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.

Me and The Monocle

If you have read this blog before, you know that I like books.  There is something about magazines though.  Maybe it’s their ever changing content.  Maybe it’s the ease at which they can be picked up and put down.  Either way, it’s pretty rare that I become a loyal follower of a magazine.  I’ve been a on again off again follower of some magazines.  Model Railroader and Radio Control Car Action certainly fit that bill.  I enjoy what’s inside, but sometimes it seems like I’ve had enough.  I pick up one issue every 3 months or so.  Either something catches my eye or it doesn’t.  I either read it at the library or scan through the issue at the bookstore.

For a magazine to inspire loyalty, it really has to speak to me.  Kansai Time Out was one such magazine.  I loved it, and I still feel bad that it is gone.  It has been replaced by the free Kansai Scene….it’s good, but it isn’t the same. It really isn’t.

There was a time when I really loved Outside magazine.  It was well written, and regardless of the topic, I poured over every word.  One friend described it as the only magazine that could make anything a visit to the fishing hole seem epic.  I have not read it recently, but the last time I was quite sure that the honeymoon was over.

Most recently I have come across a magazine that fascinates me.  It is called the Monocle.  I cannot pinpoint exactly what I like about it.  It’s all about a higher end life that seems so remote from mine. It’s about the environment.  It’s about quality over quantity.  It’s about a lack of clutter and a more minimalist life.  Even as I read what I have written, I am not sure that I have actually hit it.

I’ve read two issues and really enjoyed both of them.  It’s got a lot of pages, so I keep them around on my coffee table to flip through them on Saturday mornings when I am sipping coffee.  It’s still early days, and I don’t know if I will in fact become a loyal follower.  So far I enjoy it, but it will take at least half a year before I know for sure.