OK, so… (Part II of II)

Alright, so…the future.

I don’t think I’ve gotten into this here yet (it’s possible that I have, but a search for “50th birthday” didn’t turn anything up), but sometime in the past few years, I started to think, for a variety of reasons (space, money, no kids, the amount of time I have left to truly enjoy what I have and get the rest to people who will, the obstacles that a pandemic has thrown in the way of collecting things, and other reasons I’m just not thinking of at the moment), about winding down my collecting by my 50th birthday, which is coming up in a little less than a year now.

Now, I have been buying things or having things bought for me since I was a very young child, and I’ve actually been collecting them since the late 1970s (I have some toys, comics, and even a couple of records that have survived my early childhood; I started on cards with the 1980 Topps set, so cards are definitely a 1980s concern), so I’m not foolish enough to think I’ll stop buying new things, or never go back and buy any older things.

However, this idea of completism…finishing sets of cards, runs of comic books, series of toys, and so forth? That, I’d like to wrap up as much as possible, as soon as possible, as most of the things I’m still doing it with are older now, and getting expensive, hard to find, or both.

Without the ability to browse stores, yard sales, flea markets and hobby-based shows, for the reasons discussed in Part I, it can be a real drag trying to do this, too.

I’d like to eventually just do what I see regular folks who casually enjoy, and casually collect things do, where they see something they like, and they just pick up that thing, without worrying so much about its broader context, how many other things they’ll now have to consider owning, and all that nonsense that’s pretty formally ruled my life since I started reading The Daily Planet in the back of DC Comics as a very young kid, and looking at the card backs on action figure packaging.

I’ve actually made a lot of headway on finishing things up before the deadline, and I am gaining perspective on what I’ll realistically be able to do in the next year without substantial help from people, as well as perspective on how much space I’ll need to store what I don’t have yet.

It just feels like it’s time, or way past time, to stop chasing and start enjoying, or trying to enjoy, anyway. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I’d like to try.

As for what I think this’ll do to even a very regularly updated version of this site? Honestly, given the backlog of virtually everything I have to deal with, I could probably write entries regularly for the rest of a long life without buying anything new or running out of things to talk about.

As far as posting goes, as I re-activate this site, or try to, I do, once again, have to re-silo everything I post about, because I exist online in more than just this space. I find that it is very hard to get the few of you who read this site to visit the other spaces, though, which makes me think that some of you only love me for my trading cards (and gosh, are you going to be disappointed as I gradually sunset, or at least pause, that collection, particularly the sports part of it) that you used to mostly read about when I was in the heyday of posting to this site’s predecessor, which is like a decade ago now.

Again, while it is an incomplete resource (mainly because not everywhere I post is public-facing), the ‘tree should help you find some of the rest of that, and you could also always reach out and ask me where everything else is (I am the last person on Earth who enjoys long personal emails).

I think that should do it, for the moment. I wrote a lot tonight, so I’ll let y’all catch up, and start thinking some more about What’s Next. Hopefully, at least some of you will be along for the ride, whatever shape it may take from here.

Oh, one more thing: please subscribe or re-subscribe, if you want notifications of these posts by email. When I wasn’t looking, stuff on my subscriber list got weird, so I had to nuke it. There were not many of you on it, but you got at least one email from me today, so you’re hopefully aware that I’m active again. There’s a form at the top right. Thanks!

5 thoughts on “OK, so… (Part II of II)”

  1. I used to think that I was saving my cards to give to my children when I out grew the hobby, but I realized long ago I was lying to myself about that. I could never stop collecting.

    You’re not missing that much in regards to yard sales, flea markets, etc. The prices are insane. You might have seen a recent post of mine about that. Yesterday I was in one of those chain-store thrift stores (American Thrift). They had tubs of junk wax – a few thousand cards of 1989 Fleer and such. They wanted $600 a tub!

    I’ve also written about how my kids might be getting into nonsports card collecting a little bit. Anything Dad does is automatically a little uncool so they might not stay with it, but it’s fun to see them getting enjoyment out of sorting and maybe trading cards.

    I don’t think it’s a case of loving you only for your cards, as much as perhaps not always having the same interest in every area. If I’m reading a book about a certain topic, I could really enjoy the author’s writing without needing to know everything about the author’s personal life. Kind of the same thing with blogs, some people like more sharing, some like less. I’m more the private type so I lean towards less.

    1. Read this and commented before I wrote Part I – don’t want you to think the part about sharing personal stuff was a commentary on that post!

      1. No worries. I did, in fact, write a bunch about that, but it needed to be said for bigger reasons than just yours and my individual, ongoing conversation.

    2. On the subject of multiple subjects:

      If we’re just talking about the fact that what started out as a single-hobby site evolved into one that covers a lot more ground when it’s active, I don’t have the energy or the domain registration money to maintain a separate site for every single one of my hobbies (and even if someone bought me a half dozen domain names for the next 10 years, the lack of energy is a powerful force), and I wanted the opportunity to write about all of them freely, so I’m doing that. When things are less “this is a post about where I’ve been for the year since I posted last” and more “this post is about this pile of comic books, or this Dock Ellis card or this French art collective doing amazing things in Second Life”, and hopefully, I’ll be back at that point sooner than later, it’ll be easier to spot in the subject lines.

      Casting a wider net, though, it’s interesting how things evolved, really.

      I started the earlier card site because I was starting to talk to a bunch of people about cards elsewhere, starting to get more serious about collecting again (like most people who, in a roundabout way, either found their way back to cards in a big way around that time via Ben Henry, or found their way to a community of people who were serious about cards without being “card investors” via Ben), and the other places I wrote in were really not the right venue for writing about trading cards, for much different reasons than the ones I had later on (basically, my older website was kinda shock value stuff at its core, even when it’d get more serious at times).

      Then, after a few years, and with me finding an interest in writing about way more than cards, since my interests have always been pretty varied , but also wanting to keep my hobby-related writing separate from the rest of my life (because at the time, I was becoming more and more overtly political in the spaces where I was writing general-interest things, but I also had and still have hobbies that are very rooted in a sort of capitalism that exists uneasily at best in the same world with a good chunk of the rest of my beliefs), I moved here.

      At this point, while, again, I kinda wanna silo certain writing about certain things here, just because I need to do that for all of the places I write to at least some degree (and there are several), the completely unavoidable state of the world in 2023 means that I can’t talk about my hobbies (or much of anything) without talking about how the state of the world directly affects me and them, even if that doesn’t end up being a popular position for me to take.

      It’s not just in terms of me talking about price-gouging like most of the card blogs I still see, because there’s really only a handful of sets where that affects me much at all at this point (I just run into it in trying to finish off 2014-2020 Topps flagship and Update, and that started before COVID did, really in 2018 with that rookie crop). It’s also (and primarily) in terms of how peoples’ rush to return to “normalcy” excludes me and probably a good number of other people from pursuing our hobbies in the same ways we could before 2020, and yes, my feelings about people featured on cards, in comics and so forth already do affect both how I collect things and what I write about those things, and will likely continue to in the future.

      To zoom in on the biggest part of the above, people who are at even higher risk than most people of serious COVID-related complications (and, please don’t fool yourselves, vaccinated or not, masked or not, if you’re just jumping back into the public square, indoor dining, concerts, in-person office work, etc., you’re all still at high risk of getting COVID, hidden statistics or no, and the complications can be profound, and are still being studied) are basically excluded from normal public life if they wish to minimize their risks, and that affects hobbies in every way from not really being able to browse in-person for anything, anywhere, to massive amounts of shipping charges if you wish to continue pursuing the hobbies you had before the pandemic started in a similar way, to, on a very personal level, occasionally finding out that people who I used to share resources, do deals, and communicate with in a friendly way have opinions that, whether they realize it or not, are legitimately dismissive of my humanity.

      To go over to finances for a second, I could probably buy another ’86 Fleer Jordan in decent condition at retail with what I’ve spent on shipping in the past few years, lots of it because I simply can’t walk into any hobby store in the world right now and browse for anything safely. Frankly, the fact that I’ve even been able to pay for all that shipping, however temporary that ability may be? (Along with the facts that, yes, I’m classified as fully disabled, and I have stable housing, both other stories.) That’s a huge, huge privilege that I do not take for granted. Plenty of people who are as chronically ill as my spouse and I are haven’t been as fortunate with Social Security or anything else, and don’t have the resources we have, so they’re stuck out in the world, and that contributes to a lot of “fuck it, if I’m already forced to be out here, I’m at least going to do this”, which contributes to more illness, death, and spread of disease, and so it goes.

      So, yeah, that element of my “personal life” is going to be unavoidable moving forward unless we someday live in a world that more closely resembles the one that we even sort of believed existed from say 2007-2011, never mind pre-2020, where I can just walk into a place and *be*. Hopefully, you and others will be open-minded and understanding about that.

      And yes, as a person who yells at recipe blogs on the regular for writing 10 unskippable pages about how this recipe reminds them of a time in 1996 when they had no friends and only hung out with their grandmother in the late stages of her life, I do get it (both on the hobbies you might have an interest in and the heavier stuff), to a degree. People do enjoy, appreciate, and have a need for topic-specific, specialized information (and I can be one of those people), and we’re living in a time where it’s becoming much harder to find because the Internet is filling up with unregulated noise, but it is probably safe to say that, if I’ve ever positioned myself as a topic-specific, serious expert on just about anything in my life (and I actually have), that was done in error, and I apologize if people took any such positioning seriously.

      This doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I know, because I do still know a few things that repeated head trauma hasn’t caused me to forget over time, but it does mean that, if you’re looking for an authority on certain very specific things, I’m probably not that person. Every time I think I’ve learned all there is to know about a thing, I find out that there are a million more things to learn about it, and I’m never going to get around to learning all of them, because I’m just not that able to focus anymore, nor do I wish to be that kind of expert. There’s not much joy in that sort of writing (and no joy in that sort of positioning) for me, beyond the times when I am able to pass on a little of what I know, just to do it.

      Hobbies are also escapism for a lot of people, and my way doesn’t offer much escape, but I’ll be writing from the perspective of a person with hobbies who isn’t really offered that escape in the same way that I used to be, because the majority of people basically have hoarded all of that for themselves by living in the level of denial that people are, with little to no real regard for not only my safety and the safety of other disabled people, but also little to no regard for their own safety or even their own children’s. If people are uncomfortable with me writing about my personal experiences, they are more than welcome to not read what I write.

      All of this interconnected community of sites (most of my readership are legacy readers from the card site, but it’s not for lack of trying) have always had one thing in common, though, and I say this as someone who’s been a part of it for more than a decade and a half: we may not all think we do it, and some people may even go far out of their way to try to strip it from what they post, but we’ve all had our individual, personal voice and perspective on whatever we’ve written about. dayf doesn’t write like you do, you don’t write like Ben did when he was still updating his site, Ben didn’t write like Fuji does, and Fuji doesn’t write like I do, and so forth. It might not be as far in the forefront for everyone as my posts this week have had it (or, most likely, as difficult for some people to hear), but it is always there, and for me, it’s been one of the most important things about being a part of any of your lives in whatever way I’ve managed to be. I don’t just want to know about the cards you got in a craigslist deal. If I wanted to just look at pictures of cards, TCDB exists, and that’s a totally viable option for lots of people who just want raw data. I use it all the time, but I don’t use it to avoid “all that other stuff”, I just use it when I need to look up a specific card or checklist or whatever.

      I want to see the posts of recognizable locations in New York, I want to hear that you and your family are doing OK after the uprooting that you’ve had at times, I want to hear about your other hobbies, and all of the other stuff that makes you you. You do short interviews with players, and not a lot of other folks are doing that in the card hobby, nor have they. Hell, even (and in some ways especially) if stuff’s not going well for you or any of the rest of the people reading this who write about things, I want to know about that, too, because I care, and because I can’t help if I don’t know. To get it out of the way, even though it’s probably pretty clear, I can tell you all right now that, no, stuff is not going well for me in a great many ways, but that my spouse and I are both doing our best, within our respective abilities to do so. The personal and the individual is vitally important in a world that tries like hell to strip it out of us.

      I might not agree with some of what’s said by people, and occasionally, if I do find it to be seriously offensive (usually, this happens because people are dismissive of and hurtful toward other peoples’ humanity, backgrounds and experiences) rather than just a little off-base and maybe an opportunity for someone to learn some things, I will walk away (if it’s an option for the rest of you, I would certainly consider it an option for myself), sometimes after trying to reach the person I have the problem with, sometimes not (it really depends on how ingrained whatever bothered me actually is with the person), but frankly, even when it’s an inconvenience (and it has been, and it will be again), I would still rather know who the people in my neighborhood are than not, so I can make informed choices about who I get to know better, deal with and so forth.

      Hopefully, that all explains more about where I’m at, what I will be talking about moving forward, how I’ll be talking about it, and why , as well as what I pick up on when reading other sites like mine, written by people like yourself. (I’ve sure been pretty thorough, at any rate.) If any of it’s too much for anyone, well, that’s certainly a choice, but it’s not the first time that choice has been made, and it won’t be the last. Otherwise, I’ll at least try to be here.

      1. Yeah my comment was more in the vein of, I’m probably not going to be reading about music or action figures on your other sites.

        Wish things were going better for you, but glad you are managing. My family and I were avoiding a lot of public things long after most people had gone back, really only in the last couple of months going out and doing things. I had missed garage sales, flea markets etc but I don’t think I was missing as much as I thought.

        Anyway, I appreciate what you wrote and are continuing to write.

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