Monday 28 April 2014

A Quick Shout-Out to The Well-Apointed Desk.Com...psst, Typewriter Content.

I stumbled across this great website devoted to desk-bound workspaces and all that they entail. Ana, the lady who runs this site also appears to have a nice stable of typewriters, so I thought I'd provide a link to her archived posts/articles about them;

And the photos are very nice, too. 

Thanks for reading! 

Friday 25 April 2014

Friday 25/4/14 - More Library Visits, Impromptu Chicken-Sitting & This Week's Wristwatches

 Friday 6:53pm AEST

Ate a lot of chocolate during Easter. Swiss watch, Swiss chocolate, Swiss-born Bond Girl;

I thought I would travel light for the excursion into the city to the Bureau of Meteorology. I switched over to the Camy Club-Star on NATO strap with a preppy vibe...

 ...and wore it for about an hour at home before I changed my mind and switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional. I still had it on when I wrote the 'Sunday' entry on the Royal Portable;

Here's a page from a log-book at the Bureau of Meteorology, which had weather information hand-written into it. A few entries were written by William John Wills, who perished along with Robert O'Hara Burke during an ill-fated expedition to travel over 3000 kilometres across Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1860-1861.

Entries written by Wills were initialed with a 'W'.  People had better handwriting back then.

The Bureau had other ephemera on display as well as these logbooks from a ship whose crew tracked the weather patterns during their voyages. I took a snap because I was more interested in the typewriter font, ha, ha!

On Thursday morning, I saw one of these in the local shopping centre car-park. Back in the '80s, and even the early '90s, I used to see a lot more of them. They're a fairly rare sight these days. This is was a 'L' model (meaning 'last') from 1973. Perhaps one of the final models assembled in Germany. Production continued in Mexico until 1977, I think, don't quote me.
This model has been nicely restored. Picture taken with phone camera.

Thursday afternoon while waiting for my daughter to finish school...


Teeritz and his son sit in the Toyota. Teeritz's daughter approaches the car. She's about a hundred yards away when she calls out.

                           TEERITZ'S DAUGHTER
                   Dad, Mr G******** wants me to take 
                   the baby chickens home for the 
                   weekend to look after them.

                   Well...okay, but they'll be your
                   responsibility. I'll have enough
                   on my hands, keeping Madam away
                   from them. Hurry up, then.

I hadn't planned on taking baby chickens home for the long weekend. Once I got used to the idea, I was expecting a little shoe-box with some tiny, fluffy, yellow chicks like the ones I used to see in Kleenex ads on TV, where some little blonde girl would hold one in her hand while she wiped its beak with a soft, paper tissue. 
But no, these were a little older and larger. With long necks. 
I though they were vultures or ostriches! 
And man, did they make a mess of their box! It was filthy, so I went out and got another box and spent half an hour cutting it down and reinforcing it with tape and lining the bottom of it with replaceable cardboard and newspaper. I even cut a little window in the top of it to allow for easy viewing of deez liddle boids.

Anyway, they've been in the house for 24 hours. They had some fresh air outside a couple of times today, the cat hasn't eaten any of them, their box has been cleaned out (by me, how'd I get roped into that caper?) and they have now been relocated to the very small laundry overnight so that my daughter's room can be aired out. Despite the fact that this house isn't designed to double as a chicken coop, it hasn't been too bad. 

Have a great weekend, all. 

And Lest We Forget.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Good Friday 2014 - More Painting, Cheap DVDs & This Week's Wristwatches

Good Friday, 4:54pm AEST

Switched to the Omega Seamaster 300 midweek.

And the Seiko that I wore while painting. Don't know why the picture doesn't come up rotated correctly.

And it's gotten a little chilly this afternoon. Sun's out, but there's an icy breeze blowing. Time to get indoors and stay indoors. Good Friday or not, it's pizza night tonight.

Have a safe and Happy Easter if you celebrate it, have a safe and happy weekend if you don't!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Re-Focusing The Lens On An Olympus Trip 35...Serves Me Right For Messing With It In The First Place.

I decided to tackle this repair job.
I had already succeeded in recalibrating the lens on my other Trip 35;

...and the subsequent photos that I took turned out great. The focus issues were sorted out, but I was still getting some reddy/orange light flare in the upper corners of the photos. This was perhaps due to my having peeled off the original black vinyl covering. Removing this covering exposed the seams in the metal body of the camera where light was possibly getting in and hitting the film. I re-covered the camera temporarily with double-sided tape and some light blue plastic, but I wasn't too thrilled with how the camera looked. However, the photos came out well and that was the main thing. I'll be ordering some exotic-looking leather skins for these cameras in the next week or so.

Anyway, back to the main story of this post. The newly-purchased Trip 35 developed some looseness in the lens assembly. I had searched the net for info on how to retighten these lenses and landed on a great tutorial;

This tutorial, by Kuljit Athwal, explains how to partially remove the lens in order to adjust three small screws beneath it. It was a painstaking process for me, since I've never taken a screwdriver to a camera before. Athwal's article provides a link to another article to do with repair of the light meter system and removal and cleaning of the aperture blades of  these cameras;

By referring to these two tutorials, I was able to tighten the screws holding the lens together. HOWEVER...I forgot one crucial step which involved making note of the main lens unit's position BEFORE fully unscrewing and removing it, dammit to hell!
And, as an exercise in further stupidity, I grabbed my first Trip 35 and took apart the lens of that one to see if I could copy its configuration for my other one. In refitting the lens, I unwittingly wound up twisting it about an eighth of a turn. This was enough to throw the lens out of focus, as I found it on the next roll of film that I had processed. 
And so, using the above tutorials, plus this one here;

...I was able to get the lens back into sharp focus. But I didn't document this process. So, in the interests of material for a blog post, here it is.

Okay, first, I needed something large with bold font. I would need to view this through the camera lens while holding the aperture open. I cleared the dining table and positioned the book, a large hardcover featuring Bond film posters;

This graphic would be sharp enough to help me adjust the lens. Next up, I used a small piece cut from a plastic shopping bag, and a small rectangle of harder plastic cut from an empty DVD case. These two items need to be taped against the film rails where each frame of 35mm film would sit if the camera were loaded. Like so;

Whatever you use, be it plastic or paper, it needs to be opaque or frosted. I thought about wax paper, but it seemed too opaque. Perhaps tracing paper would have been the better option, but I didn't have any in the house. So plastic would have to do. The piece of DVD case is to ensure that the plastic sits flat.
Next up, The lens bezel needed to be removed so that I could adjust the lens element. This bezel is held in place by three little screws;

Which came out easily enough, but I made sure not to unscrew them fully. They are very small. As it was, I was wearing my late Father's old pair of bifocals. Man, my eyesight's not what it used to be. 

And now, the top section of the camera needed to be removed. You may recall that I asked recently for suggestions regarding the removal of some stubborn, tiny screws;

In the end, I dabbed one screw with a tiny droplet of WD-40 and then used brute strength. Burred the screw slightly, but it came out okay. Once the top section was off, it looked like this;

 And now, the tricky part. I had to gently place a screwdriver against a notch in the aperture release cog (for want of a better term) while pressing down on the shutter release. As the shutter is pressed, the brass cog spins just over 180 degrees. This is what causes the shutter to open when a photo is taken. It all happens in the blink of an eye. By holding a screwdriver against the brass cog, the idea is to control its spin and freeze it halfway so that the aperture remains open and you can look through at what the camera lens 'sees'. If the lens is out of focus, you'll be able to see it.

Here's how the set-up looked. Excuse the sideways photo. I rotated it on my pc, but Blogger had other ideas;

Anyway, you'll notice that the book has been placed upside-down. The image is inverted once viewed through the lens. So, I set the focus ring on the camera down to its shortest distance- one metre. Then, I positioned the book one metre away from the camera's lens. All set.

Now, the fun part. You need three hands, ideally. One to hold the screwdriver, one to hold down the shutter release, and one to adjust the lens from the front while you look through it from behind. Luckily, I've had years of practice with holding small screwdrivers and tiny parts from my time selling wristwatches and removing links from their bracelets.

So, I was able to hold down the screwdriver with the index finger of my right hand while holding down the shutter release with my right ring-finger. This left my left hand free to adjust the lens. To play it safe, I had my loupe held in place by my right eye as I looked at the opaque sheet of plastic and saw;

Admittedly, I had a few shots at adjusting it. I even took a break and applied some eye drops. I wanted the bullet-top and the lipstick-bottom to look sharp. However, the upper-case 'D' showed that it was adjusted well-enough. Once that was in focus, the bullet and lipstick looked sharp too. The real test, of course, will be running some film through the camera.

Which I loaded yesterday. Hopefully, they'll turn out fine. The only roll I had was one with 36 exposures. Could take me a week or two to use it up.

As far as 35mm rangefinder cameras go, the Olympus Trip 35 is like a Volkswagen Beetle. Renowned and well-known, reliable, and gets the job done. In production for seventeen years, these were a great point-and-shoot camera that produced very good photos. You could spend fifty bucks or so and get something like one of those plastic Holga cameras that the Hipsters are into, or you could spend a little bit more, or a little bit less (prices vary) and get yourself a Trip 35. 
If you do, it's worth saving the three links above. If you encounter any issues, these links will be life-savers. 
I should give the authors of these links a special shout-out, since their articles saved me some major headaches.Thanks again!
I look forward to getting some snaps with this camera to see if I've adjusted the lens correctly. The other Trip 35 works fine, but needs some replacement skin, which I'll order soon. May as well jazz these cameras up a little. 
I'm going to take a look at the cameras that I have and maybe thin out the collection a little. I have a Nikon EM that I rarely use since I got an Olympus OM-2n a couple of years ago. Same with the 1950s Voigtlander Vito B rangefinder. Now that I have Trip 35s, I don't really need the Voigtlander. Nice looking camera, though.

Still, after three or four months of aggravation, five rolls of film and two previous failed attempts at fixing these cameras, one of which was perfectly fine before I touched it, I figure I'd better keep the Trip 35s. 
Both of them.

Thanks for reading!

Monday 14 April 2014

Springsteen Rocks!

I sat down a couple of months ago and watched a DVD of a Bruce Springsteen (and The E Street Band) concert performed at Hyde Park, London, in 2009. I had forgotten how great a performer he is.
The first concert I ever went to was part of David Bowie's Serious Moonlight Tour back in 1983 and that was a fantastic show.

Picture courtesy of | David Bowie Serious Moonlight Tour

Bowie had been in the game long enough to know how to put on a great concert. It was a memorable show. The Thin White Duke was in fine form. And his suits were to die for.

A couple of years later, Bruce Springsteen released "Born In The USA". I didn't know much of Springsteen's music, but I recall hearing one of his songs when I was much younger and would sit up in bed listening to AM rock radio station 3XY. His classic track Born To Run got regular airplay and, even though I hadn't heard any of his other songs, the way the DJ spoke of him made me think that this was a very well-respected and revered musician. He kept referring to him as 'The Boss'.
And so, fast-forward to 1985. "Dancing In The Dark" is the first single released off Springsteen's album and it was soon announced that he would be touring Australia. I had bought "Born In The USA" a few weeks earlier and it had been on "high rotation" (radio DJ lingo. Basically, I played this album a lot) under the stylus of the Pioneer Rondo 3000X turntable.
I knew that I had to get tickets to this concert.

Picture courtesy of

But first, I had to get my driver's licence.
About a month later, I had my driving test (after taking lessons, of course) and I got my licence...on the same day that the Springsteen tickets went on sale.
The ticket agency was at a shopping centre a few suburbs away and tickets for The Boss would go on sale at 10:ooam. Sharp.
I needed some wheels, man.
And I needed 'em fast.

"I got a '69 Chevy with a 396,
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor,
She's waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the 7-Eleven store"       
 --"Racing In The Street"  by Bruce Springsteen, taken from "Darkness On The Edge Of Town", 1978.          

picture above courtesy of,170,0,0/photo.aspx

But nope, I didn't have access to a classic American muscle car. I had to make do with this;

My Mother's Datsun 200B. Same colour, too. Man, when I think of the begging that I had to go through to get the keys to this thing, I think it would have been easier to get my hands on a '69 Chevy Camaro. And no way did my Mum's car look as badass (if that's even possible) as the one in the photo above.


Teeritz bursts into the kitchen. His mother turns from the sink.

                              TEERITZ (In Italian)
                    Hey, Ma, I need your car.

                           TEERITZ'S MOTHER (In Italian)
                    Ha! Get out of here.
                    Come on, I need the car.

                           TEERITZ'S MOTHER
                    What for?

                    There's a singer coming to
                    town to play a concert and
                    the tickets go on sale today.

                                                                  TEERITZ'S MOTHER (voice rising to "Costanza's parents" level)
                    But, are you crazy? You got your
                    licence a day ago, you're crazy.
                    Leave me in peace.

                    Aww, come on, it's over in *****,
                    near the market, I'll be back in an

                           TEERITZ'S MOTHER
                    Teeritz, stop and get out. You
                    just got your licence and I'm
                    not giving you the keys to run
                    my car into the back of a tram.
                    Young people are always the ones
                    who have accidents, get out!

This 'banter' went on for about another ten or fifteen minutes. Brother, was it tiring. Finally, she gave me the keys and I got the hell away from her.
I got to the ticket office around 11:30am. Naturally, there was a long queue. I would be getting two tickets. One for myself and one for my older brother.
I checked the ticket prices displayed above the box office; $23.00 each.
I began to feel a rising panic. I thought they were $22.50 each.
Then I checked the money in my wallet.
Two twenties and a five dollar note...and nothing else.
I was a dollar short.

"Oh, no fucken' way, man!" was the only thing running through my mind for a couple of minutes, like some kind of profane mantra.
I looked up at the lady in the box office, wondering if she would let me have the tickets for a buck less. I had a thick head of hair and a deep voice back then. Highly doubtful. The hair's mostly gone, but I still got the deep voice.
I could feel a cold sweat break out on my forehead. I didn't have an ATM card back then and I certainly didn't have a credit card.
I scanned the faces in the queue. And by some miracle, there was a guy named Marcus* standing about six or seven people ahead of me. He and I went to the same secondary school. We were in the same year, although he was in another class.
It was worth a shot.

"Hey Marcus, how's it going?"
"Hi, Teeritz, yeah good. You getting tickets?"
"Yeah, but I'm a buck short. I thought they were twenty-two bucks fifty. Listen, have you got a dollar you could spare me?"
"Oh, man."
"Obviously, I'll pay you back." (not really knowing when I'd see him again, although I had previously bumped into him once or twice in the main Italian restaurant/café precinct in my city)
Marcus reached into his jeans and fished out a dollar coin. A buck back then was the equivalent of about $3.50 today. He handed it to me. A little reluctantly.
"Thanks, man, you're a life-saver! I'll shout you a coffee next time you're in Lygon Street."
"Yeah, you'd better."

I haven't seen Marcus since, but if I ever do, I'm gonna hand him ten or fifteen bucks. That's one dollar from 1985 adjusted for inflation. Give or take. Mathematics was never my strong point.
And I'll buy him a coffee too.

*Marcus is not his real name.

I went to the concert on that night in April of 1985 and what a phenomenal show it was! Springsteen and his band were on stage for over three hours. It was an amazing performance. The E Street Band was tight, and The Boss had us all in the palm of his hand.
He would tell little anecdotal stories about his life and, from memory, he and his father had a difficult relationship. It was quite touching to hear him tell of how he nervously waited to hear whether or not he'd be called up for the Vietnam Draft. In the end, he was classified 4F (unfit for duty) due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident when he was younger. On the day that he found out, he got home and his father asked him about the draft. Springsteen told him he'd been declined. His father responded with; "I'm glad."

I had once read that U2 had arranged to meet with Springsteen to learn a little more about how to relate to an audience. This was around the time of their Lovetown Tour in 1988/89. Sorry, boys, but if you need to learn it, then you ain't ever gonna learn it. And that's coming from somebody who's been to five of your concerts since the mid Eighties.

Bruce Springsteen was able to distill a performance in front of tens of thousands of people into something resembling an intimate club gig. The audience was hushed whenever he spoke and it felt like he was speaking individually to each and every one of us. Sure, I was standing amongst thirty-five thousand other people, but it felt like I was the only person there. I've read of people saying they've been to concerts where "it felt like the singer was speaking directly to me" and that night, I understood perfectly what that meant. I was experiencing something special and unique and I've never experienced it at any of the other dozen or so concerts by other artists that I've been to since.

Later on during the show, I heard a lady in front of me say to her boyfriend; "He's got all the right muscles in all the right places."

Most of my Springsteen albums (yes, vinyl) are stored away. I have a couple of CDs within easy reach, but I look forward to the day when I can pull a record from its sleeve and gently lower a stylus needle into the groove and twist the volume knob up a little to hear The Boss plead with Rosalita, or remind me that everybody's got a hungry heart.

Bruce Springsteen has always represented a mythical America. To me, anyway. He's always come across as a modern poet of the working classes, built of denim and chiseled biceps, exhaust fumes and axle grease, a champion of struggling farmers, Vietnam Vets and patriotic steelworkers. The kind of guy who'd give you his last cigarette (if he smoked), the keys to his '71 Mercury Cougar or the shirt off his back.

I made a new friend on that April night in 1985. His name is Bruce.

Thanks for reading!

POST-SCRIPT; Hey, waddaya know? Post number 200!

Friday 11 April 2014

Saturday 12/4/2014 - More Painting, RIP Mickey Rooney, A Night (or two) At The Movies, & This Week's Wristwatches.

Saturday 1:07pm AEST

Last weekend
Saturday's night's 'Lolly Nite Movie' was "Diana", starring Naomi Watts. As far as well-known Australian actresses go, I have to say that, although Nicole Kidman ( a fine actress, by the way) gets a lot of attention, and (another great actress) Cate Blanchett's recent Oscar win has put her even further in the spotlight, Miss Watts has quietly carved out a career made up of interesting roles over the years. I can't say I've seen much of what she has done, but I have been impressed with her acting in the films of hers that I've seen.
She was great in "The International" (Dir: Tom Twyker, 2009), a European-set thriller about an Interpol operative, played by the vastly underrated Clive Owen, who uncovers a conspiracy within a large banking corporation and is aided in his investigation by a US attorney, played by Watts. Miss Watts turned in another great performance in "The Impossible" (Dir: Juan Antonio Bayona, 2011), based on the true story of a woman caught in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 in Thailand, and it was this performance which garnered her an Oscar nomination.

"Diana" theatrical poster, courtesy of www.bigstartv/blog

With "Diana", any actress who undertakes such a role is under close scrutiny, since there is much archival footage of Lady Di out there. While Watts doesn't bear a close resemblance to the late Princess, she turns in a wonderful performance that does much to capture the essence of what I, for one, know of Princess Diana. The film, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, concentrates on the last two years of her life and her love affair with a Pakistani-born heart surgeon working in London. Her fatal car accident is not shown, since I imagine that most people know the circumstances surrounding it. It had a huge impact at the time. My wife and I had been married just under a year when we took a drive out to South Melbourne beach on that winter's day at the end of August. It began to rain lightly so we hopped back into the car and looked for someplace to grab a drink. We wound up at the Red Bluff Hotel in Sandringham, grabbed a small table near the fireplace, and ordered our drinks. There was a television switched on above the bar and, while I couldn't hear the sound, the headline scrolled across the bottom of the screen, announcing that Princess Diana had been killed in a car accident in Paris.
I remember feeling more than just a twinge of sadness. In my opinion, she had been treated poorly by the Royal Family after her separation from Prince Charles and had been hounded relentlessly by the paparazzi ever since. Yes, much has been said about how she was known to enjoy these cat-and-mouse pursuits by the press, but I have seen footage of her pleading with photographers to be left alone, too. When I had read of her current romance with Dodi Al-Fayed, I hoped that she would settle into a quieter existence where she would live a more peaceful life and have better access to her two children.
Sadly, that was not to be. I worked on the night that her funeral was telecast on TV. My boss had set up a small portable colour television on top of the drinks fridge and it was interesting to see the effect of this telecast on the patrons who walked in. Most of them stopped to watch the screen for a few moments. One lady sat up at the bar and had a minestrone (this was a small family-owned bistro that I worked at back then) followed by a cappuccino at the end of her meal. She was in her mid-sixties and was a piano teacher. She kept apologising for taking up a seat on a busy night long after she had finished her meal and coffee. She told me that she didn't have a television at home. I told her she could sit there as long as she wanted, and I instructed the other waiters to leave her be.
Shortly after her death, there was a slight backlash against the paparazzi and their style of reckless pursuit of celebrities. Not much was done about it. Newspapers still paid big money for photos, and the paps still went out and hounded the famous. 
I didn't mind this film. The first half-hour felt very interior and, given the large life that she led, focused on one particular aspect of it. When all was said and done, this film was a love story about a woman very much in the public eye and the man she fell in love with who craves his anonymity. 

It was time to do some more painting. Off came the Omega Speedmaster Professional;

                                 Archive photo, taken sometime in early 2013

One coat of Domino Grey was applied to the faschia boards on the house. Took me just over ninety minutes and my back was killing me by the time I was done. And my glutes! Who'd have thought? Must have been all of the contorted stretching that I did in order to reach under the eaves. And I still have to do it all again one more time!
But at least I was wearing the faithful Seiko 7002. Man, that cap's going straight into the wash;

We went to see "Captain America- The Winter Soldier". I have to say that I'm really liking these Marvel comic book films. Yeah, okay, they don't hold the secrets to the meaning of life, but I actually enjoy these types of movies, even if the film conoscenti want to remind me that it's not a Bergman, Kubrick or Fellini film and it offers nothing with regard to the human condition, blah, blah, blah. I go to the movies to get away from thinking about the meaning of life and the human condition. 

The action scenes were inspired, in particular a car chase scene with Nick Fury (a great characterisation by Samuel L. Jackson). And, for some reason, the shoot-outs reminded me of the ones from Michael Mann's "Heat" (1995). I think it had to do with the sound effects and sound editing.
It was a great, kinetic and visceral film experience, and it provides a nice lead-up to next year's Avengers sequel.

And later in the day, I read of the death of Mickey Rooney. Sure, he was 93 AND he was once married to Ava Gardner (figure that one out!), but I was still saddened a little by the news.

Picture (right) courtesy of

I suppose he is best remembered in The States for his 'Andy Hardy' films, made from the late 1930s through the '40s, with one last title being made in the late 1950s, but I will always remember him from "Boys Town" (Dir: Norman Taurog, 1938), a Spencer Tracy film with Rooney cast as a young delinquent.
One more performer from Hollywood's Golden Age gone.It's a pretty small club, now, and I'd be fairly certain most of its members are female. Olivia De Havilland, Kirk Douglas, (the great) Maureen O'Hara and (the legendary) Lauren Bacall come to mind.

I started working on the assignment for my Industry Knowledge subject. This one involves writing up a 500 word report on the libraries that we've visited. I thought this one was   gonna be a bit of a pain, but once I got started, it wasn't too bad. If anything, I found that I'd written too much rather than not enough.  By the time I was done, I had just over 700 words done. 

Later in the evening, I looked over at the TV cabinet and counted 25 DVDs that my wife has brought home from work over the past two weeks or so. It's a mixed bag - a few French films, a handful of documentaries, some films that the kids might watch, and a mix of recent and new releases from mainstream Hollywood.
I decided then and there to sit and watch a film every night this week. Monday night was already taken care of with Captain America's latest adventure, so I flipped through the films on offer and landed on one called "Deadfall" (Dir: Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2012), starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam.

I didn't mind this film too much, despite the age-old storyline. It's a modern noir about a brother and sister who've just committed a major robbery and things go awry, forcing them to split up with the money and meet up at a later stage. Still, the casting makes this a better film than it deserves to be. Eric Bana does a fine job as Addison, the cunning robber who shows decency from time to time, and I've often wondered why he hasn't cracked the Hollywood market, especially after starring in Spielberg's "Munich" in 2005.
It's got a solid cast, this film, with great roles for Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek, and it was good to see Treat Williams back on the screen

Decided to take the kids to my wife's library this morning. Thought they could read some books while I worked a little more on my assignment. I decided to change wristwatch as well. I opened up the watch case.
"Which one?", I asked my daughter, who was seated nearby.
"That one", she replied, pointing to;

The 44mm Hamilton Khaki Officer's Hand-Wound Mechanical. I explained to my daughter how the movement in this watch is based on a pocket watch movement from the 1950s and this is one main reason for the oversized case of this watch. So that's what I wore for our trip to the library where I continued with my assignment and got another 793 words written down. I am now up to date with this assignment. One more library visit and I'll be able to sit down and write up the rest of it. 

That night, I looked at the other DVD's on offer. We decided to watch "Lovelace" (Dirs: Jeffrey Friedman, Rob Epstein, 2013). This film traces the brief adult-film career of Linda Lovelace, who gained notoriety when she starred in "Deep Throat" in the early 1970s. It covers the effects that this film had on Lovelace's life, her relationship with her abusive husband, and her religious mother, played by an unrecognisable Sharon Stone.

picture courtesy of

The film was okay. I wouldn't rave about it as a whole. The script makes clever use of repeating events, but showing more detail the second time around, thus adding to the narrative, but it is the solid cast of this film that makes it worth watching. Standout performances from Amanda Seyfried in the title role, Bobby Cannavale as the producer of the porn flick, but it is Sharon Stone who puts herself quite a distance away from Catherine Trammell of Basic Instinct. I was almost half-way through the film, wondering who the hell was playing Seyfried's mother, when I just had to pick up the DVD case to see the cast list. Interestingly, the poster above shows Sarah Jessica Parker in the cast, but I couldn't recall seeing her in the film. Turns out that she did indeed film a scene as feminist/journalist Gloria Steinem, who interviewed Lovelace in the early '80s. However, the film's chronology ends in the year 1980 and so, this scene didn't appear in the final edit of the film. This happens a lot in Hollywood. Kevin Costner appeared in "The Big Chill" (Dir; Lawrence Kasdan, 1983) as Alex, the dead friend whose funeral the main characters are attending. They filmed a flashback scene with him, but it never ended up in the movie.
Oh, I switched watches before sitting down to watch "Lovelace". I was getting a hankering for something vintage, now that the weather is getting cooler. It was time for the circa 1962 Omega Seamaster;

I got this watch off eBay around 2003. They don't turn up in this kind of original condition anymore.

Thursday evening
Yep, I got the bug to see another movie. "Hey hon, I might go catch the 6:50 session of "The Monuments Men" with buddy-boy."
And so it was that my son and I found ourselves in a ten-row cinema watching the latest George Clooney picture.

  picture courtesy of

This film was nicely done. Great story, beautifully shot, well acted, great direction. But it just didn't have any big scenes. It moved at a good pace, and the story of how this group of academics were tasked with the job of rescuing artworks that had been confiscated by the Nazis is a story worth telling, but I was just waiting for one or two tense moments. It had a few, but perhaps I was expecting something along the lines of The Guns of Navarone or Saving Private Ryan. It did have a couple of war-movie staples, such as an end-credits music score with whistling on it, like in The Great Escape, and snippets of the main cast with their names across the screen, like in The Dirty Dozen (I think, from memory). 
As I say, it was a nicely done film. The idea of artwork being representative of an entire culture was the thing that struck me the most about this film. Like I said, it's a story worth telling. 
Clooney is a confident director. Of everything he's helmed, I think I've enjoyed "Good Night and Good Luck" the most. I daresay that he'll get an Oscar nomination one day, if not an Oscar itself.

Switched watches. We would take a quick trip into town and I thought I'd put on something modern with a vintage vibe;

The Longines Expeditions Polaires Francaises-Missions Paul-Emile Victor is its full title. I gotta start calling it the Expeditions model for short. 

No movie tonight. I was too busy writing this post. And I meant to go to bed about two hours ago to read for a while and maybe get some early shut-eye. For a change. 
Needless to say, it didn't happen.

Still wearing the Longines. Busy afternoon coming up. Oh, and my foot seems to be playing up a little still. I made another appointment to see the doctor this Tuesday. Whatever this infection is, it's a little stubborn. However, I don't want to panic over it. 
As M once said;
                              "Worry at it, not about it."

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Olympus Trip 35 Repair Coming Up...If I Can Just Undo Three Little Screws.

Okay, I have two Olympus Trip 35s. I got the second one off eBay not so long ago and decided to recalibrate the lens. 
Why, you may ask? Because the whole lens assembly felt a little wobbly. A quick search on the net revealed that there are three little screws that hold the lens in place and that they have a tendency to loosen over the years. Okay, so I slowly undid these tiny screws and removed the top section of the lens, tightened the screws underneath, and then put it all back together. Then, I read the instructions for how to do this correctly and, to my horror, found that I had missed one crucial step BEFORE taking it apart. I had to make a note of where the lens bezel sits before removing it so that I'd be able to put it back exactly where it needed to go. Of course, I didn't do this. And so, an exercise in trial and error was aboout to commence. 
What an absolute headache that turned out to be. I got there in the end, however, and all it took was;

-Taking the camera apart three times.
-Adjusting the lens the first time...incorrectly.
-Removing the old faux leather skin (which, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done.)
-Adjusting the lens a second time, using a different method, which produced fantastic and sharp photos.
-Churning through FIVE rolls of 24 exposure 35mm film. So many pictures of the house and cat!...
-...only to find some flare of light on certain photos. 
-Using double-sided tape and the outer cover of a cheap vinyl diary, making a new skin for the camera.
-Another roll of film.
-Which resulted in perfect photos. So maybe the light was getting in through seams/gaps in the body of the camera.

Now all I have to do is order some new skins off the web. That should solve that problem. 

Of course, I stupidly took apart the lens on my first, perfectly-working Trip 35 to see how it was all arranged before attempting work on my newer one. When I put the lens back together, I threw the focus out of whack. And so, I now have to do the same as above with this camera. 

It all sounds simple enough, although I hate to think of how many minutes/hours I spent staring at the camera before I turned any screws.
Which brings me to the first camera. The one whose lens I took apart and adjusted when it didn't need adjusting. 
So I'll be recalibrating the focus using the method that I found on the web and I will be sure to take pics so that I can post about it here.
There's only one (actually three) little problem(s).
There are three small screws that need to be undone in order to remove the top section of the camera from the main body. And these screws seem really hard to undo. I tried using one of my expensive jeweller's screwdrivers, but I don't want to burr the screw head or bend the screwdriver blade. 
Here are the screws;

This top one on the silver section needs to be undone.

 Along with two of the same, positioned under the film rewind crank handle.

But the suckers won't turn. I bought a set of small Phillipshead screwdrivers from the hardware store and have had no luck. 
Now, my question is- Should I apply a toothpick-delivered drop of WD-40 onto these screws? Will that help?
Any other ways of loosening tiny screws that you may know of?
Or am I just wasting my (and your) time with this post?

The Trip 35 was in production from 1967 until around 1984. It is a stone-cold classic rangefinder. Which is why I'm spending so much time on getting it back to working condition.  This one has its vinyl skin removed. I re-covered it temporarily with some sky-blue vinyl, but didn't think to get a picture of it. I should have perhaps left that covering on it, but I wasn't happy with how I'd covered it. No real big deal. I'll just get new skins. They cost eight bucks.

Thanks for reading!

Friday 4 April 2014

Some Pics Of The State Library Of Victoria That I Wanted To Add To My Previous Post.

I meant to include a couple of snaps that I took at the State Library of Victoria earlier this week, but I forgot to add them to my Friday Wristwatch post yesterday. These were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. I'm still in two minds about keeping this phone, but that's another story.

Anyway, here's a up-close shot of the outside of the library's entrance in Swanston Street;

And here's what a proper photo of this library looks like;
picture courtesy of wikipedia entry/ Photograph taken by Brian Jenkins, December 6th, 2007.

The wonderful staff gave us a quick tour of some parts of the library. One main attraction of this library is the La Trobe Reading Room, which is located below The Dome seen in the photo above. The Dome was topped with leadlight panels of glass when it was first opened in 1913, but these had deteriorated over the years and the entire roof refurbishment was commenced in 1999 before this area of the library was reopened to the public in 2003 and renamed the La Trobe Reading Room. It is an impressive space, without a doubt. I could sit there for hours just staring at it.
Picture taken from wikipedia entry/ Photograph taken by Diliff

This is a quiet study area. Good luck tapping away at typewriter keys in this room.

The upper floors contain exhibition space where artworks and old manuscripts are displayed. The books you can see on the shelves are for display/decorative purposes only. They are all duplicate copies of books that the library has stored elsewhere for patrons to view by prior arrangement. 

Here's a closer view of the study desk area. All of the original furniture is there and I'd guess that the power points were added sometime in the last 20-25 years to accommodate the use of laptops. In the interests of privacy, I have crudely blacked-out the faces of patrons facing the camera.

And here's a floor-level view of the Dome;

I wish it were a sunnier day. That would have truly lit up this space. Still, there was a pleasant enough amount of light filtering through.

The State Library of Victoria is an impressive place, built at a time when those with the influence and finances subscribed to the view of creating something that would be of benefit for all, regardless of social standing or economic status. This was an institution designed to be accessible to all. A recent exhibition, entitled Free, Secular and Democratic, traced the history of the building of this library from the years 1853 to 1913. 
Now, as we are firmly ensconced in the 21st Century, the State Library of Victoria has reaffirmed the ethos outlined by the library's founders and added the tenet 'Information. Ideas. Inspiration. For Everyone'.
The State Library of Victoria easily ranks up there among the best libraries in the world, such as The London Library and The New York Public Library. If you ever come to my town, it is well-worth a visit. If you already live in Victoria and have never been there, then you should go there and take a look through the place. You'll be in awe.
In an age where we have access to information 24/7, across a wide variety of digital delivery methods, it pays to unplug, step back, and see how people educated, informed, entertained, and bettered themselves in days gone by. 

If you want to know more about the State Library of Victoria, then check out their website;

Thanks to wikipedia too!  State Library of Victoria Wikipedia Entry


In other literature-related news, I seem to have four different  books on the go at the moment. My wife brought home a dog-eared copy of You Only Live Twice. This book had been weeded out of her library's collection and would go on a shelf for staff to take if they wanted to. She knew I already have two or three copies of this book, but she brought it home anyway. I put it in my car to read on those afternoons when I'm waiting for my kids to finish school. As such, at a rate of two to five pages a few days per week, it should take me about a year to finish reading it. That's okay. I've already read it. Even if it was sometime in the early 1980s. 

While at an Op Shop last month, my wife got me a copy of John Le Carre's Our Kind Of Traitor. Since she readily admits that she doesn't know what books I already have, she wasn't too surprised to find that I do indeed have a copy of this book. No matter. I'll read it and take it back to the Op Shop so they can sell it again. To somebody else. 
I'm not too far into it, but Le Carre is a superb writer, always was. And I've recently read that it's to be filmed soon, which is great. Problem was, the article that I read also gave away some major plot elements, dammit. Didn't spoil the story, but it told me too much about how the story unfolds. 

My wife recently read a book called Capital, by John Lanchester, and she suggested I have a read of it. I kept putting it off, to the point where the book is now overdue, but once I started reading it, I got into it fairly quickly. Set in 2007, it concerns a particular high-end street in London. The residents in this street are all of different ages and income brackets and, one day, they all receive a postcard in the mail with the simple sentence; 'We want what you have'. Some of them think it's just a real-estate agency marketing ploy, some perceive it as a kind of ominous threat. Lanchester writes beautifully. One character's tale, a high-flying financial trader named Roger Yount, is particularly funny.

And, about two weeks ago, my wife brought home Glock, the story of how the infamous pistol was developed by a humble Austrian hinge and knife manufacturer and became the choice of law enforcement and criminals throughout The United States in the 1980s. It's a fascinating and very well-written account of the rise of this steel and polymer pistol, covering it's early beginnings, attempts to ban its importation into the States, and it's popularity among rappers and Hollywood screenwriters. 

So, you can see that I've made a slight mess with all of this. Luckily, no two books cover the same ground, so there's no real risk of my mixing up events between books. Although personally, I should probably drop to just two books at a time. Not normally thee way I read anyway. 

My wife, of course, churns through books at a rate of knots. It's an amazing skill. I used to be a voracious reader, but I've never been a fast one.
However, in recent months, I've found myself watching less TV and spending more time on the 'net. I personally don't find this to be very enriching, to be honest, and have made a vow to read more and surf the web less. With all the assignments I've been tackling lately, I find that I've spent a lot of time staring at the screen of this laptop as it is, so perhaps my eyes could probably do with a rest. 

And so, I think I'll soon flick on the coffee machine, make myself a latte and go stretch myself out somewhere and read a few pages of something. 
There are far, far worse ways to while away the time. 

Thanks for reading!
And keep reading!