You Down With O.C.D? Yeah, You Know Me!

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other…

     What up nerds?  A big part of Operation Get Off Your Butt is about getting organized. That’s something I’m usually all over, but lately…not so much. Years ago, my uncle, referring to someone I’ve long forgotten, said, “He needs to get his fragmented <stuff> together.”  Except he didn’t say “stuff.”  That’s one of those sayings that has stayed with me over the years and I use it frequently. It describes exactly what I’m trying to accomplish in my own life.

     You’d think someone who lost everything in a house fire two years ago wouldn’t have had much opportunity to get out of control as far as organization goes. I mean, Dude…you started from scratch. How bad could it be?  Well, I figured out a way to do it, so I’m going to have to spend a good part of fall 2013 getting stuff in order. The good news is that I enjoy the work.

    One of the many mini-projects within that effort highlights my particular brand of nerdy O.C.D. And yes, I realize I’m probably reaching a bit here on the definition of Obessive Compulsive Disorder.  But the title was too good to pass up. Anyway, what am I talking about and what am I up to?

     I have this certain thing with a few of my hobbies, but none more than scale modeling. For me to really enjoy the hobby, conditions have to be perfect. My tools and materials all need to be clean, organized, and in their place. The room has to be neat.  I can’t have distractions or monkeys on my back like needing to mow the lawn or run to Lowes for mulch.  And most importantly, I can’t just pick up a model and start building. I must research.

     One of my favorite aspects of model building is learning about the subject of the kit I’m building and the historical context surrounding it. I’ve got to read books & magazine articles and watch documentaries, and make notes before part #1 is snipped from its sprue. I guess it’s an immersion thing.

     And for me, right now, that’s hard to do because I have stacks & boxes of books and magazines stashed in about 7 or 8 different places. What’s the point of having tons of information at your fingertips if you can’t find it, or even worse, don’t even remember you have it?

     So, what I’m going to do over the next whatever-period-of-time-it-takes is to compile a detailed index of my printed resources.  In other words, I’m making an alphabetically-ordered list of what books and magazine articles I have, then I’m going to religiously update it every month (in theory).

     Does it sound like fun? Sorta. I can think of worse things than flipping through a bunch of modeling & history magazines.   A big part of Operation GOYB involves better time management. Like most Americans, I watch a bunch of TV.  I often feel guilty for “wasting” the time, even if I am watching something educational or at least “informative.”  So, I try to multi-task by working on a blog post, perusing a magazine, brushing the cats, clipping kid’s finger/toenails, etc.  Now I’m adding “indexing my magazines” to the mix.  I can get a lot of work done while watching a three hour football game.

     If you’re not weird like me, you might ask, “Why?” It may seem like a tremendous waste of time given I might never need/use 90% of the articles I end up indexing.  Well, I have this fantasy of how I’d like my life (scale modeling-wise) to be:

     It’s a crisp Saturday morning in November. The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the beautiful, blue sky.  Oddly, all the household chores are caught up.  The grocery shopping has been done and nobody needs a anything for school next week. No cars need gas. No cats need rabies shots.

     My wife and I sit on the back porch sipping coffee and enjoying the birds gathered at their feeders while our kids watch educational programming on T.V. and uncharacteristically don’t appear at the door every 2 1/2  minutes to ask for a Capri Sun or inquire as to whether we’ll be going anywhere near Toys-R-Us today?  I enjoy the quiet while I peruse the latest issue of Fine Scale Modeler.

     As 9AM approaches, I think to myself, “I should start a new model.”  But what subject should I choose?  So many interests.  So many choices. I scan The Kit Stash for a minute or so, and spy the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 scale  B-25B kit sitting among the 1/35 scale armor and various sci-fi, 40K & figure models.  I’ve always wanted to build one of the Doolittle Raid aircraft.  I own the book, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, and I seem to recall having several excellent magazine articles about the mission. 

     I pull out a large, worn 3-ring binder containing my studiously-updated reference index, and flip to the B & D tabs.  Behold…three or four articles about the B-25 and Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo in Aviation History, Flight Journal, and World War Two magazines.  I also find  a couple of B-25 modelling articles including a detailed build-up/review of the very kit I’m contemplating pulling off the shelf.

     I turn from my work bench to the seven foot high metal bookcase that sits in my Nerd Bunker and contains most of my military history, modeling, and gaming magazines as well as many of my reference books. Everything’s in alphabetical order, divided by subject, and clearly marked with index tabs. Aircraft modeling, armor modeling, History, and Warhammer 40K, among others–all at my fingertips.  Oh look, here’s my copy of B-25 in Action and B-25 Walk Around right here in the “B” section. Two minutes later, I have everything I need in a neat little stack.

     I settle into my nicely padded chaise lounge and spend a couple hours immersing myself in the history of the B-25 and its most famous mission while I soak in the gentle November rays. Following a 30 minute cat-nap, I then proceed to the modelling articles, taking notes on some of the trickier aspects of the kit, allowing me to avoid any pitfalls in my project.

     After a delicious lunch definitely not comprised of Hostess Fruit Pies, I step into the Nerd Bunker, grab an ice cold Diet Mountain Dew from the mini-fridge, put an episode of Dogfights into the DVD player. I crack the kit box and begin my project, feeling satisfied that I’m well prepared.  And then nobody bugs me for the next 4 or 5 hours. I even keep the door to the Nerd Bunker open to enjoy the fresh air and not a single spider moves in. All is right with the world…

     At least that’s my dream. My is aim to make that binder a reality. So, if you see me on the sofa, in front of the TV in the coming months, you’ll probably find me with my laptop and a stack of magazines piled next to me.  I’ll be getting my fragmented <stuff> together.  Until next time…stay nerdy my friends.

Copyright 2013 It Came From The Nerd Cave