Sunday, April 25, 2021

Two trades, two purchases, and some videos

I haven't been feeling very bloggy lately. My dear old friend, depression, has decided to pay me a visit, and as per usual, is making it very difficult for me to want to do anything -- especially if that anything requires me to be on the internet. This has led to no new posts for the last ten day, and I'm probably a week or so behind in my blog reading (I am planning to hit a few of those before this goes live though).

Despite not posting for the last week and a half, I see that the view count on all of my recent posts is way up, which can mean only one thing, the bots have been active during my absence. I guess I should be thankful that I haven't been spammed into oblivion during this time as well. Although, some of those spam comments have been getting kind of funny, so maybe them showing up wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

Thanks to a bunch of trades on the TCDB, as well as some of that famous blogger generosity, cards have been coming in fairly steady for at least a month now, mot of which I've yet to scan though. It's just piling up, waiting for me to want to spend a few hours scanning. It might be waiting a while.

I do have a few (two) older trades ready to go though, like this one from a fellow called, OC2410, who just so happens to live in the same state, about two hours down the highway from me.

The trade was made up of all things Steve Atwater on my side, the "highlight" of which was this 1998 Finest refractor. I kind of hate this card though, hence the "highlight". I know I talked recently about my general dislike of the Finest brand, so I won't rehash that, but I don't like this design, I loathe the peel, and am not enamored with the refractoriness of it. That being said, it is considered to be a "good" card, and I did need it for the collection, so I wasn't about to pass up an offer from the only person on the site who had one up for trade.

Most of my trades have been of the base card variety, which has been fine, as I do seem to need more than I thought I did before joining the Database. Also, most of my trade bait isn't the sort that's gonna land me many SiCk HiTz, or at least that's what I thought, as I was able to trade a pair of semi-recent serial numbered football cards to, briznuts (I have no idea what that means), for what I consider to be a 90's sIcK hIt...

I don't remember what the odds were on the Player's Club Platinum's back in 1995, but I'm pretty sure that they averaged out to about one per box. I never got a box of this year's CC way back when, and wasn't fortunate enough to pull any of the Platinum's from from the few packs that I did get. However, I have been in the right place, at the right time, to find a few in dime boxes over the years. I've also gotten a few ridiculously cheap copies from COMC as well. That being said, none of my cheap finds were on the level of this Reign Man. Many thanks to briznuts (unfortunately I can't remember his real name) for making it happen.

Between all of the stupid-high prices, and lack of reliable places to buy from, my card purchases have continued to dwindle. I never would've thought the day would come when I'd be extolling the virtues of Sportlots, but it has, and I am! For my money, it's the best place to buy cards these days. The site's list of sellers is continually increasing, and most of their prices are still those of the pre-Rona boom.

I made a pair of small purchases recently, starting with a pair of vintage variations:

A lot of my basketball focus as of late has been on former Blazers, and while I already had both of these fellows in white-back form, I didn't own their grey backs...

This pair of '77-78's came from a seller called chevyvan, and after shipping was added, were 90¢ apiece. Given their awesome condition, I was more than happy to pay less than a buck for each of these. There was also a Geoff Petrie available, which I would've bought, had it not been all wonked up from some sort of printing issue (smeared ink on the front).

My other purchase, a 1998 Upper Deck Arby's Jerome Kersey, came from a guy called kbartell:

I only just recently learned of this set's existence from the TCDB. Jerome is the only card from it that I had to have, though I wouldn't walk away from the Gary Payton were a cheap copy ever to present itself. The seller had a number of Seattle based regional issues, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see that were located in WA, in a town that I know quite well by the way. Anyway, it's a neat card, and I'm glad I was able to find out about it all these years later.

I think it was about two weeks ago now that I stopped in at the Dollar Tree, and the Serenity Thrift that's right next door. DT was a bust, but for the second time in as many months, Serenity's media section was overflowing with videos. Someone older must've passed, because a good number of the newly acquired videos were of older films, you know, stuff that the youngsters won't even give a chance. It took a good 40 minutes to go through everything (this included pawing through the cassettes and vinyl as well), but it was worth it, as I found half-a-dozen videos that I couldn't leave without.

I can't remember specifically which year it was, but some time around '95 or '96, my mom bought this very edition of The Uninvited for us. I want say that it was $19.99, and probably came from Suncoast, as other than specialty catalogs, they were the only ones that carried films like this at time. Being a film that we both liked, it more than paid for itself over the years. Unfortunately, the video disappeared at some point, somewhere in the late 2000's, during a move I believe. Neither of us noticed that it was missing for quite some time, and we don't even know which of us had it at the time of it's disappearance. Between the two of us, there was a lot of moving going on that time, so there was really no way to figure out what had happened after the fact. We also established that are shared copy of Poltergeist II on DVD, vanished as well. But nothing else. Anyways, by then it was available on DVD, but only on a Criterion Collection disc, which if you know DVD's, then you know that the CC DVD's can be quite expensive. Being a cheapskate, I never forked over the cash to get the DVD, and was resolved to wait until I could find another copy of the film, in any format, somewhere in the wild -- which I obviously finally did! It was really nice to see this one again after all of these years, and the film itself is still just as good as it ever was.

I never cared to see John Cameron's Titanic, I'll leave that version to everyone else, and will take this version instead.

I've owned Father of the Bride on video for a long time, but aside from watching it on TCM, had never come across the sequel before. Once again, everybody else can have the Steve Martin remakes, I'll take the originals.

The Fugitive might be only big show from it's era that I've never seen at least one episode of. It wasn't on in syndication when I was kid, and we couldn't just plug every desired thing into an internet at the time (thankfully), so it's just been one that has escaped me up to this point. My mom watched it when she was young, and still likes it, so I grabbed this for her.

I know that I've seen it, but I can't remember a single thing about Meatballs. I can tell you though that I've seen Meatballs 4 more times than any person should've, thanks in large part to it's constantly being on late night cable back in the mid to late 90's. If you want to do yourself a favor, don't ever watch Meatballs 4, trust me, I know what I'm talking about!

In general, I'm not as big of a fan of Scooby-Doo as I used to be, and don't care one bit for any of the newer stuff. I do however still have some affinity for the films that were produced during my childhood, and seeing as how it's from 1987, The Boo Brothers fits right into my wheelhouse. I watched this the day after I got these videos (The Uninvited was the night of), and it was more enjoyable than I thought it would still be. Sometimes it's nice to not always be disappointed :)

In other news, I put in a shipment request on COMC since my last post. I had intended to wait a little longer to do so, but things seem to be getting even worse for them, and they're are starting to make me nervous. It's funny, things appeared to be getting better a few months ago, packages were starting to get mailed sooner than expected, people were getting their cards processed again, and then just like that, everything went to shit again. Only this time, it's worse than it was before. I'm really glad I don't have anything for sale on the site, as a lot of people, especially the larger sellers, could be shit up a creek if the company goes under. Knowing this, I'm a bit surprised that more sellers aren't running bigger sales in order to reduce some of their inventory, just in case. They say my stuff will be shipped in August, hopefully they can keep their virtual doors open until then. Of course too, in typical fashion, two days after I requested the shipment, a card that I've had in my watchlist for at least two years now, that hadn't ever gone on sale, went on sale, 68%, and I had to buy it. I'm also starting another collecting project that I'll cover in the next few weeks, and got a card for that too the other day. 

I also go notified a few days ago that my accumulated order from the Baseball Card Store, that I paid for over a month ago, has finally shipped -- so that's something?

And as mentioned at the beginning of the post, I'm in six kinds of funk right now, so don't be surprised if my posting becomes even more sporadic during the coming weeks. There's a lot of other blogs out there though, so I think you'll live.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Flash Freebie #1

As promised last week, here's your first installment of what I'm hoping will become a regular, albeit random, feature here on the blog: Flash Freebie!

I did decide to create one rule since posting the teaser, that being that if you win one, you're ineligible for the next one. This'll hopefully give more than one person a chance to win things. So if you win today, you'll have to sit out #2, but will be eligible again for #3 whenever it shows up. 

Also, I decided that since I'm giving something away, the least I can do is to force people to have to click on the post to see what's being given away, hence the Flash logo for a header, and all of these words being typed before showing the card that's being given away; this'll conceal what's being given away just by perusing the first couple of lines when viewing their reading list. Future giveaways will probably feature about 600 letters worth of gibberish at the beginning of each one to accomplish this same goal.

I don't feel like adding all of this up, but it looks like there's enough there to mask what's being given away this week, so here's the first giveaway:

I'm not sure how much interest this 1954 Bowman Toby Atwell (#123) will generate, but it's somewhat old, and in really solid shape, so I guess we'll see. 

Toby broke into the bigs in 1952, so if you are interested in winning this card, all you have to do is be the fist to tell me: How many triples did he hit during his rookie year?

I'll do my best to confirm the winner as soon as the right answer comes in, provided there are any interested parties of course.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

This one takes the cake

I have been using COMC since 2012, and in that time I feel like I've seen most of what the site has had to offer, the good, the bad, and the ugly, if you will.

Despite all of the ugly in the last year, I still use the site on a fairly regular basis. I currently have 185 cards sitting in my account, and have been adding to that number a couple of times a week for over a year now. I search the new listings for a few players on a daily basis, and do some more extensive general searches once or twice a week.

As I'm sure many have experienced, general searches often lead to rabbit holes, where one is likely to encounter items that he or she didn't initially set out to look for. Such was the case the other night, when a series of unplanned clicks led me to what may be one of the more "interesting" listings that I've encountered on the site in the last nine years:

Now I've seen some rough looking cards on the site over the years, most of which have been on the rarer side, this poor Hank Sauer though, well, I'm fairly certain that it now holds the honor of the being the most beat-up piece of cardboard that I've ever seen on COMC. And what's more, it's not rare! This is card #45 in the set, so it's not one of those mythical "high numbers", or an "SP" as the kids are so fond of saying. It's not Hank's rookie. It's not error of any kind. And yet there it is, sitting on the site with a $2.75 price tag. [Two to things to note: 1). Apparently I'm too old to figure out how to do a screenshot, and 2). The price will show higher if you're not signed in]

I find it interesting too that this card has probably been on the site for more than a few years now, because COMC hasn't accepted non-rare items in this kind of condition for at least the last 5-6 years. So not only did it's owner pay to ship it to them, but they paid for it to be processed, and because it's priced over the 75¢ threshold, have been paying a penny per month in storage fees for as long as it's been on the site. The storage fees for five years alone, would be over fifty cents, which is about fifty times more than the card is "worth".

I'm sure that some would disagree, but to me, what's left of this card is nothing but recycling. Again, it's not rare, more copies of it exist than there are interested parties in owning one, and that number will only continue to increase with time. I almost never care how people spend the money that they've earned though, so if someone wants to drop almost $3 on this, who am I to say whether it was right or wrong? I would hope that they've done a little research before clicking on that Buy Now button though, as much nicer copies can be had for less, even on the very site that's currently housing this curiosity(?).

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Coming soon

I really enjoy giving stuff away. It's probably my favorite thing to do with/through the blog. Trying to come up with clever ways to do so isn't always easy though, I mean I've got plenty of ideas, but figuring out how to implement most of those ideas has proven to be another matter altogether. The majority of them seem to be beyond my current mental capacity. Free Stuff Friday was a simple idea, and worked really well too, but I'm a bit burned out on it -- packaging up things for upwards of twenty people is lot of work! I haven't given up on my baby yet, but going forward will probably only bring it back for special occasions.

All that being said, I think I may have come up with another easy way to put free things into the hands of people who actually want said things. I'm not entirely sold on the name yet, but for the moment I'm calling it "Flash Freebie". The idea is basically to just put up a card (it may expand beyond cards depending on how this goes over) - a card that people will actually want, and that's worth using a stamp on - with a trivia question underneath it, and the first person to correctly answer it, gets the card. The question may pertain to the card, the player, or be completely random. And for those who don't think that they're good at trivia, the answers to these questions will all be easily findable via the interwebz. Some may wonder what the point of the questions is then, my reply being that I'd like people to have to do more than just scroll down to the comments and say "TAKE!!!!!!".

The plan is to do these at very random times of the day, hence the "Flash". So one might pop up at 5pm on a Monday, and two weeks later another could drop at 3am on a Thursday (I guess I'll have to finally figure out how to use the scheduling feature). I'm hoping that the randomness in times will add to the fun, though I can see how some might become annoyed by it.

There may be a few catches from time to time, like if it's something that I deem to be pretty good, I might say that only people who have commented on a post in the last 30 days are eligible for that particular card, or some other similar stipulation. Such qualifiers will be printed in red, so that they'll be easily noticed. The only other rule will be that your answer has to be in your first comment. So no saying "TAKE!!!", and then coming back a minute or two later to reply to that with your answer. I suppose I might have to make it so the same person can't win every time too, but I'll see how it goes before making any such stipulation.

I would imagine the interest will vary from freebie to freebie, depending on what's being given away, but as already mentioned, I will try to make sure that it's something people would want, multiple people would be ideal, but everyone has different tastes, so that might not always be very easy to arrange.

Oh, and even though these will be occurring at random intervals, I'll give you a small hint regarding the very first one... it'll be happening some time next week :)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

A head's up for collectors

This may come as a bit of a shock, but I collect a lot of different things, and I also like to display some of those things. What I don't like though, is having to pay large sums of money to display these things. You know, cabinets, cases, and other display-y things, can be rather expensive. Sometimes they're worth it, and sometimes they're not. 

Generally speaking though, there isn't a whole lot of options out there for displaying stuff on the cheap. Or at least I didn't think there was... and that's where Dollar Tree comes in!

Apparently Dollar Tree has had these floating shelves for about nine months, but I'm just now hearing about them. I wish I could take credit for finding them, but that honor goes to my mom, who came across them at a DT (that's what the cool kids call it) in Nashville last week. The closest Dollar Tree to me is pretty good, but being one of the Podunk stores, is a bit on the smaller side, and only has room for so much -- with floating shelves not making the cut! I've yet to visit any of them, but I've been told that some of the Nashville locations are considerably larger, and do have the space for things like floating shelves.

I'm not sure if it comes through in the photo, but the shelves are made out of plastic, and appear to be fairly well made for something that only costs a dollar. 

As you can see, there's a bit of detail work, nothing too fancy, but again, they're only a buck.

[If you stare at this picture long enough, it starts to stare back at you]
I haven't put up any of the shelves yet, and I'll get to why I haven't in a minute, but before doing so, I wanted to share a couple of quick display options with you -- albeit with the shelf sitting on the bathroom counter :)

Seeing as how most of the people reading this are probably card collectors, cards seemed like an obvious first choice. Graded, one-touched, and toploadered would all work well.

Exhibits and postcards would look really great too.

Toys are definitely in option.

Non-toy toys look great too. As an aside, Ash is definitely going to end up on one of these shelves.

There's enough room for toys in package as well. Though King Caesar here might not have been the best example.

Old 7-Eleven cups? Why not.

I don't display videos, but that doesn't mean that you can't. The display might look a little better with some related, or very similar, ephemera to fill in the void around the box.

Nature doesn't look too bad either.

As shown on the package, plants and framed pictures are certainly options too. With the 5lb limit, there's no shortage of things that could be displayed. Crafts. A prized hardback. 45's (record or gun). Signed baseballs. Signed football. Heck, I didn't think of it until I got almost to the end of the post here, but a row of cassettes would probably look pretty nifty too. I think you get the point though.

Anyway, I mentioned that I hadn't put any up yet, and the only reason that I haven't done so, is because I'm thinking about customizing some of the shelves. At a dollar apiece, these really lend themselves to personalizing. If you're like me and you like color, they could obviously be painted for variety sake, or to accentuate whatever it is that's gonna be put on the shelf. Découpage is also an option. One could easily cover the shelf in box scores or something similar if a baseball item were going to be displayed. Or you could go the AJ route, but instead of using those old wax wrappers for bookmarks, use them to wrap the shelf. 

I'm thinking about possibly going a little more extreme with a couple of them, especially for certain toys. For example, say one wanted to display a Swamp Thing (or Man-Thing) figure. You could easily customize the shelf to fit the character. Various kinds of clays/building materials could easily change the contours. Roots or vines (Spanish moss?) could be added along the outside, with a few hanging down for effect (they could also just be painted along the side). A small tree could be added, and the quarter-inch reservoir could be filled in with colored resin to resemble brackish water. Basically I'm thinking more diorama than shelf. I probably won't have enough time during the summer to play around with these very much, but am hoping to be able to do so once fall rolls around.

And in case you're saying to yourself, "These are fine and dandy and all, but I too live in nowheresville, and my Dollar Tree doesn't carry these". Well, don't fret. I mentioned that my mom found these for me, but she only bought three (she didn't know if I'd like them or not), and I needed more, so... I went on their website and found that you can buy them by the case (12 shelves to a case), and in most instances, have them shipped for free to your nearest store. Which is what I did. I actually bought two cases, just in "case". I don't know if I need 24 shelves, but Dollar Tree famous for selling out of things, and never getting them back in stock. So I'm not about to take any chances. I might even end up ordering one more case just to be safe, after all it's better to have and not need, than it is to need and not have.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Five Rod Carew Fun Facts

Stop me if you've heard this one before, I was going through some cards the other day, and STOP!!!!

I know, it's a familiar setup, but in this instance, was quite true. I was going through some cards, looking for trade bait to add to the TCDB, when I came across a copy of Rod Carew's 1984 Glossy All-Stars. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I stopped on it, and turned it over to read the back. While doing so, I suddenly realized that I knew next to nothing about Rod Carew. And I'm not talking about Rod Carew the baseball player, I know all about that Rod Carew. No, I'm talking about Rod Carew the person -- the man behind the athlete if you will.

I'm sure he has more than one biography out there, but as is so often the case these days, I took to the internet to try and find out a little bit more about him. Thanks to a few of the better sites that deal in baseball history, I was able to get a pretty good feel for Rod Carew the human man. Some of the information turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated, enough so that it inspired me to write a post about some of the tidbits I came across. So without further ado, here's five fun facts about Rod Carew. Hopefully you'll find them as interesting as I did...

1. Even Walt had to get a look
A mysterious land deal was made in Orlando, FL on May 27th 1965. Much speculation was had as to what was going to be built on the newly acquired 30,000 acres, including - thanks to Walt Disney's presence in Cape Canaveral a few weeks earlier - an east coast Disneyland. Walt's trip to the Cape in early May received plenty of press coverage, but one thing that wasn't covered at the time, was Walt's non-business activities in Orlando prior to his heading back home to California. Walt Disney's love of baseball is well known, so it's not too surprising to learn that he took in a baseball game before leaving.  The Orlando Twins had just gotten a highly touted young first basemen that Walt wanted to get a look at, that first basemen being none other than Mr. Rod Carew.  History tells us that the land purchased went on to become the site of Disney World, unfortunately though it doesn't tell us what Walt thought of the future Hall of Famer.

2. What the puck?
After a successful first season with the Twins, the Minnesota North Stars honored Rod by asking him to drop the ceremonial first puck to start their 1968-69 season. Being from the Caribbean, where ice ever being underfoot is virtually non-existent, Rod was initially hesitant to walk out on the ice, but did end up doing so, and by all accounts did so like a boss. The North Stars defeated the Golden Seals 5-1 that night. Looking at their record that year, 18-43-15, one can't help but think that they might've done well to invite Rod back to drop the first puck for every home game.

3. A "Rocky" road to becoming an MVP
Rocky was released in December of 1976, and as most people know by now, became a huge success, critically and financially. Many people have been inspired by this underdog tale over the years, including those who we'd never think of as an "underdog", like Rod Carew. Rod was so enamored with the film, especially the famous training montage that featured Sly Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that he himself started running up the stands at Metropolitan Stadium before every home game. He would later credit this extra conditioning to his winning the MVP in 1977.

4. He could afford it
Rod was/is known for his love of music, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he was all in on the Walkman. Introduced by Sony in July of 1979, 5,000 units were initially released carrying the then hefty price tag of $200. Rod was amongst that first wave to get one of the new personal cassette players. Though steep in price, Rod has just become the highest player in baseball, and justified the expense by saying that it would take some of the tedium out of traveling. According to a 2015 interview with All Things E, Rod still owns his original Walkman, but has not used it for many years.

5. There's nothing wrong with silver

ESPN was launched on September 7th 1979. Despite being located on the east coast, highlights from the Angels vs. Brewers matchup earlier that day was the first game to ever be covered by the fledgling network. Gorman Thomas' 2-run HR in the first inning was the first clip to be featured, and Rod Carew's single to LF in the bottom of the 3rd was the second. Being first would've been a better piece of trivia, but being the second player ever to be shown on ESPN still makes for an interesting footnote. As for the game itself, the Angels won 6-3. And your winning pitcher was Nolan Ryan, who threw a complete game.

So what do you think, were those fun? I can't say that they all were, but did think that a few were at least mildly interesting.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why you hadn't heard any of these fun facts before, well, look at today's date (or the date this was posted if you're reading it in the future), and you'll find your answer :)

Happy day of fools to all of my fellow fools!