Bluetooth Model Train Control

OK train people, I haven’t written much about model trains recently, but this Kickstarter project is very interesting. Basically, this small board which would be added into the model locomotive would enable you to control your trains via a Bluetooth device such as an Apple or Android phone.

BlueTooth Control


As much as other hobbies have advanced over the years, model trains have gotten a bit stuck. Or maybe we should say “derailed”? Anyway, the trains are still, for the most part, controlled via power and signals over the track. This is often called driving the track instead of driving the train. While DCC helps with that, it still relies on the track for the power and the computer signal to reach the train. The goal everyone would like to get to would be for the track to be support only, as they are in real life, with power and controls coming from the locomotive itself. Read more »

DCC and Computer Control, Trains, Model RR, Hobbies , , ,

Get Your Life Sorted with HabitRPG

Looking to increase productivity in your life? Most people would immediately download an app like Evernote to get themselves sorted, but the problem with the traditional productivity apps are that they mostly work with self-motivated individuals. Others will use the app for a while, only getting bored of it later on because they get lazy and lack encouragement. Those that need that extra incentive to get organized would benefit from a game-like app that rewarded them with points and pushed them to proceed to the next level. Read more »

General, Software Reviews , ,

Review: Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins

I kept having to stop while reading “Not Without My Father” by my friend Andra Watkins. I kept having to stop and think. I was thinking of my own father and other people in my life who I have taken for granted or not spent the time with that I should.

Not Without My Father by Andra WatkinsWhile there are quite a few good laughs in this book, it is not a bouncy rainbows and unicorns type family story. It is an honest look at a hard personal journey of discovery and connections that is mirrored through the author’s own person journey to walk the Natchez Trace. Her father accompanies her on that walk, via comfortable car of course, to guide, protect and promote her. As any dad should. But this is not so easy a relationship. Along the way old wounds are revealed and feelings left unsaid, both good and bad, are voiced. And then there is mom. Mom throws a whole different spice into the brew.

As I read “Not Without My Father” I thought about my dad. And just as importantly I thought about both my son and daughter. I had to pause to wonder what baggage I was leaving them with, and what tools as well to help them on their journey. Were the experiences I shared with my family, all of my family, what I really wanted to leave them with? And most importantly, had I been present in their lives? Was I there, paying attention, and participating? Read more »

Books & Book Reviews, Family and Friends , , ,

Blackfern Girls – A Revew

Blackfern Girls by Elizabeth YonI have been an Elizabeth Yon fan ever since I read her short story in the compilation Echoes in Darkness. Now she has a book out all her own, and it is an atmospheric feast. Blackfern Girls stands as a testament to Yon’s ability to create a world which surrounds you in total macabre believability. As you read the four stories that make up this collection, you are drawn into the characters, the stories, and the overall feel of what is going on in this haunted rural area.

The delectable stories in Blackfern Girls range from the slightly creepy to the totally unnerving. What they have in common is not only a regional basis, but an expert’s characterization and world building. You will be drawn in by sweet little girls only to be repulsed back by their seeming evil. The shock of the evil would not be possible if you failed first to believe in the innocence. You will start to agree with a disbeliever, only to be shocked at the depth of her belief. Again and again, what you have come to understand will be turned on its ear. Read more »

Books & Book Reviews , , ,

Catherine at British Car Day

Yesterday was the British Car Club of Charleston‘s British Car Day car show. (That was a mouthful!) Anyway, I was very pleased that at this 30th anniversary show Catherine took home first place in her class. No, it really doesn’t bother me that she was the only one in her class, because in reality she is in a class by herself.

By the way, for those who don’t know, Catherine is a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess. She has less than 34,000 original miles on her. For more pictures of Catherine just go to this gallery. Read more »

Cars ,

Review of The End of the Sentence

The End of the Sentence is amazing. The End of the SentenceNot only is this well crafted novella a great read, it is also a fitting companion to the autumn winds of October and the upcoming Halloween.

On the face of it, this is a short book about a man running from his past and looking to build a new future. That future turns out to not be what he thought it would be when when he encounters ghosts, murderers, and monsters far out in small town Oregon. But that is only the face of it, and there is more. Oh so much more.

In equal parts ghost story and murder mystery, horror tale and modern fantasy, the authors have woven a story out of elements so familiar that they feel like our own history, but they have threaded these among circumstances so foreign, and at times horrifying, that we recoil. After recoiling though, we must look back and, with the author’s firm hand upon our shoulder, we are drawn back in, and deeper in.

The themes of loss and redemption, grief and hope, abandonment and determination arise again and again to intertwine with every character we meet. These are themes familiar to us all, so familiar that we can forget they are traits of other people’s tales as well. And we may also forget that each of us may respond to circumstances in ways both different and perhaps horrifying.

In The End of the Sentence, Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard have created a wondrous tale of a new American mythology. I anxiously await whatever they will come up with next.

Books & Book Reviews , , ,