Due to ongoing Hurricane Harvey Diaster Relief Operations associated with my Day Job, there will be no blog posts this week and maybe next week.
Jimmy’s party is still a go, but nothing else is going to happen.
Prompt: The Gala Event of the Season
Words: cater waiter, suspicious, architecture, money, switch, imagine, yawn, blot, lilac, program
“Places, everyone! Places!”
The cater waiter army lined up in crisp white shirts and black bowties. The event planner, Madam Nouveau, marched down the row pointing out miniscule flaws and flicking errant posture with a feather switch.
“Everything has to be perfect tonight, my pretties. There will be not one yawn. Not one blot on a sleeve, glove, tray or glass. Do not speak unless spoken to. You are part of the architecture. Now fly. Fly my pretties and help make this night more magical than anyone could imagine.”
Dylan squashed any suspicious thought he had about Madam’s humanity as he accepted the silver tray of dainties. Thank god it wasn’t champagne flutes. He hated drinks trays. He pushed through the door and heroically kept his composure.
Liliac! Why did it have to be lilacs? Dylan had no idea why the rich and powerful giving money to some program whose name he couldn’t pronounce would have stooped to such an old-fashioned and common flower, but here he was.
He managed to serve the canapes before his vision completely blurred and his throat closed. He would never work again as his tray clattered to the floor – followed by him.
“And now our program is complete with a real-world demonstration. Doctors? Who wants to make this a night no one will ever forget?”
Word Count: 221
I’ve started three blogs today. None of them got past a paragraph before I trashed them. That should tell you how my week is going. My brain is SUPER “Squirrel” at the moment. It’s been one of those weirdly busy but not really times. Deadlines are either still quite a ways away or non-existent, and I keep getting distracted by the SHINY bits that are fantastic ideas but… times that means I’m doing A LOT but accomplishing NOTHING.
Follow the bouncing project…
Yeah, that’s productive. (sarcasm) I have worked on a lot of things, created great visions for several things, haven’t managed to FINISH ANYTHING. And with all the SHINY things in a non-hard-deadline focus, there ends up being a measure of being overwhelmed because it’s mental clutter. Because both Creative and Day Job PLOT BUNNIES are apparently in a mating cycle. SO many GOOD IDEAS. So little brain bandwidth to make it all happen RIGHT NOW.
It will shock NO ONE. NOT ONE OF YOU. That’s I’m cluttered. Physically and sometimes mentally. Mentally clustered to the point of throwing up one’s hands and saying, “Screw it, I’m going to play my game” – which helps NOTHING. Though it can be a bit calming if you can shut up the inner “Shoulda/Coulda/Woulda” voice. Yes… still in that mind set.
I also dealt with some medical uncertainties that have worked out to be mild and may require treatment down the road, but for now all is well and being monitored and the stress of “OMG! WORST CASE SCENARIOS AHOY!” is gone. Family stuff is sorting itself back into an acceptable version of normalcy. So brain weasels should be about to go back into hibernation soon – oh, man, did I just jinx that? Sorry I didn’t mean to!
Did get to see the eclipse with a bunch of fellow City Employee Geeks on the roof of City Hall. It was very cool. Looking forward to Dallas Totality in 2024 (though that’s still so a “sci fi” date in my brain). My main piece of FenCon staff job is complete. I actually get to be Writer Chick at FenCon for the most part this year. I’m backing up Guest Relations this year, not actually DOING IT. Crystal’s doing GREAT.
So I’m muddling along right now. Writing some. Dealing with a “meeting/training week” at work which means totally out of routine. There’s a lot of “out of routine” in the life right now – but that’s all cycling back to “normal routine” probably in the next week or so. So hopefully better news soon! But until then… FORWARD!!!!!
This week’s pen review is a basic, workhorse type pen with some fun little details. It’s the Zebra Sarasa Clip – in a 0.5mm point and red/black gel ink – because they’re good like that. I picked this one up on a JetPens.
The Sarasa Clip has a rich red/black gel ink. This one comes in the 0.5mm point with a metal, cone tip. This pen has an ink-matching plastic barrel and plunger with an ivory and metal clip. The barrel threading is on the inside, making the barrel smooth and ridgeless for extra comfort. The ink is smooth and doesn’t smear much. It writes quite well. The barrel is opaque so you can’t judge your ink level. But it is refillable.
This pen is about 5.5″ long retracted and about 5.75″ long with the tip extended. This is a typical length for a retractable pen, and it’s well balanced and has a decent diameter. This has a color-matched rubberized grip to give the pen some ergonomics as well as a “seemless” look and feel. The clip is sturdy and strong even though it’s plastic with metal mechanisms.
The clip is the other fun detail. They call it a “binder clip”. It’s a spring-loaded, hard plastic clip matching the ink color. It is break-resistant and strong. It does secure well to a wide range of materials. This pen is refillable and economical for a good quality workhorse pen.
1. How does it work? – 1 – This is a solid, utility pen. It’s inexpensive. It comes several shaded colors like the red/black.
2. Look and feel – 1 – It’s average length with a good diameter. The fun colors give a lot of options for something beyond red, blue, black, and green.
3. Material – 1 – It’s an inexpensive utility pen. It is what it is, and it’s solid for what it is. The clip is metal and plastic and strong.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s okay. It’s functional. It’s an average length retractable pen with some fun details.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These things are relatively inexpensive – though have to be ordered through JetPens. They’re about $1.75 for the pen. So you can pretty much use these for the long term. There are refills available.
4.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Prompt: Tension in Suburbia
Words: muffled, medical, orchid, par, reign, animal, church, shirt, snatch, grin
“Do you know who to call if there’s an emergency?” Sheila asked as she deadheaded an orchid and rotated the posts under the grow lights.
A muffled snort from the formless blob of teenager in the corner could’ve been a response, but that would’ve meant Sheila’s voice getting past the music blaring through headphones. Par for the course.
Sheila moved on to the other plants in her makeshift greenhouse. She kept the flowers close to the interior walls. The other plats thriving in the Three Season glassed in sun room were containers of food plants and the tithe plants for the current mob reign. Her sleep middle-class neighborhood now provided a significant percentage of medical-grade marijuana now part of the block’s “peace tax”.
Sheila harvested the now mature plants, wiping her hands on her shirt before taking the bundle to her car. She tossed a pre-packaged meal at the teenager blob. A hand snatched the packet and returned a grin and nod to Sheila.
She couldn’t wait for school to start again when the sloven teen animal emerged as her functional teenager once more, interacting with words once more.
“All right. I’ll be back.”
Sheila drove carefully through the oppressively quiet street, past the church, and to the park. She felt the eyes on her as she passed. She knew she was watched as she left the “offering”. She held her breath until she was back in her garage. They were “safe” for another growing season.
Word Count: 246
I’m once more on this blasted merry-go-round called Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Oughta.
Yes, I know it’s not productive.
Yes, I know it’s self-defeating.
It still happens to all of us. At least I recognize it for what it is. I’m muddling through this weird, weird year. SO much has gone on an is going on. We’ve had folks staying at our house for more than weekends – which is awesome that 1) we have the place for them to stay, 2) they can come to us. BUT… it isn’t as conducive to writing as one might like when one is both a borderline introvert and a hard-wired hostess – which I am. There’s a drive that says, “I must take care of these people whether they need/want me to or not…”
We’ve lost a couple of friends and extended family this year – which always takes bite out of things. Which is the circle of life. The travel that’s been done and still FOUR more events ahead is both exhilarating and exhausting. Random personal things on both sides of the “Are you kidding me?” spectrum – like the Farmer’s Insurance commercials. Then there’s the political/current event morass that we are currently stuck in. Yay…
All these things make you take a look at sporadic word counts or the closed notebook and say, “But I SHOULD BE… Oh, I OUGHT TO BE…” and feel that death spiral of “I suck”.
Guess what? That’s a stupid Brain Weasel that needs to be chased out by whatever chases away weasels. I don’t want to say “exterminate” – because, well, I’m a critter person even if they’re imaginary brain critters. (Hey, I love me some plot bunnies). So let’s alchemy the crap out of them and turn Brain Weasels into Plot Bunnies! Magic! Either that or find a way to break the merry-go-round. Okay I need to stop here I’m getting dizzy.
So if you’re on this merry-go-round also? Know you’re not alone – I’m on the Green Dragon just up the way. We can Pop The Weasel together. (HEY! I figured out my metaphoric pun! That was too much effort.)
This week features something from Jimmy’s line of blogging pencil – the Pentel P207 in Metallic Mint Green. This mechanical pencil was also a gift from my husband – but through Amazon, so you can get this one a lot easier. And probably other retailers.
If you want all the nitty gritty on the Pentel 200 Sharp pencil series – please check out Jimmy’s blog at Nimrodd’s Blog: Pentel P200 Sharp Pencils and more. Though I have yet to see the “more” unless it’s the history of this pencil. He’s the SERIOUS collector
The Pentel Sharp P207 is a fairly standard mechanical pencil. The body is enameled in what they call metallic mint green. It’s pretty shiny and definitely green. The hardware is metal probably aluminum, maybe stainless. According to JetPens, it’s 5.6” long and 0.3” in diameter. It’s the classic hexagonal barrel with the grooved grip, but no other ergonomics.
The cap over the eraser is both secure and easy to remove. It’s snug enough that it’s not going to go flying off your pencil, but you don’t have to be Hercules to get it off in order to refill it. The needle tip guards the lead and lets you see where you’re writing.
It works with standard 0.7mm mechanical pencil lead. I still prefer 0.5mm, but this writes well and doesn’t seem to break easily. The eraser is refillable with the typical white rubber erasers. It’s a solid workhorse, classic mechanical pencil. No frills.
1. How does it work? – 1 – It’s a mechanical pencil. The mechanism advances smoothly. The cap is secure but easy to manipulate to get to the eraser. It’s easy to refill. Everything you want in a pencil.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – Better than I suspected. The grip is what it is, but the grooves give it some comfort and there’s nothing to dig into the fingers.
3. Material – 0.5 It’s a standard mechanical pencil. Metal hardware, hard plastic enameled body. Nothing super fancy. Nice “paint job” though
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s a decent mechanical pencil. It doesn’t feel all that cheap or all that expensive. The needle does seem to protect the lead which doesn’t seem to break very easily.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These run between $6 and $8 depending on where you find them. There’s a bit of a premium for the metallic body. For a fairly standard pencil, it’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive. You’ll get your money’s worth if you’re willing to spend it.
I give it 4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Prompt: The Problems of Celebrities
Words: tabloid, existence, dolphin, bunker, surgery, parade, chase, master, smash, possum
“Don’t believe everything you read.” Ariel shook her head. “Especially in that tabloid.”
“So you don’t think…” Cindy swiveled her head to check out her reflection in the mirror.
“That dolphins are the master race? Sure. Absolutely.” Sarcasm dripped from Ariel’s words. “And that’s a weird photo from a parade no shot is flattering then.”
“So you don’t think I need surgery?” Cindy finally turned away from her dressing table in her tower bunker of frilly princessdom.
“I think I want to smash whoever put that idea into anyone’s head.” Ariel paced laps around the tower room. “If I could, I’d play possum until the pageant cycle was over.”
“But Fairest of Them All is the time-honored tradition…”
“Oh letting our male counterparts off the hook? If our existence is based on looks, so should theirs.”
Cindy rolled her eyes. “The Handsome Prince contest is just as grueling. Charming is not the goal there. Let’s face it, in the chase for the Happily Ever After Rose, we’re all in it together for the same shallow reasons – ratings. Not that anyone at the network will ever see it any other way. Now hand me my glass slippers and get your tail in gear. We’re late.”
Word Count: 204
It’s the Wednesday after ArmadilloCon. It’s not the most relaxing week ever, but I’m getting there.
No fan run convention is created equal – heck no convention PERIOD is created equal. They all have their unique strengths and things that make us love them. Kind of like people. Where some could be more for the fan-building or social networking, others are more writer-centric business leaning. ArmadilloCon is that business side of things for me.
It’s been one of my favorites for years for going and meeting and doing. I get to hang with my professional buddies and get inspired, industry info, and just be around my creative fellows. In many ways, it’s totally recharging and motivating. I don’t sell a lot of books there, but there are other trade offs for me personally (in the constant struggle of expense/time : return on investment ratio). This year seemed bigger and YOUNGER than years past (GOOD THING) probably thanks to Tamora Pearce (whom I didn’t get to meet, darn it!)
This year I did a pretty even mix of fandom topics – Sidekicks and why we love them and Star Trek:TNG a generation later; to writing topics – morning pages and flavors of flash fiction. I missed being part of Fannish Feud, but it is what it is. The panels were packed – my smallest audience was SIX PEOPLE, and that was my reading at 5:30 pm on Saturday. And a 6:1 ration is nothing to sneeze at – they’re my motivators, too. Those six people come to all my readings – they keep me on my toes in a “Holy crap, what NEW THING can I read to them? They’ve heard all my stuff!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!”. The 10 am Saturday Morning Pages panel? TWENTY people at 10 am! but that was part of the kick butt writers’ workshop track that ArmadilloCon is kinda famous for.
All the panels were significantly full – which is a mixed blessing in some ways. We heard lots of people talking about how they wanted to go to such and such panel but there were FOUR MORE awesome ones AT THE SAME TIME. Good problem to have for PANELS, not so good for dealer’s room and art show. When are people supposed to shop when they’re ALWAYS at panels? Randomly weird Catch 22.
The other logistical issue is the fact – to this day – some moderators don’t get that an hour-long panel really ISN’T an hour long. It’s 50 minutes so people have time to travel to their next panel or go to the bathroom or both (but not in that order), and then, if not careful CAN (but doesn’t have to) create a cascade effect in the schedule. Part of that can be fixed by having the schedule SAY X:00 AM – X:50 AM – and not just having that “rule” hidden in the moderator notes THAT (let’s face it) no one reads.
This ArmadilloCon resulted in some business being done for me. A good butt-kicking that I’ve needed after a few months of Real Life Getting In the Way with some deadlines and accountability being hurled at my head with Superhero Strength and Velocity. Sometimes we all need it, just like I need ArmadilloCon. If you have the opportunity, we’ll see you next year end of July/beginning of August.
Next up: SmallCon!
This week’s pen review takes a look at the Pentel Kirari Get. This one is a 0.7mm retractable with Ener-Gel ink refills. This line came from Tokyo Pen Shop and come in pink, purple, and gold. The gold is a bit beige-y for me, but for what I’m doing it’s the right color for me.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this pen, I’ve mentioned my tendency for retractables on the work desk. This is one of them. This one is both pretty and practical. It’s a good size – 5.75″ retracted, and 6″ with the point out. The diameter is wide enough to be comfortable, but not overly wide. The grip is shimmery rubberized with some wave patterning that makes it easy to hold onto for longer periods of time.
The barrel is beige/gold plastic base with metal accents and clip. The clip identifies the pen NOT as Kirari, but as KL307. The ink is basic black. The Ener-Gel ink is a does dry quickly, but it is a gel based ink, so there’s a drying factor on slicker paper. The 0.7mm metal tip gives a decent line – it’s not as fine as I typically love, but it’s not broad and gloppy. It’s easily legible and quick drying. It’s also refillable. BUT… what I’ve done is replace the standard black with a Ener-Gel 307 BROWN refill. Which is basically the same ink but keeps the whole pen in a earth tone feel – and I have a Hobbit journal that SCREAMS for brown ink, so I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.
This pen runs #5 on Tokyo Pen Shop. I haven’t found it anywhere else. It’s more expensive than some others, but with the refill and comfort level, it’s not a bad price. It’s one I grab often, especially if the journal is close by. If you want something different than your basic Energ-Gel or want something a bit more professional looking but not overly expensive – this one’s good. Tell the Tokyo Pen Shop Folk I sent you. Someday, we’re going to Iowa to visit them. If you’re IN or near Iowa, go on my behalf!
1. How does it work? – 0.5 It’s decent. No real frills but different colors and grip pattern. The ink is bold and the roller smooth. There can be some smearing, but it’s liquid ink. It happens, especially on slick paper. It does dry quickly, but needs drying time.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s an inexpensive, plastic, no frills pen. It has a grip that’s pretty comfortable. The length and balance are good.
3. Material – 1 It’s recycled plastic, but it has a good mechanism and good ink. If you’re ecology conscious or just want to help keep plastic out of landfills, this is a good thing.
4. Overall Design – 1 -It’s a basic retractable liquid gel ink pen. It’s refillable or disposable. It is what it is.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s a bit more expensive at $5, but it’s not overpriced considering you can’t get it easily in this country without hitting up Tokyo Pen Company – but as evidenced here, I refilled it already. The brown refill was $1.25. You can’t go wrong.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils