Some Fountain Pen Flaws People Seem to have Embraced

I’m a fountain pen user; I just really like the experience. But the experience for me is mainly in the writing itself. The smoothness and ease of writing a fountain pen allows is wonderful in my opinion. But I know that it isn’t always the best way to write and has its detractors. There are quite a few problems that prevent the majority of people from using fountain pens, and prevent me from using them for all tasks. I still carry around a ballpoint with me every day for any writing tasks that I need, and I would say I write more with ballpoints than with fountain pens, and more with fountain pens than rollerballs.

So it seems strange to me that many of the things that I consider to be flaws with fountain pens are embraced, even loved, by the current fountain pen community. That’s not to say I think they’re wrong; I just find it odd. The first is not a particularly cared for phenomenon, but one that is tolerated more than I would think it would be, and that is nib creep. Nib creep is when ink escapes from the channel through the nib slit and onto the top of the nib due to flaws in the nib slit and lubricants in the ink. This ink, while it doesn’t really affect the performance of the writing instrument, can be unsightly, but even if people don’t mind the look, it is a sign that there is a flaw in the pen. With less expensive pens it’s understandable, but companies who make more expensive pens should know better.


Another thing is ink shading. I know I’m a bit boring when it comes to ink because I use black inks 85% of the time, but that’s because they provide the most consistent experience available. Many other colors of ink “shade” or become more concentrated in certain parts of the line due to a variety of factors, resulting in some parts of writing being dark and some being light. To me this is obviously an ink flaw that many companies have worked hard to get rid of, both in ballpoints, and in fountain pen companies’ main inks. Many pen companies’ inks, like Parker and Sheaffer, are made it seems specifically to eliminate this (and make them easy to clean up). I’ve never been partial to making my writing harder to read and unprofessional looking (again, my opinion) but many people seem to love it. It adds some amount of expression to writing that shows one is writing with a fountain pen (well, 95% likelihood). And it just happens more with the more colored inks that people like these days which also show some more expression and that they’re more than likely writing with a fountain pen. But I just like writing, and I like to make my writing as easy and consistent as possible, and shading just isn’t my thing.

Another thing I’m not a particular fan of is ink on my fingers. Now, unlike other people, it seems I can refill a pen without getting ink on me the majority of the time. I’m not really sure why that is, probably because I spend too long doing things and really don’t want ink on my fingers to rub off anywhere else. But I do know that fountain pens can be messy. And I do get ink on my hands from time to time. But I can effectively remove it the majority of the time using a variety of ways. And that has been what the majority of people have done for the better part of the fountain pen’s existence. I would certainly call it a flaw and an extra hassle. I’m not particularly a fan of broadcasting that one of my hobbies can make my hands look dirty, or bloody. But some people use it as an indication that they use fountain pens or as a badge to show what their hobby “costs” (That’s a bad way to phrase that, but I can’t think of a better one.)

Now, obviously none of these things are a deal breaker for me, and I’m not trying to insult people who enjoy (or don’t care about) them. But I’m just not quite sure why most people don’t consider these things flaws. As far as I can tell they obviously are. And people have spent lots of time trying to fix these things. But I guess if it can’t be gotten rid of, it might as well be looked at in a different light.

How I use Notebooks (basic)

Notebooks are a very personal thing, and, many believe, an increasingly less relevant one in this increasingly digital age. Yet some of the large notebook manufactures do claim that as we move to more and more digital media, the urge to use analog becomes greater and greater.

I don’t really care about any of that. I’ve loved notebooks as far back as I can remember. I was always fascinated with pocket books, and I kept all of my old school notebooks to draw in (I wish that had meant my drawing would improve). It used to be that I would just grab and use what was on the shelf at the dollar store, but my tastes and ways of using notebooks have changed significantly.

I do have one problem with notebooks, and I’ve had it forever. I can’t stand having more than one subject for one book. This in the past lead me to cycle through books like nobody’s business, or tear out so many pages that I compromised the book’s integrity. I’ve essentially made up for this now by using each of my books for more general purposes, and letting the very specific topics go into pocket books, like Field Notes.

My main theory on notebooks is that “way too many” is “just about right”. I quite literally have a full shelf of notebooks that I am using currently. That doesn’t mean a lot of use, though:  it just means I started them at some point in the past and haven’t finished with them. Unfortunately for my hopeless system, many of these books will never be finished. The books I do finish are part of my regular system, which breaks down like: Sketchbook (large), Every day drawing (large), Every day ideas (pocket, hardcover), and Pocket (pocket, soft cover). These 4 books generally cover anything I have to do in a given day. From cartoon ideas to grocery lists, they’ve generally got me covered.

If I carry the books I generally carry them in reverse order to what I’ve listed, starting with the pocket book, which goes with me everywhere. And I think it’s very important to have a pocket book go with you everywhere. It’s not only something that I can easily jot notes down in, it’s something that can be easily remembered. When I get home one of the first things I do is empty everything I can from my pockets, and the book is usually one of those things, prompting me to look through it– unlike my notes on my phone, which I keep in my pocket and forget about (though those work in a pinch).

My dedication to carrying a notebook everywhere is aided by the fact that I don’t usually go to non-notebook friendly places (I could use ‘Write in the Rain’ I guess) and that I don’t have a job where my notebooks would get damaged. Mileage may vary on that bit, but I believe it is good to carry a notebook whenever possible. The notebooks that aren’t my pocket notebook go in my bag and can be pulled out whenever I feel necessary, which is generally only during intolerably long wait times, as I, in general, am inclined to sit back and observe before writing in a notebook or diddling on my phone.

When back at my house, notebooks used to be scattered all over the place, but recently I made an attempt to corral them. Now they are generally in one area, that being my desk and the shelf next to my desk. My small living-space allows this quite easily, though at the cost of moving other things (like regular books) farther away from my working area. Still, having a notebook and a pen close at hand is one of the handiest things I’ve ever come across.

For me, the specific notebooks don’t matter. I just have the ones I like at the moment. I do tend to go with cleaner looking, more established company notebooks for my general stuff, though. Moleskines look nicer on the shelf than a bunch of Wal-Mart, dollar store, or even custom-made books do on the shelf, simply because of uniformity, both when being written in, and when finished. And I’ve finished a lot more of my daily writer Moleskine books than my one-of-a-kind, or different-looking books.
So that’s a bit of how I use my notebooks. I’d love to hear how you guys use yours in the comments, and I hope you enjoyed.

Why Do They Rename Content After Its Release?

Renaming videos and articles after their release seems a very recent phenomenon. I go to a website, or see a new video on youtube that’s news-related, read the headline, read the article or watch the video, then leave and do something else. And when I return to the website to check something else, I discover the title to the thing I’ve already seen has changed.

I’m never quite sure why the change has occurred, but I do know that it is quite inconvenient for me when I think I might be looking at something new when I definitely am not.

I guess I know why they’re doing it. In theory it would be because of a mistake, or improper wording. If they had a title that didn’t reflect what the article or video was about, I would understand the need to change it. And, of course, typos need to be corrected.

But in some cases, more recently, I’ve been seeing perfectly accurate titles being replaced with equally accurate ones, less accurate ones, and sometimes even irrelevant ones. Perfectly good titles are exchanged for ones that will get more views, or play in with some recent phenomenon (that will get more views). And this is something that really disappoints me. I want the places where I go for entertainment to at least keep their original titles (save for fixing typos) the vast majority of the time. When a much-more-appropriate title appears, I am absolutely fine with the previous one being replaced, but if one is replaced on a weekly basis I start to have problems.

Sometimes I don’t name things until I’m done working on them, but often times I have a finished title halfway through production, and not having one, or at least a good idea of one, by the end of the process seems like a large oversight. If you don’t like the title enough that you’d consider changing it later, think for a longer time about it now.

And when news sources do this I feel especially wronged (not in a severe sense, because this is just online, but you get my point, I hope). Many times it’s obviously changed to get more views. Now I’m fine with things being named to get views, but if I have to deal with two click-baity titles on the same piece of material in the same day, I start to not want to view that content. Sometimes there are even more title changes, which may speak to a strange attention disorder and want of more recognition that may be inside the mind of the poster.

In short, I don’t like it! It is passable sometimes, but I feel that it is wrong to an audience to rename multiple times what you have put up for viewing. In my opinion, it attempts to get more views dishonestly and corrects mistakes very rarely. Although I’m not a fan, it still isn’t nearly as bad as the Discovery Channel airing that mermaid “documentary”, though.

Gender Based Notebooks?

I’m an avid notebook user. I love all types of notebooks, though I’ll admit I’m partial to blank paper, and hardbacked, black books. I’ve used some of the most well-known and best books in the medium-price range. But I’ll still try most anything out. I have several notebooks that are bound flimsily, have paper that tears or bleeds through, and other problems. Most people don’t notice those, but they do notice when I have a pink notebook. People think that me, as a man, wouldn’t like to carry a pink or purple book. I’d say there are many problems that make notebooks unusable long before the color of the cover comes into consideration, even if pink isn’t my first choice.

Now this might be something that one simply has to take into consideration when buying notebooks. After all, most stationery stores that aren’t for office supplies and therefore have a very neutral atmosphere, are geared toward women. At least, that’s the way it seems. With their natural to pastel colors, slightly awkward layout, and all-female staff, they make me feel slightly nervous when walking in. It’s like I’m not the one that’s supposed to be there. Not that I’m really comfortable in most store scenarios, but at least I’m expected.

Why is that, though? Paper products, while not directly advertised toward women, are much more “feminine” in style, or neutral (if the choice must be made). Maybe that’s because the only manly notebook is black. I’d laugh at a gunmetal or camo pattern, though there are some less-pink/bright colors of notebooks that I’d like to buy. And that’s the thing, really, for me. I don’t mind many notebooks being more female-oriented, but what I don’t want is one that really sticks out. I don’t mind using a pink or lime notebook, but I’d rather one that was mahogany, or a pear green, or even a dull pink instead of a bright one.
All of the colors just look synthetic and stick out to me. And people notice them and think they’re strange. Did I pick up my girlfriend’s notebook? No, who would ever accidentally do that, who has a notebook that isn’t personal enough that it can be loaned out, even a school one? And people look at me funny for something that is considered “different” for me to do.

The color of the notebook in no way affects the writing experience to be contained within, but I still wish there were some more easily obtainable, subdued colors.

I guess, though, that’s more because I want to blend in, to hide in the crowd and not stick out. I don’t want people picking me out of a crowd because of my notebook’s color, and even less if they think negatively about it. I’ll still use them to try them out, but I always have old standbys for serious use.

That’s just me, I guess. Perhaps many people do want to stand out with the color of their notebooks, but having a notebook now almost seems to make you stand out enough.
My question, though, would be: are notebooks more female items in popular culture? Do manufacturers have a more female audience in mind when creating new products? I’m fine with there being many girl-oriented books, and even some manufacturers. I just wish there were more making plain type books, that are easier to… conceal, I guess. I want more notebooks in general, not more that are just geared toward me or any other specific group.

I can’t say for sure one way or the other, but I know very few men who use anything beyond a small pocket notebook, while many of the women I know have a stack of cheap “accessory” notebooks. My notebook collection certainly is an oddity to most people still, which I enjoy. And I also notice that online, more users for notebook-related forums or retailers are male. An interesting reversal, as online it is much easier to find plain brown and black books than in the wild.

If I were to have to answer my question right now it would be no, if we’re counting all sources here. But I could be right or wrong. This isn’t a formal study of who uses notebooks (now that’s an idea, someone get on that). I can’t give hard answers, but that’s why I use notebooks: to keep all of the thoughts and organize them later, not in any physical sense, but you probably get the idea. I’ll keep writing and thinking, from pink to black.

Why Make Stuff on the Internet? (Obviously Subjective)

I have been making things on the internet for a long time. Not all of them were good things: for the first several years I made crappy videos on Youtube. In fact, I’d say I’ve only been making quality content for the last 2-1/2 years of my 7-year internet carrier. And that only started when I made a bunch of webcomics and then made a conscious effort to make my video and articles (blog posts) better. My videos might have been alright for some time before that, but other things I did weren’t.

Even so, I’m not particularly popular. I do quite a few things that get some views, but I am for the most part a background character on the internet. Sometimes I think about internet generations, and how I’ve actually survived through several of them. I haven’t quit since I’ve started, and during that time I’ve not been rewarded with tons of views or engagement, partially because a lot of it wasn’t the best quality.

That is not to say I don’t have people liking and commenting fairly regularly (less so on my main site). People do, but I do feel quite distant from them and like they are a minority. I do this because I like doing it. And even though I haven’t made enough money to cover the expenses of doing it, it’s highly likely that I will continue doing it in the future.

Especially considering that since I started, my viewers (readers, etc.) have only gone up (sometimes down suddenly, but up is the overall trend). While they haven’t exploded like many other people who put a lot of content on the internet, there is no denying that there are more people who read me now than there were before. And I don’t think that trend will reverse for quite some time.

Sometimes it does feel like I’m just talking into the void, which seems lonely. Bu I have confidence that if I keep putting things up, keep my accounts active, keep moving forward, that people, even a few, will see what I have previously done. Because, contrary to what many might say, it is quite possible for things to disappear on the internet, mostly due to neglect from creators. If one creates something, even if it is immensely popular, eventually fewer people will remember it, and there will be little to no chance of recovering it if the creator lets his domain registration lapse and the content is erased from its original servers. Because those who might re-post the content on their own Youtube channel, or their own blog, etc. are much more likely to lose the content later, whether they chose to, or their account was abandoned or deleted. Piece by piece, internet history (as all history) falls apart and we can’t remember it all.

I’ve been fortunate for my own drive to create, and keep creating even if no one is watching. I might even prefer it that way (though money to like, live would be nice). Many people can’t keep making videos, or drawing comics, or writing articles if no one is watching, if no one is engaging, etc. I can, and I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I would continue to do so, which I guess is quite vain. I keep creating so that my past creations aren’t lost forever, and to incrementally increase my chance of “making it”.

I enjoy it. I hope other people enjoy it and find it useful, and of course I hope it grows. There are plenty of project, large and small, that I wish hadn’t ended due to creators moving on in some way (having another idea, getting bored, changing lifestyle, etc) and maybe I’ll be one of those people in the future (I hope not). But for now, I’ll be here, plinking away into the endless stream of new and amazing things appearing all over the place. And even if it doesn’t work out that I “make it”, sometimes people like me just need to talk into the void.