Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday 22/5/2015 - Life Is Busy, Yet Quiet & This Week's Wristwatches.

Monday
             We've been watching Season One of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on DVD. It's a very well done show, I have to say. The writing is sharp, with snappy dialogue, and the plots are clever. I was wearing my Omega Speedmaster Professional for most of the week (right);

The show's main protagonist is Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg. This character appeared in a couple of the IronMan and Thor films, as well as The Avengers. 
In order to capitalise on the success of the above-mentioned franchises, Marvel Studios decided to put together this TV series about this multi-layered government agency, and it enlisted the help of wunderkind Joss Whedon, who achieved phenomenal television success with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly in the 1990s and early Noughties.  
Whedon has recently come under fire from feminist groups who have stated that his latest Marvel Studios movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, was misogynistic in its portrayal of ex-Russian spy/assassin Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson.
Without me wading into this debacle, I will state that Whedon was lauded in the past for writing strong female characters and this is again evident in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While Joss Whedon doesn't write the screenplays for the show, he is the Executive Producer, so I would imagine that he'd have some degree of control over how it's characters are written and portrayed.
So basically, I don't agree with this feminist take on Mr. Whedon. And I'm married to a feminist.

Anyway, I wrote all of the above to point out that Agent Phil Coulson wears an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the show. 'Cos he's badass!;

picture courtesy of http://watchesinmovies.info

Thursday
               Switched over to the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial;


I tried my hand at making a key-holder out of leather, courtesy of an old baseball glove. Not 100% crazy about how it turned out, but it was a good exercise in seeing how it worked and how practical (or not) it is on a day-to-day basis. It can be a little fiddly to use.

Today
            Switched over to the Camy Club-Star;


Yep, things are still quite busy with school and work-hunting, and yet no major happenings 'round these parts.
So I think a breather is in order, so that I can concentrate on more pressing matters. I may slowly add to some posts that are still in draft stages, but I'll see how I go.

Anyway, thanks for reading, take care, and bye for now, all.


SEVEN HOURS LATER (APPROX)


SWITCHED BACK TO THE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL. THE LURE OF THIS WATCH IS STRONG. SEEN HERE WITH A LARGISH CUP OF EARL GREY TEA. BLACK, ONE SUGAR. 

SEE YA'S!

 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Typewriter Collection No. 17 - Smith-Corona Skyriter, circa 1954



I like the sleek and low-profile case that it arrived in. The handle looks a little fragile, though. I may replace it with leather. I'm also considering giving this case a paint-job, but I'll have to give some serious thought to how I remove the existing colour.
Having read a few recent posts by Baesun on his blog...
Of Type and Ink - Updates and Painting Skyriters
...I'm reluctant to go messing with lead paint and all of the associated risks. I may try a solution called Ripper Stripper to remove the old colour. 



Not sure how I feel about this carriage-return lever. It's shorter than I'm used to, and I have to say it can feel a little 'aggressive' against the finger. Almost feels a tad sharp, to be honest, though this is nothing that some light filing or sanding down wouldn't fix.










I love how this machine types. Very responsive. I removed the two screws which, remarkably, make it possible to remove the entire inner workings from the outer shell, and began to once again think about changing the colour of this typewriter from its industrial grey shade to something a little more eye-catching. Maybe a pale cream colour to contrast against the dark green keytops and Smith-Corona logo on the ribbon cover.
However, I'm not sure about this. I don't really have the time to devote to such frivolities right now, but it is something to ponder.
But, man, that carriage-return lever has me slightly bugged. I had one other thought; I'm thinking of keeping an eye out for the Sears version of this machine, the Tower Chieftain III. Looks pretty much exactly like a Skyriter, but it has a longer return lever and a nice, cool 1960s logo. From what I gather, the Chieftain III was made in the early to mid Sixties. I hope they have a similar typing action to this Skyriter. Anybody who has both of these machines, feel free to chime in with an opinion.
I know I could go for a later model Skyriter from the early '60s, but I'm thinking that a rebadged Smith-Corona, i.e; the Tower,  would break up the collection a little. I already have three S-Cs, after all. 

The rubber feet have seen better days, but they're still intact. I will still replace them with some new rubber at some point to provide some better grip.  Other than that, this typewriter is in great working condition. Looks like the kind of thing an engineer from McDonnell-Douglas would have carried around in the mid-Fifties while Chuck Yeager broke through to Mach 2.44.
They bred 'em tough back then.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday 8/5/15 - Assignment No. 2 (of 9) Done, Typewriters Come & Go, Happy Birthday Miss Hepburn! & This Week's Wristwatches.

Last Weekend
                        I was going to go and have a look at a house auction on Saturday morning, but since my wife and I had ruled it out as a potential purchase, there was really no point going. The real estate agent (a nice lady) informed us that she was expecting it to fetch around $700,000 to $730,000. I read in the paper the following day that it was Passed In at $830,000 and the Reserve Price (the minimum that the seller would expect) was $850,000. We're going to see more of these over the next few months. Estate agents will always claim that they don't have a crystal ball ("No! Really??) and therefore can't give a more accurate indication of price. I suspect this is true to an extent, since emotion can kick in on the day and people can wind up bidding higher than they'd planned to. However, these agents must have a better idea of what a house will sell for, once they factor in condition, size, location, etc. However, since they're gonna make 2% of the selling price as commission, it is in their interest to see the house sell for as much as possible.
Anyway, the game (and it is a game) continues. 
I wore the Submariner for most of the day;




















...and switched over to a watch that I haven't worn very much at all in recent years, the Oris Modern Classic;


















Thirty-seven millimetres in diameter, with a rose-gold bezel, this is a nice dress piece. My daughter likes this one, which probably explains why I haven't worn it so much. I'll give it to her in a few years.

I sat down to tackle another assignment. This one involved logging on to a facsimile of a library management system and issuing/returning some books from and to the database. I had put this one off for the past week because I thought it would be quite an undertaking. However, once I got started, it moved along at a pleasant pace and I was done within an hour or so. I see my handwriting's gone to hell.


                                                                         picture below courtesy of klimbims (on www.deviantart.com)
And Monday (4th) was also the late Audrey Hepburn's birthday. She was born in Belgium in 1929 and died (way, way too soon) in Switzerland in 1993. When you stop to think about it, you soon realise that there was nobody else quite like her. Although appearing in about half a dozen films before her breakthrough role in Roman Holiday (Dir: William Wyler, 1953), she came along at a time when Hollywood began paying more attention to Marilyn Monroe, who appeared in Niagara (Dir: Henry Hathaway) that same year. Funny how no two actresses could be more dissimilar. Monroe would have been great to have a couple of drinks with, but Hepburn would have been an extraordinary dinner companion. Waif-like, pixie-haired, and with that great voice, she went on to have a wonderful film career which took second-place in later years to her work as an ambassador for UNICEF.



Remember if you ever need a helping hand - Audrey Hepburn
 picture courtesy of www.quotesworthrepeating.com


Wednesday
                    Okay, it's now 9:37am and today's a busy one;

-Submit Assignment.
-Check e-mails. (Got a knock-back for a library job. Ahh well, their loss. Onto the next.)
-Black skirt for ****** (my daughter's in a school musical this week and she needs to look 'corporate'.)
-Washing on the line. Bring in if dry.
-Breakfast dishes to be done.
-Ironing?
- ***** doing Community Service, 1:30pm-3:30pm.
- Pick ****** up at 3:10pm-3:20pm
-Pick ***** up at 3:30pm
-Early dinner for ******.
 -*****'s tennis lesson at 6:00pm till 6:45pm.
-****** at rehearsal at 6:00pm till 10:30pm(!). This one's tricky. My wife finishes work at five and she may get home in time to drop our son off at his tennis lesson. I'll already be on the road taking our daughter to rehearsal.
-Pick ****** up from rehearsal at 10:30pm-11:00pm. 

UPDATE- 11.52pm: All done. Daughter is in the bathroom removing make-up. She really needs to get to bed.


Still on the topic of typewriters, I was a little disheartened to find scans of a couple of my typewriter owner's manuals on the web without any attribution to me being mentioned. Ahh, well, there are more important things I could worry about.

Anyway, here's a close-up of the Skyriter's scratched body;


One other layer of colour underneath the crinkle-paint, then what? Steel? Plastic? Papier-Mache!?

Anyway, that's another week done. The lady who purchased my Olympia is swinging past my house tomorrow on her way to her parent's house. How handy that they live ten minutes away from me. Quick recap: Ribbon vibrator works, lifts up when it's supposed to, but there's no imprint on the page. Strange. Hopefully, it will be an easy fix.

We're off to see my daughter perform in her school musical tonight. So many late nights for everyone this week. I think I'll keep the Speedmaster on my wrist;


Have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 1 May 2015

1/5/15 - Sneaky Real Estate Agents, Protein, Protein, Protein, Goodbye To Two Typewriters & This Week's Wristwatches.

Back when I worked in the watch industry and was getting sick of it, some customers suggested that I go into selling cars. One fellow I knew used to work in the after-care department at one of the major European dealerships and he told me just how precarious a car salesman's life could be; "You work with these guys for months and if they don't make their sales targets, they're gone. I went in on a Monday and asked 'Hey, where's Joe? I saw him on Friday', and they'd tell me 'We finished him up on Friday afternoon. He didn't hit his targets for the last week.' "
And that's why I never went into car sales. A few customers suggested I go into real estate, but...


And that's why I'll never go into real estate. I think I'd have to make too big a compromise of my moral code, and after a while, I'd look in the mirror and begin to despise the person looking back at me. No matter how much money he was making.
Looking at the plans of this house, we decided anyway that it would need some serious configuration of rooms, since the third bedroom was pretty small. Lady Teeritz and I have sat down and written up a checklist of what we'd like in our next house. And what we don't want. No flat roof, no corner block, no shoe-box sized bedrooms. The hunt goes on. 

Been on a bit of a protein kick this week. The average adult male requires 56 grams of protein per day. So, I began taking a closer look at foods that offered a healthy dose of the stuff. I went slightly overboard on the first day;

- 1 egg (hard-boiled)     13 gms
- Almonds (handful)       3 gms
- Sustagen Sport            14.7 gms (it's a chocolate powdered milk additive for use after exercise)
+ Skim Milk (250ml)      8 gms
+ 1 egg thrown in          13 gms

Total Protein = 51 gms

And it wasn't even midday yet! For lunch, I had a tuna salad. That's another 22 grams of protein. Afternoon snack was another handful of almonds, so there's another 3 grams right there. And, for dinner, Chorizo sausages with some vegetables, mainly potatoes. That was 22 more grams for the day. Total intake came to 98 grams! Okay, slow it down a little. Next day's intake? Thirty-seven grams.  Now, if I can just get it all somewhere between these two totals, I should be fine.




Found a copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on BluRay for $25 bucks! When I got home, my wife looked at me and raised an eyebrow; "I don't know how you could have forgotten that I bought a copy of this on eBay a few days ago. You were sitting right next to me when I hit 'Buy It Now', and I even asked you if I should get it." 
I need to improve my memory. After I return this movie to Target.






I was going to switch to the Submariner 5513, but decided to keep the Omega on instead. Looking forward to getting the Skyriter. Seller claimed that it had been recently serviced and is working properly. I certainly hope so. It's one typewriter that's been on my mind for a couple of years.

Anyway, gang, it's now Friday afternoon. It's been a sunny day here. Although, the nights do get quite cold. Another thing we'd like in our next house- central heating. We've spent too many a cold Winter's night in a chilly house. 
Hopefully, we'll find something sooner rather than later, but I think we'll have to listen to a little more BS before we get the keys to our next house. Yeah, I'm feeling a little more cynical than usual. 'Cos I don't like getting jerked around by real estate agents who keep changing their story.
However, there's a great deal more good things in my life than bad. And the bad things are just inconveniences, after all.

I switched over to the Submariner, too. Call me weak.


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!


- typecasts were done on a 1956 Smith-Corona Silent Super and a 1946 Royal Quiet De Luxe.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

24/4/2015 - Job-Hunting Continues, Revisiting Bond, & This Week's Wristwatches.


Still busy 'round these here parts. Sometimes, all you need is a cup of tea. Just to slow things down for a few minutes. I had the WatchCo Omega Seamaster 300 on a Bond NATO strap wrapped around my wrist last weekend. 
You know, I've gotten into long discussions on wristwatch forums where somebody will call these nylon NATO straps 'cheap' and they will assert that this type of strap doesn't belong on a watch that costs thousands of dollars. I beg to differ. I always mention that even a four hundred thousand dollar Ferrari will be equipped with seat-belts made from 'cheap nylon', designed to keep the driver firmly in their seat in the event of an accident. Also, because a NATO strap is made to pass underneath the case-back of  a watch (since this strap is essentially one long piece), it is perhaps the most secure strap available, and this is why it remains the choice of those who still wear a watch for scuba diving purposes. 

Anyway...





The main reason that I wanted to watch this film again was because I'd read the latest installment on;


A great blog by a guy named Bryant Burnette. He's basically gone through every Bond film and given them a rating, broken down by various criteria such as casting, direction, music, etc. Certainly a lot of work has gone into his reviews. And his screen-caps are divine;


Thinking about this film now, I like it as a collection of scenes, but I don't like how these scenes stack up together as a whole. The editing, while it does give you the idea and implication of what is going on, via a series of less-than-a-second images, soon begins to give you a headache. Well, that's what it began doing to me.
The cinematography is beautiful, though. And even if it didn't live up to the level set by Casino Royale a couple of years earlier, it is still a better Bond film than most of the efforts from the 1970s and early '80s.

Thursday
               Got a mark back for that first assignment that I submitted earlier in the week. Forty-nine out of fifty. Good. Here I was, worrying that I hadn't addressed the criteria properly. Onto the next one, but I think I'll sit down and start it on Monday.
Felt like a drink later that evening. Switched over to the Omega Railmaster. However, I have quite a few leather straps, so I decided to put one on this watch with the view of leaving it on till Summer in an effort to wear it out and see how long it lasts. I tend to wear my watches on bracelets in Summer, since they're prone to more exposure to water, whereas Winter is all about trying to stay dry. We'll see how long this strap lasts.


Later that evening, I felt like a drink, so I raided the liquor cabinet (man, everything is half-full or less!) and poured myself something a little different from the usual;




Today
           My wife had the day off, so we got on our bikes and headed to a nearby park which has an array of workout machines set up. If you go through these machines and do three set of ten repetitions, you don't tend to feel any strain, because you are essentially just using your own body weight. Actually, didn't feel any strain because I'm a skinny little dude. So, I went beyond doing ten reps of some of the exercises and that's when I began to feel a slight burn in my muscles (such as they are).

Well, that's another week done and dusted. I'm feeling a little more hopeful regarding work, despite what the newspapers are saying. This country is apparently headed towards 7% unemployment by next year. But I stopped believing everything I read in the papers years ago. Our mining industry has taken a nosedive in recent months thanks to China's ultra-competitive iron ore prices. That's what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket and rely on just one industry to support an entire country. However, politics is not my forte and I have very little interest in the subject, so I'll stop right there.
We're picking the kids up from school in a few hours. They think we're then heading off to view some houses that are up for sale. We're actually taking them to an afternoon screening of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was released yesterday.
Don't tell 'em.

Meanwhile, somebody will be at home, taking care of business;























Two meals a day, with a little afternoon snack thrown in, some lower-back and shoulder stretches throughout the day, and a helluva lot of cat-naps. What a friggin' life!

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Tomorrow (25th) is ANZAC Day here in Australia and New Zealand. It's where our nations commemorate the sacrifices and efforts of those who served in the Armed Forces in wartime. This year is of particular significance as it marks the 100th Anniversary of  the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey by ANZAC Forces and their allies (I think).

Further reading can be found on wikipedia via this link; www.wikipedia.com - Gallipoli Campaign

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Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday, 17 April 2015

17/4/15 - Very Busy, But Here's a Proof-of-Life Photo of a Watch On My Wrist...Plus a Few Others.


Much to be done. Prioritising. So, this blog takes a back-seat for a while as I tend to more pressing matters.

Monday
            I wore the Rolex Submariner 5513. Can't remember what I did that day, but I know it involved pen and paper. And since the sun was out, I had a pair of sunglasses within reach. We're well and truly into Autumn here, but we seem to still be getting little bursts of sunshine here and there.


Wednesday 
            I continued with Assignment No. 1 of my second-last subject. Nine more assignments to go, all of them due by November. I had planned to knock these all out  within two or three months, but other stuff got in the way. So, I figure I might as well pace these out a little. I was wearing the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.

While I was working on this assignment, my son was at school playing handball during lunchtime. For whatever reason, he lunged for the ball and decided to kick it. One of his classmates had the same idea. They both missed the ball, but his friend's foot connected with my son's upper calf, just behind the knee. 
When I went to pick him up after school, he limped to the car. We did the whole RICE thing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but his knee area looked pretty swollen by the next evening.

Today
          His knee wasn't looking all that much better, despite the RICE method, coupled with a dose of anti-inflammatory tablets. So, he took the day off school while I made a doctor's appointment for him. The doctor checked him out and then booked him in for x-rays right away.
Afterwards, we got home, I prepared him some lunch (if you call putting a sausage roll onto a plate preparation) while he elevated his leg on a stool and sat down to watch The Avengers on BluRay. The doctor called me back an hour later to tell me that the x-ray report showed no fractures or breakage. Which was a relief. Needless to say, she suggested he take things easy for the next two weeks. My boy didn't argue with that recommendation. So, luckily, it all wasn't as bad as it could have been. I wore the WatchCo Seamaster 300 on a BondNATO strap.

Okay, this post turned out longer than I thought it would, gang. Time for a cup of Earl Grey tea. Black with one sugar. 

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend, all!







Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I Had Forgotten What A Simple Pleasure A Bookshelf Can Be.

Since we are entering Autumn/Winter here, I felt it would be a good idea to bring some books in from the garage. I want to minimise any possible damage or deterioration that may occur if temperatures drop. Most of our books are stored in plastic tubs with lids, which are stacked up in the garage. My concern is that if it gets too cold in there, dew could form inside these tubs and cause mold to form on the books. Once that happens, the book's a goner. 

This would be bad enough if it happens to any of our books, but it would be catastrophic if it happens to the books we have that are out of print or of some value to us. 
So, I headed out to IKEA and bought a KALLAX (formerly known as EXPEDIT) bookshelf and spent an hour or so putting it together in the lounge room. 

Held together with about a million dowels and eight screws, I wasn't sure how sturdy this thing would be, despite being quite heavy once it was put together. Still, as far as I was concerned, it just had to last a year or so. Made from compressed particle-board, it probably won't stand up to being moved around too much or being over-loaded with heavy hardbacks and coffee table books, but for our purposes right now, it would be adequate enough. Who knows, we may use it as a room divider in the next house. IKEA also makes numerous inserts that can turn these empty shelves into cabinets with doors or slide-out boxes, but for now, all we need is a bookshelf.


We have a CD cabinet in the lounge room that had some books in it, but this was getting a little messy.






















I spent the rest of the day going through the tubs and selecting some titles. My main priorities? All of my Bond books and some of my hard-to-replace crime titles. The Bonds were purchased throughout the '80s and '90s from various second-hand bookstores and these would be a headache to replace nowadays without spending a small fortune. Books that I paid a buck or two for are now selling on eBay for anywhere between seven to fifteen dollars. And some of mine are in very good condition. 
As for the crime novels, quite a few of them are currently out of print. Works by noir authors such as Jim Thompson and David Goodis(a damn genius, in my view)are impossible to find, as are the works of English espionage author Eric Ambler. Sure, I could probably get these books on eBay, but again, the costs would be prohibitive. Better to look after the ones I have. 
So, I brought in most of these, but I didn't spend as much time arranging them as I would have liked. Hence, I have classic hard-boiled crime titles mixed in with the works of Hemingway and Somerset Maugham. My wife sifted through her books and selected a bunch of children's titles. Again, many of these are either not in print currently, or expensive to replace. 

The Chandler and Hammett paperbacks are in. And I recalled that I had written my initials and the year of reading on the recto page of some of these books. In pencil, of course.

"The terms recto and verso refer to the text written on the "front" and "back" sides of a leaf of paper in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet."
-definition courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recto_and_verso 



And not forgetting other crime authors of the era, such as James M. Cain, William P. McGivern and Charles Williams.

As for the Bonds, I had forgotten just how many copies I had. I knew I had at least two of every one of Ian Fleming's fourteen OO7 adventures, but man, these books took up two of the sixteen shelves. AND I double-stacked the shelves.


Then some literature. Mixed in with more crime, an Ambler classic, and a reproduction of The Savoy Cocktail Book.;


My wife shelved mainly her children's books and novels. Many of the paperbacks were books that she bought before I met her. 



Anyway, that's our little Easter Weekend diversion. Here's how it all looks at the moment;


While it would be nice to leave the typewriter (1956 Smith-Corona Silent Super), car (1938 Citroen 15cv TA, made by Burago)and camera (late 1950s Voitlander Vitomatic I)out on display, they would accumulate dust and we don't really need yet another thing to clean right now. I merely arranged them as such for the purposes of these photos.
The clock belonged to my parents. It's currently not in working order, but that's something else that I'll attend to when the time comes.
The glass ashtray belongs to my wife. She has a small assortment of European hand-blown glass. Notice also the long glass beaker on the floor next to the shelf.
And the Royal Doulton ceramic Union Jack bulldog is mine. It's gone back into its box for now. I'll nestle it in among the Bond books in the next house. Here it is with my oldest Fleming paperback, a copy of Live And Let Die from 1957.


Thanks for reading, all, and have a good week!