Showing posts with label Empire Aristocrat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Empire Aristocrat. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Geek Pride Day! The 2013 Edition

Happy Geek Pride Day!

Today we recognize one of the defining moments in modern Geekdom that was the release of Star Wars on May 25, 1977. As with last year, I will celebrate by featuring the some of the awesomely geeky things I have featured on this blog or photographed in the last year.

Sometimes I even surprise myself. What kind of a geek put this blog together, anyway?

This is the Army that turned the tide in the war against the Mayan Destructors.

Could it be the Mayans came up with that world ending calendar concept as an elaborate means to introduce a new typewriter acquisition?  Anything is possible in tinfoil hat conspiracy land.

The Christmas Squirrel is an astute military commander.

The freakingly amazing Curiosity!

Celebrating a special birthday.

Experts in green inspect a repainted machine.
Zombie on the streets of Kansas City. I hope no one steals their coffee.

The House Full of Nerds viewing the Transit of Venus.

Typecasting on vacation.

I got to see five separate Shakespeare performances since Geekday 2012.

A Maker, making.

You never know what will turn up at the local Maker Faire. Go, you must.

Your career at NASA

The Vintage Technology Obsessions crew visits San Francisco for Greenbuild 2012

Godzilla put up a valiant fight against the Mayan Destructors. Thank goodness the world didn't end!
The absolute highlight in my year in Geekdom was staying up to watch the livestream of Curiosity landing on Mars. This bit of awesome was brought to us via the great, modern disruptive force known as the Internet. It is gratifying to see personalities from the mission team become media rock stars. Really, we live in the Golden Age of Geek.

Photographing my screen.

That's without mentioning the amazing photos from the ISS courtesy of Chris Hadfield (my daily Twitter fix) and all of the awesome news rolling out of Elon Musk's technological market disruption empire. Tesla just became the first auto maker to fully pay back its government loans and is attempting to circumvent the dealer franchise model of selling cars. SpaceX completed the first commercial mission to the ISS. Geeks, without a doubt, are on a roll!

Oh, and thanks to Yahoo, Flickr and digital imaging, everyone is now a professional photographer!

Prom photos at the Duke University Gardens last week. Sure, Yahoo's CEO rolled back the snarky comment about professional photographers, but it appears she really meant it. Does that mean every 12-year-old that makes an app is on par with a Google system architect?

On a personal note, I am especially proud of my Geeklings. They have had an amazing year full of music, drama and obsessive academic over-achievement. Highlights include Geekling the Elder playing Curtis in a school production of "Taming of the Shrew" and Geekling the Minor (aka: gingercat) being recognized in the Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search.

In case you are interested, the 2012 parade of geek that is Vintage Technology Obsessions is at

Thanks all for reading this little blog of mine! I would probably do it without anyone looking, but the hit counts (approaching 50,000), Google Plus Ones and comments from people like you are gratifying.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Ode to Fire and Leftover Vacation Smores

This is the last of the typecast entries I wrote during our family vacation.  Originally scheduled to post on June 29th, it has been radically delayed given the massive damage that unplanned fire had been causing in Colorado Springs.  Posting this in the midst of all of that misery just seemed a bit insensitive.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of the mountain west that had a really tough time this summer.

As we just passed the autumnal equinox, the evenings here are getting crisp and we are adjusting to mid-60s instead of the mid-100s of just a month ago.  I've been cutting down dead shrubs and planting new grass in the spots turned to compacted dust in our drought.  Thank goodness for the remnants of hurricane Issaic!  We'll try to think of fire for its warmth and light during the coming cold, dark months.

Now on to the post written on June 29th...

The adult members of the House Full of Nerds are only a little bit into campfires.  We did enough backpacking in the pre-nerdling era to appreciate the joys of cook stoves and little, itty bitty fires that won't attract the Nazgul.  But we needed 'smores.  Given a proper fire ring, I am prone to building really hot pyres.  Yeah, fire...

If you look closely at this photo, you might see a fire Genie and a demon cow-thing.
Yep, having problems with that whole "I" before "E" thing there, Chief.

There was a light breeze.  At one point the flames underneath an old hunk of 2"x8" pine wer close to white hot.  The thing in the foreground is an optimal marshmallow so well done that the molten core is turning freely on the stick.  Put that together with Hershey's Dark and generic grahams and you have a little slice of Heaven.  Yum!
The Vacation Postscript (Do you have the time to listen to me whine?)

I'll finish this entry with a few post summer vacation thoughts.  First, I am pathetically behind in my blog and keeping up with other blogs, recreational reading and correspondence.  My resorting to resurrection of a draft entry is evidence.  School started right before Labor Day and the Nerdess and our adorable spawn are back in school.  This leads me to thought the second:  I humbly apologize to any parents of teens who I thought were horrible at keeping in touch.  Now I get it - you didn't have lives other than in cars, fund-raising meetings, work and school related events!

We have a new definition of busy in our house.  Freed from the tyranny of the pace of middle school and with access to all honors and pre-AP classes, Hannah is over-achieving like a bandit!  She is second chair in Chamber Orchestra and first section violin in Olathe Youth Symphony.  Not bad for a freshman.  Add church youth group, Girl Scouts, training to be a counselor with their equestrian program and Shakespeare Conservatory classes and she is one busy girl.  Claire is the president of her middle school Kansas Association for Youth club and first chair flute.  They have great public school teachers and private music teachers and are asking for and taking every opportunity put before them.

It's all good, but I'll ask for a little slack when I fall behind.  As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Only Slightly Competitive Sisters

This is a continuation of the vacation typecasts.  The series will end eventually, but not before I share about the many the near disasters we encountered on the road.  An already scheduled celebration of campfires, "An Ode to Fire", has been postponed indefinitely.  It just seemed a bit insensitive given the horrible fire that swept through the edge of Colorado Springs this week.  As mentioned in the first post, we were pretty much unplugged during vacation.  I took advantage of several days of digital downtime to do some typecasts.  I'm glad I brought the typewriter along.  Typing in the woods is an extraordinarily pleasant experience.

Ah, sweet, clean Rocky Mountain stream water!  We were 3-5 miles downstream from the snow melt fed alpine lake at the head of this stream.  The water temperature was at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take.
I can't overstate just how refreshingly cold this water was!  It worked pretty well on swelling bug bites, but not as well as soaking in one of the 108 degree hot spring pools located elsewhere in the San Luis valley.
Common sense is pretty much overrated when it comes to competitive siblings.
Both of our girls shipped out to separate regional Girl Scout camps last Sunday, just in time for the hottest week of the year here in Kansas.  Yesterday, it was 106 in the shade.  Fortunately, we had freakishly low humidity so it felt more like the desert.  I usually expect 60-70% daytime humidity this time of year and it was just under 20%.  As I write this, they are loading gear and getting ready for the trip home.  We'll get to find out how sunburned and bug bitten they are.

We are looking forward to hearing their camp stories.  Last year they were at the same camp and at least saw each other in passing.  MEK had the unpleasant experience of watching them leave for different camps without troop buddies while I was at the Art of the Car Concours .  Hannah wanted to spend time with horses and Claire wanted to get in a prerequisite for a ten day canoe trek next year.  We are blessed with children who actually like each other and are willing to take some risks doing new things on their own.  Soon the house will again be full of the sound of the violin, the electric guitar and the Wii.  We missed them, but we also enjoyed dining out for two in their absence (how delightfully cheap!).

Photos do not do this campsite justice.  Except for the skeeters, it was pretty much perfect.
I am now a week and a half into vacation withdrawal.  The blog is a comforting memory of a good time.  I hope your summer vacations are (were) equally satisfying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Sleepy Bear Tail

OK, you may have trouble believing this story.  While we were comfortably sleeping in a National Forest Service campground, our next door neighbor was having a late night encounter with a warm and fuzzy friend.  Read on if you dare.

This image is yet another gift from "The Kingdom of Nature".  I was disappointed that "The Happy Zoo Book" contained lions and tigers, but  no bears.  What kind of kids book is that, anyway?

Here is one of the family campsites.  We are perhaps fortunate that our tents were not shaped like sleeping bears.
There are few better places to typecast from than this.  The bear story just made a great vacation better!

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Kitty Cat Pajamas Allowed: Typed with a Campy Aristocrat

Welcome to the first of several posts from our most awesome family vacation to the San Luis valley in southern Colorado.  We were unplugged for a good portion of the trip.  I brought along my one compact typewriter, a Hermes Baby clone branded as an Empire Aristocrat.  I bought this last year after looking at the Hermes version.  I can't say I like its stock paint colors.  Besides, the Aristocrat has a somewhat universal keyboard with pound and dollar signs.  I also like the glitzy red keys apparently ripped off from Olivetti.

This most awesome typing locale was right behind our campsite.  The rushing white water is great for sleep and for causing the family to make multiple trips to the pit toilet.

Um, that would be "schlep".  The anniversary part refers to the date upon which MEK and I were hitched.  I can think of worse places to spend an anniversary.

And now for the sorry story behind the "No Kitty Cat Pajamas" camping dictum.  As you read the following typecast, realize that I was sleep deprived.  I got the sequence a little mixed up.  We most decidedly did not go camping last year after this not-so-pleasant episode.  The event in question happened after primitive camping on the Cedar Mesa in southern Utah.  The closest cell tower was around 30 miles away.  The closest neighbor was perhaps 5 miles as the crow flies.  That is the way I like it.

I could try and pass off "diesal" as a warped sense of humor thing.  Alas, I was brain dead and misspelled it while the the grips of the luscious white noise from the stream.

Thus spake the gingercat: "You misspelled whatever."  Watever.
Now you know how we roll.  We aren't misanthropic.  We don't necessarily hate people.  We just want our dose of nature to not involve loud humanoid noises in the night.

Here are a few more images of the Empire Aristocrat.  It isn't a bad little machine.  At some point I will have to try a small Olivetti or Skywriter.  Unlike some Typospherians, I actually like the short throw on the Olympia SF and Socialite machines that were gifted to my daughters last year.