Monday, July 24, 2017

A card show, my first trip to Ollie's, and a tornado warning

Looking at the date of my last published post, I see that it has been a little over seven weeks since I last posted. Once again I ended up going far longer in between posts than I had intended, in fact this particular post was actually started right after my last one, and then for a myriad of reasons... I just never bothered to finish it (or any other post for that matter).

Much has been going on, most of it being of the not so great variety. So since it's starting to feel like I'm always complaining about this or that, I'm going to do everyone a favor and not start this post off with a bunch of negativity, instead trying to focus on the positive for a change.

It feels a little weird doing a post about a day that occurred almost two months ago now (the last Saturday in May to be exact), as some of details are already becoming a bit hazy with time, but as I said above, I had already started it by adding all the pictures and I really don't want them to go to waste. So...

I found myself once again in need of card supplies right around the time I was moving, but I couldn't justify going to a show and wasting half a day or more on something so frivolous when there was still so much that needed to be done before the actual move. So that was my primary reason for attending this particular show, finding anything of interest would just be an added bonus. Not surprisingly, I ended up with a few things other than the supplies that I had went for.

I'm going switch up for once and start with my two "expensive" purchases:

The majority of my 1970-71 Topps cards are in really great shape, so this Wilt, is now by far the worst card, condition wise, in the set. But since this was the last of the somewhat pricey cards that I needed from the set, the $4 price tag was too low to pass on. I may try to upgrade it at some point, but with continuing increase of vintage basketball card prices, this one might have to do.

No matter how many times I've seen wilt's stats on the back of cards, it never ceases to amaze me to see that 1961-62 stat line.


This card isn't perfect either, but at $3, I thought it was a pretty good deal. I don't know why, but I always enjoy getting the first and last cards form a set out of the way.

Moving on to the cheaper stuff. I was fortunate enough to once again be able to take care of some more needs from a few of the "players of yore" sets that I have been building exclusively through the ten cent boxes:
 






I know I've mentioned it before, but I don't come across the 2002 Sweet Spot Classics very often, in decent shape that is, so it was really nice to be able to pick up the four shown above.

There is one particular seller that always seems to have a few Broder/fantasy cards sprinkled throughout his dime boxes, and judging by the last couple of shows that I have been to, I am unable to not buy them. I'm not entirely sure how much I actually like these kinds of cards, so thankfully, this time there was only one that ended up coming home with me.

In case anyone is interested, here is the back of the card:


These 2014-15 Donruss swirlorama parallels set me back a quarter a piece.

I'm always down for ten cent 90's refractors.

There was a fellow there who had a ton of 2014-15 Prizm base cards in his dime boxes, so I was able to mark a few off the checklist, most of them being rookies:



Giannis was the only non rookie base card that I got, and the Avery Bradley is a refractor Prizm.

There was a seller that I hadn't seen before, who had a small box of mostly 90's basketball inserts and parallels, and while most of the stuff was a bit overpriced, I did manage to find a couple of things that I considered to be a good deal:
 
The 1996-97 Topps Hobby Masters inserts are by far one of my favorites from the 90's, so for $1 each, there was no way I was leaving these beauties behind. I have been putting off making some sort of inserts checklist for the longest time, but I think that with the addition of these two, I now have about half of the 30 card set.


I think I've mentioned it before, but if I haven't, I absolutely love me some 1997-98 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractors. I am of the opinion that this particular set was the peak of refractor technology, not that it went downhill after this, but it never got any better either. The above four cards were also a $1 each, which is a price that I definitely can't complain about. I have 24 of these now, and while I'm under no illusions as to ever being able to complete this set, it's still fun trying to acquire as many as I can.

After the card show (and lunch), I finally made it to Ollie's, which is somewhere I have been wanting to go for a long time now. I first heard about Ollie's a number of years ago, but since they don't go any further west than Indiana (I believe), and me living in either Oregon or Washington for my whole life, meant that it would have been a bit of a drive to get to one. But now being in Tennessee, and them just opening a store in Nashville sometime in the last couple of years, means that I finally had a chance to see what all the hype is about. And had I known that the new store was only a couple of miles from the card show, I would have been there much sooner.

For those that aren't familiar with Ollie's, it's basically store full of stuff acquired via closeouts and liquidations. There are items in just about every category that you can think of there. I was trying to think of a way to describe the appearance of the inside of the store, and the only thing that comes to mind would be if you were to cross Big Lots with Costco. I know that description probably only applies to folks on the west coast, but I've never been to anywhere in the Midwest so other than usual suspects (i.e. Target, Walmart, etc.), I have no idea what other kind of stores are there.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the store, and bought quite a few things, but since I don't think anyone cares about seeing crossword books, pva glue, and miscellaneous items, I will stick to the one item that seems blog worthy:

Funko's ReAction toy line seems to be one that people either love or hate, I tend to fall into the love camp. I enjoy the look of most of the figures that I have seen, although the late 70's/early 80's style of the figures doesn't always work, the Buffy and Firefly lines being two that immediately come to mind. The Universal Monsters line is easily my favorite of all that have been made so far, so I was very happy to find this Frankenstein, especially since I didn't already have it. They had about a dozen of this figure only, which is fine, one new one is better than none. You might notice that there are staples holding the bubble to the card, with the ReAction figures being well known for the weak glue used to package them, this isn't all that surprising to see -- but since I'm a package opener, it didn't really matter:

Here he is freed from his plastic prison! Overall I was very pleased with my first trip to Ollie's. For anyone in the South, or on the East Coast that hasn't been before, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

And finally, for what was probably the most interesting thing to happen that day -- that being the tornado watch warning (watch warning, as I've come to learn, means an imminent possibility -- A big thanks to Adam for the correction.)

So we've had some very volatile weather here so far this year, which has made for a lot of thunderstorms. Earlier in the year, there was pretty big threat of tornado's in the Nashville area, with I believe even a small one touching down briefly. Other than a boatload of rain causing minor flooding and some strong winds, I really wasn't effected by that particular threat.

Fast forwarding to the Saturday that has been the focus of this post. The day started off really warm which is usual for this time of year, I think by the time I was heading home around say 1pm or so, it was around 90 degrees with the humidity around 80-90%. The day started off with nary a cloud in the sky, but about halfway home, some really menacing looking clouds started forming, which usually means we were going to be in for a heck of a show (if you enjoy thunderstorms that is).

If I remember right, it started about 6pm with some really impressive dry lightning (meaning thunder and lightning with no rain), and continued to escalate in intensity. Around 8:30, the cell phones in
the household started blaring a shrill alarm (similar to the amber alert noise), which turned out to be a tornado alert which was advising everyone in our immediate area to seek shelter.

Now one of the few good things about this rental house that we are currently living in, is the second floor screened in porch, so not being the sort to take advice from a phone, that was where I headed with video recorder (cell phone) in tow.

After a couple of minutes of recording, the tornado sirens started going off, which was certainly interesting if not noisy. The sirens ended up going for about five or six minutes, and although the thunderstorms continued for a couple of hours with lots ground shaking thunder and lightning, high winds, and lots of rain -- no tornado's ever formed.

I'm sure for the folks that live in tornado country, none of this terribly exciting, but since this was my first time hearing the sirens and all, I thought it was kind of neat. I even spliced together a couple of videos and put it on YouTube, which you can see below. My cell phone doesn't record well in the dark, so the picture isn't great, however I think the sounds of the sirens, rain, and some of the thunder came out really well. Oh, and if you do give it a watch, the sirens start around the 2:30 mark.



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Monday, May 29, 2017

The beginning of a Joe Carter super collection?

A couple of months back I ran my first contest, and as one would expect, said contest had a winner... Richard, who can be found at the helm of Toronto Blue Jays Collection. He also happens to run, what may be the most unique player/team oriented blog that I have seen, George 'Moon' Gibson. Over the past month or so, I have finally had the time to go back and read all of the 'Moon' posts, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys seeing old stuff and/or stuff that you don't see very often (two of my favorite kinds of stuff). Seriously, go check it out!

So anyways, during our email exchanges following his win, a trade was proposed. Richard was interested in a two of my three 1994 Collector's Choice gold signatures, which normally I wouldn't have been interested in trading away, but seeing as how Richard is working on a 1994 Choice master set, I was able realize that my whopping three gold's weren't likely going to be materializing into a set anytime soon -- so why not just call it a day, and send them to a better home. I also ended up being able to help Richard finish off his base set, having the eleven cards he needed to do so, which I was very happy to be able to help with.

Normally I wouldn't show the best card first, but since this was the card that Richard initially mentioned as sending for his side of the trade, I figure that this is one time where it makes sense to show such an awesome card first. As of late, I have been trying to put a little more effort in to looking for autos from both the 1997 and 1998 Donruss Signature Series sets, so I would have been way more than content getting this '98 Joe Carter for the cards I ended up sending as my part of the trade. This card is so freakin' cool, I mean just look at that nice big signature, he couldn't have fit that on a sticker. This is (and probably will be for awhile) by far the biggest name that I have gotten from either set so far.

As if that wasn't enough, Richard ended up sending a few more cards in an effort to help with some of my many set(s) needs. If the title of the post didn't clue you in already, see if you can spot the common theme.

This 2002 Topps Archives Reserve sure is a beauty. By sending this, Richard doubled my haves for this set from one... to two!

 Not only did I get Joe's base card from 2005's Upper Deck Classics...

... But there were also two serial numbered inserts from the set as well. Until getting these, I had never even thought to look for any of the inserts before, in fact I didn't even know this set had any inserts before receiving these. It's kind of funny to see that Upper Deck used the same base card photo for Post Season performers too, it seems like Upper Deck would have more than two images at their disposal.

I always enjoy finding/getting needed 2001 & 2002 Fleer Greats. In a weird away I almost don't want to complete either of these sets, because I would no longer have a reason to look for them if I did, and the thought of that makes me sad. I wasn't aware that Joe Carter had been included in both of these sets, seeing as how he retired in 1998, I think he had to be the most current "great" on both of the checklists.

I was very excited to see this 2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classics included in the package, as I almost never come across any of them. And on the few occasions when I have stumbled upon them in the wild, they are almost always in terrible condition, Joe here however... was in really great shape. The only bad thing about this set, is that with the all shiny silver, they don't scan or photograph well at all.

2006 SP Legendary Cuts is another set that I hadn't ever thought of looking for inserts from. This #'d Baseball Chronology sure is an awesome looking card, it also photographed really well, which is always a plus.

Richard, thank you again for the cards! I really enjoyed being able to mark these off their respective checklists. And hopefully next time it won't take me nearly two months to show off such a neat package.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

To open, or not to open...

In my second to last post, I mentioned having an amazing outing at a semi-local antique mall. Many posts will be coming very soon to try and cover all the purchases from that trip, but in the meantime, one of the items is causing a bit of a conundrum.

While perusing one of the booths, I noticed on a lower shelf, two small plastic containers full of unopened packs. To my knowledge, these were new to this booth, so I was most curious to see what was to be had.

The first container ended up being bust, the prices were crazy high and the selection stunk. For example (yet another time I should have taken a picture), there was a pack of 1994 Collect-A-Card Power Rangers for $4... Yes, your read that right, four bucks for one pack! On a good day, you could probably buy four complete sets for that price.

So as you can probably imagine, I wasn't expecting too much once I moved on to the second container. And was pretty much the same story, at least until I got towards the end of the selection, which is when I came across this:

Upon first sight, I was stumped, as I had never seen a pack of whatever it was before. Due to the graphics and the type of foil wrapper, I didn't have to turn it over to realize that it was a product of the 90's, which perplexed me even more as I am pretty familiar with all things 90's basketball. Looking a little more carefully at the front, especially the multiple different company logos, I was able to deduce that it was some sort of repack... A repack unlike any other repack that I have ever seen before.

Turning it over:

The back didn't really reveal anything new. Googling "Treat Entertainment, Inc." only took me to a website with a list of expired copyright's. Searching for the pack name along with the year yielded bupkis as well. So according to the internet, either this pack doesn't exist, or if it does, there are none available anywhere else. My personal opinion at this point, is that this might have been a regionally issued repack, since I'm only one state above Alabama, it would make sense that if I'm right, they might have been available here at one time.

So the question now is, should I open it? I'm not a collector of unopened packs/boxes, but I can also appreciate that this is somewhat of a unique item, and I would really hate to open something that might be the last (hyperbole?) of it's kind. The guaranteed one Topps Finest card per pack that is mentioned on the front and back of the wrapper is most likely a Jolly Green Giant by now, and the front card that has had the MJ Metal Collector Coin (oooooh!) pushing and rubbing against it for the last twenty years, is probably in less than ideal condition by now.

I'm sure most folks will be leaning towards the tear it open side, but isn't there something to be said for leaving it as is? Well?


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TTM Triumph: Al Skinner

I haven't done one of these posts in a while now, mostly due to the lack of returns, which usually happens... when you're not actively sending out any requests.

It's been at least six months now since I sent out my last request, even though I was having an almost 80% success rate, I just really got burned out when it came to the letter writing. Having not sent anything out recently, I was a bit surprised to see one of my familiar SASE's arrive in the mail a couple of weeks back. Having not received any of these back for a few months now, I couldn't tear this envelope open quick enough in my attempt to see who it was from.

If I was surprised to even get one of my older requests back, I was even more surprised to see who it was, as I really didn't think this one was ever coming back. My request to Mr. Skinner was part of my very first batch sent out, which according to my records, was on 10/29/15. I remember when I sent this one out, I felt like it was a bit of a risk, because not only weren't there any successful returns posted anywhere online, there weren't even any attempts mentioned anywhere. So all in all, I'm glad I decided to give him a go.

Al Skinner was a beast at UMass, leading the team in rebounding in his sophomore through senior seasons, and in scoring in his junior and senior seasons. During his senior season he also happened to record the first triple-double in team history while playing against St. Peter's, finishing with 28-18-10. He would go on to play three seasons in the ABA with the New York/New Jersey Nets, where along with former fellow Minutemen star, Dr. J, he would win a title during the '75-76 season. After the ABA folded, he played three seasons in the NBA, before retiring after a season playing in Spain. Mr. Skinner is currently the head coach at Kennesaw State.

As always, I would like to send out a big thank you to Mr. Skinner.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trying to get back into the swing of things

I hadn't intended on going over a month without posting, but the proverbial "real life stuff", has really been getting in my way.

In case anyone didn't see my last post, I had to move out thanks to a fairly extensive remodeling project (not of my choosing). I know it will all be worth it when it's done, but in the meantime it's been pretty stressful.

Because of the project start date being earlier than originally planned, I spent two straight weeks packing like a madman, and we still just barely got done in time. We have been moved for almost two weeks now, and even though we're only going to be here for a few months, much time has been spent trying to arrange things so that those couple of months can contain some sense of normalcy.

When trying to find something to rent for a couple of months, it was found that there weren't whole lot of options, what with being in the middle of nowhere and all. Even though there are a few apartment complexes in and around some of the nearest small towns, by all outward appearances (and online reviews), these don't appear to be the sort of places that one would even want their worst enemy to have to live in. There also wasn't a lot of options when it came to house rentals either, but we did end up finding one (the cheapest one available), about forty minutes away from home. And it just happens to be on a golf course in a retirement community:


This was by far the cheapest rental home available, which is funny because I remember back home in the Portland/Metro area, you had to pay quite the premium if you wanted to live on a golf course. Apparently not in Tennessee though, probably because you don't have any land to put things on... You know like, broken down cars and old sofas, that sort of thing. The cheapness of this particular home also probably stems from the fact that it has been for sale for a couple of years and vacant for over a year, after being here for a few weeks, it's easy to see why -- It has more problems then our house that is being renovated!

And I can honestly say that after living where I have for the last two years, with the woods and no visible neighbors, it isn't very fun being back in a neighborhood. I had forgotten how much noise people tend to make, even when their just going about their daily activities. I know for a lot of folks, this is probably a dream location, but at this point in my life, I really prefer the seclusion that our regular house provides.

The after moving I spent two days in a place called Smithville (80% of the towns here end in "ville"), which is about an hour and a half drive from the temporary house. [side note: I really need to get into the habit of taking pictures while I'm out, as I would imagine it would definitely make storytelling more enjoyable more for anyone reading]  Anyway, unless you absolutely have to be there for some reason (like I did), I wouldn't recommend Smithville as a fun place to visit, mostly because there really isn't much to do there. For me personally, I found exactly one place of interest, in the form of a junk/closeout place called Pedigo's New and Used, which ended up being pretty disappointing.

Their prices were crazy high, on pretty much everything. There were so many items that were just plain dirty and/or in boxes that were just beat to s*>%, that were more expensive than their brand new counterparts on Amazon. I got kind of excited when, from across one of the rooms, I spied a glass counter that was full of vintage video games. But after approaching said counter, my enthusiasm quickly faded upon seeing the condition of the games. I don't think I have ever seen games that were that dirty and faded from what I'm assuming, was sun damage, before. Which was a shame because there were some decent N64 games in there, but I wasn't willing to take chance on them still working or not, so there they remain. Even with all that said, they had a surprisingly large selection of DVD's for $2 each. Since these actually appeared to be in decent shape, I spent about twenty minutes looking through them, and managed to find two that wanted to come home with me:


[I know this post is starting to get a bit rambly, but it's been a while and I have much words to put on the screen, so if anyone wants to stop here I completely understand]

Besides the packing and moving, the other main reason for me not posting in a quite a while, has been that I have been dealing with a bout of depression over the last couple of weeks. This isn't an uncommon occurrence for me, but in recent years, to have a stretch that lasts this long, is a bit uncommon. Usually it's just a day (or two) here and there, and then I'm back to my normal self (no jokes, please!). I know this has been caused by the stress of the move, but knowing the cause doesn't always help when trying to come up with a solution, as it usually just has to play itself out.

Whenever I have down days, I tend to get really nostalgic, almost painfully so. Like a lot of people, this means cycling through childhood memories, when times tend to remembered as being happier. As such, most of my purchases during this funk have been mostly non card related, because even though I collected cards as a youngster I don't really associate childhood with card collecting. In fact, I have even started re-collecting a few things (namely M.U.S.C.L.E. figures) that I hadn't thought about much since my mid-teens. Which brings me to another thing. I realized during moment's of attempting to write a post and then not being able to come up with anything, then contemplating more than a few times about deleting the blog out of existence -- that in order for me to continue doing this, I am going to have to start doing considerably more non card posts, as it just seems like I'm having way too much difficulty in trying to put together primarily card posts... especially when I collect so many other things. I'm sure the views are going to drop off some, but hopefully a few people out there will stick around, even if only every other post is card related.

I am happy to say that I believe the funk that I have been in has passed, thanks in part to three things, all of which occurred last week. 1). A pretty good thrift store trip  2). A really great eBay purchase  3). A super amazing, brain fog clearing antique mall excursion (seriously, it was that great). Most of the items gotten from these three sources will appear in upcoming posts.

And lastly, now that I have been feeling better mentally for the last week or so, I have been pursuing another recent interest:

Last year my mom got me this shortwave radio as a present, and with the free time I have had recently, I am just now starting to explore it's awesomeness. I have spent an hour or two each night for the last week experimenting with simple homemade antennas that I found via YouTube, attempting to improve the radio's global reach. Although there is only so much I can do, antenna wise, while living in a rental. In a couple of months when I'm able to move back home, I'm going try and build a better, and possibly more permanent antenna. This has also spurred me to finally look into getting a HAM radio license, which is something that has been in the back of my mind for probably close to fifteen years now.

I guess I will end this post here, even though I'm sure that I've forgotten to mention more than a few things, but after having not done this for over a month now, I'm worn out from all this typing.

On an unrelated note. I was very saddened to wake up this morning and read of Chris Cornell's passing. He truly was/is one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time, for me personally, he would easily make my top five. This seems to be yet another example of someone who still had so much to contribute to the world, leaving way too soon.

On a second completely and less somber unrelated note. I heard this song for the first time a couple of days ago, and have had the hook stuck in my head ever since -- so maybe if I share it with everyone else (like in The Ring, or Ringu for the purists), it will leave me alone:

               

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fifteen To Go

It may not be the most exciting card in the world, but this 2013 Cooperstown Bruce Sutter green shard...
...leaves me needing only fifteen more to complete the set, which is kind of exciting -- especially considering that, of all the parallel sets that I'm working on, this is the now closest one to completion.

Oh, and judging by the look on Mr. Sutter's face, he isn't bothered by the glare on his card... So you shouldn't be either!


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Monday, April 10, 2017

Buybacks from my usual source

Before I get started I wanted to mention that my posting might be a little more erratic than usual over the next month or so, as I'm getting ready for a temporary move thanks to a fairly extensive home remodeling project starting in May.

I knew that it was going to be happening sometime this year, I just didn't know when. Last week I found out that the beginning of May is now that "sometime", and since it's going to be almost a complete gut job, everything needs to be packed up and moved out for the next 3-5 months. I was sort of hoping to never have to move again, especially after just moving across the country two years ago, but it's not my house... so I don't have a great deal of say in the matter. So like I said, my posting may be a bit sporadic, or the posts might just be shorter, featuring more pictures than words.

Now that I got that out of the way, I can get to today's cards which came courtesy of Jim (GCRL), owner and operator of cards as i see them. I say it every time I do one of these posts, but Jim has provided more cards for my frankenset than anyone else to date, myself included. So much so in fact, that I feel like I should start referring to the set as "our frankenset". I have had these now for over a month, so my apologies to Jim for taking so long to get to them.

I don't have too many former Portland Beavers in the Frankenset, so this Billy Bryan is a much appreciated addition.

Don't look now, but I think something's about to burst out of the side of Bill Plummer's face.

While with the Reds in 1976, Dan Driessen became the first designated hitter in a World Series, going 5-16 in Cincinnati's sweep over the Yankees.

An ennead of '87 Topps.

I'm not too crazy about buybacks of cards this new, but if I've got to have a few, these two aren't so bad. The Ozzie Guillen's pretty neat, mostly because I enjoyed his antics. And the Dave Stevens is great just because of how awkward that photo is.
 
Some name recognition. Even though I really dislike the set, I have always liked this Dave Stewart card.

I don't remember these three guys at all!

WTK?

Am I the only one who thinks that Matt Nokes and Darrell Evans could be twins?

One has to wonder if Britt would have went on to greater things, had his hip condition not forced him to leave the game so young.

Mr. Renick is in pretty rough shape and may end up getting replaced at some point.

I think Dan Osinski is the first member of the Red Sox "Impossible Dream" team to be added to the set. This is also his rookie card, so that's pretty cool too.

I didn't realize that Clay Carroll had had so many impressive World Series outings while with the Reds, which among other things, included being the only winning pitcher for Cincinnati during their 1970 series loss to Baltimore.

I wasn't familiar with Craig Swan in the least, and after looking at his career statistics, it's not hard to see why. I did see though, that after retiring he became a certified Rolfer, which is something I was somewhat familiar with. I have no real opinions on the legitimacy of the practice either way, but I can say that's it not something I would be willing to try.

Thanks again for yet another batch of buybacks, Jim! I finally have some stuff to send in return, so a package should be headed your way some time this week.


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