This seems to be the cycle: Post a few times, then sleep for a couple of months. Repeat.
It’s been about ten weeks since the last post and quite a bit has happened in that time. Well, some stuff has happened. Got hold of a few more books and things, bought a new (old) camera, got myself a pet, busted up with the girlfriend…. and started reading again. A couple of topics there aren’t really relevant to this blog, but hey, they are interesting and give me something to post about. Lets address things one at a time.
When a first got into photography as an adolescent, it was with my father’s camera. An Asahi Pentax H2 he bought as a 13 year old in 1959. That particular model was known as both the Honeywell Pentax S2 and H2 in North America, I believe. I really love that camera and I still have and use it occasionally. A few years ago, I got into the history of Pentax cameras from around that time (late 50s – very early 60s), and there is a sub-culture that exists around the collection of Pentax cameras and lenses of that vintage. They were technically groundbreaking cameras then, and still are one of the most aesthetically beautiful camera designs EVER. I’ve had at one point or another every model from that time, the Original or AP model from 1957, the ‘K’ model from 1958-59 and of course Dad’s H2 which was the next model along in ’59. Subsequently were the H3/S3, then the H1/S1, H1a/S1a and the H3v/SV up until the legendary Spotmatic series came out in ’64, though these later models are not considered truly collectable yet. The H2/S2 is still reasonably common as it was manufactured in greater numbers than the other ’50s models, still, a mint working example with the brown leather case will fetch somewhere around a hundred dollars, or maybe a little more. Of both the AP and K, around 19 – 20 000 units respectively were manufactured. Nice examples of these with the leather case will cost you upwards of $250 (UPDATE 2012/09/18: A nice K model without leather case just went for $305 on eBay). Both the AP and K that I had disappeared into eBay to fund my Gnome Press addiction. Remember I said I’ve had every model from that time? Not true. I neglected to mention there is a model that sits between the AP and the K. It’s the Asahi Pentax S. Produced in ’58-’59 concurrently with the K, this is to Asahi Pentax collecting what I, Robot is to Gnome Press. There are no clear records for volumes of any of these camera models, but the estimates for units of the ‘S’ produced range from slightly less than 5000 down to only 3000. They are as rare as hen’s teeth, massively prized by collectors, and I picked one up in an auction in New Zealand.
I got a pet snake. I’m from New Zealand as you may know, and we have one attribute that we share with very few other countries in the world. We have no snakes. Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and New Zealand are the only major landmasses that have no snakes. Actually, Ireland does have snakes now (pets and zoos), but they have no native population of snakes. Anyway, there are absolutely no snakes in NZ, not even in zoos. Of course the odd few make their way over in shipping containers, but they are quickly disposed of, and I guess the odd one has been smuggled in. A guy I used to work with about 20 years ago, his brother apparently brought one back from Australia in some pool furniture made from PVC tubing. I don’t know what became of that. As a person from New Zealand though, actually seeing a snake in the flesh (let alone having one) is a unique experience. She’s a ball (or royal) python – python regius. Her name is Chichi and she’s about six months old and as long as my arm. She’s quite tame and I can pick her up and handle her no problem. She eats frozen mice and rats (I thaw and warm them slightly before feeding her of course..) and will grow to about four feet long eventually. She’s wonderful.
We broke up about a week ago. A shame.
Gnome Press and Book Stuff
It’s been ongoing. What was the last report on that?? Ah, right. I picked up The Porcelain Magician and it appeared in my 75% report. The only other GP items I have picked up since then are Lewis Padgett’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow & The Fairy Chessmen, a much nicer copy of Minions of the Moon (no spine fading!! Yay!!) which hasn’t arrived yet, and a Gnome Press Fall 1953 Science Fiction Book Catalog which has also to arrive. An interesting item that last, photos when it arrives. It’s been sluggish on the GP front, but my Gene Wolfe signed first edition collection has expanded considerably. I’ve picked up the collections Plan[e]t Engineering, Endangered Species and (not here yet) Innocents Aboard, the novels Pandora by Holly Hollander and Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun (which when added to Calde of the Long Sun and Exodus from the Long Sun completes The Book of the Long Sun series for me). I also picked up one of Gene Wolfe’s limited chapbooks containing the short story Christmas Inn. What’s a chapbook I hear you inquire?? See here. What makes me very happy though is the acquisition of the complete The Book of the New Sun. This is Mr Wolfe’s most famous and popular work and it’s my all-time favorite piece of writing. All four books are in fine condition and have identical signed loose pages laid in. The Shadow of the Torturer is below by way of example.
I’m reading again!! Started on The Seedling Stars by James Blish. Here’s hoping I actually finish this one!!