Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Share that Holiday Spirit

Christmas 1971

And if you don't have any such spirit, I recommend a hearty backhand to the kisser.

See y'all in 2010!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's the last gasp, about thirty-someish hours until the end of the month. For NaNo'ers, this is either a sweet deadline or impending doom. I hope you're in the former camp, but if you're not, or you didn't try NaNoWriMo this year, I hope you'll give it a try again next time. I truly do believe that it's a magical month (likely because I start gearing up for it far in advance.) For the more writerly among you, I'm looking to you for guidance as to the proper "soak" time to allow the first draft before sitting down and re-reading it again, and to find the courage to re-read and re-write. I'm mired in last year's novel, opting to jump in and fix every tiny little thing instead of stepping back and looking at the structure of the Whole, and going from there. The collision of words on the page leaves me speechless at times, and I don't have a good strategy for plowing through it. Help!

Thanksgiving came particularly late this year, too, so I didn't realize just how close to the end of the year we truly are. 2009 is running out on us, and I'm shaking myself awake to face the holidays... they've had a four-week head start, and are moving at quite a clip already. Time to be pulling out all the hall-decking from the shed and start giving the house over to tinsel and bells and non-stop seasonal bossa nova. Considering that we're still pulling down Halloween art projects from my preschooler, this is quite an undertaking. The Spirit of the Season is upon us, as I was reminded when I saw this Lettera 22 being offered for $250 on the local Craigslist. That also leaves me speechless.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


20091124 typecast
(click to embiggen)

UPDATE: transcribed for the copy-and-paste challenged...

November 24, 2009


I've been keeping a low profile for the past week or so, willing your word-counts past whatever hurdles you might be facing from over here along the sidelines. I'm not sure if my cheering/goading is helping matters at all, or just annoying you to no end: I hope for the former and always suspect the latter. Those U.S.-based members of the typosphere at least get a reprieve in the form of a long holiday weekend, which I hope you're not all spending hunched over the keys, at least not without a slice of pie close at hand. Take strength in the caloric overload of the season, and don't forget what this Thursday is really all about (and no, not for stocking the shelved in dreadful anticipation of Black Friday.) Contrarian that I am, I far prefer making a big fuss over Thanksgiving in the face of the pre-pre-pre Christmas hysteria. You know we'll be sitting tounf the table making handprint-and-construction-paper turkeys while we wait for the tolls to bake or the cranberries to boil. Even that big Parade is so overly commercial that the kids won't sit through it. Take a little time away from the word pile to grab a convenient loved one (child, parent, pet, Olympia) and tell them "thanks" for putting up with you and your eccentricities for another 365.

On Friday, it's all back to business.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Big Sell-Out

Inspired by a comment in my Shift Freedom photo, I spent a few minutes this morning fiddling with the "Posterize" tool on Gimp, and have entered the realm of typospheric merch.

Behold! Clickthing Swag-o-Matic 6000!

I'm realizing, though, that this offers up opportunities for those who might want to embellish themselves with their favorite scribomechanical devices, without the stigma and righteousness that will rightfully rain down upon you if you were to, say, support a keychopper on Etsy.

This is kind of a joke, unless anyone actually buys one, and then I'm all in. What would you like to see on a shirt/mug/sticker/magnet?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Keys to Romance

Staying heads-down in NaNo land before H1N1 lands on my house (as I feel it is doomed to do) but I had to share this worthy op-ed piece from the Times of India, entitled "Keys to Romance"

"[Y]ou could fall in love with the typewriter. With the comp[uter], one is not very sure."

How true indeed that is. And not that I'm crazy about Geeksugar, since they have promoted/cooed about typewriter key jewelry, but I was surprised (and pleased) to see a pair of my very own machines show up in this post. (Etta the Quiet DeLuxe and the unnamed SM-9, for those playing at home.) I do have to admit to feeling all a-swoon when I open up their cases, which I do far too infrequently.

EDIT: Ah, Olivander has teh stronger Google-fu than I. Check out his link, and also this clip. I think we have a new name for the Brigade rock band: Duffy Moon and the Fate Machine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Mt. Diablo, November 2009
I'm shepherding a group of NaNo newbies this year, first timers making their trek through November. This is my third go-round, which I suppose makes me the grizzled old veteran around these parts. One of the newbies (a co-worker) just stopped me in the break room and said "you know, I was working on my story last night, and it's been hard work, and then all of a sudden it just took on its own life."

I know the feeling well. I like that we have this month-long excuse to be silly and self-indulgent and take a tilt at the "novelist" windmill. I joked on the NaNo forums that I'm addicted to the word count rush -- my competitive nature again, surely -- and that I'm just chugging along with the story because in my head, it's already done. I'm just filling in the gaps.

Let me try an extended analogy here. Around springtime, I'm standing on the plains, just kind of looking around the mental landscape for interesting features. I've recovered from the previous November, and I'm starting to think about that next great story journey. Out on the horizon, I can see something -- hills, maybe, or trees, or rocks. It's hard to tell from here, but they look interesting, and I make a note about them on an index card and start walking in their general direction.

It's a long walk: months long, in fact, and all too often I need to take my eyes away to attend to something or other in my waking life -- work, kids, pets, whatever. But those features are still there, out on the horizon. I can make out shapes if I look long enough. I can start seeing the high points, and I can see the gaps in-between. It looks like mountains. I'm still walking, making notes, and details are starting to appear. A tree line, or the way a cloud breaks over a peak. I start thinking about the path I'll be taking, the way over and around and through those mountains, when I finally reach them.

By the time I get to their feet, it's October. Now I'm so close, I can only see the surface. The peaks are clear, but the valleys are hidden, and the path is mysterious. I know the big landmarks -- I spotted those weeks ago -- but I'm still not sure of the path through. I set up camp by the mountain, the start of the range. I'm eager to start, eager to set out and explore.

November comes, and I can finally start climbing! The low, round foothills are the easiest, and I meander my way up, up, up. The peaks are coming into view, as are the paths that lead to them. I'm still heading for my landmarks: I know that they'll see me through if I just stop to orient myself now and then. I'll get to the other side in the end, exhausted and weary surely, surprised and amused maybe. The way was twisted and turned, the path was tangled at times or unclear. It lead me down into hidden vales, and up along steep climbs, and sometimes an exhilarating headlong rush downhill, my feet barely able to keep up. But I have been climbing before; I know what to expect, and I know what I can do. I am not the most graceful, the most skilled wayfinder in the mountains, but I am getting better with each climb.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Tangled Weave of Plot

Feeling the typewriter love this morning: momentum is a powerful force, and the combined weight of all those typewriters thunking away... it's awe-inspiring.

Wanna see something else inspiring, in an I-can't-believe-how-nerdy this is way? Take a look at today's xkcd, and be sure to click through for the big image. (xkcd is... difficult to explain. Some are moderately NSFW if your boss frowns on stick-figure coitus. This strip is fine, but you have been warned.)

It certainly helps if you've seen the movies in question, but as a card-carrying mouth-breathing fanboy of The Lord of the Rings (both books and movies), I am completely awed and in love with the narrative chart. I know that Randall's ultimately going for a joke here, but I love the idea of seeing the lives intertwining on the page.

I was toying with something like this on Saturday before I started writing, trying to list out the various subplots and resolutions I'm aiming for in this year's book. But the chart form...

...I need some butcher-block paper and a pack of markers, stat.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Oh, thank goodness. Now I just have to try and read the notes I made last night while all hopped up on Reese's Pieces.

November dreaming

Now stop wasting time on the Intertubes and get typing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Circle Those Wagons

  • Pre-NaNo anxiety is setting in: what if this year's draft is as bad as last year's, what if I never finish editing last year's, what if I suddenly die of H1N1 and last year's draft is read aloud before family and friends at my funeral, etc.. I'm still trying to rope in more newbie suckers participants, because I'm highly competitive about word count, and me and the typewriters want to crush them.
  • Deep breathing... deeeeep breathing... I am the typewriter buddha... ooommmmmm...
  • Could not resist a Sperry-Rand Remington Premiere for $5 today, though it's anything but "Premiere." No tabs, no ribbon color select, no touch control, no auto ribbon reverse (pop the cover, flip the switch, replace the cover -- there's your reverse, wimps.) Still love it, though hating the caked on brown scuzziness on the surface. Tomacco stains, perhaps? Foul. Only Goo Gone and a lot of buffing is handling it.
  • I consider it kismet for passing up the similarly anti-featured 1950's Underwood Leader that seemed to hang around forever at the same price. Tip: the Remington typing experience is not like chewing on tinfoil while someone hits your hands with a meat tenderizer. This may be the NaNo-distraction-typer for my two year old to help her keep her hands off of The Beast while Daddy's working.
  • So far I've heard synposes of Olivander and Speegle's novels, and I want to be a reader for both (once they've pass a first-draft sanity check.) Want to start a typosphere reading circle of sorts? Anxiety aside, I might actually be able to share this year's novel, and would gladly read and critique others. Gotta pass the time 'til next November, after all.
  • The Typewriter Brigade topic is completely insane. Two hundred seventy-two posts at this point (yes, mostly mine, har har har.) Duffy, what foul Hell-spawn have you unleashed? I love it.
  • Hurry
  • Up
  • November

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I <3 Lovecraft?

Really loving the design of the cover of this book. The evolution is interesting, and of course the subject matter couldn't be better. Much respect to Adam Byrne for the rendition of the nefarious machine.

(The near-final, and final versions below.)

Patronize Me

I'm not a believer in Divine guidance, but I have to admit a certain cosmic coincidence was at play with Olivander's latest blog entry. How did you know I was going to make a post about this very topic? Spooky.

Blogiverse mysteries aside, I'd like to put forward a few of my own suggestions, based on careful five-minute research from the Internet (soon to take the place of "shelter" as one of life's essentials.)

Our newspaper runs a trivia column, and yesterday's edition contained this tidbit (added emphasis mine):
MODERN DEVICES need patron saints, too. Joseph of Cupertino was picked to be the patron saint of astronauts and air travelers because he could apparently fly. By himself. Claire of Assisi became patron saint of television after she saw visions of a Catholic mass on the wall of her cell. And Isidore is touted as a patron saint of the Internet because of his maniacal quest to gather the world's information on index cards.
I know about Saint Claire because I've been known to give out ticky-tacky plastic versions of her likeness to computer-obsessed friends and relations over the years. (And if you think that's particularly gauche, you should see the 6" glow-in-the-dark Saint Francis of Assisi plastic statuette I picked up from the National Cathedral gift shop some years ago. Who says Catholics don't have a sense of humor?)

Saint Isidore was new to me, though, so I looked him up. Unless index cards were in heavy use in the first century C.E., I think our trivia guy played it a little loose with the facts. However, there's still some hope for choosing Isidore as a patron of NaNo. Quoting from his biography:
Frustrated by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted and hurt by his brother's treatment, Isidore ran away. [...] When he returned home, however, his brother in exasperation confined him to a cell (probably in a monastery) to complete his studies, not believing that he wouldn't run away again.
Forcible confinement at the hands of a family member? Sounds like he was around week two of his novel to me. No mention of index cards in his bio, though. I was hoping that Isidore might have been a more contemporary saint, so I could drop in a picture of him looking beatific, hunched over his holy typewriter (probably an Olympia), cataloging like a madman. Alas, photographers of quality also seemed to be in short supply in the middle 600's. You'll have to make do with this photo of Vladimir Nabokov's cards. He reportedly wrote his novels by putting a paragraph on index cards, and shuffling them around until satisfied. As far as I know, though, Nabokov did not martyr himself or die some messy death, so he's probably out of the canonization running.

In fact, perhaps this idea of an official Vatican-approved protector for NaNoWriMo is a little too stuffy for the devil-may-care attitude of the event. My heart and mind is already solidly in the Mingo of Oakland camp, as recent posts here bear witness. I think NaNo-ers -- and especially Brigadiers -- would do well to follow his example of catchy tunes, fine clothes, and hard work, and save the novenas for the editing stage. God knows we'll need it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Mingo

Two weeks until NaNo lift off everyone... are you ready for some Hard Work?

A little music should help those fingers fly: just remember the admonition not to oil the segment of your typewriter, or this might happen...

The rings... the suit... and now the shoes! This man is my typing-fashion hero (sorry Olivander.)

Friday, October 16, 2009


One hundred sixty words a minute? That's 50K words in 5.2 hours. He could start on Monday at lunchtime and be done by Saturday night... if he took it easy.

Loving the bright orange machine, too. A Royal?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Things

  1. Because I can't leave well enough alone, I'm considering adding some rub-on transfers to strategic locations on the pimped-out Brother. I'll need to trek down to the craft store, but I'm thinking something in the interior of the case (like under the keys) would look pretty sweet, and break up all that eye-sweating redness. Stay tuned. I'm still hunting for designs that don't look like a frat boy tattoo.
  2. I know I mentioned The Impossible Project in an earlier post, but they have a new press release today announcing a modest resurrection of Polaroid cameras and Polaroid-branded film. Might want to harvest a couple from Goodwill while they're still cheap for the taking.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oh Brother, I'm Gonna Dye

I passed on this one at first, but after very little convincing, it came home in the end, as I'm sure you knew it would. But now, there's a twist.
Brother Correction 7
Inspired by Alpha-Smartie Vance Fry, I'm going to try my hand at giving this old Brother a makeover. You can sort of tell from my photo: some of that yellow is the color scheme and some... well, some is not. It could be tobacco, or age, or a combination of both.

I considered trying my hand at mixing up a batch of Retr0Bright to bleach the colors back into newness, but honestly, I have no desire to do this. That yellow... that brown... it's time for it to go.

There's not a lot of color choices available in off-the-shelf vinyl dyes -- I could also choose black, beige, or a buffed silver -- but looking at those red keys got me thinking that this little machine wants more than a life of blah. So, red it shall be. Take a good long look, because that color scheme is going to dye.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Everyone


That's pretty much all I can say. Wow.

My courtesy copy of Silent Type just arrived today, smothered under the monthly swarm of bills and pre-pre-pre-season Christmas catalogs. Recycle the catalogs and hang the bills, this thing is gorgeous and can't wait. Miles beyond the splotchy purple-mimeo'd 'zines of our youth*. I'm knocked out.

* Those of you who were hip enough to make such things, anyway. I was still snickering at

20 GOTO 10

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Cache of Excess

I have to admit, I feel a little bit like those archaeologists in the news, fumbling into a cavern that may be legend.

Two pillars of the film world died this year; hoarders of Polaroid film and Kodachrome are looking at these once ubiquitous consumer products to reinflate their sagging IRAs. And although there are some people working hard to solve the impossible, it's not solved yet. I figured I'd held my last Polaroid picture forever.

Not so, says Fate.

The Cache

I couldn't pass it up. Not with the film included. I tried to put it down, I honestly did, but I couldn't.

I'm not even sure I remember how to load this silly stuff, but I know that the Internet will come to my aid there. I figure I've got 90 or so pictures left in these packs, less if the embedded battery is shot. Now I have to decide: what to shoot?

The age of the film and the general instability of the emulsion means I won't be capturing any great art here, but then the Polaroid was never meant for Great Art. It was always about orangish-blurry pictures of Aunt Marge at the cookout, balancing a Chinet full of barbeque on her lap, waving one heavily costume-jeweled hand at you and holding a buttery corncob in the other. As you can see from the pic, my first attempt (the "Is there still film in this?" shot) is of my office plant on the windowsill. It's delightful and washed out and perfect.

So what say all of you? I am sorely tempted to follow the outstanding examples of a fellow typecaster and shoot countless pictures of the many machines in my life. A retro-memorial for retro-tech. But I don't know. I'm great at hoarding, not so great at using with reckless abandon.

What would you shoot?

Lettera Porn

For Mr. Speegle's challenge: a sunny day with the camera and Lettera on hand, and voila...

Shadowy Words

Big Red

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


From the archives of Life magazine.

Fingers at the ready? We're on October's doorstop, perched to ring that bell...
  • My second knit typing pad is complete. I learned some lessons from making my first one last year, specifically the importance of thickness, so I took a suggestion from Monda and made the entire thing a knit-one-purl-one rib knit, then folded it into fourths before washing. The good: this thing is crazy thick, and should be able to muffle my typing sounds, even if I choose to use a hammer on the typewriter this November (tempting, when the plot goes awry.) The bad: I threw caution to the wind and did not test a swatch of yarn first to see how it would shrink, so the result is less of a pad, and more of an elongated rectangle. Two typewriters could easily perch back-to-back upon it. This may not be a bad thing. The original pad is sitting under Norma Jean at the office. I might sleep on the second one.
  • October also means that I start focusing on filling in the many gaps on this year's novel, which is going to be a comic/humorous fantasy-type story. My last two attempts have been serious works (ahem) and so I would not let myself take advantage of the "ceiling ninja" technique of unsticking a jammed plot ("Suddenly, ninjas leapt from the ceiling!") I'm going to rectify that this year. In 2009 I shall embrace the ninjas. The plot is thickening.
  • I've been remiss in lazily re-posting Links of Interest, so here's a few to tide you over:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's in the Blood

In a week's time, my youngest will be turning two fingers, a fact she's proud to demonstrate with minimal prompting ("How old are you?" "Doo!") No parent is ever supposed to pick favorites (or at least not own up to doing so) but I'm fortunate that mine all are so different that it's easy to pick favorite aspects of each.


The oldest one is the only boy, my Middle Schooler, and The Jock. He's everything I wasn't in school: slim, athletic, sun-loving, with a pierced ear and a desire to run as far and as fast as he can, all day if given the chance. He is my nature-versus-nurture case study. He's bright, but unlike me, he's not really high on the organization scale. (Though I do remember letting a 6th grade research paper lapse until the very last, possible moment, and then losing three days typing it up -- yes, typing, with footnotes -- through bitter tears.)

The middle child is the Bookworm. She's been in love with books from the day she could toddle around with an armload of them, looking for the first available lap. Now that she can actually read, she's been known to disappear into her room for hours, surrounded by a word-fort of all the books she's pulled from her floor to ceiling shelves. This one sunburns easily, loves to draw and paint, is food-sensitive, has a touch of SPD. In unkinder days she might have been called a "spaz." I can relate to this one.

And now the youngest, on the cusp of turning two. We've gotten a pretty good picture of her personality. Active like her brother, book-loving like her sister, and the Comedian of the family, some of that probably coming from being the youngest of three, and the child voted Most Likely To Grow Up At Soccer Games and Track Meets. She's busy enough to ensure that three is enough. Beyond that, we don't have a good sense of who she's going to be except for two things.
  1. She loves shoes, and clucks with delight at the opportunity to put them on, take them off, or throw them at the dog.
  2. She's obsessed with pens, pencils, crayons and paper.
I've posted this picture a few times, because I think it's really funny: she "helped" out with my NaNo 2008 novel by using the typewriter whenever I wasn't around, and by scattering my index cards to the four corners of the family room (actually, that last part was not so funny.) I don't know what's going to happen this year, but I do know that twice in the last two weeks, she's taken a #2 pencil to the laptop screen and scrawled all over it, with great delight.

Love of office supplies? Fascination with typewriters? Desire to deface the computer? It's in the blood.

Monday, September 14, 2009


  • I'm gradually getting on top of my work-pile, digging out from my biannual code development cycle. Not as many posts here as late, but I'm still following all of you, and heaping out tiny doses of sardonic abuse on The Facebook.
  • Our first rainstorm of the season over the weekend has put me in the mood of autumn, my favorite season, although in this part of California it is practically come and gone in a single weekend. This unusually-early rain was heralded by the even more rare thunderstorm. The crash and boom at 3 A.M. knocked the kids out of bed, but to me, that's a lullaby.
  • We're gearing up for the second birthday of my youngest child. Just flicking through my pictures from her birthday last year makes me realize how fast it's gone. Two, and she's talking in paragraphs.
  • Still plotting away on ideas for the 2009 NaNo draft, and secretly scoffing at those who would dare to wimp out. The Brigade needs you. We actually forced the NaNoWriMo powers-that-be to lock the old topic because we'd posted so much that it threatened to melt the forum software. There's another topic to take the brunt of interest until the forum wipe in October-ish. And yes, Virginia, typing with small children underfoot is possible.
  • Not much to report by way of retrotech. I'm still hard at work knitting up another typing pad with some horrible, possessed yarn I found at the thrift store for two bits a ball. It's awful, scratchy, poop-brown and keeps pulling apart at inopportune moments. I'm looking forward to tormenting it in a very hot wash cycle.
  • Local Craigslisters have awakened again and discovered the mile-high-club prices from, which is probably a good thing, since it's preventing me from doing anything more than coveting from afar. Way, way afar.
  • That said, my middle child has started piano lessons, and so we've co-opted my ugly green typing table as a keyboard stand for her. This has forced my standard machine into a box next to the bed for the time being. There's a metal stand at the thrift store, and I feel my resolve weaken every week I check and it's still there, holding up a lampshade.
  • I'm still trying to finish up a roll of black-and-white film in a homebrew pinhole camera. (I like to have enough exposed film on hand to make suffering the stink of Caffenol worth it.) I have, however, noticed a conspicuous lack of photography on your own blogs, despite my award-winning how-to writeups. Consider yourselves glared upon with a Stern Eye.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fifteen Minutes and Then You Get a Sticker

I spent most of the weekend hovering over our youngest, trying to reveal unto her the magical mysteries of toilet training. I'll spare you the specifics, but know that it involves acting surprised and excited every fifteen minutes when the kitchen timer sounds, and then spending quality time perched on the edge of the bathtub trying to look neither eager nor disinterested at the habits of my daughter's bowels. We're not ready yet, but the Mrs. and I are trying to get there before that magical window of interest slams shut and effort can no longer be rewarded with stickers and hugs and high-fives. We have a pre-teen: we know what stubborn looks like.

There's not much you can do with your day when it's punctuated by a hand-clapping parade down the hall every fifteen minutes, especially when the thermometer has reached Absurdly Hot at 8:00 AM and threatens not to back down for another fourteen hours. Stuck inside with the air conditioner blasting and our kitchen timer counting down at my elbow, I finally broke down and cracked open my NaNo 2008 draft. I'd managed to edit up through about day four's writing -- all my pages are numbered by day -- and by "edit" I mean "rewrite whole sections in-between the double spaced type." It's not easy, and at every clunky word I was reminding myself how I got here by being the obsessive over-achiever that I am. ("Why stop at 50,000 words?") I hate, hate, hate editing this thing. I don't know why, as it was it truly was a pleasure to write, but then it's far more fun to cook than wash dishes, too. Perhaps it's just this section of the novel, those first exploratory days where I was getting used to the idea of daily typing, and was still sussing out the characters. Once I get started, it's not so awful, but it's still taking me about an hour per page (!) because I insist on redoing whole chunks. And knowing that there's hundreds of pages ahead of me just fills me with a soul-sapping dread.

So I made myself a deal, in the spirit of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. All I had to do was the short assignment of editing for fifteen minutes, just until the little timer bell rang, and then I could stop. And I did, fifteen minutes at a time, and then the bell would sound for the Parade, and off we'd march, the toddler and I. Ten minutes later I was back on the sofa, winding up the timer for another wait, and made another deal with myself. Just fifteen more minutes, that's all. And then another fifteen. And another.

Added together, all those little windows passed the time -- I probably edited for around three hours in total, around all those breaks. Normally I hate being constantly interrupted, but this was shockingly productive, taking tiny little fifteen-minute bites out of the novel, with a mandated reward sticker at the end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Needs New Ribbon

Needs New Ribbon

Also needs:
  • Dust and eraser bits blown out from insides
  • Surface grime wiped off
  • De-pooping (case only, luckily)
  • De-hairing (typewriter only, unfortunately)
  • Paper holder bent back into shape
  • Rust spots removed from case lining (OxiClean?)
  • Zipper re-sewn on side of case
  • Its story discovered and written

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Speegle Curse

I need someone to blame, after all. After she sort-of badmouthed the Olivetti line, Strikethru found herself in possession of one and renounced her ways. And secretly I might have been smirking at Mr. Speegle's lavish affection for la signore and the attention she garners when he takes her out in public. And now it's my turn for a comeuppance, as this little script (yes, script) Lettera 32 followed me home from lunch. The clerk and I looked the case and typewriter over for a price tag lurking somewhere under the cobwebs and hair (?) and bird scat (!) with no luck, so she finally just said:

"I don't know... how does $5 sound to you?"

It sounds lovely, thanks.

This is another mostly-metal machine, not the plastic Underwood/Olivetti machines that I've bought and passed along. I think this one will be a keeper. No photos yet, for she and I are both ashamed of her condition right now. She's got the heart of a poet, though, I can feel it. This little gal didn't sit under a dust cover and type casserole recipes before she was cased up and forgotten. I think she's got a Significant Story lurking inside. And she's blue, like so many of my other machines... I think I may have an accidental collection "theme" going now.

Update: I meant Lettera 32, not 22.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Red Badge of Hype

No, this doesn't count as my Significant Story entry (and how did this become homework all of a sudden? [shakes fist at Strikethru.]) This little guy caught my eye at Goodwill the other night, mainly because of that little red dot.

Leica Mini Zoom

Now, this is a "real" Leica in the same sense that I'm a "real" author. Put another way, this camera is a sheep in wolf's clothing. That said, Leica lenses are famous, and the lens really does make all the difference. I took a Yashica T4 with me to Disneyland which took outstandingly sharp photos (Zeiss lens, for those in the know) and I was hoping this camera would behave about the same.

My test roll came back from Walgreens just a bit ago, and here's some of the scans from the CD.

I'm pleased! One, for the quality, and two, that I didn't need to pay the Hype Price to experience it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New From Clickthing Industries: The Handoscan (Mark 1)

I'm getting closer: my hand-scanning technique just got an upgrade with the lunchtime creation of the Handoscan (Mark 1), aka, a homemade light-table. I've been using my digital camera to "scan" the negatives I've been making, since I don't have a film scanner or ready access to one that can handle transparencies. For just posting pictures on the web, my camera's resolution is Plenty Good Enough, but taking a picture of a highly reflective surface held up to a bright light is what you might call a challenge. Inspiration struck when I took a quick inventory of the clutter useful materials I have around my office.


Handoscan Mark 1, Disassembled
Cardboard box, tape, old flexible cutting board, binder clips.

Handoscan Mark 1, Demonstrated
White plastic acts as diffuser, spreading the daylight evenly.

And a couple of shots that I was unable to get before, due to the horrible reflections from the camera:

Flowers Soccer

I'm still shooting through the plastic negative sleeves, and the sleeve is not being held perfectly flat yet -- I tried some magnets from the crafts store as a means to "pin" it down, but they're too weak to pass though the layers of cardboard. I'll see if I can locate some stronger magnets and try doing a negative strip held directly onto the white plastic.


I've got a lead on some dead hard-drive magnets, thanks for the tip, Olivander. Also, a couple more pics to enjoy...

From the Olympus Pen

3-D Boat
From the Nishika N8000