“UN-FRIENDING”

I “un-friended” someone today.  That’s such an unwieldy – yet very precise (in this age of social networking) term.

I don’t tolerate people spewing negativity on my Facebook wall, especially if said negativity has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic or status at hand.  When we make friends we let them into our personal spaces, and into our thoughts.  If a person is on my friends list on Facebook that person is a guest in my personal space.  As a guest that person is enjoined to behave with the courtesy and respect he/she equally expects of me, when I am a guest on their wall.  When people know me from way back, that does not give them special privileges to behave badly towards me, or forget their boundaries.

It’s so easy to be an asshole when one is halfway across the world, or to engage in some delicious schadenfreude.  It’s so easy to disregard social graces when the persons you relate with are separated from you by a modem.  Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that feeling of entitlement does not extend to bad behavior.

The person I “un-friended” had injected out-of-place commentary on my super-mundane, non-inflammatory posts on three separate occasions.  Nobody was stopping him from taking it up elsewhere (apparently he couldn’t get an audience on his own, he had to choose my wall).  Reminders to discuss issues on his own wall were ignored.  When others ignored the direction he was trying to take with his comments, he claimed “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”  I’ll take that with a grain of salt –  there are civilized means of discussion where nobody has to create an argument where there was none in the first place.  It is useless to remonstrate with someone who only listens to his own voice.  Well, I don’t like my wall hijacked with unsolicited negativity.

I’m not talking about one of those jejemon idiots who like to spam offensive but meaningless posts in different venues.  This is someone I knew when I was a kid, who has intelligent opinions but otherwise has a Mel Gibson-like streak.  He just couldn’t get the fact that, “we can discuss that, but I don’t think this is the right venue for it.”  He wasn’t picking on me, he just liked dumping on my Wall.  He was like the playground bully who shoves your ice cream cone into the mud. Troll, if you like.  If he thought he could be aggressive, then I can be aggressive back.  But you see, all that’s unnecessary to begin with.  Life is too short to be spending it fending off the Mel Gibsons of the world.

Actually, he’s the second person I “un-friended”.  The first one insisted on posting his gory video on public feed, I suppose he thought it made him look cool.  Of course I could just have hidden his posts and not “un-friended” him, but no amount of reasonable communication could make him reconsider his actions.  I don’t give a flying frak if he enjoys tentacle porn hentai, but I certainly don’t ask to see gore – or his sick enjoyment of it – on my early morning Facebook feed.  I mean, who does?

I treasure my real friends.  I don’t add many people I don’t really know to my contacts lists, so if I “un-friend” somebody there’s usually a very good reason. I may never speak to them again; some people are recidivists.  No amount of remembering that you were kids together, or that there once was a bond, excuses the adults they have become.   I won’t be their enabler.

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MONTBLANC RESURRECTION

mb144r-07Last May I was chatting with my fellow fountain pen lovers Chito and John, and complained to them that the pen I had been given for my college graduation, a Montblanc Meisterstuck, had developed flow issues.  The thought of sending it to an authorized service center was frightening, as I had no idea how much flow adjustments would cost.  I’ve had this pen since 1990 and I definitely would not be able to afford this pen at present day prices.  I’ve been careful with it and still have the box and papers.  I couldn’t understand why such a pen would NOT perform the way it’s supposed to.

Chito and John mentioned checking the space between the tines, and the space between the nib and the feed.  We discussed flossing the tines and soaking in an ammonia solution, what we normally do with our other pens.  The discussion got really geeky, which I enjoyed a lot.  I decided to do more research last weekend, and embarked on the safest course of home-based action.

(Along the way I discovered that what I thought all the while was a Montblanc 145 Hommage a Frederic Chopin was actually a 144 Classique.  (See pictures of MB models throughout the years on the very informative German site Fountainpen.de).  My papers and box (including the original price tag) did not indicate the model name.  It has a push-in converter and also fits international standard cartridges.  I selected it from the Duty Free MB Boutique because it seemed the right size for my hand.)

mb144r-04This pen was supposed to write a wettish Fine line.  I cleaned it the usual way (repeated flushings with cold water using the converter) and filled it with Waterman Black, supposedly one of the “wetter-flowing” inks available.   What came out was a grey line, with lots of shading.  Ok, I thought, I know 14k MB nibs are supposed to be hand-ground so there will be variations in line, but getting grey instead of something darker made me very unhappy.  I remember it writing much darker and wetter before.  As I kept writing in my journal I noticed the writing getting alarmingly more and more dry, with some skipping.  At a certain point I got really angry about why a much-hyped brand would perform so poorly, after previously writing so well.

mb144r-11If you could read the rant above, it’s true I have some modestly priced vintage pens that write better than the MB 144.  Heck, I even have a Hello-Kittyish Japanese plastic pen that writes better than the MB.  That’s downright embarrassing.

More testing: (Definitely not black ink, that.)

mb144r-12

It took me two whole days to figure out what to do, being in a mild panic.  I flushed out the weak Waterman Black.  I replaced it with Pelikan Black.  It wrote much darker, but was still drying out and skipping.  After sleeping on it, I flushed it again the following morning, and filled it with some Pelikan Black which I had in a sample bottle, mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid – a solution for lubrication, suggested in the Fountain Pen Network forums.  I then twisted the converter counter-clockwise to let about 3 drops fall back into the bottle, which allowed the enhanced ink to run along the feed (a flat feed with vertical fins, similar to a Pilot 78G).  Then I tested it on my journal.  SUCCESS!!!

mb144r-10
mb144r-09Imagine my relief!  Now I’ve decided to use it more regularly.

When I was in college all I used was a Pilot 55 with a cracked cap, bound with black electric tape.  Pretty pathetic looking, but it wrote so well.  I love my dad for giving me this MB 144, when I barely knew what I know now about using and maintaining fountain pens.  I can’t believe I’ve kept it safe for 20 years now.  I’m glad I did.

[Edit:  In September I sent the pen to nibmeister Mike Masuyama of Mikeitwork.com via my friend Caloy.  Mike adjusted the flow by widening the feed channel.  I’m so glad I sent it in for professional servicing – it’s so good to be able to use my graduation gift more often!]

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(The journal pictured above is a red Scribe pocket-size journal with unlined off-white paper.  The Waterman and Pelikan inks, if used with a fine nib, do not feather or show through the paper.  Other inks and nib sizes may feather or bleed.  Scribe notebooks are available at all Powerbooks outlets and at Scribe Writing Essentials at the Eastwood City Mall.)