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Noodler's Ahabs

2/17/12
One of my Christmas presents from my mom was a Noodler's Ahab in the Cardinal Darkness color. It's a really nice pen, and it's quickly become one of my favorites. They're inexpensive at $20, and I haven't seen a pen that beats it at that price point.  


I ordered two Ahabs (one for me and one for Audrey) from Goulet Pens on Wednesday and I got them in the mail today (Friday). That's a really good turn-around, and the packaging was really awesome. The two pens and four ink samples that I ordered arrived in a bubble mailer, wrapped in bubble wrap, and then secured in blue plastic wrap. Really good work!

Audrey's new pen is a Pink Tiger and mine is the new Black version. The tiger is a really fun design that I think Audrey is going to love, and the black is probably one of my classiest looking fountains.   Now I just have to decide on some ink colors for these. Maybe Audrey will get some Diamine "Hope Pink" in her's from the February Ink Drop.
I always take apart a pen when I first get it, just to make sure that everything looks good, and that there isn't any debris in the feed from the manufacturing process. These new Ahabs are better than the first one that I got. My Cardinal model has the old round o-ring in the ink tank's piston. These new ones have a double-wall o-ring that makes the piston move much more easily in the well.  Another difference is that the feeds in the new pens are both very clean. As you can see in this picture, the feed on my original Ahab is pretty chewed up. I guarantee that it came that way, and it wasn't my hatchet job.  It doesn't seem to have impacted the performance of my Cardinal, but it does look a bit messy when you take it apart.


UPDATE:
These are the pens that I can't recommend to anyone. They're pretty terrible over a little bit of time. They smell bad, they write poorly, and the section plastic is way too soft. It will eventually be impossible to screw the converter onto the section, and that's a huge mess waiting to happen. With so many other pens out there, avoid this one!

Pens and Cool Speedometers

2/15/12
I'm a big fan of the UK Top Gear show. It's an awesome hour of television. Great hosts, sweet cars, interesting interviews and the sights and sounds of a Lamborghini Aventador.

While these guys were testing out three cars (that I'll never be able to get close to driving) I noticed that all of them had really nice speedometers. This seems like a pretty minor feature, but it's a part of the car that you will probably spend the most time looking at. The design of most speedometers is pretty pedestrian. Sure, some of them will have a white background or something like that, but they're just not very exciting. The picture at the left there is the Aventador's instrument panel. How exciting is that thing?  It's awesome, and not really because it's digital.

 Compare that with the picture of the Nissan Sentra's instrumentation.  I drive a Sentra. It's a fine small car. The background is black, the text is orange. It's not black and white, but it doesn't have much in the way of style or design. Car makers spend a lot of time making the exterior and interior of a car look nice. They add angles and sweeping curves (check out any of the new Hyundai models) to the exteriors and different sorts of textures and colors to the dashboards and seats. I say: save the obviously fake leather and carbon fiber fill-ins and spend some time making the instrumentation look rad.

In other news, I'm a big fan of fountain pens and ink. I've gotten my wife interested in them as well, and we ordered two more today. I got a Noodler's Ahab for Christmas, and we liked it well enough that Audrey wanted a Pink Tiger, and I ordered a black one. Both of these are brand new models, and we've been waiting for them to come in. One of these days I'll be posting reviews and whatnot, but I haven't had the time yet.

The Two Ts of Valentine's Day

2/14/12
In the effort to keep myself interested in the blog, I'm going to be altering the layout. This new one is kinda exciting. The featured posts will get filled out as I add some new material. He entries "featured" there aren't anything really special. I'm just figuring out the code.

The Mrs. and I aren't really big into Valentine's Day. Tonight, we're eating Taco Bell (volcano burritos are awesome) and watching the premier of Top Shot on the History Channel. It's a marksmanship competition, and it's far more awesome than any of those singing and dancing shows. It's not just meat-heads shootin' stuff. These folks are from all ages and backgrounds, and they're forced to use weapons ranging from cannons to rocks in some really imaginative competitions. They might have to shoot the top off of a Q-tip with an old timey Peacemaker or shoot targets with a rifle while riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle on a bumpy dirt road. Great stuff.  If you haven't seen the show, you should check it out. That's my recommendation.


The Dragonbone Chair

2/12/12
This book was only barely okay for me. I usually give a book about 100 pages to hook me, and this one didn't come close to doing that, but I kept thinking "It must get better. Right? Yeah, it must." I wasn't totally wrong about that, but it was a near thing.

The first, I don't know, 2/3 of this story (tome) were not particularly good. The story is told from the perspective of a not-too-bright teenage boy who may have been a bit mentally-challenged. I got the impression that there were really interesting things going on around him, but these things were filtered through his perceptions and he didn't care much about anything. There was a lot of whining about sweeping the floors. If you decide to read this one, you'll need to steel yourself for a whole lot of this "Waaaa...Rachel wants me to sweep the floors, but I'd rather catch a frog or go climb something. Waa."

The last 1/3 was pretty good. That's when stuff starts happening. There's mystery, betrayal, travel, travails, a fight, a neat new companion, a wolf, and the whinging switches from sweeping to sore feet and hunger.

I don't remember why I started reading this trilogy. I don't think I really like Tad Williams' other work, but I think I read somewhere that these were good. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the second book, and the story does improve. Slowly, slowly.

Here's the Amazon link. That's just in case I haven't turned you off of the story. Somehow.