Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Goody Two Shoes & The Filthy Beast Go Camping

To ring out the month Goody Two Shoes and me spent a three-day weekend at Ohio Pyle State Park with another couple. We had a good time bikling--(biking, as Goody Two Shoes says it)--lounging around, and eating good food. That said, it was on the drive to the campground where this colorful little exchange took place.

Me: When we get to the campground, know what I'm gonna do first?

Her: What?

Me: Take a leak.

Her: All that tea you drank. Did you drink a glass full?"

Me: No, I drank it empty.

Her: You're a barrel of laughs. Pity I'm stuck in the barrel with you.

Just the typical day-to-day banter that goes on between the two of us. You know, someone once said that no one would ever win the battle of the sexes--there was too much fraternizing with the enemy. Maybe they were right.

Now, if our first exchange wasn't enough, here's another one. A typical situation I find myself in a lot. I ask a simple question but don't get a simple answer. We were still driving to the campground and following our friends when I asked, or rather observed (in the form of a question.)

Me: Boy, Tim's sure in a hurry, isn't he? (See, simple question)

Her: You were that way the last trip.

Me: I'll never get a yes or no out of you will I? (another simple question)

Her: It's part of the wonder of me; deal with it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Camera Totin Idiot Gets Lucky

Last Sunday I played hooky from church and rode up along the scenic railroad. There was a location I wanted to check out. My suspicion was that the area in question was too covered over by trees to be useful now. Those suspicions proved to be true. Because of the trees on both sides of the tracks not enough light is allowed in. However, I did learn that once the leaves are off the trees this area, which is just above Bone Cave, would be ideal.

All that being said, I decided to hang around and photograph the train anyway, even though I knew I'd be fighting the light. As you can see from the first photo; only the nose of the locomotive is in the light. I fired several frames and all but this one and one other were blurred, again, because of insufficient light. However, sometimes even a camera totin' idiot can get lucky.

I was ready to toss this picture in the trash can when I realized that the blurry quality makes the 734 look like it's flying past my lens. Every once and while I do get lucky.

Filthy Beast Gets Tagged

I've no idea what 'tagging' means. But Goody Two Shoes 'tagged' me the other day. So now I have to come up with a list of 7 things that rock. (Insert Caveman grunt here) Didn't she read one of my previous posts where I listed 100 things. Oh, well. Seven things, huh. Okay, here goes.

1. My i-Pod absolutely rocks. Load up my favorite tunes and take them wherever I want to go.

2. Cycling trips with Goody Two Shoes. Road trips also...except the part where I always take a wrong turn.

3. Lee Ann Womack. I love her music. She could sing the Barney theme song and I'd sit and listen. Must be those blue eyes of hers.

4. Just about any Bill Bryson book. I swear, A Walk in the Woods and I'm a Stranger Here Myself, are hysterical.

5. My camera. I own a Canon EOS Rebel X with a 70mm-300mm zoom lens.

6. My kids. For as nutty as they are; Skippy, Dimples, and the Wild Child are the best kids ever. I say that now so they don't stick me in the old folks home later.

7. Tom Hanks. John Wayne is my all-time favorite actor, but Tom Hanks is second on the list. Hey, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, The Burbs, Saving Private Ryan, The Terminal, Castaway, the Polar Express; this guy just keeps cranking out the hits and finding new ways to strecth his acting ablilties. Can't wait to see what he does next.

There, I made my list. Now, I'm going to go do what I had originally intended for this time slot...as soon as I can remember what it was I was supposed to be doing. In the meantime if you read this, consider yourself 'tagged.' And that includes the bunch who send me emails instead of leaving comments.

Monday, July 9, 2007

This Man's Best Friend

In reality my wife is my best friend, but don't tell our seven-year-old Retriever-Cocker Spaniel mix. Buddy would freak if he knew he came in second. Buddy is a pound pup. I got him seven years ago, come October. He's the best dog we've ever owned. Gentle, playful, attentive; he's always ready for a nap, a snack, or a walk. He sleeps at the foot of our bed...when he's not on the bed and he lives for table scraps--especially gravy. His only drawback is that he hates fireworks.

We named him Buddy because of his friendly disposition. And over the years, he's lived up to his name. But he also answers to other names as well.

There's 'Buddysarus-Rex, and 'the Budster.'

Then there's 'Mister Buddy,' and 'Buddyroo.'

Lastly there's 'Wondermutt,' and 'Superpooch.'

He's telling us that it's time for bed.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

Q Tower at Hyndman, Pennsylvania.

When I was in my early days as a camera totin' idiot, I photographed trains exclusively. And my favorite hang out was at the Q. A small, two-story interlocking tower, half a mile below Hyndman. Twenty to thirty trains a day pounded through Hyndman. What was the big deal? Hyndman sat at the bottom of Sand Patch Grade and heavy westbound trains would stop there to add power for the run up the mountain.

CSX train R-353 has the Hyndman Helpers on the head end as it makes it's run at Sand Patch Grade.

For hours sometimes I'd hang out in the tower, talking to whichever operator was on duty. Shooting the breeze about most anything but trains. Railroaders are a funny bunch; many of them don't like to talk about trains, so you talk about hunting, fishing, or sports.

As a photographer, I cut my teeth here. I even got my first helper ride here; in the spring of 1985. The ride was unbelievable, the sound was deafening. What a blast!

When I wasn't photographing trains I swam in the creek, or waded the creek fishing for trout.

Today, it's all gone. The helpers are added in Cumberland, a dozen miles to the southeast. All train movement through Hyndman is controlled by the dispatcher in Jacksonville, Florida. No more friendly operators to tell you what train was coming. No more helper engineers to ride up the hill with. Time marched on, and took my old friend with it.

One last view of Q Tower in a happier time.

Photo from the 'Bullsheet'

Goodbye, my old friend.