Saturday, January 12, 2008

Of Mice and Pens

Alright, as I settled in last night in my evil bed with a logic puzzle book and a black pen, I had made a discovery. Not a good discovery, but an "oh crap why couldn't I have stayed blissfully ignorant" discovery. I looked at my right hand and realized I was holding a tube of plastic, which came wrapped in plastic with 19 other tubes of plastic, inside of which was another tube of plastic containing black ink. Yes, my pen is entirely made of plastic.

Big deal, some may say. Well, I have a long tradition, started by my father, of doing my crosswords and logic puzzles in capital letters drawn in black ink. Why? You just do. It could be because pencil smudges on the recycled newsprint the puzzles are typically printed on. It could be because of the way pen smoothly rolls across the paper, or the nice contrast between the bold black capital letters marching across the nearly white paper. Or it could be because pencils are for sissies and wafflers. John Kerry uses pencils on his crosswords. So does Mitt Romney. Ron Paul? A pen man. Probably black. You can just tell.

I use black pen for everything. Checks, copious pages of notes for school, puzzles, lists, you name it, you will find it done in black pen. So just use a refillable pen? Nope. I have one, a metal Harley Davidson pen given as a gift, and the refills are plastic which come wrapped in hard plastic.

Here is a true story. When the space race was going on, the Russians and Americans both had a conundrum. Pens do not work in zero gravity-how were the astronauts going to do research with no way of recording the results? So the Americans spend millions of dollars using their best engineers to design a space pen which would work even in zero gravity. The Russians gave the astronauts pencils.

So that is what I will have to start doing. I need to use pens for checks, but I can borrow the pens at the stores. I would have to use them for bills, but there are Internet pay options for most of our bills, and I have been thinking of doing this as each stamp is now 39 cents. I can use the mouse as my pen, and although it is plastic it will be used for many years for many things.

It just is not going to be the same using a pencil for my crosswords. Maybe if I ripped the eraser off it?


Anonymous said...

Hi. I have two refillable fountain pens, one at work and one at home. I use pencil for most things, but when I need a pen, I use the fountain pens.

These fountain pens have a converter that allows you to fill them up from an ink bottle rather than a disposable plastic cartridge. The ones that I bought are Lamy brand. You do have to buy the converter and ink separately because the assumption is that most people want the plastic cartridges.

My pens are made out of aluminum. There is some plastic on the inside, but I plan to have them for a very long time.

The glass ink bottles have a plastic lid. But I plan to find a way to reuse them when they are empty.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, would you mind sending me an email so I can communicate with you directly? I wanted to ask you about a plastics project I have in mind. My email address is in my profile.

The Biscuit Queen said...

I didn't know they had ink bottles anymore. You know, instead of rehashing all these things on my own, I probably should spend a few hours reading your blog from start to finish! Of course half the fun is discovering all these things on our own, isn't it?

I am in a very small town in upstate NY, can you get these things at Staples, perhaps? That is the closest store I can think of to get real paper supplies, it is only an hour away.

I can't access your e-mail because I don't have microsoft outlook. Mine is

I appreciate your input and support, btw. You have been a big help in several ways.