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I'm hoping that some of you inventive folks can help me.  My favorite brand of gel pen (Uni-Ball 207) works very well when new, but tends to dry out rather quickly (at least as compared to a regular ball-point pen).  That's not too bad with the black-ink ones, which I use frequently, but the red ones tend to dry out while still relatively full of ink.

They're sold with the opening blocked by a tiny plastic ball, so they don't start drying out till you pop the ball out.  What I'm thinking is, I could jab the point into a wad of some malleable substance between uses.  It would need to be something that wouldn't dry out, though, so (for example) Play-Doh wouldn't be appropriate.

Any suggestions?

 

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Try to scrabble on something made of plastic, the heat and friction it creates would make the ink flows back. It works with me.

The thing that I notice with pens, DO NOT drop them. It turns them, either makes it dysfunctional, or it wouldn't be as nice to write with. Common sense actually, I wouldn't feel like working if I accidentally drop myself to the ground.

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8 hours ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

Try to scrabble on something made of plastic, the heat and friction it creates would make the ink flows back. It works with me.

That sounds very sensible, I'll have to try it myself next time!

The only thing I can add is that when I worked in an art supply store, my boss told me pens should always be stored with the point up, and they wouldn't clog. I do, and seldom have trouble. But that could be coincidence, I don't recall having much trouble before then, either. :smile:  But I pulled out my gold ink Uni-ball a while back, which hadn't been used for months, and it worked fine. So maybe there's something to it.

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On 1/29/2020 at 11:30 PM, Van Buren Supernova said:

Try to scrabble on something made of plastic, the heat and friction it creates would make the ink flows back.

Interesting suggestion, and one that I never would have thought of (I always use scrap paper, which works only occasionally).  What sort of plastic do you use -- hard and stiff, flexible, or plastic-bag type? smooth or rough surface?  Can you give some examples of things you've used successfully?

On 1/30/2020 at 8:31 AM, Arcadia said:

... pens should always be stored with the point up, and they wouldn't clog. I do, and seldom have trouble. But that could be coincidence, I don't recall having much trouble before then, either. :smile:  But I pulled out my gold ink Uni-ball a while back, which hadn't been used for months, and it worked fine.

As you presumably noticed, the pens I'm concerned with are Uni-balls, so this should apply.  I've always stored my pens with the point facing down, due to the belief that this will keep the ink in contact with the ball, ready to be used.

Sheesh -- am I doing anything right?   :huh:

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8 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I've always stored my pens with the point facing down, due to the belief that this will keep the ink in contact with the ball, ready to be used.

Same here. You'd think they'd sell these things with instructions. :smile:

I'm curious to know if you see any difference. Like I said, it's just something I was told, and it didn't hurt to try it … but who knows if it really makes a difference?  I do know (from experience) that pens stored point down can sometimes leak, so that's a good enough reason to store them point up anyway.

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Somebody once told me if they're drying out it helps to write on your shoesole, which works weirdly enough.

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13 minutes ago, Fantasy Lover said:

it helps to write on your shoesole

Hmm, sounds a bit like VBS's plastic suggestion.

I'm guessing the main problem may be that I'm treating my gel pens the same as I've always done with regular ballpoints.  (By the way, I once read that a sluggish ballpoint can be revived by boiling it -- think I tried that once with no noticeable results, but who knows, it might work sometimes.  I wouldn't try that with a gel pen, though.)

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On 3/16/2015 at 11:01 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

The red-winged blackbirds* are back!  We've been hearing them at a distance since four days ago, but those were probably just migrating through on their way to Canada.  The local crew is back as of today, staking out their territories in our meadow.  Ahhh, spring!

* In addition to a photo, that page also has an audio clip of their song.

We heard our first blackbirds (over by the neighbor's pond) this evening -- even earlier (by a couple of days) than in 2015.   :bouncy:

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I'm possibly just impatient...

Winter seems to be lasting forever, here!

Well my snowdrops are well and truly up and about and I can see my crocus shoots...

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Not even a hint of spring around here yet, way too early for that.  Will be another month at least.  Maybe two, but it's been on the milder side as winters go, so hopefully it will be shorter as well.

 

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We didn't have winter at all. Yet.
Snowdrops are out and it's quite green outside, ca. 3 weeks too soon. Bute've had a late, snowy winter that lasted till the end of March not so long ago - so it's not really over right now.

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Right.  I believe our only significant snowfall so far was back in autumn, much earlier than usual.  So I, too, am halfway expecting the other shoe to drop.

And thanks for reminding me that I'd like to plant some snowdrop bulbs in the lawn (plus crocuses, etc.), though of course I'll have to wait till autumn to do that.

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The last few years we’ve had snow dumped on us starting in October and up through the very end of April, even in May and September a few times.  We’ve matched or broken some precipitation records.  I’m hoping that won’t happen again this year.  We’ve had an average amount of snowfall so far (though it did start a bit early again in October); just had another snowstorm over the weekend.  But temps have been a little warmer than usual since Christmas, so that’s been nice.  January and February can be tough.  Last year around February 1st is when we were experiencing the “apocalyptic” Polar Vortex, lol.  This winter has felt especially kind by comparison.

 

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At dusk ths evening there was a flock of robins on our lawn.  I've heard that in mild winters they may not migrate, so they could have been here all winter -- but still....

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Yeah, we have robins all the year round here.

I know they are not nice to each other....

but they seem very human friendly and I love them.

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On 2/11/2020 at 6:09 PM, Artemis said:

But temps have been a little warmer than usual since Christmas, so that’s been nice.

^ I jinxed it.  We had a temperature drop today; 15 below 0 (F), with a wind chill as low as -30.  🥶

 

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Rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. 😞 

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8 hours ago, besleybean said:

we have robins all the year round here.

Sorry, I should have specified American robins -- they're cousins to your blackbirds, only with a fancy paint job.  But I'm guessing that your blackbirds may stay year round as well, since your winters are generally milder than ours.

5 hours ago, Artemis said:

We had a temperature drop today; 15 below 0 (F), with a wind chill as low as -30.

I woke up to snow this morning (and what will the robin do then, poor thing?), but it's only in the thirties (*above* zero, that is!) so far -- a bit colder weather coming tomorrow, but it doesn't look like we'll be giving you a run for your money any time soon.

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We had two storms in the past two weeks and there is a third on the way, hurray

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We've been hearing sandhill cranes flying north for the past few days.  :smile:

Tonight, though, we've been hearing coyotes yipping nearby, off and on.  I'm glad our cats stay indoors, but a bit concerned about the outdoor critters in the neighborhood.

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Coyote noises are just about a nightly occurrence around my place.  Can’t leave my dogs alone outside, have to watch them every second.  It’s cold, lol.

 

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Around here, it's foxes I worry about. And hawks. And eagles. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. (Actually, bears have been seen around here...)

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

Around here, it's foxes I worry about. And hawks. And eagles. [....]  (Actually, bears have been seen around here...)

We have all of those except bears (which have been gone from Indiana for well over a hundred years).  We also have large owls (and I assume you do too).

And there are a few bobcats in the state, plus the occasional stray mountain lion (puma) -- but they're too rare to worry about.

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I don’t worry too much about the foxes, because they are rarely known to attack dogs (around here, at least).  I haven’t heard of them attacking cats either, but maybe they do.  I think it’s more likely a cat would start the fight, lol.  We’ve also got bears, wolves, bobcats, and mountain lions, but they are fairly rare, especially the lions.  They tend to stay a little further north.  I’m far more concerned about the coyotes and predatory birds (hawks, owls, eagles, etc.).

 

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14 hours ago, Artemis said:

I don’t worry too much about the foxes, because they are rarely known to attack dogs (around here, at least).  I haven’t heard of them attacking cats either, but maybe they do.  I think it’s more likely a cat would start the fight, lol.

Probably!  Though I'd worry about leaving young kittens outside -- there's all kind of things that might consider them a tasty snack.

14 hours ago, Artemis said:

 I’m far more concerned about the coyotes and predatory birds (hawks, owls, eagles, etc.).

Right.  And stray dogs, especially if they get to running in packs.

If we didn't have those concerns, I might consider having a flock of ducks, but as things stand, no.  I love seeing the hawks and such around, but I'm not about to raise food for them.

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