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Showing posts from October, 2011

Typewriter Activities: Part I

This is the first of five blog posts focusing on how a teacher can use a typewriter to enhance classroom activities. Most of these strategies are really modifications of existing best-practices.

I’ll start with an activity that has a huge visual impact. it’s called “The Never-ending Story.”
This activity relies on a variation of the big roll of paper that you may have seen mentioned in various corners of the Typosphere.


Supplies
A manual typewriter (desktop models work well for this).
A very large roll of paper or a significant amount of continuous-feed paper.
A hanger.
3 or 4 binder clips.
Something long, thin, and heavy..a metal ruler would be good. Be creative.

Set-Up Steps
1. Find a nice, safe place where you can set up the typewriter and have the paper feed easily.
2. Hang the hanger from the ceiling above the typewriter. You can jimmy it into the false ceiling of your classroom.
3. Feed the paper to the typing-ready position.
4. Think of a basic conflict for a story.
5. Star…

A Typewriter is a Mental Restorative

Having Blog, Blog Not, and Having Fingers, Type Not

Up-To-Date Textbooks

Well, it would be up-to-date in 1963. I was given this book along with a plethora of other things. My other hat at Alhambra is advising the Newspaper and Yearbook staff. Publishing and design has come a long way and I could not imagine making a yearbook in a pre-digital manner. However, I would be willing to give it a try.

What interested me about this book was the section about "Other typesetting machines." The Varityper, of course, is pictured, but there is another machine I have never heard of. I wonder how it works?


How To: Cleaning Wrinkle Paint

You either love wrinkle paint or you put up with it hoping that a machine in shiny black comes your way. I happen to love the finish. It's very rugged, hides a myriad of metalwork sins, and can come in some very sober and serious colors. As great as I think this paint is, it is a magnet for dirt, grime, and crud. Dirt invariably make its way into the wrinkles and makes your typewriter look tired and grungy. However, the innate ruggedness of the paint makes it easy to clean. This is the process I use. Your mileage may vary. 
To start with you need some simple supplies. A couple of soft cloths, a small Tupperware container, a household laundry detergent without dyes or perfume, an old toothbrush, a utility spray bottle, and a blue Olympia SM3 (or whatever you happen to have). As with the other How-To, I recommend you dust/wet-dust your typewriter first. It takes a minute and "Water is the best solvent."


This process assumes that your typewriter is clean on the inside. There …

Harlequin Creature

School is out for October break. We have been school-less since Monday. Our school district makes us go back to school a week earlier than everyone else so we can fit in the break mid-October. It's nice to be out of the classroom when the weather is this nice. Projects are getting done. Halloween decorations are up. Other hobbies are indulged.

I opened my email to find a letter from Nicole Ray, the talented Ann Arbor artist who made the banner for Magic Margin. She ran into a young woman, called Meghan, who is also doing something interesting with typewriters. She has a blog called Harlequin Creature. Her web site is the virtual counterpoint to a literary journal of the same name.


What makes this journal interesting is that every copy is hand typed. Meghan shares the work in small groups called "typing bees." The idea is similar to the quilting bee; people gather to complete a shared task. It is an exceptionally novel idea.


From what I can gather, the first edition is pl…

The Signs

Overheard at a Typewriter

Sad Mac

In his younger days, Steve Jobs found himself at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I can't remember the story completely, but he sat in or audited a course on calligraphy. The experience of studying letterforms was (as he said) the impetus for proportional spaced typefaces built into the Macintosh. Steve Jobs was the steward of beautiful type in the digital age. He took that ancient and daunting art and made it accessible to an English teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. 
Steve's vision of what computing can be has played a major role in my creative life. I've admired his vision and dedication to excellence for many years. Thanks, Steve.

An Infamous Arizona Typewriter User

Arizona history is peppered with interesting characters. Billy the Kid murdered his first victim in Arizona while rustling cattle. Charles Keating orchestrated the savings and loan scandal form his office on Camelback Road. Sammy "The Bull" Gravano's crime syndicate installed pools in suburban Glendale.

We've also had our share of interesting politicians. John McCain. Bruce Babbit. Carl Hayden. However, there is one current public figure--  a real character-- who loves his 1970s Smith-Corona with a passion; Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"Sheriff Joe" as he is known in this desert hinterland, has certainly made a name for himself in the public discourse. He is an outrageous character as is this tweet:


Regardless of his political leanings everyone can appreciate someone who loves his typewriter so much that the flack from the New Times doesn't even matter. I doubt the public safety hinges on that Smith-Corona. However, I think that there might be another typewriter…

The Missing Typewriter Shop

Obviously, this news comes a bit late, but Mr. Owens passed away and the shop is now closed. Mesa Typewriter Exchange is still the best place to have your typewriter serviced. -RA
Casually, almost nonchalantly, someone mentioned, "Did you know there's a typewriter shop on Northern and 19th Ave?"

"What-the-what?" I responded.

Well, after a little recon this Sunday I snapped these pics:







Hidden away in a slightly run-down strip shopping block is this little typewriter shop. I have driven by this place hundreds of times and have never noticed it until someone mentioned it. Crazy, huh? From a peek into the window I can see the regular compliment of Selectrics and a few manual machines here and there. While I haven't had the chance to stop in, I will very soon. But, of course, my heart will always belong to the Mesa Typewriter Exchange.

How To: Polishing a Typewriter

I've only very recently been calling the typewriter cleaning process I use "The Magic Margin Treatment." It sounds much more grandiose than it actually is. The process only requires some simple equipment and the best paint polish/cleaner in the world.

This process is only for shiny painted typewriters. I would not use it for wrinkle paint. In fact, I have a whole other process that I follow for cleaning textured paint typewriters. I'll share that one with you later. To polish grandmother's old Model O you will need:

Meguiar's Cleaner Wax (Target), microfiber rags (Target), and a shiny painted Royal Model O (wherever you find one). My mother-in-law (the most accomplished stain remover in the world) would always suggest you start with water. It is "the best solvent." Not sopping wet, mind you, just get off the major dust and other caked on crud with a wrung-out rag. This particular Royal was very clean when I got it, but even with a very clean gloss pai…