Insert Lithp Here

It’s odd how the internet can extend your reach. I can buy goods from places I never heard about as a child. I read people’s thoughts from lands I didn’t expect to glean insights from. I see images taken minutes, even seconds, after events extremely remote to me. Beyond all that what still strikes me as the most unbelievable is I have friends on the other side of this planet whom I’ve never actually met.

How that happened is a long and rather boring story. Logic dictates that the underlying reason is that my likability is directly proportional to the distance you are away from me (Overfield’s law). If  I lived on the moon the entire world would love me. What all of the people I know overseas have in common is using and collecting that odd throwback I love: fountain pens. Forming a small (but rapidly growing) group centered in metro Manila they meet for food, friendship, and fountain pens (is that the “3 Fs”?) How do I know this? After corresponding with one of the members I started following these gatherings online via Jenny Ortuoste’s blog or photos sent directly to me by people such as Leigh Reyes (blog plug). Now I can supplement that with quite a few picture galleries put up by attendees on Facebook. This happy band calls themselves the Fountain Pen Network-Philippines or FPN-P for short.

The reason I like this group so much (besides the fact that some members will actually put up with me) is their enthusiasm and camaraderie. It always looks fun when they meet at someone’s home, get a room in a tasty looking restaurant, or even take over a whole coffee shop to see pens, talk pens, use pens, and eat (not pens). Often they go out for sightseeing and pen paraphernalia hunts afterward. I’ve been at pen meets that were barely alive by comparison. The people are all ages and from all walks of life including a broadcaster, an award winning novelist/playwright, an advertising executive, professors, business people, creative professionals, writers, students, etc. etc. Certainly it’s a diverse and interesting group of folks. Seeing young people interested in what some think stodgy like fountain pens is rare, but there are some here. I never thought I’d use the term “young people” in a sentence…I am getting old.

This is leading up to my mention of another ritual they have at the meets: raffles. Members bring in items and all are raffled off to attendees for free. Last time they met there were so many items a second round of drawings had to be made. Everyone (or nearly so) seems to come away with a nifty doodad given out of the goodness of another person’s heart. Pens, notebooks, inks, and even panda shaped pens are put into the great redistribution pool. Next month is the meeting that will mark their one year anniversary and the raffle is sure to be bigger and better than ever. Also, odd as it might seem, I’ll be sending a couple things 8,000 miles for it as kind of a thank you for enjoying a bit of the fun remotely and being able to meet so many good people at the same time.

So….all gaze upon RAFFLESTEIN and his trusty helper PENCIGOR!!! (um…at the top of the page.) A more monstrous pair has never been seen in the pen world. I found just enough leftover parts for what may be my last Frankensnork class pen. It’s green, brown, and blue which I think is a nice color combination. The barrel comes from a desk pen since Sheaffer never made a brown pocket pen. Finishing it off is a Palladium-Silver triumph nib (fine) which has the script identification on it I find so charming. Pencigor has a top from a tuckaway pencil contrasting with a generic bottom assembly.


Pd-Ag nib.

So congratulations to my friends in the other hemisphere on their 1 year anniversary. I hope there are many more. Oh, and whoever wins this owes me some adobo if I ever visit. 🙂


Rafflestein writing sample.

  1. June 11, 2009, 12:17 am

    pencigor… i love it! wish you can come to a pen meet one of these days, tom. that would be the best treat for everyone here. 🙂

  2. June 11, 2009, 12:27 am

    Hi TAO, I love the names of these creations! Who thinks of them?

    Camaraderie is right. When things get deadly serious they stop being fun. Our writing instruments should be called FUNtainpens.

    Ok, enough with the puns for now… 😀

  3. TAO
    June 11, 2009, 6:18 am

    Clem: Trust me, my visit wouldn’t fall into the “treat” category. I’m certainly not that exciting.
    Mona: I thought of many of the names. Leigh and Lourdes helped out with a couple. I’m going to have to ask you to step away from the puns…back away please.

  4. lourdes
    June 11, 2009, 6:21 am

    i promise to cook you chicken/pork adobo if ever you and annemarie come to the Philippines!!!

  5. TAO
    June 11, 2009, 6:51 am

    Lourdes: I was only joking! Annemarie would certainly be a better guest to have…her table manners are much better.

  6. Chito Limson
    June 11, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Overfield’s Law, LOL! No wonder the pugs snore whenever you’re near. Great blog, Tom. Hope to see you sometime and prove the LAW wrong!

  7. Jp Reyes
    June 12, 2009, 8:36 am

    You have it all wrong, Human. We just LOOK like we are having fun. In reality, our pen meets are boxing matches that end with blood-spattered restaurant curtains. LOL!
    Thank you for your generosity in giving away some of your works of art for our raffle. It certainly will be the highlight of the anniversary meeting.

  8. TAO
    June 12, 2009, 9:12 am

    Chito: Yes, a powerful field of boring emanates from me. Usually handy since it puts mosquitoes to sleep before they can bite me. It even makes me sleepy. I’m sure someday I’ll meet you and prove that Overfield’s Law is correct.

    JP: I hate to imagine that people go to the meets brandishing battlepens! It means those with flex nibs are certainly at a disadvantage. Please…an old pen made of parts is not art. There is no creativity involved except actually being able to find stuff in my disorganized parts drawers. I can’t imagine it being the highlight but I do hope its use will provide someone some fun.

  9. June 12, 2009, 7:25 pm

    I beg to disagree!!! There is imaginative re-engineering involved!

    Jenny had to teach me to fill the Demistein (the closest I will ever get to a Parker 51, thank you SO much). It was my first encounter with a push-button filler. When I was uncapping the end of the barrel finding the mechanism underneath was a delight. I love it when things WORK. Jenny has pix! (The Demistein elicited such admiration at home that the Panda got a wee bit jealous.)

  10. June 12, 2009, 11:32 pm

    Pencigor- genius. I’m still green with envy or should I say, j. herbin vert reseda, given our fountain pen inclination.

  11. TAO
    June 13, 2009, 7:18 am

    Mona: I’m glad you are having fun with the crazy filling system. That’s what I love about vintage pens. Oh, Poor Panda pen. 🙁

    Orange Gent: Envy is OK. After all, doesn’t rouge caroubier run through all our veins?

  12. June 13, 2009, 11:18 am

    Touche, my friend. I think I’ll post a WTT or WTB post on FPN and see if I can get a frankenpen for myself. Until then, I’ll do with mismatching caps on my Safaris.

  13. June 16, 2009, 11:37 am

    Like the site – I’ll have to add you to the blogs I’m following and my sidebar – to answer your question about the Parker on my blog – no I did not buy it. I felt that it would find a better home elsewhere, but you’re right it is a beautiful pen.

  14. TAO
    June 16, 2009, 7:18 pm

    Okami: Thanks for the compliment. Sorry that pen wasn’t “the one”. Unluckily for me it seem most pens I see are “the one” (or ones, I guess).