19 May 2011

If I had a hammer...

...an enchanted one, made of uru-metal, forged in the heart of a dying star, I'd use it to fly (or literally throw myself) to the UK tomorrow. But since I don't have one of those, and there's no Rainbow Bridge across the Atlantic, I have to settle for United Airlines.

In twenty-four hours, I'll have the first of tomorrow's four flights complete. (I like early, but the wake-up time for the first flight out of Casper is ludicrous.)

I'm off to Ireland and the UK for two weeks, one of which will be spent doing class prep (for future potential study abroad/travel courses), and the other will be spent actually teaching in Londinium. (Yes, I am sort of ridiculously amused by using the earlier historical names for places. We'll be spending a day in Yorvik, too. Have to show some love for the Danes, as well.)

I'm going to see the Beowulf manuscript.

I have scouted its location in the British Library. I have packed a handkerchief.

Also (all forces willing), I'll get to see some friends I haven't seen in years, which makes me so happy.

Carry-on, my wayward son...
And all of this fits (more or less) neatly into my one personal item, and the trip is being done with a carry-on only. I'm confining myself to one journal, but I am sneaking along a number of pens. There are currently six, though I might pare that down by two. (The Signos are fine and all, but I'm not in love, and I likely won't use the green and the blue that often, since I'm taking the Prera and some blue-black cartridges.)

I'm also borrowing the iPad you see in the back of the photo. It's currently loaded with George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones because I haven't read any of that series yet and I probably ought to, as it, with the advent of the new television series, may become another one of those popular touchstones with my students. (Also, Sean Bean is in the series. So I'll watch it at some point.) I will try not to be a fantasy snob at it.

I've also taken advantage of some of the free e-editions: Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Treasure Island, Passage to India. Yes, yes, I am aware that I am a perfectly shoddy English major with no right to my degrees for having those books on a to-read and not on a have-read list. But, honestly, for someone who loves the Anglo-Saxons so much, all of these novels are frankly new-fangled. They've not been out for a full two hundred years. So no spoilers, folks. No spoilers.

May manage an update or two as I go, but I'm not certain. Haven't attempted anything half so complex on the iPad, with which I have only a very shaky peace.

Book recommendations left for when I get back (when I'll have some proper "summer") would be ever-so-much appreciated.

01 May 2011

Spring Cleaning

I flushed, cleaned, and readied all of my pens (save two) for new ink on Saturday morning.

I will likely do this again later this week because it was rather therapeutic (and because I didn't take any ruddy pictures and because my four favorite pens are currently not at home). The failure of it was, though, that I managed to leave my two favorites (my True Writers) in my office and my next two favorites (the new Prera and my Parker Vector) at a friend's house last night. I also left my day planner, my blank Clairefontaine, and apparently my willpower at said friend's house. (There have been Cadbury Egg casualties in large numbers this weekend.)

But: I did have the experience of cleaning out two cartridges for refilling. What a nifty and painless experience when one has a syringe for such a task. The converter for my Prera is so incredibly petite that I will likely use the empty cartridge for swapping ink colors, thought. And though I have no photos just now, the Prera is refilled with Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses (I'm kind of in love with that ink. Don't judge me) and the Vector has its empty cartridge refilled with J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis. I filled my Lamy Studio with some of the Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng sample I got last week. Lovely ink. The pen continues to underwhelm me, but I'll give it some more time.

All of this is in preparation for the Great Grading Odyssey that will be the next two weeks for me. I graded a huge whack of papers today, too, alternating between the Lamy Studio, a blue Signo, and the .3 mm Zebra Sarasa. Okay, so I "alternated" for about eight papers, and then I clutched the Sarasa tight and wouldn't let anyone else play (since my go-to pens are partying elsewhere without me and I'm a bad pen-custodian). I wasn't sure I'd like the superfine tip on the Sarasa, but I do. It writes in a lovely chocolatey brown, and there were no smudging problems.

Another experiment in this arena soon. It's hard to decide what will go into my True Writers next. It's likely that Black Swan will go in the stub (again. still) and my trusty Levenger Cocoa will end up in the Waterlilies pen, as that is absolutely my favorite grading combination, but I'll go through so much ink in the next two weeks, I can likely let everyone play.