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    The Geek Squad (no, not that one)

    Laura Bradford Icon

    Okay, so I headed to Borders Café last week to work on a proposal for my agent. I dropped my stuff down on a table (not my usual one thanks to some church book club—the nerve!) and stood in line to order.

    The line was surprisingly long for being just 9:20 in the morning, so I killed time by looking around at the impulse-buy shelves I normally ignore. My eyes scanned over the bags of gummy bears, pile of magnetic travel bingo boards, and plethora of dashboard travel mugs (in a host of bright, vivid colors) while my mind got a jump-start on an opening for chapter two.

    And that’s when I saw it…

    Are you ready?

    A mini 4-subject notebook!!!! That’s right…a purse-sized miniature notebook with sections!

    Breathe, Laura, breathe.

    If you’re like me, you have one of those small spiral bound notebooks (available in red, blue, green, or yellow) in your purse or laptop case at ALL times. You use it to jot down character names, traits, interesting bits of dialogue, plot ideas, setting details, etc. An assortment of critical information that is, more times than not, interspersed with non-writing gibberish like chores, upcoming appointments, and phone numbers you can no longer identify.

    But this…this…this purely ingenious notebook puts an end to disorganized notes. It brings order to our world. Separates creativity from the mundane.

    Stop laughing. I’m serious.

    Okay, so I’m in the line, waiting to order my medium-sized hot chocolate and thinking about chapter two, when I see this—oh God, I still get excited thinking about it—“office supply” (a term that simply doesn’t do this notebook justice) that was obviously made with a writer in mind. And, well, I squealed. Out loud. In line.

    By now, you’re kind of beginning to understand the title I slapped on this post, aren’t you? At least the “geek” part.

    Anyway, this mini 4-subject notebook left such an impression on me that I had to go home and tell a few writer-buddies about my find. And you know what? The one I told on email not only understood my excitement, but wanted one too. The one I told via cell phone…squealed (though, my squeal was closer to a perfect 10 than hers, but, in all fairness, she lacked visual contact with the item and was basing her version on a simple oral description).

    “Squad” just became clear too, huh?

    But you really can’t laugh at us. Not if you write. Or build. Or do anything creative. Because you know—deep down inside—that you’re tempted to see if you can score one of these things on the Borders website, aren’t you?

    And why is that? Why do so many of us have such a childlike fascination with really cool office supplies?

    Because they’re the bomb, that’s why.


    **I picked up one extra mini 4-subject notebook and it’s looking for a good home. So, to all you writer/other creative types out there…hit “Leave A Reply” under this post and tell us about your favorite office supply (it can be one that either exists or one you’d like to see invented—please clarify which group yours belongs to). At the end of the week, the Geek Squad (no, not that one) will put their heads together and decide who is most deserving of this very cool mini notebook. Judgment will be based on comment enthusiasm AND appropriate geekiness. Go!

    20 Responses to “The Geek Squad (no, not that one)”

    1. I’m such a nerd when it comes to pens. Any type, cheapo to tres expensive. And don’t get me started on scrapbook paper. Never mind that I haven’t scrapbooked in eons–I still buy the paper.

      My current favorite office supplies? A notepad with inspirational sayings, and those little sticky page tabs. Love those for finding the right day in my dayplanner.

      by Heather Webber on September 19th, 2006 at 6:34 am

    2. Oooooooo, Laura, office supplies! I love them!

      My weakness is pens. Nice, expensive pens. And smooth, smooth paper.

      I had to fly over the weekend and asked when I checked in if I was allowed to carry a pen on the plane (ink, after all is liquid). Hey–I couldn’t risk being to told that I’d have to throw my beloved Waterman in the trash at security…

      by Tasha Alexander on September 19th, 2006 at 8:48 am

    3. I have to admit I’m the same way about pens…if I see a neat or new writing pen I love it. To me when I’m working on real work or writing ideas having the right pen that flows nicely helps things go better. Kind of geeky too.

      by Rick on September 19th, 2006 at 8:48 am

    4. Pens and Moleskine notebooks. And the Levenger catalog.

      I can spend hours flipping through that thing. You’d think they had a centerfold in there or something.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on September 19th, 2006 at 9:01 am

    5. Oh, I love office supplies. I’m not sure what size your mini notebook is, but I’ve got a four subject 6 x 8 (I think) one in my purse and it’s got such bright, pretty colors for each section! And I love my Papermate FlexiGrip Ultra medium point pens with purple ink. MUST be purple. I can’t write in any other color. :)

      by Tori Lennox on September 19th, 2006 at 11:02 am

    6. I’m sensing a theme …
      I’m a pen freak. But I’m on a mission right now. Pilot makes a disposible fountain pen. That’s right, no messy ink, forget all that dipping and purging, just pop off the cap and voila, you’re instantly writing in this glamourous, flowing script.
      I want to gather as many of these little delights as I can, so I’ve been buying and hording them. I had to admit to my gluttony last Friday night, when the topic came up with fellow scribe Alex Sokoloff. I was complaining that the three pack has one black, one blue and one purple, which is why I’m buying them up, so I can have all the blacks for future book signings. Alex looked at me like I was crazy — of course she would sign with the purple. But she’s this brilliantly creative type that would think of that.
      So sad.
      I also get just a wee bit orgasmic over fresh yellow legal pads, but that’s just me.

      by JT Ellison on September 19th, 2006 at 11:03 am

    7. I think I should win simply because I’m such a geek I was talking about disposible fountain pens over a fine glass of wine at a swanky jazz club. Somebody shoot me.

      by JT Ellison on September 19th, 2006 at 11:04 am

    8. The office supply section is almost as fun as a bookstore! Yes, I am a geek and I proudly admit it.

      I’m going against the majority here. I’m more of a paper kind of gal. I love Post It notes, especially the mini ones. I use them to mark my place in research books, but don’t tell any librarians. They might revoke my library card—big discussion over on DL about what a no-no that is!

      I’ve also got a day planner, the Bylines Writer’s Desk Calendar, and I love it (and that’s not just because I’m a contributor, I promise). I use it all the time. It’s got writer’s birthdays and essays on writing. Tomorrow is Upton Sinclair’s birthday and Stephen King, H.G. Wells, and Fannie Flagg all share a birthday on Thursday the 21st. How cool is that!

      by Sara Rosett on September 19th, 2006 at 11:56 am

    9. I am feeling the love, everyone. Feeling the love! :D

      Heather, sticky page tabs? hmmmm. May have to find some of those.

      Tasha, good call on asking security about the pen. Though I just walked past security and onto a plane in Newark a few weeks ago with a half empty bottle of water and no one noticed.

      So Rick, you’re a pen man, huh? Nice, flowing lines…

      Stephen, I’ve not seen the Levenger catalog myself but it’s nice to know others look longingly at office supplies too.

      Tori, I need to measure my notebook but my little tabs are brightly colored too. I keep imagining how I’m going to use them…each new story idea…or characters/setting/plot/titles. Oh…the purple ink thing. Sounds like JT and you could work something out since she’s buying 3-packs for black ink pens and isn’t interested in the purple (Look at this people, the Good Girls are bringing people together, awwww).

      JT, okay the orgasmic feel and the glass of wine is standing out at this point for enthusiasm and appropriate geekiness. We’ll have to see what comes in the rest of the day…

      Sara, we’ll all be very, very quiet on the place marking in library books. You are a rebel, you know that? Your desk calendar sounds cool!

      Keep ‘em coming. And for all you pen freaks out there…what would you think if I could get you a pen that lights up (for nightime writing). Way cool if you can get past the drug advertisement on the barrel.

      by Laura on September 19th, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    10. You’ve never seen the Levenger catalog? I’m… I’m shocked. Shocked and appalled, in fact.

      You really should check this out.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on September 19th, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    11. Be still my heart. Oh. My. Gosh!! What a very cool website. My wallet is in serious trouble now–thanks for that, Stephen. :wink:

      I think I have to get myself on their mailing list so I can lazily flip through that catalog, fantasizing about notebooks, pens and organizational systems, oh my.


      by Laura on September 19th, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    12. Oh, office supplies. Yes.

      I am a strict adherent to the pencil, but not just any pencil, it has to be a sharpened Mirado Black Warrior #1. Try one and you will never use an inferior pencil ever again.

      And notebooks. I am so covetous of your find that I’m going on line this instant to locate one just like it.

      by David Terrenoire on September 19th, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    13. You are bringing back memories, Laura. I’m getting sentimental as I recall my first experience with my favorite supply, paper, stationery in particular.

      My love affair began in the second grade with a beautiful pink plastic hang-it-on-the-wall organizer thingy. It was filled with pink-floral-bordered writing paper decorated with a cute little Holly Hobby/Betsy Clark-looking girl and her kitten. There were separate compartments for matching envelopes and pre-post-it note yellow squares of paper. I’m feeling giddy just thinking about it.

      I collected several sets of stationery over the years and never dared to use the last piece of paper from any of them. Each different design was so special that I couldn’t part with them.

      Recently, my practical side reared its ugly head, and I purged the entire compilation of magnificent papers, including the almost thiry year old stationery from that first organizer. I’m still haunted with regret.

      by Beth on September 19th, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    14. Yes, yes, YEAAAHSSS! Office supplies!!! Oh…colored paperclips and neon post-a-notes and sticky tabs and highlighters and binders and colored index cards and my inspirational mousepad. Legal pads in pastel colors, file folders in autumn shades AND my all-important whatdoyoucallit: the stand thingie I prop my notes on so that I can type direct to laptop without having to move my head more than a fraction. Sigh…

      by Diana Killian on September 19th, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    15. David, you’ll have to let me know whether you tracked down the sectioned mini-notebook I found at Borders. It is amazing. Really. Deep sigh.

      Beth, you had Holly Hobby stationary left and you got rid of it? I think I need to blog on the dying art of sentimentality. Sheesh.

      Diana, I love those colored paperclips too. Not that I use one color any differently than the next, but I like the idea of lots of colors. Makes me happy.

      To all my fellow office supply geeks who responded to my blog, the Geek Squad (no, not that one) will be having a meeting of the minds tomorrow morning to discuss which reply was most enthusiastic and displayed appropriate geekiness. So check back tomorrow night to find out who scored a (God, it still makes me squeal) four-section mini notebook!!!

      But remember, we’re ALL geeks, er, I mean, winners! :mrgreen:

      And, even more importantly, you all GET it. Therefore, I announce you all honorary members of the Geek Squad (no, not that one).

      by Laura on September 19th, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    16. Oooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh Levenger…

      Sex….Levenger….Sex….Levenger….hmmmm….which would I pick????

      by Tasha Alexander on September 19th, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    17. “Sex….Levenger….hmmmm….which would I pick????”

      Yeah, that’s a tough one, isn’t it?

      by Stephen Blackmoore on September 20th, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    18. The Geek Squad (no, not that one) has officially rendered a verdict.

      A quick recap: The task was to tell me about your favorite office supply.

      Judging: Based on enthusiasm and appropriate geekiness.

      The winner: J.T. Ellison. As one member of the squad said, “anyone who uses orgasmic as an adjective to describe office supplies is definitely geek material”.

      But we all agreed there were some close seconds and thirds. In particular…David for his classing of pencils…Stephen for his centerfold comment in relation to his Levenger catalog…and Diana for her When-Harry-Met-Sally-like enthusiasm that kicked off her entry.

      Tori, you got me thinking of colored ink, so much so I think I need to find a color that represents me. The quest begins.

      Anyway, J.T. send me your snail mail address and I’ll get that notebook out to you ASAP.

      My addy:

      And, so as not to forget the rest of my office supply buddies, if you send me your snail mail addresses I will see what I can do about getting you a light-up pen for night vision writing.

      Thanks, guys!

      by Laura on September 21st, 2006 at 8:41 am

    19. Now, see I knew I would be to late, but for me it is simply pens. Pens of all sizes and shapes. Montblanc to Bic. My favorite is a Bombay Company Tortoise Shell ball point that was given to me by the RWA chapter that had me in for my first official author speaking gig. It is very “big girl” and I adore it. When other “normal” women are walking the malls looking for shoes and matchin hadnbags I stand outside the pen store window salivating over the plethora of pens. It really is quite an extraordinary feeling. But my favorite is my newest addition…sent to me by my cousin who I didn’t think knew me at all, but appears to know me quite well.

      It is a Pink “Jiggly Light Up Tinker Bell” Pen. It is…I cannot find the words to describe how cool it is to press down to write and Tinker Bell in her cloud of pink silky feathers as she “poses” in front of her bright yellow star. Sigh…

      by Karen Syed @ Echelon Press on September 21st, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    20. Yay! I’d like to thank my parents, for making me a supreme geek, my husband, for indulging my proclivities, and all my fellow nominees — without you, I couldn’t have done it.
      Thanks to you, Laura, for a week of scintillating, nail-biting suspense.

      by JT Ellison on September 22nd, 2006 at 8:17 am

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