Friday, July 22, 2005

Freeform Finger Grip Gel Pen

So I found a new Office Max in Culver City last week, and it was HUGE! And it had all the Back to School stuff out, and there were just aisles and aisles of pens and notebooks. I was in Office Supply Heaven!

I bought a Finger Grip Gel Pen - and man, is this thing weird. The back of the wrapping says, "Freeform is a line of writing instruments designed to provide you comfort, performance, and control while giving everyone else a glimpse into what makes you, you..."

I started writing with it, and the ink flows well, but I found it really hurt my wrist. I don't know why - maybe it had me writing with different muscles in my hand than I normally use, but I don't think I'll be using this pen again. It just felt too weird, and after about a page, my wrist really hurt. I would not want to be having to take notes in a three hour lecture class with this pen. No thank you. For $2.99 it wasn't a bad experiment, but I don't think I'll be getting it again.

I've only ever seen this pen at Office Max, so I don't think it's out there in a big way, yet. Maybe it's just me and my hand, but if other people have the same experience, I don't think it'll ever make it out of that Office Max in Culver City...

Note: The picture was taken from the official FreeForm website at

Monday, July 04, 2005

Pilot PermaBall

I just made a Fourth of July visit to Office Max and found something very interesting. A Pilot PermaBall. This is meant to be a medium point ball point pen that writes on anything, just like a permanent marker (more on my Sharpie obsession in another post). So I shelled out the $5.25 for a pack of four (with a free G2 7mm) including a red, blue, black and green pen.

It's an interesting writing instrument, I'll give it that. Takes a bit of getting used to. I'm writing with the green one right now - it has a metal tip rather than a needle tip, which I tend to not like as much, and the 7mm is a thicker line than I tend to write with normally, but it does have a fun rubber grip, and I like that.

I tried writing on a picture - I put some devil's horns on an ex boyfriend - and it worked just fine, and didn't smear, which is a plus. The ink didn't flow as nicely as I'd like on the picture, but it's a ball point, and not a felt tip marker, so I can't expect everything, I guess. It did tend to leak through normal paper, but I suppose that the point isn't to write on normal paper, but to write on plastic, or pictures, etc. So that should be forgiven.

Overall, this isn't a bad pen, and kudos to Pilot for always coming with new writing instruments, but I'm really not sure what I'm going to use this pen for, other than the aforementioned devil horns. Then again, $5 for hours and hours of fun at the ex's expense might not be a bad deal?

note: above photo was taken from the Pilot website at

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Pentel EnerGel Retractable Needle Tip
I am really up on the whole needle tip thing. I've found that with needle tips that my writing is just so much neater and more legible. Which is certainly something I look for, given my atrocious penmanship.

Anyway, I like the Pentel EnerGel Retractable because the blue color is really vibrant. I know, that sounds kind of corny (then again, this whole blog could be considered corny) but if I'm going to write with blue ink, darnit, I want it to be vibrant blue ink. Right? Right. This pen also comes in black and red, but really, I prefer the blue to all of them.

The retractable end also makes a really great clicking sound.

See, it's all about these subtleties!

I've found that this pen works best on notebook paper, or any kind of paper that is absorbant (ie, not shiny cards, where it will smear - as will any kind of gel pen). It's got a great ergonomic design (the rubber grip is fantastic), and if I were still in college, this would be my gel pen of choice for taking notes in philosophy class.

Basic Stats:
Pentel EnerGel Retractable Pen Needle Tip
Approximately $1.75/each, cheaper by the dozen
5mm or 7mm, gel ink
Available at Walmarts, Office Max, Staples, etc.
Lasts: About 50-75 pages

note: picture comes from the Pentel website at

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I am starting The Pen Blog because...well...I love pens. More than just pens. All kinds of stationary, really. But I figured this name would be easy to remember.

What is it about pens, you ask?

Long answer, but one that will become clear the more I write about pens, I hope. I guess there's something exciting about a new pen - the possibilities, and the ideas that you'll write about; ideas that you haven't even started to think about yet. Who knows? With this new pen that's in your hand now, you might write love letters, or you might doodle a new business idea, or you might make a sketch that turns out to be the muse for a great piece of art. The possibilities are endless!

There are also such subtle tactile differences in pens. One of my favorite pens is the Pilot G2, the granddaddy of gel pens. I bought my first G2 in 2000 when they were still fairly new, and I will always associate that pen with: my move to England, two incredible love affairs, and a period of growing up - all of which I wrote about in my diary, with the G2.

The G2 has matured since that first one, though. The first one I had was black, 7mm, with a normal gel tip. Now they come in 5 and 7mm, and I've found my writing is cleaner with the 5mm. Also, they recently introduced a version with a needle point, called the Precise Gel, which has quickly become my favorite of them all.

There is something so pleasurable about wrapping my fingers around the barrel of this pen. The little finger-cushion is in just the right place, and the ridges on the barrel are all placed exactly right. It's not too heavy, nor is it too light. It doesn't scratch too much on paper. And the ink flows evenly, even when you're writing at an angle.

If you're going to be writing a journal or a diary, and want something that will be comfortable for hours at a time, I highly recommend the Pilot range of gel pens. They have been much copied - more on that in the future - and while some of the copies are really very good, and much used by yours truly, there really aren't any that come as close to perfecting the entire writing experience as the G2 or Precise Gel.

Pilot Precise Gel Pen
5mm Needle Point
Available in Black, Blue and Red
Approximately $2.10 each
Lasts: These pens have tended to last about 75 pages for me.
Availability: The G2 is available at all discount and office stores. The Precise Gel is a bit newer, and hasn't been quite as available yet, but I've found it at most Wal-Mart's, Office Max's, etc.

note: the above photo came from the Pilot website at