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Reviews Written by kalex23

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Midori Grain Memo Pad - 5" x 3" - Lined and Plain - 100 Sheets - Dark Brown - MIDORI 231367
  Hands-down the best pad..., March 24, 2014
Hands-down the best pad of this type I've ever used--and easily worth eight bucks. Midori doesn't fool around.

The two different types of paper (lined & blank) is a terrific idea. The two different colors (white for the lined & cream for the blank) is terrific idea #2. I personally like the bold-5th-line scheme, too. And, it's "tactilely" perfect, in my opinion. It just FEELS right. It's fat--you get 50 sheets of each type of paper. The Midori paper is excellent, too, as you would expect. Yes, the "grain" (recycled leather) makes a nice cover for the top/front, but both the front and back are backed by a second cardboard "board," which gives both front and back a nice solid feel and a firm, stiff backing for writing-while-holding-in-your-hand. This might be the second thing you notice--after the "Grain" cover. The next step would've probably been two slabs of wood.

The double rings are made of fat (surely squash-resistant) wire and will *never* give you any trouble--there's no wire hanging out anywhere to "snag" on anything. What I liked MOST is that they seem to have gotten the ring size (~18mm), number of leaves, and the hole sizes and spacing just PERFECT. This is the "tactile" thing I was talking about. The pages will always flip over and lay flat, perfectly. No horsing around at the binding. Ever. The DOUBLE elastic band holding it closed is just icing on the cake. Just a pleasure to use.

I'll decide for you: get one of each color, and give one away to a friend/partner.

OK, I dug and dug, and found *one* thing some folks might dislike. The sheets are NOT micro-perfed. But I guarantee you'll do no damage to the sturdy rings by just ripping pages out.
Pilot Vortex Fountain Pen - Fine Nib - Clear Blue - PILOT FVS-150R-TLF
  Must agree w/previous..., January 31, 2014
Must agree w/previous reviewer. I own more than a fistful of Pilot FPs, and this one was a welcome addition. Number one "draw" for me? The Pilot (F)ine nib--essentially the same one as in my beloved Cocoons and Preras. Noticeably finer than typical with other pens, it writes perfectly, with no "breaking-in" or tweaking necessary. All-plastic, except for the clip and nib of course, it's *very* light. It's compact, at about a half-inch shorter than Pilot's Cocoon or Metro (those being the same pen, essentially), but fits well, unposted, even in my largish hands. Like the "click" securing the cap when posted, too, though I don't usually write that way. Only possibly downside? It'll only take Pilot cartridges --not the "short international" variety. It WILL of course take a Pilot CON-50 (or CON-20) converter though, so you *can* use bottled ink (yay!). I didn't want to dunk the soft plastic "grip" into an ink bottle, possibly staining it, so I filled my CON-50 converter FIRST (with a syringe) and snapped the pen onto the converter. Bob's your uncle, as they say. Plan on buying more in different colors.
Pilot Cocoon Fountain Pen - Medium Nib - Bordeaux Body - PILOT FCO-3SR-BO-M
  Terrific pen, like every..., December 9, 2013
Terrific pen, like every other Pilot I own (coupla Preras, Penmanships, Metros, and a Custom 74). Is it *mostly* IDENTICAL to the Pilot Metropolitan? As another reviewer pointed out, YES. However, you'll find the Cocoon costs at least 2-3 TIMES what the Metropolitan does, no matter where you shop. What's up? For two pens that LOOK IDENTICAL, this might sound like a show-stopper. However, here's a couple of points that *might* matter to some folks. First off--and most important to ME--only the Cocoon is available with a FINE nib. UNLIKE the Metropolitan. The "Metro" is only fifteen bucks, a nice, solid, metal-not-plastic, Every-Day-Carry pen, an outstanding value for the money--but it's also ONLY available with a MEDIUM nib. At least, from the U.S. vendors I've seen. That might be different elsewhere (Japan, e.g.). Now, for fifteen dollars, a PILOT (M)edium nib in a metal pen is perfectly OK with me, but I prefer a (F)INE if it's available. That's where my Cocoon came in. Also--and this matters a lot to some folks--as far as I know, only the Cocoon is available in Burgundy and "Titanium." The Metro comes in a variety of colors, but not those.

Bottom line? If your preference is for a (M)edium nib, and you're not dying for these two particular colors, save your money and buy a Metropolitan. Or two. If you like the Metro's sturdy, no-nonsense design but gotta have a (F)ine nib, (or gotta have it in Titanium or Burgundy) buy a Cocoon. Pay the extra for a cartridge converter so you can use bottled ink. You won't regret it.

Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Twist Ring Notebook - Semi B5 - Lined - 30 Sheets - Indigo Blue - LIHIT LAB N-1608-11
  Really like these! Before..., April 2, 2013
Really like these! Before I even started using the original, I ordered another 30-sheet refill and added it to the original.

Aside from my favorite style (flexible cover, lay-flat), the paper is yummy for a FP user. I haven't seen a "spec", but it's probably 75-80 gram paper, and takes ink well. The 6mm line-spacing might be a little too "tight" for some people, but suits me fine--I write small-ish. The covers are tough, flexible plastic, and you won't need to worry about "dog-eared" covers, for example. Oh, and they come in a bunch of colours.

OK, now the cool bit--the twist-ring mechanism. It's gonna take a little practice for some folks, but I think it's really clever. It might look flimsy at first--the "binding" rings are all plastic with a slim metal rod and a spring mechanism (this is the "magic" part, to me), and the the whole thing is VERY flexible--but once you see how easy it is to operate--and how little FORCE it takes--you'll appreciate what might be the world's THINNEST LOOSELEAF binder, allowing you to remove, add, or re-order your pages.

My only wish is that I could get it in A5 size. BTW, SIXTY SHEETS is probably the limit for the (~10mm) ring mechanism (30-sheet original + full refill pack)

I see JetPens now carries a 3 x 5 notepad sized one, too, but only w/5mm graph paper. Never mind. I still want more of both.
Pilot Prera Fountain Pen - Fine Nib - Slate Gray Body - PILOT FPR-3SR-SGY-F
  Oh, yes. This is a nice..., October 31, 2012
Oh, yes. This is a nice one! Just right size, weight, balance ("posted" cap or not). Wrote beautifully, first time and every time since--without skipping, hesitation or "scratchiness." NO adjustment of nib necessary, as I believe one other reviewer reported. I'm a proud cheapskate, but my Prera was worth every nickel of fifty bucks, as far as I'm concerned. As I've noticed with other Pilot pens, too, (F)ine means FINE, *not* MEDIUM--thank you very much.

I prefer a see-through converter (I'm surely not alone), so I popped out the (included) CON-20 bulb-type converter and put a CON-50 screw-plunger-type in there (only possible "downside. I happened to have one already, otherwise it would've been another $8.50). Inked it up with Diamine Imperial Blue (woo!) and "went to town" on some high-quality paper (Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Kokuyo notebooks). The first thing I noticed was the incredible SMOOTHNESS. That was the first "Oh, yes." It was palpable. FWIW, I'm sinistral. A "normal-writing" ("hook-less") left-hander, too. You "Captain Hooks" know who you are (smile). My Pilot Prera works *just beautifully* for me, and I'll bet right-handers will be glad they bought one, too. ! I want at least one more myself, right away--in a different barrel color.

Did I mention just the tactilely(?) nice FEEL of the friction-fit of the cap when you close it? The three metal rings (plus the top of the cap) make for a nice design touch, too. The spring of the pocket clip is VERY strong (as another reviewer may have noted.) Once you clip it onto something, it's not going ANYPLACE. After reading in another review, I had to test it--and mine is NOT MAGNETIC.
Platinum Fountain Pen Ink - 30 ml Bottle - Blue Black - PLATINUM INK-400 3
  Really, this has become..., August 22, 2012
Really, this has become one of my *favorite* blue-blacks. First encountered in a Preppy, but I liked the color so well in the Preppy, I bought a 30-ml. bottle to try in other founain pens (like, anything finer-nibbed than a Preppy?). Nice, saturated color; very well-behaved: good flow, non "wet" (non slow-drying), quick starting in all my pens. Did I mention the BARGAIN PRICE?? I'd honestly match it against brands I've tried costing 2-3 times as much. Nice "tiltable" bottle, too, so you can get the last "dregs" from it.
Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen - Extra Fine Nib - Black Body - KAWECO 10000044
  Yep, the Kaweco Sport..., June 18, 2012
Yep, the Kaweco Sport (EF nib) is a winner, as far as I'm concerned, and I'll be buying another in a different colour. I initially had two trepidations: a) There DOESN'T seem to be a converter available for the Kaweco Sport, so you must use Kaweco's own (or other "International Short") ink cartridges (no bottled ink) and b) my usual concerns about what a particular manufacturer considers "Extra Fine" compared to "Fine." OK, I heard that others have made an "eyedropper" out of the Kaweco by "greasing up" the threads with silicone grease so you can fill the BARREL with ink. I'm perfectly happy using J. Herbin cartridges--"Perle Noire" for black and "Eclat de Saphir" for blue. Coupla my favorite "bottle" inks that happen to also be available in short cartridges. My problem with nib widths is a common one: that what one manufacturer calls "extra fine" is closer to "fine" (or even "medium"). The EF nib that came with my Kaweco *IS* an extra-fine. It writes smoothly (*not* dry, at least not with J. Herbin ink), first time, every time. No skipping, no scratchiness. I did NO "preparation" of the new pen. Snap in the cartridge, give it a couple of shakes, and start writing.

I bought mine with a pocket clip (another $3), but this puppy is SO short, you'll be tempted to just carry it in your pants pocket. The cap SCREWS ON, so there's no danger of it coming off if you just throw this little guy into your backpack or pocket. It's comfy writing without the cap posted, but WITH the cap posted (so you won't misplace it), it's still shorter than your average FP.

Terrific pen, worth every bit of the price. Definitely want another.
Ohto F-Lapa Fountain Pen - Fine Nib - Black Body - OHTO FF-10B BLACK
  Oh, yes. Want me ANOTHER..., May 15, 2012
Oh, yes. Want me ANOTHER one of these! I've had one for just a day or so now (including note-taking in a 2-hour college class), and I'm SOLD. I was really just looking for an inexpensive "testbed" FP, really. Just an inexpensive pen that I could use just for test-driving different (bottled) inks. Yeah, I know--convert a four-dollar Platinum Preppy into an "eyedropper" or get a converter ($7-8) for the Preppy to allow it to suck ink. Well, the eyedropper conversion business is cute, but just for "testing," I don't need THAT big a reservoir, for one thing. And getting a converter for a Preppy turns your four-dollar Preppy into an ELEVEN-dollar Preppy, in case you hadn't noticed. That's the OTHER nice thing about the Ohto F-Lapa. It takes the short "international" standard cartridges (and comes WITH two of them), BUT the Ohto converter for it (at this writing) is only A BUCK SIXTY-FIVE. How cool is that?? Actually nice enough to be an "everyday" pen, but WITH A CONVERTER, it's <$20. It writes as well as my Lamy Safaris (= better than ANY Preppy). The F-Lapa is ALUMINUM, too, not plastic. Yes, it is slim, but nothing my fairly large hands couldn't get used to. No, it doesn't have the nice triangular "ergonomic grip" of the Lamy, either. But neither does a Preppy--or a zillion other FPs. How does it WRITE? Mine writes--PERFECTLY. Out of the gate. Er, bag. No priming, prepping, rinsing, nothing. Dump the two cartridges out out, snap on the converter, suck up a load of ink. Bam. Now, to be sure, I'm using Noodler's Black ink and I'm writing on non-cheap (90g Clairefontaine) paper, so YMMV, of course. Zip, zero, nada problems with the Fine nib. Not scratchy (as others have described), not "wet," I didn't have to "rotate" the pen and write upside down or off-angle, or do anything strange for it to write PERFECTLY. Starts up every time on the first stroke of the first character (Noodler's?), no skipping, no grief. Even the ($1.65) Ohto converter fills up nicely (good seal, good suction?), compared to others I've used. Just a sec--yep, it writes fine on deskjet paper and on Office Depot legal pads, too.
Ohto Promecha 500P Drafting Pencil - 0.4 mm - OHTO SP-504P
  I agree with other reviewers--..., March 29, 2012
I agree with other reviewers--this is an excellent pencil. I was a little surprised, because of the dozen-or-so "drafting" pencils I own, this quickly became one of my favorites--even though it was only about eight bucks. The Promecha 500P (SP-504P) was my first 0.4-mm also, which I've found to be a be-yoo-tee-ful compromise between the more popular 0.3 and 0.5-mm sizes. If you find 0.3mm leads break too easily and a 0.5mm just isn't fine enough, try a 0.4mm. They're not that common, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I can't think of another under-ten-dollar pencil with a METAL barrel offhand, either--like this one. The nose-heavy balance is just right, and the metal knurling on the grip is comfy and what I call "non-distracting." The Promecha also seems to have an extra-long distance between the grip and the lead--putting your fingers further from the page and making it easier to see what you're writing. I noticed this right away.

And yes, after a suitable "test drive," I go at my pencils with a scale and micrometer for comparison purposes, so--the Ohto Promecha 500 is definitely light (at 12.6g), heavier only than my bantamweight 0.3mm Pentel Graphlet (10.1g) and Uni M5-552 (12.44g). Compare this to 19.65g for the Uni Shift Pipe Lock (nice, but a real Buick compared to the Promecha or Pentel). The grip is 9.3mm in diameter--about average. Compare that to the tiny 8 mm of the Alvin Draftmatic and the 9.7 mm of the Uni Kuru Toga Roulette.

It's well-made, and I couldn't find fault with the quality of any pieces or parts or the mechanism, which has a solid feel and no "sloppiness." This is a case where "light" does NOT equate to "feels cheap."

I'd definitely recommend it--it's really a great pencil and it's inexpensive enough to buy several, and either give one away (guaranteed to make a friend) or not lose sleep over losing.
Platinum Preppy Fluorescent Highlighter Pen - Yellow - PLATINUM CSCQ-150 30
  Replacable tip. See-through..., March 25, 2012
Replacable tip. See-through barrel, so you can see the replaceable cartridge. Oh, and less than three bucks. Who could ASK for more in a highlighter?

Wait a minute. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it (also) does NOT seem to cause inkjet ink to "run" (and thus also discolor the tip) when you highlight it, like most other highlighters???? Hmm?

THAT ALONE would've clinched this highlighter for me. This is just an excellent, excellent product.

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