13 November 2005

Pencil Illin'

Some days, I worry about world peace. Some days, I worry about my family. Most days, though, I worry about what writing implement I should carry in the lone pen loop in my Filofax. To date, I've been using a nondescript, black-barreled Uniball (blue ink). But, as I've noted before, ink carries with it a price: The price of permanence. A choice made in ink cannot be undone. A choice made in pencil, however, is inscribed only in dust. And we know how permanent dust is. (It blows in the wind.)

I'm a man of impermanence, not permanence. So I've switched to pencil. The problem with the usual wooden pencil, though, is twofold: (1) You have to have access to a sharpener at all times; and (2) it doesn't stay in a typical planner pen loop, because it is a cylinder of uniform diameter. Problem No. 2 is probably decisive; Problem No. 1, however, is no small matter. In combination, they left me with no choice for general planner usage: mechanical pencils. The folks at Pencil Revolution have assured me that mechanical pencils are not necessarily evil. (They say that, but I note a conspicuous lack of mechanical pencil porn on the site.)

I didn't find myself near an art supply store this weekend, so I settled for Staples. And I settled upon the Pentel Sharp 0.5mm. It's a somber, professional black-barreled thing. The package touts it as the leading tool for technical users. That was enough for me. There's no nonsense with it. No finger-operated clicker. No gel-filled thumb rest. Just hard black plastic, a chrome pocket clip, and lead. It's made in Japan, too. It feels good in the hand and is very amenable to the obsessive-compulsive pen/pencil-twirling thing I do with every writing implement I hold. (You probably know what I'm talking about, because if you don't do it, you've seen weirdos in the back of the room doing it. I'm so good at it I can do it with a pool cue.)

The only disappointment so far is that the eraser is really small. Plus, you have to remove a small metal cap to get at it. I'm so lazy that the effort of exposing the eraser is likely to be sufficient to make me use the scratch-out method instead of the erasure method of correcting mistakes. Nevertheless, I know the eraser is there, and I will sleep better at night knowing that what I've written in my Filofax is subject to change.


  1. Greetings! May we quote from this on PR?

  2. I would be honored to be quoted by the Revolution!

  3. I totally agree, the Pentel Sharp is a fantastic mechanical pencil. I've been using the yellow (0.9) for ages. Actually, I've been using my current one for over four years.

    Funny thing about the Sharp... I'm staying in Japan right now, and the other day a grad student at the next desk leaned over, and asked if he could borrow my sharp, and I was kind of surprised that he knew the model name. But it turns out that the Japanese name for a mechanical pencil is "sharp." Maybe that's why Pentel chose that name?

    I remove the metal clip though, which is one of the first things that drew me to this pencil, it was easy to remove the clip without mangling the pencil.

    I really like the "drafting type" pencils, they seem to be no-nonsense, and long lastic. The new Pentel Graphgear 1000 looks pretty good too, but I don't think I can remove the metal clip... so I dunno about that :) But it comes in a whole bunch of lead sizes, which I think is the mark of a serious pencil.


  4. I have a Filofax Cross Personal in Black and have to say I adore it to the point that even though its black I don't want an accidental ink spill to ruin it. Additionally I change info in my organiser from time to time and for this reason and for aesthetic reasons too I use a Staedler Pencil (Mars Lumograph - colour: Mid Blue) in 'H'. It is angled with 6 sides to it (Hexagon?) I cannot live without these and have bought a pack of 12 which I just swap each time the one I am using goes a bit blunt. Yes, the pain in the derrier point is that you do need a sharpner and eraser near by. But I find that I infrequently need to sharpen because of my investment in multiple pencils, plus a 'H' lead is long lasting (the lead colouring is pleasing). Lastly can I point out that these Staedlers do not slide out of the pen loop as long as you haven't already stretched it out! Enjoy! Alia...

  5. God's Pencil: the Sanford Logo II (pun intended), .7mm (also available in .5mm but this is more prone to breakage), black plastic (burgundy and teal also available--bah), made in Japan, chrome tip and pocket clip. Sliding, retractable sleeve protects lead and pockets. Fits easily but snugly into broken-in Filofax loops. Last but not least: a 2 inch long eraser that lasts forever. After forever, the eraser is easily replaceable for your next lifetime.

    DJ Rainer


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