Where is the Squirrel????

I’ve allowed this blog to languish for a number of years. Truth is, I’ve struggled to find time for it. The writing is fairly easy for me, but the photographs were difficult.

It may be time to look at the photographs again. I now have an iPhone that takes better pictures, and I also have a camera that does macro photos. But, again, it’s a challenge to find time.

I will re-evaluate the blog this spring, after school is out. I would like to offer it for those who don’t like watching YouTube videos. I understand you! If I just want to find one piece of information or to see the main points, a blog post is better. Videos can be too long and rambly, and there is no easy way to find what you want in them.

The other problem that has shown up is the shocking amount of spam this blog has begun to receive. I’ve closed comments for now. If I get this blog going again, I need to find a service like Disqus which will allow me to manage the spam.

Something will appear in this space. For now, visit me online at:


TWSBI Classic (EF)

I’ve owned this pen for a few years. I purchased the TWSBI Classic as a “Baystate Blue” pen. I’ve since replaced it with another pen, but it did occur to me that I have not reviewed it. I’ll upload pictures later: it turns out I don’t have any photos of this pen, so I’ll need to take care of that over the weekend.

The pen is slender, faceted, and, unlike the other pens of this brand, it is not a demonstrator. It is solidly colored, though there is a small ink window visible under the cap. It is also a piston filler, like the 580.

So, there are quite a few things to like. TWSBI designs their pens so that the user can take them apart. These are also solid sounding (and feeling) pens.

TWSBI listens to its customers. In its original incarnation, the Classic could not be posted. After user complaints, TWSBI changed the design of the pen so that the piston filling knob had rubber rings to hold the cap when it was posted. In fact, the pen itself was developed for those users who didn’t want a demonstrator.

Also convenient, the pen fits with the same TWSBI inkwell  as the TWSBI 580 pens for convenient, mess free filling.

So, I wish I liked this pen better. It became my Baystate Blue pen, until I started getting annoyed with it. It did a wonderful job keeping the ink from drying out. I never experienced hard starts with this pen. In fact, I filmed this review back in August, took the pen to school, and forgot about it until it was time to upload this review. I found the pen, uncapped it, and it wrote like a champ.

What I didn’t like was that I ended up with inky fingers more than I like. I don’t know if it was leaks or if ink from the cap was smearing on the grip section. Either way, it was a little annoying, especially with Baystate Blue. It was also a little less than comfortable in my hand.

Since I was underwhelmed with the pen, these drawbacks were enough to send me looking elsewhere, so this pen has laid in my “giveaway” box since last spring. It’s not a bad pen, just not one that excites me either.

But, this is a good enough pen that I would recommend it. It’s just not for me.

Centropen 100820

This summer, I experimented with vegetarian cooking. I managed 3 vegetarian meals per week, and I was actually surprised by how much money I saved. Although I’ve redone my budget in light of this new eating pattern, I rewarded myself with the savings and purchased and exotic vintage Czechoslovakian Centropen 100820 from the early 1960s. It’s a pen and pencil set which shatters any of my preconceived notions of the types of things made under communism.

This is truly a luxury pen. It is made of a glorious celluloid material. The chatoyancy is quite something, and I love the beautiful nib. It has quite a nice nib, a lot like a brush. It’s very flexible. I own the famous Waterman’s Ideal 52 pen, and it doesn’t hold a candle to this nib. The ebonite feed keeps up quite well with this nib.

The pen is a piston filler with the filling knob hidden under a celluloid blind cap. It has a large ink window which provides a clear view of the ink inside the pen and the amount of ink remaining.

The trim is gold filled, not just gold plated. This means that even as the gold plating wears away, the gold color remains. Furthermore, the details on this pen are absolutely right: the finials are perfectly aligned, the chatoyancy on the pen is aligned, and it simply balances dramatic color with beauty.

The pen is the product of early 1960s Czechoslovakia. I never would have expected a pen like this from communist Czechoslovakia. But, I love it very much.

In the video, I did discuss the history of Centropen. I hope that this comes in handy.