Saturday, September 24, 2022

Birth of the Cool

The title of that old Miles Davis album seems like an apt way to describe this card, doesn't it? 

Dave's was a name that I knew very early on, but he didn't look like this anymore when I first started collecting. By then he was older, and wider; a trend that would continue to increase as the years went on.

Vintage, or in this case, semi-vintage, cards were not a part of my childhood. They were around, I just didn't pay any attention to them. Because of that, I didn't see this one, or pretty much anything else pre- '87/88 until I returned to collecting a dozen or so years ago. Looking at this one now, I think it's safe to say that I missed out on quite a bit as a kid.

The desire to start collecting Dave Winfield has been strong in recent years, and has increased even more in recent months. He has a LOT of cards though. And I really don't want to start another player collection. That being said, I'm kind of compromising with myself at the moment by just seeking out certain cards of his. 

This '78 was tops on my list of most wanted Winfield cards. I was able to cross it off of said list thanks to, Jim, the 'loather of all things upper case' behind, cards as i see them.

Accompanying Dave, was this '89 Pro Set Reggie Roby. I have a "few" copies of this card already, but it's one of my favorites of his, so I don't mind getting another one. I haven't looked yet, but I'm thinking too that this one might even be nicer than the one that I have in my RR collection, in which case it'd be doubly appreciated.

Many thanks to Jim for taking care of that Winfield, and for not going overboard with the mailing. It's always nice when I can get the joy that comes from receiving a package/PWE, but then not have to spend a bunch of time putting stuff away as a result of it.

And on an unrelated note, which I forgot to mention in the last post, a fellow called, Jeremy, returned to blogging a couple of weeks ago after having not done so in almost a decade. He's from before my time, and I suspect many of yours as well, so if you've got some more room for another blog to read (and support), you might want to go check him out over at no one's going to read this blog. Maybe even say hi if you're so inclined.

Monday, September 19, 2022

A purchase, a gift, and an anniversary

Has Topps always done parallels for their Fan Favorites Autographs? If so, how come I haven't seen them before? Is this the first year that they've done a purple one? I feel like I would remember having seen a purple autographed card before, but I don't. I guess it doesn't really matter though, I've seen one now.

I had forgotten to delete my saved search emails for Gene's base auto (as seen in my previous post), which is how I came to find out that he had parallel autographs in this years Archives as well. Parallel autographs really are a silly concept, and one that I'm not too keen to participate in, but here I am, the (semi) proud new owner of a parallel autograph.

I had mixed feelings about the purple when I first the listing for this card, now that it's in hand though, I think that I actually kind of like it. I'm not sure if other people don't like the purple border, or if I just lucked out some, as I got this one, after taxes and shipping, for under five bucks -- which is about a dollar cheaper than I got the base version for. One would think that a card numbered to /150 would fetch more than an unnumbered card, but I'm done trying to figure out why things sell for what they do these days, so I'll just say that I'm content with the price that I got it for, and was prepared to go a couple dollars higher if need be.

After finding out there was at least one parallel to Gene's autograph, I did something that I never do, I sought out a checklist for this years Archives set. Turns out there's four versions of this card, the base, purple (#'d to /150), silver (#'d to /99), and of course, what would a modern set be without a 1/1. I can't remember what color the 1/1 is, but that's obviously out, however, I can, and probably will, try to get one of the silvers though. Hopefully the silver version won't cost too much more than the two I've already gotten, because it's ugly as sin, but it would complete a row on one of Gene's pages, so my own personal collecting OCD will force me to get one; despite it's hideousness.

As okay as this card turned out to be, about a month ago, I was sent an even better one...

Dennis Smith doesn't have a lot of "big-time" cards (thankfully), there's really just three, so if someone were to say to me that they had a card of his to send my way, it's only natural for me to assume that they're planning to send a common base card, after all those do make up like 90-something percent of his catalog. Such was the case a few months ago when, Eric, aka The Snorting Bull, said that he had one of Dennis' cards for me. I figured he was talking about something like, I don't know, an early 90's Upper Deck card or something else along those lines, which, if I needed it, would've been great. Little did I know that, Eric, wasn't thinking so small, and proceeded to drop one of the "Big 3" on me...

For non-football card collectors, this is a 1991 Pro Line Portraits autograph, and also just so happens to be Dennis' only certified autograph (the 1994 Pro Mags autograph doesn't exist - it would be nice if someone who has any pull over at the TCDB would remove it from the site). A discerning eye may have noticed a hint of the Certified Autograph stamp in the lower right on the front of the card, but you can see part of it a little more clearly on the back.

Pack inserted autographs were still pretty new back in 1991, as I believe that they had only become a thing the year prior, and at the time of it's release, the Pro Line Portraits autograph checklist was the largest, and most ambitious to date. Looking at everything that's been produced since it's release, I'd argue that it's still one of the most ambitious sets to have ever been created. Probably one of the most difficult to complete as well.

A number of the autographs in the set were signed with pens that weren't ideal for the surface of these particular cards, causing the effect that you see up above. It's a minor drawback for some, but it doesn't bother me too much, especially since all of Dennis' cards seem to have been of this variety. I'm just grateful to have been able to mark this one off of the checklist, and am very thankful to Eric for making it happen. Trying to complete Dennis' entire catalog is one my few real collecting goals, and this was a big step towards doing so!

In other news, today is this blog's seventh anniversary. Time flies.

The blogs have changed quite a bit in just the last seven years, but I'm still here. With three blogs now, I'm down to only posting on this one a couple of times a month, which works well for me, and because of that I don't see myself going anywhere anytime soon. Besides, I pretty much hate all of the other formats that the "cool" kids are flocking to, so there really isn't anywhere else for me to go. I've had my ups and downs, but in the end, I think I'm gonna be a lifer. I know at this point that I'd miss everybody too much to ever be able to walk away. Crazy as it may sound, but for the most part, blog people are the only people that I'm interested in interacting with. Blog writers, and readers, may be a dying breed, at least that's what the non-blog folks keep claiming, but I tend to think that as long as there's blogs, there will be readers. It's not flashy, and it'll probably never reach "trending" status again, but long format collectible talk still has it's place, it just takes a special sort to realize that.

During my first few years doing this, I sometimes felt like I had to get a certain amount of posts in per month, and probably did force more than a few in order to fill that self-imposed quota. This caused much burnout, and many thoughts of giving up. Thankfully, I was able to get past this idea that I had to match the pace of other more prolific bloggers, and have long since found my comfort zone. These days I only post when I feel like it, and only post about the things that I think are interesting; there's no need for me to post about every single purchase.

A lot of bloggers who've left in recent years have cited declining readership as one of their primary reasons for closing up shop. I can't speak for anyone else, but I haven't noticed too much of a decline, although I gave up stat watching a long time ago; so maybe there has been a drop, and I'm just too dense to realize it. Either way, I do appreciate those who come around here and comment where they can, but even if some of those folks were to start going elsewhere, I'm at that point where I don't mind doing posts for myself. Unlike some of the other social media sites, blog posts show up in Google searches, so I figure even if people were to stop caring about what I'm putting out now, there's always the chance that they will do so at some later date.

I think I've rambled enough for one day, but before I go, I mentioned a few posts back about doing a contest to celebrate this anniversary, and I am going to, your just gonna have to wait about another month for it to drop. I'll be bringing back my old COMC credit giveaway, in which the winner will get X amount of my credit to spend on whatever they want (on the site of course). Since the site runs Black Friday sales for practically the whole month of November now, I figure that'd be the best time to give someone the chance to go on a mini-spending spree. I'll be starting the contest on the last week of October, so that should be something worth coming back for?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

For the price of a pack

Looking at my purchase history, I see that I've now only bought five things on eBay so far this year. I know that I didn't buy very much on there last year either, but unless something changes in the next few months, I'll be setting a new personal record for fewest eBay purchases in a calendar year.

Between the lack of items being listed, and the stupid high prices of those that are, I just don't have much incentive to look for things on there anymore. I still get my daily saved search emails from them, 90% of which I can disregard without even opening thanks to them showing the items price in the title. And as far random searching goes, I'm down to about once a month on that. Not bad, considering there was a time not too many years ago when I'd be on there every other day searching for this or that. I may not care for them too much as a people, but in some ways I'm very grateful to the boom crowd, as they've given me back some of my free time. As an aside, I recently learned how to do Sudoku, and a lot of this free time that I speak of has been going towards that. My time spent reading has really dropped off in the last couple of weeks, as I've found that those puzzles are quite addictive. I suppose though, if one has to get addicted to something, there's far worse things to fall under the spell of (like eBay). So, yeah, random searches are down. Searches with a purpose are way down too, although I do sometimes still see something on the blogs, something that I like, and go see if there's another availble somewhere for a decent price; something like this....

I'm pretty sure that either Eric or Fuji posted about this 2021 Archives Gene Tenace autograph sometime in the last few months. Apologies if it was someone else though, I tend to only associate those two guys with Gene Tenace. Not being one to keep up with the latest releases, I usually only find out about new things after seeing them on the blogs. Such was the case with this card. After whoever's post, I knew that I had to have one, so I went looking for one of my own. And after just a few short weeks, I was able to have one in hand.

Google tells me that the average price for a hobby pack of 2021 Archives is $6 (seems like a lot, but what do I know), which is almost exactly how much this card cost after the shipping and tax were added in. Considering that I didn't have to go anywhere to get it, nor did I have to buy any packs to try and get it, I feel like six bucks was a pretty good deal.

Having not been collecting at the time, I had to look it up to find out this card is on the 2002 Topps design, which, with it's orange-ish gold border, works really well with the photo of Gene that was used. Speaking of 2002, if I didn't know any better I'd have swore that I had gone back to then to make this purchase, as it took all of two days to get here. Granted, it was only coming from one state over (GA), but still, two days, when's the last time you got an eBay purchase in two days? The USPS hasn't moved mail like that since probably... 2002!

As far Gene Tenace goes, I recently added what I have of him to a binder. I knew that I didn't have a lot of his cards, as it turned out though, my collection of him is even more meager than I had previously thought. I think I'm gonna have to try and do something about that.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

The harbinger

Something strange has been happening.

Over the course of the last six weeks or so, four of my fellow bloggers have seen fit to send me something. And these haven't been just any old something's, no, these mailings have all been of the extremely thoughtful variety.

I'm at a bit of loss as to why I've been on the receiving end of so much generosity all of sudden. I haven't done anything of note for anyone in real life, or online, as of late. In fact, I've been feeling kind of prickish for the last couple of months, and have done very little to hide it. I'd like to think that this hasn't been one of those instances of good things happening to bad people, but if it isn't, I don't know how else to explain it. Although, I suppose with my ever increasing forgetfulness, that I did something awesome for somebody, and either can't remember it, or didn't realize that I had even done it? Or maybe, I'm about to do something awesome for someone, and these have all just been a universal pre-thank you. I think I'll choose that one. So, lookout world, I'm about to do something awesome! 😉

In the meantime...

I fully intend to post about all of these recent gifts, although I'm doing so out of order. I just covered the second one the other day, and am now circling back to the one that kicked all of this off.

I don't recall when it was exactly, but I got an email from, Greg, everyone's favorite Borg connoisseur from The Collective Mind, asking if I'd be interested a couple of extra Bo Jackson Star sets that he had picked up during he and his friend's annual week-long card shop crawl (I don't know how they do it!). Not having much to send out to people anymore, I usually decline (politely) offers like this, but having never come across any of these at a show, or even online, that I know of, I found myself unable to turn them down.

Having only been acquainted with them since returning to collecting, I admittedly know very little about the early nineties Star sets. I know that a lot of popular athletes of the time got their own sets, and that the sets are usually "limited" to a certain amount that were produced, but other than that, I've got nothing. 

Not being right in front of me at the moment, I believe that this Silver one is from '91. A couple of decent images in there, but I think I like the variety...

... offered in this Gold 1990 set a little bit more! I have my Bo binder arranged a little differently than my other player collections. I have his baseball playing days Royals, White Sox, and Angels separated by team, with the post playing days stuff after that. The playing days football is separated from the post playing days stuff. Broder's are separated as well. I guess now I'll be adding some Star pages to the mix as well.

Greg sent about two team bags worth of stuff to go along with the Star sets, which was way too much to scan, so I'm just gonna hit some of the highlights. I've seen a lot of Bo Broder's over the years, but this one was new to me. It's one of those double-sided affairs.

Moving on to some of the non Bo's...

I never bought any packs of Skybox Impact, and aside from possibly a Reggie Roby, I'm not sure if I even own any cards from the set. Apparently Ronnie was featured somewhat prominently throughout one of it's subsets. One of these days I'll have to look and see if anyone else got this many cards in it.

Few guys can say they could hit as hard as Ronnie Lott, Stevie Atwater is one of those guys. Both guys probably wouldn't even be allowed to play in today's NFL. Two of these four were new, and the other two were much appreciated upgrades.

I think I've only mentioned Mike Alstott once on the blog, and that had to be a couple of years ago. How Greg was able to remember that I do not know. There were a lot of Alstott's in this package, which is kind of good news/bad news sort of thing. The bad news is that at some point since I mentioned him, I realized that he has a lot of uninteresting cards, and decided to shelf the idea of collecting him. I took what I had, which wasn't much, and just added them to my random binder of 90's football. Now for the good news, most of the cards that Greg sent were pretty neat, and will also be going to that binder, or possibly a second one, as the first one is getting awfully full. I seem to like a lot of different 90's football cards, many for different reasons.

I have the foil version of the card on the left, so that'll be nice to be able to pair them up now. And I thought that I had scanned them together, but I'm not finding it. Either way, there was three copies of the middle card included, which is something that I'm all about. The card on the end is an insert, and like most 90's inserts, scanned like 💩.

Greg must have the memory of an elephant, because I'm pretty sure that I've only ever mentioned Jim Everett on the blog once before as well. At least I haven't stopped collecting him though, I'm just not doing so actively at the moment. I'm sure if I ever start going to shows again, I'll pick his collection back up. In the meantime, I'm just setting aside any cards of his that I come across. There were about a dozen cards of his in this mailer, many of the shiny variety, and yet, my favorite of the bunch was the very un-shiny 1993 Topps in the top left corner. Such a great action shot!

Though a longtime fan, I didn't realize that Stan had gotten so many neat cards over the years until I started actively seeking them out.

See what I mean! Of the 50 or so cards that I now have of him, I can't say that a single one is uninteresting. He's gotta have some, everybody does, but I just haven't seen any of them yet.

Many thanks to Greg for the Bo sets, and for all of the unexpected extras that were accompanying them. 

Also, sort of inspired by this mailing, I decided to put back up some want lists, at least temporarily. People do occasionally ask me about such things, so hopefully this'll prevent them from having to waste any of their time sending me an email. Also, even though it worked out okay this time, the lists should prevent any confusion as to who, or what, I'm currently collecting. They're still a work in progress, but since I always get so uncomfortable having anything like that up, there's every possibility that I'll take them down again before they get finished. I'm so uncomfortable even mentioning them, that I'm more than half tempted to delete them right after this post goes live. I guess if you're reading this a couple of days from now and there's no longer any pages at the top of the blog, you'll know what happened 😓.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The earliest bird got the Boog

Generally speaking, the posts that generate comments the quickest are those of the 'free stuff' variety. This isn't surprising of course, after all, time usually is of essence when trying to stake your claim on something that's part of an instant giveaway.

With that in mind, I didn't think I'd have any chance at a recent Diamond King giveaway, as it had already been up for multiple hours before I saw it. Imagine my surprise then, to see that not only was there something of immense interest to me amongst his free offerings, but also that no one else had commented yet. Must've been my lucky day. The funny thing too was that I was reading the post at a time of the day when I almost never check the blogs. 

Anyway, being around at an odd hour on one particular day netted me this much wanted '75 Boog Powell mini. I'm not too keen on the 1975 set, but as is the case with most of the 70's sets, I really like the 'In Action' cards. This one is especially fun. It's interesting to see so few people in the stands. It even looks like there's a group of folks making their way to the exit. My only guess would be that this shot took place late in a blowout. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though.

Not only is the card itself neat, but I'm pretty sure it also put me over the halfway mark towards completing Boog's original Topps run. Seeing as how his cards are still pretty cheap, I really should try put a little more effort into finishing that.
That card was more than enough by itself, but Kevin being the sort that he is, also threw in a few extras...

The Deckle Edge is my second copy of that card. I will now need a third to fill a row in the binder. And this was my third copy of his '72, which was nice because it filled the row. If I ever get another one though, I'll have to do a complete page for it. I can certainly think of worse cards to own a whole page of.

Getting Boog's in the mail is not an everyday (or month or year) occurrence for me, so thanks again to Kevin for giving me the chance to get a new one.

And speaking of giveaways, this blog's anniversary is about a month away from now (I believe), and I've been thinking about doing something to acknowledge it. So far, I've got three possible options in mind.

1). Bring back a special version of my old "Free Stuff Friday". This would be the most time consuming of the three, and I'm still a bit burned out on these, and a little jaded as wee, so this probably won't be happening. But, it is an option

2). I made a few extra bucks during July, and don't seem to be spending it on myself. And since saving is no fun, maybe a cash (PayPal) giveaway would perk up a few ears.

3). #2 would probably generate the most interest, but I'm leaning towards using some of my COMC credit to let one lucky winner go on a mini spending spree. I did this a couple of times some years ago, and it seemed to be the kind of contest that people were interested in joining. If I do go this route, I'd push it back a couple of months so that whoever won could use their winnings during the Black Friday sale. Plus too, that's around the time that I'll be requesting a shipment, so the winner wouldn't have to wait as long to get their stuff as they would if I ran the contest in September.

I'll try to get what I want to do figured out in the next few weeks. I can tell you though that, whichever option I go with, it's gonna be exclusive to folks that either follow at least one of my blogs, or who have commented on one of the blogs in the previous 30-60 days before the contest. The days of me giving things out to rando prize hounds have passed, and will not be returning. So, if you like contests, stay tuned, something will be coming; I just don't know what, or when, yet!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

The cause (?), and the solution (?)

This is a follow-up to last Sunday's post, in which I discussed the problem that I (and Fuji, too) have been having with my comments on other blogs ending up in peoples spam folders.

A comment from, Bo, (replying to Night Owl's comment about only finding comments from Fuji and I in his spam folder) in that post, "Same thing for me - just Jon and Fuji. Blogger seems to think you guys comment too much, I guess.", got me to thinking. 

It's been a week now since the thought came to me (I meant to do this post much sooner), so I can no longer run through the whole thought process (that's gone already), but nevertheless, I think I may have figured out what's going on.

I can't speak for Fuji, because I don't know what his process is when it comes to commenting, but for myself, I've been in the habit, at least over the last year or two, of reading people's posts on my phone each day, and then going back 3-4 days later and commenting where I can. I do this only because it's so hard for me to type on my phone, apparently that's gonna be a thing that I never get comfortable with. 

Since I've already read the posts that I'm commenting on, and usually still remember the gist of the post, I don't need to read it again before commenting (given how lame my comments often are, I probably should though). By doing it this way, I can often leave upwards of 30-40 comments in an hour when I do come back to comment, and I now think that that's the problem; Blogger doesn't think that I "comment too much" overall, but I do think that it thinks that I'm leaving too many comments in too short of a timeframe. 

Most of us have been blitzkrieged by spam bot on more than one occasion over the years, so you probably already know that when that happens, it will often choose a bunch of posts and leave the same comment on all of them in a very short amount of time, often within just a couple of minutes. It doesn't effect everyone though, because only so many will make it onto actual posts before they start going to spam. So, one person, or maybe a couple of people will get hit, then the comments stop showing up, at least publically. I can't tell you how many time I've seen someone get blitzed, but I seemingly don't get touched, only to later check my spam and see that they did in fact go after me too, it's just that none of their comments made onto my posts.

With that in mind, I'm thinking now that Blogger might have a program in place that gets triggered when too many comments are made by one user during a certain amount of time. After all, Blogger has no way of knowing that I've already read the posts that I'm commenting on, and therefor probably doesn't think, and rightfully so, that a real person could read, and comment on, 30-40 posts in one hour.

If I'm right, and I really think that I am, people can only leave so many comments in some pre-determined amount of time, and once you reach limit, this anti-spam program (?) marks any further comments as spam. Obviously, I have no way to verify this, and I have no way of knowing how long ones comments continue to be marked as spam, but I'm thinking that the system might reset itself every couple of hours.

Again, I don't know if there is any validity to this theory, but I do have two anecdotal bits of evidence to back it up...

1. This whole last week I've been trying to space out my comments, as in just leaving a couple per hour. This has been done by changing the time of day that I read posts, and commenting on them after the first read, as opposed to coming back days later and commenting on the already read posts. And you know something? It seems to be working. None of my comments have disappeared, meaning that none have been sent anyone's spam folders. 

2. I will often check the "receive follow-up comments" box when commenting (especially if I ask a question), so I get the emails every time someone else comments on that post. A few days ago, Mr. Jafronius must've been catching up on his reading/commenting, because he commented on two of my posts, and there were emails showing that he had commented on a couple of the posts that I checked the follow-up box on. His first comment on one of my posts went through okay, but the second that appeared about ten minutes later went to my spam folder (which was un-spammed it of course). From the emails, I can see that he commented on a few more posts during those ten minutes, and I suspect that he went over whatever this limit is during that timeframe. 

I feel like these two things really back up my theory, but until someone get an official answer, it'll have to remain just that, a theory. In the meantime, since I don't know what kind of threshold may be in place, I will be continuing to space out my comments, I figure 5 or less per hour shouldn't be triggering any bells or whistles. And if anyone has had this problem (i.e. Fuji), it might be worth you trying something similar, at least for a few days to see if some of your comments stop being marked as spam.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

This is getting very tiresome

I'm not sure when it started exactly, but for the last few months Blogger has been selectively flagging the comments that I leave on other blogs as spam.

It doesn't happen with every comment, or even on every blog, it just seems to do it randomly. Some days all of my comments will post normally, and on others, every single comment I leave will disappear as soon I close the separate blog window that opens for each blog. 

At first, this was only a minor nuisance, one that I figured would resolve itself in due time. However, after many months now, and seemingly no resolution in sight, it's become downright frustrating. It's easily the most annoying thing that has occurred in my almost seven years of blogging.

I've tried Google for a solution, which yielded none (typical Google). I've searched through the Blogger help forum a couple of different times, and have only found that some other people have been having this same problem for upwards of three years, and Blogger has done nothing to help them (typical Blogger).

I've deleted my browsing history, cleared the cookies, ate some oyster crackers; and still the problem persists!

I've sent multiple messages to folks over the last few months letting them know that my shit is going to their spam, and had to send out another batch just last night. I'm hardly the most prolific of commenters, and my comments themselves will never win any awards, but I hate the thought of people thinking that I'm no longer reading what they're posting; especially those that have supported my various endeavors over the years.

The only trick that I've found to work some days is to leave my comment, copy it, then hit publish. It'll look fine, but if I refresh the page it disappears. So, then I paste the comment back in place, check that little 'follow-up comments' box, and hit publish again. This has had a pretty good success rate, but sometimes it can take 3-4 tries before the comment will stick around after the refresh. Bo reminded me last night that some people have their options set to receive an email every time a comment is left on their blog. I've never done that, so I had forgotten all about it. Now knowing this again, I suspect that some folks have received three or four emails with the same comment from me in it. I guess if you wondered why that was happening, now you know, it's just me trying to get a comment to stick to your post. It also means that some, or all, of my comments are being flagged on your blog. If you have a second, maybe you could go mark them as 'not spam', it would sure help me out a bunch. Of course, even that doesn't always work either, I'm already having trouble again with blogs who's owners have already marked my stuff as not spam on at least one occasion (Bo, Eric, Fuji, etc.).

I sure hope that this issue get resolved at some point in the very near future, but if it doesn't, just know that I'm still leaving comments, you just might not be seeing them 😡.