Float About #77... Dedicated to Eskesen Float Pen Collectors © Copyright Sept 22, 2014

Follow-Up to Issue #76
A few days after issue #76 posted.... Alicia D, in MD shared this pen lead. “I was searching for spaghetti lunghi. You know the twenty inch long noodles from the famous scene in Lady and the Tramp?” Yes, most of us remember those noodles lead to a tender kiss. Alicia found lunghi noodles online and discovered the site also offers float pens!

The set of five Italian made floaty pens are available. The pens feature these Italian cities: Sicily, Milan, Venezia, Roma and Bari. I know there are a handful of collectors that will venture beyond Eskies. Order directly from the site: http://store.claros.com/browse.cfm/4,36.html. Call toll free... 800-507-0450. Thanks for the heads up Alicia! I wonder if Alicia managed to create her own romantic dinner?

In March, Pittsburgh collector, Marisa Barna.... visited the Heinz History Center. She found the Heinz Grown Not Made pen for $3.99. Reach out to Marisa to arrange a trade. morningstar400@hotmail.com. Pens are currently in stock at the Museum too. Contact info: Beth Muth, Museum Shop & Visitor Services Manager at 412/454-6374 or email bmmuth@heinzhistorycenter.org.

In issue 76, Craig Wilson.... expressed his frustration with Apple because they abandoned their Bento app for iPads leaving him high and dry. Beverly Broadstone uncovered a possible option. “ Has anyone mentioned a software package called LignUP? It is designed to organize and catalog collectibles. Iím thinking about purchasing it since my old database, from the ancient pre-Excel days, is not compatible with my new Apple.”

July 28th Beverly added... “I downloaded the LignUp MultiCollector software from iTunes. The one good thing about it is that I can add photos and tag it, so that when I do a search, all that is related to, say ‘penguins’ will be displayed.”

Sept 2nd I asked Beverly how it was going? Beverly responded, “I did get a little further with LignUp. Figured out where to add text fields, but not much more than that. I created a template with all the fields that I felt necessary to describe each pen, including a photo, but then I hit the wrong button and lost all the work! Once I get familiar with it, it should be more advantageous than listing each pen acquisition on a spreadsheet. It's a huge project for me which Iím not sure Iíll ever complete!”

I've since explored the company website. LignUp offers several versions of this program, beginning with their free package and more advanced options ranging from $20-$149. If you are currently using any version of this program, your fellow collectors would appreciate a review. For those unfamiliar, you can try it out here: http://lignup.com/collecting-organizing-manager-software.html

Pens Out and About...
Victoria B has a long... list of links and pen sources to share. However, first she provided an update to the Star Wars pen mentioned in issue #76. “Thinkgeek seems to have sold out of the Star Wars Endor Speeder Bike by Eskesen. They do have a new Star Trek pen for $12.99, but it is not an Eskesen. Three Dr. Who pens are available in the same style, now $9.99 each! ” Choose from Tardis, Dalek and Weeping Angel.

Victoria was right. These pens are definitely not Eskies. They are also not refillable. They are however quite expensive. I see every one of them has a signature Chinese bubble too. The flat cap on top is a distinctive style and easy to spot. That is why I believe they are from a Chinese manufacturer. Victoria later confirmed my suspicions. Even so, it's floaty news. Victoria felt obligated to report, just in case fellow collectors would be interested. Check the current inventory at ThinkGeek to order directly... http://www.thinkgeek.com.

After reporting her find, Victoria couldn't resist... ordering the sci-fi pens from ThinkGeek. “The Enterprise pen and the Dalek pen are fine. They seem to be of good quality, and are rather heavy. However, the Tardis pen not only had a bubble, it was leaking oil. When I rotated the barrel to write with it, the whole thing came apart. Interestingly, the back of the package says ‘12 Months Guarantee: If a fault develops write to us at Zeon Limited’ and includes a London address. It also does say ‘Made in China’, as you suspected. I will return mine to ThinkGeek and ask for a replacement. I will keep you posted.” Thank you for reporting your finds Victoria. We are all hungry for new floaty designs.

Update... A few weeks later Victoria reported the “ThinkGeek people sent me a nice email apologizing for the damaged pen, and telling me I did not need to return it, but could get rid of it. They did send a replacement. They offer great customer service.”

Continued searches netted another UK source which offers a Guinness Pint pen.
Item is from the same Chinese company and I see it also has a bubble.

Order here: www.amazon.co.uk/Guiness. Cost £ 10 per pen.

Victoria was beginning to believe Chinese pens had taken over the market when she found what appears to be an Eskesen pen. Finally! This twist n click was made for the Florence Nightingale Museum. Sells for £ 3.99/pen. According to the description, “Florence Nightingale floats through a hospital ward in the Crimea holding her lamp”.

A picture of the source painting was included in the listing. Unfortunately the picture of the actual pen (pink barrel right) reveals very little detail. Sorry about the pictures. Most were borrowed from the source.

Victoria visited Maryland... in March. She managed to escape before a major snowstorm closed the airport.

Victoria's luck continued. “I actually found a couple of floaty pens at Dulles Airport, in a store called America. I already have the President's Helicopter Marine One, but I haven't seen this Air Force One digital classic. It wouldn't surprise me if it's an update of an older design. I also received a different Air Force One design from the Ronald Reagan Library at Christmas, but this one is more detailed.”
Thank you Victoria!

Coincidentally, Kim D, in California... asked if I had a source for the Top Gear pens that she spotted on eBay. Sorry, I do not, but I can tell from the pics she provided, they were also made by the same Chinese company. Seems like the floaty world is suddenly flooded with Chinese-made Sci-Fi pens with a new look. Makes me wonder if there is a new manufacturer or this is just a new style of pen?!

Doug Yeo touched base in July.... “After 30 years in the Boston Symphony playing summer concerts I finally have a summer vacation; I like my new schedule as Trombone professor at Arizona State. Now Pat and I can travel for fun!”

“In between a hiking vacation to Utah and one coming up in the Rocky Mountains, I find myself today at the Indianapolis airport heading home to Phoenix, having done a master class and recital at the Masterworks festival in Winona Lake, Indiana. To my surprise they have a cow tipping floaty with ‘Indianapolis’ imprinted on the barrel. Definitely an Eskie. Find it in the Civic Plaza Travelmart store in the main terminal before you go through security. Pen sells for $4.99.”

On July 19th... Doug stumbled into another source! “We're at the Denver airport, waiting to pick up friends and spend a week in Vail. Lo and behold, we found three Eskesen designs in the Hudson News store on the baggage level. They are also $4.99 each. It pays to keep looking!”

Nobi Ochiai and family.... vacationed in Hawaii this summer. “We had a great time. Did a lot of activities such as snorkeling, hiking and swimming. We took a 1-hour surf lesson at Wikiki Beach (we heard it was perfect for beginners). Yuki and Nicole did a good job, Ted and I managed to stand on the surf board, so we looked like we were surfing anyway, haha.”

“I couldn't find any new floaty pens. On the day we left Hawaii, I asked Ted to stop by the Hilton so that I could purchase some Atlantis Submarine float pens.”

Even though Nobi had the design in her collection, she purchased some for trade. Only a few are available. Contact: nobuko1999@yahoo.com.

Mr. Zanat has created another custom... float pen! Portraits of Debbie Carriere, Nobi Ochiai, Mahfoud Zanat, Susan and Russell Eisen are featured. This is the 18th pen Mahfoud has designed and produced via Eskesen. He tells me it was the most difficult and probably his last. He credits Nancy Nerenberg and Debbie Carriere for helping him finish the project. Congratulations to all! Mr. Zanat has a supply of pens for trade. Email mahfoudzanat@free.fr; Visit his website... http://simscollection.free.fr

Early in July... Susan Eisen discovered a new Liverpool design!
The cost is £ 3.99, plus shipping. Purchase this Eskesen C-clip from
eBay, Amazon and http://www.liverbird-calendars.co.uk/.

Media Sightings...
Victoria B also reported a floaty pen sighting on April 28th. “I am watching Castle right now, and Esposito just gave Rick Castle a tip n strip clicker pen. There was even a close-up. I just thought you should know.” It's true! Esposito offered his prized tip n strip to Castle hoping to win his favor and gain the title of best man in Castle's upcoming wedding. It's a cute scene and the pen is definitely an Eskesen! Thanks Victoria. I believe cable subscribers may watch episode Law and Boarder from season 6 in it's entirety on Demand.

Collectors News....

The Dutch collectors... held their annual convention in May.

The Dutch group represents collectors of all types of pens and pencils. Within the group, there are a few serious float pen collectors. This photo has become the iconic image associated with this annual event. You might recognize three faces: Miranda Wittebol is in the red sweater third in from the far left. Morten Christoffersen is directly behind Miranda, in the black shirt. Finn Sørensen is the second guy to the right of the sign.

As for the actual conference, no details were submitted. This photo would indicate even the most serious collectors know how to have a good time!

Left to right: Miranda, Finn, Ingolf Hoffman and Morten.

Finn Sørensen and wife, Pannee... celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on January 28th. Rather than a party, they opted for a family trip. The children chose London and London it was! Finn agreed the emphasis of the trip would be family, not pens, with one exception. The Sørensen clan would visit the home of float pen collector Susan Eisen and husband, Russell. According to Finn, “The Eisens were wonderful hosts. Susan and Finn collaborated on a fine pen trade.”

Photo left to right: Russell Eisen w/family cat beside wife, Susan. Sørensen family: Simon (age 22), Lisbeth (19), Oliver (16) and Finn's wife, Pannee. Finn is behind the camera.

The trip also included a tour of Madame Tussauds, a soccer game, lots of shopping... something for everyone! Daughter Lisbeth must choose where she wants to go after her exams next summer. She is torn between the US and the UK. Like her father, Lisbeth wants to travel the world!

Nadya Lanyi Celebrates 108th!

February 10th, Ron Lanyi's mother... Nadya, celebrated her 108th Birthday. Ron provided a link to a Mid Valley News article that covered the event. With 108 years under her belt, Nadya's has an incredible history to share. Read all about it here: http://www.midvalleynews.com/news/2014/02/13.

Sadly, in July, Nadya contracted a serious infection that proved fatal. Respecting her lifestyle and independent spirit, Ron buried her ashes on a mountain top. Nadya was an avid hiker into her 80's, so Ron chose a rugged, but lofty resting place. Surely Nadya would approve. My deepest sympathy to Ron, her forever devoted son.

In more recent news... in August Miranda Wittebol arranged a birthday bash to celebrate Dik's 50th. In September the couple toured Barcelona, Spain. Congrats to you both!

2014 has been a busy year for.... Nancy Nerenberg, owner and operator of FloatArt. Nancy designs custom float pens for individuals and corporations. Like Eskesen, Nancy is not in the retail business of selling pens. The designs and pens belong to her clients. However, Nancy sometimes reserves a few samples to share with me and a handful of others. There are few FloatArt designs on the New Arrivals page. Visit Nancy's website to see her entire portfolio! http://floatart.com.

Three collectors forwarded.... this link to me in past week! The Bare Oaks Family Naturalist Parks offers both male and female tip n strips! The pens also bare the company name so they fit under the advertise category too. Pens sell for $6.95 each, from Canada. I did hear “good quality digitals” from everyone that has purchased the pens to date. Even if you do not collect tip n strips, visit the site. They have included background information related to them by Kim Rasmussen from Eskesen. There is a even a floaty video. www.bareboutique.ca.

Stop the presses! ... Late Friday night Marisa contributed a handful of new leads. Thank you for the contact info Marisa. Sorry, these pens will not appear on my list. Click the links for more info and photos.

The Last Ship musical floaty featuring music by the artist Sting available at... (Note: Pen sold out; Link removed May 2015.)
Pens were $10 each and shipping was even worse... $12!

Dinosaur Valley State Park click here (Sorry, link defunct; Removed June 2015.)
Pens are $3.95 and the shipping is a reasonable $5.99.

Oakland University buy it here: (NOTE: Pen sold out. Link removed May 2015.)

Redwings Horse Sanctuary pens for sale
(NOTE: Pen sold out. Link removed May 2015)
Pens are from the UK, unsure of the shipping charges.

When Issue #77 of Float About posted, the two designs below, were featured on my New Arrivals list.
If my inventory is gone, consider these options.
Lop Shop Bunny pens available here lopshop.net.
Pens are $8.50, not sure about shipping.

SDF Lonestar Unix for sale http://sdf.org/store.
Pens are $8, not sure about shipping.

Pens Past, Present and Future....
So you probably wondered why... it has taken nine month to post a newsletter?! My computer problems continue to compound. Seems there is a new and puzzling problem every month. Frustration gets the better of me and I walk away. Sometimes weeks pass before I can force myself to come back. To date I've been able to wiggle around every obstacle, but the obstacles are mounting faster than I can find resolutions. Simple tasks have become extremely complicated. Scanning and everything database related has to be done on the XP laptop, situated in the living room. Printing often involves a trip to Bill's office. The situation is maddening, not to mention counter productive. The only practical solution is to close Float About. Emotionally I'm not ready for that. Time to seek professional help.

On the 19th I sat down with my favorite computer geek, Jenni, for a consult. I was seriously considering investing in a used Windows XP desktop system. After hearing all of my problems, she suggested a different approach. When Jenni returns from vacation, she is going to install a second drive in my computer. In theory I will be able to run all of my old programs on the separate drive. Fingers crossed it saves Float About.

As for the present... NO LOTTERY this time. Duplicates will be sold on a first come - first served basis. If Jenni's plan works, the future is looking brighter for Float About. If the new system works, my goal is to conduct a lottery, with or without a newsletter, in November.

On the Homefront....
In August we hosted... a giant yard sale. Bill and I invested over two weeks in preparation. Our neighbors Cyndi and Steve participated. My flea market buddies, Mary Jean and Tim, joined in the fun. The weather was so amazing, sunny, dry and in the low 70's, we extended the sale from two days to three. Our goal was to clear some space and make a little cash. Mission accomplished!

We haven't traveled far.... but the weekend of Sept 5th Bill and I visited Marisa Barna in Pittsburgh. Saturday morning we enjoyed breakfast at Eat n Park then headed to the Strip District. The Strip has international markets, groceries, boutique shops, fine restaurants and street food. Always great fun.

Marisa and I ducked into the Heinz History Center to check their float pen inventory. Then Marisa suggested dinner at Las Velas in Market Square downtown. The food was excellent. The company the best. I wish we could visit more often. We even had a little bit of excitement when a fire broke out at Morton's Steak House down the block. No injuries, but a lot of smoke and fire trucks.

Outside of technical issues... life is good. Our son, Josh, moved into a small apartment the first week in March. His new place is too small, but for the moment it will do. In June Josh was promoted from his clerk position, at our branch library, to manager of the Lucas Library. He started his new job on July 21st and it's going extremely well. So good news regarding Josh all the way around.

When issue #76 posted... our household was devoted to nursing Itsy Bitsy around the clock. Despite our efforts, we lost her on January 30th. We were crushed. Josh took his cat, Pancho, with him to his new apartment. Bill and I were convinced we would be ok with our two remaining tomcats, but we seriously missed Itsy, our only little girl.

In April, something extraordinary happened. My friend, Mary Jean, borrowed our Have-A-Heart trap to capture a petite stray female cat that had spent the entire winter in MJ's yard. Mary Jean immediately had the cat spayed, but needed a safe haven for the cat to recover. We offered to foster the kitty and assist in finding her a good home.

Our tomcats were quick to embrace her. Long John became her caretaker. It was never our intention, but we fell in love with her too. Less than two weeks into foster care, we asked to adopt her. She has tufted ears like a bobcat, a ringed tail like a raccoon, silky black markings on the back of her legs, like a fox. She is fully aware that she is a sexy foxy lady. We named her Evie (ee-vee). We are eternally grateful to Mary Jean. Our home and hearts are full again.

If you read FloatAlong... in between newsletters, you are familiar with the story about our encounter with an American Coot. The story posted in FloatAlong way back in March. Still, there is a chance you do not read Float Along. If you are a bird watcher or enthusiast I think you will enjoy the tale. It's been removed from FloatAlong, but this link will take you to our American Coot story.

Bill and I continue to... take clay classes from George Whitten. George is a highly respected Ohio potter and painter. We have known him for decades. Bill is throwing pots. I am working on a second massive coffee mosaic for our entry way. So, you see, we are experts at finding countless ways to distract and entertain ourselves!

Bill is turning 69.... today! He has already chosen the restaurant where we will celebrate with a B-Day dinner. Do not be surprised if I do not respond instantly to your emails. Emails will be addressed in the order of receipt. I will get back to you ASAP!

How about you.... has 2014 been good to you? What have you been doing for the last nine months!? After you enjoy browsing the pen list please stop in and touch base. I am anxious to catch up.

Still aflitter and afloat...

That's all for now. Updates will be added to Float Along.
Check it frequently for incoming news!

Go forward to read Issue #78, which posted Mon/Feb 2, 2015
Back up and read
Issue #76, that posted Sat/Jan 25, 2014

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FLOAT ABOUT... Diana Andra, 1676 Millsboro Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906-3374
phone 419/529-8876 (Noon - midnight EST)
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