Round numbers, we celebrate them, not because they really mean anything, but because they are round. There’s a whole argument in sports about why we pick round numbers. A player who hits 500 home runs is a sure-fire Baseball Hall of Famer (or at least they were before the Steroid Era made a mess of things). Fred McGriff at 493 may never get in. Is he that different from Lou Gehrig at 493, Eddie Murray at 504, or Stan Musial and Willie Stargell at 475 based on Home Runs? All the others mentioned are in the Hall of Fame and bracket him on the all time list? But that’s not the point, the point is milestones, we pick things that are round numbers and we celebrate them. In this case, even accounting for 41 weekly posts that are railfanning photos to force me to do something each week, it still takes a real effort to get to 100 posts. And lets face it, 100 is a nice round number, and one with lots of history in railroading.
100mph and being the first to hit it or having trains run at that speed for a long time was a huge deal. Whether you believe that the Great Western Railway’s “City of Truro” hit 102mph on May 9, 1904 hauling the Ocean Mail down Wellington Bank, or whether it was the London & North Eastern Railway’s “Flying Scotsman” whose 104mph was authenticated by a dynamometer car on November 30, 1934, hitting the 100mph mark was a big deal.
City of Truro (left) at Llangollen in 2009, and Flying Scotsman (right) at the National Railway Museum in 2004. One of them was the first to hit 100mph on the rails.
And, in honour of that big deal of 100, I’m going to sit back and be pleased that I’ve manged to make 100 posts in less than a year. My previous efforts to write about what I’m doing or was on my mind were colossal failures. I still feel like I’m finding my voice here and developing a writing style of some sort. I read some of my posts and wonder what on earth was rolling through my mind when I wrote it, but I’m also finding it incredibly helpful in keeping track of projects, and motivation to keep going. The thought that there may be someone out there who wants to know what happens next with one of my models when I post about a work in progress is helping me want to keep going and move it forward or get it done so I can post about it for others to see.
Hopefully, if you’re still reading, you are finding some enjoyment or interest in what interests me and I work on, or some help in your modelling in what I am doing or some technique I’ve talked about.
In closing, I’ll even explain why Fred McGriff was my first reference (other than that as I write this its snowing heavily, but Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training this week, a sure sign winter must be ending if baseball season approaches!!) One of the best birthday presents I ever got, a few days after my actual birthday, on May 14, 1990 I got called into the Vice-Principal’s office at my elementary school, I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong lately, so wasn’t sure why I was in trouble. He had this big mallet hammer that he flipped in his hand when he was telling students off (see if that would fly today!!). The good news was, I wasn’t in trouble, I was getting pulled out of school by my dad to take me to Tiger Stadium for a Monday afternoon daytime makeup game of a rainout. It was my first ever Major League Baseball game live, and we hung around after the game outside by the Jays locker room so I could meet my favourite player, get his autograph, and have him give me a used game ball out of an equipment bag (which I still have on a shelf next to my desk). I may not have Jonah Keri’s bully pulpit to help get Freddie into the Hall of Fame like he did for Tim Raines (which is fantastic BTW), but this is my happy memory, he made one kids day at his first ball game, and I’ve never forgotten it!