Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If your pen doesn't work

Have you even had a pen, one that you really loved, or one you just bought, and the darn thing quit writing, even though you can see that the tube is full of ink?! Yes, it's happened to me too. Well, not to worry, I found this on WikiHow:

How to Restart a Dry Ball Point Pen

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If your favorite pen is dry and ink is not flowing, try some of these tips before you give up.


  1. Scribble vigorously for a while on a piece of scratch paper. Sometimes, this is all it takes to coax a pen into writing again.
  2. Run tip under hot water. If dried up ink is clogging the tip, this could get things flowing again. Some inks are alcohol-based, so you might also try dipping the tip in a drop of alcohol or hair spray.
  3. Lightly press pen on something (paper is best) and wait for it to start writing.
  4. Tap the pen tip against the desk, or other hard surface. Put paper underneath so that you don't get ink all over. The ink may start to flow.
  5. Warm up the pen. Leave it in a sunny windowsill for awhile or hold it under warm water.
  6. Write on an eraser or other rubber surface. This may get the ball of the pen to move freely.
  7. Shake the pen. Hold the back end of the pen, opposite the tip, and shake the pen like a thermometer. Sometimes air bubbles get into the ink cylinder, so shaking the ink down toward the tip
  8. Install the correct refill. If a pen was a special favorite and you'd rather not replace it, get a fresh ink cartridge or refill from your office supply store and install it.
  9. Make a few dots. When something comes out make swirls to test.
  10. Use a lighter to warm up the tip.
  11. If refill tube is full, remove tip and soak in alcohol .... this has fixed a BIC fine point pen ten years old.


  • Many cheap pens are not worth refilling. If a refill costs almost as much as a whole new pen, don't bother.
  • Take the pen apart and look at the ink tube. Many tubes are transparent, so you can see if the pen is out of ink or has a bubble in it. In these cases, scribbling probably won't help much.
  • Have a couple pens with you so if you have a bad pen, switch.
  • If your ballpoint writes well and you can't find a refill, then fill it with ink from the tube inside another pen. Use a swab to push the ink from one tube into the other. Tape the tubes together while you are doing this or just hold them together.


  • Tapping or shaking a pen could cause ink to splatter. Point it away from yourself and others and be careful not to get ink on your clothing or surroundings.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Restart a Dry Ball Point Pen. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

It has already saved two of my pens. I had to use #10: use a lighter to warm up the tip, then used #7: shake it like a thermometer. In combination, it worked like a charm.

This all came about because I started keeping a handwritten journal as part of a new-years resolution. I have been pretty regular about it too. Please don't feel betrayed. "But Liz, how can you do this to us? You don't even update your blog!" Well, I have to start somewhere. And this somewhere starts with guilt. If I write in my paper journal all of the things that I don't really want to publicize to the world, then I feel guilty about all of the public-able (new word: learn it) events in my life not being posted to the interweb. So there you have it: paper journal leads to electronic journal. As evidenced by this post.

So here is what's been going on the last couple weeks:

1) Rachel turned 18 on Monday! We threw her a surprise party on Sunday. She didn't suspect a thing. We shopped all day, then we "stopped by" BJ's to get our grandparents a pizza. Lo and behold, a party. All of whom shouted "Surprise!" across the restaurant and embarrased little sis. It was great! We had food, she got gifts, she was "angry" with me for tricking her. But I know she loved the attention. If you can't throw a surprise party for an 18 year old, who can you throw a surprise party for.

@) I started "edating" again. I joined eharmony and Jdate again. Eharmony is not panning out. No one is responding to my communications, but I have been talking to a nice Jewish boy from Jdate. And he approached me, because I'm "hot," no less. And it turns out he finds me mentally stimulating too! We are having coffee. This Sunday. If all goes well, I will gush profusely. Until then, he will be an initial: C. I've never been able to talk to a guy so freely and openly so quickly before.

C) Isabel is getting married! Yay! Her Mark that she met through Eharmony is super wonderful fabulous. He loves her; she loves him; he loves her kid; the kid loves him (and already calls him "daddy"). They are a happy little family. Wedding in June; I'm a bridesmaid (or THE bridesmaid). Yay! Love weddings!

PS- Went to a lecture tonight at the JCC. Got to hear Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, my favorite author-Rabbi. He and Dennis Prager are my favorite sources of wisdom, and incidentally they are friends since the age of 15! How cool is that? Got my copy of A Code of Jewish Ethics, Vol 1: You Shall Be Holy autographed. Incidentally, Vol 2: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself comes out on February 10. Shameless plug.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New glasses

I just got new glasses. Aren't they pretty? Maybe you can't tell from
the picture that they are a beautiful irridescent tortoise shell. They
are also Kate Spade frames, and I paid a pretty penny for them. But
they make me happy. And they make me want to actually wear glasses
instead of contacts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

See last two posts

More firefightes and more fire. It may be a little sick, but I love
the smell of buildings burning down on a cold night. It brings back
good memories. It reminds me a little about bonfire build. Sitting
around the perimiter fires trying to stay warm and waiting for stupid
redpots and brownpots to hurt themselves. Also reminds me of my days
with the fire department in Cy-Fair. Hanging out with engineer at a
house fire, waiting to see if anyone got hurt and waiting for the
firefighters to finish up their job. Can you be too warm and freezing
at the same time? Only at a house fire on a cold night.


This is the building next to mine. See previous post.

Apartment fire

This is a building in my apartment complex burning down. I was lying
in bed wondering why I kept hearing sirens. I looked out my bedroom
window and saw fire engines, ladder trucks, police cars, and flames
coming from the other side of the building next to mine. I didn't
think to take a picture until most of the fire had been put out. It
was somethig aweful when the flames were shooting 30 ft out of the
roof. The building to the right of the burning one is the building
next to mine.

Scary stuff. This makes me want to be in a house. I don't like the
security of myself, my kitties, and my stuff compromised by the
responsibility (or lack thereof) of my neighbors.

I don't know what started the fire, or if anyone was hurt. I will look
for it on the news tomorow.