Updated the website: 9 new poems and new blog entry. Check it out if you likehttp://www.cfbrown.com/
If you have been following my tweets then you know that I have been wanting a Fountain Pen for sometime now. After a few weeks of online searching, peaking in and out of different office supply shops I came across this one here at office depot.
It was the only one they had, and the woman said that they would not be carrying fountain pens anymore. This had been reduced to more than half its original price, so it was a very good deal. I enthusiastically took to my journal and scraps of paper and was quite pleased.
A few days had passed and the quality of the ink had become an issue. The ink that came with it, Parker’s quink black, tends to spread after drying and bleeds through lowgrade paper (i.e copy paper, scraps, and notebook paper) but does not bleed through in my journal. The other issue I had with this ink was that it was not a true black. After drying, it has a tendency to try a dark grey that gets lighter as the ink runs out.
So my next purchase was this,
it is Higgins Eternal black ink. This ink said that it was good for use in calligraphy pens, fountain pens, art pens, and air brushing guns.
DO NOT USE THIS IN YOUR FOUNTAIN PEN. This ink was horrible, it spread more than the Quink ink that the pen came with. It wrote and dried grayer than the quink black and bled through the lower grade paper and my journal pages and It also smeared.
This ink is terrible for fountain pens.
The next ink I went to was Higgins Calligraphy black. The box said that this ink was also good for use in calligraphy pens, fountain pens, art pens, and air brushing guns. This ink was blacker than the Eternal but still grey compared to the quink. It also spread less than the Eternal but more than the quink. The completely irritating quality of this ink was that it did not have a good flow at all. My script handwriting has lots of loops and quick dashes, with this ink, they all disappeared. It seems to prefer lines that are vertical lines only. Again this ink was not good for me. If you write in print, this in is ok but script/cursive it’s a very bad ink
There was a week of research that followed and there were two inks that I found to stand out on the pen websites and seemed to suit my needs. The first was the ink that everyone raved over called aurora black ink. This by far all the reviewers and other pen people said that aurora black ink is the gold standard that all other fountain pen ink is measured against. It was said to not have any bleed through, possess a rich and deep black color, no spreading, and the quality of paper did not matter. The only other ink that was said to posses all these qualities was Noodler's Bulletproof BLACK EEL Fountain Pen Ink. This was the ink that I purchased at castle in the air (http://www.castleintheair.biz/) in Berkeley California. Where John whom was EXREAMLY knowledgeable helped me with excellent customer service that was not phony or pushy but truly genuine and wanted to make sure I got the right product. So thank you John
This ink is FANTASTIC, not only does it posses all of the qualities it says it has (no bleed through, possess a rich and deep black color, no spreading, and the quality of paper does not matter) It also claims to be water proof. I have not tested that one out yet. It wrote smoothly as a ink should, with loving care for my loops and horizontal lines and quick dashes. It did not dry grey or have any hints of grey and it is thick, like one expects to see from ink, but it does not clog. This ink was about 15 dollars so its not cheap but the quality of ink seems as if it will last me a while. Ill hang my hat on this ink and give the aurora a try when this bottle is through.
As I read this book of few pages there were many different themes that ran through it: Tradition, Afrocentricity, and African village life pre and post colonialism. The one that is most personal and prevalent to me was the one that reigned from beginning to end, Manhood. Things fall apart written by Chinua Achebe opens with introducing us to Okonkwo. His ideas of manhood are born out of resentment of his father. I would go as far as to say that Okonkwo’s contempt of his father is the foundational bedrock upon which he shaped his entire worldview. The ideal of a man, manhood, and how a man conducts himself at home and in society all, in my opinion, was fashioned by doing and being the opposite man he believed his father to be.
Okonkwo’s father was a carefree musician that lived for fun and the feast. He was also a debtor, so much so that he owed most everyone in the village. His barn was small, he had only one wife, and no title or place of honor in the village. If the lacking of any status symbols were not enough for Okonkwo to view his father with shameful eyes, he died in such a way that he could not be permitted a respected death at home. He had to be taken to the outskirts of the village and left to die because his sickness was one that village tradition dictated was foul and an abomination against the earth goddess. He could not die in the village or the village would be cursed and he could not be buried in the earth because that would also be a curse.
A very young Okonkwo was the man of the house now. The only son of a man with no title, and after his father’s debts were paid, no barn and no yam seeds, had to find a way to care for his grieving mother and his father’s family. He swore that day, to never be what his father was and in doing so, he proved himself. At his very early age, even by the village standards, he provided. He proved himself to be a brave and fearless warrior by taking the heads of a few men in war. He also proved himself greatly in sport by defeating someone that the entire clan considered unbeatable. With age, he gained titles and places of honor. He took three wives and had a larger than average of compound and barn. He even held one of the highest honors as an Egwugwu. An Egwugwu is essentially a person that is possessed by an ancestral spirit that dons a mask and delivers justice or punishment.
This was all counter balanced by Okonkwo being just as stern on himself as he was with everyone, and was even considered too harsh sometimes by the other men of the village. Okonkwo did not show any emotions except anger because it was the only manly emotion. He did not speak often and was a man of very few words, because only women and children constantly talked and made noise, men took action. He never borrowed except the one time because a real man supported himself and his family on his own. As we also see, a man never openly shows affection to his wife or children, and if he does, it is done in a very manly way. A real man was a divine instrument of correction, punishment and however misguided, direction.
Just as it seems that Okonkwo’s manhood plan is working for him he is brought to poetic shame by an accident considered female in the tradition of the village. The proud and respected Okonkwo was now an outcast, by village law he and his family were forced to live in his mother’s village for seven years while all the men of the village burned his compound to the ground. He was stripped of his title and standing and in his eyes alone, was the equivalent to the boy he was so long ago.
Seven years pass and Okonkwo rebuilds. He planned to come back to the village and make himself into a greater man than what he was before his tragic womanly accident. His plan was set but the times had changed, missionaries, white men, had come bringing a new religion, and new laws to the land. At first, it only claimed the outcasts and the undesirables of the village and clans that no one wanted or liked anyway. His standing on the missionaries and white men were, at worse nothing more than a joke. At worse Okonkwo saw them as a young pest that needed to be squashed before it grew too large. After eventually calming a portion of land considered unholy, a few villagers considered normal, a few men of high title, and his oldest son, Okonkwo begins to break down.
The conflict further escalates when an unruly outcast turned Christian spitefully unmasks an egwugwu. This would essentially be the same as someone killing an archbishop. In Okonkwo’s eyes, this meant out right war, but the men of the village seemed too had lost their thirst for blood as in days of old. They all talked, compromised, and resorted to burning down the mission. This action causes Okonkwo and all the men of high title and status to essentially be held for ransom and beaten, falsely imprisoned, and unfairly tried under the queen’s law. Like a freshly chastised child, Okonkwo goes home angered beyond the point rage or anger could properly express and swears revenge, even if he is the only MAN left willing to do so. At home Okonkwo recalls the days of his youth with when talking to an enemy like some of the men now did would not have been given serious consideration. The womanly reasoning, as he saw it, would have been left to the women while the men took heads and drove out the missionaries.
The book closes in a grand meeting, which Okonkwo despises, talking about what to do, and if these actions meant war was the proper action. Okonkwo forces the hand and seeing, realizing, in his mind, that he is the only REAL MAN left amongst them he does what I believe he believed to be a final slight at all the cowards that called themselves men and an example to the village of what he believed the proper action that they all are eternally doing now.
Over all, this book was very boring; by the time it started to get interesting, it was over. I really had to force myself to finish. This I never thought I would come across a book that I found utterly dry, to be as interesting as it was. Okonkwo and his arrested development kept me wanting to see what happen next. If you are a quick reader I say, go ahead and read. The more you think about and contemplate the dynamics, themes, and character analysis of the book, that becomes tremendously more interesting that the actual meat of the book itself. If you have a short attention span or need something with action or a twist and turn to keep you going, do not ready this book.