Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I haven't had much to write about for the last week or so, but since it is New Year's Eve, I thought I'd write a few lines to let you know what I'm up to (train-wise, anyway).

Yesterday Trish and I went to the Santa Fe depot and packed up the Christmas Village and trolley she had on display for the annual Chritmas show. Today, I start taking down the On30 logging layout I have had on display for the last year.

I have a plan for a small (less than 2X4 feet) urban trolley layout, perhaps built on Saturdays at the depot as a demonstration. We'll see how that works. I've already found the track, trolleys, and buildings in boxes at the depot, and just need to create a base. Perhaps as it's built, I can remember to take a few pictures to post.

Anyway, that's my plan...

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a short note to wish all who read this a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We have many blessings in our lives, and I hope you will take just a minute to consider the blessings you have received.

Once again, Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 19, 2008


I work at a school, and the students are leaving today. Classes are finishing up the last bits of stuff for the year, and lots of folks are planning on taking some leave over the next week or so. Consequently, there's not much of anything being accomplished right now.

I kind of enjoy this time of year. The parking lots are mostly empty, the population is down, and meetings are cancelled. Those of us who are at work can usually plan on havning fairly short days too.

Now, if it would just snow....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Side Dump cars - Part 2

Here is the painted car with the Davenport loco.

Here is a picture showing one of the repainted cars next to an unpainted car.

Side-Dump Ore Cars

I have a set of Bachmann's Side Dump Ore cars. They come three in a box, and are ready to run. Each car scales out to be about 10 feet long, and they look really good with a small loco, such as a Porter or Davenport.

I was looking at mine the other day, and realized that they really need to look a bit more weathered and used. Out came the paint, and so far, I have painted and weathered one car to look like it has old wood with rusty black ironwork. I'll try to post a picture of the stock and modified cars together later this afternoon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Decorations

I'm a notorious grinch, and have a general dislike of setting up and taking down decorations at Christmas time. I have to admit that this is mostly a matter of laziness, but some stuff I just don't much care about.

So, this year I was told that if there were any decorations put up, it would be because I put them up. Imagine my surprise to discover that not only have I put the lights up outside (with some help from the boss), and put up the big tree in the front room, but last nite I set up the small tree we always have in the back room.

I'm going to say that it's because I made the wooden ornaments that go on that tree. Yeah...that's it...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dig out some snowman decorations....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Family...We're stuck with each other...

I did have a rant here concerning some disputes going on between a couple of family members, but I decided that it was unnecessary to add fuel to fire. I think I would rather express to any members of the family who read this how much I appreciate and love them.

Our family is spread out all over, and we don't get to see each other as much as we should. I have always regretted that, and wish our kids knew their grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts better, and vise versa. That way, perhaps some of the misunderstandings that take place could be avoided.

We miss you all, and wish you a Merry Christmas! (Yeah, I said Christmas)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Train Depot Appreciation Dinner

Last night Trish and I went to the annual Santa Fe Depot Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. We were at a local Mexican restaurant, and enjoyed a very nice dinner with the other members of the board and volunteers. As I was looking around, I realized that at 48, I was probably one of the younger participants, with many easily in their mid to late 70s.

Part of this is due, I'm sure, to the fact that the Santa Fe railroad suspended operations in this area over 20 years ago, and many of the volunteers are former railroad employees. But I also notice a lack of interest in volunteering by the younger crowd, in general. Everyone is so busy with their lives that they don't have any time to give.

I hope, especially this time of year, that folks will look up, even for a moment, and think about the things they may be able to contribute to organizations around them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas at the San Angelo Santa Fe Depot

Every year, in December, the San Angelo Santa Fe Depot is open for extended hours to celebrate Christmas. There are extra model railroad displays, Santa arrives on the front of a Mexican National Railway diesel locomotive, the mayor and chief of police (among others) read stories to kids, and other festivities occur.

This year is the same, Friday began with Santa arriving at noon, and then he was there visiting with the children all evening. There must have been over 100 people on friday, and probably close to 200 visitors over the course of the weekend.

If you get a chance, stop on by. The depot is open Friday from 6-9pm, and on Saturday from 10am-4pm, and from 6-9pm. The Christmas celebration is all month.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


for those who might not know, SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, and deals with being able to share and reuse other people's computer-based training, or parts of it anyway. For instance, if I need to develop a lesson on how to change a tire, I can look to see if someone else might have already done that. then I can use their lesson, or parts of it to teach my students. Makes sense, right?

Unless you work on a closed network, which I happen to do most of the time. In a case like that, where there is no active Internet connection, or any other connection to the outside world, and no one to share content with, SCORM doesn't make much sense. Therefore, the government is requiring that we use SCORM on closed networks!

We have been looking for a couple of solutions to some issues, and as we approach other agencies, we seem to get the same response over and over again: "Why are you doing that, if you're not online with anyone else?"

Do I have a point? No...I'm just venting. Sometimes you just have to...

Micro Layouts

I've been facinated by the concept of micro and mini layouts, especially in On30. The idea of a complete model railroad in only a couple of square feet is just neat. Of course, you can't run large, or even medium sized, equipment on a layout this small, but short strings of mining cars or "shorty" freight cars with diesel critters or steam porters look good.

I've been planning a micro layout for a while, and as I work on it, I'll try to remember to post progress photos. The other advantage is that you are working in a small enough area that you can actually finish it!

This is a site dedicated to small model railroads. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Bit More Politics

With Saxby Chamblis keeping his Georgia Senate seat, the Democrats did not achieve a fillibuster proof majority. I think that is probably a good thing. The only tool the republicans will have to try and temper the more outrageous things the Democrat Congress may try is the fillibuster. I'm hoping they pick their battles wisely, and use the fillibuster when it is needed, rather than caving in to the majority.

I'm thinking this is enough politics for now. Next time I'll either get back to trains or some code geekery.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Little Bit of Politics

I don't want to get too much into the political stuff. After the last election, I'm really just kind of fed up with the whole mess, and am more than ready to just ignore all the pundits and analysts.

That said, I do want to comment on the incoming administration. I'm interested to see what the Obama administration will actually accomplish. I realize he campaigned as a far left Democrat, but from the choices he's making for his cabinet, especially in the national security area, I think he may be planning to operate much more to the center. I think this will infuriate his base, who will rightly feel that he isn't following through with all the promises he made them (fortunately for the rest of us).

While I certainly didn't vote for the man, I am keeping an open mind about what he may accomplish, and what being exposed to the reality of the Presidency does to his "world view".

I'm most interested in how he deals with the Clintons, who will be a presence in the administration. My bet is that Obama will send Hillary on a nice long trip, and will assign Bill some sort of task that will keep him out of the hair of the administration, which will effectively neutralize both of them. Very savvy....

Monday, December 1, 2008

On30 Model Railroading thoughts

I have been an avid model railroader since I was a little kid. I've done all the major scales, and enjoy concentrating on rural, broken-down rail lines, especially logging and mining lines in the 1930s and 40s.

My most recent project has been an On30 modular layout, which has been on display at our local railroad museum for the last year. I have also been working on the other display layouts at the museum.

Here are a couple of pictures of my Davenport loco pushing a string of side-dump cars through a grade crossing.


I've resurrected an older blog we set up, and am going to try to regularly post random stuff about trains, computers, SCORM, silly government people I deal with, and of course, family things. We'll see how this goes....