Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2018 Phoenix Type-In Gleanings

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The 2018 Phoenix Type-In was the highlight of my year (so far). Meeting faces both new and familiar, interviewing Typosphere notables, trying out a wide assortment of machines - these are the things that make for fond memories. And also solidifying past relationships, made deeper with more intimate fellowship.

Besides coming away from the event with that combination excited/cozy feeling (and a Smith-Corona Skyriter), I also had a sheaf of typings, gleaned from the plethora of words left upon papers scattered across the tables. I thought little about them until, weeks later, I took the opportunity to study them, only to realize that here were some gems in the raw.

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What follows are snippets gleaned from the detritus of the event. I've taken the luxury of permitting these images to be 800 pixels wide, busting the template for the sake of readability.

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Post-Script: Some of these snippets are rather obvious - commentary on how the particular typewriter looks, operates and feels. This is normal; all too normal. I've attended enough of these events to become a bit jaded when all I glean are commentaries on how people like certain machines and not others. I suppose there is value in this, reinforcement of one's biases. In all fairness, it is interesting to happen across a comment that disagrees with one's own feelings about a particular machine. Like, how could a person not like a Hermes 3000, even if the carriage return lever is a bit high? Each to their own.

But then there are other typings that are wonderfully evocative of notable 20th century literature. Like the little quote from the beginning of Kerouac's On the Road.

And then there are the more cryptic, mysterious typings. Perhaps foreign to me through my lack of exposure to a depth of literature unfamiliar to me. Or truly original and bazaar. These are what I love, the mysterious notes that makes one wonder...

I culled these clippings from pages filled with the likes of "the quick brown fox." And now they remain as little snippets torn and frayed, yet invaluable. I supposed I'll put them in a folder and stash them away. Maybe I should consider putting out a book, of Type-In gleanings, interspersed with typewriter erotica, gleaming black lacquered paint and shiny round keys. Have Mr. Hanks write the forward. Perhaps. Until then, enjoy.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Pinhole Grid-Camera Fiddlin'

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Post-Script: Here's the YouTube video of this project.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Typewriter Poet Ashley Naftule

“Adobe Rose” the Royal Quiet De Luxe
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Post-Script: I admire talented people like Ashley. I've wanted to try my hand at public typewriter poetry, but have been smart enough to know that it takes more than owning a typewriter. You actually have to be a poet, with a prolific enough imagination to compose on the spot. Not sure I could do that. Perhaps what I need is a training regimen, like give myself a random assignment and half an hour. Do that several times a week, build up my poetry-writing chops. In the meantime, we have real poets like Ashley to keep us satisfied.

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

Skyriting at The Standard Diner

Skyriting at The Standard Diner
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Post-Script: I carried the Skyriter in my green shoulder bag that normally holds the blue Webster XL-747; I can easily tell the Skyriter is lighter than either the Webster or my other shoulder bag typer, the Olympia SF. While the wide cloth strap is okay when motor-scootering, I'd prefer the padded computer bag strap I use for the Nekkid Hermes 3000 carrying box. It was a warm day, so wearing a summer shirt and shorts felt pretty good on the scooter.

I've liked eating at the Range Cafe for years, so it's nice to know that The Standard Diner is owned and operated by the same family. While my favorite breakfast at the Range has been their huevos rancheros, made with blue corn tortilla and featuring pinto beans, white cheese and fried/baked potatoes (and ordered with red & green Chile - what we call "Christmas"), The Standard Diner's version has a white corn tortilla, black beans and hash browns. I really loved it, especially mixing both chile sauces into the hash browns and breaking the eggs over it. Yes; you can blame me for your sudden appetite.

Sitting in the high-backed, padded booth, I didn't find the Skyriter's noise especially bad; although I think I grasped a bit of conversation across the room involving the word "typewriter," so perhaps they were talking about me? Hmm...

Regarding this issue of narrow-width typecasting, so as to make the words more prominent on-screen, Ted has mentioned the use of 3-1/8" wide thermal paper as a good medium. I'd like to try it, but will wait until I can find some cheap rolls at the thrift stores; otherwise I'd have to spend lots more money on a 6-pack of rolls, enough paper to probably last me a lifetime. For elite-sized font machines, this range of 3-4 inches seems almost ideal for the purpose.

I also remember reading on their menu that The Standard Diner has an old typewriter back by the restrooms, though I didn't take an opportunity to check it out. Which gives me reason to return once again, perhaps with better video equipment than the little iPod Touch. Even so, perhaps that makes this venue a bit more typewriter-friendly.

Now, regarding motor-scootering. Yes, riding two-wheeled vehicles is intrinsically riskier than being enclosed in a metal cage, especially in today's world of phone-distracted drivers. What would be a fender-bender crash in a car can easily become a trip to the hospital, or morgue, on a motorcycle. Even so, there's a particular enjoyment to riding. Always wearing a helmet is an essential habit, even in hot weather; though I find the helmet keeps the sun off the fair skin of my ears and face; while in the winter it keeps my head and neck warm.

There are also some good defensive driving habits to invoke when riding, that you normally wouldn't consider if in a car. Visibility is a primary issue, especially when passing cars or going through intersections. Staying out of blind spots is something I'm always conscious of, which involves momentary speed changes to put myself in a more visible position relative to neighboring vehicles. Watching a neighboring vehicle's lane position and speed can give you clues as to their intent to suddenly change lanes. Even on such a diminutive vehicle like my Honda PCX-150 scooter, my head height relative to the road is easily as high as a medium-sized SUV. Regardless, when being followed by a vehicle I try to stay in the left side of the lane, so I'm directly in front of them, in their central zone of vision. When passing through intersections where there's a left-turning vehicle in the opposite turn lane, I will adjust my lane position to the right side so they can see me as early as possible. And watching for cars jumping out from side streets is easier if you watch the spoked rims of their front wheels, where you can more easily detect slight rotational motion indicating they're beginning to roll forward. All these are tactics I've learned that help me stay safe.

If I ever feel especially nervous about riding in traffic (which I usually don't, since I learned to ride on scooters in city traffic), I have the advantage, in northeast ABQ, of taking side streets to almost anywhere else in this part of town, like I would if on a bicycle. That is the essential advantage of living in a grid-like city, the network of side streets between major roadways.

Here's the Ted Munk interview video. Stay tuned on my YouTube channel for the upcoming interviews with Ryan Adney and Bill Wahl.



*About downtown Albuquerque. My grandparents' old house in on Edith near Central, just two blocks up from The Standard Diner.

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