As a journalist, I'm allowed a few vices. Kentucky bourbon is one, and fine writing instruments are another. There is nothing like taking notes for eight straight hours to teach you the value of a pen that glides across the page, nurses you through a hand cramp, and won't explode into a blobby mess after a few plane trips. The new Pilot G-2 ($1.89) is pure pen nirvana: The gel ink doesn't leak or smear; the padded grip keeps my callouses smaller than Mt. Everest; and there's no cap to lose. One pen survived a month on the road with me, logging more than 500 pages of notes and 14 flights. Best test? The reaction of my colleagues. One stroke of the G-2 across the page, and every reporter has the same response: "Ooooh!" We writers know our pens. Just don't ask to borrow mine.