Friday, 17 October 2014

Fri 17/10/2014 - Very, Very Busy...& This Week'sWristwatches

-Friday 6:11pm AEST-

So much to do. One assignment due next Wednesday, along with a ten-minute presentation...on silverfish. Ten minutes! I could probably cover their entire history and evolution in ten minutes. 
Another assignment due by next Friday, this one requiring quite a bit of hunting around for the answers. The research will take up the bulk of the time. 
Appointment with the tax accountant tomorrow. I normally don't leave it so long to do my return. 
And a bunch of other, niggling little tasks to attend to over the next few weeks.

So...this week's post is a short one. More of a snap-shot really.

Last weekend
                 I have been wearing the rebuilt Seamaster 300. It was on a Kevlar-style strap. I have quite a few watch straps, collected over the years, and I thought it might be time to put one on a watch and leave it on until it wears out;



Here's a tip- when buying a strap for a dive watch, consider one that has contrasting white or cream coloured stitching on it. This can tend to mimic the markers on the dial. It gives the whole look some continuity as well as giving the watch an overall old-school aesthetic. 

Monday
              I still wore the SM300, but decided to put a TrueBond NATO strap on it.


So much for keeping a strap on it until it rots. However, a NATO is hard to beat when it comes to comfort. You can sometimes forget that you have a watch on.


Embedded image permalink

Wednesday
                  Switched to the Omega Railmaster. Busy times coming up. Have a great weekend, all, and thanks for reading!



Man, the layout's all over the place. Started writing it on the iPad and finished it on the laptop. Maybe that had something to do with it.

Monday, 13 October 2014

"Uncharted 2 : Among Thieves" - Absolutely Nail-Biting From The Get-Go!

I stumbled across an article on the web that listed some of the best opening scenes and gameplay of the last few years and it featured the opening stage of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
I watched this footage, which is interspersed with cut-scenes and actual gameplay and I was riveted. I played the video again for my son to have a look at and when it was over, he looked at me, I looked at him, and then I called out to my wife; "We'll be back in half an hour!" before grabbing my son and my car keys. We headed to EB Games at a nearby shopping centre and found a pre-owned copy of this game. I had already played the first game in this series and, while I enjoyed it, I found it a little too heavy with the shoot-outs.

With this sequel, however, there's a little more figuring out of obstacles and ways into hidden temples, which is good. It counter-balances against all the gun-play. There are 26 stages in this game. I'm up to Stage 18 after going through a wonderful level which takes place on a moving train. I'm now trying to dodge machine gun fire from a tank and I have no idea as to how I'm going to survive this level. There must be an RPG launcher around here somewhere. This happens to me from time to time. I can spend up to three weeks stuck on a particular level of a game before figuring a way out.
Certainly getting my eighteen bucks worth, that's for sure.

This game was released in 2009 and, by this stage, console gaming had definitely come a long way. Game developers had long been devoting time, thought and energy to every aspect of the game, making it an immersive and cinematic experience. Despite the fact that console games are all made up of ones and zeroes on a computer, many film-making techniques are used in the way the story is told in between all the running, jumping, climbing, etc. The camera angles, use of music, and the way that both we, the player, and the in-game characters see things as they unfold all owe their origins to methods employed by Hollywood film-makers over the past twenty or thirty years.

The story concerns a fortune hunter named Nathan Drake, a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and he's sort of a cross between Indiana Jones and the Malcolm Reynolds character from TV's Firefly series by Joss Whedon. Sure, this game series owes a debt to Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, but Drake is a well drawn character in his own right, complete with Indy-style pluck and a wise-cracking mouth.
He's on a quest to find an artifact from one of Marco Polo's ships and needless to say, there are other, less honourable people after it as well.
 
I've been knocking out assignments for the last three weeks, so this is a pleasant diversion. I think I'll re-draft this latest assignment before having another crack at evading that crazy tank.

In the meantime, here's the YouTube video of that opening level. Expertly played, too!
The first 50 seconds is the game loading up, so skip ahead to 0:51.

                                                      Video uploaded to YouTube 9/10/2009 by HassanAlHajry 


 Thanks for reading!


P.S. - To see more footage of this and other games, check out;
 
                                                                                                    HH Gaming Channel on YouTube

Friday, 10 October 2014

Fri 10/10/14 - So Many Assignments!, RIP To Another Bond Villain, Back To The Vet & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 7:44pm  AEST -


Last Weekend
                       We watched the remake of The 39 Steps, starring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay. Produced in 2008, this was a scant 86 minutes long. Alarm bells went off in my head when I saw the running time on the back of the DVD case. Having just finished John Buchan's book, I felt that you'd need more than 86 minutes to tell the story. Sure enough, this version was considerably different to both the book and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock version, which was different to the book as well.
So, was it any good? Ahhh, well, it was a great looking film, but then the English do these period dramas to perfection.  The Art Direction, costumes, locations and props are always perfect. As was the casting and the actor's performances. But the story just felt flat and predictable to me.
The introduction of a female character who is a suffragette AND an agent for British Intelligence turned this into a fairly routine affair, in my view.
I was wearing the 1962 Omega Seamaster from last week before switching over to the Seamaster 300;


Monday
             Worked on another assignment. Number 3, I think. They are all beginning to blur. Six pages long. Probably twice as much as was necessary. Oh well.
Then, as a break from study, I thought I'd cover the dust jacket of the book that I'm reading.
I have a roll of this covering that is made up of soft plastic attached to brown paper on two sides. The dust jacket is meant to get slotted in and then cut to size.

This...
 ...gets fed into this...

...and is then trimmed to size, with about ten centimetres of overhang, which is then folded in. You then carefully slide the hardcover of the book between the back of the dust jacket and the brown paper.


This can be a little painstaking and, in this instance, the result was not entirely perfect since there's a little too much plastic protruding beyond the dust jacket, but that's okay. Good enough for me. And better than some books I've seen in libraries.


Once I was done, I thought I'd make a coffee and sit out on the front porch to read a chapter or two.


Later in the day, I received a lens case in the mail. Hopefully, it'll hold two Olympus lenses. The seller used some vintage stamps from the early '80s. At first, I thought they were commemorative. And then I saw the price on them. This seller's (bless him) been holding on to these stamps for over thirty years! Ain't life a wonderful thing? Australian postage stamps are currently 70 cents each. I think I'll keep this section of the envelope as a bookmark.

 

Wednesday
                  What a drag. First, I read of the death of Geoffrey Holder, who played Baron Samedi in the Bond film Live And Let Die in 1973. Along with Gottfried John (General Ourumov in Goldeneye-1995) and Richard Kiel (Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me-1977 and Moonraker-1979) who both died last month, Holder was a memorable Bond villain. I understand that I'm now at an age where life begins to take things away (as was stated by a character in the last Indiana Jones film a few years ago), but it still sucks. Live And Let Die has a particular resonance for me because it was the first Bond movie I saw when I was but a wee laddybuck in the Seventies.

I had a class later in the day and handed in four assignments. Good to get those off my desk, I can tell you. Got home and received a call from a  lady at a nearby bookstore. I had an interview with her two weeks ago and it went very well. Spent over an hour chatting to her about my work history, experience, etc. She called to tell me that I was unsuccessful in getting the job. She said it was a really good interview (not good enough, it seems) and would I be happy for her to send my details to some other stores within the company? I said that would be fine, but I will obviously keep looking elsewhere.

By this stage, I was beginning to feel a little disillusioned with my studies as well. It might have to do with this barrage of assignments. Anyway, the only way out, is through.
I switched watches later that afternoon;


I wrote a review of this Tissot Visodate Heritage Automatic back on October 10th, 2010. At the time of writing (5:44pm, 10/10/14), this review has had 404,451 page-views and is the most widely-read post on my blog, excepting the Dry Martini post, which I think is a spam-magnet and not being read by people legitimately interested in how I make a Martini.  This Tissot watch has been very well received since its release and I think my review is read by people who are interested in the watch rather than fans of my writing style.

Today
          I switched back to the Omega Seamaster 300. I tend to go through stages where I'll wear a particular watch for days on end. This one has such a nice, vintage dive watch design and its legibility is sharp.


I decided today was a good day to go visit the library where I did my industry placement last month. I have an assignment due on Monday(!!!), to do with Occupational Health & Safety and it requires that I visit a library and look for areas that may be a hazard to the safety of both staff and library patrons. Since I spent a few weeks working in this particular library, I thought it would be suitable for the assignment. I spent about 90 minutes there, walking around, checking the fire extinguishers and Emergency Exits, the condition of the carpet, the height of the Information Desk, etc, etc, until I felt I had enough notes to use. This assignment needs to be only 500 to 700 words long, but I will need to use correct OH&S terminology, such as 'risk assessment' and 'hazard identification'.
Yep, I'm in for a fun weekend, but by this time Monday, I will have completed and submitted this one. Then I can get started on a report on silverfish. Are you as riveted as I am right now?
I traveled light, with a neoprene laptop case doubling as a satchel;


Got home, had lunch, started this post, picked the kids up from school, and took the cat to the vet. Madame Wispola Deusenberg has been gnawing at her fur on-and-off now for almost a year. When I took her to the vet last year, they determined that this stress-related behaviour was a cat equivalent of biting one's nails, since they could see no parasites on her fur.
However, earlier this week, I noticed a few dark hard scabs on her skin at the base of the fur. Some kind of tick or flea?
The vet had a good look and took some samples of the scabs to view under a microscope and said that there are traces of bacteria on the site. A cortisone injection, a packet of antibiotics and a hundred and fifty bucks later, and we headed home with Her Ladyship snugly wrapped in a towel.
Today's vet thinks that this condition could be an allergic reaction to some plant or flower. That makes a lot more sense than 'stress-related behaviour'.


I mean, come on, does she look stressed to you?

And so, that's another week done and dusted. Those two Italian guys with the Kickstarter campaign to fund their film manufacturing company are up to $236,000. Their goal is $250,000 and they have 19 days left.
I've made my pledge and I'll once again include a link, just in case anyone here wants to get on board this great project. 

Kickstarter.com/projects/filmferrania/100 More Years of Analog Film

Okay, I think my pizza's almost ready. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Friday 3/10/14 - Dodgy Cameras, Impossible-To-Find Wristwatch Blogs, New Film Manufacturer on Kickstarter & This Week's Wristwatches

- Friday 4:44pm  AEST - 

Last weekend
                       Half-way through the kid's school holidays. General tidying up around the house and a spot of painting while the sun was out. I was still wearing the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Here's an old pic from my archives;


And here are a couple of snaps from my visit to the National Gallery of Victoria last Friday. 'Cos, if I told you what I saw, you wouldn't believe me. 



Monday
             Began writing up Assignment No. 4. I thought I'd write a draft using a typewriter, but then write the final draft on my laptop. I've already written two other assignments on my typewriters and I don't want to give my lecturer the impression that I'm the Unabomber. This assignment is a report on how this gallery houses and displays its art collection. I decided to concentrate on just one part of its collection, the European artworks dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. I wore my Omega Seamaster AquaTerra. Because I meant business;


I had two pages hammered out on the Royal Quiet De Luxe in about two hours. I think four typed pages should equate to about three pages on the PC, give or take.


While I had the Quiet De Luxe out, I figured I'd tackle another faded keytop. I tried using an eraser on it first, but this had no effect;


So, it was time for numerous screwdrivers and pliers, a safety pin, a Texta and a glue stick. About 30-45 minutes later, a newer looking colon/semi-colon keytop was in place. Another one down, about thirty-nine more to go;


Later that day, a package arrived for me. I was the only bidder on an Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR and when I opened it and inspected the camera, I was greatly disappointed to find that it had a few problems with it that were not mentioned in the very brief listing which described it as being in 'excellent used condition'.


For starters, the old batteries were left inside and had just started corroding. The 35-70mm Auto Zoom lens housing had a section chipped from the edge. No major disasters, but these two things would require some thinking on my part and a little more cash outlay.
Firstly, the OM2 uses two silver oxide 1.55v batteries. I did some searching on the web and found that you can also use 1.5v alkaline cells, but these will give you a slightly different reading through the camera's light meter. Luckily, I decided to chance a quick trip to my local hardware store and found them selling Energizer silver oxides. Cool, one problem solved.
The chip on the lens housing was another matter, although its main issue is that dust will get in and onto the outer lens through a gap between the housing and the HOYA UV filter that's screwed onto the lens. Again, no major disaster, since I think a small strip of plastic, like a cut down piece of a collar stay (as used on business shirts) and some electrical tape should make it dust proof.


I unscrewed the hot-shoe for the flash and it came away in two pieces. This didn't bug me, since I have no plans to use a flash with the camera. Still a little irksome, though. However, I must say that every hot-shoe that I have seen on eBay has had some crack in it or other. Could be a design flaw. Then again, these things ARE over twenty years old, made of plastic, and designed to hold a top-heavy flash unit.
I already have an Olympus Om2n and, whilst I'm no expert, I do think it's one of the finest SLRs ever made. My plan was to get a second one and then sell both in order to get an all-black model in as good a condition as I could find. However, the more I thought about it, the happier I was with my original OM2n that I bought a couple of years ago. That one is in very clean condition and, although it's the two-tone, black and silver model, I thought it better not to try and go back to an all-black model like the one I bought in 1982 and stupidly sold twelve years later. There's a certain nostalgia factor in wanting to have a black one, but I think it's perhaps better not to try and go back to what I had. It just won't feel the same.
I like the lens that this new one came with.


With a range of 35mm to 70mm, I think it'll be a decent lens to have for my amateur photography purposes. I have a 135mm lens that I will attach to this new camera body and maybe put that up for sale. I've run some film through this camera and it all works as it should. However, in an effort to de-clutter and get rid of stuff that I don't use, I've been going through my cameras and I think I'll sell my Voigtlander Vitomatic II rangefinder and Nikon EM, as well as this OM2n.
That will leave my collection down to one OM2n, a late '60s Nikon F Photomic, and two Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders. More than enough 35mm film cameras. Finding correct batteries for the Nikon F could be problematic in future, but it's such a bullet-proof camera that I'd hate to get rid of it.

Tuesday
             My wife and son decided to do the Thousand Steps. Located in a national park about 45 minutes away from our house, it features a pathway which leads up along the mountain ranges in Dandenong. My daughter and I passed on it and headed to the nearby cafe instead. The cafe closed early that day, so we finished our coffee and iced tea while the staff put away tables and chairs and then we headed back to the car to wait for my Bond Girl and our son. It soon began raining;


Oh, and another thing about 35mm film...

Wednesday
                  ...there are two men in Italy who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase some old manufacturing equipment from a disused analog film factory. The factory was once owned by Ferrania, a film manufacturing company which made 135 and 120 film, as well as 35mm motion picture film. Naturally, the advent of digital photography saw the demise of the use of film, but these two guys have decided to resurrect Ferrania for the 21st Century. They need $250,000 in order to buy the equipment and begin manufacture. Their campaign ends on October 30th and they have already raised $160,000. I think they make it, with a considerable amount on top, which is good news for anybody who still likes using film. I've made my pledge, and I can't wait to see their products hit the street sometime next year.
For more info, check out this link to their Kickstarter page;

Kickstarter- Projects- Ferrania ; 100 More Years Of Film 

I spent an hour or two looking for other blogs that deal with affordable vintage wristwatches and I was surprised to find that there aren't many of them around. Or more likely, I couldn't find them. I did find a few, but they just lacked a certain something. The search goes on.

Thursday
               I wrote more of the draft of Assignment No. 4. I really like how the Olympia SM9 types, I have to say. I was wearing the Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo rebuild;


I was watching a packet of Tipp-Ex Typewriter Correction Papers on eBay. Seller had a starting bid of $9.00 on it. I almost bid on them before realising that I could maybe get away with just using one of those modern correction tape dispensers that you can buy from just about anywhere. Subconsciously, I think I got the idea from reading Joe Van Cleave's blog posts. Whenever he makes a rare typo, there's a neat square on the offending error with the proper letter typed over it. And so, a quick trip to the dreaded Officeworks store nearby and about $3.50 later, ta-dah!
Might go buy another three or four of them, just in case they stop making them. Well, you never know.
My wife brought home a copy of the recent version of "The Thirty-Nine Steps" on DVD, starring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay;


I don't like this shameless attempt at replicating the classic cropduster scene from Hitchcock's North By Northwest, but I'm hoping that this new version is a faithful adaption of the book. My wife keeps asking me ;"Have you finished reading it, so that we can watch the movie? I'll have to return it soon."
I have nineteen pages left, and I think our hero, Hannay, will find himself in some trouble before the final paragraph. I have seen the 1935 Hitchcock version, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, but that would have been sometime in the mid-Eighties, so I daresay I'm due for a re-viewing. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ending of both the book and this new version will be different.

Today
          I had a million things to do yesterday and I got 900,000 of them done. Now, I'll sign off so that I can go do the remaining 100,000. I have switched to the circa 1962 Omega Seamaster Automatic (Calibre 562) in an effort to go a little more understated today.


Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Fri 26/9/2014 - Overdressed for Lawn-Mowing, Knocking Off Assignments, & This Week's Wristwatches.

 - Friday 10:14pm  AEST -


Sunday
             It was a sunny day. I was wearing jeans and a white Henley t-shirt. I was going to mow the lawns. But first, I added a bandana into the ensemble;

 
"Hmm, you look a little too continental for mowing the lawns in the suburbs, T", was my wife's first response. That's a shame. I was actually aiming for a look similar to this --->;

This is French actor Yves Montand in a still from the absolute classic, The Wages of Fear ( Original French Title "Le salaire de la peur", Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953).
If you've never seen this film, then I envy you. The story starts off fairly slowly and it concerns a group of layabouts who are offered the job of driving trucks carrying nitro-glycerine over some very treacherous terrain in South America. There is an oil field on fire a few hundred miles away and the nitro is needed to put out the flames.
The first hour moves quite slowly as we learn who these men are and what their reasons are (besides money) for taking on this dangerous gig. Once they board the trucks, however, the viewer is in for some nail-biting scenes as the men attempt to manoeuvre these old and decrepit trucks across bumpy roads and rickety bridges. It is a classic lesson in suspense in film. I had it on VHS and have yet to replace it on DVD, but it's available as a Criterion Collection version, so I'll get around to it one day. 
Anyway, needless to say, I didn't quite look the same as Yves Montand as I mowed the front lawn. But I was wearing a proper watch for the job. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.

I'm about 60 pages into The Thirty-Nine Steps and I'm liking it so far. The hero of the story, Richard Hannay, has a great voice, as he's on the run through the Scottish countryside after being framed for a murder back in London. 
Wednesday
                  Finished Assignment 2 yesterday. It was only a response to a list of questions, but it required some hunting around for the answers. Then got started on Assignment 5, which is where I had to write about any collections that I have and the ways that I store and look after them. 
Hell, where do I start?, I thought to myself. 
First thing I did was grab the 1945 Smith-Corona Sterling. I have six assignments to do for this particular subject and at least two others for my other subject. That's going to mean a lot of time spent staring at computer screens. So, to minimise the chances of me going screwy, I thought I would use a typewriter for  this one. However, I made a few too many typos, so I figured I'd start again and concentrate a little more. I also decided to switch over to the 1966 Olympia SM9, since it's a smoother typewriter to work with. And, to get into a more business-like mood, I switched over to the Longines Expeditions Polaires;

I had some 35mm photos developed on Monday and they offered me the option of having them burned to CD for an extra two bucks. This seemed like a good idea for archival purposes. Even though I bought one of those Wolverine film-to-digital scanners off eBay a few months ago. I'll use that someday to transfer the photos that were taken with film up to 2005 when we got a decent (enough) digital camera. 
But back to the assignment. I sat down and started writing. Ninety minutes later, I had a headache and three pages done. Good enough. Perhaps more than what my lecturer had asked for, since she stated that it could be done in point-form. But if I was going to this much trouble, then it was going to be more than just point-form.





         
Thursday
               My son showed me a comic that he bought yesterday. It had a very cool 3D cover art. looking at it front-on, there's Batman standing there, black cape flowing;




















Angle slightly and the cape seems to disappear and a bunch of Batmans (or is it Batmen?) appear in the background;




















Anyway, I thought I'd take a break from study today. One of my other assignments will be a report on silverfish. Man, the research is gonna be riveting for that one. Either way, I'll spend part of the weekend looking up info online and taking notes. When I hand this one in, I'll then have to deliver a ten-minute talk to the rest of the class. Could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been mould.

Today
           Busy.

 

The finished product.


With the book safely tucked inside. I'll hand this in when I go back to class in two weeks. My lecturer had better not lose this book. I haven't read it yet.


And this book arrived in the mail. Can't wait to start it. Charles Cumming has been very well regarded in a very short time. Some folks are saying he should write the next Bond continuation novel.


I'll have to finish The Thirty-Nine Steps and then I'll get started on this one.

Headed into the city with my daughter to the National Gallery of Victoria. I still had a few notes that I wanted to take and I wanted to get some better photos than the ones I took with my phone a couple of weeks ago.
This particular painting had an effect on me. I think I had my very first 'art moment'




I don't know whether it was the story behind the painting, whether the futility of Sophonisba's predicament was particularly tragic, the expressions on the faces of those in the painting, or something else, but I was moved by this painting.











Here's a close-up. I'm always amazed at the detail and the lighting in oil paintings.


I took a heap more photos, but I think it needs its own post.
My wife and son met up with us a couple of hours later and we went off for an early dinner at a bistro that I worked at 20 years ago. Where my wife and I first met. I was still wearing the Omega Planet Ocean. Here's a shot that I tweaked with the iPhoto app.
Man, you can waste a lot of time with these apps.


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Adventures In Eyewear : Part One- "Nice Glasses, Four Eyes!"

 Screen-cap taken from Bringing Up Baby
(Dir: Howard Hawks, 1938)

I first noticed it during a Maths class in 1982. Mr. Lindsay wrote some algebraic formula or other on the blackboard (yeah, with chalk) and it looked a little blurry to me. I tried squinting. It sharpened up a little, but I couldn't go through my school life squinting at everything I saw.
Never got the hang of algebra, either, for that matter.
A few days later, my Dad booked me an appointment with his optometrist. I went through all of the "Alright, now read the letters on the third line from the top, please" and "Right, now which circle looks sharper? This one? Or this one? This one...or this one?"
The verdict? I would need glasses. Great. Just great. Skinny build. Asthmatic. Now we could add short-sightedness into the mix. I would never be cast as Bond now.

"Now, what kind of frames are you thinking of?", the optometrist asked me in a slightly clipped tone. I actually hadn't really thought that far ahead. I was still coming to grips with having to wear glasses.
"Most young people tend to go for the swept-up look of something like these", he went on, as he reached for a glossy gunmetal set of frames on a display rack near his chair.
They looked a lot like these;












    

 Picture courtesy of almondtreevintage on Etsy

As you can see, they were very representative of the era. Very 'suburban-bank-branch-manager, circa 1980'.
And I wore them without any issues for the next two or three years before deciding to get on the big plastic frames bandwagon. It was the '80s and everything was big. Big shoulder pads in men's and women's tailoring (remember "Dynasty"?), big hair (remember "Dynasty"?), and big spectacle frames. 
Like Judith Light in "Who's The Boss?";

                                                    picture courtesy of http://www.fanpix.net, posted by Samual, 
                                                    screencap from "Who's The Boss?" (Created by Martin Cohan 
                                                    and Blake Hunter, ABC Studios, 1984-1992)

 This style of frames was everywhere. I ended up getting specs very similar to these;

picture courtesy of www.eyeglasseswarehouse.com


However, I had one major change made to the lenses and opted for those new-fangled photochromatic ones that darkened when exposed to UV light. This would instantly turn my specs into prescription sunglasses on sunny days. There was just one big problem with these types of lenses - they tended to darken even on overcast days. So, after wearing them for about a year, I found that I would squint on cloudy days in winter if I didn't have them on. And I looked like I was wearing sunglasses in winter, too. Wanker!
Big mistake getting these lenses. Aside from the reason above, the frames were also too damn big for the shape of my face. My mug is quite thin and these specs occupied almost one third of my face. I didn't notice it so much when my hair was long, but with a shorter hairstyle, these frames looked a little too dominant. But like I said, it was the '80s.
It was time to go for something else that would be better suited to my face shape. It was now around 1986 and I was at the height of my fascination for Old Hollywood movies, classic American noir crime fiction, and Art Deco design. So I found myself particularly drawn to the Beaufort-style spectacle frames. 
These frames positively screamed "1920s book-keeper"...


...or Dr. Jones, circa 1945;



These were an English-made brand called Algha. They had 12k gold-plated temples (arms) and hinges. They were a nice frame. Only problem was the temples ended in those curved coils which curled behind the ears. After prolonged wear, the backs of my ears would ache.
Still, they were a nice frame. I have a sneaking suspicion that I still have them packed away someplace, but there's no way I'm gonna try looking for them now.
EDIT: 24/8- Found 'em!  Which meant that I could take the photo above, rather than search the web.





picture courtesy of http://www.sunglassesid.com , taken from
"Indiana Jones & The
Last Crusade"  (Dir: Steven Spielberg,
Paramount Pictures, 1988)

This style of frame is not currently in vogue, but fashion is cyclical. They'll be popular again one day.


By the late 1980s, it was time to go for something different. I had already purchased a pair of RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses in tortoise-shell and thought of getting another pair and having prescription lenses fitted. So I went to see my optometrist and put a deposit down on a pair of Wayfarers with my script added.
I must admit that I was pretty slack when it came to making regular payments on these glasses. I think the total cost was around $130.oo, but I took a lazy 12 months to pay for them. When I finally went to make the last payment and pick them up, I said to the receptionist; "So, do I get some kind of plaque to commemorate the occasion?"
She didn't laugh.
I happily wore these frames in rotation with the Beauforts for the next few years. Here they are, brought out of retirement for this blog post;


Beautiful shape, classic styling that had remained relatively unchanged since their introduction in the 1950s. Thanks to "The Blues Brothers" (Dir: John Landis, 1980) and "Risky Business" (Dir: Paul Brickman, 1983), the RayBan Wayfarer was enjoying incredibly robust sales during the first half of the Eighties. Everybody was buying these frames. Once again, I opted for tortoise-shell instead of black. Every man and his dog was buying the black.


However, one day, I just stopped wearing them.
The reason was simple, actually. I put them on one morning and, as I headed out of the bedroom, I caught my reflection in the mirror...and realised that these frames, on my face, made me look a little like this guy;


picture courtesy of http://www.thevervoid.com, screencap taken from "The Thunderbirds", (Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, AP Films, 1964-1966)

Yep, I looked like Brains from The Thunderbirds, the classic Gerry Anderson '60s TV series, that used to screen at 6.00am on Saturday mornings when I was a kid.
All of a sudden, these RayBans-as-spectacles looked large on me. I looked like Buddy Holly, which is fine, but not exactly the look I was going for. These frames dominated my face. And that was it. I switched to wearing the Beauforts all the time. Strangely, the RayBan Wayfarer sunnies look fine, but as soon as you pop the dark lenses out, that changes things. To me, anyway. I'll write more about the sunglasses in another post.
By now, it was the early 1990s and my fascination for all things 1930s and '40s was in full swing. I was watching a lot of films from the era, I was reading up on Art Deco design and architecture (the Art Deco period was brief, running from about 1925 to approximately 1940) and my appreciation of clean, sparse design principles led me to a purer type of spectacle frame;


These frames are by Silhouette. I was aiming for this kind of look;

This is the famed Swiss architect, designer, urban planner and true visionary, Le Corbusier (real name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris), who has often been called the father of modern architecture.
Of course, I wasn't building cities or designing super-cool armchairs. I was waiting tables.
My best friend looked at me when I first got these frames and remarked; "You know, they make you look like Emperor Hirohito."
Yeah, thanks, John.

They were great frames. Very comfortable.

Simple in design, these frames were perfect circles and I wore them for years. One day in 1996, while I was making coffees at a cafe in the city, I decided to give them a quick clean under the steam arm of the coffee machine. Bad move. 
I held the frames a little too close to the nozzle and ended up scorching them to the point where they had discoloured. I think I may have cooked them slightly. You may just be able to make out the slight haziness (in this blurry photo) on the upper edge of the frames and along the bridge. Damn fool thing to do.


It was a helluva lot more noticeable in real life and I soon grabbed a Texta (Magic Marker, black of course) and coloured-in the blemishes. Needless to say, this didn't work well in the long run when I would sweat, simultaneously removing the repaint and winding up with black marks on my eyebrows and nose.
I couldn't wear them like this. It was time to 'retire' them back to their case and switch back to the Beaufort frames for a while. 
A few months passed before I decided to switch back to metal frames. I opted for these thin ones from ProDesign of Denmark;



Spider-thin and almost perfectly round, these were an unobtrusive frame and I wore them for quite a while. However, I found myself tightening the screws on the arms pretty frequently, which got annoying. Still, they served me well. 


But...they got a little bland after a while. Time for something new. It was now around 2003 and I decided to go back to acetate frames. I opted for a relatively inexpensive pair of black Mossimo frames. Sorry, I got no photos of these frames. I wore them to work one day and they just disappeared. I have a theory that they may have slipped out of my shirt pocket and into the rubbish bin when I leaned over one day to reach for something. My manager really couldn't care less as I headed out to the dumpster in a semi-desperate search for them. I think I even saw him smirk when I got back to the store.
Another reason why I quit that job.

I had a routine vision test sometime in 2009. The optometrist gave me some great news. I would need reading glasses. By the way, that was sarcasm.
"Can I get bi-focals", I asked, not that I was looking forward to wearing them.
"No, because they eyes have a tendency to get lazy when wearing bi-focals. It's better if you opt for straight-forward reading glasses", she replied. So, I went for this metal set of frames by a brand called Austin Reed. They were nifty because they had a separate frame that held the lens;


Made me look like an architect named Sven or Lars or a European car designer named Hans or Gustav. Which was fine by me.


I was, however, a little ticked off at the thought of having to carry two pairs of glasses. Three pairs, actually, if you take into account sunglasses for the summer days.

And so, I soon found myself carrying the steel ProDesign frames with the flimsy screws, and this new set of reading glasses. And then one day, as I was throwing away some old magazines, I came across an issue of GQ magazine that I bought back in 1986. Staring back at me from the front cover was Mr. Cary Grant;

And it was then that I knew I needed some bold dark frames like Mr. Grant's.
This was perhaps the last major interview that Grant did. He was 82 years old, but looked fifteen years younger. 
Diane K. Shah did a great job with the interview and Grant called her up a few days later to say that, since the article was for a fashion magazine, would she like to meet with him again to discuss clothing? This extended interview formed the closing section of the article.
Cary Grant died of a massive stroke in November that year. I was driving my mother's Datsun 200B when I heard the news on the radio. I nearly hit a tree.
I still have this issue of GQ packed away someplace. No way I'm getting rid of it.
By this stage, my optometrist had closed down, so it was time to find a new one. By chance, I was walking through town when a display in an optometrist's shop window caught my eye. I stepped in to take a closer look. This store had quite a few frames to choose from and there was one brand that caught my eye.

Not the typical kind of imagery that one would associate with spectacle frames. Okay, I had the same hairline as the guy in this photo. And that's where the similarities ended. Sure, I could grow a 'stache and goatee like this dude. And maybe, if I hit the gym (and a lot of protein powder) for a couple of years, I could get the same body. However, maybe I should just start by getting similar glasses. Booth & Bruce make beautiful frames, but they were pricier than I was hoping.
I looked at other brands in the store. I knew what I was after. I wanted a dark tortoise-shell, rectangular frame. I landed on a nice set of frames by Hackett Bespoke. Hackett is a men's clothing manufacturer from England. Generally, I tend to steer clear of brands that are known for one type of product who then launch themselves into manufacturing an entirely different product. Mont Blanc, for example, has long been known as a highly respected manufacturer of writing instruments. Around the early to mid 1990s, it branched out into making wristwatches and is now well known for making some complicated timepieces. But I'll never buy one. For me, the brand is so strongly associated with pens that I can't accept it as a watchmaker. Even though it makes some nice wristwatches. 
Anyway, back to my glasses. I bought the Hackett frames.


These frames were perhaps the most expensive ones I've ever purchased. From memory, I think they cost me about $280 before the extra $150 required for prescription lenses. However, these frames still look and feel brand new. The hinges and temples (arms) are sterling silver, encased in tortoise-shell resin or acetate. Perhaps that is what made them so pricey;


However, I look after my stuff, so I don't mind spending every now and then. These things will last me decades, if my other specs are anything to go by. I've had them for about seven years now.
When I bought them, I had to have an eye examination. The new optometrist determined that I didn't actually need reading glasses.
"So how come the last eye test I had showed that I did need them?", I asked.
"You may have been tired when you had that test done. This can sometimes give a different reading", he replied.
I soon had the reading glasses converted to long-distance lenses. These frames are in the glovebox of my car as a set of spares for those rare occasions when I leave the house without my specs. 

About a year ago, I was surfing through eBay and saw a set of frames that looked interesting. They were made by Oliver Peoples, a frame-maker that was very big back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I used to see them advertise in a variety of magazines. Here's a pic of a younger Mr. Robert Downey jr wearing a pair of OP-505s;

                                                                 picture courtesy of extinct eyewear.tumblr

The Oliver Peoples frames that caught my eye were these ones;


A nice round, tortoise-shell frame. But, if you look a little closer at one of the temples...


...yessir, these frames are called 'Gregory Peck' and are modelled on the frames that he wore in his favourite (his own opinion) and perhaps most famous role as Depression-era Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird" (Dir: Robert Mullligan, 1962). And his name is printed in a worn typewriter font as well.
I had to have them. Also, they were a totally different look to the Hackett frames as well. I will admit that I haven't worn them often. I'm trying to find a more streamlined case for them, since the case that they came with...


...is a little unwieldy and takes up more room in a bag.

While in Thailand a couple of months ago, we walked past a store in Bangkok called V Eyewear that sold spectacle frames. I forget the prices in Thai Baht, but they roughly converted to approximately $95.oo AUD. I took a look at what they had and was sorely tempted. A spare pair of specs will always come in handy. My wife said I may as well, since the price was low enough. So, I chose a frame in a style called 'Passaic'. I went for the black version, just as a contrast to all the tortoise-shell frames that I have. These black frames were called 'Night Out'.


As for the lenses, they were an extra forty-two bucks because I chose glare-proof ones. Fine by me. At a total price of about $137.50AUD, it still worked out considerably cheaper than prices back home.

The spectacles industry has undergone a change in recent years. I first read about Warby Parker in a GQ magazine a few years ago. One of the founders (can't recall his name) lost a pair of expensive spectacles while travelling. He decided then and there that he would never shell out big bucks for glasses again and he soon set up his website with a view to selling well-made, nicely-designed specs at affordable prices.
It wasn't long before somebody in Australia decided on a similar set-up and www.oscarwylee.com.au popped up on the web. And Scott K told me about Bailey Nelson, who offer a range of specs at competitive prices. I don't know if I'd wanna buy specs off the web. I prefer to step into a store and try a few frames on. I may have to pop into Bailey Nelson and check them out. Although, to be honest, I think I'm pretty set for spectacle frames at the moment.

But back to these black frames that I got in Thailand. I almost wasn't going to buy them because I didn't think they'd be made up in time. We were in Bangkok for only five days. A pair of specs and lenses usually takes about seven to ten days here in Melbourne. The young man in the store told me my glasses could be ready by 5:00pm THE NEXT DAY.
How could I say 'no' to that? I left him with my own pair of glasses so that they could match the prescription lenses for this new pair, and arranged to come back the following day.
Sure enough, about thirty hours later, I went back to the store and my new frames were ready and waiting.


I would imagine that the reason they are so cheap would have something to do with the materials used. I'd be fairly certain that there are a range of different plastics and acetates that are used in the manufacture of spectacle frames and some would be more expensive than others. These frames are quite sturdy, but I would say that they may warp or bend over time. However, this is nothing that my optometrist  back home wouldn't be able to reshape if required. To play it safe, I perhaps wouldn't leave them in my car on a hot day. Aside from that, I have no issue with them.


And that's my spectacle odyssey. Thirty-plus years of wearing glasses. It took me a long time to find frames that suited my face shape, and that won't date. I think I've gone for clean and classic designs and I see no point in continuing to search for anything else. It might be an idea to snag one or two similar frames to put away for if/when these current ones get lost (hopefully, that's doubtful) or damaged beyond repair (hopefully, that's doubtful too), but aside from that, I think I've got my eyewear covered.

Thanks for reading!