My handwriting is atrocious. It’s scrawly, uneven, with malformed letters (r never recovered from Miss MacFarlane’s ligatures, t usually left unstroked) meandering up and down the line. It’s got blotchy, affected borrowings, too: tailed and stroked 1s and 7s in the European style, and a d that was least seen in a partial differential: 𝛿. In short, a style all my own, wanted by none.
I’d prefer to have my handwriting legible to others, and even by me. I don’t want my notebooks to look like a spider’s hauled its bedraggled carapace out of the inkwell onto the page. Unfortunately, cursive is right out to learn. I can’t read it, in any style. In fact, I find the German Sütterlin to be as logical to learn, as I can’t read that either, but at least it looks badass.
The style I’m trying is pre-cursive. Yes, it’s meant as a transition from printing to cursive, but I like its simple clean italic lines. I imagine I’ll join it up a deal more when I’m writing quickly. The hardest part for me is sticking to the line and stopping my writing wandering off up the page.
We’ll see how this goes …
(and thanks to I want to write right! | Ask MetaFilter for the suggestions.)
In Primary Six to about First Year [so about 1979 to 1981], the thing to have was a Papermate Replay, the first real* erasable ballpoint. Despite their waxy purplish-blue ink (which had a strong piney aroma) it was the one thing all the cool kids had. The Replay erasers were gritty and smudgy, and left black crumbs on the page. I remember the gummy click of the ball on the paper, and the rising fug of Replay ink from thirty desks. When it eventually dried, Replay ink could stick pages lightly together, a bit like paste-up wax.
With the Liquid Pencil, Sharpie probably hopes to repeat the (at least initial) success of the Replay. The technology feels similar — slightly less sticky, and the smell of the ink is different, but there’s still an unusual high note to it. The ink looks curiously as if it’s been photocopied and is of an uneven weight, just like the Replay used to be. Leaning on a freshly-written page from the Liquid Pencil smudges the ink on your hand and partially erases the text — just like the old Papermate Replay.
While the Replay really didn’t like regular erasers, the Liquid Pencil is better with them. If the LP were a real pencil, a heavy trace would conduct:
███ Liquid Pencil: ∞Ω ███ Faber-Castell 9000 HB: 400kΩ
It doesn’t, so it’s no pencil.
I’m pretty sure the Sharpie Liquid Pencil is just the naff old Replay, repackaged for a new generation. After all, Newell Rubbermaid owns both the Sharpie and Papermate brands. I bet the old news stories about Replays being used for cheque-fraud will resurface. Even writing this has given me the old Replay ink smell headache — déjà pew!
* there were the chemically erasable kind available before, which had a yellowish felt tip on one end that bleached the ink and prevented you writing over it.
Unscrewing the barrel revealed the familiar old Papermate Replay refill. I think we’ve been had.
Update: a bunch of reviews. The ones that actually tried it came to pretty much the same conclusion:
- Sharpie Liquid Pencil Review :: OfficeSupplyGeek
- Sharpie Liquid Pencil writes and erases like a pencil, dries like a Sharpie (video hands-on!) — Engadget
- Review: Sharpie Liquid Pencil
- Sharpie Reinvents Pen with Liquid Pencil | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
- Hands-on with Sharpie’s Liquid Pencil | Beyond Binary – CNET News
- Sharpie liquid pencil – Boing Boing
- Sharpie creates Liquid Pencil that becomes permanent after 3 days – New Tech Gadgets & Electronic Devices | Geek.com
Vinegar’s remarkable ability to clean up spilled ink from a plain wood table is matched only by Waterman Encre Havane’s near-praeternatural ability to get everywhere.
I cleaned my fountain pens today.
Dang! Looks like I lost my Lamy fountain pen at the Los Angeles Omni.
It was very yellow, with green ink.
Spent a pleasant, if damp, day scooting around Vancouver and environs with Dave. After a quick tour of Granville Island, we headed off to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. We then had lunch at Fuel, which is extremely good.
We had to work off lunch somehow, so we hiked around Lynn Canyon Park, which includes the nifty and shoogly Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Back at Dave & Leanne’s place, we decided on dinner and a movie, but I had to bail on the movie ‘cos my cold was getting bad.
Vancouver is so green. I like it.
In haste: The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
(now updated to include better MP3s)
I spent too long in Taste! this afternoon, and consequently spent too much on good hot sauce.
I have discovered:
Laywines Pens and Organizers
25 Bellair Street
Toronto, ON M5R 3L3
I just spent a most pleasant hour at the NFB‘s Mediatheque. If you are downtown in Toronto, you should stop by.
Yay, I’m so going to see The Apples in Stereo (with Casper & The Cookies opening) in February!
For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about a GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.
I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!
- An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
- Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
- NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
- Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
- HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
- Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
- Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
- HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
- Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
- Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
- HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
- IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
- HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.
I’ve been driving for 20 years. Seems a long time since I took that Mini Metro (which stank of Insignia aftershave – the instructor used it to clean the glass) from the BSM depot in
Pollokshields and puttered around the south side.
No speeding tickets, no parking tickets, and only one insurance claim. The insurers must be making a fortune from me.
Finatics were having their opening sale (yes, it seems that they were open before, but not officially) so I got a whole buncha plants to replace the rather gnawed/algaed ones I had.
The algae eaters were not pleased to have the tank delved about in, no sirree.
Congratulations are due to Glen Estill, who got his two Vestas V82s on the Bruce Peninsula running today. Glen is a pioneer of wind energy in Ontario, and we’re all grateful to him for his tireless work for the industry.
Download: star.ps (and you can edit it to change the number of points)