Friday, 9 April 2021

Seeing Double

On the topic of deciding what to include in a collection, unless you’re only collecting one-of-a-kind (OOAK) items the question of doubles will eventually come up. I’ve never been hugely interested in collecting doubles of the same character (even my Snuzzle/Peachy army doesn’t admit just any old pony – there has to be some significant difference between ponies for me to keep both).  This decision was made partly as a concession to space, or the lack thereof, that doubles take up. I have enough ponies with individual characters to fill the Geek Cave, never mind adding 300 Peachys. There are many collectors who collect armies of the same pony (by which I mean same version of the same character) and they can be really cool collection pieces, but it’s not something that works for me.

Naturally, for every rule there’s an exception. When I started collecting Nirvana versions of Peachy and Snuzzle, I thought I’d focus on the ponies that looked significantly different from the original Hasbro versions.  That hasn’t actually been the case so far, although I still want to add more of these different versions to the herd.  But the majority of my army are the Nirvana versions that look pretty much like the Hasbro versions.  The thing is though, they do have their differences.  The eyes, the hair, the way the symbol is placed, these subtle differences make collecting these different versions interesting.

Back row: Lily Ledy Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Greece, 2 Italy;
Front row: Factory Sample, Flat Foot, 2 Concave Foots, 2 Macaus.

The Nirvana ponies are also an exception in that I view them very much as different characters from the Hasbro originals.  With G2-4, Hasbro started to rerelease characters much more frequently than they’d done in G1.  If I didn’t need both the short and curly haired versions of Bow Tie in my collection, then I certainly didn’t need 300 Pinkie Pies in different poses.  I made two exceptions in G3 – Cheerilee and Cherry Blossom and Minty and Christmas Minty.  In both cases the design was different enough that I was able to look at them as separate characters.

G4 might be considered the generation of the rerelease.  That was fine for awhile, I only needed one of each Mane 6 character.  Then Twilight Sparkle became a princess.  OK, I’ll keep an original and a princess version, no problem.  Except they’ve put out about 10 different versions of Princess Twilight and I like them all and how do I choose which one to keep?  This is when Roomy suggested I could consider keeping more than one version and the G4 Princess army was born (because once the dam was breached, there were several versions of Celestia, Cadence, and a few of Luna that I also really liked).

The dam was indeed breached.  I have the original Mane 6 figures.  But these pearlized versions would look great on the Crystal Empire part of the display.  And obviously I’ll need the sea pony versions for the Seaquestria display.  And I really like this particular version of Pinkie Pie…the list goes on.  And, as usual, the way I looked at a later generation changed how I looked at my G1s as well.  I’m not quite at the point of needing that second version of Bow Tie, but I have made room for a couple of doubles under specific circumstances.  BBE Tiddley Winks came from an old friend when I bought her childhood ponies.  I already had NBBE Tiddley Winks, but the BBE version was so nice, and I had her nursery playset now, I felt I just had to keep her and I’ll have a set of twins (I need to come up with a second name though).

I chose to have the same version of Spike that I'd had as a child, but when the MO and Lavender Castle versions arrived, they stayed.

Am I more open to collecting doubles now that my want list is getting a little smaller, with mainly more expensive items on it?  Probably.  I know many collectors who are now looking for both Hong Kong and China versions of common ponies.  I’m not there (yet) but who knows what will happen.


Friday, 26 March 2021

Changing Ideas

I spend a lot of time thinking about the act of collecting.  You may not have noticed. ;)

I started collecting as an adult in 1997, and for a long time I had very specific ideas of what I wanted my collection to be.  I focused on the brushable ponies I liked (mainly ponies I'd had or wanted as a child), playsets, and accessories. That's it, that's all.

At a certain point in the early 2000s, I started to change the way I looked at my collection. This was partly due to G3 coming out - I loved the throwbacks to G1 in general look, names, and some of the styles. But there were also styles that I hadn't liked in G1 that I did like in G3.  Namely, ponies with raised symbols. It made me start to reexamine some of the G1s I'd previously dismissed.

Swirly Whirly was the first G1 with a raised symbol I added to my collection.  And suddenly I loved this set. They embody everything that I love about G1 - the pastel candy colours, the colour scheme, the accessories (and the scent is a nice plus).

After that I was away. Suddenly, there were a lot more ponies I was interested in adding to the herd. Sweetberry Ponies, Candy Cane Ponies, Magic Message, Happy Tails, Merry-Go-Round, Perfume Puffs...the list was (nearly) endless. Even the Princess Ponies got a second look (but I still hate their symbols and display them so I can't see them).

The latest change has been the addition of some Pony Friends.  I'd only had one as a child, Spunky, and even then I wasn't sure how I felt about her.  Two years ago I found one second hand and decided to keep her for a while. Then ZigZag joined her.  There will be others, but not every Friend.  I'm still curating and although I have a lot of full sets, I'm still not a completist.

This is something that I find fascinating about collecting and collectors.  We're always looking, thinking, reexamining, and making another decision about our collections (even if it sometimes feels more like instinct than active thought).

There are still individual ponies and sets that I have no interest in (Dance 'N Prance comes immediately to mind). Will that remain the case?  Who knows.  I may yet end up with a complete G1 collection someday.  But not right now.


Friday, 12 March 2021

A year later...

At approximately this time last year I was looking around my office deciding what to take home with me when I left that night. I knew I wasn't coming back to the office the following Monday, but I had no idea I'd still be working from home a year later. I had no idea that my visit to a restaurant that night would be the last such visit for (at least) a year. I had no idea that the casual get together between friends wasn't going to happen again for the foreseeable future.


I've been incredibly lucky in many ways. I have been able to work from home, and largely stay home otherwise. I live with someone I like to spend time with on a daily basis, four snuggly cats, in a house that I love. My family and most of my friends have been healthy. Because we didn't travel in the summer (and because the necessary background work was finished the year before), I was able to do more work in the garden than I'd been able to do in the six previous years we'd lived here. Because I didn't have to commute (or even go outside) on a daily basis in the winter, my chronic pain has been better managed than it has been in the last 27 years.

I've been amazed at how people have come together to help each other, through volunteering, through donations, through sharing a funny meme, and checking in on each other. I've been disgusted at the selfishness of people who refuse to make sacrifices for the benefits of others, who whined about having to self-isolate for two weeks if they take a southern vacation this year, who think they're above regulations or that they can't possibly be the person who becomes the super spreader when five different households get together.

I miss seeing my mom.  I miss seeing my family. I miss seeing my close friends and my long-distance friends. I miss some of my coworkers. I miss going on trips. I miss a lot.

I don't miss going to the office. I don't miss small talk. I don't miss my commute. I don't miss eating junk because I'm bored or lazy and it's cheap and accessible. I don't miss many of the social obligations that we've not been able to have this year. I don't miss a lot.

I didn't pick up any hobbies during the pandemic. I already baked, cooked, gardened, read, created art, and (of course) collected. Aside from working full time, I feel like I've been in training for when I retire. I've been damned lucky so far and I know it.
We're marking the one year anniversary of the "last normal day" by ordering take out from one of our favourite restaurants and sitting around in our pjs. I'm going to bake something for dessert. The moment someone offers me a vaccination I'll be right there, but in the meantime there are so many people who should be ahead of me in line. They should have the first chances to be vaccinated. In the meantime, I'll sit here with my collections, my books, my plants, my art, my baking, my cats, and my person and look forward to the things I'm looking forward to.


Thursday, 4 March 2021

Geek Cave Week, 2021

 Seeing as how I had more unused vacation than usual this year (not usually a problem for me), I took a week off in February this year, rather than just a long weekend.  And naturally a good chunk of that was spent playing with ponies.

Last year Roomy and I had decided to split our collections between the Geek Cave and some glass-fronted bookshelves in the basement tv/art/office room.  Then pandemic hit and all plans to buy furniture were put on hold for quite some time. In the meantime we had the "extra" elements of our collections boxed up.  The "extras" included things like EQG minis, blind bag figures, and some merchandise. Eventually we were able to pick up a few shelves and start placing things on display again.

Not long after that Roomy and I both had the same realization at the same time. Roomy's office is in the basement where this new display space was going.  Over the first couple of weeks, she kept going over to the display cabinets during the day and admiring and playing with her collection.  She was spending more time with her collection there than she did in the Geek Cave.

So the ponies moved back upstairs and we've started the process of moving the MOTU and POP collections downstairs (slightly hampered by the need for more cabinets).  But it's a plan we're both happy with.

And so, with some modern things piling up in the Cave, I spent some time rearranging the vintage side of the room.  The G2s moved all in a row.  The G1s are the real winners here though, gaining quite a bit more display space.  I took advantage of the shelves vacated by She-Ra by spacing several of the ponies out more, so they're both easier to see and have more room to breathe.  It also means I've got more space to add more ponies, which is good because I foresee most of my pony money going towards G1s in the future.

I also moved the playsets that were displayed on top of the shelves down to the bottom shelves.  It's always a bit difficult to see what's displayed on the lower shelves unless they're larger pieces, plus they're a heck of a lot easier to access here, so that made sense. The 35th anniversary ponies are now living on top of the shelves and looking great.

The Shortcake space got a bit of a makeover too. The mane characters are now displayed entirely within the giant house (which I love displayed in it's new home on the opposite side of the room), while the Brazilian Shortcakes are looking a bit better higher up on the shelves and there's plenty of room to add some more later on.

The only part of the modern side of the room that had any attention was the addition of some wall shelves for the blind bag ponies. These shelves are attached to the wall with velcro strips, which are holding fantastically, but can come right off if (when) I next reorganize the room.

I'm really happy with what got done in the Cave this week, but it's certainly not the clean, organized room it was this time last year.  Frankly, it's a mess, but we're moving toward two display spaces that we're extremely happy with and we'll be having fun setting up our collections for quite a while to come.

I need another week off now.


Saturday, 20 February 2021

Technical Difficulties


Welcome back to the blog.  I'm returning from an unexpected hiatus due to technical issues.  First my ancient laptop pretty much gave up the ghost, then it's replacement started doing weird things, then my camera went on the fritz.  But I'm back with a new (to me) laptop and a reasonably decent iPhone camera, so away we go.

It's February, and that means the annual Geek Cave Weekend.  Except this year I decided to take a week off work, so I'm expecting to get a lot done in there (along with sleeping in, reading, probably baking, and other fun non-work-related things).

There are some big changes coming to the Geek Cave, some of which are already underway while others will take some time (and money). In the meantime, I'm lucky enough to be working from home and don't need to trek through winter every day to go to work, but it's still February and time off is still welcome.  But since I'm not having to drag myself through winter on a regular basis, I had the energy to have a little fun in the backyard this morning.

Maybe during the week I'll get the Cave cleaned up enough so that I can do some interior photo shoots as well.  We'll see in the next blog post.


Monday, 11 January 2021

2020 A Collector's Year in Review

2020 eh? 

Well it was certainly a different year.  No conventions.  No get togethers.  For me, not a lot of purchasing. I thought about skipping the year in review post this year, but I still want to look back on my year in collecting like usual.

2020's pony purchases

To begin with, I took my usual long weekend in February to play in the Geek Cave.  This is a time I set aside every year when I try to get one or two major projects done (usually organizing or moving something).  This past year was extremely successful in that regard.  So successful that I hardly wanted to move anything for the rest of the year!  It was nice to have most of the room clean and organized for a change.  And with the Cave in good shape I took the opportunity to take photos for the tour that made up most of the blog last year.

Many things were packed up to be moved down to a new display space in the basement rec room.  The pandemic slowed that plan down, as we hadn’t yet bought shelves for the new space yet and first lockdown then a run on shelves made it impossible.  My EQG minis, G4 minis, 25th and 35th anniversary ponies all stayed in boxes for some time as a result.  It wasn’t until the fall that we were able to pick up some shelves and start getting things out of boxes.

I did not do a lot of buying this year.  I still prefer to buy in person, whenever possible, but I did add a few Pony pieces.  I also started a new collection, Little Pretty Kitties (and Puppies).  I’d have liked to add some pieces to the SSC collection too, but since I’m down largely to more expensive / hard to find pieces, that didn’t happen.

I also didn’t do much in the way of customizing this year.  I had a few commissions that I’ve been slowly working on, but overall I wasn’t feeling overly artistic.  Or perhaps its more accurate to say that I was more focussed on developing my garden this year, because once winter set in I did return to my art space then.  Pictures will be forthcoming as these ponies arrive at their destinations.

And this year?  Well, we’re not making any plans yet, but its safe to say Ponies will be involved.  Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we can meet our Pony Friends in person again too.


Friday, 18 December 2020

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

Let your heart be light.

From now on our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yuletide gay.

Next year all our troubles will be miles away.

Once again as in olden days, happy golden days of yore.

Faithful friends who are dear to us will gather near to us once more.

Someday soon we all will be together,

If the fates allow.

Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

I hope your holidays have some happiness, whatever they look like this year.  Season's Greetings.