Friday, 19 September 2014

Sat 20/9/14 - Visit To The National Gallery, Harrelson & McConaughey Were Robbed(!), Another Lettera 32 & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Saturday 11.41am  AEST - 

I think this'll be a short one, gang. 

             Not much to report. Planned my day. It was lack-lustre. Had my 1969 Omega Seamaster on.

Switched over to the Omega Speedmaster when I tackled a tonne of ironing.

My wife brought home a roll of plastic book covering. The kind used to cover the dust jackets on hardcovers. I decided I could use the practice.

                 Headed out to the National Gallery of Victoria to do preliminary research for an assignment to do with how institutions house, display and protect their collections. Didn't take my camera. Looks like I'll have to go back. I took quite a few notes, but I think I'll have to see some other exhibits, since I spent all of my time viewing the 17th & 18th Century European Collection. I'll get some pictures next time. I wore my Omega Planet Ocean. I was meeting my brother later on and he expressed an interest in this watch, so I thought he could try it on to see what he thinks of it.

               Started watching HBO's outstanding True Detective miniseries, starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as two Southern detectives investigating a gruesome murder in Louisiana in 1995. 
The story begins in the present day, where former detectives Martin Hart (Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (McConaughey) are being interviewed separately over Cohle's presence at crime scenes which bear a strong resemblance to the ones that they both investigated back in the '90s. The authorities are curious as to what Cohle, who quit the force shortly after the investigation wrapped up in '95, is up to and they think that his former partner may have an idea. These interview scenes are interspersed with flashbacks to the 1995 investigation.
Written and produced by Nic Pizzolatto, this is a dense and multi-layered story which takes many well-known elements of a police procedural and turns them upside-down. For starters, this ain't no Lethal Weapon/ Bad Boys buddy-cop movie. Harrelson's character, Marty Hart, thinks that McConaughey's Cohle is a pain in the ass. Cohle is nicknamed "The Taxman" in the department for his habit of carrying a large A4-sized binder where he writes down copious notes and drawings at the scene of the crime. He talks in a particularly existential manner which, as you can imagine, wears down the patience of his good ol' boy partner, Hart, who calls a spade a spade. 
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga elicits outstanding performances from his cast. There is not one ounce of bad or cliched acting to be found in this show.
It is amazing to watch Harrelson and McConaughey in this. One could be forgiven for thinking that Harrelson is merely a competent actor when one thinks of his debut in TV's Cheers back in the early 1980s and his subsequent roles in comedies in recent years, usually in supporting roles. However, he got rave reviews for his role in The Messenger in 2009, as an army captain tasked with delivering the news to families of soldiers killed in action in the Middle East, and that role was perhaps what helped him land the role of Martin Hart.
Matthew McConaughey, fresh from his Oscar win this year for The Dallas Buyer's Club, is another actor who has been mistakenly labelled a lightweight in the past. He spent the first decade of this century making films such as Fool's Gold, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and  Failure To Launch, but thankfully, he did a film called Mud a couple of years ago and garnered good reviews for his work.
In True Detective, he turns in a wonderful and complex performance of a man often misunderstood, a man with his own demons and a fondness for Jamieson's Irish Whisky and Lone Star beer. And Camel cigarettes. My God, how much he smokes in this show! I hope they were herbal.
 It's no coincidence that McConaughey's character is named Rust. He is both persistent in his quest and corrosive in his relationships.
These two leads are electric. Both actors give their characters multiple layers and various levels of frustration, self-justification, righteousness, selfishness and determination.
Although, I have to say that the entire cast is flawless. Michelle Monaghan plays Hart's wife and she doesn't put a foot wrong. Another great performance.
True Detective scored 12 Emmy nominations earlier this year, but the statuettes were all pretty much scooped up by the final season of Breaking Bad.
How in hell Harrelson and McConaughey didn't win, I will never understand. HBO restored my faith in television a long time ago and this show, particularly the performances of the two leads, helped make True Detective the best drama I have seen in a very long time, in either a cinema or my lounge room.

          My wife bought me a Holy Bible from an Op Shop. I ain't overly religious, but she thought I'd like this copy because of how old it is and the inscription inside it;

Ahh, such flourish. Meanwhile, I picked up a Lettera 32 earlier that day. The paperwork that came with it was pretty cool.

Sadly, this machine, while in very good working condition, has an issue with the ribbon reverser, which doesn't appear to switch over to the other side when you get to the end of  the ribbon. I've given the mechanism a dab of sewing machine oil, but this doesn't seem to have made much difference. It may require a trip to Tom for some light repair. The descender on the lower-case letter 'q' doesn't print fully on the page, either, but I'm not game enough to start messing with that. Tom has a tool that should sort it out easily.
Aside from that, it works very well. The plate on the back says 'Made by Olivetti', but doesn't mention a country. I'm guessing this machine dates back to the late Sixties/early Seventies, based on the paperwork above, but I haven't looked up its serial number yet.

          The kids finished up school yesterday for this semester and they have a couple of weeks off, as do I from my own studies. I got a bucket-load of assignments to get done and I have to go see a couple of people this week about some part-time work later in the year. Things are getting busy.
I also plan to keep the kids busy over the next couple of weeks. It's not gonna be all Playstations and internet make-up tutorials, let me tell you.
Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 88. I'll light a candle for him. 

Thanks for reading and have a good rest of the weekend, all.
And here I was, thinking this would be a short post!

Special thanks to IMDB for the movie info. While I can usually remember film titles and years of production, sometimes I need a little help.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fri 12/9/14 - Fewer Typewriters, Lousy Drivers, 50 Years of "Goldfinger" & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Fri 10:14am AEST -

And here I am, messing with the zoom on my camera while taking a picture. Eerie, isn't it?

One more with the SM9

Here are the cards the kids made up;

And here's how it happened;

The Dummy, as I call him, began pulling out onto the road to do a right-hand turn into the opposite lane. The car to my left was turning into the driveway, thus blocking The Dummy's view of the road, and my car.

Both The Dummy's car and the one on my left were those Soccer Mom people movers that their owners don't actually know how to drive. Cannot stand those things. Very often, their drivers have no spatial awareness of how much space they take up on the road. And don't even get me started on how some folks attempt to park these things!

Luckily, The Dummy hit his brakes, but I was still headed for his bonnet (hood) as I hit my brakes. Realising (pretty damn quickly, let me tell you) that I wasn't going to stop in time, I gave the wheel a light wrenching to the right...into the oncoming traffic lane, thinking to myself; "Car's not insured, man, car's not insured!"
I ended up stopping right in front of The Dummy's car, feeling extremely glad that the road was dry and that I'd gotten new tyres late last year. I turned my head 90 degrees to the left and spent a few seconds swearing at him loudly while he raised his hands from the wheel in a 'My bad' gesture. Thankfully, the traffic in the oncoming lane was some distance away from me and I had time to pop the stick into first and get back into my original lane.
Later that morning, I was headed to my class and, as I was stopped at a red light. Looking in my rear-view, I saw a truck heading for my car. Fast. Driver hit his brakes at the last minute and I watched his rig list slightly to one side as smoke came from his tyres before he stopped. 
Man, the traffic's getting crazy in this town. And it wasn't even midday.

At my class, the lecturer handed out Assignment Number 6. I'm gonna be busy for the next month or two. This may be my last weekly watch post for a while unless I scale them back a little and keep them simple. Otherwise, I have about five other posts in various draft stages that I could put up. 
Wait and see, I suppose.

       Not much to report, really. It's early Friday morning and my wife and I are both home today, awaiting the arrival of a carpet guy. Just another stage toward getting this house looking a little more schmick.
And, this month also marks fifty years since the release of Goldfinger back in 1964. And so, I thought I'd wear something that I haven't worn in quite some time. The Omega Seamaster Professional. This watch has absolutely nothing to do with  Goldfinger, but what the hell. Like I say, I haven't worn this watch in a long while.
It was first released in 1993 and I bought my one in November 1999 and, while its design has dated a little, it's become a classic watch in Omega's history. In this particular iteration (model number 2531.80.00), it remained in production until around 2006 when we saw Daniel Craig sporting the new, upgraded version (model number 2208.80.00), with the Co-Axial escapement added to the movement, in his first Bond film, Casino Royale.
It's still in current production, with newer upgrades, but I personally think that the original design of my model is a better looking watch. Anyway, that's what I have clamped to my wrist right now;

That Aston Martin DB5 is gonna look sweet on the bookshelves, nestled among the Bond paperbacks.
One day.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Bond Fan Fiction No. 7

Aww, Hell! Here I was trying to create a new label just for fan fictions and I wound up updating this one from 2012 instead. There are still many things about Blogger that I haven't gotten the hang of, folks.
Please disregard this post. You may have already read it.

 Picture courtesy of M4tt

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Fri 5/9/14 - Typewriter Musings, Old Newspapers, RIP Joan Rivers & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 6:10 pm AEST-

Last weekend
        The Lolly Nite Movie this week was The Fisher King (Dir: Terry Gilliam, 1991), starring the late, great Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. I think the only Robin Williams films my kids have seen are Flubber,  Jumanji and Night at the Museum (one and two). And maybe Hook (which contains one of Dustin Hoffman's finest and funniest performances. Reminiscent of Jack Lemmon in The Great Race in some ways).
While a film like Good Morning, VietNam would have been a better showcase of a manic Robin Williams performance, I have always had a soft spot for The Fisher King. Mercedes Rhuel is wonderful in it, as is Amanda Plummer, but I particularly love the late Michael Jeter's performance in this film as a transvestite who sings show tunes. Jeter also played the prisoner with the special mouse in The Green Mile.
Jeff Bridges was in the midst of a resurgence in his career with this film, not long after his comeback role in The Fabulous Baker Boys a few years earlier. His career appeared to be a series of stop/starts after his breakout role in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show in 1971. Every few years, he would appear in a film that was well-praised and promised to launch him into the big leagues.
He spent most of the '70s and early '80s appearing in a variety of films, from the remake of King Kong in 1976, to the disastrous Heaven's Gate in 1980, to Tron in 1982.
However, the film that really got the ball rolling for him was Against All Odds, a 1984 remake of the 1947 Robert Mitchum noir classic Out of the Past (Dir: Jacques Tourneur). Bridges soon began getting regular work after that film, and he had his second big career boost with The Fabulous Baker Boys in 1989. 
In The Fisher King, Bridges is well-cast and he does a great job as Jack, a shock-jock radio host who suddenly finds himself unemployed. It has a few macabre Terry Gilliam touches, such as The Red Knight and some scenes in an asylum, but overall, I thought it one of the better films of that year. Actually, come to think of it, 1991 also gave us The Silence of the Lambs, JFK, Thelma & Louise, Barton Fink and Cape Fear, to name a few. And here I was, thinking about The Naked Gun 2 1/2, Doc Hollywood, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey and Harley Davidson & The Marboro Man.
I wore my Longines Expeditions automatic;

And my wife was wearing her new Sinn 556A. 

Excuse the blurry photo.
I got it for her to commemorate 20 years since she and I got together. And then I wrote about it as a "How I Met Your Mother"-type scenario for our kids to refer to in future. It's the next post down.

       I've been looking at my typewriters lately. With plans to fix up our house, sell it and move into something larger (hopefully) sometime in the next 12 months, I'm going through my stuff with a view to reducing what will need to be packed up and moved when the time comes. 
This Remington Envoy III will not go into our next house;

And I can think of two or three other typewriters that I just don't use and could probably go to somebody who will use them. eBay to the rescue!
So much to be done around here. However, now that the weather is fining up, all of these tasks seem easier to deal with. 
And there are four or five assignments to tackle in the next month or two as well. But none of them are too daunting, so it shouldn't be a problem. 

       I had the Omega Railmaster on;

I found a couple of old newspapers under the house and gave them a wipe-down. They dated back to August 1969 and I thought it might be interesting to take them into my Preservation class. We are currently studying the history, chemical composition and manufacture of paper and I thought it perhaps relevant to show how fifty year-old newsprint-grade paper has held up. I decided I should switch to a watch from the same era, so on went the 1969 Omega Seamaster;

Up until 1990, there were three major newspapers here in Melbourne. We had The Age, published as a broad-sheet, The Sun News Pictorial, a tabloid which came out every morning, and The Herald, an afternoon broad-sheet which covered any late-breaking news of the day. 
The Sun and The Herald merged almost 25 years ago to become The Herald Sun, a twice-daily tabloid, published in the morning, with a later, updated edition available in the afternoon. The afternoon edition was soon scrapped due to poor sales.
Growing up, The Sun was the newspaper that I often saw on tables in cafes, on tram stop benches, and in people's bags as they walked by, so unearthing this issue had a particular resonance for me. Seeing that masthead took me back. 
I told my lecturer that she could have this newspaper if she wanted, but first, I wanted to get a photo of it. I'll bring it back to class next week, along with a copy of The Age that I found next to it.

       I was still wearing the Omega Seamaster;

       I just read that Joan Rivers died. Geez, the funny ones are being taken away from us at an alarming rate. Say what you will about her, but I thought she was a very funny lady. Sure, she could be supremely bitchy, and yes, she overdid the face-lifts, but man, she could be funny.  
She was a guest on The Graham Norton Show in 2009 and Dominic West was there as well. He recounted a comment that Rivers had made after the release of his film 300 a couple of years earlier;

"300 is how gay this movie is out of ten."

The sun's out and I'm about to varnish a small table that will sit on the front porch. Still wearing the Omega;

One day, I'm going to try the lemon-juice-and-distilled-water method for cleaning the spots on the dial. It's a fifty-fifty kind of deal. Might work wonders. Might make a mess of it. One way to find out.
Anyway, much to be done. And I know someone who's got no desire whatsoever to help me out;

And, to end this post a little like I started it;

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Boy Meets Girl...Sooner Or Later.

When he was fifteen years old, the boy was allocated a job at a major bookstore for Work Experience as part of his studies in Year Nine. Schools did this in order to give students a taste of The Rat Race. To give them an idea of what it's like to turn up to a job at nine am and work through till five pm. This was an arrangement usually organised between the school and an employer or organisation. The kids would 'go to work'. And they were paid a total of three dollars a day. Back then, this was enough to cover public transport costs and still leave enough money for a pie or sandwich for lunch. 
The boy would be working full-time in the Despatch Department, on the fifth floor of this bookstore in the city, for two weeks.
The girl, who was also fifteen, was already working at this bookstore. On the sales floor at ground level. 
The boy spent his two weeks opening up boxes of books that arrived from the suppliers. 
He and the girl never saw each other. 

Nine years later, the boy got a job at a snazzy restaurant in the city. He was told by the owner that it was a daytime bartending gig, but the current bartender made sure that all the boy ever did was prepare salads and desserts for the lunchtime customers. 
The girl, meanwhile, was working for a cleaning company. One of her allocated premises was this same snazzy restaurant in the city. She would get there between five-thirty and six am to clean the place. She would work solidly and would usually be finished by seven-thirty or eight am. Then she would leave and go on to her next allocated premises. The boy would arrive at the restaurant at eleven-thirty to prepare for the lunchtime rush. 
Once again, he and the girl never saw each other. 

Two years passed and the boy was now working at a cafe, making coffees before the term barista was invented. Before the 'latte art' phenomenon took hold. He worked at this cafe five nights a week. One night, the girl from the bookstore came into this cafe with her boyfriend. She ordered two caffe latte. The boy made the two coffees and placed them down on the counter in front of her and her boyfriend.
'She's pretty',  the boy thought to himself. 

Another two years went by and the boy was now working at a small bistro around the corner from the cafe. One busy Saturday night, two girls walked in and sat down at Table No. 3. The boy didn't see them come in because, well, it was a busy Saturday night. The girls were served by one of the other waiters on duty who brought them a bottle of water and two glasses before taking their order for two caffe latte. 
The waiter went to the machine and made the two coffees. When he was done, he called over to the boy and said; "These are for table three."
"Done", said the boy as he scooped up the coffees. 
The boy approached Table No. 3 and put the coffees down before glancing at the two girls. One of them had the day's newspaper spread across the table and a pair of glasses perched on her nose. 
The boy recognised her from the time she came into the cafe with her boyfriend.
"Hey, did you come into Giorgietto's* about a year ago?", he asked her.
The girl removed the glasses and handed them to her friend, who put them on her own face. They were her glasses, after all.
"Yes. Didn't you work there?", the girl replied, tilting her head slightly to the side the way some girls do when they ask a question. The girl had a low voice. Like Bacall, thought the boy.
"Yeah", he replied and, feeling bold, he decided to ask a strategic question, designed to find out her current status. This is way before Facebook, you understand. If you wanted to know somebody's relationship status, you had to ask them, or somebody who knew them. A web site was where spiders spun their silken homes.
"Yeah, you came in and ordered two lah-teys for you and your boyfriend", he said.
"Oh, I left him, he was crazy", she responded. 
They made some more brief chit-chat, but it was a busy Saturday night, remember? There were other tables to be served. Besides, the girl and her friend had a movie to catch. 
So that was that. 

About a week or so later, the girl came back to the bistro one afternoon to have a coffee. She sat up at the bar. The boy was working and he said 'hi' to her. She said 'hello' and ordered a caffe latte. The boy was standing next to the machine, so he made it for her. 
A couple of the regular customers soon arrived and took up their usual seats at the bar. It wasn't long before these regulars began hitting on the girl. She made polite conversation with them. It was then that the boy learned that she worked in one of the libraries at the nearby university.

A few days later, the girl came back again to the bistro and ordered a coffee. The boy saw her and said 'hello'. She said 'hello' back. She had her coffee and left.

This went on for another week or so. The girl would come in, have a coffee, make small-talk with the boy, and then leave. By now, the boy was thinking that he should ask her out the next time she came in. She was a very interesting girl.
A week went by and she didn't show. The boy was beginning to think that perhaps he'd blown it. One of his workmates gave him the 'you-gotta-strike-while-the-iron-is-hot' speech, which did nothing to lift his spirits. 

The boy later found out that one of the regular customers had managed to get the girl's phone number and had asked her out, but had no luck. The boy decided to ask him for the number. The regular customer handed him the number and said; "I don't fancy your chances, she's crazy."

(The boy found out later on that the regular customer had asked the girl out for a coffee. She said yes. When he called her back to tee it up, he said she could maybe come to his place and he'd cook her dinner and maybe they could watch a video or something. She told him she had no intention of going to his place on a first date and that maybe he was expecting more than she was willing to give. She told him she wasn't that kind of girl.)

The boy tried calling her the next day. The girl picked up on the third ring.
The boy's heart was pounding as he heard her say 'hello'.
"Hey, I haven't seen you in a while and was wondering when you were going to pop in next", he said.
"Actually, I was thinking of coming by tomorrow", she replied.

The next day, she came into the bistro and took her seat up at the bar and ordered a coffee. The boy arrived twenty minutes later to start his shift.
They chatted intermittently between the boy doing his job of clearing tables, taking orders, washing cups, etc.
And then she paid for her coffee, got off her stool at the bar and headed for the door. 
The boy stood behind the counter and said; "See you soon" as his heart raced. That the best he could come up with?
The girl replied over her shoulder; "No, you won't" as she pulled the door open, but the boy didn't hear this because the sound of outside traffic drowned out her words.
His workmates stood there watching him watching her leave. A million different thoughts flitted through his head, but the main one was this strong sense that she was walking out for good.
The bistro was getting busy. If he was going to do anything, he'd have to do it now.
He raced for the door and stepped out into the street to see the girl already about fifteen metres away. The boy broke into a quick trot to catch up with her.
She turned at the sound of his approaching steps.
"Hey, would you like to maybe go out and get a coffee or a drink sometime?", he asked her.
"You know, you come across as cool, with your Zippo lighter and your floppy hair, and you come across as though you're interested, but then you get all coy and you back off", replied the girl.
The boy was taken aback somewhat. He didn't think that that was how he was projecting himself. And he made a mental note to look up the word 'coy' in the dictionary when he got home. He thought he knew its meaning, but he wanted to make sure.
The girl continued; "I wasn't going to come back after my last visit because you came off as if you didn't give a damn, but then I thought I'd give you one last chance."
"I didn't mean to give you the impression that I wasn't interested. But I had everyone in the restaurant watching my every move and I felt like I was under a microscope. I hate that", said the boy.
"So, you didn't realise that I was coming in all these times to see you?", the girl asked, raising a perfect eyebrow, her emerald green eyes boring into his.
"I thought you were coming in for the coffee. Seriously, you'd be surprised how many people walk into this place for the first time, have a coffee, and then come back virtually every day as if they're hooked on our blend or something", the boy replied as he raked his fingers through his floppy hair while his heart pounded and his mouth ran dry. Man, he could use a Marlboro Light right now!
He'd been out of the dating game for quite some time.

The boy and the girl arranged to go out for a coffee the next day. This was back in August 1994.
They got married a couple of years later.

The boy was me. The girl was my wife.


I learned long ago that everybody's life is like a wheel. Some wheels are bigger than others and some wheels turn faster or slower than others and these wheels sometimes intersect in the strangest ways. I've always found it odd, and even incredible, that she and I moved in the same peripheries at times without having met. I suppose sooner or later, our two wheels were bound to overlap. 
And eventually, they did.

Thanks for reading!

*Name changed.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday 29/8/14 - Wristwatch Headaches, Final Day of Industry Placement, Happy Birthday Mr. Connery, & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 5:17pm AEST - 

Last Weekend
       Saturday's Lolly Night Movie was Rocky (Dir: John G. Avildsen, 1976). I found it hard to believe that my wife has never seen this film.

She considers boxing to be the sporting equivalent of ballet, so I was surprised to learn that she had never seen Rocky. I think it had more to do with an aversion to Sylvester Stallone's acting talent rather than anything else. Despite following up Rocky with dramas such as Paradise Alley and F.I.S.T., both in 1978, Stallone will forever be remembered for his roles as Rocky and Rambo. It's a bit of a shame, really. Especially when we remember that Rocky won the Best Picture Oscar in 1977 and the screenplay, written by Stallone himself, was nominated as well, but lost out to Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay for Network that year. Say what you will about Stallone these days, with The Expendables 3 hitting theatres soon, but the man is still capable of great work. Check out Copland (Dir: James Mangold, 1997). And even Stallone's last Rocky Balboa film, entitled, well, Rocky Balboa (Dir: Sylvester Stallone, 2006) garnered very good reviews and was an unexpected hit when it was released.

I didn't sit down to watch this film because I had to go pick my daughter up from a party. When I got home, I asked my wife what she thought of it.
"Everybody yells in this movie! It's pretty bleak", she said.
Hah! I never noticed this aspect of the movie when I saw it in cinemas in 1976. Of course, I grew up in an Italian household where yelling was the norm.
The parts of the film that I did see reminded me what a great underdog story this movie really is. I think I'm going to have to sit down and watch it again properly. I was wearing my TAG Heuer Formula 1 quartz. This watch gets worn very rarely, but I think I'll start wearing it a little more often. Especially when I head to the gym, which I haven't done for some time now. I think the whole family is over this bout of the 'flu that hit us when we got back from our trip six weeks ago and spring has just begun, so I think a healthier and more active lifestyle is on the cards for us all.
That's the plan, anyway.

       It was Sean Connery's 84th birthday. He hasn't made a film since The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Dir: Stephen Norrington) in 2003. That film was plagued with problems during production and many folks agree that this is the film that convinced Connery to retire from acting.
On the set of Dr. No with Ursula Andress in 1962. Wristwatch geek that I am, I would kill to know what happened to the Rolex Submariner 6538 that he's sporting on his wrist.

A famous promotional shot for Goldfinger. Connery and the Aston Martin DB5 in the Swiss Alps in 1964. Despite the fact that Roger Moore was the Bond that I grew up with, Sean Connery's OO7 is the one that turned me into a life-long Bond fan.
And so, I just wanted to say "Happy Birthday, OO7".

A great magazine ad from a great ad campaign by Louis Vuitton from a few years ago. The rolled-up chinos are a nod to when Bond meets Honey Rider on the island of Crab Key in Dr No. 
The only thing that spoils this Annie Leibovitz photo is the watch on his wrist. 
Bond would not wear a Louis Vuitton Tambour Chronograph.

I worked my final day of industry placement today too. All in all, it was an interesting experience in ways that I hadn't expected. For some reason, I thought that people who worked in libraries actually read books. I got the impression that a few of the staff didn't read regularly and didn't keep up with new releases. Not only that, but it seemed that a few of them viewed dealing with the patrons to be an absolute chore and/or interruption. As I said, it was an interesting experience and it gave me a good indication of the type of library I don't want to end up in.
I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Here it is on a page of The Sun from 1969;

       Today was the day where nothing seemed to go right with regard to a couple of wristwatch-related purchases.
First of all, I ordered a couple of perlon watch straps. These are basically a nylon strap with a cross-hatch weave. What this means is that you can adjust the fit to your exact wrist diameter since there are no holes in the strap. The tongue on the buckle basically slots through the weave of the strap.
I purchased two of these straps. I paid for two of these straps. The Seller sent me one strap. I decided to fit it to the Longines Expeditions Polaires while I stewed over this. 

It's a very comfortable strap. I just wish I'd gotten the two that I'd paid for. 

My other wristwatch dilemma concerned a watch that I had bought for my wife. I bought her an Oris TT1 DayDate back in 2002, after the birth of our daughter. 

My wife has worn it everyday and it indeed bears the scars of a well-worn watch. Especially since it endured a few new scratches on the bracelet a couple of months ago when she crawled out the window of her overturned car;

However, I had wanted to buy her a new watch for the last year or two. Her Oris is a little erratic in its timekeeping (definitely needs servicing) and it's a little difficult to read in low light.
And so, I had decided to get her a Sinn 556A. There's no mistaking the time on this baby;

Picture courtesy of

The package arrived and I carefully removed the bubble-wrap from the box. My wife was at work and I was hoping to remove a few links from the watch's bracelet and surprise her with it when she got home. 
I opened the box. The case of the watch was wrapped in a soft, white plastic strip. I gently pulled on the plastic to take a peel at the dial...and my blood boiled slightly. 
It was the wrong watch.
They had sent me a 556. It's a nice watch, without a doubt, but it lacks the numerals on the dial of the 556A, which really sets off this watch and highlights the cockpit instrument heritage of the Sinn brand. This is how the standard 556 model looks;

picture courtesy of

So a few phone calls were made and the seller and I arranged for him to send me the correct watch and I would send this one back to him. I would have classes over the next two days, so this swap would not occur until Friday. Nothing to do but get on with life.

       Sitting here writing this post, waiting for the courier to show up with the replacement wristwatch. And I still have a million other things to do today. Still, I aim to get the bulk of them done. 

       Okay, the courier just arrived and we did the old swaperoo. Here's the correct watch, still in it's protective plastic;

Okay, I'm gonna remove a few links from the bracelet. Then I'm gonna get the rest of my day underway. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Saturday 23/8/14 - Another Quiet Week, Happy Birthday Pussy Galore, Inflated Page-views & This Week's Wristwatches

-Saturday 12.32pm AEST- 

Last weekend
       For Lolly Night, we sat down to watch The Fall (Dir: Tarsem, 2006). I had heard about this film some time ago and kept meaning to see it. The director, Tarsem Singh, was known for making music clips and TV commercials before embarking on this film. Much like Russell Mulcahy, who directed a heap of Duran Duran, Elton John and Bonnie Tyler film-clips before going on to make films such as Razorback (1984), which was like Jaws, except with a wild boar instead of a shark, and Highlander in 1986.

I have found that film directors who cut their teeth on TV commercials and video clips tend to have a very economical way of telling a story and a great visual style. This is because they usually have 30 seconds to four minutes to get a story across. 
The Fall is set in a hospital in Los Angeles sometime in the 1920s and centres on a little girl who is there with her arm in plaster. She strikes up a friendship with a Hollywood stuntman who is bedridden after an on-set injury. To pass the time, he tells her a story about a mythical band of men who are determined to kill the villainous Governor Odious, who has betrayed them all in one way or another. 
Visually, this is a beautiful film, especially when you consider that no CGI effects were used. The most striking fact of all is that this film was shot in 28 countries over a four-year period. I have to say that this film is worth watching just for the opening titles alone. Shot in black and white and played in beautiful slow-motion, it gives the viewer the background story as to how the stuntman got injured.
Here's a link to the title-credits sequence, courtesy of the fantastic website, Art of the;

Earlier in the day, we all went into the city. The kids are about four weeks away from semester break and my wife and I have informed them that we'll be taking a few outings here and there. Since the Thailand trip two months ago was the big expense, we figure we may as well have a few cheap thrills for a while. 
I wound up finding a new watch store in town and couldn't resist the urge to go in and take a look, especially since this store carried a few brands that you couldn't get in Australia until recently. The store had a display for a brand called Eberhard & Co. I made a beeline for it and noticed a very nice chronograph to the left of the display. It looked much like this;

                                          picture courtesy of

I took a closer look at this classic mid-Sixties Contograf to find some tiny nicks and scratches here and there on the case. As I was approaching this display, I had already suspected that this watch was a vintage piece, based on its size, and sure enough, it was. 
The saleslady that I spoke to explained to me that the owner of the store had over three hundred watches (and I thought I had it bad) and some of them were displayed throughout the store. A nice idea, to be sure, but it back-fired with me because I found myself liking the vintage watches instead of the new (and displayed to sell) re-editions that were based on some of these vintage models.  
I was wearing the Longines from last week;

Geez, that's a bad photo. Maybe this one's better?

       Another day of industry placement. It's going okay. I have two more shifts after this one. Then, I'm gonna keep my ear to the ground regarding actual paid work in a library. I may do some voluntary work at my kid's school library if I can swing it. 

       This arrived.

I'm not entirely certain if I have read the stories in this collection, but I learned earlier this year that a bunch of Hammett's writings were found...I can't recall exactly where, University of Texas, maybe?...a couple of years ago and they were due to be published soon.
I'm currently reading a novel by Dan Fesperman entitled The Double Game. It's very good so far. Sort of a love letter to spy fiction. Very clever. 

I had to go into town. I was meant to go in last Wednesday to see the "Mirror of the World- Books and Beyond" exhibition at the State Library, but I stayed home with my sick daughter instead.
And also, I saw a great trench-coat at a great price on the weekend and I wanted to have a better look at it. My Burberry trench is getting on in years (I bought it in 1987. Read all about it in my 'Man With a Hat' post from early last year) and I've been on a passive hunt for a replacement because there's absolutely no way I'm paying 2014 Burberry trench-coat prices. More importantly, their current range is too damn short. Not a trench-coat. More like a longish jacket. And that won't do.
The weather was a little cool. I grabbed a coat. I planned on travelling light. No bag or satchel.
Just this;

The pencil case was a tad overkill, but I had a pocket in my coat where it wouldn't get in the way. 

It was a nice exhibition, on long-term display. I took a few notes and pictures. 
Here's a copy of Audubon's Birds of America (published 1827-1838). The largest book on display;

And the smallest books were in this set of miniatures, known back then as a midget library. This set, made in circa 1895, contained a Bible, a Qu'ran, French, English and German dictionaries, and a book of poems by Robert Burns. I'm sure they were all abridged versions, heh, heh. I held my pen up against the glass. The books were one the other side, about six inches away.

And this scroll looked amazing. I can't recall what it was. To the left of it was a bound copy of The Qu'ran. Just above that was a tattered leather satchel that was used to house this sacred text. Extraordinary.

Excuse the quality of the photos. They were taken with my phone. If I'd known I could have brought a camera, then I would have. Looks like I'll have to go back and take a longer and more detailed look at all of this. 
And I never get sick of this view;

Even on an overcast day, it lights up quite impressively. Or maybe it's all that knowledge and history in print that gives this domed Reading Room its glow.
Either way, it's always an impressive sight.

When I got home, I switched watches.Time to put on something a little more robust. So on went the Omega Seamaster 300 rebuild;

       I've been keeping an eye on my page-views lately. Reason being that I'm getting way too many hits on that Dry Martini post that I wrote last year. This Blog has reached just over 300,000 views, but I find it not an occasion to celebrate because that number was inflated by the martini post views. Here are the all-time stats. Are there really that many people interested in how I mix a Dry Martini? And I can't find the traffic source. This internet's a tricky, tricky thing;

       And it was this lady's 89th birthday today;

Happy Birthday, Miss Honor Blackman. She's doing well. It has often been said that if you wanted to explain to somebody what a James Bond film was all about, you would just tell them to watch Goldfinger (Dir: Guy Hamilton, 1964). That's the movie that pretty much explains all of the motifs, tropes and 'ideology' behind the Bond films. Well, at least until Casino Royale in 2006.

I got home from my second-last shift of industry placement. It was getting a little chilly. Time for a thicker layer of clothing.
And a drink.

Man, that Dewar's scotch goes down a little rough.

Today (Saturday)
       Some of you may have noticed that I'm a day late with this post. Ah well, it ain't the end of the world.

Anyway, gang, thanks for reading and have a great weekend. And one more pic of the Seamaster 300. Yes, the picture was taken yesterday, but I'm still wearing it today.

Have a good one, all!