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.