ASP006: Updates about twitter and my new hobbies

Hello and welcome to Aspiebloggen podcast episode 6. I am your host Tommy Eriksson. In todays episode, updates about twitter, iTunes and my new hobbies.

This is the podcast where I bring you my views on things, in an attempt to let my voice be heard and to grow my confidence. For too long I have not voiced my opinions on the things that matter to me but that will all change now.

Some of what I will bring up will be about asperger and autism related stuff since that is what my blog is about, but most will be my opinions on things and what is going on in my life. My website is at There you will find the shownotes for each episode as well my other blog posts. The blog itself is in Swedish but this podcast and the corresponding show notes will always be in English.

Now let’s get started.

Todays episode is brought to you by the letter Å.

So another week has passed and it’s time to make a podcast. Last episode was special since it was prerecorded on last Wednesday since I was at a party last weekend. My niece turned 21. The only part I was really worried about was how I would create a short link using prettylink when the page linked to didn’t exist when the link was made. Thankfully it still worked even though the title ended up being page not found for a few days until I could fix it.

Another thing that happened about the time that I recorded the episode was that I applied for and got accepted into iTunes. I was going to say something about welcome all new listeners but if I read the stats right then there are non except for the iTunes team. But just in case I got it wrong, Welcome all new listeners to my podcast. Please leave a comment or review so I can get some feedback. Either way at least now I can add the iTunes subscriptions URL to the blog so that people can find the show that way. BTW I only found the podcast through the link I got when I got accepted, I can’t find it while searching. Weird but hopefully that will change soon.

So about twitter. I know that it has only been a few weeks since I said that it might take months before I return and I still stand by that, but I still wanted to share what I feel about my twitter absence so far. Yes I do not regret giving up twitter. Just as with World Of Warcraft giving it up seemed hard but after I did it I found it to be easier than I had thought. I might still return to Twitter but so far I’m not missing it. It’s nice to not have to go through last nights tweets every morning. Since I am in Sweden and most of those I follow is in America I have a lot of tweets to read in what is morning here but might be night or at least afternoon in America. Timezones and all that.

And so the big reveal about what I have been doing for these past weeks that has taken so much time. That would be some new hobbies I plan to get into or in one case has.

When I was young my dad owned a model railroad. I wasn’t allowed to use it much and even after his passing I was afraid to harm it since it was fragile at least as far as derailing and crashing was concerned. After a while I lost interest in it and when we moved to a smaller house where there would be no room to build it, it ended up in boxes. While I might have had some wish to rebuild it, I don’t really remember, there was also that issue of building stuff for it. Gluing things is not for me, something that got very clear to me the 2 times I tried to get into Warhammer 40K. Yes twice with about a year apart and both times costing me lots of money that I didn’t fully recover even after selling most of the stuff. Oh well.

Even today the thought of having to glue buildings didn’t appeal to me and of course the trains aren’t exactly cheap either. But for a long time I did want to get back to model railroading. There was another material though that I had heard about and seen the trains from for over a decade, Lego. Lego also have trains, in fact those go back to the late sixties. Nowhere near as old as model railroading that is about a century older but still nothing new.

And Lego offered another advantage. Buildings are easier to build since it’s you know Lego. This also means that they are far more durable and also easier to repair, not that I know when that would be a factor. Of course only Lego trains need to be built while the other trains come prebuilt but I don’t consider that a disadvantage. I remember being nearly paranoid over the possibility of my model trains derailing but with Lego I know of people who deliberately try to derail their trains. Something that is very possible and that I myself have done. As long as all parts of the trains stay on the table then there are no worries really. Granted if your layout has lots of things standing near the tracks then those might get damaged or at least tip over but other than that not much will happen. And even if the train was to leave the table, depending on the floor the train might do more to the floor than what the floor does to the train.

Now I got a small starter set nearly 2 years ago and only now have I felt like putting in the effort to get a separate table for it. Unfortunately that hasn’t gone to well. Due to a broken down car in one case and some illness in another, the people who would have helped me get the materials home to make the table have not been able to help me so nothing has been built. Hopefully that will change soon. I have thought so much of what I will build and how and now I feel that the only way forward is by measuring the real deal. I can’t make anything more in the cad programs that exist to help with designing layouts since some terrain features will determine how the tracks will go.

Needless to say but those who prefer clean looking layouts will probably be horrified by what I have planned. I have several things I really want to have on my layout and few if any of them will mix well with Lego trains. The rail is a mix of the old blue rail from the late sixties to the early seventies and the newer power functions rail from a few years ago.

As far as making the train itself, I have spent countless hours pouring over how other model railroaders have constructed their tables. Those tables might be made for a different scale but I trust in them to know how train tables should be built. But as I said all plans for now are all in my head since I can’t start building right now.

Remember how I said that I was going into new hobbies. Well the other hobby I’m eventually getting into is concrete molding for decorative purposes. This isn’t random but because of the train layout I will build. When I started to think about what to put on the layout I remembered a book I read over 20 year ago about water wheels in gardens. These wasn’t for power generation, no it was just for fun. I don’t know the name of the book which is a shame because I would love to read it again. Anyway the momentum of the spinning wheel was transferred using wooden gears but try as I might I can’t remember clearly how it was eventually used.

But thinking of this I decided to add a water wheel to my train layout. Now I like things to move so the wheel would be moved by real water, not just look like it could. My first plan was to make a lake area where the water would stream with help of a pump from a mountain made from something into a chute that would move the water over the wheel.

After trying to find ways to waterproof papier mache, which was the material I first planned to use, I heard about a material called ferrocement. This as the name suggests is partly made from concrete. It is actually concrete smeared over a wire-frame mesh made from chicken wire for smaller things to a combination of chicken wire and rebar for bigger projects such as tables or benches. Ferrocement has 2 distinct advantages compared to papier mache. First it is not only waterproof, no it can almost be called eternal. Papier mache can be waterproofed, with boat varnish apparently being the preferred choice but it is still nowhere near as strong as concrete. Also, varnish is not cheap. The second reason I chose concrete is that it already looks like mountains for obvious reasons.

But before I go more into that I have a table to build. Good thing since the waterwheel is giving me a headache as far as planning goes. Just trying to figure out where the water will go after it leaves the wheel takes much time to figure out. My first plan was to have a lake area where the water would drain below the table in a pipe down to a reservoir. But that would require some expert concrete molding and the only molding I’m good at is cupcakes. The next plan was to build what model railroaders call a helix. That is a round screw-like area where trains will travel from a lower level to a higher one. Think of a hill only round. I thought that since the outer edges of a circular track of Lego rail will be 72 centimeters in diameter then I could make the helix hollow and put the wheel in there. That way the helix would contain all the water. Also, I found out that the most common pumps like to be submerged and don’t pump more than about 50 cm high so the reservoir would have to be close to the wheel. The problem now is that I don’t know how to transfer the mechanical power from the wheel out from the helix so I might have to change that plan as well. I have some ideas but more planning will be needed before I talk about that.

So that is what I have been doing for the past well I guess month now and will continue with until I have something I like. But that will be all for now. Thank you to whoever might be listening for doing that and please leave a comment on my blog over at or make a review on iTunes. The shownotes for this episode will be over at and until next time, take care.

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