Friday 29 April 2016

Friday 29/4/2016 - The De-Clutter Commences (sort of), In The Deep End, Happy Birthday Domino, & This Week's Wristwatches

I was still wearing the Omega Speedmaster on Monday;

As I said, my colleague is away this week and this has left me to handle any and all Repair and Spare Parts-related inquiries. So far, so good, although I'm not quite up on the pricing of watch straps and bracelets. Still, I've been able to handle most of the workload, even if I'm moving at a slower pace. 

Man, I just got another reminder to switch over to Windows 10! Part of me thinks I should, but I've got enough learning going on at the moment. Pretty soon, though, I reckon Microsoft will stop asking me. And then I'll be sorry. 
For now, I'm still running Windows 7.

Another Bond Girl celebrated a birthday this week. French actress Claudine Auger, who starred as Dominique 'Domino' Derval in the 1965 OO7 film, Thunderball, turned 75 on Tuesday. 
I don't mind Thunderball, but I always thought that this was the film where the gadgets began to get a little too prominent. 
While this film had some great moments in it, I do think that it lacks a little tension in places and the ending doesn't pack any punches.
But some of the dialogue was witty, and this film does contain a scene where bad girl Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi) informs Bond that the 'ideological repositioning' trope will fail to work on her. It has been said that it was pretty early in cinematic Bond's adventures to have this idea inverted. 
Basically, the ideological repositioning occurs whenever Bond meets a woman who works for the villain. Bond charms her into bed and she miraculously switches over from the bad guy's side to being Bond's ally. 

The most notable use of this Bond convention was perhaps Pussy Galore in Goldfinger the previous year. Not only was Ms Galore working for Goldfinger, but she was also a lesbian before she met Bond. In the book, that is. This notion was all but eradicated for the movie. Actually, it was pared right down to just one line where she resists Bond's advances and innuendos: "Your charms are wasted on me, Mr Bond. I'm immune."

In the film, Bond basically forces himself upon her in a haystack (those crazy '60s) and we find out later in the film that she has subsequently sabotaged Goldfinger's robbery of Fort Knox before willingly (this time) ending up in Bond's arms by movie's end. 

In other happenings, I ended up getting some reading glasses. Actually, I'll be using them for up-close watch-related tasks at work. There have been a few instances since I started this job where a watch required a strap or bracelet swap and, since I can do them in my sleep, I happily obliged by performing these quick little swaps so that the watchmaker could concentrate on actual watchmaking and repairs. 

My eyesight is fine for reading, but as soon as  I hold something closer than twenty centimetres from my eyes, things get blurry. Since working with bracelet pins/screws or spring bars can be fiddly work, I figured it was perhaps time to invest in some specs that I could wear for these tasks. 

I decided to steer clear of plastic frames this time around. I would need a frame that had those expanding hinges. A frame that could be whisked off my face quickly, something that could be tossed casually onto a table-top without having to worry about them breaking. 

So, I opted for these matte metallic brown frames made by Kenneth Cole. Or rather, whomever Kenneth Cole has farmed out the manufacture to- sure enough, one temple of these frames states 'Designed in USA', and another part of these specs has 'Frame China' printed on it. 'Nuff said. 

I wouldn't normally go for frames made by fashion brands, for that very reason, but these ones seemed to suit my requirements without costing a fortune. Especially considering that I wouldn't be wearing them very often. Not yet, anyway. 
So, in short, I now carry three pairs of glasses every day. My distance glasses for driving, watching TV or at the movies, sunglasses for sunny days (obviously), and these reading glasses for up-close work. 
Just as well I bring a bag to work.

I think it was on Monday afternoon that I switched over to the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph. Monday was Anzac Day here in Australia, where we remember the sacrifices made by those who served. 
So, I knew that the next day, Tuesday, was gonna feel like Monday to me. Which is why I wanted to wear a watch with both day and date on it.

Started reading another spy novel on Wednesday night. I've been reading a lot of short stories lately on my very short train trips to work each day. Since it's only a fifteen or twenty minute trip, I find I don't get entire chapters of novels read by the time I arrive at my station. Add to this the fact that there are more people on public transport these days having long conversations on their mobile phones (for all the world to hear), and I find it hard to concentrate on plot developments of long-form books. Whereas, I don't seem to have trouble with short stories, possibly because the entire story takes place over far less pages, thereby the reader tends to get more information laid out for him/her over a shorter length. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I'm only about five pages into this book, set in 1989 just prior to the fall of The Berlin Wall. I've read two other of Henry Porter's books and I quite liked Robert Harland, the protagonist who works for MI6. 
They can't all be Bond books, trendsetters. Sure, I could read some of my Le Carre's, but they can be quite dense and multi-layered. Started reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy back in my twenties and got about fifty pages in before giving up. Might be time to take another crack at it. 

Okay, it's 9:14pm on Thursday night and I'm feeling quite tired. Think I'll stop for now. Finish this tomorrow evening. Right now, there's a cup of Earl Grey (with a dash of milk and one sugar) with my name on it. Well, there will be once I make it. 

I decided to try a strap on my Omega AquaTerra, just to switch things up a little. I have a very thin Zuccolo Rochet & Cie calf-skin strap with a lizard print embossed on it, so I thought I'd try in on this watch.

I love the look. The only problem is the slightly snug fit of this strap on the watch. The space between the lugs is 19mm. The strap's width is 20mm. No drama. It still fits, but it does look a little bunched up when viewed closely.
Those two Italian stamps are courtesy of a letter that my mother received from a cousin in Italy sometime back in the late '80s or early '90s. I steamed 'em off the envelope before it ended up in the trash because I was in my full film noir fascination period back then.

Ossessione is a 1943 neo-realist film by Luchino Visconti and it's basically an Italian version of James M. Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, which didn't get the Hollywood treatment until 1946.
I had the Visconti film on VHS and watched about half of it one night. I can't recall why I got side-tracked. Maybe it was late. The full version had a running time of 140 minutes, and I have a vague memory of thinking that I wouldn't stay up to watch the entire two hours and twenty minutes that night.
Of course, now that VHS has gone the way of the dodo, I have still yet to finish watching this film. It's up on YouTube, but those are links to some possibly shady websites and, believe it or not, I'm not at all savvy with watching/downloading/streaming films off the web.

Anyway, all, that's it for this week. Might hit an antiques store tomorrow, and the kids wanna go see Captain America: Civil War, so that may form part of Sunday's activities.

Then it's back to work on Monday.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!

EDIT: 1/5/16- Corrected the spelling of 'ideological'.

Friday 22 April 2016

Friday 22/4/16 - This Year Sucks Again, New Glasses & This Week's Wristwatches.

(pic taken from
While I will admit I was never a huge, huge fan of Prince, I loved the guy. I only have two of his albums, but I loved the guy. I loved his cat-like dance moves and his pimping and preening, I loved his buccaneer outfits and his friggin' sexy swagger, I loved that he knew how to play that axe of his (as well as a bunch of other instruments), I admired his contribution to music, and that he didn't seem to take himself or the industry too seriously.
I loved the very idea of him.
And now, like Bowie back in January, Prince Rogers Nelson is gone way, way, way too soon, and another large part of my '80s has been torn from my life. There was not a party that I went to back in those years where 1999 was not played- 

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. 

The soundtrack to Purple Rain was getting very heavy airplay and the title track became some kind of anthem, with a guitar solo that was the musical accompaniment to a breaking heart. 
I have a friend who was a massive fan of his. I hope you're well, Carla. 
These days, I still can't listen through his song Paisley Park without getting teary.
At five feet, two inches tall, Prince was a giant. 
RIP, sir. 

This week also saw the death of another member of the Bond Old Guard. Guy Hamilton directed what many consider to be the quintessential Bond movie, Goldfinger. This is the film that you show
somebody if you want to explain what a Bond film is all about.
He went on to direct three other Bond films, as well as countless others. 
Sure, he was 93, and nobody lives forever, but it still bites when I hear of the passing of some of these people.

Work continues along reasonably well, but I'll be very glad when I've fully gotten the hang of the ERP system. I'm about 70-80% savvy with it, but man, is it a finicky system.
For those of you who don't know what an ERP system is, here's how wikipedia defines it;

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a category of business-management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organization can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities, including: product planning, purchase. manufacturing or service delivery.

Like I said, it's a finicky system. Forget to input one tiny speck of information and you're screwed. Gotta go back a few steps and start again. Still, I'll get there. 

I wore the Omega Railmaster last weekend;

And then switched over to the circa 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer, seen here with a pair of Bailey Nelson frames that I snagged off eBay for $40.
I was thinking of going to the Bailey Nelson boutique and getting a frame called 'Fleming' (sad, ain't I?), but when I saw these, I thought they were a nicer shade of tortoiseshell.

With a cooler name;

Switched to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, but I took it off its steel bracelet...

...and put a Di-Modell Rallye strap on it. Gives it more of a '60s feel and look. I'm going to see if I can leave this strap on the watch for the rest of the year. I have a few too many straps and I think I should try wearing out a few of them.
Here's a better look at the strap, with the watch resting on my 12", 45rpm vinyl copy of 1999. My God, did I really buy it in 1982??!!
This record's been to more parties than I have.

Another week down, folks. Not a good one for music and movies.
However, one lady is still going strong.

 Happy Birthday, Your Majesty. 

Have a good weekend and thanks for reading, all.

Friday 15 April 2016

Friday 15/4/2016 - A Pencast & This Week's Wristwatch



But hey, what's a post without pictures? Here's this week's wristwatch;

I'm planning another woodworking project. Gonna need some thought over this one.

So much red on this shelf. Maybe I should put up the blue Volkswagen Beetle.

I hope my handwriting wasn't too tricky to navigate, gang. 
Thanks for reading and have a good one!

Saturday 9 April 2016

Saturday 9/4/2016 - Turkish Delight, Shortness of Sight, Another Late Night & This Week's Wristwatches.

I've decided that I'm going to sell my Tissot Visodate 1957 Heritage Automatic.

While I do have a soft-spot for this watch, mainly due to the fact that my review of it has had over 456,000 page-views since I wrote it back in 2010, I've found that I haven't worn it much in the last couple of years. Reason being that whenever I wore it, I'd find myself wishing that I'd worn one of my vintage watches instead. 
This Tissot measures 40mm in diameter and I've reached a point where I prefer this style of wristwatch in a smaller size. Something similar to my vintage pieces, which tend to be around 35mm in diameter. Shame, really, because if this watch were just two or three millimetres smaller, or indeed thinner, I would probably keep it.
Having collected watches for so long, I have made a few errors of judgement in my time, but I've also developed a clearer idea of my tastes. 
For the record, I find that dress watches tend to look okay on my 6.5 inch wrist if they measure somewhere between 34mm and 38mm. I would entertain the notion of a 40mm dress watch only if it has a slim case, thereby sitting lower on the wrist. The Visodate is a thicker watch than I care for these days.
As for sports watches, such as dive watches or chronographs, 40mm to 42mm are my sweet spot. 
Like I said, I want to sell it, but the only thing stopping me is the fact that I don't know where the box and warranty card have gone, dammit to hell! 
I've been wracking my brain trying to recall where I put them and I'd hate to think that they were lost during our house move last year. Anyway, I'll just have to keep looking. 

Wore the Rolex Submariner 5513 last weekend. I've been wearing this one sparingly in recent months. Until I get it serviced, I don't want to risk any further mishaps or accidents with it. Problem is, I don't know when I'll get it serviced. 
The lawn mower and the coffee machine are both currently being serviced, and then there's a trip to the dentist (for a crown) awaiting me. So, I think I can safely say that this wristwatch will be with me for some time before it takes a trip to Rolex. In the meantime, it will be worn in the safety of my house so that, should any parts fall off it again, I will know exactly where they land. 

I had a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight after lunch on Saturday. 
Later that evening, we watched Some Like It Hot (Dir: Billy Wilder, 1959) again because my daughter felt like watching it. As I sat there, I began to think how great Jack Lemmon would have been (ya gotta go with me on this, you have to imagine a 30 year old Jack Lemmon living in 2008) if a younger version of him had played The Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight
Don't get me wrong, Heath Ledger was astounding in the role, but I couldn't help wondering if Ledger had based his performance a little on some of early Jack Lemmon's nuances and mannerisms.  
After the movie, I finished reading Doctor No. I haven't read that one since the Summer of '81/'82. Somewhere, I have a piece of card where I wrote down the titles of every book I read over that Summer period. I think I churned through about eleven books. Never been able to beat that record since. 

Still had the Sub on my wrist next day;

I was losing the light when I took this pic on the left. I used the Diorama setting on the camera to blur the soldier's face. 
In the interests of anonymity. 

And maybe one more;

I think last Sunday may have been the last sunny day for the year. Things have certainly gotten chilly at night, that's for sure. 
Ahh well, Winter's gotta play somewhere!

Switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional on Monday;

Wore it for most of the week. 
I've been doing some minor watch work at this new job. Nothing extraordinary, mainly bracelet swaps, and I came to the realisation a few weeks ago that I would need glasses to wear when doing this type of up-close work. My reading vision is fine, but if I have to hold something 10 or 12 centimetres away from my face, my vision blurs. This is a little crucial when I have to perform a simple task like removing a bracelet from a watch and fitting a rubber strap on it. Without leaving any scratches on the watch case. 
I used to be able to do this blindfolded, but now- at the tender age of fifty- I finally concede.
You win this round, Father Time. 
So, I headed to the optometrist Thursday evening and had an eye test. I then chose a thin steel pair of frames for use at work. I wanted steel instead of plastic because I can imagine there will be times when I put them on and take them off quickly, and I want a frame that will handle some abuse and rough handling better than plastic.

Since beginning this new job, my commute has consisted of a 20 minute drive, followed by a ten minute walk to the train station- unless I get lucky and manage to find a parking spot at the station's car-park- followed by a 20 minute train trip, followed by a ten minute walk from the station to my workplace. 
Basically, this doesn't allow for any meaningful reading during the train trip. And I'm not yet so dependent on my phone or iPod to keep me entertained. Actually, I have used my iPod to listen to some typecasts, but, in terms of reading, I've not been able to really get into the chapters of novels. 
So, I've resorted to reading short stories lately. I read a great John Updike story called Friends From Philadelphia. I'm tempted to relate the story here, but it'd be better if y'all chase it up and read it yourselves. The ending's great. 

Anyway, aside from re-watching the complete series of Mad Men, I've also been reading some of John O'Hara's short stories. O'Hara was a prolific writer during the post-WWII years right up until his death in 1970, writing a selection of novels, most notably Appointment in Samarra, and many short stories for the New Yorker magazine.

Pic on left taken from a great blog post- - John O'Hara- American Dream Gone Sour

Similar to Mad Men, O'Hara's fiction centres on the broken dreams and aspirations of mid-Century WASPs as the disillusionment of the post-War era sets in and peels back the layers of their veneers to expose their weaknesses, bitterness, jealousies and for some, their downright nastiness. 
My wife saw the book and said; "Another miserable bastard."
I had read some Richard Yates short stories some time ago (Eleven Kinds of Loneliness) and she had made a similar comment. Maybe she's detecting a theme in my reading tastes. Although, I read the Yates book about four years ago. 
Wait till she sees me reading that thick copy of John Cheever's short stories.
Anyway, given that my train commute is so short nowadays, I'm preferring to read bite-sized fiction.
I wore the Tudor Oyster on Friday;

As you may know, these weekly posts of mine usually appear on a Friday night (here in my neck of the woods), but I was writing this one and it got to 10:30pm and I was still writing. I decided to pull the plug and get some shut-eye. 
And so, here I am, Saturday afternoon, almost five-thirty. I picked up the freshly-serviced lawn mower, mowed the lawn, ripped out some weeds, unclogged a pipe on the dishwasher (hate those things) and am once again feeling worn out for the day.

I stepped out quickly to go get a coffee for my wife and I. Our machine is getting serviced and it's taking far longer than we'd like.
I switched over to the Omega Railmaster earlier.

Because it's a cool looking watch. It feels a tad snug on my wrist these days. I think I'll have to add a half-link to the bracelet. That might make enough of a difference to the fit.

Meanwhile, somebody else in this house has the right idea;

Thanks for reading and I hope your weekend's going well, gang.

Friday 1 April 2016

Friday 1/4/2016 - Etc, Etc & This Week's Wristwatches.

Speaking of photos, I found a bunch of wedding photos that I'd forgotten we had. My wife had a friend of a friend (should'a realised it was bad news right there) who was a photography student. We took a look at some of her work one day and saw a portfolio of some wonderful sepia-toned wedding photos that she had taken. We decided to ask her if she'd like to take pics on our wedding day. Of course, we would pay her for her trouble, and she was invited as a guest as well, so that she could get a decent dinner out of it too.

So, the wedding day rolled 'round, back in October 1996 and, armed with her 35mm Canon SLR, she took pic after pic of us and the guests as the day progressed. It was a nice, low-key affair. Around forty-five friends and family members seated at various tables at a small Italian restaurant that we had booked out for the reception. It was a memorable day.

A few days after we got back from our honeymoon, we received the photos. As well as a partial refund of what we had paid the 'photographer'. Uh-oh. 
My new bride and I began flicking through the album, disappointment increasing with the turn of each page. Ninety-five percent of the photos were over or under exposed, with an awful graininess to them. People were caught in mid-speech, so that their features appeared slightly grotesque. This was the photographic record of our special day. This explained the partial refund. 
My wife and I were crestfallen. 

Now, the photos that I'd forgotten we had - my wife had an uncle who had worked as a set designer in film and television sometime in the 1950s and '60s. He had brought along a simple point & shoot camera on the day and had taken photos. Every one of them was wonderful. He took about two rolls of film that day. 
So, we at least had around fifty nice photos to remember the day by. Thank God. Thanks again, JK! You were a life-saver. 

Anyway, I spent the better part of last Sunday going through all of these photos and I'll get around to sorting them all out properly one day soon. I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional;

I began asking for matte prints with white borders from the Photo Kiosk about five years ago. And a contact print. Might as well get my money's worth. These days, I also ask for a copy of the pics to be burned onto CD.
Even though there's something romantic and espionagey about negatives.

Easter Monday, I decided that I was sick of seeing the ironing board piled high. I spent about 90 minutes ironing shirts while listening to some podcasts on I gotta say that founder Chris Hardwick is a funny guy, and he knows a lot of Hollywood celebs. His interviewing style is actually pretty relaxed and it's refreshing to hear somebody famous being asked the kind of questions that don't require them to be 'on' all the time. They wind up talking like a regular person.
I've gotten back into listening to podcasts on a more regular basis since they can be a nice alternative to music or television. 
Speaking of television, if you had said to me 20-25 years ago that there would come a time when I would not be able to find anything on TV worth watching, I would have said you were crazy. 
Well, that time has come. I think we now have about 22 free-to-air channels to choose from and the pickings are pretty slim. Unless you love reality television, C.S.I, The Big Bang Theory, talent shows or cooking competitions. 
Netflix, I'll see you soon. The minute I figure out how you work and how much you'll cost me. 
So anyway, I ironed about eight shirts, two pairs of chinos and my daughter's school dress. I wore the Omega Planet Ocean.

I think we'll need a new iron soon.
Here are a couple more random shots of the Planet Ocean;

Been thinking a little more about this blog of mine lately. Well, not the blog itself, but rather, my writing. Specifically, my writing 'style', such as it is. In all honesty, I often feel like I'm not really writing the way I'd like to. Some of my writing can tend to get padded out a little, resulting in sentences that take a while to say what they mean. 
Also- and more importantly- I find that I'm not writing as my 'true self'. I'm not sure that it's my 'voice' that you're reading. My wife has often told me; "You write the way you speak", but I'm not so sure sometimes. Although, she knows me well enough by now, so who am I to argue?
Because I've been trawling through so many old GQ Magazines lately, perhaps I may have reached a point where I'd like to write a little more 'true' than I normally do.
GQ has very often contained some of the best-written articles I've ever read. They are witty, smart-assy, informative (their main reason for being) and sometimes peppered with Pop Culture references.
Ah yes, Pop Culture references. I've often felt like throwing some in here, but I usually begin to wonder if they might be too obscure. Then I begin thinking "Big deal if nobody gets it! It's YOUR blog!"
Like anybody else (I'd imagine), there's all manner of crap floating through my mind on any given day, so I may as well throw some of it your way. As I approach five years of this blog, I'm reminded of the tag-line in the banner; "'Cos I had to put all this somewhere". 
So yeah, this is as good a place as any. I'll see how I go. In any case, it's gotta come out as natural, rather than forced. Nothing worse than going for a cheap laugh.

Okay, Friday night. We've had dinner and I'm just contemplating whether or not to open up this Colomba sponge cake that I bought earlier today. This is a traditional Easter dessert in many Italian households. Since I didn't buy one prior to the Easter break, I figured I'd snap one up now that the priced was reduced by 50% to $13.99. Yeah, these imported pastry goods can be damned expensive. I bypassed the chocolate cream-filled version and went for the lemon one instead. A slice of this with a cup of tea or coffee goes down well enough.
Still wearing the Planet Ocean;

Chocolate Burmese cat:
I hope your week's been well. I'm taking the kids to a nearby cat show tomorrow morning. I'm sure we'll see some exotic breeds, but man, cat people can be a little crazy and self-important. Have they learned nothing from their felines?
Ya gotta stay chill, ya gotta not take life too seriously.
And above all, ya gotta purr a little more.
'Cos you don't get to look this good if you stress over stuff too much.

This is not a  picture of our cat, but the resemblance is uncanny.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.

Picture found on