Another load of vinyl

After making it through December buying “only” about 140 albums, I’ve once again picked up a large collection to enjoy searching through to find some hidden gems.

Here’s what the car looked like when I pulled into the driveway:

All together it was 31 postal crates of 12″ singles and LP’s from primarily the 1980’s and 1990’s, all loaded into one large American sedan.  In this situation, and old “boat” of a car still has some practical value.

What’s really cool to me is that this collection is from when the popularity of  vinyl started to fade, so there could be some real gems in here.  Once I got it into the house, it looked a little more manageable:

Once i get it sorted, I fully intend to return the US Postal crates.  I expect I will find several additions to my personal collection, a lot of good value for resale, and still  be able to sell the remains for more than what I paid for the original 31 crates.

It was billed as 2000 records, but my initial samples average about 80 per crate, so it might be closer to 2500 records.  My random samples at the sellers location indicated the records are in very good condition, most showing no visible wear on the vinyl, while the covers have some wear and some labels, as it was part of a club DJ’s collection who worked int he 80’s and 90’s.

So while a lot of it isn’t going to be what I typically buy, for the price I couldn’t pass it up.  I got everything for $150.   I was very quickly able to find that much of value in things I could resell in just a few crates, so it was worth it.  Essentially I expect to get everything I want to sell and keep for free, and flip the rest for a couple hundred dollars.

I started looking through the first crate, plus a few that were stacked on top of it.  Totally random, it was just the one sitting next to me at my laptop.  In the first 50 albums, I found 10 that combined are worth $150.   Here’s the first 10 that should pay for the entire lot:



Not exactly my cup of tea, but they should sell relatively quickly.  At that pace of finding ‘winners’, assuming 2,000 albums, I have potentially $6,000 worth of vinyl (before taxes, shipping, fees, etc), and that’s just the first pass at the things I can define value.  I think a lot of this dance music and singles have a market, I just need to find it.

So there’s perhaps $3600 profit to be had from 20% of the collection.  Not a bad return on $150.  And that doesn’t count selling the other 80% for what I paid for it originally, or probably a little more.  As i finished the first crate, I’m at about $220 of value, time 31 is  close to $7k, so I’m excited about this buy.  Even if I’m half wrong, it’s a great return on $150, and it’s great entertainment.  I’m excited to play some of the singles of songs from my youth.

The seller had many people contact him, but I was the only one to commit to purchasing under the condition that the collection was what he described it as being.  I was confident that a large lot of 1980’s and 90’s pop and rock vinyl would have some real gems, and i probably couldn’t go wrong.  When you know what your objective, be confident and take a few risks.

This sort of makes up for the lot in December which was largely in poor condition, but also had a ton of 45’s as part of the deal.  I’ll still make some money on that deal, but not every buy is going to be as good as this one.  And it may not pan out as great as the initial sample, but that’s OK.

Keep your eyes open, work hard, and you can create some luck.



Drinking Whisky and Feeding Kids

Due to my recent involvement with Leadership Washington County (LWC), I’ve also had the pleasure of working to raise money for a program called Blessings in a Backpack.  Blessings provides food on the weekend to children that are fed during the week by government programs.  Without this support, many of them wouldn’t eat for the entire weekend.  “Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement” according to the Blessings website.

This makes perfect sense, and while I’d rather figure out how to impact the true root causes of this problem, the kids that benefit from the program are in their circumstances now.  So a small group of us from LWC were put together in a team to raise money for the local Blessings program.

Our initial brainstorming session had a common theme: alcohol.  Eventually we landed on a handful of options, and once we visited Mingo Creek Distillery we thought we had a good location for  an upscale event.  As we continue the planning, there’s some concern we’re dreaming too big for our upcoming February event.

The distillery is a small venue, but their spirits are relatively high end.  Their Rye is $47 a bottle; their Bourbon is around $55.  Our event is planned to coincide with the release of their next batch of Bourbon.  There will be 4 or 5 tables in different rooms of the distillery which pair upscale food with craft cocktails.  There’s about $20 of drinks in each ticket, and tickets will be limited to a max of 50.  We’re calling it the “Winter Warmer.”

Our intended price is $150 per ticket, shooting for $100 to Blessings for each attendee.  Essentially, every ticket would feed a child for the entire year of weekends.   With bourbon and craft distilling being so hot, paired with an exclusive event and some great food, I don’t think the ticket price is too steep.  We’d offer a $25 discount on a pair of tickets.  Others think we’re severely overpriced.

I think the kind of people who buy $50 bottles and $14 cocktails would be willing to pay up for a release event that feeds children too.  “A little less guilt for your guilty pleasure.”    We’ll see how it pans out, but I will say the act of getting involved in supporting this program has been very personally rewarding.

Giving doesn’t always need to be monetary.  In Romans 12: 5-8, Paul talks about all of us having various gifts.  Too often people think of giving as a monetary thing.  But often, giving of your time and talents in service to others is more personally fulfilling, and frankly might cause a greater financial impact in the end.

If you have some time off around the holidays, think about some ways to give of yourself rather than just of your money to help some other people.  It might be the greatest gift you can give yourself, and them too.




November Vinyl

After a bit of a lull in buying for a couple months, this month I purchased about 640 albums.  Six Hundred forty albums!  I started the month buying about 100 albums from a dealer to flip, with about 10 being albums I wanted to listen to and 4 or 5 likely to stay in my collection.  I bought them purely to add to my offerings for the December and January buying months.


Then I bought private collections on two successive weeks, each containing about 270 albums.  One was billed at 350 albums, the other at 200, so i paid a little more per album than I thought I was for the first, and did a little better on the other.  Both contained music primarily within the rock and blues area that I like, but had many artists I wasn’t familiar with or that I simply believe will sell.

Collection #2 from November

Part of what I enjoy about collecting vinyl is the discovery process.  It is primarily why I like to buy entire collections.  From that first collection I bought in November, one of the “discoveries” for me was this Roy Buchanan Album.

Roy Buchanan – Live Stock

Roy Buchanan sounds like a cross between Bryan Setzer and Eric Clapton.  The track Roy’s Bluz on side 1 is incredible.   I had never heard of this artist, so I looked him up.  Basically, he’s considered one of the best guitarists EVER, but he never had much publicity.  At one point he even stopped playing professionally and went to become a hairdresser until a PBS documentary brought him renewed attention and a new record deal.

The first track on side 2 is Can I Change My Mind, and it is also incredible, but also has a rhythm that reminds me of another song – much newer.  I’m thinking Roy Buchanan probably influenced a lot of people.  And an interesting note for guitarists – his tone was all guitar and amp – no effects pedals until late in his career.  He used the volume and tone knob on his Tele to control changes in tone.   Truly a great find, in my opinion, and one I would not have found looking through a record store.

Between the two collections, there were about 110 albums I wanted to listen to (on top of the other 300 or so waiting in queue).  Since i spent $650 on the two collections, that’s a little under $6.50 per album, which really isn’t too bad considering some of the stuff in that  grouping sells for more than I would pay at this time (or maybe ever).  There were about 60 not worth trying to sell, either due to condition or just lack of popularity.  So there’s about 470 I intend to sell out of the 640.

About 500 albums waiting to be cleaned.

If I do the math solely on the others that I plan to sell, subtracting the ones I want to listen to and the non-valuable albums, that’s 370 albums for $650.  That works out to about $1.75 each.  I need to sell about 20% of them to make my money back, then the rest are profit, or fuel for other purchases.  Plus I essentially then added the 110 albums to my collection for free.  And realistically, I’ll sell a large portion of the 110 I wanted to listen to once I play them – often upwards of 90% of the albums I listen to I end up selling.   The $650 came from sales of other albums, so basically all my vinyl hobby costs me is some time – and space in the Man Cave.

I can’t see myself spending $20+ on a single record, but many people do.   Which just boggles my mind.  While I may not quickly amass a collection of all my favorites, I am building a nice collection and finding new music at the same time.  I currently have about 250-300 in my “semi-permanent” collection between home and the office.  I’ also apparently offering a small supply of vintage vinyl that is sometimes hard to find.  Many expensive hobbies don’t need to be expensive, if you’re just creative.

Married Nine times…

Thinking about someone who’s been married nine times brings up a handful of mental images for me.   The first are famous people like Larry King and Elizabeth Taylor, each married eight times.  There’s King Henry VIII; but he only had six wives – and had two of them executed. Then there’s my parents – both of them.

But while they may share a seemingly dubious distinction with numerous memorable names, my parents are different in from the others in one very key way: they’ve married each other nine times.  Every five years since they were first wed, they have renewed their vows as part of marking the milestone anniversaries.  This weekend we celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary.

This one was a small gathering of family and close family friends and was all about fun and memories.  The “she’s been married nine times!” joke was my Dad’s joke when we ran into friends at the local auction house where my Mom helps out most Saturday nights.  We joked about taking a joyride and being late for the wedding – just like they were for their first marriage in 1976.

I was asked to give the blessing before dinner, which caught me unprepared but was a bit of a personal blessing as well.  It seems I’ve done similar actions many times over my adult life, and I feel like what i say probably seems slow and measured, but it’s because I like to consider what it is we’re exactly experiencing, and how should we thank God in the process of asking for his continued Grace.  I feel like I’m waiting for the words – almost like I’m asking for words to speak.

While I don’t remember the exact things I said, it was something along these lines:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to gather today to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Sandy and Steve.   Through them you have given us an example of how we should love one another.  We thank you for this food tonight, and ask that it might nourish us the way Steve and Sandy have nourished each other.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I might have said an extra sentence or so, but honestly I was so filled with emotion that the (hopefully) brief pauses during the blessing were as much to contain emotion as it was to listen for Divine Inspiration.  After the blessing, Mrs. Outspoken joked about me practicing it on the drive down in response to others approval of what was said (completely untrue!).  It truly was a blessing to pray about such a wonderful family event, and consider the positive example they have set in today’s instant gratification society, where marriage is often thought of as something more of convenience (or inconvenience, I suppose), and probably rarely as something intended to be eternal.

I vaguely remember the 25th Anniversary of my Dad’s parents, which I think would have been in 1977.  Ultimately, they were married for 56 years before my grandfather’s death.  I was only five, and I don’t recall ever seeing any pictures, but I do remember the celebration.    It’s odd to think that I’m experiencing the same milestone next year that I remember my grandparents celebrating; I must be getting old!  While we didn’t have any young children present Saturday evening, I hope the teenagers remember this moment when things get a little rocky in their eventual marriages.  Marriage isn’t easy, but it truly is and should be a gift from God.  It takes some work, but the rewards can be great. And often a good marriage will even bless others.

Thank you Mom and Dad for being such a great example of Love and of God’s power in our lives.

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Developing Slide Film at home

Slide film has a special quality.  There is a vibrancy to the colors that seems unmatched in color negative film, in my opinion.   But the feeling I get when I open the developing tank and unspool a roll of slides is indescribable.  With black & white and color negative film, I usually think “great, I got some images, and I think they look pretty good…”, but after developing these first two rolls of slides, or transparencies, it’s more like “Wow!  Look at that!  Those look amazing!”

Slide Strip-1
Some of my first developed slides – I  love the way a scanned strip looks!

They’re basically little pictures trimmed in black frames.  The blues, the details in the clouds, the vibrant oranges and reds, they all pop out extremely well.  And this is on 35mm film.  I can only imagine what they would look like on medium format!

I’ve shot some slides in the past, but they always come back mounted.  Plus, developing them myself has an extra layer of satisfaction.  The E-6 process to develop the slides was similar to C-41 for color negative, except that all three steps require rather precise temperature control at 100 degrees F.   While C-41 is Developer-Blix-Stabilize, E-6 is 1st Developer-Color Developer-Blix.

There was a little hesitation after the color developer where I was tempted to look at the results like I do before the final step in both C-41 and black and white developing, but I stopped myself, because “Blix” is actually “Bleach + Fixer”, so opening the tank after the color developer would ruin the pictures!

The two rolls I developed were a roll of Fuji Provia 100F and a roll of Velvia 100.  The Provia was shot mostly this weekend at the Wheeling Vintage Regatta, with the first 9 shots from my front yard testing the Sigma 70mm-300mm lens and cable release for the Maxxum 7.  I thought the Velvia was from my trip to Miami in June; it turns out it was from a trip to Perth, Australia in the spring of 2015!  That was an extra level of surprise, because at first the palm trees indicated “Miami”, but i couldn’t remember being near water or buildings that looked like the ones in the slides!

Some of my favorites from the Regatta in Wheeling:


And from the trip to Perth last year:



New Martinsville Regatta on Fujichrome

My favorite memory about growing up in New Martinsville, WV is the annual hydroplane regatta that was typically held on the last weekend in September.  During my teen years, the event was moved to the south end of the town and seems like it was in the summer (maybe it wasn’t), and the regatta shifted from primarily inboard hydroplanes to eventually all outboard boats.  By the time I started my senior year of high school, I think I had been to 18 New Martinsville regattas in my 17.5 years of life; it was a big deal in the town and for my family.  I don’t know the entire history of leadership decision making, but in my mind the desire to make it a carnival atmosphere and to bring in the outboard boats was what ultimately caused the Regatta to lose popularity, and the event that once brought 50,000 visitors to a little town in West Virginia eventually ceased to happen.

However,  they have gradually been trying to rebuild the regatta, and this year there were some inboard hydroplanes, and I was excited to see the big 7-liter Grand National Hydros thunder down the Ohio once again from the banks of my hometown.  While it was nowhere near the scores of inboard hydroplanes they used to attract, the course is essentially the same course that has set somewhere around 85 speed records, so hopefully it continues to grow.  It was a nice event and the regatta Committee did a good job.   It would be nice to eventually see  more Grand nationals, 5-Liter “E-Class” Boats,  2.5 Liter Modified “A-Class”, 2.5 Liter “S-Class” Boats, 1.5 Liters “T-Class”, 1 Liter “Y-Class”, Jersey Skiffs,  and maybe even Sportsman Entry (SE) and National Modified boats back on the Ohio again.

There were at least two national Champions in attendance and I think two more were crowned on the weekend, so they’re attracting quality boats. They did have a couple vintage Hydros from New Martinsville natives, and a couple vintage Unlimited Hydros, which never ran in New Martinsville in their day because they were just too big and fast for the width of that section of the Ohio. It was exciting enough that I hope to attend the Regatta again next year.

Included are my favorite shots from the day from the first three rolls of film I developed.  Shot on either Fuji Velvia 50 or Provia 100F, using a pair of Minolta Maxxum 7’s, and mostly telephoto lenses, other than one 28mm prime shot of Gale V.  Home developed and scanned using an Epson V600.


Foma 200 developed in HC-110

Typically it’s not a good idea to change two variables at one time when experimenting, but there’s a reason I developed a new film in a new developer.  Actually multiple reasons.  First, I didn’t expect to like the Foma, and I got it for pennies in a lot, so i figured “why not?”  I already have Tri-X, Eastman 5222, and Ilford HP5+ that I really enjoy for black & white photography.

Second, I bought the HC-110 to develop some old rolls of film.  So I wanted to try it out before unleashing it on some 40-year old rolls.  Unfortunately, those two canisters were empty.   Apparently the metal was thicker and heavier, so I couldn’t tell be feel they were empty.   No worries, as I still have an old roll of 120 to finish shooting and develop, but 120 has been a bit of a nemesis as far as spooling on developing tank reels.

Plus, the shots were just fooling around while in Wheeling, and it was a long holiday weekend so I had plenty of time to mix the working solution and just relax when developing, so again – why not?

Overall, the results are OK.  The most impressive thing is the grain and the detail in the photos.  The contrast isn’t quite  as high as I was getting with D-76, but it seems to have a more subtle tonality.  How much of that is film vs developer, I can’t be sure; hence it not being a good idea to change multiple variables.

Take a look at the detail in this picture; I can read the street sign above the traffic lights when I zoom in, and not just “Main Street” but the street numbers “1300” and “1400” in the white band above as well as the “No turn on Red” sign:

Foma 200 Wheeling-16

Then there’s a depth of the lacquer on this boat, which i think the Foma 200 captures very well:

Foma 200 Wheeling-13
Compulsion….are we talking boats or film stock?

This shot should have been a difficult shot, where I was trying to capture the ghost of lettering that had long been removed.  The sun was shining off polished aluminum with a black background to reveal the image, but the Maxxum 7 and the Foma handled it pretty well:

Foma 200 Wheeling-14
Miss Supersonic

Then there’s these two images which for me would only work on black and white film.  Maybe I’m just odd, but the old doors and windows picture is part of why i shoot film.  It’s one of the few shots from the weekend that turned out mostly like I wanted.  The Pump Store sign works for me as well, showing the age and worn feeling I get when I’m in Wheeling.

Foma 200 Wheeling-2
Pump Store
Foma 200 Wheeling-1
Wheeling: 2016, or 1916?

The grain is pretty fine, and combined with the wide tonal range, I’m interested in shooting another roll of Foma (which I have), and also to start working with Eastman 5222, Ti-X, and Ilford HP5+ in HC-110.  I feel like I have several years wort of concentrate, and I have a gallon of D-76, so there’s not shortage of chemicals.  If anything, I’m low on b&w film, since I spent the summer stocking up on color films.  Here’s some other shots from the roll, which overall had some pleasing images.

One thing to note is the suspension bridge.  It is the oldest suspension bridge in use for automobile traffic.  Standing on the bridge was sort of odd, because it does bounce a good bit as cars cross, and when I looked at the railing, I noticed it was wooden!  It was built in 1849, and the suspension cables are either original or date back to 1860.  Talk about history.  Again, it seemed fitting to shoot historic boats and buildings on film.