Category Archives: Typewriters

Autumn, Day One

Birdhouse #1 – a sparrow roost

My birdhouses are empty now, so today I emptied their contents. We watched several sparrow families use the 1st house this summer, but we didn’t see any birds using the 2nd one. However, there were nests in both houses. House 1 has a 1-1/2″ diameter hole, while house 2 has a 1-1/8″ hole. The nests I removed were very different from each other, the first being very deep, from the bottom up to the hole, and rudely constructed of sticks and straws. The 2nd nest was entirely different, made of small soft threadlike bits and the top surface lined with fluff, that looked like fine cotton wool.

house 1

nest 1

house 2

nest 2

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Filed under Animal psychology, Birds, Photography, Poetry, Typewriters, Wildlife, writing

Camping With Typewriter

We had 5 days out camping around Southern Vancouver Island. On day 1, before we got to out first destination we stopped for lunch then went to a thrift store nearby, where I bought a typewriter for $10. I hadn’t thought to bring one along with me, but this seemed like an omen. If it wasn’t for that I would not have written these two poems. I present their edited versions, and some pictures. We had a variety of geography on this voyage, from the ocean to a lake to the alpine zone. Lucky for us to live so close to all this!

Underwood 378 – $10 cheap!

First stop was an ocean-side camp at a rocky beach called French Beach. We camped in the forest of tall trees, and rode our bikes down the road to the beach where we swam in the frigid water in wet-suits. This was on the Juan de Fuca Strait, looking across at Washington and the Olympic Mountains.

French Beach

Ocean Beach Summer Night

Briefly a rush of truck tires from the road nearby
Then a softer sigh, we look to the sky
A raven so black whooshes through the air
Voyaging from perch to perch in treetop bare
Campers pass soundlessly with dogs
None barking, quiet like beach logs
Tiny flies flit there and here
End up dead in our beer
We pick them out and drink up
We have no fear

Next to us the water tap and garbage bins
Two outhouses, one women’s, one men’s
Through the trees waves endlessly pound rocks
Where earlier we stood without socks
Watched them rolling thunderously, splash
Sometimes offset, sometimes one great crash

A zipper dumping energy like a long liquid spear
Which makes its mark and instantly disappears
To reappear in the following frame
Tag for the ocean is a favorite game
Any hour may bring change
Fast, unpredictable as a sneeze
But tonight there is a warm breeze
And the happy waves play without fights
Like children do on summer nights

djn
August 28 2017
French Beach, BC

Up the road a ways we camped on another coast, beside the air force. Jets and big choppers were flying around. We were on the inland waters, looking eastward into the endless mountain ranges of British Columbia. Some of the most inaccessible territory on the planet, yet so close by. There are no roads north from there, no “civilization” for hundred of miles, only countless square miles of forest and mountains.

Kin Beach

The Force Is With Us

Roaring jets remind us how
Beside this camp an air force lurks
Ever ready to strike if called
Who or what we don’t ask
Sitting in this field of grass

Writing, reading as the sun sets
another long day in the car
another camping meal enjoyed
chirping crickets and songs of birds
announce the end of their day
chirping and hunting for prey

the road gets longer year by year
how long it seemed to get here
travelling is not so easily done
a short trip is as hard as a long one
or are we weary from the sun?

still, we do enjoy these camps
discovering new places like tramps
later we remember them again
forgetting how we endured pain
remembering sunshine forgetting rain

fondly recalling pleasures from simple things
reading by lantern light and optical illusions
playing cards against a chain link fence
warm nights and stars, noises from cars
snuggling into a narrow bed, banging your head

tired and dirty we are now
in a day or two we’ll have forgotten how
we walked across a field before bed
felt the cold descending, instead
sitting inside on comfortable chairs
do the wash, arrange socks in pairs
go upstairs to bed, turn on a light
lie inside the covers, say goodnight
set the alarm, close our eyes
sleep to be awoken by surprise

djn
August 30 2017
Kin Beach, Comox, BC

From here we made a day trip to hike in alpine meadows. Driving from the beach we looked ahead across the valley to a huge glacier on top of the mountain. Once in the alpine we walked through a pristine wilderness of forests, lakes and meadows full of berries and flowers. Then a rescue helicopter arrived to help an older lady who was backing up to take a picture and fell off the boardwalk, breaking something in her shoulder. A strange sight to see a chopper setting down between tall trees into a tiny clearing.

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Filed under Great Hikes, Photography, Poetry, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, Wildlife

New Books Out

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!

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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.

 

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Filed under Books, NaNoWriMo, Typewriters, writing

Typing Assignment #5

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.

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Filed under Typewriters, writing

Hail Ultraports!

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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.

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First was this one:

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Filed under Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Understanding Literature Through Typing

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.

Particulars:

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).

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the machine:

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Filed under ecstatic typing, Music, Typewriters

Canada 150

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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.

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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.

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More pictures below, after this poem and a frog.

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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?

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Filed under Painting, Poetry, Sketching, Typewriters, Wildlife