Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Xonex Ru

It's nice to have some color!!

After receiving a Moleskine notebook as a gift a few years ago, I started to learn about the fantastic world of little notebooks.  I began to find little books all over the place and tested them as I found them. The Xonex Ru is intended to be an alternative to the Moleskine and in some areas, it fills that niche well.  I also must mention that I like the name, because the main feature of these notebooks is the pouch in the back. The "kanga-ru" is it's namesake, and I always enjoy creativity like this. And now, on to the notebook itself!

Just a bit bigger, but in the world of small notebooks, it feels like a lot
The paper, which is the most important part of a notebook like this, is much better than that found in Moleskines. With standard fountain pen ink, there is no bleedthrough.  There is some showthrough however, which I realize can be a dealbreaker, depending on your use.  Of other note is the cover, which isn't hard like the Moleskine's.  This cover is made from a latex infused cardboard, which is sturdy, but by no means as sturdy as most other little black notebooks. It does have a pouch in the back, which seems to be much more durable than that found on the Moleskine, and of course has a black elastic band to keep it closed.

At a third of the price of a Moleskine, it has some benefits and some drawbacks.  The most noticeable for me is that it is a little bigger than most black notebooks. As I mentioned before as well, it also isn't as sturdy, which depending on your use can be a problem.  The Ru comes in a few different colors, which I know is a problem some people have with Moleskines, but paper quality seems to be better than Moleskines, but not as good as Rhodia's notebooks. Overall, I think the notebooks are a good alternative to Moleskines, with different strengths and weaknesses.  I think that I'm going to use mine all the way before I make my final decision, but my Ru is definitely a contender on the notebook list.  Hopefully I can provide an extensive review with a full decision in the future, after extended use.

My only other issue with these notebooks is how scarce they seem to be. I found mine at The Container Store (of all places!), and I know that they can be found online at, but if you're anything like me, you don't want to buy a notebook brand until you can physically feel it in person.

I must note that the logo in the bottom right corner irks me somewhat...

Eternally Inked, 

The Classicist

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Noodler's Baystate Blue

Noodler's Baystate Blue is without a doubt the most controversial ink to be produced by an ink company.  It is both loved and hated with equal intensity in different circles. The color of this ink is modeled after one from the 1950s.  This is most likely the bluest blue that you will ever find. It's almost as if it's a highlighter type of color, but not in the neon range. It's a normal blue that resides in the range of highlighter intensity.  Amidst a line of plain black text, this blue ink will completely jump off the page.
There's just something special about brush pens...

With this amazing color comes some unfortunate side-effects, however.  The ink tends to stain plastics and nibs.  This eyedropper ink bottle comes with two pens. A platinum preppy .03 and a brush pen.  The platinum preppy performs as should be expected, but with a little ammonia, cleans up so that there is virtually no trace of the ink ever having been in it.  Ammonia is powerful stuff though, so care needs to be exercised when cleaning.  There is really no need to clean this pen, but I just tried it to see if i could.  It is now my dedicated Baystate Blue pen and will be until I run out of ink. The ink came with a Kuretake Brush Pen, which performs marvelously and is a lot of fun to write with. I don't plan on ever changing the ink in it either.

This ink's waterproof qualities are pretty good. Not bulletproof, but pretty good, a sacrifice completely worth making in return for the fantastic color.  The flow is good in my Noodler's Piston Filler and doesn't even dry up after a few days of sitting around. The ink behaves for the most part, just as well as Noodler's Polar Black.
This is an ivory paper, not plain white.

One of the most frustrating parts of this ink, due in part to my own foolishness, is that it tends to stick to my fingers despite a decent amount of washing.  The amount of hand-washing necessary to remove other Noodler's inks is not enough to remove Baystate Blue. I only really noticed when rubbing my fingers across papers or when touching plastics, as my fingers left blue smears across the surfaces, but it was annoying nonetheless. I just have to exercise more caution in the future.

Overall, I love this ink.  My own mistakes and the potential "drawbacks" of this ink completely pale in comparison to the sheer intensity of the color and the fun that you can have with it.

(Pen used: Sheaffer Italic F)