Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Vintage 3D ~ Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Niles Silent Film Museum is holding their annual Broncho Billy Film Festival. Last night we saw films of early comic Max Linder (whom Charlie Chaplin called "the master"), and today we saw a show of early 3D films, in collaboration with 3D Space, a museum in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

There's lots more good movies coming up over the whole weekend, but we are going camping!

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Trolley and Monsters in Petaluma ~ Saturday, July 14, 2018

I've been keeping an eye on the Petaluma Trolley Project online (petalumatrolley.org) for a few years but have never managed to see their restored trolley. Yesterday we passed through town and it was out in the yard.

Some interesting creations were poking over the fence across the street, too. A passerby told me the creator takes them to Burning Man, and that some of them breathe fire.

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Apricots ~ Monday, July 02, 2018

I've been keeping an eye on in an abandoned orchard on my way to work (it's behind the Symantec building on Middlefield, somewhere around the border between Mountain View and Sunnyvale, which long ago was the home of Netscape). Back around March I thought maybe all the trees were dead but eventually they blossomed and grew leaves again. This morning I was curious if they had ever produced any fruit. It turns out that they are apricot trees, and I was almost too late--looks like they all just ripened and mostly fell onto the ground already, but recently enough that you can still find plenty of good ones.

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Catenary Support ~ Saturday, June 23, 2018

Seen at San Bruno.

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Happy Father's Day ~ Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wini has had 18 years to observe my quirks, and knew that the nicest thing she could get me was jam!

Nate drew me a card. He seems to like my jokes :)

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Rectangular Itinerary ~

It's summer vacation, and Nate spent last week going to a camp at the Hiller Aviation Musuem. They built model rockets, and on Friday they went to Alameda to launch them (model rocketry has become much more regulated then when I tried it as a kid, and I think Alameda may be the closest place where there is an organization officially licensed for launching). They also toured the USS Hornet.

The kids went by school bus. Parents who wanted to watch needed to provide their own transportation. Mine was a combination of bike, CalTrain, ferry, BART, AC Transit, and the Dumbarton Express bus.

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Moss Landing and Back ~ Monday, June 11, 2018

Nate and I drove down on Sunday to join a group kayaking around Elkhorn Slough.

Sorry, no pix from the boat. Not getting my phone that close to water!

On the way, we went by the village of Aromas (smelled fine) to see the Graniterock quarry. This is where the trainloads of rocks that get delivered to the port of Redwood City originate from. (There may be a GRCX switcher in the company's distinctive orange and green colors on the property--I saw one once from the Coast Starlight--but we couldn't get a good look inside the plant).

In Moss Landing there's a caboose that came from the SN. Currently it's an upscale Mexican restaurant.

On the way back we got dinner at a taqueria in Watsonville, and dessert at La Michoacana Paleteria y Nieveria, an ice cream shop with interesting flavors (tequila!), as well as familiar ones--and darn good!

We swung by the former Watsonville SP station (now a warehouse--for Graniterock) and headed home.

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Siemens LRV Sighting ~ Friday, June 08, 2018

Just now at the Glen Park stop on the J.

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Switch Machine Repair in 1:1 ~ Friday, June 01, 2018

Saw this crew at work on the VTA by Mtn View.

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Evening Work on the CalTrain Line ~ Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I saw a crew at work up on the elevated viaduct in San Carlos, while making a late evening run to the supermarket last night.

This may be part of CalTrain's ongoing Electrification/Modernization project, but I'm not sure.

You can click on the pictures to see a bigger version.

While I stopped to watch, a southbound freight passed by.

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Trouble on the Line Today ~ Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Not a "tresspasser strike" or any such euphemism today, just a breakdown.

CalTrain doesn't normally use mid-train helpers, but in this case a broken down train got a push from the one behind it.

Meanwhile they're operating single track. My train is late but showed up while I was writing this.

The people on the "pusher" train have probably been stuck on there for a while now...

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Scootering Around Stanford ~ Sunday, May 20, 2018

We visited the campus to do some maintenance on our Geocache at the "Weeping Angel" statue.

Nearby, there is a Cactus Garden (it was supposed to part of the landscaping for a never-build Stanford family estate; specimens came from along the SP's Sunset Route through Arizona). This turns out to be a great time of year to visit because cacti are in bloom:

On a fence around a construction site, we found this commemoration of Edward Muybridge's pioneering motion picture photography which was made here (essentially, the first movie).

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Checkered Adwrap ~ Wednesday, May 09, 2018

This one is for Dropbox.

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Don't Get Rattled ~ Sunday, May 06, 2018

We took a walk in the Sibley Volcanic Preserve in the East Bay Hills, starting from Old Tunnel Road. (This road leads to the former east portal of a long-gone highway tunnel, rather than the Sacramento Northern tunnel I've written about previously.)

We encountered some typical wildlife like dragonflies, roly-poly bugs, lots of birds (more heard than seen), and this guy:

Definitely a rattlesnake. We walked on the the other side of the road. It didn't rattle or even move, other than watching us and flicking its tongue.

We pressed on to the top of the (long-extinct) volcano,

from which you can look east to Mt Diablo or west to the Golden Gate.

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Too Many Movies in May ~ Thursday, May 03, 2018

There are a lot of local possibilities this month:

The Niles Film Museum will be showing (nb: download the PDF schedule--the version you can browse on the website itself seems to just show one week out) among other things: The Thief of Baghdad, Raffles the Amateur Cracksman, and lots of enjoyably silly stuff.

The Castro Theater will be hosting the SF Silent Film Festival (hoping to see a silent version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and of course we're always up for anything by Buster Keaton) and plenty of other good stuff (it would be pretty cool to see 2001 on the big screen).

Meanwhile, enjoy today's Google Doodle honoring Georges Méliès.

And while I'm talking at movies I'll throw in another plug for the Alice Howell Kickstarter Project, which you can contribute to and get a two-disk DVD set in exchange.

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To Calgary ~

The week before last, I visited Calgary, Alberta, to attend the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing. Before I even started the trip, I noticed this poster at the Western Railway Museum:

I used transit (RWC->CalTrain->Millbrae->BART->SanBruno->SFO) to reach the airport--the first time I've ridden transit to my home airport for the practical purpose of flying somewhere.

The International Terminal had several exhibits on display--one of early coin-operated machines, one of American folk art (with a case full of interesting carved stone books), and a commemoration of the creation of the rainbow flag.

My first view of Alberta looked pretty chilly.

Temperatures improved over the course of the week.

I had the good fortune to be traveling with a colleague who agreed that taking local transit downtown would be the interesting way to get there. Calgary Transit's CTrain doesn't run directly to the airport but you can take a bus (#100) to connect to it (helpful people will probably tell you to take bus #300 directly but that's not as much fun).

Keep an eye out and you'll get a quick view of the CTrain's yard/shop complex, where some of the original Siemens-Düwag U2's are being scrapped--but as you can see, there's still some in service.

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