Friday 27 May 2016

Friday 27/5/2016 - Au Revoir, Yvonne, So Long, Darwyn & This Week's Wristwatches.

That's the watch that I wore for almost all of last week.

I didn't post last Friday because I was at a work function. It was actually a nicer experience than I thought it would be. I think I was expecting it to be a drag because it took place right at the end of the working week, when my brain begins to shut down all things related to the job and begins making plans for what I'll do on the weekend. 

Anyway, I met a few watch collectors and saw some very nice watches on their wrists. Highlight for me was a Heuer Bundeswehr chronograph, produced in the 1960s.

I had seriously thought about one of these some time ago, but they were creeping up in price by the time I showed interest in them. Not that anything has changed, mind you. These things have gotten very sought-after in recent years and their current pricing reflects this. 
Heuer was perhaps the most well-known brand that produced these watches, but both Sinn and Breitling were known for producing this style of chronograph for German military issue. 
I was very interested in these watches, but I had had a long crush on the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph and I didn't want to deviate from my original plan of acquiring one.

I was dangerously low on scotch and made a quick detour on the weekend. The store- the largest liquor store chain in town- didn't carry J&B Rare. Those bastards. I didn't relish forking out $40+ bucks for a bottle of Ballantine's, and Johnnie Walker Red Label has never really floated my boat. So, I grabbed a bottle of Teacher's Blended. I've always thought this was a lower-tier scotch. Don't know why, since I don't think I've ever had any.
It's not a bad drop, I must say. I'm no connoisseur, but this stuff ain't bad at all.
At any rate, it's good enough for what I need it for.

Twenty-sixteen continues to kick Pop Culture in the teeth, to put it mildly. The world of graphic novels lost a talented genius on May 14th with the death of artist Darwyn Cooke. He had worked on a comic adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker books, as well as drawing a Catwoman series for DC Comics;

pic taken from;

And his work on the Parker adaptations is exquisite A little bit of white, a lot of black, and a pleasant shade of what I began calling 'American banknote green';

 pic taken from; Stark's Parker in The Hunter, by Darwyn Cooke
I really liked his Mid-Century aesthetic. I only have one of his Parker titles, but I'll be snapping up a few more of them some day.

Madeleine Lebeau, the last surviving cast member of the best film ever made, Casablanca, died in Spain on May 1st, at the age of 92. Sure, that's a good age to get to, but as I've said a few times already this year (after the deaths of Ken Adam, Guy Hamilton and George Martin), it still sucks when they kick the bucket.
Lebeau had a supporting role in the Bergman/Bogart classic, as a jilted lover of Moroccan cafe owner Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart. I've already written about this film...

"Casablanca" and the Other Four Best Movies Ever Made...In My Humble Opinion. I won't go into any great detail here. Suffice it to say that she appears in a short, short scene that perfectly explained to me what it means when somebody says 'just live in the moment' ;

I switched over to the Camy Club-Star, because I wanted to wear something that had an expanding Speidel bracelet.

I wore it for a day or two before switching to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, seen here on a Di-Modell Rallye strap ---->
Gives the watch a very Jacky Ickx vibe. Magnifique!
It was a cold and bitter Wednesday evening here in Melbourne. I was on dinner duty and I needed some wine. Now, I'm no connoisseur (Thank God!), so I generally tend to go for a decently drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon in the fifteen to twenty dollar price range. I've encountered enough snobbery in the wristwatch industry over the years, and the last thing I need is to pal around with wine snobs. Life is too short for that kind of misery.
Dammit, all this talk of wine has me hankering for a glass. 'Scuse me...
Okay, a half-filled Duralex glass and where was I?
Oh, yes, dinner. We would be having spaghetti carbonara. The recipe calls for pancetta, which is a salt-cured Italian bacon. This gives the sauce a little bit of bite. I didn't think we had any in the fridge, so I nipped out to get some bacon rinds instead.
The actual carbonara sauce consists of 4 eggs (I used five), a spoonful of ground black pepper, and half a cup of parmesan cheese.
Now, I've yet to perfect this recipe to my liking, so I added two tablespoons of thickened cream. So far, this sauce has tended to be a little too thin and runny. It should have a thicker consistency so that it actually clings to the pasta.
Basically, you heat up some olive oil in a frypan. Toss in some cloves of garlic, then the bacon. Cook the bacon till it's browned, toss out the garlic.
While this is going on, the pasta should be cooking away in a pot of water. And while that's happening, you should have whisked together the eggs and other ingredients.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it. Then, working quickly, toss the pasta back into the pot and pour in the cooked bacon, then the egg/pepper/parmesan/thickened cream mix. Now, mix it all through thoroughly. The heat of the pasta should scramble or thicken the egg mixture slightly.
This is where my recipe falters, which is why I've added cream. It made a noticeable difference, but the use of bacon didn't provide the same kick that pancetta would have.
Ah well, next time...

                                                                                    pic courtesy of
I read earlier this week that Daniel Craig knocked back an offer of £68 million to do two more Bond films. I think he means it too. 
Tom Hiddleston has been rumoured to be in the running for the role. That would be cool.  

However, until we get official word that Craig has indeed hung up the PPK for good, I don't want to speculate just yet over who will take over the role of OO7, but I do want to say that DC gave the franchise a very necessary shot in the arm and brought Bond smoothly into the 21st Century. 
Although, SPECTRE was touch & go, but I've already reviewed that film and don't really wish to talk about it right now. 
So, Craigers, thanks for keeping the British end   up. Have a nice rest, sir, and good luck with whatever you choose to do next. 

Yesterday, I managed to sharpen this Columbia Copy Pencil down to a barely holdable nub. I'm fifty, by the way!
Still had the Speedy on my wrist. 

And that's it for another week. Something tells me I've forgotten something that I wanted to include here, but I'm too tired right now to spend too much time thinking about it. 

I snagged a 'not-as-described' Olympia SF off eBay recently and I'll be taking it to my typewriter guy Tom early tomorrow morning. Hopefully, he'll be able to get it working as it should. 

That's it, gang. Have yourselves a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Friday 13 May 2016

Friday 13/5/2016 - Very Short Post & This Week's Wristwatches.

Geez, can ya tell I'm tired?

Okay, so anyway, I wore the Submariner briefly last Sunday;

Before switching over to the Longines Polaires Expeditions Paul-Emile Victor Heritage model for the beginning of the working week. Not a great photo. I'm tired, remember?;

I thought I took a picture of this next watch, but it turns out that I didn't. So, a quick trip to the archives was required to find an old pic of the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph. Absolutely rock-solid, this thing. As it got busier and busier at work, I was relying more and more on this watch. It didn't have to do anything in particular. It just had to sit on my wrist and look the way it does. To remind me of attention to detail. And clarity of function and purpose.

It got to the end of the week and I figured it was time to slip into something with a slightly more old-school aesthetic. It was time for the Omega Railmaster Co-Axial. And, because I couldn't decide on which picture to use for this post, here's a bunch of 'em, using some of the camera's Art Filter settings;

SOFT FOCUS ('Cos I'm a romantic)

GRAINY FILM (For that touch of surveillance-photo, ideal for Cold War thrillers)

DIORAMA (Love this one!)

SEPIA TONE (An oldie, but a goody)

KEY LINE (Love this one too. Makes everything look a little cartoony)

Yep, it's now 8:56pm. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday 6 May 2016

This Blog is Five Years Old & This Week's Wristwatches.

Wow, five years. Five years of this blog. It began innocently enough...

...and it all went up or down hill from there, depending on your point of view.

It was my wife who suggested I begin a blog. I had been doing some Bond fan fiction writing and she noticed that I was back in a creative writing mood AND also she probably thought that if I began writing about my other interests, it would perhaps give her ears a break. She's no fool. 

I'd been collecting watches long enough and I had about a dozen fountain pens as well. Oh, and three 35mm film cameras. Plus two typewriters. A 1982 Olivetti Lettera 32 that I bought back then, and a circa 1938 Remington that I picked up at an antiques store back in the '80s.

So, part of me perhaps felt that I had enough material to write about. Although, I was still hesitant, worried that I might run out of ideas and end up abandoning this blog, relegating it to the digital graveyard. 
I didn't want that, so I thought about it some more. And then I figured, I could throw my wristwatch reviews on the blog. I could write some more Bond fictions, since there appeared to be something of an actual story there. I could write about my pens, I could write about favourite movies. 
I began to see that there just might be enough going on in my world to sustain a blog. Maybe. 
So, I waited a little longer. 

My work life was really getting me down, and again, it was my wife who thought I should set up this blog even if only to take my mind off my job. 
So, I got it started. Put up the Tissot Visodate review, then a short write-up on the latest typewriter to arrive at my house (a circa 1955 Remington Quiet-Riter), a couple more Bond fanfics, and it seemed that this blog was up and running. 

The first couple of months were very heavy with wristwatch and typewriter-related posts. Which was fine. I was learning a little about typewriters as I went along. I liked the differences in design and feel of each machine that I got. I liked the feeling that I got whenever I'd write on one, thinking that this way of writing was how most (if not all) of my favourite writers had produced their greatest works. I kept buying typewriters, and wound up with seventeen or eighteen of them before deciding to scale back a little. I bought and sold a few. Some machines were beautiful to look at, but not so great to type on. I bought some because they were classics. I bought others because they looked nice, evoking the periods in which they were made.
Then, slowly, I began to have a better idea of what I wanted from my typewriters, and I gott a little ruthless. Because I had collections of other stuff, I felt that maybe I didn't need to have a huge collection of typewriters as well. These things take up quite a bit of space, after all. So I bought one or two more, and sold three or four. I did this for a while until I had decided that I really wanted my machines to be a pleasure to use.
So, as these last few years went by, I sold fourteen typewriters. Some were simple catch & release affairs. Others I agonised over, slightly. But, I had come to the decision that I would only keep the machines that I enjoyed using. Therefore, out went the Corona Four, the Remette, the afore-mentioned Quiet-Riter, the Olympias SF and Splendid 99, and the Smith-Corona Galaxie II, to name a few. 
I'm now down to thirteen typewriters and I'm still considering moving on one or two more of them. Ideally, I'd like to have one slim machine in the collection that types nicely. I have a Smith-Corona Skyriter, which is a small machine, but I don't like its rattly typing action. I may have to hunt around for a late 1950s model or perhaps the Sears equivalent, the Tower Chieftain. 
I have a Groma Kolibri, possibly the slimmest typewriter ever made, but its typing action feels a little leaden to the touch. maybe a platen recovering might fix that. One day. 
The circa 1928 Royal P is another one that I may shift. Beautiful to look at, but types like an old tractor. 
The keepers? Easy. The Olympia SM2, SM3 and SM9. The Royal Quiet De Luxe, the Smith-Corona Standard, Sterling and Silent-Super, the Olivetti Studio, Lettera 32, and the Groma Kolibri.  
And for some reason, that makes ten, and I can't figure what else besides the Royal P and the Skyriter I'd get rid of.

So anyway, that's the typewriter collection taken care of. I don't see myself amassing many more of them. If anything, I think I'd get rid of one or two before buying another one. I'm trying to get the collection down to a dozen. 

As for wristwatches, not much was added to the collection, with the exception of my Grail Watch, the 1982 Rolex Submariner. This was the Big One. The one that started off my fascination with wristwatches when I was a kid... back in the Summer of 1974.
Yeah, that's right. Nineteen Seventy-Four.

Similar to the typewriters, though, I'm coming to the realisation that some watches just don't get worn often enough to warrant holding on to them.
So there's a cull going to happen sometime soon. Nothing drastic. Just a thinning down. 
Anyway, this blog of mine is still chugging along, and I think I still have a few ideas for posts kicking around in the back of my mind. So I may still be here in another five years. 
To those of you who have been visiting this blog since it began, thanks very much! 
Greatly appreciated.


Wore the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra last weekend. I have to get a slightly more padded strap for it. Here it is, resting on a page of a book about the legendary pin-up artist Alberto Vargas.

Although these pics were all taken on the same day, I wore this watch early in the week. 
Got to Wednesday and I thought I'd switch to the Sinn 103 chronograph;

I'm enjoying Brandenburg by Henry Porter, but I have to say that I've been going to bed preoccupied with thoughts about work and have found it a little difficult to concentrate on this spy thriller set during the last days of The Berlin Wall. 
As for work, it's going well. I think I've got the job down pat about 70 or 80%. Just have to fine tune the rest. Maybe that's what's occupying my mind when I try to read?
I'll get there.
Okay, I'm now officially pretty tired. Think I'll call it a night. 

Thanks again for reading over the last five years, and have yourselves a great weekend!