Thursday 31 October 2013

Friday 1/11/13 - Badges, Bald Tyres, Bond Books & This Week's Watches

Friday afternoon, 5:59  pm (AEST).

Last Friday
After I posted last week's wristwatch round-up, the postman arrived. I got this off eBay and have been patiently waiting for it. Finally!

If you've read much of Raymond Chandler's works, then you may know that his protagonist Philip Marlowe used to work for the LAPD before being drummed out for 'insubordination'. I'm a great fan of the PS3 game "L.A. Noire" and classic Hollywood film noir as well.
I have a dream where there'll be a study in the next house with bookshelves along one wall and all of our books will be on display in order of genre or alphabetically according to author. Interspersed among the books will be little things like this detective's badge, nestled alongside the Chandlers.
One day.

Saturday, Sunday
I had an idea for a way to dampen the sound from the platen of my Smith-Corona Galaxie II.

By the time I was done, my finger-tips were blackened. Did it work?
Well, that's another post, ain't it? Coming soon to a computer near you.

Had the Omega Railmaster on my wrist throughout the weekend. We had some sunny afternoons;

Sunday Afternoon
And dammit! The tyres on my car are definitely unroadworthy, and I've been meaning to get a new set. Of course, now that I see this, I'll have to move it to the top of my 'to do' list;

I once removed a nail from my car's tyre using the corkscrew of my Swiss Army knife. Worked like a charm. And then the tyre deflated. Now, if this screw can only stay put for another day or two.

Okay, the car's booked in for four new Yokohamas plus fitting and balance. Thankfully, it would cost me much less than I thought it would.
Been reading William Boyd's Bond novel "Solo" this past week. The story is set in 1969 so onto my wrist went the 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer. 'Cos sometimes, you just gotta go old-school.

Had a test. I had to complete a MARC Catalogue record for 1 fiction title, 1 non-fiction title, and 1 non-book item. I thought I'd choose three items that were bare-bones and basic. Only one author, first editions with no previous printing histories. Nice and easy...until I tried to write the record for the "Sherlock Holmes" soundtrack. While this score was composed by the great Hans Zimmer, it was PRODUCED by Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, and this is what caused me a little angst. Still, I got it finished in time...before being told that we could take the test home and finish it!

Still had the vintage Omega strapped to my wrist. It's on a fake ostrich strap. I think I may swap it over to something a little darker.

Tuesday afternoon
Just over three-quarters of the way through Solo and, while not action-packed, it's been enjoyable so far. Boyd has done a good job of writing something that has the feel of a Fleming Bond book. Switched over to the Omega AquaTerra Co-Axial;

Got a call from a fellow offering me some work. Couple of days a week till Christmas. It'll do for now, but I'll keep hunting around for something with a little more permanence to it. Sent out four employment enquiries in the past couple of days. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'll keep looking.
Snagged a handful of old National Geographic magazines from the late Sixties/early Seventies. I get them for the advertisements. Took me a few minutes longer than I thought it would to remove this Omega ad intact. The rusty staples in the magazine are heavy duty indeed.

Wednesday afternoon
Picked up the car from the tyre guys. A new set of shiny, black Yokohama ADrive tyres and I can already feel the difference. Which is nice.

Went and bought some weedkiller. And then decided to mow the lawns. I'll never, ever buy another corner block. Too much grass. Off came the Omega and on went the Seiko 7002 diver. I'm sure that the Omega can easily handle the vibration from the mower, but why tempt fate?
As it turned out, I had the Omega on my wrist as I reached down to spray some weeds between the hot water unit and the wall. As I pulled my hand back, the bracelet of the watch caught on a copper pipe. No visible damage, but when I put the watch back on after mowing the lawn wearing the Seiko, I noticed that some extra force was required to snap the clasp shut on the Omega bracelet.
You would think I'd know better.
There was a huge discussion on the Omega forums about using expensive watches in hazardous conditions and I'm of the opinion that you should always have a 'beater' watch for those times when you know that you may risk damaging a pricier watch.  That's what the Seiko is for, after all. Even though I'll cringe and swear like a trouper if I ever damage it;

Finished reading Solo. It was okay. More of a character study in some ways, rather than an espionage thriller. The ending seemed a little hurried and unresolved, but William Boyd managed to stay true enough to the character. Definitely a better read than the last two literary Bond novels.
I'd rate it a seven-point-five or eight out of ten.

Another sunny morning. Sat outside and had a coffee.

Later in the afternoon, I thought I'd tackle one of those annoying tasks that had been hanging over my head for ages. After my Mother died early last year, I removed all the contents from my old desk that was still in my old room. I put all this stuff in a plastic bag and put it in the boot (trunk) of my car. And promptly forgot about it until earlier this week.
And so, I decided to sort through it all and, man, what a lot of trinkety crap I had. Below is a sample of the better part of it. Even then, I'm not so sure why I've held on to this stuff. I must've found about six or seven Amnesty International badges. Stones tickets? Gotta frame those.
Vintage Apple Computer sticker? I don't know where that came from.
Those banknotes always make great bookmarks. The Clark Kent badge was from a school play that I went to...back in 1986!
And the Timex watch? Hell, that isn't even mine. It's my brother's. And it isn't working. 

My wife says I'm a hoarder. I tell her "just gimme some space to pour all this stuff onto the floor and I'll sort it and get rid of 90% of it."
"Yeah, into another cupboard!", she just replied, after I read that last line out to her.

Nowadays, in the era of digital photography, I may just set these things out on some black fabric, take a couple of photos of it all (assuming I want to archive this crap), and then throw it away or take it to an Op Shop (Goodwill).

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

Thursday 24 October 2013

Friday 25/10/13- Zombies, Weak Coffee, & This Week's Wristwatches.

It's now Friday, October 25th, 4:53pm here in Melbourne. I've decided to add more to the titles of these posts to differentiate them a little more from each other, and to give a hint as to what they'll contain. These weekly watch posts seem to still be evolving, I suppose.


Last Sunday
The Teeritz clan headed out to the Melbourne Showgrounds on a wholesome family outing. We saw a Batgirl, a Stormtrooper and a few zombies, among other things.
We were at the Armageddon Expo 2013.
I switched back to my Sinn 103 St Sa chrono;

Apologies for the blurry pic. Autofocus chose the zombie instead of the watch. And don't believe what you see on "The Walking Dead". This guy moved pretty quick...for a dead man.
Here's a clearer pic that I took once we got home;
My son bought himself a few Batman comics and a wooden katana/ Samurai sword, my daughter bought a little music box featuring the cat from Studio Ghibli's anime, "Kiki's Delivery Service". I picked up a couple of items. When we got home, I switched over to the Omega Seamaster 300 on the TrueBond NATO strap;
I love the steampunk world that was created for the console game "Bioshock Infinite". Incredible amount of detail that's gone into it. My daughter bought me that shell casing next to the dogtag. Cost her a whole buck.
Always been a fan of "The Rocketeer" comics from the Eighties and Nineties. They were about a fellow named Cliff Secord, who finds an experimental jet-pack in the late 1930s and gets into all sorts of mayhem with it, often dragging his girlfriend, Betty, into these shenanigans.
The artist, Dave Stevens, was painstaking with the amount of detail and shading that he'd put into his artwork. As a result, each issue's release was usually delayed. Sadly, Stevens died about five years ago at the age of 52 after a long battle with leukemia.
The 1950s pin-up queen, Bettie Page was the model for Stevens' renderings of Secord's girlfriend Betty, and Page herself had remarked that there had been a renewed interest in her after the Rocketeer comics were released.
The book I picked up was a commemorative volume of Rocketeer stories done by other comic artists. Very nicely done, too.
Okay, thrillseekers, what's wrong with this picture?
I'll tell ya what's wrong. There's no friggin' coffee machine in it! The Ascaso machine of ours was overdue for a service. It had water leaking from the steam nozzle, the rubber seals had perished, the temperature gauge wasn't working. So off it went for servicing.
"It should be ready in a week", the lady said.
"A week?! My wife and I will kill each other in a week!"
And so, out came the caffettiera.
It produces an okay cup of coffee, no doubt, although it does taste 'thin' compared to what you get from an espresso machine. Still, we thought, it wouldn't kill us to detox a little. I got back from the coffee machine repairers and did a little more of my databases assignment. Still had the Omega on.
Worked on the last seven questions of my databases assignment. Answered six of those questions over three hours. Then spent over an hour finding the answer to question seven. But I finally got it finished and submitted. That's another module of this library course done and dusted. Felt good. Switched over to the Omega Railmaster to bring closure to it all.
Later that evening, I took a few pics to mess around with my camera. I still haven't sat down to try to master the ISO settings and what-not. I think this picture turned out okay, but I'm certain that those of you who know your way around a camera could produce finer results. I positioned the watch on a book trolley next to a lamp in the lounge room.

f 3.9 at 1/15th of a second shutter speed.
Still messing with the camera. This picture below was taken with an aperture setting of f 3.5 at 1/400th of a second shutter speed on an overcast afternoon. Don't know if I like it. I'll have to do a course in digital photography one of these days.

Got a message on the answering machine late yesterday afternoon saying the coffee machine was fixed and ready for collection. Dropped the kids off to school, came back home and had a cup of tea while I planned whatever else I had to do this morning.
Although I love my coffee, I do indeed like a cup of tea. Normally reserved for the evenings, but I just felt like something warm to drink and Earl Grey is my preferred leaf.
Got home, plugged the machine back in and flicked it on.
Back where it belongs. I positioned a cup under the gun to see if the machine would leak as it warmed up. It didn't, which was a good sign. Those brass bits in front of the machine are the parts that were replaced. This machine has definitely taken a beating since it was serviced in May last year.
The light in the middle means the machine is switched on, the one on the right means that the machine is hot enough and ready to go, and the light on the left means the steamer is on and ready. What the hell was I waiting for?
Four minutes later...
Long time no see, latte. And after the first sip, balance was restored in the Universe.
Our son has been doing well in his first year of secondary school, so we thought we'd get him a little treat. He'll soon be beating up The Joker's goons with reckless abandon.
And so, that's another exciting week wrapped up. 
Thanks for reading!


Tuesday 22 October 2013

A Close Shave, A Closer Connection- Using My Dad's Safety Razor.

By the time Dad stopped using a blade razor and switched to his electric PhilliShave, he had about 20 packets of twin-blades stashed aside. I still have seventeen of these packs left. Should last me quite some time. 
This was his basic Gillette razor that he must have bought sometime in the 1950s, I'm guessing. It's a simple razor which breaks down into three pieces.
That section next to the handle can be screwed back on upside down to protect the blade and prevent any nasty accidents when reaching for the razor at the bottom of a traveller's wet-pack. I found that out the hard way once. Never happened again.
N.R., sometime between 1952 and maybe 1956? I'd kill for that suit. Wouldn't fit me, though. He was of medium build, I'm slim.

My Dad must've gone out and splurged some cash on this one. An adjustable Gillette model 195, commonly known these days as the "Fat Boy" due to its thicker handle. This razor, based on its letter coding underneath (yes, these things have serial numbers) dates back to the third quarter of 1961. The 195 model was manufactured between 1958 and 1961, so it would appear that he got one of the last ones made. Cool.

A twist of the base of the handle and the razor opens up, like the electric roof of a Chevrolet Impala (were they electric?). There's a small adjustment ring on the handle which flexes the blade slightly, allowing for a greater gap between the blade and the razor itself. 


Somewhere along the way, I bought a basic Gillette Sensor Excel. It works well enough, and I use it when I'm in a hurry to shave, since modern razors tend to be a little more forgiving than the old safety razors.

 It works well enough. Two blades, plus that silly white strip of material that's meant to help the razor glide smoothly across the face and the rubber ridged section below that does what, I do not know. As far as modern blade razors go, this one is great. But it just doesn't have the solid weight and robustness of my Father's fifty-two year-old razor.
My Dad worked as a machinist in a knitting mill throughout the '60s and '70s. He did the night shift, from 11:30pm till eight am the following morning. As a child, I stayed up some nights way past my bedtime and I'd watch as he slowly wound his Wyler wristwatch while a cup of coffee sat on the kitchen table, a fine wisp of steam rising from the white china mug. He'd give my cheek a quick pinch before heading out the door to catch the 10:50pm bus to Sydney Road, Brunswick.
I can still remember the last time he pinched my cheek.
I was twenty-six.
Despite the fact that he worked nights, he was always waiting for me at the school gate each day at 3:10pm and we'd walk the ten minute distance home. It involved crossing some very busy main roads and I have vivid memories of seeing the aftermath of some awful car accidents along this short stretch of streets between my school and our house.
He would have a quick bite to eat once we got home and would then say 'goodnight' to us before going to bed at around 4:30pm. He'd wake up between 9:30 and 10:15 that night before the process of getting ready for work would begin again.
He never got a driver's licence. It was my Mother who had a car. And what a car! I say this with the benefit of hindsight. She drove a mid-late Sixties Valiant similar to this model.
If only she had kept this thing instead of replacing it with a Datsun 180B. Ahh well...
So, my Father never drove and yet, he was involved in a staggering nine car accidents during the years that he worked the night shift. I've never learned the details of them, but I do know that one or two of them involved the bus that he took each night, a couple of them occurred when he was a passenger in a co-worker's car, and there were at least two instances where he'd been hit by a car while crossing at a set of lights. Thankfully, none of them were serious, although one accident produced some nasty injuries to his legs, but he fully recovered.
And then, sometime in 1977, my parents decided to tear down their existing house and build a new one on the same block of land. It was then that my Dad took a second job. And so, his work day quickly evolved into working his night-shift job at the mill, coming home, briefly, and then going to work at a nearby electrical contracting firm as an electrical cleaner. He worked this job from 9:00am to 4:30 pm, five days a week. This obviously left him with even less time to get adequate sleep. He was now operating on about five to six hours sleep per day. 

The new house was finished in 1978, and he continued working these two jobs. In 1981, he suffered a mild stroke, but it was enough to weaken his entire left side. Then came the onset of Parkinson's Disease a couple of years later and he never returned to work after that. The next few years were difficult, but my Mother was working full-time by this stage and we always seemed to manage. I was aware of our situation, but was very much oblivious to what was going on behind the scenes. Being the younger child, I always got the impression that my parents and brother shielded me from a lot of what was going on.

In 2001, at the recommendation of the respite hospital where he had been for almost a year, Dad was moved into a nursing home which was located five minute's walk from home. He required more specialised care than what could be provided at home. He was 74 and, although the nursing home considered him a little too young for admission, things happened pretty quickly after that.
I learned a long time ago that most life-changing events often do.

He came home a couple of days later and had his hair cut by John, a Greek barber who lived in the next street. We'd known him for years. He told us that he got into the trade in the late1950s and made a decent living out of it until "everybody wanted haircuts like The Beatles".
My Mother cooked Dad some lunch and, as he ate it, my wife remarked that this was a sad occasion. "Your Dad's here for the last time. In a few hours, he'll be sitting in a room in a nursing home. This is how he says goodbye to his house."
By this stage, we had a kid. Our boy was about 18 months old and he stood there watching John The Barber (as we called him) snipping away rhythmically with a thin pair of scissors. My Dad looked at his grand-son and said simply; "Beautiful little soldier."

We visited him often in the nursing home. My wife made the one-hour drive every Friday to take our son to see him. She didn't speak Italian and my Dad's English was fractured, at best, but she has often said that these weekly visits were the right thing to do, in order to maintain the connection between the generations, and to show my Father that his grand-son was both happy and healthy.

My Dad died four years later. He took a nap after lunch one day and never woke up. That's the million-dollar ending that we all hope for, I suppose. I was on the train heading home from work when my wife called me to break the news. It was 6:20pm and the train was barrelling along the tracks between Bentleigh and McKinnon stations. And I never felt so helpless in all my life. I think I stood up briefly before realising that there was nothing I could do.

My Father's wristwatch,  spectacles and razor. Whenever I do something decent, I know that he left me more than just these three things.

So, not to get too maudlin, and to bring this post full circle, I'm sure that every modern razor produces a smoother shave in half the time that it takes to use my Dad's razor. But then, I don't use it just to shave. I use it because it's still working perfectly after five decades.
I use it to remind me of all those little moments that we shared.
I use it because my Dad used it.

Thanks for reading.

* Tocco Da Casauria is the correct name of the town where my Dad was from. I'll have to visit there sometime soon and meet some relatives.


Thursday 17 October 2013

Friday 18/10/13- Today's Wristwatch

Right, it's now 10:57am, Melbourne time on Friday, October 18th.

Okay, after last week's inaugural post, you may have gathered that I didn't write just about the watch that I wore last Friday, but covered the watches that I'd worn all week. I think that's how I'll tackle these posts. No point dragging you all here just to look at one picture, after all.
Another reason for doing this more indepth here is because I don't want to fill up my Photobucket account, whereas my Google photo account has more storage space (I think), and seems to be working well, since I upgraded it.
Anyway, here we go;

After last Friday's post, I noticed the Omega Aqua Terra looked a little dirty, so off came the bracelet and I gave the whole watch a going over with some dishwashing liquid and an old toothbrush;

Squeaky clean, lemon fresh. 

While I waited for the bracelet to dry off completely, I fitted a Bond NATO strap to the watch and read another chapter or two of Laura by Vera Caspary.

I wanna finish this book soon so I can start on William Boyd's Bond book, Solo. I've avoided all reviews of this book because I want to approach it with a clean viewpoint. I hope it's better than the last two Bond novels. Sebastian Faulks' effort moved at a plodding pace and Jeffrey Deaver's one played around too much with Bond mythology. I'm hoping Mr. Boyd will show OO7 a little more respect.

Montag (Monday)
Switched over to something that has both day and date on the dial. I had two major assignments still to finish and I wanted to keep track of the days. They're both due by the end of the month and it was beginning to feel a little daunting. So, for those days when I switch to 'man-on-a-mission' mode, I put on something with a slight (in my view) military vibe. It was time for the German-made Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph, complete with German day wheel. By the end of the day, I had completed one of the assignments and e-mailed it off to my lecturer later that night. Sweet!

Finally found a decent use for the iPad that I bought a couple of months ago. It proved handy for searching library databases while I wrote the assignment on my laptop, saving me from flicking between a Word document and multiple web pages.
I suppose I can stop calling it a $650 dollar clipboard now.
Maybe, maybe not.

Mittwoch (Wednesday)
I removed the bracelet from the Sinn and put a brown leather strap (with embossed croco pattern) on it 'cos I was aiming for a 1950s Type XX (20) Pilot's chronograph look. There were a few brands that produced chronographs for military issue, such as Breguet;

picture taken from

And this is how the Sinn looked, picture taken at a weird angle...either that or my house is listing drastically to one side;

I wrote a review of this watch shortly after I got it, but I'm thinking I should update it with some better pictures. It's a great watch for the money and it puts some other brand's much more expensive chronographs to shame. Helmut Sinn was a German pilot during the Second World War and he established this watch company in 1961. He's now around 90 years of age and, having sold the Sinn company back in 1994, he now runs another watch company, Guinand, and has no plans to retire. As far as I'm concerned, the man's a legend.

Donnerstag morgen (Thursday morning)

Luckily, I was on a roll once I got started and managed to knock the first six questions out of the way, although I can already see that Question 10 is going to slow me down a little. I've no doubt that I could find the answer on Google, but this subject is about finding information on the web using anything BUT Google. Still, I don't mind digging around for the answer. It's as close as I'll get to detective work.
Thursday - afternoon
Time for a brief switcheroo to remove myself from study mode. My daughter has been the I Sea, I Care ambassador for her school this year and the organisation held a function yesterday to celebrate the imput of school kids throughout the year. I figured I'd wear the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Officer's Watch.

At 44mm in diameter, it is laughably large on my wrist, but it's a reminder to me not to take this whole watch collecting schtick too seriously. Definitely as large as I can get away with...just.
Here's the review I did some time back;
Thursday - evening
We sat at this function and listened to speeches made by kids from various schools. I had a glass of apple juice, but after the third group finished their talk, I was really beginning to wish it was scotch. Then my daughter went up on stage and delivered her speech. Now, not to play the clichéd proud Dad routine, but she spoke audibly and clearly, made eye contact with her audience, and didn't fumble her lines. My wife deserves the credit for this because she has always believed in the importance of public speaking, stating that there may come a day when the kids are older where they may have to get up in front of co-workers in a meeting or make a presentation, etc.
And my daughter's confidence on stage also showed the inherent value of reading, which allowed her to deliver her speech in a natural speaking voice.
Friday morning
This book arrived an hour ago. It's a collection of dispatches from reporters who covered the events of World War II. I was kind'a hoping there would be some actual typewritten documents/transcripts in the book, but no, there aren't any. No photos, either. Still, it should contain some well-written battle reportage from a time when reporters were about journalism, not guest appearances on Dancing With The Stars.
Hard Yakka nylon jacket, modelled on the classic MA-1 flight jacket. Fifty bucks or so, and warm as all hell. And yes, the Hamilton wears large, don't it? Makes me look like an action figure (batteries sold separately).
We're going to a little something called 'Armageddon' on Sunday, but more about that next week. 
Okay, time to hit the books.
Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend, all!

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Should I Fill A Platen With Silicon Rubber/Roof Sealant To Dampen The Sound?

Meanwhile, in other news, I used a piece of plastic, that's designed to be snapped off a Hewlett-Packard ink cartridge before it's loaded into a printer , to replace the missing carriage release lever on the right-hand side of the Galaxie II.
Here's the one on the left, which is still intact;

And here's the one I MacGyvered, courtesy of Hewlett-Packard;

I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit of an eye-sore, but it appears to work as it should. Still, I may remove it and just be extra careful with the lever on the other side. As Richard Polt stated, these levers were made from fairly brittle plastic and weren't designed to last. 

Which probably explains this picture of folk composer John Jacob Niles using a S-C Galaxie with a similar issue to my one. Picture courtesy of the outstanding;

 Influential American folk music composer John Jacob Niles with a Corona Typewriter.
The Antikey Chop

 Thanks for reading!