Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pencils and Pens

I haven't been slacking from posting (much), I wanted to delay posting until I could say I typed THE END on the last page of The Trickster Society, which is back to its original title. And I have! Only I'm not done! I skipped ahead and wrote the very short last chapter since I knew precisely what I wanted in the denoument, and now I have to go back and write the big fight at the end. I'm partway into that, but I think it's time for bed.

But the real reason I posted is because I'm thinking about pens and pencils. I just read this over at Boing Boing about a revived famous old pencil: --I read the comments too, because it meant I could avoid writing for a few extra minutes--and I kept nodding my head or frowning.

I write a lot longhand, almost always in pen, so I'm very picky about the pens I use. I prefer the V7 Pilot Precise pens, although they're hard to find so I usually get the V5. Recently I bought a Bic 537R because it had a .7 tip, but while I like it, its ink is so dark that it soaks through the page of the cheap notebooks I use.

As for pencils, I've paid more attention to them than I ever have since I started working as a test proctor. You'd think all #2 or HB pencils are about the same, but oh lordie they are not. Last time we ordered supplies, we ended up with a lot of cheapass Office Depot pencils. They suck, OMG they suck. Half of them have the leads in so crooked it's impossible to use them, and the erasers pop out of the ferule on the other half. Some of the best pencils, oddly enough, are the ones with glitzy, elaborate decorations on them.

You know what I hate? Cheap mechanical pencils. They're crap. I'd rather use an Office Depot pencil. We have hundreds of cheap mech pencils in the testing center at work that people have abandoned. No one wants them. The lead snaps off all the time, they're flimsy, their erasers are tiny and not very good (and pop out and get lost), and they often just stop working so that you can't advance the lead or keep it in place once it's advanced. We just throw them away. Bad for the environment, bad for the test-taker, and a waste of money.

My gawd, I'm ranting about mechanical pencils. Someone needs to put me out of my misery.


Cate Gardner said...

Ha! And I thought I was stationery obsessed.

Alan W. Davidson said...

It's late and you need to be put out of your misery *stabs KC with a cheap mechanical pencil*.

I've still got the same mechanical pencil I bought when going to college in 1980-something...a Pilot 0.5 lead. It's kind of chipped up and nasty looking now, but still works (perhaps I'm too Scottish when I won't buy a new pencil...)

K.C. Shaw said...

Cate--I think writers mostly are.

Alan--If you find a pencil you like, keep it no matter what people say. They just don't understand!

Aaron Polson said...

Aw...pencils. My mom bought a box of "Aaron Polson" pencils for me when I was a kid. Probably still have one or two lying around.

Those were the best, of course.

K.C. Shaw said...

I love stuff with my name on it. Pencils with my name on them are definitely the best, you're right.

Anonymous said...

The best pencils I have ever had were made from recylced money. They were green through and through, and exactly perfect.

And I have never been able to find them again. I wish I'd bought a lifetime supply.

K.C. Shaw said...

Seems like I've seen one of those. Do they have little pictures of money on them? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

That would be cool, though--writing with money!

Anonymous said...

They didn't have pictures of money, but I think they did say something on them about being made of recycled money... they had a nice spring to them--other pencils made from recycled paper are nice that way, too, but not quite as good as the real thing in green.

Free Range Anglican said...

A pencil is pretty much a pencil to me. The kids go through them so quickly. But ah, a pen, now that's another story! You bogged about pencils about the same time as I was blogging about pens. too funny.