It’s already Wednesday. Wow. The last few days have been both the longest and the biggest blurs. Most of you already know why. I just started a short story at the request of my friend, Robyn. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve just begun so it’s not gone difficult…yet. Hopefully I can make it what she wants and needs it to be.
And now, I have no idea where to go from here. We’re still in a bit of one foot in front of the other. Waiting for other people to make decisions. Work’s been crazy busy, as always, but they’ve been really understanding and generous. It’s just been so weird.
Because of personal drama and the fact I really have no dog in the hunt, I have no opinion on the Hugo nominations and no heart for the drama. I’m dealing with enough of that in real life. I wish everyone involved a peaceful resolution.
This has been an emotional week so this is kind of thrown together. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Pilot pens and ink. The G2 has been go to ink. So when I discovered Target has an “exclusive” set of G2s (the Fashion Collection), I had to go ahead and pick them up, even though I don’t NEED a new set. Then I realized I had never actually done a full review of the G2s – just bits from other reviews.
The “normal” G2 has a clear casing with the retractable mechanism and the grip matching the color of the ink. It runs just short of 5.75″. The rubber grip is pretty comfortable for an inexpensive, every day pen. One of the things I like about it is the clear barrel that allows you to see how much ink you have left. These have a matching ribbon along the clear part of the barrel, but the ink is still visible. This collection comes in blue, black, red, purple, teal, and silver.
The ink is still awesome, the roller is smooth for a 0.7mm. These pens have good ink reservoirs with rich tints to the ink. The conical tips are smooth and lay down a solid line. The feel is good. The ink does seem to dry quickly – except in my moleskine calendar which has really slick pages. EVERYTHING smears on that. The silver pen looks great on dark paper but is still visible on plain paper.
To the numbers:
1. How does it work? – 1 The ink is strong and comes in decent point sizes. The retraction mechanism is solid.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s fairly basic retractable pen with a decent drip that hasn’t changed much over time, but it still gives a comfortable feel for long-term use.
3. Material – 1 – It’s rubberized and translucent plastic pen. It’s solid for what it is.
4. Overall Design – 1 – These are a standard. They’ve not changed much over time, which is good. It’s never been broken, so there’s nothing really to fix. The pen is colorful, comfortable, and solid.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These run just under $2 a pop which is about on par. They should be refillable, but I’m not seeing refills for these yet. If they do end up having the refills, then they will be a solid pen for everyday use.
There’s been a significant amount of loss in the last week. We lost a good friend and fandom family – Ed Dravecky – over the weekend. And though he and Robyn would want to see a pen blog today, that’s goign to have to wait until tomorrow. But until then…
I wrote a story that went to 4 Star Stories several years agocalled “Knock Down Drag Out. I wrote Ed into this silly, goofy piece. I hope you like it – I did convert it to EPUB, if you don’t want to read the link – and it’s available in download.
Comment or email me and I’ll send it to you because I’m having website issues, and I’m about to take a bat to this thing.
If I get an answer through the Internet Hive Mind, I’ll amend this.
So there’s not a whole lot to say right now.
I managed to get a story submitted to an anthology that I committed to submitting to. I’ve had to tell another anthology that I won’t get a story to them – after they turned down one story – because I won’t get a new humor piece written before the reading period ends.
That’s something at least. I’ve been doing writing on novels and researching another project – so it’s not actually as lame as it sounds. I’ve been doing stuff. Just not as visible as I would like.
Realized I need to do more promotion on the ebooks – especially my independent ones – that lack of royalty statement was kind of sad. So if you don’t have the chapbooks – consider them. If you’ve read them, would you consider reviewing them so other people can find them and buy them?
Then, as many of you know from Facebook, my grandma passed away earlier this week. We still don’t know when the memorial service is going to be, so there’s lots of stuff up in the air. She was 92 and has had a long life – and some health issues. This was inevitable. Death usually is. Thanks to all who’ve sent thoughts and prayers. They’re very much appreciated.
And now to bed. I have to be at work at 6 am-ish for a workshop. Whee!
Today’s blog post is a revisit that isn’t a revisit. Today we meet the Paper Mate InkJoy GEL pen. These are retractable pens with something that makes me happy – “medium” points in 0.7mm and “fine” points in 0.5mm AS IT SHOULD BE! Which made me say, “Okay, let’s do this.”
The ink is really good. I do give Paper Mate that. I bought the fashion colors for the first go round. I picked these up at Target on an end cap. I went for the 0.7mm because there were colors – the 0.5mm were only available in black at that particular store. The colors are purple, pink, and light green – in the three-pack I bought. There are more colors – these also come in 8 packs and 14 packs – so ALL the colors. My next shopping trip will be for the 0.5mm.
The Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens are 5.75″ long retracted and extended. The barrels are slightly thicker than your typical retractable stick pen. The barrel is smooth and is mostly rubberized plastic for a comfort grip. There’s a clear-ish hard plastic front panel that lets you see the level of ink in the refill that also includes the clip – which could snap if you mess with it long enough. The tip is conical and metal, and so is the plunger on the retraction mechanism. The tip screws off to refill the ink and sets smoothly to avoid any ridges.
The deal with the InkJoy gel pens is supposed to be really smooth and quick drying – compared to Pilot G2 (which is a lofty goal – G2 is pretty much THE standard). So do they measure up? Actually yes, they do. These pens have good ink reservoirs with rich tints to the ink. The conical tips are smooth and lay down a solid line. The feel is good. The ink does seem to dry quickly – except in my moleskine calendar which has really slick pages. EVERYTHING smears on that. Any residual smearing is only really visible every in the purple.
Finally an InkJoy that DOES bring me joy. Can’t wait to try the 0.5mm. They’re comparable to other gel pens – running between $5-$6 for the 3-packs – depending on where you get them and if they’re on sale. These are available at most common retailers. I’ll be getting some more of these.
To the numbers:
1. How does it work? – 1 The ink is decent, and comes in decent point sizes. The retraction mechanism is solid
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s fairly basic retractable pen, but long like a stick pen. The rubberized plastic goes all the way around and up the back of the pen to give a comfortable feel for long-term use.
3. Material – 1 – It’s rubberized and translucent plastic pen. It’s solid for what it is.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s an InkJoy that I can get behind. The pen is colorful, comfortable, and solid.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These run close to $2 a pop which is about on par but seems a touch high. They should be refillable, but I’m not seeing refills for these yet. If they do end up having the refills, then they will be a solid pen for everyday use.
4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Welcome Wednesday, it’s a blog day and I’m staring at a relatively blank screen. The good news is that I’ve been featured in Lawrence Schoen’s Eating Authors this week. That’s very cool.
A story I thought I wrote really isn’t a story – and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Debating on whether or not it’s going to be done in time for a deadline, or if I’m going to be submitting something else. There’s also a market that didn’t take one story but wants me to submit something else – something funny – by the end of the month.
So, of course, the brain had come to part of a screeching halt on the creative front. So time to mess with a couple of other bits and pieces of stories to see if I can jog something loose. Because this is the year of forward progress – and I need to build on it.
I have a break from shows and events until June. This is the time to focus on the words on paper and getting more things under the belt. So many things on the “To Be Written” list that I have to figure out what to focus on and…well, you know, FOCUS ON IT.
Probably should stop talking about that and just go do it, huh? Y’all play nice now. Be back later.
I have a guest blog out today that talks about how I grew up with one food rule – you have to at least TRY a food before you decide you don’t like it. Since I’ve embraced that, I’ve also tried to revisit foods I didn’t like as a kid and seeing if my tastes change. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t – like okra, I’ve tried to like okra but I just can’t. I have a few pens like this. The Pilot FriXion is one of them.
I tried them when they first came out – and wrote the review before ratings. Later, I picked up a three-pack of FriXion Retractable Clickers in 0.7mm points and did a modern review. Now I have one of the Color-Pencil-Like Erasable Gel Pens, in black, from JetPens.
The barrel about 5.9″ long capped and 6.5″ with the cap posted, which is standard for a stick pen. The plastic barrel has no ergonomics – it’s a standard hexagonal barrel with a ribbed grip. The cap is clear plastic with no clip. The ink is decently dark. The roller ball is smooth. And it does erase pretty cleanly (very cleanly if you put some frustration into it.) I can’t fault the ink. The hard “eraser” is in the clear cap, which means you can’t set the cap aside or lose it.
Jetpens mentions sure the temperature warnings, but since there’s no packaging you have to know not to expose the ink to <14 degrees or >140 degrees. The issue I’ve had – and will always have with this pen is that if you leave a pen or notebook in your car during the summer (accidentally or on purpose) the ink be colorless (invisible). The packaging says you can put a pen in a freezer that’s colder than 14 degrees to get the ink color back. I’m told this works with notebooks as well…but I still find that off putting.
I can understand why these are popular, but unfortunately, this is one of the few “okra” pens. They’re okay, but with the stability issue, these will never be a “go to” pen for me.
1. How does it work? – 0.5 – It works. The ink flows well. The pen is an okay length. The ink is dark. The friction based eraser does its job well. The ink is unstable in temperature extremes.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – It’s got traction, not a “grip”. They try. And it’s a straight barrel. The nod to ergonomics is just a nod.
3. Material – 1 – It’s a solidly made plastic stick pen
4. Overall Design – 0.5 – This is a solid stick pen. Do NOT lose the cap, or you lose the eraser. Lots of colors and options. I still want to see a more stable ink. The temperature issues really scare me. And they never say HOW LONG to leave the ink in the freezer below the recommended temperature range to get the color back.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – You’ll pay for the convenience of erasable. These pens run between $2.25 – $3.00 a piece for the “non-business” style – just the general pen. That’s not horribly over-priced, but it’s not good either.
That’s 3.0 of 5 bronze pencils.
Sorry I’m late… stuff happens. This is the story of Weatherford Comic Con. That as last Saturday (April 2) we trekked out to have a vendor table at this first year event. For those who are unaware of this area’s geography – Weatherford is on the far west side of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex (40-45 minutes from Arlington) and the opposite direction of most fandom activity. Which is one of the reasons I did the show.
The western part of the area is underserved by the fannish community – by just about EVERYONE, if I’m honest. People are under the impression that if it doesn’t happen in Dallas (City or County) or maybe Collin County, it either doesn’t matter or no one will come. I call bull pucky. Tarrant, Parker, and Denton Counties COUNT, y’all. So do the Mid Cities. And yet those fans are constantly expected to travel great distances EAST because “people in Dallas won’t come West” – BULL PUCKY. And if they won’t, SO WHAT? Right now, the Dallas scene is saturated. Fort Worth, Denton, Weatherford? Not so much.
Weatherford had its challenges – every first year does – but I think they’re not insurmountable. Just things to watch for.
Accessibility – there was none. This is the biggest weakness. The site was a historic building over 100 years old. Gorgeous, but there was a flight and half of stairs just to get to the front doors then the room they had in the building was on the second floor – no elevator. The vendors found (some at the end of the day) a ramp in the back that was neither marked nor advertised. And parking was…on streets, driveways, and I think a block or so away at a school with no shuttles I saw. Hike.
Only a handful of vendors were there (they tables were pricey for those). The rest of us were on the grounds out front and across the driveway (no curb cuts). Vendors had a much more affordable choice of being outside or in a tent. I had no real expectations – I actually rabble roused to make sure they had a weather plan – so I was very pleasantly surprised to find the tent wasn’t and Eas-E-Up but a big event tent with 8 foot tables. BUT it was on a baseball diamond down a hill and around the Wrestling Ring (yes, farm league wrestling – AGAIN). The ring was set TOO CLOSE to the entrance of the tent, blocking access to the tent during their performances. Logistics…
RULES – nominally enforced. I remember reading posts about there not being music or effects at tables/booths. Which apparently didn’t apply to the Visual/Sound Effects vendor – who had to blast music ALL DAY LONG. By about 2 – 3, there was a DANCE PARTY going on in the aisle, blocking access to the tent and shutting down (basically) every single vendor around them from crowd and wave of sound.
We would’ve complained to staff – except we have no idea what happened to them. Saw them first thing in the morning on the steps. Were given a phone number (that the music would’ve drowned out any conversation), but I NEVER EVER saw a staff member after the show started. No one.
But I do give credit to the original organizer, when this show took off, he got help from an event management organization. I think that’s how we got the decent tent and tables. And in that, this was awesome. Lots of room between tables. Good traffic flow (for the most part) and ventilation. Could use more food vendors – if someone didn’t eat meat, you were stuck with chips and snacks. THE food vendor was an excellent barbecue truck – oh, and an ice cream truck. And there were portajohns.
On that note – that’s the one good thing about it only being 11-4, we went straight to a clean restroom. And if I’d noticed that time in set up, I may or may not have done the show. That’s a long way to go for only a handful of hours (literally), but sales bore out the time. And I was VERY PLEASANTLY surprised by the NUMBER and excitement of the people who were there. Lots of costumes as well as little league kids, jocks, and cowboys. They were all mostly lovely people – and very few were familiar looking.
I know it sounds like nitpicking, but this is how we learn and grow. If they decide to do another show, I’ll consider getting a table. And it’s always good to see (however briefly) Lloyd and Genevieve Dodd with Tea Punk Teas.
We return to Pilot this week with another pen from back at Christmas. This is the Petball ballpoint pen with a clear plastic body. These are part of the BeGreen series and the B2P series – which means the barrel is made of recycled plastic from water bottles.
According to the literature – these pens have a 90.4% recycled content level. The clear barrel is actually molded to have waves in it like a bottle design. The waves actually give the pen some grip, but there are no ergonomics. This pen is about 5.6″ long – which is pretty standard for a retractable. The barrel is slightly wider than your typical retractable giving it a heftier, more comfortable feel. The plastic clip is fairly sturdy.
The ink comes in a metal conical tip with a smooth line. The 0.7mm point makes a decent line. I’m not seeing the actual contents of the ink, but it feels like the low viscosity ink that comes in the Acroball. There’s a lot let blobs and smearing with the Petball than I found with the B2P gel inks. But the rest feels similar.
This pen is available on JetPens and is very affordable. It’s also refillable with the Pilot BPRF refills in the four most common colors – black, blue, green, and red. I LOVE that this comes in a 0.7mm – and ONLY in a 0.7mm. And according to some of the comments – these refills also work in the B2Ps if you don’t care for the gel ink – which means I may just revisit those.
To the numbers:
1. How does it work? – 1 It’s good. It feels like it has the low viscosity ink for a smooth writing experience. The retractor works well. The tip is solid and smooth.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – It’s a relatively inexpensive, plastic pen. There’s texture to the barrel but no ergonomics.
3. Material – 1 It’s a basic plastic, retractable pen. It is what it is, but it works like it should.
4. Overall Design – 1 – I like this design. The clear body lets me see ink level and the design in the barrel doesn’t get in the way much.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s an okay price point for plastic retractable pens – but you can find them on sale. They run $1.65 on JetPens. The refills run $1 a piece. You can only get these online, they’re not in US stores.
4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
I wish I had something to talk about today. But I don’t. This is a marathon week in the Day Job and though I’m getting writing work done, it’s clean up work or editing. There have been a few new words, but I’m doing what I can. I have a short story due very soon. I need to wrestle it ito submission.
Royalties are coming in. Tarbox had a very good showing. THANK YOU. But because I’ve not been overly active in pushing the chapbook ebooks – those have been, well, sad (and that’s on me). Huh, I might want to make stickers to put on my business cards with the Amazon Author Page link. That might help.
Saturday if you’re in West DFW, I’ll have a table at the Weatherford Comic Con. It’s 11-4 outside the Knights of Pythian Hall. There will be other familiar faces – and it’s a new part of town, but I have some reservations. We’ll see how it goes. Then maybe I’ll have something to write about next week.
But now to crash before a very long day tomorrow. Then a FenCon Meeting on Sunday after the thing on Saturday. Whee!
Busy. Busy. Busy – OH and allergy season, so there’s been THAT to deal with. SO ATTRACTIVE.