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Everything is Interesting

You would think writer’s block only applies to fiction.

Apparently it does not. The same advice should apply to blogger writer’s block as fictional writer’s block but it doesn’t seem to work the same. In faction if I write a bunch of junk I can throw it away most days. In blogging not so much especially when I wait until posting day to write. Then I get self-conscious about what to say.

Part of it is that much of what might be interesting about my life are things I prefer not to expose to the whole world. Another part is a worry that subjects are too esoteric either for a mostly writing blog or just for general consumption. I mean, sure, Larry Correia can get away with writing about painting wargaming minis, but he’s a best seller author.

Then again, maybe imitating a best seller author isn’t the worst idea.

As MJ will tell you, I have too many hobbies.

Way too many hobbies.

On the front burner right now is model railroading. I don’t have space for a permanent layout but I have on and off plans to build a portable one. I would like to model the turn of the last century. If pressed for something more specific I’d say spring of 1905 as it interests with my interesting battleships. Of course, most model railroading kits and items, at least in the United States, center on the steam to diesel transition of the 1950s or modern railroading. However, the further back you go from the Second World War the more you are on your own.

That means research, lots of research. You not only have to research the items you want to model but how to model them. Both kinds of research lead you on strange trails. I would like to share two quick examples.

The first is the power of the Internet to make old books available. The wonderful site archive.org has two versions of The Carbuilders’ Cyclopedia from 1903 and 1906. It also has the 1917 Official Railway Equipment Register. Google Books has many, many of the later including two from the spring of 1905. While they provide useful information what equipment to model and what it should look like they are also fascinating looks into the era. For example, I know it was an era of consolidation, but going through the Register I’m seeing just how many railroads existed prior to world War I.

The second way is all the skills it means I need to acquire. For example, the lack of locomotives has me reading articles from magazines from the 30s, 40s, and early 50s about scratch building locomotives. There are two common methods for building the frame, casting it in a soft metal that melts are a low temperature such as zinc (or even pennies these days) or cut and solder together brass pieces. I have neither of those skills but in search for them I have gotten interested in building a Gingery metal shop. It is close to being a second hobby.

I think this is good. At over fifty it would be easy to sit on the sofa and watch the same old TV over and over. I am glad I still want to chase down random rabbits that current interests flush out.

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