Sunday, August 05, 2007

Change is choice

When I moved to the Bay Area, I had the pure dumb luck to pick a house a few miles away from custom layout builder Rick Fortin. Those of you who have seen some of my articles in the hobby press know that I have helped out a bit with construction and op sessions at Rick's layout over the last eight or nine years.

The quality with which Rick builds is an inspiration, and I've learned a lot just by being around the layout. But I still learn new lessons. A few days ago I dropped by while Rick and mutual friend Ted Thorson were reworking scenery as part of a project to put a connecting shortline into its first phase of operation. Rick has been extensively reworking sections of the layout roughed-in just a few years ago to create more realistic scenery profiles and add operating elements.

For many people, the thought of cutting into (even roughed-in) scenery is daunting. But Rick is always willing to make changes. This acceptance of the work required to make changes opens up many new choices, even for sections of the layout already in operation. One lesson learned for me is recognizing that every decision isn't "once and for all". If you're willing to make changes, it provides more choices in the future.

And that, in turn, helps diminish the "paralysis by over-analysis" so many of us experience.

Perhaps not the kind of guy you'd want your daughter to marry, but the late Warren Zevon had a keen eye, rapier-like wit, and certainly knew his way around a hook. While some of the lyrics are a little disquieting, A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon is a lively look inside his mind and a time travel trip to the '80s. Nifty slide guitar and lap steel parts by Waddy Wachtel and David Lindley and that bright country-tinged production heard often in the era made this a fun listen this afternoon.