Friday, November 10, 2017

The Coffeeshop Response

A good ending to a fairly non-dramatic but excellent blog-content event.  There is still yet another piece of this saga remaining to be posted soon! 

This looked good on my ipod, it was not until I sent the letter that I put it on the computer and saw that it was a little blurry.  Sorry!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What To Do If You and Your Typewriter Are Asked to Leave a Business

These are my thoughts after having experienced this.  I think it should be required reading for anyone who wants to bring a typewriter to use in a public place.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem: To Type or Not To Type?

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea.  17 E Main Street / Salem, VA 24153
Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem Virginia (make sure you see follow up posts, the following is from the day of):
Today was the first day, in seven years or so working at coffeeshops or bars, recently 3-5 times a week, that I have ever been told "nope!"
I had brought a typewriter to this same venue about a week prior, the same typewriter in fact, on October 28 and had no issues.  I went in today and was told by an employee I was bothering people and needed to put my typewriter away.  I finished a short paragraph, chugged my remaining coffee, and left, wishing I waited until I was leaving to put money in the tip jar... that dollar is long gone.
I felt a deep sense of shame when I was told to pack up... they didn't kick me out -but they may as well have because the reason I went there was to work on some letters and poetry.  The shame was irrational because this coffeeshop is a noisy place, with an espresso machine and their own grinders and even music, as well as plenty of people talking.  I was told the people who complained were studying -there was a library right across the street though and I don't think there is an expectation of quietness in a coffeeshop, not generally.
On the flipside, it would have been quite rude of me to go in and start playing a trombone -just because this place is "public" and I could.  But I think a typewriter is grey area.  And they are far less noisy.
The restaurant has a right to decide how they want to treat customers and who they want to grant preference to.  They were in a sticky situation, and what they did was not unfair, even if it was upsetting to me.  They have every right to have acted exactly like they did, and they were professional about it.  Just as I have every right not to return there, and to tell my friends there might be better places to buy a cup of coffee.  And to blog about it.
After the employee had confronted me a customer immediately jumped up from a few tables away and told me he loved the sound, and his wife and him were just talking about it, and he was deeply sorry what had happened.  This is the usual reaction I get if I get any in the places I usually work.  Some delis and coffeeshops even welcome me in with excitement, "It's the typewriter guy!" and with big smiles.  I generally prefer to be ignored, but positive attention is much better than negative attention.  I was thankful someone had come over to say something kind, it alleviated some of the embarrassment and shame I was feeling.  I think I blushed while being scolded.  I thought I knew Salem, and I thought it was a safe place for me to be myself and to work.  It was shocking and unsettling, Salem is close enough to home to be home.
Look for two blog posts coming soon, "What to do if asked to leave while typing publicly" and "What to do if someone begins typing in your coffeeshop or bar".

There is a part two to this story, posted very soon, about follow up from management in response to a letter I sent.  It turns out the actions of the employee were against company policy and I did receive an apology.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Another Absurd Public Typing Choice

I tried it again during dinner, writing a second letter to a second friend, and actually met some really cool people including one who has about 10 typewriters himself and is a bit of a collector.  It's nice not to be interrupted so much, but with this machine I felt like I was totally asking for it!!!

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Poem and a Robust

I suppose it's somewhat political, but it's what I believe and it is part of my justification for why I love owning this machine.  Those of you who have been following my blog surely know how long I have wanted a machine that could type the title of that poem! And yes, I am aware now that there are some misspellings.  
The best thing about having one of these at a Starbucks might be laughing to yourself when people walk by and say their grandmother had one just like it!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

East Kentucky Trip

I know it has little to do with typewriters, but it has everything to do with my poetry collection I am working on.  I lived in Lynch in Harlan County, Kentucky for a summer and it was life changing.  I worked underground coal. These are the signs welcoming you into Kentucky as you cross the state line from Virginia, right over the highest point in Kentucky.  Check out the large caliber bullet holes. 
The mountains out there are large, close together, and gorgeous.  I took this photo of Cumberland from Kingdom Come State Park. You can see smoke, a few buildings in Cumberland were on fire.  The large clear spot in the back between the hills is a giant slag heap near the coal cleaning plant I worked briefly in.

This is just on the Virginia side of Black Mountain, and is what a coal seam looks like.  When you go further into a mine how deep you are has less to do with how much up or down you are going than it does how much taller the mountain above you gets. 
At one time the largest coal tipple in the country, this is typical of the fascinating ruins in Lynch and Benham.

Speaking of ruins, this old school was the company offices when I worked in the mines.  That was in 2009, and it was still being used when I visited in 2011.  It looks pretty rough for just 6 years of vacancy! 
The mountains are so tall each morning the fog just hangs in them.  This is a mine I worked at, filled in and grown over, all the buildings broken down and removed.  You can see a very obvious contour in the land though. Some other mines I worked in are still active.

An old continuous miner, something rarely seen above ground, and not so different than the ones we used.  The drum with the teeth on it rotates, scraping the coal which is scooped up that ramp in the front and fed out a conveyor on the back into shuttle cars which transport it to the conveyor belt which brings the coal out of the mine. 
Old strip mine maybe, or logging, or both.  Not as ugly as it can be sometimes.

Corn nuggets are harder to find back home than in East Kentucky.  These are the far superior cousin of the hush puppy!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Interesting Bits from the Beach

The nerd in me really appreciates the thought that went into this sand art we stumbled upon. 
A poetic tribute to the very cool and bold people who move to the Outer Banks to live there just because they like it and it makes them happy.  We met a lot of cool people working the local businesses and tours.

I need to endorse the Pilot Varsity fountain pens, because I put one through the wash at the house we were staying at and all the ink stayed in the cap and my clothes were fine.  After a bit of clean up the pen even still worked.  These pens are amazing. 
We went on an airplane tour where I did not take any pictures.  My old roommate who is terrified of airplanes got to sit up front and handle the controls and now he wants to take lessons!  The plane above is not one we flew, but one owned by the husband of the awesome lady who flew us.  I had seen this plane on Youtube before in this AWESOME video clip.  It was super cool to meet someone I had previously admired from Youtube.

The plane we did fly was a Cessna 172 which looks like the one I drew on the envelope of the "thank you for being awesome tour-guides" letter I sent after getting home. 
The beach is a strange plane to find coal...  Perhaps this was from a coal powered ship which sunk, or spilled from a freighter.  Its corners are rounded like most things coming from the sea.  Maybe it was just a reminder to work on and publish my coal poetry collection.  When I spotted it I thought it was volcanic basalt, but it was pretty light.  I took it back to the house and rinsed it off and was surprised to see that coal had followed me even to the beaches of east Carolina.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Favorite Spot

There is a nice bench, not quite a "normal" overlook as such there are a few accouterments.

This is the view from my favorite spot.  Hiked a typewriter up there the other day... maybe I will bring another in a backpack but I don't think I will ever carry another! 

Yours truly, the view from the bench looking outwards.
I won't tell you where it is; I don't want it becoming a place of heavy foot traffic!  But here is a hint that will narrow it down to a few thousand miles.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Technology Consuming Us

Also check out this awesome Rhett and Link video called "Get Off The Phone Song"

I drew this after watching a guy at a cafe for several minutes.  His posture was striking so I began with the sketch in the center.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Artsy Masculine Letter Writing Ideas

Firstly, there is a lot of cool stuff online if you google ideas for creative looking letters.  However, most of it is pretty feminine.  And that is not me.  You can argue it's the 21st century and my ideas of gender are old fashioned.  Ok.  Call me old fashioned though, and I might have to hit you with my typewriter :)
Seriously there is a lot of cool stuff you can do though... let me show you some things which I do.

Collect paper.  Thrift shops are a good place.   So are old office supply stores.  So is poking through other people's stuff if they let you.  Any paper that looks or feels unique or old or different will make an impression.  Don't go to the stationary store or craft store, most of the stuff is floral and feminine.  You might find a few good things, but get creative about your hunt and you will find much more.
Most antique hunters must be throwing out old stationary or ignoring it, but if you look, sometimes you find it.  How bad ass is this envelope?  I found a bunch of them and have been using them sparingly.  I think they are awesome.  I hope I find more stuff like this.
An old-fashioned letterhead looks way cool.  Design your own, and if it's not good enough maybe you will get lucky like me and a friend will make you an ever better one based off of the old Smith Premier letterhead.

Embossers are way cool, and can be customized and the embossing elements swapped.  Many places sell paper embossers. 
I considered my address, then decided this was way cooler.  "Typed by Mark Petersen /so keep this forever / because you never know" ...totally gonna make it big one day.  Future collector item- any paper with this on it!

Rubber stamps for your return address are cool, and cheaper than an embosser and easier to replace if you move.  A PO box allows you to give your address out to strangers without putting yourself in danger.  And it is fun to get your mail using a key from an antique bronze box. 
Lastly, envelope art is super cool.  You don't have to be great at art, just use lots of color or lots of lines.  Experiment.  I take photos of mundane landscapes and sky which interest me so I can try to draw it later.  It adds a personal touch and makes your mail more exciting for someone else to open.
Lastly, change it up.  I don't do all of these things at once.  I do one or a few each time I send a letter, and I send letters of different sizes in different envelopes to keep it interesting for myself.  And yes, I did blatantly offer my PO box, which is already posted elsewhere on this blog page, so go ahead and write me if you like.  I have enjoyed the letters from those of you who have!
Thanks for reading and happy typing!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Poetry Collection Coming Soon...ish!

My scanner has gone stupid like electronics often do, so look forward to more inconsistently dark slightly distorted photos taken with a camera of the text I post here!!!
Did some work on poems at Pop's Ice Cream and Soda Bar today with a highly under-rated Remington All New.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Good Place

I am still here!  I have been a little busy with work things and fun things.  A lot of the fun things are returning to places I have been afraid to bring my low-to-the-ground-car and exploring new places because I have been graciously offered a second vehicle which has opened all sorts of new doors for me.  I've been wanting to show those of you who follow my blog where I live and why I love it... expect more pics of the following as the weather gets warm!

This is the best road I know, it follows a ridge and in many places you can see stunning vistas to each side.  Lumpy as our mountains are most stunning vistas in most places are off to one side. 
My new adventure-machine.  Just as you don't need a typewriter to write poems, you don't need a truck to have adventures, but both certainly can help!  I'm way excited, this truck and I go back to high school.

Only view up there totally clear of trees is near the power lines, and though not all of it makes amazing photos it's all gorgeous.  Shooting through the trees makes the photos kinda weak but the whole area looks with the eye like this does.  This is maybe 40 minutes from my house, and I've already been up here a lot since getting the truck.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Old Musty Typewriter for just $6.82 (times 22...)

This was a cool opportunity to buy in bulk.  There are some winners.  22 machines, for $150 and I think I did all right...  The cases are all pretty much shot, moldy and torn and rusted, but the machines are not bad.  Sorry for blurry pics, taken late at night in my cellar after moving them all, didn't really try that hard to get them in focus.
Here is what 12 standards in the back of a Scion looks like. 
6 40s-50s Underwoods, a Royal KMM, a Smith Corona, Woodstock, Remington 17, old front strike Remingotn, Royal HH.  Probably no keepers here, but a chance to get some of my money back perhaps.

10 portables in the trunk of a Scion. 
This Corona 4 needs some TLC, but it's not bad.  Has the spool covers.  Might keep it might not.

Remington Travel Riter needs quite a bit of TLC.  Not likely one to keep. 
Smith Corona Clipper with the plane decal, actually pretty much working.  I think these are cool and will likely keep it for myself.

This is a fancy Remington Noiseless.  I think I have a friend in mind for this one. 
Remington Portable #1, case is way junked, machine is decent.  I might have a home in mind for this one too.

Very nice Corona Silent.  I will clean this up and if it suits me as a writer's machine I will keep it. 
Royal Model O, this might clean up and if it doesn't I will make it a cool color or something.

Another less cool Remington Noiseless.  I won't keep this one. 
50s Underwood Leader.  If there is one to toss in a lake it's this one.  Might be the only one here not worth the average price of $6.82.  The platen knobs won't even turn.  It's not like these were ever that nice even when new...

And this is the star of the show, a quite nice Royal De Luxe which has been on my want list.  Seeing this one sort of sealed the deal for me.  Again, like all of them, the case is crap, but this machine has real potential!