MATINAE MUSIC – Meshell Ndegeocello, Variety Playhouse, Atlanta

A SLOW BURN

I purchased tickets January 2020, then the pandemic hit and shut down the world. Atlanta for the most part was not shut down, however live performances were cancelled or postponed, this show fell within the latter. Originally scheduled for March 2020, the performance was postponed twice when finally on September 2, 2021, I was able to use those tickets, along with proof of vaccination (or negative covid test) and with mask in place, I was able to experience in person, Meshell Ndegeocello.

Though described as a rapper and bassist which are at best limiting descriptors, I entered the show knowing I would experience much more than that given the magnitude of her talent. I did, but not in the way I expected. Her performance was subdued, with her band providing the instrumentation on drums, bass, guitar and keyboards. Her guitarist in particular was outstanding. Ndegeoceollo picked up the bass, twice, played keyboards a bit, but mostly gave the audience a slow burn of songs through the rhythm and tone of her voice whether it was singing or speaking.

She performed several songs from “Ventriloquism”, a release of covers performed in only the way that she could. She performed Night and Day (Al B Sure!), Waterfalls (TLC), Tender Love (Force MDs), and the standout of the songs performed from the album, I Wonder if I Take You Home (Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam), which was in short a groove. Her rendition of Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone, The Animals) was also outstanding. But the *close your eyes and feel it* song of the night was Outside Your Door from her first album “Plantation Lullabies”. Her vocals, the band, the musicianship was faint-worthy and there were plenty of Woos! from the audience to affirm the sentiment.

When leaving the performance I felt disappointed that I did not get to experience her virtuosity on bass, but checked myself for a few reasons. First, we are in a pandemic still, regardless of what is displayed in the media, things are not “back to normal”. I should and will expect live musical performances to feel different as I believe we are all in a different space now. Secondly, Ndegeocello celebrated her 53rd birthday on August 29th, for which she displayed gratitude and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, she announced the recent transition of her mother. All of these factors I believe had an impact on this performance, which nevertheless was still exceptional.

Overall I loved the performance. The understated nature of it was much appreciated during this time of high emotion and divisiveness. Atlanta was just her third stop on this tour and as the tour continues, her performances may be completely different from what we experienced here. Whether subdued or in full out rock, jazz, funk and all the genres she’s fluent in mode, Meshell Ndegeocello in any form is highly recommended.

One more thing on the description of Ndegeocello as bassist and rapper. She is an artist, a complete musician who sings, speaks, exhorts, announces, whispers and demands but rap, she does not.

Thanks SS for joining me.

Fuzzy photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE PENS – Sharpie S-Gel, oh so smooth

Who hasn’t used a Sharpie? The pointed felt tip permanent marker has graced many a paper, posterboard and football (think T.O.). I have used the felt tips and even the Sharpie highlighters but never a gel pen from the brand, not until Amazon suggested it of course.

The S-Gel is built like a tank and is almost as impenetrable as one due to the little rubber piece on the tip when the pens are packaged.


Those bad boys were hard to remove and I basically had to write them off because prying off was so difficult. Look at the second pen from the right.

Once past the tip shenanigans the Sharpie S Gel performed well with the clickiest of clickers, and a juicy smooth line from the .7 mm medium point.

Since writing the sample on the left, many a journal page has been filled by the Sharpie S-Gel. They write smooth like butter every time.

So, if you are in the market for a new gel pen with a juicy line, the S-Gel should be a go-to choice. πŸ–ŠπŸ–ŠπŸ–ŠπŸ–Š

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE PENS – Come thru Pentel ***UPDATE***

UPDATE!!!!!

These pens ended up in the grab and go pen cup for my beloved to use. OMG the blobbiness of it all! I had to cut them loose. If you have these pens make sure you’re not writing on a public facing document or are anywhere near something that you can’t clean. These are now rated πŸ–Š1/2 for emergency writing only.

I just refuse to let this ballpoint pen situation rest. I mean manufacturers are making them for a reason. I just haven’t seen compelling evidence for their sustainability in my stash until now, maybe. So let’s talk about the Pentel RSVP RT.

A medium ballpoint at 1.0 mm, the RSVP RT is another pen that the manufacturer claims gives a smooth, no skip experience.

The Pentel RSVP RT is a well constructed, almost beefy pen, with an indented rubber grip that feels great in the hand. The clicker (push button) is the clickiest and the in/out position is obvious.

The barrel is a clear thick plastic with the barrel colors reminiscent of Jell-O.

The question of course is, does the Pentel RSVP RT ballpoint live up to what the packaging says. The answer is for the most part, yes.

The Pentel RSVP RT is a smooth writing experience. It is not skip free, however the ballpoint rolls nicely on the page and the ink blobs are minimal. The feel is nice and the colors are truly representative of the barrel color. This pen is a keeper, that knocks one of its lesser competitors right out of my pen holder. πŸ–ŠπŸ–ŠπŸ–ŠπŸ–Š

If you use the Pentel RSVP RT, let me know your experience in the comments.

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE PENS – Pilot B2P is Bottled Up

I was looking for new pens but not exactly clear on what I wanted. Amazon, of course will do what it does to get a sista’s money and suggested this pen created from recycled bottles, the Pilot B2P retractable gel pen.

I was no doubt skeptical but for naught, as the pen was definitely serviceable.

The barrel, favoring a bottle of water, is translucent, brightly colored and fairly represents the ink color. The grip is nice, no slips.

The clicker is tight, no play in it so it should be able to withstand being pushed down for the life of the pen.

For a .7 mm medium point the B2P line is closer to fine than medium. So far, only the blue has given the dreaded ink blob. However, the gel ink renders brilliant color.

Overall the Pilot B2P is a great idea with fairly good execution, certainly good enough to grace the pages of my journals. The B2P is a solid πŸ–ŠπŸ–ŠπŸ–Š1/2.

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Cheers to You!

I do not know how some of y’all do it. Out here looking flawless and know exactly the best way to show it. I’m amazed, inspired, in awe and let you know about it with all this stuffβ€πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ˜πŸ₯°πŸ€©

Then you have folks like me, stay trying to get it all to work at the same time but failing miserably at the look and the mechanics of the situation.

I can’t take a selfie to save my life.

Y’all I must have assistance because I dont know how to hold the phone so I dont drop or take a photo of my palm. If I do manage to keep it on my hand part of my head or something else is chopped off. The only modicum of success I have is by using a tripod and still end up looking like this.

So I dedicate this post to the self portrait photogs of the world. I appreciate how you make the process look easy and you look bomb at the same time.

Can an old broad get a class or sump’n?

Shirt from the shop of dope DJ @iammissher

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MATINAE PENS – Pilot Acroball, this is it

I had to go there because it was highly rated in some review that was based on some reviews that were on that gigantic online retailer’s site. Where I went was to the Pilot Acroball 1.0 mm medium ballpoint pen.

The package said incredible smooth βœ…, vivid ink colors βœ… striking good looks and an effortless writing experience? Let’s not get carried away.

The grip on this is outstanding. Made of textured, curved rubber it was comfortable on the achiest of arthritic hand days.

The clicker is the clickiest, i.e. the thrust mechanism seems solid and unlikely to fail for before the ink runs out.

Then pen is nice-looking with a colored gel like barrel that lets you see its parts

The question as always with the ballpoint pen is does it pass the blob test?

Blue on the far right should be an indication.

From here it looks nice. On further inspection…

This Pilot Acroball performs well in short bursts of writing like that above. For journal writing, the pen becomes more blobalicious, not so much so that I wouldn’t recommend it though. Rating 3.5πŸ–Š of 5.

If you’re a Pilot Acroball user, let me know know your experience in the comments.

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MATINAE PENS – A Lightweight

I’m starting to feel a way about these ballpoint pens. The latest entry is the Zebra Z Grip Plus 1.0 ballpoint.

The clicker is nice, sturdy and doesn’t give indication that it will fail any time soon. The grip is really nice, a soft ridged-rubber with nice placement. One day, when not ashy, I’ll put a hand in there to demo.

This pen is a little light in the fanny for my taste. Big Mama likes a pen with a little heft to it. This felt fragile but appears to be a solidly built plastic barrel.

And the writing of it all???? It’s okay, the flow is fairly smooth but as noted in the photo, there are some skips. The ink blobs I guess are a thing with ballpoint 1.0s a fine tip may yield different results.

Overall the Z Grip is serviceable for jotting down notes and journal writing, not so much if the written product is to be distributed. Rating: 3 of 5

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MATINAE PENS – Redemption Maybe

Ballpoints might have been a wrap after the last fiasco. The PaperMate InkJoy 550 RT managed to save the category for me.

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The colors in the set of eight are bright and vibrant. The ballpoint is smooth and rolls over the paper like butter.

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The grip is a soft rubber that is comfortable in the fingers

This pen has the clickiest of clickers. There’s no mistaking whether the ballpoint is in or out.

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This set has graced many a journal page and looked good for the most part. However the final test revealed Les BLOBS.

They aren’t severe, certainly not enough for me to chuck them. In fact they are staying in the rotation because they are so buttery smooth.

The InkJoy 550 RT is a solid choice. If you rock this, let me know your experience in the comments.

Photos: MsThorns

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MATINAE Pens – Count Blobula

My favorite pen right now is by BIC so I decided to stretch out and try one of their ballpoints. Let me introduce to you Count Blobula, the BIC Atlantis.

So close but yet so far because there are some positives. The colors are brilliant and bright. The grip is a soft rubber that fits nicely in the fingers and it is positioned very well. However the ink blobs when writing are an absolute no go.

Also the clicker/thrust mechanism is “soft.” When pushing down on the clicker it is so soft that I had to look to make sure the actual tip was out and ready to write. Maybe this was a bad pack, I’m not sure. I am sure that no more coins will be spent on the BIC Atlantis.

Rated NOPE!

Photos and bad sketch: MsThorns

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MATINAE Paper – Class Act Dream

This was just so beautifully presented.

This was produced by Class Act Stationery and purchased from Walmart a few years ago.

The company may be out of business and I hope not because this is one of my favorites in recent memory.

Journal writers, what is your favorite?

Photos: MsThorns

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