This Thing Called Self-consciousness

16 08 2020

Frequent visitors (are there any?) will recognise that my posts are often spurred by odd coincidences in my life – most usually in threes. We all perceive patterns that aren’t necessarily there (pareidolia anyone?), and in my case something flicks a switch when I at least perceive that I’ve noticed three related things pass through my consciousness.

The first item – a singleton of no particular note at the time – was my wife remarking that she was enjoying a Netflix series called “Love on the spectrum“. It’s an Australian 4-part reality show about various people on the autism spectrum trying to find life partners.

Netflix trailer: Love on the Spectrum

I admit to being pretty sceptical. It sounded like pure voyeurism and I suppose I anticipated something on the lines of the Bachelor or Love Island (neither of which I’ve actually watched so perhaps the comparison is even less meaningful!) I wandered into the lounge because my wife kept laughing out loud. I was prepared for producing a negative response, but I was actually very impressed.

The clip I saw involved a date at a restaurant. I was struck by the fact that the production team had obviously selected a quiet, reasonably isolated locations to reduce stress on the participants. Michael in the above clip, was one of the participants. Anyway, his date suddenly felt overwhelmed and stood up from the table. I was very impressed by how the film crew audibly asked how she was doing and made it clear she could move off camera and collect her thoughts in privacy and in her own time. Humane behaviour over “getting the shot”. Michael to his credit was most concerned for her well-being and it all felt respectful and compassionate whilst still being “real”.

Sure, they had some cheap caricatures of each participant’s likes and dislikes (i.e. potential behaviour triggers), but I thought the programme did an amazing job of showing humanity in all its shades. The clips of home life were well selected to show caring, supportive families going to great lengths to point out that their children’s “love issues” were the same for everyone – shown clearly in the above clip of Michael’s family dinner. These were family members to be supported like all others, not “projects” to be endured. Some class parenting on view here.

So anyway, this was the first as-yet unremarked corner of my triangle.

The second corner came last night when I was trouble-shooting why Spotify refused to play any music. It was bouncing rapidly down my playlists without actually playing anything and occasionally saying it couldn’t play that tune just now. Not in the mood?!

Eventually I figured out that when Windows put my HDMI-connected monitor into sleep mode, it was also turning off the connected speakers. No issue – it only powered it down after 30 minutes of disuse, to save power. Trouble was that when it re-woke the monitor, the PC was no longer able to reconnect to the monitor’s speakers. Only the directly connected headphones. Go figure. It knew they were still there, but somehow “out of reach”.

Anyway, once sorted, I randomly selected a Kate Nash playlist, and enjoyed remembering a very low key concert she gave in Vancouver a few years ago. Listening, as I do, to the lyrics, I noticed that a few of her more recent songs explicitly referred to mental health issues. She’s often blunt in her lyrics, but they’re raw and real and all the more powerful for that. I was particularly moved by “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” with its lyrics:

The sun is going down now
And it’s been okay
You tell me all these things you did
While I was away
And this worries me somewhat

I don’t know how more people haven’t got mental health problems
Thinking is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever come across
And not being able to articulate what I want to say drives me crazy

I’m not sure about rivers, they scare me
But I love swimming, I’m good at it
And when I swim I think about numbers
And count the laps

It starts as a rational statement then spirals out into self-referential stressful thoughts which I think many of us experience to some degree on the way to anxiety. Rivers scare me, but I love swimming, but I zone out and count the laps in the pool, but… We over-think so many aspects of our experiences.

YouTube version of Don’t You Want to Share The Guilt?

Anyway, it struck me as a clever treatment of mental stress and how it isn’t a digital “normal/not normal” thing. There’s a whole spectrum of mental health issues and we travel up and down it (actually – in multiple dimensions) constantly. I’m not sure if Ms Nash was making a statement about her own mental health or just putting a spotlight on the general issue. Either way, it was very well done I thought.

Corner three was in the same sort of vein. Having figured out how to get Spotify to reliably play my “tunage”, I dipped into Mother Mother this morning.

One of their later songs “It’s Alright” from their “Dance and Cry” album really moved me.

Mother Mother: It’s Alright on Vevo

It has a simple message:

It’s alright, it’s okay, it’s alright, it’s okay
You’re not a monster, just a human
And you made a few mistakes
It’s alright, it’s okay, it’s alright, it’s okay
You’re not gruesome, just human
And you made a few mistakes
It’s alright

How many of us suffer in silence because we need to hear that our behaviours are not enough to label us as demons or monsters? Someone to take the time to listen to us share our thoughts, coupled with our own willingness to share those thoughts in the first place and listen when someone is kind enough to tell us that it’s alright – humans being. (sic)

My perception is that as a society we’re a lot more able to share our inner thoughts and fears than we were say 60 years ago. Mental health is no longer seen simply as an issue for the fringe, or an excuse for avoiding military service. We’re not “there” yet though, and depression is still often seen as weakness.

Mental health is important, and many of us are still unwilling to acknowledge it even within ourselves. We can all help though: ask someone how they’re doing, but really listen to their response. Don’t judge. If that seems too much, try simply smiling at someone that looks like they need it. It may well help them and it will definitely make you feel good about sharing some good vibes. Need some practice? Try this at Movember’s site.

I’m no psychologist but I know we’re social animals and when we feel emotionally isolated, especially when we’re physically not, it can be a strong driver towards depression and any number of negative behaviours.

November’s a way off yet, but don’t wait – consider supporting Movember or other mental health charities.





A Nosey Observation

10 08 2020

I was on an aeroplane the other day. Saturday.

The young woman in front of me was travelling with her mother who was sat in the row in front of her. She never spoke to her once after she’d seated her.

I could see her writing notes on her phone. Journalling, I suppose. I couldn’t help peering in what I admit was actually an intrusive, voyeuristic way. Blogging about it now seems both confessional and also multiplying the error of judgement.

Her typing was all mushy stuff about positive thoughts and about her relationship with “Dom”. He was off to Moscow it seems. She had guilt issues about their physical relationship (no details unfortunately), and its “sinful” nature. They had mutually agreed to abstain, but since he was in Mocow and she was currently headed to Nice it all seemed rather moot!

I felt a little sorry for her that in the 21st century after the birth of a little jewish boy of questionable parentage, the cult that grew around him and his story-telling was causing this young woman such emotional turmoil.

And yet, for all the hemming and hawing she was recording about this supposedly sinful nature of her relationship with Dom, she never once passed a remark – kind or even casual – to her elderly mother sat between two strangers on a lengthy international flight.

How odd that we find it more comforting to dwell on the restrictions imposed by the tzars of our chosen religion than on its positive recommendations. It’s as if we’re more at ease beating ourselves up over trivial human failings than spending a little effort being kind to someone else. Even our own flesh and blood.





Lessons learnt

18 07 2020

This tale spans several years, and at least tentatively seems to have a happy ending.

Years ago, I was in Vicotria on the island, and perusing an art shop. I forget the name, but they had all manner of pens, inks, papers and other goodies. At that time I was dabbling in calligraphy (one of many times I’ve dabbled in it but never got above ankle-depth unfortunately). With dip pens I’d acquired somewhere in life’s great meanderings and some bold calligraphy inks from J. Herbin I’d picked up at Paper-ya on Granville Island.

Image Source: J. Herbin

These were naïve days, well before the only slightly more educated days I now pass, with respect to fountain pens, dip pens and inks. My calligraphy dabblings with dip pens weren’t “bringing me joy”, and I saw a relatively cheap fountain pen in the shop that offered a broad (B) nib. It was a brand I’d never heard of – “Pen & Ink”, and the pen was simply called “Sketch”. It was aimed at pen illustrators and there were various nib widths available. Looking back, I possibly over-paid at what I recall was around CAD $30. The other day I saw my local art shop stocks the same pen for CAD$23, several years later. No matter – it was what I wanted at the time (cheap access to a B nib) and it was there when I wanted it. I’ve since learnt that the brand is from “Art Alternatives” and is actually an employee-owned company distributed exclusively by MacPherson’s. The current packaging brands it more forcefully as Art Alternatives, and downplays the “Sketch” model which is etched into the pen lid.

Pen & Ink Sketching Fountain Pens – Rileystreet Art Supply

Image Source: Riley Street (not where I bought it)

It came with a cartridge, a converter (branded oddly Faber-Castell) and a cute faux-leather wrap to store it in. So back to the naïveté …

I had calligraphy inks, a fountain pen which I was much more accustomed to using, and we were now off to the races… I’d found dip pens fraught with usage issues and scratchiness and figured that a B nib in a fountain pen might at least let me continue to explore “fancy writing”.

So innevitably I got bored with quick foxes and “Happy Birthday”, let alone the EXTRA pain there was in swapping inks with the converter over just cleaning a dip pen nib. Bored at last, I gave the pen a last clean out and put it away.

Fast forward a decade or thereabouts and my love of fountain pens resurrects (can’t attest to whether there was a full moon). I recall I had one pen with a B nib, and dug it out of the drawer. I inked it up with FOUNTAIN PEN INK (note the subtle emphasis?!) and found it to be less than stellar at writing.

So I started to educate myself with such weightly and knowledgable sources as YouTube and various Google discoveries. Ouch! So though it is not 100% – by and large, if an ink is pigmented (i.e .has solid colour particles – like paint) it should not be used in a fountain pen. There are a few notable exceptions, such as “shimmer” inks, but even these come with dire warnings about vintage pens and recommendations of fastidious cleaning.

What we normally think of as fountain pen inks use competely soluble dyes for their colour, which is why they can sometimes have issues with saturation. The light passes through a dye/ink, bounces off the underlying paper and comes back to us as a composite of the filtering effects of the ink, its thickness and the colour of the paper. A pigmented ink (or paint) is more opaque and reflects directly. Its perceived colour then is less impacted by the colour of the underlying paper.

So – calligraphy inks are typically pigmented, and can have rich colours (or even textures) because they are largely independent of the underlying medium. These pigments though… are not water soluble. Instead, they are held in suspension (in the UK, water based house paints are generically called emulsion which is actually the technical term for these suspensions). Unless you’re very careful (and I would add – lucky!) at least some of the pigment particles will remain behind after even the most thorough of pen cleanings. These may then dry to a pretty hard-wearing solid. If it’s in the converter, it may be reasonably benign. Most of us don’t have that kind of luck, and there’s a high likelihood you’ll end up with deposits left behind in the feed (the plastic/ebonite bit that manages ink flow to the nib), which these days typically has lots of tiny little fins that can catch the particles and allow them to dry… and be hard to shift. Particles may also settle/dry on the nib itself.

Pretty much any of these places will modify the physics of the flow of any subsequent ink to the nib… and basically bugger things up. The general advice to remedy the situation is lots of patience (“does not compute”) and lots of luke warm water and washing up liquid – specifically “blue Dawn”, because it’s gentle on baby ducks if nothing else. I’m beginning to think Dawn sponsor all these pen DIY sites.

So I began. Sure enough, over the space of a few hours/days, first the recent “proper” ink flushed out of the pen, and then gradually I began to see remnants of the bright orange J. Herbin calligraphy ink I’d used all those years ago. One of those (typically blue for some reason – Dawn influence?) ear cleaning bulbs is a great aid, and can really get some water pressure through the pen section, feed and nib, to safely dislodge loosened particles.

Image Source: Amazon

With seemingly no end to the slow expulsion of orange pigmented particles, I got more bold. I read that often the nib/feed could actually be removed from the section for additional cleaning (or indeed to swap the nib for a different width). This isn’t recommended generally, but since this was a cheap pen, and plainly didn’t work anyway, I had little to lose.

The little I lost first was a couple of the fins on the feed. These got bent as I struggled to free up the feed/nib. Then I read that gentle heat could help loosen components up. I didn’t feel comfortable using a hair-dryer (the most common recommendation), so I opted for hotter water than I’d been using thus far. This worked and I managed to removed the nib and feed… and a substantial amount of yet more orange pigment. I could now see that the feed was indeed covered in dried-on orange pigment and as well as the fins, the very fine channel along the top of the feed was clogged, essentially guaranteeing the nib would get no ink.

More soaking, but no improvement. I read that a weak solution of household ammonia can help dislodge ink too. The only thing I could find in my local supermarkets was window cleaner (also blue… hm, trend now firmly established). This had no noticeably better effect than warm soapy water… and on reflection may have made the plastic feed more brittle.

I don’t possess an ultra-sonic cleaner – often used for jewellery, rings and the like – so I went to the next best thing… a toothbrush.

You remember the “does not compute” comment above? Yeah, patience and me are not well acquainted. One brush too hard, and I snapped off the thin plastic tube at the rear of the feed which brings the ink initially from the ink reservoir to the feed’s many intricate fins and channels. This may not actually have been fatal, but it was excuse enough to draw a line under my attempts and change tack.

As a side-effect, all the hot water baths had dislodged whatever adhesives were used in the pen’s manufacture and I could now totally disassemble it, right down to the trim pieces which I discovered now unscrewed.

I carefully dried all the pieces and put them in a used Altoids tin, labelled “needs fixing”, and began looking online.

img_1688

Fully disassembled – note remaining stubborn orange stain on trim and broken feed

I discovered an online shop in the UK called Loft Pens. They make hand-turned beautiful, reasonably priced fountain pens, but also sell Jinhao brand fountain pens… and several accoutrements such as converters, replacement nibs… and feeds! I pulled out my broken feed and sure enough, it looked like a close fit for a “Jinhao number 6”. Given the price of the pen, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it wasn’t actually a Jinhao or similar component anyway. I ordered the feed and a couple of other odds and sods… and waited. And waited.

And waited.

In the end, I contacted Loft Pens who very quickly refunded me, and suggested I re-ordered since it would seem the order had fallen into the COVID mail void. This I duly did, and reset the wait clock. A couple of weeks later, the original order turned up! I contacted the customer-caring folks at Loft Pens and offered to refund them back for the refund (if you see what I mean), but have yet to hear their preference. I underline that the delay was not of their making, and they behaved impeccably throughout.

So… now I theoretically had all the bits to rebuild Steve Austin my pen.

img_1689

Broken feed and new feed from Loft Pens

img_1690

Re-assembled, ready to ink up and try…

First attempt was a little unsteady, if I’m totally honest. I’d foolishly “gone for gold” and tried it with some Noodler’s Pushkin. It’s a lovely green colour, but I’m discovering, can be a bit temperamental. It’s supposed to be one of their forgery-resistant inks so I think it’s got odd things in it. It began well, a lovely so called “wet” line and quite happily wrote a side of my notebook without issue. I was right on the verge of declaring problem solved when I got a series of “hard starts”. A quick check showed there was still ink in the converter, so I was back to failure mode. Oddly, the pen still wrote “reversed” (nib upside down), so I had a pleasantly diverting hour or two tuning my nib as the tines weren’t quite aligned and I vaguely suspected this might be the issue (ignoring the fact it had written perfectly well for a full page of writing to that point). Eventually the converter ran dry, so I cleaned everything (lesson learnt for sure! I do this every ink refill in every pen now), and tried a bit of Parker Quink.

This is well known as a lubricated quick-drying trouble-free (if slightly boring) ink. I actually quite like the shade of Quink blue and was very relieved to drain out the fill onto a couple of pages with no issues at all. I really do think the issue is now resolved (essentially by replacing the clogged feed), and I’ve regained another fountain pen to the stable.

So – what did I learn in all this?

  • Not to use pigmented inks in a fountain pen!
    • India ink is a big no-no, by the way: it’s essentially a suspension of soot in water.
    • Iron gall inks can corrode the metal parts of a pen even though they say they’re for use in fountain pens, by the way – different issue.
    • Winsor & Newton inks contain Shellac which is similarly death (or at least a solid wounding) to fountain pens.
  • J. Herbin make lovely inks (including a scented range safe for fountain pens) – but be sure to get the ones for the writing tool you intend to use. They do ranges of metallics and shimmer inks, but not all are suitable for fountain pens.
  • Modern mass produced pens have a lot of plastic components and can often be disassembled right to the ground with patience and a little gentle heat.
    • I wouldn’t recommend this for vintage or expensive pens, but it can be educational if you have a pen you don’t mind risking.
    • Even so-called disposable fountain pens like Pilot’s V-pen (currently CAD$3 at Walmart) can be disassembled when empty and refilled with an ink of your choice. There are others like Zebra and Uni-ball. Cheap but quite servicable steel nibs from these Japanese vendors.
    • Another little “hack” – you can gently wipe the plastic barrel of these cheap pens with acetone/nailpolish remover and the printing will come off, leaving you a clear view of the ink level inside… basically a cheap demonstrator eye-dropper.
  • Cheaper pens likely have Chinese components and you may be able to find replacement parts from generic sources.
  • Not all fountain pen inks behave the same – try Parker Blue/Blue-black/Black Quink or a similarly old/boring ink such as Waterman’s or Pelikan 4001 to make sure it really is the pen and not the ink before you start taking things apart. Modern inks have way more complex chemistry than blue/black from older brands.
  • If you find yourself cleaning pens often, consider a cheap ultra-sonic cleaner. They dislodge the most stubborn of ink by creating minute bubbles to “scrub” the inaccessible parts of the pen.
    • Too much, too long can damage some components and materials, so be mindful of this if dealing with delicate or vintage pens.




The Subtleties of Racism

17 07 2020

So one of my LinkedIn contacts posted this recent Apple ad about Working From Home.

I do have to say, it’s very slick and well put together, as one might expect from a major company with an endless marketing budget. It captures charicatures of several typical Apple customers – “creatives” of a studiedly diverse demographic, and gently introduces a few cool tools available to iPhone,  iPad, iWatch, Macs etc – some of which are built in and users may not even be aware of. I learnt that my iPhone can act as a scanner for example. I never even knew there was a “Notes” App, let alone how powerful it was!

Then around the 2:45 mark I was suddenly brought up short. There was a jokey remark about Canada. In reference to the boss’s new assistant – the fourth one this year, we’re told:

“What happened to the one who cried all the time?”

“She had to go back to Canada” divulged the young, vegan, yoga-cat-lady, munching on a carrot.

At first, I shrugged it off. The piece is crammed with stereotypes, so why was I so bothered by this one? Stereotypes – particularly in short marketing pieces – help us short-cut the context and backstory, so we can focus on the message they’re trying to give us. Background things fit the expectation, so we notice the new things – “the message”.

So was a “delicate” Canadian PA sterotypical? Or was it racist?





All Teas are Equal…

11 07 2020

… but some are more equal than others.

As a Yorkshireman living in BC, I drink gallons (sometimes quite literally) of tea a day. Being of Yorkshire, I’m always on the lookout for a good deal on prices, but need to balance it with quality and strength of the tea produced. Of late, Mrs E and I have noticed that Red Rose, and even Tetley branded teas have become a bit “meh”. The Red Rose tea is now sold in weird organic plasticy fibre mesh bags which I’m sure are better for the environment than the paper mesh, but make for a weaker brew.

Anyway, we recently ran out, so picked up a 216 bag box in the local supermarket. Red Rose brand. Owned by Unliver (as many brands in the food and household cleaning industries are). I think the price was around $13. Pretty much the going rate. It’s worth keeping one’s eyes open for when Tetley are on sale for around $10. Anyway, as we continued to shop, our meanderings took us down the “Asian cooking” aisle where all the currey pastes and powders are (from Sharwoods of Lancashire – proper authentic curry! 😉 ). Don’t ask me why, but on the top shelf, sat quite unassumingly were boxes of 216 Brooke Bond Red Label tea bags. For a mere $8 or so! Not on sale – that is their normal price.

Image Source: Wikipedia

As I kid I remember Brooke Bond PG Tips in the UK (suspect chimp TV ads anyone?), so the brand is well known to me and I had no issue buying the box, despite it being weirdly considered “Asian Speciality Food”. Do the shelf planners understand where much black tea comes from, I wonder.

 

My grandparents were big PG Tips drinkers and used to save all the cards they used to have in the tea boxes. You could get albums to stick them in. I particularly remember The Saga of Ships (set B22  from 1970) and The Race into Space (set B23 from 1971).

bbtheraceintospace

The Race For Space. Image Source: Brooke Bond Collectables

So, once I got home and had access to Uncle Google, I discovered that in fact Brooke Bond & Company was founded by Arthur Brooke, a Lancastrian in the late 1800s. In 1903, Brooke Bond launched Red Label in British India, and this is the tea we bought in our local Canadian supermarket as an “Asian Speciality Food”. By 1957, Brooke Bond was possibly the largest tea company in the world, with one third share of both the British and Indian tea markets. Something akin to selling coal to Newcastle, methinks!

The company was acquired by Unilever in 1984 and the Brooke Bond name was significantly downplayed by Unilever. However, the brand was reintroduced in 2019 in the UK after a 20 year absence.

Ironically, I found that in North America Brooke Bond’s primary product was Red Rose Tea! Red Rose is still sold by Unilever in Canada as I mentioned, but in the United States is now marketed by Redco Foods. Red Rose brand tea has been available in the United States since the 1920s, but their Original Blend is a different blend of black pekoe and cut black teas compared to the orange pekoe sold in Canada.

Image Source: Wikipedia

So, with not a little irony, I am prefering Unilever’s Brooke Bond sub-brand over Brooke Bond’s own Canadian sub-brand, despite the fact it was targeted for an Asian market and costs 2/3 the price. And – most importantly it is better tea! hopefully the word doesn’t get out too soon or they’ll put the prices up. Another irony is that Tetly’s tea – originally from Yorkshire – is now owned by TATA, a huge Indian conglomerate, so technically more deserving of being in the Asian Food aisle!

Anyway, must go now, the kettle’s just boiled…


EDIT: In case you wondered… PG Tips was originally marketed as “Digestive Tea”, implying that it could be drunk prior to eating food, as a digestive aid. It was renamed Pre-Gestee to sound more fancy and grocers and salesmen abbreviated it to PG.





It’s Not Fair!

8 07 2020

It’s not fair!

He got more than me.
Why does she get first choice?
Why wasn’t I invited?
All the best ones have gone.
He’s in my chair.

Nobody ever suggested life was fair.

I got to sleep with a full stomach whilst others couldn’t sleep because theirs were empty.
I did get to meet you.
I got to see your nose crinkle the way it does when you smile.

No, it’s not fair. But it is worth having.





Ansel’s Wisdom

1 07 2020

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams – The Tetons and Snake River (1942). Source: wikipedia





Turning Japanese, I Really Think So…

27 06 2020

Big day today.

All the pen connoisseurs rave about the large Japanese brands – Sailor, Platinum, Pilot…

Personally, I tend to find them a bit boring and conservative on the whole, but I take nothing away from their level of quality or engineering technique. They just didn’t seem to be for me. And they don’t come cheap either, so laying out large quantities of my only theoretically disposable income on something I don’t absolutely adore seems, well, unwise.

But today things changed.

Today I spent bigly and bought a Japanese fountain pen. And I love it.

I spent over a thousand in fact! To be exact – 1,090. OK that’s in Yen, but in Canadian money it came to $27.89 with taxes. I bought a MUJI aluminium fountain pen with a fine nib, and it is significantly better than I might have expected for that price.

MUJI_pen

Image Source: MUJI.com

It is a thing of singularly straightforward, uncluttered yet smart design. It’s a simple cylinder of brushed aluminium with a steel clip. The section is machined with a fine hatching to give a nice grip, and despite the light metal construction I actually found it sat comfortably in my hand.

The cap is unusual in that it clips positively over both the nib and when posted not over the body, but into cleverly recessed grooves. This means that when the cap is closed or when using the pen posted, there is no interruption to the smooth cylindrical design. This looks like an engineering tool as much as a modern functional pen.

It came supplied with a single standard international cartridge. Black. I’m not a big fan of cartridges so on opening the low impact packaging I immediately tried to fit a standard ink converter instead. Neither of the two “standard” converters I own fit well though. I read in several places that this pen is a little fussy and that Schmidt K2 and K5 were good options but that a Pelikan converter was the most snug fit. One is now on order from Cult Pens, but in the meantime I’ll make do with the standard cartridge.

I hedged my bets and paid 50c at the local Save-On-Foods pharmacy for a syringe and needle so I can refill the cartridge with some more interesting colours while I’m waiting for the Royal Mail and Canada Post to get around to delivering the converter.

So what else can I tell you? Well, the business end is almost certainly a Schmidt #5 iridium point steel nib. Except for the omission of the word “Schmidt”, the markings are identical to the FH241 nib unit pictured below.

Schmidt_FH241

Schmidt FH241 nib unit. Image Source: JetPens

It writes very smoothly and being German as opposed to Japanese it really is a Fine and not one of those Asian fine Fines. I was also pleasantly surprised to find it had a bit of flex to it. I’m not a big flex user, but it was nice to know it was there if I felt the desire to invoke it.

Early days yet, but I think I’m going to like my new pen very much indeed.

 

img_1656

Some flex available in this straightforward nib.





But is it art? (And does it matter anyway?)

26 06 2020

So in my usual obsessive manner I’ve “turned it up to 11” with my latest interest – fountain pens. Inks, paper, the pens themselves (ancient and modern), you get the idea.
I’m self-aware enough to know it’ll pass. It’ll innevitably morph into some adjacent interest and wither untouched for a while. I know it’ll come around again though. Like a slow-turning merry-go-round. Or maybe it stays stationary, and I’m the goldfish going round. Pick your metaphor. Or your nose. However the mood takes you. Who am I to dictate your behaviour?
Anyway, not being one to waste resources, I have a small stack of used – but not yet TOO used – paper towel sheets that have been used variously to wipe nibs or deal with ink-related mishaps… not always before Mrs E spotted something awry though.
Just gazing down at them now I realised that some of them actually look quite interesting. Now I’m no Jackson Pollock, but some of them do have a certain je ne sait quois…





Girl in the Galactic Sun

22 06 2020

So I got this random email from Air Canada (who unlike Air Transat are not currently holding on to several hundred dollars of mine for a flight they didn’t take me on and won’t refund, despite it being well established consumer law). They are offering Netflix-like streaming to Aeroplan members of a a few dozen artsy films like you’d be able to watch on a seat-back were you actually able to fly somewhere with them. Canadian films, French language, First Nations, Whistler Film Festival… lots of niche stuff.

Amongst it all was a short from Heather Perluzzo called Girl in the Galactic Sun. If you’re an Aeroplan member you’ll be able to access all 10 minutes 41 seconds of it. If not, you can see the trailer on YouTube. It’s a Vancouver Film School low budget film, but it has a powerful story packed into its short runtime.

More details on IMDB, if you’re interested.