Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pen Wednesday--two really elegant pens

Top: a Monteverde Regatta rollerball pen with alternating sections of resins and diamond-cut rings.

Bottom: the Nettuno Barracuda fountain pen. The square cap and barrel have rounded edges and a patented closing system, eight magnets in the cap and barrel snap perfectly together. The body is turned from a solid bar of transparent resin that is polished to a crystal sheen. The rhodium-plated clip is triangular. The Barracuda fountain pen has an 18K gold nib and features cartridges or converter filling system. I'm afraid to use it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ina at the movies

Last week Ina came skulking into the store. She whispered hoarsely from the counter, "P-Doobie, I need to talk with you. In private." She beckoned me over to the young adult section, and, her eyes darting as if she were a spy who had momentarily forgotten where the drop point was, checked for CIA agents in cooking and home improvement. We sat down. "I have a great idea," she whispered, "and I want you to be the first person I talked to about it. It's brilliant."

I knew immediately that the idea had something to do with promoting Ina and her books. She had talked with the folks at the movie theater about running a 30-second ad promoting local authors. The production costs for a video are only $400, she said, and then only $300 per month to show the video before each of the four films, so it would cost the store a mere $4000 to produce and run for a year, not to mention having the everlasting devotion of the local authors because we footed the bill.

At that point I felt as if I were slumping to the floor.

"And I have a skit all planned," she said. "I'd get all the local authors, and we'd each take one of our books off a shelf and pass the book to the next author while we each talked about our books. Doesn't that sound hilarious?" My lips did not unpurse. She said, as an afterthought, "Of course we'd say that our books are available at your store."

I told her I'd take the idea to Michele, who is the chancellor of the exchequer, and discuss it. Ina was agreeable, and, after checking to ensure that the trail guides behind us weren't bugged, she skulked out.

Michele and I talked about the idea for about two seconds and concluded that Ina was indeed still out of her tiny socks.

I sent Ina a note stating that our main concern is, of course, getting the most bang for our limited advertising bucks. If we were to advertise at the movie theater, we'd want to showcase all the books and the cool toys, not just one small sector.

Ina took that as a yes.

"Of course!" she wrote. "You'll be surprised at how much they can put in one of those ads. Individual actors, or a group of people together, could be on for less than five seconds. The total ad is 30 seconds, but we could ask for longer. Do we want to meet and discuss?"

Today I got another note from her asking whether we had been to the movies yet so we could watch the ads. Right now we don't want to spend twelve bucks each to sit through a flick about a high-school comic-book fan or a case of mistaken identity in which hi-jinx ensue just so we can watch the ad from the stationery store in which the owner's daughter emerges from the depths of a cardboard carton to announce that the store is a FedEx drop-off point.

Ina's dream: local authors rake in the big bucks, thanks to free advertising from our store

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A rockin' day trip

Friday I drove over to Maxwell to take Jean M. to lunch in Raton and to catch up on all the news. I decided to go through Taos Canyon to the Moreno Valley and through Cimarron Canyon instead of going up I-25.

There's still a lot of snow in Taos Canyon on the north-facing slopes. Some of the homes were still snowbound. Here's a fence in Taos Canyon.

I drove into Angel Fire, which is a bit of Aspen in northern New Mexico. It seems to have lost the funky charm it had when I lived in Maxwell and is now upscale and sort of precious. The ground throughout the Moreno Valley was saturated, as you can see from this image, which I took just north of Angel Fire.

I drove into Eagle Nest, which is still the way it's always been: a place to rent skis and gear for a lot less money than you'd pay in Angel Fire, get an inexpensive lunch, and poke around in little shops for tchotchkes and antiques. Izzy, I found that set of The Children's Hour in Eagle Nest.

Here are Eagle Nest Lake, which is beginning to thaw, and Wheeler Peak, which isn't. You can see the abandoned Eagle Nest Lodge at the lower right.

From Eagle Nest, you drop down into Cimarron Canyon. In the summer it's full of fishermen and campers, but Friday I met only one guy who was fishing. I stopped at the Palisades.

Here's the information marker for the geology geeks among us.

Maxwell continues to linger. Only 75 kids are in the whole school, kindergarten through 12th grade. My nemesis from my last year there, who was the office administrator and the superintendent's niece and who strutted around like a little cadet, is now the mayor. Many of my former students are grandparents. I drove by Fidel's Barber Shop, which is an 8 x 10 Morgan building. Fidel was sitting in there with the door open. When I drove by last year, he was sitting in there with the door open. When he asks you how you want your hair cut, he means, "Do you want it cut fast or slow?"

If you want good northern New Mexican food, Raton isn't the place to get it. There's nothing like a good chicken burrito, and what I had was nothing like a good chicken burrito.

The good news is that NM 505 is paved all the way to Colfax.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pen Wednesday--Monteverde pens

My Monteverde pens have many layers of lacquer or carbon fiber. They're elegant and very pleasing to the eye and hand.

Mr. Spence passed away

Our junior-high-school principal, Edward Spence, passed away. He was strict and brooked no nonsense. Here is the obituary from the Monitor.

Ed died on March 22, 2010 at age 97 in Chandler, AZ, where he lived with his wife of 73 years, Leona. Born in Liverpool, Eng, Ed came to the U.S. as a child, grew up in South Dakota, and became an educator. He moved to Los Alamos, NM, where he taught and was a school administrator for 30 years. He was an accomplished musician, singing and playing brass instruments, serving as the director of the Youth choir of the United Church of Los Alamos, where they were charter members. He was active in the community and in professional organizations. Following retirement, he lived in Albuquerque, and more recently in Chandler. Leona, their 4 children, and many grand and great-grands survive him. A memorial service will be at Chandler Presbyterian, 1500 W. Germann Rd, Chandler, AZ 85286 on April 10. Memorial gifts may be given to the church for a youth scholarship in Ed’s name. Bueler Mortuary of Chandler is handling arrangements.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I think I get it now

Last night, Michele and I watched The Ten Commandments ("Mo-zhus! Mo-zhus!") up until the Israelites were set free, and then we got sleepy and turned it off.

The fifties classic put me in mind of other films, and I remembered reading, as a kid, the movie posters that said no one would be seated during the last 30 minutes of the film. I thought it was pretty odd that the audience would have to stand up for 30 minutes.

("Notice! No one seated during the last, lethal five minutes of the picture!")

And that thought led to another. I remember gumball machines placed by the Lions, and the label read "For needy children." I never bought a gumball from them, because I didn't want anyone to think that I was a needy child.