Cough. Excuse me a second while I pull these sheets off the blog and shake out all the dust, oh, and those cobwebs in the corner, grab the broom would you?
So, I’ve been absent from the blogiverse for awhile. A few people were kind enough to check on me to make sure I wasn’t dead, which was nice, but overall, I was not missed and that’s okay. We’re all busy and stuff gets in the way, the last thing you need to worry about is whether that guy you know who runs that blog was swallowed up by the piles of his own dragon’s hoard. You actually forgot all about that guy until you read the tale of his tragic demise through a listicle on Buzzfeed — “17 of the Strangest Things Found in Tidal Wave of Toys that Killed Hoarder,” and then you’ll be like, “oh shit, I know that dude. I sent him a Ninja Turtle once,” and then you’ll immediately go to Buzzfeed to see if your Michaelangelo figure made the list.
But seriously, I’ve been absent lately, due to yet another serious case of burnout. It certainly isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and it surely won’t be the last. This time was a bit different because at the same time I was undergoing the slow burnout of the blog, I was going through a red-hot fireball of burnout with my fellow collectors. Ugh, not good. I blame Mark Zuckerberg. See, I had joined several Facebook groups focused on collecting various vintage toys where trades and sales were hot and heavy. I learned about items I never knew existed and interacted with a few “good eggs,” but those positive experiences were steamrolled by scammers and genuinely ugly people. My Facebook feed was dominated by ranting strangers, spewing some truly awful things about people they didn’t even know. Threats were common as these morons regularly recruited people in nearby cities to go knock on the door of someone who they thought had screwed them.
I have always enjoyed interacting with fellow collectors — sheesh, that’s kind of the whole basis for this website — but man, I found myself not wanting to be associated with them in any way. So, a month or so back, I decided to cut the cord and “un-like” all those Facebook groups and stop being inundated with their constant vitriol. As a result, my days are now filled with rainbows and unicorns. I have started to enjoy collecting again and am blissfully unaware that some a-hole repackaged a Mace Windu action figure at a Target in Toledo.
Most of these Facebook groups were heavily populated with the prospectors, scalpers, and profiteers, so lumping them in with collectors may not be totally fair. There are some very focused Facebook groups that do a good job of staying on topic and policing the idiots, but those groups tend to be fairly rigid and as a result, don’t have too much dialogue, for fear of running afoul of the group’s moderators. I’ve thought of starting my own group, but there’s an aggravation I don’t need! Oh well, I guess I could always start a blog. oh wait.
Wow, this has been a pretty depressing read. I had every intention of coming back with an upbeat and positive message, but it looks like I may have missed that mark by a mile or two. I’ve been inspired by the Bloggess to try and embrace her incredible stream of consciousness, no-filter style, so things could get interesting (seriously, go buy her book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, it’s incredible). Anyway, in case you were wondering, I’m alive, and I hope to be active here once again — I’m even considering starting another blog where I can write about all the other “non-collecting” thoughts that are colliding around in my head, and who knows, maybe the LXB should be dusted off at some point too, for my fellow blog holdouts — you guys are still out there hiding in your bunkers aren’t you?
Oh, and speaking of inspiration, I received a Summer Swap 2015 box over the weekend from William Bruce West, the preeminent expert on a cappella singing Power Ranger cosplayers — don’t let his three names fool you, I’m pretty sure he’s not a serial killer. The content of this box was incredible and the impetus for getting me back to writing on Cool & Collected. Stay tuned for that post in the very near future!
I’m glad to see you posting again! I always enjoy reading your posts. I totally understand the burn out from being around morons. Unfortunately, they seem to be in every collecting category. They caused me to take a few steps back over the years as well.
I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with several other character watch collectors who are on the “good guy” list. It makes collecting much more enjoyable.
Thanks Adam, it’s always nice to know that people are reading these things. I really dig your site and am going to spend some serious time browsing through it tonight. I don’t think I have a single watch in my collection, but I may need to fix that! 🙂
Glad to be reading your words again Brian! Was pleasantly surprised to see your post pop up in my feed reader. Sorry about your recent collecting experience. I’m not cut out for those kind of groups either. The time to sift through the crap is definitely not worth trying to find something you really want. The hunt should be fun.
Indeed. I went to a show this past weekend, and it felt good to be back on the hunt, even though I came up empty handed.
I saw you were on a panel at RetroCon — very cool! Next time you drive through Virginia, you need to swing by for a visit.
It was a short trip to go to Retro Con. The panel was exciting and I was humbled to be part of it. If I come up next year, you need to come to the show. It was a toy collector’s paradise!
I might just do that!
Glad you are back…of a sort. I keep trying to talk myself into dropping out but I just can’t seem to kick the blogging habit. I hear what you’re saying in re: Facebook groups and the like. They really only work if you can keep the group small. And so much grumbling is why i pretty much avoid message boards and the like. I suppose I enjoy the blogging platform because I have total control, but it can be a lonely experience at times too.
Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in! Don’t ever quit Eric — I need my Harley fix. 😉
I know a lot of bloggers have left to go the Facebook or Instagram route, but I like having full ownership of my content and comments. On the rare occurrence that I get a rude or insulting comment, it’s nice to be able to just hit that delete button and save everyone the grief. Censorship is great!
*Gives you a wave from the Bat-bunker*
Glad to know you’re well Brian! I’ve been far too busy to blog as well. But should the LXB return, I could be persuaded to carve out some time.
The return of the League would certainly prompt (force) me to write more regularly. The idea has been brewing for a while, so it’s nice to hear that someone else out there is still blogging! 😉
The Rebel says
Nice to see you back Brian. I do check your website every 2-3 days or so. I enjoy reading your posts so it’s great to finally have you back.
I am guilty too of neglecting my blog. But the funny thing is I never actually stopped writing. I use a very simple app on my android to compose my postings but to actually transpose it onto my blogs + all the pictures to go with it…..well, it’s another story. Haha….
Great to see you back on the blogosphere man…
I’m kind of in the same boat, but I write complete, edited blog posts in my head and then never get around to writing them down. 😉
Paxton Holley says
I’m picking up what you’re putting down about burnout, Brian. The last year has seen me sort of take a step back from my own blog to focus on other interests like my family and the two podcasts I do. I used to have a strict rule about posting one article a week to the blog, but now I just do it whenever I get an urge. Honestly, if I didn’t have Countdown to Halloween coming up, I might have shuttered the Cavalcade all together this year.
But every time I think it’s time to retire the blog, I have some itch surface in my brain that has me yank another article out of my tired and overstimulated brain. The Cavalcade may be quiet, but it’ll probably never be completely gone.
Hey Pax, I can’t imagine keeping up with a weekly podcast (or two, or three!) like you do, but I am eternally grateful that you guys keep at it! The summer was particularly hard for me to maintain the site because the kids were a constant distraction (in a good way). These sites of ours are primarily a hobby, which makes the motivation level fluctuate greatly, and when it seems like no one is paying attention, it just gets pushed that much farther down the “to do” list, but this conversation is doing wonders to get me excited about posting again.
Shawn Robare says
Yeah, I’ve thought long and hard about pulling the plug on Branded over the last five years. I think the most important thing to do is to stop looking at analytics and just write when the urge strikes. That’s how it’s meant to work (I think…)
If I ever looked at the analytics of this site, I would have shut it down years ago. 😉
Derek Ash (The Goodwill Geek) says
Hey Brian, your posts have become far and in between lately, but I always stop and read, even when I don’t comment. You’ll never just be “that guy” especially when I’m poring over my copy of your magazine, or when I’m reliving my glory days as a member of the League. We who were once active members of the League still ention you kindly from time to time, and how many great connections you helped make. There are podcasts, blogs, and even real life relationships that would not currently exist if you hadn’t been around.
So don’t go drowning in your Scrooge McDuck vault full of old toys just yet. You would be missed for sure.
Thanks Derek! I read your comment while listening to the latest Geek Fallout podcast (with Calvin Heighton) — you guys are the new League!
(I’m looking forward to seeing “what’s in the box” you are slowly unveiling on your site.)
I know how you feel about the Facebook groups. I have been lucky so far and found good groups I am just amazed at the prices people want for figures that I would buy if the shipping wasn’t so outrageous. I am glad you like the Geek Fallout podcast. I had a lot of fun with that one. I had no idea how it would go but I wanted to try it at least once.
Yeah, shipping to Canada is outrageous. It would probably cheaper to buy a sled team and ride it up to you in person.
Great job on your first podcast! I was a bit surprised that you didn’t sound like Yukon Cornelius, but you did sound great, and I look forward to hearing you more often! 😉
Shawn Robare says
Cool to see you’ve cut the ties with that craziness. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the drama when you’re looking for like-minded folks and outlets for trading/buying outside of eBay and etsy. Know that if the League starts back up, I’ll probably be there.
Whatever you decide to do, just don’t force it. It takes all the fun out of it. This year has been crazy for me, uprooting from Atlanta, moving to Maryland, changing jobs, starting a design business with my girlfriend, etc. Branded and the Cult Film Club have kept me centered during the most rough points, but I feel I’ve gotten to a place where I write when the urge strikes, and only then. I’ve also switched gears and tried to do some more creative stuff so it feels more productive. I also hung up my hat at the Countdown to Halloween and stepped back from co-running it. There’s only so much time in a day/week/month/year…
I didn’t realize you two were starting your own business! Best of luck with your new venture. I set up my own shop almost 20 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did.
You’re still plenty prolific Shawn — Jaime left a huge hole in the blogosphere when she left, and I can’t imagine it without Branded in the 80’s, so you’re going to have to just stick with it. 😀
Hey Brian – glad you are back. I still look forward to your quality blog posts. Good reading and always interesting.
I almost quit toy collecting altogether because of the incessant whining on forums like Rebelscum and CoolToyReview. But I still peak every day in the event I get some interesting bit of news. Don’t even bother going to any forum discussing Force Friday and Hasbro’s Force Awakens toys. My goodness.
Thanks, George (and thanks for being one of those who checked in to see if I was dead). I have had nothing but great experiences with the collectors I have interacted with in real life, but the quasi-anonymous nature of the internet brings out the worst of the worst.
I’ve been really enjoying the hype surrounding Force Friday, but will definitely steer clear of those forums! 😉