Don’t Let the Ink Go Dry..

Cross-post from my LinkedIn profile.

I’ve written before about my fountain pen obsession. Although I use fountain pens every day, I haven’t done anything to clean and maintain them.

This weekend I decided to do the research to figure out how to give my pens a proper cleaning. In doing so, I learned the one of the biggest challenges in keeping fountain pens in perfect condition is when the ink dries. If unused for a long enough period of time, the ink stops flowing, turns solid, and you have to go to great pains to restore the pen to working order.

There’s an easy solution to this, however: don’t let the ink go dry!

It’s a simple idea with far-ranging applications:

  • It’s hard to get back into shape when you’ve been lazy for so long.
  • It’s hard to get back into the habit of writing every day when you’ve allowed yourself to prioritize other things.
  • It’s hard to revive a meetup group that has gone dormant.

For all of these things, the easiest solution is to not let the ink go dry. To keep doing the things that are important to you.

Saying Goodbye to a Great Cat.

Today’s a sad day. Robert Carmichael Burke has shed his mortal coil. A 15 year-old cat that was treated as a dog for his entire life, Bob was a  great cat.

I was the world’s most reluctant cat owner. Being in college and living off campus, I couldn’t have a dog but always had a pet growing up. I figured that if I treated a cat like a dog, it would act like one. And despite that being ridiculous, it kind of worked.
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220622403_ef8bf2538f_o 220622447_2bf023805c_oBob was part Maine Coon Cat, and it showed. He was big. Very big. And like the dog I tried to make him into, he’d greet me when I walked in the door and would  jump up on my lap so I could pet him.

Unlike any other cat I’ve met, his purr was incredibly loud; you could hear him purring from two rooms away. It’s pretty difficult to be in a bad mood when a 20+ pound cat runs at you, jumps up next to you, and sings like he’s got a microphone in his throat. The guy let you know he appreciated you being there.

When Randi was pregnant with Maggie, my grandmother’s Yorkie died. She was pretty heartbroken about it. Living alone, it was nice having a companion around.

We called my grandmother and asked if she’d like Bob to live with her. Before I could give my explanation of why we thought it was a good idea, she excitedly said “Yes!”

The next morning we got up at 4am, and with Bob in a carrier we drove the 4 hours to drop him off. We stayed for less than an hour and headed back. He was a great cat for my grandmother, and I can’t count the number of times she said “I just can’t get over Bob. He has such a great personality and he always wants attention!”

15 years is a long time to have a pet, especially when you’re in college and constantly bouncing from apartment to apartment. But nothing ever seemed to bother him. He was always the cat that didn’t act like a cat, and every single friend I have has a story about Bob.

That’s the funny thing about our animals: It hurts so bad when they leave us, but until they do we take for granted the impact they have on our lives. Thanks for being you, Bob. You’ll be missed by everyone.


Words to Remember: Kevin Smith on Taking Risks

The first in a series of posts highlighting meaningful advice from people I respect.

In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least trying to accomplish all of your wildest dreams in life.

Kevin Smith takes risks. To make his first film Clerks, sold a large portion of his extensive comic book collection, maxed out eight to ten credit cards with $2,000 limits, dipped into a portion of funds set aside for his college education and spent insurance money awarded for a car he and a friend lost in a flood. (source: Wikipedia)

There was absolutely no guarantee that the movie would do well enough to cover the bet he made, but he took a shot at what he wanted to do.

The quote above is a simple, yet powerful one. Knowing that the clock is ticking, why not spend the time we have trying to reach our craziest of goals? In many cases I think it’s because we are afraid to fail – and we’re afraid what others will think of us if we do fail.

But I like Smith’s conclusion that there’s no excuse:

If you’re not working on what you love and trying to accomplish your dreams, there’s no one else to blame.

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