Next train

Grubbe Street 250115A couple of days’ progress. I must say I’m finding this design process almost as much fun as actually building it, which I haven’t got anywhere near starting yet. I start each day as a new copy of the drawing so that I can go back if I mess it up, and I can make changes to my heart’s content.

Grubbe Street 250115aAnother view showing how I’ve copied and modified the magazine article. The red and green lines at bottom left will be at a higher level than the red and blue at baseboard level. I must admit this plan is ad hoc. I’m not sure of the operations, I’m just making it up as I go along.

My priority is to have wide smooth curves and long stretches like real railways. Carriages going around tight curves and sticking out as a result are not realistic. I think I’ll hide the half circle curves in tunnels or cuttings. I’ll have to measure up some trains and carriages and place them in the drawing to try to judge the scale. I have no idea if it’ll be realistic at the moment.

I intend to print this plan out at full size, i.e. baseboards 1.2m wide x 4.8m high in the vertical, and 5.0m wide on the horizontal leg. That’s HUGE. Then I’ll lightly paste the printout to the craftwood base sheets and use the drawing to lay tracks.

I did a trial print this morning and it uses 96 sheets of A3+ !! No, I didn’t use actual paper – I print to PDF and I can see each A3+ sheet on the screen. I could print just a few sheets to do a trial. I’ll be using the cheapest paper I can find, of course, when I do the actual printing, as the paper will be torn away after the track is laid. Hmmm, photocopier paper only comes in A3, so that means smaller pages and more of them. Another trial print coming up.


Another checkout error at IGA yesterday. I watched the screen as closely as I could while the guy was scanning my items and nearly, nearly, walked out without checking the docket. But I did stop to check, and my kilo of peaches at $3.99/Kg had been rung up as nectarines at $6.99/Kg. Grrrrr!

I immediately went back to the checkout aisle but the guy, the boy, made me wait while every other customer went through. I said, “I’m going to start shouting for the manager if you don’t pay me attention soon. YOU have made a mistake.” He still asked me to wait, then called a more senior woman over. It still took more than 3 mins for her to sort things out but at least she refunded the whole cost of the item.

I’m going to have to write them a letter of complaint. I literally cannot get through that shop without there being an error of some kind, and it’s always in their favour! My advice is to always take your docket and always check it, in any shop. There are so many scanning and pricing errors, and it’s always against you and me.


I needed a new car battery last Tuesday, and the RAC were here within 20 mins, and it was all done 10 minutes later. EFTPOS payment by wireless. Amazing. The old battery had lasted since around July 2009, so pretty good. The new battery is the same brand and has a three year warranty!

Then on Friday I called a pergola man about fixing a loose Alsynite sheet on my patio that was banging in the wind. He was here within 90 mins and job done in 15 mins. $70 cash. Fast work.

I’ve got a grouting man coming this Thursday for my bedroom 1 shower, which is looking very mouldy and grotty. The previous owners have attempted a reseal, but it’s a very poor, unsightly job. He doesn’t need to look, he says, it’s a flat fee of $400 no matter what, and he replaces ALL the grouting, even if it looks OK.

Fast service these days, in other words. And as I write, on Sunday of the Australia Day long weekend, the builders are still working on the new townhouses across the roundabout from me. All the shops are open on Sunday these days, as well. Amazing. Times have changed.


My Solid State Drive (SSD) failed last October and I’ve just got around to finding out how to claim on warranty for it. I found OCZ’s web site and submitted a request.

They asked me to do a test but it did no good, so the next step is that they’ve given me an RMA number, a Return Materials Authorisation. But I have to send it at my own expense via DHL, or one of those shipping firms, to Taiwan!

They’ve asked me to do a survey, so I’ve told them I think I should be able to return it to the place I bought it (Osborne Park) for replacement, or at least, only have to send it to an address in Australia. Not happy about this.


I’ve mentioned before about being a fan of the Chinese TV show If You Are the One on SBS2 at 7.30pm every night. It’s 24 girls, women, looking for a husband, and guys are wheeled out one by one as love candidates.

I’m very impressed by some of these guys. There seems to be a culture of giving to the community in China. Many guys are volunteers or work for low wages in remote villages as teachers or child carers. (Of course, they are the type of guy who hasn’t found a wife so far.)

But I’m also very unimpressed at how easily many guys are rejected by the women, often for trivial reasons. One woman in particular is 29, overweight (chubby, as they call it) and has an eight year old son from a previous marriage. She’s not ideal, in other words, but she has a bubbly personality and says many times that she’s looking for an older guy, but almost any guy who can accept her will do. She gets very excited sometimes but is usually rejected as too old and because she has the son.

So a couple of nights ago, there was a 32 year old guy who not only chose her as his favourite, the first time I can recall that happening, but explicitly said he could accept a child as his own. He seemed like a really good guy. Perfect match.

So what happens? She rejected him! Why? Because he’s a reformed drinker and doesn’t drink any more. She wants a partner who she can drink with. Bloody hell. He was crestfallen and she was upset when she realised what she’d done, but it made me wonder if she really knows what she wants. She’s still on offer in the lineup, but I hope this one-in-a-million guy gets a chance to try again behind the scenes. This was a big chance for both of them.

Another very cute and bubbly regular girl seemed to take an instant liking to a guy who was a childcare worker, as she is. She even came out on the catwalk and made a balloon toy with him – something like that never happens. She kept her light on to the end, but when it came to the crunch, she rejected him! Why? Because he was one year younger than her! What the hell … ? I think many of these women either don’t know what they want or are too afraid to commit. I feel very sorry for many of the guys. It’s very hard on them. I’m also rapidly losing sympathy for many of the women. They too easily reject guys for all the wrong reasons. A good female candidate is quite rare.

I must say that this program, and my recent visit, have changed my view of China. The cities are quite attractive and the standard of living seems pretty high. There’s a huge emphasis on higher education. Most of the women are either PhDs or have Masters degrees, or are in senior positions, and many of the guys have completed a uni degree of some kind. China comes across in a very good light. As usual, individual people are nice. It’s just the power elite who spoil a country.

There are some interesting things the girls look for, or not –

  • “chubbiness” is no handicap. Quite the opposite, thin guys are criticised for it and asked if they can put on some weight.
  • each guy has to choose his favourite girl right at the start, and I’m amazed how often the plainest, quietest girls are picked. The bright, bubbly, glamourous ones are not chosen as favourites. Hmmm.
  • parental approval is extremely important, and the idea of living with parents is often canvassed. Some will, some won’t.
  • double eyelids! The girls want eyelids with folds like we Westerners have, not the blank grooveless eyelids of Chinese. Crazy! How stupidly trivial.
  • many of the girls think it’s OK to spend all their money on makeup, clothes, handbags and shoes. One, last night, even went so far as to say it’s women’s right, because they work harder than men. She is a sour looking woman and was sort of howled down. Served her right.

Good show.


2 comments on “Next train

  1. tom says:

    Enjoying your train progress Pete……
    Big computer store here (GameDude) stopped selling OCZ drives…. They said the defective returns were sending them broke. I flagged ‘Note for SELF’- Never buy an OCZ drive. Sorry I never shared the tip with you (!). I meant to write to APC about it… Never did… Should. Stick to Samsung EVO 850’s or Intel I say. I had the same issue with AOC displays. Another Note for self- NEVER buy AOC displays.

  2. Pete says:

    At last! A comment!! I really think no-one’s reading this blog. Virtually no-one has anything to say. Why? I don’t understand it.

    Yes, I bought this OCZ on the basis of magazine reviews, but they don’t test reliability, of course. I put one in my laptop and that’s OK so far, thank goodness, as it was quite a job to do the swap.

    I did buy a Samsung to replace this OCZ. Tip noted about AOC. I’m thinking about a new monitor at some time (soon?) but I tend towards the Dell Ultrasharps. I have a 24″ from about 2007 and it’s been great, but the fluorescent backlight is taking an age to warm up and reach normal brightness now.

    The trains are going to be DCC, of course. That is a revolution in model train control. I built a couple of analogue controllers (EA) many years ago with inertia and braking and all that stuff, but you still had to separate trains and have a contrller for each loco. This DCC is a no-brainer for techs like us. Marvellous stuff.

    But I can’t understand why there are so few designs (virtually none) in the electronics mags. Elektor has done a bit, but Silicon Chip ignores it. Why?

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