Okay, so user error may have been the major cause here. Turns out I wasn't pumping the squeeze convertor enough. You're meant to pump it until bubbles no longer form in the ink, then let it slowly draw until full. Previously, I wasn't seeing bubbles at all because I was compressing the bulb BEFORE I submerged the nib, and only letting it draw once. It's possible that what little writing I got out of it each time was just the ink in the nib. I've filled it properly now, so we'll see how it goes.
The bulb convertor on that first Pilot pen just wasn't cutting it, so I ordered a piston convertor. While I was at it, I went ahead and threw in another Pilot and conveyor. The notebook was just an easy way to bring the total up to free shipping level, but I actually like it. A lot. The Apicas are turning into my favorite line of notebooks.
Revel in the marvels of the universe. We are a collective of forward-thinking individuals who strive to better ourselves and our surroundings through constant creation. We express ourselves through music, art, games, and writing. We also put great value in play. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.