Sunday, September 30, 2012

Special Delivery from the Interplanetary Library System

Thank goodness for the United Federation of Planets and the awesome Interplanetary Library System!  I am seriously behind in my blog and am remiss in not showing this amazing transmission.  We assume that it dropped in through a wormhole; the obvious first choice for moving printed materials through time and space.

There is, of course, the slight possibility that this transmission is of contemporary origin and was the product of a prolific and kind fictional correspondence partner.  If that be the case, the Wisconsin resident in question has far more creativity in letterhead and font manipulation that I.  (Kneeling and bowing on the floor) "We're not worthy!  We're not worthy!"

Update:  Here is the transmittal letter in its full glory:

Whether by wormhole, quasar fluctuation, quantum displacement or by the hands of the Postal Service, we at the house full of nerds are grateful for this package.  It very much made our day!

For a complete tutorial on the art of fictional correspondence, please visit Dante's Wardrobe on  Blogger.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Writing Materials Circa 1912 in Montgomery Wards Catalog

The Kansas City warehouse was the gateway to the West.  For typewriters from this catalog and additional back story, visit

Just think how much ink one one of the glass pens would hold.

I like the fact that some of these brands are still around today.  "Blue Black" is still common nomenclature as well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Ode to Fire and Leftover Vacation Smores

This is the last of the typecast entries I wrote during our family vacation.  Originally scheduled to post on June 29th, it has been radically delayed given the massive damage that unplanned fire had been causing in Colorado Springs.  Posting this in the midst of all of that misery just seemed a bit insensitive.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of the mountain west that had a really tough time this summer.

As we just passed the autumnal equinox, the evenings here are getting crisp and we are adjusting to mid-60s instead of the mid-100s of just a month ago.  I've been cutting down dead shrubs and planting new grass in the spots turned to compacted dust in our drought.  Thank goodness for the remnants of hurricane Issaic!  We'll try to think of fire for its warmth and light during the coming cold, dark months.

Now on to the post written on June 29th...

The adult members of the House Full of Nerds are only a little bit into campfires.  We did enough backpacking in the pre-nerdling era to appreciate the joys of cook stoves and little, itty bitty fires that won't attract the Nazgul.  But we needed 'smores.  Given a proper fire ring, I am prone to building really hot pyres.  Yeah, fire...

If you look closely at this photo, you might see a fire Genie and a demon cow-thing.
Yep, having problems with that whole "I" before "E" thing there, Chief.

There was a light breeze.  At one point the flames underneath an old hunk of 2"x8" pine wer close to white hot.  The thing in the foreground is an optimal marshmallow so well done that the molten core is turning freely on the stick.  Put that together with Hershey's Dark and generic grahams and you have a little slice of Heaven.  Yum!
The Vacation Postscript (Do you have the time to listen to me whine?)

I'll finish this entry with a few post summer vacation thoughts.  First, I am pathetically behind in my blog and keeping up with other blogs, recreational reading and correspondence.  My resorting to resurrection of a draft entry is evidence.  School started right before Labor Day and the Nerdess and our adorable spawn are back in school.  This leads me to thought the second:  I humbly apologize to any parents of teens who I thought were horrible at keeping in touch.  Now I get it - you didn't have lives other than in cars, fund-raising meetings, work and school related events!

We have a new definition of busy in our house.  Freed from the tyranny of the pace of middle school and with access to all honors and pre-AP classes, Hannah is over-achieving like a bandit!  She is second chair in Chamber Orchestra and first section violin in Olathe Youth Symphony.  Not bad for a freshman.  Add church youth group, Girl Scouts, training to be a counselor with their equestrian program and Shakespeare Conservatory classes and she is one busy girl.  Claire is the president of her middle school Kansas Association for Youth club and first chair flute.  They have great public school teachers and private music teachers and are asking for and taking every opportunity put before them.

It's all good, but I'll ask for a little slack when I fall behind.  As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Buggies in the Night - KC First Fridays

I've blogged many times on the joys of First Fridays in the Kansas City Crossroads art district.  September was a particularly good month.  Every gallery I walked into had strong exhibits, the weather was nice and there was plenty of good people watching.  To top it all off, I was treated to an impromptu car show!

Imagine this:  you've just watched a graffiti wall going up on a gallery front and it is 10:30 at night.  As you begin the trek to the parked car (a boring but efficient Prius), you hear the characteristic roar of a hyped up VW engine and see a dune buggy popping a wheelie at an intersection.

Welcome, my friends, to Dwayne's fantasy world!

This was a club run for KC Buggies taking advantage of the nice weather for a cruise.  They stopped at the Kansas City Star parking lot to regroup and help fix mechanical issues with one of the modified VW bugs.  Of course I had to take photos and had a nice chat with the current leader of the pack.  She had one of the buggies that's all roll cage and engine.

The buggy below is a wheelie specialist.  Minus passengers, the front end can be lifted with one hand.

The light show is a nice addition.  If you are going to cruise the city in an open machine, you might as well do it in style!

The original bugs look really choice stripped to their bare essentials and then pimped to within an inch of their lives.

For car and street shooter geek me, this was a great end to an awesome evening of wandering around.  I started in the West Bottoms hunting cool junk and ended with colorful buggies.  It's all good!

In case you are wondering, all photos were taken with a Canon 60d with a Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens at ISO 1600.  There is no Instagram trickery.  The Star parking lot is surrounded by a brick wall with intentional gaps.  I framed some of the vehicles through the gaps to get the Polaroid look without resorting to digital effects.

Bonus shots:  here is the aforementioned graffiti mural in progress.  I can't wait to see the result.

Not only is this a legal mural, but at least one of the artists was actually wearing a respirator.

About the pesky thing known as Copyright:  I, Dwayne F., own these bits of digital intellectual and creative properties.  These photos may not be used, altered or posted without attribution.  The photos may not be used for commercial purposes of any manner without my express written permission.  Yeah, copyright is so last century.  I suppose you could buy your own equipment and wander the streets for hours looking for interesting things to shoot.  Just sayin".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Robot in Red - Olympia SM-9 Redecorated!

This partially redecorated Olympia SM-9 features the Senatorial typeface, more commonly known as the Robot font.  The workbench is a serious mess.  I just noticed the eraser that came with a newly arrived compact typewriter in the background.  That and the shroud from a partly torn down Barr that needs attention.  I need a time turner.
Can you tell it has been over a week since I typed anything?  My regrets for subjecting you to many typos.

As the SM-9 so lovingly stated in robot (Senatorial) font, Claire is the artist of the family.  I can't draw, so I take photos.  Here is her latest repurposed work in progress.  For scale, look in the background of the first photo.  Yes, in certain ways, she is very much my child.