Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Generic Rollerball Pen from Dollar General

On this last day of the old year 2011, I have decided that my project for the New Year will be to write a daily review of some writing instrument from my collection -- at least for the 31 days of January, that is.  That's a tall order for me, and if I make it through January, I'll see about continuing the series, at least weekly from then on.  If I don't make it, at least it will give my struggling blog a good kickstart for 2012!

So without further ado, I present: the Generic Rollerball Pen from Dollar General!
The packaging was so painfully generic that it caught my eye immediately.
In spite of the almost comical "Rollerball Pen" printed on the side of the shaft, it is a fairly attractive pen.  And it has a number of details that remind one of more expensive pens.

But how does it write?  Here's the official written review:
Now I'm off to make my list of 31 writing instruments for review.  Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Rad and Hungry STMT X Spain Kit

If you have not heard of Rad and Hungry, it is WAY past time you visited the website and took a look at their interesting finds from all over the world.  I had been looking at their offerings for some time when I decided to take the plunge and order not just one kit (the Spain one) but a 3-month subscription.  I have been extraordinarily pleased with the shipments so far -- I have Spain and Turkey now.  I'll show you the Spain goodies and bring out the Turkey items for a later post.

By far the most exquisite part of the Spain package for me was the green pen.  I have what amounts to a very unhealthy obsession with green pens of any type.  I like to grade papers and tests with them, in the (probably mistaken) belief that the green marks all over the page are not nearly as traumatizing as red marks.  We always say, "That teacher bled all over my paper," and it's just not a very pretty image.  I suppose with green marks, you could say, "That teacher smeared my paper through the grass," or something similar, and it's just more gentle, somehow.

Anyway, I digress!  Green pen.  LOVE IT.
The packaging overall was wonderful as well -- very old-fashioned but hip at the same time.
And this playing/Tarot-style card was woven into the twine on the package -- very inventive!
The inclusion of a green eraser was a nice touch.  I don't actually use erasers like this very much, but I like them nonetheless -- they are comforting to me for some reason.
And the green (of course) notebook.  I haven't used it yet, but it's a good, inexpensive notebook that I can envision using for all kinds of impromptu projects and notes.
Thanks, Rad and Hungry!  You make buying office supplies a pleasure!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

For People Who Love Mail

If you like to write by hand, and some of that writing involves the postal service, you may be interested in an excellent (and totally free service) called Postcrossing. Once you sign up for the service, you can begin by sending 5 postcards to individuals around the world, all of whom are chosen randomly for you by the website.  Each postcard has a unique number that you write on it (provided by Postcrossing) that allows the postcard to be tracked when it reaches the recipient (or if it goes astray and never gets to its destination).  With each postcard that arrives safely,  your name is placed in the queue to receive a postcard from someone else somewhere in the world.  So if you keep up with the service, you can be constantly sending and receiving postcards.  While you can't demand certain kinds of postcards from others, you can write in your profile about the kinds of postcards you like, to guide the people sending you postcards.  While I am not a very faithful postcard sender, it is a fun and wonderful service.  As you send more postcards, the number you can have out at any one time gradually grows.
There are two drawbacks to it, however, neither of which are Postcrossing's fault.  One is the postcards themselves.  If you don't live in a big city or a tourist destination (which I do not), it can be hard to get and keep enough postcards to actually send them out.  I have just ordered some postcard books from Dover Publications in hopes that that will tide me over until I do some more traveling.  I have also ordered some postcards from Zazzle that have pictures of things and places from my state.  We'll see if all that will be enough!
The other drawback is postage.  If I get a U.S. recipient, it's no big deal, because postcard rate to U.S. addresses is 29 cents.  A bargain!  But the postal rate for a postcard being sent to an international address is a whopping 98 cents.  So if your first five recipients are all international, you've spent $5 even before you factor in the cost of the postcards, which are not exactly cheap.  This doesn't seem like a lot in the short term, but it does add up over time.  Still, I suppose it's cheaper entertainment than lots of other things.  And that postcard in the mailbox from a total stranger does give one a little lift at the end of a long workday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Moving Finger

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
-- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

(But the eraser on that great-looking pencil sure will help! -- ed.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On National Pencil Day

Greetings!  I have been thinking about this blog for quite some time, but it never seemed like the right time to start it.  Then I learned that today, March 30, is National Pencil Day.  What better day to start a blog with the title of “Writing By Hand”?

This blog will not be solely about pencils and pens and paper, or even writing by hand in general, but this will certainly be the major focus of it.  My obsessions and passions include pencils, but pens, paper, notebooks, and all things “writerly.”  I read other blogs similar to this one all the time (links to follow soon), and I enjoy them so much that I decided to try my hand at it.  I hope to post interesting and unusual items about writing instruments and paper, as well as reviews of new products that I may buy to try out (or be sent by manufacturers, hint hint!).

At the outset of a venture like this, I think it’s important to establish one’s credibility.  Let the following pictures do that for me:
 My humongous box of pencils.

 It's wide AND deep.

There. I think that's what is popularly known as "street cred."  And being that this is National Pencil Day, I might even have to use a few of these!