his blog on books, media and our perceptions is a labor of love. It is not monetized in any way. I don’t make any money off it (in fact, I pay out the nose to support it (and the blogs aren’t free, either)). No ads pop up. I don’t beg for likes and subscribes. I just like writing it and occasionally someone tells me they enjoyed what I have written. So it’s worked out so far.
Then came this “paperwork thing” I’ve had to do. The National Model Railroad Association has a series of achievement programs where, if you get enough of them, you get the recognition of being a “master model railroader”. Each of them takes a lot of effort to achieve and me? I’m just managing three layouts (my home, my micro, and the club) and keep our club running. But one of the layout owners I visit has been adamant about me going for the “Dispatcher” one. Really, you just need fifty hours in a number of operation jobs (dispatcher, yardmaster, mainline freight, etc) and then fill in a bunch of paperwork (an open-book test) to show you know what the fud you are doing.
Okay, my home layout has all that paperwork. It took a night or two just to compile it into a presentation and get it ready for the reviewers. No sweat. The big problem is the hours. Generally when people go for this AP, they have to get their paper and record the hours the do as they do them, including signoffs and position classification. Generally, running maybe once every month or so, you might get it in a little over a year or two.
Me, running one or more times a week (and doing the high-value jobs all over the state) makes it easy. I could (and did) do it in six months. But I need to remember which layouts I ran, which jobs I did, and get signoff. Oh dear.
But wait – I also write an “OpsLog” – every session I go to I describe what happened, the jobs I did (and infamously, the jobs I or others screwed up). You can see the overall listing of all my OpsLogs (mixed with my “Oh Sheet” weekly posting) right HERE!
So it took me about an hour to scan back through them, glancing each over, nothing the jobs I did and the rough time spent. I just opened an excel spreadsheet and added up the hours (by category) as I went back in time. And in no time at all, I had everything ready for signoff. Now I just need to get signatures.
So there you go – it’s like finding a classic you want to read on your bookshelf. Or a critical record right in the top of a box in the garage. Really, I’ll get that AP credit, get a plaque and a handshake. And then I can get everyone off my back.
Another thing out of the way.