Friday, August 12, 2011

Tiny Victories.

Ever have a pen you really like using,  and then when the ink runs out,  you can never find a refill?   I’m sure there are other examples where you go to find or replace a product that you really like,  only to hear that it was a “limited run”  or some such thing?   Usually it’s when the manufacturer discovers that their product is actually a little too well made,  and they decide it would be more profitable to simply discontinue it,  rather than have something on the market that has any kind of reliability or quality.
That’s not where I’m going here,  but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

I normally don’t really hang around stationary stores.  I guess we don’t have anything close to our home in Canada,  so I’ve never felt the need.  Plus,  the tendency is to have a bunch of “throw away” pens on hand,  and then just pitch the thing when it runs out.  

We do have a shop close by out on Mariahilfer Strasse,  and I have had some success in the past finding Christmas cards or whatever,  both in English and German.  They also have a pretty vast supply of writing instruments.  I seem to think I went in there once before with this one particular pen that I wanted to get a refill for,  and the lady couldn’t find anything.  She had nothing else to offer,  which wasn’t the case this morning when I decided to go back in for another go.   Quite often in the summertime,  the full time staff are off on vacation,  and you’ll quite likely end up with a student.  This can be a mixed blessing in the knowledge department sometimes,  but any lack of knowledge is compensated for when it comes to their enthusiasm, or at least willingness to help.
Well,  it turns out that no,  they didn’t have the proper refill, (and I wasn’t really all that optimistic)  but then the young lad gave me the name of another place a few blocks away on Neubaugasse,  and suggested I give them a try.  See,  I’m sure the lady who tried to “help” me the last time could have done that too?   But then again,  maybe she didn’t know,  but I somehow doubt that.  When I was in the restaurant business all those years ago,  I knew where all my competitors were.  I’m just saying.
It was more or less just slightly past where I was headed anyway,  so that wasn’t a big deal.  I was also kind of glad I had stopped in on the way there,  instead of on the way back.  That would have sucked.
Funny thing too,  once again I ended up with a young lad who was no doubt a student,  working at his summer job.  Not only did he know his pens,  but he eventually found something.

We have two of these,  and they’re by no means expensive pens,  but they’re comfortable to use.  See that white bit there where you would normally grasp the pen?  Well,  the word is,  and I have no way of verifying this,  that the material used there is the same silicone that is used for breast implants.   Do they still even use silicone for breast implants?   I haven’t really been keeping up with the latest news on the breast implant front,  so I wouldn’t really know. 
So you can well imagine how I have no way of verifying this assertion.  Even if I did know someone with this particular equipment,  how exactly does a person go about doing the comparison? 
I think we’ll just leave that alone,  and let’s not even begin to try and explain the relationship between the material, and just how comfortable these pens are to use.   We could do a whole psychology paper on that one. 


I spent most of yesterday afternoon wading through the websites of every possible car rental place within a 5 kilometre radius of Toronto International Airport.
Most of the companies that have the “cheaper” rates,  will nickel and dime the crap out of you with all the little extras that they throw in when you finally get to the counter.  It’s also not that easy to find this information,  and I typically had to get two or three pages into the reservation process before being able to get to their policies.
Then you have the obscure directions some of them give you in order to simply get to their desk,  or out to the car.
Here’s a good one for you:


  • Terminal 1: Train platform is located on Level 5 of the Terminal 1 Parking Garage. To get to the train platform from the terminal, take the West Pedestrian Bridge to the parking garage. From there take the link train to Viscount station. 

  • Terminal 3 :Train platform is located on Level 3 of the Terminal. To access the train platform from the terminal, go to Level 3 of Terminal 3 and follow the signs up the escalator/elevator to Link train. Take the link train to Viscount station.

    Are you kidding me?
    This particular company even went to the trouble of including a series of photographs to help the hapless fool who dared to rent from them.
    Who would want to put themselves through that?
    I’m afraid I’m just not clever enough to try and solve that kind of a mystery after an eight hour flight.  On top of which is the inevitable line up at Canada Customs followed by their stupid assed questions.  What’s so hard to grasp about the idea of having a house in Canada,  yet living in another country?    I don’t know how many times we’ve had to explain that. 

  • So hopefully everyone has a happy Friday,  and a fine weekend.  It’s a long weekend here, and Travelling Companion is already looking forward to doing absolutely nothing on Monday.



    1. I believe the current "front" involves bags of saline. Would you say the grip of your pen feels like a bag of saline? You could also create a dummy pretty easily with some table salt and a Baggie, but I hear it's not the same experience.

    2. Meh, I don't think I'll be making any water balloons any time soon.
      But you're right, they gave up on that silicone thing a while back. I guess I forgot.
      In hindsight I do realise I unintenionally made a bit of a pun with that "front" thing. *snort*

    3. from buying pen refills to breast implants to car rentals!..quite the segway!..but made for an interesting for the car rental what ever happened to just going to the counter at the airport?..don't they do that in Toronto???

    4. not commenting on the silicone with a ten ft pole for the car rental we were in toronto in June and rented from budget right there in the problem....:)
      ps: I am glad you did find a refill for your pen!! I'm with you on that one..sometimes you just love a pen and sometimes you don't but if you do you can usually never find a refill for it...


    Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
    I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.