Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Perfect, Or Good Enough?

“Perfect, Or Good Enough?” Part 1
Brother EP-43 journal writing.
“Perfect, Or Good Enough?” Part 2

Post-Script: I still haven't found a great way to photograph these long strips of writings with a camera without uneven lighting, or field curvature from the lens. The iOS panorama mode comes closest, but you have to move the camera along the strip of paper with absolute precision in terms of the camera's viewing angle and speed of motion. Perhaps a slider would work. Maybe I'll rig one together.

I was inspired late last night to write this, as I was waiting for my video to upload to YouTube. These thermal machines are great for late-night missives where you want absolute quiet in the house. And it's nice to see the results measured in terms of feet and inches, rather than pages. It feels like progress. In the case of this piece (literally a piece, torn off from a roll of thermal fax paper, after it was completed), it measured nearly 21 inches in length.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Typing With My Mother

“Typing With My Mother”

Post-Script: Here's a photo of my Dad, sitting on a camel, taken during WWII in Egypt. He's on the right. On the left is his hometown buddy Dino Limore.

Typecast via Olympia SG-3.


Monday, May 06, 2019

Maquina de Escribir Gigante

Olympia SG-3
Maquina de Escribir Gigante, Part 1
Porch Typing
Maquina de Escribir Gigante, Part 2

Post-Script: The SG-3 is not supposed to be "portable," so when you do carry it, do so with the carriage close to your torso, since that's the heaviest part. Alternately, you could remove the carriage and move the machine in two halves, but that gets a bit fiddly.

This phenomenon I spoke of in this piece is very real, and immediately noticeable, with these large machines. You (at least, I) really do notice it as soon as you begin typing, how your concentration is focused on the work at hand. It helps that the machine is such a great typer, the action is smooth and, at least on this particular example, the type alignment is darned near perfect.

Which get us to the wonky photos of the typed piece, done using the panorama mode on my iPhone, handheld. It looks like the lines aren't straight, but in fact they are. To do this better, you may need some kind of slider to hold the phone absolutely at the proper angle to the work, and move it with mechanical precision.

The irony of last night's typing session with Kevin is that he was documenting, with his Underwood 6, our mutual collections of ultra-portable machines.

I have another video and blog article to do this week, about my recently acquired Brother EP-43 thermal typewriter. Yes, this makes three such machines. Are they in fact "ultra-portable" typewriters too? Yes, for certain. But that's the subject for another day.

I'm starting to gravitate to the conclusion (at least for now, as I hold the right to change my mind at any time) that a combination of thermal typewriter for out-and-about typing, and a full-sized standard for fixed office/studio writing, is a great mix. What do you think?

Here's a night shot of Kevin at his Underwood.

Kevin and his Underwood 6

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Final Writing From Winning Coffee

Last Latte at Winning Coffee
Final Writing From Winning Coffee

Post-Script: We used to buy our coffee beans from Winnings, a biweekly pilgrimage that would also see us enjoying a plate of enchiladas and eggs (slathered with red and green chile sauce) or the bagel sandwich - typically on a Sunday morning, when the regulars would be seated at the big oval table near the serving line, doing the crossword puzzle and discussing the week's events.

The sidewalk in front of the shop is wide and brick-paved, with numerous patio tables and chairs, which were always filled with an eclectic mixture of students, regulars and semi-street people. Though smoking isn't permitted within 20 feet of a building here in ABQ, it was common for people to be smoking on the patio, using Winning-supplied, sand-filled ash trays, with the aroma of hand-rolled tobacco wafting on the breeze. Our very own little Left Bank; the Left Bank of Route 66.

I came here often enough to notice the regulars, and would strike up a conversation with some, even though I lived across town in the suburbs - which they were keen enough to pick up on. One such fellow was a young guy who always dressed in a black suit and white shirt, and would be writing poetry in a ragged notebook. Another regular was Cherokee, a middle-aged lady who's been living on the streets for decades, though she'd have enough money for a cup of coffee and a plate of breakfast. She'd be warming herself in the early morning sun, wrapped in her off-white blanket that you could smell from a block away. I suspect the management of Winnings might have given her a plate of food now and again for free. That's the way they were.

Three times a week Bradley would set up his books on the counter adjacent to the coffee roaster. He did a good trade in classic 20th century literature, aimed for the university crowd. I saw him and his wife today, as I was typing up this piece. She said he'll probably retire his mobile book business and perhaps take up music production. He would always have an assistant to haul the boxes of books to and from his truck, usually a local who needed the work. Bradley was that kind of fellow. I'm going to miss him.

There were lots of regulars, many who had their own table, sitting in the corner perhaps, writing on a laptop, or in a notebook. Chris, the co-owner, told me today that at least three doctorates were earned from UNM by folk who did the majority of their writing here at Winning Coffee.

I started coming here in the late 1990s, and would write in a journal book, using either mechanical pencil or fountain pen, then later in my AlphaSmart Neo, though I rarely took a typewriter, mainly because the place was so busy on weekday mornings, with people reading or studying, that I didn't want to disturb them. I wrote many blog articles and short stories here, including the Loser's Blend series, which I self-published, and was also featured in my story for Cold Hard Type.

With the increased pace of my YouTube video production schedule I haven't been frequenting Winnings very often during the last few years, since it involves a time commitment and drive across town. Now I regret not spending more time here. And I wonder if perhaps I'll soon have an urge to sit down at some worn table, eclectic music in the background, coffee-stained hardwood floors that have seen a lifetime of wear, sipping a wonderfully rich and dark latte that makes Starbucks taste like warmed milk, channeling my inner Muse as I put words to paper, in some newly discovered coffee shop very much like what Winnings was. I hope so, but there are no guarantees in life. But the spirit of Winning Coffee lives on my memories. Perhaps there's one more story for the Loser's Blend mythos still waiting to be penned? We shall see.

Typecast via Canon Typestar 4 onto Staples thermal fax paper.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring 2019 ABQ Type Out

Spring 2019 ABQ Type Out

Once again we are blessed to have Pennysmiths Paper host our spring 2019 ABQ Type Out. This is a public typewriter gathering where we bring a wide assortment of machines for people to enjoy, while inviting others to bring their typing machines too. The venue is located at 4022 Rio Grande Blvd in northwest Albuquerque. Food and drink will be available from the nearby Flying Star Cafe. I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 05, 2019

Santa Fe, Day Two

35 North Coffee, Santa Fe
Santa Fe, Day Two

Post-Script: It’s fun to deconstruct the local arts economy, as a means for greater understanding; just like you would when studying a work of art itself. Though the Santa Fe aesthetic is this unique blend of multi-cultural views and traditions, it’s very much ruled by the laws of economics, of supply and demand. Galleries and shops come and go, as do the careers of artists themselves. Marketing and promotion is a huge part of the job of artist, probably more important than the work itself - a sobering thought for the fledgling artist.

We look forward to returning here soon, as tourists rather than former residents.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Santa Fe, Day One

Iconik Coffee, Santa Fe
Santa Fe, Day One

Typecast via Hermès Rocket. Yes, I decided to take both the Rocket and the Canon Typestar, as a means of comparing manual against thermal ultraportable typewriters while on the road.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Cybernetic Synergism

Hermes Rocket at Stag Tobacconist
Cybernetic Synergism

Post-Script: I take no credit for this; I don’t know what came over me!

I’ve decided to take the Canon Typestar, for no other reason than I haven’t yet done a road trip with thermal typewriter. I hope the Skyriter and Rocket aren’t too upset.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Vacationing the City Different

Vacationing the City Different

Post-Script: This was a trial run of blogging exclusively using an iPhone. So far, easier now that I’m using Chrome instead of Safari.

I didn’t give myself enough space on the right margin of this piece, so there’s a bit of wonkiness with the scan; but at least it’s readable. Certainly making it possible to do while away from the Mac and Epson scanner. In fact, this might end up being my normal workflow here at home.

I didn’t use the bright video lights for illuminating the page, just indirect window light. But nighttime will be more challenging.

I’ve been doing a lot of thermal typing on the Canon Typestar lately, so it was fun getting back to a manual typewriter. The Skyriter still needs more work, both with the skipping and occasional smudging, like the carriage is still moving when the type slug hits the ribbon.

Last week I also spent hours realigning the type bars. Had to make some minute adjustments to the printing guide, but now it looks better. This is a UK-made Skyriter, I’m not sure if I’d rank it better than my Hermes Rocket. Yes, it has a quieter sound, and longer carriage return arm, but it’s thus far more touchy than the Rocket. And the keys seem closer together while requiring a deeper stroke, meaning it’s easier to miss-hit neighboring keys with my stubby fingers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Late Night Inspiration

Triumph Norm 6

Post-Script: I had a blast making this video, and learned a few more things about using iMovie. Many thanks to the positive comments.

I wrote this typecast while enjoying the balmy spring evening with Kevin Kittle. Good friends and typewriters go together, especially if all four - us and our spouses - each had a typewriter.

The typecast was "scanned" using the panoramic mode of my iPhone 6s. I quickly shot it on the kitchen island, lit by afternoon window light and a skylight overhead. A quick crop and edit, and uploaded to Flickr in just a few minutes. I like that it has decent resolution, and none of the pincushion distortion that comes from using the phone's native camera app. As long as you hold the phone steady and move it over the subject at an even rate, it seems to work well enough.

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