Author: Pao Alfonso

*Screams silently…*

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I’ve had this pen in my wishlist for two years. I can still remember when I first saw it, it was during a pen meet with one of FPN-P’s nibmeisters, Mr. Pentangeli. It was also around that time when I was only discovering the beauty of vintage pens (especially parkers). It was pen love at first sight. 🙂 It’s a Parker Debutante. From what I understand, it’s a pretty uncommon pen. It’s not a sub-debutante but a debutante, and only a few pop up on the internet. Blue is a rare color for it, and it’s especially rare to find one in good condition.

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I am just to happy to add this little beauty in my collection. I cannot wait to review it. 🙂 It is sooo small. About an inch taller than a Liliput.

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L-R: Parker Vacumatic junior debutante (azure blue), junior (golden brown) , and major (azure blue).

It’s always a thrill to cross something out of your pen wishlist. 🙂 This one’s a keeper.

Review: Jinhao 888 Dragon

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Today’s pen for review is the Jinhao 888 Dragon, which I got the chance to try out a few weeks ago thanks to Everything Calligraphy. These are less detailed than the Jinhao 999 Dragon pen, but it’s still pretty detailed. It is a lot less chunky than the larger 999 pen.

It’s still pretty much an eye-catching, attention grabbing pen because it looks decidedly oriental and like something a kung fu master would sign a check with. The dragon clip is pretty hard to miss.

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I like the color options for this pen, but these two are my favorites–black and pewter. The cap is pretty heavy. Again, I would advise against using it posted because it makes the pen top-heavy. The pen’s barrel is pretty thick, and it has some heft to it. Not an uncomfortable weight, in my opinion. Here’s a closer look at the cap.

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I think the finial’s cute. It reminds me of little gongs. The clip is stiff, I would advise against using it often because the cap might crack. I think it’s more decorative than functional.

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The section is made of hard plastic with a matte finish. It’s pretty comfortable to hold. Here are a few close up shots of the dragon details.

The nib is the standard Jinhao steel nib. It’s good enough for daily use, but of course, expect it to be hard as a nail and might need some tuning to write smoother/wetter. The one I tried wrote sufficiently wet, though with a little hint of tooth. Here’s a writing sample:

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This is how a typical medium Jinhao nib writes. It’s a bit on the wide side and quite a wet writer. It’s a pretty nice, fantasy-inspired pen that won’t break the bank.

Jinhao 888 Dragon is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 155

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Here’s another Jinhao pen review thanks to the people at Everything Calligraphy who let me try them out. It’s the Jinhao 155. These are very simple-looking pens, and it appeals to people who can’t really bring cobra pens to work. These are nice, budget-friendly, conservative-looking pens.

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I like the design of the clip. It’s boxy and straight, very industrial-looking. the section is smooth with a matte finish and made of hard plastic. It’s a nice contrast to the textured body of the chrome-finished pen. The metal parts of the pen give this some heft,  but it’s not an uncomfortable pen to use for long writing. It feels solid, but not overly heavy.

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I like the black one best, but the chrome and gold colored pens are also quite pretty in person. They remind me of vintage pens that have this barley corn finish on them. They’re different if you look closer, though. If I would change anything on it, I’d rather the barley corn-like finish be all over the barrel instead of alternating with a smooth finish. Here’s a couple of close up photos of the barrel.

The nib writes okay, virtually the same as the other steel Jinhao nibs. Here’s a writing sample below.

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It’s a pretty simple, understated pen that is great for everyday writing. The Jinhao 155 is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 500

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This is still part of the pens that Everything Calligraphy was so gracious to let me try a few weeks ago. It’s the Jinhao 500. It looks similar to a certain German brand of pen, doesn’t it? Anyway, this pen comes in a lot of designs.

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The size is slightly larger than a Pelikan M200, but the difference in weight is significant. For it’s size, it’s a weighty pen. The body is made of steel and resin. I like the material of the section, it’s like textured rubber. I wish they would use this section more in their future designs. It makes writing more comfortable and helps you grip the pen more securely while you write.

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The clip is a little stiff, but I like that the design is simple. My two favorite designs are above, the black and checkered pens.

It writes okay, like a standard Jinhao pen would write. The pen I tried wrote a bit broad and wet. The nib could use a bit of tuning to make it smoother.

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As far as budget pens go, this is also pretty nice. The design isn’t too juvenile-looking, so you can pick this if you want to use something that looks a bit conservative for work.

The Jinhao 500 and other Jinhao pens are available at Everything Calligraphy.

The Castle

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It’s that time of the year, again. I’m going to try and read Franz Kafka’s The Castle and will give my best effort to finish it. This book and Golding’s Lord of the Flies are two books that really give me the jitters. It’s hard to explain why. Perhaps The Castle triggers my fear of being stuck in a place where people are unthinking and your appeals for reason are swallowed up by the thick cloud of bureaucracy. It’s like that season of American Horror Story about somebody stuck in an asylum. You went in with a perfect exit plan and then you get stuck and nobody listens to you. Then you get stuck for years when you really only intended to stay a few weeks. *shivers*

Anyway, I haven’t used watercolor on my hobo for a while so I thought I’d have a little fun before going to bed today. ^_^

Perspective

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Work has been crazy for me since the end of last year (or crazier than usual). I’m hoping things will begin to wind down towards the middle of February. Work is such an important part of our life, for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Even the Bible emphasizes the rewards for the diligent. It’s just that recently, I’m having a tough time shifting from work mode to non-work mode, and it’s taking a toll on me. I feel like Martha, so worried and busy about so many things. It takes conscious effort for me these days to just. stop. working. It’s not good. If I feel an imbalance in my life, it’s because I let there be an imbalance. I need to slow down, regain my time for introspection, set clear boundaries between time for work and outside work.

After all, life shouldn’t be all about the job. There’s so much more to it than that.

A Different Time

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My husband’s grandmother turned 92 last weekend. We went to her house in Paco, Manila to celebrate with the family. We got there early to beat the Saturday traffic, and when we got there she was at church, hearing mass.

When she got home, she was all smiles and, apparently, dressed in a nice red blouse and matching red shoes. There was a time when people really wore their best clothes on Sundays (hence the term “Sunday best”). Loleng, as we fondly call her, is a proper lady. 🙂 She was all smiles and dressed in her nice Sunday clothes and greeted us happily as she walked into the house.  Continue reading “A Different Time”

Today’s Art Journal Entry

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I’ve been super busy these past few days with work, I hardly have time to really sit down and write. Today I was feeling under the weather, so I stayed home and rested. I wrote about this plan for a surf ‘n turf cookout with some friends. My friends and I try to go out and catch up regularly, and it’s something we really plan and look forward to. Sometimes we have themes, like Japanese, Pinoy, etc. It’s just something to look forward to. 🙂

 

Blaze Wu Handmade Calligraphy Inks

Everything Calligraphy was kind enough to send me some samples of the recent addition to their product line–Blaze Wu handmade calligraphy inks. I truly enjoy testing these inks out. The colors are great, and the ink is nicely viscous so that it plays very well with the c3 nib I bought to try these inks out.

Here’s a short (well, as short as I can manage with 8 different colors) rundown and description of each ink.

Murky Clouds Obscure the Sun
What a very long name. This one’s dark grey with sparkly silver sheen. Look at that sparkle! Kinda reminds me of stormy grey but the sparkly bits are finer and more pronounced here. A friendly tip, don’t forget to stir well as you dip so that the glittery particles will be evenly distributed.

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This really reminds me of silver linings around clouds. I like the base color of grey. Here’s a closer look at this ink:


Victoria’s Velvety Skirt

This one’s a nice rose color. It’s bright and happy, and does look a bit velvety. This soft, old-rose base has a gold sheen to it.

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It’s a very pleasant, soft-looking color. A few close ups of the writing sample:

Continue reading “Blaze Wu Handmade Calligraphy Inks”

Ink Swab: Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium

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A few weeks ago, I received a bottle of Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium from friends. I’ve long been curious about this ink since it’s not locally available (it was exclusively made for Goulet Pens). I am so happy that I was able to try this out.

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My first impression was that it’s an uncomplicated, vibrant blue. It has no sheen to it, it’s not bling-y. It’s just a beautiful shade of vibrant, vivid blue. It dries up relatively fast. In my Waterman Expert II (photo above), which is a wet writer with a left oblique cursive italic nib, it dries up between 10 to 15 seconds.

The flow is also good. It hasn’t dried up on me yet, or clogged my nib, and I’ve been using it regularly since late last month. I like that it’s a very nicely saturated blue that you can use for daily writing. I also like that it has nice shading. Check out the close up shots of my writing samples below.

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The shading is not crazy, but I think it’s beautiful. It’s slightly dark blue-darker blue. I like it a lot. There’s no nib creep either, for people who are bothered by that sort of thing.

It’s not exactly water proof, but it’s water resistant. Especially if you dry it out thoroughly first before testing. A pretty nice blue ink. I’m happy to add it to my ink collection. ^_^