Random Thoughts

Twosday train

Goderich & Exeter GP’s at Kitchener

I was in Kitchener visiting a favourite friend. While he was off doing important things me and my disposable camera were screwin’ around. Of all the Canadian railfanning photos, somehow it feels like we’ve all taken a photo here of two or three GEXR GP’s. Strangely this composition connects us and here I go again with my fascination about how trains connect us and so much more than simply by transporting us.

This is the summer I met Krista

It ain’t June and it ain’t 2007

I really enjoy seeing Stephen Gardiner’s Tuesday Train posts and the opportunity to peek into his enjoyable past as a railfan.

In June 2007 I was in Winnipeg as part of a Canadian cooperative housing conference and found myself with an afternoon free. I knew about the City’s super cool shortline and had emailed the railway to ask if I could visit and take some pictures. I received the most welcoming invitation in return and spent a very enjoyable afternoon exploring their offices, shops, site. Gosh, I’d love to go back.

GWWD 202

Mike’s post is something I read this morning. The opening notes were so powerful and they deserve an echo so their resonance is embedded in the media of our hobby. This is the first time I’m copying content to both the WordPress and Facebook sites:

I thought I wanted to share this on Prince Street but it shouldn’t be contextualized there. My friend Mike is one of the very good thinkers and in the opening notes of his latest blog post, shares something powerful that I can’t help but want to share.

“Increasingly, my real goal is to spend quality time in the quiet and solitude of my shop, exercising my creativity to produce models that are meaningful and satisfying.”

It is a beautiful statement on the importance of craft and why we make things. It’s not about making models but about how that act enriches the soul. Most of the time the hobby is represented as just a mountain of toys collected for bragging rights alone and I hate how that conflicts with what I’ve learned within my hobby and in discussion with the many people I’ve met so far whose craft guides their lives. Our work is our journey and I love reading something written by someone who really gets why we’re trying to do what we’re trying to find here. It doesn’t matter what we make, instead how much it challenges us to grow, first in terms of craft but ultimately as people.

The post at this link isn’t just about model trains and it’s damn worth reading this morning since it applies so much further:

Reality Walked In And Sat Down (PS2CD 4427)

Speechless in Vernon River

At Taylor’s with Calvin and David working on Calvin’s Vernon River layout. A no compromise, no compression model of this town on my favourite subdivision of the PEI railway. Oh my heart! I’m excited. Follow along on Calvin’s blog here:


“Slow”ly occurring to me

Tom Waits, in an interview, once said something about a cheap:fast:good formula. In his beautiful drawl, he suggested that you could maybe get any two of those three variables; probably two, never three.

I’m building some turnouts for a friend. It felt so good to be asked and I’m flattered to be invited to help him with his layout. I know I can build these quickly but I’m not going to. Last night, I spent a couple of hours just on this component. Deliberate work and no time wasted but, equally, no experience wasted – I know, from experience, I can build a complete turnout in that same period of time but even if I had to redo one eventually they’ll be done and installed and I won’t get this time back. I can’t take any part of this for granted because, this time, only gets spent once. No matter what, I’ll deliver good track to my friend. Not just “good” for how well they work but how much I enjoyed making them.

This hobby, this life, is intended to be good.

How can you not be proud?

A little wall of foam bricks awaited me this morning. Each one is about 6x6x12mm and they’re beautiful. “Beautiful” not just for what they are but what they represent. My friend, JP, made these on a hot wire foam cutter. He started working on models last year as part of an interest in tabletop gaming. His enthusiasm and curiosity are powerful and wonderfully infectious and make me want to spend more time exploring found media to work in and try new techniques in finishing. We praise the hobbies, often citing the people as the greatest part. It’s true. Making things with our hands satisfies a basic human need to express ourselves. Having made things we’re rewarded with something we can share. I’m a confirmed believer in the idea that we impart energy into our work and by sharing the thing, we share that pride. It’s a beautiful wall of bricks and I’m a kind of proud that’s hard to describe that it got shared with me. Thank you JP!