Here are all four of my novels to date. The first three are newly published. All are available through the links under the BOOKS page on the header above, or by clicking on the book title image. Support typewriting – all of these were laboriously crafted on typewriters until my fingers were numb!
BRAINWAVES: Neuroscientist Robert Frank decides to experiment on himself when he discovers a way to cross the blood-brain barrier.
MATES AND MEN—A TRILOGY
The Sexy Synesthete: a rare medical condition leads Miles on a quest to discover meaning in his charmed but unfulfilled life.
The Short Fuse: the odyssey of Jerry, a man of little ambition sucked into a deadly game for which he is woefully unprepared and even less willing.
The Lost Friend: the sage ends in a package of thrills that carry on right to the final page.
AN ENGINEER’S GUIDE TO PARIS
Heller, a soon to be graduate engineer, goes to Paris for a short holiday before school is to commence. When his best friend doesn’t show up as planned, Heller is forced to face the fact that his life has been on auto pilot, and he doesn’t like where it’s headed.
THE GAME OF HEARTS
The lives of two young couples are intertwined when on the night of a full moon Helen and Joan, strangers, arrive at hospital where each gives birth to a son.
They say this is a cliche, but why is that? My friend Joe Van Cleave challenges you to prove otherwise in his series of typing videos, This is Joe’s Typing Assignment #5.
Now this thing has to be the lightest typewriter I’ve ever come across! It was made in England and sold at Eaton’s as a Playfair Feather Touch. The only metal I saw on it were a few screws, and every other part was plastic, including the type slugs, which have 3 characters each. This you could carry on a backpacking trip, if only it was likely to work. It did seem to work from my testing, but the tiny ribbon, about 1/4″ wide, was not inked enough and was all twisted, so that was an assumption. They were asking a ridiculous price for it too, so I let someone else have it.
This great generosity was well rewarded soon after when I picked up two real typewriters in succession, both very similar to each other and for a good price.
First was this one:
I know, this has been done, but so what? I thought I would try it out. What I would really like is to get a grant to go to Venice and do it beside the Grande Canal, watching the occasional dead dog carcass float by. If anyone is interested I will frame my work for a reasonable sum.
typewriter: Royal Caravan (same name and brand as Bob used, but not strictly the same model, since I don’t own one of those)
subject: Like a Rolling Stone, by Bob Dylan NL (Nobel Laureate).
choice of subject matter: LARS has been voted to be the greatest song ever written, in the pop genre (modern era). Its author has been recognized for this too (see above).
What a great day, and more to come later! Canoe rides, hot dogs, ice cream, music, old cars, frogs, typewriters… It all began last night at the thrift store with a rare typewriter.
This is not one that gets much publicity in my experience, but wow, what a great machine! This is seriously up there with the modern hall of famers like the SM3, SC SS5, H3K, and what have you. I don’t know what to call it, any suggestions? TGE perhaps?
I even weighed it because it felt so light: 5kg, or exactly 11 lbs. The case is made of super thin cast aluminum or something, and the machine feels featherweight for one of its size. It has carriage shift, but it’s relatively light and speedy. The tab function is amazing, as it moves rather slowly, not with the usual sudden zip-thunk of most machines, even ultra good ones.
The platen is still soft! At first I thought it looked like one of the SM3 cases, but it’s made of lightweight plastic, and has a removable base plate. There were several minor issues; the whole innards were full of tiny white correction specks, which I brushed and vacuumed up for the most part. A soft round pointy paint brush did the trick. Then there was the poor paper feeding. I couldn’t see what was the matter, so I thought I’d fiddle with the platen to see how simple it was to remove and I could look at the pinch rolls. To my delight the platen comes off in 30 seconds flat, simply by unscrewing each end knob. Stuck to the surface of the pinch roll tray was the answer – an old sticky label that fell in there and adhered itself to some rolls. I cleaned it off and reassembled things to find that all works perfectly well again. Maybe some unfortunate PO had so much trouble with this they decided to give this away, but this is pure speculation. There are no repairmen left in this town though, so it’s strictly DIY here.
More pictures below, after this poem and a frog.
Here are a few more pics of the TW. I should mention the keyboard – I think it’s Dutch. But it is QWERTY! How lucky is that?
dead keys too
easy to write fiji
I’ve been lucky this week, I found this at a thrift store for $5.
Gillette mod. 195 adjustable safety razor c. 1958
I had to celebrate this and the fact that 90 years earlier, today in 1868 Sholes received his typewriter patent! From my Scottish made Lettera 22, typed on Baron Erasable Bond 25% cotton content:
Here’s a close look at the adjuster ring, which has 9 settings. The blade pack was empty, but I appreciate that whoever donated this thought to include it with the razor. My Dad shaved with a similar Gillette razor and Wilkinson stainless razor blades, a major advancement in technology in 1962. Gillette knew how to make them but didn’t, because the blades lasted too long!
adjustment ring no. 1 setting
For more on razors see bruceonshaving.
Yesterday I printed a 10 page manual for my guitar amp, downloaded of course since I didn’t have the original. I went to staple it together with my trusty VICTOR stapler, but that failed miserably. Later on I was passing the office junk aisle in a thrift shop (where else) and spotted this old stapler for $4. It looked rugged, my foremost criterion for a stapler, so I purchased it in the hope it would blasted through 10 pages like “butta”. It didn’t disappoint! I began to wonder how old it was. I was shocked to discover, through circuitous web searching, that the basic design dates from 1936!
One other reason to like this stapler is how well it matches old Smith Coronas, dull greyish crinkle paint and all.
Smith Corona Silent Super 1955 – script type
Here’s a US Patent drawing for the same stapler from 1939, filed 1937. This fellow Maynard filed a whole lot of patents, many for staplers, but lots of other stuff. It wouldn’t surprise me if he even designed a typewriter…
Here’s a side view of mine. Dig the background – a vintage George Shearing LP cover. The record itself was awful, but we generally like most of Shearing’s stuff.
The other old item I acquired yesterday was a pink depression glass plate, $2. Someone out there who knows more than I do says this is Federal Windsor button & cane design. Beats me, I like the colour!
pink depression glass plate
Last night I served myself a Peek Frean tea biscuit on this plate, with a beer. Both were delicious!