This Veteran’s Day is especially poignant for me. My dad, a veteran of WWII’s Pacific Theater has not been well lately and we very nearly lost him not too long ago. It was an unwelcome reminder that the generation that fought hard for our freedoms is almost all gone. Even the youngest to serve are in their late 80s and many die each day. Our task to make sure they and everyone who has served our country are not forgotten. It’s the least we can do for them.
I might be posting again now and then but comments will remain off.
Due to personal issues, I haven’t been blogging much lately and that will continue for the foreseeable future.
If there’s one thing you can count in life it’s that life is short. Oh, the numbers may say otherwise but believe me, it’s short. You may be tempted to think you’ve got time, that you can catch up later. But you’d be wrong. Our parents, our grandparents, even our friends aren’t going to be here for much longer. So don’t wait, let them know you love them now.
It’s something you’ll only regret if you don’t do it.
If there’s one thing I’m particular about, it’s writing instruments. I’ve been using mechanical pencils for as long as I can remember, going through various Pentel models before settling on my most recent choice, the Uni Kuru Toga 0.5mm. it revolves the lead so that you get a more consistent line as it wears.
As far as pens go, I’ve been somewhat less lucky in finding something I like as much. I went from ball points to roller balls to gel pens. My favorite gel pen I received from a pretty lady advertising something in Shinjuku station in Tokyo. Unfortunately, it had no English markings on it and I could never find a replacement. I settled on the Pilot G-2 0.7mm black as a reasonable replacement. But gel pens can smudge as they take a bit of time to dry and I found the G-2 to occasionally skip, although not badly. I was open to suggestions.
Then I stumbled across The Best Pen on The Wirecutter, a gadget review blog. They gathered a bunch of pen geeks and asked them to review a bunch of pens, in particular as a competitor/replacement for the G-2. Their answer: The Uni Jetstream 0.7mm. As they say:
The uni-ball Jetstream is a fantastic, affordable pen. It has incredibly smooth ink, performs reliably, lasts well and dries on the page quickly. It’s equally suited to the office or classroom, for the left-handed or right. We suggest grabbing a pack of the 0.7 mm ones, as they’re suited to most handwriting, and then sizing up or down if you want something bolder or more fine. But the pen reviewers all agree: this is a fantastic pen for just about anybody.
The Jetstream is actually a ballpoint, rather than a gel. But unlike other ballpoints you don’t give up smoothness of line or ink density. Compared to the G-2, the line is somewhat thinner so if line thickness is an issue try the 1.0mm. I primarily use a pen for two things, writing checks and journaling. You shouldn’t use a gel pen on checks to begin with so I never used the G-2 for that. My journaling, on the other hand, has been mostly with either the G-2 or a fountain pen. The fountain pen is fun but a pain to maintain. Oddly enough, when I used a Moleskine the fountain pen soaked through the paper – which was surprising given its history. I now use a Mnemosyne notebook which has much better paper and a spiral binding which allows it to lie flat when you’re writing. I’m going to stop using the fountain pen in that in lieu of the Jetstream. It seems ideal for that sort of thing.
If you’re a pen geek, let me know what you use and why.
This is another one of my (very) infrequent personal entries that you should probably just skip.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m sort of a photographer. I have an interesting collection of film cameras in addition to my dSLR and phone. Most of them are medium format but I also have a couple of 35mm cameras as well.
A couple of weeks ago I was using my 2×3 Speed Graphic as a field camera, taking advantage of its tilt and shift capabilities to play around with depth of field and perspective. The Speed Graphic is a press camera by design so the tilt and shift is limited in nature. As I was doing this it occurred to me that I’d be better off with a real view camera that allowed all of these movements and more. I was able to find a Toyo-View 45D in very good shape for around $55 (plus shipping) on eBay and also picked up a Polaroid 545i instant film back for $20. I now have almost everything I need to at least get started in large format photography.
Notice I said “almost”. View cameras, like all cameras, require lenses to actually be useful. The Toyo did not come with one, of course. Lenses for large format are expensive, to say the list. Many more times more expensive than the camera. More expensive than I care to deal with. And let’s not even think about the costs associated with film developing (non-Polaroid) and scanning large negative/transparencies.
So now I have a camera that I can’t use that requires lenses I can’t really afford. I’m very close to selling the lot back on eBay or Craigslist. I wish I had taken a deep breath and considered the reality of what I was getting into. It’s not the first time, but at least I haven’t gone off the deep end, yet.
You’d think I would have outgrown this by now.
If you’re lucky to live long enough you get rewarded by having to watch your parents and their generation pass on. It’s the way of the world. And at the moment, that’s what we’re facing. It’s not the end, but we’re on the brink. So not much blogging for a while and lots of emotion. Someday you’ll understand.
Mother’s Day is always full of mixed emotions for me. I lost my mom to cancer in 1971, just days before starting high school. My dad remarried two years later to someone he met at a social group for widows and widowers. So I’ve had a stepmom much longer than I had my mom. It wasn’t pleasant for us at the beginning, I was resentful and angry and didn’t understand why we had to leave our house and move to her’s. But we got through that.
Now, forty years later, I’m lucky to have two moms and despite the mixed emotions I wouldn’t trade with anyone.