Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To See the Way Forward





Post-Script: Much more could be said in reference to the symbolism of the Wild West inherent to our automobile culture, but I've said enough already. It was a very nice day to ride, and for the most part people were well behaved out on the road.

This particular Ticonderoga pencil, which I used to write this piece (though considerable editing was done during transcription to typewriter), is one of those where the lead seems overly brittle and breaks too easy. Which reminds me of the various pencil blogs and the fun it is to read through them.

I had initially thought to bring fountain pen, but that would have entailed (due to Murphy's Law) bringing the bottle of ink also, and so in the end I opted for pencil and sharpener, and wasn't disappointed. Such a simple device, the pencil, and with the right combination of lead and paper seems butter smooth.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photos via Lumix G5.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Between Theory and Practice



Post-Script: I took a motorcycle ride this afternoon and stopped at a favorite coffee shop, with the intention of writing something for this blog, but stopped writing in mid-sentence after my pencil lead jammed into my sharpener and broke. I remounted the bike and rode on into the cool autumn afternoon air. Later, back home, I brought the typewriter out to my front patio and wrote this piece, totally different in subject matter from what I had been writing, hours before, at the coffee shop. Sometimes one thing prepares you for another, like priming the pump of creativity.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photo via Lumix G5.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ojito Wilderness VIsit






Post-Script: These images are scans of lab prints. I like to use Picture Perfect Lab, here in Albuquerque, they do a fine job.

The Holga pinhole camera gives a significant vignette to the image, but it's remarkably sharp in the middle, and the pinhole appears to be of high quality. The film used in these images was Lomography's 100-speed color print film, a good value when purchased in bulk, and renders good results (although not as good as Kodak Ektar, but much less expensive).

I used the accessory cable release fixture with this camera, that's a plastic ring-like gizmo that clamps around the lens housing and permits a cable release to be threaded in to activate the shutter button, for more stable time exposures. With the Holga pinhole cameras, the shutter button is bulb only, meaning it's open for as long as you keep the button pressed. As is always a good idea with Holgas, some sort of tape should be applied to the sliding metal back release clips to prevent accidental light leaks from ruining the film, while I also use a piece of black tape over the red frame counter window, just in case. Exposure times were around 2 seconds each.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter onto mini-sized yellow legal pad.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Inflatable Dreams



Post-Script: My interest in pneumatic structures seems to have been an off-shoot of interest in lighter-than-air flight. Two books of note captivated my interest at that time, those being Tensile Structures by Frei Otto and Pneumatic Structures by Thomas Herzog.

P1060793a The modification I performed to my Seal-a-Meal device was to cut away a portion of the raised lip along the right hand side, originally intended as a guide for positioning the plastic food storage bags, thus permitting one continuous sheet of plastic to be fed through the device uninterrupted.

Lacking a Seal-a-Meal device, a low-wattage soldering iron with flat tip can serve very well for welding plastic film.

P1060796a A cover sheet of thin tracing paper is placed over the sandwich of plastic film, then a metal straight-edge is used as a guide.

P1060797a Through experimentation you will find the optimal speed at which to move the iron, using the markings on the straight-edge as a guide, making for a professional looking seam, great for also making curved seams required of balloon envelop gores, for instance.

Type-cast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photos via Lumix G5.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

That's Just Tough Shed



Post-Script: Talking about one's assemblage of clutter would be incomplete without mention of the Typewriter Problem experienced by many denizens of the Typosphere. I'm currently in a state of denial, having told my spouse recently, upon her discovery of Yet Another Typewriter, that "I made room for it." She's not buying the story, so I will have to be extra careful when driving past my favorite thrift stores. Or else find homes for my lesser-like machines, first. After all, where there's a will, there's a way!

And in case you were wondering, that photo above is after the reorganization, honest.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photo via Lumix G5.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fading Away?



Post-Script: Here's the link to my missing blog article, "On a Different Usage Mode." It's not as much about it being a great piece of literature worthy of being seen, but more about the principle of the thing. On the other hand, I pretty much get exactly what I'm paying for with Blogger, which is nil. I'm now hoping this piece shows up on your respective blog-rolls, functioning as much like a test flare, shot into the darkness.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter (I'm getting more adept at touch-typing with this machine), image via Lumix G1 with Pinwide pinhole body cap, from my older photo archives.

On a Different Usage Mode





Post-Script: I'd like to hear from other typewriter users as to how you implement your collection into your daily life.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photos via Lumix G5.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Arising Early





Post-Script: Actually, I haven't tried all that hard to do pinhole photography at the Balloon Fiesta, it's just that I have so many competing interests. But one of these days...

Included at the end of this article are a selection of images culled from those I shot this morning. A bit unconventional in style for balloon photography, but I hope you enjoy.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, images via Lumix G5.

Early Morning Eats: P1060499a

Early Morning Shopping: P1060486a

Smart Phonography: P1060521a

Walls of Nylon: P1060551a

Selfie: P1060557a

Chase Crew: P1060569a

Hanging On: P1060620a

Group Shot: P1060626a

Lift Off: P1060651a

Colorful Crowds: P1060663a

Shadows: P1060688a

Cameras: P1060699a

Blankets: P1060704a

Hats: P1060729a

Families: P1060731a

More Phones: P1060738a

Santa!: P1060777a

Done: P1060781a

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A Double Find Day





Post-Script: In typing this piece out on my front patio in the warm autumn sun, the bottom of the first page came upon me faster than I anticipated, but the Quiet-Riter's rubber rollers didn't slip badly at all, permitting me to type within one line of the bottom edge of paper, further evidence as to the pristine condition of this machine.

For those unaware of abacus operation, each rod represents a column or place value for a number to reside. The machine is cleared when all the beads are moved away from the dividing bar, as is shown in the photos. Each bead in the upper portion is worth five of that place value if moved down to the bar, while each bead in the bottom portion moved up to the bar are worth one apiece. The Japanese termed these upper and lower regions "heaven" and "earth." Thus, numbers from zero to nine can be represented on each rod by the proper combination of upper and lower beads.

It should be noted that you can use the thumb and fingers of your hands to represent numbers using the abacus method, with each hand capable of registering a value up to nine, with the thumb worth five and each finger worth one. Thus, you can represent any number between zero and 99 using both hands, with the right hand the one's column and the left hand the ten's column.

Addition on the abacus is performed by first entering a number, then the second number is entered on top of the first, with the provision that, if insufficient beads remain to complete the calculation, complementary arithmetic is used, as a form of borrowing. Thus, to perform the problem of "4+3" the number four is entered by pushing up four of the one-value beads. Next, it can be seen that there are insufficient beads below the bar to add three more. Instead, a five bead is pushed down, and two one-value beads are removed, to yield the answer of 7. The way this is thought of is that the five's compliment of three is two, so instead of adding three, you would add five and subtract the complement of three, that being two.

Similar complementary techniques are used for the tens, as in the problem of "3+8" where three one-value beads are moved up to the bar, and then instead of moving toward the bar a value of eight (because there are insufficient beads left in the one's column to form eight), a single bead is moved up in the ten's column to the left and two one's beads are removed from the one's column (since the ten's complement of eight is two).

Problems can get further complicated when they involve a combination of both five's and ten's complements, as in the problem of "6+7" where first the number six is formed by moving toward the bar a five bead and a one bead. Then, to add seven, there are insufficient beads residing on the one's column to enter seven, and so a ten's complement operation needs to be performed by entering a one bead on the ten's column to the left, then subtract the three complement on the one's column. But you cannot directly subtract a value of three, since there resides only a five and a one bead. Instead, the five is subtracted and the five's complement of three - which is two - is added in that column to form the answer of 13. A simpler way of thinking about this was taught to me by a Taiwanese abacus instructor, who informed me that instead of thinking about the fives complement problem in that way, instead to think of "pushing up the number." Thus, to add the seven you would go ahead with the ten's complement step (adding a single bead onto the ten's column to the left) and then simply push up the five bead and two one's beads in one single operation, which amounts to pushing up a value of seven.

This is much harder to describe in words than to show visually, and so perhaps a future blog article will include either step-by-step photos, or a video could be produced to show the operation more clearly. In the meantime, check out the Soroban Abacus Yahoo discussion group for more information, or do an online search for more information.