{ Phil Olin }

Musings of a geek.

Festercrook, the Modern Esterbrook

Update: I would just like to make a note of the phone call I just received, from Mr. Rosenberg himself. I did not continue the call once I realized who it was because I didn’t not want to have to deal with a bully, plus I was working. Mr. Rosenberg, if you would like to have a discussion, you can use the contact page like a civilized person. Calling my personal phone is NOT fucking cool.

Oh, and if you want me to edit this post or remove it, ~~you can just go fuck right off~~ I can’t be bothered to.

The new Esterbrook company is quite the show. I remember when the new Esterbrook J pens were announced. It was a turd of a pen. A cheap Chinese pen being sold under the name of a great historic pen company. Reviews of the pen were not good. King of Esterbrook, Brian Anderson, did a review of the pen, and pretty much said it was crap.

They fell under the radar mostly. I hadn’t heard about them very much recently, but apparently Robert Rosenberg hasn’t given up. He recently put a new pen up for sale, on both eBay and Massdrop, the M-2. For “sale” for $50, the pen looks like a cheap Chinese pen that has been made to be as ostentatious as possible. A pen that you could easily find on eBay for $5.


The drop didn’t even make it a day before the truthful but “negative” comments started coming in. For the $50 price of the drop, you can get a nicely restored vintage Esterbrook (a true Esterbrook). You’ll have a much better pen, and even some money left over. Or if one still desires a cheap Chinese pen, plenty can be found on eBay at their appropriate price point.

But the best part of the entire drop wasn’t the comments, or the fact that Massdrop closed the drop after only 10 people purchased pens, it was the after the drop was closed and then cancelled when Massdrop sent out an email to the people that were participating. I should also mention that the first 100 people to buy the pen would also get a set of ink cartridges. Ink cartridges that didn’t work with the pen they were buying.

Massdrop has deleted the listing now, so unfortunately we can’t go back to read the comments, but the email that they sent out to buyers said that Mr. Rosenberg wanted Massdrop to censor the comment section and delete everything negative about the company.


Interesting. If you check out the company’s Facebook page, you will find it devoid of anything negative. Must be nice to be able to make your company look like a perfect little angel. Of course it also means that customers can’t see the true company.

From Esterbrook’s website:

“We are thrilled to bring back the Esterbrook brand of fine writing Instruments and we look forward to restoring this iconic name with products which utilize the Esterbrook Heritage of design and quality”

Well Mr. Rosenberg, I suggest you actually read your own statement, because you are doing a pretty shittastic job at it so far, and the majority of the fountain pen community thinks you are greedy and are just using the Esterbrook name to make some quick cash, before you sell it off like you did with Conklin.

InCoWriMo 2016

InCoWriMo or International Correspondence Writing Month, is almost here. For February, write one letter a day, every day, all month long. I participated last year and had a blast, and will be sending out letters again in February.

It is “vintage social media,” and I recommend taking part. Don’t expect an answer to every letter you write, but I’m sure some people will respond. I reply to every letter that comes in my mailbox.

Well Stamped InCoWriMo Letter


I received this InCoWriMo letter yesterday from a writer in California. I love the collection of vintage postage stamps all over the envelope!

Old stamps have character and class that modern stamps just can’t touch, and this envelope is loaded with character. I’d have to say that the 6¢ red & blue Airmail stamp on the right is my favorite out of the bunch.

InCoWriMo Results

InCoWriMo is over. It was a blast. Over the month I wrote 41 letters, and received 27 letters (I do expect that a few will trickle in over the next month or so). Many of the letters I received were from new people, but some were replies from letters I sent, and my usual penpals.

I got to see new inks, papers, and some beautiful handwriting. A few international letters came in. I sent only a few international letters, Australia, Slovakia, Wales, and Canada, and received some from Australia, and the Netherlands. Most of my letters incoming and outgoing were domestic letters. Next year I’ll put my address up on the InCoWriMo website, this year I only shared it on the FPGeeks forum.

I expect I’ll keep writing to many of the people that wrote to me. I’ll respond to any letters I receive. Analog correspondence is much better than anything online.

Moose: A Christmas Dog

We got a dog for Christmas this year. Ashley’s sister-in-law called me to tell me that the Broome County Humane Society had a Saint Bernard that would be going up for adoption the following day. I’ve been wanting a St. Bernard for a while, but we weren’t in any rush to adopt a dog.

I decided that we’d at least go visit him, without telling Ashley why we’re driving to Binghamton. We got to the humane society before they opened, so we filled out an adoption application before even meeting him. Turns out, we were the 3rd to fill out an application for him. In our short visit with him, we met a well behaved and very loveable St. Bernard. We told the humane society staff that we’d love to take him today if possible. Later that afternoon, we got a call asking if we’d like to bring him home.

He is now called Moose, came with the name Maurice, but it didn’t fit him at all. He’s just over a year old, and very well behaved. Walks great on a leash, and we’ve been working on other skills. He learns quick. He loves his new family and has adjusted quite well.





Postcard Series 1: Charles Bridge

One of the few unused postcards in my inherited stamp collection.

The Notebook Search

I’m in search of a new notebook. My Arc notebook is almost finished and I don’t want to refill it for everyday usage. I love the Arc system, but it is too bulky for everyday carry. As a notebook system, it is fantastic. I love being able to easily swap pages, and there are no binder rings to bend. As an EDC journal though, I don’t like it. Recently, I’ve been looking at other journal/notebooks.

Rhodia web notebooks, Baron Fig Confidant, Midori Travelers Notebook, or a Tomoe River notebook. Prices range anywhere from $16 to $50. I’m kind of leaning towards the Midori because it is customizable, and I can put different inserts in the notebook, or even make my own.

But I also wouldn’t mind trying a notebook filled with beautiful Tomoe River paper, and the Baron Fig Confidant looks pretty nice also. Maybe I’ll order all three and try them out. I’ll end up using them for something anyways.

Ello: My Thoughts

Ello is the new kid on the block. A new social networking site, similar to Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is brand new, still in early alpha/beta stages. No mobile apps yet. The web interface is the only way to use it at the moment.

Ello currently (who knows, this could change), promises to be ad free and to be free to use with premium features. For the internet’s sake, I hope Ello grows and succeeds. We need more options from the giants of Twitbook.

App Dot Net was a great idea, and I loved it, but it is about over. Sure there are still many people using it, and the servers are still up, but it isn’t growing. There will never be new features. It will continue to sit there, stagnating until enough users leave and it shuts down.

Ello, please don’t fuck up. We, the internet, need you.

If you’d like to join Ello, message me for an invite at @sgtstretch on either ADN or Twitter.

Stamps & Postcards

I inherited my great-grandfather’s stamp collection a few years ago. In includes hundreds if not thousands of stamps. Stamps from all over the world. Some of those stamps are still attached to the postcards they carried through the mail system.

I am going to start showcasing the stamps and postcards on this blog. I think it will be a cool idea to show some of the history of the postal system. So many unique stamps to show off, along with the artwork of the postcards.

Some postcards will need a disclaimer though, as they were produced when racism and sexism was okay. The postcards consist of old photograph prints, artwork, and drawings. It will be a historic look at what was once sent through the mail.

L.A. Noire

I finally finished L.A. Noire on my 360 recently. Yes, the L.A. Noire that was released back in 2011. What took so long? I got tired of trying to figure out what the facial expressions were supposed to mean.


The game is beautiful and I loved that the cars drove like wallowing whales, which is what I expect they actually drive like. I know the game was developed especially around the facial features, but the interrogations were the hardest part of the game for me. It frustrated me to the point of needing 3 years to finish the game.


I’m going to keep the game, and will probably play it again in the future as the story is pretty good. But honestly, if it wasn’t a Rockstar game, I’d probably not have bought it.

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© 2016 Phil Olin

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