Thanks to Lori's efforts, and lots of friendly conversation with Mr & Mrs Cattwalk, I'm no longer a "press virgin." Honestly, I never believed THAT day would come but now that it has, I can't say I'm sorry at all.
I bought a Chunky Lentil and a Marquis press in Tucson and tried them out on Wednesday. They're not nearly as difficult to use as I thought they were. Yes, there's some trial & error involved (I really need to buy some polymer clay), but it clicked for me pretty quickly. I like the Marquis shape a bunch, and the medium-sized lentil is a great base for lots of cool decorations. Oh, and I realllllly like that you get the flat-backed base for the lentils on the flip side as well, that's especially cool!
Thank you, Lori, and Cattwalk, for assaulting my bead budget in a new way!
Back to playing around....oh, and Lori, lemme know what you want to get together!