Sunday 23 December 2018

RIP Mr Lee / Sorry, Pal, But You Ain't Marlowe / Plastic Car Mishaps / Pleased To Meet You, 007 + Recent Wristwatches

November was a busy month and December has, so far, been a tad busier. Work has been steady and has gotten increasingly more hectic as the year draws to a close.

As such, the watches that I wore each month have become somewhat of a blur. So, I'll list some of the ones I wore, but I'm not sure if they were worn in November or December.

I wore the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive sometime throughout the month while I grew a mustache. Managed to snag another drinks tray from a thrift shop. I have another one that is rectangular and quite large, but I wanted something smaller, with more of an Art Deco/1920s vibe. 
Just in case Scott and Zelda come around for a night-cap. 
Now, I just need to find someplace to put it. Maybe I'll have a bar in the house one day. I can sit it there.

Marvel comics genius Stan Lee died last month at the age of 95. He was the co-creator of Spider-man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, among other comic book super-heroes. 
He'll always be best remembered for Spider-man,
and for me, it was always Spider-man.
The tale of a puny high school kid who gets bitten by a radio-active spider, and is thereafter endowed with super-human strength and speed, resonated with me as a pre-teen back in the '70s. My brother had a handful of The Amazing Spider-Man comics back then and I don't know how many times I re-read them. 

Cut to 1977 and I went to the cinema to watch The Amazing Spider Man, a live-action movie starring Nicholas Hammond as Peter Parker. 
The effects were really bad, but totally in keeping with the pre-Star Wars technology of the time. 
But it was a disappointing effort nonetheless. 
By the early 1980s, I was buying my own Spidey comics. However, Marvel Comics were soon churning out four different Spidey titles each month and it began to get a little pricey for me after a while. 

My fandom lay dormant for a couple of decades until Sam Raimi's wonderful Spider-Man in 2002. By now, Hollywood had this little thing called CGI, and this gave us the kind of special effects in movies that we could only dream about twenty years earlier. Not only that, but it seemed that Marvel had decided to create an entire cinematic universe from it's vast trove of comic-book characters.
And I've been lapping it up ever since. 

I'm glad that Lee got to see his creations on the big screen. Sure, I can mourn the death of this man, but I think, aside from getting to a ripe old age, he had a good life. He was married to the same woman from 1947 until she died in 2017, and he built up a wonderful body of work during his lifetime.

I also wore the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in November. Geez, I'm starting to get a little low on gin. Maybe this cold is a good thing. I haven't touched a drop for over a week now. 
As you may know, gin has become the new black as far as spirits are concerned.  There has been a slew of small gin distillers popping up over the last couple of years. 
There's a hometown brand called MGC (Melbourne Gin Company), and I've also seen a few Japanese gin distillers on the shelves at some of the bigger liquor sellers. Call me old fashioned, but I tend to stick with the English brands. 

My daughter was with me when I saw a brand called 'Ink Gin' at a local store. The gin was dark blue, like fountain pen ink.
"Ohh, you should get that one, Dad", she said. 
However, I don't think I could sit there and take a gin & tonic seriously if it was dark blue. 
But that's just me.
In saying that, though, there's an Italian gin called Malfy that I might just try. It's infused with lemon, and some reviews have said that the lemon taste overpowers everything else. Might be a nice drink to have on a warm Summer night.

I recently finished reading Only To Sleep, Lawrence Osborne's Philip Marlowe novel, and I have to say, I found it underwhelming.
Sure, it'll end up on the shelf nestled to Chandler's own works, plus those of other authors, but this latest novel didn't feel like a Philip Marlowe story at all.
The shelves are brimming, hence the books lie sideways, to make better use of the shelf space.

Thursday, December 20th
                                            Okay, so I have one more day of work left before we close the office for the year...and I think I have a cold.
It was a slightly stressful start to the week. I sent a repair quotation to a store back in September. I stipulated that, because parts had to be ordered, there was a possibility that this job would not be completed before Christmas. I stressed that the store should advise their customer of this.
They informed the customer and the customer gave the go ahead on the repair.
Fast-forward to a week ago and the store manager calls me to ask on the status of the repair. I told him that parts had been delayed (this happened with a few repairs last year, which is why I stated it as a possibility in every quote I sent out from mid-September onwards) and that the repair would most likely be completed in late January/early February, as mentioned in the original quotation.
He hung up on me. That's twice now that he has done that. To guys like him, guys like me are just minions.
He called my manager, who checked with me, and then reiterated what I had already told this fellow.
I hate situations like this. I have had upset and angry customers on the phone (and via e-mail)  from time to time and they always seem to want to take their frustrations out on me. I remind them all that I'm merely the messenger.
Those types of customers don't bother me. I can handle them, but when I get somebody who's in the industry getting ticked off with me when all I'm doing is relaying information, and they decide to go over my head, only to be told the same as I've already told them, then that just adds unnecessary time and trouble to the situation. It gets everybody nowhere.
I decided long ago to be part of the solution, not the problem. So, when somebody calls up and wants to complain about the cost of a service or the time that it's taking, I will listen patiently, but then I'll spell it all out for them so that we're all clear on what's going on and the reasons for it.
Simple as that.
Anyway, that's all in the past now. As I once read, 'you get a sore neck looking back'.
Still, I thought I'd vent a little.
I'm all better now.

Anyway, I wore the Oris Artelier Hand-wound sometime last month. This watch houses the Peseux 7001 manually-wound calibre. It features a sub-seconds dial at 6.
I have been told that this movement requires a little more care when winding, as the mainspring can sometimes dislodge if the watch is wound too vigorously. Have to say this has never been an issue for me, as I tend to take care anyway when winding a wristwatch.
Back in the days when I used to sell watches, I was constantly surprised by the abuse that some folks subjected their watches to. For those guys, they tended to equate 'expensive' with 'indestructible'.
Sadly, this is almost always not the case. Whether you buy a $60 Seiko automatic or a six thousand dollar Omega, both watches should be treated with a little care. Like any other machine, whether it's a blender or an automobile.

There is a risk to filling in the gaps, with the benefit of hindsight, when a writer takes on another writer's work. Horowitz has sparingly filled in some of these gaps, but he has stayed fairly true to the essence of James Bond and who he is. Much of what takes place in the book does seem like the kind of reactions Bond would have and the kind of things he would say and do.

So, I managed to read two books based on well-known and loved characters and I have to say that Bond latest tale comes out better than Marlowe's.

Oh, another recent headache;  After a particularly busy day at work a couple of weeks ago, it got to knock-off time and I couldn't wait to get home. And then I soon found myself in a perfect storm.

The lights were off in the car-park. I started my car and slowly began reversing out of my spot. I could just make out the outline of the car parked in the bay next to mine before I felt a slight tightness in the steering. Checking my side mirror, it looked like I had grazed against the other car.

'Oh, dammit to hell', I thought to myself as I tapped the brake pedal.
I then edged the car slowly forward back to my original spot and heard the sound of cracking plastic. These damn modern cars.
I uttered a range of expletives as I heard tiny bits of plastic hit the ground. I switched off the engine, wondering why in hell the lights in the car-park hadn't switched on automatically as they normally do.
I got out of my car and surveyed the scene in the semi-darkness. 'You've gotta be kidding!?' I said, not believing what I thought I was seeing. I ran over to the other end of the car-park and the automatic lighting switched on at that end. As I turned and walked back to my car, I saw that half of the rear bumper had been wrenched away. Tiny plastic mounts lay scattered across the car-park floor.
Feeling my gut muscles tighten, I walked over to the light switch near the lift (elevator) doors. Sure enough, one of them had been switched off. I flicked it on and the lights came up. One of the other tenants in the building has moved out and there have been tradesmen and cleaners coming in and out of this car-park all week.
I should have left the lights off. The car looked much worse in the light.

The car next to mine was parked closer to the line on my side. The front tyres were turned all the way over to the right. I had driven in to my parking spot, the other car had been reversed in to its spot.

There wasn't a mark on this car. Just a slight scuff on the upper side of the tyre. My theory? As I reversed, the tyre of this car gripped the bumper of mine. When I stopped reversing and then drove forward again, it was enough to rip the bumper off my car.

'I just wanted to effing go home, man!' was soon followed by 'I don't have three grand to fix this, I don't have three grand to fix this!' bouncing around in my head.

Moments later, a lady appeared. She was the owner of this other car. As she approached, I explained what I think had happened.
"But your car's fine", I added, with just a hint of sarcasm. She looked at my car's damage. "That's no good" was the best she could say.
I had an urge to blast her for parking so close to my car AND for turning her wheels to the side. If not for that, I would have been okay.
I let it slide, thinking that I'd try doing the opposite to what I might have done in the past. So I kept quiet, but I hope she doesn't ask me about my car when she next sees me because I may just give her a lesson in how to park a car.

My main worry after that was; do I try re-attaching the bumper or do I tear it away completely? I wanted to get home. I tried to refasten it and managed to get it back on reasonably tight, but I decided to see if I could secure it a little better before I got home.
I got back in the car and limped over to the nearest petrol station (actually, it was a 7/Eleven if you must know) and bought some gaffer tape. I taped the bumper to the body and drove home at a sedate speed. It's one thing if the bumper dislodged again, but it would be something else entirely if it came off the car and caused an accident for somebody else.

Next morning, I took the car to a nearby panel shop and they quoted me $700 to replace the rear bumper and to colour-match it to the rest of the car. Better price than I expected, but still a decent chunk out of my personal savings. Ah, well, nobody got hurt and that's the main thing. It's booked-in for repair on the day after Boxing Day.

I wore the Omega Speedmaster the next day. This watch gets some regular wear. I can tend to go a month or two without wearing it and then I'll see a picture of it on a watch forum and I'm reminded of how nice a looking watch it is.
Other chronographs have come and gone since this watch was first released in 1957 and this design dates back to the mid-Sixties. That's what I love about it. It's a beautiful example of chronograph design from that era. And that could well be one of the reasons why it became a classic. The NASA/moon landing association helped too, of course.

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner the next day. This watch is one that I tend to wear a little sparingly, depending on what I'm doing for the day.
Reason being, owning one of these is like having a vintage car. Parts can be expensive and tricky to find. This is actually a richer man's wristwatch, made for someone who can easily afford to get it fixed if something goes wrong.

My daughter wants it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I've told her 'no'. My son won't get it either. She decided to plead her case; "Oh, but you wanted it for the longest time, and it means the most to you."
"No, it actually doesn't", I countered. "Despite the fact that I chased it for so long, I'm not going to burden you or your brother with this watch. Parts are expensive, servicing it is expensive, and if you damage it, you'll kick yourself. If you really want one, save your money and get one. That way, you'll know what it takes to get ahold of one of these. And this one doesn't mean the most to me. I have other watches that I wore during significant times of my life. My Railmaster has more resonance with me, even the Sinn Chronograph, that I wore on the trip, and the watch that I wore when you and your brother were born. Those ones mean more to me. The Rolex will get sold when I'm gone. That way, the money that it gets will be of more use to you and him. And, the Rolex comes with a lot of baggage because it's become the watch that guys will buy to show the world that they've made it. They buy it for all the wrong reasons, which is why I wanted vintage rather than new, which would have cost me less. Besides, you'd be better off with something like the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Looks a lot like the Rolex, but it can take more abuse, 'cos it's a modern watch." 

As I've said here before, in my big write-up when I first got this watch, I wanted it because of the Bond connection. I wanted it because it was associated with photojournalists and war correspondents of the 1970s. I wanted it because McQueen and Redford wore one. I wanted it because I couldn't pick up a magazine when I was a kid without seeing a classic ad for one;

Besides, I doubt there will be a shortage of watches from my collection for my daughter to choose from. Selling the Rolex and splitting the proceeds between the two of them will do the most good. She just doesn't know that yet.
Although, I did tell her that I plan to give her and her brother four watches each. Anything more than that may become a burden for them.
I speak from experience.

 And, for the last few days, I've been wearing the Movember Diver SixtyFive on a bracelet.

Monday, December 24th
                                  And there we have it. About six weeks since my last post and much has happened. Things are busy around here. I have the next eight days off and I plan to do some serious tidying up around the house. I didn't manage to sell stuff on eBay in the lead-up to Christmas and I plan to make up for it in Jan/Feb. Time to clear some stuff, Make some room. Not for any new stuff, but just to create a little more breathing space.

In closing, I hope 2018 has treated you all well, and thanks for your readership throughout the year.

I hope that whatever you celebrate at this time of year, it is an enjoyable and/or restful time for you all.

I hope that you all have a safe and Happy New New, and that 2019 treats you kindly.

Thanks for reading!