Friday 24 June 2016

Friday 24/6/16 - This Week's Wristwatches.

Started the week with the Omega Railmaster;

Still had it on a couple of days later. It's been a cold, cold week here in Melbourne town. I needed a shot of scotch (or three) to warm up. 
It dawned on me this week that I have yet to receive the results of my Library studies course that I completed last year. A little digging around through some old e-mails and the institution's website reveals that they were meant to send my results to me in the mail by the end of December last year. I got on the phone to the institution today (via their stupid 1300 number) and was informed by the recorded voice on the other end of the line that my call was number 1 in the queue. As I sat on hold for five minutes more, the voice reemerged to tell me that I was number THREE in the queue! My blood began to boil. 
Have y'all noticed how there's very little customer service these days. Everything now has to be done via a very inefficient phone system, designed to wear down our patience in the hopes that we'll give up and hang up. 
However, I'll be calling them again on Monday, to remind them that I have not received my results yet, and also to let them know how poor their phone system is. 
When I called them today, I was (finally!) answered by a polite young lady who told me she was 'just the casual' and didn't know how I could access my results or who I could speak to. She apologised profusely. I said it was okay, even though I had gotten a similar response from somebody else when I called up about my results in November last year. They couldn't help me either. 
I thanked her and hung up. Then I decided to try calling the institute directly. That's when I got the automated voice, along with the shifting around in the queue. 
I'm gonna call them back on Monday. God help them. 

Switched over to the Camy Club-Star midweek;

I'm really liking the fit of the Twist-O-Flex bracelet. Gotta snag a few more of them for other watches, despite the fact that they can wear down the lugs of a watch. I'll just have to be careful. 
I checked the timekeeping on this watch later at work. It's losing a shocking 51 seconds a day! 
Definitely should get it serviced sometime. 

Still, it's a smart looking watch, with its metallic silver dial that gently curves downward toward the outer edge. The contrasting gold-tone hands and markers make for a nice mix of colours. This is a hand-wound watch and it certainly winds smoothly, despite the lousy timekeeping. However, it's good enough for a few days of wearing, where utmost accuracy is not important.
And, at 35mm in diameter, it's a classic size, as far as I'm concerned. 

Got home from work, had dinner, then decided to switch over to something else. So, out came the WatchCo Omega Seamaster 300 on a Tropic rubber strap. It's not exactly Summer, but I thought this watch might make me forget how damn cold it is out there. 
The watch next to it is a fake Zeno 'Explorer' that I bought years ago thinking that it was the real deal. My son has been wearing it for a few years and it finally began playing up. Kept stopping while on the wrist. No way am I gonna spend any time or trouble getting this watch fixed. Time to relegate it to the scrap heap. Looks like the time has come to get him a new watch. In the meantime, he's been wearing one of my Seiko dive watches. I'll have to get a better strap for that one. 

And that's another week done. I hope yours has been a good one, and I hope you all have a pleasant weekend ahead.

Thanks for reading!

Friday 17 June 2016

Saturday 18/6/16 - Hectic Days, Back to Rick's & This Week's Wristwatches.

I had the Omega Railmaster on last Saturday;

Switched over to the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph later that day;

Work has been a little busy this week and it's moving along okay. Just as well because the household admin has been a little nerve-wracking, to say the least. We are in the process of renewing our passports and it's all proving a little more convoluted than we thought it would be. 
My wife headed into town this morning to deal with some of it. She decided it would be more expedient to take the train into the city rather than drive. I knew she would be in for a surprise when she boarded the train and took a seat. Basically, she was the only person in the carriage who was actually reading. Everybody else on board was absorbed with their smartphones. She told me that even those who weren't actually using their phones were just sitting there, clutching them close to their chests. 
"Apalling, isn't it?", I said after she recounted her experience.

I switched from the Sinn 103 to the Omega Speedmaster Professional early in the week;

I wore it on the Di-Modell Rallye strap, to give it a slightly more vintage vibe. 
I had this watch now since 2007 and it's been a very reliable wristwatch, to say the least. Sure, there are things that it cannot do, like take a dip in a pool- even though I know some owners who have worn this watch underwater- and the Hesalite crystal isn't as resilient as sapphire crystal and will crack if you hit it hard enough. However, this watch's reputation and history speak for themselves and this watch gets a lot of respect among watch collectors. 
Back in the days when I used to sell watches, an elderly couple entered the store and the gentleman began removing his wristwatch as he approached me at the sales counter. He was wanting to have his watch serviced. He held out his watch, and as I reached for it, I could already see that it, like its owner, had lived a life. 
"Oh, wow, this is a nice watch, sir. How long have you had it?", I asked. 
"I bought it in 1969. Since then, I've always gotten it serviced when it needed it, and I've replaced the glass on it four times. It's never let me down, and it's the best watch I've ever owned", he said, while his petite wife stood next to him with a kindly smile on her face. 
I listened as he spoke while I ran a fingernail along the edges of the case, aware that these edges had been worn down by four decades of wear and four decades of experiences. The Hesalite crystal was slightly hazy in parts, but still intact. The dial was still a charcoal shade of black, but the hands and markers had taken on that wonderful patina that occurs over time as the luminous Tritium compound begins to degrade due to regular exposure to UV light. Collectors pay top dollar for this kind of wear. The Tritium, no longer chalk-white, has faded to a pale shade of Swiss-cheese yellow/cream. Modern watches use a compound known as SuperLuminova and no matter how much exposure to light, it will not fade to this same rich hue. 
I took the gentleman's details and booked the watch in for repair. After he and his wife left the store, I picked the watch up and gave it half-a-dozen winds by hand. The crown turned as smooth as butter. This watch, like its owner, had lived a life.

Six months or so later, a younger man came into the store to get his Omega Speedmaster serviced. He handed me the watch. He'd had it for less than ten years and it had seen better days. He went on to tell me that he worked as a builder and wore the watch daily. Not only that, but he was currently working on a building project located 60 kilometres from his home and he RODE A BIKE to work each day! Wearing this watch! The case and bracelet were heavily scratched, the crystal had some large scuffs and scratches across it, and the watch was a little hard to wind. It looked perfect!
I booked this one in for repair and, after the guy left, I had another look at his watch. It had taken a beating, but it was still running. These two tales illustrate two vastly different ways to treat a wristwatch and are testaments to just how rock-solid the Speedmaster Professional is. 

Left work early to get to a dental appointment. I was having a crown fitted. Got home and switched back to the Railmaster;

This book arrived from eBay earlier in the day. It was first published in 1992 under the title Round Up The Usual Suspects, but this here copy is the 2002 edition with a more straightforward title. I had a quick look through it and read the author's preface. This is, from what I can see, an exhaustively researched book. Looking forward to reading it. I also have another book, Casablanca- The Script & Legend, on its way as well. That should take care of any and all Casablanca-related reading material.
Not sure if Reese's Peanut Buttercups and a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon are a good mix, but I didn't experience any stomach upsets.
Speaking of eBay purchases, I waiting on a Tower Chieftain III. I already have a Smith-Corona Skyriter, but if this Tower version ends up being a nicer writer, then the Skyriter will go.
Looking at the Tracking details of the Tower, it's already passed through Kentucky, Ohio, and Arkansas. Bit of luck, I'll have it before month's end. Hopefully, it won't have gotten bounced around too much during its travels.

Another week down. You'll notice that I'm posting on Saturday, despite having written the above typecast on Friday night. I just ran out of steam while I was putting this post together.
These things happen.

Okay, I'm gonna wrap things up now. We have a dinner booking at a Turkish restaurant later this evening. It's a belated celebratory dinner for my wife's birthday of a few weeks ago.

I hope your weekend has gotten off to a nice start, all, and thank-you for reading!

I'll leave you with one more shot of the Railmaster, from the archives;


Friday 10 June 2016

Friday 10/6/2016 - Too Many Late Nights, Happy Birthday Baby! & This Week's Wristwatches.

(Geez, a few typos there, teeritz!)

Here's the camera that I bought her. We spoke about it later that evening and she said she'd like to learn how to use it to its best extent. I told her I thought it would be a good creative outlet for her, and that was my main reason for buying it to begin with. 
I hope she spends a little time with it. I think she may find it a little daunting at first, but that should pass. 
Happy Birthday, amore!
Next up is a cheapish case for it. Back to eBay I go.
I must say I've liked what Fujifilm have been doing in recent years. I myself have been interested in their X100 series for a while.
Think I'll have to sell some more stuff on eBay. 

Ahh yes, the watch that I switched to. I opted for the Seamaster 300 on a TrueBond nylon strap. very comfy. 
This is such a pleasant watch. It was one of my Grail Watches. Basically, if I've been hankering for a watch longer than five years, it becomes a quest. This Seamaster 300, my Sinn 103 chronograph, and the Rolex Submariner 5513 were my three obsessions. Yep, they took a while, but I got there in the end. 

 I have to say that now that I find myself in a job where I stare at a computer screen for a great part of the day, I'm less inclined to jump on the computer and/or internet when I get home. These Friday posts can feel a little tricky lately, hence the reason why last week's post didn't appear until Sunday. 
These weekly posts may get shorter as the months roll by, but I'll try to put one up every week or two. 

Today's watch was another one that I'll never get rid of. It's a perfect watch for me in many ways.

The 36.2mm Omega Railmaster Co-Axial, seen here with a book that I read about in a short review a year or so ago. It covers Hemingway, Faulkner, Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver, among others, and has to do with these writers and their relationship with alcohol. 
I must admit that I haven't been reading as much lately as I used to. I tend to stay up a little too late, flicking between TV stations- that are screening such crap as Tattoo Nightmares, Pawn Stars and other similar 'entertainment' -in the search for something worth watching. I don't want to watch documentaries about some half-forgotten celebrity as they uncover their family history; "Ohh, he stole the goat because his family was starving! And he went to gaol (jail) for fifteen years and never saw his wife and children again!"
I don't want to watch some late night talk show (Hey, Jimmy Fallon, no guest is THAT funny!) that is a reminder that Johnny Carson did indeed leave behind some big shoes to fill, and I don't wanna watch CSI:Whatever, 'cos they just don't make cop shows like they used to. 
So, I'm going to try to get to bed a little earlier for a while and catch up on some reading. Once I'm well and truly settled into the routine of this job, I'm gonna try taking another stab at the writing. 
For the hell of it, if nothing else.  
The best-laid plans...

Anyway, it's now just gone nine-twenty pm and I'm feeling a little tired. We got a long weekend coming up, thanks to the Queen's Birthday Holiday on Monday, and I'm meeting up with a fellow wristwatch nerd sometime tomorrow afternoon. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

Sunday 5 June 2016

Sunday 5/6/2016 - Happy Birthday, I.F., Olympia SF repairs, Watching Stage & Screen & This Week's Wristwatches.

       I have to admit that, now that I'm working at a job that requires a lot of computer work throughout the day, I'm less inclined to spend large amounts of time on the web when I get home. Which is why these weekly posts have bee a little sporadic lately. 

       May 28th marked 108 years since Ian Fleming was born. Probably another reason why I had a mad yearning lately for an Olympia SF. 
       This looks like such a pleasant writing space, I must say. No distractions. Certainly no major time-wasters such as the internet. Just some natural lighting, probably with a nice view outside that window at Fleming's Jamaican retreat, which he called Goldeneye.
       Much has often been written about Fleming's  gold-plated Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter that he bought himself after the publication of his first Bond novel Casino Royale, but he was also known to have used other machines such as this SF, as well as a Triumph  Perfekt. 
Anyway, here's the Olympia SF, after Tom's repairs;

I'm thinking of maybe  giving this one a new paint-job at some point. Something with a Flemingesque touch. A Summer project, no doubt.

       I got a call at work later in the week from my kid's school. Somebody from the office told me my son had just thrown up and was looking pale. I had a dental appointment scheduled for later that afternoon, but I left work early to go pick him up and take him home. It appeared that he had a touch of gastro, so I parked him on the couch and kept an eye on him before heading off to the dentist. He was okay. He was lying on the couch with a peppermint tea in his hand and Raiders of  The Lost Ark on DVD.
                                                                                    Friday afternoon, I finished work later than usual, then headed into town to meet up with the family. We had a quick bite at Pellegrini's, a small Italian bistro which has been a Melbourne institution for decades. I worked at a very similar place in Carlton for five years back in my hospitality days. 

<--- this pic here courtesy of

Pellegrini's was packed, as usual. It serves a basic menu of basic Italian pastas at a reasonable price. It's famous for its coffee. They don't do pretty leaf patterns on the milk (at least, I hope not!), but trade is very steady in this place. 
It has a long bar along one side and a long bench-top along the opposite wall, which is mirrored. As I said, the place was full. However, Pellegrini's has a narrow table right inside the kitchen and that is where we sat. It was nice and warm in there too. I had the carbonara. I was still a little wary of my son's tender stomach, but he insisted that he could handle a bowl of pasta so he ordered the gnocchi.  
Oh yeah, this is primarily a wristwatch post, so some of you may be wondering what watch I wore. Since I've been feeling a little tired at day's end, I've pretty much stuck to the one watch for the entire week- the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean;

We still had some time to kill after the meal, so we took a walk through the city. It had been raining lightly all evening and the air had a definite chill to it. 
We didn't tell the kids, but we had a surprise in store for them. My wife had said a long time ago that we should try and do something different from time to time as a family. Which is why we've taken the kids to various things like the Hollywood Costume Exhibition And the David Bowie Is Exhibit at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Last year, we went to a regional production of 84 Charing Cross Road, to give them a taste of theatre, in the hopes of broadening their minds and experiences, and perhaps get them to appreciate more than what the internet and the Playstation has to offer. These things are fine, and unavoidable, but they're not the only game in town.
       So, we continued to walk through the city, but we made our way to Her Majesty's Theatre on Exhibition Street. We were going to the 7:30pm performance of Singin' In The Rain. 
I'd never been to her Majesty's Theatre before. It's a beautiful space. I grabbed a quick pic of the ceiling with my iPod;

It was a great show. Standout performances from the leads. Adam Garcia had the lead role of Don Lockwood, a silent-era actor who meets and begins falling for a novice actress named Kathy Selden (Gretel Scarlett). 

(Photo credits- Pictures by Jeff Busby. Found on 

       Special mention goes to Erika Heynatz, who plays Lina Lamont, Lockwood's co-star in their silent movies, and she's under the impression that she and Lockwood are an item, because she reads that in the gossip columns. 
Heynatz equips platinum blonde Lina with a grating, high-pitched voice covered in a thick Noo Yawk accent, channeling Judy Holliday, with a tiny dash of Monroe thrown in. It looks exhausting and later on, when she performs a song titled What's Wrong With Me, you marvel at how she can maintain the voice for so long and so loud. It's a larger than life character and she maintains it throughout. 
Heynatz displays a great comic timing with her performance as well. Full marks also to Gretel Scarlett as Kathy Selden. A wonderful singing voice, highlighted by a beautiful rendition of Would You.
       The highlight of the show is, of course, the title song and dance number. If you sit in the first two rows in the stalls, you'll be issued raincoats to wear during this number. Adam Garcia starts whistling the familiar tune before overhead sprinklers begin showering down on him. As he sings the song, he kicks up some puddles;

pic by Jeff Busby, courtesy of
Basically, folks, if you're in Stalls, Row A or B, you're gonna get wet. 
       When I worked as an usher at the Victorian State Theatre back in the '80s, I was always amazed at how clever the set designs were for some of the shows that I saw.  The street-scape in this musical is slightly recessed in the middle and all this water runs into a slight gap around its edge, effectively draining away. This is the musical number which we see just before intermission, thus giving the stage-hands twenty minutes to mop up any excess water and get the floor dry again for the second act.
       It was a great show. The choreography was sharp, the dancers were limber. Co-star Jack Chambers played Lockwood's best friend, Cosmo Brown, and he had a great 1930s, Gershwinesque face.  He did a great version of Make 'Em Laugh, made famous by Donald O'Connor in the original 1952 movie.

I decided the next morning to change wristwatch. Something vintage;

The circa 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer.

       Saturday night rolled around and I had an idea. My son and I would catch a movie while my wife and daughter watched Steel Magnolias (Dir; Herbert Ross, 1989) on DVD. 

       So, teeritz jr and I hit the local multiplex to see The Nice Guys, directed and co-written by Shane Black. Black wrote the screenplay for Lethal Weapon back in 1987. He earned a record $4 million dollars for his screenplay for The Long Kiss Goodnight (a favourite of mine) before finally getting into the Director's chair with another screenplay of his, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang in 2005. 
       He recently co-wrote and directed Iron Man 3 in 2013 and, while it had a different vibe to the two previous Iron Man films, I thought it was great. There is a scene in it where a bunch of people are flung out of a passenger jet and Tony Stark/IronMan (Robert Downey Jr) has to rescue them before they plummet to their deaths. He scans the passengers as they're falling. There are thirteen of them. He quickly consults with Jarvis, the AI system that controls his suit, which tells him that he can only hold the weight of nine people with his enhanced strength. 
It's a tense and wonderfully done scene and I felt my eyes well up a little.  A few days later, I read a review of the film in the newspaper and the reviewer mentioned a scene involving 'falling airline passengers' which he found oddly moving. So I wasn't the only one.

       The Nice Guys is a pretty funny film. I won't go too much into the plot, but it's set in 1977 and follows an inept private investigator named Holland March (Ryan Gosling) as he half-heartedly searches for a missing person. Meanwhile, Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a local enforcer-type who gets caught up in March's 'investigation' when it turns out that they are dealing with the same missing person, but from two different angles. 
       I have to say that Crowe and Gosling work great together, making this the kind of buddy movie that we seldom see anymore. The characters are very well written and Gosling is hilarious as he tries to show that he's a professional detective. We also get a great performance from Angourie Rice as March's daughter, Holly. Her presence in this film lends it some further heart.
Russell Crowe once again proves himself to be one of the finest actors of his generation, in a role that looks like it was written for him. I'm always impressed by what he does on-screen.
       It was good seeing this movie. During my continuing clean-up and unboxing of stuff around the house, I came across some audio tape recordings of screenwriting seminars conducted in Los Angeles back in 1994. We sold these at the film bookstore where I used to work. One of these tapes featured Shane Black talking about his motivations and methods for writing. So I was playing this tape in my car on the way to and from work each day because it's the only tape deck I have. 
       The Nice Guys is a very entertaining film, and I look forward to watching it again when it gets its DVD release. 

And that's it for this week. Twenty-Sixteen continues to rob us of greatness as we now mourn the passing of The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Here's one of the most famous images in sporting history, courtesy of;

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, boxing, bw, muhammad ali, sonny liston, sport

This year's been a real dog in some ways. 
I didn't follow boxing, and I only know a  minuscule fraction about Ali's career, but he was a one-of-a-kind. Sure, he had a uh..'healthy' self-esteem, but it was deserved. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great week, y'all.