Saturday 10 February 2018

Sunday Feb 11th, 2018 - Happy Birthday Bowie (our cat), Typewriter Conundrums, Bond is Back! (soon), Gotta Read More & This Week's Wristwatches.

Where are my manners? Looking back at last week's post and comments, I saw that I didn't reply to comments made by Bill & Ted (yes, that's their real names. Highly respected members of the Typosphere, let me tell ya's).

So anyway, here goes;

Heh, I think all of these Tower CIII's have that ding on the left side of the ribbon cover. yours matches mine :D

Feh on you at 52 still wearing 30's. be glad you're not vacillating between 38-42 like me :P
The Tower's a beauty to use, Reverend. It would be one of the last ones I'd get rid of. Those ribbon cover scratches are a badge of honour, from the previous owner, I'm sure.
As for my thickening waistline, I'm sure I have no right to complain. It just came as a shock to me on that fateful Saturday afternoon a few months ago when I tucked in a t-shirt ('cos I was putting a short-sleeved shirt on over it) and saw the soft curvature of my stomach.

I need to follow your lead and unload some of my typewriters. One will probably be my Splendid also. I just do not like its touch. My one recent find though was a Chieftian Attache. Skywriter in a briefcase.
Yeah, Bill, I seem to have more typewriters than I can use. Therefore, any of them that don't measure up AND aren't nice to look at will just have to go. My Olivetti Studio 42 is nothing earth-shattering as far as its typing goes, but it's a beautiful machine to look at. So that's staying. 
I've seen pics of Chieftain Attaches. Super-cool. Nice score.

There was a comment from an anonymous reader who commented on the Rolex Sub photo that I posted last week; 
He (could have been a she, for all I know, but for the sake of laziness, I'm gonna be old-school politically incorrect and just use 'he') asked if the crown was screwed all the way in because he could see some of the threading of the crown tube. 
I recently had this watch overhauled by an ex-Rolex technician who's highly regarded. He did some great work on this watch. 
He mentioned to me that the crown tube was on its last legs and would probably require replacing at its next service - in about three to five years - and he had put a new rubber seal inside the crown. 
Crowns? Crown tubes? What are you talking about, Teeritz? 

Okay, so most dive watches that are rated 200m water-resistant or more will tend to have a winding crown with internal threading and a tube jutting out from the side of the case with threading also. This is so that the crown can be screwed down to ensure water-resistance to the depth stated on the dial. 
Let's look at this diagram, borrowed from 
Figure A shows a standard dive watch crown design. For the purposes of this explanation, disregard Figures B and C.
Figure D and E show a crown tube in which E is the part that is screwed into the watch case and then welded into place on the inside. Figure D is the exposed part of the tube that Figure A would be screwed into. Seated inside the crown is a very tiny rubber 'O' ring (seal or gasket is a term that's also used) that is compressed down when the crown is screwed in all the way, further adding to the water resistance of the watch. 
My watchmaker put a new 'O' ring in the crown and said that it may need some time to 'bed-in'.

When I went to pick up the completed repair, I was a little disheartened to see the crown looking like this. For those of you not up to speed with my Submariner 5513 saga, I had wanted one of these since I was a kid back in the mid-1970s (thank-you for the expensive obsession, Mister Bond!), and I wanted it to be as perfect as I could get it. 
As I drove home with the watch on my wrist, I decided to hunt around for a new crown tube on the web.  That way, I'd have it ready when the time came. I asked the watchmaker as to whether or not he had access to Rolex parts, but he would have to hunt for them the same as I would.  He undoubtedly can get ahold of some parts, but not all of them, pretty much like a lot of independent watchmakers that I've encountered over the years. 
Something was niggling at the back of my mind whenever I looked at the watch, though. When I got home, I fished out the old 1981Rolex catalogue that I had gotten back in yep, 1981 and flicked over to page 20 to find this;

And here's a cropped close-up;

This put my mind a little more at ease, but I thought I'd ask over on a Rolex forum to get the opinions of some experts. One guy replied, saying that the exposed crown tube is not uncommon and the seal needing to bed-in was plausible.
Further searching on the web showed that, while most 5513 models had a crown that screwed in closer to the case, there were a few that showed the crown positioned like mine. 
So that was enough to allay any of my concerns. 
The crown may bed-in slightly, thus closing up the gap a little or it might not. In which case, I went ahead and implemented Plan B.

Rolex are notorious for not distributing parts outside of their Service Network (a very wise policy) and so, it leaves me, and every other person who needs parts, to fend for ourselves on the web. 
As a result, you end up paying more for Rolex parts - especially for the sports models such as this one - when you find them. Some sellers, however, are just downright delusional, or more likely, greedy, and to an obscene degree. 
Thankfully, sort of, I managed to track down a NOS (new old stock - i.e, no longer produced, but never used) crown and tube and I've stashed them away until required. And doubly thankfully, I didn't pay too much for them, considering that some sellers were charging a ridiculous $1,000USD for similar parts. 
Either way, the watch is purring along nicely, and I'll drink to that.

Here's the Lemair-Helvetia;

Today is Sunday where I am and our younger cat Bowie is one year old. When we first got him as a four month-old kitten back in June last year, he spent the first two weeks hiding under our daughter's bed, occasionally snarling at us if we got too close. My daughter soon noticed some pairs of socks had gone missing. It wasn't long before we noticed that he had arranged them under her bed in a half-circle formation, like sand-bags. 
Whenever we'd get close enough to pat him, he would scurry back under the bed to the safety of his sock fort. A few days later, I'd see him run past me with a rolled-up pair of my socks that he'd swiped from the freshly laundered pile that had been brought in off the clothes line. 
As regular readers may be aware, our other cat is nine years old and we had hopes that she would eventually accept this little guy and get along with him. From everything I'd read on the web, it would be a slow process to get an older cat to accept a newcomer, with no guarantee of success. We tried feeding them apart from each other, on either side of a door, so that the older cat could get used to the idea of another cat on her territory. 
That didn't seem to work. Madame was wise to our tricks. She would emit a low growl whenever he was near, hissing sharply if he got too close. It's a little heart-breaking to watch, because we all get the impression that he just wants to be friends with her.
Admittedly, she hisses at him less and less these days, but she still won't let him near her, and she'll still growl if she enters a room where he's just been. I can only imagine that his scent must be all over this house by now. We tried using a diffuser that emits cat pheromones. This is designed to act as a calmant for cats when they are stressed. It didn't work, but I think it was because it was placed in an area that gets a bit of a draught of air and this diminishes the effect of the diffuser.
Next up, scent swapping. This is something that I tried when we first got Bowie the kitten. Problem was that it had to be a constant and regular procedure and the kids ("We should get another cat, we should get another cat.") didn't help with this as much as they should have.
Anyway, it basically involves each cat's scent passed over to the other. Apparently, scent is a major communicator for cats and I've read that their sense of smell is around 14 times sharper than ours.
They have scent glands on the sides of their mouths and also across their temples. The idea is to rub these areas lightly and then stroke the other cat with them, to spread the scent along their fur.
Later, when they're grooming themselves, they are supposed to get a whiff of the other cat's scent intermingled with their own. Bit by bit, this is meant to get them used to each other's scent.

Yesterday, we thought we were witnessing a ground-breaking moment between these two cats. They were in the kitchen, about six feet away from each other. Madam Dussy glanced over at Bowie, who was staring at her intently, and she got up and slowly approached him. He hesitantly edged towards her. They got so close to each other that their noses almost touched. They sniffed each other, paused for a second...and then Madame hissed at the little guy and walked off.
What, does she need glasses? Couldn't she tell it was him? 
So, my aim is to try the scent-swapping process properly over a prolonged period, to see if it will work. Best-case is that they'll become friends. That's what he wants. She's being territorial and/or stubborn. Take your pick.
My wife remarked that "It's like having a friend all your life and then you see them treat somebody really poorly and you realise that they're a bitch."
Cats are creatures of habit. They like routine. Apparently, moving the furniture around can throw them off. So, I can fully understand that Dussy's entire day-to-day lifestyle has been upended to some degree. She doesn't go into the lounge room as much as she used to, she doesn't go out via the cat-flap in the back door, she doesn't use the indoor litter tray anymore. 
As I said, best-case scenario is that they'll become chummy, grooming each other and sleeping huddled together to stay warm. 
Worst-case is that it'll be some uneasy truce between the two of them. 
Wait and see.

In the meantime, Happy 1st Birthday to you, Bowie! You're a mad rascal and we have the scars to prove it.
We'll set you up with a can of tuna with a candle in it later this evening. 
When you wake up.

I've fallen out of the reading habit in recent months. Can't remember the last book I read. I got up to page 226 of an espionage novel called Brandenburg by Henry Porter, which I should point out was a great book, but so far, it has more to do with a defector named Dr. Rudolf Rosenharte than it does about the main character Robert Harland, an MI6 operative who appeared in another of Porter's earlier books. So, I've put that book on the back-burner for the moment.

During our European trip in 2016, we went to Shakespeare & Co, a famous bookstore in Paris. It was there that my son bought a copy of Storm of Steel, a biographical account of World War I as seen through the eyes of a young German soldier, written by Ernst Junger.
Teeritz jr had recently read All Quiet on the Western Front and I think he had a hankering to read more about the war to end all wars. 
He had been badgering me to read the book myself and I kept putting it off. I had started it twice and got fifteen or twenty pages in before stopping. It appears that I'm spending the final part of the evenings winding down by getting on the internet via my iPod Touch rather than curling up with a good book. This is not a good habit to get into. 
I already spend 90% of my day staring at a computer screen at work, so I should probably spend less time reading off glass and more time reading off paper.
So, I started reading this book again about two weeks ago, and again I got fifteen or twenty pages in before stopping. Yesterday, I picked up from where I left off, with a determination to get back in the reading saddle, especially considering that I used to read a lot when I was younger. 
Not only that, but Junger has a beautiful writing style, with some nice turns of phrase. Good writing is something that we can tend to forget about, but there are sharp reminders everywhere these days of bad writing, courtesy of the world wide web. 
I was listening to the news on the radio one day last year and the newsreader was reporting on a murder-suicide that had occurred in the city's outskirts. She uttered the phrase; "Police on the scene are still trying to unpack what went on here."
I was mildly aghast at the use of a slang phrase like that in a news bulletin. Coupled with numerous spelling and grammatical errors that are now found in our daily newspapers, I begin to crave a nicely written sentence. Maybe I'm asking too much.  
There's no shortage of books in my house and I have a bulk of titles that I've bought in recent years, but haven't read. 
My wife always says I'm a slow reader and this is true. Although, compared to her, everybody's a slow reader. 
So, aside from the list of tasks that I'd written for myself to tackle this weekend, I also included "Read for 30 mins", and managed to do so on Saturday afternoon. 
Another reason for getting back into reading is that I'd like to re-read the Anthony Horowitz Bond novel Trigger Mortis.
English author John Gardner was commissioned by Glidrose Publications to write an updated Bond novel in 1981. Bond was basically brought into the '80s, literally frozen in time and still in his late 40s, the age that he was in Fleming's last Bond story, The Man With The Golden Gun in 1965. As a teenage Bond fan, I thought Gardner wrote some great stories. Sure, his later ones were a little stale (he wrote sixteen of them) and some of his characterisations and dialogue were a little hammy or corny, but I vastly prefer his output when compared to what followed in the years after his last OO7 story. American author Raymond Benson was tasked with the job sometime in the late 1990s and I can't say his works thrilled me. I have all six of the books that he wrote and have read three of them. Not very memorable. 
After Benson's tenure, not much happened with literary Bond until 2008 when Sebastian Faulks gave us Devil May Care, set in the late 1960s. I thought it was a lacklustre effort in a lot of ways. No tension, no risks for Bond. No thanks. 
I've said this before- there's always a danger in getting a literary author to write crime or thrillers if they haven't done so in the past. I've always gotten the impression that they consider crime writing to be beneath them. Of course, the end result shows just how difficult it is to write a convincing Bond story.
Two-thousand and eleven brought us Jeffrey Deaver's modern re-boot Carte Blanche, which gave us a 21st Century Bond, in his early thirties, being  recruited by some new branch of British Intelligence which operates outside the boundaries. I didn't like this one either. 
Two years later, William Boyd wrote Solo, with Bond back in the late 1960s. Like Faulks' effort, we had a Bond story where nothing seemed at stake.
Finally, in 2015, Anthony Horowitz gave us Trigger Mortis, set in 1959, a few weeks after Bond's Goldfinger mission. Some of Ian Fleming's unfinished work was used in the first chapter and Horowitz wrote the rest. And it is seamless. Horowitz was known for writing numerous episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot and was the creator and principal writer of Foyle's War for television. Aside from this, he also wrote a popular series of young adult fiction about Alex Rider, a teenager who gets caught up in espionage adventures. 
Horowitz knows how to write a Bond story and he wonderfully captured the feel and flavour of a Fleming Bond. 
There was word early last year that Ian Fleming Publications had commissioned him to write another Bond and that it would be released sometime in 2018.

Okay, so the title, while sounding Bondish enough, may border on pastiche, but if this book is anything like Horowitz's previous one, it'll be the last thing to worry about. Again, this book may contain some of Fleming's unused material, but what I'm looking forward to is the basic premise of this story, since it's set before the events of Fleming's first OO7 book Casino Royale and initially centres on how literary Bond got his licence to kill.
Here's the brief excerpt that's been doing the rounds this week;

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. “We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.”
“It’s Bond, sir,” the Chief of Staff replied.
“James Bond.”

I'm looking forward to this one. But I suppose you already knew that. 

Okay, time to wrap this up. It's gotten longer than I thought it would, and I still want to vacuum and mop the floors.  
What an action-packed life you lead, Teeritz!

Anyway, I wore the Oris Diver Sixty-Five all week;

Thanks for reading, and have a great week, all!


  1. Great update as usual. I enjoyed reading about your change of heart regarding thinning the typewriter herd. As the years pass, I now regret selling off some earlier pieces in my collection, especially as, at least here in America, typewriters are getting more expensive and harder to find desirable models (the Tom Hanks Effect).

  2. Great report. Funny how cats can and can't get along. In many ways they are neat. Thinning the heard always seems to come with the difficulty of getting unattached to those that somehow seem to not want to go. As far as the Kolibri, that would be a real keeper. Those, if they are in good shape, are somewhat rare, and very expensive in the USA.

  3. Jünger is a fascinating figure. His book The Worker was just translated; it's a vision of "total mobilization" from the early '30s. It was quite important for Heidegger, who had various objections to it but studied it intensively.

    1. I see. Can you tell I don't have a clue about philosophy? I thought Junger was an interesting person if only for the fact that he was born in 1895 and died in 1998, having lived through a great century.
      The tricky thing for me is wondering how much of the writing style is Junger's own or has it been made more eloquent by Michael Hoffman's translation?
      A very interesting read, I must say.
      Hope you're well, RP.

  4. Know how you reacted to "unpack". Another horror is people using "smashed it" as a verb meaning he or she did something really well. I was surprised to see Ernst Junger commemorated as an enemy combatant (also a few Turkish soldiers/officers) at the National ANZAC Centre museum I visited in Albany.

  5. Re: cats. We've got 3 former strays, and after 10 years they still only rarely flirt with being cuddly with each other. Usually the "nose to nose" move ends with halfhearted swipes at each other, but they have settled to the point that they will sleep on the same sofa together, although always at least 8 inches apart. :D

  6. I'm sure you know about this book, but thought I'd share this story with you anyways (just in case):
    I have the Westlake on my pile of "to read soon" so I can't comment on it, but I do love his stuff, so I'm looking forward to it.

  7. @ Steve K, yeah, "smashed it" and "awesome" are incredibly overused. Somebody turns a doorknob- "Oh man, that was awesome!"

    @ Ted, Yep, I think the older cat's just not gonna let the younger one near her. Forever. It's sad because he looks at her so intently at times. I'm still adopting a 'wait & see' attitude with it all.

    @John S., I have to say I've never read Westlake. His stuff was all over the bookshelves 20 years ago and he was always on my list of crime authors to try our. But, like Ross MacDonald and John D. McDonald, Westlake was one of those authors that I always kept saying I'd get around to. Now, of course, finding his books requires trips to second-hand bookstores. And his last one "Forever and a Death" sounds interesting, since it was originally a Bond draft.
    I'll have to hunt up some of Westlake's work.
    Thanks for reminding me!