Archive for February, 2008

Miniature Disasters

Posted in ba038, model railroad, model railway, rail on February 23, 2008 by norvenmunky


We all have them, most of us when we make them, blush politely, apologise, and generally mop up after ourselves. Sometimes of course they can be a sequence of excruciating yet exquisitely crafted cockups. These are usually played out in full view of spectators, or in the webs case readers, whom with the benefit of a remote stance can watch ‘car crash’ interweb postings with wry amusement.
When starting in new company it’s usually a good idea to start gently, and get a feel for the way the correspondants interact with each other. Even then there’s no cast iron gaurantee thats going to work for you, but it’s a good start especially in ‘Forumworld’.
What you should have of course is the ability to think. And to think:
Once in a while, I’m sitting here, writing something. And thinking, “What in the world am I typing here?”
Fortunately for the bystanders there’s the added entertainment factor when the reader realises, ‘Ooh that’s gonna look bad quoted’, and the originator sublimely carries on digging. They work best of course when the assumption is made that the originator speaks for all, (by the originator naturally), and they post a real ‘handsitter’ of a comment, you know, the type that sane people would literally sit on their hands to prevent themselves typing. Once the assumption has been made or posted it can then be quoted of course. The slow witted writer naturally heads back to the original text, to make ‘adjustments’. Of course ‘re-entering’ the post once it’s out in the wild is like trying to nail custard to the ceiling. It’s gone, horse, stable door etc etc.

Above is my latest cock up, not sure what to do with it, got the number wrong, got the number placement wrong, got the engine door wrong as the color scheme is too late for the body, and got no front steps. The only person it matters to is me, and that’s not by much to be honest. I’ll resign myself to the fact that she’ll be the minger in the corner, not asked to dance, even on the first date. She won’t be the belle of the ball, no centrefold for her. Thing is though, she gave me pleasure in doing her, thats what it’s all about surely?

‘The times they are a changin’

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2008 by norvenmunky

I read the news today, Oh boy, apparently some manufacturers customers don’t pay a great deal of attention to the net, for their information on the company or its product and new releases. Fair enough.
It begs the question in this era of instant information gratification, where the information they have comes from. The company doesn’t do handouts or junk mailing, so it must be a traditional sort of establishment using, well, magazines, word of mouth, sales reps, those sort of things.

Magazines of course are a dying breed. We know this as we are told it regularly on the interweb, (note to self, sell WH Smiths asap). The fact that there has been one new entrant this last year that has woken the market up is a very good thing. One mag breathed its last breath last year too. No one was really surprised, as it missed the target by a mile, sort of survival of the fittest sort of thing. So our ‘trad’ manufacturer has ads or reviews in the mags, and sells through catalogues and a establishment know on the high street as ye olde shoppe.

Shops are funny things, they’re sometimes like a house except they have ‘stuff’ in them to buy. Other times they’re like a factory with ‘worker’ants just filling the shelves up. All they want to do is hatch the eggs and move on to the next set of eggs. Well the sort of shops I like are the older style, one owner and some staff. There, there are men with white lab coats puffing on pipes, (oh no, they can’t do that now can they!) saying ‘marvelous’ at regular intervals. The sort of coat you’ll see on a BBC boffin announcing something terribly important in a perfect clipped English accent.

The shops are frequented by customers of all shapes, sizes and smells, a high ninety percentile of them, male. The fairer sex can be seen, usually around December, furtively darting between the stale testosterone and wee laden male of the species, as they hunt for their quarry, a little red and yellow or blue box.

Once caught they secrete, (that’s the girls hiding it, not the blokes oozing it), their quarry in a bag, and so depart wondering what it is that draws so many males, as a candle to a moth. As they jostle toward the counter, encountering the smell of unwashed, (breath through your mouth love, you won’t smell it, trust me …), bodies, colostomy bags etc, they’ll have to cross the path of the customer self appointed expert. You know the one who leans on the counter all chuffin day, butts into every conversation, lives alone, or with his mum and always/never buys the latest release, whilst moaning about, how poor it is, how much better the one in the blue/red box is, always got one started but never finished, his mates done a brilliant one, ‘better than that’.

The true expert of course is frequently behind the counter, and may be a dying breed. After all there’s fewer shops for them to practice their sometimes (May, June July, August, September) monastic existence. Its at these quiet times of year that their search for excellence, and yearning for new challenges, needs to be constructively harnessed in the solace of a quiet shop. No longer can these searches for ones ‘inner self’ take place without state interference. There was a time when grunting from behind the counter meant some strenuous personal endeavor was being undertaken, rather than it being the reply from the member of staff. Managers today can afford to be totally ‘target’ driven, and have no need to check the ceiling for wet, muddy footprints, from staff attempting amateur gymnastics with a set of conveniently placed parallel bars, keeping shelves apart, out of customer sight by the telephone. No, oppressive H&S reviews and legislation have largely stopped the delights of seeing a colleague (as they are called now), risk certain spinal paralysis, hanging upside down, five feet off a concrete floor and straining with all their might to match another colleagues foot prints on the ceiling. Gone are the days of howls of pain, and indeed laughter, as a ‘colleague’ is escorted from the shop with a broken arm and mild concussion by an ambulance man, followed by a grim ‘serves you right, you bloody idiot’ from the manager. Today it’ll be to corporate cries of ‘I’ll sue you’, escorted by a paramedic, because the bar actually broke with a 16 stone chimp hanging from it, and the shops H&S manual failed to mention that dropping five feet onto your head on a concrete floor might actually hurt.

Risk assessors will no doubt be implicated in the legal paper chase, for not warning in the H&S handbook that swinging upside down with no hard hat, high-viz vest and safety harness whilst trying to make footprints on the ceiling, was in fact, not safe. Their biggest worry would be the non-conformity tick in the box at the next review.

As we head toward a sanitized utopia perhaps this trend will reverse. Where will the assessors come from who have any experience of personal risk? Where will they hone the tools and intuition to identify the connection between footprints on the ceiling, a sturdy(ish) bar underneath it, two sweating, breathless, red faced shop assistants, with veins bulging in their foreheads, and how they are all connected.

Twenty twelfty million years ago we slimed our way out of the swamps apparently, and grew arms and legs so we could flee from danger, or when we got the hang of it actually create it. How many years I wonder before we return to the swamp unable to defend ourselves from ourselves and other sharp pointy things.
Ask that bloke over there with the blackberry and plugged into his laptop, he’ll know.

Next week ‘Arc Welding for six year olds’ a 125 issue magazine series brought to you by Hatchet Pratworks. Issue one £0.50 followed by 124 issues at £12.57p
Part one Includes 60ft of 20mm steel tubing and an oxygen cylinder £0.50p
Up to Prt 125 final issue including the welding goggles.