Thursday, 24 March 2016

Thursday 24/3/2016 - Typewriter Articles, Happy Birthday Miss Rider & Mr Bond, The Training Continues & This Week's Wristwatches.

Apologies if this typecast page is a little hard to read. I was aiming for atmosphere.

I had the copyrighting pencil at the ready, but I didn't need it. I did need that cup of coffee, though. Along with one cube of sugar. 
And dig that anodised aluminium ashtray, hepcats. My folks got it from their local jeweller, back in the day.

Ursula Andress (right) as Honeychile Rider in Dr No, 1962. In the film, she strides out of the surf singing a song (Underneath the Mango Tree) to herself. She's holding some sea-shells, which she plans to take back to Kingston and sell to collectors. This is how she makes her meagre living. 
In Fleming's book, Rider emerges from the water naked, wearing nothing but a dive knife strapped around her waist. That's all she wears when she's diving for shells. 
She is described as having a body like Botticelli's Venus, but her appearance is marred by the fact that she has a slightly twisted nose that was once broken and later improperly set by an incompetent surgeon. For James Bond, who sees her come out of the water, this only adds to her allure. 
I have to say that the more I watch this film, the better Andress' performance becomes, despite the fact that her voice was dubbed after filming to remove her Swiss accent.

Here are those typewriter articles that I mentioned, courtesy of GQ Magazine. Please don't sue, gang. I had every issue between 1989 and 2012, AND I'm a current digital subscriber. Still prefer the paper version, though, 'cos I'm old-school that way;

Siff. E, 1989, 'Loving Manual Labor', GQ Magazine (U.S. edition), June, pp. 43, 45

And now, a word from our sponsor (taken from the flip-side of one of the article pages);

The Hamilton Ventura was also strapped to the wrists of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men In Black (Dir: Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997). I've thought about snagging one myself over the years, since it's such a classic design. From memory, it's still part of Hamilton's catalogue. 

And here's the other article;

Schulian, J. 1991, 'Type Cast', GQ Magazine (U.S. edition), December, pp. 80, 84

I'm a big believer in attribution, wherever possible. Aside from citing their original sources and authors, I've also inserted my details into these articles in an effort to show how they ended up on the web. I'm still bugged about having found some typewriter instructions of mine on some other websites without mention of the fact that they were my scans. 

Sunday's wristwatch, the hand-wound Camy Club-Star on Speidel expanding band;

It was Timothy Dalton's 70th Birthday on Monday (21st);

This here is the teaser poster for his first outing as Bond, The Living Daylights (Dir: John Glen 1987). I snagged a copy back then because I couldn't wait to see this film. With Roger Moore retiring from the role, I was longing for a fresh take on OO7 and Mr Dalton didn't disappoint. The film itself still had some fairly lightweight moments in it, but TD's spin on Bond brought the character quite a few degrees closer to both Fleming's original template and Sean Connery's portrayal of the 1960s.

This teaser poster showed a harder-edged Bond than what we had seen throughout the '70s and most of the '80s and Dalton brought back some much-needed steel to the character. His RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) theatre training didn't hurt, either. I've always held him in my Top Three Bond Actors and it's a shame that he didn't get the opportunity to do one or two more.

Anyway, he's been starring in Penny Dreadful, a macabre TV series set in late 1800s London, alongside Bond Girl Eva Green and Josh Hartnett, and I have to say that Season One of this show was wonderful. Definitely worth seeing. And so, Happy 70th, Mr D!

I still had the Club-Star on my wrist on Tuesday...

...which turned out to be a pretty busy day at work. I'm loving this watch on the Speidel Twist-O-Flex bracelet, by the way. Although, if you have hairy wrists (I don't say 'hirsute'), you might find that these kinds of bracelets will tug on the hair to an eye-watering level.

Wednesday, switched over to the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra;

This morning (or was it last night?), I put on the Omega Speedmaster Professional. We've done a little furniture moving and my wife was able to display some of her glassware collection that she's picked up over the years. Now, if we can just stop the cat from leaping up onto the cabinet where they're displayed.

I know I've said this a few times in the past, but I've been thinking about my watch collection lately and have come to the realisation that there are some watches I have that I know I won't wear much- if at all- in future. Tastes change, after all. 

The Tissot Visodate is a great watch, but I've found that, whenever I wear it, I began to wish I'd worn one of my vintage pieces instead.
Not only that, but I've really arrived at the opinion that, on my 6.5 inch wrist,  40mm in diameter is too large for a watch of this type. If only it had been around 2mm smaller. It would have been understated enough for me to keep. I'm only reluctant to sell it because the review I wrote of this watch back in October 2010 has had over 450,000 page-views. It's practically famous!
I think I'll spend a little more time deciding before I make any decisions.

I hope you all have a safe, relaxing, and happy time over the next few days, no matter what your faith or beliefs. This week's atrocities in Belgium should be a reminder to us all of what matters in our lives and in this world, and once again, my thoughts are with the people of Europe who have endured yet another blow to their sense of peace, calm and safety.
Terrorists in this modern age play by no set of rules, if ever there were any. I think it might be time to play the game their way. Level the playing field a little.
Not exactly a warm and fuzzy Easter message, but there you go.
It's not really a warm and fuzzy world anymore, is it?

Thanks for reading, and have a good one. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Friday 18/3/2016 - Another Trip 35, Watch Fairs in Switzerland, Tweaking Bookshelves & This Week's Wristwatches.

I wore the Omega Speedmaster earlier in the week. I haven't worn this watch much so far this year, but whenever I put it on, it feels like I'm wearing it for the first time. 

Here we are, halfway through March and it's time for the annual BaselWorld Watch Fair which takes place in Switzerland. I'll be interested to see what some of my favourite brands unveil this year. Not that I'm in the market for anything. I'm just curious to see if A) there will the a noticeable shift towards smaller-sized watches, and B) if we'll see a few more watches based on designs from brand archives. 
Watch sizes started getting larger back around 2003 and I thought it was just a passing fad. I was wrong. It stuck around, and is still evident today when I see certain types of watches in a 43mm diameter that would have been a 38mm watch ten years ago. There has been a slight shift back down towards smaller sizing in recent years, but many brands still have dress watches tipping past the classic 40mm size. We'll see what this year's watch fair brings. 
As for re-editions of past models, quite a few brands got onto this bandwagon a few years ago. Tissot released the wonderful Visodate model five years ago and it retailed for $750 AUD. Meanwhile, Omega brought out the $7,595.oo AUD Seamaster 300 Co-Axial a couple of years ago. Both watches have been hugely successful for their respective brands. So, it would appear that these heritage models do indeed have something for everyone. 
Again, I'll be interested to see what this year holds. 

I switched over to the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph. Monday was Labour Day here in Victoria and I knew that the next day was going to still feel like a Monday to me. Happens to me every time we get a long weekend. So, I wanted a watch that had both day and date on it;

It's been Autumn here since March 1st, but you could be forgiven for thinking that it was still Summer. We've had some very hot days here. Today's temperature got to 32 degrees C (around 90 deg F) and, by the time I got home from my twenty minute drive from the train station in my non air-conditioned car, I had to peel my shirt off before throwing it into the laundry basket. 
And people say global warming doesn't exist. That's not me getting political, mind you. That's me just feeling the heat. As I've said here before, I don't recall these types of seasons back in the '70s when I was a kid. 

I took a few snaps of the bookshelves because I made a few slight decorative additions. Here's part of the hard-boiled crime shelf;

General and classic fiction has a couple of classic cars;

And the Bond shelf needed one more tweak. When I visited the gun range in Thailand a couple of years ago, I picked up a few spent shells, thinking that I wanted some little keepsake from the experience. A 9mm slug from the Glock 17 would do nicely;

A few light taps with a hammer were required, but it got in there in the end. That ain't coming out without pliers.

I'm inclined to perhaps drill a little deeper so that the shell sits in a little further, but maybe I'll just leave it be. 

I switched over to the Longines Expeditions Polaires (that's the short name for it) on Thursday night when I began the typecast up top;

And here's how a couple of the photos taken with the Trip 35 turned out;

Notice the photo of Madame Wispola Dusenberg doing what she does best. Which is sweet F.A.
We had three mid-Century vintage fans in the house. We use the best one. It's a classic Mistral with a slight hammertone finish. 
The other two fans had cords that had melted slightly. The motors in these things can get pretty hot and I think these fans are now an electrical hazard. I had contemplated getting them re-wired, but to be honest, I couldn't be bothered. One of them was the Elcon fan that belonged to my family. This one also had a broken blade fixture which would require some real MacGyvering. I thought about keeping it ('cos I'd figured out a MacGyver-style repair for it), but decided that we couldn't store it anywhere, so my wife took it to a local thrift store. She explained what was wrong with it and they told her they wouldn't even try to fix and sell it, but rather, they were going to put it on display near the clothing racks. Because, you know, hipsters love that sort of thing. They think it's totes amazeballs.
I visit this thrift store from time to time and it'll be a kick to see this fan on display in there. I may even burst into tears when I see it. Either way, I took a picture of it a year or so ago in the interests of posterity and archival purposes;

Funny. I look at this picture and it conjures up memories of me sitting in the lounge room, drinking 7-X lemonade through a soggy paper straw and watching Get Smart repeats on Channel 7 at 5:30 on a hot Summer afternoon, the whirring hum of the plastic blades, with their rhythmic sweep across the room. 
Now those were simpler times. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Friday 11/3/2016 - Typewriter Cover Attempts, RIP Messrs Martin & Adam & This Week's Wristwatches.

I had a plan...

Not the finest typewriter cover ever made;

Nope. Not even close. Still, this job's a perfect case of Le Corbusier's design dictum "form follows function"...from a considerable distance. 

I wore the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra;

Another awful week of the loss of more British talent. I really hope 2016 ain't gonna take too many greats away. Although, if you are of a certain age, you may find that some of these deaths of notable people may resonate with you in particular. 
There's a line in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Dir; Steven Spielberg, 2008)...

...which began to make perfect sense to me around the time that Lois Maxwell, Miss Moneypenny in the early Bond films, died in 2007. That was when I began to notice that so many actors whose work I'd seen in my youth were beginning to pass away.

Legendary record producer George Martin died earlier this week. He worked on some of The Beatles' best albums, as well as the soundtrack to the Bond film Live And Let Die. Later in his career, he worked with my favourite band of the '80s, Ultravox. He was ninety.

And a few days later, legendary production designer Ken Adam shuffled off his mortal coil at the age of ninety-five. Adam's work was sheer genius. When Goldfinger was in pre-production in 1964, Adam was given permission to visit Fort Knox in order to get some ideas for his production sketches. He was underwhelmed with how the gold was stored in small safes, so out came his sketch pencils...

...and he created what has been referred to as 'a cathedral of gold';

And, of course, Ken Adam was also responsible for the famous carved-out volcano set from You Only Live Twice;

For me, though, I'll always have a soft-spot for the creepy room that Professor Dent goes into in Dr No;

If I ever have a new garage built, I'm gonna get a huge lattice-covered hole cut into the roof so that I can achieve a groovy criss-cross shadow across the floor. It'll need some perspex over it to keep out the rain, but man, it'll look super-cool!

Switched over to these watches throughout the week;

The Tudor Oyster hand-wound;

The Rolex Submariner 5513;

And then the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Despite the fact that autumn began almost two weeks ago, we are still getting some very warm and sunny days. As such, I find myself wearing my more water-resistant watches with metal bracelets. It'll be nice when the weather cools down a little, even
though it wasn't an overly hot summer, and I can begin wearing a few more of my watches on leather straps.

Work has been good. So much to learn, and I've begun processing some repairs from beginning to end. I've got the hang of entering the repairs into our database when they first arrive. Now the real learning curve will come when I sit down to learn how to write quotes (actually, it's the pricing that will require concentration) and prepare invoices. I've already begun some of this portion of the job, but my aim is to master it to the point where I'm comfortable with it all. I've helped take some of the load off the watchmakers by doing some bracelet and strap changes. This allows them to concentrate solely on the actual watch repair side of things rather than distract them with trivial matters like strap adjustments. 

Anyway, so far, so good. 

Another week down. I hope yours has been a good one. We have a Labour Day holiday here in Victoria on Monday, so it's a three-day weekend coming up!
Which is nice.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Friday 4/3/2016 - Happy Birthday, Mr Craig!, New Job Begins, Bookshelves Are Up & This Week's Wristwatches.

Right, so I've gotten home from work and mixed myself a Gin Rickey. That takes the edge off.

Daniel Craig turned 48 on Wednesday the 2nd of March. If you 
had asked me back in 2005 whether or not I thought he'd make a good James Bond, I would have probably said no, based on the fact that he didn't fit Ian Fleming's physical description of 007. Bond in the books was described as having black hair, with a persistent 'comma' that often fell just below his right eyebrow, a scar across the right cheek of his tanned face, and a cruel mouth.
Daniel Craig had blonde hair and somewhat craggy features. The Fleet Street Press were quick to point out these aspects of Craig's appearance and they had a field day with it. 
And then, about a year later, Casino Royale hit theatres and everybody kept their mouths shut. 
I had read some interviews with Craig during filming and he'd stated that they were just trying to make a good Bond film. 
Well, he under-promised and over-delivered. By the time the classic pre-credits parkour/fight-on-the-crane sequence was over, I'd forgotten all about black commas of hair, scars on cheeks and cruel mouths. 

Daniel Craig WAS Bond, as far as I was concerned. Add to this the fact that he is a truly great actor and I knew then that 007 was in good hands. So far during his tenure as Bond, I don't think he's had the chance to do other work of any great stature, but I think this will change once he hangs up the Walther PPK for good. Which may happen soon, methinks. There's been no word yet on whether he'll do another Bond or not. The internet is rife with rumours and most of them point to his contract yet to be renegotiated for one more round of Vesper Martinis. Much would depend on how soon they get around to starting the next film. Craig had stated in one infamous interview shortly after wrapping up SPECTRE that he'd 'rather slash my wrists' than think about the next Bond movie. 
I get it. Making a Bond movie takes up the better part of a year. Not only that, but I can;t help but think that he'd like to do some other work before getting behind the wheel of the Aston Martin again. 
Either way, if SPECTRE was his Bond swan-song, then regardless of what I thought of that film, I just wanted to say "thanks" to Mr Craig for making us forget the days of Die Another Day and for making it cool to be a Bond fan again. 
Happy Birthday to you, sir!

I wore the Omega Seamaster 300 earlier in the week (archive pic);

I switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional midweek;

The bookshelves are finally up! Here's a long shot. Disregard that lone shelf in the middle of the room. That's going into the craft room to work as a stationery shelf;

The Bond books are all in one spot, finally! Funny. I thought I had considerably more copies than this. Not that I'm complaining. I think I've got at least two copies of every Fleming title. I bought them for the cover artwork;

There are some ragged copies of certain titles that I'll probably get rid of. And I'm sure I have another die-cast Aston Martin DB5 model somewhere, so that will surely wind up on the shelf at some point. It's gonna look like a friggin' car-park by the time I'm done. 

And the rest of my espionage fiction fills up the next shelf or two;

The rest of the shelves are pretty full. I'm thinking I may have to make one more much, much smaller one that will sit in between the desks. That one will hold the reference books to do with writing and probably the printer will sit on top of it. Another option might be to use one of the old library trolleys that we have. That might be the less stressful and time-consuming answer. 

Okay. Seven pm and I'm feeling a little light-headed. Think I'll have dinner before I finish this post. 
'Scuse me a moment. 


Right, that took longer than I thought. Friday Night is pizza night. I had to wait for the kids to finish making theirs before I could get near the oven.  
And, of course, now that I'm back at the computer, I can think of much else to say, really. Work has been good this week as I continue to get the hang of the job. 
Got the weekend ahead of me and I'll be taking some books to a second-hand bookstore tomorrow sometime. I think a bunch of Lee Child thrillers will have to go. I've been asking myself the old 'would I ever read this book again?' question in an effort to determine what stays and what goes. 
Very liberating. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Oh, wait a sec. I wore one more watch this week. It's on my wrist as I write this post;

The Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial. This watch has been pushed a few rungs down in my collection as I find myself wearing other watches. 

Such a smart wristwatch, though. I have a feeling it'll get a little more wear in the coming months. Goes nicely with a crisp white shirt and V-neck jumper.

Ta, and have a good one, peeps!