14 thoughts on “Saturday, July 23, 2022

  1. Barbara: I call it Retro-brighting. I have used it often to de-yellow old plastic, like game boys, and old computer parts. It depends a lot on the plastic though. It’s important to find out if the peroxide will attack the plastic of the keys, so I would try it on maybe the side of one key first. It’s also unknown what the peroxide will do to the colour of the key symbols. Most of the time it’s fine, but I had some plastics melting, other become spotty and some prints dissolved. If you still want to go ahead, make sure to cover everything else with a towel, only apply the peroxide to the keys. I use a light proof box with some air holes on top to let the heat escape. The box is laid out with aluminium foil, shiny side up, also glued to the walls. Put the typewriter in and let a black light shine on the keys from the top. I do that by using a blue lightbulb through a whole in the top of the box. Takes me 1-2 days to get the yellow off. When it works it looks great and if you keep you devices out of the direct sunlight it stays de-yellowed. There are rumours that the plastic will become brittle in the process, but none of my plastics did become brittle. That doesn’t mean that it’s not true for some plastics. So, in the end it’s risky business and I wouldn’t do it if the typer is important to you.

    Here is a Video I once made about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiFeTD1IXog

  2. I watched your video, Alex. Informative, and fun production. Thanks for that. I need to pick up peroxide cream. Have you ever tried using direct sunlight?

    1. Barbara, I recently cleaned up a blue 1956 QDL. The white keys had brown stains on them plus a white excretion on the sides. I cleaned each key with alcohol and cotton swabs. It was a tedious process but they came out looking pretty good. The discoloration on yours may be just on the surface.

      1. Usually the yellow plastic is de-coloration from a flame retardant chemical or the general chemical composition of the plastic, thought to happen when the plastic is standing on a place where it’s heated by the sun a lot. It is often confused with nicotine stains. The difference being that nicotine dissolves with alcohol. The yellowing is basically inside the surface and can not be washed off by any means (nothing known yet, at least). If you can sand the parts that will work too. The yellowing goes not very deep into the material. That’s the reason why retro-brighting was invented. It’s a chemical process that reverts the effect. Very little is known about it, scientifically spoken. That’s why it’s still a risky process. But it works most of the time and is permanent, given that the part is afterwards shielded from further sun, otherwise it will yellow again over time.

    2. Yes, and it will work, even without the peroxide. But it will also bleach everything else in its path. Including the symbols and everything that is not covered in a UV resistant way. So make sure you cover everything you don’t want to be bleached. A few hours will do on a clear day. Also make sure that the peroxide stuff doesn’t dry out (That’s the main reason for the plastic wrap). Its nasty, sticky stuff once it’s dry and a pain to remove. Easy to wash off when it’s fluid though, just water will do it.

  3. Hi Barbara: I know what you mean about ages.

    If you set a novel in two periods (Caroline Says is mainly set in 2019 but there are frequent flashbacks to the 1990s and earlier) and there are four or five generations of characters, you keep having to remind yourself: Hang on, how old is she in 1988; when was she born?; are these characters the same age, or is one older (Helmore and Erica Darrow), etc, etc

    Of course, I keep notes of when each character was born but this is not stated explicitly, and I don’t like to put the year something is happening at the top of a passage; it doesn’t help that the older characters (almost seventy) tend to feel younger than they are, and vice-versa. Then there’s Cristina, who is only half the age of Caroline, but I hope I make that clear by the difference in their behaviour. I’ve got the main characters as children, as teenagers, then teenagers of a different time (Jayden, who is Black, in the present, as opposed to Caroline, who is white, in the 90s); as people in their twenties, thirties and middle-aged.

    I’m far from young myself, so I think I can write older people convincingly but still remember what it’s like to be a child, for instance. The other day, my 8-year-old great-niece saw the cover for Empty Words on an OTP page I had open and asked me: “What’s an empty word? How can a word be empty?” Only an eight year old would ask that question.

    Anyway, that’s my ten cents’ worth.

  4. Tolstoy couldn’t keep track of Natasha’s age in ‘War and Peace’; she’s 13 at one point, and just three or four months later she’s 15. Sometimes, the poor translators get blamed.

  5. Barbara: A Moveable Feast and Death In The Afternoon are nonfiction books, and yes, the latter is about bullfighting and the people who take part in it. Two very different works. A Moveable Feast, which is a collection of sketches, is it not, and published posthumously, is much easier to read, but I like Hemingway in all his humors. By the way, Joan Didion has a lot to say about Hemingway and his posthumously published works in Let Me Tell You What I Mean.

  6. Roger,
    That’s so interesting because some consider the memoir fiction, as I did. Maybe that’s why it’s…softer. He’s not trying to be a macho man with bullfighting and hunting big game. I’ll have to check out Didion’s collection. That’s one of her books I haven’t read.

    In the film world, continuity editors would take care of that. In the print world. one would hope an editor would catch those glitches, right?

    Is your great-niece a wordsmith in the making? Sounds like it…..

  7. Barbara, Leo: Pity Daniel Defoe. In a chapter of Robinson Crusoe entitled “I Furnish Myself With Many Things,” the protagonist swims naked out to the wrecked boat and “fills his pockets with biscuit.” Pretty neat trick.

    By the way Barbara, I’m interested to know why you read (past tense) A Moveable Feast as fiction. And I have to say the book doesn’t always seem particularly tender or sweet in tone. Papa seems to dislike many of the people in the book, Ford Maddox Ford gets on his nerves and he thinks Zelda Fitzgerald crazy. She was. Didn’t he also break with Gertrude Stein? He does sometimes come across more the family man than is commonly thought. I liked the book for its humor, much of it sarcastic, and of course for the wonderful descriptions of Paris. Have you been to Shakespeare and Co. bookstore?

  8. Roger,
    Re: A Moveable Feast and why I thought it was fiction…one reason is because some of the reviews talk about it as if it’s fiction. On the 3rd or so page of my paperback, Book Week says, “The hard brilliance of his best fiction…the portraits vivid and sharp, are used as a short story writer might use them.” I interpreted that to mean it was fiction. Much more recently, the author Paula McClain, who wrote The Paris Wife, from the POV of Hemingway’s wife, said, “In Ernest Hemingway’s introduction to his memoir, A Moveable Feast, he writes, ‘If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction.'” Charles Poore, in the NYT (1964) says the same and add: “But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.”

    I must read it again and see what I think now, esp. after disliking The Sun Also Rises.

    And no, never visited Shakespeare & Co. Have you and did you love it?

  9. Barbara: years ago I spent part of a nice Sunday afternoon in October browsing that bookstore. It’s named after Sylvia Beach’s famous store frequented by Hemingway and other writers. Very picturesque location near Notre Dame.

    I have a Scribners copy of the restored edition which has only two blurbs, neither of which mention the book’s classification. The only introduction is by Sean Hemingway, Papa’s grandson and editor of the edition, who claims that Ernest’s introductory letter to the book was “fabricated by Mary Hemingway from manuscript fragments.” Sean chose to omit it. I don’t know. Is an introductory letter the same as an introduction? Getting into deep water here. Who knows what Hemingway intended. Maybe we should just enjoy the book and read it the way we want.

Leave a Reply