Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Montblanc Meisterstuck Le Grand 146 Platinum - OB nib

Comparison with MB F.Scott Fitzgerald

 Comparison with Caran D'Ache Leman

I consider the Le Grand 146 Meisterstuck to be one of the best workhorse fountain pen available in the market. The size is just nice, not too big neither too small, understated but has its own class, great writing quality with a proven track record, good serviceability and readily available parts. It is no wonder that this pen stood the test of time and has proven itself many times to be many favourite writing piece in any collection.

I have been using the 146 more than any other pen (followed by the 149). The OB nib which I've tested in the boutique was something that I fell in love almost immediately and I knew that I had to have this as one of my everyday writing pen.

Comparison with 149
A pen as well reputed as this needs no more introduction. The impression of the Meisterstuck has been an icon within the brand, and as far as fountain pen is concern, this is one of the flagship and iconic product within the ranks of Montblanc. After the 149, this has been one of the most recognizable model thanks to the ballpoint and rollerball variant which captures the wider market of fine writing instrument users.

Comparison with 149
I love torpedo or cigar shape like pen as this 146. On top of that I have always prefer platinum over yellow gold in combination with black resin. Some may find it rather clinical but the lesser spectrum of colours just emphasize more on its natural shape and form, very much like how some photographs are better displayed in black and white. I for one can't seem to get bored of the design if this pen.

Lightweight and easy to use, this can be used for long writing marathon sessions and ideas just keep flowing onto the pages. Having the cap posted or not makes no difference to me as both the components are light and it is just a matter of length preference in this case. I prefer not to post it, as I find the length adequate for my hands.

Being a resin pen, it is relatively more vulnerable and subject to hairline fracture and cracks if one is not careful. Also, as many have experienced, the cap can never close entirely without really tightening the cap when screwed on (creates a slight movement between the main barrel and the cap, almost like a gap). I'd always be careful as not to tighten it too much and just leave it as it is. This does not happen with the older 146s that I have.

The OB nib which I am using is wet and incredibly smooth and despite being an oblique nib, the sweet spot angle is wide and I have no problems adjusting to the angle, it was almost instantaneous. This is my first oblique nib, and it has now inspired me to look for the next oblique nib in my future purchase of pens. The nib writes almost on any kind of surface, from Moleskine to the smoother Clairfontaine, with different but satisfying result. My favourite ink to go with it is MB Racing Green.

Nib comparison with 149
Piston filled system, easy, trusty and quick to refill and clean. There's really nothing more to add here as it has perform tremendously well in my regular refill and change of inks in the past few months.

VALUE 6/10
I got it at a boutique as I choose this pen to be my regular pen and would prepare myself for regular service, thinking that I would need the warranty to back me up. Also there aren't many platinum plated 146 out there in the second hand market, and certainly not the specific nib I was looking for.

OVERALL 7.4/10
The numerical value stated here is simple and objective number of evaluation that can't really describe the satisfaction level from the use of this pen. This is probably one of my most used in the rotation of pen and would probably fill up the majority of my entries in my journal.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Lobster at Dubai Mall

Had a seafood dinner at Red Lobster in Dubai Mall this evening. The food was good and it reminded me of Fish and Co. back home in Malaysia. The lobster taste was great while the crab is somewhat dry. Made us kinda miss dishes back home like Chili Crab or Fatty Crab. Overall, a not too bad a deal dinner and quick service too!


New Montblanc Inks 2011

Just bought some new ink - Ink of Joy - Saffron,  Ink of Friendship - Turquoise  and Ink of Love -Red.
Can't wait to try some of these ink, rather refreshing compared to the everyday Black or Blue.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Play time with Reef

Our cat Reef loves simple things, like a box for example. We can keep her busy for hours with this....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ayam Masak Merah & Nasi Tomato

One of my wife's best recipe, Nasi Tomato with Ayam Masak Merah (Tomato rice with Chicken in Red Sauce). Here I'd just like to post up some pictures on the experience we have in the kitchen preparing this fantastic dish...



Onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon along with some spices are stirred fried with vegetable oil and butter.....

in the same time, rice is washed and mixed with enough water and a mix of tomato purée, ketchup, coconut milk, sugar and salt in the rice pot....

The fried onions and spice mix is then mixed into the rice and let to boil... add enough water...

and the rice is done!

Chicken in Red Sauce

Garlic, onion and ginger in the food processor...

... until really fine....

chicken is then cut into sizeable pieces....

marinate for a short while in chilli and turmeric powder and salt....

Deep fry the chicken until almost 80% cooked... remove oil....

... heat up the blended mix of union, garlic and ginger along with some red chilli paste and tomato, puree, sugar, salt and honey....

Chicken is then added into the sauce and let it sit on slow fire for about 15 mins....

And the whole meal just come together nicely here... :) bon appetit

Friday, August 12, 2011

Montblanc Writers Edition 2009 - Thomas Mann Review

The WE Thomas Mann is the latest addition to my writer’s edition collection. It was a late birthday gift from my wife. She was aware of the collection that I have and for some reason, this was particularly hard to find. However, she managed to secure it and kept it as a surprise for me. With so many great pictures taken and published here in the forums by our fellow members, my expectation was high and it did not disappoint. I have a feeling it will probably be my newest WE for a longer time as I’m not too keen with the latest offering of the WE line for this year, but that’s a story for another day. Today, I’ll like to share my joy and satisfaction of this writing instrument, one that instantly became my favorite in my collection.

Sealed in a standard Writer’s Edition box, WE Thomas Mann has one of the more attractive cover design on its packaging. Inside it, the lacquer finish gives a beautiful shine, with its silver inlays giving just the right amount of touch of aesthetic to it.

One of the more understated pen in the WE line, I’ll rank this along with Dostoevsky, Voltaire, or maybe Kafka. The platinum inlays reminds of the architectural and design elements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect who lived in the contemporary era of Thomas Mann. I can relate to the aesthetic which the design derives on, based on Modernism movement during that time, that focus on simple lines and economical elements, emphasizing on the beauty of its natural mass/form rather than using ornamental or patterns. I’d imagine it would fit in perfectly in a photo shoot in one of Mackintosh’s interior designs. If the design intent is to evoke the art movement during that era, it has accomplished it extremely well. I’d like to see more design like this with a concept and meaning, rather than just casual aesthetic. It just gives more depth to the product. The clip is platinum plated with and onyx colored zircon stone, adds a bit of interest to the whole composition.

I deemed any lacquer finish pen as more superior to PMMA or ‘precious’ resin, given the better depth of color tone, durability and the solid feel when holding it. The platinum inlay adds more interest to the finish and actually gives more depth to the surface. The lines on the cap and barrel lines perfectly when capped, another proof of a well engineered instrument. However, I suspect not all parts are made of lacquer. The piston knob feels ‘light’ compared to the rest barrel, and has the amber glow under a reading light suggesting that it may be made of resin. I have no complains at all on the choice of material here but compared to the WE Shaw or Twain, the knob doesn’t have that smooth turning feel. In fact, it has a rather coarse almost like grinding feel to it when I turn it. I think Shaw has a better constructed turning knob design (made of lacquer with platinum plate caps) compared to this.

The heavier than resin feel gives me more confidence of its durability and commands more respect as a limited edition pen. Its not too heavy for lengthy writing and I personally enjoy the extra weight that helps me relaxes my grip. Like most pen, I don’t post the cap when writing, and I find the length more than sufficient to write well, furthermore, I don’t think any extra weight will help with the balance.

This writes almost like my WE Twain, glass smooth, minimal feedback and the typical MB bolder than usual medium stoke lines. I enjoy medium nib as it is suitable for most purpose with its almost ball nib that lays a consistent quality of line, and writes well on almost all sort of surface of paper. Those who like to have some tooth may not enjoy this as it is meant to be a smooth writer. The nib design has the Buddenbrooks House façade engraved on it as a tribute to the writer, and can go into the ranks of other impressive nibs such as Verne and Shaw.

Another trusty piston fill pen, works tremendously well and the only complain I have as mentioned above is the lack of smoothness I’d expected as with my other WE. The lacquer finish is smooth and can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Cleaning the nib block seems easy and straightforward.

VALUE 7/10
My wife bought this at retail price earlier this year, before the price hike. She was lucky to acquire one of the few remaining stock. Looking at the current trend on eBay, a roller ball pen is already reaching the price of the this FP’s retail price tag back then. Given the increasing scarcity of this this item on the market, I reckon having it at yesterday’s retail price is still a good buy.

OVERALL 8.33/10
I think the highlight of this pen is in the design. All functional aspects such as mechanism and nib performance are already excellent, which are its basic expectations anyway. We have seen many other limited edition released by Montblanc to give that extra special factor in a writing instrument. What they did with Thomas Mann, and what I really liked about it, is the very fundamental idea of a simple execution that has all the sophistication of respectable well-thought of piece of writing instrument. The design, choice of material and execution is simple yet elegant, did not try too hard to impress, yet just enough to make one stop and appreciate the added value being put into it. One would not hesitate to pick it up and use it immediately and there are no worries or being extra careful on an otherwise over-ornamented/treated design of a pen that may distract thoughts and ideas to be put on paper. Will it become my long term favorite companion, only time will tell. Right now, I’m already anxious to finish off this review and get back into my journals.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A boat ride around Musandam, Oman

(2008) One of the few beautiful places in the Gulf, Musandam, Oman. We stayed at a hotel in Ras Al-Khaimah and took a day trip across the border up north to Oman for a boat trip, lunch on the boat, snorkeling, riding the waves with dolphins and great fun around the northern tip. The temperature was relatively lower even during summer, and the view is breathtaking. Here are some pictures of our little trip.

in the summer, tuna fish would come to the shallow waters for feeding, which in turn attracts schools of dolphins...

... marine life....

our sister boat

A rock that has the shape of a head of a fish.