Facebook: The Social Media Platform for Bigots

Bigots rejoice, you’re getting your very¬†own major social media website by forceful takeover of one that used to be used as a way to seek support. Bravo! ūüôā

The new “Real Names” policy by Facebook has caused a literal exodus¬†of the LGBT community¬†from their service. But before I get into the community in which I belong, I’d like the point out — like so many others have — that this isn’t just restricted to us. Oh! let me count the ways…

  1. What if you’re hiding from an abusive husband/wife?
  2. What if you’re using a different name because you’ve been cyberstalked (or physically)?
  3. What if sharing your real-life name/details is a breach of contract in a company?
  4. What if sharing your real-life name/details endangers your life?
  5. What if you’re using a different name because that is what you’re known by?

If you notice, these things are non-exclusive to the LGBT community and this certainly is not an exhaustive list.

Facebook was one of the ways people from any community could seek, effectively, comfort from advice, companionship/camaraderie, etc. It was a platform that could be trusted. But no longer. This comfort has been stripped away by this new policy.

How does this effect the LGBT community? Well, fairly easily, to be honest:

  1. Transgendered individuals prefer to identify with the gender they are, not the biological sex they were born as. (Notice the difference.) As such, they prefer to use an appropriate name. Male-to-Female would be using a female name while a Female-to-Male would be using a male name. Obviously, the associated pronouns match as well — but this depends upon the individual in question and what they want.
  2. Drag queens and kings do not live two lives or have two¬†identities, but are, instead, expressing who they are. Their stage names¬†are a potential source of income and might very well be how they are actually known. Honestly, of all the¬†queens/kings I know, I know… well, none of their “real” names. Even out of dress, I call them by their stage names and none of them have corrected¬† me. (These individuals, I have to point out, are not necessarily homosexual. There are plenty of heterosexual drag queens and kings. Thus, being able to use¬†their stage name on one account¬†while maintaining a separate¬†personal account is crucial for some queens/kings.)
  3. Cross-dressers and transvestites, much like drag queens and kings, might use a secondary name for various reasons and this secondary name is how they are more commonly known.
  4. Those who prefer to identify as androgynous almost certainly prefer to use a gender neutral name to keep that identity intact. (This is where I fall, to be honest.)
  5. While gays and lesbians might not use¬†different given¬†names, due to various laws of states, countries, or otherwise, being unable to marry or change their surname name to match that of¬†their husband, wife, or partner is an issue. Thus, having the ability to¬†have a different surname¬†on social sites provides at least some comfort and consistency with reality. (Yet again, where I fall…)

See the issues that abound? This policy is discriminatory in nature but it’s effects reach¬†beyond the LGBT community. There is an exodus going on right now composed not only of the LGBT community, but “power users” and those who fall into the first¬†list or for¬†other reasons. If this policy is not reversed, Facebook is going to be a mere shadow of what it used to be. It most certainly won’t cause the death of the company, but I doubt highly it will ever be able to entice the users that have already left to come back. For that matter, even if it is reversed, I doubt it’ll ever be a trusted platform anymore for several communities.

So, there you go guys. You can have it. We don’t want to be associated with Zuckerberg and his illogical antics that are based entirely¬†upon his antiquated¬†opinion. It’ll suit you guys very well. ūüôā

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Cheers! Have a great day and be safe out there.

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The End of a (Surprise) Vacation

Well, my birthday was this past week and I was surprised by my partner with a 9 day vacation. And it was a blast.¬†So… I feel compelled¬†to do the proverbial “post vacation” post.

We honestly didn’t go anywhere for the vacation so it really was a “staycation”. We also didn’t do anything radically amazing on my birthday — hell, not even a party. It was just “us” time… which was freaking epic.

To start things off on the vacation, a friend¬†came down from up north. That was fun all on its own to just hangout, watch movies and hear him ramble on about this, that or the other. (He’s an absolute Transformers nut, so we watched Dark of the Moon, I think it’s called.)

On my birthday, my partner¬†took me to the HMNS Butterfly Center. I adhore the place. Everytime you go, things always look different: different blooms, different butterflies… It was amazingly fun. The time¬†at which¬†we went was also¬†nice: no one was really there and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The best part? (Beyond the semi-romantic nature of it all…) We had butterflies land on us! Here are some pictures from our trip. (Nokia 1020 for the win… the camera that happens to be a phone. These are actually the lower resolution copies the phone makes automatically.)

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Also in that week, I ended up getting a new pen set!

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It was effectively NOS as it had never been used. But let me say… it is an incredible writer. I won’t go more into it because¬†it’s the subject of¬†a later post.

I’ll be getting back into the swing of things here soon. There are 4 posts in the works, so there’s material heading y’all’s way. Typewriters are still on hold… begrudgingly. There are some at antique shops I know, but the prices they’re asking — per usual —¬†are entirely unreasonable per the conditions that they are in. (Excellent example: one is missing the return lever, has rust along the back and typebars, missing the logo on the back in almost its entirety, and no case/cover. They still want damn near $75 for it… with some resources I have I can get 3 for that in much better condition. I have to reiterate what I said in another post: just because it is old, doesn’t mean it is worth something!)

That’s it for now as an update. ūüôā See y’all later! Have a great day and be safe out there!

Dear Bigots…

Today I am having a¬†great¬†day even with all your stares and non-verbal harassment. I kissed my partner at his work. That’s right! You read it. I kissed my partner in public. I figured why not? I spent some time with him on his break to keep him company, so why not kiss him goodbye? I mean, everyone else gets to. Everyone else gets to hold hands and not be stared at by you. Everyone else gets to cuddle on a bench in the park without getting the stare of death from you. Or share a¬†dish at a restaurant without getting the awkward eye from you.

Ohhh… you are awful. So awful, in fact, that it is absolutely delightful. Your awfulness brings to mind a scene from The Muppet Show: (Damn right I said The Muppet Show… you gotta get down to their level, ya know?)

You know, you’re really not very nice. In fact, you’re perfectly awful. You are so awful that it is truly beautiful. Yeah, you’ve probably worked all your life to be perfectly awful. Year after year, just to be as bad as possible. And now, now all of your toil and self-sacrifice has paid off. Yes! You are a success. Yes, you have set yourself a goal and you have achieved it. Oh, you are to be congratulated. Haha! Yeah, you are so awful that it is truly beautiful and in fact you are the perfect example of beautiful awfulness. — Madeline Kahn, The Muppet Show (S02E02)

So, really, you’re nothing but an overhyped, buck-fanged¬†thing¬†that’s all¬†growl and no bite¬†with no real power. And you’re probably frustrated because you know that. ūüôā You’re frustrated because you know very well that no matter what you do, no matter what you say, people like us¬†will just carry on like you don’t exist. Because you don’t. ūüôā

Toodles! ~waves~

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Love is love, no matter if it is homo- or heterosexual.

My First “Real” Fountain Pen

Sooo since I talked about the Adler a bit, which was made in West Germany, I decided to post up a fountain pen I own that is also German. Germans must have this thing for making absolutely amazing products… I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

I feel like I should clarify something. I use “real” because my first fountain pen was a lower-end cartridge filler by Cross, which sadly isn’t made in its original form anymore — nor that color. I had two of those and I actually gifted¬†a third¬†to a friend in high school way back when.¬†The first ended up being stolen somehow. The second ended up thinking I enjoyed having ink on my paw so I ended up giving up on it.

Upon that happening, I realized rather quickly that I couldn’t live without a fountain pen. I have been using them since I purchased the first one. Something has always fascinated me about them. Typewriters are the same way… there’s like a mystique about these items.

There’s something about both of these items, that when you shop for them,¬†they encourage you to find something that is fun and matches you.¬†The Fountain Pen Hospital had this little gem in stock:

The box, the presentation box, the pen, and the bottle of ink. That bottle is the same one I've used since I've bought the pens. Goes to show how well these pens distribute ink in an economical but fluid way.

The box, the presentation box, the pen, and the bottle of ink. That bottle is the same one I’ve used since I’ve bought the pens. Goes to show how well these pens distribute ink in an economical but fluid way.

This pen is¬†Pelikan’s M205 Demonstrator (Blue). What does a demonstrator mean? Well, a better example is the Noodler’s Konrad I have. That is what a demonstrator is: you can see every little bit of it.

As you can see, Pelikan employs a "cap within a cap" design which, on the demonstrators, clearly shows how easily ink can get trapped between the layers. The piston is clearly visible within the barrel of the fountain pen as well!

As you can see, Pelikan employs a “cap within a cap” design which, on the demonstrators, clearly shows how easily ink can get trapped between the layers. The piston is clearly visible within the barrel of the fountain pen as well!

It is limited production (not edition) and is no longer made. I’ve had two of these… The first, of course, was stolen somehow — which is a story unto its own. I was lucky enough to find a second one online. But I ignore that loss and say I’ve had the pen for at least¬†6 years since they are essentially the same pen — one just had a different fineness (XF v F).

The nib. Though it might be obvious, the "F" stands for Fine. The original one I had was an XF. These nibs can be screwed out and are interchangeable with all M205 compatible nibs.

The nib. Though it might be obvious, the “F” stands for Fine. The original one I had was an XF. These nibs can be screwed out and are interchangeable with all M205 compatible nibs.

This pen was my introduction to what a fountain pen “should” be like: Immortal styling, an¬†inspiration to write with, and¬†fun to look at and hold. It is a piston filler, which means it can only¬†be¬†filled from bottled ink and has a generous capacity. The nib is smooth and has just enough give to allow comfortable, springy writing. With a thinner barrel, it’s an ideal pocket pen — but that thinner barrel also means that over¬†long writing periods¬†your hand can tend to cramp.

But even with the handicap of potential cramping, this pen easily takes the cake for sheer volume of pages written with it. I’ve not restricted myself to just that bottle of Pelikan ink either… Through Goulet Pen’s Ink Drop, I’ve sampled probably a 50+¬†inks with this pen alone as this is my baseline for piston-filler compatibility. It works well with even the more intense inks that say “Do not leave in fountain pens” like J Herbin’s 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite. I ended up leaving this pen filled with this ink over a period of¬†over a month with no ill effects to any component!

With all these glowing reviews, I have to sadly report that it is due for a check up with¬†a nibmeister. It’s put away in the pen case until then. But strangely even though it does need some TLC, I always turn to it in times of need. When all other pens fail to inspire, I need but to¬†ink this one up not half-way and words flow onto the page as quickly as the hand scribe them.

As always, thanks for reading! Have a great day and be safe out there. ūüôā

What Nightmares Are Made From

“Come play with us… for ever and ever and ever and…”

Okay, in all seriousness, nightmares are made of two things: neurons and this Adler J5 that needs to be fixed. I feel like it is laughing at me right now… its big, matte, yellow teeth not-so-gleaming as it grins that evil “Do if you dare” grin.

"Nyahahaha! Come here my little pretties!"

“Nyahahaha! Come here my little pretties!”

ScottK ran an awesome article on a typewriter¬†with a branding¬†that befuddled some of better minds/collectors out there. In this article, there was a healthy dose of epically interesting history. Now… every typewriter has history. That’s a default. Even if you remove company history, even if you remove that massive family tree a company can have… That typewriter you might be fiddling with has had owners more than likely. What did they use it for? Where has it been? What has it talked about? Was it loved? I wonder how many drinks were accidentally spilled on it and the owner suddenly jumped¬†back cursing up a storm to quickly clean up the mess while quietly saying soothing apologies to it?

-coughs- Anyway! Not that I have experience in the last…

Typewriters always have a story to tell. They are, after all, kind of meant to type what is on people’s minds. Heck even “ASDFASDFASDFASDFASDFASDFASDF” has a story! It’s one of the most famous lines in typewriter testing history! “Have you tested it yet?” “No.” “…well?” -types frantically away using only four keys out of the 42 or more- “Yup! It works!” “Awesome! Mark it up by 150%!”

Well, this Adler has some history behind it that makes this project nerve wracking beyond measure: this typewriter is the one my mother wrote love letters to my father on. No, seriously. This is it. Rather cute ones, I have to admit. She’d switch between the typewriter and pristine penmanship — something I do with my own pen pal. (“Pristine penmanship” in my case is questionable.)

“Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uhm… “And if you’ve bled, you’d be red too!” No, no… that’s not good. Uhm… “No need to dread, I’m here for you.” Wow… I’m horrible at rhyme-scheme poems.

My mom and dad were (I’ll get to the choice of word in a moment) the definition of lovebirds. And my mom still suffers from the syndrome. Why? My dad died when I was 5. Honestly, she’s never really recovered.

My dad ended up keeping practically¬†everything she sent. Letters, notecards, postcards… I learned something about him: He was an absolute Garfield nut. He also enjoyed cream soda, Wolf chili, worked for Coca-Cola, collected large-scale Lionel trains, was a civil war nut, and, well, seemingly an awesome, open-minded guy. (That open-minded bit I would have been extremely grateful for…)

So… in the process of helping my mom move out of the house she has lived in for over 25 years, I was tasked the duty/job of thinning out what we had kept of dad’s things. Just by happening, I found the stack of selected things he had kept that she had sent. My partner was entertaining my mom so I just happened to glance through — mind you, glance not read. To my giddy surprise, I found letters that were clearly typed by this Adler.

Now… family is something that a lot, I feel, take advantage of. Especially those with huge families. My family has always really just been my mom and I. Just us. And my grandfather (my dad’s dad) when he was in a equable mood. And at least 1 cat. When you’re this small of a family, even the smallest things count. This typewriter is part of the family, if you will. Call it a romantic notion, call it what you will.

And family helps family. But oh, my, god, this is stressful!

What is wrong with it? The ribbon won’t shift.¬†That’s the key fixing point.¬†¬†And honestly, once this thing is working and tuned up, I can already tell it’ll be a fantastic typer. It’s quiet, it’s got a descent touch, it’s responsive, and the bell rings clear. It does sound and feel like there is some metal that is grinding when the keys are pressed… so that’s another thing that needs to be looked into.

The typewriter's equivalent to that annoying query head-tilt that dares you to do something.

The typewriter’s equivalent to that annoying query head-tilt that dares you to do something.

Hopefully this nightmare will become a happy dream. I mean… it couldn’t be that hard to fix it so the ribbon shifts, right?

(Dun, dun, dun… famous last words.)

Alive and… (Fountain Pens?)

Somewhat below kicking? Love that track

Alive is good. Yes, alive is good.

I’ll just sum everything up in one word: medical.

With that covered and explaining my silence after the conclusion of the Skyriter project, here we go.

So, what we’re going to talk about is actually a fountain pen. The reason why this comes up is I own one that I haven’t been able to use until now. Why? Well, it’s a Noodler’s Ink¬†Konrad.

These fountain pens are notorious for needing to be¬†tweaked after purchase. They’re all handmade but are incredibly affordable — like, $20USD affordable. What can make these pens unusable are two things (usually): 1) the ink flow is way too wet or 2) the flow stops suddenly and won’t restart.

However, both of the cases can be solved by employing the following: a little O-ring and/or heat setting the feeds to the nib. And thanks to my long-time penpal — who graciously mailed me an O-ring and detailed instructions — I was able to do this.

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The ink used is also my favorite non-traditional ink.¬†It¬†is also made by Noodler’s Ink. In this pen, the ink is used to its full potential as it can shade with it¬†giving this delightful range of deep purple-black to a royal purple.

Because the nib can flex with some pressure it allows¬†rather expressive writing from¬†what is a cheap writing combination. A flex nib fountain pen is often an expensive affair. Really good flex nibs exist for steel pens —¬† used for scripts like Spencerian.¬†Those can be so flexible that they are termed “wet noodle” nibs, literally going from hairlines to 3-4mm in width! This particular Konrad can flex from approximately 0.2mm to just over 1mm. An impressive range considering the price.

I’ve actually had this pen since… I wanna say 2012 when it came out.¬†Two years of disuse is a long time. But the wait was well worth it. This is now my go-to desk pen when the paper is appropriate for fountain pen ink.

Smith-Corona Skyriter Restoration Finale

It. Is. Done. I didn’t end up painting it like I said it was going to — that’ll come at a later date. But it is cleaned and put back together! In the process of cleaning the typewriter, I also cleaned the carrying case and the difference is rather startling.

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This is a bit of a retrospect, I guess… Working with this typewriter in a rather intimate fashion gave me a good deal of self-confidence to try this with gradually more complicated typewriters. It’s all about studying before you do: the whole “measure twice, cut once” idea. Taking pictures and notes is absolutely key as well.

So, I really feel like this is something everyone should do with an equally simple typewriter — down to even removing the carriage assembly like I did. It isn’t as scary as it sounds for this one, it went back on as easily as it came off. I had to do some adjustments (let’s hear it for digital calipers) so I could get the card holders centered again, but that was a minimal amount of effort. If anything, the most tedious bit was cleaning all the painted bits. (Sangria helped with the monotony… as did Pirates of the Caribbean… and our cat Maze, who¬†believed that I needed a lap warmer…)

Speaking of cleaning, I cleaned anything I could reach. What I didn’t touch were sensitive areas that I felt leery about touching. The¬†things I used for the typewriter itself was Soft Scrub, lent-free rags, q-tips, Dawn, 90-something% alcohol, compressed air, and patience. Patience is key for cleaning in as much as taking the typewriter down into its parts. It doesn’t take much pressure to clean surfaces and if you press too hard, you risk damaging what you might be trying to get clean. As for the carrying case, I just used leather cleaning wipes — many of them. Though the case is faux leather, the wipes cleaned it very well and left the surface looking and feeling fantastic.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the results!WP_20140903_13_35_46_ProIf you notice, I left the repair shop’s sticker on the front. On the bottom of the typewriter is also a repair sticker that gives the date, who I imagine the customer was (or repair person?), and a repair code(?). Being a former framer/preservationist, I protected that from harm since it is part of the typewriter’s history.

Any case, I hope you guys enjoyed this small project. I’ll be posting up another project soon — possibly dealing with the J5 since that needs some TLC! If you guys have any suggestions for a next project, I’m definitely up to hear them.

Y’all have a great day and be safe out there!