Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

Rule G

Brain teasers.

Earlier I mentioned the Timesaver.  With my newfound inspiration, I did some research on switching puzzles.  I still plan to build a Timesaver, but I decided to start off with Inglenook Sidings.  Inglenook is a fiendishly simple puzzle designed by Alan Wright in the UK.  Simply put, you have 8 cars on three sidings, with 14 slots total.  You have to make a train from a randomly selected 5 cars, in a specified order.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

I spent a lot more time than I’d care to admit.

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It’s a motley selection of cars, starting with the small amount I had saved from years ago, winnowed down based on running condition and coupler style.  Selection of the five cars was randomized by assigning each a number and then drawing from a deck of cards.

For some reason the puzzle wasn’t going well until I cracked a Tuckerman’s Headwall Alt.  Fortunately the FRA doesn’t have jurisdiction over my dining room table.

It’s done, and it seems like it may provide a few evenings worth of mental exercise.  Now it just needs some scenery and an industry or two.

The attic

Cleaning the garage is easy. It can be heavy work, but there are only two questions to answer.

1. Is it useful?
2. Will it be useful in the quantifiable future?

If the answer is ‘no’ to both, then out it goes.

Attics are a lot tougher. Attics are full of memories and emotions. Childhood mementos, items saved for the future; dreams realized, postponed, or dashed; and a fair amount of good old junk all compete for space. It all had a purpose when it went up there.

I hate cleaning out the attic, but the physical and emotional weight of of stuff is reaching critical mass. It needs to go. Wish me luck.

Conflagration

Thirty years ago tonight @0235 hours, Lynn Fire Alarm transmitted box 414 for a reported fire at 264-266 Broad Street. The first arriving engine found fire showing from the front of an eight story mill and called for the Working Fire at 0238. By 0245, the district chief had struck the second, third, and fourth alarms. The Chief of Department would go on to strike the fifth through tenth alarms by 0255.

At 0257 he took the unprecedented step of declaring a conflagration. 95 engines, 25 ladders, 2 rescue companies, and 10 Civil Defense engines would eventually respond.

My own small FD would not be among them. Legend has it that we had our own fire and were the only department in the county to not attend.

More history on the Great Lynn Fire of 1981 can be found at the Box 41 website, and there is a fine pictorial of all the Great Lynn Fires available in book form.

Inspiration

Today I attended the local Tour de Chooch with a friend.  TDC is a free, annual, self-guided event where owners of some fabulous model railroads open them for visitation.  I saw some simply wonderful things and was inspired.

The reality, however, is that I have neither the time nor the willpower to build a basement empire at this stage in my life.  I’m thinking about a small shelf railroad, perhaps a Timesaver variant, to keep me busy over the winter and allow some of my old boyhood trains to come out and play again.

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This is one of my most prized posessions.  Deputy Dad had it custom painted for me at least 25 years ago now.  At the time all I knew was that I wanted my own B&M engine.  The guys at the local hobby shop delivered very nicely with an Athearn flywheel drive and Kadee couplers.  This was state-of-the-mid-80’s art.  It may not have Digital Command Control or ProtoSound, but it has memories.

Nostalgia

I was organizing my iPhoto library, and I came across these.

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Engine 1 v3.0 was our last ‘rural’ fire engine.  Gas engine, manual transmission, hydrovac brakes, 3″ supply hose and a Squad 51 lightbar.  It was a relic from another era when it was new, but it served valiantly for 21 years before retirement in 2000.

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When I first joined the department, we still rode this back step.  Now it seems stupid and dangerous.  Back then it was just cold and wet.  Some days I still miss it.

 

Thanksgiving

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go.

I realized today that we literally go over the river and through the woods to get to my parents house.  Of course the woods line the driveway, and the river is a brook, but still. . .

I’m thankful for the big stuff this year: family, work, health.  Enough said.

Best laid plans, part 2

We had plans to travel for Thanksgiving. Thankfully we were driving, because everything went pear shaped. Last weekend’s stomach bug is still lurking about, so a 9 hour drive is out of the question.

Today’s post is for small thanksgivings:

I’m thankful half of the family lives close enough that we can still spend the day with them.

I’m thankful that I can still watch two separate things on Netflix at the same time. I can only take so much Cartoon Network.

I’m thankful that the second supermarket I tried had French fried onions, and I’m thankful for Riverview Pizza.

Happy Takeout Day, everyone!

Sparky

“Hey guys, anything interesting?”

Ambulance 10 has arrived on scene uninvited and unexpected because they have a brand new trainee. Our chest pain patient is hypotensive, tachycardic, diaphoretic, and as pale as my uniform shirt. More help is always welcome.

We toss the trainee and his preceptor into the extrication role, and soon he is learning tricks they don’t teach in school. The stair chair isn’t glamorous, but it’s arguably our second or third most important piece of equipment.

Four of the five of us function as an automatic machine. Oxygen, IV, monitor, aspirin, 12-lead ECG all happen quickly. The trainee looks a bit lost, but he manages to keep up.

We take him with us to the hospital. A10 can catch up later. He’s here to learn, and we’re the ones with the patient right now.

I find myself wondering, was I ever that new? I suppose I must have been. I remember looking up in awe to the paramedics I worked with in my early days, and I suddenly realize that now I am one of them.

Good luck kid, you’ll do fine.

The letter P

Today’s tractor repair was brought to you by the letter P:

Pipe wrench
Penetrating oil
Patience
Perseverance
and a long Pipe for Persuading corroded bolts

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
–Archimedes

Give ME a long enough lever and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall break any cheap imported pipe wrench you may offer. Learned my lesson, though.