Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

and never agree to transcribe 20 hours of meetings from an Australian business meeting.

That's what I've been doing for the last 4 days...utter nightmare. Could NOT understand their accents. Making it worse were the bad audio levels and the fact that a lot of the people preesnt insisted on talking over each other from all around the room except in front of the microphone... I will never transcribe ANYTHING every again.

Anyway, so sorry to be MIA from my blogs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Life in miniature draws hundreds to model train, doll house show at Augusta armory

From Morning Sentinel: Life in miniature draws hundreds to model train, doll house show at Augusta armory
AUGUSTA -- Stephen Burns remembers admiring trains when passing over three railroad crossings on trips to Rockland from Friendship as a child, but he's not sure why he fell in love with model railroads.

click image to enlarge
Connor Ruttenberg, 2 1/2, of Turner, pushes the buttion to unload logs from a model train with some help from Joanne Burns, of Friendship, at the Maine 3-Railers display on Saturday, during the Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad & Doll House Show at the Augusta armory.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
click image to enlarge
Judy DeGrandpre, of Freeport, looks at porcelain figures made by Elaine Perkins, of Our Dolls in Concord Township, on Saturday, during the Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad & Doll House Show at the Augusta armory. DeGrandpre said that she had many of figurines made by Perkins.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
"I don't know what it is," said Burns, 73. "I'm not fascinated in the least bit by video games or slot cars. I've always been fascinated by trains, and I probably will be as long as I last."
Whatever the reason, he wasn't alone in his passion at the annual Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad and Doll House Show held Saturday at the Augusta State Armory.
Event organizer Steve Laundrie said 700 to 800 people usually attend the event each year, which is the club's second-largest fundraiser, behind its Windsor Fair activities.
Burns sat in a chair with the model railroad track in front of him. His wife, Joanne, sat to the side of the track, helping children control a miniature log loader.
Stephen Burns pressed a small lever, propelling the steam engine toward the log loader. Rail cars on one side of the loader flung the miniature logs into the loader's feeder before the press of a button lifted them to the other side.
Then the loader flung the wooden dowels into the rail cars on the opposite track.
Burns noted that one of the railroad cars supplying the log loader was a Christmas gift in 1947. He had gotten his first set a few years earlier at the age of 4.
He said he's not sure what makes model railroads such a popular hobby.
"All I can say is I'm still fascinated by it," Burns said.
The Friendship couple are members of the Maine 3-Railers, a model railroad club that meets monthly in Richmond.
Paul Lodge, secretary of the Great Falls Model Railroad Club, in Auburn, said he thinks model railroads are popular because there is a lot of creativity involved in designing the track and scenery.
Also, model railroads allow people to control something, unlike much else in life, Lodge said.
Jerry Johnston, of Minot, said he has been using model trains since the early 1980s and joined Great Falls Model Railroad Club in 1997.
"That's what really put me in deep," he said. "I've been head over heels since then."
Johnston said he has around 100 model train engines and 700 square feet of track layout at his house.
The club is an educational foundation that promotes model railroading as a hobby and the appreciation of real railroads through adult education classes, railroad safety presentation, club gatherings and special events.
Great Falls Model Railroad Club and the Maine 3-Railers both take part in the Model Railroad Celebration, held every December at the Maine State Museum.
The clubs each had large model railroads set up at the show that were running throughout the day, as well as some smaller tracks. Vendors also sold model railroad components and dollhouse supplies.
Model railroads may be a popular hobby, but it's not a cheap one.
Johnston said decent train engines cost $50 to $70, and cars cost around $15. Some vendors had engines priced at more than $100.
Laundrie, who has been organizing the event for seven years, said he doesn't have any model railroads.
"I admire these people," he said. "I'm afraid if I did get into it, I'd wind up in the poor house."
Laundrie said he did notice more people leaving with purchases Saturday compared to past years.
The Burnses said they have a similar, but larger, model railroad set up at home, and they take the 16-foot-long track to the various shows.
Stephen Burns said they go to several shows throughout the year with the club.
"I kind of dread the night before," he said. "I'm happy enough when I get here. You see an awful lot of kids smiling, quite a few adults."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Model Railroad Show takes tracks to the mall

Another annual event - mark it on your calendar for next year.

From KVal.com:  Model Railroad Show takes tracks to the mall

EUGENE, Ore. -- All aboard for the 34th Model Railroad show in the Valley River Center!
Many of the train aficionados that visited the show on Saturday said that their love of model trains stemmed from having one as a kid.
“When I was about 5 years old - back in 1955 - I got my first Lionel train set that my dad turned into this huge train table,” said Frank Sharpy, scoping out the intricate railways that filled the Valley River’s plaza. “Nowhere near this exotic … but ever since I have loved my trains."
Sharpy said he took his grandson to the show not once, but twice this weekend; per his grandson’s request.
"His eyes are glowing, he says ‘Pick me up, show me more trains!’,” Sharply said. “As I said, we came twice and he will probably want to come back tomorrow."
The exhibit features models of historic locomotives and even a model of the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter series.
The people behind the exhibits said that they love having the opportunity to work with other enthusiasts, building the models from scratch and working on electronics.
 “I personally love working with he small stuff. I love taking a box of garbage and making it look like the stuff that is running over here,” said Fred Miranda, a member of the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club, a group that has been together since the 1970’s.
The show isn’t all about model trains. Operation Lifesaver has a booth devoted to educating kids and adults about railroad safety.
“Realize these things can't stop on a dime and they are heavy … even semis and logging trucks don't survive against them,” said Miranda.
The Model Railroad show was put together by clubs around the Pacific northwest and is scheduled to keep on rolling through Sunday.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Generations come together at annual model railroad show

From KSBY.com:  Generations come together at annual model railroad show

Okay, weekend is over...but mark this down as it is an annual event.

A local train depot was opening up its doors this weekend, and no tickets were needed.
The 6th annual Model Railroad Days was held at the Oceano Depot.
The free event featured operating model trains on display and unique artifacts in the depot.
Organizers say the intent of the event is to share the history of trains and love of modeling, while also bringing generations together.
Michael Mickens, San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association secretary, says, "A lot of people love it 'cause it's generational. We get a lot of grandparents bringing their grandkids in. A lot of grandparents want to give their trains to their grandchildren and pass it on."
Mickens also says people can bring in their model trains and find out how much, if anything, they are worth.
The event is a fundraiser for the San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association and the Oceano Depot Association.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


Never realized I hadn't posted in over 2 weeks!

Sorry, folks

Things have just gotten away from me the last week and a half...posting should be back on schedule starting this weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WI: Model Railroad Show coming to Stevens Point Jan. 19-20

From Portage County Gazette:  Model Railroad Show coming to Stevens Point Jan. 19-20

The 16th Annual Model Railroad Show and Sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20.
This year’s show will feature Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends from Chugginton Station for younger railroaders and the latest in radio- and computer-controlled trains running on any one of a dozen portable layouts in sizes as big as 22-feet-by-52-feet for older people.
One layout will feature almost four scale miles of track, more than 2,000 trees and more than 250 miniature people and animals, including a monkey.
The show was originally held at CenterPoint MarketPlace and then the Ramada Hotel Convention Center, before moving to the 16,000-square-foot Holiday Inn in order to accommodate all the trains and layouts featured in it.
In addition to all the layout activity, vendors and hobbyists will be available to answer questions, and the show will bring exhibitors and vendors from throughout Wisconsin and surrounding states to network and help fulfill modeler’s needs for equipment and supplies.
“The purpose of the show is to allow the public to see what model railroading is all about,” said Phil Gjevre, show manager and a member of the Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders (CWMR), which sponsors the show. “In many respects the railroads are unique works of art and become a lifetime hobby for many individuals. I’ve been doing it for 64 years.”
Attendance has grown every year as more people learn of the show and the hobby gets more popular thanks to the support of other model railroad clubs in the surrounding area. “Our goal is to make the show become the premier after-Christmas and early New Year event that people look forward to each year,” said Gjevre.
CWMR member Larry Misiewicz agreed. “If a person enjoys trains, it creates the opportunity to create something from memory or from real life in miniature,” he said. “Some people just enjoy running trains. Others research their favorite railroad and try to create part of it in miniature, and others take pride in building their pike in detail, right down to putting utility meters on their buildings.”
“You get hooked on it when you are young and it grows on you. It is considered by some as the ‘world’s greatest hobby,’” said Gjevre.
CWMR members encourage people to come out and see the unique designs different clubs will have on display.
The show also draws former modelers who have been away from modeling for a while back into the hobby. “Model railroading is not just a guy thing,” said Gjevre. “It provides fun and relaxation to young and old, guy or gal who enjoy it. And, you are never too old to have another childhood!”
CWMR was founded as a nonprofit educational organization in 1987 for individuals with interest in model railroading to come together and share their hobby. Part of the proceeds from the show and sale go to support local nonprofit organizations, including the Portage County Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Club. CWMR worked in conjunction with the Historical Society to restore the Bancroft Depot, where the club currently holds its meetings. There are currently about 20 members ranging in age from 20 to mid-70 years old.
Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 11 to 16. Children 10 and younger are free. Families with multiple children will pay no more than $10 in admissions.
Vendors and clubs interested in participating should contact Phil Gjevre at 715-341-8228 or ten.retrahc@ervejg.enaj.lihp.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Posting resumes Sunday

I know I've been saying this periodically but this will be the last time I say it...I'm visiting relatives and although they have Wi fi I don't have a private room to work.
I'll be home Thursaday and will get back into the swing of things then.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Model trains stay on track with digital technology

From BlueRidgeNow: 
Ian Pugliese's thumb moved up and down his iPod as he watched a train move around the tracks at the Historic Train Depot in Hendersonville. The depot's intricate displays were abuzz with activity during the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club's post-Christmas Open House Wednesday.
The 16-year-old wasn't texting or surfing the Internet, however. He was using the app Wi Throttle to control the train.
The phone app is just one of many ways technology is changing the hobby of building and running model railroads. The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club, which has been in existence for more than two decades, has seen a shift from analog to radio control, and now to digital.
The model trains of old were entirely analog. The user controlled the track, not the train. Analog, while still popular among the purists, didn't allow for as much functionality. Only one train could run on the tracks at a time and there weren't as many functional bells and whistles.
After a brief move to radio control technology, digital technology began popping up in the late 1990s. There was resistance at first, club member John Van Valen said, because it was expensive. But times have changed and digital technology prices have dropped.
Now model train hobbyists are turning to Digital Command Control boards, which are computer-based and reliant on digital technology. Instead of analog controls, model railroad enthusiasts have controls that operate on a wireless signal. They can follow their train as it winds and weaves its way through intricate layout designs.

At the Hendersonville depot, the tracks and displays are replicas of tracks across Western North Carolina, including Asheville and Saluda. The Asheville Division, the newest division at the depot, is entirely computer-based. Not far away, the Thomas the Train track for kids is still analog.
Digital provides capabilities that weren't affordable 10 years ago. Multiple trains can be on one set of tracks at any given time. Train operators can blow a horn, sound a whistle or screech brakes with a digital device.
“This is not simple like it used to be,” Van Valen said.
For his personal sets, the 84-year-old still runs analog. With the club's move to digital, however, Van Valen has had to start using engines that can run on both types of tracks. The primary benefits, he said, are the ability to run more trains on one set of tracks, smoother speed control, and better overall control.
The shift from analog to digital has been slow, club member Bob Barnes said. In fact, some in the modeling community haven't made the switch at all.
“Many of them are tending to stick to the analog,” he said.
That doesn't mean they are anti-technology.
“It's all they know,” Van Valen said about analog.
For club Vice President Ken O'Brien, the best part of the technology reaches well beyond the tracks themselves.
“It's an outstanding modification to the hobby,” he said. “The tech side of it is a big deal. The youngsters need to keep seeing that.”
He said model trains haven't been as popular with younger generations, but the new technology could lead a resurgence in the club and other clubs' ability to reach children and keep the hobby thriving.
Those sentiments are shared by Pugliese. The Hendersonville High student is one five teenage members of the club, and technology plays a big part in the hobby he's loved for the last four years.

“I'm just interested in technology,” he said, adding that it opened some club members' eyes when he showed how he could control the tracks with his iPod.
It's not just club members who have noticed the technology, Pugliese said.
“People are amazed to see technology so advanced in here,” he said about visitors to the depot.
Club member Al Smith agreed that technology is what's going to introduce the love of model railroads to future generations.
“For those over 50, it's a nostalgic attraction,” he said. “For the crowd that's 20 years and older, they're attracted to the model. It's about the creation. For those 20 years and younger, it's a combination of those things, but the catalyst of it all is technology.”