July 28, 2008

Underwood 1

Underwood No. 5

It seems that every time I ask writers to do a guest post, I end up chasing after another writing device. This time it’s the manual typewriter. After looking through Strikethru’s guest post, I began looking for a manual. My first place was Craig’s list. In the past, my dalliance with Craig’s List landed me a pair of Beo Vox. J had listed the Underwood and no one took the offer. So he re-listed again, fortunately for me. There was no picture. The advertisment simply states “Antique Underwood”. Well, that wasn’t enough to go on. I expected that ‘Antique’ would be circa 1950 at best. Still, my curiosity got the best of me and I emailed J. The emails lead to a phone call. There was a mild, tepid discussion of where to meet. Finally, J trusted me enough to give me an address and I searched yahoo maps for driving directions. I was still waffling. Then decided to email J back asking for a picture. When I saw it, I called and arranged for a meeting on that very day, a Friday Evening of July 25, 2008. Driving to an unknown location is a bit of stress for me as I fear getting lost. I made an excuse that I rarely venture outside of my bubble, my comfort geographical zone and a typewriter was a good reason to venture forth. Also I don’t like seeing other people’s hampers either. I also didn’t want to be disappointed. There’s nothing like trekking out to such distance and then coming home empty handed. These are the cons of getting a typewriter via Craig’s List. Instead, what I found was a friendly, warm home in Tigard.

“Mr. Typewriter,” J said. He was sanding his deck. He took me in to show it. The Underwood was on the rug near the kitchen ready for me to pick up. “You weren’t kidding when you said it is an antique,” I said. Then asked him how he came to receive such a beast. He said he collected it during his travels. I can’t imaging lugging that beast around. He shows me an old rifle, with out the trigger or any of the metal parts except the barrel that rests on a faded wooden stock, hanging precariously on the wall. The walls were scrawled with foreign country and city names in green paint, on the top part, like a cornice or a frieze. He was thinking of waiting for one of his grand children to inherit it but there wasn’t much room in the house for it. I told him that I have a perfect spot for it, in my home. His wife sooth him by saying that Grandma probably has an Underwood some where in her attic.  We put the Underwood on the table, J’s wife feed a piece of paper around the platen. She seems to be more anxious to get rid of it. The keys move just fine but the ribbon was not threaded correctly and had been dried out in the heat of their attic.  I handed J my forty dollars and he carried the Underwood to my trunk and reluctantly set it down. And off I went, hurrying home before he could renege.

My visit to Blue Moon.

staff.xu.edu polt typewriters Kevin McGowin

Ian Fraizer’s typewriter article in The Atlantic

John Irving’s IBM Selectric interview in Salon.com

zones 10

July 22, 2008

zones 10

Originally uploaded by diligam_te.

Jk’s photographs of Pulau Bidong from 1985


flickr group:  Pulau Bidong photo pool

Hi Jk,

What was Consolacion’s position in Bidong? How did you know her? I’m just curious.
I’ve been finding lots of pictures on flickr and nice stories on www.pulaubidong.org


Chào Anh Dúc,

Consolacion was ex-pat teacher (“adviser”) in the Zone B French school. I arrived on Bidong early in 1985 and knew her there until she was replaced by Odile Gilliot. Consolacion then, as far as I know, returned to France. Odile Gilliot replaced Consolacion at the end of her time on Bidong. Unhappily, Odile died (brain tumour) some years ago.

I worked mainly in the Single Young Men’s programme and also did some work in the church. I stayed on Bidong only one year (one of the best of my life, although for many Vietnamese, it was probably one of their worst).


Whilst on Bidong, I kept a diary just about every day and have been working on it occasionally to get it into more publishable form. I have a friend who has offered to do some editorial work on it, but have no idea about the publishing side of things. I daresay that before any possible publication, I would need to change a few names to preserve anonymity. Occasionally I read some of it, and find it recreates the people and places quite vividly for me.
If you look at my pictures on flickr, you will find a few of “Au Co” house (named after a mythical Vietnamese figure); this was the group of unaccompanied minors. It was in Zone F, and had the zone television on its wall. I presume you were among the “unaccompanied minors”.
Many good and generous people responded to the plight of the Vietnamese people in those days, and generally people moved through Bidong quite quickly. In my time, there were some who had been on Bidong for years; then, when Bidong was closed, I think some people were repatriated to Viet Nam. During my time, also, there was one elderly man who wanted to be repatriated. I think his boat (and he) were taken by a group leaving Viet Nam. It seemed a simple thing, to go back home, but it seemed very complicated for the UNHCR people organising it. -JK/diligam_te

Hand Blown Glass

July 11, 2008

I remember the first time I saw those Dale Chihuly glass dishes hanging off the ceiling of the Bellagio in Los Vegas.  They were very bright, and brilliant, which matches the Nevada sky.  It’s funny that some thing so bright could be coming from a North West artist.  I saw his video about the work shop and the balancing act, the installation in Venice, Italy.  The pieces contain the breath of the blower.  It’s a team work, an orchestration.  It is fun to watch Chihuly the conductor of an operatic light show, a light show that seems to have frozen in a translucent chemistry of fire and air.  Some people look down on the art of Glass blowing and considers this endeavor as crafts instead of an art with a legitimate concept.  Either way, their beauty, to me, undeniable.  While there are a lot of web-galleries cropping up, www.handblownglass.net is unique because it features only hand blown works of glass art!  It would be nice to have a website which other glass blowing artist could also be featured.  I would like to get one of these colorful paper weights.

The site is clear, and concise.  It’s easy to navigate.  On the top, you’ll find the CSS style tabs.  The items are organized by categories such as vase, bowl, and wall art.  The video demonstration of glass blowing is spectacular, I recommend it.  Un like other forms of art, glass blowing is really a performance in and of itself.  The work of Darren Goodman could pass for some of Chihuly pieces.  But Goodman also has his own unique style.

The site is relatively new and shows some promise.  There is only one artist bio.  In the future, a feature that searchs for artist by their name would be nice to have.  I also think that glass artist work on paper as well to plan out their ideas.  Chihuley made many passionate sketches while waiting for the workers to form the glass.  It would be nice to see drawings to supplement the completed work.

This post was sponsored by HandBlownGlass.net

Type Cast

July 11, 2008


How to find a manual typewriter: the series:

* Part
1: Freecycle

* Part
2: Garage sales

* Part
3: The refurb market

* Part
4: A refurbishing story

* Part
5: eBay

* Part
6: Antique stores

* Part
7: Blue Moon Camera & Machine

typewriter restoration

typewriter models

makes and models research: Will Davis

to ship a typewriter