Boys and their toys

I don’t know if there’s ever been proof that males have some genetic thing that makes them (well, most of them) inherently interested in engineering, but sometimes it seems that way.

Everyone has their own particular interests, of course. Most people know that I’m not particularly impressed with cars. Although I will confess to liking a manual transmission more than an auto, and I did take a look at a few minutes of the Grand Prix, the car is essentially a functional item to me, not a play-thing. Perhaps I can’t align the idea of a play-thing with something so destructive.

(If I seem to blog more about driving than PT it’s probably because I find it more stressful and it seems like more things go wrong. No really, even with the train thing in January, more goes wrong on the roads. If PT killed 300+ people a year, it would never be allowed to keep running.)

I’ve kinda gone off aeroplanes for similar reasons. And I’ve never been keen on guns, either. (It’s said some gun enthusiasts like them a lot for the engineering angle; the pull them apart, put them back together, ad infinitum, like Lego with Extreme Prejudice.)

Heavy Harry
Visiting H220 “Heavy Harry” at Williamstown a couple of weeks ago — the largest (non-articulated) steam engine ever built in Australia. I was doubly impressed when chatting to a bloke who said he’d helped drive it — on his shunter father’s lap, 60+ years ago.

Other machines definitely impress me though. Steam engines? Very cool. That new very long trial tram? Mucho groovy. Even my bicycle, though I still don’t really know how the gears work.

But computer gadgetry is what really has me fascinated; always has.

Like anything, these types of interests and values get passed on to offspring. So my kids don’t really take an interest when I’m checking the oil in the car or otherwise pottering under the hood. Rather (as I did) they seem to spend a lot of time on the computers. So I reckon when I see my boys chatting to their friends at school, they’re probably not telling them about our car; they’re probably telling them about about their latest YouTube production or the new very groovy media player device I just got.

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8 thoughts on “Boys and their toys”

  1. 1
    Toria says:

    That is a very groovy media player device, I’ll say. :) I’m like a kid in a candy store with new toys ;) It’s funny but I’m the one in our house who reads the manual, and figures out the right buttons and/or steps to take to get things to work. That steam train engine that you’re standing in front of in the picture is sure massive! Amazing to think that without it, Australia, and Canada wouldn’t have been settled as quickly. The story of the railroad going in across Canada is one of those amazing stories everyone should read, at one point or another. Pierre Burtons book “The Last Spike” is the history of it.

  2. 2
    Nathan says:

    Wheres the new very long tram? I’ve seen the very long ones getting along Swanston Street, but are there going to be even longer ones at some point? How long can a tram get?

  3. 3
    Daniel says:

    Toria: I was slightly disappointed to find the piccy of the engine doesn’t show how long it is. Here’s an older pic which shows it.

    The 7 Wonders of the Industrial World TV series was really interesting — one episode looked at the US Transcontinental railway. In a similar vein is the Constructing Australia series.

    Nathan: There’s only one so far, borrowed from Lisbon on a Try Before You Buy basis. here’s a piccy of it.

  4. 4
    marquis de pombal says:

    cool (referring to the tram).

    does it still have the portuguese ‘watch for pickpockets’ sign on board ?

    lisbon is a great tram lovers holiday spot. a very efficient light rail system which traverses the 20th century suburban explosion of lisbon and connects to a 19th century single bogie tramcar network in the old town.

    the old trams wind around 45 degree corners and up and down some very steep gradients. some buildings have had their corners knocked off in the name of tram progress. the lightrail speeds along melbourne like central reservations.

    there is even a funicular!

    you can jump on and off, exploring the old town. walk out of a crumbling old church and sit under a jacaranda tree while waiting for the tram to rumble by.

    and when youve rode enough trams, you can sit and take coffee in marquis de pombal square and watch the gypsys and pickpockets work the crowds.

    oh, theres also an underground cityloop style train system.

  5. 5
    Paul says:

    I think after the events of Friday fair enough that we put voice to our concerns re the humble car.

  6. 6
    Steven says:

    So you like Steam Engines, well have a look at Hot Air Engines. These things are really cool. They don’t use our dwindling water supplies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine

  7. 7
    Kex says:

    I get what you mean about kids getting interests from their parents. We are not a terribly sporting family so our kids have never been the football/car racing type although they both love playing soccer and the youngest seems to have quite a talent for it. But the main thing our 2 boys have inherited from us is an interest in computers from a very young age. The eldest learnt to spell his name because he had to type it in order to log on to the computer (2yr old) We all as a family spend time at the computers together as our 4 computers are networked and deliberately in a single location in the house. The boys are now 11 1/2 and 8 1/2 and still very keen on them. As they grow up I’m sure they will develop other interests that we won’t share.

  8. 8
    Stitch Sista says:

    OMG Heavy Harry….I have been waiting patiently for a blog update, until today I notice that my bookmark bookmarked a previous post rather than your site and so I was stuck on the day you got rid of your couch thinking “when is this guy updating his blog”.

    Anyway, of course, my train mad 3 year old LOVED the train museum a few months back and I recognised Heavy Harry right away! If we lived over that side of town I’m sure we’d be going weekly ;).

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