Filling the Vanishing Point

I do love my Vanishing Point. AndI guess it is the pen I use the most. But there is one thing about it I’m not that fun of. And that is how much of a pain in the ass it is to fill it when your ink bottle gets low.

Like I have said many times before, the Pilot Vanishing Point is a pen with a lot of compromises that are necessary to get a good, reliable, retractable fountain pen. sing that converter I hate.

This problem on the other hand has to do with the nib design, which I assume is that way because it was needed by the mechanism. Anyways. The problem is that the place where the ink are sucked into the pen, is very high on the nib; much higher than most pens. That means that the point where you can problems filling your pens from a bottle of ink will be much sooner with a VP than any other pen I own.

Ink Review: Diamine Sargasso Blue

I received this 30ml bottle of ink free of charge from Tudos, for the purpose of reviewing it. Tudos have been very supportive of The Ink Smudge since our paths crossed, and I would recommend checking them out if you live in Norway. I buy all of my notebooks from there

Funny thing, I can never for the live of me remember what this ink is called. I always have to reference my “Transparency” page.

This is my first bottle of ink, that isn’t from Iroshizuku in a few years. I got to say it, the experience is very different.

First of all, I love the ink, the colour is awesome and I enjoyed writing with it. Are there inks I didn’t enjoy using? Yes, I have used inks that feels “scratchy”, and I really hatet that. I assume it was because the ink wasn’t lubricated enough.

But, the bottle feels really cheap. It is plastic. This isn’t all bad. But it is another world than the awesome glass bottles Iroshizuku comes in. I see two problems with it though, the hole can be a little bit narrow for some pens, and there is no design accommodations to make sure you can use as much ink as possible.

Keep I’m mind though, this ink is priced at $7.50 while a Iroshizuku is priced at $30: the latter comes in a larger bottle, but still at least twice the price. ($0.25 per ml vs $1,7 pr ml)

This ink looks awesome. It is kind f weird that I have gotten so into blue inks lately. I used to hate them.

This ink reminds me of those light blue standard inks everyone sends you with their pens. I call it “BIC blue”.

I hate those inks, but I love this one. It is a darker, and looks “just right”. I have tested it with all of my pens and it looks just as good with finer and broader nibs.

The only bad thing about this ink is that the dry time is significantly longer than with Iroshizuku. It isn’t so long that it is a problem. But I notice that it is something I need to think a little bit about.

Keep it in mind if it is the kind of thing that is a deal breaker for you.

Leuchtturm1917 as the new Moleskine.

When I talk about Moleskine, not the current incarnation of it, and more the idea than the product itself, it is with good memories. There are many good things about them as a brand, even though the product itself is beyond shit from a paper perspective.

I have been hoping for Leuchtturm1917 to become the new Moleskine for a while now. And I kind of see it happening. Their products have much of the same general aesthetic. I have even seen Leuchtturm1917 notebooks in similar setups in som stores here in Norway. You know the narrow and tall square things Moleskines always are in at bookstores?

Their lineups are also very similar, the biggest difference is that Moleskine have way more “special editions” and “special use case editions”. And I really wish Leuchtturm1917 extended more in the latter category.

What I mean when I say I wish that Leuchtturm1917 becomes the new Moleskine is just that Leuchtturm1917 is becomes default “fancy notebook” for regular people. And that you can get them everywhere. But that the product and the paper remains the same.

The thing I still like about Moleskine to this day, is the fact that if I want to do X for example travel or cooking. I can find a good notebook layout for X from Moleskine. And for what ever company that want to kick them off their trone, need to copy and out do them both there and in the available everywhere and in your face part.

Task Management in 2018

One of the most important, if not the most important part of a well functioning system for managing the things you have to do is a ever changing system to manage it all.

The system I was happy with in 2010 or in 2012 or 2015 is not the same as what I am happy with today.

I started to notice some eh let’s call them “growing problems” with my pen and paper only system earlier this autumn; the short version:

  • I forgot to write stuff down
  • I didn’t find some of what I wrote down
  • etc
  • etc

So, I decided to move back to Todoist. Their apps aren’t the best, to say the least. But they do have a good API. So I can get it to do what I need.

Where does pen, paper and all the stuff we love fit into this?

While I don’t currently use pen and paper to mange everything (at the moment) I still use it for a few very crucial tasks. I still use my beloved Leuchtturm1917 dot grid notebook in the planning stage, or when I do a brain dump. And I still use it to map out the most important stuff I need to get done day per day per week.

And I do of course bring my notebook instead of a computer do meetings, like a grown up.

Another Review of the J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre

I got this bottle of ink from Pen Chalet for the purpose of reviewing it, and I did, but I was never that happy about the review. I’m not sure why, probably because this ink is so far removed from what I usually use.

My typical ink in the beginning was black, I used the Lamy and Pilot cartridges for a very long time. And I loved them for the convenience. I would probably have used cartridges in my Vanishing Point if the Iroshizuku line was available on that form(you can have that idea for “free” Pilot, just send me a red Falcon with a soft broad nib in exchange). Then I moved over to bottles, first Noodelers Bernanke (which I loved), then I moved over to the Lamy black (which I hate) before I ordered my first Iroshizuku bottle (take-sumi) and I have gone through two full bottles and two half bottles of Iroshizuku ink since then.

They have some shading, in the of their inks, but no glimmer or crazy colours. This J’herbin ink is all kinds of crazy, the colour is fantastic, it is a reddish brown, with gold glimmer.

This is probably the first time I’ve used “fantastic” and “brown” in the same sentence.

I have now used the ink quite a lot. First I used it in a Noodlers Ahab for a few weeks, and now I have used it as my only ink in all of the pens I have in rotation. And I enjoy it a lot.

The dry time is a little bit longer than what I prefer. But I think it is a great ink.

Diamine Tropical Glow: ink review.

I received an ink sample of this ink from Tudos.no free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.

Diamine have been on the top of my list of ink brands I was going to look more into after I have used up some of my the ink on my desk. I’m down to two opened bottles now.

My interest in shimmer and shading inks probably started with the Tsuki-yo for the shading part, and I got very interested in shimmer when I reviewed J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre.

The writing experience with this ink is very good. Nothing to complain about when it comes down to the lubrication of the ink. And the colour looks fantastic. It is a beautiful turquoise with silver shimmers. They are very subtle, and you only see them if you know to look for them.

I did initially think that the colour was a little bit too light, but I have come around on that. Even though I would have preferred a darker colour.

I’m probably not going to buy a whole bottle of this ink, at least not now. I might do it in the future. But I’m just a little bit fed up on green at the moment, But I like it a lot more than the green ink I previously used (shin-ryoku).

One final note. I have not tested this ink as thorough as I usually do. I have only tested it with my board vanishing point. In contrast to how I usually test ink, which usually entails me inking up every single pen I own to get an impression on how it works with finer and broader; stubs; wetter and dryer.

I would without doubt recommend it, if you are looking for a turquoise ink.

What I expect from an A5 notebook

This is just a short list of what a A5 notebook should be like in order to be the most useful to me

  • Lined or grid
  • I prefer lined for long form writing and dot grid for tasks.
  • Hardcover; because it is much more convenient when I write somewhere I don’t have a flat surface available.
  • At least two markers
  • I prefer three
  • The paper should be good; Leuchtturm1917 or Rhodia quality is the standard I expect.
  • And then I mean both paper quality and shorter dry time.

Something between the sample and a bottle.

When I want to test an ink, I have two options either I buy or trade a sample or I buy a full bottle. I would probably just get the bottle because it is not THAT expensive.

What I want is something bigger than a sample, but smaller than a 50ml bottle. 10 or 15 ml would be perfect. Because a small sample is never enough for me to do a proper test. I like to test it in many different pens in order to get the full picture of how a ink behaves. But the problem with the full bottle, is of course to get rid of it, if you don’t like it or don’t see yourself using it all.

The reason I try to always test a ink with as many pens as possible is because to use a ink with a finer nib versus a broader one or a dry pen vs wet pen is very different. The colours are different. And the dry time is different.

Some inks look better with a fine line, while others look much better with a big wet one. And some inks are just unusable with a wet nib because you have to take a nap while you wait for a page to dry

Review: Code & Quill Origin

I received the [Code & Quill Origin](Code & Quill Origin Grey Dotted + Linjert A5 Hardcover Notatbok – Tudos) free of charge from Tudos for the purpose of reviewing it.

This is a A5-ish notebook with dot grid on the left side and lined on the right side – what I usually call dual layout. The paper is okay, but it bleeds through a little bit more than I’m used to. It’s not that bad, but a little bit worse than for example Leuchtturm1917.

The design of this notebook is not ugly, but it isn’t anything I like either. The only way to describe it is how iOS apps used to look before everything went “flat”. There are probably some people that love how it looks. But it isn’t my kind of thing.

My three big complaints of this notebook is:

  • The paper quality makes something to be desired. Close, but no cigar.
  • The lack of felt page markers is really annoying.
  • The format of the book is similar to A5, but a little bit shorter. This drives me nuts. Why wouldn’t you follow an established standard? This is the kind of thing where I mumble “fucking Americans”, we have the metric system and various other systems for a reason.

I have used dual layout notebooks before, mainly the Field Notes special edition from about three years ago, or something. And it never clicked with me. My opinion have been that people should get a Travelers Notebook and fill it with different refills if they just want multiple page layouts in their notebook.

The way I usually use notebooks are either long form writing or writing down lists. And to use a dual layout for something like that is either confusing or plain wasteful. So what I had to do in order to test out this notebook was find something I could use it for where it made sense to have one layout here and another one over there.

I decided to use it for creating “mockups” for app and web development stuff I do at work and for fun. This means I need to carry another notebook, and that was exactly what I needed…

The dual layout is good for some stuff. And my mock up notes are less messy and easier to understand when I use the grid for the mockups (crappy drawings) and the lined part for describing what it is.

Now. I’m not 100% sure if the improvement is big enough for me to justify carrying another notebook. I guess time will show.