I've had to slightly rearrange my computer set-up at work, as I find my eyes getting tired throughout the day. My optometrist said I should blink more, but this appears to be easier said than done. The real trick was to find the correct distance from my eye level to the screen. Took me a few days to get into the habit.
My wife gets a few people calling who are only interested in vouchers and monetary payments. Quite often, some of these people have already received their allocation for the week and they'll call up again asking for more money. My wife's job is to ascertain their requirements and then direct them to the appropriate department or social worker who will then continue dealing with them.
Published in 1977, this book concerns a guy named Al Rosen, who is currently living in Tel Aviv. He helps some elderly people escape a hotel fire and his picture winds up in the newspapers back in the States.
There are some former associates of his back in Detroit who think that he has a tonne of money stashed away and they'd like to have it. So, they send some guys over to Tel Aviv to find Rosen, who is currently trying to locate a woman that he had a one-night stand with back in the hotel before the fire started. In the hurry to escape the burning building, he threw his jacket into her overnight bag. She has since traveled on to another part of Israel and his jacket is still in her luggage.
With his passport in one of its pockets.
The boys from Detroit have already made one attempt on his life. Rosen needs to find the lady who has his passport so that he can get the hell out of Dodge in one piece.
Meanwhile, he's met a Marine who has a few weeks left in the Army before he gets out. The guy has no clear plans for his future and he decides to try helping Rosen out of his predicament.
It took me the first fifty or so pages to get into the rhythm of the book, but Elmore Leonard was such a master of dialogue that I soon started enjoying this read. I've read maybe four of his other books over the years. He wrote around fifty books, mainly crime and westerns and as you may know, quite a few of his books were filmed. I'm half-way through The Hunted and I'll be curious to see how it ends.
I had just finished reading two John Le Carré books back to back. He was a very prolific writer, with his last book, Agent Running in The Field
, having been published in late 2019. You would think that a writer of his generation would have used a typewriter or word processor, but no, he wrote his manuscripts by hand, with a fountain pen. Which is staggering in itself when you read any of his novels.
Le Carré's books are densely plotted, thoroughly researched and extend beyond the espionage genre to range from big pharma to third world exploitation to the industrial military complex. Many authors have stated that his work should be viewed as literature rather than just genre fiction. I agree.
I tried reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy way back in 1981 and got as far as page 35 before giving up on it. I kept the book, as it was considered a big deal and, a year or so ago, I purchased a first edition hardcover version of it and took another crack at it. It is beautifully written. I'll have to re-read it at some point, as there's a lot in it that you can miss in the first reading.
Wristwatch-wise since my last post, I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional;
Omega has just released a new version of this watch with the first major upgrades since 1996. The new one contains an in-house movement, and they have made some slight cosmetic changes to the dial to bring its overall look closer to that of the original models from the 1960s.
The untrained observer may not see a difference between this new model and something like my one from 2007, but hardcore Omega and NASA fans rejoiced at some of the changes that were made to this watch. Naturally, it comes with a price tag to match.
That's cool. I'm not in the market for a Speedmaster.
I also wore the Omega Railmaster;
And the Oris 40mm Divers SixtyFive with blue and black dial;
Although, the watch that's been on my wrist since January 21st is the latest addition to the collection, the Tudor Black Bay 58;
As it's new, I'm currently still in the honeymoon phase of ownership. I'd originally purchased it on the leather strap (see previous post), but I placed an order for the metal bracelet. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I fitted it to the watch and then spent some time getting a fit that worked for my 6.5 inch wrist.
Took a while and I finally got to around a 95% perfect fit. It's not the watch that's the issue, it's the curvature of my wrist. I don't have a perfectly circular wrist. It tends to be thinner on the inner edge than it is on the outer edge and, as such, the clasp doesn't sit as well or evenly as it could. Hard to explain, so if a picture tells a thousand words...
The clasp bridge is long and is shaped in a way that doesn't fully follow the curve of my wrist. No huge drama. The watch sits well. I could do some wrist curls, but this most likely won't solve the issue because you just can't fatten up the wrist. Actually, you can. With fat, but not muscle, as the wrist area is all bones and tendons.
Still, I think I'll do some wrist curls, because I do recall my wrists looking a little thicker back in my hospitality days. Of course, that was half a lifetime ago...
Friday, February 12th.
The air-con broke down in the office on Monday. It's Summer here in Melbourne and, even though it's been a pretty crappy one so far (due to the La Niña weather pattern this year, which made for a humid and cloudy Summertime), we have had some hot and humid days this week and the air in the office is stifling.
I've been getting home from work with a thin film of sweat on my face and my shirt stuck to my back.
It was announced earlier today that Victoria would go into lock-down again, as of midnight tonight, for the next five days. There were eight new cases of Covid-19 here last weekend. Then it jumped to eleven, and this morning it got to thirteen. There are major concerns that this new wave could be the UK variant of the virus, which is more contagious.
Great. Twenty/twenty-one has gotten off to a fine start. I'm still looking on the bright side, but I'm also having a gripe about it all.
Okay, to cheer myself up in a shallow manner, here's another pic of the Tudor Black Bay 58;
Anyway, I got a letter from the hospital a couple of days ago to inform me that I am now on the waiting list for the bunion operation. I'm classed as Level 3, which is considered non-urgent (that's cool), so that means that I could have the procedure done sometime over the next twelve months.
It's a procedure with a non-threatening name. Scarf and Akin. The doctor that I had the meeting with two weeks ago explained the procedure with a sheet of paper and a ballpoint. I then got online a few days later and Googled it. Not that I'm squeamish, but since this operation is going to involve some surgical version of a reciprocating saw (yeah, you read it right!), I figured I would rather see animated video rather than an actual surgical procedure, complete with sound and blood.
So, I'll be having the scarf and Akin procedure...on my right foot. My left foot will be getting the akin op as well as a Cheilectomy, whereby an arthritic spur of bone which has formed on top of the metatarsal (big toe joint) will be cut away.
Just as well I'll be out cold during this.
Here's a link to an animated video which explains it, minus my blood and screaming;
Yessiree, this will be an interesting year.
Okay, because this post has taken me a couple of weeks to get this far;
I finished the Elmore Leonard book and quite liked it. It felt a little strange because there were a host of characters throughout the story and some played a bigger part than others. I'm not insinuating that this was a bad thing. Far from it. When I finished the book, I understood the arcs of these characters and felt that Leonard was a better writer than I first thought. He leads you one way and then takes you elsewhere, and you don't realise it until you near the end of the book. Very well done, and his characters and dialogue are first-rate.
Not certain of what to read next, I soon realised that I was still on an espionage novel kick, so I looked at my shelf and thought about starting the second book in le Carré's 'Karla Trilogy', The Honourable Schoolboy.
But something was holding me back. Not sure what, but I think I wanted to give that book the proper time and concentration required, maybe even re-read the first book of the trilogy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy before starting this second book. In the end, I opted for one of his later books, A Delicate Truth, written in 2013.
It concerns a covert mission by British and American interests which takes place on the Rock of Gibraltar. The story then picks up three years later when a low-level assistant to a British minister uncovers some vague details about this mission and decides to dig deeper, despite the recommendations from his mentor to leave it all be.
Le Carré is not an author that I read if I'm feeling a little tired or distracted. It took me a week to read the first fifty pages and when I stopped to think about it, I couldn't recall what had taken place. So, I sat down last Sunday afternoon with the book and a medium-strong latté and re-read those pages. Once I was up-to-speed, I continued on. I do love his dialogue and his characters. The plots are usually multi-layered, which is why I need to be reasonably alert when reading them.
He wrote twenty-five novels over the course of his literary career. He worked briefly for both MI5 and MI6 in the late 1950s before publishing his first novel, Call for the Dead in 1961 while working for the British Embassy in Bonn. As Foreign Office personnel were not allowed to publish writings under their own names, David Cornwell chose the name John le Carré and it was his third book, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold which put him on the best-seller lists in 1963. He soon took up writing full-time, which was just as well, as his real name was passed along to the Soviets by a double-agent, effectively ending his career with British Intelligence.
I'm now about seventy pages from the end of this book and I've no idea how it will end. Certainly getting my money's worth out of this one.
Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
We had an increase in Covid cases here last week, after a 28-day period of no new cases and our State Government has put this town into a five-day lock-down until midnight tomorrow. There's a slight chance that this lock-down may be extended, which throws a spanner into the workings of my office.
I'm at home now, answering customer e-mails, hobbling along as best possible.
Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Looks like the lock-down will end tonight. Back to work tomorrow, which is just as well, as I have been dealing with a few very ticked-off customers via email this week. One customer's watch shows heavy impact damage to the case. There's a nice little dent in the steel, and this has had an effect on the movement of the watch, effectively shifting sections of it out of alignment. This is what is causing the erratic timekeeping of the watch. It will require a complete service, and the customer is not happy about it.
However, there's nothing we can do about it. The watch has sustained accidental damage and this is just no covered under warranty.
I wore the Omega Seamaster 300 recently;
I think I've said this before; for somebody who doesn't dive, I have quite a few dive watches. There's a lot about them that I find handy. Aside from the more-than-I'll-ever-need water resistance, the rotating bezels tend to come in useful for parking meters, lunch breaks, cooking times, etc. Just about everything except timing an actual dive.
The legibility is nice and clear, too. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can glance over at the watch on my bedside table and think to myself: Oh, man, it's friggin' four am!
And of course, there's something very Action Man! about their design, their heft, their size.
Given the ongoing popularity of a dive watch, you can pretty much find them in sizes ranging from around 36mm, such as the Oris Divers SixtyFive and Rado Captain Cook, all the way up to 46mm for something like the Breitling SuperOcean Heritage 46.
For me, the sweet spot tends to be 40mm, as this represents the classic dive watch case diameter. The Seamaster up above clocks in at 42mm, but I can forgive this because it's such a nice watch.
As it's Summer here in Melbourne, I tend to wear my more water resistant watches on bracelets. This means less having to take the watch off when dealing with water.
Okay, this post got long, so I'll stop it there. We're only two months into the year and I've been quite busy.
Might have to start my next post sooner rather than later.
I hope you're all coping with life the way it is right now.
Stay safe, thanks for reading!