As some of you already spotted over on Flickr, I picked up yet another desktop this weekend. As I've mentioned, the little Hermes 3000 is probably my most comfortable typewriter for just plain typing, especially for long stretches, and when I found out about a Hermes Ambassador in the area, I had to at least take a look, right? In spite of the fact that it was an hour away. Right? Right. And we all know how these things end.
I'll spare you the long narrative and just say that it was apparently in a desk the seller had acquired. He had a TON of old office furniture and electronics and general junk in a mobile home out back...dunno his whole story. Salvage, maybe. Most of it was ugly, broken old stuff, but then...there was this Ambassador, looking very grand in the midst of it all. The ribbon was dry, it was elite type when I'd prefer pica, I couldn't figure out what all the buttons were in order to test them all, but...I couldn't just leave it there, now could I?
It is magnificent. Really. It's a 3000 on steroids. I mean...just look at those big honkin' buttons! Gotta love that. And, like the 3000, it doesn't need much to drive it. You either love or hate the Hermes feel, I think. They have rather short key travel, almost like an electric typewriter, and no slack to the keys. Very, very precise feeling, very light--which can feel mushy to some, especially coming from, say, an Olympia SM-9. I like 'em both, but for marathon typing sessions, I'll take a Hermes. The Ambassador does have a heftier feel than the 3000. Kinda in between the 3000 and most other brands. As in...magnificent. Did I already say that?
It still had its carbon ribbon thing (it has an extra set of spools inside and a second vibrator for that), but I set that aside. And I had to cannibalize a ribbon from the 3000 for now--have some new ones arriving tomorrow from Scan Tracker, so I'll have to report back on the quality of those ribbons. This is my first order with them. They were slightly pricier than some other sellers...but I ordered on Sunday and they shipped Monday. That raises them up a great deal in my mind!
Been working away at both editing previous short stories and writing a new one, so it's getting a work out.
On another note, MPClemens' post about Color Casting made a lot of us nostalgic for crayons and other childhood art supplies. Being me, I couldn't wait to try this out, so I stopped for crayons on my way home, and attempted to colorcast a new poem. I'm not sure it's entirely legible, but it was an interesting project! I'll likely try again. I used a hair dryer on the wax for the first half, and typed that half with the regular ribbon setting. The second half, I didn't bother with the hair dryer, and used the stencil setting. It came out darker, but I also ended up with extra wax rubbed off on other parts of the page, so it's pretty messy looking. I think the best result would be to heat the page to fuse the wax good, then use the stencil setting. When I could see the letters, I was trying to push too hard and otherwise kept messing up and hitting the space and causing skips. For the most part, the stencil setting worked better. Fun stuff, in any case!
Addition: just for clarity, here's the poem again:
I stand on the shore in my solitary state
and across the water watch them:
distant figures on the far shore,
figures of mirth and peace.
The distance obscures,
but in my mind's eye I see them as clear
as if I was in their happy company.
An old man,
silver hair glinting
stands, rough elbows bent,
feet in the sand,
in the dark sand at water's edge
where a blonde child in red
builds towers to the sky:
beautiful misshapen castles
lumpy, bumpy, dripped mud and shell,
bringing beauty to ugliness
as only a child can.
She raises innocent eyes to smile at him;
two generations removed,
she is his own,
his future, his love made new.
and am blessed in watching
though I hurt:
for what have I been spared
that I am left lonely,
left outside the lives of others
touching corners only,
a circling satellite
adrift in the night sky?
Times there are when I wonder if,
should I be taken, now or time far off,
will there be any to mourn?
What mark have I left, and who
would mark my passing?
My going would be
like the drop of a pebble in these waters,
ripples observed, but scarce noted
before the calm waters smooth over again.
There are no castles on the shore for me,
no child of tomorrow.
Though perhaps it matters not in the vast world that is to come,
in this world, for this I grieve.