Saturday, July 16, 2016

Midweek Miscellany (weekend edition)

There are a few things this week I wanted to write about, but none of them rated a full post so once again I offer you the Midweek Miscellany. Although being Saturday it will have to be a weekend edition.

I went into a different 7-Eleven than I usually do earlier this week. When I went to fill my regular morning Double Gulp I was greeted by the signs you see in the photo to the left. Let's just skip right past the point that if you are going to use signs in your business they should be SIGNS and not handwritten on the back of receipt paper and move right to the real problem. I understand that 7-Eleven uses cups for inventory. This means if you are going to use one of their cups for anything you are going to pay for it. I think $.50 for a cup of ice is a little excessive, but what the heck. However, no ice over 40 ounces? 50 cents of ice is quite a bit of ice, considering that a 7-pound bag of ice is available an aisle over for $2.99. What I really have a problem with though is the no refills allowed over 64oz on fountain or ice. first, it is redundant on ice. if you can't get ice over 40 oz then 64 oz are right out. Second, no fountain refills over 64 oz I have a serious problem with since I have purchased the thermal reusable cups from 7-Eleven that are 100 oz.
 These reusable cups were not inexpensive and to think that this store will not allow me to refill them makes me a little unhappy. This also makes no good business sense at all. goodness knows the fountain drink is the lowest cost component in the mix, with both ice and the cup costing more. If you would rather lose my sales, all of my sales because you won't let me refill a legitimate 7-eleven cup I think you might need to rethink your business model. Certainly, someone somewhere tried to bring in a wheelbarrow and fill it with fountain pop under the refill program and ruined it for everyone. That being said, this thoroughly unprofessional and customer-unfriendly 7-Eleven (which is on my way to work) will not become a stopping place for me.

Writing Concepts

It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I am a discovery writer. This means I don't outline or plan out everything I am going to write beforehand. I sit down, start writing and see what develops. That being said my recent bout of writer's block caused me to consider other solutions. While discussing it with my friend at our weekly coffee klatch (which is now also our weekly writer's workshop) that his method involves starting with a concept map and once that is finished he takes some or all of those ideas and transfers them to a more formal sentence/idea structure and then uses that to write whatever it is he is working on. Since nothing else seemed to be working, I thought I would give that a try. It seemed to work well enough for my last post to exist at all and from the feedback, I have received that post was one of my stronger ones. I didn't follow his method exactly, for starters I skipped the transfer from concept map to the more formal sentence step altogether. What worked for me was the process of trying to (mostly unsuccessfully) create the concept map forced me to think about what I wanted to write and got the ideas more sorted in my head. That allowed me to go back to discover write and not simply stare at the blank screen and freak out. If you are looking for a new tool to add to your writing arsenal try a concept map, it worked for me.

New Pens

I have always enjoyed writing with pen and paper. Yes, most everything I write eventually ends up on a computer somehow. This blog, Evernote, OneNote, Micro$oft Word, Google Docs, etc. But for note-taking, and even for the concept map I wrote about above pen and paper is still my preferred method. I have just picked up two new pens and while they were not expensive, I really enjoy writing with both and I thought I would share them with you. The first is the Franklin Covey Freemont fountain pen. This pen is manufactured by Cross and the nib is very smooth and the ink flows perfectly. I love the weight, balance, and size. Best of all it takes Waterman international refills and there is a converter available for it. The second pen is the Pilot MR Animal Collection fountain pen in white tiger. I haven't used this one as much yet, but it weighs slightly more than the Freemont. Both are available under $20.00 and both write very well. I think I will put the Pilot in my padfolio and carry the Freemont with me as my daily pen. 

New Paper

Even the best pens out there require paper on which to write. I have posted about Field Notes before, but I received the new limited edition notebooks a short time ago, and it has become my favorite notebook by far. The Field Notes ByLine Edition is the 2016 summer limited edition. it is longer than a normal Field Notes notebook and features a fold-flat ring binding as well as a fold-over cover. This notepad was modeled after a reporter's notebook and then improved. It's 8x3.75 inches in size and the rear cover has a storage pouch that comes with a small newspaper in it, but can be used to hold loose pages or even (as I do) a standard Field Notes notebook. The paper is incredible, it takes ink perfectly and holds it tight. I carry one of these with me all the time. The only thing I would ask is for a slightly shorter edition so that the entire notebook can fit in a pocket without sticking out. If you enjoy good notebooks then you should pick up a few of these before they are gone.

There we have it, the weekend edition of the Midweek Miscellany. As usual, just a few things I wanted to write about that were not in and of themselves worthy of a full post. Hopefully next week I will be back to my normal schedule blog-wise and since I have a couple of ideas already floating around in my brain I think I will be. Thanks!

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