Thursday, June 13, 2024

The hunt for german fountain pens in a german airport

I had a layover in Germany and thought I should make good use of the time there. I started by visiting the terminals, going at every gate, trying the different sits and escalators. After the tour was complete I looked for a a souvenir, something to bring back home.. So naturally I started looking for stationary stuff.

Being in Germany I hoped to find some good deals from the German brands like Faber Castell or Lamy.

First found was the Lamy Safari. It was in a generic shop that also sells magazines, books, pillows for travel and gummy bears.

The price was not bad but it definitely wasn't a deal. Also I am not really a fan of the Lamy grip section so I continued my search.

Not to my surprise I spent quite a time wondering through the airport to find a better supplied store.

By luck I found the Fabriano Boutique

This is a dedicated stationary store, and it had more options but not much more. The windows were very tastefully decorated, Lamy Safari and some notebooks being the stars of the show.

I expected the inside of the store to have much more diversity when it comes to pencils and fountain pens. The majority of the products were Lamy Safari and it's wide range of colors and a few Faber Castell pens and ball points.

In the end I chose to bring as souvenir some chocolate, as I didn't found any deals on the German pens.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Lammy seen in the movie You Should Have Left (2020)


The movie You should have left gives us Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried, a couple going on vacation in a remote village to find piece and relaxation. The house is not what they expected, it's a mastery thriller with suspense revealing the reality they are in only at the end of the movie.

Along the way we have several shots of Kevin using a Lammy 2000 ballpoint pen to write in his journal. If the writing in the journal is Kevin's I have to say it's not that tidy.

I find his grip of the pencil quite odd, griping the pencil with all the fingers except his pinky. It's not a very common way to hold writing instruments.

The pencil offers a lot of character and a great visual impact in the scenes. It is truly one of the best looking pens ever made, and it still looks modern and minimal even 60 years after it's debut.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

How to take better notes

When it comes to note taking, most people have their preferred method, being pen and paper or completely digital notes. I use a little bit of both, trying to be efficient in each situation. For example in a meeting I am more inclined to use the pen and paper. Handwriting offers a greater flexibility when taking notes, and is less distracting for the others, no click clacks, and my face is not hidden behind a screen. While reading I found out that pen and paper doesn't work very well for me, and I switched to digital notes. I want to be able to add more information in previous notes, I don't carry the notebook all the time with me, and the fact that I have the habit of starting more than one books makes matters so much difficult. So for books I take notes by making annotations on my phone. Most of my reading is done using Readera and then backing up the notes in Google Drive.

For students on the other hand the pen might be the better option when it comes to taking notes. A recent study shows that handwriting compared with typing results in a more complex brain connectivity which enhances learning and memory. The study used EEG from 36 students comparing brain activity while writing by hand and typing.

The study also reveals that the medium on which you write is not that important, tablet or pen and paper as long as the writing is done by gestures of the hand (cursive).

"We show that when writing by hand, brain connectivity patterns are far more elaborate than when typewriting on a keyboard. Such widespread brain connectivity is known to be crucial for memory formation and for encoding new information and,therefore, is beneficial for learning...

Our findings suggest that visual and movement information obtained through precisely controlled hand movements when using a pen contribute extensively to the brain's connectivity patters that promote learning" 

Professor Audrey van der Meer, brain researcher at the Norway University of Science and Technology, co-author of the study published in the Frontiers in Psychology.

It might take longer to take notes by hand, especially when there are a lot of subjects and a lot of information, but it might help you in the long run, reducing the time needed to acquire the information.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Deli Xtream pen review

This basic plastic pen takes inspiration in its design from the famous Jetstream. The pen is affordable and decent looking. 

The color of the pen indicates the color of the refill, blue in this case and 0.7 mm ball point. The refill is actuated by a click mechanism. The body of the pen is completely made out of plastic including the clip which doesn't inspire too much trust in the security, but on the bright side the pen is not much more expensive than a disposable.

The body of the pen is translucent which allows to see the level of ink inside the refill. And the grip is covered in rubber, making the pen very comfortable to hold and easy to write with.

In this regard the pen did well, having good ergonomics, good price and a somewhat modern, ok looking design. But one of the most important things in a pen is the ball point and how does it write.

Upon first inspection the line of the pen writes thin. I suspect it is under the claimed 0,7 mm, and the blue tone of the ink is appealing. But the smoothness can't be compared to the Jetstream. 

When taking the pen apart it is more clear that the pen uses a more regular refill that can be found in most of the cheap pens.

It is not by any mean a bad pen, but it is in a close competition with the Jetstream either.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Jinhao 80 fountain pen review

Jinhao 80 is a simple and nice pen you can have for a very low price. Buying it is simply a no-brainer. The design of the pen is definitely inspired from one of the most iconic pens in the world having a  minimalist and simple while elegant design. Jinhao 80 is a great addition the the fountain pen collection. With a very low price of 6-7 $.

The pen does not copy one for one the Lamy 2000 with it's iconic Bauhaus look. The Jinhao is more a mix and match of two Lamy pens, the Lamy 2000 (2k) and the Lamy Aion. 

Jinhao 80 is available in several colors. I have bought the almost classic black body with silver trim.

The pen is made out of plastic. It is light and comfortable. The plastic is textured imitating in a way the looks of the Lamy 2000 which has a fiber glass body. The texture is not very prominent and is not that visible. But offers a more "natural" feel to the touch. It is like touching a piece of wood which has been sanded but still retains a little bit of it's natural texture. It is hard to convey it through the pictures, you will just have to take my word.

The pen has somewhat of a cigar shape with flat ends. The top of the cap is just a black plastic with no decoration. The brushed silver clip contrasts very well the black body, offering the pen a "tool" look, industrial, reliable while still looking classy and ready to do business.

While the end of the barrel has a silver metal insert that balances the silver clip on the cap. It ads some character to the very sterile and simple body.

The snap cap is hugging the body well. The fact that the nib doesn't dry out even if left on the desk without use for a few weeks is a testament that the cap does it's job very good. Every time I took the cap off, the pen wrote without any hesitation even after weeks of sitting on the desk being ignored.

The cap will also reveal a polished silver nib and a silver ring that delimits the barrel from the grip position. The ring is almost flat and not noticeable when you write even if your hand crosses over it. I would give the pen an extra point for design if it would come with a black nib or a brushed silver nib that matches the clip.

Jinhao 80 has a Lamy style silver nib, and I suspect that an original Lamy nib will fit onto the feed without any issues. I can't confirm as I haven't tested this yet but is a good future project. 

The nib has Jinhao written on it along side with the logo and the F marking the width of the nib.

The grip is comfortable and tapers a little bit. The barrel is separated from the grip visually by a silver metal ring. 

I am happy to see that the barrel and the grip have metal threads. This will assure a longer life to the pen. It will prevent cross threading or plastic cracking from over tightening the parts.

The pen comes with a Jinaho converter, which is not the best. As all of the Jinhao's converters I have used so far due to the lack of an agitator inside the surface tension of the ink stops it from flowing. Many times it requires to prime the feed again as you can feel the pen is struggling for the precious ink.

The pen comes with a fine nib that is no surprise. It is a very common size for Chinese pens. The flow is ok, a little on the dry side. The pencil will perform great on any kind of paper, without much feathering and see trough on the other side due to the reserved ink flow and thin lines.

I can see a tiny bit of difference in the thickness of the horizontal lines compared to the vertical ones, but not that noticeable when you write.

It writes smooth, with a hint of feed back. This has a fraction more feedback compared to the number 8 nib on the Jinhao X159.

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