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We need to be better.


I don’t usually talk about world events in this space.

Of course, the nation isn’t usually on fire, either.

So, look:

Black lives matter.

I know some people won’t be happy with this post, and that’s…well, that’s too bad.

Let me start off by saying that I know I’ve got life on easy mode. I’m a white, heterosexual, cis male in America. When I get stopped by the police (it’s happened a few times), my heart pounds because I might get a ticket and not because I might be killed. People in my neighborhood don’t get upset when I take a walk. No one calls the cops because I “look suspicious.” That’s privilege, and I get it.

Instead of trying to tell you what racism is like, let me tell you about something I regret. I don’t have many regrets. This one, though, it really eats at me sometimes.

I was in a store with my father a few years ago. These two biker dudes (stereotypically bearded wearing black tees and leather vests and patches and all) in line ahead of us at the checkout were talking to us about traveling and my dad was talking to them about traveling because he loves a road trip. Then they said something about how they always detour around DC. They looked like we should know why. We didn’t, so my dad says “Yeah, I don’t like the traffic there, either.” They’re on motorcycles and I wouldn’t want to be caught in traffic on a hot highway on a motorcycle. It sucks enough when you’re in a car.


“It smells like fried chicken and watermelon,” they say.  <wink>

I didn’t get it for a few seconds. I remember not getting it that these dudes who were talking to us about road trips decided that we were people who would understand and appreciate some casual racism. Obama was President at the time. They were just being super racist, and they thought that we’d appreciate it and that a wink was good and we were all in the same club because we’re white guys.

So here’s what I regret: I didn’t do much of anything. I didn’t tell anyone off. I didn’t take any action. I stood there awkwardly, said “oof” and ended the conversation.

Sure, it’s good that I didn’t go full tilt on strangers in a store. They were bigger than me. Almost certainly armed. I’d probably have gotten myself killed. Still, though, I didn’t do enough. I didn’t tell them that I wasn’t a racist and they should be ashamed. I didn’t ask them to explain their joke. I didn’t say much of anything to them about this abhorrent behavior.

So, that’s what I regret: I didn’t speak up.

I don’t know how to end racism. I don’t know how to get people to understand that their fellow people have equal value and rights. I know we can’t stay silent in the face of bigotry.

Call out racism or any other bigotry in your friends, family, or social groups. Do it on the job. Do it on the phone. Do it if we ever have parties again. Speak up when you hear it or see it. Don’t let it pass by without comment. I know that this happens in checkout lines and parks and schools and churches and everywhere else. Don’t let it be “normal.”

Racism isn’t always as blatant as the KKK. It’s often subtle exclusion and suspicion. Maybe the people doing it haven’t realized that racism is tainting their perception of other people. Maybe they’ll stop and think about what they’re saying or doing if you say something as simple as “Would you think that about a white person?” or “Would you ask that about a man?”

Maybe even just a "That's not cool, dude."

Some people are fine being racists, but I’d bet lots of them don’t want to be racists. They can be reached. I don’t know the magic words, but we need to do better.

We can be better. We can treat people as people who are equally deserving of our respect. We can help our neighbors stand up to bullies and racists. I must believe that we can be better.

Kala Nostalgia Mongolian Sandstorm


Another Kala ink! The last one looked like several of the other inks in the Kala Nostalgia range, and this one doesn't. It's a dusty sort of purple. Most of the time.

On one particular paper, it's really different. I have no idea why. Check out the way it pops when you put on Tomoe River. Weird, right?

Anyway, if you're looking for a dusty violet-grey ink with good flow and exceptional water resistance, then you should check out this weirdly named sandstorm.

I bought this ink at JetPens, and it's recently come into stock at Shigure Inks, as well. If you order something because you saw it on a blog, let the vendor know who helped you out!

Written Review


Bottle and Col-o-Dex

Copy Paper (the bad stuff)

You get a bit of bleed here and there, but it's nothing major and this is some really bad paper.

Tomoe River Inkjournal

This the one that's kinda wild. The color is totally different

Inky Fingers Currently Inked


Water Drop Test

Is this the before or the after? It's the after. This ink doesn't care about water.

Video Review

Color Comparisons

**I bought this ink. Thanks Patrons!**

Kala Nostalgia Blue Lagoon Vapor


Okay, so, this is a new ink brand for me. I've been using Kala pigmented inks over the last couple of months, and I'm a big fan. They flow well in all sorts of nibs, the colors aren't like anything else, and they are extremely water-fast. The performance is really darn good even on bad papers, too. After I tried the first one, I bought another. After I used that second one, I bought the other 4. So....I've got all of them. Well, all of the ones I can buy here in the USA.

The only thing here is that several of the colors in this Kala Nostalgia line are pretty similar. You don't need all of them. I'll be reviewing these over the next few weeks, and you should pick the ones you like best. But, really, don't sleep on these.

They're pigmented, so they are a bit on the matte side, and they change color as they dry. Don't worry about them stopping up your pen, though. None of mine have over the last few months, and I haven't had any dodgy starts or anything. And the price is right.

I bought mine at JetPens. That's the only place I know to find them, stateside.

Written Review


Bottle and Col-o-Dex

Copy Paper Test

I can see a few feathers and a few spots of bleed-through in these close-up shots. Keep in mind, though, that this paper is really weak sauce. It's fine for your office copier, but it's crap for writing on with anything more than a ballpoint.

InkJournal Tomoe River

Inky Fingers Wheat Straw Paper


Water Test

Is this the before or the after picture? Don't worry about it. This ink doesn't shift under water.Well, okay, there's a slight smudge. That's it.

Video Review

Color Comparisons

**I bought this from JetPens. Thanks goes to my Patrons!**

KWZ Grey Plum


 This ink was given to me for review by Dromgoole's, and I wasn't sure what to expect from it. The swatch on the box was clearly a dark purple, but you never know what you'll get from the nib. Well, I guess I kinda did, actually. I got a dark, dusky purple that is so dark you could mistake it for a black in some nibs. I like an ink like this. It gives you something that is formal enough to fit in at a serious meeting where you don't want to rock an orange, but you know that it's not a regular black, and that's cool.

Additionally, this ink flows really nicely and it performs pretty well even on bad paper.

Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comments. Or an email. Or whatever. You know.

Oh, and if you want to get this ink, head over to Dromgoole's and let them know that I sent ya. That sort of thing is always nice for a vendor to know.

 Written Review


Copy Paper Test

You can see some mild feathering and a little bleeding on this 20lb paper, but keep in mind that this is some poor paper. You can see the inconsistencies in the fiber even in these pictures.

Inkjournal Tomoe River Edition

That's a good paper, right there. You can see some shine on the ink, here, but it's not a sheen. Just sort of a shine. The purple peeks through more strongly, though.

Inky Fingers Wheat Straw Paper

This is a good paper, and you can see the difference in how this ink looks from a wider and a narrower version of the medium nib. I like it both ways, really. 

Water Test
 Not bad. Not bad.


Video Review

Color Comparisons

Disclaimer: Dromgoole's gave me this bottle of ink for review. All I promise is an honest review, and I don't think that free ink sways me in one way or another. Your mileage may vary, etc, etc.