Thursday 30 October 2014

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

- Friday 11:09 am   AEST - 

Last weekend

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

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

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

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

                  Uhh, no, Ma'am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's their website;

Film Ferrania

Tuesday 28 October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can buy one of these cool belts here;

Shop - Magnificent

Thanks for reading!

Thursday 23 October 2014

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

- Fri 10:27am AEST - 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 picture courtesy of

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

                                                     picture courtesy of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday 17 October 2014

Fri 17/10/2014 - Very, Very Busy...& This Week'sWristwatches

-Friday 6:11pm AEST-

So much to do. One assignment due next Wednesday, along with a ten-minute presentation...on silverfish. Ten minutes! I could probably cover their entire history and evolution in ten minutes. 
Another assignment due by next Friday, this one requiring quite a bit of hunting around for the answers. The research will take up the bulk of the time. 
Appointment with the tax accountant tomorrow. I normally don't leave it so long to do my return. 
And a bunch of other, niggling little tasks to attend to over the next few weeks.

So...this week's post is a short one. More of a snap-shot really.

Last weekend
                 I have been wearing the rebuilt Seamaster 300. It was on a Kevlar-style strap. I have quite a few watch straps, collected over the years, and I thought it might be time to put one on a watch and leave it on until it wears out;

Here's a tip- when buying a strap for a dive watch, consider one that has contrasting white or cream coloured stitching on it. This can tend to mimic the markers on the dial. It gives the whole look some continuity as well as giving the watch an overall old-school aesthetic. 

              I still wore the SM300, but decided to put a TrueBond NATO strap on it.

So much for keeping a strap on it until it rots. However, a NATO is hard to beat when it comes to comfort. You can sometimes forget that you have a watch on.

Embedded image permalink

                  Switched to the Omega Railmaster. Busy times coming up. Have a great weekend, all, and thanks for reading!

Man, the layout's all over the place. Started writing it on the iPad and finished it on the laptop. Maybe that had something to do with it.

Monday 13 October 2014

"Uncharted 2 : Among Thieves" - Absolutely Nail-Biting From The Get-Go!

I stumbled across an article on the web that listed some of the best opening scenes and gameplay of the last few years and it featured the opening stage of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
I watched this footage, which is interspersed with cut-scenes and actual gameplay and I was riveted. I played the video again for my son to have a look at and when it was over, he looked at me, I looked at him, and then I called out to my wife; "We'll be back in half an hour!" before grabbing my son and my car keys. We headed to EB Games at a nearby shopping centre and found a pre-owned copy of this game. I had already played the first game in this series and, while I enjoyed it, I found it a little too heavy with the shoot-outs.

With this sequel, however, there's a little more figuring out of obstacles and ways into hidden temples, which is good. It counter-balances against all the gun-play. There are 26 stages in this game. I'm up to Stage 18 after going through a wonderful level which takes place on a moving train. I'm now trying to dodge machine gun fire from a tank and I have no idea as to how I'm going to survive this level. There must be an RPG launcher around here somewhere. This happens to me from time to time. I can spend up to three weeks stuck on a particular level of a game before figuring a way out.
Certainly getting my eighteen bucks worth, that's for sure.

This game was released in 2009 and, by this stage, console gaming had definitely come a long way. Game developers had long been devoting time, thought and energy to every aspect of the game, making it an immersive and cinematic experience. Despite the fact that console games are all made up of ones and zeroes on a computer, many film-making techniques are used in the way the story is told in between all the running, jumping, climbing, etc. The camera angles, use of music, and the way that both we, the player, and the in-game characters see things as they unfold all owe their origins to methods employed by Hollywood film-makers over the past twenty or thirty years.

The story concerns a fortune hunter named Nathan Drake, a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and he's sort of a cross between Indiana Jones and the Malcolm Reynolds character from TV's Firefly series by Joss Whedon. Sure, this game series owes a debt to Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, but Drake is a well drawn character in his own right, complete with Indy-style pluck and a wise-cracking mouth.
He's on a quest to find an artifact from one of Marco Polo's ships and needless to say, there are other, less honourable people after it as well.
I've been knocking out assignments for the last three weeks, so this is a pleasant diversion. I think I'll re-draft this latest assignment before having another crack at evading that crazy tank.

In the meantime, here's the YouTube video of that opening level. Expertly played, too!
The first 50 seconds is the game loading up, so skip ahead to 0:51.

                                                      Video uploaded to YouTube 9/10/2009 by HassanAlHajry 

 Thanks for reading!

P.S. - To see more footage of this and other games, check out;
                                                                                                    HH Gaming Channel on YouTube

Friday 10 October 2014

Fri 10/10/14 - So Many Assignments!, RIP To Another Bond Villain, Back To The Vet & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 7:44pm  AEST -

Last Weekend
                       We watched the remake of The 39 Steps, starring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay. Produced in 2008, this was a scant 86 minutes long. Alarm bells went off in my head when I saw the running time on the back of the DVD case. Having just finished John Buchan's book, I felt that you'd need more than 86 minutes to tell the story. Sure enough, this version was considerably different to both the book and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock version, which was different to the book as well.
So, was it any good? Ahhh, well, it was a great looking film, but then the English do these period dramas to perfection.  The Art Direction, costumes, locations and props are always perfect. As was the casting and the actor's performances. But the story just felt flat and predictable to me.
The introduction of a female character who is a suffragette AND an agent for British Intelligence turned this into a fairly routine affair, in my view.
I was wearing the 1962 Omega Seamaster from last week before switching over to the Seamaster 300;

             Worked on another assignment. Number 3, I think. They are all beginning to blur. Six pages long. Probably twice as much as was necessary. Oh well.
Then, as a break from study, I thought I'd cover the dust jacket of the book that I'm reading.
I have a roll of this covering that is made up of soft plastic attached to brown paper on two sides. The dust jacket is meant to get slotted in and then cut to size.

 ...gets fed into this...

...and is then trimmed to size, with about ten centimetres of overhang, which is then folded in. You then carefully slide the hardcover of the book between the back of the dust jacket and the brown paper.

This can be a little painstaking and, in this instance, the result was not entirely perfect since there's a little too much plastic protruding beyond the dust jacket, but that's okay. Good enough for me. And better than some books I've seen in libraries.

Once I was done, I thought I'd make a coffee and sit out on the front porch to read a chapter or two.

Later in the day, I received a lens case in the mail. Hopefully, it'll hold two Olympus lenses. The seller used some vintage stamps from the early '80s. At first, I thought they were commemorative. And then I saw the price on them. This seller's (bless him) been holding on to these stamps for over thirty years! Ain't life a wonderful thing? Australian postage stamps are currently 70 cents each. I think I'll keep this section of the envelope as a bookmark.


                  What a drag. First, I read of the death of Geoffrey Holder, who played Baron Samedi in the Bond film Live And Let Die in 1973. Along with Gottfried John (General Ourumov in Goldeneye-1995) and Richard Kiel (Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me-1977 and Moonraker-1979) who both died last month, Holder was a memorable Bond villain. I understand that I'm now at an age where life begins to take things away (as was stated by a character in the last Indiana Jones film a few years ago), but it still sucks. Live And Let Die has a particular resonance for me because it was the first Bond movie I saw when I was but a wee laddybuck in the Seventies.

I had a class later in the day and handed in four assignments. Good to get those off my desk, I can tell you. Got home and received a call from a  lady at a nearby bookstore. I had an interview with her two weeks ago and it went very well. Spent over an hour chatting to her about my work history, experience, etc. She called to tell me that I was unsuccessful in getting the job. She said it was a really good interview (not good enough, it seems) and would I be happy for her to send my details to some other stores within the company? I said that would be fine, but I will obviously keep looking elsewhere.

By this stage, I was beginning to feel a little disillusioned with my studies as well. It might have to do with this barrage of assignments. Anyway, the only way out, is through.
I switched watches later that afternoon;

I wrote a review of this Tissot Visodate Heritage Automatic back on October 10th, 2010. At the time of writing (5:44pm, 10/10/14), this review has had 404,451 page-views and is the most widely-read post on my blog, excepting the Dry Martini post, which I think is a spam-magnet and not being read by people legitimately interested in how I make a Martini.  This Tissot watch has been very well received since its release and I think my review is read by people who are interested in the watch rather than fans of my writing style.

          I switched back to the Omega Seamaster 300. I tend to go through stages where I'll wear a particular watch for days on end. This one has such a nice, vintage dive watch design and its legibility is sharp.

I decided today was a good day to go visit the library where I did my industry placement last month. I have an assignment due on Monday(!!!), to do with Occupational Health & Safety and it requires that I visit a library and look for areas that may be a hazard to the safety of both staff and library patrons. Since I spent a few weeks working in this particular library, I thought it would be suitable for the assignment. I spent about 90 minutes there, walking around, checking the fire extinguishers and Emergency Exits, the condition of the carpet, the height of the Information Desk, etc, etc, until I felt I had enough notes to use. This assignment needs to be only 500 to 700 words long, but I will need to use correct OH&S terminology, such as 'risk assessment' and 'hazard identification'.
Yep, I'm in for a fun weekend, but by this time Monday, I will have completed and submitted this one. Then I can get started on a report on silverfish. Are you as riveted as I am right now?
I traveled light, with a neoprene laptop case doubling as a satchel;

Got home, had lunch, started this post, picked the kids up from school, and took the cat to the vet. Madame Wispola Deusenberg has been gnawing at her fur on-and-off now for almost a year. When I took her to the vet last year, they determined that this stress-related behaviour was a cat equivalent of biting one's nails, since they could see no parasites on her fur.
However, earlier this week, I noticed a few dark hard scabs on her skin at the base of the fur. Some kind of tick or flea?
The vet had a good look and took some samples of the scabs to view under a microscope and said that there are traces of bacteria on the site. A cortisone injection, a packet of antibiotics and a hundred and fifty bucks later, and we headed home with Her Ladyship snugly wrapped in a towel.
Today's vet thinks that this condition could be an allergic reaction to some plant or flower. That makes a lot more sense than 'stress-related behaviour'.

I mean, come on, does she look stressed to you?

And so, that's another week done and dusted. Those two Italian guys with the Kickstarter campaign to fund their film manufacturing company are up to $236,000. Their goal is $250,000 and they have 19 days left.
I've made my pledge and I'll once again include a link, just in case anyone here wants to get on board this great project. More Years of Analog Film

Okay, I think my pizza's almost ready. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Thursday 2 October 2014

Friday 3/10/14 - Dodgy Cameras, Impossible-To-Find Wristwatch Blogs, New Film Manufacturer on Kickstarter & This Week's Wristwatches

- Friday 4:44pm  AEST - 

Last weekend
                       Half-way through the kid's school holidays. General tidying up around the house and a spot of painting while the sun was out. I was still wearing the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Here's an old pic from my archives;

And here are a couple of snaps from my visit to the National Gallery of Victoria last Friday. 'Cos, if I told you what I saw, you wouldn't believe me. 

             Began writing up Assignment No. 4. I thought I'd write a draft using a typewriter, but then write the final draft on my laptop. I've already written two other assignments on my typewriters and I don't want to give my lecturer the impression that I'm the Unabomber. This assignment is a report on how this gallery houses and displays its art collection. I decided to concentrate on just one part of its collection, the European artworks dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. I wore my Omega Seamaster AquaTerra. Because I meant business;

I had two pages hammered out on the Royal Quiet De Luxe in about two hours. I think four typed pages should equate to about three pages on the PC, give or take.

While I had the Quiet De Luxe out, I figured I'd tackle another faded keytop. I tried using an eraser on it first, but this had no effect;

So, it was time for numerous screwdrivers and pliers, a safety pin, a Texta and a glue stick. About 30-45 minutes later, a newer looking colon/semi-colon keytop was in place. Another one down, about thirty-nine more to go;

Later that day, a package arrived for me. I was the only bidder on an Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR and when I opened it and inspected the camera, I was greatly disappointed to find that it had a few problems with it that were not mentioned in the very brief listing which described it as being in 'excellent used condition'.

For starters, the old batteries were left inside and had just started corroding. The 35-70mm Auto Zoom lens housing had a section chipped from the edge. No major disasters, but these two things would require some thinking on my part and a little more cash outlay.
Firstly, the OM2 uses two silver oxide 1.55v batteries. I did some searching on the web and found that you can also use 1.5v alkaline cells, but these will give you a slightly different reading through the camera's light meter. Luckily, I decided to chance a quick trip to my local hardware store and found them selling Energizer silver oxides. Cool, one problem solved.
The chip on the lens housing was another matter, although its main issue is that dust will get in and onto the outer lens through a gap between the housing and the HOYA UV filter that's screwed onto the lens. Again, no major disaster, since I think a small strip of plastic, like a cut down piece of a collar stay (as used on business shirts) and some electrical tape should make it dust proof.

I unscrewed the hot-shoe for the flash and it came away in two pieces. This didn't bug me, since I have no plans to use a flash with the camera. Still a little irksome, though. However, I must say that every hot-shoe that I have seen on eBay has had some crack in it or other. Could be a design flaw. Then again, these things ARE over twenty years old, made of plastic, and designed to hold a top-heavy flash unit.
I already have an Olympus Om2n and, whilst I'm no expert, I do think it's one of the finest SLRs ever made. My plan was to get a second one and then sell both in order to get an all-black model in as good a condition as I could find. However, the more I thought about it, the happier I was with my original OM2n that I bought a couple of years ago. That one is in very clean condition and, although it's the two-tone, black and silver model, I thought it better not to try and go back to an all-black model like the one I bought in 1982 and stupidly sold twelve years later. There's a certain nostalgia factor in wanting to have a black one, but I think it's perhaps better not to try and go back to what I had. It just won't feel the same.
I like the lens that this new one came with.

With a range of 35mm to 70mm, I think it'll be a decent lens to have for my amateur photography purposes. I have a 135mm lens that I will attach to this new camera body and maybe put that up for sale. I've run some film through this camera and it all works as it should. However, in an effort to de-clutter and get rid of stuff that I don't use, I've been going through my cameras and I think I'll sell my Voigtlander Vitomatic II rangefinder and Nikon EM, as well as this OM2n.
That will leave my collection down to one OM2n, a late '60s Nikon F Photomic, and two Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders. More than enough 35mm film cameras. Finding correct batteries for the Nikon F could be problematic in future, but it's such a bullet-proof camera that I'd hate to get rid of it.

             My wife and son decided to do the Thousand Steps. Located in a national park about 45 minutes away from our house, it features a pathway which leads up along the mountain ranges in Dandenong. My daughter and I passed on it and headed to the nearby cafe instead. The cafe closed early that day, so we finished our coffee and iced tea while the staff put away tables and chairs and then we headed back to the car to wait for my Bond Girl and our son. It soon began raining;

Oh, and another thing about 35mm film...

                  ...there are two men in Italy who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase some old manufacturing equipment from a disused analog film factory. The factory was once owned by Ferrania, a film manufacturing company which made 135 and 120 film, as well as 35mm motion picture film. Naturally, the advent of digital photography saw the demise of the use of film, but these two guys have decided to resurrect Ferrania for the 21st Century. They need $250,000 in order to buy the equipment and begin manufacture. Their campaign ends on October 30th and they have already raised $160,000. I think they make it, with a considerable amount on top, which is good news for anybody who still likes using film. I've made my pledge, and I can't wait to see their products hit the street sometime next year.
For more info, check out this link to their Kickstarter page;

Kickstarter- Projects- Ferrania ; 100 More Years Of Film 

I spent an hour or two looking for other blogs that deal with affordable vintage wristwatches and I was surprised to find that there aren't many of them around. Or more likely, I couldn't find them. I did find a few, but they just lacked a certain something. The search goes on.

               I wrote more of the draft of Assignment No. 4. I really like how the Olympia SM9 types, I have to say. I was wearing the Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo rebuild;

I was watching a packet of Tipp-Ex Typewriter Correction Papers on eBay. Seller had a starting bid of $9.00 on it. I almost bid on them before realising that I could maybe get away with just using one of those modern correction tape dispensers that you can buy from just about anywhere. Subconsciously, I think I got the idea from reading Joe Van Cleave's blog posts. Whenever he makes a rare typo, there's a neat square on the offending error with the proper letter typed over it. And so, a quick trip to the dreaded Officeworks store nearby and about $3.50 later, ta-dah!
Might go buy another three or four of them, just in case they stop making them. Well, you never know.
My wife brought home a copy of the recent version of "The Thirty-Nine Steps" on DVD, starring Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay;

I don't like this shameless attempt at replicating the classic cropduster scene from Hitchcock's North By Northwest, but I'm hoping that this new version is a faithful adaption of the book. My wife keeps asking me ;"Have you finished reading it, so that we can watch the movie? I'll have to return it soon."
I have nineteen pages left, and I think our hero, Hannay, will find himself in some trouble before the final paragraph. I have seen the 1935 Hitchcock version, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, but that would have been sometime in the mid-Eighties, so I daresay I'm due for a re-viewing. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ending of both the book and this new version will be different.

          I had a million things to do yesterday and I got 900,000 of them done. Now, I'll sign off so that I can go do the remaining 100,000. I have switched to the circa 1962 Omega Seamaster Automatic (Calibre 562) in an effort to go a little more understated today.

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