Friday, February 3, 2012

New Projects

I'm starting some new projects this month, so I thought I'd just post them up here as a baseline.
First up is a model. Bunny bought me my Diamond Select Star Trek Enterprise 1701-D which is fantastic and about as detailed as I could hope for. Recently I was looking at models of the enterprise that people had built, and was astonished by what people can create; Anyway, my curiosity led to tracking down model kits and I found this:
It's a 1:1400 scale (18" built) model kit, molded in clear styrene plastic. The clear plastic is so that after it's built, painted, etc., the model can be lit accurately, but I have a different idea. Since I already have a highly detailed version, this one is going to be built as an "x-ray" enterprise. It's going to be lit from within, but not painted. My process is going to be using lots of clear LEDs and very thin wire. When the lights are turned off, it should still be fairly "crystalized", but flip the power switch, and it will glow brightly with at least a dozen light sources. I'm still sourcing the electronics for it, and should start building in the next couple weeks.

Next up is a slightly less involved hobby, but something that's probably going to become a part of my daily routine for a long time. About 5 years ago I made it a point to carry a pen with me every day. I started with a Fisher Space Pen, which was great but I also managed to drop it all the time since it was so small. Next up was my beloved Montblanc Starwalker fineliner. What a fantastic pen. It's spoiled me to basically any ballpoint, rollerball, or fineliner pen, EVER.

But, all of this has basically led to the realization that I actually have an involved interest in my writing instrument. Now, the Montblanc is absolutely the best pen I've ever used, but from the time I was a teenager visiting my grandparents, I always was fascinated by the Sensa pens sold at a kiosk in Charlotte Douglass International Airport. These pens had this squishy "plasmium" grip that basically molds to your fingers as you hold it. It's currently in my desk at work, but I'll put up a photo of my modest little pen collection in a follow-up.

So I've had lots of experience with what most people think of when they think about pens - something with a tip and ink that writes on paper. Last year, I started investigating a type of pen that was always something foreign to me - fountain pens. I had a set of calligraphy pens when I was little, but I didn't understand how to use them and what was so special about them. But then I found out that Pilot makes a disposable fountain pen called the Varsity. I bought a pack and found them to be extremely comfortable to write with. There are some significant differences writing with a fountain pen to a "traditional" pen (ironic that the fountain pen came first); most notably, the nib has to be oriented in a specific directly. In my research it's actually interesting that me, a lefty, since the way I hold a pen "pushes" against the paper, while a righty drags a pen from left to right. Fountain pens have a sharper tip than ballpoints, so left-handed people notice a tendency to tear paper as they write, not that I've experienced this.

To make my very long story short, I noticed a particular pen last weekend at the store Flax on Market Street, and looked it up online. The Lamy Safari is generally regarded as a "beginner" fountain pen, it also holds a reputation of being very sturdy and a good day-to-day pen. Without further ado, here is my new Safari with an extra-fine nib. It's glossy white plastic and fairly light, but feels great in my hand and writes so much better than the Varsity pen I've been using recently. But with all of the reading I've been doing, it's going to be hard not to experiment with other pens, inks, and nibs.




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