Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Clairfontaine Review

No not another one. Just kidding. This time around I have a note pad and a notebook. They both are the same size, 148 mm x 210 mm. The difference is really in the binding method hence, their names. Note pads are bound on top and flip up and down. Notebooks are bound on one side and flip side to side.

To start off the review I'll describe the stationery. First the note pad then the notebook. The pad has the three folds on the cover which facilitate keeping the cover back. The construction is solid and the backing is stiff. This one is black and beautiful with gridded paper. The notebook is spiral bound but not with the kind that wraps around but the kind that passes through meeting another metal ring. The paper is lined with non-college rule spacing. It is the spacing I like;small writers may find it too large.


Feel: Smooth, even for scratchy nibs.

Feathering: None

Bleed-through: No, even less than with Rhodia paper. Only the most sensitive will care about this.

Aesthetics: Simple and attractive. Serious black cover for business. White logo at the bottom of the cover and at the rear.

Durability: The pages need to be firmly grasped to tear them out. The back pad is stiff and the entire note pad is sturdy.

Portability: This is serious writing pad. It isn't extremely portable and does not fit into pockets. This pad will rest in a portfolio, school bag, laptop bag or desk. It is meant for serious business.

Uses: Best suited for school and business. I personally prefer an 8'' x 11'' size but I'll take this slightly smaller notebook. Can be used in meetings and for lecture note taking. I'd stay away from games on this one. Too expensive for that sort of activity.

Hack ability: Yes, but I wont offer any ideas or links for this one.

Overall Thoughts
I'll save this one for after the other review.

Note Book

Feel: Smooth, even for scratchy nibs.

Feathering: None

Bleed-through: No, even less than with Rhodia paper. Only the most sensitive will care about this.

Aesthetics: Orange and awesome. White logo at the bottom of the cover and at the rear are the usual transgressions. There is also a margin at the top and bottom. I particularly don't mind the header but the footers annoy me. I don't use the last line for anything important just to signify pages, or study notes.

Durability: The pages need to be firmly grasped to tear them out. They don't come off clean. The back pad is soft and the entire note pad is flexible. I would say it is well made but definitely not stiff.

Portability: This is serious notebook. It isn't extremely portable and does not fit into pockets. This pad will rest in a school bag or my laptop bag. I would use it for note taking at one of my extracurriculars or during a lecture.

Uses: This is best suited for school. I personally prefer an 8'' x 11'' size but I'll take this slightly smaller notebook. It can be used in meetings and for lecture note taking. No games on this notebook. It is too much of a school notebook for that.

Hack ability: Yes, I wouldn't though. I think it isn't worth the effort; why fight nature. It is meant for note taking.

Overall Thoughts
Both notebooks are fountain pen safe and probably are suited for serious school or business writing. Perfect size for lecture note taking and I'd even write personal letters with these. I've never purchased these particular books but I'm fond of the Rhodia versions of both. Even then, I prefer 8'' x 11' for business and school purposes. Occasionally, I'll have need for something this small but I clearly favor larger sizes. Would I purchase these, yes and no. Yes, I like them and would purchase if I found them on sale. No, because I have a strong preference for Rhodia products. Again, I like big books better( I feel a crude joke coming on;)......

  1. No comparison paper for the feel test
  2. Subjective methods used.
  3. Bias in favor of Rhodia products.
  4. *These books were provided by Exaclair.
The Testing Cast in Full Glory
From the left: Pelikan m400 in White Tortoise, Lamy Safari in Flame, Pelikan m200 in Black and Blue, Pelikan 140 in Black and Green classic colors, Sharpie in Black and Grey classic colors

A Clairefontaine Review

Another review is in order this time I'll be reviewing a Clairefontaine product.

I'll start this one off with a general description of the pad. First of all, it is 105 x 148 MM and contains 80 sheets of paper. It does fit into my palm but not comfortably. I don't think its size is conducive to carrying on your person. The pad barely fit into my back pocket and didn't fare well in my other pockets either. Back to the description, it has 3 folds on the cover which allow you to fold the cover over to the back thus, making it usable from the palm of one very large hand.

On to the testing; to get an overview of my testing methods read this post: Rhodia No.12 Bloc Review.

Feel; Smooth, even for scratchy nibs.

Feathering; None

Bleed-through; No, even less than with Rhodia paper. Only the most sensitive will care about this.

Aesthetics; Functional and the orange is attractive. No real margins to distract me. One transgression, the cover has a logo and so does the rear.

Durability; The pages need to be firmly grasped to tear them out. The back pad is stiff and the entire note pad is sturdy.

Portability: This one will stay on a desk. It is portable just not for me. So, I want to keep it in my laptop bag yet, it will probably stay on a desk somewhere.

Uses: Can be used for business and play. For business I would use it to quickly jot tasks, inventory lists, and maybe to keep messages. This is a note pad I will be using for games like scrabble that require score keeping. I also have quite a bit of fun playing guess the sketch and other drawing games with this pad. I probably wouldn't use it at school; too big for a palm sized pad and too small for a classroom note taking pad.

Hack ability: This is really open to interpretation. Of course, I just don't have any ideas or links for this one.

Overall Thoughts

Clairefontaine paper is much better than Rhodia paper. It is definitely smoother and heavier. That is probably due to Clairefontaine being 90 g/m squared and Rhodia is 80 g/m squared. No real bleed-through and it comes in a gridded paper. This is the ultimate in fountain pen safe stationery! The final verdict to the question of a purchase is no. Why not? I prefer a certain sizing in pads. I like them small enough to fit into my pockets easily or big enough to take pages of lecture notes without turning the page after every pen lift. If this is your preferred size then go for it, you wont be disappointed. Clairefontaine paper is awesome!

  • No comparison paper for the feel test.
  • Subjective methods used.
  • *This particular note pad was provided by Exaclair.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Briefcase Disappointment and Some Good News.

I've decided to leave the briefcase alone and take it as it is. After all the majority of my newspaper reading is done via my Mac Book Pro. Still, I did like the idea of a pocket I could easily slip things into and out of easily.

Well, such is the world.

On a side note, I did receive a job offer which I decided to take. The job offers better pay and managerial experience. It will look great on my resume and if I still like it there is a chance to go further up the corporate ladder. I don't really consider it a move towards my choice career but a career with them isn't so bad.

While interviewing for the accepted position, I was also interviewing elsewhere. In total I was on 8 interviews in a manner of 5 days. It was exhaustive and fun at the same time. So, what happened? I was seriously hoping to hear back from 2 of the firms because they are well known in Atlanta financial circles. Either would have been an excellent career start. Unfortunately the positions I was seeking were filled and they mentioned that they would keep in contact with me. Yeah, whatever that means. The other 2 firms are in an area I am interested in but not passionate about. While not a career move, it would give me a competitive edge when applying for business school and again resume boosters. These last two firms will be contacting me mid May to tell me their decision. I am optimistic yet, these are troubling times for recent and soon-to-be-graduates.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Searching for Briefcases...

As I move closer to graduation, I am looking to obtain a business essentials kit. I already have many things I've place on the list. There are two things missing though and that brings me to the search for a briefcase. Why do i need one, two reasons:
  1. My messenger bag is not professional enough
  2. My messenger bag is nearly unusable due to wear
Looking around, I've come up with a few requirements for my new case:
  • Genuine Leather
  • Hard wearing
  • Professional Appearance
  • Brown in color
  • Compartment for my Mac Book Pro 15" with no pockets, zippers, or anything that could damage it
  • Pockets for HP12c, pen rolls, Stapler, and other student supplies
  • Somewhat expandable or with at minimum 2 compartments: 1 for the laptop the other for files, folders, folios, and notebooks.
  • *Bonus Must be made in small quantities preferably by a small company with the passionate owner who is easily accessible.
There are several options available until we consider price. I realize that on the market, currently, there really are no options for well built cases until you break the $100 mark. 100 is the lower bound, now, we must consider the upper bound. $300 is the most I'm willing to spend; even this I consider too much. In the off chance that I work hard, save, sell off a few pens, break the piggy bank, and roll up and cash my change bowl; I just might be able to get to that price point. I probably will end up spending more. I plan on waiting until my final finals to purchase this case this will give me plenty of time to save.

My search ended when I found the custom hide company's 1945 reproduction army briefcase. They version of the case has 3 compartments, a zippered section, some pockets, a shoulder strap, and can even be monogrammed. All for the $324. It is $9 over budget. The monogram pushes it way passed the upper bound and that is fine with me!

To truly make it mine, I will probably add a newspaper pocket in the rear and an O monogrammed in the front. I will need to enquire about this to discover the cost of this addition. Should the customization cost too much I'll skip it and just read my Wall Street Journal online like every other 20-something-year-old.

Check out the photos!

That's right it is the briefcase from, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)! I can see the Staff Sergeant carrying intelligence reports to the admiral in one of these!

Photo Credit: Pulled from the Custom Hide Company's website at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rhodia No. 12 Bloc Review

I've been busy lately, not so much that I can't have a little fun. Here is another review.

Before we get started I need to explain my testing methods:
  1. *Feel; how the nib feels on the paper?
  2. *Feathering; if the ink feathers on the paper?
  3. Bleed-through; is the ink visible on the reverse side of the?
  4. Aesthetics; overall appearance, cover design and page details?
  5. Durability; is it hard to tear out pages, will it be easily destroyed?
There are other means I will use to rank them but they will be personal and may not mean anything to you. There are:
  1. Portability: Where am I likely to keep it in my pocket, laptop bag or portfolio?
  2. Uses: Which place is it most suited for school, business or play?(no Oxford Coma here)
  3. Hack ability: Can I alter it to suit my needs?

Rhodia No. 12 Bloc

Test 1: Smooth. Even the italic Reform 1745 was easy to write with.
Test 2: Feathering was non existent with any of the used combinations of nibs, pens, and inks.
Test 3: Just the Sharpie bled. One can discern that there is writing on the back but it won't bother most people. Only the really, really sensitive will mind.
Test 4: Just 1 transgression, a logo on the front of the pad in bold black lettering. None anywhere else. The gridded paper is straight forward and has no header or footer margins. Also no left or right margins. Overall it is great looking and not heavily branded.
Test 5: Pages need to be deliberately torn and for its purpose it is solidly constructed. Will take abuse from one's palm and from being sat on.
Portability: Very portable. Fits into a variety of things: palms, jeans pockets, breast pockets, shirt pockets, hip pockets, and awesome for hangman with one's nephews.
Uses: No place it isn't useful. I carry it with me everywhere. I have one for work and another for everywhere.
Hack ability: Yes. Here is one. Awesome for GTDers.

  • No comparison paper for the feel test.
  • Subjective methods used.
  • *This particular note pad was provided by Exaclair but I was already a fan of this product.
For GTDers and people that need an all purpose writing pad, this is the note pad for you. Its stand out features are portability and pocket proof construction. Personally I buy them a few at a time to ensure I have them on hand whenever needed. I carry one everywhere I go, never know when they come in handy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Internet Friends Are The Best

I recently received a former Holy Grail pen. It is a limited edition Pelikan M400 Honey Tortoise and White colored pen. My internet friend gave it to me for an extremely reasonable price. On top of that, she sent me an accompanying letter. T. cheers to you! Enjoy the letter and surprise I'm sending you!

Interview Links

The easiest links to wear with shirts are definitely metallic or mother of pearl. I mostly opt for sterling silver. Lately I've been trying to tone it down. After all, on job interviews I like to look hungry and serious. So, after wearing silk knots for a couple of interviews I decided to find a mother of pearl pair of cuff links.

Here is what I found.

Seize-Sur-Vingt mother of pearl cuff links for 22 bucks.

Reasons it works for me:
  1. Under $25 - check
  2. Understated enough for a job interview - check
  3. High wear ability with several shirts - check
  4. Bonus: Can be worn with formal dress - check

Photo credit: Seize-Sur-Vingt check them out at

The Fountain Pen Holy Grail List

Classic Fountain Pens Tea Time in Mandarin Yellow and Black (the only none vintage model)

Pelikan 140 Money Green

Pelikan 140 Grey

Pelikan M200 in Yellow for Citroenpers

Pelikan 140 in Light Blue and Yellow for Continental AG in Hannover Germany

Pelikan Blue Lapis 1935 Limited Edition

Photo Credit: and

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Favorites

Starting off, we have an $8 dollar tie from Burlington Coat Factory's sales rack. It was produced by Donald J. Trump's people. A heavy silk, woven, pastel pink colored beauty. The white and dark grey over stripe advise on what to pair it up with. A perfect marriage with a spring weight, grey flannel sadly, I have none. I do have a grey striped shirt I wear with this. The grey and pink really accent each other well. I would cation you to heed the warning: you might be mobbed by admirers if worn when alone!

This is a vintage tie I bought on eBay for about 7 bucks. It is navy blue with purple and brown flowers. It is a bold tie for serious bow tie wearers. Definitely not a starter bow tie, lest ye be remembered as a lecturer on the antiquities. No maker's tag on the back of it. It is 100 percent silk though.

Here is a pair of golf ball and tee cuff links gold plated in 24 carats. The finest, joking obviously, in sport cuff links I bought myself for Christmas in '07. Links like this, because of their sporting nature, are informal enough for any combination of jacket and pants. In fact, I'll go as far as saying I would not advise wearing them with suits; save the most casual of suits.

Lastly, I have a light blue and white, enameled, chain connected cuff link. I purchased it at a thrift store for 50 cents. I loved them so much I donated $24.50, bringing us to $25 the most I'll ever spend for a pair of links. Chain connected links are generally formal and require suits of any kind. I wear them with suits .

Note: if I am starting to sound like The Architect from An Affordable Wardrobe remember, I was poor first.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Easiest Cufflinks to Put On

Snap cufflinks from eBay. 1 is a hexagon with a fake mother of pearl and black enamel design and the other one is a septagon with green enamel and a jade colored, plastic ball. Both were $5.00 shipped from eBay.

Snap cufflinks are the easiest pairs of links to join your cuffs with. As you can see in my photos one side has a ball and the other has a recess. To join them you press the snap them together like buttons on camping gear, lab coats, or storm proof rain jackets for kids.

How to do it:
  1. Take Cufflinks apart and place each link, design side out, through the cuff hole. make sure the circular lip passes through the cuff hole completely.
  2. Snap both sides together.
  3. Repeat for the other sleeve.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...


L.L. Bean Fair Isle Patterned Sweater Vest $10 purchase from Ask Andy. The original owner received it as a present from his girlfriend but never wore it. Her $250 present is now mine for less than 10% of the price.

100% silk, hand rolled edges, Churchill patterned pocket square in a very, very, bright red with black and silver spots. $2 shipped brand new from eBay.

R. Hanauer 100% silk, woven bow tie in a bright yellow, red, and blue repp stripe. I bought for $25 brand new at a reputable tailoring establishment in Buckhead. I no longer go there after they treated a friend of my terribly. Their sterling reputation makes me wonder how they get by with treating new customers the way they do. For embarrassing my friend, they will see me no more and receive nothing but bad word of mouth from me. Anyway, the tie is awesome when paired with the get up from post #5.

All of the items here are great for spring wear. Why? Well, they are bright, shiny and neatly patterned. It just happens to be more fun to wear when the items are favorites!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 Pocket Squares & Why I Like Them.

Club Pocket Square made by Sam Hober for one of my clubs. The fold is something I've been working on and trying out. One of the cleanest designs. Elegant enough for business yet bright enough for play. The sheen on this Thai silk with the variations is quite awesome. Sam Hober makes a great product, pays his workers great wages, supports an ethnic traditional trade, and is an all-around nice person. The price for this square, I don't remember. It was around the $65 mark, too much for me but considering where the money would be going I gladly spent it. It also didn't hurt that Uncle had given me a wad of cash, for some reason or the other.

Awesome!!! It is like a flower in your pocket or a cascading grapes depending on how you fold it. I got it from for about $32 shipped to Atlanta. It is a shibori pocket square mady by Bunzaburo Katayama. Right now they are on sale for about $10.00. It really draws attention! I wear it on campus every once in a while when I'm feeling happy on the inside. It exudes happiness and that is a feeling I don't mind sharing.

On that note, happy reading and I hope you've been enjoying my blog so far.

Pocket Watches.....More to Come...

I purchased this pocket watch from an Austrian eBayer for $100. It is a nice, reliable, German silver(900) example. I recently broke my double Albert pocket watch chain in a number of places. Actually I ran it over, o.k. long story and I don't feel like talking about it. It is too sad an episode for this eccentric young gent to revisit. As a result, I will post a study on double Albert pocket watch chains. For 2 reasons:
  1. To inform my reader*
  2. Help me decide which way I want to go with my purchase
  3. Its just plain fun
So, enjoy the photos of one of my eccentricities. Don't enlarge the photos they are not the best and are a little blurry when enlarged. Oh, it is resting on my red, linen, herringbone odd waistcoat.

*Word is in the singular because I only have one reader who comments. I'd like to receive more comments and questions if anyone else is reading this. If you have any email me at orangegentleman at gmail dot com. Just kidding but, do email me.

In Praise of the Link Between My Sleeves

On the very top you have a sterling silver cat cuff links, semi-3d. In the middle is a cuff button*, Victorian era in a guillouche flower pattern. The last is a pair of proper chain connected cuff links in a purple and white enamel design. They all cost under $20 on eBay; really less the sterling links are what brought the price higher.

In Praise of the Link Between My Sleeves

How does one secure the cloth on his arms but around one's wrists
Buttons buttons is the answer most commonly heard
Gentlemen, if that comes to mind then you've probably missed
The joys of cuff links in the shape of your favorite bird

Varieties galore, just implore at your nearest store
Sterling Silver, Ivory Sliver, snapping closed or simply with a lever
They'll definitely catch the eye of the one you adore
Difficult to put on, No your not clever
Push it through one side then manipulate it through to the other
They can add interest, elegance, and whimsy. Trust me my friend they are worth the bother

How does one secure the cloth on his arms but around one's wrists
Buttons buttons is the answer that most will say
Gentlemen, if that comes to mind then you've probably missed
The joys of cuff links that move and are fun for play

*Cuff buttons were a simpler form of cuff links made to look like buttons for everyday wear. They were composed of a short metal staff in between an elliptical. Some were simple metal for workers and others were mother of pearl, shaped like actual buttons. Those are the ones that sell for a steep penny at retailers and on eBay.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Spot of Fun!

Pelikan 140, arrived yesterday

Today, I packaged two fountain pens to go to a nibmeister, one who fixes fountain pen nibs, and I got bored. So, I decided to decorate the packaging with purple and orange ink. The Pelikan 140 had Private Reserve Tanzanite, a purple, and my everyday pen, the Pelikan m250, was filled with J. Herbin Orange Indien. I am so glad I decided to try out the Tanzanite, it shades wonderfully and is dark enough to use in everyday situations. It is slowly becoming an ink I will have to restock on.

Some panels turned out well, others not so much. Either way I had fun and killed a couple of hours while talking to my sister, Julie. So, check it out:

Pelikan 140 detail shot