2021 Triangle Pen Show

Jim brought up going to the Triangle Pen Show (TPS) a couple weeks ago but we dithered for a while, only deciding to go on the Thursday before. The drive wasn’t too bad, we were lucky to not hit traffic on the way down — we hit all the traffic on the way back up, though.

We made it to the show around 11:30 am. Finding out masks weren’t required surprised me. Being fully vaccinated, we decided to try going maskless and see how we felt. I’m not going to lie, it felt a bit naughty. I felt almost naked. But it was nice to breath freely. And since the room wasn’t packed, I was OK without a mask and enjoyed the taste of pre-COVID life.

The best part for me was just being at a pen show again. Getting to see Carey from Kenro, Damien of All in the Nib, Bert of Bertram’s Inkwell — although we see him often — and some pen friends was great. I’ve missed the pen camaraderie. It’s such a social battery recharge to see people, talk pens, and be able to see/handle things in person before buying them.

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A Surprising Joy

It’s not often I write a pen review — let’s be honest, it’s almost never — mostly because there are so many reviewers out there. However, in this particular case, I feel impelled to share my thoughts.

About a month ago, I realized that I no longer had an orange pen in my “Under $250” category. I can’t have a pen rainbow without orange. To try to fix that issue, I solicited some suggestions from my lovely local peeps in the DC Metro Pen Crew.

I received a lot of suggestions, and the Pilot Custom 74 is the one I ultimately decided on. By sheer coincidence, I had a birthday coupon for Pen Chalet, so that’s who I ordered from.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I thought it would be perfectly adequate, and fill a void. Perhaps a pen to rotate out at a later date once I found a truly spectacular orange pen.

Pilot Custom 74 in its box.
A fairly plain pen, but that cap hides a real delight.

However, once it arrived and I’d inked it — with Diamine Pansy — I was pleasantly surprised. And with each consecutive use, I like it better. I have it with a Fine nib, and it glides across paper in the most delightful way. It approaches TWSBI 580 nibs in wetness.

I even found myself reluctant to clean it out at the end of the week. I wanted to keep it inked, to keep using it, which almost never happens. I’m usually happy enough to use whatever pens I have for the next week that I don’t mind putting away my pens from the previous week. It’s a testament to how much I enjoy using the Custom 74.

If you like feedbacky nibs, the Custom 74 is not for you. But if you like buttery smooth nibs, I highly recommend it. And this is coming from someone who prioritizes pen appearance over function. While the Custom 74 isn’t the most beautiful pen in the world, its function makes it divine. I’m definitely happy I bought it. I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of another in the future, maybe with an Extra Fine nib.

Día de Muertos, Pen Realized

I’m back with post three, so you know what that means. My pen arrived! If you have read my previous posts (1, 2), I suggest you do so to know how this pen came to be. Be forewarned, there is A LOT of pen porn in this post. And you can click/tap any image to view it larger. I take no responsibility for pen envy, pen lust, or pen purchases resulting from the content in this post.

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An Epic Odyssey

After playing through Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015), I gave myself a little breather, then gleefully dove into Odyssey (2018). I decided to start a new game plus (see below), one of the many awesome features introduced in Odyssey. For the record, at the time of writing, I’ve logged just over 51 hours of playtime — for this play through — at the easiest setting on my PlayStation 4. Everything that follows is based on that experience.

NOTE: This post is LONG, even for me. A real Odyssey, just like the game. I’ve done my best to give it descriptive subheads so you can scroll through it and read the bits that interest you, if you want. And I’ve added lots of photos to break up the text some. I wanted to do, and I feel I have done, this game, and my recent Assassin’s Creed review series, justice. I have one more post planned, then likely won’t write about Assassin’s Creed again until the next game is announced.

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Replaying an Old Favorite

In the past, whenever I try to go back and play previous Assassin’s Creed games, I find myself disappointed. Usually, the improvements in newer games, both in mechanics and technology, make older games feel dated and clunky.

However, after my poor response to Valhalla, I decided to seize a small silver lining and replay the older titles that I’d enjoyed. My original thought was to replay Odyssey (2018). However, with how much I’d enjoyed Syndicate (2015), I decided to try going back to it. Be aware, there are likely spoilers in this post, but if you haven’t played it in 5 years, I don’t think you’ll mind spoilers.

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My Thoughts on Soul

I finally got around to watching Soul a couple of weeks ago. I’d heard and read so many good things about it. Such universal praise made me eager to finally experience it for myself.

First of all, this isn’t a typical review. OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump in.

I certainly agree with some of what I’d read. It’s definitely a more mature story; Soul doesn’t feel at all like a children’s movie. The story itself, it’s arc, and bare bones is well-written. The animation and character design are impeccable. The color palettes both for the characters and for the different “realms” were well nuanced.

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AC Valhalla: Post Updates

Before I start, if you have not read my previous posts on the game and the marketing, I highly suggest you do so, otherwise this post will likely make little sense.

I wasn’t planning to write anything else about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla after ripping the game and the marketing to shreds. However, I have information updates for both posts. Rather than update the posts themselves, where no one will ever see the information, I’m writing this post.

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Ubisoft, Market Your Female Protagonists!

This is my second, and final, negative post about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (ACV).

For those completely unfamiliar with the game, ACV gives you the option to play either:

  • entirely as a female version of Eivor,
  • entirely as a male version of Eivor,
  • or let the animus (the device in the game universe that lets you relive past memories) decide.

The Animus choice is the default. It means you play as a female Eivor through most of the game, only playing as male during “potion”-induced visions.

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Why Are Reviewers Lying?

I’ve played every major Assassin’s Creed (AC) release, and none have annoyed and disappointed me more than the newest release, Valhalla. Nope, not even the infamous Unity was as bad in my opinion.

For the record, at the time of writing, I’ve logged 46 hours of playtime at the easiest setting on my PlayStation 4. Everything that follows is based on that experience.

My biggest disappointment, and anger inducing issue, is the crashing problem. Valhalla has crashed 8 times so far. That’s less than 6 hours of gameplay per crash. And based on comments on Reddit, I’m one of the lucky ones that isn’t experiencing much crashing. Keep in mind, people paid a minimum of $60 for this game.

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Review – Harry Potter Chibi Playing Cards

I received the absolutely adorable chibi playing cards from a friend for Christmas. As I like card games, and I adore Harry Potter, it was certainly a welcome gift. Before I dive into my review, I would like to point out that my thoughts on the cards in no way diminishes my opinion of the thought put into the gift. I appreciate and love it all the same.

The Box

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Box

The box is fabulous. The box features elements of the Daily Prophet, a hint of the card designs, the Hogwarts crest, and points out that the cards are officially licensed. Keep that in mind. These aren’t just thrown together by someone wanting to make some money.

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