Boys’ toys

As men get older, the toys get more expensive. ~ Marvin Davis

I borrowed a friend’s work truck to pick up some large items from Costco, and my boy went with me. He dropped his car on the floor among the work stuff, and I thought it made for an interesting comparison.

What a girl sees

One of the interesting things about having young children with access to technology is to see what they take pictures of. My 2.5 year old took this picture of her Barbie. She LOVES the Barbie videos, which are actually much better than I would have thought – good music, decent animation. Check out her favorite song below from Barbie’s “Mermaid Tale” – starring Barbie as a Malibu surfer who discovers she’s half mermaid.

Just what typa tracks was you followin’?


So, for his birthday, my boy got more Thomas the Train stuff, and I got to be creative with the tracks.  What’ I’ve found is that you have to be very specific with how you use the switch tracks in order to get a loop that does’t keep the train stuck on one side of the loop.  This one worked fine.

I also discovered these two rail maps of the Island of Sodor – the more stylized one (first) is really neato.  Also, if you’re wondering where the title of this post came from, it came from a Bugs Bunny entitled Foxy by Proxy.  Enjoy it below also.

Sodor2 Sodor1

Boy with trains


“When I was a kid, I went to the store and asked the guy, Do you have any toy train schedules?” ~  Stephen Wright, Comedian

Apr12 My kid loves his Thomas the Train tracks, and I like putting together various configurations.  In fact, I keep buying more tracks so we can go bigger!  I never had train tracks, and these are easier than real model railroading in that the tracks just snap together.  No electricity, no wires, no transformers, and no worries if you lose or break something. 

Even more fun


Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.  ~ Scott Adams  

Feb21b My Uncle Bob was here this weekend (in photo enjoying my cat), and he seemed to enjoy lending a hand putting together a new track configuration for my boy.  

His contribution to our track making is the triangle intersection, shown above.  I would never have thought of that.  

It was nice to see family, and we all realize that we don't do it enough.  Hope to visit him soon, and have some videos and pics ready to start documenting our family history.

In fact, I've already started our genealogy on, and I am about to use the services of, a unique and affordable scanning service that sends you a box and will scan in as many pics as you can fit.  

They have a buy two get one free deal.  Anyone want to go in with me? I can save you $50 on yours, I want two.  Thanks!


Trains are fun


“When I was a kid, I went to the store and asked the guy, Do you have any toy train schedules?” ~ Comedian Stephen Wright

The best toy my boy has ever gotten was a Thomas the Train set.  He can spend hours playing by himself, singing the Thomas theme song, and trying to crash his trains to see which one ‘wins’ by not falling off the tracks.  

I have really enjoyed trying to make more and more complex track designs, and since the tracks get put away or torn down every few days, I get lots of chances to improve.  Purchasing a pack of “Y” tracks a few weeks back really made for a lot more options, but I keep wanting more!  Higher bridges, more interchanges!  It’s way fun.

I was never into trains as a kid, primarily because it was very complicated, and technical.  It involved wiring, transformers, and building mountains and stuff.  Way too much for a bookish kid.  But these?  No problem – just batteries and snap together tracks.  Endless fun.

Cube Toys


“It is better to play than do nothing” – Chinese Proverb

Those of us who have worked in IT forever know that cube toys are not only a reflection of our “I play with toys” geek identities, they help us all keep our perspective on our work, esp. when it gets overly serious.  If it ain’t fun anymore, why am I doing it? 

I have a few toys at my desk, but this is one of my favorites – not that I actually PLAY with it, but this Strogg just reminds me how much fun I had playing Quake 2 when I was younger and single, and how I used to rule the Friday afternoon Quake deathmatches here at the office (back when our company was small enough to do that – now it would be verboten).

Whether you sport radio-controlled cars, koosh balls, or nerf guns, you need some toys at work.  In fact, I need some new ones.  Hmmm.  What do you recommend?

Trains are fun, but are they old school?


The construction of the Union Pacific Railroad was of greater importance to the people of the United States than the inauguration of steamship service across the Atlantic or the laying of the Atlantic Telegraph. Yet the one has been heralded from time to time and the other allowed to sink into temporary obscurity. ~ W.F. Bailey, The Story of the First Trans-continental Railroad

The best gift my 3 year old boy ever got was a Thomas the Train set.  He plays with those things for hours on end, has learned to surf YouTube on the Apple TV for “choo choo happy” (it’s a long story), and he takes his tracks and trains with him everywhere.  It started with a backpack, and now it’s a backpack AND a small suitcase on wheels.

One of my jobs is to put the tracks together for him on a regular basis – he never uses the table we got him, it’s more fun to assemble them on the floor.  Today, I put together a nice dual loop track, but his 6 year old sister drew him away with … computer games.  All my hard (and fun work) assembling the track, and Nick Jr. online was more important. 

However, the trains still hold his attention much longer, and truth be told, those damned flash games don’t work if you move your mouse outside of their borders, and he gets frustrated with them quickly.