A Short Confession by Ron L. Mitchell

Welcome back to the Manifesto, constant reader, after some serious deliberation and a lengthy blackout here at the dive bar, I decided to pony up the annual fee and get the blog viewable for another trip around the sun.  A handful of you guys were squatting in the dark anyway, drinking roonTree’s bathtub gin, carving obscenities into the wood flooring and gambling for each other’s shoes, so I thought the least I could do was pay the electricity bill. I’m not sure how active I’ll be (if at all) in the coming weeks, but with 225 posts there should be enough content in the dusty archives to keep the average reader interested.  As usual, if you have something Lego related that you’d like to post here, just let me know through the Contact tab or shoot me a Flickrmail an I’ll make it happen.

I can offer you one small offering of new material however.  A while back I posted about Ron L. Mitchell’s new blog, Ron’s Brick Bastion.  Unfortunately it look’s like Ron has been a little silent lately as well, but maybe this posting will inspire him to re-ignite the engines.  Today it’s my pleasure to present Ron’s reaction piece to my original post.  Take it away, Mr. Mitchell (née Archon Caledonia).

Keith has been after me for a while to write for his blog.  I tend to procrastinate.  I have good Ideas but tend to not get them in a completed form, or maybe it just takes a while to get there.  Keith gave me a promotional, for which I thank him, and it spurred me to look at the drivel I started and try to finish it.  It was to no avail!  Humor requires a foil, a self-deprecation, a turn of commonality.  I told you what I wrote was drivel?  Yep, the asinine meanderings of a CBD oil marinated sitcom writer made me look bad.  So, I decided to do this.  I decided to come clean and maybe through admission of this problem I could get a handle on it.  I saw a shrink on TV say something like that once, maybe it was Frazier, I am unsure.  It stuck with me.  So here goes…

Constant readers, I have a confession to make.  No, I am not Bricks Noir!  I am not that talented with the digitally aided design stuff.  I acknowledge the talent and time that goes into that work, but, no.  It is not I.  Rather my confession before the magnanimous Manifesto league and support group regards the fact that I have a bad attitude.  Yes, my name is Ron and I have a bad attitude.  (Hi Ron).  I can hear it now, that semi-mocking slightly superior tone she took when I shared with a former beauty queen I short term dated that I was a Lego nerd…dweeb…otaku.  Not that she even knew what otaku was.  She semi dreamed of being a Cosmo girl, a swim suit model for Sports Illustrated…you know, something that would be really important and world changing!  Whereas, I just wanted to have some challenging fun building MOC’s of cool stuff.

I should not still have a bad attitude!

It was decades ago…

But occasionally I hear the same condescension and sad disappointment in the tone of people I want to respect when I tell them my hobby; or more likely my wife of over 30 years tells them my hobby.  “You…still…play with Lego…how…urm…sweet.” Sufferin’ sassafras and succotash!!!!  What’s your hobby?  Oh, you collect dolls?  You drink exotic wine, you make craft beer, you change the oil in your 1968 Camaro SS but it never leaves your garage!?!?  Okay, I know.  Calm down a bit, Ron.  Use your brain for something other than the trigger on a knee jerk reaction.  You asked what I did for fun and I told you.  I like to make things out of ABS blocks, bricks (though Goldman hates the term), Lego system IS my hobby!  MY hobby…

Okay, so bad attitude.  Christian’s should not have a bad attitude, they should be all lovey dovey and hunky dory kumbaya singing, turn the other cheek types.  Correct?

My response to that is that Jesus took a rope, made a whip out of it and tore up a Wal-Mart set up in the temple grounds driving out all the employees and customers alike.  Saint Nick, the guy most people recognize as Santa Claus, or the root of that legend, got ticked off in a church meeting and punched the lights out of another member of the council.  Peter hacked off a guy’s ear with a sword!   Remind your Sunday School teacher of that, why doncha.  Yet…it is Lego we are talking about.  It is a kid’s toy intended to entertain youngsters.  I do wonder what ole Ole would think of what his toy became.  I wonder what he would think of the new sets, special parts, the turns and twists of his legacy in ABS?  I would like to see his reaction to the massive conventions and large dioramas, third party parts and to Bricks Noir’s projects…maybe not.

I sit here at my laptop on this snowy day in the Ozarks with my bad attitude all stirred up.  I heard that tone again recently.  The one that questions your adult maturity because you still play with toys.  They keep that look on their face until I show them videos from the last convention attended, videos of the sheer massive crowds, pics of the ISS in Lego, models of buildings in New York, flowers and frogs by “he who shall go unnamed on the Manifesto but who could care no less for a poorly run website called MOCpages”, how there is this huge world wide community of TFOLs and AFOLs…and it reminds me that despite all…I am still Otaku.  I am still a dweeb.  I am still a bit socially awkward, I am an introvert after all!  Maybe that is why I like Keith and the Manifesto.  I have a bad attitude, too.  I like sarcasm and sass, trash talk and…. Constant reader, Ole named his toy Lego.  It means, as we all know, to “play well”.  So I look at my reflection on the dark corner of my laptop and remind myself that I, the Lego Otaku, the ABS Ascetic, the Hermit of Plastic, needs to play well.  I can have the bad attitude but still play well with others.  My last work evaluation shows that I play well with others!

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Yes, I know, I am preaching to the choir.  You, gentle reader, understand the battle.  You recognize that there are those who do not understand or even worse do not want to understand.  Well, I don’t want to understand Magic the Gathering!!!  My investment in Lego parts and elements is more important to me than a retirement portfolio, sports memorabilia and man cave esthetic!  My Pinterest has sections on storing Lego and cleaning modular buildings, how to mod a 9volt power supply and which batteries work best in trains.  Aw well, maybe I just am too passionate for my hobby.  Maybe I let such things just get under my skin…or maybe I have a real problem.  But then again, it is why I am here, with Keith, hanging around with Matt Roontwit in the virtual world, thinking about Decisive Action: the game, and knocking back the hot wings waiting for the drunks to need a ride home…

 

10 thoughts on “A Short Confession by Ron L. Mitchell

  1. First off, I’m really glad to see that this place isn’t dead. Thank you Keith, thank you for your monetary sacrifices. T_T

    This confession is pretty raw and I think it’ll strike a chord with a lot of people. Truth be told, I haven’t had any disheartening experiences with people seeming put off by my choice of hobby, but I don’t tell very many people about it. Of those who do know, I always tried to put my best foot forward by starting with (the better) things I’ve built. It seems like the response depends on the way you frame the hobby as well as the person. As far as people go, I’ve just been lucky. All of them either thought it was neat or didn’t care much. Even if they were unpleasant about it I guess the proper Christian response would be to remember that God Himself builds with a system…

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  2. I had this problem a bit in high school because teenagers are insecure and will mock anything they aren’t into to feel better about themselves. Haven’t gotten it as much in my adult life though. I also listen to video game music so I’ve gotten used to people not immediately relating. I used to lie about my hobbies but after a while I realized that’s a waste of everyone’s time and I should just be open from the get-go. If people think I’m weird because of them, better to get that out of the way sooner so I can try talking to someone else.

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  3. When I first started with the hobby I had the same thoughts, but it is much less now that LEGO is more mainstream… I’m at the stage where I have a bad attitude towards adult LEGO Set otakus (if that’s the plural form). So bad in fact that I volunteered to start that “MOC TALK” thing to combat this local plague of “gotta catch ’em all” set collectors and “instructions plz” people. My bad attitude stems from telling people my hobby, and then people associating me with that otaku branch of the community.

    I actually “came out” as a LEGO hobbiest to my department at work back in January. Gave a Ted Talk PowerPoint presentation; Topic was lessons learned from the hobby and how they apply to the statistical analysis work our team does. It went over extremely well. I’ve never had so many people send me “very cool!” messages after a work presentation before (I guess it all depends on the audience though – might not go over the same way in a dive bar in Tulsa).

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    1. Oh – and a hearty “boo-urns” to the Manifesto being back on-line. So many things I wanted to go back and reference, in both the articles and comments. Huzzah!

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    2. I, too, try to distance myself from the ALSO’s.

      I think you and Aaron both hit on something, which is it depends how you frame and present it to people. I usually go the route of explaining that it’s a creative outlet and Lego is just a tool to express my ideas because I never put the time into getting better at other mediums. It also helps to pull up my Flickr and show them examples from other builders too.

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  4. I find all the outcast talk to be more self imposed than anywhere near reality. Granted, Lego is very mainstream now and in every hobby you’ll find otaku that mouth-breathe their way in and out of conversations, but I’ve found no ridicule or rejection. It may stand as abnormal in title alone, but by the first sentence of explaining it as a medium, creative outlet, design tool, cheaper than hookers and blow, a means to connect tactilely, a way to reconnect with the past, relive a childhood fun, anything along those lines and no matter who your audience is, unless they’re Tulsans in a dive bar, they get it instantly. Even back in the days of school and self conscious driven behaviors, it really was just OUR perception and lack of confidence and commitment of being a reject in the world of cool kids. Whatever the fuck those are. I think the community stands as a rejection of rejection more than a sanctuary for those, people join willingly and are drawn to it rather than ending up there. Like Denny’s. The mental vision of being lumped as otaku and a pariah from normalcy is simply holding onto those adolescent fears more than any failing on our part to meet some ethereal alignment chart for acceptable societal standards of behavior. Frankly, I just don’t see it and have the wherewithal to not give a shit about what someone else thinks of me.

    But what would anyone expect from some guy named Roontwit? o_0

    BTW Ron, there seems to be an issue with your blog, my last comment seems to still be stuck in moderation.

    And speaking of blogs, fantastic to see this one return from limbo in tact! Thank you Uncle Keith.

    MATANGO!!!

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  5. Roontwit, ALSOs, baby Jesus in a Wal-Mart?!? SO GLAD I clicked that link on my hotbar! (Because I don’t get email notifications anymore, or I’m too busy to pay attention to them.) Welcome back Manifesto, greetings old friends! And a resounding cheer to Ron for restarting this resistance to the wordless complacency of our like-driven hobby.

    You aren’t Bricks Noir? Then the true person is still at large. How disappointing.

    I know for me, Lego is something I have to ‘fess up to. Maybe I’m proud of it (I’m only 20, and a senior in college at this point, so I don’t have to deal with the oppressive nature of stoogy professional engineers quite yet). But I think it’s more because that’s a good descriptor of my personality. I wouldn’t call myself socially awkward, although I do accept the label of “introvert”. But my hobbies just can’t be ignored: Lego, video games, piano, CAD modelling and rendering, painting, the list goes on, but it’s very thematic. Lego is a good indicator of who I am, of my desire to elevate my down-time to something more productive than watching people score touchdowns. (Then why the hell do I watch folks stream Fortnite? Not sure. I’d need to ponder that one for a while.)

    Like Aaron, I tend to show off my best works and leave my second-rate builds un-mentioned. People seem to heartily accept the concept of a contemporary of theirs building with “Legos” if the result is stunning. I’m glad there are a few worthy items in my portfolio, because otherwise those conversations would be a lot more awkward. Still, I’ve noticed that I’m in an interesting age group where no one wants to judge me because no one wants to be judged. In senior year of college, everybody begins to realize that their life is about to jump forward several lightyears, and they aren’t ready to abandon childhood. Because of that, everyone sort of spawns these weird hobbies, or picks back up on the video games or nerdy affiliations they had in highschool. Some dudes are way too obsessed with calculus and reading their textbooks, while their friends play Hearthstone for 10 hours a day. It’s a surprisingly eclectic group of children-wannabe’s in grown up bodies, so judgement just doesn’t have that much sting.

    Also, during my internship last year, many of the engineers had Lego models adorning their cubicles and work spaces. It seems to be pretty welcome in the workplace, and I got tons of compliments for my model of a Hyster forklift. I’m looking forward to my upcoming internship with Boeing and seeing if the scene looks similar.

    This is quite a good topic for conversation, Ron, and I hope that you don’t feel like you’re the only person who gets flak from the public about your hobby. It is interesting to hear the different experiences represented here.

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  6. The first thing I have done when I met a certain girl was show her my LEGO builds. She has been my girlfriend for a year and a half now.

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    1. It really is a litmus test. Met my wife of 20 years working at a Toys-R-Us where I beat the shit out of a Lego box to get it marked down by her.

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