Today’s blog is a mechanical pencil from Platinum. The last thing I reviewed from Platinum was the Preppy Fountain Pen, so I thought it was time to try something else. This is the Platinum OLEeNU Mechanical Pencil.
At first blush, this is a typical mechanical pencil. It has a clear barrel with a frosted rubber grip and accents. It’s 11mm diameter is a comfortable size for long-term writing. The grip gives it a slight squish for added comfort. It’s about 5.75″ long, which makes it long enough to be comfortable. The metal tip retracts into the barrel completely to protect the lead in a pocket or purse. The eraser is the typical white rubber eraser under a clear plastic cap.
It comes with a good 0.5mm lead. It’s a standard lead point, but where this differs is the in the clutch mechanism. With most mechanical pencils, when the lead gets down to a certain length, the clutch stops working and you end up wasting part of the lead. This one claims to let you clutch all the way down to the last millimeter, which lets you get more use out of the lead. I haven’t used it down that far, but I like that idea. The literature says in order to use that much of each lead, there has to be one extra piece of lead, I would take that to mean this comes with four leads instead of the standard three.
The literature also says the metal tip has a dual structure that protects the lead from breakage. This I can attest. I thought the pencil felt more secure, that it was harder to break the lead. I had a friend borrow the pencil, and she said how much she liked it because the lead didn’t break as much. It’s also got a spring to absorb shock – for those like me who tend to put a lot of pressure on a tip. The lead advances through the typical pusher through the eraser, as well as with an automatic advance mechanism.
This is a “go to” mechanical pencil. I like it a lot. I picked it up from JetPens. It’s not overly expensive, but it’s not dirt cheap either, but if the mechanisms work the way advertised, then this will pay for itself in longevity.
1. How does it work? – 1 – This is a solid mechanical pencil. It has two ways to advance lead. It does protect from breakage as much as possible. It seems to let you use much more lead than typical mechanical pencils.
2. Look and feel – 1 – I like that it’s transparent plastic. But it’s also long enough and wide enough to be comfortable without being blocky.
3. Material – 1 – It’s plastic. The innovative stuff is in the mechanics where you can’t see.
4. Overall Design – 0.5 – The only knock? When I was erasing some samples, I ended up advancing the lead quite a bit and had to put that back before I snapped off a significant length of lead. But other than that, it’s awesome.
5. Price Point – 1 – This pencil runs $3.30 on JetPens.com. That’s more than some everyday mechanical pencils, but with the mechanics totally makes it worth it.
4.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Today’s writing post… and there’s more stuff hitting fans. How much fun is that?
A couple of days ago an article on XOJane.com started circulating on my Facebook feed. The title of the article: “I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year” with a picture of a circled out Neil Gaiman book held by a woman of color.
The premise of the article was supposed to be to challenge readers to read outside their comfort zone. To read books that aren’t in their normal shelf or scope. That’s not how it read. It read as “boycott all the books by White Dudes”. I can’t support that. Not even a little.
Do I want people to read more books by all kinds of people? Absolutely because, hey, I’m a woman writer that should mean more people reading my book. BUT… but I would rather they read my book because they’ve gotten to me, or like the genre, or just want to try something new – not because of my gender or other “minority” attribute. If that’s a deciding factor, okay, I hope you like the story and come back for more.
If you’re reading my book INSTEAD OF reading someone else’s because of their skin color, gender, or other identifier? That’s NOT OKAY. I will not now nor will I ever support anything that causes a fellow author to lose sales (which then could mean the end of a career), because then we’ll never have books by someone who has produced art in the past… BECAUSE OF THEIR SKIN COLOR OR GENDER.
Expand your horizons. Read men, women, black, white, LGBT, religious…heck read Flying Purple Spaghetti Monsters, I don’t care, but don’t STOP reading those things that got you reading in the first place. Find things that stretch you, entertain you, and then tell your friends. Tell the world with your hard earned dollars.
Make this kind of challenge an AND not a OR. Really, there’s room for all of us on the bookshelves. If you want to read books that aren’t “the same old, same old” or are of different perspectives, types of authors, etc… go check out Yard Dog Press. They don’t call us a “taste of strange” for nothing.
Don’t know what to read? Try anthologies. Short pieces that introduce you to a wide range of writers styles. They’re AWESOME!
So I have several brands of pens that I like – it’s no secret. I tend toward the “Two Ps” from Japan, Pentel and Pilot. But lately, Zebra has been rising on my list. They used to be a lower end pen (like Huyndai and Kai to Honda and Toyota) but have been getting better and better (like those same car companies).
Today’s pen is the Zebra Surari retractable Emulsion Ink Pen with a 0.7mm point in black ink with a black body. The pen is a typical length, about 5.5″ long with a tapered body with a nod to ergonomics. The clip is thick plastic, so it’s sturdy enough. It’s not going to breaks easily. It’s harder to see the ink levels with the black barrel, but the dark barrel gives the pen a sleek look.
The 0.7mm point is solid metal with an emulsion ink. The black ink is a cross between gel and ballpoint ink. It’s a smooth flowing ink that dries quickly with some smearing with a deep, rich hue and solid line. The ink did skip and smear a little on less porous paper. It’s thick enough to give a good line but fluid enough to not glob up and it does dry pretty quickly.
The Surari is refillable with the EQ-0.7 which makes it an even more affordable pen over the long haul – which is amazing since it’s already an affordable work horse of a pen.
1. How does it work? – 0.5 – This is a solid working pen. The ink is rich and quick drying but still has some smearing and a touch of skipping. The point is solid. The retractor mechanism is pretty standard.
2. Look and feel – 1 – It’s a solid pen with good lines and a solid clip.
3. Material – 0.5 – It’s plastic. There’s a nod to ergonomics but it’s still all plastic
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s functional. It’s an average length retractable pen with some artistic details. It’s got a good color ink and fine point. It’s a good point.
5. Price Point – 1 – This pen is affordable and refillable. The pen is $1.65 on JetPens.com with available refills. The refills run about $1.35.
4.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Okay, so I totally forgot to do posts this week. It’s been a busy week getting back in gear after ConDFW – and I had both a Federal Holiday (which I actually had off) and my birthday which threw a modicum of chaos into my week.
ConDFW went well. They’re in a new hotel which is a bit sprawling for its current size, but has nice social space. We just need to find a way to let more people know about it. The numbers have been dwindling – Dallas Comic Con’s Fan Expo the week before doesn’t help. But not all fans are just, about the actors and buying the STUFF, there are still readers out there. I know there are – because I sell books at comic book shows. We just have to find out how to get them back to have the interaction with him that makes fan-run literary conventions so much fun.
And ConDFW was fun. Lots of cool stuff happened – even with limited paneling because even though this is my JOB (it is a job, a business, don’t ever think it’s not), it’s when I have some of the most fun doing my job. I talk to people. I network. I catch up. And even though I come out of if it wrung out and exhausted, I’m also creatively recharged, encouraged, and generally have at least a small pile of Plot Bunnies. Then, if things go really well (which they somehow tend to do at ConDFW) I also find the experience to be some combination of surreal, humbling, and ego-boosting all in one fell swoop.
So, please, please, please come to ConDFW next year. We need you. Bill Ledbetter and I had EIGHT people at our 11 am Sunday morning reading… that’s a GOOD THING. That’s prime check out time and after folks either had good times at the parties or in the bar – that those souls came is awesome. They got to listen to the first couple of chapters of my novel (which I’m HIP DEEP in edits for) and a couple of people said very nice, very encouraging things afterwards. And yes, all those people I didn’t quite listen to, that “read it out loud” thing really does work.
Speaking of which – I need to knuckle down and get the edits done. I have lots to do and need to get it done. I have plans for time management. I’m probably going to bail on a social engagement tomorrow or just go really late because I need to get this thing DONE. The edits are at times painful – but it will be a better book when it’s done. It’s not quite as awful as I thought it was going to be after talking to my editor, but it’s not easy. And now, I have to get back to it.
Hopefully soon I’ll have more news for you!
There’s not going to be a pen review today. I’m too wiped from ConDFW – and since I’m actually off the Day Job today for President’s Day (yay!) – my brain is taking the day off.
It was so much fun to take people I care about to one of my favorite stores to drool over the pretty, pretty pens and such. I did get a couple of things for my birthday (thank you, John and Jimmy) which will show up here eventually.
Mike Braun tried out a couple of lead holders by doing a couple of sketches – that are now in the shop cases – or were Saturday night. Go by and check them out. The Paradise Pen Company guys are GREAT. This is why I buy from them when I can.
We will return to our normally scheduled pen blog next week.
I am beyond words today. I should be working on my novel edits – which I have been, but now I have to get this off my chest.
I’m not a gamer. I don’t play one on TV. Today I stand with gamers – and game developers – in my support of Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu. I don’t know these women -though I’ve been acquainted with Frank Wu for years now. What these women are dealing with is…so unbelievable that “insane” is just too mild a word.
I can’t begin to imagine having very public rape and death threats coming at me over months. I can’t being to imagine what it’s like to have a Law & Order episode written about what’s happened to me, my colleagues, and my family. I don’t ever want to know – that wasn’t an invitation. I’m a woman in SF…we have these issues – and others.
Last month the US celebrated MLK Day. Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. Well, maybe it’s time we revisit that, because as much as I want to hide under the bed and hope things like this aren’t happening – they are. And it’s making me angry.
I pray for the day Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future comes to pass. Where humanity (and alien life) has moved beyond the petty crap we’re all still dealing with. Unfortunately, that day is not today.
Occasionally I say stupid things. We all do. I don’t care about skin color or gender or who wants to be in a relationship with whom. I may not understand or agree with you, or be PC, or a whole number of things. But what I cannot stand, cannot tolerate are the Extremist Nut Jobs or Jerks.
I look forward to the day people are judged based on ability, on their character, and for no other reason. I look forward when children are told they can “Be anything they want to be” and have it actually mean something without worrying about whether or not they’re “plain of feature” or “good at X for a Y.” People are important. People matter.
Apparently I’ve picked up a lot of Pilot Pens lately – that’s not a bad thing. I do like Pilot. The G2s are undeniably a benchmark pen. But I’ve also come to appreciate others in the family. Jimmy’s always liked the Precise V family. I’m coming around. This is the BeGreen Precise V5 in blue.
The reason I’ve been hesitant to embrace the Precise V family of pens is the needle point. I’ve always been a little afraid of needle points because they always felt flimsy to me, like I would bend or break them (and I think I have in the distant past). This pen has a solid feeling point for the heavy-handed writers. This is a 0.5mm – hence the V5 – but it’s still a decent point.
The pen is about 5.5″ long capped and close to 6.25″ with the cap posted. It’s light but well-balanced. The ink is richly pigmented and flows well from the tip. The lines are smooth and the ink dries quickly on paper with minimal smearing. The barrel has transparent panels to let you see the ink level. The cap cover matches the ink. The logo panel is green with ink matching portions to the barrel so you know which pen you’re picking up.
Pilot’s BeGreen lines of pens have high recycled materials content for the environmentally friendly. The BeGreen Precise V5 has 89.2% recycled content. The blue and black versions of the pen are refillable for a further economy to an economical pen. This is a good workhorse pen that has a price point, so if it’s stolen off a desk, it’s no big loss.
1. How does it work? – 1 – This is a solid working pen. The ink is well-pigmented. The point is relatively solid for a needle point.
2. Look and feel – 0.5 – It’s a basic stick pen. There’s no real ergonomics. It’s all plastic with a clip that could snap off if you mess with it too much.
3. Material – 1 – It’s recycled plastic. It does have the highest recycled content of any of the BeGreen line I’ve picked up lately.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s functional. It’s an average length stick pen with a decent point and ink. It’s refillable and eco-friendly
5. Price Point – 1 – This pen is affordable and refillable. It’s a good deal. I got this pen on JetPens for $1.80. Refills come in blue and black for $2.00 for a two-pack.
4.0 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Oh, yeah, Friday. Tomorrow I’m doing something for Fan Day’s Saturday Night Shindig, which reminds me I didn’t get to talk about North Texas Comic Book Show last week.
North Texas Comic Book Show (NTCBS) is a similar but much smaller show than Fan Expo. Chris is the organizer and focuses on the artists and cosplayers – at the moment. It might expand in the future, because it does seem to be gradually getting bigger and better for the attendees.
The attendees that currently come to NTCBS are a core group. Some were friends of the organizer and/or the artists – but it does appear those core people are telling people. And this last show, News Fix 33 (CW 33) came by and did a story – which is awesome. Though I do have to question their title – “Comic Book Show Draws Thousands” – thousands of WHAT they don’t say, because it wasn’t PEOPLE.
Don’t get me wrong there were people there over the two days – but they were a lot of the SAME people. Hundreds maybe, but not thousands – because if there were, we’d’ve been shut down for breaking a bajillion fire codes – which is always a good problem to have.
This was a “squeaker” show for me. I made just over table costs – but barely and not until the last few hours of the show. I sweat the show. I did, because though it’s NOT all about the money, that’s a major factor. The other major factor was, and is, meeting people and trying to attract new readers. The comic books shows are a harder sale to make – because these are folks generally looking for specific things. They’re not always there to look for prose, but I get some – and they’re not people I’d necessarily meet anywhere else.
It’s completely worth it. THIS show… though not as flashy (or expensive – WAY, WAY less expensive) as Fan Expo – it’s got heart. It’s got GOOD people involved. Even if I’d not made money at this particular show, I would go back. In fact, I “strayed” to do the bigger show and have come back just because it’s less expensive and more intimate. I can get to know people here. I can’t at the big show.
So if you’re into comic books – really into comic books – and comic book art, consider coming to the next NTCBS (I hear they’re doing a Spiderman theme) and support a growing show.