Unboxing the Remington Monarch

So as I said earlier, I decided to go buy a typewriter.  Just for the tactile feedback and the increased concentration it forces you to have.  I go a little ADHD when I write on a computer, and although that’s OK at some levels I think I’d like the discipline that comes with knowing you can’t cut-and-paste.  And besides, it was only $87.  And I had had a couple of beers.

So, I went and bought a 45-year old typewriter on eBay.  Turns out there’s quite the thriving market in such things, although even the best examples are not fetching a huge amount.  However, I couldn’t go past this portable typewriter – it was in excellent condition and exactly what I was looking for.  I’ve now received it, and it is in beyond excellent condition.  Yes, I need to pick up my typing (it’s amazing how slack computers let you become), but the typewriter itself is as it was when it came off the production line 45 years ago.  And I do mean that without the slightest hint of ‘for it’s age’.

And since I wonder sincerely whether my Netbook (now 1 year old) will still be operating in any shape in 44 years time (remember, that’s 2053 for crying out loud!), I thought it would be nice to give the Monarch the unboxing treatment, as it is my ‘brand-new’ gadget.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… “unboxing the 1964 Remington Monarch.

Firstly, the eBayer who sold it to me knows their stuff had it very well packed:

I plan to introduce my children to the wonders of bubble wrap later. 

And you can see the size of it (it’s not diminutive, but it’s not impossibly heavy, as I remember my first typewriter was):

The carry case is the item that has had the most wear and tear over the years, and even it is in good condition:

With plenty of foam packaging, it was well-protected:

The Remington Monarch, with its travel protector and everything all there as well:

Everything inside the case is here, including some brushes for maintenance and the original (!) user’s guide:

The keys are in excellent condition, and after a little fiddling it was operational.  Not bad for a 45-year old machine:

And just for the record, here’s an example of its typing: 

Not bad – fortunately I do remember what it’s like to type on a typewriter.  It’s not always fun, and I will probably abandon it in favour of the computer again.  But for the moment it’s my gadget-of-the-week, and I think it does well in the longevity stakes. 

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I live the life…

(This was written some twenty years ago, and is proof that I must have had some illegal substances when I went to university; either that or this was written the year I abstained from coffee – and paragraphs, it seems).

His world was the world of death; a marginal existence he lead, built upon the crimes of his own futile efforts to create a world outside of himself; a distraught and evil brownie in the realms of our dreams – that part of us that is more than Freddie Kruger. A hop, skip and a jump out of reality was a part of their lifestyle. I tried to delve into their minds but their minds were weak, they did not live life the way that they were supposed to jump; like rats in holes they lived lives that were only the merest sputum of the lives that they could have had. I looked upon their souls and saw the wintry nights of their despair leaping and frolicking in a hell of their own creation. Their hell was a mild panacea for the ranting of a paradise found and lost; John Milton dying, living and reaping the benefits and rewards of his blindness. He shot a paper clip through the heart of us all – a paper clip coloured a pastel orange shade of body odour. It was the odour of a body fed by its own stench, an odour that emanated from the swamp of the physical evidence of being. The spiritual evidence of being was the merest misstep in the skies of dismal wretchedness, a spiralling downward of hopes and dreams that were the remnants of a stage show that had long since closed to a forgetful public. A public that did not itself need to be a part of the myriad miracle and rich pageantry that was life enjoyed to the full. Audience members that wanted to die dull, and would never dream of showing their underwear at community meetings. These were meetings where the dress code for entry was the merest problem; a mere problem is but a challenge and a challenge is but heartache writ simple. My thoughts and ideals of Walter Cronkite died upon the field of glory and death; they fought for our independence and won us this. We did not know what they died for; we hoped they did. They died for us, they said, though we’d never asked. The media were our friends and our lives were more important to them than their own. Death was to become but a slight companion of inconvenience. The Baron was kept from a life that lead him to the valleys of death that do not die of their own accord, but instead require an edict from long forgotten powers that once ruled the world such as the Titans of Greek mythology. The Titans of our lives today are the monies, the mosaics of banking corporations that are not to be discouraged at any point in time from their main object of making money. A charge to these Titans was like a debit; a credit a complete pain in the arse, whereas an arse was a mere thing for which God provide them to sit upon and add kinky calculations. A thousand bank tellers accumulating on their butts their financial savings and tallying the half cent interest in favour of the bank. The bank makes the rules, you are played by them. I lived a life of freedom, I lived a life of happiness. Soon after I was born. I lived a life of misery that jumped upon the camel of my death train. A fighting death that needed no explanation by the President or the Prime Minister of any country. I died a Hindu. I died a Pakistani. I fell a thousand feet into a pit of tar and lived. My story is that of many. The few who live beyond the tales of imagination that cannot be told for fear of retribution and lies and pokings by sticks. Extraterrestrials we are not, we are pawns in a life of dedication to prawns. Leaders in a world of followers we are not; nor are we the followers. We lead but also follow. We are the silent majority that speaks with mind clamped and eyes shut. Our point of view was never a necessity in the roaring blue skies filled with grey clouds. I flew high in the sky like a kite needing no word to command it. I was a bird. I was a 747. I was blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb attack. I fell like a stone into an ocean of pity with little white things floating in it that were not of me. They were Men, they that built me and their own. I am immortal, they are not. They show their capacity to die with a mask of absolute silliness on their faces. They look funny, but no sound of laughter lives in their bodies. I sink beyond the waveless sympathy into a world of green seas and pink roads. A daffodil without its petals greets me with a laughing stare and a jumping dance that looks like a highland fling. A nymph of dew alights on my shoulder and I talk to her with a lunatic’s raving and ranting. Only there is no moon, and I am sane. Deep down I am sane but I live the life of a dreamer, ever hoping to live and never wanting to die. I know that they who live are they that wish to die, and those that die wish to live. They have lives that do not want it; they have deaths that do not want it. The powers of the heavens are mere iron gauntlets encasing hands as cruel as the icy winter; they smack us with brands reeking of incense and burning flesh, spearing our foreheads with the pugnacity of tamed shrews. Film star smiles upon our faces as we realise that our life and fate and destiny is determined by he with the brand. The brand is metal but we are flesh. The brand is red, but we are white – then we are black and do not know how or why, but we have chosen our positions in this world and on it. We are where we have chosen to be, and what we have chosen to be, only we do not know it since the meaning of life escapes us as we enter it. Death is but a mere release from this restricted knowledge. A curse upon your toilet mouths, you foul excreta of dogs. You are a dingo. You are a life wrecker. I want you to pay for your sins, he with the brand, but I do not know who you are, and neither can I find you still. I want to die, and I want to live. If I die, I want to be able to find you, but I don’t know if I will still be me. So I will wreak the havoc I can upon your soul, if yours is what man calls soul, from my glorified position in a world of madness, insanity, and dead flowers. I choose to be sane, oh wondrous wizard of fate. I am against those that live the mild and dull death. I live the life.

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A Remington Monarch

Tweeting with @NicoleJensen (and @PattyCam) recently, and recognising that I have a lot of writing to do, I got nostalgic for the feel of a real typewriter.  So of course like everyone these days I go on eBay, and there’s a fantastic portable typewriter for sale (8 minutes to go) from arfandmarf, ready for my credit card love:

This 1964 Remington ‘Monarch’ typewriter is in excellent, near pristine condition.   It has its original (quality) case with key, original instructions, a cleaning kit and even the original semi-circular  ‘restrainer’ (designed to keep the type levers secured during transit).

This typewriter has been carefully maintained since new – it comes to the successful bidder cleaned, serviced, lubricated and working PERFECTLY – AND I DO MEAN PERFECTLY!

The ‘Monarch’ was introduced in 1961, and the second (updated version) was introduced in 1964 – this typewriter is one of the second versions.   The updated, fully-featured version has minor improvements, including cosmetic improvements (such as the use of chrome):  this typewriter’s quality is superb (sublime, in fact) and, having owned more than 50 typewriters, I can honestly say that this is the only portable I have owned that matches (and exceeds in most cases) the quality and performance of most full-sized typewriters (quality full-sized typewriters!).

Everything about this typewriter smacks of quality!   It even has a red-coloured touch-pressure control knob which allows the ‘touch’ pressure to be varied at will.

OK, I appreciate that the purchaser will probably just want to display the typewriter (and why wouldn’t you!) because of its fabulous 60’s clean retro lines, but I just had to make the comment that this is a superb machine to actually type on.

The typewriter’s body is metal.   It has lovely, clean lines, and a predominantly two-tone colour scheme in dove grey and soft-white:  the undersides of the keys are a fabulous, funky, dark brown.

The ribbon is in excellent condition and the type is 10 characters per inch:  the type is level.

The case is a quality, sturdily constructed item with a secure latch and internal heavy foam bolsters designed to secure and protect the typewriter during transit.   The original key is included.   The quality of the case is in keeping with the typewriter’s quality.   The case shows some signs of wear, but is in overall very good and totally functional condition.

This typewriter was manufactured in Holland, and the case was manufactured in West Germany.   The typewriter’s serial number is ‘CY 47 54 37’


So now I am the proud owner of this machine (well, proud when it arrives and hopefully it is in as good condition as described, as I do intend to actually write on it):

Remington Monarch Mk2
Remington Monarch Mk2

Actually I am thinking I’ll combine high and low-tech solution, being to type on it (nice tactile feedback) and then for second draft scan, ocr, and re-read and re-draft into the PC.  Let’s see how long my $87 ebay purchase-on-a-whim lasts :).

Data management strategies

On 14th October 2009, I will be presenting at CPA Congress in Melbourne to the topic ‘Data Management Strategies’.  Apparently CPA Australia didn’t like my originally suggested title ‘The devil is in the detail – which is why the Lord of the Nine Hells should never be your DBA’, which I blogged about earlier.  I think the new title is rather bland, don’t you.

The session overview is below:

Micheal Axelsen FCPA Director
Applied Insights Pty Ltd

As accountants, we prepare the information that a business uses to make its important decisions. Sometimes though, the data we use seems to be impossible to track down – and when we do find it, who knows whether it’s actually useful or not?

In this entertaining presentation, Micheal looks at some of the practical pitfalls and case studies of working with data – from rampant spreadsheets to the DBA nightmare – that Micheal has seen, with practical advice you can use to help your business escape its database nightmare.

Anyway, it promises to be fun, although it would have been much more fun if I could have brought theology into the debate of DBAs vs rational people.

Image from Flickr User Lessio. Some Rights Reserved.

Update on the PhD

Hmmm.  Well today was meant to be a really productive day in which I dealt with all the outstanding issues, wrote papers, read papers and set up my PC.

PC got in the way through a case of destruction of MX records, and so I got half an article read (Tversky & Kahnemann 1974).  I also have to update the interview protocol for the ARC project.  There is a bit of fun going on at the moment in the context of exactly trying to define what an ‘IS audit’ is.  Grrr. 

Still I am adamant that I will get somewhere with this – look out for a short paper on cognitive psychology and its relationship with user expertise.  Now I really should go and do some proper work.  It is my intention to use this blog a bit more to pick up this material around technology dominance and so on.  Let’s see how that goes.