News,The Ampad Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad, and the Papermate Precision…


And, we’re back! At least for a while… As you guys know, I took a bit of a sabbatical, and also let the domain die. This was partially due to some disinterest on my part, but also because I didn’t want to pay the $20 per year domain name and mapping fee from WordPress. So, I purchased the domain of from my own  webhost and plan on using it instead. So, as I said, we’re back!

Up for review today is the Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad from Ampad. This 5 x 8 pad is spiral bound at the top and contains 80 pages of perforated, 20 lb., medium ruled, ivory vintage paper. The design harkens back to the steno pads from several decades ago, and to be honest, it’s actually very aesthetically pleasing. The brown vinyl-coated cover is much sturdier than that of regular notebooks, and feels like it would hold up to much more stress.

As for the quality of the paper, it’s decent. The 20 lb. is not quite heavy enough for my liking, since all of my fountain pens either bled through or feathered. It also didn’t handle the rollerball I had with me very well. However, it’s excellent for gel pens, ballpoints, and pencils. The gel pens were especially smooth on this paper, seeming to roll ink onto the paper of their own volition with no scratchiness at all.

Next up, we have the Papermate Precision 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil. This pencil is interesting in that it’s “Precision engineered to enhance writing quality”, and I must admit that it somewhat lives up to its claim.

This pencil features a grey and white color scheme with a comfortable rubber grip. The 4mm metal sleeve gives you extra room in order to draw templates or trace around the edges of a stencil easily. The round body flattens out toward the plunger end, and I must admit, it’s also very pleasing to the eye. Easy on the hands, easy on the eyes… What’s not to like?


Papermate Berol Mirado Triangular Grade 2 Pencil


Papermate Berol Mirado Triangular Grade 2 Pencil

As I was going through my local Big Lots the other day (a great place to find oddball and out-of-the-way pens and such, btw), I noticed some more “Mirado” pencils… Not only that, but they were Berol Mirado pencils. And not only that, they were triangular in shape. Add to those facts that the packaging was in Spanish and they were only $1.00, and you have what sounds like a winner to me. So, I grabbed a pack, and promptly forgot about them…

So, this morning, I was cleaning out my work desk drawer, and imagine my surprise when I found these again. So, I pulled them out, opened them up, and began to test one out.

The triangular barrel is not really a foreign concept to me, and to be totally honest, I don’t really like most of them. For some reason, they seem to conflict with left-handed writing style. These were no exception to the rule and I had a bit of writer’s cramp by the time I finished the review.

These pencils sharpened pretty well, a little grainy feeling, but the triangular shape did disagree with my pencil sharpener a bit until it had honed the wood down to its circular normalcy. I’m not sure what type of wood these are made out of, but it does seem to be sub-par. Both slats are slightly different colors and it seems to sharpen against the grain.

So, how does it write? Meh… Yup, you read that right… “Meh…” This pencil is not really fabulous in any respect. I could easily compare it to any dollar store pencil I’ve ever grabbed. Add to that the fact that eraser is small compared to your normal average pencil, and yeah… You get “Meh…”. If I remember correctly, Berol used to be a well-respected name in the pencil world, but this failed to wow me in any respect. Maybe due to the fact that it was quickly manufactured in bulk in Mexico…

Random: Papermate gel 0.7mm Retractable Gel Pens, Bright Colors


A while back, I reviewed the Papermate gel 0.7mm Retractable Gel Pens, so I was surprised when I went to OfficeMax the other day and saw that there were some colors I had missed. While my review before had covered the black, blue, red, and violet versions, Papermate also offers these excellent pens in the brighter colors of green, orange, light blue, and pink! So, while this is not a review of these fine instruments, I thought I would at least mention that they are out there and include a picture!

Papermate gel 0.7mm Gel Pen


Pen #30.
Papermate gel 0.7mm Gel Pen

Well, I’ve gotta say that these are some of the most awesome gel pens that I’ve found on my local store shelves in a while. Grabbed these at Office Max the other day thinking, “Well, they can’t be any worse than the Tul I got a while back…”, and needless to say, they were ten times better than the Tul. Featuring a transparent plastic barrel (visible ink supply) and grip which match the ink color of the pen, these fine instruments truly are the embodiment of the gel pen. These gels lay down a nice thick 0.7mm line of ink in their respective colors (both the red and violet were brighter than the blue and black), and were extremely smooth, with absolutely no scratching. I do believe that these pens are some of my new favorites (and rank up there with the Zebra Sarasa line)!

5 out of 5 stars!

By the way, please feel free to comment regarding your opinion on the new post format!

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