I'd set a bit of funding aside and last weekend, ordered a few nifty items. They arrived yesterday (free shipping, at my door in three business days, from California), well packed, and all at least as nice as promised. Jet Pens is good!
Kaweco (warning: music) "Classic Sport," a full-size (when posted) fountain pen that, thanks to clever design, is about half-size when capped. Designed as a pocket pen, even the clip is an (inexpensive) accessory. It feels good in my hand and the nib is very smooth. It is a classic-looking pen, even with the unusual oversize cap (not only does that make the short length work, it offers a little more protection than the usual size). Ink for it at right. Despite the name sounding a bit Japanese to American ears (due to syllabic structure, I think), it's made in Germany. Love those graphics! At $15.00, this is an inexpensive pen, excellent value for the money.
Next, the brown pen is a Noodler's aerometric fill, handmade made of genuine ebonite. I said the Kaweco had a smooth nib? This is a step or two more smooth. A very plain-looking pen at first sight, but don't be fooled! Those timeless, 1920-or-this-year looks are no illusion: this pen is as good as any golden age Parker Duofold or Conklin at a third the price (or less).
To the right, three tiny Pilot "Petit1" pens in jewel-bright colors. The ink is well-behaved, doesn't run at color crossings and the nibs are outstanding, especially for a $4.50 pen. They're so small that you just about have to post the cap in order to write with them. I'll be saving up for the full set of 12. One drawback, the ink cartridge appears to be proprietary; they're available at the source, though, and inexpensive.
Back on the left, another Pilot, a "Plumix" with a music nib. I had thought it might be good for handwriting, as they can be run backwards, unlike most "Italic" calligraphy nibs. Yes and no -- my sloppy Spencerian cursive doesn't work well with the nib angle, but it is very good for printing and genuine Italic writing. (I'm trying to remember the style of printing, rapid and fairly legible, I adopted some years ago, can't bring it to mind. Aargh!) (29 October: Got it! Chancery cursive, which is not all that cursive as we know the term. For very pretty examples, look here.
Finally, underneath it all, a Maruman Mnemosyne "Inspiration" note pad, grid-ruled and about 8.5" by 6". I'm evaluating it to possibly replace my current Moleskines field-type notebook (same size, staple bound) once it is filled with notes. (At a page per day, they last three or four months.) The paper is wonderful! It takes ink well, with no bleed-through or running and feels smooth and neutral. I'm not sure how well the ring-binding will hold up in my purse -- I may need to keep a pencil in there to protect the rings from being crushed. (Gotta like the neckless-people cartoons showing the note pad in use, too).