Posted in Stories

Blogiversary 2

Wow, it’s been 2 years. Last year I could not believe how successful the blog was. This year, welp all I can say is am flabbergasted (in the very best of ways).

Thanks to all who have viewed, liked, or commented on my blog, plus a special heartfelt thanks to those who follow the blog. I appreciate you all.

Year in Review

I don’t often bang my own drum, it is the blog’s birthday, altruism be damned, shamelessly here we go….

Last year I mentioned I had ideas for the next year, I am happy to say I followed through and added a variety of new themed posts. For the most part, my bright ideas were very popular. I created 2 Fountain Pen Mystery Theatre posts (The Blue Diamond and The Jade Pen), and 5 event-based posts celebrating (Nurses Week, Library Week, Ancestors Day, Halloween, and the Chinese New Year). I wrote a tribute to the pens of the TV show Madman and took you down memory lane with a variety of Throw-Back-Thursday. I enhanced my “New Month” posts to include a review of the prior month, added all the news worth mentioning about pens or ink, plus an occasional comment about dumb book banners. I published a couple ink-based articles (Majorelle Blue and wine based inks). Then finally I published well over 15 articles on educational or how-to topics (my favorite BTW is Nib Geometry).

Next Thursday to commemorate the blogiversary I am republishing the story of my first fountain pen. That post has been “remastered.”

“Today, a majority of fountain pen users write with fountain pens primarily for reasons related to writing comfort, expressive penmanship, aesthetics, history and heritage.”

A couple years ago I stumbled across this quote. I have been looking for a way to incorporate it into a post. Here we go. I use fountain pens for historical and heritage reasons, primarily. I make no secret to having horrible handwriting and I thank Bic for that. There is also the desire to be different – I’m not very good at following trends and have zero interest in popular culture.

How about you? Do you agree with the quote? What do you write with and why? Don’t be shy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Jetpack, Addition through subtraction

“Stats, Notifications, and the Reader – have a new home: the Jetpack app! These features will soon be removed from the WordPress app”

This is totally off-topic and it will not be a recurring feature, but I just wanted to vent. In case you did not read the press release, WP is splitting its blogging app into two parts: the blogging app and the et al app known as Jetpack. It sounds like this is only happening to the mobile app…. for now.

“Simply download the Jetpack app and you’ll be “auto-magically” logged in with all your content in place.”

Excuse my English but bullyshit. I made the switch on my iPad. It was a PITA, I had to delete the Jetpack app reinstall and try it again. Finally got it working after I stumbled onto an issue in my WP blog setup. I corrected that issue, and was then able to convert the blogs (yes I have 2), well sort of – I lost stuff. Better yet, in my fun sarcastic blog (it follows our Frenchie and her view of worldly things), I have all the posts but they are verboten to me. I can’t even display them. Yet, all the statistics, comments, followers, etc are there but no posts. WTH, stats but no posts! And the conversion blew away my profile picture. I know, no biggy but when you are already pissed! The only benefit I see is a trend graph of visitors over the last 7 days. I turned that off, I don’t care, I do this for fun. Maybe that is my problem, I don’t care, but clearly, I do. This isn’t fun!

This is when my wife tells me I’m manic and need an anger management class. I told her Mindfulness is failing me at the moment.

“Either app is available for you to use. Once you’ve decided which app is best for you, please delete the other. Managing your site across both apps is currently unsupported and may lead to issues like data conflicts.”

Great, so now I will use the Jetpack app for this blog and the WP app for the Frenchie blog, all because I cannot switch between sites anymore. Yes, there is an option to switch sites, just like the old WP beloved app but that is when the verboten thing happens. I’m sure I could post new stuff, but what about the old stuff? Why is it hidden from me? Addition through subtraction!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I don’t have a computer. All my blogging is done on my phone or an iPad. This means I have no recourse, I’m nothing but victimized. Yes, I occasionally I will use the “work” computer to log into the WP website to edit a post with a block that is not available on the mobile app (which there are many).

I feel better now. Hopefully, your experience will not be like mine. Let me know how it goes.

Posted in Stories


The power of serendipity.

“Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would present a wide array of information and viewpoints, rather than just re-enforcing a user’s opinion.”

Yes, I stuck a pen in the center of a mini carrot cake.

Wow, it has been a year. Can’t say it started on the right foot. I spent weeks being confused. I even bought a WP For Dummies book and I was still confused. Yup, I have a pea brain with flat spots. But I endeavored to persevere and here we are. Not only are we here, but I started a second blog, a satirical view of the world through the eyes of a puppy – that setup went much better.

I started the blog to connect with like-minded individuals who view writing instruments as a thing of beauty. At the time I assumed that there would be 3 like-minded people. I am flabbergasted, amazed, and in awe, during 1 year of blogging, I managed 76 posts, writing 43,000 words, which were read by 2100 visitors – remember this blog is about PENS! Writing instruments.

Thanks to all who have viewed, liked, and commented on my posts, and to those who follow the blog – thank you. By most blogging standards, these numbers are infantile, which is why I appreciate you all.

A special thanks to Ray at Fountain Pen Quest. Since he has mentioned the Chronicles in his blog, my viewership has quadrupled. I encourage you to visit his blog.

The Beginning

So how did it all begin? I restored or is it refurbished a Parker Challenger. During the process, I did countless dumb things and a couple good things. Afterward, I got the bright idea to address the brassing on the cap clip. The clip is nickel-plated and I found a DIY nickel electroplating process – it was a blast and my garage still stands. It is difficult finding pen restoration information. I wanted to save others from a similar fate.

I have a long list of topics that takes me into next year, hopefully, you will continue to find the content as interesting, and informative as I do.

Blogging Pros and Cons

I did not start the blog for fame and fortune. I started it to be social and to meet others. I’m following blogs that have nothing to do with pens, created by individuals from all over the world. I honestly think that is really cool. Unfortunately, I am the type who does best with a schedule and if I miss a posting date I stress. Each post is reviewed and edited at least 20-30 times (this post has been revised 25 times) before my “editor” reads it. Even with my self-imposed stress I still have fun.

The next trip around the Sun

I’ve given some thought to changes for the next blog year. Taking a page from several other bloggers, I’m going to add a “month in review,” summarizing my posts and highlighting other blogs. I’m going to comment more and “Like” less. I have some other ideas but they are just ideas for now.

In closing, I got to thinking that since this is a blog about PENS maybe I could share a couple facts about myself:

  • Currently reading: A Memory Called Empire
  • Last movie seen: The Dog
  • Pets: 3 dogs and 3 cats. Yes I live in a zoo.
  • Last concert: Black Sabbath, I have tickets to see Ziggy Marley, it has been cancelled twice.
  • Pens in my collection: OMG too many. Including pens for sale I have 22 Esterbrook, and 11 Parker, plus many, many more.
  • Most recent acquisition: Pilot Namiki Capless
Posted in Stories

Blogging: More than sitting around a coffee shop making up crap

A couple weeks back I reached the 50th blog post (Genus of Ink) – Yah me! Some of the reasons why I’ve been blogging is explained to the interested on the “Why you might Ask” page and on the “Seinfeld” post. Today I thought I’d highlight the processes and the effort that goes into each post. I imagine most people skim the post, not bothering to actually read it (I know this to be true).

This post is not directed towards bloggers, it’s for those who scoff at blogging, to educate and provide insight into the process. Maybe the muggles will gain an appreciation. This is not a “how-to” post, though 99% of help and tips does come from other bloggers. For me, it’s about something I’m interested in and I’m having fun, let’s look inside the creative process (stop laughing).


I use an iPad and a couple apps throughout the process, from tracking ideas, to research to first draft. It’s a little embarrassing that I write a blog about fountain pens and never pick up a pen.


I use Evernote . As ideas come to me I pull up the app, open the “Future Blog Ideas” and create a new topic line with the idea plus maybe an explanatory sentence. If I’m walking the dogs and the idea hits me, I pull up Evernote, click the note and use the dictation function. Ideas are fleeting and will be gone in a matter of moments. Then as I start researching the topic, I simply add to the note until I am ready to write the post.


I use the Chronicle app, free in the Apple App Store. I bought the multiple journal upgrade as I also use the app to journal vacations and as a daily journal. The app exports directly to Word Press, saving the post as a draft.

Writing is the easy part, the typical post goes through +30 changes before it is published. I recently decided to avoid adverbs – thanks Stephen King.


Many “successful” bloggers will tell you, maintain a regular posting schedule so I picked Monday. Then every other Thursday, we’ll sort of. On Thursdays I have a new post or a TBT repost on FB only. Gotta maintain a work-life balance and I have other interests. I keep a schedule of posting ideas in the Numbers app (I started with Excel). It is easy to reorder topics plus I like to keep some basic statistics. I use the Word Press feature to schedule a publication based on date and time. Also, I don’t write and publish in order, I’ve already written a post for Sept 26, 2022.

Spreadsheet Posting Schedule


I use a couple photo apps on my iPhone, Camera+2 and ProCamera they do a good job providing macro (close up) images. I air dropped the photos to the iPad where I make edits as needed using the Pixelmator Photo editor app.

Blogging Software

As you have discerned, I am using Word Press. I choose this software in part because, it was so popular, it is so easy to use thus I figured it would be easy for the “old man” to set up the blog and get help. Depending on what I want to do, some things are super easy on the iPad app, some are easy as the Chrome App and other times it is easy using the web version. Having some insight into html has also been helpful – I had to make changes in html. The software comes with tons of options and the instructions are clear as mud, but I manage. Oh and BTW, free is not free in the world of blogging.

Side note, I just made a “photo box” to improve my photos and eliminate the need to coordinate picture taking with the available sunlight. Besides I love projects.