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Author Topic: Personalized Plates
Southwest Chief
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Thought you Amtrak fans out there might like this; my personalized plates (and license frame too):

 -

--------------------
Matt
Visit gallery for photos of our train layouts

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Ocala Mike
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Saw a guy down here with "My Other Car is a Train" as a plate holder.
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Hyatt Regency Greenwich--

Somebody in Virginia has "Amtrak 1"; saw it being loaded aboard Auto Train.

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smitty195
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Very nice! Is that an Infiniti JX or QX? I have one and love it!!

(PS: Hello everyone. I've been away from here for a long time, but I actually haven't gone anywhere. I've been home---no Amtrak trips and no vacations. (Last trip on Amtrak was the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle in September of 2015 with a buddy who also loves trains, and he had a law enforcement conference to attend in Little Rock, so I went along for the ride. Flew home the next day because I had no interest in the seminar. But I keep very busy. I have two part-time jobs that are almost full-time now. I have two one-man businesses where I am the CEO, Supervisor, worker-bee, janitor, driver, I'm the "billing department", and everything else!). I still have my Apple business where I go to people's homes and help them with all things Apple. If it says "Apple" on it, then I can help. However, I do not do repairs. The closest I get to something like that is installing more memory into a laptop or iMac, but that's where my work stops. I concentrate more on tutoring, setting up systems, helping with projects, and doing whatever someone wants me to do. I do not advertise---it's all word-of-mouth. My second job is to drive older folks to any of the Bay Area airports for trips, pick them up, provide a new, clean, safe, punctual ride by an expert driver (me), and I even offer free snacks and cold beverages on every trip. I drive them to doctor's appointments, specialty stores that are two hours away, whatever, you name it and I'll go there. I even have a regular client who was down in San Diego and something medical happened and she couldn't fly home. So within 30 minutes of her call, I was out the door and on my way to San Diego and got there at around 2:30AM. I got a hotel room (Hampton Inn!), and then picked her up at 9AM and had her back home by 3:30PM that same day. As long as they pay, I'll be there. Also no advertising on this one...all word-of mouth. And finally, my third job which is the most difficult of all: helping my parents where my dad is 87 and my mom is 85. Biggest challenge of my life. I'm exhausted, and I am "on call" 24/7. If anyone reading this has ever had to care for elderly parents before, and they had memory issues and health issues, then God Bless you because you know exactly what I'm going through. I've known friends over the years who have had to do this, and seriously, I never thought much about it. But now I know----it is extremely difficult work. I don't get paid for it, and I have five older siblings (I am the youngest of six), and I have asked for help several times. What do I hear back from them? "Crickets"......that's what I hear back. It upsets me so much. And in the middle of this about six or so months ago, PTSD hit me out of absolutely nowhere. Something happened that triggered a memory, and from that moment I've had anxiety and fear of just about everything. I don't know why I'm saying this. But I went from being just the normal person that I've always been, and I've been in situations at work where I should have been killed, but I wasn't. I believe that cops have little Guardian Angels sitting on our shoulders because of what we make it through. Ask any cop with experience---they'll tell you.

So I'm going through all of these things right now, and that's why I'm not on social media very often. I used to be on FB every day for hours---but 4 weeks ago yesterday, I cut down on my computer time drastically. I am now down to roughly 10 minutes of computer three times per day, and that's it. So this is my last computer entry for today, and I have to log off. But I saw the Subject of this thread and it piqued my interest. I ordered a special plate from California DMV and when it arrived, I said to myself, "Holy you-know-what!!! This thing is ugly!!!!". I was not going to put that stupid thing on my car. It was a "save the cats" type of plate. But they hired an artist to make a design on the license plate, and the cat is purple with yellow paws (or something weird like that). If it had been a normal, regular looking cat, I would have kept it. But this plate was over the top, and I had to return them to DMV for a refund. Oh well, I tried.

I hope everyone is doing well. The Admin for this board, Frank and company, Gil, Margaret, and I'm missing several other names but I hope you are all doing well. Wish me luck for a biopsy on my leg that was removed and sent to the lab on Friday. I hope it's not what I think it is. It's the last thing I would need right now.

Thanks for reading this, and I'll try not to be such a stranger. My email address has changed. For those who have my Comcast email address, it's easy to figure out my new one (I don't want to post it here because then it's on the internet forever and people that I don't want to find it will find it). So if my old address was xxxxx@comcast.net, my new email address is ALMOST the same. Here is an example: xxxx@icloud.com. If you look at my Comcast address, use andy instead of the letter "a" and leave everything else there. So it would be: andyxxxxxxxx@icloud.com, where the x's are the same as my previous Comcast one. I hope that makes sense.

Take care all,
Andy

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HopefulRailUser
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So good to hear from you. We lose track of people here and I'm glad to hear your absence is due to a busy life.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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Ocala Mike
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Nice to hear from you, Andy - get well vibes sent from Ocala, FL.
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Moderator
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Andy, I'm so happy you've checked in with us.
It seems your life continues to be hectic, I'm almost out of breath just reading about it.
The pace reminds me of a favorite Stephen Leacock quote from his short story, Gertrude the Governess.
"he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."

Set aside some time for yourself, Andy.

Laurie

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MargaretSPfan
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Oh, Andy --
I am touched you mentioned me, I was wondering what happened to you, and was concerned about you, too, even since your told us you had gotten PTSD. That is a huge bummer.

I am glad that some things in your life are going well, but sad that some things aren't -- such as having to be the sole person who is taking care of your parents. It is a shame -- and all too common -- that it it falls to only one of th children to help parents when they need help. Huge bummer, as I said. but you are to be commended for doing what you can to help them.

So you are a teacher of all things Apple -- how cool! You always did seem like a really, really savvy guy about computers, because you had said some time ago that you had quite a number of the latest fancy computer gadgets, and that you had managed to get them all to talk to each other very well. I was and am very impressed by that!!

Re: the "art" on the CA personalized plates you ordered: Sad, but dos not surprise me. Dunno where people get their ideas about what is beautiful or attractive, but it sure ain't anything I wold call nice to look at. I know -- it is a personal thing, but, really..... And people get PAID to do those things.

So you have several businesses -- great! I am glad they all are doing well. But, as Laurie said, you really do need to try to make some time for yourself. That is, as you know, very important.

You are wise to limit the amount of time you spend on the web. Other things are far more important.

I am so pleased that one of your businesses is driving older people various places. That is wonderful! I know that transportation is one of the biggest needs people have -- aside from the obvious physical ones of air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. Not being able to go where you need to or want to go when you need to go places is a really big problem for many, many people. Thank you for doing your part to help solve this for some people. an d you even drove all the way to San Diego? Wow..... Your clients are very fortunate that you can be there when they need transportation. Wow.....

Please, if you feel lie it, do tell us if that biopsy was good or bad news. I VERY much hope it was good news!

As I may have said some time ago, your posts are always interesting, no matter what the subject is. I look forward to whatever you have to say here or elsewhere.

We are all rooting for ya!

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Gilbert B Norman
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Back in the barn.

I'd post a photo of my personal tag, but to post any photo here, you must belong to a site like Flickr - and I'm not.

Right now my biggest concern is "did I or didn't I" get nailed compliments of Mr. Equifax. That has got to be a crime for which those "perps" ought to be behind bars. But we all know they won't.

So far, my FICO score which American Express offers their members for free, remains 800+. So from that, I can only conclude that to date, no one has touched me.

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smitty195
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Thank you for the kind comments (almost) everyone. I really appreciate it!! This is by far the biggest challenge of my life. I did not predict this would ever happen, nor did I ever think that I would be the sole caretaker of my parents. It is especially stressful now and I am really backed into a corner and don't know what to do. The one sibling (brother, 2 years older than me) that I speak to (the other 4 are dead to me, I'm sorry to say that, but at this point there is no other explanation that fits, and my mom is going to counseling to learn how to grieve over losing 4 of her children. They're still alive, but they don't exist any more. No contact, no email, no Christmas cards, etc. I have been on countless family disturbance calls in my career (and have taken 911 calls for them as well), so I know what goes on behind closed door fairly well. But I have NEVER seen a family like ours. It is the most messed up array of crazy situations that you've ever heard of). So many stories I'd like to tell, but I can't here in this forum---way too O/T.

I do have an actual Amtrak question though. [Smile] Regarding the new Viewliners that are being built, I know that they also produced several new baggage cars, and I have seen them around on 11/14 and 5/6. But don't I recall hearing something about an order of new baggage cars that were going to be bag/dorm cars? I think I remember seeing a mock-up somewhere, either in a magazine or in an Amtrak display somewhere. I haven't seen any on TV commercials, print media, or anything. So I'm just wondering, did they slip 'em in somewhere along the way and they are out there on LD trains now? Or are will still waiting for them to released by the builder?

That's all I've got for today. Thanks, and it's nice to "see" everyone again!

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Gilbert B Norman
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Smitty, the Viewliner II is the most f@$!#d up equipment procurement Amtrak has had to date. The 130 car order was to have been complete during 2014, but to date only the 70 Baggage cars and some 6 Diners have been delivered. Remaining are 19 Diners, 10 Bagg-Dorms, and 25 Sleepers. The order is to replace all Heritage cars Systemwide and to provide additional Sleeper capacity. Even the Dorms represent additional Sleeper capacity, as the Dining Car crews are accommodated in line space on the Single Level trains

Supposedly two Diners per month were to be delivered; but that seems to have gone by the wayside. Railfans have the delivery trains pretty well staked out as they run over a freight only route, namely ERIE to Binghamton thence D&H to Albany. They are then deadheaded on revenue trains to Hialeah FL for final acceptance.

Hope this updates you on this debacle.

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MargaretSPfan
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Ohhhhh..... Andy.....My heart breaks for what you are having to go through. I am sooooo sorry your family is so messed up. That is awful.

And please tell your stories here, even though they are O/T. We here are a sort of community, even though very few of us ever see each other in person. And it is by sharing stories of our lives with each other that we grow closer and become true friends.

And it is only when we share our problems and failings that we are able to grow closer to others. (I learned that a long time ago.)

So, Andy, please do share your stories here. They are very important to us, and I really appreciate your openness with all of us. I have great admiration and respect for you, Andy, for stepping up to the plate and continuing to help your parents. You, sir, are a true gentleman.

Another thought about Off-Topic posts -- and this applies to all forums: healthy, normal conversations wander all over the map, and it really does a big disservice to people on any forum if the moderators insist that all posts be strictly on-topic 100% of the time. That is pretty destructive to any closeness or community that may be forming -- which I regard as more important than staying on-topic 100% of the time, especially when people are sharing personal stories.

So -- as far as I am concerned, please do go ahead and share your stories.

And I have read that it is rare that when elderly parents need help because of age-related issues, that more than one of their adult children ever helps them. The care of elderly parents almost always ends up on the shoulders of only one of the adult children. That is really sad, and there are probably many reasons for that, but it is almost universal.

Just so you know -- in case you didn't: there are many others who get rejected by their families, and this happens to almost all parents of children of any age with special needs, and those children. (By "special needs", I am referring to people with Down's Syndrome, autism, or any other intellectual or developmental disabilities.)

Andy -- I am truly sorry that your family is so messed up. You deserve so much more than that. There are many of us out there for whom the word "family" is a source of emotional pain because it reminds us of what some people have that we will never have -- warmth and acceptance and inclusion and, yes, love from our blood relatives. And for those of us in those painful situations,
traditional holidays are just days to be endured, and the sooner they are over, the better.

But we at least have our hobbies, and friends and acquaintances we have made through these wonderful hobbies -- people who at least seem to understand us, and do not think we are nuts for loving trains or airplanes, or whatever. And we can and do have lots of fun wit our various hobbies. I certainly have, and it has really, really enriched my life.

And, oh, the STORIES we each can tell! By "stories", I mean interesting things we have done. I do believe that most people could really "write a book" about their lives -- and they would be fascinating to read. No, I don't mean that anyone should try to do this all by himself or herself -- just that most people have some pretty interesting stories they could tell, if only someone could at least tape-record them or write them down.

Mandatory RR content:
Thanks, Mr. Norman, for the info about the new Viewliner II cars. That explains why Andy has not seen any new bag-dorms yet: they are not done yet. These cars will be done when they are done, and not a moment sooner, as the saying goes.

More mandatory RR content -- that is actually On Topic for this particular thread:

I have had two cars that I got personalized plates for. One had "4449" on them, and the other had "2472" on them. (Gee -- I wonder why I chose those two numbers? <G>) Nope -- no personalized plates for a while now. Maybe some time....

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yukon11
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Smitty: Hope that things go much better for you in the ensuing years.

Margaret: I concur regarding hobbies and friends to enrich one's life. Besides trains, I enjoy a ham radio hobby. I have met many great people, over the years, on the air.

Mr. Norman: Regarding Amtrak equipment, I found this link interesting:

https://is.gd/5vhYF2

What ever happened to the "Amclub" car? Notice everyone wearing shirts and ties!

Richard

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palmland
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Richard, thanks for that interesting link. I'm so glad the 70's came and went!

Smitty, it's great to hear from you again, You add a lot to the forum. You know there is an Open discussion forum on this website. Perhaps you could use that to discuss in more detail some of the problems you are facing, Who knows, we may be able to help. Just mention on this forum that you have added something there as sometimes we may forget to look.

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. And if you ever make it to the right coast, let me know. I could use some help with my many Apple devices.

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Gilbert B Norman
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I have a personal tag for my buggy, but to post a photo of it here it need be done through a photo sharing site. So I can't.

But it is an Illinois Vietnam Veteran issue (this I can share), and it's lettered TSN. That is for Tan Son Nhut Air Base, where I served my tour July 67 to 68.

But that tag caused me misery last October when in Cleveland, I got lost and Red Lex's Sat-Nav was not helping the cause. It was however of interest to a Shaker Heights cop who stopped me. He thought I was driving erratically (I had had ONE wine three hours earlier) then he said "Sir, your vehicle and plate do not match". I gave him my registration, license, and insurance. I explained I was lost and that usually when I go to Cleveland Orchestra concerts, I stay at the Downtown Marriott and take a taxicab to and from Severance Hall. But they were filled (baseball Playoffs), so I was forced to stay at a Marriott in his fair town. Once he was happy I owned the car, it was insured, I was licensed and sober, it was a "have a good evening, Sir".

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Ocala Mike
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Gil, I hope you've been watching the excellent Ken Burns documentary, "The Vietnam War," on PBS. I have heard anecdotal tales that it is so powerful with its searing images that some vets experienced recurrence of PTSD episodes watching it.

It actually made me feel a little guilty for having a hand in Operation Arc Light (bombing by B-52's), as even though I was comfortably stateside in New Hampshire, I aided and abetted the carnage as communications support for the bomb wing whose aircraft went over to Guam or Thailand to participate in "LBJ's Folly" during the operation.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Even if I were awarded the AFCM for my service over there, I'm no hero.

I simply was told to go, did what I was told to do for "365 and a Wake-Up", and went home (on some airline only the Defense Dept had heard of).

I of course have seen the Ken Burns film in its entirety; my only thought was too much emphasis on the VVETS that "have made something of themselves". Of course they endured so much more serving their country than I ever did, but I think Mr. Burns should have found some vets who simply returned to humdrum life for some "balance".

I hold that after being called a "baby killer" (and some message as a Comm Specialist I handled surely resulted in loss of life) on my return, the respect that started with our only clear post WWII victory in the Gulf, is deserved. My flag is displayed six times a year - President's , Memorial, Flag, Fourth, 9/11, and Veterans - and is not some kind of ornament that some neighbors think of theirs as. Even if "I don't do groups", I likely will sign up for an Honor Flight (making a fair value contribution to the sponsor because I can well afford to do so) for it means much to me to again see The Wall and The Three I served with who are on it.

And that's that.

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sbalax
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All-- But especially Smitty --

My a lot can happen when one is away! We had a great cruise from Vancouver to Tokyo. Sitka was a good substitution for Dutch Harbor. I had never been to Northern Japan so Otaru and Hakadote on Hokkaido were of great interest.

We flew to Shanghai which is a TOTALLY different city from twenty years ago. We did not get to ride the MAGLEV but hear it is a rush. Sadly of little use unless you are staying in Pudong.

The high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing was all I expected. Clean, quiet, fast and comfortable. We arrived half an hour early. On board service was minimal. "Snacks" of indeterminate origin and "Coco Water" which tasted like what I had for my last colonoscopy. First Class was full all the way.

Beijing was more like we remembered. Crystal clear day the first day and downhill from there. Our last day was like the worst of the LA Basin in the 1950's. I came home with an upper respiratory thing that has caused us to alter our travel plans for the next two weeks.

(Mr. Norman -- "Polaris" hard product was incredible. 777-300ER. 3DG. Very private, very comfortable. Soft product was deplorable. Bad catering, even worse attitude from very senior SFO UA FA's who clearly wanted to be somewhere else.)

Smitty--

It's really good to see you back here, amigo. We DO worry when people go missing.

Frank in dark and still warm SBA

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MargaretSPfan
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Frank --
About your upper respiratory problems: I read about someone who had been in one of China's huge cities that had really bad air pollution. That person -- in their 60s -- also came down with upper respiratory problems that never went away. Those upper respiratory problems seemed to be either some kind of an allergy or a fungus, and caused the to develop asthma. which they never had before.

The person was very healthy before their trip to China, and had never ever had any upper respiratory problems like that before in their life. I am convinced they never would have gotten their upper respiratory problem had they not gone to China.

I very much hope your upper respiratory problems go away completely, and soon, so that you can soon return to your great life of traveling where and when you wish.

Nonetheless, I am glad you both had a great time there on the high speed train. SO sorry that the UAL FAs and food were so bad. It seems that -- at least for this one flight -- that UAL deserves the bad reputation it has gotten. The "friendly skies" are no longer so friendly. Sad.....

In any case, you did have a great voyage across the Pacific. That is wonderful!

And I check this forum often, and check the number of replies to this thread, to see if Smitty or anyone else has said anything new.

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by MargaretSPfan:

SO sorry that the UAL FAs and food were so bad. It seems that -- at least for this one flight -- that UAL deserves the bad reputation it has gotten. The "friendly skies" are no longer so friendly. Sad.....

From the perspective of "one who pays for it", United's Polaris is an excellent product - and to me superior to their Global First (for which I got "upgraded to" during Aug '16), which they intend to phase out as they refit the existing 777-222's and the 767-300's.

So far as my In-Flight Service goes, all I need do if the crew is Chicago based, is flash a photo of Maureen with an equally senior "gal pal" of hers named Concetta and say, "know either of these girls?" "Of course I know...." and superior IFS is not far behind. Somehow Frank, you'd get same if your flight crew was LAX based.

And yes, I have done one flight in "the Gulag" this year. HPN to ORD, Express Jet E-145. No complaints. Another flight, ORD-RIC-ORD end of month in "flying pencils" both ways. I just took plain Econo (not even +) but I have windows on the single seat Left and aft enough for "flightseeing" (Econo+ is over the wings).

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MargaretSPfan
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No one should have to "pull strings" to get decent treatment on any airline. Very, very few people can do that. Every passenger should be treated with respect, unless they are a real problem.
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sbalax
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You are absolutely right, Margaret. That we have been "friends of the crew" on many flights is nice but the flights I've enjoyed most are the ones where we were incognito and still got good service.

On our most recent flight they knew about half way through that one of us was an "Ex-Con" retiree. That didn't help any.

Our next flights are on 10/17-18. United LAX-ORD and Lufthansa ORD-FRA-FCO. I know which ones I'm betting on for great service.

Frank in sunny and warm SBA

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