Writing: Fountain Pens (Bright plus Dusty Green Theme)

Collage of three images showing a full length Monteverde fountain pen, a close up of its nib, and a page of writing in a dusky green
My Monteverde Prima fountain pen; it’s nib; a writing sample about the our golden summers, and how strange it is that other places have green summers. Who knew? The muted green ink is Herbin’s ‘Vert Empire.’

The view out my east facing dining room window is of the deep green of a holly tree, and the brighter green of a juniper, which inspired me to fill my greenest pen and write about the color.

This Monteverde Prima is one of my earliest fountain pen purchases. I initially thought it was stingy with ink, but just happened to be using a drier flowing ink. I tried others and improved my paper choices, which help me appreciate this pen’s smooth writing and pleasant proportions. It is comfortable to hold, is reliable (doesn’t clog or dry out), and the way it catches the light is attractive. The nib is firm, and I am amused that Monteverde is so proud of it that they engraved their long name on it TWICE.

The ink is Herbin’s ‘Vert Empire,’ the color of a dusty green velvet, or leafy desert plants that must protect themselves from the sun by being a bit gray. The pen isn’t an exact match for any of my five or so shades of green ink, though it comes quite close to Herbin’s ‘Lierre Sauvage‘ (which the Herbin website associates with anarchy. Ah, leafy green anarchy…). A medium bright green with silver sparkle could also come close, though that might be difficult to read if too shiny. (If you are a fan of Herbin’s “Vert Atlantide,” you probably beat me to this.)

Yes, my personal true color of California in summer is the yellow-gold of sun-dried grass on our rolling hills, but our extensive agricultural regions offer many shades of green, from the yellow-greens of grape leaves through the pale, silver-greens of artichoke leaves.

Book (Manhwa): Made of Stardust by Kalisami

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Made of Stardust
by Kalisami
published by Webtoon (42 chapters, ongoing)
2023 – present

Kalisa falls to earth naked, in pain (from an energy weapon still protruding from her body), and with amnesia. Her human assailant is thrilled, and takes her back to his kingdom to make her his wife.

What Kalisa doesn’t immediately understand is that she is a powerful being from the sky. Beings like her, called stars, can be shot with human weapons and brought down to earth to either spread fertility while alive, or to extend the life of the powerful if consumed while dead. Unclear on what awaits her in the hostile human kingdom after witnessing human violence against innocent creatures, she makes a break for it with her tiny, winged dragon, Lumi.

The story is largely presented as Kalisa experiences it – with no memories of what is happening, innocence as to how the world works, mysterious voices, danger, and the dread of seeing what has become of others of her kind.

The art is pretty: cheeks and lips are rosy, bodies are slender and strong; Kalisa’s clothes are painted on, while those of a handsome ally resemble draped costumes of ancient Greece; her dead peers turn into dark, sparkling glitter; her fertility creates clouds of blossom colors across the landscape…

Chapter 42 is the mid-season finale, and it isn’t clear if Kalisa and her new friends and allies will survive, why the planet is dying (though this seems to be about human greed and a lack of compassion for other living things leading to environmental ruin, making it very relatable), and whether humanity dying out is inevitable. The loveliness of the illustrations will lure me back.

Book (Manhwa): I Abdicate My Title of Empress by Kim hee sung, galbi

Banner for I Abdicate My Title of Empress by Kim hee sung, galbi

I Abdicate My Title of Empress
by Kim hee sung , galbi
published by Webtoon (54 chapters, ongoing)
2023 – present

When we meet Adelheid, she has given up her crown princess title and left her country for an arranged marriage to a hostile-but-hot blond emperor in a far off empire.

Not only does Emperor Karl exude hostility to Adelheid for not being as passive as a flower in a vase (the way he likes his women), but his jealous young mistress controls the money, and chooses not to fund Adelheid to show her who is really in charge. Karl tells Adelheid that if she minds her own business, she can do what she wants (though we grasp that this would involve having money to live on).

Oh, and the empire is being picked apart by sky monster attacks that the church has responsibility to stop, yet doesn’t seem inclined to do much about, especially if their delays kill off their rivals, those noble knights who actually try to save people from being killed.

Between Adelheid’s ability to read the law to determine her rights, a handsome noble who wants to beat the sky monsters and so becomes her official-aide and official-if-not-actual-lover, and that fact that ADELHEID CAN FLOAT WHILE DEFEATING SKY MONSTERS (!!!) because she is an unusually POWERFUL MAGE (!!), the empire’s power structure starts to crack beneath her booted feet.

Characters from I Abdicate My Title As Empress: our heroine, the emperor, and the empress' aide
I’m having difficulty keeping track of all the empresses being sabotaged by blonde mistresses across the many manhwa I am reading, but since this heroine flies in the updraft caused by invasions (?) and her aide, Lionel, is so blatantly pretty (look at the eyeliner!), I think I can track this story using either of those details.

Brazen attacks on Adelheid and whiny demands from Karl’s mistress might make Karl rethink his life choices. We will learn why Adelheid REALLY left her kingdom, and how many attractive warriors from back home want to turn up to fight alongside her, and about council meetings (because governance requires those, sadly).

This story has: a golden-eyed, monster-fighting, floating heroine; a handsome, ineffective emperor; a whiny, blond, unethical mistress (the primary mistress type in manhwa, from what I can see) with power-hungry allies propping her up undeservedly; a beautiful nobleman who isn’t sure why he stares adoringly at the heroine (duh); a corrupt church; neglectful authorities; and AN EVIL POWER THAT DROPS BUILDINGS AND MONSTERS FROM THE SKY! (This may be crossing into sci-fi. It’s unusual, and I’m here for it.)

The next season promises (even more) pretty men from Adelheid’s home empire, and more Adelheid-floating-sky-battles so I’m looking forward to it.

Collecting/Mail: Carnival Nights Stamps coming from USPS

I’m a big fan of night photography (which used to be much more complicated back in analog days), so I’m looking forward to these colorful and festive stamps. They’ll be available June 6, 2024.

Life: Earworms

Me [unpacking groceries]: Why I am I singing ‘Love is a Battlefield’ by Pat Benatar? I haven’t heard that song (from 1983?!) in years… Or have I?

[look suspiciously at groceries]

[remember that the local grocery store plays 1980s music as part of their customer profile]

[shakes fist in general direction of grocery store]

Life: It feels like summer (ask the fog)

The forecast this week suggests it will be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7+ degrees Celsius) for a few days out where my family lives, yet it is still (technically) spring. That hot weather pulls a blanket of fog across me, and… I’m okay with that.

Plus: it is still allergy season. But all of us sniffling, coughing people have known that for a month.

Oh, and: wildfire season. An 11,000 acre fire is burning in an area east of the City, and evacuations are in effect for the nearest town. With high winds yesterday, it spread very quickly. I was growing fond of NOT reading about fires in my state…

Wherever you are while reading this, I hope you are safe, not crying/sneezing, have no need to evacuate, and are dressed appropriately for whatever the weather delivers to you.