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Old 07-07-2007, 02:06 PM
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Why is it so hard to KISS?

Note : K.I.S.S. is a acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid, if you have no idea what I am about to ramble about.

75% of my projects start as simple, budget, hot rods. The goal is usually just to build a quick and "dirty" little toy to have fun with, while I dream up and build something crazy to satisfy my craving for more. Inevitably, things always spiral out of control and I end up with too much time invested to quit, and not enough money to finish it quickly.

My Camaro was running and ready to be driven at the end of December, last year. All I had was a few to-do list items over the winter to be able to use it more. That was supposed to be done, and the plates and insurance were supposed to be back on it, by late May. Now in July, I am up to my elbows in custom work on it, and I have already missed three of the main shows I wanted to attend.

What triggered this post is I peeked in a shop today, next door to one I have an ongoing project in, to look at a little VW dune buggy he's working on. I thought, "man this little thing would be fun, I wish I had something like this!" Then, as I was back in my car running my errands, I started thinking that a dune buggy isn't really my style. What I would really like to have is a little open wheel, roadster, street rod. I started rummaging through my mental inventory list of available parts, trying to figure out "what I could throw together for the summer."

Then, it dawned on me! I had been down that road so many times before, but never reached my destination! I had been down the actual asphalt road I was on many times before as well; but the difference was each time I had found Home Depot, Lowe's, Super Walmart, or whatever location I desired.

Now, I have to figure out why. It's most likely a combination of reasons. I believe that one problem is I have always started with base vehicles that aren't quite what I really want. That causes me to spend a lot more time and money trying to transform them into something I can live with.

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Old 07-07-2007, 06:09 PM
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A simple case of:
hotrodus-projectitus: an addiction associated with gearheads( see also carnutus-wrenchopolus). Syptoms are, but not limited to, wanting to play with anything mechanical. Habitats are under vehicle hoods and garage floors. May be found in the company of other gearheads, where stories of excessive speed are told. Likes the smell of grease, oil and fuel. Approach with caution.


Todd, don't fret. I think we all, as Hot Rodders, suffer from this to a certain degree. We just like to tinker with stuff! Plain and simple. Just about all of us have stories of how we used to take things apart and try and put them together again. We are who we are by birth.

Now, that being said, we like to make things better than they are or were. Sometimes, however, we do this with things we are already working on. This is what causes deviating from the original plan. I was sitting today planning out the expenses for some parts I'll need for the motor I want. Just a simple, plain carb and manifold selection. When I had finished, I was looking at an Edelbrock endurashine carb and manifold setup! I had talked myself into upgrading and didn't even realize it! Since I had picked a shiny carb and manifold, of course I'd need a chrome water pump, timing cover and pulley setup! Hmmmm.... might as well get a chrome pan too. It just snowballed! I won't even go into the internal engine deviations!

That is why you hear about the guys with 4 or 5 projects going on. WE JUST CAN'T HELP IT! It's part of the sickness, brother! You're driving around, or worse, at a swap meet (Home of the Devil!) and you spy something that looks like it just needs a little attention. Maybe you just play with the thought, but soon, you've told yourself how easy it would be to do it. You've even convinced yourself how it would be cheap to do. In worse cases, you convince yourself where the new money will come from to build it! Man, I've seen guys arguing with their wives at swap meets, over a part they "HAVE TO HAVE"!! It's sad. Of course this is when you step in and grab the part during the confusion.

So, is there a cure? Nope. Just restraint, my friend. Keep focused on the now. Have a good plan setup for what your working on and stick to it. No matter what it takes. Keep the check book at home or get a credit card with a set limit. Maybe even get a significant other to keep a check on you. No shame in that. I have my eye on a 350 Vette motor for my T Bucket. My girl asked if a regular 350 would be cheaper. I told her it would, most likely, but it wouldn't be from a VETTE!

So, fear not, you are not alone in your sickness. The start of curing is recognizing that you have a problem.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:19 PM
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And I thought it was just me!
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...we do this with things we are already working on....deviating from the original plan...
I wrote that plan down somewhere... I wonder what it was?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...I was sitting today planning out the expenses for some parts I'll need for the motor I want. Just a simple, plain carb and manifold selection. When I had finished, I was looking at an Edelbrock endurashine carb and manifold setup! I had talked myself into upgrading and didn't even realize it! Since I had picked a shiny carb and manifold, of course I'd need a chrome water pump, timing cover and pulley setup! Hmmmm.... might as well get a chrome pan too. It just snowballed! I won't even go into the internal engine deviations!
That's the pattern alright! I've even managed to snowball other peoples' projects! I bet they'll think twice about asking for my help again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...That is why you hear about the guys with 4 or 5 projects going on...
I'm down to 4 active projects from 9. I just jumped off the high board and got rid of them in one big adrenaline rush. I tried to get down to 3 but seem to be stuck at four for now. I promised myself I won't add any more until at least three of the four I have don't need so much attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...or worse, at a swap meet...
That's how this freakin Camaro got here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...Maybe you just play with the thought, but soon, you've told yourself how easy it would be to do it. You've even convinced yourself how it would be cheap to do. In worse cases, you convince yourself where the new money will come from to build it!...
I struggle with that on a daily basis. Being down to four projects hasn't solved the problem because my skills have evolved to the point of being able to build parts from raw materials, and complete vehicles from scratch. "Oh, this part would really make my so-and-so look/perform great; and it would be so easy to make. I don't need any money, because I have the supplies right here, and if I do need something I am sure to get a few extra jobs here and there to pay for it." Then I realize what a great marriage that whatchamacallit motor would make with the doodad suspension stuff. "All I need is some 2x3-inch tubing and I can whip up a frame in a couple days... I wonder if I can find a nice old Doohickey at next month's swap meet, so I don't have to sweat my way through the specialty title process."

That happens in my brain more than I care to admit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...Just restraint, my friend. Keep focused on the now. Have a good plan setup for what your working on and stick to it. No matter what it takes...
You're kidding right? You actually think it's possible to stick to a plan?! (I'm kidding )

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfeverfred
...Maybe even get a significant other to keep a check on you. No shame in that...
My wife has tried to help me, but she is merely human. She really doesn't care what I do because I make sure the bills are paid before I play. She just tries to help because she feels sorry for me and wants to see me "get there". It would benefit her more if I can stick to the plan though, because I would end up with a more effective marketing tool, which should put a little more money into the household account.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:56 PM
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On a serious note. The bottomline is that you should just have fun, whether it's business or a hobby. But you have to know when to say no. If it gets to the point you are scarificing bill payments and causing tension with those around you, it may be time to step back and take a real hard look at yourself. You sound like you're doing fine, but if the electricity gets cut off, light a candle and think about what's going on.
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Old 07-08-2007, 11:37 AM
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I've spent the past two days getting some much needed R&R, and reviewing my plans and progress. I wanted to find out where I got off track, and take a good look at where I am, to make some decisions about where I am going.

I also asked my wife for her opinion on why I wander. She believes it is due to my perfectionist tendencies. I never stop pushing for more, good is never good enough. Over the years, I have disciplined myself to just stop and let well enough alone when I realize that there are not enough available resources for "more". After I chewed on it for a day, I realized she is right. When I am doing customers' projects that discipline kicks in and I stop at the point where I know I have surpassed their expectations, and can live with my name being "out there" on the whatchamacallit I made for them.

My personal projects, however, are my last remaining sanctuary. The last place I have left on Earth where I can be me - the perfectionist! Now, I have to figure out how to maintain my sanctuary, and effectively promote my business.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:13 AM
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Todd, we "feel your pain". My perfectionism is limited to "the best of my abilities" and to my personal tastes, which helps me a lot. I am not a fan of the chrome, glitter and bells and whistles of the moment, mainly because I do not want to waste my time keeping the chrome and glitter polished and the bells and whistles working (if it is installed, I want it to work). As a result of my personal tastes, I can concentrate on handling, efficiency and comfort for long distance traveling. Bug splatters and rock chips don't freak me out because I see these as the price of enjoyment. One thing I do suffer is the strong urge to finish the project and get it on the road.

Trees
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:03 PM
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Today, I pulled the Camaro out of the shop for the first time in about a month. Even though it is an inconvenience to stray from the original plan, I must admit that I am happy that I did this time. I love the results! If I had stuck to the original plan, I would have an ordinary car with a couple interesting items. Now, I have something special!

I guess it's really a matter of determining WHEN straying from the course is acceptable. Sometimes going a little further can be an extremely good thing. On the other hand, I think I have reached the point where it will no longer be good. Now, I need to leave well enough alone, finish what I started, and get on with the program. The Camaro is supposed to be my "right now" hot rod that allows me to take my time with my street rod and really push the limits of my abilities (that's kind of scary )
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