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I hate crappy pens!

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by humuhumu, May 8, 2007.

  1. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    Since coming to med school I've really come to appreciate the virtures of a fine ballpoint pen. Most pens suck. They don't write immediately when you put pen to paper, they create little globs of ink that smear, they're too heavy or too fat or too short, they have wobbly tips, the ink is too light, etc.

    So instead of settling for cheap pharmaceutical pens or whatever, I finally forked over a few bucks at the bookstore for a couple GOOD PENS. What a difference. Taking notes has never been more pleasurable. :p

    I know, some of you laptop aficionados are thinking, "Who uses pens?" Well, I do. A lot. Mostly for taking notes in class and writing up summaries later. And I have no doubt that I will be doing the VAST MAJORITY of my patient notes in the hospital using plain old pen and paper.

    So let's hear it for high quality pens! OK, back to the books...
     
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  3. albe

    albe Junior Member

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    Would you mind sharing the pens that have worked well for you?
     
  4. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned
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    Rollerball > ballpoint. Mount Blanc are some of the best but cost a lot. If you're really nice a drug rep will buy you one, otherwise you'll probably have to wait until graduation for mommy & daddy to get you one. I also like Aldo Domani or Waterman for everyday use. If that's still out of your price range Cross also makes good pens.
     
  5. notsittinpretty

    notsittinpretty Senior Member

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    I literally haven't posted on this site in a year, but the topic of this post made me laugh because it's definitely one of those things i can identify with. Bad pens really piss me off - I'm left handed as well so i really appreciate a good pen that doesn't smear. Anyway...my top choices are (not including mont blanc, cross, etc....i mean who spends over a hundred dollars on a pen???? that's ridiculous):

    1.) Pilot Precise V5 (or V7 if you like your words to look fat) Rolling Ball Pens. These things are simply fantastic. I can't say enough about them....individually they run you about $2.50, they dry instantly, and they write like a dream. You can always head to staples too and spring for the multicolor pack (pink, blue, green, red, black, purple, light blue) for about $10. It's a steal of a deal.

    2) When I'm feeling wealthy (i.e. when my loan checks come in) I spring for a Dr. Grip Pilot. It feels like I'm writing with a soft downy pillow.

    back to studying.
     
  6. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    Sweet - thanks for the tip. I'm definitely not a connoisseur yet - I'm just starting to discover the possibilities. Right now I'm very pleased with the Pilot Better retractable ballpoint (fine point, 0.7 mm) that I picked up for under $2 at the bookstore. Maybe I'll have to check out the pricier ones to see what I'm missing.

    Not sure about the rollerball. If rollerball = gel pen, then I probably wouldn't like it. I like a very fine point that dries instantaneously.
     
  7. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才
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    And Fountain pen > Rollerball

    I promise. Zero pressure required to write, just move the pen over the paper. Less friction than a rollerball. Hundreds of ink options.

    Try a Pilot Varsity (disposable, less than $2).

    In the $20 range the LAMY Safari is excellent.

    Go up another order of magnitude and there are many amazing ones. But you have to get converted first.
     
  8. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    Wow, the reviews at Amazon for the Pilot Precise V5 are amazing. My mouth is watering.... :p
     
  9. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please

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    My kingdom for a good pen!

    Seriously though, I cannot stand weak, cheap pens that don't stand up to the task. I write prolifically when I study (some sort of hand-mind connection that really stimulates my learning) and if my pen sucks, I get pissed.

    I've had some luck with these Foray 0.7mm gel-pens (they do smudge), but I need something more reliable. Keep the pen recommendations flowing people!
     
  10. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned
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    Agreed.

    I don't imagine post people would understand how to operate a fountain pen. It's like manual transmission, we're too lazy.
     
  11. AuburnPreVet

    AuburnPreVet AU CVM Class of 2011

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    Pilot G2's! (The box reads "Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Ink Rolling Ball - Fine (07))" Best pens :love:

    I bought 60 of them on ebay a few weeks back, for about half the office-depot price. Amazing.
     
  12. alwaysaangel

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    God I hope not. I should hope in 10 years electronic medical records should be more widespread. I mean already a lot of hospitals and doctors offices use them. I would MUCH rather type out notes on a computer and pull up meds in a menu than tear through a chart looking for what you need.
     
  13. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    I really love these pens. I also like the uniball vision eltie.
     
  14. argonana

    argonana SDN Donor

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    :love:
    I am SUPER picky about pens as well. I am left-handed, but I am also generally very OCD about things like this.

    I bought my first Pilot Better Ballpoint Pen (Fine Point) in 2004 while taking biochem and ochem in college, and I have been ADDICTED ever since. They are as smooth and precise as mechanical pencils, but they don't smudge, and they come in all sorts of great colors (pink was my favorite, but I've looked all over and haven't been able to find it recently. green, purple, and of course blue are close runners-up). They are great for writing out pathways (I went through several in biochem/ochem), taking notes, etc.
    Glad to know I'm not the only freakish pilot fan out there!!
     
  15. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    Oh, another thing. The pens I prefer tend to be good for pen spinning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pen_Spinning

    It's a strange habit I picked up from a Korean friend in high school. For me it's almost as mindless as breathing now....
     
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  17. argonana

    argonana SDN Donor

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    I don't like the Pilot Precise. The ink smudges, and after a short while, the ink flow becomes very uneven (such that only one edge of the tip will write, etc.).
     
  18. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!

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    :thumbup:

    Although I swap the ink for the extra fine .05, which lets me squeeze more letters in, and also dries a little faster.
     
  19. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!!

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    it's gotta be the Pilot G-2... I've tried all three different weights, they have 05, 07, & 10... i think I like the 07 the best, not too much, but the ink flows better when you write.

    also, I like that whole, mind-hand connection. I take notes in a small notebook when I read review books (can you tell boards are coming). I change pens to a different color for each different "thought". the order of the pens HAS to be Blue, Green, Black, Red, Blue, Green, etc. I've ripped whole pages out and rewrote them because the order got messed up, I'm crazy, I know.
     
  20. estella

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    I hate rollerball pens because I like writing on both sides of the page, and they tend to leak through. I don't like the way gel pens feel on the page. I like ballpoints, but I still haven't found one that doesn't clump. It's really frustrating!
     
  21. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才
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    My favorite spiinning pen is the Pentel RSVP, but for writing it's one of the worst I've tried...
     
  22. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member

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    My favorites are the Bic Z4 and the uniball vision elite. I order them by the box from staples because the last time I couldn't find them I had a panic attack and drove all over the city, learned to have plenty of back up!!
     
  23. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member

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    FINE, I'll join the club. I like the Pilot G-2. But I've always been anal about pens and pencils. In fact, I took every practice MCAT [and the real thing] with the same pencil.

    I am even anal enough to carry crappy pens around so I can loan them to people when they ask....ha ha ha.
     
  24. megadon

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    I got a Mont Blanc pencil and ball point when I got into the Naval Academy. Got a rollerball for HS graduation from God-mother. I use my pencil every day in school for notes (terrible hardwriting, engineering undergrad, plus typos, thus need to erase). I bought a Mont Blanc fountain pen in France when I lived there for a month. They are the best, comparable with Waterman. Ten years, still work great.

    For doing any clinical crap (standardized patients, etc) I use a Zebra F-402. I've used it for eight years or so. Signed many a log or report on the submarine (from Navy days). Doesn't skip, weight is great, little rubber pad. I've special ordered five at a time, cause it always seems like I will immediately lose two, then hold on the remaining three for three years. Smaller than a Mont Blanc, so fit in the pocket great.

    Hate Cross, HS girlfriend got me engraved set. Way too small, cramps my fingers. Plus she dumped me in college for her husband during frosh year. We actually talk now, but I did use the pencil on gross practicals cause I didn't care if it got trashed.

    So, to sum up, I use Mont Blanc pencil in class where I'm not worried about losing it. In clinic, use Zebra, cause it's maybe five bucks if I lose it. Plus you really need a pen, not a pencil in clinic.
     
  25. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please

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    But of course. :D And you know I hunt people down at the end of class if they happen to borrow one of my coveted GOOD pens.
     
  26. Llenroc

    Llenroc Bandidos Motorcycle Club

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    Tul gel pens at Office Max are very good. They are about $1 each.
     
  27. MessyJessie

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    :biglove: LOVE PILOT G-2's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by far the best pens ever!! And I'm a lefty, so we always have to worry about major smudging on the side of our hands (gosh darn left to right english language) and the pilot g2 are the ONLY non-ballpoint pens that have never smudged for me. And that's saying a lot!
     
  28. anon-y-mouse

    anon-y-mouse Senior Member

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    Details! You've heard of this happening?

    I love my Montblanc Meisterstuck (sp?). Writes amazingly. Graduation gift. I want Cartier stationery for med school graduation... maybe a Cartier prescription pad.

    Speaking of drug reps, some drug pens write really well! I like lipitor, procrit, and seroquel for my drug pen needs.
     
  29. Random

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    I'll put my Parker 100 fountain pen in, which is great for doing a lot of writing. Fountain pens are really the way to go if your hand cramps quickly though they dry kind of slowly so they're probably not the best for lefties. In my lab coat are a couple of G-2s in extra fine and some lispro pens I got recently.
     
  30. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    I agree! While I was shadowing at a family practice residency clinic, everything they did was electronic where they would type in notes right in the examination room or in the doctor's lounge and the only use for the pen was to sign prescriptions handed to patients. One major reason to move to electronic medical records is the reduction in errors that come with standardization. I'd much rather take notes on my PDA than scribble notes all over papers that I know will fall out on the ground from my lab coat.
     
  31. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    Ah the trials and tribulations of dating married women . . . what's a guy to do?
     
  32. rox1co

    rox1co ro.co

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    Have any of you tried the "Foray™ Gel Pens, 0.3 mm, Extra-Fine Point"? I'm primarily a G-2 user and I have a couple left so I don't feel like trying the Foray .3 mm till I'm out. I use their dry-erase marker and it dries up fast and at times, kind of hard to erase.
     
  33. bonesawz

    bonesawz contractor grade

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    Pilot makes a 0.3 "coleto" that can swap out different colors, all of which are 0.3 or 0.4. Works great for squeezing stuff in the margins of review books. It writes pretty smooth. Makes sure you retract the tip before you put it in your pocket...It will stab right through you.
     
  34. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member

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    Another vote from a lefty here!
     
  35. megadon

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    No, she was dating me, till she met him. Me go bye-bye, she later marry. He's a good guy though. Way over it. We were really really good friends before we started dating, and now we still talk about once or twice a year.
     
  36. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    I am totally picky about writing implements, because there is nothing worse than a crappy pen when you have to do a lot of writing.

    I'm dating myself here, but my favorite is the Parker Vector line. I use the fountain pen, roller ball, and ballpoint, generally in that order of frequency. Though, at the end of the day, except for the fountain pen, the quality of the writing is dictated by the cartridges/refills, which are just standard Parker cartridges/refills.

    For pencils, I've got to go with the Pentel P205. Then again, I'm currently an engineer, and this is the "standard choice" of engineers everywhere. I also really like the Pentel Twist-Erase (0.5 mm) because the place where you hold it is nice and cushiony.
     
  37. 8o8o8o8

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    1 more vote for the pilot-G2 fine point (0.5mm) They write smoothly, don't bleed through & are cheap enough that if you lose one it's not a big deal.
     
  38. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member

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    I like uniball grip 0.7s. Then again, I like fat pens. Thin pens scratch too much. Also, if you let them dry for like 2 seconds you can highlight over them too. Yay for writing and then highlighting what you wrote!
     
  39. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Folks who work in the hospital frequently come home with totally different pens at the end of the day than what they started with. This is why the free cheap pens are so popular. Many an expensive pen will wander off each day.
     
  40. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    I'm a big Uniball fan. I used black Uniball pens all through high school and into college, but now that I write on the black and white notesets we get from our departments, I've switched to blue, which stands out for me. I've got the Uniball Signo RT (0.7 blue), and it's pretty nice. I have a Pilot G2 (0.7) for my red pen, since there isn't a good red Uniball for me, and it's good, but not quite as good as the Uniball, IMO.


    Law2Doc - people lose their pens because they're not careful. If it matters to you, you won't lose your pen. ;) When I worked in EMS, I'd keep a clicky pen with a clip to keep in my front pocket, and I almost never lost it.
     
  41. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    When an attending says gimme your pen and then wanders off while you are juggling other things, you lose your pen. So you snag another next time you need to write. Hence the great daily pen swap. And why so many people happilly fill their pockets with those crummy freebies, and leave their nice ones at home.
     
  42. inked_caduceus

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    I can't affirm this enough. That very pack of pens got me through med school. I've used pilot precise V5's ever since year 10 of high school (MSII) now and have never, EVER gone to an exam without a green one for luck (even if I can't use it on the exam).

    The varsity pens are nice too, but I can't get the same speed and legibility out them as the precise series.
     
  43. greg1184

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    How about a regular BIC or Paper-Mate pens? Very cheap.
     
  44. megadon

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    you said it, cheap. Skip, suck, give away. Anoymously trade off for lavish $2 drug pen.

    To get back to Law2Doc, completely agree, in the hospital, I use the trusty zebra, knowing full well if I lose it, it's heck of a smaller loss than a Mont Blanc.
     
  45. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a

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    These are precisely the kind of pens I'm rebelling against.
     
  46. Bjams

    Bjams ASA Member

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    You should try the "Client" from Pentel (Wow, I feel like a geek). It comes with a medium point, but once it ran out I just bought a fine point refill for it. I've used the same exact pen all through college, and now use it every day at work and will continue to use it when I start med school in the fall. People use it and they say, "Nice pen."
     
  47. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Hence the "carry a Bic so that you don't hand your Mont Blanc to some guy who doesn't care about you." And why would you leave your nice pens at home? So you don't use them?
     
  48. megadon

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    Good for writing checks when paying crappy bills. Reminds you that have more money tied up in stuff, oriental carpets, pens, etc, than your bank account figures for.
     
  49. greg1184

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    I personally prefer the more expensive ballpoint pens. Pentel makes an excellent ballpoint pen. The problem with gel pens is that sometimes they do not flow smoothly and also they sometimes come in blobs and look not neat.
     
  50. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Nice in theory but I doubt would consistantly work in practice. Bear in mind that you will have bigger things on your mind than your pen, may at times be sleep deprived and not as attentive to the little things as you should be, and will continuously need to replenish your Bic supply.
     
  51. geordon

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    For "throw-away" work, I prefer the Bic "Clic-Stick" pens. Cheap, usable, dependable in my experience.

    For "good" use, I like my Waterman medium point Hemisphere fountain pen. I WANT a Waterman Serenite fountain, but I'll have to "want" that until I get the 6-figure paycheck.

    Part of the joy of my Waterman is the weight. I prefer a heavier pen, but not as heavy as a Pelikan, of which my wife has one. Little too heavy for me, and it's a fine point, which scratches too much for me.

    The only negative that I can say about fountain pens is that, if you're not using disposable, pre-filled cartridges, you have to watch your ink level carefully. Small problem, but could REALLY suck if it happens at a bad time.
     
  52. Soleil9

    Soleil9 Senior Member

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    I love the Pilot V5 as well, but it smudges horribly in my First Aid! I think the people at the coffee shop think that I am weird... I sit there and blow on the page after I write.

    Anyone have any suggestions for colored pens that don't smudge in First Aid?
     

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