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Bloviating Zeppelin: I've Been Tagged!

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged, not once, but twice by both:

Both excellent blogs, I should immediately like to point out, so click on the links and visit them!

In any event, as it was explained to me, I must now write in some detail about 5 odd/strange/unknown habits or aspects about me and then tag 5 others. Well, in my limited blogworld, the 5 others I'd like tag in kind have themselves already been tagged; I think I'll leave that portion unfulfilled (clearly going to BlogHell, I think).

So, heavy sigh, here goes:

1. I am very anal about organization, cleanliness and, in particular, my house. This has caused some, eh, shall we say, irregularities in some relationships. I have had a very strange job over the years, located in a number of places, which can be alternately peaceful or ridiculously stressful. I have historically had little if any control over what occurs at work and there have certainly been peaks and valleys.

My home is my cave. I like to go home and, following a particularly bad day or week, pull the rock over my hole and escape within. When my home makes sense, when things are in order, when there is one aspect of my life over which I have control and into which I can flee, then my "outside" or work world can go to Hell -- as it frequently does. As long as one portion of my life is rational and controllable, I can deal with Life and the trials it distributes.

2. I am a Railroad Buff. I "chase trains." I do not build model railroads or play with toy trains. I like the real thing. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Fornicalia off Interstate 80 at the 4,000 foot level, right at the snow belt. Not more than 500 feet away are the main #1 and #2 tracks forged and laid by those who built the Central Pacific Railroad. This roadbed still rests on the original CP line hewed by literally thousands of Chinese workers with nothing more than picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, black powder, horses, oxen, blood and sweat.

The photograph above is that of me in the engineer's seat of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe SD40-2 locomotive, waiting for the east CTC signal at Switch 9 at Emigrant Gap -- kindly taken by the engineer himself who requests to remain nameless.

I have been in the cab of numerous Union Pacific and Southern Pacific locomotives -- pretty much a no-no for cab crew. Even worse, I have been given cab rides on another number of occasions by kindly cab crews -- an absolute trip when you watch an engineer at work handling a 6,000-foot, 10,000-ton train up and down the mountain. There are engineers and conductors I know by name who wave at me from their cabs -- knowing that I'll be using digital photo or digital video equipment and recording their passing. I have roughly 2,000 + 35mm and digital photographs of trains, some published, one used for the cover of a train video in VHS. I also have over 50 hours of mini-DV video from a Sony VX-2000.

This is how weird I've gotten: I can immediately tell the difference between a GE or EMD locomotive by its sound; I can differentiate between the airhorns of Amtrak locomotives and freight locomotives; I can tell, unseen, if a train is going uphill or downhill from some distance by listening for a locomotive set in dynamic braking.

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing finer than anticipating a train, watching a set of armor yellow Union Pacific locomotives approach and listening to the thoaty diesel roar of a triple set of 4,000 HP engines passing, their traction motors howling, watching the sanders at work and smelling the heady diesel fumes pouring from the hot stack of each unit. Boys and girls, now that's livin'!

3. I used to be in radio a number of years ago, both in news and music. I once worked for a large 50,000 watt AM radio station where Rush Limbaugh cut his teeth. I've performed every job in radio, from on-air talent to ops director to news editor, programmer, production room control, promotions director to program director to station manager. As a result I am well schooled in music and have a vinyl record collection exceeding 4,000 classic, valuable and irreplaceable disks. I have a CD collection exceeding 2,000. I am a treasure trove of late 60's, 70's and early 80's rock, jazz, soundtracks and electronica.

4. I cribbed the name for my blog, Bloviating Zeppelin, from Hugh Hewitt's description of the loveable, cuddly Teddy Kennedy. At the time it was quite appropos as I weighed 320+ pounds. In the past year I've gone from 320 (ahem -- kinda around there) to 235. I've gone from a size 52 waist to -- ta-daa! -- a size 42 waist last week. I did it all on Atkins and 24 Hour Fitness. I feel better than I have in 15 years. I still Bloviate but I am not quite the Zeppelin I used to be.

5. I was once a registered Democrat. In college I had hair past my shoulders and a red beard that would make Dusty Hill blush.


This is where the tag ends because, essentially, everyone else I would have tagged has already been subject to same.

And that's the name'a that tune. . .


Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

So, you used to be in radio. How come you got out?

Thu Dec 15, 03:47:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Donner, Party of 247, your table is ready...


Thu Dec 15, 05:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger Gayle said...

I truly enjoyed reading this, BZ. Your writing is marvelous. I love the Sierra Nevada mountains and do miss the snow. Probably because I never shoveled it myself! :)

I don't think the thing you have with trains is one teeny-weeny little bit weird; I think it's wonderful. You've obviously led - and still are leading - an interesting life. The place where you live is interesting all by itself. God did create amazing things, didn't He?

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a blessed New Year!

Thu Dec 15, 05:22:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LMC: I got out because it didn't make much money, I didn't have a Big 3 voice then (the Big 3 being New York, SF or LA), I had a helluva time getting into the IBEW (ya hadda be sponsored to the Nth degree) and there was little security in the biz -- you could be sold at a moment's notice to another company that went to a 24-hour Tibetan Bell Ringing format and, boom, your ass was out the door.

I have a creative side that was allowed to be expressed wonderfully back then. In many ways I miss radio horribly.

Texas Fred: hey buddy, pass me that RIB willya? P.S. That was a GREAT comment!!

Gayle: glad you enjoyed the post! Glad you don't think I'm a Moonbat of the First Degree for indulging in Train Porn.

And yes, I snovel show every damnable winter. Me and the Placer County plowtruck driver play a game every year. I park my car in front of my house, and he plows my ass in whenever possible. Deeply. Thoroughly. He is most excellent at his job.

About the trains: I take tons of photographs. Some of my photos actually come out. Some are bordering on astounding. Many people customarily say: "Ya know, that photo would be pretty cool except for that stupid train in the way."

There's a reason I live so far from work: it's like being on vacation every weekend. And yes, God created a whole host of amazing things!

Thu Dec 15, 06:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger Robosquirrel said...

Thank you for the kind comments... perhaps you'd like to clean my apartment?

Hey, I did radio in college for about a year! I always wished I could do it professionally. Who knows, maybe when the navy's done with me.

The train thing isn't weird at all. I know other people who do that, too.

Thu Dec 15, 07:43:00 PM PST  
Blogger Revka said...

Great to know more personal stuff about you. It helps me to not feel so INTIMIDATED by your intellect. Just to know you are a brilliant man with regular 'habits'.. for lack of a better word.

Now-a-days you would have been diagnosed with mild Aspergers. You know, they are saying Einstein probably had it, and a lot of eccentrics.
My 6 year old was diagnosed with it. He is intelligent, but the special thing about him, is he has a photographic memory when it comes to his interestes. He can watch a program and repeat back everything and word that was said. His specialty is nature/bugs etc.. He can tell you a lot about them.
Most 6 year olds don't want to know all the 'details' he likes to spew, so he can turn other kids off a bit sometimes.
I say all this to tell you, you remind me of him with your 'wealth' of knowledge regarding music, and your love of trains etc.. You tend to really get into it. I actually think that is great! If you love something, you should become an expert at it.
Thanks for the info!

Thu Dec 15, 08:16:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

BloZep said:
"Texas Fred: hey buddy, pass me that RIB willya? P.S. That was a GREAT comment!!"

I imagine you and I are the only ones that actually *caught* that one, I have been over the pass many times, good weather and bad, I also have a friend that's a direct decendent, named Donner...

Thu Dec 15, 08:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger Fish said...

When I was a kid we had the steam trains. I would ride my bike down to the station in our little town. The trains brought everything so there were two sidings where they could unload, or in the case of grain from the elevators, load up. The Engineers got used to me being there a lot then one day one of them let me climb up in the engine and ride the quarter mile down track to fill up with water while they were waiting for cars to be unloaded. It was a highlight of my childhood. These days our oldest daughter works on the steam train to the Grand Canyon so I've had the pleasure of talking with the engineers there and riding the train once to the Canyon. I don't have the passion for trains you do, but it saddens me greatly when I see a roadbed where once great trains ran.

Thu Dec 15, 09:12:00 PM PST  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

The reason I ask is because I would love to do radio some day. But I've heard what you're saying, that it is a hard business and doesn't pay much money.

Thu Dec 15, 09:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

You know, I do politics.

But it seems that whenever I do something OTHER than politics, I get my greatest amount of posts from the Usual Suspects and Then Some. What's up with that?

RoboSquirrel: yeah, okay, I'll come and clean your apartment -- and I won't have to be on crank to do it.

Rebecca: "intimidated by my intellect." -- Man, what planet did you step off from just now? I'm about as sharp as your basic houseplant. But, uh, I guess I appreciate your confidence in my writings. . .incidentally, a photographic memory is called "eidetic" -- if that's what he truly has.

TF: ya know, somehow I knew you'd catch my drift -- except I had NO idea you were related in such a fashion. Up there at the 8,000 foot level, the sad thing is the Schallenberger Cabin.

Fish: SO COOL!! Another new reader to my blog and, of course, WELCOME ABOARD!! Your eldest daughter works aboard a traveling anachronism and, perhaps next year, I shall take a trip to the last run of true operating steam in China. My brother remembers true operating steam; I myself cannot.

LMC: radio is actually a buttload of fun, no matter what anyone says. Your only opportunity is to make an inroad to your local community radio/NPR station. All others require a large commitment for an average amount of cash.

I'm submitting a proposal for another program in my local area on the regional FM station and I expect to have my own 4-hour shift in a month or three. If I'm lucky. One shift a month rocks the entire damned world.

Wish me luck!

Thu Dec 15, 10:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Good luck!!! I'm jealous :-).

Fri Dec 16, 04:11:00 PM PST  

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