Friday, November 13, 2009

Zebra Sarasa Push Clip Gel 0.4 mm Blue/Black


Some people swear by their broad nibs or points. Others wouldn't dare pick up anything larger then a 0.5mm or a nib broader then fine. Me? I'm on the hunt!

I, like you, read the Pen addict's rave reviews of the teeny tiny points. The first thing that struck me about his site, other then his fantastic handwriting, was that he wrote in caps like I do. I also made note of the obvious problem of larger lines equals more ink on the page, which 11 times out of 10 will lead to a very unhappy lefty over-writer. This thought has lead me to search for that perfect point. I used my Hi-Tec-C Coleto for a bit, but with my work I need to write pretty fast, and I always felt that I had to treat the 0.3mm refills very gingerly. I am not saying it would have broke down, it simply made me feel that way. (not to mention the scratchiness) So with plenty of prior experience with 0.5mm points I decided to give a 0.4mm point a try.

Body: The usual suspect here, plastic. The highlight of the body is the clip. This pen sports a sturdy binder clip. I really do enjoy these zebra binder clips. I have encountered my share of "where the heck did that paper clip go" moments. The ability to throw my pen clip over my paperwork and go is a really convenient feature. (6)

Grip: Simple lined ridges make this a great grip. It's not soft, but it does sort of puff at the end of the grip. This allows for a very comfortable hold because it is right after the point I put pressure on the grip when writing. This creates the feel of a fitted grip, which is nice. (5)

Ink: Blue/Black is currently at the top of my favorite colors for ink. This pen delivers a very nice flow and ink color pops off the page. The thin point prevents smearing issues on every page I've written on with it, including the brights. (7)

Price: $2.00 on jetpens (8)

Lefty Bottom Line: The lines are nice and thin which allows for superior control and reduces the chance for lefty pitfalls. The ink has nice depth and the clips is a fantastic feature.

New feature!
Pen Score: 26
Did you notice the red numbers at the end of each section? Those will be added up here at the end to give a pen an overall score. This score will eventually be a searchable feature. It will allow there to be a favorites list that will show my highest scores. This will help those that want to save time and search just having the highest score and corresponding review shown. Each score is how I relate the feature to a score of 1-10. It is a pretty easy concept. When I score a price it will be the score of how I feel the performance of the pen relates to the price point of the pen. I will be going back to old reviews and adding scores and each review from here out will have scores as well, including any ink reviews I do.(that will be a different system but that's a different blog)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tul Retractable Gels

My apologies for the brief interlude, but I'm back with another color explosion! If you've read much of what I've written previously, you'll know that I have to have bright vibrant colors if your not going to give me a cushy grip in a hip design. Tul decided they would go for all three! The trifecta.

Body: Sleek, plastic, and completely understated. A simple and clean design through and through. I like how the barrel is frosted and shows just enough of the colored plastic at the back of the pen to give it a two-tone effect. The button in the clip also matches the pen color. It's little things like this that makes this pen one of my favorites.

Grip: This is the weakest point of the pen but is still a strong effort. I call it a Swiss grip, it's not technical, it just reminds me of Swiss cheese because of the holes that run in a pattern along the grip. The grip can be a bit slick out of the package but does get better as you use the pen. It is very firm and also matches the ink color nicely.

Ink: I fell in love with this line when the only colors available were black and blue. A super deep black and a rich blue drew me in from the first scribble at my local Office Max (more on this shout-out later). A few months ago I found the green and red versions of this pen and picked them up in medium rollerball. Two weeks back, when making my office supply store rounds, I happened upon a light blue retractable at the checkout stand. This led to more and more visits, each one brought home more colors and each one proved very bright. My most recent trip to the "Max" unearthed a new type of ink in these retractables. Take note of the fourth pen in the picture. Notice that it has a metallic, silvery shading to it. Could this be part of a new line of inks for Tul?

Price: I bought most of these at the register display for $1.49 each. You can find blue and black in packages of 4 ($5.79) and 12 ($15.99). It is important to mention that these pens are ONLY available at Office Max. It is their house brand.

Lefty Bottom Line: I spent so much time raving about the ink that I did not mention how well it performs on paper. Tul performs better on the "brights" (Clairefontaine and Rhodia) then my EX2 and Signo DX's. The ink is bright and does not sit long on the pages. On Doane paper it is still very smooth and this combo is consistently my #dailyarsenal ( /wave to @DIYsara and @dowdyism). I simply chose to do this review on my Rhodia pad because the colors pop on the super white paper. This is truly a great pen and the colors are wonderful. No matter which hand you use it is worth your while to drive to your local Office Max and give them a go!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How do you craft your Jetpens order?

I think the multiple tab feature for web browsers is amazing! I can keep multiple sites open without having multiple windows up. I keep my google reader up, refreshing my favorite blog sites. I have my blog open, always awaiting user comments. I recently started keeping Twitter up. It's my guilty pleasure and the people I follow can easily keep me entertained and web surfing with their endless pen pron and interesting links. Another site I keep open is Jetpens.

If any of you are similar to me, creating a Jetpens order is work of art not dissimilar to those displayed on some of our favorite blogs. Heck, I'm so proud of my work that I post pictures when the order comes in the mail. I parade my own pictures like a proud pen papa. I believe I have a right to with all the work I put into it! Are you aware of how many times I've emptied my cart, thinking "ok, this time, only gel pens!" or "yup, nothing but those nice inks I've heard so much about!". Eventually in the process a highlighter marker will pop up, then a rollerball pen, before you know it your WAY over budget. So then comes the heartbreaking trial of picking the starters. It's like firing your best friend from your home business. "I'm sorry little slicci but today's just not your day". There is truly some joy and apprehension when you finally hit that checkout button. A rush of relief that the project is finished but a tad bit of worry that maybe, just maybe you would have been happier with that slicci after all. I love it!

My question to you guys is, What is your Jetpens ritual? How do you craft your order to this or any other stationery site? How do you explain to your significant other that it's another month of top ramen because you just HAD to have that fountain pen? (Only slightly kidding =P)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Win a cool notebook this week at notebook stories

Remember that teeny tiny little notebook from this post at notebook stories?

Well now you can have a chance to win your very own big brother to that lil' guy!

Check out her great review then enter to win here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's get ready to RUMBLE! Clairefontaine vs Doane

I said some pretty bold things over Twitter about this matchup. Before we get too far into this post let's take a look at the notebooks we are comparing;

The Contestants: The Clairefontaine boasts a well known satin-finish with 90gsm pages. The Doane Idea Journal utilizes it's grids + lines also in a 90gsm page (the website says 60 lb. and to the best of my knowledge that translates roughly to 90gsm).

I decided to do something a bit different. I took a video with my blackberry to introduce you to the lovely pens that would be utilized in the testing. I'm no professional and this is simply to do things a little different. I am planning on getting a decent video camera later this week (hopefully) and I can do more of these.
video

I actually have some footage of the actual testing but with this cold and the poor audio quality of the blackberry it sounded like an obscene phonecall. So I will hold off on lengthier videos until I get better tools.

The Showdown: I used the traditional pangram in both print and cursive so I could get a good feel of the pens on each notebook. I then did a basic timed smear test. From here I used three of my fountain pens to get a better idea of fountain pen behavior with the notebooks.

(For reference the pen use order is Jetstream, Uni-ball signo, Pilot varsity, Foray 0.7 liquid ink, Sharpie Ultra fine, Parker Urban Gel)

First up, the Clairefontaine:
I was surprised at how well the paper reacted to the basic writing. I saw no problems with smearing which is great considering how you can see some of the inks sitting on the page for extended times. I suspect that consistent writing with a natural speed could lead to a few problems but it really depends on the ink.

At the bottom of the page is the timed smear tests. Here you can see why I say the Parker gel is a nightmare for lefty writers. It sat for 20 seconds and was still smearing pretty significantly. I was pleased with how fast the other inks dried but as you can see, even the "smear resistant" Jetstream is prone to the satin-finish. This makes hasty note taking very tricky for a southpaw because you will have smearing and ink transfer because you are hitting this ink very quickly.


Here you can see the back of the page. Only the Sharpie is pronounced and I think you would be just fine writing on both sides of the page with any of the actual pens. The picture speaks volumes, very impressive indeed.










Fountain pen users may want to avert their eyes from this next picture. Well, maybe it isn't all bad here. Though the ink sits on top of the page at first it does do a decent job of drying fairly quickly. I am thinking that the Pelikano's medium lefty nib is very generous with the ink output which leads to a very long drying time.




Another impressive picture. Clairfontaine does a great job of limiting shadow and bleed through.












Next up is the Doane Idea Journal:


There is a distinct difference when writing in these two notebooks. The Doane Idea Journal has a bit of tooth to it that is a nice contrast to the feel of your pen skating across the clairefontaine. Just as with the clairefontaine there was no problems with the traditional writing exercise. The main difference here is that while writing with the wetter inks you could see the ink absorbing quickly into the paper.

The picture shows a welcome difference in the smear tests. This notebook could make writing with a parker gel bearable, or maybe not. Take note of how fast the Varsity and Foray dry up on the page. It is a clean win here for Doane.





Unfortunately it is a victory that is short lived. As is evident in the picture to the left, we can see where that ink goes so quickly, to the other side. Moderate shadowing and slight bleed through can be seen. Many people are used to this sort of thing happening with their papers but it is still an issue. The cost of both of these notebooks is above average and I'd assume most people would want to get the most use of the paper possible.









Where the back images are impressive with the Clairefontaine, the same can be said for the writing images for the Idea Journal. The inks tested here were dry almost instantly after the ink was put to page.












The picture here was a pretty obvious guess given the previous photos. You can clearly see the ink here but only the Napalm ink is solid enough to disrupt writing on the other side. The key here would be fine nibs.










The Analysis: Both notebooks performed above what I originally thought. The clairefontaine is super smooth. Ink tends to actually sit upon the page until dried, which can take awhile. This is fine for a right handed person but for a lefty over-writer this presents some issues with anything that requires any sort of quick writing. When it comes to shadowing and bleed through, clairefontaine is a champ. It is very minimal and will allow for front and back writing.

The idea journal from Doane is a quick drying dream. It managed to soak up some ink in very impressive time. The downside to the fast dry pages is the shadowing on the back of the page. It is not bleeding through page after page, but it is noticeable and depending on your writer of choice can lead to one sided page use. I also notice that while I'm writing on Doane Paper of any sort I tend to write slower and my writing tends to look better. This is no doubt attributed to the added graph quads with the lines.

The Verdict: As a left handed person I am biased. I simply need a page to handle the ink I'm putting down and do it quickly. While the shadowing can be a bit of a downer, I do not yet use a lot of fountain pens. I do a lot of my writing with gel pens and rollerballs. This may eventually change with the pens and inks I choose to use but as it stands, The Idea Journal from Doane is my paper of choice.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Saturday shopping haul


In this photo;
Uni-ball EX2 in Sparkle Blue and Sparkle Purple
Sharpie Stainless Steel
Foray Liquid Gel Ink 0.7mm
Pentel Hybrid Gel Roller 0.8mm
Jetstream Premier
Pencil Pillows for my Hi-tec C's to enhance their grip.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pentel Selfit


I'm beginning to think I have a thing for these "comfort grip" pens. As a lefty I would shy away from ballpoints due to the enormous smearing issues and the fact that I felt that I was pushing too hard and holding the pen way too tight. All the delectable selections available at Jetpens has managed to lure me in to these types of pens despite my better judgment, and have proven to be decent choices.

Body: This pen is very light. Most pens with comfort grips, like the Dr. Grip or the G2 Limited, tend to be heavier. The light plastic body does add an air of cheapness to the feel of the pen. The metal accents do feel heavier then the rest of the pen and help the overall balanced feel it has in your hand. The clip is also plastic and just from pulling on it a bit, it does feel a bit weak.

Grip: The first thing everyone does when they get their hands on one of these types of pens is to squeeze the grip. With this pen that can mislead you into thinking the gel grip is too shallow because it is not a deep grip but when your actually using the pen it does a great job of allowing for a pleasent writing experience. This grip is unlike the alpha gel grip in that the selfit's grip feels like soft clay and it will keep your fingers indention for a bit after you set the pen down. A unique grip indeed.

Ink: The ink is not very bold but I'm learning that the tradeoff between bold blacks and vibrant colors is smearing or heavy ink transfer while writing. While this ink is nothing to rave about, it does not smear with light writing. I'll have to update this entry if it shows to not hold up with extensive writing on a page.

Price: $9.00 on Jetpens, a bit high for the quality of the pen.

Lefty Bottom Line: I prefer the Jetstream Alpha over this grip and pen overall. The lighter ink will help avoid traditional lefty pitfalls of smearing and transfer but even that is displaced by the unique jetstream ink. If your super interested in this pen simply for the unique grip; find it, squeeze it, and buy the jetstream.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Newest Jetpens order is here!


I received my latest Jetpens order in today.

1 x Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel Ink Pen - 0.38 mm - Green Black
1 x Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen - Blue Black
1 x Zebra Sarasa Push Clip Gel Ink Pen - 0.4 mm - Blue Black
1 x Uni-ball Kuru Toga Auto Lead Rotation Mechanical Pencil - 0.5 mm - Orange Body
1 x J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink - 30 ml Bottle - Perle Noire (Pearl Black)
1 x Pentel Selfit Silicone Gel Grip Ballpoint Pen - 0.7 mm - Orange Grip
1 x Uni-ball Jetstream3 3 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen - 0.5 mm - Red Body

I'm also expecting my very first Doane Paper order in as well. I can't wait to put those wonderful products into rotation.

Reviews soon to follow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lefties Unite! 3 of 3 Pelikano Junior




Continuing the theme of learning pens, comes my final submission of the Pelikano Junior. It didn't take me long searching for lefty pens to come across this little gem. It was part of my very first Jetpens order and even had me searching for a converter to use bottled ink that I didn't even have yet. The pen I used in the picture is actually my second PJ. The first was lost in some inexplicable manor. I haven't the faintest clue as to where it went. My thoughts are that it is lodged somewhere in that bermuda triangle of random items lost in the home, it starts in your dryer where it eats single socks (never the pair) and manages to swallow up the most random of items. I hope my second pen fairs better!

Body: This is a chunky pen, or as my cousin would say "extra medium". It brings me back to the days of oversized crayons and those big training pencils. It's made of a sturdy translucent plastic which adds to its overall toughness. The pen comes with two stickers on which you write your name. You then unscrew the barrel and place the sticker around the inside of the pen so that your classmates or co-workers know to whom this pen belongs. The nib is made of steel and creates the super smooth glide. I believe that the left handed nib is pretty close to medium. I do not think the nib is special. I've heard of Hebrew Italic nibs that are actually shaped to aid a lefty but this one is straight.

Grip: I am adding a new section here (and possibly from here out). Like the other pens I've reviewed in this series it has a lefty grip. As I've said before, my hand doesn't do so well with these set grips. I included a picture of how I hold fountain pens. I find holding my pen like this helps to avoid most of the skipping lefties encounter. I am still very much a fountain pen neophite and am not sure if this hold will work at all when I get into a better grade of nib and pen. (feedback is welcome on this point)You will also notice in the picture that not only am I a lefty over-writer but I also angle my paper as if I were right handed. This is due to the fact that while I was learning to write my mother would turn my paper and place the pen in my right hand. When she would leave the room I'd put the pen in my left hand again but wouldn't turn my paper to the right as is traditional for left handed people.

Ink: I can't say too much for the ink cartridge that comes with the pens. I used the blue ink from the first pen for only a day. As usual, I did not like the color of the blue so as soon as the converter showed up, it was out with the cartridge and in with the Noodler's Dragon's Napalm. When I received my second pen I put the converter (which I also repurchased) in right away and filled it with the ink that I purchased at the same time, Diamine Steel Blue. So without turning this into an ink review I will move on.
Price: $11.50 over at our good friend Jetpens. A fair price for a well made product.

Lefty Bottom Line: A fantastic starter pen for the young and the young at heart. A fountain pen gateway drug that truly exhibits the smoothness that you hear so much about when these pens are discussed. My favorite of the lefty pens I have. The ability to add a converter raises the score here. A low priced pen that you can use everyday without too much fear of dropping...or losing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lefties Unite! 2 of 3 Stabilo 's move


About two months ago I was making my way to the checkout counter of a nearby Dick Blick art store with my grip of new pens when my cousin gave a shout from the clearance table. Oh clearance table, why art thou so tempting! She knew my weakness for pens was only topped by my weakness for those same pens at a lower price. With new opportunities dancing before my eyes, I selectively plucked through the ripe vine of close-out goodies. One of the pieces from that day was this Stabilo 's move.

Yet another learning pen, this time from Germany. This particular pen is designed specifically to curve to a left hand.

Body: Obviously a very unique twist to the left handed pen. the light blue part of the pen is a smooth hard plastic. The darker portion is a smooth rubber that is a touch slick, but not enough to be annoying. It reminds me of the Tul grip minus the pits. The whole pen feels very sturdy and child-proof. The cap screws off and it cannot be posted. This pen's grip is pretty nice. I actually find myself gripping it properly with only minor discomfort and minimal distortion to my normal handwriting. Not bad at all. I believe the tip I purchased was 0.7mm.

Ink: This is the oddest ink I've come across. It is very wet. It is much more similar to a fountain pen then a liquid gel. Despite being a smoother writer then most, it is still not a fountain pen. I really like the way this ink handles on my Rhodia bloc 14. It still takes a bit to dry but is still faster then fountain pen ink. Truly a middle ground between an Energel and fountain pen ink. It is still a bit lighter shade of blue then I'd like. Another interesting note is that the package (I wish I'd have saved it.) advertised that it was eraseable ink. I tried rubbing the nub on the back of the pen, the cap as well, but no erasing. Not real sure what they meant by that. It does seem to have a problem putting out a consistent line as well. If you'll notice in the picture there are a couple of spots where the ink jumped and though I finished the letter, the ink did not.

Price: $5.37 from a place called Art store direct. I paid just under $2.00 for mine. The package came with a refill cartridge.

Lefty Bottom Line: A comfortable and unique looking pen. It comes in many colors and even different point sizes/pencil. It has difficult to describe ink but there were inconsistent lines yet no problems with smearing on my Rhodia pad. I wouldn't go out of my way to find this pen, but it's worth a look if you happen across one.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lefties Unite! 1 of 3 The Yoropen



For the next three posts I will be reviewing some pens that most writers would never bother to look at. I will be looking at 3 "lefty" pens. I hope it will shine light on this niche that is, in my opinion, vastly underwhelming.

The first pen in the series is the first lefty pen that I actively sought after doing some web searching for lefty writing ideas. It is the Yoropen. Originating in Taiwan, the Yoropen is designed to help writers of all kinds, but specifically for children. From my understanding of all these lefty pens that I will be reviewing, it's sort of a "learn how to write properly from the start" mindset. I think if I would have had contact with these pens in the outset of my learning years I may have had a completely different reaction to these products. I think that by now, without some serious practice I am doomfully set in my writing ways.

Body: The model I purchased is made from very basic plastic. The grip is standard rubber as well. The whole thing feels very cheap, which it was, but we don't talk about price here. The tip is angled and rotates within the rubber grip which keeps the grip from getting awkward for those, like me, that like a "close-to-tip" grip. Despite this, I cannot get a comfortable hold on this pen. I whirl it around to different angles but I do not blame the design of the pen as much as my personal writing style of holding the pen so close to the tip. The cap is overly designed. It seems that they put A LOT of thought into it so that it only goes on their the proper way, but in all that strain they did not design it to actually post on the pen itself. It's not a big deal but a pet peeve of mine because I will loose the cap.

Ink: typical run of the mill ballpoint ink. One thing of note is that there are not smearing issues because despite being uncomfortable for me, it does its job of keeping my hand from smearing the ink. It is refillable .

Price: I got mine for $2.99 at office depot. This pen comes in a lot of flavors including a mechanical pencil version that all can be found and ordered from their site.

Lefty Bottom Line: It feels cheap and it's a ballpoint pen. It does not smear because its design keeps your hand out of the way. This pen is not for me, however, I cannot ignore all the glowing testimonials I've read on this pen.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Platinum Preppy (Fine)


Without this pen I would not have ventured further into fountain pens. To be fair, my first fountain pen was a pilot varsity, but I believe I write too slowly and it was simply too wet a writer. I have read a lot of reviews on the preppy and there does seem to be a varsity/preppy divide. I was so curious as to how a fine tipped fountain pen would work for a lefty that I made it part of one of my first Jetpens order. My largest concern with this pen was whether or not it would be scratchy. As a lefty I do a lot of pushing with my pen. I do have to alter the way I hold normal nibbed pens. I simply angle the nib downwards. This puts the pen at an almost 90 degree angle with the paper and allows some of my push lines to become pulls. I still have some skipping but it is not nearly enough to make me not want to use this pen on a regular basis.

Body: It's made of plastic with a stainless steel nib. It feels much less clunky then the varsity in my hand and the matching ink and nib setup is really quite quaint. While I haven't had this pen long enough for this issue to occur but I've read that the preppy is prone to breakage around the barrel threading. It is also worth mentioning that this pen is hackable (as seen on Future; Nostalgic). Add this on to the ability to refill this pen with platinum cartridges, it seems like a landslide vs. the varsity to me.

Ink: I am not a big fan of the blue/black ink that I got with the pen. If anyone has a blue/black botteled ink that they love, please let me know 'cuz I'm looking. Back to the ink I received. It dries very light, almost a periwinkle, which is one of my favorite crayons but not ink color. Preppy does make up for the blue/gray ink color by drying very very fast. On 90g Rhodia it is very close to smear proof. On regular paper, flawless. I am not sure of the medium nibbed preppies, and to be honest, I probably will not try them, mainly due to a pelikano junior review that I'll do in a bit. Another plus is the various color offerings of the preppy. Lots of colors and colored nibs, what's not to love!?

Price: $3.00 on Jetpens. I haven't searched for them anywhere else but that is a pretty great price for a very versatile pen.
Lefty Bottom Line: The best starter fountain pen for the cost. Initial ink was lackluster yet fast drying but you can get a converter and plug in your flavor of the week (There is a business idea there, a baskin robbins for ink. Rocky Road brown/black!? Yes please!)

*Disclaimer* This site nor the comments therein are responsible for the rabbit hole of pens and ink that will result from fountain pen use. Consume at your own risk!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uni-ball Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip


Jetstreams are highly touted in the lefty community. I have had the greatest success with this pen, as far as all the claims of "smear proof" go. I do have a bit of a problem with this pen, the whole line in fact. It may just write too smooth. If I use jetstreams on any high quality paper, but especially clairefontaine paper, I feel as though the pen wants to go faster then my hand can write with it. This is weird to me, and I wonder if this is a problem that is solely mine. This is just a slight problem but often causes me to have weird squiggles in my lines and often throw me off track.

Body: The grip on this pen is the star. It is just a tad more firm then the 207 premier which is just too squishy. It also shares the "magnet" problem of the 207 premier. What I mean is that it picks up dust and anything else that it rolls into on your desk. After awhile my 207 began to turn dirty looking. this is the sole reason I got a black alpha grip. The upper half of the pen is a nice metal, the clip also seems to be metal. This makes the pen feel a bit top heavy with such a big grip, but I do not mind it at all.

Ink: Although the problem I mentioned before knocks this pen down a notch for me, the ink on most paper is smear proof. It dries super fast. (Read that part as you can follow your finger right behind the pen as you write and, on normalish paper, will already be dry. I can see why lefties love this lineup of pens. I like the 0.7mm line much better then the normal 1.0mm pens that you can grab in your local store.

Price: Jetpens has them for $15.00. This is the most I've spent for one pen that was not a fountain pen.

Lefty Bottom Line: This pen line deserves a try and the respect of a lefty over-writer. Even if you aren't left handed this pen is wildly comfortable to write with, and if you don't pick up this more expensive version, you should at least grab one of it's cousins from your local office supply aisle.

Pen Addict Giveaway

Be sure to check out The pen addict's new giveaway: Kokuyo Beetle Tip 3-way highlighter 5 pack!

Check out the rest of his site while your there if you haven't, some amazing reviews going on there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My camera is working again!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I have my camera working properly again. I retook and reposted pictures that were included in my previous posts. I think it makes a big difference, but it's not hard to top a camera phone. I hope you all enjoy the better quality pictures.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Uni-ball EX2




Uni-ball pens are great, but these take the cake for me. I stumbled upon these at my new favorite store Artmart in St. Louis. I did a quick doodle on one of the many notepads they place around their pen area to test drive their products. I liked the shade of orange so I picked it up. It quickly became my pocket pen for my reporter style Moleskine that I use for quick notes during the day. It dried quick enough to use in Moleskine and I just like orange ink. After my great results I decided to pick up a red and black ink EX2 pens on my next trip to Artmart.

Body: I do not enjoy slim barrel pens. I've searched high and low for some decent pencil grips to put over my slim barrel pens but have only come across glitter and bright pink ones. If anyone has suggestions on where to find something that works please let me know. Furthermore, the body is a hard plastic with grooves toward the tip, which is 0.7mm by the way.

Ink: This is where this line of pens shines in my eyes. It is some of the boldest ink I've come across. The orange is rich, as is the red. The black is very very dark and all the colors stay as vibrant even after drying. The ink is very smooth and I only have smearing problems on 90gsm paper as it doesn't seem to dry quite fast enough. If you go to Uni-ball's site you will see the TONS of colors available with this line, it is quite impressive.

Price: Amazon has them listed at $7.80 for a 5-pack. I picked them up at Artmart for about 1.50 a piece, which is a few cents cheaper per pen.

Lefty Bottome Line: Slim barrel is a minus in my book, but the richness of color in the ink more then makes up for it. Heavier paper presents a smearing problem but for everyday writing, I like this pen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday mail!



Sweeeet! I went to check my mail today and found, not only my recent jetpens order, but a package from Karen at Exaclair! Her package included a Bloc Rhodia No 14 and an amazing looking Equology President Planner in brown! It's not December yet but I will be doing some initial testing of this planner as soon as possible.

My jetpens order included my first Lamy, a Lamy Vista, fine nib. I also bought a Lamy converter, two Pilot FriXion color pencil-like pens in Purplish-Red and Ultramarine. The final piece of the order is a Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 in Bordeaux Black.

Watch for reviews of these products very soon. I apologize for the poor picture, I can't seem to find the cord to my camera at the moment.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Zebra Airfit Jell




I saw this pen on the pen addict awhile back. Add that to my new addiction to jetpens and we have a winner! Being left handed I always lean toward a thinner point. I'll hopefully have some reviews of some of the the really small points like my 0.3mm Hi-tech's and Coleto but as of now I like the 0.5 mm tips.

Body: I love the look of this pen. it feels very sturdy and the grip is nice. I did think it was a bit stiff when first using it. I am not sure if it is the death grip I put on it when using it or an actual feature but the grip has become softer since the first uses. So there seems to be a "wearing in" that happens that makes the pen more comfortable after a week or so of consistent use. Ilike the clip on this pen as well. It is very sturdy and opens nicely to fit binders and notebooks alike.

Ink: The ink is nice and bold. the 0.5mm point puts out a nice line that can be seen in the picture. What seems to happen with the better gel pens is the blotting effect on your hand as a lefty. This is much preferred to smearing but will leave very small amounts of ink here and there on your paper. It is barely noticeable, and I would like to do some more tests on different paper to see if the problem persists on paper that is not as heavy as the Rhodia and Black n' Red that I do these reviews on.

Price: These sell for $4.50 on jetpens which is well worth it imho.


Lefty bottom line: A fantastic purchase any way you look at it. Great price point, very fine point that helps prevent smearing issues. Highly comfortable grip that wears in like your favorite jeans!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Third Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Big thanks to the Office Supply Geek for hosting the third carnival of pen, paper and pencil, and also for listing my first review there!

If you have not checked the carnival out yet, please do. It is an amazing list of links to some of the best blogs on the subject.

Welcome, also, to those of you that have found your way here for the first time through the carnival. The blog isn't too much to look at currently, but I will say that the passion for pen and paper is still white hot, and I have a more then a few ideas brewing, as well as some reviews waiting in the wings.

Please stay tuned!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Out of the gates with Papermate G-Force




Ballpoints...I really must say it's a love/hate thing. A lot more hate then love. All you lefties out there can feel my pain. It's hard to forget a ballpoint pen, mostly because that ink is on the next few things you touch after you write with it. There is, on occasion, a ballpoint that catches my eye and I simply cannot resist that urge to add it to my handcart and buy it.


The Papermate G-force is an exception to the rule, for the most part. It did not smear nearly as much as other ballpoints I've known. It took some heavy duty writing to begin noticing buildup on my hand. I'd have to say that in moderate to light use, one might not ever notice "ink hand". I think this is due largely to the smaller point (.7 mm). The point and ink remind me of some of the higher numbered F series pens of Zebra.

The major downside to this pen for me is the slim barrel. Despite the best efforts of the nice rubber slotted grip, I still felt the need to grip the pen tightly. This normally leads to sweaty hand, which leads to ...."ink hand"!

I purchased mine in a single pack, but I've seen it offered in double packs at Walgreens. The price point is around $1.50 a pen.

The lefty bottom line: I like this pen, but it's still a ballpoint and will smear with heavy use.

Welcome to Inkthusiasm

I would like to thank everyone that is taking time to read my newly hatched blog!

As is common, I would like to use this first post as an introduction and starting point for what's to come. My name is DJ and I am 28 years old. I live outside of St. Louis, MO. I work in the human resource department for a global retailer, so as you can imagine I write A LOT!

My adoration for all things "officey" began at an early age when I would mimic office scenes from shows and films I'd see. My first computer was drawn on a notepad, complete with a full pencil drawn keyboard. It wasn't much but I closed some killer deals and made my monopoly millions with that notepad.

I am very aware of the multitude of fantastic pen, pencil, and paper review blogs out there. What will set me apart from a majority of them is my writing style. I am a lefty over-writer. This presents multiple challenges and greatly affects my stationary choices.

So I hope you will stay tuned as I will be bringing "lefty" reviews and thoughts, along with life blurbs, and plenty of INKTHUSIASM!