Thursday, November 26, 2020

Hopping on the Thanks train

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but a lot of folks, especially those of the blogging variety, have been giving thanks over the last week or so. And I don't know how everyone else feels about this, but I like it... a lot!

Some of these thanks probably would've occurred on their own, what with the year that's been and all, but I believe that most of the credit for them should be given to, Trevor (Bump and Run Football Card Blog), and his Give Thanks Challenge, that was proposed last week.

Had this challenge been about anything else, I likely wouldn't have participated, but seeing as how I have much to be thankful for, even if I usually choose not to acknowledge it, I figured I should go ahead and throw a few of them out there.

First and foremost, I'm thankful for my mom. Post teenage years, she has been a very steadying influence on my life, and I'm grateful to her for always being there. Thanks to my prickish ways early in life, we haven't always been as close as we are now, and I regret that, but try not to reflect on it too often, choosing instead to just appreciate where things are now. For all intensive purposes too, she's really the only family I have anymore. I do have two half brothers, but haven't seen, or spoken to, either of them in over 15 years, and honestly can't imagine a scenario where'd I'd do so ever again. And I do have quite a large extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) as well, but haven't seen, or spoken to, any of them in over 20 years, and again, can't imagine ever doing so again. I've talked about why that is a few times in the past, so I won't go into it again, but will say that these aren't warm-hearted loving people that I've chosen to stay away from, they're toxic, nothing good ever came from associating with most of them, and I've been much better off by not doing so for the last couple of decades. So, as odd as it may sound to some of you (especially those who come from caring families), I'm thankful that I don't have to associate with the majority of my family. I'm also thankful that I got to spend at least a little bit of time with the couple of good people in the family before their passing (all much too young), it's nice to be able to remember that not all of us were terrible people.

I have had a couple of health issues over the years, and still do have a few, but overall things could be much worse, so I'm very thankful for that. I tend to forget to be thankful about this one on a fairly regular basis, but one only has to go as far as a grocery store to be reminded that there are folks out there dealing with far worse things than I, folks too that are still more positive in their outlook than I as well. I admire them for that, but find it very difficult to emulate. I'm just not wired for sunny disposition, and don't believe in the whole "fake it, 'til you make it" thing. Although it probably wouldn't hurt me to try and be a little more positive in my daily life.

I've mentioned many, many, times here on the blog, that I don't have much of a social life, actually I have no social life. I work alone, and don't have any flesh and blood friends, so blogging is really my only social outlet. My blogging friends are my only friends, and as I always say, are the only reason that I'm still blogging. Despite wanting to be one at an earlier stage in my life, I am not a writer, nor do I enjoy trying to come up with words to fill up a screen. I hate scanning, and I don't like taking pictures. I've even started to grow tired of collecting (again). I know that I should stop blogging, but can't seem to do it, mostly because I love the people that are associated with the blogs too much to do so. I don't think it would be hyperbole if I said that blog people are just better in general than most of society, and I'm very grateful to have been able to interact with so many of them over the last couple of years. And as far as this blog goes, it's far from the best, but it's all I've got, so I'm thankful to those of you who do choose to come around here, you're making me a better person by doing so.

I know that there are many other things to be thankful for, food, shelter... microwaves; but writing this before bed on Wednesday night isn't conducive to me being able to think of all of those things, so I'll just call it a post, I did get the biggies out of the way.

Thanksgiving will be just another day for me, I'm not opposed to the holiday mind you, it's just that since it's only my mom and I, and neither of us wants to go through the effort of cooking an elaborate meal, we just don't do anything, and haven't for quite a number of years. But, and it's a big BUT, I hope that those of you who are celebrating today, have a wonderful day, chock full of memory making moments.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Don't say I didn't warn you

I got a hair crosswise last night, and decided to start entering some of my player collections into the TCDB. I know, it's bonkers, right?

I don't imagine that I'll be doing any trading, but keeping track of these collections on paper just isn't doable, and my memory is not such that I can instantly recall every single card I have when I need to, so this seems like the only real option available for me at this time.

I'm thinking that maybe every couple of days or so I'll enter a handful of players, that way I don't have to take myself away from anything else during the process. I'm starting with football, if only because it should go the quickest, then I'll move to baseball, and finish with basketball, as that's going to be the most time consuming of the bunch. In less than an hour last night, I was able to add Reggie Roby, Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, and Dennis Smith. I'm thinking that I probably should've been able to do more in that amount of time, but oh well, at least I kind of know what to do now.

I don't plan on adding everything I own, some things I can remember, and some things I don't need a bunch of strangers knowing that I own. I'd like to add some older non-sports stuff too, but after a brief looking, I see a number of sets that I have cards from that aren't even on the site. I guess those will be for the paper lists then, as I don't see myself trying to add any set checklists to the site, that sounds much too complicated for someone like me.

I know that this isn't terribly interesting, and might not seem post worthy, but things have a habit of going downhill, especially those of the online variety, once I start using them, so I just wanted to give everyone fair warning. MySpace (I joined way back when just so I could listen to two exclusive tracks from an upcoming album, but still, it went to poop right after I joined), Wensy, COMC, and Blogger, are just a few examples of things that started to decline after I joined them. Speaking of COMC, I don't know if you've heard or not, but there's been some chatter in the last couple of days that they're going to go ahead and do the Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, sale. I don't think many people thought that they would, given their struggles this year, but supposedly it's going to be announced this weekend. They seem to be the only company that's still using the Rona as an excuse for poor service, and with things flaring up again, I don't know how they're going to pull this off. They're obviously not going to be providing any shipping discounts like in years past, and considering that pretty much everything left on the site has increased in price by at least 50% since everyone started cOlLeCtInG again, I don't how exciting a bunch of 10% sales are gonna be. And that's not even taking into account all of the people who'll be raising their prices, only then to put them on sale for more than they're currently listed at. But whatever, I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, TCDB, yeah, I hope everyone has hard copies of their lists, because I'm fully expecting Beckett to come along and buy the site (or some sort of other disastrous occurrence) now that I'm using it, so I just wanted to make sure that no could ever say that I didn't warn them. The only good thing is, whatever terrible happening that's going to befall the site, won't do so until after I'm completely done adding my collections -- and at the pace I'm gonna go, I probably won't finish until 2023, so you've got a few more years to get your stuff in order. 😊

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

So many pockets, so little time!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you with someone who's arms were full, but desperately needed something out of their pocket? They couldn't put whatever it is down, so they turned to you and asked if you could reach into their pocket and get whatever it was for them. You're not too keen on reaching into people's pockets, and are prepared to tell them as much, but before you can they hit you with old doe eyes and quivering lip routine. You try to resist, but it's just too much. Seconds later you begrudgingly agree to do so. They tell you which it pocket it is, and then turn a certain way to make it easier for you to achieve your goal, which it does, but also draws stares from curious onlookers. You take a deep breath, prepare for the worst, and reach in. Your deepest fears are quickly realized when your fingers encounter what later turns out to be a moist half-eaten sandwich, who's presence had been forgotten, and obviously went unmentioned by the owner of said pocket. Fearing what else may be found should you venture back in, you refuse any further pleas to make another attempt, a decision that ends up forever marring your relationship.

I hear a bunch of no's being shouted from the gallery, which I expected, I mean such a scenario has never happened to me either, but I have imagined similar scenes occurring the couple of times that someone has asked me to retrieve something from their pocket.

One persons pockets who I'm not afraid to reach into however are Julie's, she may be A Cracked Bat, but I think that we've all learned by now that she stores cards in her pockets, lots and lots of cards. 

I have no proof of it, but I'm convinced that at least part of Julie's daily attire must be made up of some sort of tactical gear, I can't think of anything else that sports so many pockets.

Not only are Julie's pockets full of cards, but they're good cards too, cards that folks actually want, no 2012 Triple Play for those pockets!

I believe Julie's 'Pick Pockets' feature is one of the older kinds of free stuff giveaways, it's been going on for most of this year, maybe longer, I don't know, I can't remember when she fired it up. I do know that I've claimed more than few cards from them, but had yet to show any here on the blog.

I mentioned in the last post that I had three scan folders going for Julie, last time was Julie1, and today the contents of Julie2 and Julie3 are being featured, all of which were cards obtained through Pick Pocket posts.

Everything was sort of in order of acquisition, but that got monkeyed with when I added a few cards that had accidently been added to another folder back to one of the "Julie's", and didn't take two seconds to properly label them. And now Blogger has done the old reverse order thing when the pictures were added to the post (Oh new Blogger, we were getting along so well!), I moved a few of them around, but got tired of playing with them, so I'm just gonna leave them half askew, it's not like anyone would've known had I not mentioned it.

Artistically speaking, one of these turned out much better than the other.

Scannily (it's a word, or at least it is according to Gogle 😉) speaking, one of these came out much better than the other. And speaking of scanning...

Jay from Card Hemorrhage said the other day that he was taking a break thanks to the poor performance from his new scanner. He didn't provide an example of what he was referring to, so I can't say for certain, but I'm willing to bet that it can't be any worse than what mine does to certain cards (i.e. most cards), with this Junior and the wonderful Curt Flood Deckle that led off the post being prime examples.

Looking at some of these cards that were gotten probably back in January or February, I can't figure why I scanned some of them the way I did. I mean why did I pair a 90's SI Kids with a modern finest? The only thing they have in common, at least that I know of, is that they're both awesome. Although, every time I see the Shaq card I have to do a double take, because the first glance always reads as "Snack" O'Neal, which could apply to his later career, but not so much to those early Orlando days.

It's not as bad as the previous pair, but here's another odd grouping, or not. I could just say it has a 'retro theme', three older players, and one older design? Stan should've gotten his own scan though, as it's by far my favorite card in this post.

Gypsy Queen is one of those brands that I just don't understand, and honestly don't care too. Most of the cards, and set designs, don't do anything for me. However (there's always a however), I will occasionally see one, or two, that strike my fancy, often in dime boxes, but in this case it was the Pick Pockets -- which worked out better, because I didn't have to go to Nashville to find them. I think I might be one of the few bloggers who'll admit to being a fan of MadBum's, and even though I have a small collection dedicated to him, I don't go out of my to find cards for it, anybody know why? Anyone? Did I hear someone say derpy face? If so, you are correct! Like 90% of his cards look similar to the above example, with many actually being worse. And it's definitely not what you'd call an aesthetically pleasing image, certainly not one that I'd be willing to shell out big bucks for. Dimes yes, dollars no.

As mentioned, the cards in this post are from all throughout the year, with all dates and times being lost to me. However (see, there's another one), I do remember the shiny Satchell, he came form the second to last round of Pick Pockets, and was the only card from that round that I claimed. I actually saw it the night that Julie put the page up, but after realizing that I only wanted one card, decided to sit back and see if anyone else wanted it more. Apparently they didn't, because it was still available for me to get a few days later.

Being the uber-generous soul that she is, Julie also included this nifty Junior to keep Satchell company during his journey south. I always forget that Sportflicks (or Sportflix) was still around in '95, heck, sometimes I even forget that I was still around in '95. I know someone who wishes it was still 1995... Junior! The world was still his oyster back then, and there seemed to be no limit to what he was going to be able to accomplish. Injuries are a real b*tch, especially when they happen to the good guys.

And with that, I am now caught up with all of the Julie folders... huzzah! Thanks again for letting me take so many cards from your pockets, Julie, and despite it taking me many, many, many months, to say so publicly, I really do appreciate it.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Jewels from Jules

 [Me thinks that Julie's not gonna like this title]

I read an article semi-recently about some "doctor's" (his PhD was of the social sciences variety, hence the quote marks) latest studies on the nature of procrastination. Yeah, apparently people are still getting paid to 'research' such things. Anyway, it turned out to be a crap article, that basically just tried to further the modern narrative of procrastination being a mental illness, one that gives certain people yet another excuse not to have to work, thus allowing them to get paid with everyone else's tax dollars to sit home all day and procrastinate... really makes you want to pay more in taxes, doesn't it?

In my mind, procrastination is just a fancy word for laziness. 

As far as real-life stuff goes, I'm pretty good about not procrastinating. And I've certainly gotten better about not doing so with age. Probably because I now know that we as humans only have a finite amount of time to do things, which is something that I never thought about as a child, not that I think that a lot of other children do either, nor should they.

And I'm not talking about the stuff that I just don't have the time to do right now, we all have 'someday' stuff, no, I'm talking about the daily chores, or tasks, that need to be done. The not so exciting things that you do have the time for, but instead say "Uh, I'll do it tomorrow" or "I'll do it next week instead", those are the sort of phrases that you'll almost never hear come out of my mouth, at least not as an adult. 

When it comes to blog stuff however, procrastination has practically become my middle name -- Jon Procrastination Pennysleeves, or just JPP for short.

It'll probably come off as me making excuses, but a lot of blog laziness, especially this year's worth, has been due to lack of time, and/or just being too tired to jot down anything that I think's worth you reading. I mean I due often have the time to work on posts in the evening, but am usually so tired that I just don't feel like doing so. More often than not, after dinner, I just want to grab a book and spend the rest of the night reading, which is what I normally do these days (or rather, nights).

This has led me to fall way behind in publicly thanking people for all of the things that they've so graciously sent me. And even worse, in some cases it's been so long since I received certain things that have yet to be covered here, I can no longer remember why I received them.

The cards in today's post are perfect example of this, they come from a scan folder titled "Julie1" (there's also a "Julie2" and "Julie3"), and it's been so long since I received them, that I can no longer remember why, Julie, obviously she of A Cracked Bat (it's not like there's any other bloggers called Julie!), sent them.

Thankfully we don't do any formal trading, so there's really only two options here, A) They were sent just because, or B) They were sent in response to something that I sent. It doesn't seem like it should be that important, but knowing is half the battle -- seriously though, the point is that it shouldn't have taken me so long to get to them, and if I had gotten to them in a more timely manner, I'd probably remember more details about the shipment.

Another side effect from their images sitting in a scan folder, and their actual selves sitting in a binder, for so long now, I don't even recall getting some of these, it's like I'm seeing some of them for the first time again. I do recall the couple of Ichiro pairs above, but not this one...

[As an aside, I can only imagine how otherwordly it must've been for Ichiro to go from Japan to Arizona. For all intensive purposes, he may as well have gone to Mars.]

... or this one.

I do remember this card though, if only because Ichiro looked so old here, and seeing an old Ichiro makes me feel old. Plus too, I don't have a lot of Heritage cards, or at least I didn't, so this card really stands out when flipping through the Ichiro binder. Speaking of standing out...

It didn't scan very well, but this card sure was something. It's crazy shiny, and purple too. The digitally added background is the only thing that detracts from it, not being a fan of Heritage, I don't know why Topps just couldn't have a photographer or two on location, unless it was just because they didn't want their '69 tribute set to look too good. And yes, I know, the idea would've been bonkers, but I'm just sayin'.

Here's a weirdo puzzle card, which I'm very glad that I don't have to collect all of.

I have no idea how it's come to be, I've never mentioned wanting them, and have never gone out of way to acquire them, and yet somehow I find myself possessing 4 of the 8 1972 World Series subset cards. And I know what you're thinking "Big deal, as far as vintage Topps go, those are hardly rare". Which is true, but mine aren't of the Topps variety, no, I'm talking OPC, or as the back of this penny sleeve called them...

... 'French Backs'! Obviously I know where this one came from, and I know that I got one for like fifty cents at a show just because, but I'm at a loss as to how the other two found me. I have no plans to complete the set, which means that in 2.5 years I'll have completed the set.

I do remember these being in the envelope, if only because one doesn't expect basketball cards to be sent by Julie. I only have a couple of Gold Standard's, so these were a nice surprise. Plus both of these guys would be on my top 10 favorite players of all-time list too, which makes the cards just that much better.

If the last two cards were a surprise, then I don't know how to describe this one! SI Kids cards don't get me all tingly like they do for other folks, and I never read the magazine when I was younger, so I couldn't tell you what year it was from (although from the photo I'm guessing either '95 or '96), but I do like this particular well-loved card. It's a nice action shot, which is only enhanced by the cameos from Shaq and Horace Grant.

I may not remember why the envelope was sent, but many thanks go out to Julie for sending it nonetheless. Many boxes were ticked. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more, spent a few minutes looking menacingly out the window, and this was all before I even opened the mailer :)

Seriously though, the cards were fun, and were greatly appreciated.

Next time on the blog, we'll be looking at scan folders Julie2, and Julie3, so that just might be worth coming back for.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Thank you!

Just a quick thank you today to all of the vets out there. Our country wouldn't be what it is without your service, and often, your sacrifice. Thank you for all that you've done, or are currently doing!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

This just in (sort of)

Looks like the busyness that's kept me, well, busy, all through October, has carried over to November... yay!

This first week has been blur, which is a good, and bad. Good because I haven't had to pay any attention to any of this election nonsense (not that I would've anyway), and bad because I haven't had much time for the blog, or anyone else's for that matter. I know that some people like to be busy, but I'm not one of them, I prefer having lots of free-time, and lots of options to fill said free time.

Besides work and other commitments, the weather has suddenly got really nice again (low 70's), so day's off are being spent outside trying to finish up projects that were started during the summer, and starting others that there wasn't enough time to start during the summer. I mean I usually spend my days off outside no matter what the weather's like, but there's more incentive to do so when it's warm.

I suspect that this might be another 5-6 post month, and probably all of the "look what I got" variety, although a couple of them will probably look more like today's hodge-podge, which will basically just be a "look what I got" on steroids. The more meaningful/substantial stuff is gonna have to get pushed back to December, maybe even January.

Nobody can ever seem to agree on anything these days, but I think one thing that we as collectors can agree on, is that unexpected mail from fellow collectors is always awesome. Chris, known far and wide as The Collector (he's also expanded his empire with The 1993), recently sent me just such an unexpected PWE, and it was awesome!

Multiple player collections were added to, from three different sports no less. One of the cards even triggered the return of an old memory, namely the repacks that Toys 'R' Us used to sell back in the 90's. Does anyone else remember those? Despite buying my fair share of them way back when, I had seemingly forgotten all about them, that was until I saw this Dennis Rodman Pro Vision. Just remembering them is pretty neat unto itself, but I even know why this card brought the memory back too, that being because I can now recall getting one of those repacks and finding three 1994-95 Jamal Mashburn Pro Vision's in it, and I'm fairly certain that three were not supposed to be in one pack.

I went and tried to look to see if anyone had any of those old repacks for sale, but can't seem to find any, of course if people aren't listing them as 'repacks', that could explain why I'm not finding any, but I don't know what else to search for them under? I'd really like to find a few of these now, especially the Toys 'R' Us ones, or any other that came in clamshells. Those were nice because they limited the cards ability to move around (unlike the modern Fairfield repacks), so the cards within them usually stayed in pretty good shape, even when being jostled about by store employees.

I probably had half a dozen copies of this card at one time, but as of this PWE's arrival I had none... it's nice to have one again!

I had the regular refractor version of this Damon Chrome, but not the base (or the black refractor). A new Brian Grant is always a welcome sight, even when he's in Heat (uni)form.

My quest to collect Reggie Roby's complete run has slowed down considerably, as some of his harder to find stuff is proving to be just that, in the meantime though I am still in need of some of his base cards, 1991 Pinnacle being one of them, or at least it was.

Many thanks again to Chris for this surprise mailing, I really appreciate the thought that obviously went into it.

Moving on...

Some months ago when I was still knee-deep in my year+ long card sort, I came across a small stack of non-sport inserts that I had sort of forgotten about. Well, actually it's not that I had forgotten about the stack itself, it's more like I just couldn't remember what was in said stack, as it had been probably close to ten years since I last looked through it. 

Amongst the many great cards (all of were from the 90's btw) were two X-Files Etched Foil inserts, one from the first set, and one from the third series (1995 Topps Season One and 1996 Topps Season Three respectively). Not remembering that I even had these, it should come as no surprise that I also had forgotten just how good they look (and scan apparently). I've talked a great deal about not wanting to collect sets anymore, but sets be damned, as I decided pretty much on the spot that I wanted to complete these sets. They did them for the first three sets, with six cards making up each set. 18 total cards doesn't sound like a lot to collect, but these things are terribly condition sensitive, and with prices on everything being what they are these days, if I want copies in decent shape, I could potentially be working on this for quite some time (and have a good chance of never finishing it).

Having one from the first and third series, I figured it was about time to get one from Season Two, and thanks to the magic of eBay, I was able to. 

I'd also like to heap some praise upon the seller (dr.zoidberg) of this card for a moment if I may. The original photo/scan on the listing wasn't the best, and the zoom feature conveniently wasn't working, so I couldn't see what kind of shape the corners and edges were in. I sent a message asking for more details, which the seller was happy to supply, and even did one better by sending a better scan of the front, and back. To me this was going above and beyond, especially on a card that was listed for only $1.49. A lot of sellers wouldn't have sent a better scan even on something that was in the $10-20 range. 

Another semi-recent eBay purchase was this 'Toine 1999-00 Stadium Club 3x3 (luminous). I always want to call these Triumvirate's, but I know that for some reason SC felt the need to drop that name for the more generic, and much less interesting sounding, 3x3 moniker, for it's 1999 release. I had planned on getting more from this seller, but this card was the only one that stayed cheap ($1.04 w/ free shipping).

It's been quite some time since I received a card in a toploader with other cards taped to the outside as a buffer, but that was exactly what happened with the Walker. The seller must not be a Cavs fan, because these really got the scotch tape treatment. I took it off for scan purposes, and even though you can't really see it, there's an awful lot of tape residue that was left behind. Not that it matters, I wouldn't have wanted these anyway, I'm just sayin' it's interesting, that's all.

Speaking of the eBay, did everybody read/hear about the new card shipping option that's going to be available sometime before March? It's basically a deal between eBay and the USPS to create cheap tracking for cards (and possibly other small light items later on) that sell for under $20. If it works, PWE sales may become a thing of the past on the eBay, as you'll be able to ship up to four cards, with tracking, for just 75¢. And if were real lucky, it'll put an end to people charging $4.99 to ship a $2 card. For those interested, here's the full article that I saw the other day.

I spent this past Halloween morning running errands, which included stops at Ace Hardware, Walmart, Dollar Tree, and Serenity Thrift. It was at the latter that picked up this gem, which I've never seen for sale anywhere, and haven't watched since it's original television airing back in 1991.

Serenity isn't my favorite thrift store, but apparently they're now doing a thing where almost everything in the store is half-price on the last Saturday of each month, meaning that I'm probably gonna have to try and start going there on the last Saturday of each month.

And finally, I mentioned the Dollar Tree, so I might as well show what I was able to get there last weekend too. Neither of the two closest DT's are one of the ones that get DVD's/Blu-Ray's, which kind of sucks (I'm hella-jealous of those that do live by such stores), but they do get a lot of books, and I've really been taking advantage of their ever changing selection for the better part of this year. My once-a-week stops almost always yield at least one book, sometimes two, but never five! I read The Hike this past week, and still don't know if I liked it or not. It's written in a very modern style (which I usually don't like), but also contains some very original ideas (this I do like). It took a while to get going too, but did finish really strong. I guess I'd recommend it, although I'd say don't pay more than $1 for it, just in case.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Maybe next year

It looks like Monday's informal poll went about the way I thought it would, that being that there's not a lot of interest in the Secret Santa this year (thanks to all of those who chimed in though).

Counting myself, there's all of 8 people wanting to participate this year, and in my mind that just isn't enough to make it fun. I suspected this is how it would go this year, what with all that's happened, and is still happening.

So I guess I'll just say that maybe they'll be more interest again next year, and leave it at that. Although once again, just because I'm not going to host it this year, doesn't mean that someone else can't. It's entirely possible that my ability to draw participants has diminished, and that a new host might be able to drum up more interested parties. There's certainly still time to get it up and running, but whoever would have to do so pretty soon, probably within the next week or so.

Hopefully those who were interested won't be too disappointed, I am a bit, but did expect this, so it won't be too difficult to get over.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Secret Santa 2020?


As many of you know, this about the time that we usually get the sign-ups going for the annual blogger Secret Santa. However, as the host of this event for the last two years, I can't help but wonder if we should take a rain check (snow check?) this year, what with all of the turmoil that has already occurred, and will most likely continue to occur.

I know that this is very popular event (I've already received three emails asking about it), and thought of canceling it, especially now five years in, might not sit well with some, so I thought I'd try to get some feedback from past participants, or anyone else who would've been looking to participate this year?

From my perspective, I have a couple of concerns about running it this year, some of which are: 

1). I know that a few of our past participants have had some financial woes this year, and I don't want them to feel like they have to join, and possibly spend money that could've been used better elsewhere. Conversely, I don't want anyone to feel bad for having to sit out because they couldn't afford to participate this year. Our $10 spending limit might not seem like a lot to some, but this year in particular it could be quite a bit for others.

2). I know for a fact that many of our past participants have been much busier than normal with work this year, and just might not have the time, or energy, to play along this year.

3). A number of people probably live in areas that still have various restrictions in place, meaning that they could potentially be very limited in where they can look for, and purchase, their giftee's present. I know that a lot of shows still aren't up and running, and there's even some shops that are still closed. Pretty much everyone knows of the problems over at COMC, so they won't be an option this year. Which for some, sort of just leaves eBay and Sportlots. eBay's had it's share of problems this year too, so depending on the seller, this might not be the best option either. It also doesn't help that a large contingent of people have taken up 'collecting' again, which has driven up prices, and caused demand that has been greater than the supply.

4). We all know that the USPS has had issues this year, and with more people likely shopping online this season, these problems may intensify as we get closer to Christmas. To my knowledge, there's never been a lost package during the Secret Santa. I know for a fact that it has happened in the last two years, and I don't recall hearing about it happening during the previous two years under Matt's watch. This is probably my biggest concern for this year, as a lost/stolen package or two could really derail what has traditionally been a relatively problem-free event, and I really dislike the thought of taking a chance on such a thing.

So, like I said, I'd very much like to hear the thoughts/opinions of the rest of you. Are my concerns valid, or am I just being overly cautious? And of course too, if anyone thinks that I am wrong for not wanting to run it this year, they are more than welcome to take over the hosting duties, and if wanted, I will be happy to assist in any way possible. I've seen that a few Secret Santa's are going to happen on Twitter, so it is entirely possible that any and all of my concerns are unfounded, or unjust, but I can't know this unless someone says otherwise.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.