Friday, January 22, 2021

Wheelin' and dealin'

I can never remember the name of the site, but back when I first started reading the blogs, I often saw people mention a site that they used to track their collections. Then at some point, something happened to the site (unless I'm getting my wires crossed, I believe that Beckett had a hand in their demise), and people were sad. The sadness didn't seem to last though, as a new site (new for users, not new to existence) began to be mentioned shortly afterwards, this being the Trading Card Database.

References on the blogs to the TCDB were few and far between at first, but have grown steadily in recent years, so much so that it's now virtually impossible to go a single week without seeing mention of it. 

I didn't have much use for, or interest in, the TCDB when people first started extolling it's virtues, for I was still a set collector then, and had no trouble keeping track of my haves/needs via pen and paper. Things change however, and I switched from set collecting, to player collecting. All of a sudden pen and paper became useless as tools for making checklists, or maybe not useless, but were considerably more difficult to use, especially when a player hundreds of cards to track. I knew that I now needed something new for checklist making, and whether I liked it or not, there was really only one option, the TCDB.

My first couple of foray's onto the site didn't go well, but only because I couldn't figure out how to do anything (this is what happens when you're part luddite on your father's side). Towards of the end of last year I did finally start to figure things out though, and have been using it off and on for about two months now. The checklist part of the site seems to work well enough, but like many others, I find myself being drawn to the possibility of trading more than the checklists. Despite never being a huge fan of formal trading, I'm starting to get the hang of it, and have completed a few in recent weeks. 

I'm not sure yet if I'll be recapping every single future trade on here or not, but did want to show off this first batch, if only for the sake of posterity. 

Before I get to the trades, I wanted to first acknowledge a RAK from Randy, aka RefsInTheBack, who I have exchanged cards with via Twitter (you can find him on there by adding an @ to his handle) before, and am quite familiar with his collection. He offered up a couple of cards right after I started adding a want list to the site, and wasn't looking for anything in return. That's a hard deal to pass up!

I've probably owned a dozen+ copies of this 1991-92 Fleer Uncle Cliffy over the years, but with my propensity for giving cards away, I didn't hang on to any, and I found myself needing one for the first time in almost 30 years. 

This 1993-94 Franz  may look a bit gunky, but it's still in it's original wrapper, so that bread residue is thankfully on the outside. At one time I had almost the complete Franz Blazers run, but it, along with most of the rest of my collection, was donated to a charity auction in the early 2000's. Since I didn't think that I was ever coming back to card collecting, the donation seemed like a good thing at the time, and I guess it still was, but in retrospect I do kind of wish that I had held a few more things out, my Franz cards being one of them.

Thanks again to Randy for the RAK, it was a really nice gesture.

Next up is my first official trade on the site, this coming courtesy of budler, who I already knew from his participation in the Secret Santa two years ago. This was a 1-3 deal, which included a pair of Classic bruisers (my first cards ever from this set too btw), and...

... the destroyer of worlds himself, this time on a playing card! They may not be anything fancy these days, but I really dig these three cards, many thanks to Jim for making it happen.

A 3-13 trade with ravensray52 brought this next group. If you've been following along with the blog for any length of time, you had to know that there would be some Reggie's in this post somewhere.

It'll never not be weird to see Ronnie as a Jet.

I've probably owned more than a few copies of the Pro Set and Score cards here, but I wasn't collecting Dennis at the time, and big surprise, got a rid of them all.

Having never seen a 1996 Gilt Edge before, I never knew that their dimensions were slightly smaller than your average sized card. It would be curious to know the reasoning behind that move on Topps part?

Even with his shoulder problems, Steve was still dropping them until the very end. Love this sunset card, the refractor of which I currently have sitting in my COMC account.

This was a good trade too, as I was able to add cards of the my four main footballers. Thanks, John!

A 12-2 deal with AUTOGRAPHS2000 netted bunch of Cliff's, unfortunately four of them came unstowed at some point during their journey, which must've triggered some postal workers Spidey-sense, because that just had to be the corner of the envelope that got mushed. All four were base cards so it's not like it's the end of the world or nothing, but it still was a little disappointing.

This pair of Bruise Brothers completed the envelope. Now that I know what his entire checklist looks like, I think it'll be possible to complete Dennis Smith's entire run, this is due in large part to Panini not getting their hooks in him yet. Unfortunately the same can't be said about Steve Atwater, now that he's a HOFer, Panini is cranking out cards of him like there's no tomorrow. In fact if nothing changes by the end of this year, Panini is on track to have produced more cards of him in the last four years than he had during ten years of playing. Because of this, I'm really only focusing on cards from his playing days.

I can't remember the name behind the handle on this trade (and TCDB isn't showing the address details anymore), so I'll just have to say thank you to AUTOGRAPHS2000.

It's not talked about much on the blogs, but if you look around, you'll find some real horror stories involving trades on the TCDB. Having read a number of these cautionary tales, I've been extra cautious with who I'll trade with. 49ants is a user name that I seen many times on the blogs, so when he proposed a trade, I had absolutely no concern about making the exchange; what's good enough for my fellow bloggers, is certainly good enough for me!

I had been planning on adding a most wanted list for each of the sports to the blog, and even started to fill out those lists, but eventually thought better of it and scrapped the idea. I mention this only because Dennis Smith's rookie had been #2 on the football list, as it turns out a most wanted list wasn't even necessary to acquire this particular card.

As far as scanning cards goes, Topps' 1994-95 Embossed Golden Idols suffer the same fate as their 1965 Embossed set, no matter how nice the card is, the scans always come out looking like someone had been using the card to sand something. For the record though, despite it's poor showing, this card arrived minty fresh.

1996-97 Stadium Club Matrix is one of my all time favorite parallel sets, it's just too bad that the 3D-ish effect doesn't show up in the scans, and has proven quite difficult to photograph as well.

I couldn't resist! This was #100 and something. I really need to put a counter on the side of the blog, that way I wouldn't have to keep re-counting this collection every single time I add new card to it.

Thanks to 49ants for the great group of cards, I couldn't have asked for a better quartet.

So there you have it, my first three trades (with a RAK tossed in for good measure), dare I pull an Ed Koch, and ask how'm I doin'? That's rhetorical by the way, as I already know how I did with these :)


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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Books 'n things

Despite living in a relatively rural area, I have access to quite a few neat places. There is one used bookstore, one comic book shop, one pseudo card shop, two antique malls, and five thrift stores, all within 30 minutes of me. Not too mention pretty much all of the retail establishments that anyone could ever need (I wouldn't mind if there were a few less of those around). Expanding the drive time by just ten minutes increase some of those numbers, especially the thrift stores. If I'm ever feeling froggy, Knoxville's not that far away either, which is home to a plethora of fun places, most notably, McKay's. And of course I got Nashville in the other direction, which is a longer drive, and isn't a city that I've been overly impressed with, but it is home to a more than a few places that are worth stopping in at (not as many as Knoxville though), the biggest of which is the twice-a-month card show (twice-a-month during normal times).

In the six years that I've been here, I'd say that my most frequented place has been the Book Cellar, which has been featured many times here on the blog. I used to try to stop in at least once every six weeks or so, but since the Rona got going, I've found that those have increased to about every 2-3 weeks, and judging by the turnaround in inventory, I'm not the only one. It really is a much better used bookstore than you'd expect to find in such a small town, although said small town has seen exponential growth over the last couple of years, as it continually makes "best places to retire" lists, and is now making "best place to escape your post-apocalyptic city" lists as well. I won't share my thoughts on the towns growth in general, but will say that it has had a positive effect on the bookstore, as the quality of the selection just continues to get better.

The store was recently put up for sale, bought, and is now under new ownership/management. Normally this would've been cause for concern, but this too has seemingly improved the store, especially where organization is concerned, all of sudden it's much easier to find things. I was a little worried that the new owners might come in and make some unwanted changes (unwanted by me that this), namely no longer continuing to sale videos, as that's starting to happen elsewhere. But my fears have gone unfounded, as not only have they not stopped selling videos (or CD's and DVD's), but the selection in that department has actually increased as well.

Looking at my post history, I see that I haven't done a Book Cellar post since early November, and have gone three times since, so I guess it's time to do some catching up. It's worth noting too that on two of these stops, I had many other places to hit in a very short amount of time, thus only having a few minutes to look around.

#1:


Have you ever wondered how different The Breakfast Club would've turned out if Bobby Stine had written it (and let's be honest, who reading this hasn't?), if so, you're in luck, because that's pretty much the best way I can think of to describe this book. Minor spoiler alert: The ending of this book is considerably different than that of the film!


I don't have a list made, but if I was ever to make a list of my top 10 favorite vampire films, Count Yorga would be an automatic entry. I like everything about this movie (well, except for maybe the cat scene, that's kind of gross), and have since I first saw it at the age of 12 (watched it on AMC not too long after we got cable again for the first time in a number of years). And I've had it on video for decades now, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to upgrade that old video for a buck.

I hadn't realized that this series was now available on DVD (apparently it has been for a few years btw). I had only ever seen two episodes, so this was must get. This pack was missing it's slipcase, hence there being no shot at the synopsis on the back. Basically though, it's just young Charlie Bronson playing a freelance photographer who always seems to find himself in the middle of the action, and more often than not this action is of the criminal variety. It'll feel dated to most modern/young eyes, but I really enjoy it, genuinely enjoy it that is, not tongue-in-cheek enjoy it.


There are a couple of free boxes out front that I almost always check despite there almost never being anything of interest to me within their confines. This trip proved to be an exception though, as I found this possibly interesting coffee table book on college football, I say possibly interesting because I still haven't read it yet, but it was free, so there's no rush.

#2:


I saw Amityville 3-D on commercial television sometime before my teens, even at that age when garbage films can seem good, I still didn't care for it, and have never seen it again since. And yet, I didn't hesitate for a single second to grab this adaptation when I found it. The book isn't perfect either, but is considerably better than the film. The narrative is much clearer as well. It's funny too, I had forgotten some of the film after all of these years, but after reading this, and then remembering some of those forgotten parts, I feel quite confident in saying that I believe that this film/book was the inspiration for Ringu (or The Ring for those of you who don't like foreign films). There are way too many similarities for it not to have been. It's also worth noting that this paperback was an import, and is still sporting it's nifty Hodder & Stoughton sticker on the back.


I will never grow tired of finding old films that I haven't seen. I was already quite familiar with Kiss of Death, but the opportunity to watch it just hadn't ever presented itself. I enjoyed it a great deal, but do realize that it's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

#3:


Through the first 80 pages or so, I was ready to say that this as one of my favorite books ever, as well as proclaim Graham Masterton to be one of the great modern horror writers... then the rest of the book happened! This was the first book of Graham's that I've read, and even after a few weeks have passed since I finished it, I still don't know what to think. The first third of the book was great, very Lovecraftian in it's slow build of an unseen terror, but then it just goes bonkers with an addition that came from further than left field. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that he had ideas for two different stories, but couldn't flush either of them out to book length, causing him instead to decide to mash both of them together. I can honestly say that I've never encountered anything like this before, hence my perplexedness (I know, it's not a word, but it works here, so...). Seeing as how the first part was so good, I will give his stuff another chance, hopefully this mash-up of things that don't go together was an anomaly for him, and not the norm (Norm!!!!!).


I was familiar with probably 60% of this books content, but it never hurts to have a refresher. For my money, the most interesting thing that I didn't already know was that William Peter Blatty spent 15 years writing The Exorcist. I've long known of the story that it was based on, but had never heard that it taken him so long to finish the book. Seeing as how it was one of the more successful books (then later, films) of it's era, it really furthers that old adage about not rushing things (now if I could just remember that when blogging, I might actually be able to produce something worth reading!).

They do have used magazines too, but rarely do they have anything of this, or the followings, caliber. 

At one time, Filmfax was one of the better movie magazines out there. I say was though it is still around, but they've lost a few steps in recent years. Between most things having already been discussed ad nauseam, and running out of people worth interviewing, their content just isn't what it used to be. Thankfully, #45 here was put out during their prime, and was well worth the fifty cent price tag.

Ah, 1995, the year in which it was virtually impossible to pass a newsstand without seeing Mulder and Scully on the cover of some magazine, sigh... I want to go back!

OUTRÉ was put out by the the fine folks over at Fimfax, and while not nearly as good, is still something that I will always pick up if cheap.

Horror comics/monster magazines/movie magazines are just about the only thing I get excited about finding out in the wild anymore, and all of these certainly fit the bill. Now if I could just find them more often...


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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Some firsts

I thought cutting back to two posts a week would help me with posting more consistently. If the first two weeks of the year are any sort of an indicator though, my plan seems to be having the opposite effect, as I've only managed to finish two posts up to this point.

For what it's worth, I did start three posts last week, with every intention of finishing them, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards (pun intended) for me to do so. Some of it was my fault for allowing myself to be distracted by other non-blog things, namely reading (I finished my fourth book of the year already), TCDB stuff, and doing challenges on COMC (my credit is low, and lots of good things are being added to the site again). Then there was the stuff that I didn't much control over, migraine on Tuesday, and not quite migraine-level headaches on Wednesday and Thursday (it was just one of those weeks), all three of which made computering difficult, and not very desirable. There was also the snow that came at the beginning of the week, and now the snow that has arrived in time to close out the week, which doesn't physically prevent me from blogging, but does have a profoundly adverse affect on my mood, thus making me not want to write anything, or at least not anything that someone would want to read.

There were some high spots though, I worked out a couple of more trades on the TCDB, including a slightly bigger one. I made up the $15 in credit that I spent on COMC last weekend (really good sale on newly added vintage non-sport cards) by doing the challenges. With things starting to move on the site again, I'm thinking we might get a Spring Cleaning sale, and if so, I want to have some play money in place before it starts. The best thing to occur though came on Thursday, that being the arrival of a very unexpected package from, Dennis, he of Too Many Verlanders fame. Not only was the gesture itself a wonderful surprise, but the cards were pretty good too, a few of which were firsts for me.

Jamie Moyer has relic cards? This was news to me! Not that I'm overly surprised mind you, I mean anybody who's played in the last twenty years or so, probably has a dozen plus relics out there, I just hadn't ever looked to see what he had available. Now that I have, I can say that I'm a bit surprised that he doesn't have more. 2004 Upper Deck Awesome Honors Jersey is not a set that I had heard of/seen before. There appears to be two different versions, Gold and Silver, as well as an Update set that has a completely different checklist. As far as Jamie goes, the silver version has white fabric, and the gold contains a dark blue swatch. The gold are not serial numbered, but are supposedly limited to 165 copies of each. I don't usually seek out the relics, but this one is pretty neat, and was a first for me. It's probably silly, but now I kind of want the silver, if only because I could then say that I was able to complete my first relic rainbow.

Moving onto another first, my first Pro Magnet. I've seen these plenty of times online (always scanned as poorly as this one), but had never encountered one in person before. They're much shinier than I had imagined, and just better looking in general than I would've thought. I need more!

I haven't acquired any new Tim Brown cards for quite awhile now (at least a year), Dennis didn't know this (nor did anyone else), but thanks to him I can no longer say that. Oh, and for the record, this is the first card from 1999's Collector's Edge 1st Place that I've ever owned.

Colbey did a Litho-Cel break a few months back that I kind of regret not getting in on, as I can't really afford to get a box anymore, and had always kind of wanted to open one. Participating in that break might've helped with that some. I know that Dennis took a chance on it, but don't know if this card came from that opening or not. I do own one other card from this set, one of the Cels, but it's just a random one that I found in a dime box a few years back, and isn't of someone that I collect, so... I guess I could say that this my first Litho-Cel of someone that I collect, eh?

Coming out of college, I guess it wasn't too much of stretch to think that Ricky Williams might be a "Future Legend", but things don't always go according to plan, they certainly didn't with Ricky's NFL career. Still a fun insert though, my first from this set.

Upon first sight, I thought this was my first football Triumvirate, but once I loaded the scan into the post I remembered that I already had one of Herman Moore, which after a brief search I found sitting in a scan folder waiting to be posted about, so while this Terrell isn't my first football Triumvirate, it is the first one that I've ever shown here on the blog. I don't care who's featured on the card, I absolutely adore these. A lot of 90's stuff has really gone up since the Rona got going, but a lot of great football inserts from that era, like these, are still quite affordable. Some day I'd like to complete one of these trifectas, I have 2 out of 3 on a couple of basketball ones, but have been too forgetful to remember to look up who I need to complete them. In case anyone's curious, John Elway and Shannon Sharpe make up the rest of this particular trio.

Many thanks to Dennis for this wonderful surprise, it brought some joy to an overall not-so-great week. And even though he said that these were belated Christmas cards, last Christmas already feels like it was months ago, so I'm gonna choose to go ahead and just think of these as early 2021 Christmas cards :)


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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Something old...

                                         
As most of you reading this probably already know, I'm not married, nor have I ever been married, and at this point, unless something extraordinary happens, I will never be married. I'm not opposed to marriage mind you, it's just that... um... how do I put this? I'm about as desirable as a bridge troll, and what's more, I don't even have a bridge to my name!

There's not a lot of gals out there who are looking to settle down with a bridge troll, and I've accepted that, in fact I did so many years ago. I'm quite content to live vicariously through others.

Despite how this post is starting, it really isn't about marriage (or my trollness) per se, more like it's customs, or rather one particular custom; that being the old-ish British tradition of: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe.

I'm not sure if it's still being used or not, but I couldn't help thinking of it a couple of weeks ago when a couple of related mailings arrived on the same day. I noticed that I had two of the five covered right off the bat, and a quick perusal of my scan folders provided me with two more. And as far as the fifth goes, well, will get to that when we come to it.

In order to make this post work (or at least make it work the way I wanted to work), I had to stretch some of the meanings just a tad. For example, nobody's gonna look at the above 2019-20 Prizm Karl Malone and think "old", but it, as well as all of the other cards that have been shown, is from one of my "old"est scan folders. Matt, from the newly rechristened, Matt's Wonderful Blog Of Hobbies, sent these to me quite some time ago, and as neat as these five were, the real star of the envelope was...

... this 2012 Panini Progressions (magenta) of the great John Riggins! It's not everyday that someone sends me a card that's limited to just five copies, in fact this is the lowest 'numbered' card that anyone has ever sent me. I own a number of Progressions, and have seen even more, but this was the first one that I had seen where the coloring had such an effect on the player's appearance. Not that I care, I just thought that it was worth noting. This a rainbow that I'd love to collect, but other than the cyan that's currently sitting on COMC (which seems overpriced to me), it doesn't appear that the other two colors have ever come up for sale online anywhere.

I still have more to get to here today, so I won't go too in-depth, but did want to mention that aside from the mailing, Matt is also responsible for me returning to the blog after my hiatus this past summer. So from whenever I started back up, to whenever I say goodbye, if you like anything that I do, you have Matt to thank. And conversely, if you ever dislike anything that you see upon these pages, please direct all hate mail to Matt as well, after all he is to blame for my still being around to produce whatever it is that irked you so.

Thanks again for the cards, Matt! Hopefully the ensuing hate mail won't make you regret bringing me back too much :)

Moving on the next part of the rhyme. "New" is not the first word that's going to come to mind when viewing this '87 Bo Jackson, BUT, it did come from my most recent, or "new"est if you will, piece of mail from a fellow blogger. As some folks may remember, Bo, from Baseball Cards Come to Life!, won Julie's big contest a few months ago, and then a short time later started to disperse some of the unwanted goods/duplicates. 

I think that this Bo was one of the better cards being put on the trading block, and I thought initially that I already had one, but after a quick check, I found that I didn't. I didn't know what I was going to trade for it, but Bo sent it along for what I'm assuming was future considerations. Those future considerations turned took the form of an old [Bo]wman that I had laying around, which seems to have went over well, so that was nice.

Bo was accompanied by another card from the prize haul, a card which I believe was a first for me, as in I think that it may be the first 1993 Donruss card that I've ever owned. Some of you are probably shaking your head in disbelief right now, but I'm fairly certain that aside from a few singles here and there, that I stopped collecting baseball (and football) in 1992, and just did basketball and non-sport stuff for the next eight years before taking my decade-long break from cards. I know that I never opened any of this set, and it's design doesn't register any sort of familiarity with me, so like I said, I'm thinking that this might just be the first card from this set that's ever been in my possession.

Looks like Bo knows basketball too. I however do not still know if I needed this Logo card, as I haven't gotten into that particular box for a while, either way though, it's a nice card.

Thanks for sharing some of your winnings with me, Bo!

My mom found this penny in her change a few weeks ago, and even though she, and subsequently I once I saw it, didn't think that it would be anything of note, I still wanted to "borrow" it for this post. 

Piece of advice for any and all dipsh*ts out there who have too much time on their hands, if you want to create some intrigue by adding something to hard currency, learn how to make your own f*cking punches. It took me all of twenty seconds to find these punches of the oft used, and dare I say, terribly boring, Freemason square and compasses for sale on eBay. I guess it's too much to ask that someone actually do something original for a change (pun intended), this piss-poor attempt to manufacture a mystery wasn't even worth my twenty seconds of searching.

[Note: My scanner can't handle 2013-14 Prizm, and apparently I can't even take a decent photo anymore, so apologies for this glare-y monstrosity]

Other than the daily saved searches emails that I receive, I almost never bother with eBay anymore. I don't hate it like a lot of people seem to these days, I'm just tired of the stupid prices on everything, and don't feel like wasting my time looking for anything. That being said, I did get one of those saved searches emails back in December, possibly even November, that eventually led me to buying this "blue" Larry Johnson. This card wasn't the subject of the saved search, but was amongst the sellers other offerings, and while I didn't even get close to winning my saved search card, I did win this. I thought for sure that I already had one of these, but I didn't, I only had like half a dozen of the other parallels for him. I've been trying to focus more on playing days cards of guys that I'm collecting, so I did have a bit of buyer's remorse after this arrived, but I guess it's a nice enough card for me to bend the rules a little bit for.

The only thing left is the part of the rhyme that was dropped when it made it across the Atlantic, "and a sixpence in her shoe". Hmm, what to do? I did collect coins quite actively in my early teens, and still have most of that collection, but British coins were never of much interest to me, so no sixpence's (sixpencies?) in there. British stamps aren't really my thing either (well, save for one particular issue, but that's for a future post), so I can't even use one of those for the post. There's also the little matter of me not having access to "her" shoes. I've got plenty of his, but no hers (ah, the sad life of a bridgeless troll). I guess for the sake of completing the post, I'll just have to resort to using this photo that I found on the Google...

I could be wrong here, but I'm fairly certain (at least 90%) that the coin is supposed to be in the left shoe. Hopefully this photo was just for show, otherwise this gal sure was (provided I'm right) tempting fate.

**************************************

On a completely unrelated note, China's great mistake (or so we're led to believe) got another one this past week, and this time it was one of my childhood favorites.

Rest easy, Barbara Shelley.


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