I Finally Found It

Despite being into model trains, I really don’t know a whole lot about them.  I have learned a lot in while pursuing this hobby, but I am nothing like the people I meet at the hobby shop.  These people are way into the hobby.  They quote rail lines and dish out engine numbers like I could recite comic book characters.  They have a name for every part of every car.  It amazes and astounds me.  Granted, sometimes it makes me feel rather uninformed.  It also makes me feel that I just don’t take this hobby as serious as other people.  I have to admit, that doesn’t really bother me.

Nonetheless, I do want to continue to educate myself.  I participate in online forums, search the web and do a lot of reading.  If you have seen my other post, you will know that I have amassed a library of interesting books.  Here is a link to that post.

 
Unfortunately, one book has eluded me.  I considered it my white whale (thanks Melville).  Since I started this hobby, I have wanted to read The Model Railroaders Guide to Freight Cars.  The problem was that the book was no longer in print and the prices people were asking for existing copies was rather astronomical.  We’re talking over $300 in some cases.  I wanted to read it….but not at that price.

I have scoured hobby shops, hoping that a stray copy was lurking in an overlooked bin.  I have gone to flea markets, train shows, and even hoped that some unlucky hobbyist’s wife or husband had decided to put their copy into a garage sale.  I have gone so far as to contact the publisher to see if they had a copy or if they ever planned to reprint the book.  They didn’t even bother to respond–Thanks Kalmbach.  I have had the book on my favourites list at Amazon for quite a number of years.

Luckily, I continuously check my lists, because someone decided to part with theirs for a price I deemed reasonable (profitable for sure, but nonetheless reasonable).  It arrived yesterday and I couldn’t be happier.  This seller will no doubt get a five star rating from me.

I haven’t started reading it yet, but after leafing through it, I feel quite happy with my purchase.  I know, most of this information (if not all) is available online, but I like books.  I like sitting on my deck (when it isn’t bitterly cold outside or snowing) and reading.  There is just something so satisfying about the tactile experience. If I feel the need, perhaps I will do a review of the book.

All of  this got me thinking….is there anything out there that you consider your white whale?  Is there something you are on the lookout for?  I imagine it could be an original Star Wars figure still in the package, or Wayne Gretzky’s Rookie card, or ….. who knows.  I would love to hear what you are looking for.

As for me, next on my list is either a 1:12 Mustang convertible model kit, a book on the history of the Starlost, a collection of Park tools for my bicycle, or…… I had better stop before I say too much.

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To Buy or Not to Buy….

 
Going to a hobby shop can be such a wonderful experience.  You get to see lots of new stuff, talk to people who are interested in some of the same things as you, and get inspired to tackle a hobby project.  Why is it then, that every time I leave a hobby shop I have a moment of doubt about what I purchased?

Sometimes, it isn’t about what I purchased, but rather that I spent any money at all.  It is more than likely that, in the car or in the parking lot or at some point before I entered the store,  I promised myself I would just look and not spend any money.  Funny how that rarely works out.

I think the cause goes back to my childhood.  I went to lots of garage sales and flea markets in my youth.  I would spend a long time trolling the various aisles or digging through piles.  I was the Indiana Jones of the used junk world.  The point is, I rarely came home empty handed.

The rationale goes something like this….I’m here.  I spent the gas money.  I won’t be back this way for a long time.  If I get it now, I’ll have it for later.  The rationalization isn’t nearly as hard as you think it will be when you’re in the parking lot.

I guess the only way to remove temptation is to actually remove temptation.  Then again, who’s kidding who?  If I couldn’t keep the first promise I mentioned, how in the world could I keep that one.

A Whacky Idea

While writing the post about the Rubik’s cube, and pondering my sometimes lacklustre economic future, I wondered if I should set up a business solving the cubes.  I envisioned a system whereby people sent me their cubes (along with a return envelope with sufficient postage) and I would solve their cubes and send them back.
Of course I expected to charge a small fee for the service.
I know what all of you are thinking.
1  People could buy the book (or check on line) and solve the cubes themselves
2 It would be easier, and cheaper, to take the cube apart and reassemble it correctly
3 Nobody would pay for that

Sadly, the last point is the one that I think is most true.  I know there are thousands of cubes clogging up people’s basements, or going unsold at garage sales.  I am sure it would be easy to find them a new home if only they were solved.
Weep, for this dream is dead.