Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dialing back...for a greater purpose

More philosophy, I'm afraid.

I'm dialing back on card purchases. I am not sure if it's been noticeable in my posts- I think it might be.

I have not made a specific card run since January 25th. I have not put money into my COMC account since sometime last year, I don't even know when. I have not purchased a hobby box since August. (somewhat offset by attending two card shows where I spent more than $100 each, but it was my first two card shows in 14 years, so I have to live a little).

I don't want to say I have enough cards, because as a collector, you always want to collect something. A hobby stagnates if you don't add to it. But I have enough of a stash built up that I don't have to actually go buy any to scratch that proverbial itch.

But, honestly, I've been enjoying the adventures my brother, and now my mom and brother, have been taking me on, much more than I've been enjoying cards. As I said last time, I had so much fun this past weekend that it almost took me back to the time before my health went bad. That's just one line in the post, but it's a huge deal for me. I can't understate how big a deal. I don't really have fun too often. I have distractions from pain, but actual fun...few and far between. And as I said the last time I waxed philosophical, I don't know how much time I'll have to do things. I know that's true for everyone, but it hits me a little closer than home to most people, I think, what with having as many health problems as I do- I almost died already, and feel like I'm on borrowed time as it is. My ability to do things is already diminished from what it was even two years ago.

While I do have a couple of goals I want to accomplish in life, I'm really pretty happy with the simple stuff. I'm grateful to have everything and anything I get, but there's one big thing missing from my life...and I think you know where this is going, if you've read this website in the past.

A classic car.

It's been my one and only true dream since I was a little kid-I've been aware of and wanting a classic car since at least 1987. When I was three years old. My health problems have been conspiring against me for...oh...about 25 years now, preventing me from living my dream. (also prevents me from driving, which really stinks for a car fanatic). Every time I go to a car show...every time I read a car magazine or look at my own photo archive....it's mentally painful to me. Like a thousand knives stabbing at my soul, to coin a turn of phrase. (That's not even taking into account the physical pain that car shows cause me)

And it's not even like what I want is all that expensive. Take a look at this listing. https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1966/chevrolet/chevelle/100753566
That would be perfect for me! I mean, my friends have been calling me El Camino Billy since I was 15 years old. It's my email...website...twitter handle...ebay name...facebook page...you get the drift! There's even cheaper stuff that I love as well. A 5th-gen El Camino is under $10 thousand. I recently saw an Edsel for sale, in need of only tires to be a drivable car...for $1500. (Edsels are my #2 obsession behind El Caminos). If I was willing to explore outside those two models (and I am) my options are wide open. Not unlimited- but I could have a classic in just a few months.

But...there are problems. I can't physically do the maintenance required for an old car. I have no garage, which would not be tenable- I'd have to rent one, as I would not leave a classic exposed to the elements full time. The biggest problem...is money. It's one thing to drop a 20 dollar bill on a blaster or two a month. It's one thing to save up for a bit and take $100 to a card show. With the high cost of living in NY, the higher cost of my medicine, plus multiple hobbies...and the line of thought that I could have had fun with the money instead of leaving it in some bank in case the health problems win...I can't save up for anything. That El Camino I linked to is $11,900 dollars. I don't think I've ever seen that much at one time in my life. Mentally, I'm not sure I could spend that in one place...even if it's fulfilling my only lifelong dream. I generally live my life under the principal of "if it's more than $20, I will do without" and that will certainly not work for a classic car. Also, mentally, I'm not sure I could go to that dealer (247 miles from home, that's doable!) and not bring home the 1950s Packard for $3000 less than the El Camino, both because I'm a cheapskate, and I love mint green 50s 4-doors.

See, therein lies another problem. I love cars. More than anything. I want to collect them like I currently collect cards. Since I can't, I build models and collect die cast replicas of them. And I have a lot of each. Lifelong collections add up...when I say a lot, I'm talking so many that I had to rent a storage unit to hold them all. This partially goes towards what I was saying above, in that as soon as I get some money I spend it, if not on medicine and food (which have to be tied together due to the medicine I take) then on one of my hobbies. While I've been obsessed with El Caminos for more than half my life, it's not truly practical. It's a two seat car and there are three people in my family. So getting a 4 seat car might be the better option. Then, my entire family could go to the car shows with me, with room to spare.

And then back to the cards. I left the NBA in 2006, not returning until 2012. I now consider that one of the biggest mistakes of my life. If/when I start saving for a car, I won't be able to buy new cards for myself any time soon. I'd basically have to stop collecting cards, and models. I already had to mostly give up my die cast collection, because the money required to pay for my medicine had to come from somewhere, and that hobby lost. (as did numismatics- both have been almost totally shut down since 2013)  That's not to say I'm leaving the hobby. Unlike the time I quit the NBA, I am not going to tell my family that I don't want cards for gifts. There are three big gift-giving occasions in my family- Christmas, my birthday, and my Glad I'm Not Dead day, which is the day I came home from the hospital and got my second chance at life- it is like a second birthday. I also don't plan to leave the card websites, like I did in 2006. Aside from the fact that I'm a better collector now than I was then- I take the time to actually appreciate things now, where back then it was solely about adding more- I might be able to trade for new issues. While not knowing what is going to come out of a pack is really exciting and at least half the fun of collecting new cards for me, I will have to try and give that up and hope I can trade for new issues. Do I think that will actually happen? No. Not really. But I have not really tried to trade for new stuff all that often, preferring to pull it from packs myself. So perhaps I can be more successful than I expect. Having just discovered local card shows, I don't think I can give them up, either. But I can certainly reign in how much I spend. I might be able to form relationships with dealers who focus mostly on "hits" to get their base cards, too, once I get to know them better.

Also, I'm hitting the burnout stage with cards, as I've alluded to or even outright mentioned in the past. The Card of the Day project I did all of last year made getting new cards a chore, not something fun. I have felt like I've been constantly trying to play catchup and doing the things I "needed" to do rather than the things I've "wanted" to do. Maybe, if I slow down on the new card intake, I'll get caught up. Or at least feel like I can do the things I want to do, instead of what I feel like I need to do, even though they all are going to the same basic place. (To elaborate- I want to work on the mixed NBA cards that are the backbone of my collection, and the mixed hockey cards my friends have given me over the years. What I feel like I "need" to do are the cards where it's bunches of the same set over and over, usually from new purchases, also the Finests, foils, and college cards, which I thought I had completed but found another stash of...) Eventually I will get them all done, and they will all go to the same place, namely, Cardboard History Gallery.

I know that having a classic car might not be as fun as I think it would be. Our 1994 Jeep has certainly proved to be more trouble than anything else, and it's technically a classic now. It's also left us walking home on more than one occasion. I feel a little less apprehension because if/when I do get a classic, it wouldn't be our only mode of transportation, as the Jeep was. Since we leased the Edge in July, any surprise mechanical problem, while it may leave us stranded on the side of the road, wouldn't take away our only means to get to the doctor's office, grocery store, etc. That's a good thing. And, having a place to sit and rest while at a car show, would be a great thing. Normally, I can only stay at a show for a short period of time- sometimes under an hour and I'm totally exhausted. If I had a place to sit down, in the show, I could go rest for a while and try to see more of the show again...instead of now, where I have to leave when I can't do any more walking right then.

I feel like there's a huge gaping hole in my life, that only a few thousand pounds of vintage steel can fill.

Even if I can do this...I can't really start saving until next year. The trip to Toledo in October is not going to be cheap. Playing catch-up from that will take up the rest of the year. With that show ending though, I can't put it off. I'm not sure that I'm mentally strong enough to basically give up my hobbies- the only things that get me through each day-even for the bigger picture. But I have so much for each of my hobbies- enough model kits in my stash that I probably won't ever build them all, and enough cards needing scans that I have a couple years' worth still ahead of me, plus thousands of more cards waiting in my "stash", that I could still have something to scan for years even if I stopped cold turkey right now....

There's a lot of "ifs" in here, if you notice. I've been going back and forth on this topic in my head for years, literally. I've even thought about selling off the majority of the models to help finance the idea, but then I had to go and have a good year in 2018, renewing my hopes for that hobby. (instead of being frustrating 100% of the time, it's now only frustrating me 50% of the time- a huge improvement!) With the Card of the Day induced burnout, the sense of urgency I'm feeling on the health front, and people finally realizing that Barrett-Jackson prices are not legitimate, I feel like the time is right to finally fulfill my only lifelong ambition...if I can be mentally strong enough.

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In reality, I know I will probably never actually get a classic car. Something always comes up that's more important. Medicine, home repair, taxes, etc. What will end up happening is that I will try to save up, but something will come up and then I won't have a car AND I won't have the cards.

But I have to try.

It's a risk I have to take...I've already literally been on my deathbed once...I don't want to get there a second time without having even the chance to fulfil my only real dream.

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Let me reiterate- I'm not leaving the hobby. I'm not putting an end to Cardboard History, in fact I just thought of a new series idea today. I'm just going to be concentrating on what I already have instead of adding new.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A very busy weekend

This past weekend was a very busy one, but it was really a great one! On Saturday, we got up and out early on the way to Latham, NY, for the NorEastCon, the IPMS Region 1 model show hosted by the Albany club. But there would be an adventure before that.

 It started out rainy and foggy. Since I had gotten up at 3:30 in the morning, I planned to stop at the rest area with Roy Rogers to have lunch- assuming, since it was open 24/7, that they would have chicken at 9 AM. Nope, they only had breakfast stuff. I made do, and it wasn't bad, but not what I was expecting. I didn't photograph that, though,
 We discovered that New York State has opened a series of Welcome Centers. This is the Capital Region welcome center, which we saw them building when we went to Lake George in September. It opened in November, so we didn't know what to expect...it turned out to be an incredible building!

 Home
 Each of the Welcome Centers has a museum wall where they have historical stuff from the region.
 including sports stuff.
 The top left pass on the wall dates to 1885!
 Here's a walk up the map, which shows Lake George, my favorite place in the world.

 The Capital Welcome Center has a regional food store.
The NY State seal.

Honestly, this was so much fun that it could have been a destination in and of itself. But, there's more. We left there and headed to Latham for the model show. I did not enter any models, because I had another plan. But I did see everything on display. The number of models were down- likely due to a few things, another show in Pennsylvania likely took away some, the rain in the morning and the fact that by noon it had gotten sunny and 70 degrees out likely kept a lot of people away as well. Model shows are generally trending up in the number of models entered and people in attendance so this is a real aberration, but it was still fun.


Now, the main reason I didn't enter anything- and my plan all along, as soon as I learned the show would be in Latham sometime in 2018, was to bail early and make a run to Lake George. Lake George, NY, is my favorite place in the world. Whenever I'm not there...I'm wishing I was. Latham is, give or take, an hour south of LG. I couldn't go that close without going to it. So, the plan worked perfectly.
But! Before we got to LG, we came to the Adirondack Welcome Center, which replaced the rest stop along the Northway. It, too, was great, although the Capital Region Welcome Center was a little bit bigger and had a more fun food section.
 The Twin Bridges over the Mohawk River, which comes between Albany and Saratoga, are like the unofficial welcome to the Adirondacks to me.
 I forgot to take an overview/outside photo of the Adirondack Welcome Center! I just realized it when I was composing this post. I guess I'll have to go back! Both Welcome Centers have a regional Walk of Fame of famous people who lived in the area. Both are photographed in full on my website, linked below, but I recognize this name as that of a baseball player due to reading the card blogosphere for years now.
 The rafters in the Adirondack Welcome Center have animals on them. Very cool. Here you can see a turtle, fox, squirrel, and bobcat. Funny thing is, the Adirondack Park is so large, you rarely ever actually see wild life in the wild, at least where I go, generally the Lake George to South Glens Falls corridor.

 Garnet from the Garnet mine. (Caption photographed on website)
 1980 Olympics memorabilia
 They have a museum wall, too.

 I videoed the walk up the map here, too
I've posted about Fort William Henry and Prospect Mountain before.

Now, we come to Lake George. My favorite place in the world, as noted. We didn't stay too long- not long enough, ever- but we got to see the Lake.
 The Lake comes into view!
 Considering that 90% of businesses were still closed for the season, the town was surprisingly crowded. The card shop was open but we didn't stop- no parking spots were open!

 My favorite non-car vehicle in the world
 The Lake was very peaceful and quiet. There were no boats at all moving on the Lake- until two days before it was still iced over from the winter, but a couple of days of 70 degrees changed that.
 This big unidentified thing goes from under one of the piers to out into the Lake where I can't see. I don't know what it is. My first thought was maybe a log, but it has some rust scaling, which a log would not do. I don't remember seeing this before, and it's in a spot where I've seen many times. The black thing on the lower left is my camera lens cap, something I usually don't get in photos, I messed up here.
 The Mohican has a big bag over it still. I didn't know they bagged the boats for the winter. It's mostly obscured by the Adirondac here.
 This blurred a little, zoom in a moving car rarely works. But there is still snow on the mountains. It was 76 degrees when I took this.
 We went to Burger King for my dinner- my medicine means I need to eat at certain times and it came up while we were in LG. In the lobby, they had a schedule for the Adirondack Thunder, an ECHL Hockey team.
 Glens Falls has some really nice architecture. The clock could use some help, though!
Here's a row of billboards in Highland, approaching the bridge, which show one for the Rhinebeck car show, the first weekend in May. I really look forward to that show, it's the only one I go to solely for factory stock cars, and also the only one where they park by brand, or era for the brands that don't have enough to have a full class to themselves. I've seen some really interesting stuff at this show in the past, including the oldest vehicle I've ever seen running under it's own power, a 1907 International. This year's show will be a bit painful for me mentally, as our Jeep could finally have been entered, and I could have fulfilled my lifelong dream of being part of a car show, but it won't happen...even though we still have the Jeep. Car show entrants have to run, however.

On Sunday, another adventure awaited, and this one turned out to be WAY more fun than I expected! I didn't know where we were going, but it turned out to be someplace I had read about and wanted to go, which is MotorcyclePedia, the motorcycle museum in Newburgh, NY. I'm not a motorcycle guy, I'm a car guy. That's not to say I dislike motorcycles, but they've just never been my "thing". Still, there was a vehicle museum less than an hour from my house, you know darn well I want to see it. It turned out to be one of the best museums ever, and one of the most packed! The lighting and presentation was top notch, and the museum holds over 500 motorcycles and cars, including one of every year of the Indian brand's existence (1901-1953), several of Ed Roth's creations, several of Arlen Ness's creations, motorcycles from movies and TV, the actual motorcycle dispatched to Roswell in 1947's "incident", the actual police motorcycle that was part of JFK's motorcade that called in when he was shot, and so much more. I took more than 600 photos...and only saw about 60% of the museum. I will be going back again for sure, more than once.

 The original Wall of Death, at least I think the original. They have shows there sometimes, still. My mom saw this in action in the 1960s. They have two, that originally came from Germany, on the lower level.
 This is what you see when you walk in the door




 I took detail shots of most of the information sheets, I tried to get them all but may have missed a few. There's a LOT to take in here.
 I would collect license plates if I could. No space, and I already spread my limited hobby funs too thin as it is.
 I was really happy to see a wall of comics! Comic stuff appears in the museum multiple times. As a lifelong comic reader, it was nice to see some recognition. I have some of the comics shown.

 Aside from the motorcycles themselves, they have a ton of memorabilia on the walls and everywhere else.
 Ed Roth's creations are rather unique...and very memorable.
 I know this is available as a model kit. I don't think I ever got it...but now that I've seen it, I'll need to change that. I took a lot of detail photos to make an accurate replica when I do get a copy.

 They also have three display cases of models and diecasts! It's really nice to see two of my three main hobbies represented in the museum! I will have to see if I have a duplicate of some of the Harley-Davidson cards I have and see if they will want it as a donation. Might have a dupe of one of the Donruss Street Chopper cards, too.

 This cycle still has the 1942 Ford Leonard Wood license plate on it...probably one of the rarer things in the museum, actually.
 The Indian room is incredible. I only saw about half of it.

 A motorized Bobsled. I had no idea such a thing existed.
 This is less than half of the Indian room
 This neon Indian has lived in the Hudson Valley it's whole life
 This police sidecar motorcycle was in the motorcade when Nixon resigned
 The actual motorcycle that was dispatched to Roswell, New Mexico in 1947!
 I have no idea what this is. I love it, and want one, though! It's a single person, three wheeled car, probably with a motorcycle engine, and probably classed, at least by New York State, as a motorcycle.
 This blurred, unfortunately, but it's from the Sweet-Orr Jeans company. They were a major player in my hometown back in the early 20th century, but this is from their Newburgh location.
 They have their storage/work area open to viewing...note the bubbletop!
one of the two German Wall of Death they house downstairs.
 This is just too cool. I'd hurt myself severely if I tried to get in it, but I love it anyway.
 If this is what they are working on, I can't want to see what is coming next!

 These are original seats from the original Yankees stadium- when they were known as the Highlanders, back in 1913!
 Another Roth creation
 A cyclecar! In the early 20th century, tiny, single person cars that were a mix of car and motorcycle were popular...ish. They are incredibly rare now. This is a Henderson.
 Here's a steam powered motorcycle from 1867. I can't imagine how unpleasant it would be to have a steam engine between my legs as I go down the road...steam engines also had a tendency to explode in early cars, hope the same was not true for motorcycles!

 Downstairs has more amazing stuff, most of it I did not get a chance to photograph or even look at. I didn't see it, but they have the oldest running motorcycle in the USA, an 1897 DeDion Bouton.
 An Austrian cycle with sidecar, Said to be the first to have stamped single piece wheels. It dates to 1928, and the sidecar looks like a tiny Zeppelin to me.
 Here's a motorcycle converted to work on train tracks, this very cycle was once owned by Charles Lindbergh.
This is a 1923 Federal, a vehicle brand I've never photographed before! Considering I've photographed more than 130 automotive brands, finding one I have not seen is getting to be a challenge. (most of those I've not photographed are pre-WWII). I know I photographed motorcycle brands I had never seen before, but I had- before this trip- photographed only about 20 motorcycles total.

What an awesome, awesome trip. Trips! I have so much more I could write about, but I will save that for future trips to the MotorcyclePedia. There will be another trip, hopefully in May. (April is too busy, or else I would be back by the end of this month!)

One thing notably absent from the post...is cards. I didn't do any card stuff this weekend at all. I was too busy. No cards showed up for sale at this model show, and the rest stops had post cards I already had. Surprisingly the Welcome Centers did not have post cards available. I did get a couple of cards at the MotorcyclePedia Museum though!



 They have this series of 4 which are post card sized but act like promo cards.
 This handout is actually an invitation to a birthday party they host for legendary custom builder Indian Larry.
 This post card is specifically about the bottom floor of the museum. The one half of the post card shows this Roth creation, and the other side....
 Shows this Ducati. (which I took a bunch of pictures of- should help me in model building!) The card for Indian Larry and the Megacycle/Ducati card are larger than standard post cards, but not as big as a NASCAR Hero card, I was able to fit them both on my scanner at the same time.
They also had three different Note cards- which are basically greeting cards with blank interiors. I thought they were post cards from across the room when I first saw them, and I got all three. They are going to be stored with my postcard sized cards. You can see the other two here.

So, that was the very busy weekend I had. It was a great weekend- one of the most fun in a long time. I'm talking about back before my health went bad in the late 90s fun, it was that good. Of course, my health being bad is why I couldn't see the rest of MotorcyclePedia, but it was still fun.

And of course, I took a LOT more pictures that I showed here- over 1400 were taken between when I got up on Saturday and when I went to bed on Sunday. It took me an entire day to get them uploaded to my website, but I was able to do that. If you'd like to see more- and I suggest looking at them because there's a lot I didn't cover here, I have put up three photo albums:
  • April 13th Adventure 407 photos, this covers the ride, the two Welcome Centers and Lake George
  • NorEastCon 2019 368 photos, this is just the model show. Every model at the show is photographed. 
  • MotorcyclePedia 605 photos, covers the Museum in detail. 
Thanks for reading. 

Oh, one last thing before I end the post...MotorcyclePedia has some that you can sit on for photos!