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  1. Greetings to all- I have been a member of the forum for a few months now. However, this will be my first official forum post. I usually spend most of my FPN time in the Classified section where I've had the opportunity to meet wonderful members who were more than generous in sharing with me their beautiful and timeless pens. I was introduced to my first fountain pen roughly summer of last year. Though I have experience in using dip pens for illustration, I have not tried nor even considered fountain pens as an alternative to creating artworks. My chance encounter with my first pen occurred in a quasi-melodramatic manner. As if fate had its hand in this, the usual art store that I often visited was closed for a month-long renovation process and I decided to take a trip at another art store far from where I live. I was new to that swanky store and as I fumbled my through the labyrinth-like aisles chocked full of rows and rows of paints, brushes, paper goods, and all the artsy fartsy supplies that will make even Rembrandt wet his pants in his grave, I ended up in the fancy fountain pen department that was managed by a mild manner older gentleman who happened to look like Gandalf the Wizard from Lord of the Rings film! And to add to his near-authentic looking gray hair, beard, and mystifying expression, he also sported an oversize white button-up shirt that, I swear at certain angles, glowed with faerie magic under the track lighting above! My first impressionable notion was, "Oh... my... hot potato... Gandalf is here!" He saw my big raccoon eyes staring at him, and in return he waved his modern day magic staff at me as if offering me a rare blessing into knighthood--or the last rites before you face a fire breathing dragon and become a charbroiled burger. As I walked closer, his staff was a Porsche Design fountain pen in carbon fiber trim with a rhodium nib. "Can I interest you in this pen that we now carry in stock," he said. "It is just one of the BEST writing pen around!" He followed with an upselling tactic, "Once you write with this, you'll never go back to ballpoint pens again." You know when Gandalf says that a pen is the best, you do not question the 'white wizard' of Lord of the Rings... and of Two Towers... and of The Return of the King! His word... is EPIC! I immediately grabbed the pen like a giddy kid being handed an ice cream on hot day. For a moment there, I felt the wizard's life giving aura flow through me with such vitality. It was legendary. Then I saw the price tag. "Are you nuts?!" Okay, so I didn't say that directly to him. "Oh sonova@%&*%#!" And not that one as well. Yes, the price tag quickly depleted the life giving energy from me. I felt like one of the... forsaken. I turned down Gandalf. I had to. Ofcourse, now that I think about it again, some of the pens I would like to acquire someday are worth double or even triple that price tag. But still, at that time, the whole 'shock and awe' feeling had me walking away with a Lamy Safari outfitted with an EF nib instead. I enjoyed my Lamy--yes, in white color to honor the white wizard--and as my first official cartridge converter pen, it was a wonderful instrument that allowed me to fall in love fountain pens slowly but surely. Sadly, I had to part with the pen a few months later as I found myself convinced by better 'wizards' in the Classified section of the Fountain Pen Network forum who wield pens of true power and harness mystifying concoctions of indelible inks than Gandalf! The Classified section is a place where magic meets your wallet. Thus, is my story... my tale. I hope to meet and more more FPN members soon! Thank you, all! Cheers! Ced P.S. The art store really does exist and the gentleman is still working there. He is really a kind fellow without whom I probably would not have given a thought about fountain pens.

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