Author: Pao Alfonso

Salmon Run

I am currently reading Peter Jenkins’ book, Looking for Alaska. It’s such a fascinating book, and I read it sparingly, in between other books. Sort of like a palate cleanser. I feel strangely refreshed while reading it, and I feel an urge to go out and look up at the sky, feel the breeze on my skin. I love a lot of what I read so far, but my favorite is how he described fishing on a salmon run. I think it’s fascinating how salmon venture out in to the ocean from freshwater, and then they somehow find their way back to the freshwater rivers where they were born. Until now, Ichthyologists still don’t know why salmon do this and how. Unlike salmon raised in fish pens, wild salmon fight their way upstream, back to where they came from. The harder the climb, the more oil their body produces. It’s all very fascinating.

“All these humans with their nets and fast, sleek boats, putting themselves up against what the misinformed think are dumb, small-brained fish. Yet these salmon are able to make their way down from the cold creeks in which they hatched to places of mystery hundreds and hundreds of miles away in the Pacific Ocean, then orient their way back again. A human can’t get from one airport to another in the protective metal skin of a plane without sophisticated electronic navigational devices, often assisted by multimillion-dollar satellites. How do these salmon do it?” ~Peter Jenkins

Materials used:
Parker 75 inked with Troublemaker Inks’ Bantayan Turquoise, Pilot Custom Heritage 92 inked with J. Herbin Lie De The. Tomoe River paper.

Ink Swab: Troublemaker Inks Bantayan Turquoise

As I wrote in my last entry, I bought a couple of Troublemaker Inks to try out recently. I picked out these two colors because they popped out of the page for me. Bantayan Turquoise (which I am assuming is named after the waters around Bantayan Island) is a brilliant, beautiful turquoise-colored ink. I don’t have a lot of turquoise inks in my collection, there’s none that looks too similar to this one.

First off, the bottle looks like Diamine’s bottle but taller and the material feels thinner. I like the minimalist approach to it, and at least the opening of the bottle is wide enough to accommodate my fattest pens. The bottle is a bit light, so be careful when you fill your pen because it might tip over.

The flow that I picked for both inks is Wet, and I would recommend this for pens with xf or f nibs because the flow is really very wet. In hindsight, since I have mostly medium nibs, I should probably have chosen the moderate ink flow. I inked a Parker 75 with a fine nib, Sailor Morita Progear Mini with a Broad nib, and Bexley Corona with a 1.1mm nib.

Since the flow is so wet, there’s not much shading to show off, but the color is just so beautiful. I’m glad that it’s not too bright, and that the balance between the green and blue components makes it a bit difficult to say which is more dominant. If you are using non-fp friendly paper, this will feather like fluffy chicken. It shows a bit of feathering on Leuchtturm 1917 but, oddly enough, not too much bleed through except a few dots here and there.

Here’s an example of a journal page written with the broad-nibbed pen:

It’s not waterproof, by any stretch, though. It also dries relatively fast, for its level of wetness. The writing sample took about 15 seconds to dry. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample: Continue reading “Ink Swab: Troublemaker Inks Bantayan Turquoise”

Troublemaker Inks

I was looking through the #fpnph feed on Instagram when I stumbled on a photo of a recent pen meet among Cebu members. The photos showed a number of new inks developed locally called Troublemaker Inks. One color caught my eyes, the Hanging Rice, which reminded me of Alt Goldgrun, it made me curious about the inks. Plus, they’re locally made, and it’s always great to support local businesses. I placed my order on the Troublemaker Inks website on 8/20 (which was 2-day long holiday), so my order was processed and shipped out on the 22nd, and I received it today (8/29). I was surprised that they used Philpost’s EMS to send the inks (there were no other shipping options available on the website). It accounted for the amount of time it took to get delivered. I was honestly a bit nervous about it because I’ve had very little positive experience with our local post office.

Today the inks arrived, there was a bit of leaking around the caps but nothing too concerning. Perhaps a bit of cling wrap around the bottles would help? Overall, the package did arrive safely, so no complaints here.

You can actually choose the level of wetness for the inks, if you want the flow to be dry, moderate, wet, or extra wet. I opted for the wet formulation, but perhaps on my next order I’ll try the moderate flow instead because I have mostly wet-writing nibs. Anyway, the concept is pretty interesting, and I really hope that they get a lot of local support so that they can keep on making their inks.

Reviews of the two inks I tried coming up soon. 🙂


Last week, I was immersed in reading this book about Minik, the New York Eskimo. It was such a sad story, and I’m glad that anthropology (which was at its infancy at that time) has evolved since then, and new laws in the US took effect since the 1990’s. This means that museums need to return skeletal remains on display or in their collection if they are asked for it, and that exhibits shouldn’t contain skeletal remains or religious artifacts anymore. Before all that, though, was Minik and the other five Inuits brought to New York by Robert Peary at the suggestion of the American Museum of Natural History.

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
Genres: ,
Published: 2006
Reporter Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to cover the murder of two girls. Living with her family in their Victorian mansion dredges up unresolved childhood issues.

I picked up this book because I liked Gone Girl. I think that Gillian Flynn has a knack for exploring dysfunctional relationships. The main character of this book, Camille Preaker, is not the usual protagonist that people expect in stories. She's neither feisty nor virginal, she's quite unremarkable if viewed from the point of view of the other characters in the book. She doesn't stand out, she doesn't always speak out either.

I still like the character because I find her believable. The way that her childhood trauma was uncovered in the book is something I can relate to, and I guess that's what I like most about the character. She has serious issues that she's trying to work through and there are many ups and downs to it. The book shows how a child's fragile sense of self can be damaged by their parent's actions, which is often just perpetuated family dysfunction.

I also like how the book shows those subtle and not-so-subtle ways that women attack each other and are cruel and spiteful towards one another. I like how this theme winds through the different parts of the mystery, like a thread that is part of what ties the story up. It adds layers of dysfunction to already dysfunctional small town and family dynamics.

While I liked how the author created the web of relationships among the characters, I didn't like how the crimes were solved. The way the ending was written (more in the style of an Epilogue, a summary of events, rather than unfolding as a part of the story telling) felt like a cop out. Still, I did enjoy reading it, even if it started out slow and ended a little flat.