Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If you build it, will they type?

PS: The machine cleaned up with no problem and works very well. I could write comfortably and quickly on this typewriter all day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kids at the keys in Kirkland

Brad Coulter is a first-grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary in Kirkland, Washington, in the Seattle area. I got to meet Brad when he was in Cincinnati a little while ago, and we traded thoughts on the magic that happens when kids meet typewriters. Now Brad has shared this view of his students at their writing machines, and some samples of their writing.

Sometimes the kids write poems:

Now the kids are excited that Halloween is coming up ...

... and they're writing about scary stuff:

Kids love typewriters and benefit from them. WordPlay proves it, Magic Margin proves it, and so does the latest Philly type-in. When the educrats call for "more technology in the classroom," let's all jump up and cry, "Yes! More Royals! More Olympias! More Remingtons!"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marian Call live

Marian Call is known to many
typospherians from her appearance in The Typewriter (In the 21st Century).

Last night, she came through the Cincinnati area and gave a house concert
that I was lucky enough to attend.

Marian has often been photographed with her Underwood,
which I learned is named Madeleine (after L'Engle).

Her Hermes Rocket is named Neil (after Armstrong).

And yes, she really does use Madeleine as an instrument!

Here are Marian Call (vocals, typewriter, kazoo) and Seth Boyer (guitar) 
with her song "Good Morning Moon."

Marian is well known for "The Nerd Anthem," AKA "I'll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks It's Chic." So just how geeky is she? Check out her version of Tom Lehrer's "The Elements":

After the show, Marian was kind enough to sit down with me and talk typewriters as I tapped on my Groma Kolibri and tried to get down all her insights. Here are a few:

You'll see more in my book when it comes out. Till then, I'll just video-quote Marian's song "Paper and Pen":

Thanks to Marian Call, Seth Boyer, and our hosts for for a great evening!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Revolution in the mailbox: Agent Oliver reporting

Agent Oliver of Johnstown has followed in the footsteps of Agent 42.

We salute your fealty, Agent Oliver!

We are impressed that Agent Oliver was even able to imprint the envelope with
a symbol of resistance to dependence on the electrical grid.

Oh, that MAR seal? 
Obviously it stands for Mechanographically Amplified Revolution.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Revolution in the mailbox: Report from Agent 42

Top-secret communication from an operative in Maryland ...

... who has signed this agreement and thus is officially a secret agent of the Insurgency:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Typewriters at Books by the Banks

Books by the Banks is a festival in downtown Cincinnati featuring lots of authors signing books, talks on publishing, and other fun events. I got to see my old friend, and very successful SF writer, John Scalzi.

WordPlay had a room where kids were invited to write flash fiction, create blackout poetry using old magazines, and — of course — try their hands at typewriting. It's fair to say that the typewriters were the main attraction. 

There was a steady stream of visitors who peeked in, attracted by the clacking sound, and wanted to give the machines a try.

Typewriters, books, and people — a great combination!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Underwood Electric: survey results

Many thanks to 31 respondents who shared their thoughts on 
what to do with this frame for my Underwood Electric: 

As you can see, simply polishing the aluminum (the Silver Surfer option) is the most popular choice, 
and I'm inclined to do that for at least part of the typewriter shell. 
Simple choices such as black, white, and red also did well.

Respondents also made the following suggestions:

satin orange with accent stripes somewhere
Maroon with a cpl of clear coat gloss layers
Do it with love.
Militaristic would suit this big tank best, but I like the Giger treatment idea. :)
Reminds me of a Deluxe Quiet Tab, perhaps you could match the color combos on one of those and put it on this beast!
Battleship grey with some nice accents of a brighter color
skeletonize it: gracefully take away as much material as you can without losing functionality. Like a skeleton watch.
If the red is chosen, keep the base black. Possibly a black painted base along with the polished aluminum.
A little impossible, but I would like to see a glass side panel to watch the innards working. It's so amazing, it's a shame to conceal the machinery.
R2D2 white/blue scheme or cream marble effect
U.S. flag
Since Underwood is now Olivetti, how about Teal?
Make it purple
Do not pimp!

Thanks for the ideas. I promise not to pimp, and I promise to do it with love!
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Underwood Electric: Blast it! (And a survey)

What to do with this dirty shell now that I've removed it from the Underwood Electric?

Happily, my university's Physics department maintains a nice machine shop including this blasting cabinet:

This is an inside view. You slip your hands into the gloves so you can handle the sandblasting gun and the pieces. The cabinet uses a fan to vent any dust, and recycles the abrasive. 

This is the view you get while working. Just watch as the paint is gradually erased.

— And the result:

A little steel wool and Mother's polish can make the surface smoother and shinier:

Now, just for fun (i.e. I am not promising to obey the will of the people), let's have a survey on what I should do with these body pieces. Most of the survey options are based on readers' suggestions in comments so far, and you also have the chance to make further suggestions.

Take the survey here.

It will close about 48 hours after the time of this post.