Sunday, March 28, 2010

Limited Edition X-Pansion Luminar Bishoujo Statue

For those readers who aren't aware, I write fan fiction stories over on the Mighty Message Boards about my own team of mutant superhero X-Men, called the X-Pansion team.

One of the characters is code-named Luminar and I'm proud to publicly unveil the Limited Edition Luminar Bishoujo statue!
What makes this very rare besides its limited availability (only one was made *snicker* and it's privately owned) is the straight hair. Normally, Luminar's brunette hair is curly.

She joins previously released Black Widow (both Natasha and Yelena versions), Rogue, and Scarlet Witch. Future editions will include Psylocke, Phoenix and Dark Phoenix (I've also seen a possibility of the White Queen as well).

Now it's back to the little ones for my model trains :-)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Here's What I've Been Doing Lately

This past three months have been almost a whirlwind of train photography. And why not? The only way to get the photos is to go photograph them, right? And who knows how long I'll even be able to keep photographing trains and other stuff? (sorry to get all existential there for a sentence)

Well, suffice it to say I've been having some pretty good times trackside, enough to want to share some of my pictures with you.

While the story begins in mid January 2010, we're actually only going to look at a some of the most recent images, beginning with March 17, 2010 -- Saint Patrick's Day (there were at least some green containers on board the train)
The Car is Gone!!

Two days later I was along the same railroad, but with a much different train at a different location
EDNB at 427

The whole reason I was even out so soon was to get THIS photograph
VRS northbound 3-19-2010
Which I could only guarantee getting on a Friday.

Lastly, a good friend and I explored a new area for us and found this setting
NE-1 at Meadowdale

That's our last stop this trip. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

I'm not quite sure why the embedded linked images are getting chopped like they are though, I assure you the originals are composed quite well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amazing Adventurers conclusion

Okay, really quickly, I think this is a better name for our new adventurers -- now back to our story!

Unfortunately, there was no trail of breadcrumbs to follow. Robbie had had to refuel the bus twice in their exhaustive search for Priscilla, who, when she woke up on the moving baggage cart was less than thrilled to find herself in such a skimpy outfit and very cold.

Little wooly beings, like Ewoks, powered the cart at all four corners. Pris figured she could just jump off if it weren’t for the fact she’d likely snap her ankle in such high heels.

Their language was funny. It had to be speech, as not even grown up teddy bears laugh or giggle or make gibberish sounds all the time UNLESS it was speech.

“Hello?” she tried speaking to them. The two in front turned around and freaked out. All four had raised their gibbering voices and they sped the cart up to a blistering rate of speed which seemed it would topple the cart and Priscilla at any moment. And there was no handhold for her because when she went to grab an end, it made the Ewok creatures scared even more.

It took a lot for Rock-head to be scared. But if someone asked him at that moment he would admit to being cautiously anxious, which is quite the revelation for such a hard headed stubborn man as he, but between looking for Priscilla and Robbie’s stunt driving with the bus, Rocky may have been wearing down some. About the point when he would have thrown up, Rock saw without a doubt the baggage cart

“Robbie, stop!” Rock shouted over the cacophony of the bus interior, which Robbie had redecorated into his own version of the Disco Arches.

Robbie slammed on the brakes, and for the second time this adventure, Rocky proved how strong his head really was by slamming it accidentally into a part of the bus. With a bleeding scar reminiscent of a former Russian leader now adorning his head, Rocky ran from the bus to the empty cart, turning it onto its side with a mighty heave in frustration. That’s when he heard the giggling gibberishness of the walking furry midget bear beings.

“You think that’s funny? I’ll show you funny,” Rocky threatened, sending the creatures who were responsible for Priscilla’s disappearance running, “Come back here you overanimated stuffed teddies and I’ll SHOW you funny. I’ll be laughing so hard I’ve wiped the road with you, you’ll need to be rebuilt at that mall store!!”

The creatures fortunately stayed ahead of Rocky. They ran back to their lair for safety, which led Rock and Rob (tweet tweet tweet) to where Priscilla was held captive. Upon breaking down the thatched doors Rocky was speechless.

“Don’t just stand there ogling, compose your bad self and get me out of here,” Prissy instructed.

Rocky set about a destructive rage not even the hotel bathroom had seen and it crescendoed with the whole building collapsing on top of the adventurers (no bipedal teddies were harmed in the action sequence of this paragraph or any other).

When the dust settled, The three adventurers stood up and climbed over the wreckage to get back on the bus with an orange sunset and triumphant sounding music behind them.

The End

Monday, March 15, 2010

Disaster Blockbusters

(Portions of the following entry were originally published on mY! first blog in March 2007. Some editing was done to make it appropriate for re-print).

Along the top of Fleeting History I have a feed from my photostream. Many Flickr users have created something unique through fd's flickrtoys. I decided to do the same and the image below is my result. Railroad 2007
I played on the name Pan Am Railways (yes they were/are also an airline and in fact are supposed to be serving my local regional airport, but that has nothing to do with my image.) and through this name recognition (that it was once a popular airline) I spoofed the AIRPORT movies with this movie poster for RAILROAD 2007, high flying adventure on the rails. (Airplane! and Airplane II were also inspirations).

The idea came to me because I wanted to make something with one of fd's flickrtoys but I didn't want to do something that everyone on Flickr is making. I haven't seen too many (actually none) movie poster images, so that's why I chose that toy. The inspiration, as you read came from PAN AM and I happened to notice AIRPORT was on television, so it wasn't hard to put two and two together and make a spoof movie poster. I used all made up names to avoid any trouble with Hollywood, but I'm sure George Kennedy would star. Or maybe Peter Graves, David Hasselhoff, John Travolta, Harrison Ford? Nah, Eileen Toodarite is much hotter and sexier (except that one leg is shorter than her other)... Anyways, I digress. Just wanted to share my poster with you and drop some celebrity names.


Fast forward to March 15, 2010. As you've no doubt learned Peter Graves has passed on. In tribute, I made a sequel to my Railroad 2007 movie poster with Railroad 2010 again spoofing Pan Am Railways
Railroad 2010
Again with more made up names. Sadly, the entire cast, and 99 percent of the production staff were unable to be signed for the sequel. Only one original cameraman and the poster graphic artist have worked on both films.

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

"We have clearance, Clarence"
"Roger, Roger, What's our vector, Victor?"*

Ever wonder what the consequences of turning down one of those impossible missions was? I've not seen every episode to know and it's been probably 20 years since I've even seen one, but I can spout "Airplane!" dialogue when triggered.

RIP Peter Graves

*from the motion picture "Airplane!"

blog title comes form the television series Mission:Impossible

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Play Guitar and Sometimes I Play the Fool*

These are the times that try men's souls, or whatever. I found myself tonight psyching myself for another Saturday night of karaoke jockeying. Sitting or standing through nine acts of moderate to little talent just for that one great amateur singer to blow me away. To shorten this tome, there were a pair of young ladies who have been regulars at the establishment from the days back in November when I started training (in fact longer than that) and while shy at the microphones (unless one of them is doing Cher, then she's just like the recording) they are fun to share the same room with.

Well, I haven't seen them since the Saturday before Christmas and to be honest I've missed them. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise that they were present this evening, if only for a short time.

Now, I'm a fairly confident guy (well, except for the nursery school underoos stage dive and um...a few other instances) but really, one can't be shy and a public performer (okay I admit it happens but not in my case).

I thought I looked presentable this evening, and in my capacity of jock assistant dealt briefly with the ladies as they handed in request cards.

About two hours later, and well after they had left the venue I was washing at the men's room sink when I noticed my neck was covered in dried blood!! COVERED!! Now, I wasn't bleeding when I left the house, I made sure of it. I purposely shaved so as not to look grubby tonight and made sure I wasn't nicked anywhere -- yet I was covered in dried blood. And nobody told me!! It never fails, whenever I'm out to put my best foot forward in front of a lady, fate seems to conspire against me.

Back in my college days I was walking down the hallway of the campus center, taking my dinner back to the radio station in advance of an air shift I was substituting in, when I dropped the ketchup packets on the floor after saying "hello" to one female student.

Another time, during Winter on campus, I was walking along a sidewalk as two female students approached me from the other direction. I promptly fell on some ice!!

I've got a decent singing voice, better when I stay within my vocal range, but many times I wind up clearing the room. I may be a relatively confident fellow, but people leaving -- especially the pair of lasses who used to attend every week but who don't on my night any longer blows my self assuredness into smithereens.

So I was in a funk after looking like an idiot half the night, but then my confidence was restored by realizing the world isn't about me. I can hold onto the pipe dream that somewhere some girl will love me for who I am and that anyone, male or female, who doesn't isn't meant to be in my life. Frankly I'm not even interested in any kind of relationship with the aforementioned singers other than singer/jockey, because my dysfunctions preclude any successfully lasting one.

At least with trains, there's a certain kind of stability there. I pretty much know what to expect, and if I look like a fool in front of one, I won't have made a negative impression.

*This entry's title comes from a recording of John Lennon introducing himself at a Beatles concert.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nonseq Explorers part 3

Out in the parking lot, a Mariachi band whisked them away into a cacophonous street festival. Though Rock and Priscilla suffered a bit of dizziness from the supersonic body slide, Robbie was having the time of his life, jumping up and down (like the convertible they previously rode in – it was also at the street fest) and saying “fun fun fun” in his own version of the song of the same name recorded by a Californian beach group.

How, you ask, did they get out into the parking lot? They ran, natch.

Yes, I did forget they were in the dressing room at a sci-fi/fantasy/comic convention, but that’s not important right now, because somehow while changing clothes they ended up back in the Disco Arches parking lot. Yeah, it confused them also (well, Rocky and Priscilla at least. Robbie was having fun dancing with the convertible up on it’s rear tires, *shakes head* but you knew that already).

Pris was determined to keep what shaky little balance she had left. Between the lightheadedness of getting jostled around so quickly and the stilettoes threatening to topple her, she was just about staying upright.

“I could kill you right now,” she barely rasped at Rocky, “If I could stand long enough to do it.”

“Come on, Pris. It can’t be all bad,” Rocky said from a Storm Trooper costume. Priscilla’s itsy cloth coverings were hardly sufficient for the cool night air, even though it was borderline mild. She was about to attempt to deck Rocky anyway out of sheer frustration, ruining her reputation as a lady of manners and finishing, but that’s when the Mariachi band came in, playing their famous tune (you know the one. It’s in all of the commercials on television – which I no longer am able to watch but that’s not part of this story, I digress).

The dust and the hot dry sun compound Pris’ nausea. It took her and Rock agonizing minutes for their eyes to adjust having instantly gone from cool night to blazing hot day. Asphalt to dirt. Appropriate clothing to...

From across the street someone whistled a cat call at Pris but she couldn’t see from where. After coughing, she and Rocky began walking in order to find Robbie.

“No, this isn’t working,” Pris alerted after 30 minutes, “but I’ll be damned if I’m walking barefoot in this environment. You’ll have to carry me.”

Of course, Rocky was all for that and an uncontrollable smile the size of North America spread across his face.

“I’ll be happy to accommodate you.”
“And no funny business. It’s bad enough you got us stuck here in the first place,” Priscilla chided after climbing on his back, then kicked his waist like she was spurring a horse. Rocky’s smile faded.

They searched the town three times over and the desert sun was taxing them. Near the point of exhaustion, Rocky set Priscilla back on her spikes and they tottered into the shade behind an old western looking bank building, discovering the surprise of their lives.

Robbie had found their bus. Some body panels were missing and Robbie was deeply immersed in polishing his baby, whistling “You are so Beautiful”. The sight was enough to bring tears to the others’ eyes. This went on into the evening, Robbie seemingly oblivious to his teammates, and they too enthralled to interrupt him (well they were probably too tired also as Priscilla fell asleep on an old baggage cart).

“You got her running,” Rocky noted walking over to Robbie sometime around 11pm. The bus gleamed in the glow of the bright white spotlight and her motor hummed a good road tune. The interior beckoned Rocky and he turned to call Priscilla, but the baggage cart and she were gone.

“Oh, *rhymes with rap*, we need to find Prissy!” Rockster called over the roar of the bus to Robbie. The semi-mute driver donned a Chauffeur’s cap and dove into his beloved seat, happily reaching for the door handle. He made a clenching motion to his seat to tell Rocky “hold on!” and away they sped off into the night

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloggus Interruptus

Don't worry friends, our adventurers are just fine (well as fine as they can be with law enforcement agents bearing down upon them while they're in the midst of changing clothes at a comics/sci-fi/fantasy convention)

While we wait for them to slip into something less comfortable (and while I dream up the rest of the story) I would like to share with everybody the great time I had on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

It's well-established I'm a big fan of trains and that I photograph many images of them. Well, one such train (which in fact operates over the stretch of trackage which appears in "The Ride Home") was delayed several days as a result of the wicked winter weather the Northeast U.S. had in the last weeks of February 2010. This delay caused the normally nocturnal train to run in daylight (well, overcast mostly cloudy light -- which didn't bother me because that's how I cut my teeth as a burgeoning railfan photog along that very same route. Piece O cake)

But I decided against chasing after this train for a pair of personal reasons, in spite of the fact I would have given almost anything to chase one last train through the scenic Delaware River valley separating New York and Pennsylvania.

Hard cut ahead to mid Tuesday morning when my cell phone jars me awake from sleep. A friend of mine asks if I'm willing to help him on the near impossible task of photographing said train I'd decided not to (hey, he knows where to go to beat the odds!) so we got together, learned the late train's progress and hit the road like underdogs. We had a feather in our cap as one of our friends who lives closer to the action was out photographing this train also, and kept us apprised of it's progress (which was terrible in comparison to the old days) In contrast, I made sure we made better time than the freight train, and not just because it had such a big head start over us.

Dissolve to four in the afternoon, my friend and I are trackside in Hancock, NY, in position for the train's arrival 30 minutes later. It was a train chase to rival one I did with my father and brother 22 years before almost to the day (early by three).

My friend and I were indeed successful in beating the odds and catching this rare event a number of places along the route until the train reached its destination at nightfall, we cut it THAT close. The goal on Tuesday was to catch the train crossing Starrucca Viaduct, and we did, but my slides of Starrucca from that 1988 trip aren't here to be scanned and offered as comparison. Instead I offer the next closest at Gulf Summit, New York:

NTV-9_Gulf Summit_3-5-1988
March 5, 1988

SU-99 Gulf Summit NY 3-2-2010
March 2, 2010

You'll notice a number of changes occurred during those 22 years, the obvious one being the closest track has been removed.

Ironically, this is only a side step from our adventure, as the inspiration for the "Disco Arches" lies along this railroad, albeit just a lowly normal appearing Golden one and not the version I depicted.

We'll return to our scheduled blog after this break.