An 18111 Commission

Mid last year, I reached out to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 Pens about commissioning a custom pen. As the DC Pen Show was only a few weeks away, we agreed to discuss it at the show. At the time, I hoped to get a pen themed to my Exalted Bloodlines series.

I eagerly sought him out at the show. However, when I showed him the ideas I had in mind, he warned me it may not be doable.

The designs I showed Mr. Nakama at the DC Pen Show.
Left to right: My design idea for the rollstopper, the blood drop I wanted scattered around the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap.

The proposed roll stopper design, the blood drop I wanted scattered across the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap all have “sharp corners.” Apparently, 3D printing and laser engraving can’t produce sharp corners at that size.

However, I hoped we could reach a compromise with a modified design that I liked and could be executed. I agreed to modify the design before sending Mr. Nakama the files. He warned me that his waiting list was about 3 months long. Granted, considering the year+ waiting lists many pen makers have right now, 3 months is hardly an issue.

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2019 LA Pen Show

The Los Angeles Pen Show was the fourth show location I’ve attended (DC, Baltimore, Philly, and now LA). There were a decent number of tables, but the layout was appalling.

We arrived around 10:30, assuming that would allow us to avoid the opening crush of people we’d heard a lot about.

The exterior line at the LA Pen Show
The half of the line outside…
The interior line at the LA Pen Show
… and the half of the line inside.

Unfortunately, we arrived to find a line that wound down the corridor, out the door, and about half way down the building. Surprisingly, the line moved fairly quickly, but getting into the show was less than half the battle.

An unconsidered side-effect of arriving after the show had started was a lack of street parking. There wasn’t much to start with, but it was all taken by the time we arrived. Parking at the hotel ended up costing us around $20 for the little time we were there. I don’t want to know what people who stayed the whole day paid.

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2019 Philadelphia Pen Show

As I sat down to write my post about the LA Pen Show, I realized I’d never written a post about the Philly show. Therefore, even though it’s over a month late, allow me to share with you my experiences at the Philly show.

We drove up from the DC area with a friend of ours, and, thankfully, there was no real traffic. Upon arriving, I realized how fortunate I am to have the DC and Baltimore shows.

My immediate thought was that the show is overpriced for its size. We paid $13 online (it’s $15 at the door), a single-day price higher than DC, Baltimore, and LA. It’s also smaller than those other three shows.

I will say that the aisles were roomy, on par with Baltimore and far surpassing DC and LA. The selection was fairly evenly dispersed between vintage, new, expensive, and affordable. There was a decent selection of inks. And, for the overall size of the show, a decent number of nibmeisters.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet

I got to see Ralph Breaks the Internet (RBtI) on Sunday. It was a great movie, totally living up to the expectations generated by the first one.

Spoiler-Free Zone

While watching it, I couldn’t help but notice how much social commentary there was within it. I don’t know if I’ve somehow missed it in previous movies, or if it’s just more prominent in RBtI. From Yesss’s words on the internet comment sections, to the way people are represented via their avatars, there are a bunch of eye-opening moments that make you stop and think for a second.

The adult jokes and the self-deprecating humor were other welcome additions that helped make RBtI feel less like a kid’s movie and more like a movie for anyone. I’m really looking forward to watching this one again later.

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Bohemian Rhapsody

I finally got to see Bohemian Rhapsody on Thanksgiving. I loved it. It was a fabulous movie.

I’m not exactly a Queen “fan”. There’s plenty of their music I’ve never heard (proven to me by several songs played during the movie). But I enjoy the music of their I’ve heard, and I’ve watched several Queen/Freddie Mercury documentaries. From those, I know that Bohemian Rhapsody took some artistic license with history, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

However, in my opinion, the movie did a great job of portraying the different sides and evolution of Freddie’s character.

The best part of Bohemian Rhapsody is undoubtedly the Live Aid performance. I had chills throughout the scene. My arm hair was quite literally standing on end the entire time.

My feelings toward the movie may be unique or fairly normal, but I left the theater feeling inspired. I wanted to follow “movie Freddie’s” example of wearing what I like, rather than what I “should”. I wanted to pursue my ambitions, follow my passions, and just be myself, regardless of society’s feelings and expectations.

Here’s hoping that inspiration will last and help me on my journey to become my best, most unadulterated, self.

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Crimes of Grindelwald

I saw Crimes of Grindelwald (CoG) this past Sunday. It was an interesting movie. I liked it enough that I couldn’t find a good place to duck out to the bathroom. TMI, I know, but it makes my point. That said, buckle in, grab a snack, because this one’s going to be long.

Spoiler-Free Zone

I left the theater in shock (for lack of a better word) over some of what was revealed. Hence the delay in this post. I kept turning over everything the movie had thrown at me, and I was left with way more questions than answers.

But now, I’ve processed the movie as much as I can for the moment. There’s a lot I won’t understand or know until future installments, but that’s OK. After all, this is only part 2 of 5. But JK has a lot of explaining to do.

There were far less “fantastic beasts” in this one, which was a bit sad for me, but the Kelpie was absolutely gorgeous, the Zouwu was adorable, and the baby Nifflers were too cute for words and didn’t get enough screen time.

I hope at some point we’ll get the whole story behind the Leta Lestrange/Scamander Brothers relationship, as there’s clearly some major backstory there.

That’s just about everything I have to say that’s spoiler free. If you aren’t OK with spoilers, it’s time for you to stop reading. If, however, you’re OK with them, or have already seen CoG, then click the button below to read the rest of this.

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Troubles with Torrid

I tend not to write about negative experiences if possible, as I prefer to dwell on the positive. However, in this case, it’s more of an annoyance and inconvenience. Also, I hope this post will help other who are considering purchasing from this store.

Until recently, Torrid was my favorite clothing store. I could purchase anything, online or in-store, without having to worry about sizing. The clothes were well-made, so I knew I’d get my money’s worth. And the general look and styles fit my personal preference.

I purchased so much from them that I hit the platinum level of their points system. Torrid was almost the only store I shopped for clothing from.

However, my most recent purchases have been major failures. The fit has been horribly inconsistent, and the quality seems to have gone down a bit. Allow me to share my most recent fit failures. Don’t want to read the backstory? Just jump down to the wrap up.

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Green Nib Update

I mentioned in my 2018 DC Pen Show post that I purchased a green nib from Hinze Pen Company to match my Green Ivies pen from 18111. At the time, I thought I was purchasing an anodized nib. Turns out, it’s lacquered steel, which explains my experience. At the show, I was warned by a few people that colored nibs tend to experience flaking. Sadly, that warning held true for my nib.

I waited a while to write this update, because I was hoping that I could give you a positive result. At first it seemed as though the flaking was minor, and, if it had stayed like that, I could have lived with it.

With the first and second cleaning (both within the first month), a bit of green flaked off either side of the nib slit on the outer edge of the tines. It was noticeable, but it wasn’t really obvious, so I hoped that that would be the end of the flaking, and I’d have a good nib.

However, with the most recent cleaning, I decided to change the color in my pen. I found, as I cleaned it, that the ink was being particularly stubborn. After 10+ minutes of flushing water through it, I decided to pop it in my ultrasonic cleaner.

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Stipula Etruria Prisma 88 Comparative Review

Last year I wrote about my Stipula Etruria Rainbow Prisma 88 and followed it up with an update. It’s one of my favorite pens, so when the Stipula Etruria Prisma 88 Magma was announced, I snapped one up.

Now that my Magma is back in action, I’m writing a comparative review of the two. I couldn’t find anything about the Rainbow when it first came out, and there doesn’t seem to be anything about the Magma, so hopefully, this will help anyone considering purchasing either of them.

Backstories

If you know the history behind these two pens in my collection, feel free to skip down to the main review.

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Regalia Writing Labs Sequel Nib Review

Collage of close ups of the Sequel nib

I’ve wanted one of Regalia Writing Labs‘ Sequel Nibs ever since Ralph shared the first photo of one. Part of my interest was based on the uniqueness of the nib, and part was a desire to support Ralph in his continued nib tinkering and modification. I’m very interested to see where his efforts take him.

Unfortunately, he teased us all for a while before making the nibs available, and then, only at shows. They’re still (to the best of my knowledge) only available at shows or via Instagram flash sales.

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