Scraps from mock layouts. I decided on only “beauty” in black Gothic minuscules. This project may take some time.

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The cat looks familiar, but there are hundreds in the neighborhood. A very decorated utility box on the north side of the east end of Bliss street.

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This story, before its alteration for spacing and letter representation, appeared in 2013 “Once Upon a Time,” and could not be entitled “Gone Goth,” because that is the title of a post about Moustachio’s eye loss. I could probably rename that post “Eye Loss in Beirut,” but it would be a poor pun (and biblical Samson reference via Milton and Huxley). The university reference is pointed enough. “To Be Continued” could work, but the story has not yet been conceived.

This was an exercise to clear thoughts of work from my head. If I do it again more slowly, I might be able to do well enough for physical display. Blackletter requires better adherence to verticality and greater attention to letter spacing.

Pilot parallel pens (6.0 and 3.8 mm), their cartridged ink (a little too wet), and Winsor & Newton smooth surface drawing and sketching paper, A3 130 gsm, available locally (after 13 years, I learned there is a very good stationary store, Diabco, in the neighborhood). There was some problem with feathering or bleeding (see 5 o’clock on the first letter). I do not know whether it is the ink, the paper, both, or particular to the combination. I am looking forward to trying ink from Noodler’s. I do have some Winsor & Newton ink, but it is India ink and not suitable for fountain pens. The second image is the firt day’s work (after an earlier trial), and the third image is with the ruling paper below on the light box. It seems a luxury crutch, but it beats having to erase penciled rulings. Note that ToonCamera is outlining the red letters: they are not outlined in reality.


Yes, many responded with degrees of inebriation, possibly even unto excess. We made it through the denial stage, and of course, “How I spent my summer vacation” was the most common story. After hearing of other’s travel trials and tribulations, I felt my 16-hour, Danger Zone/Axis of Evil flight did not even rate an honorable mention in the air travel competition, what with no lost luggage, broken planes, or anxiety attacks. Our train trip, yet to be recounted here, did well in the surface travel category.

Sunset was about 7:00 pm. The script is from Jacqueline Svaren’s excellent book “Written Letters.” The script is based on Ernst Schneidler’s typeface “Legend.” The pen was a Pilot Parallel Pen with a 3.8 mm and their ink.

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A most remarkable revelation occurred many weeks yet few posts ago: I cleaned my iPad lens. I had been having more and more difficulty with getting ToonCamera to focus and give me images with “snap,” “pop,” and “bokeh.” I thought maybe ToonCamera was wearing out. I recalled reading about the many smart device users whose solutions to problems with apps is to buy a new device. That is something the manufacturers could surreptitiously encourage. I am interested in an imini-pad or whatever they are called, but it would seem a heavy-handed approach. Then, I happened to look at the little lens. It was filthy! A few minutes later, and everything was peachy keen again, so now I have many images doing justice to ToonCamera again. Unfortunately, the trip to Japan was compromised. I will have to visit again.

The title is that of a science-fiction novella by John Varley. It won Hugo and Nebulla awards in 1979, about when would have been when I read it.

The flowers are lavenders in Beit Meri from the bee’s eye’s view.



Thanksgiving has given me an excuse to have a little fun with my new Pilot Parallel Pens. Uncials seemed better than Gothic for this. I decided against outlining the vermillion letters with black, but ToonCamera did it for me.

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I foresee a market for non-conductive selfie sticks. Normally when I see warnings, I imagine they were inspired by actual dire consequences. Surely the warnings on the London Tube to “Mind the Gap,” respond (correspond?) to many real incidents. In this case, the Japanese organizational aptitude combined with frighteningly oblivious foreign (Chinese) tourists could have inspired these warnings without actual fatal incidents.

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When I saw corndogs at the local convenience store, I had to try one. The Japanese often elevate dishes from other countries to high art. Indeed it was refined, but it lacked  strong and distinct corn and frankfurter flavors. Another sign informed 283 kilocalories. I had to ask how they are called in Japanese. They are “American Dogs,” so I will remember it is not an insult.

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Although appearing surprisingly young for fire fighters, their expressions of alarm and determination represent their profession well. They are too small to be manholes (more likely access to spigots or valves), I do not know a better term. This was somewhere in Shinbashi. The middle character means “fire,” and the lower rayed and dotted circle is the symbol for Tokyo.

For anyone with interest in Japanese manhole covers, Wikipedia mentions a photography book “Drainspotting,” by Remo Camerota.

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My daughter is reading Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” which she finds has many unusual words. She asked me what “formication” might mean. I could not help but recall the scene in the movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Maltilda” when Maltilda’s father reacts with outrage hearing she is reading a book with the obscene title “Moby Dick.”  I suggested, “Perhaps ants being romantic?”

A few days later, I saw ants formicating on the remains of a small reptile. Those tiny limbs and short conical tail suggest a skink, and I have seen what I suspect to be Ablepharus kitaibelii (European snake-eyed skink) in that area near the sea. I did not want to disturb the ants at work, so I did not flip it over for diagnostic markings.