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Stationery Adventures: 4-Color Multi-pens, A Comparison

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By bailaoragaditana · June 24, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Last summer, in one of my first JetPens purchases, I got myself a Jetstream four-color multipen, because if there's something I like more than pens, it's pens which have lots of colors! I was a big fan of the horrible four-color Bics when I was a kid, and I also had an amazing multi-color mechanical pencil which once belonged to my grandfather. (I suspect, since he was an engineer, that it was actually some manner of drafting pencil, but I didn't know that when I was eight. I'm going to make an effort to dig it out when I'm home this summer.) I'm fond of taking notes in black with important bits written in other colors (usually blue and red), and since I'm always learning new languages, four colors correspond perfectly to my method for parsing sentences. Anyway, point is, my Jetstream 4+1* has been my faithful companion, holy-grail pen for almost a year now. (I got it last August.) I have also been enjoying the single-color Suraris I got last summer (I use them in my Euskara notebook, which is a topic for another day), so when I heard that Zebra were putting out a Surari multi-pen, I decided I absolutely had to have it. But even then I wondered if it could replace my one true love, the apple of my eye - so as soon as I got it, I decided a comparative exercise was in order. A fight to the death, if you will - a duel for my heart, and my writing hand. For paper, I've used a Kokyuo Campus Wide B5 notebook with 6mm lines - possibly my new favorite notebook!

And in the spirit of a courtly duel, the poem I've copied out is a cantiga de amigo, a type of medieval Galician-Portuguese courtly-love poem, by the trovador João Garcia de Guilhade, who wrote in the second half of the 13th century. It's one of my favorites, for the rather cynical humor. The English translation is my own, not-very-good, and the product of my sleepy brain at 2:30 in the morning, but I think it gets the meaning across, if not the nuance. And certainly not the metrical subtlety. Sorry! Read on (and click the pictures to enlarge) for the results of the face-off...

*I am a notorious pencil-hater these days, so the +1 part is going to be ignored for purposes of this review. I do have a post/review/rant about pencils in the works, though.


Superficially, I think the Jetstream looks more polished - it *is* the pricier pen, and it looks it. It's also quite heavy and has a wide barrel with a smooth grip, while the Surari has a lighter plastic body and a rubbery grip with a few grooves in it. I grip quite low on the pen, so my fingertips don't really rest on the grips, but neither one causes discomfort even with long-term low-gripping. The color tabs on the Jetstream are more subtle - all black with a tiny strip of color to match the ink - while the Surari color tabs are colored plastic all the way through. I like the idea of using the clip for the black ink, but one major gripe I have about the Surari is that the inks are in reverse order! Multipens usually have black first, and then blue, green, red, going counter-clockwise around the pen, but the Surari has them going clockwise! Being accustomed to the Jetstream (and also my Acroball multi), I frequently click the red Surari tab expecting to get blue, and so on. It's a little bit annoying, but not insurmountable. The Surari is also a little bit slimmer than the Jetstream (probably on account of having 4 pen components instead of 5), but I quite like wide-barrelled pens, even with small hands, so neither pen body presents a problem.

In the looks department: a clear Jetstream win.

And now, on to the truly important inside-stuff: the ink!

(Both pens are 0.7mm.)


First up: black ink. Unsurprisingly, this is where the two pens have the fewest differences. Black ink, I assume, is what gets made first, and is therefore the most "perfected". Or perhaps it's the easiest to get right, I don't know. In any case, there's not much to distinguish the Surari ink (left) from the Jetstream ink (right). They're both nice dark black, very smooth, consistent lines, no streaking, no white spaces, no problems with ink globbing or anything like that. The Surari ink feels perhaps a teeny bit thicker (see the beginnings of the 2nd and 3rd lines), but I'd say they perform about equally well.

If I had to choose? Jetstream, by a sliver of a hair.


Next up: blue ink. Even from the un-enlarged image, it's pretty obvious that the Surari ink is a lot thicker and quite a bit more prone to globs (though I should note that the blue Jetstream is also the globbiest of all the Jetstream colors, in my experience). The Surari is also more saturated, while the Jetstream displays a greater tendency towards white streaks. They're both just about the same shade of dark blue.

Winner: Jetstream. By a mile.


Now my favorite: green ink! As you can see, these two are the most radically different. They almost don't even look the same color! The Surari ink is a dark yellow-green, while the Jetstream has quite light blue-green ink. The Surari suffers from some of the same globbing problems as the blue ink, but it's a bit less severe, and the saturation makes up for it in my opinion. The green Jetstream ink is definitely my least-favorite of the four, because it isn't nearly as smooth as I expect a hybrid ballpoint to be. It's also just too pale for my tastes. The richness of the darker green ink is definitely enough to offset the minor globbing problem.

Winner: Surari, by several miles.


Last but not least: red ink! Similar differences as the green, with the Surari being darker and thicker, while the Jetstream is lighter and thinner. I'd also say the Surari is more of a true-red ink, while the Jetstream reads slightly pink-red to me. (In MAC lipstick terms, for my fellow beauty junkies: Surari red is like Viva Glam I or Russian Red, while Jetstream red is more like Lady Bug.) Again, the Surari has globbing problems, though they're less problematic with the red than they are with the blue or the green. I do prefer the darker ink, but the Jetream writes more smoothly and evenly.

Winner: Jetstream, just barely.

In conclusion...

The Jetstream walks away with the lady's heart, still. The Surari is a nice challenger, and certainly excellent as a more affordable option, and it's very alluring with all that beautiful green ink (can someone make that shade into an eyeliner, please?), but it still needs a bit of work before it can compete with the big dogs (or blooded knights... hm, I think I'm mixing my metaphors here!). I will probably keep them both in my daily pencil case, though, because a girl can never have too many multi-pens!

 

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Disclaimer: All pens and paper bought with my own (ever-dwindling supply of) money. I may have recently bought myself a green Jetstream 4+1, and also one for my sister as a birthday present. I won a Surari 4C from The Pen Addict on Twitter, but by the time it made it across the pond, some postal service or other had managed to lose all the important bits, so I bought my own because I was going to do that anyway. I'm not affiliated with JetPens, other than the part where I throw wads of cash in their general direction in exchange for enabling my stationery addiction, and occasionally tweet them pictures of my pens in action because I am vain like that.

Filed in: multi-pen, ballpoint, pens, Review
Tagged with: stationery

Stationery Adventures: Hybrid Ink Ballpoint Pens, A Comparison & Some Thoughts

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By bailaoragaditana · May 11, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

For as long as I can remember - or, okay, at least since midway through middle school, when I stopped writing everything with metallic purple Gelly Rolls - I have been on a quest to find the perfect black ballpoint pen. Don't suggest gel pens, or heaven forbid, liquid. Blegh! I am irrationally attached to ballpoints, for reasons I can't seem to articulate. I have tried everything: Bics, Papermates, RSVPs, and Xtends. I even engaged in a several-year relationship with the Pilot Dr. Grip Center of Gravity, but this past summer, that all came crashing down when I discovered The Pen Addict. There, I read of a magical pen called the Jetstream, and its enchantingly smooth, streak-free dark-black ink... and I wondered if it might be The One.

You know, my personal Prince Charming in pen form, my príncipe azul, whatever you want to call it. (Except I totally want the prince from Beauty & the Beast, because he has an awesome library, and probably some fabulous writing instruments to go along with.)


Seriously, who wouldn't want that library? I wouldn't even care if he turned back into the handsome prince.

Ahem. Anyway.

So I ordered one (alright, several - I need all the colors, okay?) from JetPens, and what do you know, it was true love the first time pen hit paper!

And then I discovered the Pilot Acroball. And then the Zebra Surari came out. And just recently, the Pentel Vicuña. All with similar hybrid oil-based ink formulas. Apparently, my taste in pens is a little like my taste in men: when I find something I like, I want to try out every other similar variation.* The problem is, of course, that I now have a collection of nearly-identical pens in 3 different colors. So I thought I might do something useful with my stash, and compare them for comparison's sake.


Left to right: Uni-Ball Jetstreams, Pilot Acroballs, Zebra Suraris, and Pentel Vicuñas, all with .7mm points, and in standard black, blue, and red.

And a quick writing sample, on a Maruman Report Pad with 6mm lines. (Click for lots of zooming action.)


Of the four, the only one of these pens I could happily do without is the Pentel Vicuña: the lines it produces are noticeably wider than the other .7mm lines; the ink is prone to globbing (this is worst in the blue - just look at the "n" in "incitáis" - but also characteristic of the black); and the red ink, while it has the best actual writing performance, tends visibly towards being a pink-red, which I don't like at all. ("Eew, pink!!" I sound like the eight-year-old tomboy I once was, for the six months I had a hissyfit and decided to hate skating. I got over that, but I cannot get over pink-red ink, or makeup.) Plus the hard plastic body and ridge-y grip feel kind of cheap and are less than comfortable for anything more than dashing off a quick grocery list.

The other three are pretty much equally good in my eyes: the Acroball wins the most comfortable barrel/grip design; the Jetstream wins just by a hair in the smoothness contest, and it has the best black ink; and the Surari's ink colors are just precisely how I would design them - it has the darkest, most saturated red, and a perfect blue (the Acroball's blue ink is a shade or two too light for my personal liking, and the Jetstream blue is one too dark, plus it's slightly thicker/more flowy than the other colors). I keep all three in my regular rotation, using Jetstreams and Acroballs for lecture notes and the library, and the Suraris mostly stay clipped onto the notebook that I use for learning Euskara (Basque). The Vicuñas stay in my pen drawer, far from the light of day, and from my fingers. I might accidentally leave them in a common room or something one of these days...

Anyway, the conclusion is that the Jetstream was not The One, in the end, but it's definitely one of The Ones. I have several other styles of Jetstream body, as well, but that didn't sway me, in the end. I'm tempted to say that my Jetstream multi-pen (four colors! swoon!) is actually definitively The One, but there's now a Surari multi-pen which I need to evaluate in order to be able to make that call. But I'm still waiting for the Surari to get to me (why yes, I did in fact order more goodies from JetPens, is there a problem? I use them way more frequently than most of my makeup collection, anyway...) so the duel for my heart will have to wait a few weeks.

In the meantime, I hope this comparison is at least somewhat useful; comments, thoughts, and rotten tomatoes are all welcome, and thanks for reading!

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*(On that note: don't worry, I will be reviving my pictorially-enhanced musings on beautiful Spanish men soon!)

Stationery Adventures: Some Handwriting Samples

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By bailaoragaditana · May 9, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

When I introduced this new pen-and-paper-oriented feature last week, I may have indulged in a little bit of braggery about my handwriting, so I thought I should maybe back that up with some evidence! I normally write with a Jetstream ballpoint pen, but today I felt like my reading called for a little more pizzazz, so some gel pens came out to play! These are just bits of research notes for my dissertation, not reviews or anything, but they're pretty representative of how  write. (You can click to get the full-size effect, should you want to scrutinize my letter-formation or whatever!)

Here we've got some notes and quotes written and printed (print is my normal note-taking handwriting, but the vertical cursive is often how I write in my journal) with Zebra Sarasa Clip .4mm gel pens in Black, Cobalt Blue, and Viridian Green, which is seriously the most gorgeous ink color ever!


My workspace in the library!

You can also see my very favoritest pen, the Jetstream 4+1 multipen (if pens could be soulmates, this one is mine), and some Pilot Spotliter highlighters, and a very cute/very useful Pentel correction tape that's only 2.5mm wide.

(Bonus wadded-up tissue and crumpled blotting paper. Ew. Sorry 'bout that!)

And here's some quick cursive - I was dashing off a sort of outline for a rough draft of my dissertation, using the Pilot Cavalier fountain pen (with Pilot Namiki black cartridge), which is the single most expensive writing instrument I have ever owned, but it's simply beautiful and has the finest point I've ever managed to get from a fountain pen. (My beloved Waterman Audace comes in a close second, depending on the paper.) This slanted cursive I use for letters and thank-you notes and birthday cards, and also for things that I want to write fairly speedily, so often my lecture notes will be written like this. (I later go back and put them in printed letters, because I'm a bit OCD about my notes all matching.)


Some quick cursive notes.

For notes like these, I use Pukka recycled refill pads, with narrow-ruled paper - it's the nicest narrow-rule A4 refill paper I can find in England, because apparently the English hate small handwriting - narrow-rule *anything* is pretty much impossible to find!

Anyway, I just wanted to get a quick post up to try and keep my blog-flow going. I might try to, like, actually properly review something next time. Thoughts, comments, rotten tomatoes all welcome, but do try to keep the tomato mess to a minimum! Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with JetPens in any way, other than that I give them a lot of my own personal money in exchange for shiny new stationery things. The surfeit of links is mainly there to illustrate the extent of my addiction.

New Things: Stationery Adventures

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By bailaoragaditana · May 5, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

This blog started out being about makeup, since I came to Sugar through BellaSugar and developed my incurable product addiction in the ever-supportive Beauty Product Junkies community, but over time I've started adding other things - inflicting upon unfortunate readers (just kidding, I love you really!) my dubious tastes in music and men, and even branching out to fashion with my ballgown dilemmas. And now, I'll be adding one of my lifelong obsessions: stationery. I mean, even before I was into makeup (or possibly concurrent with my discovery of Petite Miss, at least), I loved pens, and notebooks, and crayons, and I used to pretend to write in cursive by making swirls all across any piece of paper I could find. I used to beg my father to take me to Office Depot after softball games and swim meets, and I would gorge myself on college-ruled notebooks (so sophisticated! when you're eight...) and purple pens and mechanical pencils. I occasionally used these to attempt to write stories, but as there is nary a creative bone in my body, I had to find another purpose for them... so I practiced my handwriting, and even indulged in some innovation. It's made me rather vain about my script, if I'm completely honest. Total strangers in the library have approached to comment on the neatness of my notes, and one of the best (and weirdest?) compliments I've ever received was a friend's declaration that he would pay me to write love letters, just for the handwriting.

(I'm still not quite sure what to make of that, now that I think about it.)

I'm coming out of the (supply) closet as a stationery addict: I love pens and notebooks way, way, way too much for my own good. And I know I'm not the only one, so please feel free to share the love.

In conclusion: here, have a picture of some of my writing instruments.


Pens and pencils and erasers, oh my!

Thanks for reading!

Filed in: stationery adventures
Tagged with: stationery

About Me

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Wishlist

Bobbi Brown

- BBU and Artist Lip palettes (anyone?)

Guerlain

- Rouge G L'Extrait gloss in Avarice & Luxure

Urban Decay

- Naked Foundation in 0.5

- Lip Junkie gloss in Naked2 and Strip

- Urban Lashes in Hot Number, Black Velvet, and Sly

- Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush

- Eyeshadows in Vanilla, Suspect, Kush, Busted, Cobra, Blackout, and Secret Service

NARS

- Larger Than Life eye pencils in Rue de Rivoli and Via Appia

 

Shades

Bobbi Brown foundations - Alabaster

Bobbi Brown concealer - Porcelain

MAC - NW15/NC15/Light depending on product

MUFE Hi-Def Foundation - 110 Pink Porcelain

MUFE Velvet Mat+ Foundation - No. 15 Alabaster

Hourglass Immaculate - Porcelain

Chanel Mat Lumière - Rose Clair

Disclaimer

All of the makeup I feature here is stuff I have bought myself or played with, or that has been given to me by friends and family as gifts (perhaps occasionally stuff that belongs to my friends, as well). I'm not a professional makeup artist, I've never worked for any companies that sell makeup, I have no connections to cosmetic companies, other than the standard relationship between junkie and dealer, and all opinions expressed in my posts are my own. Should a company, someday in the future, want to give me money or products, I'll be the first to say so, in nice big bold letters. I'll also let you know if I win products, as from the Sugar giveaways. Otherwise, you can safely assume it's all the result of my incurable addiction to beauty products.