Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Typosphere vintage renewal in typewriters

While I have dropped many of my former magazine subscriptions for lack of time to read them, one I have kept is "Treasures" which covers the gamut from antiques to collectibles, two of my passions. This May 2014 edition featured "Typewriters:Soft Return"  by Jason Zasky with photos  by Richard Port on pages 22-27.  Besides the nostalgia,  and history, I learned of current day  type writer repair services; such craftsmen are few and far between but notable.  One repair service is Bill Wahl of  Mesa (Arizona) Typewriter Exchange; Bill runs the business started by his grandfather in the late 1940's.  Another is  Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriter in Arlington, Massachusetts. As mentioned most lack a web presence. Neither have apprentices and both are a soon to be  last of their breed.  If you  think "so what, who uses a typewriter?"  get a copy of this magazine and article.  I was amazed to learn that police departments, including the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department and the New York City Police Department still use typewriters today to complete reports they must do in triplicate.  Fascinating, and almost unbelievable in this day of computers and so many smart machines.  The collectors are also out there as well as the EBay sellers and buyers.

My 1961 Underwood portable typewriter.
 For me this  is of interest because I still own my Underwood Portable, the Golden Touch model that was a  present in 1961, my  junior year of high school in western Pennsylvania.  It has traveled with me to California in the 1960's, our son used it to learn to type and in school, and it crossed the country back to Minnesota here when we retired. For a time  my elderly mother in law used it to keep her records. When she went into a long term care facility I brought it back home and today it is  sentimental to me  having been a part of my households for over 50 years and still in tip top shape complete with its original suitcase box and even the  booklet that it came with .  She is certainly not as portable as my smart phone or tablet as she has substantial heft and solidness, but she is gorgeous today and worth admiration.  

I learned there is an anti modern trend, an anti-culture  of preteens and college students who are newly discovering typewriters and are fascinated by them.  I recall seeing a typewriter for sale a year or so ago in western Pennsylvania and  being amazed, "who'd buy that."  Oh what a surprise to read of the new appreciation.  There are some bloggers out there in the typosphere, "Adventures in Typewriterdom" is but one mentioned in the  magazine article.  Typosphere, a new word, I love that. 

Notice the  lovely golden ears that supported
 the paper up as I typed. 
Back in the day, we all took at least a semester of touch  typing in high school regardless of  whether we were in the academic college preparatory trac as I was, we would be expected to submit typed papers in high school and for sure  that would be a requirement in college.  Today I know so called college graduates who never had to  research nor prepare a paper through their f years of college.  Of course the students in the commercial classes who were  bound to go on to business training and careers took typing and as I recall  most of the  guys in vocational classes as well. Learning to type  was expected, a  skill that would serve me all my life and still does today as I sit at keyboard.  Of course I have the smart phone and tablet and  can swipe with the best, but the feel of the keys is basic.  After reading this and taking her photos to send along to the deditor's request for photos of what we have, I  spent a bit of time tickling her keys.  That solid feeling is still there.  And  you know I have worn  the letters off computer keyboards in the past, but on the Underwood, as heavy use as she had in her day, the keys are just like wearing away of the letters.  But then she's neither plastic nor made in China. 

George L Hossfield
Look at  the booklet which closed with a message from George L Hossfield, ten times winner of the World's Professional Typing Championship.  Yes there really  was such an event. I have scanned the cover and opening and closing pages...what a trip, proof that they really don't make'em like they used to and quality and value last to become vintage.  Years back our 19 year old granddaughter was visiting and had not seen a typewriter before, she was not interested.  Little would she know that  the anti group would  try to revert, as the typosphere culture kids  take great pride in trekking portable typewriters with them to Starbucks and the like and showing off the sound of the keyboard.  It is purely accidental that I kept the typewriter and I admit when we moved from CA Jerry said, bring it along,  you might want to use her someday.  I am glad we have her and was happy to read about the remaining  relevance of type writers. I even found a package of old time Co-Rec-Type-Rite Out with her. That was the kind that had to be positioned atop the paper and the same error keys re-struck to erase. Read what Mr Hossfield says about spelling, correct English and  taking pride the work you turn out.  More lost skills and another reminder of what made me me.  This will fit Facebook, "throwback Thursday."

Booklet cover original

First page

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mother Nature's Car Wash, rainy day humor scamming the scammer

For the past week I have been meaning to get the car washed, especially on those lovely balmy days yet  I did not make it to the car wash.  Today we are enjoying a wet soaker all day rain and on my way to the Y and Zumba I remembered the late  Marian Wilson, a grand, eloquent elderly
1997 Florence (MIL seated) with
Marian Wilson, standing
 woman  from Newcastle who lived in the senior mobile home court and  befriended Jerry's mother when we moved her there. Here is a photo of Marian in January 1997 at our home where we hosted an 80th birthday party for Florence, MIL.   Marian was a no nonsense, take charge independent lady who took pride in ensuring  her surroundings, home and attire were always neat and pretty, tidy, just as she kept herself, nicely made up and "all put together" as she said.  She kept her car sparkling clean all the time as well.  One day when I went by MIL's it was raining cats and dogs and there was Marian in raincoat and rain  boots squirting something over her car which she had pulled out of the carport nearly onto the road that wound past her home.  I stopped to ask what she was doing, and she  informed me she was using "Mother Nature's Free Car wash" and just to help it along, she was squirting Joy dish soap over the car, she offered to do mine too.  Marian was in her 80's and it was all I could do to not burst into laughter but I knew better, she would have likely squirted me with dish soap.   Now today I did not squirt dish soap over the car but it  got a good washing as well as road dirt on my drive back and forth so it will still need a car wash soon. I can hear Marian from the beyond, "back it out of the garage and  squirt it with Joy, use Mother Nature."

Meantime today back home, I never answer the phone when the caller ID shows,  "unknown" or "unavailable" or especially 800 numbers, but right after I ate lunch I was standing near the phone and picked it up to be greeted by a "hello Mam" an East Indian sing song voice of a man who  claimed to e calling as a Microsoft contractor with a windows server about my computer (I almost laughed out loud).  I asked him "what computer?" to which he  responded "Mam do you have your computer on?"  And again I  asked"What, which one and mumbled"  I smelled a rat and decided to amuse myself so began my time scamming the scammer...he continued to explain something about my computer "rejectifications" (no kidding that was the word he used) to microsoft updates.  I continued with my act as tho I'm a non techie old lady saying, "what, is my computer doing...who are you??   huh...." he kept saying "don't worry mam,  I am going to fix, can you please turn on your computer?" I knew I had him and said it would take me a long time to go to the room with the computer,  that I am slow, meantime I was Googling uh huh..sure enough a scam. .I acted even stupider responding to his questions..and said, "oh my computer is not turning on..." He tried to assure me he had time to wait and I should not to worry he would help me. He said my computer was slow because of a virus and he would help me.  I told him it was old and always was slow, just like me.  (Ha ha)  He continued with his sing song solicitation..that he got my number from the microsoft  customer service and was calling to  get this taken right care of today, he continued I was infected, the virus "is blocking everything...and Microsoft cannot call you...I am calling from off shore."  .(.BS this fool thinks I am falling for this) After stalling and mumbling more feeble like nonsense to him and then saying  the computer doesn't work, I will have to get help...and his responding "well mam can you turn on another computer I can help you from it." ( In my questions to him I told him I have 5 computers,,actutally it's 4) I got tired of toying with him and hung up. He called right back and apologized for being cut off, this time he identified himself as "Jerry" ..I cut him off saying "Back off you  jerk off, this is a scam get lost before I report you to the FCC" and I hung up, no more call back. 

Please be aware, these clowns have been pulling this stunt on the unsuspecting or under informed for about 4 years. Here is but one answer that Microsoft has on their website..." It is a SCAM!!! Microsoft does not do that nor do they have partners who do that nor do they hire sub-contractors or people or even get volunteers to do that. There are probably thousands of such companies out there doing this every day - we get two or three messages like this (or more) every day asking about it. You are the lucky ones who recognized the scam enough not to be sucked into it and end up with identify theft, infections, hacking of your computer, convincing you to buy software or services you either don't need or that don't really exist at all, and all sorts of nefarious tricks. You'd be surprised by how many contact us AFTER they realized they'd been suckered asking what to do. Do not waste time talking to these people, do not give them any personal information whatsoever, do not be tricked by what they may get you to see on the computer - in fact, don't do anything they suggest on your computer or even visit websites they recommend, and for heaven's sake don't give them access to your computer."  My Google search shows this particular scam has been around since at least 2010, so nothing new out there and they operate by WCField's philosophy, "there is a sucker born every minute."  They spring up like dandelions in the spring and change their business names and locations, BE AWARE and never answer their questions....or take some time to amuse yourself as I did today not having much else pressing.  This is good humor for a rainy day and we are laughing about it here....maybe I will begin to answer more of these calls and act dumber. who knows I could try speaking Spanguish and or my version of Polish to them.  Pretty soon they will avoid this landline phone number like the plague, wouldn't that be a treat to be blacklisted by scam artists. By the way the phone number on this call was 888-505-3020 both times. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter is not the same this year, so what?

There was no donning an Easter bonnet today as it has drizzled one of those April rains, showers for May flowers...nevertheless,  happy Easter day and joyous season to all blog friends and followers; today we greet the day "He is Risen!"  I have been more absent than I like  from this blog as busyness consumes my time while I continue with double chore duties, some full time nursing duties and itch to get outside to begin the annual challenge to arthritis in my hands.  After a  very long winter abundant  pruning, raking. cleaning  of the lawns, flowerbeds as well as a sleepy rose garden will begin to whimper for attention. 

 Jerry's back surgery  Wednesday (April 16)  was a splendid success; the surgery which began at 12:25 PM  took less than an hour, by 3:00PM he was up walking so we were confident that we would be back home by  4:00PM.  Ah ha not so fast there,  when he was unable to "pee", the surgeon had warned about this, a common complication for men of older years, during surgery the bladder catheter caused his prostrate to protest angrily, to swell and prevent urination necessitating reinsertion of a tube catheter and bag which threw a wrinkle into the smooth mix, delayed our departure for home and is a minor annoyance until Tuesday when it will be removed.  His miraculous back surgery to  push the spinal jell back between the discs was a cake walk, he has a  one inch incision which was glued back together so no stitches, staples, and so far so very good.  Minor swelling and very slight bruising where the  muscle  was  prodded to push back the gel.  Just as we heard, Dr Watts, the newest Mayo neurosurgeon is a rock star and well deserving all his acclamation.  A genuine pro.   We are thankful.  Nevertheless some restriction of activities as all is not normal, not yet, but it will be soon.  Thus I am  busy attending to everything and the patient.  Although I disdain people who use Facebook as a blog and write their experiences ad nauseum, I admit to using it heavily, especially because it is so easy to post directly from my smartphone or tablet and update all at a moment. Certainly I do not post the length I do here (unlike those annoying ones) but Facebook is a  good way to get the word out toot sweet to many simultaneously.  

Shrine Fountain courtyard
I have previously mentioned that I am likely to return to Catholicism and have had a few recent experiences validating that choice.  On April 10 I joined some local Catholic women friends on a Lenten pilgrimage to the La Crosse Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It was a beautiful day and after we climbed the mile hill to the shrine, sopping all along the way first at the Votive Chapel and all the saint statuary, attended mass, then walked back down to eat lunch at the cafeteria.  More information  about this local shrine, is online at this link   Once again I felt that deep sense of peace, blessing  and reassurance that  I only find at the Catholic churches and masses.  When this happens I recall my grandmother's admonition to me when as a child at mass in Latin or Polish neither of which I could understand I would fidget, "Patty be still and let the beauty be in your soul."  What made no sense then is perfectly clear to me now. Here are but a few photos.  

Shrine  Unborn memorial
Votive chapel at the shrine, first stop on the hill
I felt that same sense last night when I attended the Easter vigil mass at the local Catholic church last evening.  Father Havel's homily seemed destined for my ears as he wove a tale of his deer hunting experience into the Easter mystery and concluded many things happen in our lives that we cannot understand.  Try as we might our human reasoning fails us. But Easter reassures us all in God's good time, all will be revealed.  

We are doing Easter very differently this year, I purchased the ready to warm and serve meal from our local Festival grocery and am now happy I did so, pleased to have all the trimmings ready without extensive effort on my part.  This is a new experience for us; Before I would disdain this thinking "ICan  can fix that easily" today I am glad to have it available.  For only $29.99 we have 1.5 pounds of sliced,home cooked old fashion bone-in  ham with sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, wheat rolls and fruit salad.  There is more than enough for us and I picked up a fresh bakery apple pie onto which I drizzled caramel for desert, although Jerry sampled it last night, as he said, "to be sure it's OK for Easter."  Yes less fuss.  Long ago gone are the Easter days in California when we hosted huge events.  We are downsized and with good fortune soon will be on the move again.  

Meantime Peter Cottontail guards remaining Easter goodies array here.  Yesterday there were Jelly bellies and pastel creams with assorted candy corn, all too accessible walking by..Happy Easter again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Springtime and hopscotch trivia

Just a week ago some white patches now all gone
Alleluia, spring has arrived,  although our ground remains  hard. impenetrable while wet where thawing begins despite some  nights taking it back to freezing temperatures.  Our long winter of discontent  has vanished taking with it our complaints and the last patches of snirt, those dirty icy blots.  The warmth of the sunshine even accompanied by cool or cold air beckons us outdoors.  Nothing like  fresh air, blue skies and  sunshine to renew  ourselves and shake the winter away.  Sunday, I went on my first 2014 long outdoor walk, sans jacket, only my long sleeved shirt. 

  I had posted photos onto  Facebook of a local home where the owner adorns the barren branches of her shrubs with plastic Easter eggs. I admire her ambition which produces a  pleasant colorful sight in contrast to the unbudded brown branches of her shrubs.  And  then farther along the street stop to admire our wide open streets, little traffic in this small midwestern town this day, other folks are out walking their dogs and one young boy dribbles his basketball on his way to shoot hoops at the elementary school lot. 

Elm Street   La Crescent

The city is  in the process of removing many of the old ash trees around town, replacing with different varieties  to  avoid tragic infestations from the emerald ash borers, larvae of which may have frozen out over our severe winter.  Perhaps that was one good thing about a long hard freeze.  It worries us, we may have to remove two or three of our  stately older ash trees on our property.  We will have an arborist check them again soon, two years ago they were good and  so far we have avoided the bug  but experts tell us there is no escape.  Such a shame to lose those stately antique trees but we like other locals do not want to experience the misfortunes of this epidemic.  
Old nest high up in the tree

I noticed a left over nest clinging  high atop one of the trees along Elm Street and marvel that it had the tenacity to stay put all winter long, a testament to the bird or hawk that constructed it.  Soon green  leaves will adorn the limbs and shade the walkways below.

I spotted my first 2014  hopscotch along the way and could not resist jumping it.  There was no sign of the children who drew it, I assume girls because we were the ones to delight in this in my day.  Posted to Facebook it elicited comments of not having seen these since our own childhoods and how children today especially in California are most unlikely to know what hopscotch is.  I  became curious about it's origins now.  It was a taken for granted activity growing up in Pennsylvania where we chalked up our alleyway. although I do not remember having colored chalks such as are available today.

Hopscotch in La Crescent
  It is reassuring to live in a town  where children still play hopscotch and outside games.  This design looked a bit different than what I recalled drawing out as a child and I learned it is the "modern design"  figures, my style would be "vintage."  I read that an ancient  type of hopscotch may have been played in Roman times but the first recorded English speaking references to it are the late 17th century England called scotch-hop or scotch-hoppers.  It was described in Wikipedia as a game where young boys hopped over "scotches in the ground" which I think might mean scratches if it were on dirt.  This has tweaked my interest in  learning more about this old game which we often hopped along to rhymes.  

One last tidbit,yesterday we saw the neurosurgeon who scheduled Jerry's back surgery for April 16, a hemi- laminectomy and microdisectomy  which is minor in the grand scheme of surgeries and  expected to be a breeze, performed under anesthesia but at the outpatient surgical center.  The surgeon said Jerry is a prime candidate, physically fit or he was until this set back, healthy and not overweight and not a smoker.  So we anticipate positive outcome from this surgery which will involve a minor  one inch incision on his back which will be glued, no disc replacement, no metal rods, no muscle cutting and his full recovery should be swift, a month or less.  This is the best news in months and he is really anxious to hit the road in our motor home. The surgeon is a youthful new doctor coming  down form Mayo in Rochester, MN who explained everything so thoroughly that I had no questions at the end of the consultation.  Relief is imminent  for him now which he welcomes, has been a long siege these past  months.     

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sepia Saturday 222 High views

Almost stumped for theme following this week until I stumbled across these hot air balloon photos from 1980 February in the then emptier hills around Newcastle, northern California where we lived.   I never took a balloon ride, but Jerry did.  He worked with a man who married a balloonist and one Saturday morning very early off they went. Balloons launch  in the early hours the advantage of air and wind currents.  The air is more stable very early and winds are generally most favorable the first hours after sunrise and the last hours before sunset. Since asphalt, trees, mesas, and all things on earth absorb the suns heat differently vertical winds develop (thermals) as the day progresses. Because the only control a pilot has in a balloon is changing altitude, a pilot usually won’t fly in the middle of the day when that control is lost. Hot air balloon pilots usually prefer winds of less than 10 miles per hour.

The big open spaces and soaring heights despite views from that open air container  would stir up my phobia that kicks in when atop ladders or such open spaces, the wee early hours to launch and the noise from the hot air held little appeal to me.  Today I kind of wish I had been braver, but doubt I would ever go seeking this adventure.  Here are a few of the black and white photos I took, very amateurish back in February 1980 as  they approached from the sky over Folsom lake and landed  on hillside only three miles from our home. Back then there were hillsides, little of the development that would contribute to our leaving California in retirement.    I was taking a photography class at the time and had black and white film, not very good close ups, but I did develop these myself.  

Here they come, Folsom Lake in the distance

Closer as landing approaches
Newcastle hillside
Just about down

They said almost a perfect landing,
I was perfectly content to stay on terra firma....flying in a plane is fine, we are surrounded by something but these wide open spaces from above  in that basket did not tempt me.  For another thrill  with view of danger, check out this link to hot air balloon tightrope walking, shudder.

This is my Sepia post to see what others are sharing go to the site.