Chat report (What's next for Z)
- G'Day mates,
I don't know if Kiwis greet each other this way but I thought that
I'd say hello in honour of the LOTR, The Return of the King and it's
11 Oscars last night. I didn't watch any of it but instead
rented "Lost in Translation" to see what all the fuss was about.
Frankly, I don't see why it was even nominated (boring, technical
errors, bad sound recording, no story and deadpan acting that any
actor could do in his sleep). The good thing about this major OT
commentary is that were lots of trains in the story which was set in
Japan! This brings me to conclude that Z needs more high speed
trains like the Shinkosen (sp?), the TGV and so many others. It is
such a thrill to see those sleek electrics snaking along
mountainsides and the Japanese coast. Hypnotic!
Did I say something about a chat report? Oh, yeah. Yesterday's chat
session started at 1pm Eastern on the dot with the question of the
hour being, "What does the Z community need to grow?" and sundry
We had a super participation with 19 members from Finland, all points
of the US and Canada joining in. I had asked the chatters to stick
to the theme for the first hour and I am pleased to report that my
colleagues were remarkably disciplined. The discussion was wide-
ranging but relevant to the theme.
Here are the major conclusions.
- the growth of Z in NA is being driven by greater visibility
generated by the creation and actions of modular groups, the more
frequent presence of Z in the mainstream model railroading press and
the development of a wider range of products to satisfy runners and
- Ztrack Magazine has offered to continue to provide support to
groups wishing to promote their activities and to modellers who wish
to start a group in their area. Send along your info to Rob Kluz at
Ztrack @ aol.com and Rob will forward the mailing to subscribers in
the target area.
- high profile activities like NTS (National Train Show) have
generated major good will and respect for Z among the established
modelling classes. Many N scalers have joined Z after encountering Z
at NTS where they observed the reliable running of Z material and
opportunities for large modular layouts in Z.
- as NTS is a focal point of Z promotional activity in the US, a
large part of the chat was directed at how to capitalize on NTS and
to encourage more Z modellers to attend. The invitation to bring
layouts to the NTS2004 Seattle BYOZ (Bring Your Own Z) was repeated.
For 2005, Ztrack gave more details on the proposed Z convention to
precede NTS. The Z convention will take place in Columbus, OH (2
hour drive from Cincinnati) July 5-6. NTS takes place in Cincinnati
July 7-8-9. Day 1 of the convention will include clinics,
socializing, demonstrations, socializing and socializing amongst
other things. Day 2 will include layout tours, socializing and other
train related things including socializing. No doubt a banquet and
socializing will be organized. Preliminary plans also call for an
area map providing locations of Z-stocking hobby shops. All of the
above is subject to change and confirmation by Ztrack. Contact Rob
Kluz for more info.
- the importance of attracting new Z converts through the model
railroading media, specifically Model Railroader Magazine, was
mentioned a couple of times. We've been getting good coverage in
Scale Rails Magazine (5 articles in the last 18 months and more to
come). Scale Rails is delivered to 15,000 members of the NMRA and is
read by approximately 25,000 model railroaders via club and municipal
libraries. Model Railroader Magazine has published 2 Z items out of
4 promised for 2004. In order to maintain this type of coverage, it
is imperative that Z-scalers continue to provide quality material to
the magazines. So send in your photos, World's Greates Hobby
anecdotes and feature articles to MR.
- chatters also mentioned the support they hope to receive from Micro-
Trains Line in order to promote Z. Barry Carpenter, MTL's director
of marketing, was recently quoted as promising to help groups with
promotional material. Send your requests to MTL via email info @
- what else? Hmmm....well, I did ask if there was any interest in
forming an association but it was lost in the conversation. I'll
bring this idea up again some other time (wink, wink).
I'm sure that I'm missing some key points as the group had a lot to
say and made some terrific points and observations especially about
how we need to redress the image Z has in some circles of being a
The time for the theme flew by and the chatters were anxious to be
let loose to enjoy the general chat. Once again the chat lasted for
several hours (I checked in from time to time).
***** Technical tip for chatters *******
We have become accustomed now to being booted by Yahoo from the chat
about once every 45 minutes. The quick return technique is the
Yahoo displays a general chat error message and asks if you want to
rejoin the chat, Yes or No? Answer NO. Yahoo immediately closes the
chat screen and opens the Yahoochat page. Use your BACK button to
return to the previous page where Yahoo will reopen the chat and log
you back into the chat. Takes about 30 seconds. Note: if you answer
YES to the question, Yahoo gets confused and it may take a computer
reboot to clean up the memory and java entanglements.
Conclusion: the chat was informative, well-behaved and great FUN.
Join us for our next Sunday chat when Rob Kluz will be our special
guest and our theme will be "What do beginnerZ need?"
- I forgot to mention that we had chatters from the Netherlands and
Germany as well, at least while I was logged on. Don't want anyone
to feel left out! :-)
- Hello Jeffrey,
You must have got ahold of a pirated copy of "Lost In Translation".
I enjoyed my rental. None-the-less some folks don't go for that
sort of movie and that's the way it goes. I thought "Spellbound"
(about kids' spelling bees) from last year was a bore.
As for the high speed Shinkansen; hey! we need some right here in
North America, not just on our layouts. I'm tired of driving and
flying around. I'd like to get into some poker games with my fellow
passengers so that I can pay for the ride.
Best regards as always,
On Monday, March 1, 2004, at 09:26 AM, jmac_han wrote:
> G'Day mates,
> I don't know if Kiwis greet each other this way but I thought that
> I'd say hello in honour of the LOTR, The Return of the King and it's
> 11 Oscars last night. I didn't watch any of it but instead
> rented "Lost in Translation" to see what all the fuss was about.
> Frankly, I don't see why it was even nominated (boring, technical
> errors, bad sound recording, no story and deadpan acting that any
> actor could do in his sleep). The good thing about this major OT
> commentary is that were lots of trains in the story which was set in
> Japan! This brings me to conclude that Z needs more high speed
> trains like the Shinkosen (sp?), the TGV and so many others. It is
> such a thrill to see those sleek electrics snaking along
> mountainsides and the Japanese coast. Hypnotic!
> Jeffrey MacHan
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]