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May 12, 2003

Correction to my cheap pens story

More proof that everyone remembers more than I do. We had dinner with Kurt and Kathleen Eiselt over the weekend. I asked Kurt about his story about my strange notetaking habits. As it turns out, I apparently got the story all wrong.

He hadn't noticed me taking notes in class; it was my homework that caught his eye. And apparently what he noticed was my strange, randomly-colored TTL logic diagrams. He'd being going along, grading page after page of monocromatic logic diagrams, and here would come my work. It was done with done with one of those old Bic 4 color pens; he recognized them from his days at Disneyland, where he used to sell them. He spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I decided which color to use for different parts of the diagram, and finally decided it was random.

I was apparently quite amusing to him and the other TAs. When one of my assignments would end up in a pile for someone else, Kurt would grab it.

Listening to him tell the story, I tried to claim that my choices weren't random: I was simply providing examples of the four-color theorem. He didn't buy it.

Oh, well. I'm a software guy, not a hardware guy.


I actually moved up to better pens: I use a fountain pen, because even though I my penmanship is physician-quality, i like the sound and feel of the nib on the paper and I like how the flow ofink emulates the flow of what passes for thought.

Sounds like I've reading too many Levenger catalogs, I realize . . . .

And yes, Artlite is amazing. I remember it well.

I can't ever keep track of my pens either; I just keep buying more. I'm hooked on Pilot G-2's and Zebra's Sarasa. They're a little cheaper, but that just means I can afford to buy dozens of them and scatter them throughout my life. =)

Rereading my journals is an experience in the mysterious vagaries of color; sometimes I even switch colors in mid sentence, and who knows what made me get up, find a different color and come back and finish my thought?

My favorite pen of all time is a handblown glass pen without a fountain or anything. One just dips it in the ink and writes a few sentences before needing to repeat. It's a pain, and of course fragile, but the novelty seems worth it.