Thursday, 20 November 2014

Friday 21/11/14 - Looking for 'Archer', Paul Newman's Still So Damn Cool, & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 6:29pm  ADST - 

I've been on a bit of a Paul Newman kick lately. 

I've always liked him as an actor. He had a great and likeable presence on-screen, although I'm ashamed to admit that, despite his long and prolific career, I've probably seen only about ten or fifteen of his films;

Cool Hand Luke 
The Secret War of Harry Frigg
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Never Give An Inch (aka Sometimes a Great Notion)
The Life And Times of Judge Roy Bean
The Sting
The Towering Inferno
The Drowning Pool (a couple of nights ago)
The Verdict
The Color of Money
Road to Perdition
The Hudsucker Proxy

Okay, make that thirteen. That's cool. Means I've got a lot of his films to still look forward to. As great as he was an actor, he was perhaps greater as a humanitarian. He and his buddy A.E. Hotchner founded the Newman's Own salad dressing venture back in 1982. All proceeds, after taxes, were to go to charity. To date, this company has raised over 380 million dollars. 

I managed to track down a copy of his 1975 film, The Drowning Pool, where he reprised his role as SoCal private detective Lew Harper from the 1966 movie entitled Harper. This character, often regarded as the successor to Chandler's Philip Marlowe, appeared in a large number of books by Ross McDonald, although he's named Lew Archer in the novels.
I recall the TV ads for The Drowning Pool from back in the Seventies. From memory, the film didn't do too well when it was released, but I have to say it was actually a pretty good film. The supporting cast was great, except for Melanie Griffith, in one of her earliest screen roles here, the music was jaunty in places, and the screenplay was good. I haven't seen Harper, but I seem to recall certain scenes from it. Might have something to do with my having read Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman, the screenwriter who adapted Ross McDonald's first Archer book, The Moving Target, into the screenplay for Harper. At any rate, I'm awaiting a copy of Harper and it'll be interesting to see.

My wife is a big fan of Newman's 1973 classic, The Sting (Dir: George Roy Hill), which reunited him with his co-star from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Dir: Hill again), Robert Redford. Whenever we watch The Sting, and Newman appears on-screen, my wife will remark; 'Gee, he was a beautiful man.'
I'm, of course, in no position to argue. 
Newman aged well throughout the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. Rumour has it that the trick he employs at the beginning of The Sting, whereby he fills a basin with two trays of ice and cold water before dunking his face in it for thirty seconds or so, was something that he did in real life and this is what kept him looking younger than his years. I don't know about that, but he certainly held up well in his time. 

Aside from waiting for the Harper DVD, I've also been on the lookout for Ross McDonald's Archer novels. I have to say these are proving virtually impossible to find in second-hand bookstores. Back in the '90s, I used to see them everywhere, both new and used, nestled on store shelves between the John D. McDonalds (he wrote the Travis McGee crime books) and Ngaio Marsh's mystery novels. 
I can get a lot of the Archer stories off eBay, but I don't relish paying twenty-five bucks for them right now. Might have to check out Amazon.

 I remember going to the cinema in 1982 to see The Verdict (Dir: Sidney Lumet) in which Newman plays a very-close-to-washed-up ambulance-chasing Boston lawyer named Frank Galvin, who has one last shot at redemption when he takes on a medical malpractice case and goes up against James Mason's character, who's a partner in the largest law firm in the city. It's a brilliant performance that Newman gives, and it definitely should have snagged him the Best Actor Oscar that year. Ben Kingsley got it for his title role in Gandhi, a performance that had many older Indians believing that their spiritual leader had come back to life. 
Newman finally received the golden statuette for his return as 'Fast' Eddie Felson (his character from The Hustler- Dir: Robert Rossen, 1961) in Scosese's The Color of Money in 1986, opposite Tom Cruise. It was another great performance, but The Verdict was more of an actor's role.
There were a great many actors of Newman's generation who are all well-regarded. Redford, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Gene Hackman, Robert DeNiro and Clint Eastwood were all quite prolific throughout the Seventies and Eighties, but I have to hand it to Newman for all that he did outside of his acting gigs.
Newman was married to actress Joanne Woodward for fifty years, a rare feat in Hollywood marriages, and they had five daughters and one son, who died of a drug overdose in 1978. 
He died in 2008 of lung cancer at the age of 83, leaving behind Woodward and the girls, a great body of  work on film, and a wide range of philanthropic endeavours that made life easier for a great deal of people.

It's been a busy week. I have two or three more assignments to complete and I plan to get them done over the next week. One test to do in-class next Thursday and then that's it for the year. Two more subjects to complete, hopefully in the first quarter of next year, and then this course is finished!

Monday's watch, the Omega Railmaster. Been getting a lot of wear out of this one lately;

When I worked briefly at a local jewellery store a couple of years ago, I began taking notice of silver bracelets, thinking that perhaps I'd like to get myself one. I recall mentioning this to my wife.
Her response? "And who will you be married to? You'll look like a Chock."  (a Guido)
I told her that Chocks wear gold bracelets. Big chunky ones. I wanted something a little more understated. Looking at all these pics of Paul Newman lately and I decided to get on eBay and see what they had. Sure enough, fifty-eight bucks later and here it is. A sterling silver Cuban curb-link bracelet.

This morning. You know, I forgot I had this t-shirt;

This afternoon, changed over to the Seiko 7002 to do some housework;

Right, it's late Friday afternoon, the sun is shining, I got a few major household things out of the way and I could use a drink. 'Scuse me for a second.

Okay, that's better. Gin & tonic with a few slices of cucumber. Makes a difference, I can tell you. Railmaster back on the wrist. Cheers;

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Special thanks once again to wikipedia for the info on Paul Newman. I knew a bit of it, but this great website is fantastic for filling in the blanks and details. It even has an entry about 'Guido'! Nothing on the term 'Chock', which I'm sure was coined by myself and a few friends back in the Eighties to signify the type of young Italian guy that we didn't want to be. - Ciao!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Friday 14/11/14 - New Wristwatch Forums, Back to the Caffettiera, Car Break-Ins & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 12:11pm  ADST - 

Last weekend
                     Sat down to watch Dial M for Murder (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock, 1954). Maybe I was a little too tired from the various things that I did earlier in the day, maybe it was the casting of Ray Milland and Robert Cummings in this film (they were both adequate actors, but I felt that a Hitchcock film deserved better leading men), or maybe it was something else. Either way, I  didn't find this film to be as enjoyable as the rest of Hitchcock's output of the 1950s. Sure, there were some tense moments in it, but overall, I found this film a little bland. I'm fairly certain it has more to do with how fatigued I felt rather than anything else, so I think I'll have to watch this film again one day to see if I end up with a higher opinion of it.

And for most of the weekend and early on in the week, I was wearing the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph;

I still get a buzz out of this watch. Maybe it's because it was on my mind for about five or six years before I bought it. I think the current retail price is somewhere around $3,200.ooAUD and it puts vastly more expensive chronographs to shame. For example, here's a quick comparison. I bought my Sinn in 2009. At the time, you could have gone for the more basic model, the 103 St Ty, which looked like this;

This watch has a current retail price of about $3,885.ooAUD on a steel bracelet.
Here are the specifications:

Sinn 358 Sa (Sa = Sapphire)

* Case diameter- 42mm
* Water-resistance- 100m
* Movement- Valjoux 7750 automatic, with day and date display.
* Crystal-Sapphire, with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
* Case-back- Sapphire, with anti-reflective coating on the inside.


Now, take a very, similar watch, the IWC Pilot's Chrono , released around 2007, with a current retail price of $7,000.ooAUD on steel bracelet.
Here are the specs on this watch;

IWC Pilot's Watch Chrono Automatic
(model number 3717-01)

* Case diameter- 42mm
* Water-resistance- 60m
* Movement- Valjoux 7750 (Chronometer-rated) 
automatic with day and date display. Soft 
iron core encasing the movement to protect against magnetic field interference. 
* Crystal- Sapphire, with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
* Case-back- Steel

Okay, so this IWC watch has a little extra. The movement is more accurate and has been tested as such, and it's protected against magnetic interference. However, in real life, I find water resistance to be far more important than resistance to magnetic fields. And yes, the IWC is chronometer-rated, but the Sinn is no slouch when it comes to timekeeping accuracy, so I really can't accept the IWC's pricing. Those extras don't really justify a seven grand price-tag. IWC make some beautiful watches, but I feel that you're paying for the name with this particular model, when compared to the equivalent watch by Sinn.
Although, this IWC does have one thing going for it. Brad Pitt wore the previous model in one of my absolute favourite films, Mr & Mrs Smith (Dir: Doug Liman, 2005);

Okay, rant over. 

              The coffee machine was due for another service, so off it went to the repairers. Time to bust out the caffettiera, the Bialetti Moka Express. It produces a thinner tasting cup of coffee which always takes me a little getting used to after the fuller flavour that you get from an espresso machine. Yes, it's a first-world problem. I do love these caffettieras. There were about six of these, in various sizes, in my house growing up. This one above is the six-cup model. I think I have two others, but they're packed away.
I switched to the Omega Railmaster. Sometimes, simpler coffee requires a simpler wristwatch;

              Found a new wristwatch forum. I was actually told about it by another watch collector and I decided I'd join up.
It's called the International Watch League and it looks like it'll be a nice place to visit. And here's the link;

International Watch League

This morning
                      Somebody knocked on our door this morning at around 5:20am. That's never good news. I opened the door, bleary-eyed, to find a policeman shining a torch at me. He apologised for waking us and then informed us that our cars had been broken into. There was nothing of value in our cars, but this little bastard took my Swiss Army knife. 
The police officer told us somebody in the next street heard his car getting messed with and he got into a scuffle with the perp who ended up getting away...on a bicycle. The general consensus is that it's some kid in the neighbourhood. 
Man, the weasel took my Army Knife. This time, it's personal. 

I got a call around 8:00am from an officer who told me that she would be coming around with a forensics kit to see if they could lift some prints off my car. If the thief has a record, then his fingerprints will be on their database. Tell ya what, the fingerprint powder that they use is a dog to wash off. 
Her colleague went and spoke to a couple of neighbours while she worked on my car. Because it's paintwork is so old, she wasn't sure if she'd be able to get any useable prints.

I like cops. Got a lot of respect for them. It's not an easy job, the paperwork is never-ending, and the hours are murder.

                                Have you seen this man? A couple of decent prints. Probably mine, ha, ha!

Anyway, that's me done for the week. Some homework due by 5:00pm today and another two assignments due next Friday. Can't wait to finish this course. Bit of luck, I should be done by March/April next year. 
.......................................................................Far out, I just stepped outside to hand my wife a pair of sunglasses and the front door slammed shut behind me, effectively locking us both out of the house. Thankfully, the bathroom window was open. But first, I had to grab a ladder.
I have to say today hasn't exactly set my world on fire. 
And it's only midday.

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

One last pic, jazzed up a little, courtesy of the iPhoto app.

EDIT: I posted the wrong IWC chronograph photo earlier today. Corrected it seven hours later. All fixed.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Friday 7/11/14 - Feeling Uninspired, Get Well Soon, Sir Mick & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 6:34pm  AEST - 

Can't say I'm in the mood for this week's entry. I've been thinking lately about these weekly watch posts. Not sure if I want to continue them to such a degree, since they do tend to take up a bit of time to write. Anyway, I'll see how I go. 

Had a couple of bike rides last weekend with my son. Decided to wear the Seiko 7002;

Man, I don't know why these pics never rotate properly on my computer before I upload 'em. 

Later in the afternoon, I checked this blog and found a new comment posted on a post I wrote almost a year ago;

"What are you, my mother?" was my first thought. Would've been nice if they had left a name. Anyway, I can't worry about what somebody thinks. I have more important crap to occupy my mind. As it happens, I had another idea for a rom-com/screwball comedy screenplay yesterday while driving home from classes. Four main characters, two main objectives. As soon as I can figure out the motivation for two of those characters, there may just be enough in it for a decent story. 
However, you know the old saying- dying is easy, comedy is hard. 

             Took off the Seiko and switched back to the Omega Railmaster from last week while I continued working on an Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter due in on Friday;

               It was Melbourne Cup Day here. I put a few bucks on a few different horses. Red Cadeaux placed second. For the third year in a row, so I re-couped a little bit. This year's race was marred by a couple of tragedies. One of the favourites, Admire Rakti, collapsed in his stall and died shortly after the race. Another horse, Araldo, was being led back to the mounting yard after the race when somebody in the crowd waved a large, bright flag as he passed. This spooked the horse who lashed out and got tangled in a fence, breaking one of his legs in the process. The injury was assessed and Araldo was later put down. 
There is big, big money in this race. Horses and trainers come to Melbourne from around the world to participate. However, I have to admit that I've always found it a little harsh on the horses themselves, what with the use of the whips and how these animals are pushed to their limits over the 3200m race, not to mention the rigorous training in the lead-up. 
I would like to think that some major changes will come out of these two deaths, the sort of changes which take the welfare of these beautiful creatures into greater account.
And I'm not sure if I want to bet on these races anymore.

         Headed into town briefly. Took the Olympus OM2n with me, just in case I felt like taking some pics. I was wearing the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph;

On the way to the train station, I heard on the radio that The Rolling Stones concert that was due to take place tomorrow at Hanging Rock has been cancelled. Singer Mick Jagger has come down with a throat infection. I'm sure you'll never read this, Sir Mick, but I hope you get well soonish. And thanks for all your efforts thus far;

I got home a few hours ago and switched the leather strap on the watch back to its steel bracelet;

That guitar plectrum was given to me by a neighbour who was a madder Stones fan than I am. He hung around after one of their concerts back around 12 years ago and got to talking to one of the roadies who gave him this guitar pick. 
"Did somebody use this one?", he asked the roadie. 
Keith", was the roadie's reply.

I'm gonna get a box frame made up for this thing one day. 

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend, all!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fri 31/10/14 - No Major Highs, No Major Lows, Just Plodding Along & This Week's Wristwatches

- Friday 11:09 am   AEST - 

Last weekend

My wife and I sat down to watch Chef (Dir: Jon Favreau, 2013) on Sunday. I have to say, it didn't quite set my world on fire. There were just a couple of scenes here and there that didn't seem to flow on from the scenes before them, and one or two bits that seemed to run a little longer than they should have. It almost felt as though all Three Acts of the screenplay came from three different drafts. 
Or maybe, the film got cut differently in the editing room to how Favreau wanted it.
I will say, however, I got a lot of time for John Favreau. In this film, his character, Carl Casper, is pretty spot-on. I've worked with chefs like that.
And, as a director, he did sterling work with the first two Ironman films, and I was surprised when he wasn't offered the third one, which I consider the weakest of the three. Shane Black is an action film bad-ass, without a doubt (the Patron Saint of action film screenwriters. I consider The Long Kiss Goodnight a classic), but Ironman 3 just had too much of a Shane Black stamp on it, with it's Christmas carols and shipyards at night. Although, the aeroplane-passengers-with-no-parachutes scene is brilliant and quite moving and his screenplay for the film was very clever. It just seemed, in some ways, like a departure from the first two installments.

Oh yeah, Jon Favreau. He does a great job directing Chef and the supporting cast is great. There are a few scenes with Favreau and his sous chefs, played by the wonderful John Leguizamo and the impressive Bobby Cannavale (whom I recall from an episode of Sex And The City years ago) and my wife turned to me and said; Gee, they swear a lot.
Yes. Yes they do. I've worked in some kitchens that would make a frat boy blush. It was eff this, eff that, eff you!
And there's a scene where Favreau takes his son to a movie in an effort to bond with him a little. We get a quick shot of them sitting in the audience, munching on popcorn and we hear the unmistakeable sound of Ironman's palm laser being fired. I mention this because my son thought I should include it in this post.
'Cos it's important to take your kid's suggestions sometimes.

I was wearing the WatchCo Omega Seamaster 300 on a TrueBond NATO strap all weekend;

              Watched a couple of episodes of Veep. It stars ex-Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the Vice President of The United States. She has a small team of advisers and yes-men who effectively get her into, and out of, trouble on a regular basis due to her not being as smart as she thinks she is. And there's a great running gag throughout the show;
                  Did The President call?

                  Uhh, no, Ma'am.

After you hear this three or four times, you begin to get the impression that the Commander-In-Chief hates her guts, since he never returns her calls.

I'll be honest, I wasn't a regular Seinfeld viewer, despite the fact that it was probably the sharpest sitcom on TV throughout the Nineties, although I did like Frasier. 
In Veep, Louis-Dreyfus is brilliant. I've watched the first eight episodes and her performance is very funny, and a virtual 180 degrees from her Elaine Benes character from Seinfeld, which would be a tough act to follow.
The supporting cast is great, notably Anna Chlumsky (who was Macaulay Culkin's co-star in My Girl back in 1991!), Tony Hale as her main lackey, and Matt Walsh, as one of her spin doctors. There's quite a bit of profanity (it's HBO, folks. They keep it real), and the writing is so sharp, with one-liners and put-downs coming at an alarming rate at times.
I hope this show is around for a long time.

I've been reading The Lonely Skier by Hammond Innes. Written in 1946, it's the story of Englishman Neil Blair, a hard-on-his-luck war veteran who wants to write screenplays. He bumps into an old war buddy who offers him the job of going to a ski resort in Italy and 'observing' the movements of the guests and reporting back. He's not sure why he has to do this, but decides to take the job, since he needs the money and might even get enough ideas to churn out a script.
Once there, he meets an odd assortment of characters who each harbour secret motives for being there. The blurb on the back cover mentions Nazi gold, so that's a good enough reason for them to be there. I'll be interested to see how this story pans out. It has the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie tale, but I'm pretty sure it'll be vastly different to a Poirot/Miss Marple story.

                   Switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, seen here on a map of my old stomping ground and surrounding suburbs;

I have to say that I have never used a GPS in the car. I don't have one and have no plans to get one. I still prefer to look at a paper map. When I had my Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone, we used the GoogleMap app to plot the drive out to Daylesford, located about 110 kilometres North-West of Melbourne. While it was nifty seeing a small blue triangle (representing the phone's location on the map) on the screen, it was nerve-wracking watching the phone's battery life bleeding away. Sure enough, the battery died ten minutes from our destination. We got there, but I decided then that I hate using mobile map apps.

          Not much happening. Got an assignment to complete for next Friday and that's going okay. Think I'll give the lawns a quick mowing. Right now, I'm wearing the Omega Railmaster on strap;

Although, I may put on a Seiko if I'm gonna tackle any gardening. Anyway, it's Melbourne Cup Day this coming Tuesday. One of the most prestigious horse races in the world. I reckon half the people in this town will give themselves an extra long weekend and take Monday off.
I'll check the form guide on Tuesday morning and see if there's anything worth putting a little bet on.

Till then, thanks for reading and have a good weekend, all!

EDIT: Hey, I forgot to mention that the Film Ferrania Kickstarter project managed to achieve its budget with a little extra cream on top. They were seeking to raise $250,000 and managed to get a total pledge of  almost $323,000. Well done, ragazzi!
There is a small handful (if four fingers constitutes a handful) of 35mm film production companies left in the world.
One more player in the game can only be a good thing. 

Here's their website;

Film Ferrania

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

"Nice belt, **7" - The Secret Agent Belt by Magnificent Bastard

Magnificent Bastard
I've been following the posts over on Magnificent for a couple of years now;

I mean, how can you not like a logo like that?------------------->
 Anyway, The name of this blog comes from a line out of Patton (Dir: Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970), so it's not just there for shock value, just in case it may offend your delicate sensibilities.

MB is a magazine-style blog about a variety of men's interests and it's very nicely put together. I like the overall smart-assy tone of the editorials and it is a little corner of the internet that exudes an air of dark wood panelling, leather armchairs, Single Malt scotch and a perfectly-knotted tie. To me, anyway. It features short little articles on various topics as diverse as correct shirt buttoning and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, for example, as well as a regular "Ask the MB" Q&A section, which is quite funny.

I check this blog out every couple of weeks and it was about two months ago that I had a quick look and saw something that I just had to have. 
It was a nylon belt. 
A belt?, I hear you ask?
Yes. A belt. But what a belt!
For the sake of avoiding any copyright-related legal wranglings, it is referred to by MB and therefore myself as the Secret Agent Belt.
I went over to the shopping page and, after a couple of e-mails back and forth, placed an order for one. At approx. $30 USD ($30.07, to be precise. Yet another nod to that English Secret Agent who shan't be named), it hardly broke the bank. 

It arrived about ten days later, securely packaged. And when I opened the box, there was another box inside it;

Once I took the tissue-paper off, I saw the silhouette of the Walther PPK and inside was a nifty little card;

The belt itself is very well made. Nice thick nylon that's not about to wear out anytime soon. And the hardware perfectly mimics the NATO watch strap that it's based on, as does the colouring. It closely matches the strap worn by S*** C****** on his R**** S********* in G********* (Dir: G** H*******, 196*). The stitching is solid, too. This thing should last a long time.

Now, I am in no way affiliated with Magnificent Bastard. I just thought I'd do a post on this belt because it's so well made and I find it amusing in its take on the NATO watch strap. I plan to get a lot of wear out of this belt over the next few months as we enter the warmer Summer weather.
Although, in saying that, if I were still having to wear a suit to work everyday, I'd probably put this belt on every now and then just to take the seriousness out of wearing a suit. Certainly beats those dreaded Superman-logo and Wile E. Coyote ties that a lot of guys were sporting back in the Nineties.

Yessiree, Bob, it works very well indeed. Now all I need is a bad-guy intent on world domination, and a girl in a white bikini with a dive knife strapped around her waist and I'm all set.

You can buy one of these cool belts here;

Shop - Magnificent

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fri 24/10/14 - Still Busy, Armageddon 2014, The Kids Are Sick & This Week's Wristwatch.

- Fri 10:27am AEST - 

Last Weekend
                       Started off simply enough. I worked on another assignment on Saturday, surprised by how much information I found on silverfish. For those of you just tuning in, welcome, and I'm currently undertaking Library Studies and am doing the Conservation & Preservation module. There are numerous pests that just love eating books. Silverfish are particularly attracted to the starches and saccharines that are used in the adhesives of book bindings. 


 And now, a short tutorial for one of my regular readers who wrote in to tell me that silverfish are a pesky little problem in his workshop;

Hey, Bill M, I think this may be tricky around electrical equipment, but a damp, rolled-up newspaper left overnight will attract a heap of silverfish looking for food and lodgings. Next morning, the newspaper should be filled with the little critters. You can then toss the paper in the trash or set it alight. Better safe than sorry.
For a more humane approach, take a clean glass jar, wrap the outside of it with masking tape and then place it in a dark corner with a small piece of dampened bread in it. The silverfish will climb up the masking taped jar, jump in, dine on the bread, but will be unable to climb up the smooth glassy interior of the jar. 
To keep silverfish away, sprinkle talcum powder along the wall-edges of the floor or your radio bench. Cinnamon or clove is very effective. Apparently, these pests don't like strong smelling spices. 
Alternatively, cabinets made from cedar or huon pine are also a deterrent. You can even use wood shavings from these two timbers, but I think they need replacing every few weeks. 

            My wife and I had kept this secret from the kids all week. We told them to get dressed and pack a book because we were driving out to a newly-opened hardware store about an hour away. They didn't seem too thrilled, hah!
As we got closer to our destination, they began to figure things out. Especially when they saw this;

Yep, it was the 2014 Armageddon Expo. A set-up of stalls selling comics graphic novels and steampunk gear, interviews and signings from artists and writers, and other superhero and console gaming related schtick. Sure, it isn't the San Diego ComiCon, but you gotta admire the work that some folks put into their costumes. And who wouldn't wanna see Jar Jar Binks' head separated from his body?

The father and son Metal Gear Solid team from last year were there running a stall, dressed up as Big Boss and Old Snake from this classic (my favourite) game series;

And my son told me that this girl was dressed up as one of the characters out of the classic Mortal Combat games. Here she is, posing for the Tom Baker version of Dr. Who;

My wife asked her (and her friend) if she could get a picture of me with them. When I'm an old, old man, I'll look at that photo and wonder where the hell I was.

             Our son had been coughing a little over the weekend, so I kept him home from school and took him to the doctor. "I'll treat it as pneumonia", was his diagnosis. 
Good God, was it as bad as that? I thought, if anything, it was a 'flu (again) mixed with hayfever and quite possibly the beginnings of athsma, which is why I thought I'd get him checked out to begin with.

             I was watching The Conjuring (Dir: James Wan, 2013). I'm not a huge horror film fan, but I like to watch one from time to time to see how modern filmmakers find ways to scare the bejeezus out of us in the comfort of our own homes. With horror movies, anticipation is the key, in my opinion, and I often find it creepy when I think of the implications behind certain scenes and the things that we don't see. 
Although, every now and then, along comes a film where we see some pretty creepy stuff. Check out the last few frames of the opening scene of the US version of The Ring (Dir: Gore Verbinski, 2002).
There were a few scenes in The Conjuring where somebody is screaming from another room in the house where the story is set, so I jumped out of my seat when I heard my wife call out my name from one of the kid's bedrooms. 
Turned out that my daughter had just thrown up and she had a temperature. Some frantic running to the laundry, stripping the sheets off her bed, a cold wet flannel and the house settled back into its version of normal. 
Looks like both kids would be staying home from school this week. 

                   Did some homework. And it drove me nuts. I had been wearing the Omega Railmaster since the weekend;

And I decided I'd remove the bracelet and put it on a leather strap. Man, what a job that turned out to be. Took me over two hours!
The space between the lugs on this watch is 19mm. Omega decided to go for an odd number instead of the usual 18 or 20mm spacing. I thought the spring bars on this bracelet were 20mm long, so it would be a snap to remove the bracelet and put a leather strap on the watch. How wrong I was. Removing one side of the spring bars was easy. Trying to remove the other end was another thing altogether.
The bars in this bracelet were of the dumbell design, like this;

Basically, it's a steel tube with a spring inside it and the two barbell-styled ends with a flange. You take the tool and push down on the flanged end and out comes the spring bar. Repeat on other side.
These thin bars are basically what holds the bracelet or strap to your watch. Doesn't look like much, but they are made of quality stainless steel and are quite strong.

 picture courtesy of

This here is the Bergeon 6767 spring bar tool. It's the best one on the market, as far as I'm concerned.

                                                     picture courtesy of

I wound up destroying the crescent-shaped prong on my Bergeon 6767 tool as I found myself getting increasingly exasperated by this endeavour. Eleven years of doing this on a daily basis and here I was, struggling to remove this bracelet. I was out of practice.
I managed to get one side off without too much hassle. I even wore my Dad's reading glasses for the up-close work. Dammit, I'm getting older.

In the end, I decided on a radical procedure. It was time to use a drill.
I checked to see that I had a drill-bit that was small enough and then I made sure my hands were steady enough to do this right the first time.
Worst-case scenario? I would possibly damage the watch case if the drill slipped. And nobody wanted that. I positioned everything and got started, slowly at first. I had the bit lodged against the flange. The idea was to totally destroy it so that I would be able to remove the spring bar completely with tweezers.
I stopped and started three times, checking my progress as I went along and, in the end, it was Bosch cordless drill-1, spring bar-nil.

Done! Then a quick check of the bracelet's end-link to find that I had gone slightly too close to one side;

I wasn't going to lose any sleep over that. And those scratches can be removed with a light buffing.

Why'd you do it, Teeritz, you may be asking? Well, I have a large selection of watch straps and I figured I would put one onto this Railmaster and wear it over the upcoming warmer months. I don't think I've ever worn a strap to death and I thought it was time to actually use some of them. So, on went a black leather strap with white stitch;

It's a tad long and I don't think it's as snug a fit as I'd like, but that's okay. I'll probably swap it over to something else in the next day or two.

               The kids stayed home from school. They appear to be on the mend, but it seems a slow process. A few people I've spoken to have told me of 'flus that took them about six weeks to get over. Some nasty strains out there. Finish your medication, folks.

Took a quick portrait in the mirror. Would have been a better photo if the camera wasn't in my hands. I was aiming for a Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously kind of vibe, with me wearing light tones and the afternoon sun streaming in through the venetian blinds.

          I think I'll do a little homework this morning. My daughter was feeling well enough to go to school, which was good, but my son is still coughing a little, so he gets to stay home for the fifth day in a row. Ah, well...

And one last pic of the Rialmaster, sitting next to a three dollar pair of sunglasses that I bought at a street stall near the Grand Palace in Bangkok in 2011;

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

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. 

              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.

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                  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.