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January 21, 1999
a year ago


So, filled with new purpose and all that, I charged into work today and got a slab of things done. Called places, figured out a piece of the specification that was really muddy, clarified it with the writer and got it to make sense. Then wrote up a list of thing to do to get that done.

I realized, also, after all of yesterday looking at pens, that I fell in love with a particular pen, and a half a dozen good fountain pen stores on the Web. It's a complete case of pen lust, that one pen which is really cool and really pretty and really something that would fit the way I like doing things. Though, admittedly, there's is one other on that site that would do if that one were to be sold while I wasn't looking.

The utterly marvelous Fountain Pen stores that I've found so far, in mostly alphabetical order are the following:

One warning, a lot of these sites use really awful, terrible, horrible usages of frames. They just suck in some ways, in other ways, there's enough organization to keep some things classified meaningfully. I think I love Pendemonium best for its insane collection of everything under the sun. Signature by Hemsing has what looks like the best deals on all modern pens, though Monroe's, if you can get through the awful interface, seems to have an equal number of interesting deals. Vintage Pens gives good information about every make and every thing to actually look for in a Vintage Pen, where as Battersea seems to have the coolest collection of pens for sale. World Pen I love simply for their attitude.


I realized that I was in pen lust and I thought I'd just keep the infatuation state open for a while. There are Things I Have To Do, and when I get them done, I'll either buy myself the pen or something like it or go to the Seattle Pen Company, which has no site, and just try out pens to my heart's delight and buy something interesting there. Unlike the local Colorado Pen Company (whose site blows chunks so far as I'm concerned. They have pretty pictures of the pens, but don't seem to feel like they have to tell you anything about the pens, important things like composition of the nibs, what the feeds made out of, what the dimensions of the nibs are, whether the barrel has brass construction or not), which doesn't carry any converters, the Seattle Pen Company has a full selection of everything I think I'm going to need.

Ever since a Parker blew it's bladder on me (ink *everywhere*), I've never really trusted bladder fill pens, and the Namiki Vanishing Point pen has a bladder converter that just sucks rocks, so I am thinking of getting another once in case this one ever decides to give up the ghost. I think if I do buy more pens, they're going to have to be plunger filled or eye dropper filled or something better than a darned bladder.


This is how I learn about things. Complete data overload until my brain, which likes swimming in a sea of data, finally comes up with its opinions. I went through nearly four pages of links from Yahoo and Lycos to figure all these places out. It's how I learned about tea. But with tea I had to try everything, so I now have a collection I'm actually fairly proud of but utterly despairing of ever drinking before it goes stale.

The learning thing is really in gear, now, too. And it's a good time for it. Turns out that a local FAE is going to take us poor geek engineers on field trips around the area to talk with customers like we did when we were initially figuring out what we wanted to do with the board versions of Synario. It's going to be interesting. I took a good data dump from the FAE himself, and I'm going to have to write up the set of questions that I really want answered by customers.

Some folks' idea of a good customer interview seems to be going there and listening to them complain about the implementation of the tools as they already exist. I have a different approach, which is to go out and find out how they work and how the tools make it harder and how they could make it easier and what they don't know about the tools that make their lives harder and why those things might be hard to find. To tie it to present implementations seems way too... limiting. What are the processes? How do they work?

Data pool indeed.

From that kind of information, it'll be much more straightforward to figure out what I think should be implemented first, and how it would be easier for them to be implemented. It's funny. I actually like redundant ways of getting at things on the UI. I like being able to choose what my favorite is and getting around to it, and having alternatives is always useful because different people think in different ways. Flexibility is the point of software.

Grrr... Arrrgh! Rar!

Okay. I think I'm heading quickly out of my slump.

Got stuck at work until late, as John asked to stay until about 7:30 or so. He was cool, came to my office to tell me so that I could plan for it and eat a little something and put myself in some frame of mind that'll be okay. I am glad that I asked him how long he'd be, gave me the time and energy to figure out what I wanted to do with the time.

I double checked my list and all the things that I could do, I've done. I even now have a list of Things That Are Waiting On Insurance Realities. Those things can wait, have to wait and I can't do anything about 'em so there's no point getting wound up about 'em for now. And since I did all the things I wanted to get done to take care of the bits of Life that were flapping in the breeze and I did get the next steps planned out, I've gone and bought myself the pen I was lusting after. You can see a picture of it, but here's a warning, it's a very picture intensive page. The pen that I really want is the fifth one down. Mark took one look at it, laughed and said, "It's transparent, that's a very engineer kinda pen." He's so right it's kinda funny. I love seeing how things work, yes. It also kinda reminds me of the Transparent Man toys as a kid.

There's an ice blue transparent Matador on their specials page which I also like looking at, but the color seems to be something that takes away from the singularity of the crystalline possibilities. A creature of crystal and gold seems to be something that would be in some impossible fairy tale. Just poetic flounderings. Yeah. Okay. I wouldn't ever wear a floppy shirt, drink wine and be loud and crass and painfully rude; but I would happily crouch, mouse-quiet over vellum with a fine nibbed pen of crystal and gold or steel and wood and let the ink fly where it might. That's my version of poetic.

So far, I've spent the time making more notebook pages (for some reason the pages and my green EK Designs demonstrator impressed the FAE) from the 24 lb Great White laser paper and then making my lists come out right and I'll probably finish off the early evening by writing a story about a Seraph of Jean.

Or maybe I'll just keep coding. It's fun, now that I don't have anything else on my mind. Amazing what the unburdened mind can do.

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