The Pen Addict


The Pen Addict Podcast is 299 6

Oh, no. Another one of those blog posts about numbers 😜

The Pen Addict Podcast is 299. Episodes old, that is. I happily remember back, listening to the first episode in 2012.

When the first episode came out I put it on a memory card so that could listen to it in my car stereo on a longer drive. I was driving to visit one of my students who was on a placement at the time. On the way there I thought to myself “This is great, but I doubt more than a handful of people would want to listen to this. I can’t see this lasting very long.”. (#myfirsttpa 😋)

Well, how wrong I was! Of course, I am referring to the second part of my sentence.

Back then, before the podcast, to me, Brad Dowdy was ‘the friendly blogger who puts his pictures on Flickr’. Every time I had contact with him he was extremely friendly and not many bloggers had their photos on Flickr. These days I think of him as the most influential stationery blogger who helped to make liking stationery a bit more mainstream. I didn’t know Myke Hurley at all before episode one.

I felt quite honoured when Bleistift was the Pen Blog of the Week in episode 94. Funnily enough, this was because of an ink related blog post, but it still meant that pencils became one of the topics of this episode. The way I know this story (please correct me if you know better) is that a pencil blog being discussed on this episode made Tim Wasem think of starting a pencil podcast and he then talked (or chatted) to Andy Welfle. Together they then approached Johnny Gamber and within a few weeks, the Erasable Podcast was born.

In time for episode 300 I thought I have a closer look at some ‘statistics’. This information is based on the The Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki, which is basically a query of the semantic data held in the wiki. Please feel free to contribute to the wiki. Everyone’s welcome there.

Let’s have a look at the plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the episodes. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the episode length in minutes.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are on the bottom, long episodes are on the top.

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration. Open in new tab for hi-res version.

The black line is a straight linear regression line. Looking at this line it seems that every year the episodes get around five minutes longer. If you like long episodes you can look forward to episode 1000. By that time episodes should be more than two hours long 😃.

The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first two years, until the middle of 2014, episodes gained quite a bit in duration. Growth in duration then slowed down but picked up again since 2017.

Top tip: Why not celebrate the 300th episode when it comes out next week by sharpening a brand new pencil? ..or let others know about your first TPA episode (#myfirsttpa).

If you have just discovered  the Pen Addict Podcast recently: there are 295 hours to listen to so far. That’s more than 12 solid days.

As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub.

PS: I know my numbers posts are not very popular, so I’ve been holding off my series of blog post analysing pencil blogs for several years – but be warned, this series will start in the near future


I’d like to thank Alexander Kramer for allowing me to use his Brad and Myke colouring page picture in this blog post.


Pencil economics and the Mongol

In Episode 193 of the Pen Addict Brad and Myke mentioned a recent Freakonomics Radio ((Depsite the name it is a podcast.)) episode called Who Needs Handwriting?.

I read the Freakonomics book a few years ago. Funnily enough I got it from a friend who I got to know through this blog after posting about a Mongol sharpened with an angle of 14° ((It’s funny because in the next sentence there’ll be a connection back to the Mongol.)).

Well, the next episode of Freakonomics Radio looked at “I, Pencil”, the famous economics essay about the Mongol 482. Just like in the previous episode Caroline Weaver from CW Pencils was involved1.

Venezuelan Mongols

Ok, it’s not the 482, but the 480, but the Mongol 482 photos from my blog look less suitable for this blog post than this one does. 

One of the best bits of this episode is Tim Harford’s appearance. He’s the guy behind the Radio 4 Programme More or Less, looking at numbers and statistics in the news and everyday life. I listen to every episode of his great programme.

There’s also a great part about the General Pencil Company and how they make their pencils.


Funnily enough the photo of the I, Pencil Freakonomics Radio episode doesn’t feature a Mongol, but the good, old Noris!

 

  1. …and to my surprise she says her shop is profitable, which I wouldn’t have expected thinking about how expensive rent in New York must be, as well as flying around the world to the different trade fairs. []

Behind the scenes – Nock Co.

The latest episode of The Pen Addict, #172, has one of those behind the scenes details I just love. It starts 40 minutes into the episode. Brad Dowdy is talking about all the steps involved to get a Nock case from idea to design to getting manufactured. I wouldn’t have thought that the material is laser-cut. How exciting.

Nock Hightower Case (outside) and Notebook. The Noris was not part of the Kickstarter.

Nock Hightower Case (outside) and Notebook. The Noris was not part of the Kickstarter.

Here’s a fitting photo from a previous blog post.


Nock Kickstarter 4

Just arrived this morning: The Nock Co. Hightower Pen Case in Forest Green/Yellow with Union Jack tag and a Nock Co. Dot Dash Notebook.

Nock Hightower Case and Notebook

Nock Hightower Case (outside) and Notebook

I backed The Pen Addict‘s Kickstarter in January and got the pen case today1. I paid $45 (~£29; €40)2.

Nock Hightower Case (outside) and Notebook. The Noris was not part of the Kickstarter.

Nock Hightower Case (inside) and Notebook. The Noris was not part of the Kickstarter.


Price: January 2015

Exchange rates: June 2015

  1. Funnily enough it was addressed to MEMM, instead of my first name / surname, but I assume I must have messed this up in my Kickstarter settings. []
  2. I have since stopped buying expensive stationery (>£10) for more than one reason. I might even sell some of my more expensive stationery, but I still have some stuff coming in I ordered in the past, plus there is still a lot of expensive stationery I bought recently that I want to write about. []