Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The week that was

The feeling of days and weeks merging together seems to be the new norm for a lot of people, and I suspect too that depending on where one lives, the melding of months might not be too far behind. Hopefully some of the more dire "news" out there isn't to be believed, because if so, years could end up being indistinguishable by the time all is said and done.

Days and weeks bleeding together is nothing new to me, nor is years, those seem to be merging fairly seamlessly in recent decades as well. I believe this to be a byproduct of getting older, of course in my case it could also just be a byproduct of not spicing things up enough, I am rather set in my ways after all.

For the most part, I can usually only tell the weeks and months apart by weather changes and/or doing something/going somewhere out of the ordinary, the latter being increasingly rare as of late, that being said, last week did end up being slightly less ordinary... and now I'm gonna proceed to bore the spit out of you by talking about it!

[This first thing was already discussed, and shown, on Twitter, so my apologies if you've already seen it -- feel free to skip to the next section if you have]

I think that it was just in the last couple of weeks or so (I don't feel like looking for the post to link it up here) that I covered some of my year-long sorting project. In it I mentioned that I had run out of two-row shoeboxes, and needed another one. With everything closed, it's not exactly easy to find such things, and I wasn't about to pay the crazy prices (gouging?) on Amazon, so the only thing left to do was to make one... and I did!

Looking back at it over a week later now, I still think it looks good, although I wish I could get a picture of it without the phone camera giving it a bunch of funky angles. Nothing is glued or taped in, so if I ever want to get another "real" one, I can just take out the inserts and have my shoebox back.

I didn't really need at the time, but decided to make another one anyway, so Monday morning I played around a bit, and came up with this one:

Pretty cool, huh? I even took a few more pictures to show a fellow on Twitter...

Like the first box, nothing is permanent, but the dividers stay snug thanks to the combs. I really like this box, and now that I've started using it, I can honestly say that it works just as well as any store bought box, maybe even better? OK, it's not better, but it is just as good!

Tennessee is slated for a partial reopening later this week, so in theory I could go to the print/copy/card shop in town and get a couple of boxes, but I like my homemade ones just fine, and don't really see the need to buy any more. Besides I'm sort of the mindset now that if I ever need any more, I'll just make them, I have quite a few shoe boxes -- including one more big one, that could easily be made into another 4-rower. I'll come back to sorting in a minute or two, but I'm trying to do a linear post here today, so bear with me.

So that covers the highlights from Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday wasn't terribly exciting, but I did get a message from my friend, Marc, letting me know of incredible find that he had come across earlier that day. Since it was a private message, and I don't know if Marc shared it publicly (or wants it shared publicly), I'll have to leave out what it was, but will say that it was something that someone had offered up for free, and was something that is very near and dear to my heart. During our exchange, I lamented that such things never happen to me (especially out in the middle of nowhere), which unbeknownst to me, may have set universal doings into motion.

Wednesday was a garbage day, and even though I've mentioned it before, but for any new readers, I live in an area where there is no curbside pickup, so you've got to take your garbage and recycling to a central collection point, sort of like a dump, but not really a dump. Coming from the "big city", this took me a while to get used to, but is now something that I look forward to, if only because it provides an opportunity to find, and ultimately bring home, more junk. It's also not that far away, so it's not like I have to commit a whole morning/afternoon to doing this, which is nice.

Technically speaking, scavenging isn't permitted, but also isn't stopped if one goes about it in an orderly manner, which is good, because I've found quite a few neat things there over the years -- always from the recycling bins, not the GARBAGE garbage... that would be gross... and isn't really possible anyway.

It's not uncommon for me to pluck bottles from the glass bin, as I've always got ideas for projects involving glass, but on this particular day, it ended up being a treasure trove... of sorts!

The bins have three separate compartments, each with it's own sliding door, so if one section is full, you can move on to the next one. The only way that one can really get something is if a compartment is nearly full, otherwise it's just not possible to reach in very far. On this day, they were nearly full, and as is often the case, a lot of stuff was in garbage bags, and I am almost always compelled to tear open any reachable bags to see what's inside, which is what I started doing on this day.

The first bag, which was actually heavy duty, and double bagged. For lack of a better expression, gold, in the form of 50's era consumer glass (jars, booze bottles, etc.) came spilling out of the first bag that I tore open. These would be considered worthless junk to most bottle collectors, but not me, I love pretty much anything that's older than me, and the 1950's are considerably older than me, so I'm more than happy to bring home such things (or at least to go through them).

This is getting a bit long, so I'll just skip ahead a bit and say that I ended up tearing open, picking through, and ultimately taking out seven bags of glass. I was trying just to pick individual things out of the bags, especially given all of the broken stuff, but it was taking too long, so I figured I'd just grab everything and sort through it at home. I was starting to draw some stares by the time I was done, which is usually code for it's time to stop, but I was done anyways so it was okay. I had kind of been in a zone for about twenty minutes, so imagine my surprise when I started loading the first bag and noticed that a) my hands were covered with a red sticky substance, b) I had apparently forgotten to put on the work gloves that I always take, and c) that red sticky stuff was blood... my blood!

I would later find that I had about a dozen cuts, nothing too deep mind you, but still enough to spill Jon juice (how's that for a description?) all over. Thankfully I always have hand sanitizer in the car, so between that and plenty of isopropyl alcohol when I got home, nothing ended up getting infected. After loading all of the bags, I also noticed that my back was kind of hurting, and not a normal kind of ache either, but more on that in a sec. First...

Two bags were opened when I got home, this was all of the non-broken stuff.

Pretty much everything is from the 40's through the 70's. Not everything will be kept, but there were a couple of notable items, including a glass motor oil bottle (they stopped making those in the early 50's), an old embalming fluid bottle, and multiple cork-top medicine bottles. Given the dirt factor, as well as all of the crap inside the jars, I'm thinking that these might have been in either a barn or shed that may have come down in one of the recent storms.

So anyways, my back was already aching pretty good in just the time it took me to get home, so I didn't end up doing much the rest of that day. Trying to sleep that night wasn't easy, and I really ended up doing myself in when I tried to put my socks on the next morning. I felt a sharp pain, and cramping set in almost immediately, which was bad enough that I had lay right back down. I honestly thought that I might've tore something, but now I don't think so, I think I strained a muscle when getting the bags, and probably made it worse when attempting to sock myself. Thursday would be no fun at all, lots of cramping, lots of spasms, and since the strain(?) is somewhere behind my left lung, there was much pain if I took too deep of a breath.

I was really thinking that I had seriously injured myself there for a day or two, but as of this writing (Monday), things are much better, which is good, because I have way too much to do do to be laid up for weeks or months with something like this. I'm in pretty damn good shape (not bragging, just sayin'), so lifting 30-40 pound bags shouldn't have affected me like this. The only thing that I can think is that it must've been the angles that I had to twist into to grab the bags, either that or it was just simply a matter of not stretching before I started lifting them. Either way, I think I may have lucked out and avoided serious injury this time, hopefully I'll be more mindful of such possibilities in the future. And hopefully too, if I continue to get better, I might be able to go through...

... the rest of these later this week. They'll be a lot of broken stuff, old breaks, and new from either my theory of a collapsed structure, or from being tossed in the bin, but there should still be a lot of intact stuff as well.

Because of the pain I was in, Thursday and Friday were pretty much a wash.

Saturday and Sunday were better, pain-wise, but it was raining like an SOB, so I was pretty much stuck inside all weekend. I decided to make the best of this situation, and tried to get more sorting done. I had taken a few weeks off from the big sort, but before I did, I had finished both the football and non-sport keepers, which left a ton of basketball to do, and then maybe a couple of hours worth of baseball to finish -- baseball it was!

Behold... the final keepers for baseball! Other than the Junior's and Ichiro's that I still have in a binder, this is everything. I didn't count how many binders that I took apart, or how many monster boxes that I went through to get here, but I finally got here, and I couldn't be happier with the results. The whole point of this sort has been to reduce my collection to the things I care about the most, and for the most part it has worked. Even if I emptied the Junior and Ichiro binder, all of my baseball keepers would still fit into these two shoeboxes, and that's exactly the sort of thing that I was hoping for. The football keepers fit into one shoebox (sorry about not taking a picture), and the non-sports fir into one two-rower as well (yep, no picture of that one either). The Basketball keepers are gonna end up requiring a little more space, but will still be reduced considerably by the time I'm done, then I'll just have to start figuring out what I'm going to do with all of the non-keepers.

I realize that this week of mine may not have been too terribly exciting for a lot of you, but for me it was somewhat notable, notable enough that I actually knew which day was which, and can still remember what happened on each of those days! Now the question is, will I be able to say the same about this week when it's all said and done?

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Early Wynn gets the worm

Is it just me, or are the blogs in a really good place right now... maybe a better place then they've been in years?

Despite all that's currently happening in the world, we've got blogger's returning from long absences. We've got very active bloggers who have somehow managed to increase their already staggering output. We've got daily, bi-daily, weekly, and monthly free stuff posts to look forward to. We've got other assorted free stuff, but not called "free stuff" posts to whet your whistle. And last, but certainly not least, we've got a weekly mini-BFG, hosted by the ever generous, Johnny, over at Johnny's Trading Spot.

Given that most people are currently stuck at home on Friday nights, these games have really taken on a life of their own, and tend to get filled up rather quickly when the sign-ups become available at the beginning of each month. Even though John's been running them for a couple of months now, I waited until just last month to finally join one. The only reason I hadn't joined one sooner, is because as recently mentioned, I've been spending a lot less time on the internet, which often includes entire evenings, and I didn't/don't want to be the one responsible for holding up a game if I'm not around on that particular night.

Despite my worries of a looking like a flake, I broke down and joined a game, a game that seemed to move really quickly, like an hour or less quickly, and when all was said and done, I ended up with what I'm calling the Early Wynn lot... although it could just as easily be called the players of yore lot!

The only Panini Diamond Kings I have are those that have been sent to me by other bloggers. I like the players that are featured in the sets, but some of the images are really hit or miss, and like a lot of modern sets, I can't tell one year from the next just by looking at the fronts.

I don't own very many, but I do enjoy the various Sport Kings revival sets, one of these day I might actually have to sit down and look through all of the checklists and see how many cards I need for player collections.

This one wasn't in the lot, but I'm certainly not going to complain about getting an uncracked Kellogg's for a freebie, especially not one that so prominently features the old-school Mariners trident logo.

Many thanks to John for letting me be a part of one of his games, it was fun, and I can't imagine that I won't try and join another one at some point :)

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ten things that I'm not overly fond of

Nick, of Dime Boxes fame, seems to have started something that's been rather popular across the blogs in the last weeks, that being this whole "Ten things..." thing.

I feel like I've seen multiple iterations of this theme, but the most popular two seem to be; "Ten things you like that I don't like" and "Ten things I like that you don't like". It's been fun to read these lists, and I've found myself agreeing with a lot of them, which of course makes trying to do a list at the tail-end of this craze just that much more difficult, because most of the stuff has already been covered.

I know that this bat around is kind of supposed to be card related, but being so late to the party, everything that I could possibly think of, has already been covered -- heck, if I replaced like two things from it, I could practically just copy and paste Greg's (GCA) list, and call it good. So, with all of the card stuff being taken already, I'm just gonna go ahead and make a list of non-card things that I don't particularly care for. Also, since I have no idea what people like or don't like anymore, nor I do really care, I'm just going with stuff I don't like; if someone else likes or dislikes any of it, well, more power to them.

#1 - Four way stops

Have you ever pulled up to a 4-way stop with cars coming from the three other directions, and nobody seemingly knew what to do? Of Course you have! That happens every GD time that anyone has ever pulled up to a crowded 4-way stop! It strikes me as rather fitting that the concept of 4-way stops was first put forth by one Joseph Devilin... after all he's got "devil" right there in his name!

#2 - Styrofoam cups

As someone who spends a lot of time picking up other people's garbage, I can honestly say that I hate picking up Styrofoam cups the most, with Styrofoam take-out containers coming in at a close second. These things are bad enough for the environment as is, but they're even worse when they start breaking down in to smaller pieces, not to mention that those smaller pieces are real b*tch to pick up.

#3 - Mayonnaise

That sh*t's f*cking gross!


I have never understood the appeal of watching a bunch of cars drive around in a circle for three hours, I mean what is the draw? It doesn't help too that save for being different colors, it's essentially the same kind of cars that are driving around in a circle for three hours. Given the choice of watching a NASCAR race, or watching paint dry, I'd be very hard pressed to make a decision.

#5 - Snow

I don't like being cold, so it's kind of a given that I wouldn't like snow either.

#6 - Hot tubs

Call me a germaphobe, or a prude... or whatever, but the thought of stewing in someone else's juices has never done a whole heck of a lot for me.

#7 - Puppies

Oh, man, don't even get me started on those little bas... KIDDING... just seeing if everyone's still paying attention :)

#8 - Country music

In general, I tend to gravitate towards up tempo music, and if it's not up-tempo, than it's got to have some other redeeming quality to grab me; *Twang Twang*... my dog died... *Twang Twang*... my woman took off in my pick-up... *Twang Twang*... no more beer left in the fridge... *Twang Twang*, is not up-tempo, and in my mind, has no other redeeming qualities either.

#9 - Glitter

If you bring something into your house with glitter on it, that house will never again be glitter-free. No matter how many times you vacuum/sweep/wipe with a rag, you will forever continue to see bits of sparkle laying around -- usually when the sun lands on particular area just right. Although, I must admit that knowing this, does provide me with some perverse pleasure when sending out glittery Christmas cards.

#10 - Jeans

With apologies to, Julie, if she reads this, I don't like jeans for one simple reason, this being that I like being able to breathe, or in other words, the ability to move around (all the fella's know what I'm talking about). This dislike of restriction is also why I prefer boxers (I know, TMI).

Well, that was fun! And as an extra added bonus, it only took me about thirty minutes to find all of the content for this post, which was greatly appreciated, so many thanks to Nick for setting the ball in motion.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Staking claims

If you were to take a peek at my current list of scan folders, you'd probably notice one of two things right off of the bat, or maybe you'd notice both things, I don't know -- the point is that most of the blog related folders share one of two characteristics: Half of the titles start out with "COMC", and the other half are just listed under single names... blogger's names!

I've mentioned many times in recent months how fortunate I've been this year when it comes to receiving cards from fellow blogger's, but due to some very sporadic posting, and a serious lack of creativity, have been slow to give public thanks. Wanting to give everyone their own post hasn't helped either, but that's the way I've always done it, and the way that I will always do it. As such, I find myself looking at 15 folders with names on them, one of which even dates back to before Christmas! This really is quite unacceptable, so in an effort to try and resolve this "problem", I'm gonna see if I can will myself to do at least one thank you post per week until I get caught up.

Ideally I'd like to do these in the order that I received them, but that might end up creating too much pressure if I feel like I only have one option, so I'm just gonna go with whichever one feels right that week, which is sort of what I'm doing this week, by focusing on the most recent PWE(s) to arrive here in Sleevesville.

Rod, the apparently mad genius behind, Padrographs, has taken the "Free Stuff" concept to it's absolute extreme as of late, by offering up free cards on a daily basis, for what seems like at least a couple of weeks now... a number of which I have laid claim too!

Redemption cards were still a fairly new concept back in 1992, and I'm pretty certain that I didn't fully grasp this new concept (despite very clear instructions on the back), which is why when I pulled the now famous Shaq rookie redemption (minus the punched hole) from a jumbo pack of the then newly released 1992-93 Upper Deck, I put it in a binder... instead of sending it in to be redeemed!

Since I didn't send my redemption in, and don't recall ever hearing anyone talking about sending one in, I never realized that when you did, Upper Deck sent it back with a hole punched through it, and a big "TRADED" stamped on the back.

Of course too, if you weren't a dumbass (like me), and you did what you were supposed to do with the card, i.e. redeem it, Upper Deck sent you one of these...

[Note: It took seeing this scan for me to realize that it was time to clean the tray... so much dust!] By the late 90's, I had nearly completed this set, in fact I was only missing one card, this card! I don't know what the going rate for it is these days, but back then it was a bit pricey, and in that pre-internet as we know it era, I never did come across a cheap one, thus I never completed my set. Most of the cards from that nearly completed set are now long gone, but it's still really cool to finally own a copy of this card, and in a way, it sort of feels like I have completed that set after all of these years.

A number of Junior's have come up for grabs, and I've been able to grab most of them. By the by, how great is this Topps Laser?

I didn't realize until just recently how many Vlad Guerrero's I've been picking up at shows over the last couple of years, now that I have, it seems like the only logical thing to do is to go ahead and add him to my list of player collections. And for the record, both of these were new to me.

I don't think that I was necessarily ever in the market for a Joe Theismann autograph, but I love the '84 Instant Replay subset, and I love his signature, and it's placement on the card... so why not try and get it?

Many thanks to Rod for the cards, and for the incredible generosity that he's been spreading by doing these daily Free Stuff posts! If you haven't checked out these posts yet by chance, you might want to do so sooner than later, as I can't imagine that Rod will be able to keep this pace up forever, that is unless a few of us feel like donating some stamps and envelopes to the cause?

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Making it up as I go

Is it possible for the internet to be overcrowded?

I don't know if it is actually possible or not, but it sure feels like it as of late.

From what I've been able to gather, Netflix and Twitter are king right now. Oh, and something called Tik-Tok(?) too. I don't know what that is, and I don't care enough to look it up, but it keeps getting mentioned all over the place. I get that everyone is cooped up a the moment, mostly against their will, but it would be nice to think that some folks might be using all of this new found free time a little more constructively, you know, turn all of this negative virus business into something positive? I realize that this just crazy talk though, as the majority of people seem to be quite content with their current schedule of whining into the ether while watching television all day... it's much easier than trying to do something creative!

As for me, I don't do the Netflix, and am of the opinion that complaining about things on Twitter serves absolutely no purpose, so I'm free to do plenty of other things. I hate to say it, and feel free to criticize me for saying it, but I think that old 'Rona showing up has actually been a good thing for me, at least as far as how I spend my free time goes [note: hearing of all the suffering that has occurred, and is still occurring, around the world, most certainly isn't a good thing for me, or anyone else]. I've been able to spend even more time outside, although cleaning up storm damage isn't exactly how I had planned to spend my spring (and most likely part of the summer too), but it does provide plenty of exercise, so I can't complain too much.

I've been spending most of my evenings doing one of three things - or more often than not, doing a little bit of each - sorting cards, writing, and drawing. I've been sorting cards off and on for over a year now, so that's nothing new, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which has inspired me to do a little more each night, so that I might be able to get done a bit sooner (more on this below). As for the writing, I've had a few story ideas rattling around in my head for a while now, and have recently decided to finally try and put one of them down on paper. I find myself needing some research material from the library, but seeing as how they're currently closed, I'll obviously just have to work around that until they open back up. I don't expect anything to come from all of this, especially since the writing itself is probably, umm, less than good, however I won't have to think about this particular story anymore, which will hopefully free up some space in this old brain of mine. Drawing is another thing that I've been doing off and on for a couple of years now, I just can't seem to stick with it, despite really wanting to do so. I'm hoping that this'll be the time that it finally sticks, and if I'm really lucky, I'll start feeling comfortable enough to show some stuff on here.

The best part of all of this though, is that my time on the interwebz has been drastically reduced, I think I've averaged around thirty minutes a day over the last couple of weeks, and couldn't be happier about it! The only bad thing to come from this has been that I haven't been keeping up with the blogs, and even worse, I've unintentionally become "only comments on free stuff posts" guy. And of course I haven't been doing much on here either, I managed to grind out four whole posts last month, and am on target for maybe five or six this month. It's a good thing that everyone else seems to be picking up the slack, as it makes it easier to fade into the background.

This is probably a good time to mention that I didn't really have any direction in mind as far as this post goes, so... here's a couple of random things and then I'll bounce:

I don't remember exactly when it was, but sometime a little over a month ago, I thought that it might be fun to do a post about the progress that I was seeing from my year-long sort. I took a bunch a pictures, started the post, then realized that it wasn't going to make for much of a read, and subsequently scrapped it. I hate to think that I wasted all that time taking pictures for nothing though, so I'm gonna squeeze a few into this post and call it good.

At the time that the photos were taken, I had thought that I had finished up with the baseball side of things, and was incredibly proud of myself for being able to fit all of my keepers into one two-row shoebox (and still have some extra space), after all that was the point of this big sort, to try and whittle everything down to the things that were the most important to me. The only thing that wasn't in the box were the Ichiro and Junior collections (which were still in a binder), and the binders full of random stuff that's separated by team. Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten about the two binders of old-timer sets (Pacific Legends, Fleer Greats, SP Cuts, etc.), and by the time I got done with those, I had three more stacks, a few more names to add the collecting list, and not enough room in my wonderful little shoebox. As you'll see in a second, all of my other boxes are currently being occupied, and with everywhere being closed currently, I had to get creative and use an actual shoebox for those three extra stacks (sorry, no picture).

Here's a more current look at my football box, save for Eric Dickerson (still in binder), and two binders of misc. stuff (sorted by team). I'm not quite done with the football yet, I got sidetracked last week and started working on non-sport (no picture yet) stuff, which is going really quick. This box is going to have to be reorganized at some point, as the original plan was to put the old-timers on the left, and keep the newer guys on the right, but it got all screwy at some point, and I just didn't feel like going back and fixing it.

I've always been a binder guy, so it's been a little weird putting stuff in boxes like this, but I thought it would be easier to have everything together when I go to start making lists. I'm kind of enjoying the space that's been freed up by emptying so many binders though, so while a lot of this will probably end back up in binders at some point, I think I might hold off for a bit, and enjoy my new found extra space.

And here's what's left to do, binder wise. 75% of this probably basketball, with the rest being abandoned sets that need to find a new home. I've been a little hesitant to start the basketball portion of the sort, because I still don't know what I want to do about some of the nearly completed sets from the 70's. Heck, I don't even know what I want to do with some of the completed 70's sets. Like a lot of collectors, I don't ever go back and look through completed sets, and in recent years, have developed the mindset of why have it, if I never look at it? Part of me wants to just pull out the players that I want to collect, and sell the rest. The other part of me says to keep the completed sets, finish the nearly completed sets, and just pull out the players that I want to collect and keep the rest of the sets separate -- that way if anything ever happens to me, the sets can be put back together and sold. This seems like the smart way to go, I just don't know if I want to have a bunch of partial sets sitting around taking up space, when I only really care about the cards of 15-20 guys from those sets anymore.

The rest of the basketball here is already separated by player (I did that last summer), but I haven't been to crazy about all of the space that those binders are taking up, and if I continue to go this route, I'm going to have to start at least three more binders just finish putting away the rest of the basketball cards that I have stacked all over the place.

Oh, and I've mentioned my binders of miscellany twice in this post, so I might as well provide an update on those as well. Before last week I had two binders going for each of the three sports, which wasn't too bad, but I decided to take a look through them and see if there was anything that I could live without, apparently there was, because by the time I got done I only had one binder for each of the three sports. A lot of that junk, er... I mean... quality cardboard, will end up being tossed into the Free Stuff Friday mix, so stay tuned for that. Speaking of Free Stuff Friday, I'm getting way too many cards for my once a month giveaways, so I'm thinking that I'm gonna take Brian, and now Chris', lead, and start doing them on a weekly basis, let people build stacks, then ship at the end of the month. I still have some stuff that I want to finish up first, so I'll wait until May to start doing that.

I've been able to weed out four full monster boxes worth of stuff (I know, there's only three in the picture), mostly abandoned set builds, which feels really good, and seeing them makes all of this sorting seem like it was worth it. The cards on top of the boxes are mostly keepers BTW, I just haven't put them in their respective boxes yet.

Phew... that was a tad more sorting talk than I had planned! I guess this is what happens when I go a week in-between posts. A few more things, and then I'll bounce... I swear it this time!

I hit up the post office last Wednesday and got all but three of people's claims from the last Free Stuff Friday sent out, and the other three will hopefully go out this week (I ran out of stamps). I've already heard from a couple of people who got their stuff, so if anyone hasn't received theirs yet, I would imagine that your stuff will arrive sometime in the next couple of days.

Wednesday was also grocery shopping day, which here usually means going to the Walmart. It's been a few weeks since I've looked at anything that wasn't food related, so I decided to go check out the discount DVD/Blu-Ray bins, and was quite surprised to see this sitting on top of the $5 bin...

This has been on my to get list for three years now, but has been a bit out of my price range. I think the last time I looked it up was around Christmas, and it was still in the $20 range, so five bucks was too good of a deal to pass on. I guess I should point out too for those that don't know, or don't care, this was the last Japanese made Godzilla to come out. I could give two sh*ts about the terrible Godzilla movies that Hollywood keeps making, but I still get all squishy inside for the Japanese Godzilla pictures.

I don't think I'll enter it, mostly because I think he might have trouble finding something for me if I were to win, but I did want to mention that Adam has returned to blogging, and is currently running a very generous contest. It looks like it's pretty easy to enter, and you still have a couple of days to get in on it, so head on over and get yourself signed up, provided that you haven't already done so of course.

I see too that, Matt, has started up another new blog, so you should go check that out as well. I haven't read any of the posts yet, but it looks like he's doing his usual and posting on a near daily basis, so no one can say that he's not doing his part to try and take your mind off of all of the negativeness out there. Hopefully I can catch up on this blog later in the week :)

I think that covers just about everything. And I'm pretty sure that I've exceeded my recent thirty minutes of internetting per day average here tonight (Sunday), but we're currently under yet another severe thunderstorms watch/flash flood watch/high wind watch/tornado watch, so I've had a bit of extra time to ramble this evening... aren't you lucky!

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Pack Sampling: 1995 Skybox Impact

I think it was just last month that I mentioned my finally getting around to opening all of my [unintentional] stash of loose packs, which, while not the most impressive stash of packs out there, was still about 20 deep, and was still pretty fun to open. I still have a few unopened boxes to get to, but I'd like to get few more things picked up before I start tearing into those.

Today's four packs of 1995 Skybox Impact - which were new to me at the time of their purchase - were gotten a little over two years ago (I think), during my first visit to the copy/print/card shop that's down in town. I bought quite a few packs that day, and thought that I may have gone overboard, although in retrospect, I probably should've bought even more, because as I'd find out later, some other guy who also didn't know it was there, came in and bought out all of the good stuff (late 90's basketball packs), none of which has ever been restocked. Of course if I had known that the copy shop that I had been driving by for almost three years, sold cards, I would've went in much sooner... like right after I moved here!

The card section of this shop has dwindled down considerably over the last two years, and I suspect that it'll disappear entirely sooner than later, the card section that is, not the copy shop. The selection was really quite impressive back when I got these packs though, lots of open boxes (all hobby) with packs on display, and two Rubbermaid bins of $0.25 packs, which is where these four packs came from. There were only four packs in the bin at the time, so even if I wasn't familiar with the set, I figured at that price I really couldn't go wrong with buying all of them.

In case you didn't notice, there were 18 cards in each one of these packs, which I wouldn't have scanned four packs of even in the best of times, so given all that's currently going on, and me being very busy cleaning up the damage from last weekend's storm, I just went ahead and did the highlights.

Every pack comes with a game card, and what a game card it is, this folds out into four pages! Given who's on the cover, I set two aside for my Packers friends (Chris and Trevor), provided they want one of course, but there's still two more available if anyone else collects Favre or the Packers.

To save on time, I ended up just scanning everything in groups, but you should still be able to get a good feel for the set. I really like base design on these, and really dig all of the in-game photos. It's hard to tell from the scans, but the cards themselves are really crisp, which is another thing that I really like. If I hadn't moved away from set collecting, I'd seriously consider working on this one, especially since it looks like boxes can be had for around $25 shipped on eBay.

Pretty cool trio of horizontal cards here, all fit into player collection's as well.

It was kind of neat to get two cards whose photos came from the same game. Looks like the Chargers defense was really making Elway earn his keep on that particular day.

There seems to be at least one rookie card in every pack, which I suppose is a good thing for those who like rookies, which I don't, but I do like the look of these, and I did get a Derrick Brooks, so that was something. Oh, and Dino Philyaw... I haven't thought about him in forever!

I miss the days of expansion teams getting their own design, and these aren't bad, although it would have been nice to see the player's donning the threads of their respective new teams.

Here's some hot subset action for you!

And finally, a couple of guys that I'm thinking about starting collections of. Seeing Henry Ellard as a Redskin is really weird too BTW.

These packs were fun, the design is attractive, and it's always nice to be able to open something and recognize the majority of the names. I don't think I ended up getting any inserts, but I did end up with 16 keepers, which doesn't seem too bad for $1, I mean I don't know where else I could've gotten those cards for just a buck, certainly not anywhere online.

As most of you probably know by now, I'm all about sharing the wealth (or at least my "wealth"), but don't want to have to look through a bunch of want lists, so if there's anything from this set that you're looking for, here's a numerical list of the non-keepers for anyone who wants them: 6,17,18,19,21,27,33,34,39,40(x2),43,51,60,63,66,67,69,71,76,78,79,81,84,86,87(x2),95,97,

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stormageddon 2020

If there's one thing that I've learned in the last five years, it's that thunderstorms are very common in Tennessee.

And if I were to add a second item to the list of things I've learned over the last five years, it would be that severe thunderstorms are very common in Tennessee.

That being said, the storm that made it's way through the region this past Sunday morning was a completely different animal... and I've got the pictures to prove it!

I've always rather enjoyed thunderstorms, and could never understand how anyone could be afraid of them, of course there wasn't much to fear from the one's that we had when I was growing up back in Oregon. Sure, there was the occasional lightning strike, and every couple of years a small tornado would touch down in some lower populated area and take out someone's shed, but other than that, there wasn't really much to bother worrying about.

When a storm starts brewing here in Tennessee though, especially a strong storm, tornadoes are always a very real possibility, and when a tornado touches down here it tends to do a little bit more damage than just taking out someone's shed. Historically speaking, tornadoes occurring in my general are pretty uncommon, so while severe thunderstorms may produce wind gusts upwards of 60 mph, inches of rain, and plenty of ground shaking, the thought of tornadoes hadn't really ever entered my mind... at least not until last month!

Back on March 3rd, at a little before 2:30 in the AM, we had a pretty intense thunderstorm roll through. I believe it may have been mentioned nationally, but if not, this storm was part of the system that produced tornadoes in Cookeville (about forty minutes away from me) and Nashville, which led to the deaths of 25 people (19 in Cookeville). That storm was bad, to say the least, but we in the local surroundings didn't get the full brunt of it, so other than some downed tree limbs, there really wasn't much evidence of it's ever having been here -- unfortunately, the same can not be said about this past Sunday's storm.

I have always been a very light sleeper, and even though it might sound like woo woo to some, have always had a knack for waking up before the first signs of an approaching thunderstorm, I like to think of it as being able to detect a disturbance in the force (a rare Star Wars reference). Usually this just results in me waking up, wondering why I woke up, then I hear the first roll of thunder off in the distance and get annoyed, because I know I won't be able to fall back asleep until it passes. Such was the case this past Sunday morning, once again just a little bit before 2:30 in the AM, although it became evident pretty quickly that this wasn't going to be your average run-of the-mill thunderstorm!

I woke up a couple of minutes before the first roll of thunder, which, although still about as far away as my ears could detect, sounded a bit different, almost like a large footstep. My attention was officially grabbed a minute or two later though, when the next roll came, as it was much closer than it should've been, and as silly as it might sound, I broke out in a cold sweat when the next rumble came, which was now only a couple of miles away -- this storm was moving fast, and even a transplant like myself knows that that's never a good sign.

I don't really know how to describe it properly, other than to say that the approaching thunder was not dissimilar to the approach of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, although Godzilla would've been more apt for those footsteps, as every boom sounded like an explosion.

The wind actually arrived first, a wind like I've never experienced! I've never been in a hurricane, but I would have to imagine that the sounds were pretty similar, and as it would later be determined, it was indeed hurricane strength winds. The generator (the power grid is very fragile around here, so a generator is an investment worth making) came on almost immediately after the first blast of wind, another bad sign.

The thunder and lightning wasn't too far behind the wind, which was then followed by the torrential rain/hail. The whole house was creaking and popping, and the sound of the wind was almost deafening. At some point I realized that I was even holding breath, just trying to listen, for what I do not know. Being all the way out where I am, there are no tornado sirens, so you're only real option is to take shelter if you know/think that something is coming -- I am a dummy, so I of course just kept laying in bed, hoping that it would pass soon.

The actual storm probably only ended up lasting about ten minutes, but it felt like an eternity. After the storm had passed, I heard two loud explosions come from the direction that it went, and I still don't know what those were. I never did go back to sleep, but waited until about 5:30 to finally get up. The generator was still on when I did (it ended up being on for 12 hours), and the internet was out, but was back on by the time I got done eating breakfast.

I knew that things were gonna be bad outside, but still being dark, I had to wait until after breakfast to go out and see just how bad they were. Obviously I knew that no trees had come through the house, but I was a bit worried about the roof, which *knocks on this wood desk* thankfully ended up being okay, a lot of other people in the surrounding counties weren't as lucky.

Other than being splattered with mud (think chimpanzee trying to create a Jackson Pollock), the house was/is just fine, but the rest of the property took a bit of a beating.

The pond is one of the first things you notice when looking out the patio door, or at least it is when there's not a 40ft pine down in front of it.

I knew that this tree was going to come down someday, so this wasn't the end of the world, but I do wish that it hadn't obliterated the two young sycamore's in it's path. Although on the flip side of that, it could've fallen into the pond, which would've made the clean up a little more difficult.

The shed behind the house became a pillow for this pine.

Had this tree fallen square in the middle of the shed, it probably would've went right through, so it obviously could've been worse. As such, one of the roof beams was cracked, and a couple pieces of the metal roofing got crumpled, but both are fixable, and the tree has since been gotten off of the roof.

If these two trees, and the hundreds of branch bits strewn all over everywhere (not shown), had been the only casualties, then things might not have been so bad considering. Unfortunately this wasn't the case...

Welcome to tornado alley! This is looking down the driveway from the house. Had I taken this photo prior to Sunday morning, you would've seen many more standing trees, now it's a just a mess of about a dozen on the ground, including two from next door that I highly doubt will be taken care of by anyone other than me. All the leaning trees in the background are on the neighbor's property, they didn't used to be doing that.

As you can see, it's quite the mess. And the best part (sarcasm) was that a few just had to fall across the driveway as well.

Obviously clearing the driveway was priority numero uno, and was done by Sunday afternoon, as was witnessed by the many people who seemed to be driving around looking for damage to gawk at.

As I mentioned, the power ended up being out for twelve hours (thank god for the generator!), as there were apparently power lines down all over, most of which were of course taken out by fallen trees. And there was quite a bit of property damage reported in all of the surrounding counties.

I saw on a local news site that the National Weather Service was investigating the storm, I guess we needed them to tell us that a bunch of sh*t got f*cked up before it could be considered official. A few days later they determined that Sparta - which I'm technically apart of, but live about 900 feet above the actual town - had an Ef-0 tornado (which may or may not be responsible for the train that got blown over) , and Crossville - which I live almost closer too than Sparta - had sustained winds of 95 MPH. And we had news helicopter (probably from Knoxville) flying over on Sunday, and Monday afternoon, which told me that there must've been a bunch of juicy destruction around, because they're not going to send one of their vultures all the way out here for nothing.

This was not a fun storm, and the aftermath certainly hasn't been fun, but the house didn't sustain any damage, so things definitely could've been much worse. From what I've seen online, these storms caused quite a mess across most of middle and east TN, thankfully there wasn't any loss of life this time though.

I've spent everyday this week, except for Wednesday, cleaning up, and have barely scratched the surface in doing so. I'm not complaining, but I've also been pretty tired as of late, and the old brain doesn't seem to currently be firing on all of it's synapses, hence the lack of blog posts... and my having to sit on the sidelines for Matt's April Fool's festivities!

And I haven't even started packaging up everyone's claims from last week's Free Stuff Friday, but plan to start doing so sometime this weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to get most of it out by next week.

Oh, and I got a wood chip stuck in my eye while chainsawing yesterday (it went under my sunglasses), which as you can probably imagine, wasn't very fun. It took me almost ten minutes to get it out, and the residual soreness feels like I got punched in the eye -- take my word for it when I say that you never want to do this! So all in all it's been an awesome last couple of days... how's your week going?

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.