What Happened?

Modelers who know me and have been following my work online since the early 2000s will remember that I used to have a separate website for each of my active layout projects. I was proud of my work, and so I purchased a unique domain name (e.g., whiteriverandnorthern.net, etc.) for each layout.

Those days are gone. Around 2010, my life began to fall apart. I was betrayed and seriously hurt by a significant other with whom I was living at the time. I stopped all modeling, and even closed my business, NZT Products. After moving out, I began building my own home; the plan was to complete the house in a year or two, re-start NZT, and get back into modeling.

I could not possibly have known that a new, more serious disaster was looming. As a result of a commercial real estate deal that went sideways, I suffered complete financial devastation and further emotional collapse, made worse by disease, including Sarcoidosis and Lyme, as well as several physical issues that required surgeries. I had to shut down all of my websites to save money, and I abandoned the modeling community.

Very slowly, over the course of years, I returned to modeling as a means to cope with the emotional blackness I was still suffering, even if only a little; later, I also gradually re-emerged into the modeling community. The process has not been easy, and it's still fraught with setbacks. Some days are much worse than others.

As it is, my modeling has changed significantly. A combination of age and disease have robbed me of my fine motor skills. Consequently I've had to become satisfied doing far less; I couldn't hope to ever do what I once did routinely. For example, I'm currently building a small layout using Code 80 sectional track, something I'd ordinarily be loathe to do; that it's a recreation of one of my first layouts provides me with a sense of nostalgia, which further helps to improve my mood. It doesn't always work.

Meanwhile, at the urging of some friends, I started resurrecting my online modeling archives, restoring some of the materials here, in a single place, at the one domain I couldn't afford to abandon because it serves as my email address. (In hindsight, I should have done this all along—there was no reason to create a plethora of unique domains.) I've not restored everything, nor will I, because some of my websites were excessively, even obsessively detailed; for instance, the original James River Branch website alone comprised nearly 400 pages and over 4000 images. Other materials, such as my work in T Gauge, were lost due to a catastrophic computer failure shortly after moving, which is regrettable because it was perhaps some of the best work I've done.

Which brings me to the present. Owing to challenging circumstances, I currently reside in purgatory—in almost every sense of the word. My modeling comes in fits and starts as I wrestle with chronic depression and a scary, uncertain financial status that, as I write this, has reached a critical tipping point that will have a profound effect on my future. But as long as I'm able, I'll continue modeling and updating my website. Indeed, if I should stop, you'll know something very bad has happened to me.


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