Sunday, 31 August 2014

Boy Meets Girl...Sooner Or Later.

When he was fifteen years old, the boy was allocated a job at a major bookstore for Work Experience as part of his studies in Year Nine. Schools did this in order to give students a taste of The Rat Race. To give them an idea of what it's like to turn up to a job at nine am and work through till five pm. This was an arrangement usually organised between the school and an employer or organisation. The kids would 'go to work'. And they were paid a total of three dollars a day. Back then, this was enough to cover public transport costs and still leave enough money for a pie or sandwich for lunch. 
The boy would be working full-time in the Despatch Department, on the fifth floor of this bookstore in the city, for two weeks.
The girl, who was also fifteen, was already working at this bookstore. On the sales floor at ground level. 
The boy spent his two weeks opening up boxes of books that arrived from the suppliers. 
He and the girl never saw each other. 

Nine years later, the boy got a job at a snazzy restaurant in the city. He was told by the owner that it was a daytime bartending gig, but the current bartender made sure that all the boy ever did was prepare salads and desserts for the lunchtime customers. 
The girl, meanwhile, was working for a cleaning company. One of her allocated premises was this same snazzy restaurant in the city. She would get there between five-thirty and six am to clean the place. She would work solidly and would usually be finished by seven-thirty or eight am. Then she would leave and go on to her next allocated premises. The boy would arrive at the restaurant at eleven-thirty to prepare for the lunchtime rush. 
Once again, he and the girl never saw each other. 

Two years passed and the boy was now working at a cafe, making coffees before the term barista was invented. Before the 'latte art' phenomenon took hold. He worked at this cafe five nights a week. One night, the girl from the bookstore came into this cafe with her boyfriend. She ordered two caffe latte. The boy made the two coffees and placed them down on the counter in front of her and her boyfriend.
'She's pretty',  the boy thought to himself. 

Another two years went by and the boy was now working at a small bistro around the corner from the cafe. One busy Saturday night, two girls walked in and sat down at Table No. 3. The boy didn't see them come in because, well, it was a busy Saturday night. The girls were served by one of the other waiters on duty who brought them a bottle of water and two glasses before taking their order for two caffe latte. 
The waiter went to the machine and made the two coffees. When he was done, he called over to the boy and said; "These are for table three."
"Done", said the boy as he scooped up the coffees. 
The boy approached Table No. 3 and put the coffees down before glancing at the two girls. One of them had the day's newspaper spread across the table and a pair of glasses perched on her nose. 
The boy recognised her from the time she came into the cafe with her boyfriend.
"Hey, did you come into Giorgietto's* about a year ago?", he asked her.
The girl removed the glasses and handed them to her friend, who put them on her own face. They were her glasses, after all.
"Yes. Didn't you work there?", the girl replied, tilting her head slightly to the side the way some girls do when they ask a question. The girl had a low voice. Like Bacall, thought the boy.
"Yeah", he replied and, feeling bold, he decided to ask a strategic question, designed to find out her current status. This is way before Facebook, you understand. If you wanted to know somebody's relationship status, you had to ask them, or somebody who knew them. A web site was where spiders spun their silken homes.
"Yeah, you came in and ordered two lah-teys for you and your boyfriend", he said.
"Oh, I left him, he was crazy", she responded. 
They made some more brief chit-chat, but it was a busy Saturday night, remember? There were other tables to be served. Besides, the girl and her friend had a movie to catch. 
So that was that. 

About a week or so later, the girl came back to the bistro one afternoon to have a coffee. She sat up at the bar. The boy was working and he said 'hi' to her. She said 'hello' and ordered a caffe latte. The boy was standing next to the machine, so he made it for her. 
A couple of the regular customers soon arrived and took up their usual seats at the bar. It wasn't long before these regulars began hitting on the girl. She made polite conversation with them. It was then that the boy learned that she worked in one of the libraries at the nearby university.

A few days later, the girl came back again to the bistro and ordered a coffee. The boy saw her and said 'hello'. She said 'hello' back. She had her coffee and left.

This went on for another week or so. The girl would come in, have a coffee, make small-talk with the boy, and then leave. By now, the boy was thinking that he should ask her out the next time she came in. She was a very interesting girl.
A week went by and she didn't show. The boy was beginning to think that perhaps he'd blown it. One of his workmates gave him the 'you-gotta-strike-while-the-iron-is-hot' speech, which did nothing to lift his spirits. 

The boy later found out that one of the regular customers had managed to get the girl's phone number and had asked her out, but had no luck. The boy decided to ask him for the number. The regular customer handed him the number and said; "I don't fancy your chances, she's crazy."

(The boy found out later on that the regular customer had asked the girl out for a coffee. She said yes. When he called her back to tee it up, he said she could maybe come to his place and he'd cook her dinner and maybe they could watch a video or something. She told him she had no intention of going to his place on a first date and that maybe he was expecting more than she was willing to give. She told him she wasn't that kind of girl.)

The boy tried calling her the next day. The girl picked up on the third ring.
The boy's heart was pounding as he heard her say 'hello'.
"Hey, I haven't seen you in a while and was wondering when you were going to pop in next", he said.
"Actually, I was thinking of coming by tomorrow", she replied.

The next day, she came into the bistro and took her seat up at the bar and ordered a coffee. The boy arrived twenty minutes later to start his shift.
They chatted intermittently between the boy doing his job of clearing tables, taking orders, washing cups, etc.
And then she paid for her coffee, got off her stool at the bar and headed for the door. 
The boy stood behind the counter and said; "See you soon" as his heart raced. That the best he could come up with?
The girl replied over her shoulder; "No, you won't" as she pulled the door open, but the boy didn't hear this because the sound of outside traffic drowned out her words.
His workmates stood there watching him watching her leave. A million different thoughts flitted through his head, but the main one was this strong sense that she was walking out for good.
The bistro was getting busy. If he was going to do anything, he'd have to do it now.
He raced for the door and stepped out into the street to see the girl already about fifteen metres away. The boy broke into a quick trot to catch up with her.
She turned at the sound of his approaching steps.
"Hey, would you like to maybe go out and get a coffee or a drink sometime?", he asked her.
"You know, you come across as cool, with your Zippo lighter and your floppy hair, and you come across as though you're interested, but then you get all coy and you back off", replied the girl.
The boy was taken aback somewhat. He didn't think that that was how he was projecting himself. And he made a mental note to look up the word 'coy' in the dictionary when he got home. He thought he knew its meaning, but he wanted to make sure.
The girl continued; "I wasn't going to come back after my last visit because you came off as if you didn't give a damn, but then I thought I'd give you one last chance."
"I didn't mean to give you the impression that I wasn't interested. But I had everyone in the restaurant watching my every move and I felt like I was under a microscope. I hate that", said the boy.
"So, you didn't realise that I was coming in all these times to see you?", the girl asked, raising a perfect eyebrow, her emerald green eyes boring into his.
"I thought you were coming in for the coffee. Seriously, you'd be surprised how many people walk into this place for the first time, have a coffee, and then come back virtually every day as if they're hooked on our blend or something", the boy replied as he raked his fingers through his floppy hair while his heart pounded and his mouth ran dry. Man, he could use a Marlboro Light right now!
He'd been out of the dating game for quite some time.

The boy and the girl arranged to go out for a coffee the next day. This was back in August 1994.
They got married a couple of years later.

The boy was me. The girl was my wife.


I learned long ago that everybody's life is like a wheel. Some wheels are bigger than others and some wheels turn faster or slower than others and these wheels sometimes intersect in the strangest ways. I've always found it odd, and even incredible, that she and I moved in the same peripheries at times without having met. I suppose sooner or later, our two wheels were bound to overlap. 
And eventually, they did.

Thanks for reading!

*Name changed.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday 29/8/14 - Wristwatch Headaches, Final Day of Industry Placement, Happy Birthday Mr. Connery, & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 5:17pm AEST - 

Last Weekend
       Saturday's Lolly Night Movie was Rocky (Dir: John G. Avildsen, 1976). I found it hard to believe that my wife has never seen this film.

She considers boxing to be the sporting equivalent of ballet, so I was surprised to learn that she had never seen Rocky. I think it had more to do with an aversion to Sylvester Stallone's acting talent rather than anything else. Despite following up Rocky with dramas such as Paradise Alley and F.I.S.T., both in 1978, Stallone will forever be remembered for his roles as Rocky and Rambo. It's a bit of a shame, really. Especially when we remember that Rocky won the Best Picture Oscar in 1977 and the screenplay, written by Stallone himself, was nominated as well, but lost out to Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay for Network that year. Say what you will about Stallone these days, with The Expendables 3 hitting theatres soon, but the man is still capable of great work. Check out Copland (Dir: James Mangold, 1997). And even Stallone's last Rocky Balboa film, entitled, well, Rocky Balboa (Dir: Sylvester Stallone, 2006) garnered very good reviews and was an unexpected hit when it was released.

I didn't sit down to watch this film because I had to go pick my daughter up from a party. When I got home, I asked my wife what she thought of it.
"Everybody yells in this movie! It's pretty bleak", she said.
Hah! I never noticed this aspect of the movie when I saw it in cinemas in 1976. Of course, I grew up in an Italian household where yelling was the norm.
The parts of the film that I did see reminded me what a great underdog story this movie really is. I think I'm going to have to sit down and watch it again properly. I was wearing my TAG Heuer Formula 1 quartz. This watch gets worn very rarely, but I think I'll start wearing it a little more often. Especially when I head to the gym, which I haven't done for some time now. I think the whole family is over this bout of the 'flu that hit us when we got back from our trip six weeks ago and spring has just begun, so I think a healthier and more active lifestyle is on the cards for us all.
That's the plan, anyway.

       It was Sean Connery's 84th birthday. He hasn't made a film since The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Dir: Stephen Norrington) in 2003. That film was plagued with problems during production and many folks agree that this is the film that convinced Connery to retire from acting.
On the set of Dr. No with Ursula Andress in 1962. Wristwatch geek that I am, I would kill to know what happened to the Rolex Submariner 6538 that he's sporting on his wrist.

A famous promotional shot for Goldfinger. Connery and the Aston Martin DB5 in the Swiss Alps in 1964. Despite the fact that Roger Moore was the Bond that I grew up with, Sean Connery's OO7 is the one that turned me into a life-long Bond fan.
And so, I just wanted to say "Happy Birthday, OO7".

A great magazine ad from a great ad campaign by Louis Vuitton from a few years ago. The rolled-up chinos are a nod to when Bond meets Honey Rider on the island of Crab Key in Dr No. 
The only thing that spoils this Annie Leibovitz photo is the watch on his wrist. 
Bond would not wear a Louis Vuitton Tambour Chronograph.

I worked my final day of industry placement today too. All in all, it was an interesting experience in ways that I hadn't expected. For some reason, I thought that people who worked in libraries actually read books. I got the impression that a few of the staff didn't read regularly and didn't keep up with new releases. Not only that, but it seemed that a few of them viewed dealing with the patrons to be an absolute chore and/or interruption. As I said, it was an interesting experience and it gave me a good indication of the type of library I don't want to end up in.
I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Here it is on a page of The Sun from 1969;

       Today was the day where nothing seemed to go right with regard to a couple of wristwatch-related purchases.
First of all, I ordered a couple of perlon watch straps. These are basically a nylon strap with a cross-hatch weave. What this means is that you can adjust the fit to your exact wrist diameter since there are no holes in the strap. The tongue on the buckle basically slots through the weave of the strap.
I purchased two of these straps. I paid for two of these straps. The Seller sent me one strap. I decided to fit it to the Longines Expeditions Polaires while I stewed over this. 

It's a very comfortable strap. I just wish I'd gotten the two that I'd paid for. 

My other wristwatch dilemma concerned a watch that I had bought for my wife. I bought her an Oris TT1 DayDate back in 2002, after the birth of our daughter. 

My wife has worn it everyday and it indeed bears the scars of a well-worn watch. Especially since it endured a few new scratches on the bracelet a couple of months ago when she crawled out the window of her overturned car;

However, I had wanted to buy her a new watch for the last year or two. Her Oris is a little erratic in its timekeeping (definitely needs servicing) and it's a little difficult to read in low light.
And so, I had decided to get her a Sinn 556A. There's no mistaking the time on this baby;

Picture courtesy of

The package arrived and I carefully removed the bubble-wrap from the box. My wife was at work and I was hoping to remove a few links from the watch's bracelet and surprise her with it when she got home. 
I opened the box. The case of the watch was wrapped in a soft, white plastic strip. I gently pulled on the plastic to take a peel at the dial...and my blood boiled slightly. 
It was the wrong watch.
They had sent me a 556. It's a nice watch, without a doubt, but it lacks the numerals on the dial of the 556A, which really sets off this watch and highlights the cockpit instrument heritage of the Sinn brand. This is how the standard 556 model looks;

picture courtesy of

So a few phone calls were made and the seller and I arranged for him to send me the correct watch and I would send this one back to him. I would have classes over the next two days, so this swap would not occur until Friday. Nothing to do but get on with life.

       Sitting here writing this post, waiting for the courier to show up with the replacement wristwatch. And I still have a million other things to do today. Still, I aim to get the bulk of them done. 

       Okay, the courier just arrived and we did the old swaperoo. Here's the correct watch, still in it's protective plastic;

Okay, I'm gonna remove a few links from the bracelet. Then I'm gonna get the rest of my day underway. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Saturday 23/8/14 - Another Quiet Week, Happy Birthday Pussy Galore, Inflated Page-views & This Week's Wristwatches

-Saturday 12.32pm AEST- 

Last weekend
       For Lolly Night, we sat down to watch The Fall (Dir: Tarsem, 2006). I had heard about this film some time ago and kept meaning to see it. The director, Tarsem Singh, was known for making music clips and TV commercials before embarking on this film. Much like Russell Mulcahy, who directed a heap of Duran Duran, Elton John and Bonnie Tyler film-clips before going on to make films such as Razorback (1984), which was like Jaws, except with a wild boar instead of a shark, and Highlander in 1986.

I have found that film directors who cut their teeth on TV commercials and video clips tend to have a very economical way of telling a story and a great visual style. This is because they usually have 30 seconds to four minutes to get a story across. 
The Fall is set in a hospital in Los Angeles sometime in the 1920s and centres on a little girl who is there with her arm in plaster. She strikes up a friendship with a Hollywood stuntman who is bedridden after an on-set injury. To pass the time, he tells her a story about a mythical band of men who are determined to kill the villainous Governor Odious, who has betrayed them all in one way or another. 
Visually, this is a beautiful film, especially when you consider that no CGI effects were used. The most striking fact of all is that this film was shot in 28 countries over a four-year period. I have to say that this film is worth watching just for the opening titles alone. Shot in black and white and played in beautiful slow-motion, it gives the viewer the background story as to how the stuntman got injured.
Here's a link to the title-credits sequence, courtesy of the fantastic website, Art of the;

Earlier in the day, we all went into the city. The kids are about four weeks away from semester break and my wife and I have informed them that we'll be taking a few outings here and there. Since the Thailand trip two months ago was the big expense, we figure we may as well have a few cheap thrills for a while. 
I wound up finding a new watch store in town and couldn't resist the urge to go in and take a look, especially since this store carried a few brands that you couldn't get in Australia until recently. The store had a display for a brand called Eberhard & Co. I made a beeline for it and noticed a very nice chronograph to the left of the display. It looked much like this;

                                          picture courtesy of

I took a closer look at this classic mid-Sixties Contograf to find some tiny nicks and scratches here and there on the case. As I was approaching this display, I had already suspected that this watch was a vintage piece, based on its size, and sure enough, it was. 
The saleslady that I spoke to explained to me that the owner of the store had over three hundred watches (and I thought I had it bad) and some of them were displayed throughout the store. A nice idea, to be sure, but it back-fired with me because I found myself liking the vintage watches instead of the new (and displayed to sell) re-editions that were based on some of these vintage models.  
I was wearing the Longines from last week;

Geez, that's a bad photo. Maybe this one's better?

       Another day of industry placement. It's going okay. I have two more shifts after this one. Then, I'm gonna keep my ear to the ground regarding actual paid work in a library. I may do some voluntary work at my kid's school library if I can swing it. 

       This arrived.

I'm not entirely certain if I have read the stories in this collection, but I learned earlier this year that a bunch of Hammett's writings were found...I can't recall exactly where, University of Texas, maybe?...a couple of years ago and they were due to be published soon.
I'm currently reading a novel by Dan Fesperman entitled The Double Game. It's very good so far. Sort of a love letter to spy fiction. Very clever. 

I had to go into town. I was meant to go in last Wednesday to see the "Mirror of the World- Books and Beyond" exhibition at the State Library, but I stayed home with my sick daughter instead.
And also, I saw a great trench-coat at a great price on the weekend and I wanted to have a better look at it. My Burberry trench is getting on in years (I bought it in 1987. Read all about it in my 'Man With a Hat' post from early last year) and I've been on a passive hunt for a replacement because there's absolutely no way I'm paying 2014 Burberry trench-coat prices. More importantly, their current range is too damn short. Not a trench-coat. More like a longish jacket. And that won't do.
The weather was a little cool. I grabbed a coat. I planned on travelling light. No bag or satchel.
Just this;

The pencil case was a tad overkill, but I had a pocket in my coat where it wouldn't get in the way. 

It was a nice exhibition, on long-term display. I took a few notes and pictures. 
Here's a copy of Audubon's Birds of America (published 1827-1838). The largest book on display;

And the smallest books were in this set of miniatures, known back then as a midget library. This set, made in circa 1895, contained a Bible, a Qu'ran, French, English and German dictionaries, and a book of poems by Robert Burns. I'm sure they were all abridged versions, heh, heh. I held my pen up against the glass. The books were one the other side, about six inches away.

And this scroll looked amazing. I can't recall what it was. To the left of it was a bound copy of The Qu'ran. Just above that was a tattered leather satchel that was used to house this sacred text. Extraordinary.

Excuse the quality of the photos. They were taken with my phone. If I'd known I could have brought a camera, then I would have. Looks like I'll have to go back and take a longer and more detailed look at all of this. 
And I never get sick of this view;

Even on an overcast day, it lights up quite impressively. Or maybe it's all that knowledge and history in print that gives this domed Reading Room its glow.
Either way, it's always an impressive sight.

When I got home, I switched watches.Time to put on something a little more robust. So on went the Omega Seamaster 300 rebuild;

       I've been keeping an eye on my page-views lately. Reason being that I'm getting way too many hits on that Dry Martini post that I wrote last year. This Blog has reached just over 300,000 views, but I find it not an occasion to celebrate because that number was inflated by the martini post views. Here are the all-time stats. Are there really that many people interested in how I mix a Dry Martini? And I can't find the traffic source. This internet's a tricky, tricky thing;

       And it was this lady's 89th birthday today;

Happy Birthday, Miss Honor Blackman. She's doing well. It has often been said that if you wanted to explain to somebody what a James Bond film was all about, you would just tell them to watch Goldfinger (Dir: Guy Hamilton, 1964). That's the movie that pretty much explains all of the motifs, tropes and 'ideology' behind the Bond films. Well, at least until Casino Royale in 2006.

I got home from my second-last shift of industry placement. It was getting a little chilly. Time for a thicker layer of clothing.
And a drink.

Man, that Dewar's scotch goes down a little rough.

Today (Saturday)
       Some of you may have noticed that I'm a day late with this post. Ah well, it ain't the end of the world.

Anyway, gang, thanks for reading and have a great weekend. And one more pic of the Seamaster 300. Yes, the picture was taken yesterday, but I'm still wearing it today.

Have a good one, all!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday 15/8/14 - RIP Robin Williams & Lauren Bacall (dammit!), Remembering Ian Fleming, a Very Brittle Cork & This Week's Wristwatches.

- Friday 10:36pm AEST -

Last weekend
       Sat down to watch "Trouble With The Curve" (Dir: Robert Lorenz, 2012), a film about an ageing baseball scout, starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. I hadn't heard of this film, but then, I blame that on the fact that US Premiere magazine is no longer published and I don't have my finger on the pulse regarding films in production and new releases the way I used to. 

This was a good film and I thought it was one that Eastwood had directed himself until I checked the DVD's case about halfway through. At any rate, this film had the feel of an Eastwood-directed film, especially in terms of theme, its notions of masculinity, and pace. And I must say that, at the age of 84, Mr Eastwood moves like a guy 25 years younger. Long may he reign.

The rest of the cast was great. Amy Adams did a great job of playing Eastwood's estranged daughter and Justin Timberlake turns in a fine performance as a former pitcher searching for purpose. The remaining cast is made up of many great character actors like Ed Lauter, George Wyner, Bob Gunton and Robert Patrick. These guys may not sound like household names, but if you've watched tv or movies in the past 20 or 30 years, you will recognise their faces. All in all, it was a very good film. Highly recommended.

picture courtesy of

       I had a visit from one of my lecturers at work today. Everything seems to be going along smoothly. I have another five days left in this industry placement gig. Spent the morning doing some indexing of old local newspapers to find mention of this library for historical purposes. Then I hit the non-fiction shelves and put away some books. My Dewey decimal knowledge was a little rusty at first, but I soon settled back into it. 
Got a text message from my wife; "Found a blue and cream Remington Envoy III at op shop. It says 'Sperry Rand' on it. Seems like it works ok. Needs new ribbon, though. Do you want it?"
"How much?", was my reply.
"25", was her response.
I said 'yes'. I already knew what to expect. A plastic, Made in Holland machine with those bucket keytops and that annoying spool-less ribbon system that Remington were known for. Still, I figured I would clean it up as a catch-&-release exercise. Might have to remove the shell and vacuum the dust out of it, though.
Since the weekend, I've been wearing the Sinn 103. Here's an old photo that I took in Mike's lightbox. Mike is the guy who did that Seamaster case restoration that I wrote about some time ago;

      It was awful to hear of the death of Robin Williams. While I can't say I was a huge fan, I must admit that he was always very funny on-screen and a totally unpredictable talk-show guest. So I suppose I must have been a big enough fan of his without really realising it.
He was able to play serious as well as he could play comedy, and whenever he did take on a dramatic role, he did it to say something about human nature. Stop and think about films such as Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King or Good Will Hunting and you begin to see the broader themes that he liked to tackle and just how gifted an actor he was when playing it straight.
Like many gifted comedians, such as Spike Milligan and Jim Carrey, Williams suffered from deep depression throughout much of his adult life. It seems that this is often the price that they pay for being able to make us laugh.
Director Garry Marshall, who first signed Williams on to play his famous TV character Mork in an episode of Happy Days in 1978 said; "Robin could make everyone happy but himself."
It was a shame that Robin Williams had reached the point of despair that he felt only death could alleviate.
Definitely another actor gone too soon.

Later in the day, I remembered that Ian Fleming died on this day in 1964, following a heart attack. That day, August 12th, also happened to be his son Caspar's twelfth birthday. 
While Fleming was indeed a heavy smoker and drinker, I feel that it was the legal trouble that ensued after he published "Thunderball" in 1961 that exacerbated his ill health. Sometime in the 1950s, he met with a film-maker named Kevin McClory with a view to creating a Bond film entitled Longitude 78 West. Along the way, they brought a screenwriter named Jack Whittingham on board. 
Long story short, a script was completed, but never put into production. Fleming later used the screenplay as the basis for his Bond novel Thunderball. McClory and Whittingham then resurfaced with a view to taking Fleming to court over his use of their ideas in his book. Needless to say, it was all a lot more convoluted than my explanation, but this court battle went on for a few more years and I'm certain that it all took a heavy toll on Fleming's health. It was all still unresolved at the time of his death, but from late 1961 onwards, the recto page of all copies of Thunderball stated that the story was "based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and the author". 
However, Kevin McClory would not go away quietly. By 1962, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had secured the rights to make James Bond movies through their production company, EON, and they wasted no time in getting the first Bond film, Dr No, underway. 
When the time came to film "Thunderball" in 1965, they were forced to give McClory, who still owned the rights to the screenplay and story, a Producer's credit on the film. He would also hold the rights to this story for the next decade.
And then, in the late 1970s, McClory announced that he would make a Bond film entitled Warhead, but it wasn't until 1983 that he finally managed to get the film made. By this stage, he had licensed the rights to his story to a producer named Jack Schwartzman. This was big news to Bond fans for one reason only- it would mark the return of Sean Connery to the role of James Bond. The film was called Never Say Never Again and, while it was a better Bond  film than the official EON Productions release of the same year, Octopussy, starring Roger Moore, it was a poorly-made film overall. Yes, it was great to see Connery back as Bond, but the script was lacking, the direction, by Irwin Kirshner, was lacklustre, and the music soundtrack was woeful. It then dawned on me, way back in the Midcity Cinemas in 1983, that there was more to Bond than just Sean Connery.
Still, even now, I prefer it to Octopussy.
McClory tried to remake the film in the late '80s and again around the year 2000, but had no luck. There's more to this whole story. Type 'Kevin McClory' into Wikipedia for more info. It goes on and on. Suffice to say that it is the studios that do all the suing and counter-suing to ensure that the character of James Bond is protected. 
In fact, it is EON Productions who own the rights to the character these days. 
And I have no problem with that whatsoever. 
They seem to be looking after OO7 nicely.

Anyway, I sometimes wonder what would have become of that man Bond, had Fleming lived longer. I can't help but think that he was getting a little tired of OO7 by 1964, based on where he was taking JamesBond, and may have written a book towards the end of the 1960s where Bond was either killed off or retired quietly to a warm little corner of Jamaica.
We'll never know.

       My daughter has had the 'flu for the past few days and she stayed home today. I was due to go the the State Library for class, but decided to stay home with her instead. I can get to the library on the weekend. 
A little later in the morning, I saw mention of Lauren Bacall on Twitter. Oh no! A quick Googling revealed the news that she had died after suffering a massive stroke. She would have turned 90 next month. Now I know that's a good age to get to, but this was still very sad news to me. She was, after all, the widow of one of my favourite actors. Another link to Old Hollywood broken. 

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, folks. They don't breed them like her anymore. Although Jennifer Lawrence comes very, very close. 

But then, I thought , I hope there is a Heaven up there, because then she and Bogie are together again. 
I guess that's something, right?

The Rat Pack will be having drinks upstairs tonight. And I might just bust open that Single Malt and watch The Big Sleep.
Remember that scene where Marlowe goes into Geiger's  Antiquarian Bookstore? 

 I wanted to aim for some kind of tribute picture;


That ought to mess with future film historians; "Gee, did they have iPads back in 1946?"

 Later on Wednesday Night... wife sat down to watch "24 Hours in A&E", a documentary series about a day in the life of the Emergency Room of a London hospital.
Meanwhile, I was at the dining table opening up a bottle of Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt, with a view to having a drink in Miss Bacall's honour. I...uh...'liberated' (yeah, that's the word) this bottle from a place I worked at back in 1989.
I removed the heavy foil from around the neck of the bottle and then gave the cork a gentle twist and...

Panic stations, everyone!!!
Oh no, oh no, oh no! No way! Okay, don't panic, teeritz. First things first, get the camera. Then the Waiter's Friend (corkscrew).
It's been about fifteen years since I had to deal with a broken cork. I wonder if I still had the touch?
I eased the worm gently into the brittle cork and began turning it very...very...slowly. I then removed the remaining foil so that I could see if the screw had broken through the bottom of the cork. What I was trying to avoid were any tiny bits of cork falling into this 10 year old whisky. Sure, I've had this bottle for 25 years (good God!), but whisky doesn't keep maturing once it's been removed from the barrel.
Holding onto the corkscrew, I turned the bottle at an angle. Good. The worm wasn't showing through. I tilted the bottle further and, rather than place the fulcrum edge of the corkscrew against the bottleneck's lip, I went all old-school and carefully began pulling the screw away from the bottle. I watched as some section of cork began to give way, beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Nah, not really. Come on, it's just a bottle of Scotch!
And about ten or twelve seconds later;

  But more importantly;

No shards of cork in the bottle. Now I really needed a drink. And I needed another cork. But first, a drink. Make it a double, would ya, Lou?;

By the time this little saga was over, it had gotten a little too late to put on a Bogie & Bacall movie. Damn, I really felt like watching The Big Sleep, too.
Oh well, here's to you, Miss Bacall. Say 'hello' to your (first) husband for me. And tell Sinatra to keep his hands to himself! He had his chance.
And, the same photo, in glorious black and white;

The Glenmorangie went down pretty smoothly, but left a slight trail of fire behind it. I began to worry that it might have spoiled from being cooped up for a quarter century.
But then, I was too busy feeling smug about never having met a cork that I couldn't shift.
One day, I may have to write a post about it.

The Sinn 103 felt like the wrong watch to be wearing today. Time to switch to something with a vintage feel. The Longines Expeditions Polaires (old photo);

       Man, I'm still feeling at a loss over Bacall's death. And then I bought the paper and felt a little more miserable;

By my reckoning, the only star left from Hollywood's Golden Era of the 1930s and '40s is Olivia De Havilland. She's now 98 years old. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine died last year. I can't think of any other major star who's still around. 
Oh, wait a sec, Maureen O'Hara is still with us. She starred in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1939. Now THAT was a banner year for Hollywood. So many classic films made in that year. Whenever I see a succession of disappointing movies, I often say; "Hollywood needs another 1939." 
Too much crap gets made these days, but thankfully, some real gems are still being produced.
I then tackled a little more homework before heading to a class in the afternoon.

       Another day of industry placement. I thought I'd invert Casual Fridays AND pay tribute to Lauren Bacall by wearing this tie that I got sometime in the Eighties. I still had the Longines on today;

That Bogart tie was only ever worn to a few of parties and nights out, circa 1986-'89. No way would I wear it with an actual suit to work. There were too many movers and shakers out in the '80s wearing those colourful Wile E. Coyote and Superman logo ties.
Awful, just awful. If you're a Bugs Bunny fan, buy a Looney Tunes boxed set, but don't wear your fandom around your neck.

And that's another week gone. Dreadful if you're a fan of Hollywood film. However,
Both Williams and Bacall left behind a great body of work for us to savour.
Gotta be thankful for that.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday 8/8/14 - Not Much Happening This Week & This Week's Wristwatches (shocking sentence construction, Teeritz!)

- Friday 11:21pm AEST - 

Last weekend

We watched "Captain Phillips" on DVD for Lolly Night. You may recall that I saw this film at the cinemas a few months ago and had to put up with a twit a few seats away who talked pretty much all throughout the screening;
(Holy cow, did I say I saw it a few months ago. It was last November!)
So it was with a little trepidation that I sat down to watch this film again. I must say that it was a better film the second time around. Director Paul Greengrass has a great, documentary-style of filmmaking and the film seemed to move at a faster pace on this second viewing. 

I was still wearing the 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer, but I switched over to the AquaTerra later in the afternoon on Sunday to prepare for the next day of industry placement;

       After last week's five-day stretch of industry placement, it was now down to two days a week until I finish the required 100 hours on the job. I discussed the hours with my supervisor and I should be complete by the end of this month. 
I spent the first part of the day leafing through old community newspapers to find any mention of this library. They are planning to put together a book which outlines the history of this particular branch. My supervisor told me that a work-experience kid has already performed this task in the past, but when they had a look at the results, they noticed a few omissions. So, it was a case of these newspapers having to be looked through again, this time with a fine-tooth comb. And that's where I came in. 
Spent the afternoon shelving books. I wanted to get my Dewey Decimal knowledge up to par, since it's been over a year since I studied this aspect of library work. Think I'll have to dig out the notes from that particular subject.
It was a chilly evening in Melbourne later on. Twining's to the rescue!

Have you ever been to Raffles Hotel in Singapore? My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Singapore back in 1996 and we went to The Writer's Bar at Raffles to have a 'Singapore Sling' cocktail, which, as legend has it, was first created here. 
The bartender approached and I said; "Two Singapore Slings, please."
I had a mental picture in my head of him skillfully preparing our drinks and cutting up some elaborate garnish to prop on the edge of the glasses.
My wife said; "Wouldn't it be funny if he brings the drinks over and then says 'That'll be forty dollars', please"?
It was 1996 and forty bucks for two cocktails was unheard of back in Australia. We watched as the bartender shuffled over to the far end of the bar and flipped the switch on a blender.
Five whole seconds must have ticked by. He then switched it off, grabbed two long-stemmed, fancy highball glasses, and poured the contents of the blender into them.
'Oh, you're friggin' kidding me', I thought to myself as he slowly cut up two pineapple wedges and slid them onto the edge of the glasses. 
He brought them over, placed them gently down on the coasters and said; "Thirty-eight dollars."
I suppose it makes sense to have an entire jug of this cocktail on standby for tourists who want to try a famous Singapore Sling, but it kind of took the magic away from the experience having sat there watching him 'make' the drinks. 
To make up for this lack-lustre event, I bought myself a mug from the gift shop, and every now and then, I make myself a tea in it and reminisce about the famous Singapore Sling that I had at The Writer's Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
And then I remember the sound of the blender and I start laughing.

Wednesday and Thursday
       Had classes in the afternoon on both days. I took a couple of pages of notes and was surprised to see the new student next to me sitting there with one sheet of A4 paper folded in quarters and no pen. He must have a phenomenal memory.
I wore the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph. The usual car-park at school was full, so I had to park on the street at a meter...$4:80 for two hours. For that money, were they going to wash my car while it was there?;

       Another day of placement done. I was itching to get home. We were going to see "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Dir: James Gunn, 2014) at 6:30. 
I must say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was non-stop. The humour was well done, the action was clever, and it made you care about the characters, which is the hardest part of an action film storyline. 
I'm really liking the body of work that Marvel Studios are racking up. Each film adds another layer to the cinematic Marvel universe and they cleverly throw in a scene after the end credits that ties in with the next story of whichever character they want to showcase next. If you recall "Iron Man" (Dir: John Favreau, 2008), after the end credits, there was a very quick scene where we see Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and he mentions 'the Avengers Initiative'.
Marvel Studios are really taking time and care with these films. 
I picked up a couple of books too. I'm sure these haven't been in print for quite some time;

As it turns out, "Bullitt" was actually published under the title "Mute Witness" and the lead character is referred to as Lieutenant Clancy. Nobody by the name of Frank Bullitt in this story, and I doubt there's a car chase in this book involving a Ford Mustang Fastback either. Doesn't matter. I'm curious to see just how much this book's storyline differs from the movie.

Anyway, that's my uneventful week for you. Sometimes life moves slowly. And that's cool. 
My God, how'd it get so late?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

EveryDay Carry, Part 1: My Search for the Ultimate Keyring Set-Up.

This should be easy.
Or so I thought. I have two car-keys, two small keys for various padlocks, another small key for the garage, and one key for the front door. I decided to get myself some kind of key-fob in leather. It was time to get a little more mature with my keys. 
First off, I wanted something that gave me the option of attaching to a belt loop or just putting in my pocket. 
I should mention that this latest quest was somewhat due to my spending a bit of time looking at a website called
It was there that I saw just how varied people are with what they lug around on a daily basis. Some of them were very minimalist, carrying just their keys, phone and wallet, while others carried a myriad assortment of things ranging from paracord bracelets (I never knew that 30 metres of nylon cord would come in handy) to two or three different folding knives. 
I was a little dismayed at how few of the guys (it's mainly men who visit this site, although I've noticed more women on it lately, more power to you, ladies!) wore wristwatches, preferring to rely on their smartphones for the time. But that's just the watch collector in me.
And quite a few of those who posted photos carried pistols. As Bogart said in The Big Sleep (Dir: Howard Hawks, 1945); "So many guns in this town."
I would like to think that they are all law-abiding responsible gun owners with concealed-carry permits. 

Anyway, first of all, I needed a keyring. Something practical. With a bit of leather. I stumbled across this type on a site called , which sells a range of products. As it turned out, they also sell the Fisher AG-7 Space Pen. I had planned on getting one for the good Samaritan who helped my wife out of her car wreck back in June. The version that Apolis Global sells has a light laser engraving along the barrel which reads- APOLIS: GLOBAL CITIZEN TRANSIT ISSUE: SPACE PEN. Bingo, I'll get two of them;

 And I ordered one of the keyrings as well;

Made from a small strip of folded-over leather which measures about 5.5cm, and held together with waxed canvas stitching. A stainless steel ring on one end and an olive drab painted clip on the other. Hopefully, the leather will darken and age nicely before the stitching wears away. Which, if it does, I'll take it along to a shoe repairer and have them re-stitch it together.
Yes, this might just do nicely.

Now, I needed a tool on this keyring. Knife carrying laws in Victoria are extremely stringent, as I noted in this post;
Friday 30/5/14 - Job Offers, Job Interviews, Happy Birthday Ian Fleming & This Week's Wristwatches

To play it safe, I don't carry my Swiss Army knife on my person. Maybe when I'm an old man, I might. Anyway, I thought I could use some kind of tool that would be handy for cutting open boxes and/or tightening loose screws. So, it was straight to eBay to look for something that I saw on It didn't take long to find the Tiremet Titanium EDC tool;

Alright! Just the kind of bottle opener The Punisher would carry. It's a useful little tool. At the business end, you have two different gauged screwdrivers for tiny screws like what you find on spectacle frames and small tech. These drivers are what some folks refer to as 'blade-savers', in that they are also sharp enough for cutting open packages, which will save your pocket knife from having to perform this demeaning chore. A knife collector friend of mine has always said that nothing blunts a knife blade faster than cutting through cardboard. 
This end also tapers down so you can use it as a pry bar to lift up stubborn nails and screws.

In the middle, you have six different metric sizes for undoing bolts. Notice that the bottle-opener also contains one more wrench size, just in case;

The outer edges are indented. I think this is where you could wrap and tie some paracord around the entire tool. Some folks have suggested that you could fit a few small rubber bands around it too and turn it into a pill holder. Yeah, that might work.

It's not an overly large tool, which is just as well, and, being titanium, it's not heavy at all. 

Damn thing is reasonably sharp, though. Might be wise not to reach too quickly into my pocket to fish this thing out.

Attached to the keyring, it's long enough to clip to a belt loop...

 ...and sit in a back pocket without causing any trouble;

And it's easily able to be folded over and put in a pocket. Should be okay in jeans, but I just have to wonder if it might shred a front trouser pocket. I may find out the hard way one day. Either way, it doesn't take up much space in the pocket.

The real test, of course, will be actual usage on a daily basis. The leather of the keyring is quite soft and I imagine it may soften up even more over time. The spring on the clip is quite stiff, but this is probably a better option as opposed to it being too 'springy'.
I've been trying out other everyday carry alternatives and options, but I think I'll leave those for another post. 

Thanks for reading!