Thursday, May 31, 2012

Composted Irony

As seen on the shelf at my favorite thrift store.  I suppose I should have brought it home to see how the cultures developed, but I decided to let someone else have that particular pleasure.

Update:  Three weeks after this photo was taken, the book is still there.  Won't someone give it a little love?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Canon 7D Survival Test

The nice people at DigitalRev TV are a little crazy.  But they are crazy in an entertaining way.  In this video, Kai puts a Canon 7D through a series of torture tests.  Can this DSLR survive being hit with a truck, immersed and frozen, shot, thawed and burned?

I'm not going to give away the ending.  However, I probably don't need to coddle my 60D as much after watching this test.

I have to admit that this was pretty excessive.  I would not try this with my own camera.  I certainly wouldn't go quite as far over the top as Kai. I'm not quite that childish.

Even with all that, I am reminded of the photojournalist who died in the collapse of one of the World Trade Center towers.  His Canon DSLR was found smashed in the rubble.  While the camera was well beyond the point of ever functioning again, the files on the CF card could still be retrieved.  I'm impressed with how far imaging technology has come.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Geek Pride Day!

Today is Geek Pride Day!  It is also the 35th anniversary of Star Wars Episode IV.  In some quarters it is Towel Day in celebration of the Hitchhiker's Guide.  To celebrate, I have posted some photos of some of my favorite geeky things.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DANGER! Work in Progress

Typed on Margo, the Royal Quiet de Luxe (and me with one gimpy finger. please forgive the typos)

The 'brains' of this operation.  Not a good sign.
More about the Royal Arrow at A Royal Study in Toughness

So there you have it.  Should these pathetic misfits get it together, the Royal Arrow will roll on with the heart of champion, Richard Polt's flames and the brains of a Hot Wheels toy.  The crew will have to take a break for an upcoming living room floor installation.  More delays.  Worse than the Big Dig, I tell you.

Claire F. has not yet forgiven me for starting this particular project.  Ah, well.

This post was created several days ago and scheduled to go live later this evening.  I had to throw in a little fresh custom Turbo Torpedo typewriter goodness from Richard Polt Turbo Torpedo: the nitty gritty  I am in awe of the purple platen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rhinos Illustrated in "The Kingdom of Nature"

This is part 2 of the series on illustrations from "The Kingdom of Nature; An Illustrated Museum of the Animal World".  Just click on the label at the end for the rest of the series.

This post is just for the members of the Typosphere.  There is a special rhino obsession that accompanies an annual typing event, the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month).  To see rhino mascots at their best, visit

Our guest typewriter for this post is mysterious as it has not yet been blogged.  Some may recognize its unique typeface.  We also have a guest writer:  Hannah F. of

Basic rhino anatomy.
The horse just doesn't get that the rhino wants to play.  Awww!

When pressed, the mighty rhino will defend himself.

But mostly, the rhino is a friend to all animals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Like a Candle in the Windy City: Marilyn Hits the Road

WARNING:  Tacky Camera Angles Ahead
Marilyn Monroe was loaded on two trailers said goodbye to Chicago on May 8th.  These photos were taken on May 7th as she was being disassembled.
Once again, insomnia and a love of street photography got me out of my hotel late last Monday evening.  I tend to wander aimlessly with a camera in hand.  Chicago is a great people watching town and there is always something interesting going on.  On this particular evening, that something was the sculpture Forever Marilyn being taken apart and readied for shipment to warmer climes.

But first, I need to provide a defense of tastelessness.  I like to think of the camera as a neutral party.  It will always seek drama and interesting light.  A misty night in Chicago with the Wrigley Building bathed in floodlights provides more drama than a poor camera can tolerate.  The view from the other direction was comparatively boring.

You were warned about the tacky/tasteless camera angles.  Turn back before it is too late!

I love the Wrigley Building.  My employer provided the restoration products for it and many of the other landmark buildings in downtown.  Bear in mind that tourists have been basking in the 26' Marilyn's glory for almost a year.
The specter of a 26' Marylin looming over Pioneer Court was controversial to say the least.  It wasn't around long enough to become an object of adoration.  It did draw a number of protests and attention from the teeming masses of tourists.  The Chicago Sun-Times produced a celebratory editorial entitled "Goodbye and Good Riddance, Norma Jean."

This statue represents a titillating and iconic scene from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch.  Today we would find much worse on network TV.  It's the scale and placement that draws attention.

As public art, it would be hard to argue that the entire installation wasn't a bit tasteless.  It was kitchy and over-the-top and probably would look more at home in Vegas.  Actually, Palm Springs is a sensible home.  It is warm, optimistic and smells vaguely of Hollywood.  According to local news reports, Marilyn Forever arrived in Palm Springs on May 14th.
I would not have guessed that Marilyn was assembled onsite.  It makes sense.  How could you get this under an overpass in one piece?  Factoid:  this sculpture weighed in at 34,000 pounds!

And we have separation!
Not surprisingly, the crew was very professional and everything was planned out ahead of time.  Seeing Marylin split in half triggered some science fiction memories.  Yeah, like the saucer separation of the Enterprise D!  (Just don't let Troi do the driving.)

The Marilyn Separation continues.

The Marilyn Separation also reminded me of another iconic Star Trek scene.

I didn't want to go too heavy on the photos or I would have added images of one of the crew climbing in and out of the lower section.  Tasteless is one thing; tasteless and disturbing is quite another.

By now you might have surmised that more than one camera was involved.  For walking around at night, I fit the Sony NEX 3 with an Olympus PEN F 38mm f1.8.  I pressed the iPhone into service for wider angles.
Marilyn always did love the bright lights.  Goodbye and enjoy your new desert home!
I walked by Pioneer Court last Friday before heading to the airport.  It looks barren without Marilyn, but I'm sure Chicago has other mass installations in store.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Im*PEN*ding Sense of Doom

This figure is done in an expressive and heroic Deco style, yet wears flares.  Nice.
This paper was a thrift shop find.  It's meant for inkjet printing.

Imagine hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pens and mechanical pencils in one place.  Pen Place also stocks lots of ink and doesn't hesitate to spread small samples for the customers.

Why, oh why did they have to tempt me with carbon fiber?

This is an over the top combination.  More carbon fiber and stainless steel... and I even like the orange sherbet parts.  It may or may not write well.  I could say the same thing about Margo, the gold QDL.  There are times where performance just doesn't matter that much.

Temptation, you are a cruel and horrible mistress.  As it turns out, these tarts run in the $300-600 range.  I guess I am not the only person with extreme tastes.
 And here we have MEK's TWSBI Diamond 540 and my TWSBI Montesa.  The latter is referred to as the "Buy One Get One Free Road to Ruin".  TWSBI recently ran a nice Facebook offer as a means to get rid of old inventory.  I do like this pen.  The refill mechanism on the 540 is sublime.

The temporary display stand is an especially tasty subject for a future post.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Preview of Coming Attractions

So cryptic this photo is.  Mmmm...  Something to do with Richard Polt's flames it might have.  You seek Godzilla.  Yes.  Godzilla - a powerful copy editor is he!

Mwa, ha, ha.

What could this mad Blogger be thinking?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Type Specimen Book - Western Typesetting

I love this cover graphic.  As found on the shelf, the book has no words or graphics on the spine.  It's just pure black.

Gingercat and I stopped by our favorite used bookstore, Prosperos, and found this great Type Specimen Book.  It was published by the Western Typesetting Company.  There is no copyright or other date information and the price lists are missing from the inside cover sleeve.  The one clue to the date is a 6 digit alphanumeric telephone number that would have been phased out in the 1950s.

The address is in what is now the Quality Hill neighborhood in downtown Kansas City.

 A Google search turns up nothing other than the apparent fact that I got a really good deal on this book.  Any information about the book or the manufacturer would be appreciated.

I also own an American Type Founders specimen book from the 1940s.  I actually prefer the layout and organization of the Western book.

The cowboy theme continues throughout the book.  It's pretty fun! I've posted a few samples.  The Script selection is amazing.

I want the Italic Swash type on a typewriter.
One of gingercat's friends was very happy to receive s sample of this typeface.
I am still a little obsessed with the blackletter fonts.
The reliable old Epson 3170 scanner is happy to be on the job.  I rescanned the cover and I can tell you that is is a vast improvement over the combination HP scan/print thing that shall not be named.  The next scans are also from the Epson.

I would be remiss in not showing the typewriter simulation samples from this book.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, yee, haw, pardner!