sumo, ergo bloggum (delta)

July 4, 2018

Anybody Else Collect Retro 51 Pens?

I started collecting Retro 51 (Retro 1951) Tornado pens in June, 2002, and acquired about 15 of them before I got derailed by family stuff in 2005.

Then, I came back to the hobby in 2015 and ever since have been trying to find all the great designs I missed in those 10 years. Here are some Limited Edition pens from my collection:img_9941.jpgThese are the first 48 “Poppers” series pens in the order of the date they were released. The first one at the top, left is the Bocks Green (500)*, released in the Spring of 2008 and the last one at the bottom, right is the Tiki Kona (938), released in 2017. As you can see by the five empty slots, I’m missing a few Poppers.

Actually, one of the missing ones is in the mail to me now. It’s a Boomer (500), and will fill the far right slot (24th position) in the second photo. Once it’s inserted into it’s slot, you will notice that it is slightly longer than the other pens. That’s because it’s a Snapper Tornado (ballpoint only) that utilizes a push-button, rather than twist, mechanism to extend the ink cartridge.

There are also four Big Shot Tornadoes that have been released as Poppers, so far:  the Pigskin (500), Swish (500), Homerun (750), and Swish All-Star (951) (a red, white & blue version of the Swish). Big Shots are the same length as regular Tornadoes but are just a bit fatter.  Though the Vintage Wooden Surf (500) (second row, eighth pen) is a bit fatter than regular Tornadoes, it is not technically a Big Shot.

I have the five latest Poppers, numbers 49-53, in another zippered, leather 48-pen case but no photos of them, yet. So the search continues for the four pens needed to complete my Popper collection: Lightning (930), Daisy (500), Splat (750) (and the only other Popper that is also a Snapper), and 4Ever (365).

Update: 8/15/19

I have since found three of the four Poppers I was missing. Am now missing only the Daisy (500), which would slip into the 9th position on the top photo.

*Number in parentheses indicates number of that design manufactured.

March 7, 2007

Injured Canada Goose

Filed under: Animals,Miscellaneous — Rob @ 3:29 pm

Please drive carefully out there.  I saw an SUV hit a Canada Goose on a country road this morning and it wasn’t pretty.  In fact, it was extremely upsetting.  I saw the possibility of the collison moments before it occurred and, by slowing down myself, was able to cause the SUV driver to also slow down — but not enough to avoid hitting the poor goose (which appeared to be trying to protect other geese).

As the goose tried to get airborne to avoid the collision, it was struck from behind at approximately 5-10 MPH.  It got flipped over and hit the windshield, and then roof of the SUV before ending-up on the road in front of my stopped vehicle.  As I inched forward to see if it was alive and/or could move, the goose flapped it’s wings to pull itself to the side of the road.  As it did this, I could see it dragging its apparently useless feet helplessly behind him.  Talk about a heart-wrenching moment.

I wanted to help the poor animal but had no idea what to do — or whom to call.  The other driver stopped long enough to see the goose pull itself off the road and then continued with her trip.

When I arrived at work about half an hour later I did a quick Internet search and found a local wildlife rehabilitation group. Though they possibly were able to help the injured goose (if it’s feet/legs weren’t actually broken), they didn’t have the staff or resources to go look for it and pick it up.  So they gave me the emergency phone number for the Humane Society which, in my area, is staffed and equipped to pick up injured wildlife.

After calling them and reporting the nature, time and location of the incident, I immediately entered their emergency number into my cell phone. At least now I’m prepared in case I ever again witness a similar incident.

In the future, I’ll pull my car off the road, call the Humane Society and stay with the injured animal until the Humane Society arrives (It occurred to me after leaving the scene that the injured animal was extremely vulnerable to predators.).

The point of this post is three-fold: encourage people to 1) drive more slowly on winding country roads, 2) add the emergency number of their local Humane Society to their cell phone contacts and 3) do whatever they can to save injured wildlife.

An acronym for what you might do is: SCS (Stop – Call – Stay).  I know I wish I could have.

December 14, 2006

Photo Manipulation Software — Help!

Filed under: Photography,Software,Technology,Tools — Rob @ 12:12 am

For about 2-1/2 years now, I’ve been using Canon’s ZoomBrowser EX to download photos from my Canon PowerShot S500 camera to my computer. This would basically happen automatically whenever I’d stick my Compact Flash (CF) card into the multi-card reader. The photos would automatically be grouped in folders that were automatically named with the date on which they were taken. It was all very nice and neat and even I was able to follow what was happening and, more importantly, locate the photos later on.

About a year later, I bought and installed Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (PSE) 2.0. This had no effect on the previously described download process. But, after downloading images, I was now able to open them in PSE and do minor manipulations. One thing that was hard to do, however, was to remove red-eye from photos. Then I heard that PSE 5.0 has an automated red-eye corection feature, so I bought and installed the upgrade.

Well, things haven’t been the same since. Now when I install either a MicroSD card (from my LG VX8300 camera-phone) or a CF card into my multi-card reader, both Canon’s ZoomBrowser EX and PSE 5.0 simultaneously, it appears, prompt me to allow them to automatically load the pictures to my computer. I basically say “yes” to both prompts because I prefer the way the ZoomBrowser EX organizes the photos into new folders and, at the same time, want to be able to edit the photos in PSE 5.0. Only now the photos are not going into new folders. Instead, it appears they’re being appended to the last folder that was created before I downloaded PSE 5.0. Either that, or they go to a new folder I recently created expressly for camera-phone photos.

Now I’ll admit I haven’t RTFM yet. Just no time and I also find some of it hard to comprehend. But it seems to me that I should be able to designate one of these programs as the default program for downloading photos, right? If so, then, in simple language, how is it accomplished? Any advice, suggestions, etc., would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Update (1/23/08): I finally figured this out — sometime ago, actually. The programs use different file naming schemes and that’s what caused the confusion. Turns out I had duplicates of all my photos. So now I just use the Adobe Elements scheme to simplify photo-editing — though I still prefer Canon’s naming scheme for organizing files.

December 13, 2006

LG VX8300 Cell Phone – Update

Filed under: Communications,Photography,Technology — Rob @ 11:43 pm

I’ve been making progress with my phone.  This may not be a big deal to most folks but it’s huge to me.  I got a 512 Mb MicroSD card (~$35 @ Best Buy), formatted it and set-up the camera to record pictures directly to the card (rather than the phone’s memory).

The upshot of this is that I no longer have to pay Verizon for each photo that, previously, I would send from the phone’s memory to my email address.  In the last billing cycle I was charged ~$10 to email 42 photos (mostly hi-res) to myself.  So you can see that once I’ve recorded another ~120 photos, my MicroSD card will essentially have paid for itself.  Thereafter I’m in the clear.  Ain’t that cool? 😉

November 27, 2006

Dell Computer – Defective USB Ports – Update

Filed under: Computers,Technology — Rob @ 6:07 pm

Well, it’s been six months since my USB ports crapped-out on me. I bought an internal hard drive from Best Buy so that I could easily copy the data and applications on the current hard drive before reformatting it.  You don’t want to know the gory details but basically the ribbon cable I was hoping to attach the new drive to was actually connected to the Zip drive and there wasn’t an available ribbon connector for a new hard drive. At least not one that I could locate.So I took a different tack and installed a board with 5 USB ports on it (this took less than one minute) and, presto! I now have 5 new working USB ports  (Yea!!!) in the rear of my computer despite the fact that 6 of the original 8 USB ports are still dead. The really good news is that I can now use my multi-card reader to upload photos from my digital camera to my computer.Still, the 6 dead ports continue to piss me off. So the revised plan is to exchange the unusable internal hard drive for an external hard drive that connects via USB. Then I’ll copy my data and applications to the external unit. Once that’s all good, I’m going to contact Dell again to have them help me reformat my original hard drive and reinstall the OS, etc. That should fix the defunct USB ports. If it doesn’t, then Dell’s going to have to send out a tech.

New Pilot (Namiki) Vanishing Point (Capless) Limited Edition Fountain Pen

Filed under: Pens — Rob @ 5:31 pm

It’s “Ice Blue” in color, comes with an 18k gold medium nib (only) and has just been released for sale. Only 2,000 are available worldwide.

They retail for $200 but I’ve seen them for $150. In 2-3 years they’ll go for $400-$500. Yeah, I know I don’t need one but I really want one. Sort of.

September 19, 2006

Prosser — 1st CD now available

Filed under: Culture,Miscellaneous,Music,Opinions — Rob @ 10:10 pm

If you like guitar and cello music, go to the Prosser link on my blogroll and check-out Eric’s and Dylan’s first official Prosser CD.  It will be released in stores about mid-October but you can buy it now through their website via Clickpop.

And if you live in the Seattle area, you can see them perform at some of the local venues there.

September 12, 2006

Benchmade vs. Emerson Folding Knives

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Tools — Rob @ 5:56 pm

I just got a Benchmade 551SBK Griptilian knife (Mel Pardue design) with a 3-3/8″ black BK1 coated 154CM stainless steel ComboEdge blade with thumb studs, 4-5/8″ black Zytel handle, super smooth and strong “Axis” lock, and black stainless steel reversible pocket clip (right or left hand, tip up carry).  It’s a very impressive piece of work — opens with just a flick of the wrist.

But I have to admit I was (still am, in fact) considering getting an Emerson Commander (or Mini-Commander) with the “Wave” feature.  Aside from design/style, I think the only differences may be blade thickness and length, locking mechanism, handle material and cost.  I really like the deep finger notch on the underside of the handle.

Am wondering if anyone can offer any insight about which knife might hold up better through so-called “hard use” and why the Emerson’s are a bit more expensive. 

August 21, 2006

Some books I’ve read recently, some I’m reading, and some that are, well, just sort of stacked up around the house waiting to get into the queue….

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous,Opinions,Personal Stuff — Rob @ 11:16 pm

Bangkok 8 (John Burdett) – Really, really good. A Buddhist, Thai detective solves the mystery while refusing to screw the FBI.  I couldn’t put this down.  Start it on a Friday night or you’ll be sorry.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling) – The 6th book in the series and I think one of the better ones. Will leave you on tenterhooks waiting for the finale.

Cod (Mark Kurlansky) – A well-written, interesting though somewhat dry (!) history of the fish.  I’m looking forward to Salt.  This one is still a Read-in-Progress (RIP).

The Millionaire Mind (Thomas J. Stanley) – Another RIP. Wish I’d been exposed to this stuff 40 years ago — of course it wasn’t around then, but nevertheless… Very interesting and inspiring stuff.  Worth reading if you’d like to be rich.

I’ll add to this list periodically….  Am still thinking about other ways to organize it.

         8/30/06 –

Right as Rain (George P. Pelecanos) – D.C. noir mystery — just started it but pretty good so far.

         9/12/06 – Well, the story picked-up as it went on. Somewhat formulaic and  predictable but still a good read.  Good enough, anyway, that I’m going to read the next book in the series:

Hell to Pay (George P. Pelecanos) – This one is really good. Got about 4-5 chapters in then got side-tracked by life. I hope to get back to it soon. (RIP)

Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably! (Ben Stein & Phil DeMuth) – Whoa!  This is scary.  But these guys are smart and it looks like very useful info presented in a highly readable fashion.  After reading just the first chapter I’m already thinking about all the people I want to give this book to for Christmas.  Especially young people who are growing up in a world that is, and will be, very different from the one I grew up in and the one we now live in. The defined-benefit pension is all but extinct unless you work for the government. (RIP)

LG VX8300 Cell Phone

Filed under: Opinions,Ramblings,Technology — Rob @ 10:16 pm

Well, my grace period has expired and I’ve mailed-in my rebate offer, so it looks like I’m stuck with my LG VX8300 phone for the next couple of years.  But at least this unit didn’t die after three days.   Reception seems to be fine in the places I make or receive calls — not that I’m a frequent phone user or anything.  I haven’t tried it in the Metro tunnels yet, or at work (two floors underground).  And I haven’t used the micro drive either — and probably never will.

The major thing that stands in the way of my (and perhaps many others in my demographic) using all the features is the inability to make the alpha-numeric readout twice as large as it is.  I have to wear glasses for anything close and it’s just a pain in the ass to constantly be putting them on and then taking them off whenever my cell phone is involved.

 I don’t do text-messaging but actual voice calls sound fine on both ends — no volume complaints from me or the other parties, so far.  I got a headset for using it in the car but haven’t tried it yet.  However, I did wrap the headset cable around a little ferrite bead plastic doo-hickey that’s supposed to absorb radio frequencies (though not EMFs) emitted from the cell phone.  It’s sold on Dr. Mercola’s website for about $15 (  However, using your phone in speaker-phone mode is even better as it keeps the EMFs out of reach of your brain.

One thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to send a picture from my phone to my email address.  If anyone can tell me how to do this I’d really appreciate it.  (See Comments)

I can send pix from my phone to a friend’s phone okay — just can’t get them to a platform where I can upload’em to Flickr.  Yeah, I found out too late that ShoZu doesn’t support LG phones yet.  I should have checked before I bought.  I almost traded for a Motorola Razr in the last couple of days of my grace period but got lazy.  Now I wish I had because ShoZu supports the Razr and a few other Motorola models.  It also supports a slew of Sony-Ericsson phones but Verizon wasn’t offering any models of that brand when I made my purchase.  It seems I learn a little bit each two-year cycle but never quite enough or soon enough to actually make a significant techological leap forward.

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