The JIgsaw Puzzle From Hell

PEI and Puzzle 012

Perhaps buying a jigsaw puzzle from the dollar store was not the best idea.  Though, I have done it before and not really suffered from it.  I figure, I am only going to do the puzzle once and then give it away to someone, so why spend a lot of money on something that I am not going to keep.  For my $1.25 (plus tax) I have usually gotten some decent 500 piece puzzles.

This time, however, was no picnic.  Maybe I should have taken note of the 1000 piece puzzle size.  While this is challenging, I don’t usually think of it as daunting.

What was so hard, you ask?  Was it 1000 pieces of blue sky?  No, that wasn’t the problem.  Instead I will list the sins.PEI and Puzzle 013

  • The puzzle pieces were vertical instead of horizontal.
  • There were images on the picture that were not shown on the box art. These were around the edges.
  • These two facts convince me that someone didn’t size the puzzle onto the board correctly before cutting–but I could be wrong. However, there must be a reason the thing showed up on the dollar store shelves.
  • Many of the pieces fit together (despite obviously being incorrect). I had to disassemble and reassemble complete sections that seemed correct, but somehow weren’t–including one area just before I finished.
  • I was unable to create a boarder to assemble the puzzle because there were just too many possibilities with the blue sky at the top.
PEI and Puzzle 015

I really should have heeded this warning.

I am glad I finished the puzzle, but now I am completely burnt out and don’t anticipate doing another one for quite a long while.  I have one from the same company, and although it is only 500 pieces, I think I will give it away rather than tackle it.

Now my reward–motivation was key in getting this puzzle done.

PEI and Puzzle 016

My Reward–Yum!

A Life Unlike The One I Am Living

The truth is that I wish I were a ski bum.  I am not sure that is a job, or if that lifestyle even exists anymore, but I wish it were so.  There are so many occupations which I wish I could do besides my current one…but as I see the snow pile up outside my door as I type this, I get the feeling that skiing should somehow be part of it.

I spent one day this week out on the mountain.  One day, in nature, away from the TV and computer and it was glorious.  It was cold, really cold, but glorious nonetheless.  If only I could ski all winter, and bike around the world all summer.  Maybe I should get an agent.

I have digressed from the topic of this blog.  Perhaps that is because this blog is about dreaming and thinking about better things that an 9 to 3:30 job.  I don’t exactly do that 9 to 5 thing that some people call a job.  I don’t even where a suit.  I know, I shouldn’t complain but that is what everyone does.  Maybe even the guy skiing all winter has something to complain about.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what that would be, but maybe it is true.

I had a great day and I want another one.  Rather than put up with the commute and the rude behaviour of the other commuters, I would like to be on top of the slope, sitting on a crudely made bench or snow bank drinking my coffee.  Instead of hearing about subway delays or grumbling from the commuters, I would like to hear the wind whistling through the trees.

The worst part of this is that I am writing this on a Sunday night, and after a short sleep it will be Monday morning.

Hobby Forums and Message Boards

Despite debating the pros and cons (I called it The Gift Versus the Curse) of the internet on hobbies, I probably fall more on the pro side.  Especially where message boards, or forums are concerned.

For those not in the know, the aforementioned forums or boards are places where (in this case) hobbyists can go and exchange information.  They are as simple, if not simpler than, email.  Not only can you post questions and get answers, but you can read other people’s questions and answers as well.  In addition to the answers, you might also get photos which better illustrate the point the person was trying to make.

I belong to several boards.  I belong to nscale.net for my train hobbies.  I also belong to scale auto enthusiast forum for my car models.  For a time I belonged to a forum for remote control cars, but sadly they went out of business.  In addition, I have checked out other forums for my various hobbies.  If I didn’t join, it is more likely that I got what I needed without having to post my own question.

My experience has been very positive.  Many people have helped me, patiently answered my questions, given solid advice, and sent many helpful pictures.  I haven’t come across any insulting behaviour or obnoxious people.  Okay, in truth, once a guy lowballed me on a price for something I was selling, but not in an rude way–business is, after all, business, and like most of us, he was just looking for a deal.  When I suggested he was lowballing me, he wrote back and candidly admitted that was the case and made me a better offer.

I guess that my positive experience is due to both the majority of good and helpful people who make up the hobby and the wisdom of the moderators who keep the haters and the trolls at bay.  I estimate it is an 80/20 split, with 80 percent on the side of good people making up the hobby.

If you have never joined a message board, or forum and are into a hobby there is probably a forum out there for you.  I suggest joining, and increasing your circle of like minded hobbyists.  If it isn’t for you, you can always “unjoin” or just never go there again and ignore them like I do when a salesman comes to the door.

Anyone with a good story of joining a forum, or associated wisdom, is invited to comment.

Leggo my Lego

Owing to a transit strike and too much time to kill before I could get a ride home I found myself doing something I rarely do.  I did a complete tour of a shopping mall at a leisurely pace.  Normally I am a get in, get what you came for and then get out kind of person. I can’t really say I had a great time, but it wasn’t a complete waste because I came across the Lego store.

I have always liked Lego, but never really had any.  I had one set when I was a child. but it wasn’t a huge “megaset.”  I could maybe build a small house or car, as long as colour symmetry wasn’t a priority.  If you’ve read my blog called The Massive Collection and the Mind of a Child you might remember my friend’s Playmobil collection.  What I didn’t mention was that he also had a very impressive collection of Lego. Impressive because he had enough Lego to build a small village of houses, all tastefully colour coordinated.  I was pretty jealous, but we played with it together often enough that I only have good memories of it.

The Lego store is a pretty amazing place.  I hadn’t realized how many products they had.  There were so many cool kits and stuff that I had no idea they made.  For a moment….. actually longer than a moment, I was a kid again.

I spotted that Lego train and made those important financial calculations that all hobbyists have to do.  It is a complicated formula involving the  (fun quotient X the building time X the buddy brag factor )/ (the cost factor + the once finished dust collector factor+ the wasted money factor)
I walked out of the store without a box of shiny new Lego and a healthy respect for the store clerks who patiently dealt with children (including one who listed every kit he owned in alphabetical, then chronological order.)  And although I managed to thwart the temptation, the seed has been planted, the need has been created.  Only time will tell where this will lead.