B emailed me yesterday. I’d bumped into her father and younger sister last week, and her sister told her about it the the day before yesterday. She simply said, “Hi. I hope things are well with you,  my sister said she saw you not too long ago.”

The last time she contacted me was around Easter. The day after then-Wifey told me that there was zero chance of rekindling a romantic relationship between the two of us.

Last week, my latest love interest seemed to be warming up significantly towards me. The last few days, however, things seem to have cooled off a lot. She never texts me when she gets up any more. She seldom texts me in the evenings, when we used to have hours long conversations. In fact, the last two conversations that she initiated were because she wanted or needed something.

This has left me more certain than ever that there is no chance with her. She’s taken away the conversation, which was the only thing we ever really had, and has gone from graciously accepting whatever gifts I’ve chosen for her, to asking for shit. I’ll give it two weeks. If we aren’t back to where we were last week, the spoiling is over. I don’t mind being used, but only as long as it’s on my terms.

Somehow, B seems to know when I’m most vulnerable, and picks those times to reach out to me. At least this time I was strong enough not to invite her back into my life. But my tears did make a brief appearance.

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Jinhao 301 Fountain Pen Review

I finally received the Elegant Fountain Pen Jinhao 301 Black with Diamond Fine Nib  that I ordered two months ago. It cost three dollars and thirty-two cents.

Functionally, it is identical to the Jinhao 9009 that I reviewed here, right down to the difficulty getting the ink to feed and the sensitivity to nib angle.

It differs only cosmetically, with a thinner barrel, and the converter slides instead of twisting. The small “diamonds” that encircle the end of the cap come off easily, and the paint chips if you look at it crossly, but this unsurprising, given the price.

It is a true fine, almost bordering on extra fine, which suits my preferences very well. It’s a good, smooth writer, rivaling pens that I paid three times as much for.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive starter fountain pen, or one that writes well that you can abuse without remorse, this is a good choice. If you’re looking for something that will still look good years down the road, you should probably look elsewhere.

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A Shame, Really

I live in this new (to me) home. It’s nice, at least in comparison to the house in the hood where I lived the past two years. It’s a cheaply made double wide mobile home, but was upgraded significantly during the remodel immediately prior to my move in. It’s relatively large, at a touch over 2,000 square feet, with four bedrooms plus a bonus room.

It sits on two acres out in the county. Every time I work in the yard, things improve noticeably. This past weekend, I mowed again. The front was still a challenge, with several piles of pine needles, and downed tree branches everywhere. I got all that moved to the burn pile, and reduced it to ashes. I still have to prune the lower branches on the trees so I can comfortably mow under them, but huge strides were made.

Out back was the biggest noticeable difference, though. Except for three areas that need to be filled, and two small stands of trees, I was able to mow the entire section at full speed, with little loss in cut quality. Two mowings ago, I was fighting with saplings and briars. There are several more feet of briars that need to be cleared between the grassy area and where the mature trees are. But once this is cleared, the last few young trees cut down, and the low spots filled, it’ll be something to be a little bit proud of.

I was thinking as I cooked a package of Velveeta Skillets that I’d forgotten that I had. That was only the second or third time that I’d used the nice, new stove. I cooked some eggs once or twice before. The refrigerator contains some ranch dressing (left over from my brief roommates), some yeast, and a bottle of hot sauce. The freezer section has some Banquet dinners and a couple chunks of meat, also from said roommates. New appliances, suitable to support a family. Almost unused.

The home was built on a budget, but for a family. It’s such a waste for one person. And it’s a shame that one person is all that will probably ever live here. Nobody else will ever see or appreciate it, much less derive any benefit from it. And that’s more than a little saddening.

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I’ve Fallen

And I can’t get up.

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There’s This Girl

I asked another girl out last week. She turned me down. It seems that she was a whopping two months old when I graduated from high school. And that’s too much age difference for her.

And I respect that.

OK, not really.

I had asked her out by sending her flowers, since there was only an hour of overlap in our shifts, and I have no legitimate reason to talk to her while we’re both supposed to be working. Starting this week, she comes in after I leave.

Her first question was about my age. But we actually had a decent text conversation after she turned me down. That surprised me. She’s very pretty, and doesn’t seem to be hurting for people to talk to. But instead of rejecting me and ending the conversation there, she talked to me.

Big mistake. Huge. Now, I’ve taken in upon myself to convince her that I’m not too old for romantic consideration. I asked her if I could still get her flowers once in a while.

“If you do, that’s on you. I don’t want you wasting your money on me. But it’s your choice. It made my day today.”

“It’s not a waste if it makes you smile.”

“OK. I don’t think any girl will deny flowers.”

So, I have her permission. Sort of.

We had this conversation during her lunch. While talking to me, she posted on the book of faces (where she honored me by adding me as a friend): “Eating strawberries for lunch is making me crave chocolate covered ones from Edible Arrangements.”

You know exactly what happened next. I found the closest store and placed an order. This was Friday, and we were off the weekend, so there was nothing I could do immediately. I had to work late Monday morning, and didn’t know if I’d have time to go get them and bring them back before her lunch. So, I scheduled them for this morning. Her craving is probably long gone, but I’m pretty sure she’ll still enjoy them.

I have already planned what I am going to do. Every week will be something. More flowers. A stuffed animal. A gift certificate for a mani/pedi, another box of strawberries, a “thinking of you” card, flowers again, a gift certificate to wherever she gets her art supplies if I can find out where that is, and eventually if she doesn’t stop me before then, a birthstone pendant for her 10,000th day, which is also her son’s birthday.

I don’t really expect her to change her mind and go out with me, at least not more than a pity date. (Which I will take. Girl is gorgeous and sweet as honey.) And if she does give me half a chance, I will make her fall in love with me. But for now, it gives me somewhere to focus besides the past.

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I had a reasonably good weekend. I got the TV hung on the wall. I also mounted the DVD player shelf to the wall below it.

After hooking it up and throwing away the box, I realized that the home theater system that I bought isn’t. There are no inputs, so basically it’s a DVD player with its own speakers. Which sucks, because the sound on the new TV is really shitty.

After hanging the curtain rods, I found one more way that they cut corners when they built the house. It has a vaulted ceiling throughout, and silly me thought that the outside walls were a standard eight feet. Wrong! They are six and a half feet. Which means that the 84″ curtains that I bought are way too long. Grrr…

I also mounted the fire extinguishers. And did laundry. And bought groceries. And even cooked a little.

Mostly, though, I got caught up on my sleep, and relaxed, enjoying movies on a sixty inch screen instead of a twenty-four inch screen.

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Jinhao X450 Fountain Pen Review

I bought a Jinhao X450 Fine Nib Fountain Pen, delivered to my front door for five dollars and seventy-nine cents. It shipped from China, so it did take one day short of two weeks to arrive.

It’s a beautiful pen. It is a deep blue with gold trim. From a cosmetic point of view, it is my favorite so far.  It’s metal with a solid feel and an average size barrel. It’s comfortable in my hand, and posts well. The cap doesn’t take much effort to remove, which makes me worry that it will separate from the barrel while carried in my shirt pocket.

It certainly isn’t a fine nib. It makes a much thicker line than my Parker 45 with a medium nib on the same paper. The gold plated nib glides over the paper very smoothly, but it lays down pools of ink. In fairness, the product description lists the nib as M, but the title says Fine. I guess I should have inquired prior to buying it, to verify which was correct.

I inked it with Franklin-Christoph Emerald 357 ink.  After experiencing the pooling, I switched to Noodler’s Bernake Blue, which is supposed to be some of the fastest drying ink on the planet. There’s still so much ink on the paper that even that stuff smudges. After bleeding through and making the backside of the page unusable.

I’m going to use up the ink that’s in it, clean it, and retire it to the back of a drawer somewhere. Not recommended, even at such a low price.

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