Thursday, July 27, 2023

From When I Used to Be a Not Half-Bad Writer

6.23.2009 316a
A photo from our 2009 vacation to Southern California

I was perusing my old Flickr photos when I came across this typecast, made with my older Royal Mercury, while sitting on the beach in Oceanside, California. I was struck by my writing - I don't think I can write like this today, at least not without some effort. Being on vacation at the time, this did not require much effort. Not that this is world-shatteringly great prose, but there's something caught within these typewritten lines that speaks to the moment of what it was like in 2009 during our vacation.


Here's the machine I used, a 1972 Royal Mercury:
Photo taken at Stag Tobacconist when I used to frequently type in their cigar lounge

This machine is still in ABQ, now being cared for by a member of our fledgling ABQwerty Type Writer Society; I just received a letter from her this week, typed on this machine, and it looks like it's still going strong, though it needs a new ribbon, which I've promised to install.

Back to the typecast, I don't know what's happened, but writing like that doesn't come easily to me these days. Maybe it's because I'm involved now in much non-writing creativity, or maybe I simply don't write enough, like I once did, other than personal letters. Or maybe, back then, I was relatively new to this kind of writing and I didn't know any better, my mind wasn't clogged with conventions and presumptions and expectations or any other "ions." Maybe I should just sit down at the keys, and bleed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Cherry Hills Library Type-In Review

(Poem by Monique Olivia, written during the recent Cherry Hills Type-In)

This poem's been sitting on my studio table for a few weeks. It was given to me by its author, Monique Olivia, who wrote it during the recent Type-In we had, here in ABQ, at a local library. I've been known to collect the so-called detritus of Type-Ins, missives or seemingly random words typed on scraps of paper, then left behind like dried leaves in the autumn. Some of it rings with a faint flicker of recognition, others are so juvenile or prurient as to be immediately cast off into the recycle bin. But gems like Monique's are special, hence the reason why I wanted to post it here.

(I can recognize this clever quip from a previous Type-In; yes, we have repeat attendees!)

I was trying to recognize the typeface of the machine Monique used to type her poem, I think it's the Corona Standard, but am not entirely certain.

(All the machines visible on these tables are from my collection. I made certain to include my two standards, the KMM and Underwood 5, both of which proved popular)

(This Olympia and custom painted dark blue Smith-Corona behind it are lovely to look at and type on)

(Here I'm showing a lady how to use her Royal Futura, with some fun stickers)

(This gal was very enthusiastic and was actively looking to see which kind of machine she'd like to get for herself)

(I was surprised at the enthusiasm of the young people. This young lady was very intent on mastering the art of typing, using a variety of machines)

(More enthusiastic typists)

(Even more enthusiasm)

(Old and young working together)

(I'm amazed at this young man's color coordination!)

(This was left for me as a gift by an unknown donor. This typing instruction manual is from 1952. I've been wanting one of these; thank you, whomever you are!)

I appreciate all the folks who attended, and am looking forward to our next event.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Rocker Tray Film Developing Tank Concept

(Rocker tray animated via bent map pin)

I'm constantly brainstorming ideas for camera and darkroom devices. Here's a recent example.

This page is from my Handi Desk journal: an animated concept for a tabletop sheet film/paper developing tank. The device sits on a table. Pour the chemicals (developer followed by stop bath followed by fixer) one-at-a-time into the top. The liquids flow through the light trap into the tray.

An axle connected to the tray protrudes through light seals in the sides of the device to a pair of knobs (not shown in the sketch), used to manually control the tray. Gently rock the tray via the knobs for the duration of the step.

Place the chemical bottle in the bottom, under the dump port, and then rotate the tray 90 degrees to empty its contents back into the bottle. Upright the tray to level. Repeat with the rest of the processing chemicals.

The top half of the device removes, to gain access for loading and unloading the film or paper.

The sheets of paper or film are loaded into the device while it's inside a large light-tight changing bag or tent; or alternatively, loaded in the darkroom, then brought out into the light for processing. This sketch is conceptual in nature, not representing a finished design. The main hinderance to functionality is the loading and unloading. To be used out in the field, such as on a folding table or from the back of a vehicle, a changing tent, at minimum, is required, to transfer the film or paper from sheet film holder to the tray.

I've found often that these kinds of conceptual sketches, rather than revealing new and innovative designs, instead prove why tried-and-true ideas are so worthwhile. In this case, a simple developing tank made for 4x5 film would work just as well, and be smaller in size and simpler in complexity. However, as a habitual sketcher, I find some solace in the notion that even dead-end designs deserve to be documented, if for no other reason than explaining why they shouldn't be pursued.

This concept may prove useful if included as part of an Afghan Box Camera, where the processing section is separated from the camera itself. Simply design this device inside a larger enclosure that has a pair of arm sleeves. Once the film or paper is loaded, processing can proceed in daylight.