Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pilot Acroball, Medium 1.0 mm, Black

Among Pilot's numerous ballpoint offerings is the Acroball, also known as the EasyTouch Pro in the U.S. I reviewed this pen before in the .7 mm verision, and it's still one of the best ballpoints on the market.

Of all of the grips that I've come across, the Acroball is easily among the best. It's grippy, it doesn't limit my preference for holding the pen near the point, and it just feels right.

Pardon the less than stellar pictures. It's extremely difficult for me to knock this pen on anything, with the exception of occasional globbing. Outside of that, there are some spots of white in the line consistency, but I have yet to find a 1.0 mm ballpoint that doesn't exhibit that tendency from time to time. That being said, this is a gel-ballpoint hybrid ink, so it's way smoother than your average ballpoint, and the black ink is also more opaque (less washed out and grey looking that many economy ballpoints).

Though I much prefer the .5 size, I think everyone should try the Acroball, especially if you have finicky notebooks that don't play well with your fountain pens and liquid ink options. JetPens sent this over to me, at no charge, for review.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random September Giveaway Winner!

The lucky winner of the Random September Giveaway is Webster, with comment # 12. Congrats!

You have until Friday, September 27th to e-mail me your physical mailing address or a new winner will be selected. Many thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for more reviews and giveaways. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My E.D.C. for September 17th

I know many of you are into E.D.C. or your 'Daily Arsenal', and here is a very common combination for me:

- Pentel Graphgear 1000 .5 mm: Right now mine has Uniball Nano Dia HB or B, and this is easily my #1 favorite pencil. I also love the Kuru Toga, but it doesn't have a retractable sleeve for pocket carry. This pencil feels good in the hand and it's very durable.

Found on JetPens or Amazon

- Uniball Signo DX .38, Black: Time and time again, I come back to this for my primary pen of choice. The performance is insanely good (better than just about anything else for my writing style). I tend to write small, and it uppercase letters, so this really fits in the bill in terms of consistent performance, precise lines, and an overall feel that is hard to believe for a few bucks. Even people I know that don't like sub-micro point (under .5), still love this pen. Oh yeah, and it comes in a range of point sizes and a bazillion colors.

Purchased mine through JetPens

- Doane Utility Notebooks: It's these or Field Notes, and it's been that way for about three years. I don't use fountain pens in either one, because they have porous, fibrous paper, but they take everything else very well. If I'm not using a gel, then it's going to be a pencil or ballpoint (or some new-fangled hybrid ink). The grid + lines format works very well for my writing style and organizational approach.

Can be bought online via doane paper

- Swiss Army Knife, Tinker: The Tinker is great. The things I use most on it are the knives, the bottle opener [beer is good], the Philips head screwdriver, and the tweezers, but there's an awl if you need to puncture some leather. Eh, why not? You can get this thing for under $20, too. You need one, you just don't know it yet.

SAK Tinker on Amazon

- County Comm Pico Widgy Pry Bar: Though it mostly gets used for opening packages, having a pry bar offers, well, the peace of mind that you have prying capabilities on your key chain. How many people can say that? Probably not many, and maybe it's just a cute/manly accessory, but it's also nice for man slivers and the like.

 County Comm Pico Widgy Pry Bar

- FourSevens Mini QAA: It may not be practical for everyone to carry a light, but I like working on computers, I enjoy late night hikes, and I tend to be clumsy at night, so having a dedicated light is always helpful. Sure, you can use the light on your smartphone, but it's nice to have a different source when batteries are low.

My model is discontinued, but you can find a similar version, and many others, at FourSevens.

- Chapstick: I live in Minnesota, and it can go from 80 degrees Fahrenheit to freezing in less than 24 hours, so it's essential here.

What is your E.D.C.?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Random September Giveaway

It's been awhile since the last giveaway, so here's a random one for you. Each item that is hyperlinked means there's a corresponding review from yours truly. Please share the giveaway with others - your support is appreciated!

TOPS Idea Collective Journal (Amazon)
Uniball Signo RT, Red (available at just about any big box store)
Pentel Vicuna - Purple  (JetPens)
Bic Velocity Gel (available at just about... anywhere)
Uniball Vision Elite, Blue Black (JetPens)
Pilot Frixion Erasable Highlighter (JetPens)

  • Leave one comment on this posting to enter for the giveaway. You are limited to one entry, and duplicate entries are prohibited. 
  • Only U.S. residents will qualify for this giveaway. I don't mean to exclude any international readers, but I have read about several instances where people are simply not receiving their packages from international sources, and I don't want anyone to be disappointed if these items are held by Customs. 
  • Entries will be accepted between now and 11:59pm, September 20th. I will post the winner at some point over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pedigree 600 Series Colored Pencil (Blue and Red) - Empire Pencil Company

One of the reasons for my less-than-frequent posting over the last few months has been because my fiancee and I have been dealing with my father's estate (he passed away in February). On a lighter note, I came across this 2-pack of pencils from what is likely the late 50s or early 60s.

I initially thought he pack was open, but it appears that plastic had just become brittle and was a bit crushed from its years being moved from junk drawer to junk drawer. Though I am less of a pencil guy than some of you out there, I am a sucker for retro items, especially writing ephemera.

At any rate, since the pencils were accessible without destroying the packaging, I slid one out this evening to try it.

 I am not sure how many pencils were made by Pedigree (Empire), and I wasn't able to find much out about the company even. According to a preliminary search, Empire purchased Berol, which was acquired by the Sanford corporation (Newell Rubbermaid), per Wikipedia ->

Using a toothy notebook, I wrote out a few lines, and both sides of the pencil write like a dream. I'm not sure if this was meant for any particular trade (drafting, accounting, etc.), but I could see myself using these without complaint. These are advertised as being like a crayon, and that's exactly what it felt like - a bit waxy, but very smooth, and the consistency was way better than any crayons I've used before.

For their age, these are a sweet. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with these, but I will probably pass them off for someone else to review or include them in an upcoming giveaway.

If you have experience with, or knowledge of, the Empire Pencil Co., please leave a comment!

Pentel Slicci Metallic - .8 mm, Violet

Besides the Uniball Signo and the Pilot Hi-Tec-C, the Pentel Slicci line of gels is one of the most popular options available on the market, and for good reason. Sliccis are available in a range of tip sizes and colors, and the needle point tip is incredibly sturdy. What's more, the writing performance is excellent. Though I have seen the 'Metallic' ink options, I hadn't tried one until this sample was sent over by Pentel. 

I'm not sure if all Sliccis are part of Pentel's Recycology line, but this one is made of 87% recycle plastic - a nice piece of mind if you buy and use a lot of pens and feel like you need to feed your addiction with greener options.

Being metallic, the writing sample was difficult to photograph, and the perceived ink color changes quite a bit depending on the angle and light with which it is viewed. These writing samples were taken today in a Minnesota sunset - your results may vary. 

The bottom line? I can see a lot of people liking the Metallic Sliccis. If you haven't tried a Slicci, make a point to find give them shot. The barrel is a bit thin, but they are worth taking for a spin either way. You may have difficulty finding these in the big box stores, but you can find them online at