February 9, 2005
Went down to Locomotiveland this morning. Joel Klasky set up a photo shoot for me with Bob A., a retired New York Newsday guy, who now plays conductor at McCormick Railroad Park. We met at the park at ten. I shot a roll of 35 mm of him cupping his hand and yelling "All aboard!" Got just the shot I wanted of him leaning out of the train.
Afterwards he walked me around the park and I asked Bob if there were certain trains that were cliches, that artists like myself draw over and over, inducing train enthusiasts to yawn (I figured this had to be true because we gunfighter nuts hate it when big city commercial artists crib some 1940’s shot of Henry Fonda as Frank James and pass it off as Doc Holliday on the cover of Wild West magazine, not that there's anything wrong with that) and were there exotic engines that would make a train guy sit up and go "Caboosie!" Bob said he didn’t know. I asked him if they had any train slang I needed to know about. Once again he feigned ignorance. "Not really," he shrugged. "We just like trains."
I thought to myself, "Well, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the train guys aren't as nutty as us Old West fanatics."
When I asked about different trains to shoot, Bob took me into the gift shop and I met Tim. When Bob told him I wanted to take a few photos of model trains, Tim said, "The standard three-quarter-Rosher?" And I say, "I'm sorry, I don't know what that means." He repeated it like everybody in the world knows what a three-quarter-rosher is. I apologized and asked him to spell it: "R-O-S-T-E-R. You know, a three-quarter-roster shot, like in a baseball program where you take roster shots, at a three-quarter angle with the train angling down to the horizon."
Oh. Yeh. A three-quarter-roster shot. Of course.
Tim opened the big glass train case and I got to take a few up close photos of a cherry Centennial steam engine ($599!). I then picked up a new book of cool train photos called "Steam Echoes: The Railroad Photography of Glenn Beier," which is all black and white ($63! for black and white photos of old trains). As I checked out, Tim told me there is a train museum out in Chandler where I can get some good photos of "Pash cars." Once again I ask him what that means. He repeats it louder, like an American asking for directions in a Juarez taco shop. Turns out it's short for passenger train. As in "pass cars."
It's nice to know the train nuts are plenty nutty!
Regarding my close shave yesterday:
"I had a barber trim my mustache...once. Never, ever do that again!"
Thanks. It's always so nice to get sympathy and support from your friends:
"Someone who lets anyone near his mustache with a cutting implement is a fool and therefore deserves to wind up looking like Hitler."
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