Monday, July 20, 2009

Crayoncast Revisited

Couldn't resist trying this again, making a few adjustments to my method based on MPClemens' last post. I still used a hair dryer on high heat to meld the wax to the paper, rather than the more adventurous toaster oven baking method...but it worked OK! Bernard is MADE for color casting.

Ungh...ironically, I do have a ton of uncorrected tyspos in 'ere. But I guess my point isn't utterly lost.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gargantuan Greatness and Crayon Craziness

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.

1966 Hermes Ambassador

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?

Biggest. Backspace. Evar.

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.

I watch
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.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


One of many reasons I love paper...there's just no way I could reproduce this process on-screen!

First draft page

Some pages have even more comments. And some of them have brackets and arrows every which way. It works for me. And I like that I can always go back and see the original--sometimes I change something that shouldn't be changed. And yes, that's not a full sized piece of paper, for anyone wondering. It's half-sized scrap paper.

In other news...the Classic 12 is officially on the block. Already have one interested party. However, I'm kinda on the path of another one o' those mint green typewriters.

OK, since I'm baring my soul lately, I'll end off with a few semi-religious poems.



Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Index Card Circa Hack

I've started using the typewriters again heavily, after several months of mostly writing by hand. As a result, I'm using the Circa/Rollabind notebooks again quite a bit. I like that I can put all my typewritten pages in a notebook for easy perusal, and with the knowledge that if one morning I get up and decide to hit the coffee house and write by hand for awhile, I can do that in the same notebook.

In anticipation of November and for my own use now, I wanted a way to store/display index cards in the notebook. The ideal solution would probably be some of Levenger's Dock-it pages, but I'm on a Levenger fast for the time being, and nice as they are, I'm still not sure they're worth the amount it'd cost me to get them, especially with Levenger's high shipping costs factored in. Instead, I came up with this solution.

At Office Depot, I picked up a package of 3-ring binder inserts intended for 3 x 5" photos. They only have four pockets on a page, and only on one side (Levenger's obviously have considerably more, and are far heavier in weight), but cards can face backwards since the page is clear on both sides. Each pocket can hold a decent sized stack of cards.

I trimmed off the side tab with the three holes, reinforced the section next to that with masking tape, and Circa punched. I also had to trim the top of the page a little bit so it wouldn't stick out.

Index card Circa hack

The final result: it works pretty well! I'm proud of myself. And a package of ten pages is under three dollars at Office Depot, for a total of 80 visible pockets, with space for far more cards than are immediately visible. More than likely I'll only add one or two of these to each notebook, and use them primarily for storage of cards related to the story I'm currently working on--character sketches, items and events to remember to include, maps, etc. So long as I can see the top card in each stack, I'm good.

One more view:
Circa card hack--two pages

In other news, I'm most of the way through the first draft of Yet Another Short Story, and Stinky and I dashed down the first few paragraphs of the one after that this evening. Hey, if you're gonna write smoky bar scenes, Stinky is the typewriter to go to. He's had a hard life, and he knows his way around.