Re: The digital age

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one's intended

Darn it, for a second I thought you were engaged. I was incorrectly happy for you, neb!

As to this:

specifically a uniball deluxe 0.3mm micro -- it is mysteriously described as follows:

Using uni-ball pens with pigmented ink is an easy and inexpensive way to protect yourself against identity theft.

Huh?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:23 PM
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Beats me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:27 PM
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I used to love writing and receiving letters, but in the age of e-mail I'm at a loss as to what might properly be communicated by letter.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:37 PM
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1: I remember people saying, back when "check washing" was a big deal, that it's better to use these sorts of liquid ink pens rather than a cheap ballpoint when writing checks because it's harder to do fraudulent things when the ink more fully soaks into the paper. Could be referring to that. Though I wouldn't exactly call it identity theft.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:40 PM
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You might be surprised to learn that much of what you can communicate via email can also be communicated, albeit less speedily, via a letter written on paper and put through the post.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:40 PM
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in the age of e-mail I'm at a loss as to what might properly be communicated by letter.

This year some of my staff is getting handwritten letters instead of a year-end gift. (The gift was never very large in the past, and most of the staff is new this year anyway.)

I'm hoping the message they'll come away with is: This is not a business letter, even if it comes from your boss.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:46 PM
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How do you think the Uniball Deluxe 0.3mm Micro compares to, say, the Uniball Vision Micro? Well, wait, obviously, you'll think the Deluxe is better than the Vision, but I'm curious as to why, since I just bought a fistful of the latter and love them.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:47 PM
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I think the Uniball Vision Micro is ok, but the deluxe seems to me to have a finer line (something I just confirmed). The vision is a little freer with its ink and less pointy as to the nib (advantageous on some papers, I admit). I also don't like its looks as much.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:50 PM
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a uniball deluxe 0.3mm micro, the best pen ever made

This is the rightest thing you've ever said! Too bad the post returns to nonsense shortly thereafter.

Actually I can almost never find 0.3s, so I more often use an 0.5.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:51 PM
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The vision micro is better than ok, in fact. But it's no deluxe micro.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:52 PM
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Now if only I could find my lighter I'd be able to seal this damn thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:57 PM
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I have just discovered this site and predict that I will now be spending way too much money on pens, considering how little writing I actually do.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:59 PM
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I enjoy writing long notes in blank cards, but I don't think I've written a letter in a long time.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 7:59 PM
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You can change that, Parenthetical! I'll send you my address.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:01 PM
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Are y'all talking about These?

I usually just grab Pilots or Pentels, but seem to remember using something called a Uniball a while ago. It certainly wasn't a $50 pen. Looking for prices

Got some Pilot Precise V5s, but that's as fine than I like.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:04 PM
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I'll be, apparently the uniball deluxe micro is actually 0.5mm. I can hardly believe it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:05 PM
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I need better stationary. The thing that bugs me about cards, which was revealed yet again when I was penning my Father's Day and anniversary card for my parents, is that so often my preferred pen does not interact well with the ever so slightly shiny surface of the card. I'm not about to use sand to blot things. (The idea of making my own ink intrigues me, though).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:05 PM
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Grr, stationery, of course.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:06 PM
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Pilot makes 0.3mm pens. Any Uniball pen I've ever tried makes lines that are too fat for my taste, but maybe I haven't tried the right ones.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:07 PM
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16:I am seeing .3s and 0.2s! in my searches for uniball deluxe micro.

They look less expensive than my Pentels and Pilots.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:12 PM
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You can change that, Parenthetical! I'll send you my address.

Then eagerly await a lovingly handwritten note reading, in its entirety, "Fuck you, clown!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:13 PM
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Buildings that are constantly falling apart, yet always remain standing. You know--multiple standing configurations, unstable with respect to each other.

Sounds like the software I've been working on...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:14 PM
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For Instance?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:15 PM
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21: Hah hah, that's hilarious. I've been told my handwriting is lovely (though I'm unconvinced) - I'd work on making it particularly nice.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:18 PM
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Got some Pilot Precise V5s, but that's as fine than I like.

That's an outstanding pen, bob, don't ever apologize for using it.

Not that you need my approval. I'm just sayin'.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:29 PM
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Allow me also to take this opportunity to introduce my new architectural concept, dynamic integrity.

I'm not baited so easily.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:31 PM
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McManus and I use the same pen. Though, I really wish that Pilot had better quality control - I buy them in boxes of 12 and there's always a number of duds in the box.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:32 PM
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I used to love writing and receiving letters, but in the age of e-mail I'm at a loss as to what might properly be communicated by letter.

Dear John, ...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 8:59 PM
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Real pens are always too heavy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:06 PM
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I just looked up uniball deluxe pens. Those are okay after all. I assumed we were talking about those pretentious desk-set graduation-gift pens. For some reason a number of my peers in grad school loved the hell out of those and had all sorts of opinions.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:09 PM
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29: Gravitas comes at a price.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:11 PM
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Gravitas is my favorite word.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:20 PM
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Real pens are always too heavy.

Put's you in the right frame of mind around exam time though, when wielding the red pen of doom.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:23 PM
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OMG. Pierrot le Feu started at 10. Pierrot le Feu. Letterboxed, subtitled. Life is good. Television is good.

But I can't keep track of 500 channels. Danton is on this week, but I forget where & when.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 9:48 PM
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(For those who are collectors, Belmondo gets water tortured. Sort of, cloth over head, shower attachment sprayed on his face.)

Wonderful movie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 10:40 PM
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32: In that case, if you've not already, you should read the Culture novels of Iain M. Banks. He's got gravitas in spades.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 10:41 PM
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channels are sort of quaint.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-22-09 10:41 PM
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37:It allows choice without plan. Obviously Pierrot le Feu has been available to me for years, via Netflix or a rental store.

.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:07 AM
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Costco sells uni-ball. I get the the black 207's. They write a mean misdemeanor citation.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:07 AM
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What is this heresy?

A good fountain pen is still clearly best. Extra bonus points for cool art-deco and/or 50s looking ones.

Rollerballs are great for a very fine smooth line, and fountain pens get a bit scratchy, but if you like a broader stroke, for me, a decent fountain pen every time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:32 AM
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I haven't written a hand-written personal letter longer than a quick note or card in at least 5 years, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:33 AM
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. Buildings that are constantly falling apart, yet always remain standing. You know--multiple standing configurations, unstable with respect to each other.

Sounds almost as good an idea as my idea for a plane that would fall apart in a controlled manner on the ground to allow swift egress. The insides would be padded, of course.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:40 AM
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I am in love with the Muji pens I got from Bave at Christmas, but am almost out of ink. Need to replace. Nothing else will satisfy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:25 AM
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I'm pretty sure it was Kiefer Sutherland, not Keanu Reeves, who said "gravitas" was his favorite word. Because the next question was what his least favorite word was, and he said "nigger". The tape of this interview was then easily rearranged by producers for the Howard Stern show.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:06 AM
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42: Rollerballs are great for a very fine smooth line, and fountain pens get a bit scratchy, but if you like a broader stroke, for me, a decent fountain pen every time.

It really depends on the paper. Fountain pens pick up way too much paper frizzies on regular types of paper for me. A quill and nib works better for that, since you're going to be dipping it constantly anyways.

(specifically a uniball deluxe 0.3mm micro, the best pen ever made)

I like my Uniball Deluxe, but it also tends to pick up too many frizzies. The Uniball Visions works real nice on crap paper, and are also easier to find. I think what you need though, neb, are some rapido technical pens like these or like this this full set (click the question mark). I think the 00 and smaller on good paper will blow away the Uniball.

Got some Pilot Precise V5s, but that's as fine than I like.
That's an outstanding pen, bob, don't ever apologize for using it.

The V5s are really good for drawing, but they tend to crush on me if I write with them. Because I, sadly, have thick, meaty hands. The VBalls work real well for writing. But, as parenthetical said, Pilots tend run out real fast.

max
['Man's eternal struggle for a nice pen continues through the twilight of the word.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:11 AM
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My best college GF was given a Mont Blanc pen that she adored, but the damn thing broke if you looked at it funny. In ~9 months she sent it back for repairs three times. And yet she insisted that it was of the highest quality. Certainly it was expensive, and it was nice of the good people at Mont Blanc to fix it free of charge, but to me the word "quality" excludes easy breakage during routine use.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:13 AM
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This year some of my staff is getting handwritten letters instead of a year-end gift. (The gift was never very large in the past, and most of the staff is new this year anyway.)

Witt has a large staff! And fires them regularly! The quest to figure out her job continues...I think she's a shadowy kingmaker in Philadelphia politics.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:23 AM
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45: Have you tried felt tips? I switch back and forth between felt tip and ball point every so often (for no good reason whatsoever), and I find the felt tip really pleasant to write with, and picking up crap from the paper is a non-issue. There are some really nice ones out there that give a good clean line and don't mush the tip unless you really abuse them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:26 AM
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47: If that's correct, Witt, could you please kill the PLCB? I want to buy beer and wine at the regular store. People keep telling me about Two Buck Chuck and, despite the Trader Joe's, I can't buy any.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:27 AM
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re: 45

Yeah, the pads they hand out at work here don't work with most of my fountain pens: something to do with the combination of the cheap paper with a slightly shiny finish.

I have a load of old fountain pens. I tend to just buy them at the local market whenever I see them for under ten quid. Most of them still work fine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:30 AM
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Lately I've been enjoying the Pilot VBall Extra Fine. Pumps out a lot of ink very smoothly, is a click pen so I don't lose the cap, and it's cheap.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:31 AM
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43: Now you get to find out how little I spent on them.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:32 AM
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You might be surprised to learn that much of what you can communicate via email can also be communicated, albeit less speedily, via a letter written on paper and put through the post.

Indeed it can. When you email a person regularly, however, then the handwritten letter a week later reporting events already relayed via e-mail seems somewhat out of place.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:34 AM
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The best pen ever was obviously the Pilot P-700. Unfortunately, Pilot discontinued it and now you can only find on the internet in Green.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:35 AM
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When I was in just learning cursive, we watched a film where a king held a hand-writing contest to see who would marry the princess. The villain had two magic pens, one that would enable the user to write perfectly formed letters and one that made the writing look like it was done by somebody who'd just had 15 cups of coffee on an empty stomach. The villain managed to get the prince-hero to use the bad pen and he used the good pen. But, the prince's hand-writing was so good, that he still won anyway. And I resolved to stop writing cursive as soon as I was allowed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:46 AM
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A good fountain pen is still clearly best.

I was thinking of pens made for day-to-day use. I have a good fountain pen but I wouldn't bring it to school, use it to take notes or write marginalia, etc.

It has a much broader stroke than the uniball, of course, but in this case I don't mind it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:52 AM
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I failed handwriting in sixth grade. Unless I make an effort, my handwriting is still very bad. I would never win the princess.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:06 AM
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You don't want a princess anyway. Princesses: objectively not worth it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:09 AM
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But, the king didn't have any sons, so you'd get the kingdom of sans serif.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:11 AM
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Also, the princess had great big tracts of land.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:15 AM
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re: 56

I use them for more or less everything. I don't use them as much at work because of the aforementioned cheap shiny paper. But all my usual academic scribbling, margin notes, etc are done with one. It's partly just force of habit -- I stopped using ballpoints because they hurt my hand, and while I like rollerballs, I usually just tend to reach for a fountain pen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:16 AM
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I did use a disposable fountain pen all the time when I was in Germany. Pilot, I think, used to market one here. But I haven't seen it in ages.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:39 AM
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I used to love the cartridge fountain pens in Germany.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:44 AM
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Yeah, I have a couple of new cartridge fountain pens, one by Lamy and one by Rotring that are really excellent. Neither was expensive -- about 20 quid, I think -- and they write really well.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:46 AM
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Wow, y'all have given this a lot of thought. My sole criterion for pens is how well they stand up to being chewed. Out of the selection in our office's supply room, the Pilot G-2s have the best mouthfeel.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:48 AM
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What the heck? Is this blog a portal to a parallel universe? If you had asked me one day ago, "Has anyone in the Western world born more recently than 1940 ever used a fountain pen?" I would probably have said "no".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:49 AM
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I have several fountain pens and a few dip pens. I use the fountain pens quite a bit, but the dip pens were a failed attempt to make sitting down and writing seem interesting and different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:51 AM
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re: 66

I'd have thought that among people who write a lot longhand, fountain pens are still popular because they are comfortable to use.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:55 AM
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Sorry I screwed that up. I think I saw someone writing with a fountain pen once. For "fountain pen" read what seems to be referred to as "dip pen".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:57 AM
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I went through a dip pen period in college, and enjoyed it, but it's not really compatible with the mess I live in generally. If I had a dedicated writing desk, maybe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:59 AM
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I use a fountain pen (Pelikan), if I'm going to be writing longhand for anything length of time. I like the sproingy feeling in the nib ( . . .d00dz). I bought violet-scented ink that I haven't had a chance to use yet -- it appealed to me in a belle-epoque-hookery kinda way.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:00 AM
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Is this blog a portal to a parallel universe?

Well, yeah. Isn't that why people come here?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:01 AM
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What color is the violet-scented ink?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:03 AM
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73: Why, it's violet, Violet.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:05 AM
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How disappointingly literal.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:05 AM
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73: Aw, Ben loves me enough to ignore the terrible extra "-thing" in 71. xoxo!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:06 AM
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I put my hand up on your hip pen.
When I dip pen, you dip pen, we dip pen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:07 AM
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I used to use a cheap fountain pen in secondary school and college, until grad school more or less. Uniballs are nice and don't leak or require cartridges, but I always liked the slightly broader fountain-pen line.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:07 AM
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Parker Vectors, that's what they were. I wonder if you can still buy them.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:10 AM
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Esterbrooks have screw-in nibs, and they apparently made the bladder out of armadillo scrotum, as original pens still work pretty often.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:12 AM
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I use a Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Pen (although not for writing). Would you call that a fountain pen?

I guess like Ned I thought a fountain pen was what you are calling a dip pen.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:13 AM
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79: CA had several of those that he used forever. They were indestructible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:14 AM
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Let's say you were a sloppy, inattentive and generally neglectful child with a lack of fine motor skills and a weird left-handed writing grip which caused your hand to smear across whatever you had just written. You would agree that fountain/cartridge pens are THE DEVIL! I wonder if modern inks are faster-drying than they were 40+ years ago.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:19 AM
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83: All fear the wrath of the 'Blue Pinkie'.

P.S. Modern inks for fountain pens don't dry faster.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:30 AM
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57: I failed handwriting in sixth grade. Unless I make an effort, my handwriting is still very bad. I would never win the princess.

So is mine! My cursive handwriting. (Actually, when I do it these days, I'm like, wow, that's not that bad, but god, is it slow.) Back to the engineering drawing style.

58: You don't want a princess anyway. Princesses: objectively not worth it.

What you need is a barbarian princess.

81: I use a Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Pen (although not for writing). Would you call that a fountain pen?

See 45. I would count those as fountain pens myself.

50: Yeah, the pads they hand out at work here don't work with most of my fountain pens: something to do with the combination of the cheap paper with a slightly shiny finish.

Strathmore is awesome.

I have a load of old fountain pens. I tend to just buy them at the local market whenever I see them for under ten quid. Most of them still work fine.

I have a few, but what happens is I tend to leave the cartridges in and they dry out all gooey. For being insane, however, cartridge pens are great, because the cover off and shoot a bunch of ink out and go from there.

48: Have you tried felt tips? I switch back and forth between felt tip and ball point every so often (for no good reason whatsoever), and I find the felt tip really pleasant to write with, and picking up crap from the paper is a non-issue. There are some really nice ones out there that give a good clean line and don't mush the tip unless you really abuse them.

Hi, my name is max, and I have a problem with pen abuse. It's like this: if I writing equations on graph paper, I can use any old pencil, but I much prefer 0.7 mechanicals. I would use (and sometimes do use) 0.5 mechanicals, but it tends to go like write write write write snap FUCK click write write write write snap FUCK. Writing in english is worse, but, if I use wide points, it tends to look like something a small child would write (due to the aforemention meaty hands with the previously broken knuckles). So I need a narrow point... which tends to break. Drawing, on the other hand, is entirely different from writing since it's not all one direction and it isn't fast, so I use very narrow points for that.

Thus, last year, when I was mailing some books to B, I was going to quickly jot out a short note, and I had some graph paper right there on the desk, so I used that. It turned into a four page opus, in two or three colors, if I remember correctly, with assorted doodles, crosshatches, diagrams and god knows what else. I'm pretty sure I broke a needlepoint pen in the middle of that one through forgetting to draw, not write, with one. (I'm glad it was just a quick note, or I might have gotten ornate.)

max
['God knows what would have resulted if I was trying to be artistic or something.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:58 AM
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81: A Rapidograph, if it's the kind with the wire-on-a-weight sticking through a hollow barrel (you do disassemble and clean it, religiously, right?), I call a "technical pen" - the design of the nib being the distinction from a fountain pen - it provides a constant-width line as opposed to the split nib which can vary thickness with pressure.

A "dip pen" is one with a split nib that you have to dip into a bottle of ink to use.

A "fountain pen" contains an onboard reservoir of ink.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:03 AM
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62: I recently saw disposable fountain pens -- Pilot "Varsity" -- at my local art supply store. I was afeared to try it.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:12 AM
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62: I recently saw disposable fountain pens -- Pilot "Varsity" -- at my local art supply store. I was afeared to try it.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:12 AM
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IIRC, AB has been using Pilot Varsities (?) for years. She has a nice fountain pen that she likes to use for notes and such, but she keeps a Varsity around for random usage (when she worked for the City, I think she kept her nice pen there and a Varsity at home). IIRC, they make a nice enough line but don't have an especially smooth feel.

I've been using a Lamy fountain pen for years - I think my sister got it for me when I was in college. It's just a cheapy, but I like it (although it's lightweight, it fits my grip nicely). Interestingly, AB finds it almost literally impossible to write with - the angle is all wrong for her.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:26 AM
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||

Facebook is suggesting I become friends with Jonah Goldberg. These are the dangers of writing angry emails to Corner posters from the same address to which your FB account is linked.

|>


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:26 AM
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the Pilot G-2s have the best mouthfeel

Actually a very nice writing feel as well. But I never use them for some reason.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:29 AM
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Facebook is suggesting I become friends with Jonah Goldberg

It would be kind of fun to be Jonah's first friend, I would imagine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:30 AM
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||

Oh, hey, UofCers, I saw a guy in the Strip Saturday wearing a maroon T reading "Where fun comes to die" on the back. My first instinct, of course, was CMU (which has Cardinal Red as its official non-tartan color, but often ends up with more maroony tones), but, of course, it was your beloved alma mater.

I thought of each and every one of you.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:33 AM
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I still hand write quite a few things. I enjoy it. And I find that I think differently when looking at the blank page as opposed to the blinking cursor, so I like to use it as a strategy to help me write when I don't want to. But I've never experienced a pen making my hand hurt (except when writing really quickly, as in while taking notes in a lecture or something).

Anyway, long rambly post, but it has a question. Why the difference in comfort between the fountain pen and others?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:35 AM
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90: These are the dangers of writing angry emails to Corner posters from the same address to which your FB account is linked.

Danger? I'd call it reassuring that even though people worry about Internet social networking eroding our concept of privacy, the computers still rely on such easily fooled methods of recognizing friends. The GIGO law is still in force.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:35 AM
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Why the difference in comfort between the fountain pen and others?

The aforementioned springy nib - it moderates the pressure you apply to the paper.

Also, they tend to be chunkier than, say, a Bic, meaning they fit your hand better. And some people like the heavier weight, which allows it to rest in the crook of your hand, with the fingertips merely guiding the point, rather than gripping the whole thing and mashing it to the paper. But that's an overly florid description of a minor difference.

I've had a link to "handwriting tips" in my bookmark bar for 3+ years. I keep hoping that, perhaps, one day I will start following them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:39 AM
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I'm still looking for a fountain pen with the lever that shoots ink, like in the old cartoons. I actually have one, but it is too old and doesn't fill with ink regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:44 AM
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A Rapidograph, if it's the kind with the wire-on-a-weight sticking through a hollow barrel (you do disassemble and clean it, religiously, right?), I call a "technical pen" - the design of the nib being the distinction from a fountain pen - it provides a constant-width line as opposed to the split nib which can vary thickness with pressure

Thanks Hamilton-Lovecraft! I've always called it a "technical pen", but I didn't really understand the distinctions. And, yes, I do disassemble and clean it religiously.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:49 AM
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yes, I do disassemble and clean it religiously.

What are you, some kind of prissy obsessive-compulsive neat freak?

I've wrecked like three sets of tech pens over the years, which is why I use Pilot Precise ball points these days.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:56 AM
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But damn, I do kind of miss that sexy ultrafine 000 line. The damn things must be in the house somewhere...


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:59 AM
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Hamilton Lovecraft, you are cruel.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:02 PM
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90: Ha! FB is right now suggesting that I become friends with Robert George (the NYPost guy, not the P-ton guy). But I knew him in college (he was long graduated when I showed up, but would come back to campus from his gig with Ne/wt Gin/grich to DJ parties).
(I am also just today friends with a long-lost romantic regret of my youth. Regret as in, gee, there ought to have been some nakedness there, but somehow we never got around to it, hélas. I am pleased to see he is still a hottie.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:10 PM
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I am friends with nothing but romantic regrets, practically.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:12 PM
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I know someone who has something of a crush on the P/ton Rob/ert George, which is really twisted. It's apparently because he's a good bluegrass banjo player and sings well.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:16 PM
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What are you, some kind of prissy obsessive-compulsive neat freak?

Ha! Well, I really only dissassemble and clean it when it's time to refill the ink reservoir.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:17 PM
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That's so sweet, neb.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:17 PM
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101: I learned it from all of you, all right? I learned it from reading the Mineshaft!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:17 PM
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105: That's the easy part. Cleaning it just before you don't use it for a week or more is the part I always failed at.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:19 PM
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My rapidograph 00 and 000 nibs are now soaking in hot water after 5 years of gummy ink disuse. My father would be disappoint.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:20 PM
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ed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:21 PM
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108: Well, I am pretty religious about using it just about every day.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:25 PM
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110: Maybe his father would be disappoint, neb! Whom are you to judge?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:27 PM
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110: Are you familiar with all internet traditions, neb?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:29 PM
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Whom are you to judge?

Hamilton-Lovecraft, apparently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:29 PM
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113: no.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:30 PM
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109: You might need Rapido-Eze Cleaning Solution or rubbing alcohol. Also, maybe a bulb syringe.

Why would your father be disappointed? That you stopped using it or that you are planning on starting again?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:31 PM
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H-L had a very stern father who would be disappointed in whatever his son did, just because he did it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:32 PM
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116: That I didn't take proper care of them, and that in general I throw stuff away and buy new stuff rather than properly maintain my stuff.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:33 PM
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118: Maybe he would be pleased that you are trying to clean the nibs rather than just going and buying new ones.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:38 PM
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Hamilton Lovecraft, you are cruel.

If you want some estatic torture, try the Speedball (not, not drugs!) catalog right here, specifically starting at page 59, but all around there, actually.

My rapidograph 00 and 000 nibs are now soaking in hot water after 5 years of gummy ink disuse.

Fucker.

max
['I should find the rapidograph catalog.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 12:38 PM
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Now I'm imagining his disappointment at how many paper towels I used in the pen-cleaning process.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:15 PM
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You don't have a pen-wiper?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:16 PM
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In this economy? I had to let him go.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:17 PM
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Confession: sometimes I conflate Ham-Love and Biohazard.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:17 PM
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Biohazard has a kid, a motorcycle, and one or more handguns. I have a cat and a complicated marriage.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:30 PM
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Er, multiple kids. Biohazard has.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:31 PM
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My sole criterion for pens is how well they stand up to being chewed.

Mine is that they be in the supply closet. For the last nine years, across two companies, I've written in nothing but faint red ink because that's what was left in the supply closet. Now that I live by the sweat of the taxpayer I have a Pentel EnerGel and I'm in love with it.

At home I have a couple of pens of some type or another that work when I need to write something. I don't write very much, and my handwriting has suffered for it (always horrible at cursive, I now basically write in small caps anytime I need another person to be able to understand it) but when our fraternity brother was in Afghanistan I wrote him a number of letters and started enjoying writing again. Not enough to actually do any correspondence by hand now that he's back, but it wasn't horrible.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:32 PM
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Biohazard has a handgun for each kid.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:32 PM
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I think fountain pens are cool but I've never owned one. Are they hard to find?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:33 PM
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No.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:35 PM
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129: Not at all. I'm sure Amazon sells them, but in most cities there will be the nerded-out pen store with the pen nerd running things. Such nerds are very good at pointing you toward a pen that best pleases you. Pelikans are extra sproingy and so I like those (plus the green barrel is cool).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:36 PM
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I am happy that there are things like nerded-out pen stores.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:38 PM
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Your happiness is just your endless hostility in disguise. You can't fool us, Cala.

I note that what I buy more than anything are mechanical pencils for use in D&D games and taking notes in Japanese class. I definitely have favorites but I don't know the brands/models, I just know what they look like in the store: thick barrel painted red, good weight, black rubberized grip.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:42 PM
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We have discussed writing implements before.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:48 PM
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That thread is, like, old! M/tch M/lls isn't even googleproofed.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:53 PM
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Pencils! Those still exist?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 1:58 PM
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I should find the rapidograph catalog.

It so turns out that Kor-i-noor is actually Czech, but was apparently purchased by Germans (Rotring, which I wish to enunciate as 'rotwang'), who then (confused look) stopped shipping Rapidographs to the US, or possibly sells them though the Kor-i-noor US subsidiary. (Whereas Kor-i-noor makes no mention of any whatyoucall techneeecal? pens) And Jesus H. Christ, Esq., could this be any more like the old days of acquiring camera parts?

Teh technical pen section of the Rotring site, the Staedtler Mars, the quasi-technical pen section of Copic and some guy who is reselling/documenting Pelikan/Rotring antiques. One of those might make you happy, neb.

max
['One of them would make me happy depending on just exactly how painful the armed robbery is going to be.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:26 PM
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137: It's Koh-i-Noor


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:37 PM
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136: You can make a steam-punk pencil with a stick and a fire.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:46 PM
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132: Have not been there in a while, but in Pittsburgh it used to be JR Weldin on Wood Street. Nice history to the place as well (by US standards).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:46 PM
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Mechanical pencils are something I quite like in theory, but hate in heavy-handed practice.


Posted by: JP "Lenny" Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 2:55 PM
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OT: Fuck Switzerland. Also Delaware.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 3:12 PM
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Koh-I-Noor is an odd name for a pen. Do you get a famous Indian diamond with it?

It was so worth moving to a private school once I found out they give you a pen-washer.


Posted by: gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 4:14 PM
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I have a mechanical pencil that I very much like because the point retracts as well as the lead. No more stabbing through things!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 4:15 PM
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140: Most certainly still is. Semi-sadly, the adjoining Weldin's Wishes card store has been replaced with Ewe Can Knit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 4:35 PM
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OT: I already vented about this elsewhere, but for the record I want to say again that Ross Douthat's ability to needlessly injected sexist remarks on his way to another point is just really, really unpleasant.

I wonder how Randall Munroe feels about it. (Douthat's latest column starts off by citing an xkcd cartoon but inaccurately claiming it depicts an "irritated wife" rather than a genderless offstage voice. Also, he doesn't actually mention xkcd's name or link to it. Bad form, especially in a column about copyright.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:01 PM
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So unpleasant that I apparently confuse my tenses. Injected s/b inject. And it's not Douthat's column, but a book review. Same difference.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:04 PM
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124: Well, we do have lots of technical pens and drafting instruments in common, I see. Mine are gummed up too but likely to remain that way.

Two cats and about five each of long and short firearms. It's L.A., baby.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:25 PM
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Despite my misadventures with writing implements, I am partial to Boorum and Pease Columnar books with numbered pages.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:38 PM
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Two cats and about five each of long and short firearms. It's L.A., baby.

More and more, I see Biohazard as a kind of latter-day Fiddler, which I guess makes D.E. Fiora. There are worse roles.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 5:42 PM
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145: There's a knitting store downtown? There used to be two in Squirrel Hill, but now there is only one. The closed one was the one that my only friend who knits referred to as the 'mean one.'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 6:02 PM
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Remember how I bought a MacBook Pro on Saturday? I'm commenting on it! Hooray!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 6:07 PM
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Lucky lucky AWB. I envy your new Mac-ness.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:01 PM
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150: I'm flattered. You have to imagine Fiddler partially deaf and with a modest pot-belly to complete the image though.

That site is great. I'm having a serious nostalgia attack while browsing around there.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:07 PM
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146: Douthat's latest column starts off by citing an xkcd cartoon but inaccurately claiming it depicts an "irritated wife" rather than a genderless offstage voice.

Oh. Huh, yes, I see (it's a reference to the classic xkcd "Someone is wrong on the internet!") What's funny is that I always read that as the husband calling out to ask his wife whether she was coming to bed -- or rather, I just saw the internet typist as female. I'm not sure why.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:21 PM
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The closed one was the one that my only friend who knits referred to as the 'mean one.'

Justice wins out for once.

There's a very well-reputed knitting store in East Liberty - I think in the strip mall with Staples (or, to put it locally, where Phar-Mor used to be).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:35 PM
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I just saw the internet typist as female. I'm not sure why.

It's a mystery, parsi.

It's funny, I've read a bunch of things about that review, none of them mentioned the unattributed reference to that cartoon. That's some serious wankery.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:36 PM
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156: How many knitting stores can one rust belt city have? I was impressed by the woman who knitted on the rush hour 61c, but I wasn't sitting next to the needles. I'd think that crochet would be better suited to the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:45 PM
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Well, we did host some sort of national crafty confab last year. And the Handmade Arcade has turned into a monster event. But I certainly take your point.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:56 PM
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Why the difference in comfort between the fountain pen and others?

It seems to me that I don't have to grip a fountain pen as hard, much less press it into the paper, so some days when I can't face a computer I can do pages of work on paper. Good thing, too, or I'd be solving the quadratic equation numerically in a fit of absence of mind. I have a fairly cheap Lamy, which has been durable and non-leaky for a year. Before that I had a Rotring, which is not very expensive but surely wasn't cheap, but it lasted more than a decade before I lost it.

In the xkcd cartoon in question, I assume the typing person is the person reading the cartoon.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 7:57 PM
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149: I used one as a lab book in grad school. Quite nice.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:01 PM
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||

Woohoo, booked our honeymoon! Anybody know any good inside techniques for Lufthansa? If only Knecht were still around.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:16 PM
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? He is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:19 PM
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Prove it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:20 PM
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What am I supposed to do, call him from the vasty deep?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:21 PM
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He commented somewhat recently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:21 PM
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On the original subject of the post, I am writing thank-you cards right now, and can I say? Thirty years of nearly exclusively typing hasn't been great for my penmanship.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:28 PM
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good inside techniques for Lufthansa

Planning on joining the mile-high club, I see.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:30 PM
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My impression from the Lufthansa billboards posted around the city is that the cost of joining the mile-high club is included in Lufthansa's business class.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:31 PM
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168: one would think they'd measure that sort of thing in Kilometers, but that's why we need to know!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:36 PM
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162-165: You shout into the well. He's down there with Ogged.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:42 PM
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169: In first, they'll provide a partner.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:51 PM
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Fahrvergnügen!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:52 PM
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Or, you know, whatever that would be in reference to flying. Luftwaffe or something.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:53 PM
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Mmmm, Luftwaffles.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 8:55 PM
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Sadly, Pen Island dot com is no more. And .net doesn't seem to have got the joke.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:05 PM
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Anybody know any good inside techniques for Lufthansa?

Two things: 1) Make sure your flight will actually be operated by Lufthansa and not United. 2) Confirm your seats a day before you leave. When Magpie and I flew back from Germany last year, they'd lost my seat assignment entirely and we had to wait in a long line at the gate to try to get two seats together.

Also, their seat cushions can be thin and firm. I happen to like that more than the seats on American carriers, but I've heard other people complaining about it.

Overall, they're one of the better international carriers. Certainly better than any of the American airlines, and we had a better experience with them than Air France. Didn't hurt that we got relatively new equipment.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:08 PM
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1) Make sure your flight will actually be operated by Lufthansa and not United.

Right - I recently flew on Lufthansa, only it was actually United. Still decent enough (though nothing compares to my hazy memories of Swiss Air a decade ago (though the glorification may be due only to the fact that it was my first trans-Atlantic flight)).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:14 PM
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Flugvergnügen?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:26 PM
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Which reminds me that I really should find out if Fly America applies to my current travel funding. Fucking Fly America.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:30 PM
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Fahrvergnügen!

Flugvergnügen?

How... proletarian. I prefer Freude am Fahren/Fliegen.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:50 PM
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How does one find out if their Lufthansa flight is actually operated by Lufthansa?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:51 PM
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Actually I also meant to ask if anybody here has any experience renting a fast car to drive on the autobahn; it seems like it might be a better idea in theory than in practice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:53 PM
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All of our flights specify "operated by Lufthansa."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:54 PM
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Hooray!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:54 PM
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For a while I wondered why Sifu and Blume were only now getting around to booking their honeymoon now, so long after their marriage.

Then I remembered that they aren't married yet. What happened recently was that they graduated.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:56 PM
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182: When I buy tickets, it is usually written on the itinerary. It will say something like UNITED 456 (operated by TWO MEN and a CRJ-50). Failing that, it is usually written in large letters on the outside of the plane.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:56 PM
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Also, I've already trademarked "TWO MEN and a CJR-50." I'm just waiting for the capital markets to open-up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 9:58 PM
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Maybe Starving Students Movers is looking to diversify.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:03 PM
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183: Chances are, you'll end up with a diesel. Sixt rents BMWs, though, and even the diesels are plenty fast. If you're feeling more flush, you may want to check out Auto Europe.

It also depends on how much time you plan on spending driving. My experience was that the first time I got on the autobahn, 100 MPH was more than enough. Three weeks later, I was happy to try maxing the car out...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:03 PM
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Make it THREE MEN, and pretend your names are Chuck, Jack and Ronnie or some crap like that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:11 PM
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I don't know. Inability to control labor costs is what has driven many airlines into bankruptcy. Maybe Canada would spring for it if I bought all CRJ's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:17 PM
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190: I'd love to find a Porsche to rent.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:28 PM
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193: Auto Europe has 'em.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:36 PM
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One other autobahn tip: you'll probably have to get a ways out of town to find one of the unlimited sections, and depending on where you are it may not last very long.

Oh, and not that it should be a big issue, but no passing on the right.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:47 PM
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When you're in Germany, could you please ask them about the shit shelf in the toilet? Why is there porcelain where there should be water? Am I supposed to say goodbye? Do German doctors request stool samples so frequently they just figured all the toilets should have a shelf?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:47 PM
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196: I never made it all the way through, but I'm guessing this book probably has relevant information.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:49 PM
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196: It was mandated after WWII that Germans be made to look at and think about all the shit they'd done so that they wouldn't want to do it again.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:56 PM
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If only Knecht were still around.

I think he's been busy lately, eating stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture and then pan fried, if you know what I mean.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:57 PM
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Am I supposed to say goodbye?

One of my favored euphemisms for "I have to go defecate now" is "I need to go see an old friend off to the coast".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 10:59 PM
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Mine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:00 PM
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One of my favored euphemisms

Dare I ask... how many do you have?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:00 PM
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I have a euphemism pretty much every day, unless I run out of raisins or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:02 PM
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191: Wait, if you've got three men running an airline under assumed names, isn't it pretty much necessary that they be Roger, Victor, and Clarence? And that if you hire a fourth he gets called Otto?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-23-09 11:04 PM
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183, 190, et al.: I have indeed rented a car to run the autobahn from Munich to a wedding north of Hamburg. Six-speed BMW 3-series, and no idea if it was a turbo diesel or not, but it could go faster than I wanted (thanks, 220kph is enough), so who cares? Once I got out of God's Own Traffic Jam on the A9 just north of Munich (Friday after-work snarls) it was very nice indeed. I stopped for the night just north of Hannover and ate up the rest of the miles very rapidly the next morning.

Driving on the autobahn at advanced rates of speed is much much more demanding than tootling along the Interstate. Even if you're doing 160kph (100mph), it won't be too many minutes before someone comes along at 200+, and if you're in the left lane, you've got about four seconds between the time they become visible in your rear-view mirror and the time they want you to kindly get the fuck out the way. It's happened numerous times that I've been doing 160 in the right lane, someone's passing me in the middle, and someone's passing them in the left-hand lane. (I don't know if you are planning your trip around the drive, but some weekends -- like the start of summer vacation for North Rhine-Westfalia -- can feature traffic jams of more than 50km, so it's worth asking.)

The return trip from Hamburg was even better, as virtually all trucks are banned from the autobahn on Sundays. So, y'know, whoosh. I'm sure some people must have passed me, but the only ones I really remember were a group of about six Porsches who looked like they had assembled to see who could go the fastest the longest. I'd guess they took off at 240 or so.

But if you really feel the need for land-based speed, make sure you get on one of the better ICE routes. They have top service speeds of 300kph, which is just really astonishingly fast for a huge thing moving near the ground. The time between the every-50-meter electrification masts is less than a second. Part of the Nuremberg-Munich route takes you alongside the A9 autobahn. And all those cars that seemed to be going so fast on the road? The train completely leaves them in the dust.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 12:27 AM
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196, 198: Maybe this design should have caught on after the war:

Chamber Pots were usually ceramic, but tin ones were also used. Patterned chamber pots were used by the adult members of the household. Plain chamber pots were for servants and children. In the Second World War some even had an image of Adolph Hitler in the base.

The chamber pot museum in Munich had a couple of those on display when I was there a few years ago.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 3:35 AM
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Nuremberg-Munich route

On the same trip where I visited the chamber pot museum, I took the ICE from Munich to Berlin (via Nuremburg and too many other stops). Top speed was impressive, but the average speed for the whole trip, stops included, wasn't much. Certainly different than the TGV routes where there's no stop for 3-4 hours. Maybe things have improved since 2002.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 3:39 AM
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In the Second World War some even had an image of Adolph Hitler in the base.

I was viewing a collection of chamber pots the other day, as you do, and there was one with a picture of Benjamin Disraeli in the bottom. So this idea clearly has a pedigree.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 4:39 AM
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Berlin-Munich is the odd duck of long-distance routes in Germany, thanks to history and geography. When I moved to Munich in '98, you still went down a pretty but very chucka-chucka route alongside a river in Thüringen. Via Halle, if memory serves. And there were some stretches where the train was doing good to be making 50kph.

Then they finished some stretches of ICE on the east-west routes, so you went north to Kassel or thereabouts and then turned east via Wolfsburg. That knocked the transit time from 8+ hours down to six or so.

Now it's 5.5 on the right trains, with seven stops between the main stations. I'm pretty sure they're still using a compromise track in Thüringen, so eventually another 30-60 minutes could come off of this schedule, maybe even a bit more if you ran trains that, say, only stopped in Nuremberg and Leipzig, or indeed not at all. But full-on ICE infrastructure will take a few more years yet to blast through the hillier bits of Thüringen and Saxony.

Sometime before all of that is finished, Berlin will probably close Tegel airport and you'll have to go to Schönefeld. At that point, the train will really be competitive with airplanes on Berlin-Munich, just because both airports are so far from their respective city centers.

As for France, since there are really only two places in the country, you can run the TGV for three or four hours without stopping until the final destination.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 6:09 AM
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206: This seems to me a very practical and sensible way of improving men's aim at the urinal.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 6:45 AM
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I have always loved my Pilot V5 Extra Fine, but I've heard that gel ink can be washed out if it gets on clothes and that it won't come off of a check or check register. (It does seem that both of those couldn't really be true)

Can anybody recommend a fine pen with gel ink?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 6:53 AM
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As for France, since there are really only two places in the country

What's the other one? Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Toulouse and Bordeaux all have metropolitan populations over 1m, and each of them is economically pretty critical in its own way. And then there's Strasbourg, with the European Parliament...


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 6:54 AM
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My only time driving the autobahn was in a dinky Mercedes A-class (you really get to experience the aero-non-dynamics at 90 mph, let me tell you), and the funniest thing was how often a Volvo would blow past. My experience in America did not prepare me for the concept of "balls-out Volvo driver." But I think I got aggressively passed by them at least as often as by BMWs.

Looking at Josh's link, if I'm paying $400+/day for a 911, I'd really like to be allowed more than 200km/day.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 6:59 AM
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Actually, for my money the 3-series convertible for $250/day is a vastly better deal, albeit less white-knuckled.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 7:01 AM
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And then there's Strasbourg, with the European Parliament...

Yeah, funny that. When I did my semester abroad in Strasbourg, it was in the only corner of the country that didn't have a TGV line. On one of my breaks I went from Strasbourg to Paris, spent a few days there, then headed down to Avignon. The trip from Strasbourg to Paris took as long as the one from Paris to Avignon.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 11:17 AM
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(thanks, 220kph is enough)

Bah. The next-to-last day Magpie and I were in Europe on our last trip, we were going from the Black Forest to Ulm and I needed to find a rest stop. When we got onto the autobahn, I saw a sign saying that the next one was 6 km up the road.

It's remarkable how quickly 6 km goes by at an indicated 245 km/h.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 11:37 AM
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I like the sproingy feeling in the nib ( . . .d00dz).

Is this the first attested use (on this blog) of "…d00dz" in analogy to "…laydeez"? Lately I've haven't been keeping as close an eye on the SECRET TRADITIONS.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 3:37 PM
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I think the issue with Strasbourg and some other spots in the east is that the distance from Paris is not long enough to create enough time savings to justify a full-fledged high speed line at a time when there was no TGV to the much farther away southeast. At least in 1999, when I took it, the TGV to Nice stopped being high-speed just around Avignon (IIRC). I'm just guessing here. Don't know what the situation is like now.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 4:15 PM
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217 must mean the SEEKRIT TRADISHUNZ. ...folx.


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 4:26 PM
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Driving on the autobahn at advanced rates of speed is much much more demanding than tootling along the Interstate.

And if you think that's demanding, you should try 250ish km/h on an Interstate some time....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 4:35 PM
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217: As far as I can recall, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-09 4:45 PM
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212, 215: You're right of course. The two places in France are Paris and Anywhere Else. Thus no need for intermediate stops.

I say this with the serene confidence of someone who has only been to one place in France.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-25-09 1:36 AM
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