Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School!

How great is Back To School time for pen nuts like me? Target has an entire section devoted to markers, notebooks, and even lunch boxes. Man, it's pen heaven.

One of the finds I picked up the other day was this pack of Bic 730r rollerballs. Ok, so Pilot is still my favorite pen maker of all time, but these Bic's are really something else. Needle point, 5mm so my writing is very neat, and they are smooooth as butter. Plus there's a visible ink flow so I can track how much longer till I need to start another pen. I'm definitely a fan, and they were pretty cheap too.

I've also been picking up notebooks galore. Cuz you never know when there might be a massive Notebook Shortage. Best to stock up while you can (she says, with irony).

I wish every month was a back to school month!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am currently journalling in this moleskin notebook, which I bought, overpriced I'm sure, at the Oakland airport when I realized I had a long flight delay and had no notebook. Hence, I paid $18.95 for this beauty, but to be honest, it really was worth it. Here's what I love about it:

1) The lines - It's narrow rule, which makes my handwriting look much neater. Also, there are lines on both sides of the page. I used to have a journal that had lines only on the right side of the page, which really confused me. I wanted to do clever things like make collages on the blank side, but I didn't feel like i was creative enough. So, I like lines on both sides of the page. Nice narrow lines, so I can fit in between them and look nice and neat and orderly. I like orderly.

2) It has a nice red ribbon for a page marker, which my cats love to eat, and it's withstood the abuse pretty well so far. It also has a red elastic thingy that holds it all together. Which I also love.

3) The binding is really quality. It's all sewn together, and sometimes in sewn notebooks pages start to tear out and thread starts to come loose. But not in this one. Which is why it cost $18.95 at the airport, I guess.

4) It has an expanding pocket in the back, so I can keep sentimental things from the time I'm journaling and they won't fall out. Like ticket stubs.

There's a lovely description and history of the moleskine notebooks on wikipedia. The sentence that particularly stuck out at me was:

Although Moleskine srl claims their notebook has been used by well-known artists and writers, such as Picasso, Matisse, Kurakin andHemingway, the brand Moleskine was officially registered only in 1996. Francesco Franceschi, head of Modo & Modo's marketing department, was quoted as saying, "It's an exaggeration. It's marketing, not science. It's not the absolute truth.

Those darn marketers!

Anyway, I'm quite happily writing in my marketed Moleskine with a uniball Signo .07mm gel pen with a beloved needle point. Oh, how I do love my needle points. The thing I love about this pen, though, is how the ink flows. Sometimes needle points don't allow the amount of ink I want to come through. This one is great, though.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Pilot Precise V7 RT
I just finished this pen and I loved it. Here's what I like -
1) The needle point (in case you can't tell, I'm a big fan of needle points)
2) The cushion
3) That the ink actually comes out a little bit uneven. I liked that.
4) The colors are really bright.

The one thing I didn't like about it... it took forever to die. Seriously. I thought it was never going to end. And I can't just throw away a pencil if it still has some ink in it. So I just kept dragging it around all week, convinced it was on its last page, and it would last another five pages. Seriously - it did my head in.

I do really love pilot pens, though...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Awww shucks...

The comment someone made today about missing my blog posts made me smile, and then made me want to get off my lazy butt and tell you about this great pen I'm using right now. The Pentel Energel in violet, ,7mm needle point.

I first found these pens a few years ago when I worked in a tiny office off Third ave in New York and was the only person who seemed to enjoy getting stuff at Staples, so would always do the supply runs - the upside was that I got to get a rewards card and every six months or so they'd send me $20 gift certificates with which I would buy useless planners (I had a planner addiction for a while) and Pentel Energel pens. I kind of forgot about these beauties for a while, until I got this package of purple pens. I like purple pens. I mean, who doesn't? Why write with black when you can just as easily write with purple, right?

So anyway, I know it's probably cheating on my true love (Pilot) to wax poetic about Pentel, but these things just really make taking notes, journalling, and writing silly post-it-note lists and reminders to my hubby so pleasurable. The ink is sublime. And I don't use the word sublime very much. It's a really vibrant violet - but not all over-the-top in-your-face violet. A subtley vibrant. Is that possible? Somehow they make it so.

And the feel. The feel in my hands is exquisite. It fits my hands just perfectly. And the needle tip makes my handwriting look readable. So yeah, I'm a fan. Oh, and another note - I love the purple cushion, blue barrel and silver accents. It's like all my favorite stuff at once. If only I could get it to dispense a calorie-free chocolate.
I read the comment about the pen giveaway, and I'm thinking something up! I'll post about it (and sooner than a month, I promise) as soon as I figure it out. Great idea---thanks for the suggestion.
In other news, I'm STILL using the same journal I've been on since January, and it's driving me crazy, so that I don't want to journal, and thus the journal never gets filled up, and it's just a self-fulfilling ring of A.D.D.ness. I hate it when I fall in love with really big notebooks that just last too long.

That reminds me of this girl I knew in high school, who was dramatic and artsy, and spritely and loved by everyone, myself included. She was two years older than me, but I was always in school plays with her, and I remember sitting on the stage after a rehearsal once, getting ready to leave for the night, looking at her, like, totally cool keyring (it was loaded with ironic keychain thingys like those trolls with the crazy hair, and framed ticket stubs from Violent Femmes concerts) with all kinds of awesome keys for things like cars, which I didn't have yet. But she also had this keyring sitting on top of a Mead Grad notebook, college rule. It was just messy and beat-up enough to know that she used it - the proper amount of beating up, as far as I'm concerned - but wasn't all ratty and destroyed yet. On the back cover she had lyrics from Pixies songs written down next to homework assignments, all in pencil, and slightly smudgey. I so much wanted to be like her that I ran out to CVS (well, I asked my dad to drive me) and bought me a Mead Grad notebook and wrote down poetic Paul Simon lyrics in the covers (I didn't like the Pixies much) and proudly carried it around to play rehearsal where I promptly spilled a can of coke all over it. This was an early lesson in not copying other spritely juniors, and I went back to my looseleaf system, which was protected by a binder, thus usually avoiding coke mishaps.

I really need to stop using the journal I'm on right now. It makes me think of my mead grad notebooks, and that just upsets me.

Anyway, that's my stationary update. I promise I'll think up a decluttering pen giveaway, and not be so distant again...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Material Grip Gel Ink Pens

I had this pen come in the big batch I got from JetPens a little while ago (and I know, I stink at regular blogging...). I have started using it, and have to say, I'm really bummed that they appear to be sold out now because they're GREAT! They are a little bit skinny, but not enough to make me not like them, and the writing is amazingly smooth. The tip is just scratchy enough to feel textur-y, but not enough to scratch the paper. It has a fine point, and makes my handwriting really neat and clean. So I'm totally loving on this pen right now.

I'm in a bit of a decluttering mode and am planning a big yard sale in a few weeks. I'm thinking about getting rid of some of my pens. On one hand this seems crazy to me. But on the other hand, the sheer amount of pens I have is slightly overwhelming, and I feel like I'd write more if I got rid of all the ones I am never going to use, and just kept half of the ones I had. I'm thinking about it. Will see what happens...

In other news, has anyone checked out the stationary section of Target lately? Man, they are really rocking. They have a bunch of new notebooks, especially, that are really boutique-y and fun. I love that I can get great stationary and cat food at the same place.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yay! New Pens!

Got my order from JetPens today, and I'm totally excited. It also prompted a big pen-clear-out as I was growing out of my pen storage containers, and I couldn't bring myself to admit that I needed more. So I went through and tried out every pen I own to make sure they still write, and with the ones that didn't, I stuck them in the garbage, unless they had some huge amount of sentimental value. It felt a little sacrilegious to be throwing away pens, but I thought it was a step forward in decluttering my life, and freeing up space for the stuff, and pens, that really matter.

So I got these new pens - a bunch of Japanese Pilot pens that are all different, and I'm really digging on them. The ones I got are mostly needle points and really fine points - like .3mm - and I'm finding that they're really great for writing on scratchy paper, with really fine lines. And I think, though I'm not certain yet, that they make me write more carefully, because I'm afraid of breaking off the tip of the pen if I press down too hard.

I'll write some reviews on them soon, but for now, this was the package I got in the mail today and I'm oh-so-happy with pen-packages!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Penmanship, Tony Stewart, and Sharpie pens

NPR featured an interview with Kitty Burns, an author who writes about the decline of penmanship in our digital age. There is a big debate on the NPR blog about whether penmanship is important or not. Of course I'm of the mind that it is. I suppose it's just an aesthetic sort of thing. I want for my kids, grandkids, and great-grand-kids to have real pieces of paper that I wrote on someday when I'm long gone, and not just bytes and things I typed that ultimately come down to codes made up of 1's and 0's. So I suppose it's the history of it that appeals to me. The being able to hold on to something, to save something, that someone else has touched. Which is one reason I'm not into ecards. They seem like a lazy-person's way out. I mean, if you want to send me a card, that's great, and I'll keep it, and remember that you were thinking of me when you held it in your hand and wrote it out, and put a stamp on it, and put it in the mailbox. If you send me an ecard, it's like, "oh, they thought about me for the thirty seconds it took to put my email address into the 'to' field" and it doesn't quite mean as much. Also, I can't paste it into my journal and remember it forever.

So yes, I'm a big fan of penmanship, and refuse to accept that digital greetings mean as much, especially in personal settings, as ones written out by hand.
When going to big-box stores for stationary I'm going to have to stick to Office Depot these days, since they are now sponsoring Tony Stewart in Nascar. While I liked Carl Edwards, and thought he was super-cute, I never felt guilty going to another store, nor did I fear that it might make him lose the race. But who knows what kind of weird energy vibes I might be sending Tony's way if I go into an Office Max? When he was sponsored by the Home Depot, my hubby never set foot in Lowes, fearing that it could bring harm to him. Now he gets to go to Lowes, and I'm stuck with Office Depot. It's ok, though. Out of all the big-box stores, Office Depot is my favorite, so I'm all right with it.
Finally, I have started using a sharpie pen. I really love sharpie markers, but I have so little use for them, it's really quite wasteful for me to get them. However, Sharpie has introduced this great line of pens, available in all the big-box stores. They have a fine line, and do not bleed through paper, which is the main reason I don't use Sharpie markers, even the fine point ones. I just can't take the bleeding. But these pens - no bleeding. And yet they feel and write like a real Sharpie - just with a smaller tip. They come in a two-pack of either black or blue.

There is a great review on them already, on the Pen Addict website, and they had a great conversation going on over the merits of the pen. The only thing I would add that they don't, is that the pen itself is very thin. I prefer a bit more to hold on to when writing. It makes my own lines steadier, and is more comfortable to me. So I won't be using this as my everyday pen simply because it's not very comfortable for me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Environmental-chic pens
Has anyone noticed the range of recycled pilot pens at the big-box stores lately? I was a little hesitant. Oh, I recycle about 80% of my garbage, and I try to eat low on the food chain, so I'm down with the granola, but pens? I mean, seriously, how much trash can pens create?

Well, a lot, it seems. Back in the day we didn't use disposable pens (yeah, I do actually remember my dad's fountain pen). Then Bic brought us disposable plastic everything...including razors and pens. Now you use a pen and throw it away (with, in my case, a lovely feeling of satisfaction). But Pilot is aiming to do something about the waste that all this throwing-away creates with their Be Green line. A full line including markers and needle point gel pens, these pens are made from recycled materials, and are also refillable. So I can feel retro and environmental at the same time, I guess, to help make up for the lack of satisfying "swoosh" as the used pen goes into the trash can. They're available at every boxy store around. I bought some at Target, and while I was nervous that they'd be somehow crunchy or pulpy (like some of the recycled paper they sell at Whole Foods) I was happily surprised. No pulp in sight, and smooth ink. If you have a spare 30 seconds you can watch their UK tv commercial.

I should say that I'm not entirely impartial - pilot has, and will always be, my favorite pen company. Not because I love their pens (though I do) but because of all the happy memories and associations I have with them. Like stocking up on the various European kinds that we don't get over here on trips, and when living in London. Or writing in my Magic Journal (in 2000, the year that a bunch of really weird magical stuff happened to me and I was convinced it was because I was journalling it into existence). Or when a coworker I really liked popped her head over my cubicle when I was 22 and said "I just found this great new pen" and it was a pilot g2 gel roller.

So try them out if you have a spare $4 to try on pens and tell me what you think of them, or if I'm just in love with anything pilot puts out because I have a pen-crush on pilot...
In other news, I haven't blogged for a while because I was traveling. I was at a conference in Denver where I had the opportunity to pick up many more swag-pens, but opted against it. Not only because in this recession the giveaway pens just aren't as good (the companies with money were giving away 1 gig flash drives - I woulda been happy with a nice needle point gel pen). But also because I'm trying to live more by the quality-not-quanitity philsophy and limit the amount of cheap pens I pick up. And cheap everything, but since this blog is about pens, I am limiting my discussion to cheap pens.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Office Max Going after Me!

According to this story on Marketplace (a show that evokes similar feelings in me as pens do), Office Max is now going after women (who make most of the purchasing decisions for supplies in offices since they're often the office managers and assistants). Apparently there is more color, pattern and design. Well, it's got me interested, that's for sure. I think this weekend I will have to make a pilgrimage to Office Max (somewhere I don't go very often, preferring Office Depot since they sponsor Carl Edwards in Nascar, and he's yummy).

One thing I thought was interesting in the story is that they spoke to a woman who is an expert in marketing to women, and she said that she thought that maybe younger women would fall for all the colors, etc., but anyone who had gotten anywhere in their career, or wanted to portray a professional image wouldn't buy it. Then they talk to a guy at Office Max who's all "yeah, the days of women wearing power suits and trying to essentially be men are over." And I'm wondering why the guy makes more sense than the woman does. Why do we have to take ourselves so seriously? Does using a pretty notebook somehow make us less professional? Sheesh. Some people insist on keeping themselves down.

I browsed the weekly ad, which had lovely butterflies all around it, and I was particularly interested in this set of desk organizer accessories. Yes, I must make a trip to Office Max this weekend.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Piedmont Stationary Store: Part 2
Back in April I visited the Piedmont Stationers in Oakland, and I loved it. It had this lovely musty smell, and had all kinds of fun and unique pens and notebooks and filofaxes. It was a very happy place. I found out yesterday that they are going out of business, which is not very happy news. I suppose there are too many Office Depot's around and in this economy not enough people are in the market for foreign pens. So if you can, please go out and buy a pen from your local stationary store to help keep them afloat in these difficult times. Pens are a fairly inexpensive indulgence that offer an entire world of possibility. As value for money, they can't be beat.
So I've been using my pens a lot lately because I've been doing The Artist's Way again. I have never actually completed the creativity self-help book, but I always get started, and do the Morning Pages - three pages every morning about whatever's in your head. It's really difficult for me to fill up three pages each morning. I wind up writing about the weather an awful lot. But I do find it comforting to hang out with my pen and paper for thirty minutes each morning.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Since the death/breakage of the needlepoint pen I had been writing with, I have opened up the pen bag and pulled out this Stabilo Pointvisco. The one I'm writing with is a lovely magenta which is cool as my journal is a leafy green color, and my wedding colors were purple and green.

Anyway, this pen has a total retro feel about it with the stripes down the yellow barrel, which vaguely resemble a Yellow Number 2 pencil. The gel roller tip isn't a needlepoint, but my writing is still pretty neat with it, and the ink comes out really smoothly - almost like a liquid, but not smeary.

They come in a ton of colors and I have green, magenta, blue and orange which I purchased at the stationary store. They were about $1.25 each and are supposed to last a long time.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

After not blogging about pens for a while....

I'm at Jiffy Lube today getting an oil change (normally my hubby does it himself, but since we live up in the mountains now it's all snowy and there isn't enough room) and I'm hanging out with my headphones on, writing in my journal, and my pen, which is a Xenon Aquaroller with a needle point (I love needle points because my writing is so much neater with them) just BREAKS in half. Like the top part that screws into the barrel just breaks. Maybe my grip is too much for it. Very strange. I didn't think I had a hard grip, but maybe after shoveling snow for two weeks, my hand has superhuman strength. Anyway, it was really annoying and disappointing because I really liked that pen... I have another one in silver. Maybe I'll use that next and see how it goes.

I am currently writing in a Fountain journal from Nippecraft Limited. I'm really confused because I swear I bought this journal at Target but when I go to the website, it's all foreign and fancy and boutiquey and stuff. I really think I bought it at Target, though. Maybe Target is sneaking some boutique stationary in to go with their designer bags? I don't know, but I'm not arguing.