thursday randomosity.

  • January was once again Budget Killer Month.  Last month’s extraordinary expenses included septic tank pumping ($300), plumbing ($200), a new set of rear brakes and rotors on the Munchkin Mover ($300), a new rear strut on Robin’s Neon ($400), vehicle registration renewals and inspection stickers for two cars ($200), and a bunch of little odds and ends.  The smoking hole torn into our checking account threw up a black plume that was visible a hundred miles away in Boston.
  • The clipped updates continue due to the fact that the novel is almost, not quite, but surely any day now, finished.  I have 8000-ish words to go, and then I need to spend a bit of time making another editing pass and chopping 10% or so off the finished product before I send it off.
  • You should check out Spiral Hunt, the debut novel of fellow VP alum Margaret Ronald.  I met Maggie at VP XII, where she was a staff member, and she’s a lovely person.  (Also, she knew that Marley was dead, to begin with.)  From the excerpts you can read at, you can probably tell that she’s also a kick-ass writer.
  • In nine days, Quinn will be four years old.  I just realized that he’s old enough to be going to kindergarten next year, which seems incredibly soon.  Where has the time gone?  Before I know it, he’ll be asking me for the keys to the car.
  • I’d really like to go to Boskone this year, but I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze it in, which is a shame.  Stay-at-home parenting and SF conventions are two largely incompatible pursuits, it seems.
  • Fountain pen addiction is dangerous.  I’ve written almost exclusively with my Waterman or the Hero pen I got off eBay (which writes much better than it has a right to, considering it set me back $5 including shipping).  Now I’m jonesing for a Lamy 2000, or a Pelikan M200 with a 14k fine nib, or a Parker 51, or a Waterman Carene…that way lies fiscal madness.  Who knew that you can spend as much on a fountain pen as on a laptop?  (Thankfully, there are also many excellent ones available in the $20-50 price bracket, which is much more compatible with my limited gadget budget.)
  • If you like Moleskine notebooks, but don’t want to pay the hefty “Notebook Of Chatwin and Hemingway!” premium, check out Piccadilly notebooks, available at Borders.  I recently picked up a few of their large plain ones, and they have all the features of the Moleskines at a third of the price.  They have the same black covers, the same elastic to hold the book closed, and the little pocket in the back for scraps and receipts.  Best of all, they come in a large version, which is the size of a standard composition book.  I paid $5.99 for the large one, which is a bargain considering the largest Moleskine (which is smaller than the large Piccadilly) costs over $15.  The Piccadilly plays well with fountain pen ink, which is not always true of the Moleskines.

That’s it for now.  I have lots of work to do before I can enjoy my sanity break tomorrow morning, so I guess I should get to it.  I may do a type- or inkcast later, just because it’s fun…and right now, I need all the fun I can squeeze into the day.


11 thoughts on “thursday randomosity.

  1. Robert says:

    For fountain pens, go with a Parker 45 instead of a 51. Cheaper, and still has a hooded nib, although not to the extreme of the 51.

    For a Lamy, go with a Safari instead of a 2000. Fahrney’s Pens sells the Safari with the option of an medium Italic nib in three different colors, and the nib is smooooooth!

  2. pax says:

    Before I know it, he’ll be asking me for the keys to the car.

    Advice from a mom of teenage boys: don’t do it.


  3. pawnbroker says:

    the year that my son was four, i had sold my business and was taking a year off before starting a new one. he was eligible for kindergarten, but we had the option to hold him out for another year. i took that opportunity and it was among the best moves, and the best years, of my life.

    it’s somewhat different for you, of course, being a stay-at-home dad…but that fifth year is one of developing maturity, reason, understanding, and empathy beyond anything i thought possible; i had some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations of my life with a four year old child…i wouldn’t trade that memory for anything in the world.

    and you are right…this formative time is gone in a blink, and it ain’t coming back. cherish it, and everything else be damned. that old harry chapin song “cat’s in the cradle” might seem corny, but to a dad who misses those formative years fiercely, it’s a true anthem and lament.


  4. Oh, how I commiserate with the kids growing up too fast!

    Marko, I’m going to be in your neck of the woods next month. If you can make it to the blogmeet Jay G. has planned to coincide with my trip, I’d be proud to stand for a round or two.

    Or hell, just shake your hand and swap a few stories. 😉

  5. Marko says:


    it would be an honor. I’ll do my level best to be there.

  6. Kristopher says:

    You should take the kids to Boskone. So you might have to bail on some panels if they crank out on you …

    It’s never too early to create an SF geek.

  7. MarkHB says:

    Kristopher I think it’s inevitable that Quinn’s going to want to be a chartered accountant, wear suits all day and be a devout Catholic.

    Kids buck their parents, after all…

  8. Chuck says:

    They do grow up fast, and the older you get the faster they grow up.

    My son is now 45 and I am an old man, but, the bond we formed when he was 4 is still strong today, and the memories are priceless.

  9. dot says:

    So… where’s the link to the Hemingway moleskin?

  10. Crystal says:

    I love the Picadilly notebooks, especially the black one! The paper is not quite as smooth as a Moleskine, but it also doesn’t have the fountain pen problems. My ink doesn’t feather as much when I use a Pilot Petit pen. Not so with moleskin, unfortunately. It’s a great deal. I wish they sold square grid ones at the Borders near my house.

  11. jessica says:

    I use a Lamy Safari, because it’s light enough to not give me that fountain-pen hand-ache when I write a lot lots of letters. That’s really all I use it for, though. I’ve had it a few years, and every time I pick it up, I’m honestly shocked I haven’t lost it.

    In my Moleskines though, and at work, it’s the old-style Pilot V-Ball Fine point. Not the “Precise” with the rollerball on the weird metal stick, the old-style plastic see-through ones. I buy them in bulk because they keep getting mysteriously difficult to find. Les than $2 a pop, perfect ink flow, never blobs, and when you spend your whole day writing tiny notes in the margins of other people’s work, never blobbing is a big plus. Also, that they’re not super expensive makes it more okay when I throw one as hard as I can against the wall when somebody brings me something with “alot” as one word in it.

    Phew. Feels good to get that out.

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