Red Echo

August 1, 2009

Garage sale

I happened to see a pair of carved teak panels at a garage sale, and mentioned them to Cat and Sam when I got home. Moments later, the three of us plus our houseguest Glenn were in my car heading back to the spot. A little browsing, a little haggling, and away we went. Of course there happened to be another sale around the corner – a spectacularly large one, clearing out fifty years’ worth of basement junk – and our little expedition ended up lasting a couple of hours.

I picked up another typewriter: a Royal, “Quiet De Luxe” model. I hadn’t realized I was in the market for another typewriter, but it’s a classic design and the machine is in excellent condition. I’m not sure of its age, but these were popular in the late forties, and that seems reasonable for a relic from Grandma’s basement.

Another find was a cute little Brownie Reflex 20, probably mid-sixties, a Kodak mass-market TLR. I’ve had an idea kicking around the back of my brain for a few years, and I think this might be a good testbed. I want to build a digital camera which uses a prism, multiple CCDs, and neutral density filters to simultaneously capture several renderings of the same image at different brightness levels. Storage is cheap – instead of carefully measuring light levels and trying to get the right aperture/shutter settings up front, why not just collect a lot of data for every exposure and fix it later in software? Well, it’s worth a try, anyway. Removing the film cassette leaves the Brownie completely empty; whenever I get around to this project, I’ll probably just cut down a spare film cassette and build the electronics in, then slide the whole assembly into the unmodified
Brownie case.

Last find: five bucks, a cute little kid’s bike with giant chopper-style handle bars, spray-painted red. Tires are flat and it’s missing a seat, but I got the sellers to throw in a banana seat and a spare wheel. If I have time before the burn, I’m going to turn this into my “inline tricycle” – it’ll be a super-laid-back cruiser bike with the seat resting on two independently-suspended rear wheels.