Thursday, July 24, 2008

Patty Schneier @ St. Andrew's

The Butler Humanae Vitae Ministry held a conversion speaker event this past weekend at my parish St. Andrew's in Center Township Butler County. I spent the weekend as the events techie taking care of wiring, mics and the sound systems. The event was fantastic, Patty wound up giving two separate but related talks to the group. The first was her conversion testimony about learning about John Paul II's Theology of the Body and of Humanae Vitae. It was a great talk about the changes to her life, her marrige and her family.

Following Dinner Patty gave a second talk that was being recorded that is in a way best called "Six Years Later". It covers what has happened since the original conversion, and how it has continued to effect her family. Unfortunatly due to the mic not being properly powered we weren't able to get a suitable recording for her, but we all figured that it was for a reason. I personally think Patty will refine the talk even further and make it even more powerful.

All in all the event was fantastic. We had about 105 for mass, and around 120 for the first talk. The NFP promoters dinner had over 50 people including kids, and we had about 40 people return to hear to the second talk. Many thanks to Fr. Salgerg, Patty Schneier, and the BHV team for a great event.

Choosing a Track Plan

So as I said in a previous post while thinking about how to best get my own trains running again I decided to store away my bendtrack modules and put something new together. I started with my old Model Train bookmarks to look for ideas.

I like what Dave Vollmer has done with his door layout, but I wasn't looking for anything quite that size yet. I also liked the "N-Scale layout that grows" book from Model railroader but with all the switches in it the cost was a bit more than I wanted to spend right now. In going thorugh my bookmarks I found a stray one in IE (which was surprising since I rarely use it) for Mini N Scale Track Plans and I found that I really liked a few of these super tiny layouts. So I'm sort of settled on one of the 2'x3' layouts from that site. In thinking about things I've come up with the idea that i will do a small Pennsy themed branch line that services a small community station, and one of the larger industries in town.

So that's where I'm at. I've chosen the layout, the prototype railroad, and some basic structures for it. Now I need to determine what the name and type of industry will be that is serviced by this branch line and I need to keep moving on finishing my structures and sub roadbed. I will put up some pictured of the new layout once download the ones on my camera.

A New Model RR Project

Well the modular layout I'm working on for the WPMRM is coming along great. I missed this past week but I understand our team finished laying the track on the outer loop that we started the previous week and even got a train running on the outer loop.

Even with all that going on I've been wanting to see my own trains run on something other than a loop of ez-track. Not that I have anything against my ex-track it's just that I'm finding I want more than to just have a few cars go around in a circle. So the seed was planted and I began thinking about my own layout. I've opted to scrap the work I've done so far on my bendtrack modules as the track work is just too poorly done and without other bendtrackers in the area I don't have a great incentive to make modules any longer. So I started looking at other peoples small track plans.

While looking those over and before I decided any specifics I knew that I wanted a Pennsy style Interlocking tower. I picked up a small (cheap) Atlas kit just called "Signal Tower" from my local hobby shop and decided to dig in. I used pictures of ALTO and AR towers as my primary guidance. Here are some pictures showing it off.

This is a picture (courtesy of Walthers) of what the raw kit looks like. It's a "molded in color" kit that snaps together.

Here is what mine came out looking like after several nights of work. I wanted it to be heavily weathered as if it had been standing in a remote location for quite some time.

And of course the obligatory scale picture next to a quarter. This little bugger is SMALL. I was actually quite unprepared for just how small and delicate some of the parts were.

All said and done I think I spent about a week working on this almost every night for at least an hour. Which I considered to be a pretty quick build actually. It was for the most part easy to assemble, and not very difficult to weather. I'm just very happy that it came out looking this good. It doesn't look like plastic which is a huge bonus to me.