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Thread: Internet versus Reality - pen forums versus pen shows

  1. #61
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Internet versus Reality - pen forums versus pen shows

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by calamus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I used to be a ham radio enthusiast.
    Howdy howdy! Kilo Six Delta Kilo Alpha here. Does your screen name derive from your preference in keys for CW?
    Hello, OM!
    No, the handle comes from my indulgence in the canoe and kayak sports. I never made the change over to a keyer like the Vibroplex; afraid it would ruin my fist. HI. I still have my old telegraph key. The rest of the equipment ended up on the curb, one trash day. Problem was, I wanted to homebrew and talk about it. Nearly all the other hams bought their equipment ready-made and could only talk about twiddling with their antennas. Boring factorial. The only radio I do now is with a crystal set. I listen to KMOX in St Louis on weekend nights and hear radio shows made in the '40s and '50s featuring Sam Spade or the Green Hornet.

    It is a lot like the fountain pen hobby with me. I spent a few years restoring pens from the end of the heyday and then, suddenly, the challenge was gone. Homebrewing pens didn't look like fun, so I gave most of my pens away and began to use the survivors for writing instead of using the dip pens I had been journaling with. If you can tell a story, you can homebrew to your heart's content if you are a writer.

    So I liked the canoe sports and finally bought a couple of good ones. We use them every summer. Do I go to boat shows and look at the newest 60-foot Hatteras cruiser? Hell no! Give me a canoe and a fly rod and a lake where the fish are big and stupid.

    K
    Used to love to go canoeing with my wife when we lived near a couple of very nice lakes in Trinity County in Northern California. Bald eagles flying overhead, bears and deer everywhere, mountain lions and raccoons, and of course rattlers and lots of raccoons and lizards.

    Wanted to get on the air back when I was in high school, but my parents thought it was a "truck driver's hobby" (they were pretty snobby, and not very well informed about some things) and discouraged it, plus you needed to know CW back then, which just made it all harder, plus money was a big roadblock. Flash-forward 50-some years, and CW is no longer a requirement and I can now afford a used older rig (an early solid state ICOM) and I'm homebrewing my antenna, a 5-band "Cobweb." Hope to get on the air by summer. Only got my general license fairly recently. When I was in high school I had a friend who built his own image orthocon video camera from scratch, hand-wound his own coils and deflection yoke and everything. He's a ham in Upstate New York; I suspect you'd enjoy talking with him. Back then we both lived in Pittsburgh. I rigged up an external long wire antenna and made a little induction coil with the feed line on the back of my tube AM radio, where the coled internal antenna was, and pulled in KMOX and WWL and WLS and a bunch of stations. Even got a QSL card from CFOR, Orellia, Ontario. Also had a crystal set back then.

    Do you still play Celtic music? I love the stuff. I fool around with a tin whistle once in a while, but I'm not very good at it. Also play blues harp, and that I'm not too bad on.
    Last edited by calamus; December 4th, 2018 at 06:27 PM.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Internet versus Reality - pen forums versus pen shows

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I once toyed with the idea of attending the pen show in Columbus, Ohio. Then I thought about the two-hour drive and the $25 entrance fee. I don't begrudge the fee; I know hiring the venue costs money. It is just that, for that much money, I could go to the local flea market and buy 5 well-designed pens and spend the drive time (and more) restoring and testing them. Meeting a gang of pen freaks can't compete with that.
    As both visitor and now vendor, I've seen (and was able to purchase) pens that I would never see in the flea-market.

    My point is this, unless you have been to a pen show and it was a let down, how could you make a one-sided comparison with the flea-market trips?

    Also, after meeting a few different groups of "pen freaks", I found that I enjoy meeting them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    Meeting a gang of pen freaks can't compete with that.
    At this point, you'll never know.
    Oh, but I think I can make the comparison and I will know.

    I used to be a ham radio enthusiast. I built my station using parts scavenged from junked TVs, flea market finds, and WW II military surplus electronics. When I was able to reliably talk to people on the other side of beyond, the Dayton Hamvention, with its 20 acres of flea market, manufacturer presentations, and workshops, was a complete waste of time.

    Guns? When you can manufacture your own ammunition from components and hit the 10-ring at will or bust 100 clay targets in a row, a gun show is an extremely boring event.

    Bees? When you can make your own equipment from plain lumber and raise your own queens, a beekeeper moot will put you to sleep.

    Canoes and kayaks? Go on a couple of wilderness canoe trips and visit some islands in Nova Scotia or some fjords in Alaska. After that, a canoe or kayak workshop will glaze your eyes over.

    Photography? Musical instruments? All the same.

    Oh, you can go for the social aspects of these hobbies or even make a living at them, but you will have to endure the clubs with officers and a book of by-laws. There will be the fifth-grade playground politics and the gossips who whisper about who spent last night in which tent. I no longer have the patience for that carp on a cracker.

    I can put a new sac in a Snorkel pen and a new diaphragm in a P51 and I can grind a nib to my own satisfaction. A pen show has no attraction for me.
    At some point, if you choose, you begin to attend the events for the people and not for the product. I was going to make a similar analogy with car shows. I wake up early to go to the occasional Cars & Coffee event on a weekend morning. I don't go to show off my car. I don't really go to look at everyone else's cars. I go to run into old friends. I can say hello on a forum all day every day. I can hop on their facespace page and like something they post or offer an opinion. Every now and again it's just nice to see a smiling face, exchange a hand shake, and talk in person about life in general.



    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    We moved to Tecumseh, MI, to be near my wife's parents and family. So, I guess the shows would be Detroit and Columbus. Health issues require a rigid schedule, and those are far enough away to present issues. I was an IT manager at the City of Pensacola, FL, though, and I do miss all the face to face contact. Then, again, this area is chock full of Yankees.
    Do you ever go to the Ann Arbor pen meets? I would like to attend, but always seem to have something interfere on that one day each month.

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    Jon Szanto (December 5th, 2018), Sailor Kenshin (December 5th, 2018)

  4. #63
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Internet versus Reality - pen forums versus pen shows

    I know that an internet forum is a different beast from "real life" (as in IRL), but to an extent that's a perception and not entirely the reality. Even though an anonymous screen name does allow people to display sides of themselves that they wouldn't normally reveal "IRL," it's still a real person at the other end doing the flaming or whatever. Rules of etiquette still apply, communication takes place, ideas get exchanged, and so forth. It's a poor substitute for "IRL" interaction, but it can be argued that it's better than nothing. (Apparently some studies say that social media promote isolation, and that certainly wouldn't surprise me, especially considering "real life" approximations to the stereotype of the overweight 30-something year old computer addict living in his parents basement and subsisting on Cheetos and energy drinks). In any event, when I joined this forum it was primarily because of my interest in fountain pens, but I stick around mostly because of the people. I would love to meet all of you (well most of you, anyway!) in person, but that will never happen, so this will have to do. As I've mentioned elsewhere, it's practically impossible for me to get to a pen show or a pen club.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to calamus For This Useful Post:

    Jon Szanto (December 5th, 2018), Morgaine (December 5th, 2018)

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