My intent in creating and
expanding this website is first, to bring my many interests into one place
where I can gain knowledge as well as share any of my knowledge of
relevance to others. My personal belief about "hobby"
related websites is that they should be a venue for open communication
based on the most common desires of those who frequent such sites.
As I do not consider myself a researcher or historian, I generally lean
toward being the "source at the scene" resource for rail
enthusiasts. I don't plan to write a book on any rail subject as I
cannot concentrate on any one specific topic that long. That is not
to say that I do not generally support those who do write books (some I
do, some I don't... :- ). Many topics are just too specific to warrant the expense of
writing and publishing a book which has limited availability anyway.
If you live in the Ukraine and you want to learn about the Arizona Eastern
Railroad because your grandfather emigrated to America and was temporarily
employed by the railroad, you are pretty much out of luck if you visit the
local bookstore. But, if you have access to the World Wide Web,
somebody, somewhere shares your interest and has created their own little
resource in some little corner of the globe. In my opinion, this is
the greatest reason for sites such as mine. I get an immense amount
of enjoyment receiving emails from individuals in other parts of the world
whom I would never even have known existed if they did not write and ask
for more details or reference information for some nearby locale or
equipment that I take for granted. I get as much enjoyment out of
browsing other's sites to get a feel for what they commonly experience
where they live and work. I will probably never travel extensively
in Cuba or China, but I am well familiar with the steam railroad
operations there. I may never get the opportunity to travel
extensively in Europe and see all the different industries there, but I
can see them on my computer. Although being there is more enjoyable,
it is also expensive and most of us do not have the luxury of spending all
of our leisure time traveling around the world. Beyond winning the
lottery or inheriting a fortune from a long, lost relative, browsing the
web is the next best thing. This is what I attempt to bring to the
greater internet community with the information on my site. I have
nothing to sell, no doctrine to preach and no limits on who may have
access to what I have to share...
A quick note about why I do this from my personal perspective:
I am the kind of person who has way too many areas of interest to fully master any of them, hence, this site is a great way to express many of them at once. I enjoy any large and complicated machinery, particularly railroad machinery as this was the most prevalent example I grew up with. I enjoy photography and consider myself barely competent to be allowed to use a camera--I wish I were better but at least I have developed enough ability to document those things I find interesting. I have always had a fascination with computers and always seem to learn just enough to use them in the manner in which I desire. I have been given responsibilities related to computer maintenance (hardware and software) in various aspects of my employment from time to time, but this is not my intent, nor is it to my liking. In an earlier incarnation of my self (back in my teens and 20s), I studied art (particularly graphic art) and had designs to pursue this as a career. I abandoned this for learning trades such as woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, knife making, construction--anything to do with creating things by hand. Then, I discovered electronics and computers and ran off on this tangent. Finally, I followed many of my siblings into the operational side of the entertainment industry as a technician and sound engineer. Due to the "jack of all trades" nature of my self education, I tend to jump around a lot from one project or job to the next more exciting one. I now try to take jobs that support my hobbies in some way. My most enduring hobbies are model railroading, railroad and machinery photography, and electronics. Thus, my current job as a technician with a video/virtual reality production company which requires travel all over the nation is a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge and archive of pictures as well as knowledge of railroads in general, and play with high tech electronic gadgets... I may never get rich financially, but at least I enjoy it.
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