Why do we do the things we do?

Nearly ten years ago, Ron Keith collared me at the local train show. What a wonderful gentleman he was, with his grey handlebar moustache and his enigmatic smile. I was happy to bask in his genial company once again. However, this time Ron had no time for small talk: “Rene, I’ve been looking all over […]

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Spoiled for choice

Chris Mears made some wonderful observations in a comment and follow-up post to my post, Where to. You should go read Chris’s writing, because it is dense enough that you will almost certainly take something different from it than I do. Let me precis my primary takeaway from Chris’s post and comment: the adoption of […]

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Where to?

Tonight I delivered a new clinic, “21st Century techniques to model a 19th Century locomotive” to a small audience after the local NMRA division’s annual general meeting. The intent was to attract more attendance to a business meeting with some diverting content. They would have called someone else, but I guess the entertaining people were […]

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When the therapy runs out

On my way home from the recycling depot this Sunday, I turned on CBC radio, as I often do when I’m out, and was surprised to hear Jason Shron of Rapido fame talking to Mary Hynes on the weekly exploration of all things spiritual, Tapestry. Jason’s enthusiasm for active hobbies and model railroading in particular […]

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Honouring the research

In a thought-provoking essay about his prototypical waybills, Tony Thompson asks, “is it merely visual?” He likens the typical approach to model railroad paperwork to operating our railroads with freight cars made of blocks of wood decorated with post-it note reporting marks. If we are happy with representational paperwork, we should also be happy with […]

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Inspiration from Tommy Douglas

Last Thursday seems a lifetime ago in this world gone mad. That was the day that we said goodbye to my friend Sharlene Hertz. Sharlene was the spark that kept the Delbrook Community Association – one of my distractions – going. She was a lifelong New Democrat and political advocate. At her service, her family […]

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The Century of Canada…

As I wrote before, Pembroke could tell two very different stories. On the one hand, it could represent the sleepy end of a branch line, a second entrant into a market barely big enough for one. On the other, it could demonstrate the unbridled optimism of the age of progress and of small towns like […]

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Pembroke Compositions

Mike Cougill’s excellent post about story influencing layout design brought back some thoughts I jotted down about composition, and that take on new significance as I think about the layout’s role in the room.  Mike’s layout tells a completely different story from Pembroke, but perhaps we can both take some lessons from the art world […]

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Art Nouveau

“What’s with the sudden interest in Art Nouveau?” my wife asked when she saw me balancing on my knee the huge tome I’d liberated from the oversize stacks at the Capilano Library. Art Nouveau was a dominant style in the arts from 1890-1910 and so it is part of the context for my 1905 rendition […]

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