My Dad wrote a SF story 20 years ago

20 years ago, my dad wrote a story on what train dispatching would be like in 20 years.

I found it pretty fun, so I thought I'd share and asked him to send it to me, so here it is!

Attached below is a short story entitled "2020 Dispatching", a fictional account written in the year 2000 predicting what train dispatching might have, could have been like twenty years later. It was published as a sidebar in the Federal Railroad Administration's Five-Year Strategic Plan for Railroad Research, Development, and Demonstrations, March 2002. The authors of the short story were, in retrospect, excessively optimistic about how train dispatching would change over two decades. Perhaps the title of the story should be changed to "2050 Dispatching".

I hope you find it of interest.

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Ramen Fire

Approximately 12 days ago, a new Ramen restaurant opened at the local shopping center. As in legit 'buncha ingredients, a full meal, with a variety of styles,' ramen, not the instant kind.

Approximately 3 days ago, there was a fire in the shopping center, a number of stores suffered smoke/water damage, and the powers still out. The ramen store and the laundry next to it are the two most likely starting points.



In the vein of the last post, I did another DIY project, filling up something else.

"Hm, this one says I shouldn't get it on my skin..."
Dad: "We have some rubber gloves."
Me: (Knowing they're kitchen, not disposable, gloves) "I don't want to mess up any good ones..."
Dad: "These are on the way out anyway."
Me: "Alright."

*Does DIY project*

*Pulls off gloves at finish- two fingers break off*

Me: "These really were on the way out!"

I have no idea how they got that way but the rubber just snapped off ^^

Back from Vermont!

I came back from a week-long vacay to Vermont, where I stayed with my Aunt C, who's great. Went up with my dad and sister, though sis only for half the trip. Also for part of it, Aunt B and her husband were there too, which was cool! (Last time I went up to the area was their wedding)

We swung over to New Hampshire and went up Mount Washington on the Cog Railroad- if you ever want to go up a famous mountain without hiking, this is the one to do, and being on a specially-designed railway doesn't diminish the experience (the seats and engine are both tilted!). We love trains, and Mt. Wash is awesome. Got there on one of the first trains so it wasn't too busy when we did. Weather was good when we did- the mountain has famously some of the worst weather on earth (they had a wind gauge there that once clocked 231 mph- which held the record for something like 90 years), but we got a mix of clear and literally being inside some clouds, which was nice.

To my disappointment, Montpelier's best bookstore, Rivendale, closed! It was suuuch a good used/new bookstore, alas, I was heartbroken. We did hit a number of other places of interest. Up in Burlington their Church street had a lot of good bookstores, restaurants, and various other places, reminds me some of Old Town around here, plus they had some stands out for a market day with artists and such. Word of warning- the comic there has tricky steps coming in *and* going out, so I twisted my foot on the exit ^^ Last day, so it didn't really affect the trip much, only started hurting once we got to the airport. Plus we got to look over the lake- no Champ sightings, alas.

We also hit the Dog Chapel on the way to the mountain. Lotta dog stuff- and they had some event going on so a lot of dogs too!

Went over to the cousin's place (literally next door from my aunt's). Played Ticket to Ride with the whole family, and we had a pretty good time. I got second place ^^ My dad didn't do well because even though he's big into trains he's not great at games, so got too focused on the routes he couldn't make. I played fairly safe and managed to do pretty well.

Shortly before going I got a nintendo 3ds, to give stuff to do on the travel segments of the trip. So far only have mighty gunvolt burst (a really great Mega Man style game), Monster Hunter 4, and Radiant Historia (a time travel fantasy RPG). It took me off guard that portables not only have 3d, but just plumb good graphics and an RPG can have full voice acting, that's better than my last home console (PS2). Anyway, that was fun on the trainride up/planeride back.

Speaking of the planeride, it was delayed a few hours, but the gate had a 'Skinny Pancake' place that served crepes, and they stayed open longer to help take care of us. So I ate some very good crepes and honestly the delay was a bonus ^^ On the way back we went over some great city lights. Arrived home, all is well!

Oh, and not long after getting back I cleared a buncha books from my shelves and took 'em to a used bookstore and got a few new ones. Yay! And my foot healed.

Good times all around

Grand Central Arena / Shadow of Hyperion

Remember me talking about Grand Central Arena?

There's a kickstarter for a new book in the series, Shadows of Hyperion.

Grand Central Arena one of my favs, I absolutely love the Arena as a setting, and the Hyperion backstory with the transhuman characters made to be real versions of fictional heroes. In brief, the first FTL ship takes a crew to a giant construct, where everyone shows up- all FTL goes to one place, the 'Arena,' so there's a vast number of aliens and factions, mingling and competing in this fantastic place. And the crew themselves are quite interesting, coming from an advanced solar system where AI companions are ubiquitous and genmods are common- and one of them specifically comes from the results of a project to make real versions of fictional heroes and it's so cool.

Spoor's love of EE Doc Smith's stuff (and a number of other things) really shows.

For those who haven't gotten into it, the first book is on the Baen Free Library. And if you're curious about the series and have questions, ask, because I am totally down for answering them.

If you have read some of the series, I highly recommend chipping in for the new one at kickstarter!

My dad didn't like the new Godzilla, but....

On opening night I decided to check out Godzilla: King of the Monsters, sight unseen and without much in the way of reviews/no feedback from friends yet, and invited my dad along with. I basically liked it, but thought it had some issues (I enjoyed half the human cast but they made a 'dad plot' central again, just like the first. The monster part was good, the world setting was interesting, and Mothra was awesome). Flipside, my dad didn't, finding it too dark- visually as much as anything.

Buuut seeing it did get him interested to revisit some of the old Godzilla movies with me! He's almost certainly seen some in the past but when I was super-young so he didn't remember much besides the names of the major monsters.

So over the weekend I watched both Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster and Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla with him, curated to pick the ones with good human plots.

Best part? I managed to hide the title with Mechagodzilla, so the twist got him by surprise ^^

Both got thumbs up from him, with Mechagodzilla getting the small nod as his fav of the two.

For my rankings of G:KotM, I find I like the other recent Kaiju movies I've watched more (Pacific Rim Uprising, Rampage), but it is a lot more memorable than the first one. C+, out of kaiju movies. It's better than a number I can think of, but doesn't go in the upper ranks to me. Could go up or down with time- and I am looking forward to Godzilla vs Kong, so there's that.

Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla are A and A+ respectively, being two of the best Showa Godzillas ^^