General Blog

December 5, 2010

A new begining

So, welcome again. I decided to kick off this new website. The decision came one night in San Diego (to run trains – a story for another day). I was reading “Waiter Rant”, a book (a very plain book) written by a waiter who was “discovered” by someone tripping over his blog. Funny, but I remember going to bed that night, wondering why the hell everyone else get’s breaks. At 2am, I woke up in my hotel room and realized that my current (ha! Current? Five years out of date) web site was as cold as day-old oatmeal. I decided, […]
December 7, 2010

Here come the tomatoes

Tonight I pulled down Jcomments, a Joomla! extension that allows user comments to be entered against articles. I’ve enabled this for all my blogs (currently general and books – I’ve plans for movies, bikes and trains soon). How it works (how I think it works) is that you can either enter something as an unregistered guest (I have to midwife it into being). Or you can register on the site and put up anything you want (within reason, please!). Don’t like what I said about Harry Potter? Give me what-for! Enjoy a review? Post up some support. Go’wan, it’s easy […]
December 12, 2010


  It was a risk. I had to buy a cell phone. I hate the effing thing, but being a bike-commuter I might need to flare-gun the wife for recovery (like the time I collided head-on with a Mormon missionary). Or that time I was out and she had a medical emergency. So I bought one, but to inoculate myself I gave my wife the number and refused to memorize it myself. You could torture me and I couldn’t give it to you. And the phone is off 99% of the time anyway. Otherwise, I might turn into an iZombie. […]
December 22, 2010

Auto traitor

It’s always a little shocking when your best friend turns on you. Look, I know (intellectually) my car isn’t alive. But my yellow Volkswagon beetle (with its black bee’s-knees fender plates) is known about town. I’ve driven it for a decade now. People see it, they recognize it. There is even a miniature of it (with bee’s-knees) on the train club layout. It harks back to my college days, to my first rattle-trap beetle (also yellow). I crossed the country in that car, slept in it, lived in it. Perched on its fender, I had my first kiss. I might […]
December 26, 2010


Our train club, a non-profit fellowship organization, has been broken into five times. We know who did it. There is a nest of thieves infamous in that neighborhood – the neighbors told us about them. On the third break in, the K-9 unit went right to their door. They all bonded out the next day. The ringleader, a 35-year-old bag-of-shit, has three other B&Es he’s currently bonded out of. We’ve gotten a look at his rap sheet – its almost a novella. We’ve added motion detectors to the club and strengthened the weakpoints. We’ve also removed anything of value – […]
December 28, 2010

God loves fools

I knew how the commander at Pearl Harbor felt that fateful morning in December when my auxiliary hard drive crashed. I loved my first laptop and, as memory cost dropped, bought an auxiliary drive to hang off it, my “back up”. But let’s face it, the laptop was like a thimble, the aux drive a bucket. I’d couldn’t have a one-to-one data ratio. Furthermore, there was stuff I didn’t want to carry around day-to-day on the portable. So into this basket went all my eggs: photos, freelance work, model railroad reference information, everything. And then, after years of storing things, […]
December 29, 2010

So beautiful, so dangerous

Stopped at a light, the rising sun glimmering the frost-blasted foliage around me. I mirror-glanced the driver behind me through wisps of steamy exhaust. Oriental, female, high cheekbones, a slender noble face. Her hair was parted back and collected behind her narrow neck, glimmering earrings clasped to shell-like ears, as beautiful as a geisha. And she was doing something that, as both a motorist and cyclist, really torques me. She was applying mascara. But how beautiful. One tiny hand clasped the steering wheel with a gentle dove-like touch, her fingers poised in a tidy little line. Her other hand, raised, her […]
January 1, 2011

Baker’s dozin’…

Sat by the pond at lunch and slogged through the ongoing ReTyrement rewrite. Got to the point where we see the hero at work in a wineshop (that serves food) in 330BC. He’s humping over the fire, turning the spitted goat, checking the bread on the metal plate… Something in my mind went clunk! I checked this online. Don’t know why I didn’t realize this (nor did any of my editing readers realize this) but you absolutely have to bake bread in an oven. Now, there were little ovens, even portable ovens, back then and you could shove bread in […]
January 3, 2011

Managerial Train Wrecks

Time Table and Train Order – this is the technique railroads used to keep trains from crashing into in the dark ages before remote signaling, electronics, computers, and radios. How does this apply to the morass that is American Business Management? Think about it for a minute. It’s 1910 and you work on a railroad that covers 3000 miles over which hundreds of trains are running. Climbing into the cab (perhaps in the middle of the night in a driving snow storm in some podunk town), how do you know what trains are late, what bridges are out, and what special trains […]
January 13, 2011

Too tight for cool

So my wife and I are a couple of progressives. We live in a somewhat-gay downtown neighborhood in a little 1949 bungalow. We drive small cars and I often cycle to work. We also tend to vote lefty. Our TV screen is only 21″ wide. But I’m a little wired, as Monday night at the local farmer’s market showed. Stardust Cafe sets up all sorts of pavilions, bands, crafts and whatnot in their parking lot. Since we are proud neo-urbanites, we walked over. It had just finished raining and a low fog hung on the ground. We passed the little […]