February 29, 2008

Chasing the Daylight Domeliner

Pacing 1996 and train (see mirror) near San Ardo

Ever since Union Pacific unveiled her at Roseville, California last summer, I've been hoping to catch Southern Pacific "Heritage" diesel no. 1996 on the old SP Coast Line. The planets finally aligned last Saturday, Feb. 23, when UP placed her on the point of a business special from Oakland to West Colton. Railroad forces gave the Daylight-painted engine a bath before departure, and the seven-car train cruised down the Salinas Valley under overcast skies (but no rain, thankfully). And what a pretty train -- three domes, and two cars from SP's old business car fleet -- with former "Espee" biz car Sunset bringing up the rear. I'd recovered from a cold just enough that Kat and I headed out that day for an old-fashioned chase. We met the 1996 South at Aromas, then followed her down the valley to Bradley . . . where we finally turned around to head home. It's been months since we chased a train, and we made the most of it. Below are a few images from a fun day:

The first encounter at Aromas . . . 1996's air horn echoing through the Pajaro Valley

The Coast Line was home to the Daylights, but this classy train fits right into the Salinas Valley. (2 views)

Searchlight signals and emerald hills at Bradley . . . our final runby of the day.

Cover Me

As regular visitors to the 66rails website already know, the Route 66 Railway book has a cover:

It's a screen grab from a PDF, but you get the idea. About 40 pages are done -- roughly one-fourth of the book, but things are moving at a quick pace. I'm heading down to southern California this weekend to meet with the designer and publisher . . . tomorrow I'll visit what remains of the Cajon Pass tunnels before BNSF demolishes them in early March. If you're heading to Winterail on March 8, be sure to stop by the LARHF table, where we'll have sample page spreads to show. Or register HERE for news and updates at the book's website.

February 3, 2008

A Giant Super Bowl

We’re casual football fans in the Lawrence home, but we always make time to catch the Super Bowl. Often we're paying more attention to the pop culture atmosphere than the game itself. This year I decided to keep a running commentary on the highlights of Super Bowl 42 . . . below is the play-by-play:
Atticus enjoys the game while rooting for the Giants.

3:00 p.m. – Fox ushers in The Big Event with a CGI robot dude that looks awfully similar to one of the “Transformers.” Hmm, wasn’t that a Paramount movie? I smell copyright suit . . .

3:01 –
Ahhh, Joe Buck (a.k.a., “Buckhead”). My old nemesis. At least there’s no Tim McCarver (a.k.a., “Beavis”).

3:13 –
Patriots take the field. History is about to be made. Or not.

3:16 –
A “Sarah Connor Chronicles” ad. Terminators, baby! NOW we’re talking entertainment.

3:19 –
Jordan Sparks, who apparently was a runner-up in American Idol, does a lovely job with the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Jets fly above, people cheer. Here at home, we have Abita beer and chips. Life is good.

3:21 – The first movie ad! Owen Wilson teaches kids about “mind over pain.” Seeing how he attempted suicide last year, I hope the kids aren’t listening too closely.

3:36 –
The first "real" ads! Bud Light delivers a big laugh with a fire-breathing drinker and a singed cat. I’m still not drinking Bud Light. But Laura and I are smitten with the new Audi. We'll take two, please!

3:45 –
NY draws “first blood” (thanks Joe Buck, for that riveting and obvious call). Still, it's nice to see the Giants winning. Wish this was baseball.

3:46 –
It must suck to be Sales Genie, coming after the hilarious Pepsi Max ad.

4:00 –
Patriots take the lead. Now it feels like our Giants.

4:07 –
MyTalkingStain.com has got to be the nastiest Website we’ll see tonight.

4:30(ish) –
Hey, a train! Pulled by a Budweiser Clydesdale . . . does that count as a remote unit?

4:40 –
Laura is teaching Kat about football. She gets it, but is still more excited about the Prince Caspian ad.

5:00 – Halftime with Tom Petty. We’re reasonably assured of no wardrobe malfunction.

5:26 –
Game resumes. Giants are keeping Brady and the Patriots off-balance.

6:10 –
Giants make a biiig touchdown.

6:39 –
Patriots make a bigger touchdown.

[*Side note - There’s always a moment in our place where the excitement drops noticeably and the game becomes background noise. That isn’t happening this year.]

6:52 –
An amazing Giants catch. Our cheers cleared out the cats.

6:55 –
WOW. Manning and Burress!! They score what will be the final touchdown. Giants lead again with 39 seconds left. Good thing the cats cleared the room.

7:00 (ish) – Giants win!

7:07 –
“What do we do now?” asks one of the Giants players’ wives as they bask amid post-game confetti and media madness. “Just take it all in,” her smiling hubby answers.

After one of the best Super Bowls we’ve ever seen, Laura sums it up: “That was a game worth watching.”

A few non-game stats:

How inspiring was the “NFL True Story” ad for Chester Pitts, the "Oboe Man?" Bridgestone gets the runner-up nod.

Iron Man.

Best ads for a beer that we’ll still never drink:
Bud Light.

Hey, if we close our eyes, we can pretend it’s OUR Giants who just won the big prize. Nah, it still doesn’t work.