001 About

About Me …

I’m known online mostly as “futuristguy,” and I’ve been blogging since 2003. This is something like my 10th blog during that time (not all of them are even available anymore as, sadly, my favorite blogging host from the mid-2000s was irreparably hacked and eventually folded). As I noted on my eBay “About Me” page, I have four unusual amateur “professions” that I pursue as pastime activities:

I am a strategic-foresight futurist, helping everyday people create a better future, not simply survive into the future.

I am a media culturologist, studying films, print and digital materials, and toys to create fun learning exercises that train leaders.

I am a social activist, helping create a sustainable world with a “quadruple bottom line” approach that benefits people/community, the planet/ecology, profit/economy, and personal change/spirituality.

I am an organizational ecologist, helping people: (A) figure out their organization’s “DNA,” (B) discern what it has the potential to become, and then (C) strategize a healthy trajectory to get from starting point A to fulfill point B.

LOTR Collector Notes is mostly a fun hobby for me, but it’s also a way I can share serious materials to train the next generation of leaders interested in the future, culture, social justice, and sustainability. Along that line, I’ll be adding other “Collector Notes” blogs for other books, films, and media as time goes by.

Also, I plan to keep on adding information and images to this blog as I have time and as I process my media collections for sale on eBay. So, watch the “What’s New?” category of posts for notices on when I’ve completed a page or added something else, and what collection items I’ve listed on eBay to pass own to the next Lord of the Rings fan. I’ve published many of the pages for memorabilia and products already, and filled in at least a framework of what will be forthcoming. Hopefully I can also add some fairly substantial research and resource items, such as an index to all the articles, ads, and news in the LOTR Fan Club magazine set.

P.S. It won’t all be technical and academic, but at least some will be, because that’s one aspect of who I am.

… About My Interest in Tolkien …

You may be surprised that I never read The Lord of the Rings until after seeing “The Fellowship of the Ring” in the theatre in 2001. I was hooked on Tolkien immediately, primarily because of the dedication of Peter Jackson and his entire trilogy crew and cast to making the settings and cultural artifacts as realistic as possible.

Reading the book trilogy for the first time as an adult is, I suppose, a very different experience than reading it first time as an adolescent. Bringing a few decades of practice in literary criticism to this first reading, I was enthralled with how Tolkien engaged my imagination with a vivid picture conjured up from sparse details. (Did you realize that the Fellowship “horses in the flood” scene in the film is barely a paragraph in the book?)

I was also intrigued with Tolkien’s pre-modern approach to character development. No modernist coffee-table talk or beer-hall banter here from Strider about his psychological angst and wrestling into resolve over accepting his role as King … No, in a more typically pre-modern style, his resolution and character are demonstrated by concrete actions. Or, in the film version, have you noticed that every time Strider adds an item of clothing (such as Boromir’s gauntlets or Arwen’s Evenstar or Andúril) or changes costume (into battle gear at Helm’s Deep in TTT, or into armor with The White Tree of Gondor designs in ROTK), it’s a visual reminder of another step taken toward his ultimate identity as Aragorn and his destiny as King Elessar.

To me, at least, this kind of stuff is fun. It adds layers of meaning to one of the most amazing pieces of literature I’ve ever read. And, with his Middle-earth as a convincingly described place, Tolkien draws me in holistically by engaging every imaginable facet of my academic background and interests. Although I was formally trained in linguistics, I’ve become primarily a student of cultural interpretation, strategic foresight (studies of the future), organizational systems development, and how we engage our learning styles in passion for specific kinds of media. The books, films, and memorabilia are a delight because of how they get my being and my brain working on so many different levels!

… and About You

Since you’re here, I assume you have enough interest in The Lord of the Rings to want to find out more. I hope you’ll find some “scratch” for whatever is your “itch.”

Maybe you’re a collector, and want to know more about your favorite promotional item. If so, I hope you find what you’re looking for here. I can’t include everything ever made, but at least I’ve posted something about whatever items have ever passed through my hands, and have done what I can to research others. Most items are posted on a page that gives the name of the company that produced them. If you don’t know the company, maybe you’ll find the clues you need in the Partner Index page, where different items are categorized.

If you’re new to collecting, be sure to see the Glossary page for help in getting started with different categories and kinds of memorabilia products.

Maybe you’re a student of marketing, media, and/or contemporary culture, and want to explore the LOTR film trilogy as a case study in creating a global event. If so, be sure to see the Marketing the Movies page.

Maybe you’re just looking for some fun-time diversions, like LOTR coloring pages or free photos or  screensavers. You’ll find links to downloads scattered all around this site. Explore, find, link, download!

Whatever your purposes, hope you find something here to enjoy!

~ Brad Sargent, “futuristguy”