2015 Look Ahead

2014-2015
Well it is a start of another new year, with 2015 now here. Yesterday I reviewed my 2014, which I have to say, was steady, but disappointing in the end, as really nothing stood out for me, and it was a year with a lot of nothing for me. Looking at the last few months, it was a whole bunch of nothing. But 2015 is here, so I guess a bit of a reset, though I am not sure I really believe in these, as changes should happen anytime, but this is a nice spot to start.

Fitness: Was good last year, and the plan is to keep it moving forward this year. My weight is good, so I am going to start focusing on toning my body a bit more. I am debating if I want to upgrade my exercise equipment, as I don’t really have much at home. We do have a small gym at work, and I think I will explore using that a few days a week. I am sort of debating between getting myself a Snowblower, or getting myself an Elliptical machine. They do have the machines at work in the Gym, but I feel more comfortable at home, so I will go have a look and see what they have, and what the quality is like. I also want to increase my small weight set a bit, and also maybe get a bench at some point.

Collecting/Modelling: As stated yesterday, I felt a bit let down with both come the end of the year. I have really jumped into Star Wars vintage collecting, and it seems to bring me a lot of satisfaction. I spent years collecting modern items, and enjoyed that, but it was basically a journey back to the toys I had as a kid. This year will be focused on completing my loose Star Wars set, as I have some higher priced figures to get. There is really no big modern items on the horizon for me, so I don’t have those competing for my toy budget. I like Props, but there is not many out there getting produced that I want, so besides the Star Trek ships and the Hasbro 6 inch Black Series Star Wars line, that is really all the modern on my radar. I keep hoping that someone will release a Studio Scale Tie Interceptor model, as that would be something I would like, but that is just fantasy wishing by me.

With the Vintage collecting, as stated, I want to complete my Loose collection, I still have some figures to go, but I can sort of see an end point. I will need to give myself a bit of a kick to get myself going, and that might mean over paying for a figure on eBay, but if it gets me going, then it will be worth it. I am also branching out a bit into some carded figures as well, mostly ones which feature images of ships on the cover, and I would like to have the range between the different card backs (Star Wars, Empires Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Power of the Force and Possibly Tri Logo). There are a few dioramas I want to build up as well, so looking for a few playsets as well (Creature Cantina and Rebel Command Center). Some ships as well I would like to get, with the boxes as well, as I was so impressed with the Slave 1 I got last year. My other focus might be on one Character as well, right now I playing with a Cantina creature, most likely Walrus Man, as I would like to get a figure that would have be released on multiple cards. So I have a lot of ambitious Vintage goals for the year, much more then I realized when I before I typed this out 🙂 .

With the Scale Modelling, I want to put a dent into what I have. When cleaning up the basement, I just have too many models now, and they need to get built. I had some rather ambitious goals with lighting, but decided to scale that back and just work on building. As I improve my skills, I can start taking on more. I also decided that I would work on two models at the same time, as I think in the past, just doing one, I would get disrupted when I had to wait on something, like glue or paint drying, and things like that. Also, sometimes you reach a spot with building something, and you need to switch it up a bit, so I am hoping working on two will help with that. I guess I just have to accept that the results at the start will not be what I want, but it is a journey to what I want in the end.

General Outlook: As stated, I felt the year was disappointing, and I felt I really did not do much. Overall though, I think I am somewhat content, I just really need to shake the lethargy that plagues me. The fitness will help, but I guess I have to be careful not to let it tire me out, or even let it run over my life at times. I can get regimented in when I do things at times, and let that run my life. So I am hoping I can maybe find a better balance in my life, still keep fit, but also make sure I have the energy and the interest to pursue other things.

I spent a lot of my life just sort of observing from the sideline, and not much time actually doing things. I would spend hours on Facebook, just looking through threads and feeds, and never really doing much more with my time. I also would spend hours just aimlessly browsing the Internet, it can be a bit of a trap losing myself in it. I can be bad in that I am always checking my phone for updates, but never really interact with anyone. Even with my Vintage Star Wars collecting, I am in some groups, but never contribute to them, so I have to make more of an effort to contribute more, but also limit my time online, and more time doing.

I also feel, that I am not as present in my life as I want to be. I want to spend more time with friends and family as well, then I do, as I get comfortable staying at home. No one ever really says anything about spending more time, but it is something I sense. I really hope that my wife and I can spend some more time this year doing things together, maybe some shared hobby, or other meaningful time together. I guess I will have to make an effort to push myself forward a bit, and not be some comfortable and lethargic with my life.

2015, I am looking forward to you. I hope it is more rewarding, and ends with a bang with the new Star Wars movie.

2014 Year in Review

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That time of year again, to reflect back on what was the year, and this year is was 2014. It had it’s ups and downs, like most years do, but I think overall it was a steady year for me.

Fitness: I have been able to maintain my fitness into this year. I have been still keeping pretty good to a healthy diet, and regular exercise. About midway through the year, I did scale back my exercise a bit, with less cardio, and I have started to do more stretching and mild working out. I find my energy level for the cardio is lower then it was in the past. I did lose a bit of weight, so quite possibly I just don’t have the energy to burn. I also adjusted my Exercise bike and increased the tension, so that might be contributing to it as well. I do see in 2015, that I will probably need to get a new exercise bike, as the one I have right now looks it is near it’s end of life. The last two weeks of the year, I have taken a break from the exercise and relaxed my eating as well, so plan at hitting it again in the new year. I guess I am a person who believe’s in recovery, and not that I push myself to hard, it is nice to give the body a bit of a break.

Professionally: Works has been alright for me this year, nothing really of note on that. It was not really a taxing year, like I had seen in the past, but more steady. I did do an installation of OpenText Web Site Management 11 at work, and worked through a bunch of migration items with that. That kept the job somewhat interesting on the technical side of things.

I have sort of come to the conclusion that at some point I would like to move myself out of a technical job, and more into a less technical role. I find each year, I just get less and less enthused about the technical aspects of the job. They just don’t seem all that interesting to me anymore, I find it a bit harder to keep up as well. Also, I find it does get a bit stressful at times to be oncall, as I don’t really like the disruption it places on my life. This year was not a bad year by any stretch, but just sort of affirmed where I would like to go.

Collecting/Modelling: I have to say, at the end of the year, I feel somewhat disappointed with both of these hobbies I have had. I really did not build any models at all this year. I bought some supplies, started some models, but could never get to the point of being done. Not really sure what held me back on these, just never could get myself to the basement to work on them. I think I am still worried about making mistakes, which holds me back, and I just need to accept that for the first while, things will not look as good as I want them to. I am going to really try and push myself on these. I was looking at the stack of Models I have, and it is quite large, so I really need to get moving on these as the pile is getting overwhelming. I had some big plans to do lighting and things like that, but I will approach it slower. Once I get my skills up, then I can look into lighting models, but for now, just completing should be my goal.

Collecting had it’s ups and down. For the most part I just focused on my Star Wars vintage collecting, as that seems to be where I have my passion. I collect the odd modern item now and then, with the Star Wars 6 inch line being what grabs my attention. The only issue with that, is that we hardly get any of the newer lines, so it has somewhat cooled my interest in the line. I did get the Sideshow Probe Droid, which over all is nice, but wished it was a bit more solid and sturdy, but it displays nice. I also got some more Diamond Select Star Trek ships, they are nice and get better and better.

Vintage was going well for me, but then I forked a bit from a loose collection to staring to collect some Carded figures and other accessories. I think that was a natural progression to move to, as I think I want to get some more ships, and a few key playsets. The Loose Vintage is getting a bit tougher, as I have sort of gotten all the easier to find figures, and I made some progress into the more expensive final 17 figures. Unfortunately I have somewhat stalled on that since about September. I had a deal for some items, that never came to be, and for whatever reason, I am finding it hard to get back into it. I had moved away from eBay to collecting off of Facebook groups and Forums, but that has somewhat dried up. Maybe it is just a bit a dry spell on what people are selling, and things will pickup. I have also found sometimes, I am just not fast enough to get something, or a lot of people are limiting to only shipping in the US. Also I have come to the conclusion that I will need to work harder at building up my profile in those communities, as I am pretty much a ghost, so might lead to me missing out on some items. Late in the year, I did pick up a few Mini-Rigs, and really like them. I had never paid much attention to them in the past, but I definitely interested in getting more, not sure I would ever get all of them, but there are a few more I would like to get, as they look great displayed.

Overall Life: I feel like I am slowing down in life, as I seem not to have the energy that I once had. I find that I am far to lethargic, and spend a lot of time just watching life and not really living it. I plan a lot of things in my head, but they just never really come to be, and that frustrates me. I worry a lot about time, and not having enough of it, but I really do nothing with the time I do have. I look back at what I have accomplished for the year, and it really was nothing. Maybe the scale modelling has me down about it, but it really just shines a light on a lot of other things I really never attended to. At times I just find I am not really present in my life, and I feel that it is drifting away on me. Life does have a way of moving slowly day to day, but when you look at it from a broader view, it really has gone by quickly. I have been trying to keep myself motivated, but that is a real challenge to find that within.

I did go on some very nice Vacations this year, in the spring, I went on a Cruise for my parents 50 wedding anniversary, and was able to see a part of the world that is so beautiful, it will be something I will hold with me for the rest of my life. In the fall my wife and I went on a quick trip to Vegas, which was nice, but left me wanting to go again. I am not a huge traveler, but would like to do more of it, as there are some parts of the world I would really like to see.

Overall 2014 was an alright year, nothing really special, and I guess I would probably rate it more on the disappointing side in what little I did for the year. The reflection was good, as it really allowed me to really realize that I have sort of gotten into a rut on things, so look out 2015…

P.S. Guardians of the Galaxy Rocked!

Collecting Funk

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Mini-Rigs and Jabba’s Dungeon

Lately I have found myself in a bit of a collecting funk. As mentioned in previous posts, I have really dived into Star Wars vintage collecting with both feet. I have been pretty consistent over the past few years with building my collection. I think I am getting close to having a complete set with about 20 or so figures left to get.

A complete loose collection is my priority, but I have found myself starting to expand a bit into some other items, such as select carded figures, ships and playsets. I just recently purchased some Mini-Rigs and Jabba’s Dungeon playset. I have some ideas in mind for some dioramas, so the pieces I picked up recently will go nicely into my collection. I have to say the MLC-3 and MTV-7 Mini-Rigs I picked up I really like, and has made me very interested in getting more of them. I might not get all of them, but I can see myself getting 4 or 5 more of the ones I find really interesting.

But I am in a bit of a funk when it comes to collecting. I still collect the odd modern items, such as the 6 inch Black Series Star Wars figures, a few 3 3/4 action figures and the Diamond Select Star Trek ships. I did pick up a Rebels Chopper droid a few weeks back before I left on my trip to Las Vegas, which went into my Astromech collection. Also well I was on Vacation I did find a Guardians of the Galaxy Milano ship that I had wanted a lot but could not find in Canada (It was quite abundant in the USA, so my guess these will be around a lot up here soon). I guess though my heart is really with Star Wars vintage, as that brings me the most happiness.

Back in September, I made a large deal for a ship, some creatures, a carded figure and another loose figure, all things that I really wanted. Unfortunately, the items just never arrived, and I followed up with the seller a bit regarding this, and from the sounds of it, the items just went missing. I am a rather trusting person, and like to think the best of people, so I really hope that it was just something unfortunate. But part of my mind also thinks I probably got scammed, I really can’t be certain, and the seller seemed pretty upfront about things, but never really followed through on anything he told me. As well, I did advise him that I would accept the loss, so at the end of the day, I will place this on me, as I really never pursued it more aggressively. I guess I feel I got taken, but still not 100 percent on that. I will take it as a bit of a costly lesson, and I have been fortunate that in all my years of collecting, this was the first time I never received items that I had purchased.

I have it set in my mind, that those items are not coming, so they are back on my list to hunt again. It does bother me a bit, as over the past few months, there has been a few times when I had a chance to pick some of these up, but passed on them since I had this shipment to come. But I feel I should be able to find these again down the road. The experience has sort of left me a bit sour on the online forums and Facebook groups, that I have dealing with a lot lately in my collecting. For the first year or so of my vintage collecting, I left a lot of it to ebay, but then I gravitated more to forums and Facebook groups to find things.

I have sort of taken a bit of a harder look at things with forums and groups. Part of it is on me, as I really just lurk on the groups, and really have no profile in the communities. I missed out on a few interesting things lately because of it. I messaged one person about a figure a few weeks back, and they said they would get back to me and never did. A few other times I had made deals with people, only to find out later that the deal got changed a bit and some of the figures I wanted were sold to others. I understand to a certain point, that people are probably going to want to deal with people they know more then anonymous people, and unfortunately, I am somewhat anonymous on those groups. I have been trying to increase my profile on those groups, but it is hard, as I don’t just want to fill up groups with nonsense posts, and some stuff people discuss is just at a higher lever then I am at.

The other thing I have found with forums and groups, is there is quite a bit of drama that goes on in them. As I get older, I find it a bit of a turnoff, in things like collecting to have people at each other over things they should enjoy. There have been a few times I wanted to post something, but then decided against it, as I was concerned that possibly it would get me into some sort of debate. Sort of sucks, but I am a really poor debater, so I steer clear of that sort of stuff online. It has sort of made me think a bit, if I just want to start doing more of my collecting off of ebay again. Ebay has it’s faults, but also it seem more straight forward in terms of buying. Today I actually started looking again on ebay, somewhat depressed on some of the items I need, there does not seem to be many of them.

I was also a bit disappointed as I missed our local toy show as I was on vacation in Las Vegas. I knew going to Las Vegas, that I was not going to find very much vintage items, and I had a look, but it was mostly over priced and very little to choose from. I just really love the toy shows, so it was hard to miss, as we don’t have very many of them, and was really hoping I could find something vintage to shake me out of my funk a bit.

I suspect I will pull through on it, I will probably lightly collect for the remainder of the year, and then regroup in January, and make the push to finish off my loose collection. The deal that never came to be, sort of shook me a bit more then I was expecting, and sort of dampened my enthusiasm for collecting, and left me questioning the approach I have been taking.

Why doesn’t Han have his ride?

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As I have blogged quite a bit in the past, I have really gotten more serious about my Star Wars vintage collecting over the past year or so. It has really fired up some of the feelings in me, as I hunt down these older figures from my childhood. Recently I watched a documentary on Kenner Star Wars toys, and it really got me to actually appreciate the old toys I had from when I was a kid. In the documentary, some of the collectors with truly amazing collections, were  showing some of the beat up old toys from their childhood. I had a few of mine, but they were hidden away as they were in pretty rough shape. I had never thought of throwing them away, but as well I had never really ever thought of giving them any love.

My Han solo, I had repainted the hair on him, as it had worn off. Lando has a metallic red shirt, Chewie some really loose legs. A few others as well had survived the childhood. I never had many of the ships growing up, and always missing out on the Millennium Falcon, so they rolled around in a Tonka Boogie Van. I had the Van in the basement, and it was pretty beat up from years of me playing with it. The paint is scratched and chipped, the plastic is very chipped and tore up, and a few dents in the van. I had debated over the past few years, if I should get it restored. I watch a lot of shows on the History channel that deal with antiques, so well aware of the debate between restoration and keeping something original. After debating it in my head, I just felt I could not restore the Van, as I felt it would just take away the character of it, and that it was my van I played with. I find when they restore something, they just take to much away, to get it looking like new again, and it would no longer feel like the item I owned.

I cleaned up the Van, and some of my figures and I put them in it, and put it out to be displayed with the other items I have. I must say, I don’t mind one bit that it is really beat up, they were mine, and after all these years I still have it. I spent a good part of the day, cleaning things up, and it was a nice feeling to reconnect with the toys I had neglected for so many years.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the old Vintage Millennium Falcon. As stated, this was something I never had growing up, and something I dearly wanted. Back in 1995, when the toys were re released, I got the POTF2 Falcon for christmas, and still have it displayed. I really love it as it was a gift from my parents, and even though superior Millennium Falcons have come out since, I still have this one. But the vintage one is still on my mind.

With getting more into Vintage collecting, I have come to realize that some of these toys are not nearly as unattainable as I once thought. I guess for years, I never really considered I would ever get a vintage Millennium Falcon, and sort of just went along my way about never having it. But now as I am nearing the completion of my loose collection, I am starting to look at other parts of collecting. The ships have started to come up a bit. Earlier in the year I bought a Slave 1, and really like it a lot. I have another ship hopefully on the way soon, that I am equally excited about getting.

But the Falcon, it is in my mind, but for some reason I have not really moved on it. There has been a few chances over the past few years, where I could have picked one up for a decent price. A few months back I pretty much stared at one the whole day at a collecting show, and just could not bring myself to buy it. I wonder if I hold the ship in such high reverence that somehow that is holding me back from getting it. It was something I had long desired, that maybe if I get it, it somewhat signifies the end of childhood, or collecting, or that feeling in me that I have carried for so many years. I might also be waiting for the special moment, when I feel it is the right time to get this ship. Maybe I want it to come from some hard work that I put in, where it is the fruits of some effort, or is some special moment that I will remember for a long time. I guess I fear that it will be some basic transaction, similar to any others I do, and that one moment will wash away all those years. Maybe I want so much from that moment when I do get the ship, maybe that moment is actually more important the the actual ship.

But as I look at my Vintage Han and Chewie from my childhood, I owe it to them to get them this ship. I set in my mind, that when I do get this ship, it will be theirs. I have other Han Solo’s and Chewbacca’s that are in better condition then my old toys. But these guys have waited for years and years for this ship, I just could not give it to another group. So hopefully when the time is right, and I find that ship, I will be able to have this ship in my collection.