Friday, May 03, 2024

Product review time - Instaplunge

I don't normally do reviews or commentaries on ordinary products outside of my hobbies. But this is one I wanted to share because it helped me greatly just a few minutes ago. I usually would do a YouTube video, but for reasons you will understand, I decided that this was the best option. The background: About a week ago, my teenage son informed me that he had clogged the toilet in the boys' bathroom after using it. So I went about my dadly duties of trying to plunge the toilet and unclog it. My son informed me that he had unsuccessfully tried to do that already. I know that there are two very "old school" plungers in their bathroom, one with a red cup and one with a black one, both are not powerful or effective from my experience. So, Dad grabbed the power plunger from his bathroom and off to the boys' bathroom I went.
After a long while of powerful plunging, sloshing, and rigorous work, I did not get very far with alleviating the clog. This was perhaps the worst toilet clog I have run across with one exception. My son insists that he put nothing down the toilet except excrement and toilet paper. I had my doubts since poop and paper generally would have responded to plunging long ago, in my life experience. I even let it sit overnight to get soggy and waterlogged. Alas, that did not work the next morning. Flushing only filled the toilet bowl and some plunging was needed to get the water level to go down. So at least some flow was seen, but nowhere near enough to unclog the path sufficiently. Time for the toilet snake. I had previously purchased a toilet snake between 17 and 20 years ago or so. Someone had flushed a "nonflushable" feminine hygiene product applicator down the toilet and it got lodged crossways at the very end of the toilet. It blocked progress enough to stop up paper and poop flow, and I had to remove the toilet itself only to find how it was blocked. The toilet snake would go right by the applicator and never dislodge it. I was thinking that this present instance may have been a similar instance. After all, with three boys in the house, I have had Dixie cups and toys flushed down the toilet before. My toilet snake has always helped retrieve a little green Army man or dislodge a 3 ounce bathroom cup in the past. Nope, not this time. In pondering my options, I was thinking about having to remove the toilet again and adding up the costs and items I would need and the steps I would have to go through to do this. I have replaced toilets before, so I was familiar with the drill. I decided to look on my cellphone for the Lowe's shopping app and see what they might have for new toilets should I choose to replace this one with a better one as long as I had it removed. I also looked at their plungers to see if one even better than my "old reliable", usually highly effective one. I saw an item that I had seen advertised on television a few years ago, or at least the concept, not necessarily the brand. Lowe's had the "Instaplunge" in their catalog of items. The drawback: it was a little over $78 and I had no guarantee it would work and the cheapest toilet they had was only $99. Do do I spend the $21 and just get a new toilet, or do I take a chance on the Instaplunge, which may work for me and it will work for drains for sinks, showers, and toilets now and in the future? I took the risk. I ordered the Instaplunge on April 29th. Initially the expected delivery date (yes, delivery. The Instaplunge can be ordered but was not in stock at any store location.) was for just a couple of days, so I went ahead and made the purchase. Well, apparently the item was on sale and with my Lowe's rewards card, I got the
item for $73.81 including tax with free shipping. OK, that works for me. But wait, there's more...when I got the notification of the sale, the expected arrival date was now May 15th...about two weeks out. Really? Two weeks? My wife and I have to share my toilet with two boys for the next two weeks and then maybe longer if the Instaplunge doesn't do the job? Sigh. Good news: I got a shipping notification of my Instaplunge order from Lowe's on May 1st. Tracking notifications showed that it would be here on May 3rd. Well, today is May the third. My Ring doorbell had a motion detection and sure enough, my Instaplunge arrived. Since I was in the middle of a task, I waited until I was done, got my box cutter, and opened the box. I inspected my new toy. I even read the small set of instructions (for the most part, anyway). I grabbed the toilet adapter head for the tool, the power supply, and headed to the boys' bathroom. Unfortunately, my boys' ignored their own "OUT OF ORDER" sign they made and taped to the toilet tank. One of the boys had left a deposit that had not flushed down properly within the last couple of days. So, before using the Instaplunge, I tried flushing. Nope, now I had a full toilet bowl of brown, smelly water. If you have ever used an outhouse, you know the smell. Yeah, I about gagged. I grabbed my old reliable plunger since I wanted to see if that would do the job now that this has sat there for a while. Nope. Just a little flow, a lot of smell, and immense frustration. OK, time to employ the cannon. The toilet head attached easily enough via a "ball and socket" attachment that screws on tight. It has an air pump like is used to take blood pressure to inflate the head while it sits in the toilet hole in the base of the bowl. There is a wall outlet next to the vanity, which is beside the toilet, so I plugged it in, turned on the air pump, let it pump up to the recommended 50 PSI, and pulled the trigger. "BOOM!" Compressed air hit the toilet, but it was not going down like I expected. Hhhhmmmm.... So released the air in the toilet head seal, pulled it out, and was hoping that maybe the plunger could finish the job. Yeah, nice theory, but "Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full." So I tried the Instaplunge again. This time, I got the head to go deeper into the toilet hole and inflated the head, ran the pump to the requisite pressure, and pushed the trigger button. BOOM again. Deflate the head from my new toilet cannon, and the toilet level went down to its expected level. YAY! Flush and...success again! Flush...success! As mundane and disgusting as this whole process sounds, I can say that the risk I took on the Instaplunge was worth it. So now I have a tool that I can use again and again and hopefully have the same results.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Namiki, Visconti, MontBlanc fountain pen collection sale

My friend, Greg, scored a good sized collection of high end Namiki, Visconti, and Montblanc fountain pens. He asked me to wait at least a week before letting people I know about the collection, but he is selling them off piece by piece. You can reach him at email If you contact him, MAKE SURE YOU TELL HIM THAT TROY SENT YOU! Below are the pictures that Greg sent me of the collection. Feel free to enlarge and look at them as you need, or even contact me for a copy if you can't get a good view of them.

Below are updated pictures and a corresponding description list. REACH OUT TO GREG FOR HIS PRICES.
# Name
2 Danitrio Urushi Maki-e Swallow and Wisteria on Takumi Fountain Pen
3 Danitrio Urushi and Maki-e Dragons on Takumi Fountain Pen
4 Montblanc Pavoratti 
5 Montblanc Bohome Blanche
6 Pelikan Limited Edition Silver Screen M1000
7 Montblanc 149
8 Montblanc 146
9 Souverän M1000 Raden Starlight
10 Pelikan 5 bats
11 pelikan toledo m900
12 Visconti Limited Edition La Bibbia Jewish Bible Fountain Pen
13 Danitrio Maki-e Spring Flowers Fountain Pen on Takumi with Gold Clip
14 Danitrio Sakura Maki-E on Takumi Fountain Pen
16 Airel Kullock ???? Conway Stewart
17 Montegrappa Extra Otto Sapphirus Limited Edition
18 Montegrappa Butterfly Limited Edition
19 Montegrappa Ammiraglio 1939 Butterfly Limited Edition
20 Taccia Reserve Maki-e LE Autumn's Brushes
21 Delta Nazareth 2000 Special Limited Edition Fountain Pen
23 Wahl-Eversharp - Decoband Gold Seal Oversized - Fountain Pen - Gatsby Pensbury Etched
24 Parker Duofold Prestige Chevron 
25 Montgrappa Dante Alighieri Purgatorio
26 Montegrappa "Tertio Millennio Adventiente" Limited Edition Fountain Pen (1998) - Ivory w Sterling Trim
27 Montegrappa Passione Fountain Pen
28 S.T. Dupont Black and Gold Olympio Fountain Pen
29 St Dupont 0276 Atelier 1953
30 St Dupont 0149 red Atelier 1953
31 Dunhill Sidecar Chassis Fountain Pen
32 ST Dupont Olympio PLACED Fountain pen
33 Platinum Izumo Hon-urushi Raden Maki-E
34 Visconti Homo Sapiens Lava Bronze Age Oversize
35 Visconti Il Magnifico Lapis Lazuli Fountain Pen
36 Platinum 3776 miki-e hannya-singyou Fountain pen
37 Platinum Century 3776 Kanazawa gold leaf
38 Visconti Opera
39 Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition Fountain Pen
40 King Of Pen : Taki To Higuma (Waterfall And Brown Bear)
41 Sailor Limited Edition King of Pens Chinkin Owl
42 Sailor 1911 maki-e gold momiji
43 Sailor 1911 maki-e fugi limited edition
44 SAILOR Battle of Sekigahara Maki-e Limited Edition
45 Classic Pens LB5 Kaen (Red) Fountain Pen - Prototype - Sailor King of Pen
46 Sailor Naginata togi Ebonite Fountain Pen Sea Wave
47 Taccia Limited Edition Miyabi Amber Crystal Fountan Pen
48 Sailor King of Pen Tamenuri Limited Edition of 50
49 Sailor King of Pen Tamenuri Shiradame "the bright side" Limited Edition of 88
50 Platinum Izumo Urushi Yagumonuri
51 Sailor 1911 King of Pens Naginata Togi Fountain Pen - Black Ebonite
52 Sailor 1911 King of Pens Color Urushi Ebonite Fountain Pen - crimson red silver trim
53 Sailor 1911 King of Pens Color Urushi Ebonite Fountain Pen - Amber
54 Sailor 1911 Fountain Pen - King of Pens - Ebonite - Silver Trim
55 Sailor King of Pen Laminated Yellow and Black
56 Montegrappa 29/100 Limited Edition ????
57 Danitrio Hakkaku Maki-e Ancient Flower Pattern Roiromigaki Fountain Pen
59 Omas Limited Edition Gold Brush Fountan Pen made for Asian market
60 Eversharpe Modern Skyline
61 Pilot Custom Urushi Black
62 Pilot Custom Urushi Red
63 Yukari Royale Red
64 Yukari Royale Black
65 Yukari Emperor Black
66 Yukari Emperor red
67 Yukari Emperor red
68 Yukari Emperor dark red
69 Emperor Kylin
70 Emperor Owl
71 Namiki Yukari Royale Noshi Bundle
72 Yukari Royale Parrot with Peach
73 Yukari Royale Royal Rooster
74 Yukari Royale Kachimushi Dragonfly & Lotus
75 Yukari Royale Chrysanthemum Dew
76 Namiki Yukari Zodiac Limited Edition Panda
77 Namiki Yukari "White Tiger of Asia"
78 Namiki Chinkin Pine Tree
79 Namiki Chinkin Cherry Blossoms
80 Namiki Emperor Coral Limited Edition
81 2014 Limited Edition Hina Dolls Female Doll
82 2014 Limited Edition Hina Dolls male Doll
83 yukari chinkin Crane
84 yukari chuinkin silver grass
85 2011 Limited Edition Golden Rose Namiki
86 yukari nightline moonlight raden
87 YUKARI ROYALE / Rokaku Sansui Night Scene of Pavilion
88 YUKARI ROYALE / Frog Frog
89 TOP / YUKARI / Raden Milky Way Raden
90 YUKARI / Yakudama Herb Decoration
91 YUKARI / Autumn Leaves
92 YUKARI / Rock Garden
93 Pilot 80th Anniversary Limited Four Gods Lacquer Red Fountain Pen
94 Namiki Yukari Royale Court Carriage
95 Namiki Yukari Tropical Fish
96 Namiki Yukari Royale Kingfisher
97 Namiki Yukari Humingbird - 2000 made retired
98 Namiki Yukari Pigon and Persimmon
99 Namiki Limited Edition Kabuto Samurai
100 Namiki Yukari Wave Plover
101 Namiki – Yukari Royale: Snowy Egret
102 Namiki Yukari Phoenix 2019 Limited Edition Fountain Pen
103 Pilot-Namiki. An Fine Limited Edition "88th Anniversary Nioh" Maki-E Fountain Pen
105 Namiki Emperor Limited Edition 2016 Lucky Cat Manekineto
106 Namiki #50 Emperor Mandarin Duck
107 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Fountain Pen - Murasaki-Shikibu
108 Namiki Emperor Treasure Fountain Pen
109 Namiki Emperor Carp On a Waterfall 2010 Limited edition
110 2009 Limited Edtiion Emperor Polar Bear Fountain pen LTD 99
111 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Fountain Pen - Goldfish
112 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Fountain Pen - Shijin Limited edition 2020
113 Namiki Emperor Spring Autum Flowers Fountain pen - 1999 Limited Edition
114 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Limited Edition yabusame 2012
115 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Dragon 
116 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Crane
117 Namiki Emperor Toryumon Limited Edition
118 Namiki Emperor Maki-e Limited Edition Shoki 99