Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chris Mears' Magazine One

I hovered, my pointer poised. Ready to punch 'Publish' on a photo-laden post prolifically profiling all the spotting features critical for enjoying the myriad and minute 200 differences between Canadian Pacific's 438 Dash 9's (with roster photos and closeups of each unit!) when the mail carrier left a plain brown manila envelope sticking out of the mailbox. When I saw the sender's surname in the return address block - Mears - I knew immediately what it contained.

Can you expect a Trackside Treasure post every time I get something new to read? Of course not! But this was not just something new. This was the first printed prodigious product of Prince Street blog partner Chris Mears' mind. So it does warrant its own post. Dash 9's disappeared, damned to Draft status.

One arrived in fine shape, wrapped in the vanilla file folder inside the manila envelope with the Nova Scotia postmark.
After notifying Chris of its arrival and merely slitting the envelope, I let One breathe overnight in its new home. Letting out that Nova Scotia salt air and taking in a south wind off Lake Ontario air via the still-forcing forced-air furnace. But this process would not be forced. I would devote a no-distractions time to read it thoroughly over a hot beverage. Chris' reply:
The next day, following lunch, it was time. The clean cover looked a little too clean. So first, just as the envelope was postmarked, I had to similarly mark One. So I fired up the coffee maker in a messy manner. It seemed appropriate to select the float-plane mug, the one that my Dad had bought me at the CFB Trenton air show some years ago, one of many from the Too-Damned-Many-Coffee-Mugs shelf in the kitchen. He has since lifted off and is circling above so it's time for him and me to make our mark, I thought.

Preparation of the Elements

The anointing

That blest communion twixt cup and page

Ah, that's better. Making his mark.

No covers were injured in the making of this photograph. The paper that Chris selected is of such high quality that it was really hard to make the stain stick. But if one holds it at just the right angle....

Concluding the consequential consecration, it was time to enjoy. Gathering the coffee, some still-fresh Costco fruitcake, the slip-on slippers and the comfy couch, the remote was put just out of reach, the first page turned and the paper sniff-sampled. I spent the next who-knows-how-long religiously reading every page. This is no small feat for a short-attention scanner like me. Speaking of feet, I started making notes on the envelope as I read, until I ran out of space: 

The book is buffet-style. Bring your plate and take generous helpings of prototype switching sites and observations in Nova Scotia. Modelling applications of prototypes from PEI and elsewhere. Modelling technique tries you will not see anywhere else. Readable. Bring your plate back for more. Notes on my notes:
  • no author on cover - oh here, let me take obvious credit for what I've done to get my name in print. Not here. Not needed. Let the title speak for itself.
  • always comparing - why was I reading One thinking I would have done this or that different? Go get your attitude of gratitude and use it, self.
  • just be different - how can I infer and interpret everything Chris thinks? Just enjoy the fruits of his beard-bemused labours.
  • Zinger Egg - not an Easter Egg, better. Nearly every page has a thought explosion that goes ballistic then shrieks in and embeds itself in the reader's brain. Or so it should. I photographed some (below). Now where was I...
  • ah yes - colour and illustrations. High quality presentation and content everywhere.
  • show your work - they told us in math class. Isn't getting the right answer enough? No, how did you get here from there. Chris unabashedly does this, whether the process is dirty, clean, or in many cases granular and gritty.
  • I would never think of this stuff in this manner - we all have different brains. Why does the MR press make modellers pigeon-hole their layouts and their process under tidy subtitles?
  • granular detail - the text is data-packed, with in-process photos, drawings and facts all arranged. Sometimes showing actual granules!
  • think, then do - the MR press leaves us hanging with nonsensical author quotes like, "I haven't thought about operations, even though my layout is nearly complete." Whaaaa?

Re-use comes before recycle. Note use of reading glass-defeating Sharpie...
Back to the bougy Instagramish photos. No, Instagramish is not a place in Nova Scotia.

I was running out of hands to hold the book and take these iPhone photos, too. 

Doesn't this photo just look right? Kicked-off slippers, sleeping spouse. Sounds like a haiku! Chris places as much emphasis on the room that the layout is in as he does the layout itself. Look how they blend with One another in another home environment. It's tough to see where the magazine ends and home begins:
I have to take issue with 'IN THIS ISSUE.' Trusting this will not be the last time we see these three words inside the front cover. Chris' closing writing includes the phrase 'ensures subsequent issues'. 

When the time is right, Chris. 
When the time is, write, Chris.
Time for my review. Review? 
Who cares? Why? 
What good would it do? 
It's just good to be in good company with James and Krista! In fact, James posted about One one day earlier, one day ahead of this post!

I expected Chris' pense-perfect writing style to be on display and it was. Each word, chosen. Even the typos that entered through the back d'oh! add to the text. After all, pobody's nerfect, right? (Dammit, Correct Spelling, are you a verb or a noun!) This was such a nice change from reading a mass-produced MR press product. Someone I know, topics I can identify with, modelling challenges I would never take. Inexorably iterative intent in the content.

Chris' own words: 
About the magazine. One is the magazine of Prince Street. Forty letter-size pages printed in colour on 80 lb. paper that does have a nice feel to it. The matte finish on those pages should be a nice place to draw on, and you should. It’s “perfect bound”. There are only 20 copies. I don’t currently plan to rerun content from the first issue or print additional copies.The models and sketches, words and photographs, are all mine. I have never done anything like this before and I wanted to feel as much of the process as possible. One wasn’t just about something I wanted to have but something I wanted to make.

My review is merely an exhortative call to action. Do you have thoughts? Are you a modeller and/or train enthusiast? Can you sit still without scrolling on a device in hand? My review is the following three words, then. 

I see a lot of blog posts, especially from my blog partners like Chris, and the ensuing blog comments. And he'd been assembling his aspirations as long as a year ago, so I had to take a trip back in time. A word of support got Chris commenting as above. I trust Chris Mears will have a long and rewarding career as a magazine publisher. We need Two. Three. Twenty-Eight, I don't care how high the numbers get. But I will never have the One experience ever again. 
Thank you to Chris for this gift and for his giving it.

Running extra...

No Mow May. That's what the City of Kingston is promoting to promote pollinators and propagators. I support the concept in theory, but I will not be allowing my front yard to become a hayfield. I would definitely promote No Tax May! Now that would be a happy haymaker for over-taxed taxpayers!
Sometimes you're the lawn, sometimes you're the lawnmower. I'm constantly encountering two separate groups online: 1.Propagators 2. Lawn-boys. The former prolifically post content, the latter cherry-pick the facts and point out niggling errors while staying secure down among the blades of online grass. It's tiring sometimes. Onward and skyward!
This week at Wellington and West Streets, sharing a moment with the memorial to the 21st Battalion headquartered here in Kingston. Of the 1,013 men who left Kingston by train on May 5, 1915 with the Battalion, only 103 of those originals marched into Germany as part of the occupying force at war's end.

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