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January 23, 2022

OpsLog – TBL – 01/22/2022

nother running of the tiny but busy Tuscarora Branch Line, this time with my co-creator Greg and my friends Brian and Tyler. Not many improvements for it – the new ridge top is in and I’ve painstakingly painted up the Tuscarora downtown structures in Z-scale. Funny thing – Greg (as the coal engineer) is a little pissed that the ridge prevents him from seeing his operations around the Easton power plant. Of course, I point out that now he has to rely on the dispatcher to serve as his brakeman, calling his distances back – “Two cars. One car. Half. […]
January 23, 2022

Leviathan Falls (Review)

inally, it’s over. This final chapter from the series known as The Expanse on streaming comes at the end of a long road for us fans. We followed the series from the inception, when James Holden and his mismatched crew had the Canterbury shot out from under them. After taking a Martian frigate (or gunboat, or whatever) from a doomed Martian battleship and renaming it the Rocinante (a ship as much loved as the Millennium Falcon by fans), the crew begin working on a thread of causality involving a blob of alien goo shot at our system and captured as […]
January 20, 2022

The world before social media (DOG EAR)

was sitting around the model train club the other day, paging through old issues of Model Railroader. I mean old, old issues, like from the late forties and early fifties. So funny and quaint to look back from a time of computer chips and 3D printing at a world of ozone-emitting electronics and block control. But what really struck me was the letters from readers. Each of them, at the end, included an address. I’m wondering how often someone might say something a person agreed or disagreed with and might have prompted a return letter or two from the readers. […]
January 16, 2022

Undertow (Review)

kay, this is going to be a terrible review. No, it would be unfair to say that the book I’m reviewing, Undertow, was terrible. Actually it was okay, even good. No, it just took me forever to get to writing this review. Months. I’m going to do my best here, typing with one hand and flipping through the book in the other. So André Deschênes is an assassin located on the oceanic colony world with its floating city, Novo Haven.There is a nasty corporation running things (you ever notice that there are never evil mom ‘n pop stores?). Anyway, there […]
January 13, 2022

The Cat in the Stack (DOG EAR)

veryone who knows me knows of my book Indigo, where I spent time showing how crows see the world (and how, like us, they can recognize patters, make intelligent choices, and understand a lot more than we give them credit for). This factors into my story, a tale about a book, a bookmark, and a cat. For Christmas, my wife gave me (amongst other things) a copy of the latest (and last) book of The Expanse. Now, as it has been a while since the last book, I decided to reread it before pushing into the series finale. And since […]
January 10, 2022

ShowLog – Deland – 1/9/2022

was able to attend the second day of the two-day train show (given that the proceeding three days had involved three operations sessions with hundreds of miles of highway driving and physically being on trailer duty for build day warranted a day off on Saturday). Got in at nine in the morning and started cleaning track. Overall our second show day was a pretty good day. We had a lot of visitors and a lot of kids got to run. Me, I ran black widow F3s with a long freight lashup behind them. It was pretty good running – other […]
January 9, 2022

Fight for your Long Day (Review)

picked this one up on the fly from a used bookstore just around the corner, a tiny epic about an adjunct instructor teaching in Philadelphia who is living an ironic life – being a collage-educated professional making less that a bartender, with no health insurance or safety net thanks to the income inequities so common everywhere in America (and the globalized world) these days. I’m kinda torn on this. Parts of it I just loved (one of them I quoted in a recent DOG EAR). At it’s best, Fight for your Long Day  spoke to me as Snow Crash and […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – PWV – 1/6/2022

or those coming through this blog’s homepage, you might notice that, yes, I had two sessions on the same day. This is all about Protorails, a popular convention in town that I never get to go to because the Deland Train Show is the same weekend and I’ve got to assist. But I guess my dispatching is okay since I had two layouts request me for the same day. And yes, I do love it. So after a roaring session at the Virginia SouthWestern, it was ten miles up the interstate to Tom Wilson’s Pittsburgh & West Virginia, a steel-making, […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – VSW – 1/6/2022

‘ve got a friend who like to play psychoanalyze-games with me. All of her questions are pointed and reflective. Anyway, the other day she asked, “What was your greatest accomplishment for the week?” I didn’t even have to think that one out. “I got three trains by at Ramsey.” As mentioned in my other blogs, John Wilkes Virginia SouthWestern is a great railroad with two main lines. For the Protorails convention, I was invited in to  dispatch the L&N and Tom Wilson grabbed the Southern desk. Since the L&N has a higher density, we usually give the CTC panel (kinda […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – WVN – 1/5/2022

y green West Virginia Northern RS units grunted like laboring elephants as I slowly pushed a flat car into a the New River mill, down in a river valley where the mainline ran. I’ll admit that I nearly put the flat off the end of the crude siding, distracted as I was by my paperwork spread over the oil-reeking cab. I wasn’t really confident in my work orders. See, some newbie back in Ashbury yard, a guy with no west-end switching, had built this train. And he’d gotten one or two corrections from the superintendent while doing it. Also, he’d […]