Fountain Pens: Affectation or Pragmatic Choice?

It’s been a while since I posted mostly due to illness, from which, hopefully I am well on the way to recovery.

A few days ago, while visiting a friend, it was noted that I was using a fountain pen to record and make notes. To be honest, I like using ink pens. I have several. Some for writing, some for sketching, and some for admiring. They are all in use, some by design and some by intent. For instance, I have a few pens with upwards bent nibs. I find these ideal for sketching, due to their ability to produce different styles of line. Everyday pens for writing letters, postcards and lists of various sorts.

A big incentive to use my ink pens came from thinking about my use of plastics. I try to be as conscious of plastic use as I can. I wish to use as little as pragmatically possible. The ubiquitous ball point pen, gel pens and felt tip pens, for all their usefulness wear out, get lost, forgotten, and are generally not recycled. A story for another time.

Fountain pens on the other hand, tend to be cherished possessions, used not as an affectation, but as a lovely item to be kept and enjoyed. Even the very filling of the pen becomes a routine to enjoy. These pens tend not to end up in landfill, washed down drains, left on tables and desks. They can be as ornate as the user wishes, and the nib acquires the character of the writer. Gently moving to create the style of the user.

In short these type of pens last for many, many years.

I also use notebooks filled with handmade paper stitched to the spine, and backed with leather. I have tried backing with card, but find it less durable. After use my books find their way onto a bookcase shelf and provide many memories. I do not like plastic bound books. Card or even my choice, leather does rot down in normal conditions leaving less of an imprint than plastic covers.

Also a thing of beauty deserves being cherished, not dumped after use. Maybe in my own way I am doing my bit for the planet.

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Cycling on the Dark Side.

A response to a question I was asked about my cycling.

 

We all know certain things about riding your cycle. It can be very hard work ( Going uphill) or a doddle (speeding downhill). The more you weigh, the more difficult it is to pedal around, but the more you weigh the faster you can come downhill. Everyone knows from trying other friend’s cycles that all bikes were not created equal. We all have that one friend who leaves their cycle outside in all weathers with no protection or weatherproofing. Mountain bikes are not the same as road bikes and in the middle there are the so called hybrids, that are supposed to be a sort of all-rounder.

All these thoughts have been kicking around in my head bouncing back and forth between the walls of the skull, and generally making me more and more frustrated.

Then the rules of a step counting challenge I enjoy every year changed. Previously step counting was very easy. You looked at your counter, that you had worn during the day, and entered the steps and the total went up by that amount. People who ran, entered more steps, and the cyclist were not too pleased. Rule change, for every unit of distance a cyclist rode , they were allowed to add a certain number of steps to the total for the day. Now the keep fit , weight lifting rabbits screamed “unfair, what about all the effort we put in”. As a consequence, there was another rule change, users who spent time in the gym and at keep fit classes had a concessionary number of steps that could be added depending on how much time was spent pushing their bodies around. But this change split cycling into six groups. First, is the cycling indoors or outdoors, and then a further split as to whether it was leisurely, moderate or competitive.

OK. Stick with me here, I am going to channel Dr. Sheldon Cooper and there may be Mathematics involved. I hear a lot of chairs scraping, it’s not that bad, I promise, don’t leave.

So six types of cycling. Indoor, outdoor, easy decision, is it raining, then indoor.

Now think hard, do you remember from school…………..

Work done =force x distance moved

That rules out the static indoor cyclists, ‘cos they don’t travel anywhere. They stay in the same place. Yes mathematically trivial, but I try.

Now outdoor cycling. If you travel a circular route, then you haven’t gone anywhere, so again trivial. No work done. Therefore rule 1….. go somewhere. Stop have a rest , enjoy some calories. Then travel a separate route to your front door. Easy, two rides.. Sorry static cyclists.

Now let us do some thought experiments. Yes, Einstein was good at these. Imagine, if you will, two cyclists. One couch potato type at the beginning of the 100 day challenge. Not done a particle of training. The other, super fit, no measurable fat, all wiry muscle, been training hard since the last challenge. Further thinking, put the super fit on the road bike and the couch potato on the MTB. Start them together on a straight, traffic less, smooth, flat, nice, windless, temperate………. in short a wonderful magical cycling road. Who wins the race? First to cross the finish line should be the super fit road race person. Last by a while, enough time passes for a coffee and a doughnut, is our favourite couch potato. But, perhaps this person expended more energy cycling the course

I put it to you. I believe both these cyclists were competitive and deserve the equivalent competitive steps. Our couch potato, because they took longer would be given more steps to add to their total. Is this in the spirit of our challenge. I believe it is. Our couch potato has fulfilled the major tenet of the challenge. They got off their back side, and participated. A winner if ever I imagined one.

In truth, all I wish to say in this short trivial frivolity, is that there are variables, no constants.

Variables depending on such things, as road conditions, state of the surface, gradient, type of cycle, state of cycle, type and state of rider (Drunk or sober).

I am certain that this list could rapidly become exhausting, but never exhaustive. So Dr. Sheldon Cooper, we will not be needing your inexhaustible talents, apologies. A Mathematical formula would rapidly become too complicated and generally unwieldy for me to use.

Thus I will state my intentions clearly and without ambiguity. I, like most cycle lovers, will continue to bomb around all over the place, but slowing at times to enjoy the finer hedonistic moments, bird song, sun playing on a field et al. Thus I will consider myself to be an outdoor moderate cyclist. On the static cycle I will forever be a competitive cyclist. Doing my stint at the front and making my fat cry. At the end stumbling off the cycle, not able to stand, and shouting, not “Eureka”, but “wow that was great”.

In conclusion. If Feisty (fictional character of the wiry type), and I ever meet on a flat road, and race. I will consider myself the victor, and buy him a beer.

 

Stay safe and follow the Fluffle.

Blessed are the weird because they will change the Earth.

I think that growing older has several advantages, besides being offered a seat on a bus full up to the rafters with fellow travelers, and free prescriptions of life extending medication.

When I was younger I was more concerned with the how does this work. Gathering in on the small stuff, trying to understand the movement of this universe. As I grow older, the thinking has changed from the how to the why.

Taking a pocket watch as an example. I was very taken with the movement of the cogs and the time keeping mechanism of the escapement, and flywheel. Today, I feel more concerned that the watch works and keeps reasonable time. More concerned about the wholeness and why it is that it keeps time. You may say it keeps time because of winding the correct way, the tension in the spring, escapement and flywheel.

I say. What makes that watch a watch? Take it apart, and start putting the pieces back together correctly. When does this piece of machinery become a watch?

The whole contains the watch, but in individual pieces it is not a watch.

Why is this a watch? Is it, because there is now, a being or state of “watch” about it? How does it work? It works, because it has this state of “watch”.

As one grows older, one’s perspective on life changes due to experience. One becomes more concerned about the “life-ness” of being alive, than the individual decisions and pieces of living. Life becomes more of an experience.

It seems to me, that it is no mistake why people become stranger as they grow older. They stop searching for the “how” and want to know the “why”

 

“A fool who persists in his folly will become wise,” Alan Watts.

Trump versus Putin.

At this time in world history with the posturing across the lines in the Syrian dust.  Drawn,  by the leaders of two superpowers.    All it takes is one tiny movement by a person pushed to the brink of madness by belief in his own cockerel crowing, and enraged bull posturing.  Yes, that would devour this Earth, that we as an intelligent species inhabit, .  Turned into a ball of incandescent energy, all because of a playground spat.  Instead of handbags at dawn, nuclear missiles at dusk, leading to a fiery bright night and the darkest of dark days for humanity.

Let us hope that if this happens, Earth with recover over millions of years and not produce the same mistake as Homo Sapiens.  A dead end of evolution.

Action at this time is needed and called for.  Both sides must relinquish the old powers of empire and glory.  Peace must be given full reign, with it’s accepted maxim of true compassion and understanding of who we are as a species and our place as caretakers of this Earth.

Ask yourself, what action can be done to end this stupidity.

 

Fusion Beach

Fate drowned at ground zero

Five miles high light burned

bone loosed flesh

dissolved amoeba like into the hydra sun

life dissolved in earthen fissures

silent knowledge left unspoken

Bleak fiery thumb

Machined geodes that gave no early call

tart thoughts hypnotic trance

now depicted by atmospheric decay

the very atoms burnt to dust stripped electrons

gales sanded pain across the terminal beach

survivors died in sheltered minds

killed by thoughts of unfelt malice

lean tasted food deposited dried and stored

for better times

recycled water accumulator of energy

fused glass encrusted surface

reflecting mutilated future’s dream

dying slowly by hope.

madness crept on crepe souls

paranoia’s decay false aura of dawn

globules of hate perform exotic tangos

of dreams glowing in the dark behind

tight closed lids blue eyes now brown

flecked green

Möbius self pity

reflecting five miles up one mile down.

Silence and Words.

Riddle me re, and I’ll tell you a tale, of a rat that went to sea.

I truly wish to know what is silence.

In my quiet moments, with all the electronic technologic devices that surround me, switched off.  I like to meditate, think and sometimes read.

Early in what is commonly called the Early Ages, writing had no spaces and was read aloud.  Perhaps because of the lack of spaces it made extracting the sense easier.  I do not know.  Then along came some one, possibly, a monk Ambrose, who read without saying the words out loud. After many years, this became normal.   Though, who does not sometimes like to read aloud , to get the cadence and feel of the marks on the page?  The “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Tennyson is one I like to speak aloud.

I want to know, are words written on a page silent?

When thinking, there is this little voice in my head.  Mine as it happens, prepares proposals, counter proposals.  Then I make a decision based on my inner argument.  I still wonder, do others have this internal discourse.  This is where meditating comes into the fore.

Ah meditation.  Two types, possibly more.  Discursive, and just sitting.  I prefer, the just sitting.  I could not say that it is Zen meditation, but I do (try to) just sit.

So there appears for me to be a waterfall of noise/sound. I hate noisy places and they make me feel irritable and tired.  Sometimes I have to walk out, away from these places.  I also have been known to switch off phones and other assorted tech.

This can lead to noisy internal arguments, sometimes external ones as well.  Then, I just have to sit.  No, I do not wish to be rude, I need quiet.

In conclusion to this mess of words.   I yearn for silence, but I fear it like doom.

Oh, the rat.  He died.

Let’s be Honest.

Image result for lightning bolt

This world is about power, right?   I am not talking about the stuff that comes up the cables and pipes, and lights and heats our homes.

I am talking about the power we give people.  The power we give people by consent. This is as simple as feeling afraid, as some one walks down the street towards you.  It can be about littering the world with dog poo bags, or it can be about the power that a society gives to the people in charge.  At some stage we used to say, “The Man”.

What about the power we give to other people to protect us, to tend to our needs to put us back together. The power we give our friends.   These are good powers, aren’t they?

Power exists in the person  society gives it to.  If a chosen leader does something  not fitting with your ethics or morals, do something about it.  Let members of society, who disagree with the way that elected leaders are managing our hopes and aspirations, stand up peacefully and be counted.   Write to, Parish council, City council, District Council, County Council, Member of Parliament,  parliamentary Leaders.

Petitions are available to sign on a number of sites.     Change.org       UK parliament

These are only two.  Google “petition sites”, and there are petitions to sign.  If there is not one for you on a site, then start your own.  Petitions work, if there are enough voices.  Sign them.

There is peaceful work to be done. Enough voices and you will at least make a statement of intent.  Remember peaceful and safe  protests win support, any violence turns valuable support away.

Withdraw your consent, say “no more”.  Snow the man under with paper.  Block his emails with your emails.

Craftivism.

A different type of activism.  Craft + activism = craftivism.

Perhaps this is a new word to some people.  I have to say, it was for me a few days ago, until the word popped up on my twitter feed.  I then began a little more searching online and came across this document published on the site  craftivism.com.  I came across “A Manifesto for Craftivism”, as well as more explanation.  Please visit this site for any further information about being a craftivist.  It may change your thinking.

I wish to thank Betsy for letting me publish the manifesto with due credit, and to all those involved.