Not all girlie-girl typers are pink

Filed under: Finds, Machines of Loving Grace, typewriters — olivander January 18, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

Under normal circumstances, if I were to come across a late-model Royal Royalite in the thrift store, I would probably pass it by–especially an off-white one beginning to yellow with age. The Holland-made Royals  with the “squashed Futura” look just don’t do much for me.

But an off-white Royalite slathered in flower decals…?

Now that’s irresistible tackiness! $5 was worth just the opportunity to photograph it.

If you were to guess that this typewriter was probably owned by a 16-year-old girl, you’d be right. The proof is that her class schedule, including Driver’s Ed, was written on a sheet of notebook paper inside the case. Take note, Pottery Barn set designers!

Also down in the bottom of the case were three Gold Bond Stamps. Those of us of A Certain Age remember trading stamps. Your mom would get a certain number whenever they bought groceries. At home, the stamps (most often the green S&H variety) would go into a little booklet, and after so many booklets were filled up, they could be redeemed for Valuable Prizes. I remember my mom once got a set of “unbreakable” dishes with trading stamps. (“Unbreakable” is a loose term in the presence of an 8-year-old.) I think that one could even get a Maytag washer by redeeming a ridiculous number of stamp books.

It makes one wonder: were typewriters ever offered as trading stamp prizes? Could that be how our mystery teenager’s mom bought her typewriter?

I’m leaning toward naming her Lizzie, after Elizabeth of York, whose marriage to Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) effectively ended the Wars of the Roses by bringing together the houses of Lancaster (whose badge was the red rose) and York (the white rose). Henry subsequently adopted a white-on-red rose as his own badge. Known today as the Tudor Rose, it is still used as the heraldic emblem of the UK. It seems doubly fitting for the name, then, that our Royalite should be white with red roses.

Now if only it had script typeface.

Enjoying this music is against the law

Filed under: Diversions — olivander January 5, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

I need to take a moment out of working on the next installment of Amelia & Me, the 2009 Typewriter Roundup, the 2010 MoLG calendar (I’ll bet you didn’t think I was going to do one, did you?), and legitimate work to tell you something very important:

The new Kleptones album is finally out!

For the uninitiated, The Kleptones is Eric Kleptone, a British DJ who likes to mash together all manner of musical styles to create Something Completely Different. A listen to one of his albums is a trip through his entire musical education, without regard to genre (who would have thought that Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” vocals would have overlaid perfectly with Rage Against the Machine’s “Down on the Street” backtrack?) or obscurity (did you know that Harry Nilsson recorded a cover of “Sixteen Tons” back in 1964 just so it could be mixed with Sister Surround’s “The Soundtrack of Our Lives” 30 years later? Me, either.)

Naturally, the recording industry considers Kleptone’s work to be in violation of copyright and illegal to possess.

Midnight, Jan 1 saw the long-awaited release of “Uptime / Downtime“, the duo’s first album of original material since 2006’s “24 Hours“. As the title suggests, disk 1 is all upbeat, fast-moving, sometimes aggressive tracks; disk 2 is a slower wind-down set. I wish I had had Uptime to play at my New Year’s Eve party (heck, I wish I’d had a New Year’s Eve party), and Downtime for the day-after recovery. “Uptime” is a little heavy on the Beastie Boys samples to me, but that didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the side.

Here’s an example of some of the things you can expect to find buried within each track. This is a list of samples used in just the “Uptime” track “Come Again”:

  • The Beatles – “Come Together”
  • Beastie Boys – “No Sleep till Brooklyn”
  • Daft Punk – “Robot Rock”
  • Rare Earth – “I Just Want to Celebrate”
  • Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure”
  • Cypress Hill – “Insane in the Brain”
  • John Lennon – “Power to the People”
  • Boston – “More Than a Feeling”
  • M|A|R|R|S – “Pump Up the Volume”
  • Freeez – “I.O.U”
  • Art of Noise – “Close (to the Edit)”
  • S’Express – “Theme from S’Express”

“Downtime” finds things like Nick Drake merged with Star Trek’s computer (Majel Barrett) and Marianne Faithfull collaborating with the late Paul Newman.

And somehow it all works.

“Uptime / Downtime” is not for everyone. If your musical tastes lean more toward Tobey Keith or Jimmy Buffet, this album is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for an alternative to the packaged synthpop that fills the airwaves today, The Kleptones may just be the aural antidote you’re looking for.

A Fox No.5 found, or, Hey, Jude

Filed under: typewriters — olivander December 4, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

Good news! I finally found a Fox upstrike!

Bad news. It’s being sold by a keychopper, and he’s already pulled off its keys.

Good news! The keychopper will throw in the whole typewriter for the cost of the keys!

Bad news. The typewriter is a disaster.

Worse news. There’s a wasps’ nest inside it.

Could-be-worse news. The wasps are all dead.

Who was the patron saint of hopeless causes again?

NaNo Update

Filed under: Diversions, typewriters — olivander November 4, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

Here it is day four of NaNoWriMo, and my word count stands at 5,320. That’s an estimate, told to me by the NaNo Statistical Spreadsheet for Typists that I worked up. Those of us who type generally make a best guess at our actual wordcount. There are various ways of  going about it, but I go by the rule of thumb that five characters = one word. My margins are set at 65 characters. I knock that down to 60, figuring that I rarely type all the way to the margin stop, and that gives me 12 words per line. I’m one of those daft people who types single-spaced. (Most of my editing is done on the fly as I retype the text into the computer.) A full single-spaced page yields 60 lines. At 12 words per line, that comes out to 720 words per page. I round down to 700 to account for paragraph breaks and new paragraph indentations.

The tricky bit is keeping track of one’s progress and knowing at a glance whether or not one is on track for a Nov 30 completion. Okay, it’s tricky for me; I stink at math. So I took apart Erik Benson’s popular NaNoWriMo Report Card spreadsheet and adapted it for typists. You enter your average number of words per page at the top, and it tells you how many pages you should be up to for every day of the month. Each day, you enter your accumulated page count and the rest of the spreadsheet will autopopulate the estimated number of words you’ve typed that day, your total word count altogether, how many words you have left, your average words typed per day, how many words you need to type tomorrow to stay on track for 50k by Nov 30, the date you’ll finish at your present typing rate, and your percentage completed toward 50k. Right now, I’m on track to finish on Nov 28.

In other news, I had to give up on my goal of typing the entire thing on the Triumph Norm. I really wanted to do it, because I’m writing about the same people who built it. I also felt that using it to write about how the workers deceived the Nazis would redeem it from its past as property of the Third Reich government. But alas, after five full pages I just cannot find my rhythm or catch a pace on it. It’s not the transposed Y and Z, because I’ve typed on enough other QWERTZ keyboards to be used to it. There’s just something about it that isn’t synching up with me. So last night I reluctantly switched over to the Olympia SM9. I could have gone with one of my other German machines–particularly the Studio 42, which may see action yet–but since I was switching away from the Triumph altogether I thought I might as well go for speed and solidity. The SM9 is pica pitch, which is why I chose it over the SG1. Man, is it nice! I’m typing at twice the pace I was on the Triumph.

For lunch-hour typing at work, I’ve brought in the Tower Chieftain II (a rebadged late Skyriter). In quick competition with the Hermes Rocket and Olympia Socialite, it was the lightest, quietest, most reliable, and easiest to type on.

From reading other posts on the official Typewriter Brigade board in the NaNoWriMo forums, it seems like a lot of people are switching typers right about day 3. A common theme is “I really wanted to type on _______, but…” Which brings up the question: if you could have any typewriter, what would you really want to use for NaNoWriMo?

Saintly Writing Aids

Filed under: Musings, Typecast — olivander October 21, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

Typewriter: Tippi, a 1970s Adler Tippa S

Can You Hear Me Now?

Filed under: Typecast, typewriters — olivander October 18, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

Kil-Klatter 3000

Typewriter: 1916 Oliver #9

The stealth carrying case

Filed under: Diversions, typewriters — olivander October 13, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

I had a problem: the typewriter that I want to use for NaNoWriMo has no carrying case. Well, it has a bottom, but the top is long gone. It also doesn’t fit into any of my other typewriters’ carrying cases. What to do?

It failed to fit into any of the laptop bags at my disposal ( Dell Latitude and Toshiba T1100 bags came close, but the zipper wouldn’t quite close). Besides, as a rule, I don’t care for toting around a bag that advertises that I have something expensive and worth stealing inside. I usually carry my laptop in a hippie backpack.

Then I spotted the Nightmare Before Christmas messenger bag that I bought at a garage sale a couple of years ago. I originally thought it would be funny to use as a diaper bag for our impending child, but the person bearing the child who has veto power over most child-rearing decisions disagreed. I slid the typewriter inside. Perfect fit! However, what had appealed to me about the laptop bags–substantial padding–was totally lacking. Modifications would have to be made.

Long story short, I give you the Nightmare Before Christmas typewriter/laptop carrying case!
Stealth typewriter/laptop bag

It’s a hybrid between the original cheapo student messenger bag and an actual laptop bag. The inside is lined sides and bottom with the removable inner padding from a laptop bag. I added the additional shoulder strap because a) I wanted a padded strap, and b) it enabled me to cinch up the original shoulder strap and use it as a handle to make it easier to pick up, put in and take out of the car, etc.

Here it is opened up:
Stealth typewriter/laptop bag
The padded side panel from underneath the typewriter slides out and, upside-down, becomes the perfect typing pad. Between it and the new rubber feet I gave the typer*, there is no vibration or “creep” whatsoever while typing.

The only drawback is lack of additional storage. I can carry a couple of pens, an iPod, a small notebook, and that’s about it. A file folder with some paper can slide underneath the inner side panel. But this should get me by for November!

* B322 rubber bushings from Ace Hardware

Apples and the River

Filed under: Typecast — olivander September 27, 2009 @ 10:37 am

Typewriter: c.1957 DeJur-Triumph Perfekt

The Poison Garden

Filed under: Insomnia, Typecast — olivander September 16, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

Typewriter: 1950 Royal Quiet DeLuxe


Filed under: Musings, Typecast — olivander September 11, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

Time & Distance

Typewriter: 1950 Smith-Corona Skyriter

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