Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Topic, and Off

I've had a bad habit of leaving a lot of topics open for future discussion; sometime in the very near future I'll go through my posts and make a list of all the topics I've left behind.

Part of my problem is that I tend to “think aloud” when I type; I probably should edit myself a little more in that area to keep the less well-formed ideas from becoming a distraction.

Another part of the problem is that I have a part-time job that is not very intellectually stimulating, so I amuse myself by picking a particular topic to keep the mind-numbing tedium at bay. Sometimes these days are very long, and I find myself straying rather far afield from my original topic. This intellectual exercise has had some effect on my writing, naturally.

Here's an interesting case in point: I had a surprisingly fruitful shopping expedition on Sunday, and I picked up this very nice Mare and Foal set for not much more than a pittance:

I spent most of my longer-than-expected day contemplating all of the various topics I could pursue in discussing this charming pair. And I decided that today, I'd just write about how hard it is sometimes to just pick a darn topic.

I could talk about their most obvious feature, which is their extreme yellowness (something that is being worked on as I type.) I could discuss the various remedies for it, the pros and cons of every method, and about restoration issues in general. I once wrote an entire guidebook on the subject, so I could go on for several days about that.

Or, I could talk about the fact that except for their extreme yellowness, they are in otherwise immaculate condition, and how that in itself is a very unusual thing. Common models just aren't common in mint condition. And there are several reasons why that's so.

I could also spend an entire post talking about how I believe that this is probably an intact #352 Sugar and Spice Mare and Foal Set. The evidence is mostly circumstantial, based on their color, condition, the dealer I bought it from, the kind of merchandise she specializes in and the estates sales she buys from (among other things.)

And as a subtopic, I could go on about how I sometimes, when I find an entire collection for sale, make another intellectual game of estimating when that collection was purchased - and if it's from an estate, which family member it belonged to. (Have I mentioned the 15-year rule yet?)

I also happened to find, coincidentally, another Woodgrain Running Mare and Foal Lamp at the very same flea market that day. I could discuss the reasons why I decided to buy the more “common” Smoke and Alabaster, and leave the “scarcer” Woodgrains behind. It had more to do with my collecting philosophy and my relationship with the flea market and its dealers, rather than the price or condition (the former was fair, and the latter was very good to excellent.)

I could go on. Can you see why I had such a hard time finishing term papers in college?

For the record, they are currently being sunned in the bedroom window; I weighed the risks between wet bleaching (residue lift, peeling, milkiness) and sun bleaching (bloating, fading, color shifting) and decided to go the slower, more passive method. I've had some good luck in the window with a couple of recent patients (including a test color!)

They are probably permanent residents, unless an even more attractive and/or inexpensive set comes along. I have a very nice Charcoal Running Mare, but not a true Smoke, and I've tried for years to find an attractive and close-to-mint Alabaster Running Foal. And I am loathe to break up a family that's been together this long.

(Oops, was that another topic, whizzing by? Rats.)

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