Thursday, September 24, 2020

Outgoing mail // Making friends in unlikely places

First off, I'm happy to report that Operation: Send Out Free Stuff, is fully underway, as all but three claims from last Friday's post were mailed out yesterday morning. Of the three that weren't sent, one will be added to a larger package, and the other two are destined for our neighbor to the North. I thought I had a few more of those Canada global stamps, but apparently I didn't, so those two envelopes will have to wait until Friday or Saturday, when I will be in the vicinity of a post office again. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Despite it still being a little early to do so, I ventured out into the woods this past Sunday to do some bottle hunting, and after having not done so for over six months, I gotta say... it was really nice!

Tick season has passed, and with the weather starting to cool off (much faster than I would like), snakes (of the venomous variety) are becoming less of a threat, but running in to them is still a possibility, especially in areas where they can soak up sun. Knowing the risk, I decided to, well, risk it anyway. The urge to get back out there was just too much.

I didn't get too crazy though, I just went to an area that I know very well, it's one that I've been to many times over the last couple of years. The creek was relatively low (to my knees or less), so to minimize the chance of encountering any unfriendly serpents, I traveled via the water for most of the way, only going on land to go around some deep pools.

I'm sure that most of you already know this, but you really can't go anywhere on this planet without encountering human refuse, and this area is no different. Of course this is an area the floods multiple times a year, which is part of the reason that it's such a good spot to look for bottles (the sediment is always being stirred up), but it also makes for a garbage catch-all. Since I'm all too familiar with this fact, I always bring a couple of plastic grocery bags with me, and try to pick up as much trash as possible. It was while venturing up on land to pick up a plastic Gatorade bottle, that I encountered the fellow above [Note: I didn't turn this cutie over to see what sex they were, but for the sake of ease, will continue to refer to them as 'him'].

This is an Eastern Box Turtle, they are not rare, and supposedly are quite common in Tennessee, but this guy just so happens to be the first living one that I've seen. I've found probably half a dozen empty, and often sun bleached, shells over the last five years or so, but up until Sunday, hadn't been fortunate enough to find one with it's occupant still inside.

My encountering him was just fluke too, if I hadn't gone ashore to get that bottle, then decided to look around for any other garbage, more specifically on the other side of a pile of branches/logs (flood pile), I wouldn't have seen him, cause that's where he was, basking in the sun on the other side of that pile.

This angle makes him look like he's only got one eye, but I can assure you that both were present.
I've encountered a number of other turtles/tortoises in recent years, but as mentioned, I hadn't seen one of these, and because of that, I never looked into the peculiars of their species; but now have.

Apparently the species is now listed as 'vulnerable', as are quite a few other turtle species around the world. The Eastern Box turtles are very slow, which makes it very difficult for them to successfully cross roads, and also makes them susceptible to farming equipment as well. They're a slow breeding species too, only laying 1-9 eggs a year (when they can find a mate), and with so few eggs, the odds of babies reaching adulthood is drastically reduced. But like most vulnerable and endangered species around the world these days, the biggest threat is China, yeah that China, the one who's systematically raping the planet, and either ignoring, or paying off, any and all opposition.

For all intensive purposes, China has wiped out their entire turtle population, and is now doing the same to everyone else's. Although for once the biggest threat isn't coming from a bunch of limp-d*cked businessmen attempting to regain their 'vigor' through the consumption of an endangered species, no, instead it's China's booming exotic pet trade that's behind the decline. There are poachers around the world who are looking to satisfy China's need for exotic animals, and unfortunately the U.S. is no exception. We've got quite the black market here, and one of their biggest "sellers" is turtles. Seeing as how very few people care about such things, this problem is likely to continue to get worse, and will probably continue to go unchecked (for the most part) until it's too late. [Note: Normally I'd apologize to anyone who's 'offended' by my anti-Chinese rhetoric, but this one instance where I won't, as this is one of the few things that gets under my skin, and I honestly don't give two sh*ts about the people who are bothered by it]

I hadn't planned on ever mentioning it here, but since I'm talking about turtles, I might as well tell one other quick story as well.

I think it was on a night back in June, where I was going down to check the mail kind of late, it was still light, but the mail was just being checked later than normal. Anyway, I was almost to the road when I noticed something that stood out considerably when compared to the gravel in the driveway. It was clearly a baby turtle, and from the angle it was at on the rocks, I thought it was dead, possibly run over by me earlier in the day. Thankfully my near-instant heartache over the possibility of having accidently run over a baby turtle was quickly alleviated when it started moving as I got closer.

There was no water in the direction that it was headed, and with darkness approaching, the odds were slim that it would survive the night, what with all of the four-footed buggers (raccoons, opossums, etc.) that come out of the woods at night. Heck, it was minor miracle that the baby hadn't already been picked off by a crow or blue jay. The nearest bit of water was the creek on the other side of the front yard, but at the time, that water was much too deep for this little thing, and I wasn't about to head into the woods right before dark, so there was really only one thing to do, find something to keep him (see, I did it again) overnight, and then find a spot to release him the next day.

I rarely throw anything away, so making a quick enclosure proved to be rather easy, I just grabbed an clear plastic vegetable drawer from an old refrigerator, went to the waterway in the backyard - which was dried up at the time - got some small pea gravel, a couple of bigger flat rocks, arranged them accordingly, and added water. It turned out to be a nice little setup for something that was thrown together in just a couple of minutes, it had everything a baby turtle could want (minus the freedom), a deeper spot to swim, and rocks that tapered up to a little land area. I didn't think to take any pictures at the time, but I've since cleaned everything and have it stored away just in case this ever happens again, and of course if it does, I will definitely take pictures.

After putting the baby in it's temporary enclosure, the only other thing to do was to try and find some food, especially since there was no way of knowing how long it had been traveling, or how long it had been since it last ate. The only thing that could be found on such short notice were some small wood grubs. Apparently those were acceptable though, as the baby ate a couple of them right away.

I fed the baby again in the morning, who at this point, wasn't too happy about it's enclosure, he was actively trying to swim through the wall. Seeing as how it was smack in the middle of snake and tick season, I wasn't too keen on going into the woods (I usually don't go in them during the summer), but the baby had to be put somewhere where the water wasn't too deep, and wasn't fast moving, and there's only one spot like that within walking distance, so I put on my knee boots, and set off around 9am to release him (it was a day off).

Like this past weekend, in an effort to minimize my chances of running into any snakes, I traveled mostly by water. It took about twenty minutes to get there, and when I did, the baby couldn't get out of the transport bucket quick enough, but before it could, I had to get one picture...

Now I ask you, how adorable is that? Size-wise, I'd say that he was smaller than a silver dollar, but was easily twice as active. I knew what kind of turtle this was at the time, but have since forgotten, and Google is proving to be of no help at all right now, so until I figure it out again, I'm just gonna say that it's a turtle, of the cute as a button variety. 

The same photo, but now zoomed in.
A few seconds after this picture was taken, he was gone, swam off towards, and then under some vegetation. I stayed for a minutes afterwards, long enough to see him come up once for air, and then I headed home. And I'm not going to lie, even though I don't own any pets, nor do I want to own any pets, I sure miss this little guy, even more so now that I'm thinking about him again.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

For Asgard!

It's not everyday that see you an athlete triumphantly holding up the head of a slain giant.

A belated, but very hearty, congratulations goes out to Vance Johnson on his victory; one would  imagine that Odin must've been quite pleased with this outcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Pack Sampling: 2020 Topps Series 2 baseball (Dollar Tree packs)

Before jumping into today's post, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who stopped by on Friday (and Saturday), I'm very grateful to you for doing so. Now that that's out of the way...

I couldn't tell you why exactly, but ever since the Rona started up, my trips to the Dollar Tree have increased ten-fold. Coincidentally, me purchasing cheap crap in recent months has also increased ten-fold. Whether or not today's item falls under the "cheap crap" header will be left up to you to decide, because I don't really know.

I've been hitting up the Dollar Tree, or as the kids call it, the DT, at least once week for months now, and sometimes even twice a week. This is due partly to me finally figuring out which day the new items get put out (it's Tuesday at this particular location), as well as the fact that it was one of the few places that was open there during quarantine. Everything's been opened back up for months now, and yet I still keep going. I think at this point it's more about it having become a habit more than anything else.

It must've been about two weeks ago now that I stopped in on a Monday, then found myself headed in that direction again on Wednesday, and figured that I might as well stop and see if anything new had been put out the day before. There had been a few things put out, but the only one that you'll care about is the baseball cards. In the card area that had had only Fortnite cards (they've been there pretty much all year) two days before, now had a feeder box (I believe that's what they're called) of 2020 Topps series 2. I don't know how many packs come in those things, but there was only about seven of them left, meaning that quite a few had sold in a very short amount of time. I bought three.

It's no secret that I don't care much for current sports happenings, I don't watch games, and only read the occasional recap (I do see plenty of whiny tweets though). I only really care about a couple of current athletes, and that's primarily because I like them as people, more so than because of whatever they're doing in their chosen sport. And unless it's loaded with past greats, I rarely have any interest current card sets. You might be asking yourself then why I would bother buying three packs of something that'd probably end up having nothing of interest to me in them? Easy, I did it for you... and the blog!

A lot of people have been rather upset over the inability to find retail cards since we got the Rona, so the thought was that maybe I'd get lucky and pull three packs worth of good stuff to send out to any, and all, interested parties. And even though I'm not hurting for blog content, $3 is a small price to pay for some different, i.e. contemporary, material. And it might even bring a few new people to the blog, though they'd probably be annoyed at how I'm going to cover this contemporary material, and then rage quit the blog :)

Now that I've typed your ear off, let's see what was in these packs... 

Pack #1:

And just as I thought, I have no idea who any of these kids are. There's probably someone out there yelling at the screen "HOW CAN YOU NOT WHO DREW F'N STECKENRIDER IS?!?!".  There is a rookie in the pack, and "collectors" are all about the rookies these days. Current wisdom says that I should send it in to be graded immediately and then take to the Twitter to brag about my subs(?). Conversely, current Jon wisdom says that it would make much more sense to just send it to Adam (provided he wants young Mr. Nuñez of course), and be done with it. 

The 2020 design has, I'm sure been dissected ad nauseam, so I'll just say that I don't particularly like it, and leave it at that. I'm not feeling the weird angles. 

In recent years, most DT packs usually have an exclusive yellow parallel in each pack, but these don't mention anything about that on the wrapper, and as you can see, clearly don't have any exclusive yellow (or any other color) parallels, they're just regular old 5-card packs.

Pack #2

Hey, I recognize two guys from this pack, Cain and Wong (wasn't that the name of the Rizzoli & Isles spin-off?), and have even seen them play!

Having not owned a lot of Topps in recent years, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the minor league stats on the back of Victor Reyes' card. I thought that they had stopped doing minor league stats at some point, but maybe not. Looks like Victor's been around too, hopefully he's still in the bigs making the most of his opportunity, that small sampling there from 2019 certainly looked promising (this is where a normal blogger would look up his current stats and provide them for the reader, unfortunately for you, this particular blogger doesn't care enough to do so).

Pack #3

Aaaaand... we're back to five guys that I haven't heard of. I believe this is what you call a Rockies hot pack, in fact 20% of this 3-pack break was Rockies! Is Griffin Canning really a future star? Pitchers seem awfully soft these days, and not very durable. No offense to Griffin, but I don't think that it would be wise to invest in his future starness.

That was pretty exciting, huh? So would these be considered to be good packs? Or are these just the modern equivalent of "junk" wax? I'm leaning towards the latter. They were fun to open though, most things are, but I do have 15 cards here that are needing new homes. Some of these are will be sort of spoken for already, or at least certain people will get the option of first refusal (Adam - Rockies, Kerry - Cardinals, etc.), but they'll still be some leftovers. And I think that it's Tom who collects empty packs, or at least those with Angels on them, so at least one of the wrappers will be set aside for him (if he wants it).

Speaking of "junk" wax, as some bonus content, I stopped in at the printing/copy/card shop down in town yesterday, and left with less money, and a couple of boxes of cards that I really didn't need...

As I said on Twitter, at $6.50 apiece, I just couldn't walk away from them. Oh, and on the subject of Twitter, how is it that a tweet featuring these boxes ends up being the most popular thing that I've done on that site all year? Granted I rarely tweet anymore, not that I ever did a lot of it in the past anyway, but still, my blog post plugs get almost no attention (the ones that I actually remember to plug on there), yet everyone loses their collective minds over these crap boxes. Must be the appeal of the potential Elite's, but even then, I didn't realize that those had gotten so popular with the masses. I wonder if this is just another example of me not knowing what's going on with the current state of collecting?

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Free Stuff Friday: Anniversary Edition

Does anyone still care about the Free Stuff Fridays? They seem to have fallen out of fashion in recent months, but I suppose they are, or were, no different than any other trend in that regard, here today, and gone tomorrow.

Speaking of "tomorrow", tomorrow is this blog's fifth anniversary, and while it's not as impressive as some runs, it's not nothing either, and I'd kind of like to do something to celebrate. 

Ideally I would've liked to have done something where I could have given away an unopened box, or something along those lines, but with box prices being what they are these days, that option just isn't doable for me, and the only other thing that I can think of is to do a FSF, so hopefully no one will mind if I beat a dead trend.

I announced (sort of) that I'd be doing this last Friday, thinking that I'd have a week to spend looking for some better things, but that didn't work out so well, I should've known! It was discovered last Saturday morning that something was really amiss in the laundry room, a pipe leaking behind the wall was the initial thought, a pipe that probably had been leaking for months. I had my doubts about this, and instead suspected that the washer had been leaking (probably for months), with the water going under the wall. To make a long story short, some people came out to look at the situation, and to give an estimate. There estimate ended up being $1,600, and that only going to cover them ripping out part of the wall, diagnosing the problem (but not fixing it), and possibly coming back to do any non-plumbing repairs, well, that is unless the damage was too extensive (they didn't specify what would be too extensive), then it would cost considerably more.

Seeing as how $1,600 is a lot of money, I decided to try and figure out what's what on my own. I started by taking off the saturated baseboard, then removed a section of drywall that was about 6'x3', as well as some insulation. The good news was that it wasn't a leaking pipe. The bad news that it was the washer (which now that it's pulled away from the wall, can be seen dripping from multiple areas), and it has likely been dripping for awhile, meaning that it's been soaking into the wall for awhile, also a new washer is going to be needed. I've started carefully removing tiles as well, in order to check the condition of the sub-floor. The big dehumidifier from the garage has been moved in there to dry everything out, and then I can hopefully figure out just how bad it is. There is some mold, which the people that came out tried to capitalize on, you know the whole "black mold can kill you with just one look" thing, but it's not nearly as bad as it looked like it was going to be. None of this kind of stuff is my specialty, so it's probably been taking much longer to do than it would a more knowledgeable person, and since I do have other commitments (work), I've had to spend more time with this than I would've wanted (especially with trying to save the tiles), which has meant that I haven't had as much time to look for cards as I would've liked.

Anyways, I know that you didn't come here to read a rejected script from This Old House, you came here for the free stuff. Since it's a special edition and all, I did, as already mentioned, want to find some nicer things to give away, but not too nice that I'd feel uncomfortable about sending the things via PWE. Whether I succeeded or not in finding "good" stuff during what turned out to be a very limited amount of time to look, will of course be up to you. Most of the normal rules apply, although this time you will be limited to just one item, that way hopefully anyone who's interested will have a chance to get something. Although if I failed in my attempt to pick out things that people want, and there isn't much interest, I will pop back on sometime Saturday and allow folks to pick another item if they want. I also wouldn't mind if the prize hounds decided to sit this one out (hint, hint), but longtime lurkers are more than welcome to participate (c'mon, show yourself!).

Oh, and as usual, if I don't have your address, or you don't think that I have your address, please, please, send it in an email to, I really hate trying to track people down.

I think that about does it, so here's the stuff...

Gary Carter rookie. obviously there's a little wear, no creases though. Update: Claimed.

1998 Stadium Club One of a Kind, numbered to /150. Mike's a Brewer here if that helps. Card will be sent with considerably less dust on it. Update: Claimed.

SP Candy Cane bat variation. Update: Claimed.

2004 Fleer Greats blue SP, numbered to /79. Has some edge wear. Update: Claimed.

1995 JSW. These can be sort of hard to find.

1961 Golden Press. Joe has a small wrinkle. Update: Carl has been claimed.

1949 Bowman Emil Verban, has a few wrinkles. The '50 Bowman Al Papai has a few small wrinkles, and fellow Red Sock, Earl Johnson, has more noticeable crease to the right of his face. Update: All three have been claimed.

All three of these are in pretty good shape (the scuff on Hinton isn't very noticeable in person), please excuse the overlapping penny sleeves.

1963 Jello. Bob has a few problems. Update: Bob has been claimed.

1963 Fleer. No creases. Update: Both have been claimed.

HITZ! 2003 Fleer Hardball Round Trippers. Soriano is numbered to /228, and Berkman is to /557.

More HITZ! I can't remember which year this Heritage Real One Autograph is from. Update: Claimed.

I'm not sure this qualifies as something "good" or not, but it is a '55 Topps (white back) with no creases, so... Update: Claimed.

Teddy has a couple of minor bits of missing paper around the edge. Update: Claimed.

I don't have a lot of newer "nice" baseball, but I did find these two. The 2014 Beltran is numbered to /63 (minor edge wear), and Joc is I believe a Prism Refractor. Update: Both have been claimed.

1954 Bowman Billy Howton rookie. Has some ink on the lower portion of the card. Update: Claimed.

2014 SAGE Ed Stinson cyan printing plate.

some low numbered football. Shawn Jefferson is a 1999 Prism Premiere Date parallel. Not sure about the year on (I already put the cards away) Carlos Hyde, but he is #'d to /25. And the Payne to /50 rookie is from the 2015 Tek set.

2012 Panini Black Friday magenta Progressions (I'll keep the dust). These are limited to just five copies of each color.

1987-88 Fleer. Rally clean card, sharp corners too. Update: Claimed.

1999-00 UD Ultimate Victory Ultimate Collection parallels. Numbered to /100, these were not an easy pull way back when.

Reggie can't believe that he's being offered up for free. Update: Claimed.

2013 Panini Black Friday Score Hot Rookies black Progressions. Limited to five copies.

Low numbered 2014-15 Prizm. Hairston is to /25, and The Jet is to /49.

1933 Goudey Indian Gum. Has a few problems, including minor paper loss on front (white spots on face), and the back (doesn't interfere with the write-up), but how often does one of these come up for free? Update: Claimed.

1952 Topps Look N' See. Some corner wear, but no creases. Dolly has a small tear on the lower right of the card. Update: Dolly and Thomas have been claimed.

So what do you think, anything of interest?

And before I go, I think it goes without saying, but I'd like to say it anyway; I really appreciate anyone who's ever clicked on a post, or taken the time to leave a comment. I don't do this for me, it's all about the interaction, and if that wasn't there, I wouldn't be here. And of course to everyone who I've ever exchanged cards (and the occasional toy) with, or who I've interacted with away from the blog; it's been all my pleasure to have had the opportunity to interact with you in a more meaningful way, and I very much hope that we'll be able to continue to do so for many more years to come.

Okay, I'm done, feel free to pick a card!

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Are you ready for some...

I don't know if you've heard or not, but the NFL is back. I say this with tongue securely in cheek, as it's pretty hard not to have known this, well, unless you're me of course, and then you're just hearing about it this morning (Tuesday).

Apparently my not keeping up with current affairs is continuing on it's downward trend. Last I heard, they hadn't even decided whether the season was going to happen or not, although I kind of figured that it was going to, as there's just too much money on the line for it not to happen.

I guess I should of known that something was amiss though, as my Twitter timeline has changed quite a bit in recent weeks, going from discussions involving people I don't follow about which baseball and basketball players will make for the best investments, to people I don't follow trying to figure out who they should invest in football-wise. I have no idea why I always have to see these peoples sh*t, and I really don't know who they should be investing in, nor do I care, but if I were so inclined, I could certainly tell them who not to invest in; that'd be easy, I'll they'd have to do is look through the football portion of my order from the Baseball Card Store, and they'd find a whole slew of guys that aren't "investment" material...

You had to know that there was going to be some Roby in here, right? The Top row were all new to the collection, and the 1992 Collector's Edge was new to me, period! I've somehow never seen that before, I ended up grabbing a few of those, some of which might be shown below.

The bottom row were all cards that I was hoping to upgrade. I opened up my boxes of 1990 and 1991 Topps during my hiatus, and got Reggie in both of them, but both were conveniently damaged. The '90 is interesting, because my box was a "disclaimer on the back" box, while the one that I got from the BCS is of the "no disclaimer" variety. On a somewhat related note, I was hoping to get a post or two out of those boxes, but the inspiration just wasn't there, I do however have tons of extras, so if anybody's looking for something from either of those sets (I have lots of 1991 Upper Deck extras as well), don't be shy about saying so.

Collecting Reggie Roby has been my primary football goal over the last year or so, but a couple of guys have quickly moved up right behind him in recent months, Dennis Smith being one of them, as well as his brother in bruises...

... The Smiling Assassin! I attribute their quick ascension to all of the old Broncos games that I've watched this year, I think I've become addicted to watching them destroy any and all opposition, and in Steve's case, the occasional teammate as well.

This site seems to have a lot of '95 Flair, for all sports, which worked out well, because I seem to be needing a lot of cards from that set, across multiple sports. Sometimes I feel like I may have missed out on something by never getting a single pack Flair, from any year, but I also know that it was kind of expensive back then, and there was only so much money to go around for cards. Oh well, it's too late now, besides getting singles for ten cents apiece is more my speed anyway, not quite as fun as opening packs, but certainly good enough for the way I'm collecting nowadays.

Mike Alstott is one of my newest player collections. I really liked him as a player, but am not overly fond of a lot of the sets that his later cards appear in, and won't be willing to pay very much to get them, so I'm not really sure how far this particular collection will ever get.

John Taylor doesn't seem to get a lot of hobby love, which is unfortunate for him, but good for me, as I've been finding a lot good things, for very little money.

I think I should just go ahead and declare this the year of Pro Set Power. I never saw it before this year, and now I see it everywhere!

I should've been collecting Jim Everett much sooner, if only because of the whole making Jim Rome piss himself thing (someday I'm gonna do a whole post on how much I dislike Jim Rome). And for those that care about such things, the upper left Metal is a Silver Flasher, and for those that don't know, that just means that it's silver, and sort of flashy.

I think that Stan Humphries is my newest player collection, and I'm kind of hoping that he'll be my last too, it's gotten a little crazy over here with the player collections. And in case you're wondering why Stan Humphries? Yeah, I don't know why. Earlier this year when I opened that old pack of Zenith (I don't feel like looking for the old post to link it up, but you're more than welcome to look for it if you like), I got kind of  a weird feeling (no, not disgust) when I saw Stan in there. I think that I've got an old memory rattling around somewhere about him, but I can't seem to recall what it is -- I knew I shouldn't have let Kirsten Dunst come over that one time and dance around in my room while I slept.

The folks that run this site probably couldn't believe that someone was buying all of their Stan Humpries'! I think I got about 20 total, including another Silver Flasher (first scan), as well as it's base companion (this scan).

The Bobby G collection is going to be an easy one to complete, at least the playing days portion, which is all I'm really interested in, well, that, and...

... these! I was able to get all of his base cards from this set (15-20?), and I've got his Prism insert sitting in my COMC account, which leaves me needing just his promo card (it's on my want list) to complete the The College Years run, his portion of the run that is.

Here's a trio of fellows that I wish the site would've had more cards of. Along with Dennis Smith and Steve Atwater, Ronnie Lott is the other guy that's moved way up on the collecting list. I always forget that Action Packed was still making football cards in 1995, probably because I wasn't buying any of those back in '95 either. No Flair, no Action Packed, apparently my collecting tastes were not good.

I thought I'd end with another set that I had never seen before, 1996 Playoff Contenders Open Field. I have no idea if these were an actual set, an insert set, parallel, or what? I do know that they're cool as beans though. They're about three quarters the size of a normal card, and have a really bitchin' hologram background, but other than that, they're all mystery. I don't sets anymore, but this one is awfully tempting !

I've already got another order with the BCS started, and even though it won't end up being as big as this one was, I think that when I get it, I'll just do a top ten or something. These last three posts required a lot more scanning than I would've liked, and a heckuva lot more typing than you would've liked.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.