I've got a secret to share with you. No, it is nothing as spicy as a Britney Spears fixation (which is more like watching a train wreck in progress), nor do I spend my nights dressed up in wool.
I build models. I build little plastic representations of weapons of mass destruction. These are 1/35th, 1/48th, and as large as 1/6th scale metal and plastic representations of mostly World War II tanks, planes, and trains. Every now and then I'll drop enough to buy groceries for a week on something more modern.
Why is there this fascination? Like a lot of people, I grew up trying to keep from getting too high on plastic cement while putting together these little models of "Robby the Robot", the Munster's "Munster Mobile" and other bits of memorabilia. I like sitting around and trying to make little pieces of plastic and metal into bigger pieces of plastic and metal that look like something out of history. I'm not building real weapons of mass destruction, nor do I feel like I'm promoting the practice of war. Its a hobby I enjoy.
I also subscribe to a Blog done by Dave Klaus. Dave owns a company that (thankfully) provides all sorts of after market parts, and wonderful fun things to those of us who hide behind closet doors building our models. The name of the company is Meteor Productions, Inc.
I've re-posted his blog (with his kind permission I might add) because of its importance to everything we do. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it. Don't just think of your spouse or children putting together a model plane, or tank. Sit back and think of how you approach things in your life. Do you look upon the things before you as a child might? Do you look at things with excitement at what you might just learn from the experience? Do you look at doing something for the pure pleasure of doing the act, or because you feel you have to do something?
Sure, you might think that Dave's message has nothing to do with raw foods. You're wrong.
Keely and I just started a 30 day BES program. We're taking a step back from the table and eating as simple as we can get it. You probably won't hear a dehydrator, food processor, or anything other than a blender around our house until February. We're going to work on our own models, our bodies. We're going to eat as pure as we can, and see what happens. No processed foods (yes, there are raw processed foods that can be bought), no fancy dehydrated meals, nothing more than plain, fresh fruits and vegetables, with a simple smoothie thrown in now and then for fun. We are really hooked on the Raw Divas' Programs. Tera and Amy have done a fantastic job!
We're going to be children, and enjoy our lives.
And I'm going to build a model. Although I might take me 30 minutes. I never was a fast builder when I was a kid.
My thanks to Dave Klaus, President of Meteor Productions, Inc. Every now and then we need to be reminded of the child within us, and let that person come out to play!
oh, one final note. I meant to post this on Sunday, but I had some problems with the formatting. I had to rely on a rat for help! Dave's is a lot prettier, but the message hasn't been lost. He'll be happy to sign you up for his updates if you visit his site at http://www.meteorprod.com/.
From Dave Klaus At Meteor
(Sorry about the obstreperous email subject line, but this is the most important letter I've ever written and I want you to read the whole thing).
While Christmas is a time to renew, replenish, and strengthen our caring thoughts and actions towards others, New Year's Day is our yearly reminder that we need to take stock of our own life, both past and present.
Easily spoken, much harder to accept: "What's past is past, and it cannot be undone. We have no control over and cannot change what's already happened."
(Of course, we CAN stop beating our heads against the wall, but that's PRESENT and FUTURE action, isn't it?)
We -- you and I -- CAN control what we do from this point forward, so I'm going to focus on this for a few moments.
Whatever may be going on in your life right now and for the next year is well outside my personal knowledge, so please let me concentrate here on our shared love of scale model building. OK, I know what I'm about to say to you is patently obvious, but sometimes it's helpful to hear it again!
# First, modeling is your hobby, not your life. Hobby/Life, Life/Hobby. Not the same. Got that? Keep your perspective on this, and don't allow others who are unable to make this distinction to negatively affect your life - or your hobby.
# Now, I LOVE this hobby and I bet you do too, because I don't think you would be a Meteor client if you didn't. So: what do we love about it?
# I love having the ability to DREAM of my finished model, sitting on the shelf, admired by others, and the joy the realization of that dream brought to me. Do you?
# I love the CREATIVITY, both in myself when I build a model (or master pattern) AND when I look at the accomplishments of other modelers. Do you?
# I love having the DESIRE to craft a superior scale model that is (mostly) my own creation, and having the desire to constantly improve my modeling skills. Do you?
# I love actually IMPROVING my modeling skills, constantly, because I want to and I know I can. Do you?
# I love being able to CONCENTRATE on the project at hand, without distraction, and ignore whatever else is going on in my life during my exercise of creativity, desire for accuracy and improvement, and knowledge that no matter how good (or bad!) my skills are right now, I can and will get better as I build more models. Do you?
# I love the feeling of ACCOMPLISHMENT I get when I've actually finished a project and it's on the shelf. Yes, I love the doing, and I also love the joy of having the project DONE. Do you?
Don't get me wrong; I have a bunch of partially finished projects (bet you do too). That's the result of my enjoyment of the "doing" or "starting" part.
But I'm also willing to bet cash money that all those unfinished projects also weigh heavily on your heart and spirit. They certainly do for me!
Your Dreams (In Seven Seconds Or Less)
It's pretty likely most good things that have happened in your life started in your dreams. I bet it only takes seven seconds of reflection for you to see this is true. Your dreams are important -- CRUCIAL -- to your existence.
Your dreams belong to you. You own them.
DO NOT allow anyone else to take them away from you, or to demean them, or to tell you you're not good enough. EVER.
DO NOT allow others to steal, damage, or destroy anybody else's dreams and accomplishments. I guarantee you've seen this time and again at model club meetings and constantly on the internet chat rooms. Will you stand up for yourself? Will you stand up for others? Make it happen in 2008.
Courage is essential to our enjoyment of our hobby (and our lives, for that matter).
* It takes COURAGE to finish a model project. It only takes HOPE to start one.
* It takes COURAGE to stand up for your dreams, even when others attack, demean, and try to destroy them.
* It takes COURAGE to stand up to the huge and constant wave of negativity that has been and is washing across most model club meetings and all the internet modeling chatty rooms.
* Most of all, it takes COURAGE to stand up to yourself when you tell yourself "I'm not really good enough" and "Everybody will laugh at my model."
* It most assuredly does NOT take courage to criticize other people's dreams and efforts, especially when you hide behind the anonymity of the internet chat rooms. In fact, that behavior is COWARDICE exemplified.
Let me tell you about the bravest modelers I've ever known. (These will not be stories about guys like Frank Mitchell or George Lee, who are (were in George's case) also exceptionally brave modelers).
The quiet profiles in courage I'm talking about are the guys who dreamed BIG, then did their absolute best to make their dreams reality . . . in the face of extremely negative reactions, outright derision, from "fellow" modelers.
# The first is a guy I met in the mid 1980s who built two models a week. HE FINISHED TWO MODELS PER WEEK. His wife and family were his biggest fans. He showed up at our local model club meeting one night with SEVENTEEN finished models. His workmanship and painting skills were exceptional. He was pretty good at applying decals. Nonetheless, he failed to win even a single modeling trophy or ribbon at any of our club or regional model contests, although he always entered.
# Why were his skills never recognized by his "fellow" modelers? Because this guy built according to the blueprints of his dreams, not major aircraft manufacturers. Not a single one of his several hundred aircraft, tank, truck, or car models looked anything like something that could have come out of a Revell or AMT box.
# I vividly recall seeing one of his "works in progress" where he mated the front end of a Revell 1/48 Rockwell B-1 bomber kit to the main fuselage and wings of a 1/48 Academy FB-111 kit. Can you even imagine what that thing looked like? Well, this superbly creative guy imagined how it could look and he made it real. It did not look like a B-1 and it certainly did not look like a FB-111, but it sure looked GOOD! (And the conversion was beautifully executed.)
# Can you guess the response of nearly all the model club's membership? (If you guessed "admiration for his modeling skills" you'd be . . . wrong. If you guessed "derision" you'd of course be correct).
# With immense admiration and gratitude, I'm pleased to report this outstanding modeler did NOT allow the negative feedback to affect his love for the hobby nor his output rate (he did, however, leave the club). Could you (or I) have stood up to this pressure? WOULD you or I have stood up?
The final group of heroes I'd like to tell you about are cut from different cloth. (You'll recognize this group from your own experience, although perhaps you may not have recognized their bravery.)
# I've also know quite a few other modelers whose skills fit into quite a different category, but I admire their courage just as much (actually more) than the hero I just described.
# These guys were all modelers. They built, they completed models. They didn't screw around, they BUILT MODELS. However, unlike the first hero, most of their models would have had trouble scoring high enough to place last in a model contest.
# If there's any humanity in you at all, you've already figured out: SO WHAT? These guys dreamed, then they acted. That makes them modeling heroes in my book.
# I bet you've known guys like this. They never seem to last too long in local modeling clubs because of the negative feedback they seem to get, but I'm sure you've known such guys.
# There are several important lessons for us here.
# First, as I just said, these guys DREAMED, then DID. Most of the rest of us just jabber.
# Second, every one of the guys I'm talking about here was fully aware that his models were "not up to IPMS standards." While their modeling skills may not have met the standards the naysayers always apply to others (but never to themselves), these courageous guys kept on FINISHING MODELS. If that's not behavior to be admired by the rest of us, I don't know what is.
# Finally, at least in the cases described here, every one of these guys kept IMPROVING. In the late 1980s, the IPMS club I belonged to at the time finally accepted one such modeler "into the bosom." His models still didn't come close to meeting "IPMS standards," but my God, they were an order of magnitude better than when he first joined the club.
# In fact, and I'm proud to have been a member of such an IPMS club, at the end of the year we bought a huge trophy - much larger than our "Top Model Of The Year" trophy, just for this guy as "Most Improved Modeler." You should have seen the light in his eyes and joy on his face when we presented him with this trophy.
# That, my friends, cannot fail to touch your heart and make your own spirit soar.
"So, What About Me?"
I'll bet on you. Will you?
I'll bet you have the dreams inside you to start the process. Will you?
I'll bet you have the desire to actually fill your display shelves with your creations. Will you?
I'll bet you have the courage inside you to complete the process (even if it's been a while since you demonstrated to yourself that you actually have that courage). Will you?
Will you bet AGAINST or FOR yourself? Make it happen in 2008!
"TEN STEPS IN SEVENTEEN MINUTES" Prescription For Getting Off Your Fat Ass
And Getting On With Your Modeling Life
(I'M NOT KIDDING! DO THIS TODAY!)
1. Take your cheapest model kit, the one you're very unlikely to ever actually build, off the storage shelf. Preferably one that's still in its shrink wrap.
2. FORGET ABOUT what this model might look like when you finish it.
3. FORGET ABOUT any and all judgments you or others might make about its quality.
4. UNPLUG your spray booth and put your airbrush away.
5. CLEAR your modeling desk of everything except this model kit box, glue, nippers, scissors, and an X-Acto knife.
6. HIDE the reference material. PUT AWAY the aftermarket decals, resin bits, sanding sticks, paint, paintbrushes, rubber bands, tape, and everything else not included in step 4.
7. RIP OFF the shrink wrap, WITH YOUR FINGERS. No scissors or knives allowed.
8. TEAR OPEN the kit box, smell the styrene, and take a moment to remember the absolute JOY you felt as a kid doing precisely this same thing.
9. CUT OUT the box top and prop it up on your workbench so you can easily see it. Throw the rest of the packaging away.
10. FINISH THIS MODEL RIGHT NOW.
Here's what you are allowed and not allowed to do:
# You are allowed to use your nippers to remove the parts from the trees and your X-Acto to clean up the nubs
# You are allowed to read the kit instructions, but you don't hafta if you don't wanna.
# You are allowed to use any type of glue you wish.
# You are allowed to giggle uncontrollably, although NOT while you have an X-Acto knife in your hand! After all, there's nobody else around to hear you, and even if there is, they'll just think "Dad's back to making his crazy models" anyway. They might even enjoy the sound of your laughter, just as your Mother did when you were a boy doing the same thing.
# You're not allowed to trim, fit, or sand pieces for better parts fit. They are what they are and you're gonna glue them together just as they are!
# You're not allowed to prepaint anything. In fact, you're not allowed to paint anything at all on this model.
# You're not allowed to trim the decals before you soak them. You will cut them out of the decal sheet just like you did when you were a kid, and like the fit of the parts, the decals are what they are.
(Told you I had some demands!)
# Yes, I DEMAND you enjoy yourself while you do this.
# I DEMAND you finish this model in 17 minutes or less. You can do it; you did it when you were a boy!
# In the fairly likely event you find yourself resisting some of the prescriptions above, you are allowed to rationalize to yourself that you're not really doing this because you want to, or even think it's a good idea, but it's because that rat bastard Dave Klaus is MAKING you do it!
# Send me an email when you've FINISHED this model. Send it by clicking this link: YES, DAVE, I FINISHED A MODEL AND I HAD A GREAT TIME!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, filled with love (first), lots of model kit gifts (second), and I wish you and your loved ones a fantastically amazing and prosperous New Year.
Man, I LOVE this hobby!
DAVID H. KLAUS
Meteor Productions, Inc.
(c) 2008, Meteor Productions, Inc.