Completism and Consumerism

Last night I talked to Jay Tan, mostly to ask how he was doing. At some point we talked about collections (I think we were referring to comic books) and I mentioned how I tend to buy things out of a completist urge.

My toy car collection experienced its first purge several weeks ago as I sold off a number of my 1:64 Mustangs. I had not started out a Mustang collector and that particular make of car had lost its appeal to me as a 'line.' I marvelled at how bloated my collection had become in so short a time.

My collection may have gotten lean, but since then I think I've replaced the cars that were sold, albeit with other, less pricey models of other cars.

TC, through whose parents I was able to have some toy cars shipped from the U.S. at a dramatically reduced price, asked me why I bought two color schemes of the same car, and essentially it's because I'm a completist. It's not enough that I have one black 2005 Ford GT; I have to have all six: the black, red, white, yellow, gray and orange ones. I'm kind of a freak this way, but I take consolation knowing I'm not alone. There are at least two thousand of us out there (the approximate member count of Diecast Collectors of the Philippines) with varying levels of addict--I mean devotion to this hobby.

Brrr.....toy and collectible companies know we're out there, so there's no way they'll sell just one color of Ferrari 599 GTB. For the comic book events, there's no way they'll just print one cover or one edition. I know that completism can be as much a collector's worst enemy as the merchant's best friend, and yet, in some instances I can't help myself. Of course, I'm limited by what's available readily on the market, but when I go to events like last weekend's toycon, where quite a lot of different cars were available, some real discipline should come into play, which it...well, didn't.

Consumerism really is the bane of this society (well, one of them, anyway) and while I take genuine pleasure in my car collection (which I'd like to learn to post pictures of on this or my own blog, seeing as how I can't paste anything from photobucket, my own host site) I have made efforts to temper my urge to buy things by limiting myself to very specific criteria, whether in terms of budget, make of car or other things that prevent me from spiraling too much out of control.

Completism is okay (I think), for so long as once I've completed a line, I don't think too much about starting up whole new ones.

Still, what I really long for were the days when my principal hobby was writing, whether it was short stories loosely based on my laughable love life or far-out fantasy tales (some of which I've even been able to show to freinds over the years). I don't feel I'm doing anything particularly wrong by keeping this car-collecting hobby, the same way I don't feel any guilt over amassing my comic book collection, but I think that, for my own personal growth, I'd be a lot better off if I really started putting energy into a hobby that involves creating, rather than simply acquiring.


Hello, Darkness My Old Friend...

For anyone living in today's world, there's plenty to be depressed about, really: global warming, oil prices, and the difficulty of scraping enough money in a month to meet one's expenses are, to name a very few, some concerns that can weigh on any person's mind.

To me, however, it seems that the alumni of Ateneo de Manila High School Batch 1993, Section 4J seems to find more occasion for depression than a lot of people. From brain tumors to comas to esoteric mutations of measles to rare liver conditions and most recently to dysfunctional kidneys, it seems that collectively, we J-Boys are better-acquainted with concepts like grief and loss than many, if not most of our contemporaries.

When Al Qaeda agents flew two jet liners into the World Trade Center, there were people who said that America was reaping the whirlwind from its exploitative incursions into the Middle East.

Well, I say, what have we done, either as individuals or a group, to deserve what's been happening to so many of us over such a long period of time? What countries have we impoverished, whose lives have we reduced to a smoldering ruin of misery? Last I checked, we're just a bunch of middling thirtysomethings, some of whom have found our way in life professionally and emotionally, while others among us are still trying to find our footing.

It's not even as if any of us got killed in a frat rumble or anything remotely as stupid. What's happened time and again is basically the hand of God descending time and again.

I realize that I'm rambling and ranting, and at the end of the day the closet optimist in me believes that there is a rhyme and reason to everything that's happened to us, but I can't help but feel bitter about everything that's happened over the last 15 years.