Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Here we go again!

I've made a pact with a couple of other NaNoWriMo friends to do a NoFiMo / NoEdMo in February. In my cast, it's a FiMo -- I need to finish the story rather than edit. I still have a good third to go, I'd say, even after reaching 50k (plus about twenty pages that need to be transcribed). Part of that is because...well, let's just say if I were filming instead of writing, I'd be the sort of producer who filmed every possible scene from every possible angle and then picked and chose what actually belonged, rather than someone who did everything in a take. I have an incredible amount of back story that helps me understand my characters, but which will likely be left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, if I ever really edit this one to completion.

My goal is to write 1000 words a day, or about three to four typewritten pages if I use the Corona, which is the plan at the moment. Which gives me an excuse to post yet another picture of it (Click the picture for a slightly larger view)...

Friday, January 25, 2008

More on the old Corona...

The Craigslist ad just said "L.C. Smith&Corona Typewriter in its own case," and listed a phone number. No pictures, no nothing. But the price was right, and I was curious, so I called and asked if I could stop by. When I saw the round keys and found that it all seemed to be in working order in spite of the dusty, musty shape it was in, I had to have it.

It's a Corona Standard, or so it says on the front. It also says "Floating Shift" on the shift keys, but I think that's a feature and not the model number. I tried tracking down the serial number (3C347795) in the Typewriter Database, but found myself pretty confused by the whole Smith Corona section there. My best guess is that it's from early to mid 40s, and more likely the end of that time frame than the beginning. A wartime model, I think.

It has some flaws. For starters, for some reason a number of the keys are completely crooked!

Note the "J" in particular. What's up with that? And they appear to be stuck that way. I'm not sure how to fix them. I thought perhaps it was a common issue, so I did some searching at the Yahoo portable typewriter group site for words like "straighten" and "crooked" and "keytops," but didn't come up with any explanation or assistance. I'd guess maybe a key-chopper had been at it, but its story doesn't bear that out.

The man I bought it from last night lives just down the road from me, and he said he does building material salvage. In the process of doing his work, he often finds odd things left behind. He had an amazing assortment of old toys and other such things that he'd recovered - fascinating. The typewriter was another such find. As I understand it, it was just...sitting.

Good things about it: it has a wonderful touch! Really crisp and smooth. Not a single key sticking, amazingly. And with a new Jay Respler ribbon (I was impatient and put one on before cleaning it much), it actually types beautifully, in spite of a hard platen and its age. I never cease to be amazed by these relatively complex machines and their ability to work perfectly after forty or fifty or sixty years of neglect.

Downsides: it smells very, very musty and mildewy. It's dirty, as the pictures show a bit - it needs to be scrubbed. It may even be a little rusty in parts. It also doesn't have a tab key (I like having one tab setting for my paragraph indents, but I can live without it), and this model doesn't have a regular paper bail - it has these little rollers that slide back and forth to hold the paper on each side of the page:

These would be fine except that I tend to write almost to the edges instead of doing nice margins, and these get in the way of that. Maybe it's good for me. I did snag the paper when I first loaded it, though, as can be seen in my initial photo. I'll learn. It also doesn't have a guide on the left for loading paper, which is not really a big deal, I guess, but I do notice it. Same with the lack of anything for holding the paper up in back as one types. All in all, though, I like it!

Now to try to decide which of the rest of the herd I could live without...

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I am weak.

Does this one make me a collector? Probably, at least until I get rid of a few. Oops.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bestest toy ever!

Sooo...I have a confession to make.

Earlier in the week, I did my taxes (*one* benefit of renting - and living in a state with no state income tax - is that it's quick and easy to do taxes!) and figured out my refund. And I made an executive decision on what to do with the refund, which will be here next Friday. I asked myself what would be the biggest quality of life improvement I could make to this place, and then I went to Lowe's and ordered the biggest durned counter-top convection oven they carried. It's more of a mini real oven than an over-sized toaster oven. It's HUGE.

It came in on Thursday. I lugged it home, dragged it out, and immediately made pizza, mostly because it was one thing at the grocery that came with a disposable tray - I didn't have any pans yet. It baked - yay!

Actually, it wasn't that great, but I think that was the pizza's fault rather than the oven's.

Halvah, of course, preferred the box. Just for sitting on, 'cause that's her thing.

Tam took a more active interest:

Cisco sez, "I just don't get cats..."

I also made a quick batch of brownies, and brought those to work the next day. They were gone by noon, so I guess they were OK...

Today I did my first *real* baking: made some blueberry bran muffins. A regular sized muffin pan fits in the thing, as do small cookie sheets. Actually, it's about the same width as my broken wall oven, though the wall oven is far deeper, I admit. The muffins turned out nicely, I think! They'll be good breakfasts for this week, and I can freeze some, too.

Now I'm itchin' to try some real pizza in it. I'll do it Dad's way and just use a regular cookie sheet instead of a round pan, since I can fit a bigger pizza that way anyhow, and I'm done with buying pans for now.

I really hope it holds up over the long term. Don't know why it wouldn't, but of course I *had* to go look at on-line reviews, and there are a few negative ones. Granted, some of the negative ones are pretty pathetic. One person gave it a seriously negative rating because they opened the box and it was big. No joke. Erm...kay.