Make what is old new again

While working on a project titled “The Climate Change Manifesto” I wrote a quick sectioned called make what is old new again. I thought I would share what I meant by that and hope that this idea might carry on into the near future. I have a side hobby of fixing up old typewriters and making them as close to new again as I can. Sometimes putting them back into working order means I have to have new parts made and for anything made after the 1950s that means using a 3D printer to make new keys or feet that have rotted out. The idea of using a 3D printer to create new parts for an old machine is nothing new, however there are a few people out there that have come up with ways of making typewriters a 21st century product. The USB typewriter is an open source product that can convert several styles of typewriters into a working keyboard for a computer. When connected to an Ipad or tablet the typewriter can mimic a laptop with a lit up screen sitting on the carriage of the typewriter. more about this product can be found at http://www.usbtypewriter.com

This isn’t the only piece of old equipment that is finding new life in the 21st century. Old vacuum tube AM radios are finding new life with blue tooth routers and mini-jack being added to century old technology. These old wooden radios are able to broadcast podcast and new music via cell phone without needing to plug anything in. For more about these old but new radios check out at ExceptionalRadios at http://www.etsy.com

With technology becoming more available and at a cheaper price there isn’t much that we couldn’t fix if we just put in the effort. Currently, my ability to fix things on typewriters is limited, however there is new material coming out that expands my ability to fix more typewriters. Rubber material is available now to create new rollers for carriages, new rubber feet for older pre-WWII models, or handles on older models like the Royal #10. New laser printers are available that could possibly replace those glass panels if they are broken.

Maybe I am being too much of an optimist, delaying the inevitable fate for technology that has seen its day come and go. At the local Michael’s store I saw the box for a Memory Keepers typewriter, brand new and produced in China. I don’t know what this says about typewriters in our culture these days, could the demand be so high that a new over priced option is a viable option? The new typewriters cost $175 and most collectors that have bought one to try it out only complain about the cheap parts and being over priced. the overall opinion i have seen is that anyone would do better to buy an older model at an antique booth and oil it up. I haven’t used the new machines even though I have been curious but when the going price could pay for three or four machines at a flea market i would rather save the older ones and let the new model sit on the shelf.

I hope this kind of behavior becomes the new normal, fixing and refurbishing older technology to fit into our new lifestyles. There is something missing from this digital age. Craftsmanship and quality have been sacrificed for the promise of a new and better model next year. There was a time when you could buy one product and it would be with you, loyal and reliable till the end, for have a century or more. What happened to that kind of quality? Why don’t we value our time or money like our grandparents did, instead choosing to stand in line for half a day trying to get a new Iphone? As a society, when do we start to realize that we have become disposable like the shitty products we have been fed to purchase?

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The world is always ending for someone

April 15, 2018 and the world is covered in ice, at least where I live. An ice storm is rolling through and we are stuck in the house for the day after a busy couple of days. My fiance’s father died yesterday and the days leading up to it were busy with a lot of driving, finding babysitters, and losing several hours of sleep. fortunately the last on we are professionals at dealing with. As of today I am two episodes behind on my podcast and this is the first post for a while, I haven’t kept track.

While Sarah was spending her time with her dad, trying to maintain his care, I was busy with several projects. During the day I am the primary care giver for my daughter. While I have her I try to do some productive things while keeping her entertained. On Friday night i returned home from work to hear the news that we, as in the united states, had bombed parts of Syria. This had me worried and a few hours later i received the call that Sarah’s dad had passed away after a long fight with cancer. The next morning, while Sarah stayed in bed catching up on sleep, I took Zoey with me to the store and filled a cart with non-perishables to load into the pantry. This was more for my personal feeling of security than anything. Did i think we were heading for war, hopefully not, but I did worry that things would move into a direction I didn’t want to imagine. For the sake of my family and myself i loaded up the car and carried everything into the basement while Sarah slept. she still has no idea how much i bought or added to our stockpile.

On Friday, I took Zoey with me to my house and dug up a few Iris and Tulip bulbs. Sarah had been looking forward to her yard being cleaned up and I wanted her to have some flowers to look forward to. I planted the Iris and tulips in appropriate spots along with some sunflowers that I hope will fill the space along the fence in the backyard.

While I try to plan for the unexpected Saturday was a rough reminder of how things may not turn out as you expect. Sarah’s dad was a young guy, only 58 when he passed. While I can look at my family’s history and see the long lifespans that preceded me I can’t expect to be that lucky. Religion teaches us to look towards the end times while ignoring the day to day events that are in a sense a personal apocalypse. This will be the second funeral that I will be attending this year. My Grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and she was buried on St. Patrick’s Day, finally giving me a reason to drink on that day. I have been to plenty of funerals during my life. Many were the result of self inflicted ends of one kind or another, some natural causes, either way these should remind us that everyday life is a danger in itself and that the end could always be closer than we expect.

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Today my cellphone died, I blame Russia

Unexpectedly, without a warning, my cellphone froze on me with one screen that said the data was damaged and I had to restart to factory settings. What it did not tell me was that I couldn’t reset the settings, or go past the screen that was showing, or do a hard reset and try to start over on my phone. No, my phone is dead. It wouldn’t even connect to my computer to pull off the hard drive the last photos i took of my daughter. I guess i should not be surprised. My phone has seen two administrations, the end of the Iraq War, several relationships, and three jobs. today, on April 8th 2018 my Samsung galaxy 3 died.

I don’t know where I will go from here. I told myself a while ago that when this phone died I would be done with cell phones. Having a child its not the best idea, but shit man what did people do before the cell phone was invented? Now I have to submit myself to the most vile form of predator, a festering hunk of bile that will descend on me as if I was the last meal of a dying man, the lowest of the low, the cellphone sales man. I will say “man” here because a woman should not want her title being lumped together with these vermin. I will be shown new plans, better rates, phones I don’t want, the latest swag I don’t need, insurance and services I will never use and if i did I would still find myself pulling money out of my pocket for one reason or another. I have been to this level of hell before. it was the one that Dante forgot about, the one that didn’t exist back then and would have made the final level of Brutus and Judas feel like an evening at a spa. The Secretary of State office has been demoted and no longer holds the reputation of a soul sucking institution as it once had. A part of me knows that some stupid kid sitting behind a computer screen saw that I was using a Samsung Galaxy S3 and decided it was time for me to get a new phone. The company hasn’t made any money on me in a few years and I will be herded to the nearest store to replace an item I can’t live without. Is this what the Unibomber was talking about? I deleted Facebook months ago, Twitter is a twat fest, and even YouTube is pissing me off with their latest policy of banning videos they don’t agree with. The last refuge of freedom in this country, the wild west of the internet, is coming to an end. what was once a place to bitch about movies and share pornography with others has become a leash, a voyeurs wet dream of internet stalking and corporations collecting and selling data to foreign parties. Maybe it is time to move on, step back a few feet and figure out where I want to go in this crazy world. Do I really want a leash attached to me at all times telling people I don’t know where I am? The adds are bad enough, just for once I would like to pick up a news paper, check the answering machine, type on my typewriter, or listen to the radio to keep from being bombarded with adds or waiting five minutes for a news webpage to load because it is crammed with so many adds the entire site shuts down or skipping the first ten minutes of a podcast because Joe Rogan has five companies paying for airtime. I’m tired of only getting two or three sentences of a story or having telemarketers calling me with fake names like Elizabeth trying to get me to switch service. For $90 a month nobody should have my number that I don’t want to have it.

My phone is dead. Maybe it should stay that way and keep the freedom of having my life to myself. For years companies like Facebook collected my information and sold it to companies for the sake of selling me things. Then it turned personal and they sold an election for a few thousand dollars. we don’t read the agreements, instead skipping to the end and clicking “Accept.” Our lives are not our own anymore. I want my life back. I want a company to have to pay me for the information they want from me. If they are going to be so careless as to give it away to whomever ask for it then we should not be so careless was to paying them to take it from us.

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Is the world a typewriter?

I have this hobby of finding and repairing old typewriters. I look for these things at flea markets, antique shops, and garage sales. It is amazing how many good deals I come across and the quality of these machines sometimes a century past its prime. with a little oil and some cleaning they work just as well as they did when they came off the assembly line. The older the machine the better.

I see these machines and I wonder if this is like the planet, are we longing for the way thing used to be while knowing somehow they will never be like that again? I heard a story on NPR today about Walden Pond and how the water has been ruined by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to see the place made famous by Henry David Thoreau. Who came blame them? There was a time when it may have been one of the most beautiful places in the state, now it is a tourist destination that has had the chemical balance changed from people peeing in the pond. The same thing happened with the beach seen in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach. so many people went to find it and play in the clear blue water, the pristine site has been destroyed by those who wanted to enjoy it.

Those beaches, like my typewriters, will be forgotten and stored away in the forgotten past, having been loved too much and being traded in for something better. I came across an old Underwood four bank portable the other day. sitting alone in an antique booth waiting for me. I found the lid under the table and paid for it at the counter. It was painted blue, the decals still visible under the new blue hue. the keys looked like new with their chrome rings and glass tops. the parts moved smoothly being oiled and cared for during it’s life. I took it home and found it to be almost too good to sell. I regretted selling the last Underwood portable I came across wanting to write on it like Kerouac did when he typed out On The Road using a roll of teletype paper. The Underwood was a great find and maybe one to protect, keep it away from hands that might not appreciate it for what it is. There are still wonders in this world that can be saved, places that need to be forgotten and stored away for other to never find. let them become legends and fables for people to tell. Our planet has seen better days, Walden pond and the Beach aren’t dead, just asleep waiting for the right people to come along and give it some TLC. There is a chance that the earth can be saved. maybe we can’t save the entire planet at one time but we can find some gems and polish them up to be loved again. maybe we can fix this world one typewriter at a time.

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Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

This title comes from the second rule of Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life. While the lesson may appear obvious it is harder than it looks. When my daughter was in the NICU for three months the staff repeatedly told us to take care of ourselves first. How useful were we going to be in helping her if we weren’t taking care of ourselves? This rule goes beyond everyday care, but also applies to the you of tomorrow and twenty years down the road. If you had to plan how you wanted to be in the future what would you do to help that guy? As a parent we do this type of thinking with our children. what school will she go to? How do I make sure she can go to college? What hobbies or sports should I encourage for the best outcome? We do this all the time except for ourselves.

Recently, financial security has been a concern for me. One of my goals for this year is to have a decent amount of savings for security. While researching for my podcast I came across some things in the market that had me concerned about the near future of our economy. So how do I help myself and my future self if something does happen? For starters I have to be more responsible with my finances. Spontaneous spending has stopped, I don’t buy anything these days unless I need it or plan to flip it for a substantial profit. I run an antique booth on the side and have found some ways of adding some profitability to the setup. Along with the typewriters I sell I also supply new ribbon and coming soon I will offer what I am calling “Kerouac paper.” Sales have been well but there are times when I consider closing the booth to spend time and money on other adventures. When I have these thoughts I am pulled back in by customers who are thrilled they can not only find typewriters that work but also the supplies to keep them going. At times I tried to branch off into other areas such as sewing machines but I have yet to sell one of the cast iron beauties I refurbished and restored. typewriters is where I will stay until they stop selling.

I have noticed a change in my behavior since I finished the Self Authoring Program. I am more focused now on the things I am working on. I have started projects I would have talked myself out of in the past. There is a new podcast, I am considering expanding the website beyond the free site so that I can offer more than these simple articles. I have a plan on where these projects are going for the next couple of years. The difference is that I now have a plan.

There are still other things on my list of goals for the year that I need to work on. I have kept up my hikes with Zoey and try to get outside more than I normally do. I budget my time more and accomplish a set list of goals per day. I stopped eating out as much and cook more often at home. I am already making some headway on how I want this year to go but it is a slow process and I have to make sure I stay on the path. I have to treat myself like somebody I am responsible for helping.

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Typing like Kerouac

Today was the first time i ever stepped into a Hobby Lobby store. I had loathed the place after the supreme court ruled in favor for them in the ability to discriminate against their employees, but i digress. Sarah needed to pick up some items for a project so i decided to make the most of it and do the same thing. on YouTube a man named Joe Van Cleave had been tinkering around with figuring out a way to run a roll of paper through a typewriter, in order to writing a constant stream of consciousness. he had played around with several forms of paper and created devices to hold the roll of paper. I took the “fuck it” approach and rolled it into the carriage and plopped the paper on the table. a few feet of paper later i i was running into few, if any, issues with the set up. I an using an old Royal 1930s desktop KMM and the weight alone is enough to move the paper how it deems fit. The machine is a beast and works long after many typewriters f a younger age have seen their demise.

I have been a fan of Kerouac for a few years now, truly reading his works in the past couple of years and learning about him and the rest of the beat generation. After On the Road I went onto The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. Kerouac lived a life that would surprise most being the young good looking man that he was. His style of writing was as tough on his mind as his drinking was on his body. endless hours spent behind the typewriter drinking coffee and taking whatever drugs were available to keep him awake. the life of a writer is not an easy one and it can only become harder when one decides to take the path never traveled before. today I continued on that path and started to write a book that had my attention long ago. the rough draft needs to be written and this is the way I decided to get it done. the paper won’t be changed until it runs out. 50 feet stands between me and a break. I don’t have the option of devoting weeks to finishing the piece or the majority of a day for that matter. it won’t turn out like On the Road, a steady stream of thought placed on paper, instead it will be broken up and continued when time allows. maybe, one day, when the chance arrives, i can take that break and torture myself doing something that most people would never dream of doing.

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