Fountain Pen Resurgence

About two weeks ago, I rediscovered the joy of writing with a fountain pen. I know, I know, you’re going to say they are messy and “no one uses one anymore.” Yes, they can be messy, but they seem to be making a resurgence, which I am glad for. It’s that old adage, everything old is new again.

So, how did I rediscover fountain pens? I was at a local chain craft store, looking at pens for my Bullet Journal, and noticed some pens I hadn’t seen before. It turns out that Pilot Pens and Zebra Pens both make a disposable fountain pen in seven different ink colors: black, blue, red, teal, purple, pink and green. I had a field day and bought red, pink, purple, blue and green pens in both Pilot Varsity and Zebra Fountain Pen varieties. I have been having fun writing with them.

I always enjoyed using a easy-writing fountain pen. I used fountain pens all the way through college and graduate school, until it became very difficult finding ink, and pens. Fast forward 3 decades… Fountain pens are back, you can find them in you local big box office supply store or craft store for about $3 – $4 each in a variety of ink colors. Oh, and you can even get a refillable Zebra V-301 fountain pen at Walgreens!! That happens to be a very nice $4.00 fountain pen. In addition, I just ordered a Jinhao 993 Shark in bright pink and ink to match just for fun. It hasn’t arrived yet.

I still have the two Parker 51 fountain pens that my father used, plus the one he gave me as a present when I went to college. All three are refillable using bottled ink. One uses a bladder cartridge (called the Aerometric filler) and the other two use a pump to suck up the ink into the ink reservoir (called the Vacumatic filler). I would periodically use one of the Vacumatic pens or the Aerometric pen. I just to enjoy writing with them. I figured that eventually, they would become obsolete because I wouldn’t be able to get the ink for them anymore. Wow! Was I wrong, or what?  As I said at the beginning of this post, fountain pens have made a resurgence.

You can pick up a nice, inexpensive nice-writing, refillable, fountain pen for under $20. You don’t have to break the bank or live on spaghetti or Ramen Noodles to have fun with a fountain pen. Over the past week, I have picked up three inexpensive refillable fountain pens. I am so glad that there is now a variety of pens, and ink colors.

So now I have four refillable, usable fountain pens and two that need some TLC and restoration. Those four pens are Pilot MR Animal, Parker 51, Parker Jotter and the Zebra V-301. They have either fine or medium nibs (the part that spreads ink on the paper). Which nib size one uses is a personal decision. To find out more about nibs, and fountain pens in general, there is a very good Web site, called the Fountain Pen Network.

Fountain Pens, Capped

From left to right:  Capped Parker Jotter, Parker 51, Pilot MR Animal Zebra V301.

Of the four pens that I am currently using, the Parker 51 is the most interesting. When I was growing up, that was the most popular fountain pen around. Parker Pens made the 51 for about 30 years. To learn more about Parker 51 fountain pens, Parker 51 is an excellent Web site to go to. I was able to use that Web site to determine the age of my Parker 51. It’s older than I am! The pen was made in 1949. It is in beautiful condition. After giving it a good cleaning, it’s writing like it always had. It has a fine point nib (my preference) and uses bottle ink. It cannot use ink cartridges. My father gave me that pen as a gift when I went to college. I used it all the way through undergrad and graduate school.

Fountain Pens, Uncapped

From left to right:  Uncapped Parker Jotter, Parker 51, Pilot MR Animal, Zebra V-301.

So, now I am having a blast using fountain pens. Ink in all sorts of colors and makers is available on-line which makes it even more fun. If you have a yen to try a fountain pen, pick up a cheapie pen and have at it. I would suggest to try the Pilot Varsity or the Zebra disposable pens before going headlong into the fountain pen rabbit hole.

Have fun and keep writing!!!

sheep-icon-03  Barbara.


When Parrot Linux is installed on a computer, it always names that computer, parrot. That can be very confusing if you have Parrot installed on more than one computer, or you want to have a different name for the computer than the default name. During installation, Parrot does not currently allow the user to specify a specific host name during any part of the installation.

There are two ways to change the host name.  Since Parrot is Debian-based, and Debian using Systemd for startup and system processes,  Systemd commands can be used, The “new fangled way.”  You can always use the “old fashioned way,” which requires editing the /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname files.  Either method produces the same result.

The New Fangled Way

Changing the host name using Systemd commands is a two-step process.

  1. Open Root Terminal (accessible through the Menu -> System Tools).
  2. Enter hostnamectl set-hostname NAME where NAME is the new name for your computer.
  3. Close your terminal session, and your computer has been renamed without even having to reboot it.  You can check this by opening a new terminal session.  Looking at the prompt, you’ll see the new host name.

The Old-Fashioned Way

Changing the host name is very easy, but you do have to be careful that that you make sure you don’t assign a name that is currently used on the network. You will have to edit two system files: /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname.

  1. Open Root Terminal (accessible through the Menu -> System Tools).
  2. Enter the root password when prompted.
  3. On the command line, enter pluma /etc/hosts. You can use any other editor that is on your system if you do not want to use pluma.
  4. Locate the line that contains: parrot where hostname is the current name of the computer, parrot.
  5. Change host name to whatever you want. You can use letters, numbers, and dash (hyphen).
  6. Save the /etc/hosts file and exit pluma.
  7. On the command line, enter pluma /etc/hostname.
  8. Look for the line that has parrot.
  9. Change the host name to whatever you want, but it must be identical to the name you used in /etc/hosts.
  10. Save the /etc/hostname file and exit pluma.
  11. Exit Root Terminal.
  12. Once you reboot your computer, you should see the new name when you open a terminal session or browsing devices on your network.

If you have any comments or notice any error(s) in these instructions, please feel
free to contact me.


Updated 7-17-18:  Edited to add hostnamectl instructions.




Eastern Bluebirds – Home Sweet Home

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, while trying to figure out why my tractor wouldn’t start after I turned it off for a moment, I noticed a pair of birds flitting in and out and perching on top of a dead tree trunk that I was going to have removed.  I didn’t really get a chance to check the birds out until Sunday afternoon.  It turned out that the birds are a nesting pair of Eastern Bluebirds.  They have made an almostEastern bluebird at apex of tree trunk perfectly round hole about four feet up from the ground.  In addition, they have a hole in the back of the trunk at about five feet, along with a tunnel to the top of the trunk that they pop out of.  What they have created is a natural bluebird house.  How could anyone disturb that!

So, Sunday afternoon, I took my camera and plopped out on the newly mowed lawn, sitting about 40 feet from the tree trunk.  I didn’t want to disturb or scare them away.  After about 15 minutes, they became used to me just sitting there and started coming and going from their natural home.  I took a series of photos of this cute pair.   After editing the photos, I decided to create a slide show video.

The Technical Particulars…

All photos were taken during one afternoon session, from approximately 1:40 to 2:00 p.m., using a Nikon D7000; ISO 200; Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ED DX lens set at 185mm and f8; 1/250 sec shutter speed.  I was approximately 40 feet (12.2 meters) from the tree trunk.  I felt that being any closer would keep them from their nesting tree.

All photo processing was done using Ubuntu Mate 18.04.  Raw photos were uploaded and processed using Raw Therapee.   The video was made using Photofilmstrip, which I installed from the Ubuntu Software Center.

I wanted to create a slide show of my bluebird photos and found Photofilmstrip, which creates videos from a set of still photos.  It worked perfectly and was easy to use.  I highly recommend it.  The audio that accompanies the slide show are actual eastern bluebird calls and songs.  I downloaded them from the Cornell University Ornithology Lab Web site.

You can check out my front yard neighbors at

To read more about Eastern bluebirds, check out the following Web sites:

Thanks for stopping by and reading.