Wednesday blog day… and wow, look, ducks EVERYWHERE and not a single row in sight. But I have an amazing snuggle buddy while I try to accomplish something. And sometimes there are two! It’s been a little over three months, glad they’re starting to rest together as well as play together.
My SF geek heart did a little pitter-pat this past Saturday. I found out through the Day Job that Buzz Aldrin was doing a book signing at the CR Smith Museum (which is a history of American Airlines flight museum). He was supposed to be there from 10 am – 2 pm and we got there just before 10 am and the line was staggering. Apparently a majority of the people for the line was there before the museum opened – but I don’t care. How many times do I have the opportunity to meet someone who actually walked on the MOON? Walked in SPACE, we got that covered, but the MOON??? It was worth the hour and a half in the line for 15 seconds of “Thank you for your service and being a major inspiration.” He actually looked up! Teensy weensy brush with history, and I’m a big ole fangirl. And was on camera waxing all philosophical and such about the fact there were people there from 8 months to 88 years old – and every age in between. Parents and grandparents bringing little kids, teenagers, adults. So awesome to see.
Now, I have to do what I do. I’m doing some chore typing this week to get some stuff in my notebook into the computer. I’m behind on that as well as adding wondrous new words to a couple of projects. I also have to figure out what I should do for the next book in my space opera universe (because there might need/get to be another one).
My next show in a couple of weeks – Tyler Rose City Comic Con. I had a blast last year, looking forward to this year. Then the last show of the year is The Stan Lee Foundation – We <3 Art show at the Dallas Main Public Library on Saturday, November 7th for We Heart Art: Creating New Worlds event. This is going to be an AMAZING event. Come check us out!
It’s Pen Post Monday and a full week past FenCon. Time to get all the stuff back on track. Which is more difficult when the dogs are simply extruding “Nap Vibes”…and I had some FenCon close out stuff to do – and laundry (there’s always laundry). Ah, the glamorous life of a writer/blogger…
I managed to make it to the Dallas Pen Show for a teensy amount of time. Just long enough to renew our subscription to Pen World Magazine – one of my all-time favorite magazines. Love this thing. I call it “pen porn”, because I always INTEND to read the articles. Though this issue I actually did because it had an article about Harlan Ellison and his collection. This just goes to show that no matter what thing you might be into – you are not alone. In fact, many writers have pen collections. Who knew?
I checked in with the fine folks from Paradise Pen Company. I’ve come up with a plan to finally add a Pilot Vanishing Point to my collection (I’ve only been wanting one for YEARS) and it looks like I’ll have the means put together in time for my Birthday Pilgrimage in February during ConDFW. Yay! Seriously, I’ve been wanting one of these for SO LONG – and haven’t justified the (not completely outrageous) price point until I managed to get the numbers to align. So THAT’s coming.
The fun bit, I was telling my pen buddy, Tim Black, about Brandon Lee (Modern Chocolatiers) and Ryan Krusac – who makes the most gorgeous hand-crafted fountain pens in a wide array of materials and themes. He’s got a Kraken pen that is just awesome – when I turned a corner and there they were again. I only get to see them at this show since they’re in Georgia. Hey, Atlanta folks? They’re your local guys, support them for me!
I was on limited budget this year – I bought Carmelized Chocolate Almonds from Brandon because he always has a ‘take my money’ option…and come on… pens and chocolate. And the nice lady holding down a Faber-Castell table got the rest of my money. I’ve not really tried out Faber-Castell and they had some good deals. I picked up the last green capped N’ice ballpoint pen – and a Perfect Pencil. I’ve seen them in some emails and ads…ended up buying one because it was SO affordable and I couldn’t say NO. You’ll be seeing these in more detail in the very near future.
So here we go… back in the saddle. I keep meaning to do more with the Dallas Pen Show folks but somehow haven’t pulled that trigger yet. I appreciate them so much for giving me the opportunity to get to know some vendors/artists that I would never have met before. We’ll see what happens in the future…
Now, back to the saddle. Need to put those pens to use. I have books and stories to write.
Here it is, the Tex Thompson-Inspired Uber-Enthusiastic, post-FenCon post.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! OMG, GUYS. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I don’t deserve you! You are SO AWESOME! THANK YOU!
FenCon is always a good time – considering I have to split my time between working with Guests of Honor and being a writer. My convention friends and family have always been super supportive. I’ve been part of this convention since its first year – first as a writer then as staff. FenCon is where I started dating Jimmy, met some of the most amazing writers, artists, musicians, and scientists (including an astronaut!).
HOWEVER, this year catapulted all those other experiences to the next level – including the campaign to have FenCon be the convention where Selina wore the Redheads of the Apocalypse Satan outfit when we “won the bet”.
YOU GUYS – you guys – you came to FenCon and bought all the copies of Tarbox Station Yard Dog Press brought – by early Saturday. Then you bought all the copies (except the one I carried around) I brought by Saturday afternoon. THEN you bought all the copies I WENT HOME TO GET on Saturday evening by end of the convention on Sunday.
Not only did you ask me to sign these books (most of them – I think), you also took them to Mitch Bentley to have HIM sign them too. Mitch actually brought one giant print-on-canvas of the Tarbox cover art to the convention. It’s now hanging on my wall – after nearly making me cry hanging in the art show.
Now I’m tearing up a little just remembering this experience because YOU GUYS – I alternate between ecstatically happy that you bought all the books and humbled because you bought all the books (and you followed directions and came to FenCon to buy books). Trust me… TRUST ME… I totally FELT THE LOVE.
I can’t tell you how much that all means to me – except that I hope you like the book – if you do, tell the universe. If you don’t, tell me so I can get better. And now I need to get back to work to give you guys more things to read.
At some near future point I’ll do a more inclusive convention report, but for now this is the thing most on my mind – and I had to get it out before I exploded.
I have about an hour before load in for FenCon… let the stressing out begin. Oh wait, that was yesterday and this morning. I’m almost done with what I have to do before the Guests of Honor descend on us tomorrow – during which time I’m going to be very acquainted with my car as I make several trips to the airport. Looking forward to having all our special guests with us.
But that’s not all I have to do… I have a bunch of panels – my schedule is HERE – three of which are “performance based” (ie, IMPROV heavy). That’s not stressful at ALL. 😎 I hope to be coherent. That’s about all I can promise at this point.
So not only will I be promoting Tarbox Station – which is both new and exciting AND features a cover by FenCon’s Artist Guest of Honor… but I can announce I’ve got a new short story in an anthology from Wolfsinger Publications. The anthology is called Under a Dark Sign – and it’s co-edited by JA Campbell, a friend I made at last year’s FenCon. I promised her I would put together a story for her – I squeaked it in under the deadline (because I promised). I’m grateful that they liked the story I wrote – which ended up being an origin story (of sorts) to a character in another project I’m working on. It will be out at the end of October – you might see it if you’re at MileHiCon (if we all get our stuff done).
Come see all the hard working folks at FenCon. Come buy books. Come have fun. I’ll try to be somewhat coherent next week – but don’t count on it.
This is going to be quick and dirty because it’s FenCon week – and time is of the essence. This week we look at a classic mechanical pencil in fun colors – the PaperMate Sharpwriter. This pencil has been around for decades – I did try to find out how long, but couldn’t quite narrow that down. But I remember using these in school all those **mumblety mumblety** years ago. But this pencil is a classic – in fact I noticed Adam Savage using one of the standard yellow ones on one of the last episodes of Mythbusters.
The thing with the PaperMate Sharpwriter is that they’re cheap and disposable. You’re not supposed to refill them (though there seems to be a YouTube video showing you how). Intended to be used and abused, they’re not the most sturdy – especially the clip. I know I’ve snapped off more than – and so have the Mythbusters crew. Savage’s pencil had the clip snapped off right where the weak point is where the clip branches off the barrel.
These pencils come in a standard 0.7mm HB (#2) lead for use on any standardized test, experiment notebook, or page. The lead is extended through a ribbed twist mechanism. The SharpWriter is designed to have less breakage, but that could also be a function of size. The SharpWriters are about 6″ long and a bit on the narrow side. The white erasers are adequate but a touch on the hard side. They do the job but could dry out if they sit for any length of time.
The big thing about these are that they can be dirt, dirt cheap – especially during Back-to-School sales. In fact I picked up a 6-pack of “fashion color” SharpWriters with a “bonus” InkJoy retractable ball point pen on sale at Office Depot for $1. The box of a dozen at Office Depot runs $5.50 – so at the most you should be spending $1 or less per pencil – that way if they’re lost or broken or just wear out, you’re not out a lot of money. If you run the lead out – it’s all inexpensive plastic, I don’t see why you couldn’t recycle the barrels.
1. How does it work? – 1 It’s decent. The lead extends and retracts and does what pencils are supposed to do.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – This is no frills plastic retractable pencil. The mechanism is a twist mechanism that’s not fancy. The barrel is smooth with no grip or ergonomics and a little on the narrow side.
3. Material – 0.5 It’s a no frills plastic mechanical pencil. It’s not refillable. Meant to be disposable – probably recyclable. But likely it’s going to be ditched.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s an ages-old design. This thing has not changed in a very long time, except to add some colors. But if you like a pencil that’s going to work the same way EVERY TIME? This is it
5. Price Point – 1 – It’s cheap and readily available. This pencil routinely runs less than $1 each – MUCH less if you get a good sale. You can’t beat that if you’re hard on your writing instruments or don’t want to risk messing up a more expensive pencil.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Twas the week before FenCon when all through the house,
Every creature was panicking, including the mouse. (EEK!)
The boxes were stacked all high in back
In hopes the artists’ works were intact.
The welcome bags were lined up to be filled
With toys and snacks that did not need chilled.
Then I in my stress and Jimmy in his wisdom
Settled in to come up with some kind of system
To get through the next week sanity intact
Only to discover a deadline I lacked.
I tore open the files to find what I missed
Only to have to create a new list.
Then with a wink of the eye and flick of the pen
I went to work with a weird kind of zen.
Then one by one the days tick on by
With hopes that everything’s not done on the fly.
But as it is now, there’s stuff going crazy
And wondering if details will stop feeling hazy.
So onward to sleep with deeds being done,
Looking forward to next week and having some fun.
Yeah… so this is my blog post for today because I think my brain just broke a little. FenCon looms large on the horizon. A sort of final deadline for Redheads is JUST as looming with a veer off to figure out some panel stuff.
So enjoy the poetic “filk” of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”…
Here we go. Pen review day. Woo hoo! I’m getting stuff done on schedule again! Today’s pen was from my last order from JetPens. This is a Sakura Ballsign Knock Gel Pen in a brown/black ink with a 0.04mm point.
This is an interesting little pen. It’s a slimline retractable gel pen but with a bow at the grip to make the grip diameter wider and easier to handle. The grip part of the barrel is tinted the ink color, but the rest of the barrel is transparent. The ink is smooth and rich in a long refill that makes the barrel seem to have an inner color match lining, but it’s actually the ink.
The plunger to the pen does have a color match lining with a slight ridge to the end cap. The retraction mechanism is solid. The clip is small but seems strong. I don’t foresee the clip snapping off unless you fiddle with it for an extensive amount of time. The pen runs just over 5.25” long both retracted and point extended.
The line is thin, obviously, it’s a 0.04mm – which I like – with a conical tip. The color is a nice tea brown. It works well on regular paper as well as the homemade journal paper I’m also currently using. It’s comfortable in the hand even without much in the terms of ergonomics. I foresee it working for quite a while.
1. How does it work? – 1 It’s decent. The ink refill is long and full – which indicates a long life. The tip and line are smooth and solid.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – This is no frills plastic retractable pen. The grip is slightly wider than the barrel but that’s all the nod to ergonomics it has. The barrel is slim, which might not appeal to some.
3. Material – 1 It’s a no frills plastic retractable pen, but it’s solidly built and cool looking plastic retractable pen.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s a cool looking, well-writing pen. With such a fine point, it’s sometimes difficult to get a solid line. This does very well. The clip, though small, is sturdy, and the mechanism solid.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s a touch on the expensive side. These run $2.70 each and only available through an outlet like JetPens. They do come in a variety of colors and multipacks.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
I’ve spent most of today reorganizing and cleaning out the Master Closet – we have another closet on the agenda. So I’m a bit wiped out by THAT. But in taking advantage of Labor Day sales, I’ve added to the stash of things to review over the next few weeks.
I think I’ve also come up with a plan to make a TRULY whirlwind appearance at the Dallas Pen Show on September 25th. I won’t be able to take anyone with me – because I’ll have to be the first one through the door at 10 am because I’ll have to be out of there at 11 am to be back at FenCon (at the new hotel farther away) by 11:30.
Until next week, here is a quick look at what I picked up this weekend that you will see reviewed – plus the stuff I picked up from JetPens.
We’ll have some fun in the next few weeks.