modestly priced modern lever fill fountain pens, and so few vintage lever fills that don't need worked on before they'll work...I'd like to give someone else a chance to try out the filling system, and have fun with it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

One of those days...

I do not know why, but I woke up a bundle of raw nerves.  People near me--even the kids, happy and playing--was like rubbing sandpaper on raw flesh. 

I didn't even realize it until they went to bed. 

I'm gonna have to make it up to them tomorrow.  'Cause Mama was awful cranky today, no matter how hard she tried to not take it out on them. 

random ramblings

I'm getting really tired of the ongoing fight to teach my daughter to eat quickly and efficiently.  It's coming to the end of the time when she can just graze all day.  She won't get snacks today.  She'll get meals at mealtimes.  I am too tired of dealing with it, and completely out of patience today.

The imp had two really, really good days, this week...and then he quit behaving and went from purple one day to orange the next.  He only just got green yesterday, and that after getting 9/10 on his spelling test.  I do not know why, or what to do with the boy, sometimes.

Right now, the two are playing in the pixie's room.  I can tell she's starting to wind down and get tired: she's getting extra-sensitive and whiny.  Which means she's getting sleepy.

I do not know what I'm going to do with the imp while she's sleeping today.   He'd be too loud outside, and he'd be chattering at me if I made him stay on the couch...I'd make him take a nap, too, but he doesn't really need one.

Couch and movie it'll be, I guess.  He's been pretty good since he got up.  I'll probably try to bribe him with Thomas the Tank Engine.  And maybe he'll conk out on the couch while he watches, and I can get a few quiet minutes...

Especially if I give him his V8, which he gets every other day*...

Last Wednesday, I was standing in the kitchen, making a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich for the pixie, when I noted Shadow creep under the chair the pixie's booster seat is fastened to.  A few seconds later, Cricket walked past.  Shadow waited until she was nearly all the way past, then jumped out and grabbed Cricket by the butt.  Cricket leaped three feet straight up in the air, then vanished.  Didn't see her again for almost half an hour, and don't have a clue where she hid.

But Shadow was very satisfied with herself.

As I mentioned yesterday, I found a bit of time--about an hour and a half--to work with my pens.  I got all of them either tested, or pulled apart and inspected, and I've put in an order for twenty latex pen sacs between 14/64" and 20/64", and one J-bar for the pen whose bar had rusted through and broken across the bottom of the J.  I should get them sometime within the next five business days.  Looking forward to it so that I can start fixing pens and getting them sold off.

I'll be posting another pen post, likely tomorrow sometime. One of the lever fill pens I function checked with water yesterday checked out.  It's the green Arnold I was half-tempted to keep.  I have it inked up (with Noodler's burgundy to contrast with the green so I can spot any leaks or other issues--and found only some minor burping), and have been using it today.  I'll tell y'all what I can find out about it tomorrow, and post some pictures of the pen, and of the pen with a writing sample.  It is a fairly nice little pen--a true green, like a wheat field, with a bit of chrome trim on the pen proper, and a chrome cap with a gold-toned clip. 

I have one more week on campus before I'm done, and I'll be using that to get caught all the way up on grading so that I can turn in final grades for the 8:00 class by 11:00 on Monday, and for the 9:00 class by 12:00 on Wednesday (just after the end of the final exam times for those classes).  All I have left is the workshop for paper 5, the papers I offered extensions to, the blogs, and any revisions turned in, so not much. 

It really shouldn't take all of my office hours, so I'll have some time for writing.  I'm still pecking away on a science fiction short story and Detritus.  I am still working on them when I get a few minutes to, but it's usually in a draft book long hand when I'm in the elevator, or waiting on being picked up.  I have a few paragraphs' worth written on both, but haven't had the time to transcribe and continue, given the time spent grading.

(Speaking of...I've been working on that a little while I've written this post.)

*There's 260% of the RDA of vitamin A for an adult in the juice.  I don't want my six year old son turning orange, even if it is his favorite color.

Friday, April 24, 2015

I have vintage ink on my hands, and I feel better.

Okay, at second look, I think I have a second pen that is in good shape where the sac is concerned...it expels bubbles in water when the lever is lifted.  It's a gorgeous green Arnold pen with a silver toned cap.  It's really, really ink clogged in the nib, though--I've got it soaking to try to get it all the way back in working order before I take pictures (and yes, I do plan on selling it despite how pretty it is). 

One of the pens, a Collins lever fill, had a sac.  Had.  Some nitwit had tried refurbishing the pen, and had put the nib section and sac back into the pen before the rubber cement was dry, and wound up gluing the bar inside to the sac...and the bar to the lever (though not too bad, on that--pulling everything got the lever to work).  It's going to be second to last on my list to repair, and will go up for sale as soon as I get it fixed and running right.

Sadly, I cannot find a pen feed for the Waltham with the broken feed glued together with dried ink, nor for the cute little Eclipse pendant pen.  Nor can I find a nib to fit the Eclipse pen.  I think those two, and the two pencil/pen combos are going to have to be parts pens.  Also, one of the Wearever pens I have (the one that was badly refurbished) is going to have to be a parts pen, due to the splits in the barrel.

I have two more Wearever pens, one lever fill one cartridge.  The cartridges haven't been made in about fifty years, and the piercing tip that punctured the cartridge is just a little too big for anything made modern.  I even tried a Lamy converter, and it wasn't quite big enough.  I've seen it recommended that the Wearever cartridge pens that are in good shape and without cracks can/should be converted to eyedropper fill...and I guess that's what's going to have to happen (yes, I'll post pictures--it looks to be an easy process, even if messy with the silicon grease).  That pen has a medium nib, while the lever fill (which is bent quite badly just past the lever box) has a flex nib.

I have another nameless fountain pen--the only markings on it are "Made in USA" and the engraved, gold-leafed name of whoever had the pen--that I managed to pull apart today.  It took the application of a heat gun and a pair of section pliers,* but it came apart.  I took pictures of the pen pulled apart, and with the shattered sac laying in shards next to it. 

On the left side of the top, there's a ring that fits down over the top of the barrel and lets the cap fit down tightly over the nib.  The cap is a sort of dulled gold-tone, sort of with a bit of brass look to it (probably cheap).  You can sorta see that the section where you hold the pen is shaped: a rounded triangle that makes it really comfortable to hold.  It's burgundy, which is difficult to make out with the lighting and the way the pic turned out. 

Right next to the barrel, between it and the pair of forceps I used to pull the bigger pieces out, you can see the rubber shards. 

Here's a better picture of the hardened/shattered rubber sac:

I've taken to calling the rubber shards "pen poop," mostly because they can sometimes be small enough to sift out through the lever box, and into my hand when I shake the pen. 

Although, I may need to find a different thing to call them.  Some of the pieces can be really sharp...

More pics to follow as I order and fit new sacs. 

Oh, brother.

Y'know, the United States government has a long and, quite frankly, nasty habit of selling land that was set aside for individuals to others. 

Especially where Native American lands are concerned. 

I honestly don't know why I'm surprised by this

I am beyond disgusted, and think that the perpetrators need to be horsewhipped so hard their descendants bear the scars, but not surprised.

And John McCain was in on it.

Profanity laced rant (co-written by my beloved husband) below the fold.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I give up.

I took the pixie up to my mom's, today.  I had grading to do, and she was being particularly demanding of attention. 

On the upside, I got caught up. 

On the downside...just as I got caught up, the class platform decided to shit the bed.  After the third time I got kicked all the way out of the entire site when I tried to enter a comment, I gave up. 

It's still doing it.

I fucking give up.  I'm too bloody tired of dealing with it to keep trying tonight.  I'll try again tomorrow during office hours. 

Which means writing is going to be pushed off for at least one more day.

Damn the stupid fucking platform all the fucking way to hell. 

The only reason I'm as calm as I am (since I could be finished with papers were it not for the devil's queef of a website platform) is because my wonderful other half poured me a rye whiskey on the rocks, and it's already gone. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hey, y'all,

Go help an Angel in need.  She's damned funny and incredibly insightful...when her keyboard works. 

C'mon, people, Angel needs a new laptop.

Trolls come in all shapes and sizes.

A few years ago, when I started teaching blogging, I had one student write an anti-gay-marriage post.  Another one of my students verbally blasted them in their comments, calling her a bigot.  The first student fired back, quoting scripture and telling the second student that they weren't a bigot, just following their beliefs.

Had it ended there, it would have been one thing. 

It didn't end there. 

The first student continued leaving hateful followup comments to the second student, starting with telling the second student that they were going to hell, and devolving from there. 

And then, the first student followed the second student back to their own blog, and clogged their comments on all of their posts--on topic or off--with a lot more of the same. 

Since then, I've had to make it clear that trolling is grounds for losing all blogging points for the week it happens in.  I haven't really had the problem with it since that I had then.  Now, students will snipe back once in comments, then they'll agree to disagree on contentious issues.

Don't get me wrong: they link to each other and write long screeds about why this person's opinion is so different from their own (and why they're wrong), but they remain civil in their comments, and in the comments on classmates' blogs.  They simply relate their own side of the issue in their own blog and move on, rather than trying to sway the other person's audience on the other person's blog.

Would that older adults could be as civil as eighteen and nineteen year old college students...

Please stand by...

I'm done with the fun part of semester--the teaching--but I'm still stuck grading the stuff that has been turned in.  I've got research papers to get caught up on, since I didn't get started when I'd planned, and then I'll have blogs to grade on Wednesdays and Fridays. 

I'm currently working on grading now.  I may have a post later (I'm certainly going to try, at least).