Tuesday, September 8

Project Pendemonium: Success!

It was awesome! Pendemonium is at the southeastern-most corner of Iowa, so we woke up early Saturday morning... dawdled... and then took off. My navigator slept through our turn at Mason City so I didn't realize how off-course we were until Des Moines, but my own superior navigation skills charted a new course to Fort Madison and we showed up at the store at half an hour before close!

I had a great talk with the owner, chatting about pens and paper supplies. He illuminated me as to the Rhodia/Moleskine debate. The fact remains that I love Moleskine but I understand not every pen will take to it well, as its batches of paper are inconsistent. Rhodia has released a "web book" that emulates Moleskine's hardcover and elastic binder function, but I don't think it looks as nice. I have a deep emotional investment with Moleskine and I can't casually switch over to Rhodia even in light of this new information.

I picked up a Shakespeare-nib quill, a Pelikan refillable calligraphy pen, a Turkish woven bookmark (such as may be had up here, but now I can look at it and say I got it at Pendemonium), some homemade stationery-themed cards, and an antique inkwell. Fort Madison is such a flat, small, and empty town--most of its businesses were closed for the weekend, and those that weren't were still closing at 4:00 PM--and I wonder how a specialty store like Pendemonium can stay open. They do seem to enjoy substantial online business, which is great, but I wonder if they could appeal to the kids by providing pen pal URLs (not the least of which would be Postcrossing) and give some pleasant diversion to teenagers otherwise whiling away their time in an empty town.

That's what I would explore, if I were stuck there (and not old enough to hang out in Lost Duck Brewery).

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