Thursday, July 10, 2008

See you in Anaheim

For those of you planning to attend the NMRA Convention next week in Anaheim, I hope you’ll drop by one of my clinics to say hello. I’m presenting two clinics, “Creating an Operating Session” and “Layout Design from the Prototype”. I’m also participating as a panelist with a number of former editors of the Layout Design SIG’s Layout Design Journal to discuss “Layout Design Trends”.

The operations-oriented clinic will attempt to cover everything from car movement to train control to crew management and human factors. Obviously, an hour-long clinic will just scratch the surface of the topic, but hopefully it will be useful for those beginning to explore operations on their own layouts.

The clinic on designing from the prototype will hopefully interest those considering prototype-based layouts, freelanced layouts, and everything in between. I’ll try to share a bit about the thought process I find myself going through with most projects. Model railroad layout design is all about the trade-offs and compromises, and there are multiple junctures in the process where this comes into play.

The layout design trends panel discussion (Tuesday at 4pm) will be an interesting look inside the minds of a number of accomplished modelers and hobby thinkers. And me. Some preliminary email discussions among the panelists suggest that we will bring at least a few different viewpoints to the table. Model railroad layout design ain’t rocket science, but there are some interesting new ideas as well as older ideas being applied in new ways.

Hope to see you there.

Greatest. Baseball. Announcer. Ever. I’ve been spending time in Southern California recently helping out with some family matters and have had a chance to catch a few L.A. Dodgers broadcasts. Even though I was always much more of an Angels fan growing up, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully is still the very best there has ever been at his craft, in my opinion. Scully never over-hypes a moment and has an instinctive knack for drawing the listener or viewer into the game with a pertinent fact or stat delivered in a relaxed and engaging manner.

Scully gives the game itself “room to breathe” – and with that, he smoothly communicates the ebb-and-flow rhythm that’s the natural pace of baseball pitch-to-pitch. It’s like watching the game with an old friend who happens to be incredibly knowledgeable (and has a research team backing him up). I imagine Scully will be retiring sometime soon, so it’s been great to have a chance to enjoy his understated excellence again. Thanks, Vin!