Snow on the hills
We had one of those rare dustings of snow on the hills around San Jose. I checked the Mount Hamilton Webcam this morning and apparently caught a break in the clouds. This pretty photo was posted.
Been immersed in trains
Youngest son Kenneth and I have been immersed in this project for awhile. Last night we wrapped it up and the video looks great! It is not just a train geek video, it tells a great story. It is all black and white, it is all still photographs and I plan to show it to my class tomorrow!
"Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster"
Way back in the early 70's I went with Paul Burmeister and his dad Bud on a winter trip to Portola CA in the Feather River Canyon. We drove in Bud's 65 Chevy El Camino. Bud was a retired Western Pacific official and he knew every nook and cranny of that railroad. He also knew about every person who worked for the WP. We stayed at the Sleepy Pines Motel. It snowed, a lot!
Portola was a busy place on the WP. This was long before the WP was taken over by the Union Pacific. We went to the railroad yard and took night photos of trains. After that we went back to the Motel. I had a radio monitor tuned to the WP radio frequency and we left it on all night. It was so cold, back in the railroad yard, the WP had a locomotive going to every switch in the Portola Yard with a torch to heat them up and melt any ice that might have accumulated there. That locomotive was the WP 3010, a GP-35. The engine constantly talked to the Portola Yardmaster, all night. Every time they did they started their radio conversation with, "Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster". Listening to that and the snow falling are some of the most wonderful memories I have of my teen years.
It is snowing in Portola again. The scene above was on the webcam there. As soon as I saw it I thought to myself, "Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster." Some memories never fade. Susie and I are planning to go to Portola in a couple of weeks. I wonder if there will still be snow there?
Winterail Teaser Video
This is the second video posted to the Internet featuring photos from the show youngest son Kenneth and I are doing. This video, featuring SP photos by Bill Darrough and from his brother's collection focuses on Southern Pacific Steam Locomotives, mostly 4-6-2's from 1938 to 1940. The high definition version will be shown at a railroad photography convention in two weeks named Winterail. The video shown here is formatted for the Internet and features music by Vonda Shepard.
The photos in this show were taken by Bill Darrough and/or are from the collection of Bill and Jack Darrough. This is an amazing collection of photographs. In a conversation with Bill Darrough's brother Jack in August of 1988 Jack said, "Bill died in 1942, he was 22 years-old. He suffered from severe teenage acne and they had treated it with massive doses of radiation, which at the time was thought harmless. The radiation cleared his acne but Bill died of cancer." According to Jack, he and Bill came from a railroad family. The members of a railroaders family were then given passes and could travel free on the nation's passenger trains. The period that Bill lived in was near the climax of the era of steam railroading in this country. Jack said Bill would pack two suitcases, one with film and the other with sandwiches and the young man would go on trips alone photographing trains. In my opinion had he lived he would have been one of the greatest railroad photographers of the twentieth century. It is an amazing story and so Ken and I are trying to tell it.
There is a lot more in the show, both mainline steam, traction, shortline steam and logging RR's. I do not know where it will be in the days lineup of shows.
These are a lot of my students and former students!
Having one kid in who is in his thirties and two in their twenties (yes, we started young) I can assure you that what is written above (about the world being different) is true, but that is another post. I am thrilled to be the faculty adviser to the coolest club at SJSU, the SJSU Technology and Emerging Media Club (STEM.) They are meeting weekly in the Incubator Conference Room in Clark Hall and are sharing and teaching themselves and fellow students how to use and create emerging media including blogs, RSS, Podcasts, Video Blogs and virtual worlds. STEM meets Wednesdays at 4:30p in Clark 116.
Clip from the show we are doing
This 28 MB 60-second high definition Quick Time video clip is from the show my son, Kenneth Sloan, and I are doing for Winterail 2007. This clip has no music or narration. The clip features photos from California Shortlines in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Railroads like the Bay Point and Clayton as well as McCloud. Enjoy!
The SJSU Technology and Emerging Media Club
The SJSU Technology and Emerging Media (STEM) Club had its second meeting today in Clark Hall. Students discussed their favorite blogs and talked about new tools. Andrew Venegas discussed how to create a blog and discussed RSS and tagging. STEM now seems to have enough members and has completed all the necessary paperwork to become a student organization at SJSU. The next meeting of STEM is in two weeks.
Stage Three Bike Race Finish by SJSU
Stage three of the Tour of California finished a block away from campus allowing me to take a late lunch and shoot the end of the race. It was very cool! It is neat seeing a stage of what is perhaps the biggest bike race in the US end so close to where I work.
On Saturday the 24th there will be an installfest hosted by the SJSU Linux User's group. This event will be from 11am to 4pm in the Computer Science Club Room in MQH 227 at SJSU. This is an excellent opportunity to get assistance in installing or configuring your Linux system. They will also help you set up dual boot with Windows if you so desire. Their next regular meeting is this coming Thursday at 3pm in the Ohlone Room in the Student Union at SJSU.
My mother-in-law is 81 today
My mother-in-law Frances Graziano is a continuing source of inspiration. Talk about aging gracefully, despite health problems she meets her days with energy and good cheer. She is awesomely outgoing and is on the go often. She makes friends and constantly is finding interesting things to do. Happy 81st Birthday Frances and here is wishing you many more!
Spring came in February here
This weekend we have had great weather. Saturday was the very best. I went for a bicycle ride and on my way over one of the local hills I saw three deer grazing in a meadow. The hills are green and the blossoms and flowers are out in force. On Sunday Susie and I went for a walk around the neighborhood and saw many trees in blossom. I am very glad I carried my camera.
Camera Stores are Dying
It seems like one-by-one all of my favorite camera stores are going out of business. Is this really progress? Driven out of business by on-line sales and the loss of photo finishing income, these places are dropping like flies. I really love going to camera stores. Those days may soon be gone.
Six Tunnel Motors at Burbank Junction
Harry Wong sent me this link to a video of six Tunnel Motors at Burbank Junction, California. The train even has a caboose! This was the face of western railroading a few decades ago and I miss those days so much. I sure wish I could go train chasing. The train is backing up to pick up train orders. Once it has them it races back forward as it speeds out of town.
This post was made from my tablet running Office 2007. I have been using this new version of Office as well as Vista. I am impressed with the ability of the new version of Word to post directly to blogs. It is nice to have the tools available in Word and to be able to post directly from it. That rocks!
Another Birthday Boy
His father was a Gigolo. So, though both Shadow and Pixel have different mothers, they have the same father and are exactly a week apart in age.
You couldn't find a more mellow and gentle cat than Shadow. He was born with the Feline equivalent of Crone's disease so he is only about eight pounds and is a perpetual kitten. Like Pixel, he is a total lap cat. These cats seem to never to miss an opportunity to crawl into any available lap. I guess it is the way Burmese are. They are indoor only cats.
Shadow has a really loud PURR. He loves to be warm. He seeks warmth, sleeping under the covers with Susie and I, racing for the heater vent when he hears the heater come on and jumping into laundry basket after clothes come out of the dryer. He loves to sit and look out the window during the day, preferably in the sunlight. He is just a great cat! We love him to pieces.
Kenneth has a laptop
I gave Kenneth a Macintosh PowerBook. It is a sweet little Mac and is very portable. It has wi-fi so he can take it to coffee houses with free wireless to get onto the Internet. This Mac is loaded with software so he can do photo editing and all kinds of fun stuff with it. He seems to really like it.
Last night we finally felt well enough for company. Ken came over and finished his picture scanning. He has scanned about 650 pictures. Now I have to take the photos into Photoshop and convert them for use in the show.
Cats have been great company
As we have been sick we have been home a lot but not up for doing much. We have watched all of the Netflix movies we have. A lot of this time has been spent with cats on our laps. They are great company! We are feeling much better now.
How a pandemic may spread
When I was a little boy, about a half century ago, I was babysat by the next door neighbor lady. I remember she had a wringer washing machine. Their clothes would be washed in the tub below. When they were rinsed she would crank them through the wringer. They would come out of the rollers as flat as a pancake. That is how Sue and I feel.
At the dance last Saturday one member of our social group was apparently sick, but did not know it because she was not yet symptomatic. We sat next to each other, danced with each other and hugged at the end of the evening. By the middle of the following week a dozen or so of us were sick, including Sue and I. I guess if we have a bird flu pandemic this is how it will spread.
I have lost ten pounds in the last week, mostly from dehydration I guess. We are both still ill, but getting better.
I am getting better, Sue is worse
I feel better but Sue is much worse today. I am still sick, but I am not suffering as I was, as Sue is. Just last weekend we were partying with friends and dancing. I could not understand why I felt so tired. Monday, shortly after I got to work, it hit. The best part of being sick is how good it will feel to be well. We cancelled our weekend getaway, of course.
Kenneth and I are working on a video
My being sick has put a dent on this getting this project done. Kenneth has not been able to come over and scan. But, I think we will get this done okay. It is going to be an awesome show.
I am still sick
I have slept most of today. I have had a wicked fever, but it has gone down. Susie has been taking great care of me.
Coming along on the show
Kenneth and I are coming right along on the show we are doing for Winterail. Ken has scanned 500 prints and I have put quite a bit of time into editing them. I think it will be a really good show.
We are Cat Crazy
Our cats sleep on us and with us (under the sheets.) They are a source of constant joy and entertainment for us. Pixel even has his own page on Catster. We love them.
Students forming SJSU Technology & Emerging Media Club
This is really cool! Students interested in blogging, podcasting, video blogging and other media are forming a new student club at SJSU. Most of these students are from last semester's JMC163 class. Andrew writes more on his blog!
Friday Fun Stuff: Wozniak's Datsun Commercial
You might have t be a codger, or almost one, to remember this commercial by Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple Inc. This is one of the many fun commercials at funny-commercials.net.
This is a big year for Microsoft
I went to a Microsoft rollout event in Santa Clara today and was very impressed. Microsoft is almost simultaneously releasing new versions of their operating systems and office suites. Also, they are increasing their focus on workflow and collaboration through new versions of Exchange and Sharepoint. The Microsoft folks there were proud and excited and they deserve to be.