Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Big KC Weekend: Maker Faire and Art of the Car

Credit where credit is due:  This is a lino cut produced onsite by Will Burnip of The Print Factory.  This mobile printing operation was just one of over 100 exhibitors at the 2011 Maker Faire.

This weekend is the best of the best when it comes to area festivals.  First up, we have the Kansas City Maker Faire at the Union Station on June 23-24.  It is dedicated to all things maker.  If you live in the area, you must go.  If you don't live in the area, you should look into the other regional Maker Faires or perhaps find out about your local maker collective.

For a preview of what to expect, visit Late Maker Nerd News
The official website is here

The Art of the Car Concours is here Art of the Car 2012.
This year, the Concours features one of nine Talbot Lago coupes ever built.  Now in its sixth year, Art of the Car attracts some of the finest vehicles in the country.  This is also the year of the peddle car at the Concours.  All proceeds benefit the Kansas City Art Institute's scholarship programs.

Bobby Darin's Dream Car by designer Andy DiDia.  This is a past year feature car.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Royal Typewriter Rescue and Another Special Typeface

The Royal portable typewriter on the left in the photo below is a recent rescue from ebay.  I was happy to liberate it from the clutches of a key chopper (evidenced by a bid history on typewriters and craft supplies).

There is one obvious problem:  this machine is hammered.  It appears to have spent the last 50 years or so in a barn or attic with no cover.  The seller even commented that he had done an initial cleaning.  Every part that can be dried out is.  The paint is scuffed, chipped, oxidized and crazed.  At this point, you may be wondering why on earth I bought this beater.  Am I really so crazed about key choppers that I would rescue junk?

As the title implies, you will need to read on for the answer.

The typewriter on the right goes by the name of "Keylime".  She will remain a mystery until a future post.  However, a side-by-side view gives you a pretty good idea of how far gone this poor red Royal is.

Kissing cousins, as if anyone would want to kiss a derelict.

As seen below, this rescue was not entirely altruistic.  Actually, it possesses a typeface that is my one of my "white whales".  It is an obsession among obsessions.

This typeface appears to be identical to that of a Royal Aristocrat shown on the Cambridge Typewriter Company blog.  Tom Furrier identified it as "Moderne Pica Block, Ra 280" by Alfred Ransmeyer &  Albert Rodian Vereinigte Typenfabriken, Berlin.  I have reason to believe this is actually the common variation of the rare Vogue typeface available for the 1930 variation of the Royal portable.  More on that subject in a later post.

Is this Vogue by another name?

This poor machine has seen better days.  I have yet to take it apart to assess whether it can be repaired as is.  If not, the type bar assembly will become the subject of a transplant operation to another Royal.  For what it is worth, the other residents in the House Full of Nerds think it is beautiful and see its potential.  I'll give repair an honest try or perhaps combine it with another parts machine if necessary.

What do you think?  How far should I go to bring this basket case back to good health?  I am out on travel at the moment, so comment moderation will be delayed.  Rest assured, they will appear in the near future!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Zombies on the Streets of Kansas City

By the way, it appears they want your typewriters.  This is a street poetry producer protecting her prize.  (Ick.  What a word combination.  It is 1:00 AM and I should really give my brain a break.  Mmm... brains....)

Stage blood by the gallon.  What wholesome family fun!
Some people take their characters very seriously.  Point a camera at them and watch the fun!

This was part of a a 15 second head to toe spasm.  Impressive.  And scary.
"Did you say something?  It's hard to hear you over all this moaning!"
Clowns.  Why did it have to be clowns?

Favorite sighting of the evening:  this zombie is contemplating a happy couple inside a mobile photo booth.
A zombie walk through throngs of art lovers is towards the top of my list for fun street shooting.  I live for content rich scenes like this.  Claire came along and loved every minute of it.  We were going to dress up and join the fun, but after laying a new living room floor I was looking a little too much like a zombie to do a good job gimping along with the crowd.  Besides, inside the pack you only see the few participants surrounding you.  I love being on this side of the lens.

All photos were shot on a Canon 60D; some with a wide zoom and most with a 50mm f1.4 or 85mm 1.8.  I am out on travel.  This post is brought to you by the magic of Blogger scheduling.  Please leave a comment after the tone and I will moderate it on my return.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Transit of Venus Nerd Family Viewing

Claire had a birthday around the time of the transit of Venus between us and the sun.  I rushed home from work and gathered a bunch of optics and parts.  The old Canon FD lenses couldn't be focused quite right.  Ditto for the old slide projector lenses.  The 12x50 binoculars bungee corded to an old tripod did the trick!
 Thanks to the people that threw up a webpage dedicated to viewing the transit.  The tips came in handy.  Sure, it was a shadow on a projected image but we felt like we had done something wonderful.  Claire had been at a K.U. engineering camp earlier in the day and was happy to be doing some practical science.

I am out on travel at the moment.  This blog is on scheduled post mode.  Please leave a comment if you so choose and I will moderate it when I return.  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Opportunity: Hail the Amazing Rover!

NASA's Opportunity rover is now 8 1/2 years (3043 days) into its 92 day mission and still going strong!  It powered up after its fifth Martian winter and is on the move.  It is a little pokey given the amount of dust that is collecting on the solar panels.  Still, we at the House Full of Nerds are impressed at this engineering accomplishment.  This little guy landed on Mars on January 25, 2004.

The twin rover, Spirit, became mired in deep sand and its last communication with Earth was on March 22, 2010.  Opportunity is currently alone on the red planet, but will be joined by the next generation in rover technology in August, 2012.  Curiosity is a substantial mobile laboratory with a nuclear power source.  The landing system is unique and we are hoping for a good start for the mission.
The vista circa May, 2012.  This is the largest crater in the journey and represents the oldest rock strata.  You can see the edge of one of the solar panels in the foreground.  The dust accumulation is reducing power output.
Just to give you an idea what Opportunity has been up against, Mars receives roughly 43% of the amount of sunlight that Earth receives.  With a thin atmosphere, it can't hold heat well.  The high summer temperature ranges up to 23 degree F.   Mars has frequent, large scale dust storms which sometimes cover the entire planet.
Discovery from late 2011:  Gypsum like deposits caused by free water percolating through rock strata.  Opportunity and Spirit both observed evidence of past free water on the surface of Mars.

Self portrait from 2007.  The solar cell still look pretty clean.


Video: Eight Years and Counting

Congratulations to Opportunity and the many builders and mission operators of NASA.  The mission is now open ended.  We hope Opportunity keeps producing good science for many days to come.

Opportunity in 2002

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Metallic Typing and Fictional Mail

I owe the inspiration for this post to two fellow bloggers.  First, I need to commend Ledeaux of Dante's Wardrobe for catalyzing fictional correspondence among our family members.

Second, I'll give a shout out to Florian at Maschinengeschrieben for showing that typing on aluminum foil can be done.

Before I get to the aluminum foil typing, I need to explain the path to this little exercise.   MEK read the information on fictional correspondence and decided it might be a good way for our family of word nerds to communicate.  Hannah F. and Claire F. readily agreed.

One thing lead to another and a reply to a Dr. Sottenmeyer in the future was required. Why aluminum foil?  Well, it is obviously a superior medium for surviving time transmission.  Duh!  Or something like that...

This aluminum post was brought to you by Olympia!, our perky SM3.  I guessed that the sans italic would translate well to foil.  The trick to getting a clean impression is to use two pieces of paper underneath and one on top.  This sample was done with the ribbon vibrator running.  It takes a harder key strike that way.  Turning the ribbon vibrator off makes the aluminum impression easier but leaves no typed hard copy.  Life is full of tradeoffs.

Olympia says "Click here and look at me!"

But that is not the end of the story.  Sure enough, Dr. Sottenmeyer found the transmission at the research library in 2195 and sent a return package.  It was an elaborate package with instructions on the making of synthetic paper including a sample of the necessary Adamantium.  Addressed to the Scientific American, it arrived on time in the late 1800s.  Like magic, the 1898 Scientific American Cyclopedia was updated by way of an Errata sheet!  Time is fluid that way.

This is one of the most awesome books, ever!  You can download digital copies, but it is not the same experience as browsing 114 year old pages to find recipes for everything including alloys, paint, paper and ink.  Some would say it is an essential post-apocalypse library addition.

This type looks suspiciously like it came from our gold Royal.  Hmm.

In theory, the recipe should eliminate the need for metallic transmission media.  But that assumes the technology of 2012 is as good as that of 2195.  We shall see.

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?