Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blind Date With a Banned Book

First, a rant.

I sold my Remington typewriter to a buyer in California. It has been several days since I "received payment," but guess what? eBay doesn't want me to have my money!

I direct you to this article.

Two years old, but I'm just now learning about this. I've bought and sold very few things on eBay. I have perfect feedback from all of my interactions. But it seems that selling a $10 movie and then an $80 typewriter is a red flag for this new, stupid system.

So, even thought I need that money to finance a project, I won't be able to get it until October 8. This policy is completely arbitrary and pointless. What's worse, eBay is probably making interest off of my money. When I clicked on the "get your money sooner option" on Paypal's website, it told me to add a tracking number (which I did the day it shipped) or print a shipping label (which isn't necessary since UPS does that for you).

Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?!

*rant over...for now*

Last week I had to get a book from the campus library in preparation for my final exams. September is Banned Book Month, and they had an interesting display to commemorate the occasion.

So here's how it works. You pick a book based on the quote written on the paper.

Hm. What could it be? John Steinbeck wrote a ton of banned books about California.

Yay! I was right.

Ah, but it's not the novel.

I was kind of hoping for something I haven't already read, but seeing this was interesting. To think that someone wrote in this book over 70 years ago...

It reminded me of a quote from John Milton in 1644.

"To kill a good book is to kill reason itself."

Power to the pen!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Olympia

Do I like my new Olympia?

Well, I've written a couple of letters and two short stories totaling about 25 pages of fiction. And the picture I took fits nicely on the blog's banner.

Yeah, I think I like it a lot.

By the way, if anyone is still interested in my Remington, you can bid on it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Special Typecast!

By the way, the guy's name is Richard Molhman. Ignore the typo.

And now, a very bad unboxing video with my new for-blog-use-only Youtube channel!

I think I hear a novel calling!

Worth every penny!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Visit the Widows and Orphans

And we're back to our regular Sunday schedule!

September 11th came, honoring thirteen years since the horrible tragedies in New York City, Pennsylvania, and DC. However, it also honored the life of a great woman: my mom!

My grandmother and I packed up the car late that afternoon and surprised Mother by showing up unannounced at a friend's party. There were old pals from three different congregations of the Lord's people, some of whom I hadn't seen in several years. We ate some good food and sang old hymns.

The next day, we went to a great restaurant in Paducah called Jasmine's, but we had to wait till Dad finished his half-shift at the hospital. So, to kill time, we took my car to get its oil changed and then milled around downtown.

Anybody know what this is? Says "Made in Italy" on the paper tray. I found nothing on Google.

Royal 440. Seems to be in working condition, except the incorrectly threaded ribbon.
Nice machine by itself, but not what I was looking for.

Since we didn't have the chance to give Mom a fancy lunch on her real birthday, we decided that having it a day late was no sin. Little did she realize that we had one more surprise, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Mom: "Should we say a prayer before the food gets here?"

Me: "Let's wait till Jordan sits down."

Jordan: *walks through the door and makes eye contact with Mom at that moment*

Mom: *cries*

Dad and I looked at each other and grinned. Mission accomplished!

We did what you might expect: presents, ice cream, live music. Good times. Nice chance to stop and take inventory of the things that really matter in this life.

I woke up early Saturday morning. Sometimes the old body just feels like jumping out bed when you don't. I was frustrated, but then I realized I could get some work done.

So I did! I'm very happy to announce that my novel has been edited and will now go to beta readers! Go me! It topped out at 65,000 words, and that's after I cut out lots of stuff and rewrote multiple scenes. Still a bit shorter than I had hoped, but length isn't everything in a story, right?

Late yesterday afternoon, once back in Sikeston, I went to have lunch with Jenny. She's an old lady from church who's known me since I was a little kid, but became a dear friend when I began my graduate studies. During our conversation over pizza, salad, and ginger ale, she presented me with a priceless gift.

This, my friends, is a genuine Hitler Youth knife. And there's a very interesting story behind it.

Jenny's husband, Bill, was a soldier in Patton's 3rd Army. He was part of an anti-aircraft battery protecting the flanks. He took this dagger off of a dead German at some point during the Battle of the Bulge. All that's left of his service to our country is this dagger, a picture of his unit, his uniform, and his dog tags.

Holding this dagger brought so many questions to my mind. Who carried it? When did he get it? How old was he? What was his name, and what did Hitler say to make him fight for his cause? The Hitler Youth were given these daggers between the ages of 12 and 18. They often carried them into battle after joining the Wehrmacht. By 1944, Germany was running low on manpower. It is highly possible that the soldier who carried this dagger was under the age of 18 when he died.

I'd seen this dagger before. Jenny knew I was a passionate historian. I told her that she should give it to one of her children, and make sure they understood its value as an heirloom.

Her son disagreed. I never like to brag about myself, but I've been visiting Jenny consistently for almost two years. At first, I did it just to be polite. But over time I began to realize just how much it meant to her, after being alone for so many years.

The Bible says in Matthew 6:1-4 that when we give to those in need, we shouldn't make a big deal about it. Our left hand should not know what the right hand is doing. It also says to visit the widows and orphans, describing it as "pure, undefiled religion" (James 1:27). I hope you will take the opportunity to visit a neglected soul. I promise it will make you feel good about yourself. There's nothing quite as special as being in someone's utmost confidence.

Holding that dagger, remember how much she had loved her husband, the history tied to the worn, dirty scabbard, I felt that I did not deserve it. Yet, I wouldn't think of refusing her token, the one thing she knew would make me understand the depth of our friendship. I accepted, and it will remain an heirloom in my family.

If only it could talk. I might not be able to stomach the stories...

Very faint, but it's there:
"Blut und Ehre" – "Blood and Honor"

The company logo, model number, and date of production. 

Jenny is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. The next time we have lunch, I'm going to interview her. She was a secretary during World War II. I'd like to ask her some questions about what it was like typing for the army, among other things in her life. Feel free to suggest some!

And, coming up next time, a very special typecast!

Power to the pen!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wild Sightings

After putting my Remington Rand DL up for trade, I realized it would be more practicable to sell it outright. So, if you want it, drop me a line. Understand that shipping will probably be high, $30-$40. Therefore, I'm asking $100 even.

Earlier this week, I decided to hit the local antique stores to see if they might have a suitable replacement. There are none in Sikeston, MO, where I reside during school, but quite a few in the surrounding towns. What began as a casual trip into town turned into a marathon.

Five hours. Half a tank of gas. One hundred miles. Over a dozen different antique stores. I can now honestly say that I've been to every place within reasonable driving distance.

And what did I bring home?

Absolutely nothing. But I got lots of pictures, so have a gander.

Wow, first sighting of the day! Never heard of this line before.
Carriage didn't advance, and it's not what I'm looking for at the moment, but cool nonetheless. $90.

Ah, the ubiquitous Quiet De Luxe. Not sure what happened to those keys,
but the rest of the machine was in decent shape.

Evers since reading Richard Polt's post on the Remington KMC, I keep finding them. Broken space bar.

An Olivetti MS 25 Plus. Bell doesn't work.

I think this is a model 12, can't rightly remember.

I find these Quiet-Riters all over the dang place! Can't get that commercial out of my head.
Go to Youtube and look it up.

This one was in good shape, and even came with a nice old ribbon. But, I'm not interested in another Remington.

Never seen a black and white ribbon in a manual before. Is that what you call "correcting film"?
Ribbon vibrator has suffered damage. What a waste.

Vile deceiver! This Underwood case was empty!

The most interesting sighting of the day: an 1800s Smith typewriter.
Smith is the only word still legible on the plaque. Could be a variety of machines.
$500.....marked down from $750.

I find a ton of these Underwood No. 5s too. The carriage stops before it hits the margin.
If I had any mechanical know-how and the proper tools, I'd buy stuff like this and fix it.

What appears to the case for a Remington Portable #1 or #2. Empty.
I think I'm dealing with a maniac...

Royal KMM very similar to my own. 

Never heard of this particular model before, but the label on the left side reveals it as another Silver Seiko.

A whole row of machines. Royal No. 10. Royal KMM. Remington Quiet-Riter. Woodstock. Sears.

So, I can now say that I've looked at the entirety of the local market and came up empty. Oh well. Some times you win, some times you don't.

About 6:30 on Wednesday night we lost power at the house. It didn't come back on until 4:30 the next morning. So, my grandmother got another antique device and put it to good use.

Gotta love kerosine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For Trade: Remington Rand De Luxe Model 5

We're breaking all kinds of traditions, aren't we?

This typewriter was made in 1947. 99% working condition, 99% finish intact.

The De Luxe Model 5 was, to my knowledge, the only sequel to the Model 5 portable, introduced in 1938. Do a quick Google search and you'll get pictures of machines just like mine, but they say "Remington 5" and have a shiny black finish, some have an indention around the "Remington Rand" logo on the paper tray.

The only problem with this machine is that the knob used to control line spacing is broken and hangs free. As a result, the default setting is double-spaced.

The DL Model 5 isn't a bad machine. I liked it enough to use as a decoration on the blog. However, I need a collection with typewriters that I'd readily put to work, not decorations. It baffles me that Remington would keep using outdated technology. The flat type basket was behind the times even when Remington's first portables hit the market in the 1920s. Underwood's front-strike mechanism had replaced everything else (but the Remingtons with the folding type face are still cool to me).

This picture shows the gears that operate the type bars. It feels very alien compared to my other portables.

Instead of going to Craigslist or putting it on consignment, I want my fellow Typospherians to have first dibs. You get the typewriter with a nice carrying case. I'll even give you a free calculator ribbon so you don't have to purchase a replacement. How long will the ribbon last? I put a brand new one on my RR Model 1 a year ago and typed over 90,000 words before it started to fade badly.

I'm interested in a trade right now, not money. I'll entertain all offers, but I have been reading a lot about the Olympia and Torpedo lines (barring electric machines, I do mean all offers, any make and model). I paid about $70 for this one, so something of equal value would be nice. I particularly like typewriters with dealership stickers on them. First come, first serve.

If you're interested, leave a comment with contact information, or email me directly via my profile page. I'm willing to ship to buyers living in the Lower 48.

If nothing else, it looks amazing.

Logo on back, just above the slot that locks into the carry case.

I spent a long time trying to think of a nickname for this typewriter. I can't get over the mild sense of disappointment. Then, I was reminded of Margie Hunt, a character from John Stienbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent. Margie is what we'd call a "cougar" today, and older woman whose promiscuity is known all over town. In the novel, she acts like a good friend to Ethan, the protagonist, but puts on the love charm once he comes into a large sum of money. She assumes, wrongly, that Ethan wants to cheat on his wife, who has been rather neglecting of his needs, and hopes to make him a kind of sugar daddy.

No, I'm not that upset with an inanimate object, but the I like the idea of a devious charm and if I just called it Marge I'd keep thinking about the Simpsons.

Thanks for tuning in, and good luck!

Mid-Week Contest Fun

I'm breaking my one-post-a-week rule once again. My week has gotten off to a very good start.

Two reasons:

1) I wrote something I'm rather proud of.

2) I won a contest by submitting the thing I am rather proud of.

Last week, Richard Polt challenged us in the Typosphere to a contest. I've never heard of this particular correcting product. It's different than the ribbons many electric machines use. Whether or not I intended to use it, it was a great prompt and I jumped in.

And look at that, I won!

You can view my entry and the others at this link:

See you Sunday.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cashed Check

I am sorry for the delay. You've been very patient and despite the emotional complaints I've haven't received, asking how they can possibly go on without their weekly dose of Oblivion, you were strong and made it to the end. I'm very proud of you. I'll cash your rain check now.

Ok, what really happened is that I had to move back to Missouri to begin the final semester of my MA program and I wasn't able to put this up on Sunday, as usual.

So, without further adieu, I present the

Taylor and Courtney Uncensored Unadulterated Unedited South Carolina Vacation Spectacular!*

*Disclaimer: these are just the pictures that I took. I don't like spending lots of time behind a camera. Makes me feel like I'm missing something...

Our story begins in Nashville, where you can get a direct flight to Charleston.

A beautiful Harley Davidson for sale at the Nashville airport.

To my delight, total trip time was just over an hour. It was great flying Southwest again and not paying $25 per checked bag.

A C-17 Globemaster landing at the Air Force base just across the street from where our plane landed.
I got a look at the military's new C-27 Spartan and two F-16s, but wasn't quick enough with the camera.

After the flight, we grabbed a rental car and saw some of Charleston. What a beautiful city!

This I-House, also called a Shotgun House, is one of many in Charleston.
The I-House was a Caribbean design that came to America with the slave trade. 

Doesn't look like much, but this is where the first shot of the Civil War was fired.
Fort Sumpter is somewhere on the right.

A guide pointing to the various islands in Charleston Harbor. 

One of the city's historic streets.

A 1960s Datsun. *drool*

You don't see too many pay phones these days. Yes, it works. Ask me how I know.

The entrance of California Dreamin', our first meal stop.
If you're lucky, you'll get a seat near the widows with a view of the marina.

BBQ chicken nachos!

A wrap with grilled swordfish.

It's about an hour drive from Charleston to Hilton Head Island, our vacation spot. It was getting dark and we got caught in a heavy rain storm, but I snapped a few pictures before the sun went down.

Storm brewing over one of many marshes you cross on your way to Hilton Head Island.

An interesting little store on the side of the road.

Cider? Jam? Butter? Soda? Take your pick.

Love these old gas pumps. My future father-in-law preferred the chair next to it.
Sunset peeking through the clouds.


Love is in the air.

The screened porch at our house.

The marshes in day time.

On Sunday, we went to church at a congregation in Beaufort and spent most of the day in town.

A street in downtown Beaufort.
Blackstone's, another great place to eat.

A ginormous club.

You know you picked a great girl when she takes you sweet shopping.

The candyman can!

Back on the island, we went to see the beach. Just because we were exhausted and in no way prepared to spend time actually on the beach itself doesn't mean we couldn't get a peak, right?

Hilton Head Island is divided up into several districts, such as Harbor Town, South Beach, and Sea Pines, etc. Harbor Town is one of the most-frequented places for tourists. You can drive, ride a rented bike, or walk! Nothing is out of reach.

The beach!

Grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce at The Crazy Crab.

I can't believe I photo-bombed myself...

View from the lighthouse in Harbor Town. We got lots o rain that night.

The welcome sign, after a good bike ride.

Antique coolers being used in a general store. Yes, we bought some just to try it out.

Spicy chip dip at another restaurant, The Quarterdeck.

More swordfish.


One of the most well-known restaurants in South Beach.

Even more swordfish.

A scarlet macaw.

A blue and gold macaw. These little guys were just chilling in one of the stores.

The brownie fudge cheesecake ice cream cone.
And it is glorious! 
One of my favorite places to visit was the nature preserve. Less than five minutes from our house by bike, it took us two days to walk the whole thing.

This gator was hanging out by one of the bridges you cross to get to
the South Pines Nature Preserve. American alligators are common on the island.
So are the signs telling you not to feed or harass them...

They use the drainage pipes to traverse the canals. 

You might not be able to see it, but there's a huge banana spider in this picture.
The body was at least the size of my thumb. 

Same gator, different day.

Turtles inside the preserve.

More turtles.

Really big turtles. 

A really nice old Chevy station wagon.

A piano man at The Wreck of the Salty Dog.
Same restaurant, same menu, different view.

Another place to eat in Southbeach.

Mediterranean Tahini burger.

A ceiling fan with just one blade?

On our last day, we decided to get up early and watch the sun rise from the beach. When I saw the clouds, I thought we wouldn't be able to see it (that happened in Bryce Canyon National Park). But the clouds actually helped us get some great shots.

Sunrise on the beach.

Insert Lion King joke right

Stranded jellyfish.

Horseshoe crab.

A stranded starfish.

A monument of our very first beach walk.

Edited for clarity.

The one and only Greg Russell, a local entertainment legend for over thirty years!
Guest-staring a Coast Guard helicopter who made four passes overhead during the show.

On our way back to Charleston, we stopped at the Hilton Head Diner for breakfast.

This pay phone was inside of the Hilton Head Diner, between the bathrooms.
I was going to call Courtney's cell phone from inside, but it wasn't working.
It seemed funny to me...

The trip was over too soon, but we ended on a high note with a nice breakfast in Murfreesboro the next day.

The raspberry/granola pancake!

"Let me check my schedule to see if I can go on a fabulous vacation, which I need, with my fiance to a lush, historic region of the country for a week," said no on ever.

Ok, maybe I did, once, and only because I didn't know when I'd have to start working on my assignments for this semester. We didn't have time to go antiquing, so I have no typewriter sightings to report. But that's ok. This time, I was going to completely relax.

I'd forgotten how.

But now I'm back in school, working on the final stretch of my Master's degree. It's a long road ahead, and as the totality of what I have to do began to overwhelm me, I decided to cool off at the antique store up the road.

A beautiful oak typewriting desk from the 1950s. Made by, ironically, American Desk.
No idea what this is...but it's pretty and I thought Courtney would like to see it.

Antique suitcase once owned by a local doctor. $350

A nice post-war Woodstock. Needs a new platen and a new ribbon, but the keys work. $95

A Ward electric typewriter (yes, I was tempted) $35. Doesn't work, nor did the Royal  Cavalier 1000.
I was secretly hoping they would work. I've never used an electric typewriter before.
...does that make me a bad person?

Nice record player.

Wait...what's that?!


Till next time, power to the palm trees.