Sunday, 22 June 2014

Typewriter Day 2014 - Miserable Weather, But The Heater's On And I Have A Quiet De Luxe.

I liked Scott K's photo on his Typewriter Day post...

Wide Open Road- Typewriter day, 2014 I figured I'd have a stab at a similar set-up;

Of course, since I went to the trouble of setting up the '47 QDL, it seemed only fitting to write something up for T-Day 2014;

Awful weather we're having here today in Melbourne. Cloudy, windy and the rain threatens to let rip at any moment. Good day to just stay indoors with the heater on, a cup of tea or coffee, and a good book. Although, I'm not sure I'm in the frame of mind to tackle something so literary right now. Still, it's a short book. I got this copy from a nearby thrift store for two bucks. It belonged to a Year 12 student and he used an orange highlighter throughout it. Whatever happened to the days of a plain 2B pencil? More importantly, whatever happened to the days of keeping a book?
I hope he got a decent mark for his book report, given all of the notations scribbled along the margins. With a fine-point Texta (Magic Marker).  

Have a great Typewriter Day, all!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Friday 20/6/14 - Typewriter Packing , Emptying The Car Wreck, Driving Duties & This Week's Wristwatches

 - Friday 2:05pm AEST -

I was getting sick of pasting film poster pics off the web onto these weekly posts because when I'd upload the post, it would appear minus the poster. IMDB has the best poster artwork, but it doesn't allow for quick and easy cutting and pasting. So here's a picture I took of the DVD case.

And here's a shot of the Namco chair that I grew up with, along with the Smith-Corona Silent Super that I used for the typecast above.

This one has that groovy 1960s pattern across the back. Sadly, Scott, I don't see a date of manufacture on the cardboard underneath. Man, that orange vinyl is so 1964.
And I was still wearing the Omega Railmaster from the day before;

Packed up a few typewriters to put into storage. My collection has overtaken far too much room in the wardrobe, so it was time to get them out of the house. I've left five or six of them at home. I think I'll take a long, hard look  at them in the next month or so to determine which ones to sell. I don't think it'll be a huge cull, but some of them don't get used very much and I've realised that I can probably live without them. 

            More lawn mowing, so a change of wristwatch was in order. Time for the Seiko SKX031. When I was done, I hit the supermarket and then got some more urgent supplies. The cupboard has been bare for some time and I'm not enjoying the Dewar's Special Reserve that I've had to resort to. Until I get myself a nice Single Malt, I'll just stick with good ol' J&B Rare and/or Ballantine's.

             My son's school was having a "Correction Day", so he got to stay home and promptly chained himself to the PlayStation. 
And then somebody else settled down to do sweet F.A. for the morning as well. That's two members of the household who would be out of action for a while. Slack-asses.

I had a busy Tuesday coming up. After dinner that evening, I felt like a drink.

And then I briefly switched over to the circa 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer for the rest of the evening;

              Busy day ahead. I dropped my son off at school and my wife off at work. When I got home, it was time for a watch change-over. There was much to be done. I needed something big, loud and ridiculous. I needed the 44mm Hamilton Khaki hand-wound;

Relax. That tattoo should wash off during my next shower. I don't have any ink, but if I ever do, it's gonna be this;

Minus the wording, of course. Only the greatest Rock & Roll band in the world. I've always felt that a tatt, because of its permanence, should be something that actually has a meaning to the person. Mind you, I do like the idea of a dagger & rose tattoo. It's the romantic in me.

By the time I got home a couple of hours later, I had these;

A VF-2 viewfinder and a 15mm 1:8.0 body-cap lens for my Olympus EPL-5 camera. The lens significantly reduces the bulk of the camera, although it does turn it into a simple point-and-shoot, and the viewfinder brings this camera into the realm of true photography (in my view) whereby I can hold the camera up to eye level rather than hold it a foot away from my face as though it's about to explode any second. Nice.
I called the tow-truck company (see last Friday's post for more info) to see if I could head over to empty my wife's car of her few remaining belongings. I brought the camera along. From a distance, the car didn't look that bad;

When I got closer, it was a whole different story;

The driver's side took the brunt of the impact when the car flipped over;

Scrawled across the windscreen was the Insurance company's policy number and the term "T/LOSS", which I can only assume meant 'total loss'. 

However, my wife is recovering from her aches and scrapes and that's the main thing. 

          Busy day today. Switched to the Omega Planet Ocean, because I wanted something with a date on it;

And, just to prove that my wife is on the mend, here she is up to her usual trick of trying to make the cat look like Mother Theresa. Madame is clearly not impressed.

I have a busy week or two coming up, gang, so thanks for reading and have yourselves a great weekend!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday 13/6/14 - Happy Birthday Dino, Mini Jennifer Lawrence Film Festival, One Last Assignment (filled with treachery!), Lucky Escapes & This Week's Wristwatches

- Friday  6:50pm AEST -

Last Saturday
                    Mowed the lawn in the morning. Took much longer than I thought it would because I had to go over it twice. By the time I was done, I needed something thirst-quenching and we were out of soft drink. I grabbed a few lemons off the tree in the backyard, two spoons of sugar and a dash of boiling water and got to work. Five minutes later, I had sweetened lemon juice in a glass with some ice. I topped it up with San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water and flicked a few drops of Angostura Bitters into the mix.
That hit the spot nicely. I had the modded Seiko 7002 on while I gripped the lawnmower and then switched back to the Omega Planet Ocean when I gripped the glass.

The Lolly Night Movie this week was "The Hunger Games-Catching Fire" (Dir: Frances Lawrence, 2013).

You know, I've got a lot of time for Miss Jennifer Lawrence. I recall there was a lot of buzz about her when "Winter's Bone" (Dir: Debra Granik, 2010) was released a few years ago. Her portrayal of Ree Dolly, a young girl caring for her two younger siblings in the Ozark region of the US and trying to locate their wayward father or face eviction, generated a lot of positive reviews at the time of its release and many reviewers raved about Lawrence's performance. It was a bleak film, but Lawrence imbued Ree with a steely resolve and sense of hope in a beautifully nuanced performance from somebody so young. This is something that happens rarely in Hollywood film, so one tends to notice when a performer comes along, seemingly out of nowhere, and delivers such an assured and controlled performance.
She next appeared in "X-Men: First Class" (Dir: Matthew Vaughn, 2011) , but it was perhaps 2012 that proved to be a banner year for her with the release of both "The Hunger Games" (Dir: Gary Ross) and "The Silver Linings Playbook" (Dir: David O. Russell). These two very different films showed her range as an actress and made Jennifer Lawrence a talent to watch.
In "Silver Linings", which has swiftly made it into my Top Ten after only two viewings, Lawrence easily holds her own among a great cast that includes Robert De Niro and she fully deserved the Academy Award that she received last year for her role in this film. 
A standout performance in a movie filled with standout performances.

Anyway, we watched this second Hunger Games movie, since my daughter is a huge fan of the books and she loves Jennifer Lawrence. This is a more thoughtful action-adventure than Hollywood's usual output and Lawrence is perfect in the role of Katniss Everdeen, the young woman who must once again partake in a life-or-death battle to save herself and those close to her.
Directed by Francis Lawrence, who  also did "I Am Legend" in 2007 starring Will Smith, this is a nicely paced film which features one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's final performances before his untimely death last year.

And earlier on  Saturday, I saw that it was Dean Martin's birthday! 

Much has always been made of Frank Sinatra, his voice, and his legacy and I agree with most of it, but for me, Dino seemed like the one that I would rather have a smoke and a drink with. Even though the hard partying image that he portrayed on stage was a myth. His glass was usually filled with apple juice, not Scotch.
I suppose I have a soft-spot for Martin because his parents were from the same region in Italy as my own and in his twilight years, he began to resemble some of my uncles and family friends, with his wavy hair still Brylcreemed to within an inch of its life and the swirl of blue-grey cigarette smoke encircling him like an aura.
He was perhaps the pioneer of what some late night AM radio station (showing my age there) deejays refer to as 'easy listening'.
Martin himself once said; "I don't even breathe hard."
I have some memories of watching the variety show that he hosted back in the early '70s.  I was just a kid, but I would always sit there watching him with a smile on my face. I could tell that he was enjoying himself and didn't take himself or showbiz too seriously.
His son, Dean Paul, a pilot with the California Air National Guard, who at one time dabbled in acting (he did a movie with Ali McGraw in the late '70s, something about tennis, from memory. "Players", I think it was called), was killed when his F-4 jet crashed during a snowstorm.
Dean Martin never recovered from the loss and slowly edged his way out of the spotlight. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1993 and died early on Christmas Day 1995 at the age of 78.*
I was at a friend's restaurant when I heard the news a few nights later and I felt a great sadness. It was a warm summer night and yet I felt a little cold.
Still, whenever I think of Dino, I get a picture in my head of a sharp tux, a tanned face with lots of laugh lines around the eyes, shiny black hair, an unfiltered Lucky Strike in one hand, a glass of booze in the other.
And before I know it, I start crooning; "Take one sweet and tender kiss..."

            My wife's birthday. Happy Birthday, baby! I find it funny how so many people that I know personally, and famous people that I admire, all seem to have been born in May, June and July.
Anyway, continuing on with our impromptu Jennifer Lawrence Film Festival, we went out to see the new Marvel adaptation (I remember when everybody used to say 'adaption').


Directed by Bryan Singer, who had a wonderful debut with the very clever "The Usual Suspects" in 1995, this latest X-Men movie moves at a great clip. It tells a big story, once again about Professor Charles Xavier and his school of mutants. This time around, they are under threat from a scientist hell-bent on destroying them by using Sentinels, an army of robots that are impervious to the mutant's array of powers. Believe me when I say that it's better than I just made it sound. I've had a long week, and it's only Wednesday as I write this.
This film is beautifully done. The cinematography is rich, the performances are sure-footed, and you begin to get a sense of dread as you see some of the mutants annihilated by these fearsome Sentinels.
And there is a very amusing scene with a character called Quicksilver, a young mutant who moves at the speed of light, as he plays havoc with some Secret Service officers in the Pentagon as Jim Croce's 1973 ballad "Time In A Bottle" plays gently over the soundtrack. It is an inspired scene.


Jennifer Lawrence plays Raven/Mystique, a shape-shifting mutant with an agenda of her own. Her role in this film is greatly expanded compared to the previous film, "X-Men: First Class" (Dir: Matthew Vaughn, 2011) . This is the value of her fame in recent years. In a very short time, she has come a long way and I hope she just keeps on going and going.
She is definitely one of the finest actresses of her generation, without a doubt.
After the movie, we all grabbed a burger.

             One last assignment to be done. This one, however, was to be a team effort. I worked on it with two ladies in my class. We decided to tackle the topic of  'mobile technologies' that are being implemented in more and more libraries, specifically the use of various apps designed to be used on portable devices such as smart-phones and iPads, etc.
I was tasked with writing the introduction. No problem. We then decided to find two apps each to write about, and also provide some slides for a PowerPoint presentation in class. So far, so good. I felt it was all within my abilities.
One of the ladies is fairly tech-savvy and she suggested we use GoogleDrive to upload the assignment onto so that we could write, view and edit it in real-time.
Okay, how hard could it be?
About six hours later, I knew the answer. The actual work itself wasn't difficult, but the research was painstaking and I could feel a headache coming on by the time I'd finished.
I wrote about an app called Zinio, which lets users download a range of magazines onto their iPads, etc, and then I spent an hour writing up about RFID technology in libraries. Shortly after I uploaded it, one of the ladies pointed out that this was not a mobile technology. She was right, of course. I think I had gone slightly brain-dead from staring at the computer screen for so long. So I scrapped what I'd written and started again. I found an app that help you learn a language, so I wrote about that.
By this stage, I finished up for the day, since I had done 90% of this assignment requirement.
Had the Omega Speedmaster sitting in front of me to give all of this an exam kind of vibe;

             A household admin-filled day. And, I noticed that the total pageviews for this blog had reached 1,387 for the day. I don't know who's looking at this blog, but that Dry Martini post has now clocked up over 25,000 views, and I'm still getting spam attached to Michael Kors handbags and other crap.
The day got slightly worse at around 10:34pm that night when I checked the assignment on GoogleDrive and found that my entire introduction had been removed and been replaced by an intro written by one of the others on my team.
You know what I hate? I hate going to bed with a problem on my mind, knowing that there's nothing I can do about it until the next morning. But then I tell myself that there's nothing I can do about it till the next morning. I still have a crappy night's sleep, but at least I don't lie awake all night.

                  Fired up the laptop and sent my team-member an e-mail asking why my intro had been removed. She got back to me ("My bad, Teeritz, my bad") explaining that, due to time constraints the previous day, she was unable to e-mail me and she felt my intro didn't address the topic.
I replied with a quick breakdown of the introduction, explaining how each of the five paragraphs specifically related to the topic at hand.
And then I thought to myself; "Gee, I didn't realise that I was working for you."
Also, I really hate it when somebody edits my writing. Unless they're an actual editor. Which hasn't happened to me yet.

I got to class in the afternoon. She apologised again, but I didn't see remorse in her eyes (Man, that Marlowe novel I'm reading this week is certainly rubbing off on me).
Anyway, we made our PowerPoint presentation and it went well. Our teacher was quite happy with it. That's part one of this exercise taken care of. Now, to finish the assignment.
The other lady in my team spoke to me afterwards, saying that she wanted to use my original introduction, since we each had to hand in a copy.
And that's pretty much another subject in this course taken care of. Five more to go and then I'm done. I will have completed it.

Later that evening, I poured myself a shot of Ballantine's and wrote out what I need to do over the next week or so. The Speedmaster was serving me well;

I then hit the sack and finished reading the Philip Marlowe novel by Benjamin Black, entitled "The Black Eyed Blonde".
It was pretty good, although he made references to one other Marlowe story that I haven't read. I've read all of Raymond Chandler's work except two novels. I'm giving myself something to look forward to.
Black did a fine job with this book. My one gripe? There were a few instances where Marlowe appeared lost for words. I've always thought of him as having a smart mouth. Which has often gotten him into and out of jams.

               Went out to pay some bills. Mobile phone bill. Check. Visa card. Check. Amex card. Check. Done. I'm now debt-free...except for the mortgage. But that's okay. I still have about fifteen more years to pay back twice the amount that I borrowed. Friggin' banks.
And they complain when they get robbed.
I got back onto the assignment and tidied it up here and there. Added my bibliography, and saved it all. It was now done.
To give myself a little more separation from it, I changed wristwatch. It was time to put on something old-school. The circa 1963 Tudor Oyster, seen here with a pair of sunglasses that my wife got me. They cost her an entire twenty bucks. The vintage Graham Greene paperback set me back $2.25. Cheap thrills;

Thursday night, approx 6:50pm

I was preparing dinner (chicken schnitzels, steamed carrots, roasted potatoes) when the phone rang. It was my wife;

"T, I've just had a car accident, I'm alright, but the car slipped."
"Are you alright?", I asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. The ambulance guys are on their way.  I'm near the McDonalds-"
"Okay, I'll be there in five minutes. You sure you're alright?", I replied. 
"Yeah, yeah, I'm a little shakey, but otherwise okay."
I don't recall exactly what else we said to each other before we hung up. I put the hands-free phone back in its charger and turned to the kids;
"Shoes. Now." was all I said.
"What's happened?", my daughter asked.
"Mum's car broke down. We have to go get her", was all I said. I didn't need a hysterical child just yet.
And then the realisation hit me. She didn't say 'slipped'. She said 'flipped'!
I drove cautious, but quickly.
When we got to the scene, there were two fire trucks, police cars blocking one lane of traffic, and a bunch of dudes in fluorescent vests surrounding my wife's car...which looked like this;

She was okay, thank God. A paramedic was asking her questions as he took some equipment from his case. I gave my lady a hug and asked her again if she was okay. She's very stoic, but I don't think she'd BS me if she were truly injured.
She had a graze on her right elbow which had bled a little and ripped the sleeve of her cardigan and the paramedic told her to get checked by her GP in the next day or so.

How'd it happen? A guy in a station wagon was pulling out of the McDonald's carpark and turned out in front of her car. She hit the horn. He didn't stop. She turned the wheel slightly to move into the next lane (which was clear), but his car managed to clip the front passenger side of hers, causing it to flip. She was travelling about 50kph (31.06mph) at the most, since she would be making a left-hand turn about 60 or 70 metres away.
Driver of the other car claimed that he didn't even see her, hence the reason why he didn't slow down.
He admitted fault and the police drew the same conclusion.
Either way, thank heavens nobody was hurt.

The Good Samaritans
                                    One guy, who was in the car behind hers,  got to her first and kept her calm as she sat strapped in the driver's seat upside-down. My wife told me that, as she became aware that the car was flipping, she put both hands against the roof to brace herself and protect her head.
He got her seatbelt unclipped and helped her out of the wreckage. He asked her name as he led her away from the car and had one hand on her arm and the other on her pulse.
When I arrived on the scene, he introduced himself and handed me his business card.
"Ah, cool", I said after I read it. He was an Agent with the Australian Federal Police. When the police arrived, my wife heard him say to them; "I'm in the business. I saw it all. The guy came out of the driveway without stopping..."

My wife couldn't find her mobile phone and a young girl with strawberry blonde hair let her use her iPhone to call me at home. My wife didn't get her name.

I am truly beholden to these two people for their assistance. I'm sure they'll never read this blog entry, but I owe them a great debt.

The Assholes
                        One lady drove by in one of those stupid 'people movers' and slowed right down as she passed the wreck, probably hoping to see a mangled body in the driver's seat.
Another woman took a photo of us from a passing car. My daughter saw her do this and burst into tears.

I've always felt that people are basically decent. But there are some days...

Still, everyone who rendered assistance were phenomenal. The police officers cordoned off the area and directed traffic while I lay down on the road next to the car to get the house keys out of the ignition. Couldn't pull them out because the car's automatic transmission stick was still in drive, so I just managed to remove the house keys. We wouldn't be needing the car keys anymore. The roof of the car had a ripple in it. The cops, the tow-truck drivers, they both stated that the car was a write-off. That's the least of our concerns.
Special mention, too, to the Paramedic who checked my wife.
Napthine, you idiot, pay them what they're worth...and then add another 20%.

          Called the insurance company, whose staff are based in South Africa, and explained it all to them. I think we'll change back to our old insurance company when all this is over. Nothing against South Africa, of course, but it was all a little more straight-forward with the old agency.
I don't understand how it can be cheaper for a company to reroute phone calls around the world.
And I'd rather keep people employed in Australia.
Made a doctor's appointment, on the paramedic's recommendation. Doctor checked her out and said nothing was sprained or broken, just tender. There's some stiffness in her right shoulder, perhaps sustained during impact. He told her to keep an eye on it over the weekend and to come back if it hasn't faded. 

Earlier, I headed out to re-enroll in a few more subjects of my course.  Only five more subjects to go, but one of them isn't being offered for the rest of this year, so I may have to do it in first semester of 2015. Unless I decide to do it off-campus. I'll wait till the end of the year and see how I feel.

When I got home, I took stock of this week. There is much to be done over the following week ahead and I will be at the helm of Teeritz HQ. I want my Bond Girl to take things easy.
I made us both a coffee and then pulled out that stale packet of Kent, stepped out front and lit one up. Yeah, yeah, I know.
I also decided a different wristwatch was in order. I got out the Omega Railmaster, removed the leather strap and put the steel bracelet back on it.
This is a time for steel.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

P.S.- And drive safely. 'Cos there's always somebody on the road who may be distracted, in a hurry, or just a bad driver.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Smith-Corona Skyriter - Worth Going For?

Okay, I'm beginning to think that I have a few typewriters that I don't really enjoy using, so I think some kind of cull is in order soon. In saying that, I really like using my mid '50s Smith-Corona Silent Super. It has a nice snappy action to it and is very responsive.

Same goes for my 1945 Smith-Corona Sterling, what I like to call my "Noir screenwriter's typewriter"  because it's got curves like Stanwyck and is as black as a Colt .45

And then there's the circa 1936 Smith-Corona Standard. Glossier than Gershwin's Steinway, with beautiful Art Deco motifs here and there, but it does feel like a 78 year-old machine when I use it, with a slightly leaden feel to it. Sturdy as all get-out, though.

This one gets a lot of compliments and is perhaps my wife's favourite of all my typewriters. As stated, it's a little rough to type with and the bell goes "tink!" at the end of a line instead of "ding!" , but its design and look are so representative of its era that I would have a hard time letting go of this one.

The ones that I'm thinking of moving along are typewriters that, I have to say, don't feel nice to write with. One to go would probably be the early '60s Olympia Splendid 99.

Based on how nicely my SM2 and SM3 work, I thought this slimmed-down model would have the same feel. But, to me, it doesn't. This one has a spongy feel to its keys, which is a shame because it's a nicely designed typewriter.
Another one that I'm not too sold on is the circa 1966 Smith-Corona Galaxie II.

This one does feel nice and sharp to type on, and it's in great condition, but, despite the lengths I went to in order to quieten down the sound of this thing, I find it still a little too loud for my liking. Or maybe I'm remembering it differently. I might have to sit down and write a page or two with this typewriter to see (or rather, hear) if I'm imagining things.

I've also got an early 1970s Litton Imperial that I got someplace and that one is gonna go too. Probably first cab off the rank, that one. It's a pleasant shade of baby blue, but that's the only thing that appeals to me about it, since it's A- plastic, and B- I have other small portables such as a Lettera 32 (going nowhere 'cos I bought it new in 1981) and a late '50s Groma Kolibri (also going nowhere because I'm embarrassed at how much I paid for it and will almost certainly not recoup the cost). However, I do like the idea of another small ultra-light machine and I've been looking at Skyriters on eBay for a few months.
Here's a picture from Adwoa's site (don't know why there's such a huge gap between this text and photo below) ;

picture courtesy of Post(Card)-A -Day 26: American Baby- Smith Corona Skyriter  (Hi Adwoa! Hope you're well.)

And, of course, I've seen these pop up in recent posts on The Typosphere. I know that Bill M
(from - Hey, Bill, how ya doin'?)
is a big fan of these models and has more than one, I think.
But I think it may have been the picture of one of these on Michael Clemens' blog...


...recently that may have gotten me thinking about these Skyriters again. I should stay away from The Typosphere. Too expensive.

So basically, if I'm looking to shift a few typers, I'd like to replace them with one that will actually get its fair share of use. And it's probably a good idea for me to thin out the collection a little anyway.

What say you all in The Typosphere who have a Skyriter? Nice typewriters to use?

To be honest, if they're anything between my '45 Sterling and my '56 Silent Super, then I'm half-way sold on them already.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Friday 6/6/14 - Another Funeral, Another Assignment, Remembering Hammett & This Week's Wristwatches.

-Friday 6:20pm AEST-

Last Saturday
                    We sat down to watch "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (Dir: Ben Stiller, 2013). I thought it was a great film, but from what I can recall of the 1947 original, starring Danny Kaye, this version didn't seem to have much in common. Which then got me thinking that Stiller could have called it something else entirely, along with changing the main character's name, and it would have stood on it's own feet rather than be regarded as a remake. 
Either way, I liked it. Certainly, its message was presented in a simple fashion, but sometimes, that's all that's required. And the cinematography was beautiful. Lots of metallic tones throughout.

             I sent off an e-mail to the plumbers, voicing my disappointment over the work that was done last week. In attempting to grease a stubborn tap (faucet), numerous deep scratches were left. I got a phone call within 20 minutes. They apologised and said one of the managers would come over to inspect the damage. I replied that I know that accidents can happen, but the fact that both taps were scratched implied that the tradesman continued with the second tap after he had scratched the first. I wasn't demanding that his head be served to me on a silver platter, but I wanted some kind of response as to how they were going to rectify this. 

And, since the weekend, I've been wearing the Omega Speedmaster Professional. This pic was taken last week, I think.

Meanwhile, I got a text message informing me that my next-door neighbour (growing up) had passed away on Sunday. His name was Dimitri, but my family had always known him as Mitch. From what I know, he had been a mathematics teacher back in Greece before coming to Australia. For as long as I had known him, he had driven cabs. I recall having many chats with him in the wee small hours when I would be coming home from a night out and he would be sitting in his SilverTop taxi with the LPG-powered engine idling, getting ready to start a shift on the road. He always had a pleasant demeanour and he laughed often. I visited him and his wife about three months ago and his health wasn't the best. Still, it was good to catch up with him as he looked at my son and said "little Teeritz! He look just like you."
I thought of how good a neighbour he had been over the years, especially towards the end of my Mother's life when he had helped her with various house-related chores like rusty door hinges and stuck windows.

              The plumbing manager came over in the morning and took a look at the taps. He gave me two options- partial refund for the work that was done or two replacement taps supplied and fitted at no charge. 
I knew which option I would take, but thought I'd let my wife know and see what she thought. 
And so, I called them back before end-of-day to say I'd like the taps replaced. That way, they keep the money I've already paid them and I don't have to worry about going out to buy new taps and then calling to have them fitted. They seemed amenable to that and we organised a time for later in the week.

I switched over to something a little more legible. The Omega Seamaster 300. Lousy photo, but it gives a good indication of the readability of the dial;

I texted Mitch's daughter to find out about his funeral. It was scheduled for the next day, dammit. I had a class that I just had to be at, since I'm working on a project with two others and we'll have to present it in-class next week. 

                   Had my afternoon class. I sat down with my two colleagues and we worked out the structure for this assignment. It's pretty straight-forward, but there's a little bit of research to be done.
My wife went to Mitch's funeral. She said it was the right thing to do. I'll go visit his wife (feels a little early for me to be saying 'widow') in a few weeks to say hello. 

               The plumber came over to replace the taps. Same guy who scratched them last week. Here's a picture of his handiwork;

He seemed a little surly with me this time around. I made him a nice cup of coffee last week, too. 
How quickly they forget.
Maybe if I'd charged him three-fifty for it, he might have remembered. 
Oh well, if he wants to stay shirty, that's entirely up to him.
It's one thing to put these kinds of marks on a tap. Accidents happen. It's another thing to then attempt the second tap and put similar scratches on that one. But, the real kicker in all of this is that he did not tell me that he had caused these marks in the first place. I noticed it after he left.
I would be mortified if I had done this kind of damage. So yeah, if he was in a bad mood about having to come back and correct his mistake, then that's just too bad.

I switched over to the Omega Planet Ocean because I wanted something more water-resistant that I wouldn't have to take off for washing dishes or clothing.

At around three o'clock, I headed out to my car to go pick the kids up from school when my phone rang. It was the Library Manager who interviewed me last week. She was calling to let me know that I had been unsuccessful in landing the position. I had already suspected as much after the interview last Thursday. You may recall them mentioning that there were over 370 applicants for the position. I knew that there would be people with vast library experience applying for the job.
No biggie. I knew my chances were slim when I applied, but it was still good to have some 'interview practice'. I thanked her for calling me back.
Deep down, I didn't think it would be wise to work for the same library service that my wife works for. That can lead to friction in more ways than one. At any rate, it's all good. I can strike that one off my list. I still have my library placement due to start in July/August, so I'll be getting some practice then.

          Went quickly past Mike the watchmaker's house. He had a very nice 1967 Omega Speedmaster that he was tidying up. Here's a close-up of the Calibre 321 chronograph movement. This is a highly respected watch movement among collectors. It's robust, pretty accurate AND it's the same movement that was used in the Speedmasters worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts who landed on the Moon in 1969.

This watch has only had one owner and it has been well looked after. The inside of the case-back shows minute engravings and initials by various watchmakers to signify that they've worked on it and when. This is something that modern watchmakers don't bother doing. Shame.

You can just barely make out what's left of the 'SPEEDMASTER' lettering that was engraved on the case-back. Over forty-five years of contact with a wrist have slowly eroded most of it. It has a few annoyingly obvious scratches across the back, but any attempts to polish them out would also remove what remains of the factory engraving. Best to leave it as is.

And here's the dial side. The tritium markers have taken on a creamy patina and most of the tritium in the hands has fallen out. Most collectors prefer it like this rather than having the dial and hands replaced. Although, the main second hand (used for chronograph functions) is not correct for this model, so that will most likely be replaced at some point.

Other than that, everything else about this watch is original and correct for this model. Should make some collector very happy indeed.

And would ya believe I forgot that last week (May 27th) was Dashiell Hammett's birthday. I oughta' turn in my Pinkerton's badge for that gaffe. 
Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in 1894 in Maryland. He worked as an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency in San Fransisco before turning to writing in 1922. The next dozen years would be his most prolific, in terms of writing, culminating with his classic "The Thin Man", a book which has cast a long shadow since it was first written in 1934 and TV shows such as "Hart To Hart" and "Moonlighting" owe it a great debt.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army at the age of 48 and was accepted, claiming it to be the happiest day of his life.
He was blacklisted in the early 1950s by the House of Un-American Activities Committee and his health, damaged by Spanish Flu and tuberculosis during his service in World War I, and his heavy drinking and smoking throughout his entire adult life, took a dive. 
He left behind one unfinished novel, entitled "Tulip" and died of lung cancer in New York in 1961 after spending his remaining years living with playwright Lillian Hellman, who became executrix of his estate and did much to keep his works in print.
Hammett has long been considered one of the founding fathers of the school of hard-boiled crime fiction and his time working as a detective gave his books a level of realism that hadn't been seen until he first sat down t a typewriter.
He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I'd love to go visit one day. To lay a tulip at his grave. 

A couple of years ago, a batch of previously unpublished short stories of his were located. I'll have to snap 'em up.


Someday, I'm gonna copy that famous shot. It'll require me to stand in the road as a tram approaches alongside.
My luck, I'll get hit by an ageing Baby-Boomer driving a Prius. It ain't 1926 anymore, after all.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

I'm Adding Word Verification To Combat Spam.

Hi all. Just quickly, like the title says, I've added word verification to the comments section because I'm sick of incomprehensible spam comments which make no sense and link to Louis Vuitton handbags and Nike Air trainers. I wanted to set numerical verification instead, but I don't think Blogger has this setting.
Unless there's a way to set it that I'm not aware of, which sounds more likely.

Thanks for reading, all!

P.S.- Here's a pic from that Dry Martini post that I wrote over a year ago. This post has now overtaken the Tissot Visodate wristwatch review as the most viewed post on my blog.
And it's also the post that a zillion spam comments rode in on.
Sneaky bastards.