Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pen Wednesday--ACME pens

ACME pens are designed by some of the world's most famous designers, including Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, and Antoni Gaudi. The pens have a nice heft and are well balanced. I bought "Punctuation" at the Santa Fe Pen Fair earlier this month.

Left to right, "Writing," designed by Jerry Leibowitz; "Quote," designed by Laurinda Speer; "Punctuation," designed by Harry Allen; and "Crystal," designed by Marcel Wanders.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One, two, button my shoe. Okay, wait. I'll do it myself.

Yesterday I gathered up my Lunch Buddy and headed toward the nurse's office so she could get her blood sugar checked. As we headed toward the stairs, she sighed heavily and said, "Alexander really hoped he could play with us today." I explained to her that she and Alexander could play together every day but that she and I could hang out only once a week. She nodded but then whispered, "Poor Alexander. He really, really wanted to play today. I hope he doesn't cry."

Well, we can't have a sobbing little kid. So we turned around and headed to the jungle gym for a game of Grizzly Bear with Alexander and all the other crazed five-year-olds.

This time, as I was being fed the imaginary bear treats, I felt my shoelaces loosen. I looked down and saw two little guys untying my shoes. "Okay, sharks," I said, "untied shoes can make you trip. Tie my shoes back up!"

I forgot they were kindergarteners.

"Okay, first you make an X with the laces."

"That's not what my mom said. She said that you make two bunnies that are looking at each other."

"I think you make a loop."

"Yeah! But you got to make a loop out of each string!"

"No. That's not right."

"I've never seen shoe strings like these. Have you ever seen shoe strings like these?"

"Wait. I think you cross the bunny ears over each other."

"Look! I made a knot in one string!"

"When does the bunny run around the tree?"

"I have Velcro on my shoes. Look."

"Who ever heard of a bunny running around a tree? My mom says you just make a loop. See? I made a loop."

"Um . . . guys . . . I can tie my own shoes if you'd like." But they didn't hear me. I had half a dozen little boys squatting around my feet, intent on their work and debating the merits of various methods and metaphors.

Actually, it was very peaceful standing there during recess.

Pen Wednesday--some gifts

Here are some pens I've received as gifts. The top one is an engraved fountain pen from Dad. In the middle is a hand-carved Waterford pen from Mr. Bears. Izzy gave me the chubby little pocket pen, which looks as if it would be very difficult to hold, but when it's open and the cap posted, it's very comfortable and well balanced.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pen Wednesday

Michele and I went to the Santa Fe Pen Show on Sunday and picked up a few things. For the next several Wednesdays, I will show you some of my pens. First up are the Retro 1951 rollerball pens, which have stainless steel barrels and a high-gloss lacquer overlay. They're affordable, nicely balanced, and feel good in the hand.

Pens and a couple pencils for everyday use. I haven't had too much luck with the pencils, which is probably just as well because I seldom use them.

Here are some Retro special editions.
L to R, patterned stainless steel, cork, flag, bamboo, custom engraved, acrylic, postage stamps, Dream Catcher glow in the dark, acrylic, brushed stainless steel numbered edition, leather, acrylic, Retro Double 8, Retro Double 8 acrylic, Retro Double 8 fountain pen, Woody, and acrylic.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"You can get it for me wholesale." "No, we can't. Now leave."

At Otowi Station Bookstore, we pride ourselves on fulfilling special orders and requests for obscure out-of-print books. We pride ourselves on our hospitality model of doing business and our willingness to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy. People feel at home in the store and love that the staff is characterized by heroism and camaraderie and everyone supporting each other in times of book-related hardship.

However, we have our limits.

Today a woman--let's call her Carabosse--came in with a catalog from Edmund Scientific and asked Terry, our toy buyer, to order a large quantity of a particular item from the catalog. Terry explained that Edmund doesn't wholesale and that we'd have to get the item at the price listed in the catalog. Carabosse said that Terry should just order the items at the list price and then sell them at the list price to her. Terry explained that capitalism doesn't work that way.

Carabosse said that the previous owner of the store always ordered things for her and didn't mind not making a cent on the transactions. Terry said, "That was then. This is now."

The rest of the staff started edging toward the counter to eavesdrop because a) the situation was becoming more absurd by the second and b) it's always interesting to watch a train wreck.

Then Terry asked Carabosse why she just didn't order from the catalog herself. She replied, "Because I don't have a credit card. Besides, I wanted to give you the business."

Carabosse then asked if she could use the phone to call Edmund Scientific. Terry asked her why she didn't use her own phone, because we needed to keep our lines free for actual business. Carabosse said that she didn't have a cell phone, and she wasn't allowed to make personal calls at work. Besides, the order wouldn't take but a minute.

So, against our better judgment, we let her use the phone. Well, naturally, when you call Edmund Scientific, you have to tell how and where you came upon the catalog and what other items caught your eye, and ask questions about whether the solar battery requires batteries to work, where neodymium comes from, whether you're pronouncing neodymium correctly, and whether digital calipers can be used as a C-clamp in an emergency.

During the conversation, Carabosse was draped over the counter and blocking one register, and refused to move. Meanwhile, the only other phone line was ringing constantly, and customers were stacked up at the one available register like flights over O'Hare.

At this juncture I interposed and said loudly, "We need that phone to conduct business. We need this register. Move. Get off the phone. Now. Please."

But Carabosse was ordering her item. She wouldn't be but a minute. Then she had to explain to the helper at Edmund that she didn't have a credit card or a checking account, but would a money order be okay?

I was poised to grab the phone out of her hand, but she speedily concluded her transaction, picked up her catalog, and left without a backward glance or a word of thanks.

I think we could have set a retail record for having the largest number of customers and staff actively hoping for another customer to have an acute myocardial infarction.

I'm going to call Otowi Station and see whether they'll order some military-surplus desiccant for me.