Yes, there’s ink. But is there joy?

I started stalking the InkJoy pens at Staples as soon as I stumbled onto the big display with its array of leashed pens and scratch pads for public scribbling. I always make scribbly circles on these in-store pen test drive pads…no words. I wonder why that is? (Riveting stuff, my questions.)

Initially I fought down the urge to buy a pack because, have I mentioned, I HAVE ENOUGH PENS?! But then there was a Staples internet coupon, and who has the willpower to resist pens AND $2.00 off. Not me.

The InkJoy line comes in a numbered series, sort of like BMWs (except not). This link explains the differences between the 100, 300, 500, and 700 series. I chose the 500RT series because Staples’ stock was pretty well ravaged. Buzzards circled the few remaining packs. I probably would’ve chosen this series anyway, because of the colors, the RT (retractable) version, and the look of the grip. Shoo..buzzards.

So…how do they write? The line is 1.0mm…pretty bold. The colors are fairly dark/saturated, especially for ballpoint inks, and the inks are decently smooth. Not quite Jetstream or Surari smooth, but a step (or two) up as far as the usual Papermate fare goes.

My only beef is with the tip size. 1.0 mm is broader than I’m used to writing with (now that I’ve discovered 0.38, 0.4, and 0.5 mm pens) so the line feels less precise and just a little messy…not super crisp, is what I’m saying. And sometimes there’s that annoying little blob of ink when you first put the pen to paper. Once the blob clears (and it’s not ALWAYS there), the experience is pretty good.

So is there JOY? Mmmmmm…maybe more satisfaction than outright joy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.



Edited to add:

This morning at Staples…

All gone. Even the tied down display pen. Hah!

Another one of the multiple multi pens: Zebra Surari 4-Color Emulsion Ink Multi Pen (0.7 mm)

So is it multipens, multi-pens, or multi pens? And why do I care?

Let’s get to it.

This Surari, with its orange body, is a flat out winner. No doubt about it. In fact, a sane person would stop buying pens after they acquired this one. After all, you’ve got all four of your daily ink requirements packed into one medium sized pen body. Black, blue, red, and green. This team can handle any jotting, editing, drawing, scribbling, list making, color-coding need.  Buy this and you’re ALL SET.

The grip is just right, too. It’s grippy enough to be helpful, but not so grippy that it’s distracting. Know what I mean?

The ink color is selected by sliding down the associated plunger button thingie (is there a technical term for that?), except for black, which is selected by sliding down the pen clip. But you would’ve figured that out for yourself.

And the emulsion ink is just wonderful. You can tell that by the green. SO many times, the black, blue, and red look great, but the green is anemic and disappointing. Not so in this one. I don’t use a lot of green, but when I do, I want it to be GREEEEEEN.

Emulson ink is, according to Jetpens, low-friction, smear-proof, and water-resistant. All this for $4.95. Mere peanuts.

You’re welcome.

Jetstream F*Series 2 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint + 0.5 mm Pencil

Sooo…multipens. Addicted. Totally addicted. Which is kind of crazy given that having one multipen should be sufficient to meet all of one’s pen needs, right? In theory, yes. Problem is, once you try one multipen, you need to (okay, want to) try more. And more. And more. Until there are multiple multipens in your pen cup. And purse. And messenger bag.

Here’s one of my favorites…one that I recently re-discovered…the Jetstream F*Series 2 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint + 0.5 mm Pencil (quite the name!). According to the description on the Jetpens website, the “F” stands for “feminine.” I don’t see this pen as being all that feminine, though I suppose the slim design, stripes, and little charm on the end could be considered more feminine than masculine. All I know is that I fell in love with the stripes and the fact that I could carry black ink, red ink, and a pencil in one pen body.


Because it’s a Jetstream, the 0.5mm line is sharp and crisp and the colors are true. Black is black and red is red. No wishy-washiness. Jetstreams, as a rule, do not disappoint. Simply twist the pen body forward or backward to rotate through the three options. My only beef with multipens is that I sometimes forget to check which point I’ve selected, and I wind up writing in red when I want to write in black, or vice-versa. But that’s not the pen’s fault, just user error. And age.

The pen tips are sharp, but smooth. Just perfect, especially if you prefer a fine line. There’s not even a HINT of scratchiness. Smoooooth.

And on the end…a tiny charm. Thus the F series, I guess.

A charming pen, no?!


A few years back, I ordered a watch from Cross (during their annual sale), and it arrived in a beautiful leather (or leather-like?) box:

I stuck the empty box in a dresser drawer and let it languish for years. It was one of those tricky items…too nice to throw away, but a little bulky to store forever. Then, one night, lightbulb over head! Hey, I thought, I’ll use it to make a little traveling office. So that’s exactly what I did. Here’s what it now holds:

Baby stapler:

Forever stamps:

Pencil Shield pencils from Baseball Hall of Fame game:

Pilot G-2 Minipen:

Well-worn eraser:

Glue stick (just in case):

*Lamy Pico ballpoint pen:

Binder clips:

Scotch brand Pop-Up Tape:

The whole shebang:

So now I’m ready for just about anything (office-wise), just about anywhere. And the wonderful Cross box is no longer collecting dust. Win-win.


* While I love the now-you-see it/now-you-don’t mechanism of this pen, Lamy’s ballpoint ink refills leave me cold. The black ink is too grey for me and writing with it feels draggy rather than smooth. But it’s fine for occasional use. (When will Lamy improve the state of their ballpoint inks, she asked hopefully.)

A NICE free pen? Yup!

For a quick and local holiday getaway, we spent a night, last week, at The Lodge At Turning Stone. Turning Stone is known for its Oneida Nation casino, and has three hotels on its grounds. We’re not gamblers (too cheap, no luck), but have wanted to stay at The Lodge since we first explored the peaceful lobby a number of years ago. The beauty of The Lodge is that even though its connected to the main casino/bingo hall and restaurants by an indoor bridge, it feels worlds away in atmosphere. No smoke. No milling crowds. And did I mention no smoke? Just peace and quiet, friendly/helpful employees, and a very spa-like feel. See?



While Fred was parking the truck, I headed up to our room and started checking out the amenities– AND I almost drank a $2.00 (small!) bottle of Saratoga water thinking that it was free. Eek. The suite was wonderful…cool bathroom (phone by toilet??), comfortable sitting room, cozy bedroom, two TVs, nice desk, free wif-fi, and magazines. Sweet.

As I was poking around, I found the obligatory notepad and pen. Actually two. And imagine my surprise when the pen had heft! This was not one of those god-awful, barely writes hotel pens. (Hate those…and yet I take them. WHY??) The body had the look of brushed metal and wrote a nice dark line. Must dissect, I thought. When I yanked it apart, I found a familiar Cross refill. Color me impressed.


The tip is extended by twisting the pen body, which is nice. I’m a nervous pen clicker so with a twisting pen, that temptation is removed. Probably a good thing.

Our stay was short but wonderful. We enjoyed the spa’s hot tub, the lobby’s chaise lounges and fireplace, and the peace and quiet. When we left, I took the charming little soaps, and of course, this pen.


One year’s ended, and the new one has begun. May your year be full of happiness. And nice pens.

Ohto Pieni Stripe Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen (0.3 mm, then 0.5 mm)

I’ve got a thing for orange and stripes (in pens only), so I tossed this pen into my Jetpens shopping cart, along with a handful of other pens and refills. (Gotta get that >$25 free shipping!) The pen I ordered came with a 0.3 mm refill, but the line was soooooo fine and so light that I just couldn’t get into it. So I recently ordered a 0.5 mm refill and now the pen feels usable.



Aside from the pen color/stripes, I also like the fact that the pen body is made of wood. This makes the pen feel like a pencil in hand. Kind of cool. The line is very fine, even at 0.5 mm, and is pretty consistent and smooth, though not really as dark as I like.

One thing I didn’t realize was how easily the wooden pen body could be marked up. This one’s relatively new, and well cared for, but already shows some dents and dings. (Ouch.) The other issue I’m having is with the plunger/knock mechanism. The one on my pen is very loose, in that it appears to be fully outside of the pen body. Because of this, it rattles when handled, though not so much when I’m actually writing.

See what I mean about the knock? Strange.

So, even though I’m happier with the 0.5 mm refill, this pen probably won’t make it to the prized pen cup on my desk. It’s more likely to be relegated to the one full of oddball pens in the kitchen. Too bad…the orange stripes are lovely.

Pilot Petit 1

I found this stubby fountain pen, the Pilot Petit 1, languishing in a pen case that I haven’t pawed through lately. I fully expected the ink to be dried up, but this little trooper wrote like a champ despite weeks (maybe months?) without use.


Feathering of the ink is very minimal, though there is a bit of bleed-through to the reverse side of this Moleskine journal page. Nothing horrible, though. And I’ve been using it to make notes on index cards (a favorite system for compiling lists and ideas). It’s really a fun little pen, and could be easily carried in your pocket. There’s a satisfying snap when you replace the cap, so the danger of leaking seems to be low (but don’t quote me on that).

I’m sure I ordered this from, but who knows when. I started using Lamy fountain pens more consistently, and must’ve let this one fall by the wayside. But now it’s rejoined the land of the living, and I’m using it tonight to jot down some thoughts for 2012…not exactly resolutions, but things I want to work on throughout the year. Like starting and maintaining this pen blog.

Here’s a toast to review #1. And I’ll work on my photography skills, but at least it’s a start.