Wednesday 30 November 2011

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Blogger pictures- Why don't they show up like they used to?

Short and to the point. Not having a dig at Blogger, by the way. I just can't figure out why the change in viewing photos has occurred. Wow, another badly constructed sentence!

Thanks, all.

Monday 21 November 2011

SM3 that needs I took a chance with some tools and...

This circa 1954 Olympia SM3 arrived about a week ago. It was safely packaged, but the box had split slightly and the typewriter itself had seen better days.

This was gonna be a tricky fix for me. However, I remember M. Scott Peck writing in "The Road Less Travelled" about how he had to repair some machine or other and what he did was sit and stare at it for several minutes to get a grasp of what pieces went where, and which section was attached to which other section.  Anyway...

 A few minutes with the Leatherman tool and part of a coat hanger and...

Voila! I had to make sure that the little 'hook' at the end would be small enough to go through here...

Yes, that narrow gap of light in the middle of the frame. Heh, heh!

It would appear that the carriage sits a fraction too low. I bet all it needs is a slight adjustment of some tiny little screw somewhere, I'm not typewriter-repair-savvy enough to attempt to fix this. Besides, aren't there like, about 637 ball bearings on the carriage rail that come spilling out the minute you undo it?

Sunday 20 November 2011

Minor Gripes of the Week- A Mild Rant

It's a mixture of stuff that I've stored away in the garage. Really of no use to anybody but myself.
John Le Carre? Cold War's over, old boy.
35mm Photographer's Handbook? The world's gone digital.
Esquire magazine from 2005? The fashions went out of fashion about 20 minutes after that issue hit the news-stands.
Vanity Fair from 2008? May as well be from 1908.
Screenplay to "Thunderball"? A very poor photocopy that's almost impossible to read.
A book on fountain pens. Fountain pens???In the age of the iPhone?
See? Of no use to anybody.

And in case you're wondering, yes, these figures of Solid Snake are mine. He's the hero of the "Metal Gear Solid" game series on the Playstation. The first game was released in 1999 and it was amazing. Very atmospheric and tension-filled.
By the time the fourth game ("Metal Gear Solid 4-Guns of the Patriots") had been released, I felt as though I had grown older with this guy and it was heart-wrenching to see him go through this mission. I kept reminding myself that it was just a PS3 game, but the writing, the voice acting, and the graphics helped create this incredible world. There were times when the hair would stand up on the back of my neck, there were times when my heart would race, and there were times when I would get choked up. This game was a greater emotional experience than any film made in the first decade of the 21st Century. Seriously.

My wife didn't like the stamp I made. She said it looked like a crucifix. I told her I was aiming for a lower-case 't'. She said it looked very "Se7en". She and I say that when we're out and about and we see something creepy or seedy. That was a great film, btw. Best crime investigation film since "Chinatown".

Friday 11 November 2011

Wednesday 2 November 2011

My Trip to Thailand Typecast, Oct 2011

This will probably be a long post, folks. I'm putting it up so that I can refer to it years from now when I've forgotten what I actually did on this trip.

While the idea of bringing a typewriter with me and posting 'dispatches' here was good in theory, I soon realised that it might impinge on what was meant to be a relaxing holiday with the family.

Plan B was to perhaps find a cheap typewriter in Thailand and use it there before maybe mailing it back home or returning it to the seller (without expecting a refund. Call it a rental.), but we landed in Bangkok on a Monday so we had therefore missed the famous week-end markets where I'm told you can buy virtually anything.
Ahh well, there's always next time.

So anyway, I bought a cheap faux-skine A5 sized notebook and decided to keep a journal of the trip that I would later transcribe onto this blog via typecasting. This also gave me a chance to do some long writing on various typewriters of mine. This was a good exercise, because it allowed me to really road-test these machines properly. As such, I have decided that my Imperial Good Companion 5, while a nice typewriter to use, doesn't do anything that my Olympia SM2 and Remington Quiet-Riter can't do. So, it looks like I'll be putting the Imperial on eBay sometime soon.
I also carried a small pocket-sized Moleskine notepad in my back pocket at all times for jotting down notes and such.
I've transcribed directly from the journal and I've noticed that my writing flits between past and present tense depending on what I did, and what I was gonna do. I've left it exactly as I wrote it, in the interests of confusion.

So if you're staying for the duration, thrill-seekers, put the kettle on, pour yourself a stiff one, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and away I go...

A work colleague of my wife would be looking after the house and cat while we were away. We fed Her Ladyship and left her on the couch. As were we leaving, she was nowhere to be seen in the lounge room. We were wise to her tricks, however. A quick look in the bedroom and...

We arrived ten minutes ago. The Concierge told us our room would be ready at around 7:30!
Still, the view was nice.

View from our room at the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld, Bangkok, Thailand.

First tuk-tuk sighted.

Me among the crowd. Out of respect, I had my arms and legs covered. Not sure if they're as stringent about this requirement as they used to be.

I don't know what this said, but it looked beautiful.

Detail of the Golden Palace, showing the gold leaf tiling.

We ate at this place back in 1999. Nice to see that it's still there.

taste savoury, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they tasted like doughnuts! Very nice. And, they were served in a recycled office document of some kind.  I should have eaten more of them, but the kids were getting restless from the heat, so it was time to keep moving. 

It was our last night in Bangkok and I tipped like the millionaire that I'm not. 
The service at this hotel was excellent. And that's coming from someone who did 22 years in hospitality.
Earlier in the day, we went to a bookstore called B2S Books and I snagged a copy of a book on Gil Elvgren's pin-up girl paintings from the 1940s. I almost bought this book on eBay last year, but it was selling for about forty bucks. Here in Bangkok, I got it for fifteen. I also bought some Waterman's blue-black fountain pen ink. Back in Oz, it would have cost $15.oo a bottle. At B2S, I paid $5.78. So I bought three, as well as some packets of ink cartridges.
Despite how hectic the traffic could look in Bangkok...

...I didn't see one accident, heard no screeching of tyres or blaring of car horns. And, if road-rage exists here, then it's done very quietly.

And the skywalks positioned above the roads meant that you could walk one end of a busy street to another without being at ground level.

Not sure if this photo really captures just how wonderful this resort looks. Nestled between the huge rock formation and the shore off the Andaman Sea.

Yes, I know we had a whole ocean within spitting distance, but we spent most of our time in the pool.
We hung a towel off the railing of our room so that we knew which one it was for the photo.

My wife had asked me if I wanted to go out to Phi-Phi Island ,where the Bond film "The Man With The Golden Gun" was filmed in 1974. I declined because I had a perfect view of a similar rock formation from the beach. Besides, it was a Roger Moore Bond film, anyway.
Here is the jetty where the boat would drop us off every day. The jetty was a series of hollow plastic blocks linked together. It would ripple when the waves came in.
Not that my kids were worried by this.

The Monkey Trail as it runs along the beach. (Monkeys Sold Separately).

I didn't see this one until she got real close. Pretty nifty the way I can jump out of my shoes like that. Then I thought she was gonna swipe 'em.

We never managed to take a ride in a long-boat. Next time, perhaps.
One of the main streets in the town of Ao Nang. I'm not used to seeing mountains as a backdrop to a street with a Starbuck's in it.

The...uh...'driver' sits on the elephant's head and issues gentle commands.

That elephant was very delicate in the manner in which it took the banana from my hand.

The trunk felt like old dry leather. Very noble animals with a certain dignity to their movements.

"Ooh, aren't they cute?", my daughter exclaimed. Eeeww. They looked like open handbags...with eyes. Still, I suppose they're one of God's creatures, but man!

Yep, all that's missing is the toe tag. It took me a few minutes to figure out that some of the blue pigment had come off from the inside of my shoes and stained my feet. Not their finest hour.

BUSTED!!! Those were MY peanuts, buddy!

When I regained consciousness and asked her about it later, she said; "Well, I'm here. It's my holiday, and I may as well have a try." The Jumping Snakes aren't venomous, but their bite reputedly hurts like hell.

Yes. That's right. 'For keep company.'

Three cobras with flared hoods watching his every move while some Lady Ga Ga track blares from the speakers off-stage (that alone would make me wanna bite somebody)...

...all within striking distance, and easily able to eject blinding venom into his eyes...

...but I'd say a few of these serpents think he's a righteous dude.

But he wasn't always so lucky.

It's not just a snake show. These fellows also supply hospitals throughout Thailand with venom for the production of anti-venoms. And if you're bitten by a snake while you're in Krabi or Ao Nang, this place is where you'll be brought to for emergency treatment.

No, I don't have any peanuts. Remember? You ate 'em all yesterday.

My son samples the potato twist. On the table sits a bowl of mini spring rolls. Should've done this earlier.

A Roy Lichtenstein..uh..homage. For sixty bucks. Getting it framed will cost me three or four times that much. If I'm lucky.

I must've been looking back for quite a while, since my wife had enough time to get the camera out of her bag and take this snap.

Mind you, this is what I saw every afternoon. Maybe that's one reason why I was looking back.

My daughter catches some sea spray as the sun sets.

Last landing at Nopparat Thara Pier...for a while.

I have to say that Thai Airways were a pleasure to fly with.

Ten days in my back pocket.

But I don't want to end this post with a picture of a butt-moulded notebook, so here's a poorly taken iPod photo, but the colours are nice;

And one last pic...with a wristwatch in it.

To the three of you still here, thanks for reading!