Random Thursday: superglue, Wonderland, and a plea for help

This week, someone put superglue in the light switch slot and the toilet paper dispenser locks in the men’s room at one of our library branches.

Admit it—you just smiled or snickered a little.  Everyone I’ve talked with has had the same involuntary reaction.

It’s an act of vandalism and disrespect, and taxpayer money is going to be wasted replacing the locks and paying for the extra electricity until a city employee can pick the glue out of the switch.  We’re lucky the joyful jackass didn’t think to put any on the seats or the stall doors.

But I snickered, too.

Because the combination of bathrooms and superglue, for whatever deep, psychological reason, is comedy gold.

oooOOOooo


Just to carry the typewriter theme as far as I possibly can, it’s true that the last company that still made manual typewriters ceased production around April.

The article in The Atlantic is here.

Let us observe a period of silence.  If your mind drifts to eight-tracks, VHS tapes, floppy disks of all sizes, vinyl records, and cassette tapes, that’s all right.

If you have to ask what any of those things are, get thee to a dictionary, young whippersnapper—and you can look that up, too.

oooOOOooo


I’m proud to announce that I’ve redeemed myself from my failure to solve Jeff Somer’s Final Evolution puzzle and found a new favorite Time Suck.

John McDonald over at Making Light—where I lurk in silence because I’m clearly not in their league—offered three mini-puzzle games that are also chapters of a story set in a noirish, nightmarish, urban Wonderland:

Alice is Dead 1     Alice is Dead 2     Alice is Dead 3

Warning:  these are not for kids.  The humor is dark,  there’s some graphic violence, and the mental instability (of the characters, not the player, thank you very much) appears to be growing as one goes further down the Rabbit Hole.

I did mention that it’s noir, right?

The games themselves are fun and just frustrating enough—and the little ‘voice’ that narrates, offers, advice,and tells you not to annoy the spider, is both wry and Zork-like.

I budgeted twenty minutes for the first one last night as a pre-writing activity, and just made it.  I tried the second this morning, but need a little more time . . .

oooOOOooo

. . ._ _ _. . .

My husband rarely reads my blog, so I’m going to risk asking for your help in the comments:

His birthday is this Monday and I don’t have a clue what the kids can give him.  They’re making him cards, but they want to give him something he can unwrap.  My MIL and I went halvsies on his new laptop a few months ago for a very early gift, so I was thinking a carrying case or lapdesk or something.

My kids think this is boring and have suggested a few things that I’m sure he’d love, but none of them are possible or probable—though I cannot deny that the man  is worth a new car, the woman he married has a tighter budget.

The man himself shrugs when I ask him, as has been his tradition for the 22 years I’ve known him, so that’s no help.  At all.

We’re going shopping Saturday.

Any and all ideas are welcome!

oooOOOooo

Pigeon Update:  one scene revised so I could proceed to the two scenes completely and sent to First Reader on Tuesday (I think—it was either really late or very early).

Thirty days to go.  If I think of it as a Nanowrimo schedule, it doesn’t seem half as scary—or scary for different reasons.

Onward!

The Typewriter: An epistolary conversation with my father

The following has been edited slightly for names, sigs, and addresses—and illustrated. Otherwise, it’s verbatim.

***********

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Electric Typewriter for Janie?

Dad,

Do you still have that old electric typewriter of yours? I’m thinking it might encourage Janie to write some of her stories and plays down. It worked for me!

You know, I just found out that kid has been adapting stories into puppet shows and putting them on for the kindergarteners? Who knew?

Love, Sarah

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Re: Electric Typewriter for Janie?

Sarah,

I have it, Janie is welcome to it, I’ll see if I can get it reconditioned and some new ribbon cartridges for it. There is still a typewriter shop in Clifton. Be a bit patient. Right now is a busy time.

I’m not sure how we can send it but we could bring it to the Bix* if that is soon enough. Let me know.

Dad

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Re: Electric Typewriter for Janie?

Thanks, Dad! I certainly wasn’t expecting overnight FexEx delivery, or even an immediate answer–I know you’re busy! Please don’t put a rush on it or anything—the Bix will be more than fine, or she can bring it back with her when she comes home.

While you’re in a generous mood. . . I don’t suppose you still have that old manual around someplace? I’m feeling nostalgic for that cranky hunk of steel, though I’m sure it will pass. Would you believe the last company in the world that still made manual typewriters stopped manufacture in April?

Thanks again! Love you!

Sarah

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: What about . . .

Sarah, Wow, are you ever an ideal repository for some junk I have been wondering what to do with for several years. I think we have two portable manual typewriters in addition to the electric. Want both? Dad.

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Re: What about . . .

Now, hold on!  🙂

I was thinking of the steel gray typewriter that weighed four tons. I don’t remember the other one—unless it was beige?
Sarah

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Re: What about . . .

Sarah, The only four ton one is the electric. The two manual ones are portable. If you won’t take them I’ll just send them to the Smithsonian.

Be a REAL Episcopalian, ie, “What do you mean throw it out, this typewriter belonged to my grandmother!!!”

Love, Dad

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Get Thee Behind Me

Heck, I was only a little older than Janie the last time I lugged that steel-belted manual typewriter around, and it sure felt like it weighed fifty pounds to me! Just because an object has a carrying case (that weighed about as much as the typewriter, as I recall) doesn’t mean it’s portable to everyone.

I want the gray manual and the electric typewriters. I’ll negotiate ownership of the other manual one, if you can supply provenance for it, and a definite connection to the grandmother in question. Otherwise, please believe me when I say that your son-in-law will threaten divorce for bringing in extraneous stuff into our house.

Then again, he’d probably take half of it in the settlement . . .

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Re: Get Thee Behind Me

Listen to your husband!!!! Don’t bring stuff into the house just because it might be useful someday! You’ll be buried alive!

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Re: Get Thee Behind Me

I thought I was supposed to honor my father and mother, who want me to take all their old junk two manual typewriters off their hands?

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Resist Everything But Temptation

That is different. You’ll inherit it all anyway.

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Re: Resist Everything But Temptation

I do have a sister, you know—and she lives about seven hours closer.

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Re: Resist Everything But Temptation

She doesn’t have room.

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Oh, please

She doesn’t have room?!  We’ve got two more people over here.  And a cat.

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad

Subject: Sharper than a serpent’s tooth

Yes, but she doesn’t answer the door if I pull up in the truck.

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: Re:  Sharper than a serpent’s tooth

Use your key next time, and cutters on the chain.

I don’t think [my MIL] isn’t going to like it if I have to store your things under her bed.

***

To: Sarah
From: Dad
Subject: Electric Typewriter for Sunny?

Wouldn’t Sunny want her own typewriter, once she saw Janie’s?

***

To: Dad
From: Sarah
Subject: I surrender

You win.

__________________________________________
*The Bix is an annual seven-mile foot race that takes place across and slightly down the river near the end of July. My parents stay with us every summer and walk it while they’re here, while the rest of the family does the two-mile fun walk. Afterwards, they usually take Janie home with them for a week.

An ode to bruised thumbs

The comments on yesterday’s post have me remembering my very first typewriter, which I met when I was around Janie’s age.

I wasn’t often allowed to use Dad’s daisy-wheeled Selectric, which made such lovely sounds when I pressed the white keys.  But I was allowed to use his backup whenever I wanted to.

It was a cantankerous manual, made out of at least forty pounds of steel—it’s a miracle I never dropped the thing on my foot as I lugged it around the house at knee level.   If I put it in its case, which looked like a steel-belted bowling bag, I couldn’t lift it at all.

I did get stuck in it occasionally, because the keys were so stiff I couldn’t have touch typed even if I’d known what that was. The two finger method didn’t work, either, because it hurt too much.

So I typed with my thumbs.

I can still  remember the acrid scent of the ink and the heavy smell of the oil that didn’t do much to loosen up the works.  The tap-tap-ouch-tap-tap of the keys as they hit the crooked paper in the roller and the zing! of the carriage return.  I remember the bruises on the tips of my thumbs, too—but it was so worth it at the time, to see the words in my head on paper.

The manual was eventually replaced by the Selectric, and then a series of ever-lighter word processors—no more Correctape or White Out!  Woo-hoo!—desktop computers, and laptops.  I learned how to touch type, sort of, and eventually to move lightly over keyboards that didn’t try to bite my fingers.

And here I am, posting the words in my head where people could choose to read them from wherever in the world they might be.   Hey, stranger things have happened.

I’ve asked Dad to try to find his old Selectric for Janie to use.  Even though she was born almost twenty years after the Internet changed everything, she’s as excited about using a real typewriter as I was, all those years ago.  Tap-tap-tap.

Maybe I should ask Dad to look for his old manual, too, just for old times sake.  I’d kind of like to smell the typewriter ink again, and I haven’t jammed my thumb in years.

Good times.  Good, good times.