Thursday, June 2, 2022

Whence These Come From

 On my last post I showed off my most recent COMC order, and I scanned a few other cards in the process.  When I get new cards to show off, I have a small blue binder that holds maybe 40 or so cards.  When it fills up its time to scan them.  It wasn't filled up this time because I haven't gotten a lot of cards as of late, but I don't have the printer/scanner hooked up most of the time, so I figured might as well knock them out.  So today you'll see some cards from who knows where I got them.  Most came from Listia and some from my sister, but a few I have no memory of them.  I might have even had a few for a while but needed to move them to the binder temporarily.  I'm in the process of rearranging stuff around the apartment, and I decided to move my desk to storage.  I don't mess with cards as much, and since I have the old kitchen table back, I can use that when I need to, which I've actually used more for card stuff the last few months than my desk.  The redesign might be shown off at a later date, but its not the focus for today.  I also have a few cards I know I've had for a while (2017) and not entirely sure if I ever showed them off.  2017 was around the time I got burnt out and its a shame.  I made a big order from a website and got a ton of cards, and I don't think I showed many off.  It's possible I still have the photos and scans, so it might be revisited at some point.  In the meantime, let's look at what I did scan for today.

However before I begin, I thought something was off on the last post, I thought I had 26 cards to show, but only scanned 25.  It wasn't until a couple days later that I found the last card.  It was an oversized card that when they sent it caused for the box to be larger than normal.  In fact the package for 26 cards was larger than the package I got for over 100 cards a few months prior.  Unfortunately I still forgot to scan it and I can't find the picture I took of the card if I ever took it, so maybe next time I will show it off.  Still I knew I had another card.  It just got temporarily lost in moving stuff around.  Good thing I'm almost done with moving stuff.  One more project I hope to tackle then I can call it done.  Anyways, the cards, let's look at cards.

We'll start with this one I've had for a few years, and sadly I can't remember how I got it.  Maybe a friend, maybe Listia, possibly another blogger (which I think is the case).  I should probably keep track of this stuff better, but I'm usually disorganized for the most part and I'd likely lose interest in keeping it up anyways.  I should have this in my Royals 5000 count box, but I didn't want it to get damaged, so while it might slip out of this binder, it stays until I can sort my cards a bit better.  I do plan on using a binder or two again for cards, so this might fit in one of those if I have a pocket to put it in.  At worst it can fit in a 1 card page, but I think it would still move around a lot.

That isn't the only large cards I have for today.

These came from the aforementioned large order in 2017.  It was from a website that didn't have the best reviews (they sold the cards by the pound at Dollar Tree), and I don't think they are in business anymore.  Anyways one of the things I bought was a random assortment of 100 packs of cards.  They were not the most impressive, but I got to open 100 packs of cards and cheap.  I think around 25-20 bucks.  The entire order was like 80 bucks or so.  Among those 100 packs were a pack or two of these cards from the 80's.  I got a double of Willie Randolph so I scanned the back too.  I'm sure I got more but not sure where they are.  I might have them stored with cards I'm willing to part with, but I'm not sure.  I like these photocards, they are big and glossy but they just look good.  They would look nicer if they had some Royals.  Though I liked Willie Randolph so it wasn't a total bust.

These I've had for a long time.  The Cardinals ones I'm sure came from my dad's collection because I sold all my cards in 2004 or so, and these would have went with them if I had them.  It's a set I wouldn't mind finishing but I don't have it very high on my list of priorities.  In fact it might not even make top 100.  That could be an interesting post- Top 100 sets I'd like to build. Then again, maybe 100 is too many, this might be set 40 and the last on the list.  I don't have a lot of sets I want to build come to think of it.

The Shannon Stewart I've had for at least a decade.  It came in a repack I bought I'm pretty sure at Walmart.  It was cool to pull the card at the time and I think I even displayed it for a while, but then it wasn't as cool.  A few years ago I tried to find it when I found a Shannon Stewart collector or two on the blogs or TCDB but then I forgot who they were and I lost interest when I found it again.

This card I can remember exactly where I got it from and when.  I got it last month from Listia.  In fact it was so new to me when I scanned it, I didn't even place it in the to be scanned binder yet.  Since I did scan it, I haven't actually put it into my collection yet on TCDB.  I bid on this card because Otto was a pitcher in college at Mizzou, and while I have plenty of his other cards, I didn't have this one.  In fact this might be my first minor league card of him.  For most Mizzou player I don't need EVERY card, but if they are cheap and I know I don't have it I will bid.  I think this was 25 points.  I think that is roughly 5 cents if converted, I'm not sure on the value of points on their site (right before I typed this I was sitting at just shy of 490 points, which then skyrocketed to 725 points after a couple surveys).  I rarely spend over 100 point on an auction, and most the time I don't go over 50.  The cards are probably worth it, but when you don't have a lot of points, and less of a desire, you are more selective on what you bid on.  Having said that I think a future post is going to look back at some of the stuff I've won on there in the past almost 10 years I've been on there.  I looked one day and it was fun to see what I got.  Getting back to this card, I really liked the hat Otto is wearing in this photo.  Totally 80s and totally cool.

Another recent Listia auction I bid on and won was this lot of Kirby Puckett cards.  It was an odd auction that I won for cheap.  I think it might have been 2 points.  I've had a couple of strange interactions on Listia in the last year, and I can't remember if this was the one or not, but I messaged the seller and he replied "glad you enjoy them, but I made a mistake, won't sell cards this cheap again".  I think he meant to start the bidding at 200 points but put 2 instead.  Oh well.  If this was the one, what made it even more odd was they he sent more more cards than he advertised, but they weren't the ones in the photos.  I bid on them originally because of a couple of 90's cards I didn't have.  In the end I think I had 90% of the cards he sent me, but there were at least a couple I didn't so whatever.  Unlike Ebay, I have only ever put like $5 or less into my Listia account (maybe it was 10) and so at most I've spent about a dollar a year, so a pretty good investment, especially considering some of the large lots I've got in the past.  Those two point I bid on these came from a survey I did a few months ago which gave me like 50 points.  When you level up (mostly for checking in) you get bonus points, I think I got like 3 bonus points for the survey, so that covered this auction.  So I wasn't out anything and even if I was it was free points, I have bigger things to worry about.

Here is the rest of the Puckett cards, and the Future Heroes on the bottom left and the 1986 All-Star on the top right I know were both new to me, so at worst I spent a point a piece for them.  I'm happy.  I'll never not enjoy the Topps card with the jumbo bat, so that was also fun.  I might not have had the Upper Deck card next to it either.  Puckett is a PC but I don't regularly seek out his cards.  I just saw this auction and decided to bid.  I hope in a few months I'll update my PC's and at that time also work on my Mizzou and Missouri related collections.  Thankfully I have kept my Royals collection mostly current so I don't have to do much with that.

Now we get to a few more cards I can't remember where I got them.  Except the two Beltran cards on the bottom.  I got them a couple months ago on Listia.  Another cheap auction and I think one I might have had already.  Oh well- free points, no big loss.  The rest are all Royals that I needed for my collection.  I can't say which one I like the most, but its between the All-Star Saberhagen and the Topps Willie Wilson.  I never plan to build a complete Topps set, especially ones from before I started to collect, but if I did that would probably be one of the sets.  Most of the Topps stuff after that I have or seen enough.  Anything before this I don't have much of.  As far as Royals sets go, I think 85-86 is where it really picks up steam, so anything from 1984 and before is where I should look if I ever really wanted to make a dent in my collection.  At least having Brett's rookie out of the way, there aren't too many I would go crazy trying to find.  I one day want to find a Quisenberry rookie, pretty sure I don't have one yet.

Outside of the Clemente card my sister bought me a few months ago, I can't remember where I got the rest of these.  In fact many on the bottom row aren't even PC's so I think it might have been a repack which might have came from my sister.  The Murrary is a nice card though, so I will definitely keep that one.  It's always nice to add more Ozzie Smith cards to my collection, especially ones like these two which either somehow slipped though the cracks of collecting or Topps reprints which haven't always been a high priority.  The Carl Hubbell is also a nice addition.  I really need to see how many cards I have of him now and how many total he had.  I know I don't have most of his cards, but I know I have at least 4-5 now so its a nice start.  Its one reason I want to get my entire collection sorted and added to the TCDB so I can have that information right in front of me.

This is an odd mix, but also the last scan for the day.  The Ewing cards I got on Listia.  They were like 1 or 2 points.  I don't try to get too many basketball cards but I am drawn to the 90's players that I liked watching play.  These aren't the best cards, but still random and ones I know I didn't have.  Ewing might be a borderline PC, but like I said, I don't want to build a massive PC of NBA players.  I would put quite a few others before him on my basketball PC, but still under 5 points I'll possibly bid.  The John Morrison card my sister got me.  She knows I like "Johnny Drip Drip" aka "America's Moist Wanted" so it was cool to get.  Especially since I'm not sure if I have many of his cards.  Recently he has shown up a few times on AEW Wrestling with his new name- Johnny Elite.  Wherever he goes he usually has the last name of the company.  In Impact Wrestling he was Johnny Impact.  He went by John Morrison in WWE just because that was one of many names he went by when he worked there before.

On the bottom row, the WNBA card my mom found while cleaning one day.  For a short while she had a few WNBA cards, so this was one she still had.  I wouldn't mind building some of those first 3-4 years of WNBA sets, but again not a high priority.  One day I will do a deep dive into some of their players and sets and see who I want to add to my collection.  I'm not sure if I have all the Mizzou players and I know I'm missing a lot of Jackie Stiles cards (in fact I'm not sure if I have a proper WNBA card of her).  It's nice to see WNBA get more TV time, it seems like I can watch a game 2-3 times a week now, problem is I'm not into sports right now.

Lastly is another Topps card the maybe come from the repack or somewhere else.  I would be amazed if I didn't already have the card though since I'm sure 88-90 Topps cards I have most of.  Still not a bad card.

So that wraps it up today.  I'm hoping the weather is nice and I can make it to storage today to work on a project.  Its not card related but I hope it works out.  I want to build a bookcase for either my movies or CD's.  I have a few 2x4's and hopefully enough boards to build one.  I just don't know all the details yet.  I don't know how I'll support it or how to even build it yet, but I have ideas.  First I need to find all the boards.  Good thing I have a few.  If I do finish it, I will probably show it on the blog.  I'm still pondering another blog to show media stuff (it's set up but nothing worth seeing yet) and if I do decided to continue with it I'll put it on there.  I'll probably mention it on here too.  If I do the other blog this will stay strictly card related.  I think if I decide to do more rants I might use one of my other abandoned blogs for that.  I should also work on my Missouri related blog too, but I mean first I have to get back into wanting to write first.  It seems like I'm starting to get my groove back.  Thanks for reading everyone and have a great day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

COMC Early Shipment

 When I order from COMC, its usually at least 6 months before I even consider another shipment.  However during the last Black Friday sale they had an incentive where you could get free shipping in the first quarter of 2022.  By the time the deadline approached for the free shipping, I had about 25 cards.  Normally it isn't worth it to ship them, but eh, it worked out perfectly.  I drained my account down to 2 cents, and I requested the cards.  I requested them about a week before the deadline hoping they'd come a bit sooner before everyone else who partook in the deal asked for theirs.  I don't think it made much difference, but like I said, I had no money.  I thought about trying to flip a couple, but none had much value and I didn't want to wait.  So here is what is likely my last COMC order for a while.  A combination of no money, and less of a desire of collecting is to blame.  I waited out COMC's shipping struggles, so I don't fault them on that.  I'm hoping to sell a few things and maybe add a few bucks, but I figure that will be later in the summer at the earliest.  So enough talk, what did I get?

My collection has a first name, it's.... wait I never named my collection, but how could I pass up and Oscar Mayer card of Greg Maddux?  It was one I've watched for a bit, and a Maddux I never had, plus it was cheap.  I forgot the price, but I had less then 10 bucks in my account I'm sure maybe 15, so it was enough to get 25 cards, aka, under a buck.  I hope later this summer I'll reorganize some of my PC's, and maybe might work on Maddux a bit.

I had to get some Royals cards, even if they are the hard to find on TCDB Bowman inserts.  I don't fault the database, I fault Topps/Bowman for their dumb numbering.  BPP382Vo#$niner487 are terrible ways to number cards especially when they are named across multiple sets.  All I can say is I think the top 4 cards were the only 4 I needed (across 2 sets) so I think I can say its complete.  If I ever get back into collecting aggressively, besides the 2017-current ones, I think the early to mid 2000's are what I need to fill in the most.  Even up to 2011 I still have some holes.  I'm not sure how hard I'll work on the very early Royals from 1969 to around 80, but maybe I will.

Bottom row has a couple more current cards, one from 2020 one from 2021 (which is rare for me).  I still haven't watched a game this year, and still have no desire to.  I saw on Twitter the Royals are 14 games under .500 so I don't think I'm missing much.  The Hunter Greene card I've had for a while and thought about selling, but decided to keep.  I really hope he becomes a superstar, but as each year passes, it looks less likely.  The Tatis card I've also had for a while, and for a short time tried to flip it.  It was part of Topp's Throwback series where they'd do 4-5 cards a week in an old design from their past (like the Ozzie Smith Simpsons one I showed from my last COMC order).  This design is from the 1998 or 1999 Topps WCW set.  I really liked that set (Chris Jericho has a nice card with this design), and I wanted a Tatis card.  I'll also be honest and thought since it was a low production number I could maybe flip it.  I actually bought it for less than the seller wanted (I've gotten better at making offers on COMC the last couple years).  After he accepted, I did wait a while to try to flip it.  I didn't expect to make much because I'd been watching the card for a while and nobody had interest in it. Oh well, it looks nice in my collection.

The Mercole Hardman I liked so I bought it fairly cheap.  Maybe since the Chiefs traded Hill, Hardman might step up this year.  The Charles card I've had for quite a while and got it cheap (under 30 cents), but got buyers remorse shortly after.  The same went for the Harley Race card and the Marty Schottenheimer cards.  I like them all, but I should have sat on them for a while before deciding to buy them.  They all look good though so I'm not too disappointed.  The same can be said for Terrance Mann.  I've been burnt twice on cards I bought for the sole purpose of flipping.  Both times have been NBA cards.  I should really stop doing it, but then again, the biggest flip I ever mad was on an NBA card, and it covered up the losses I made on the 2 bad cards, so I still came out ahead.  Most cards I do decide to flip are after owning them for a bit and seeing the price go up and deciding I don't really want the card or how many other cards I could get for the money I'd make.  I don't plan on being a flipper, but if I can get some good cards as a result I'll do it.

If you get a sense of Deja Vu, it might be because you read Penny Sleeves blog recently of his COMC order which contained the same Fred Dryer card.  I have a somewhat oddball collection of football players who became actors, and didn't have on of the Hunter star.  I don't actually have it organized yet, but when I do organize it, he'll look good next to Bubba Smith.  Two other cards in this batch are basketball cards which I don't actively collect unless they are Mizzou related.  For whatever reason if I see a cheap DeMarre Carroll card, I'll buy it.  I'd like to have at least one card from every year he played, so when I finally decide to sort my Mizzou collection, I'll see how far I've come.  I should be close.  The Sophie Cunningham is my first Sophie card and my first WNBA card in over 15 years.  I really would love to see Mizzou become a powerhouse in women's basketball, just so more players can make the WNBA.  Maybe I would watch the games more.  I am happy for Sophie though especially since it seems the Mercury are on TV all the time.

I don't know as many players on the Mizzou football team as I used to, but I still try to collect whoever I can when they are cheap.  I know of Hall though, so I was happy to find this card cheap.  I don't think that's a real jersey, it feels more like a replica, but still happy to have the card.  The Shields card I've watched forever on COMC, this card specifically.  I liked the way the fabric looked over the other ones offered up.  I finally bought it when my funds were dwindling just because I didn't know when I'd get a chance to.  It also completes that insert set, since I already have the Salvador Perez card.  I really hope I can get organized to start showcasing some of these cards.  I've been trying to organize other stuff lately and my card collection has taken a backseat.  It's okay, but I think in a couple months, I'll devote more time to it.  At least I hope.

Well this batch is almost up, but we still have one more scan to see, and it includes I think the highest paid card in the batch, and my favorite.

I added a few more Maddux cards, two which I've watched for a long time, and the Padres one I found cheap.  The Maddogs one I waited for the price to fall but it never did.  A few years ago I could have bought one for 55 cents.  When I bought this I think it was 80 cents.  25 cents isn't much, but if I played my "cards" right, I could have got at least one more card.  Oh well.  The Tim Conway wasn't as much of a buyers remorse as a jumping on the train before the prices potentially skyrocketed.  I feel bad about buying cards of recently deceased people, but I also don't want to pay double for them down the road if I do want them.  I sat on this for a while then decided to flip it.  There wasn't a market, so it wasn't a bad decision to keep it.  I liked him and I like the set, so who knows, maybe I will build it one day.  I know he passed in 2019, but I've had it in my account since his death.  That's how long I hold onto some cards in my account.  I didn't have it shipped earlier just because I tried one last time to sell it with no bites.

One more Royals card as I added a Jamie Quirk rookie for around 30 cents, not a bad buy though it has a small crease in it.  Finally the card I spent the most on- a Johnny Gargano autographed card.  I've followed Johnny since 2008 when he wrestled in a promotion called Pro Wrestling Ohio, and cheered him on ever since.  One of the only current wrestlers I actually have an action figure of, I've long wanted his autograph.  I finally decided to make an offer on this one and the buyer accepted.  Even though I wanted it in hand, I considered flipping it, but never really tried to.  I was going to try after he either went back to WWE or joined AEW, but as I write this, he hasn't done either yet, so the card hasn't really changed in value.  I'm glad I have it in hand now, so it doesn't matter.

Well, that wraps it up for this order, and for this blog post.  I might try my hand at another blog soon, but we'll see.  I'm still working on a few other projects, and as I write this my computer is acting up.  I think it needs a new fan and heatsink, and if that's it, I might be able to fix it, if its not that, than this blog might have to go on hiatus for a while.  If it does I'll either try to get a new post before or at least mention it on twitter.  Either way, I thank everyone who read this and have a great week.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Old Dog, Old Tricks

 It seems every day that a celebrity passes away.  Their level of popularity varies but to those who are fans, they are saddened.  While some are expected, such as Betty White earlier this year, it doesn't take away from the sadness when they do pass.  Others are unexpected like Bob Saget or Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, and the sadness is there as well.  Today I was saddened to find out that Fred Ward passed away on May 8th, which also saw the passing of John Cherry, III.  Cherry by name won't be noticed but he was the creator of the Ernest character which Jim Varney played to perfection.  Cherry even directed most (if not all) of the Ernest movies and probably shows and commercials (those commercials are a fun rabbit hole to check out on Youtube.  As for Ward, if the name doesn't ring a bell maybe his resume of movies might- Escape From Alcatraz, Remo Williams, Tremors, Naked Gun 33 1/3, Joe Dirt... the list goes on.  Ward to me was most famous for Tremors as the man opposite of Kevin Bacon.  Ward actually was in Tremors 2, but that was enough.  He didn't want to appear in anymore unlike Michael Gross who I think at last count has been in 7 of the movies as well as the TV series (yeah, it was short-lived).

It always interests me as a collector if a celebrity has a trading card.  For Cherry, I'm not surprised.  For Fred Ward, I was.  According to the TCDB, he only had one card which I think was a cut autograph and there was no picture to see on the site.  I wish they made more Hollywood sets especially of actors who don't appear on much cardboard.  So I decided I would make a custom card of Fred Ward.  Then I found a couple more I thought I'd make cards for even though one I know has cards.  Then I made a surprise card which nobody was yearning for.  It won't be a long post I promise because I don't have much more to add other then why I chose them.  Let's dig in.

I already explained the why.  For this post I chose their full legal names, I'm not sure why.  The design is one I had laying around from the past which I tinkered with.  Maybe if I get the desire to make more I'll come up with a new design or two.  The photo is from the movie Tremors, and its the image I think of when I hear Fred Ward.

I always liked Norm Macdonald so when I heard of his passing, I not only was surprised, but also sad.  I didn't look up to see if he has any trading cards, but I figured I'd do a digital custom.  I made these so quick I just realized I didn't put my logo on them.  So if you see them on Ebay, just know they are fake and I'm not selling them.  I never print mine out.  Anyways, Norm secretly filmed a new comedy special before his passing and it looks like Netflix will release it at the end of the month.  So I I I says to them... so I says... I gotta get Netflix.  Or a crac.... (I better not finish that, most people think this is family friendly).... um you guessed it... FRANK STALLONE!

Actually before I go on, first I'm sorry for the babbling there, I just like Norm.  Also wanted to say I watched Dirty Work for the first time the other day and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.  I think the idea of Artie Lange in it turned me off, but it was quite funny.

Only a couple more, this next one has had cards I'm sure.

Known to many as Rinku, he became known as one of the guys portrayed in the Disney movie "Million Dollar Arm".  He pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm clubs, but by 2016 was out of baseball.  He found a new profession a couple years later when he was signed to the WWE.  Now you can see him on Monday Night Raw where he wrestles as Veer Mahaan.  I don't know why I decided to pick him as a subject other than to let people know what he's up to today in case they didn't know.  I don't think he'll be a world champ, but I do like how they are presenting him right now so I hope he does well.

Well, that's about it.  I did make one more card and it was low effort and I really hope this one doesn't make it to Ebay, because this is one that nightmares are made of.

I'm not even making it bigger.  I took a photo that I planned on a before and after for Facebook, but never posted the after (I took the pictures, but eh, who cares).  I don't usually grow my beard out long so I wanted some documentation before I cut it.  I made a somewhat funny/scary face that I couldn't replicate on the after pose, but oh well.  The favorite part of the photo is the background.  I made a wall showing my pride of my town and school.  That isn't a jersey I wore, but someone was selling it a few years back and while it would look better shadowboxed, it looks fine as it is.  Maybe one day I'll show the entire wall which shows the pennant as well.

That wraps it up for tonight, I just whipped together some customs and figured on a whim to post.  Sometimes its fun to do.  I had an idea of an Ebay post the other day but then lost interest.  Maybe I'll do it again soon.  I've also considered a new blog showcasing my non card stuff like movies, books, and music, but I haven't got too far and not sure if I will. At worst I'll just post the stuff here.  Until I figure it out, its a work in progress.  So thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Is This The Last Hurrah?

 Don't let the post title scare you I don't mean an end to this blog. I'll get to the title's meaning in just a bit. For now I'll give a bit of an update on my whereabouts.  I didn't go anywhere, but blogging is something I have to be in the mood for.  My mood changes a lot, and the direction the card hobby is going is pricing me out of it a bit.  Not to mention sports in general hasn't been that great lately.  I guess the sports themselves have been fine, but I just haven't been interested.  The lockout may be over in baseball and games have been going fine, but I've yet to watch a game.  On the surface that's a simple statement, I haven't watched a ton of games the last few years but I would still watch an occasional Cardinals game or Sunday Night Baseball.  I would usually tune into the Royals and Cardinals series and at the least listen to games on the radio.  I've done none of that this year.  I don't know when I will.  In fact while I was excited at the prospect that the Royals have Zack Greinke again and the Cardinals have Albert Pujols, I haven't seen one highlight of them yet.  I've checked out a clip or two of baseball in general and look up a score randomly but that's it.  I heard the Mets threw a no-hitter the other day but didn't bother to see who threw it.

As for other sports, I don't care about the NBA or NHL playoffs, and not even sure who is still playing.  I thought I'd give the USFL a try, but when they can't at the very least paper the attendance what's the point in watching.  The games seem watered down and when 400 people (being generous) are in the stands, it takes the excitement out of it.  So the only sports I've watched lately is NASCAR and Formula 1.  F1 racing is nice to watch on Sunday mornings because it pumps you up for the day.  It doesn't hurt when your favorite driver does a decent job each week.  For those wondering, I got into F1 about 2 years ago and kept an eye on it for a bit longer.  My favorite driver is Sergio Perez.  I sort of like Max Verstappen as well.  I don't hate any driver, but I do get tired seeing Lewis Hamilton on the podium so much.  Over in NASCAR I don't have a favorite driver and I think that's why I get more enjoyment out of it.  I'm glad USA Network will be showing races this year, and it seems FOX has shown more on the network than on cable, which is fine by me.

I still watch wrestling too, but I have spent more time away from it than ever.  I don't get as excited each week to tune in to WWE just because they don't give me a reason to.  I've tried to watch AEW and its the same way.  They put on great matches, but then they do stupid stuff.  So more times than not I turn the TV off.

When it comes to the hobby, I have got a few cards lately and will show them off soon, but not enough to post consistently.  When money is tight and not a lot of desire, there's no need to buy more stuff.

Having said all that, I also don't post as much online these days.  I don't have a strong desire to do it. I post just enough so they don't get looked at by hackers as dead.  When I do its nothing too important but kind of to let people know I'm still around.  Sometimes I'll comment on something I'm watching or reading about, but not too much.  I was pleasantly surprised the other day though to get a message on Twitter.  Usually its from someone I don't know and really random.  Once I had an actor message me about all his movies he's been in and new ones he's going to be in.  Ooooohhhhkay?

But this message was someone I knew (at least on the interwebs).  It was a blogger that will often tag me to let me know he has new posts, but overall is a nice guy.  It's like we are long lost brothers.  Most of you know him as Jon, or by his blog Penny Sleeves. He just wanted to check in on me.  I didn't post a blog in a while, and hadn't been online much,  so he wanted to make sure I was okay.  It was very nice of him to do and it made me want to do a blog post just for him.  So thank you Jon for giving me the motivation to do another post.  I hope you enjoy.


 So the reference to the title is this.  One of the reason's I enjoy Jon's blog is he doesn't just post about cards.  He posts about books, movies, CD's and other items he finds at some of his favorite places when he "heads into the city".  It reminds me of the posts I make called Savvy Loot Box.  The idea originated because I can't afford those Loot Crates that are like 25 bucks or more each month that they send you random stuff.  I'd like to try a wrestling one sometime but I'm cheap.  So the idea popped in my head.  Instead of 25 bucks for 5-10 items I may or may not like, why not spend 10 bucks or less (unless its really good and I'll pay a bit more) and get a lot more stuff that I know I'll like.  My local second hand store is called Savvy Seconds, so it's like a Savvy Loot Box.

I enjoyed doing those posts, but in the last couple years a few things changed.  Money got a bit tighter with prices going up, and a little thing called COVID.  I don't make many trips anymore because of these two reasons.  COVID doesn't scare me but idiots who don't believe in the vaccine makes me not want to be around people, and 90% of those people live in this area.  However something else happened in the last couple years.  Savvy decided to explore a new avenue of merchandising- pallets from Amazon and other places of new and returned items.  This was nice on the surface because it was like a mix of a thrift store with an outlet.  I liked the idea, but now I hate the execution.  They focus too much on the new stuff, and they shift stuff around too much.  So much so, that the media section where I get 90% of my stuff is now in a small corner crammed together.  Like a random box with 400 CD's in it- knock yourself out.  The other problem is they focus too much on clothes on the used part of the store (the reason they moved the media section).  Clothes take up 60% of the store, 30% new stuff, 5% knick knacks, and 5% media.  Its a tough sell for people who just want books and movies, and not too interested in clothes.  Also for whatever reason, they decided why sell used stuff cheap, let's raise prices to a point where it drives away long time customers.  At this point you get the idea, I'm not too happy.

That said, because I was a bit motivated by Jon's message, and the fact that I was supposed to go to a big garage sale on Saturday but plans had to change due to potential weather.  I had a free day to do something for a bit.  The plan wasn't to go to Savvy, but on Friday afternoon I noticed on their Facebook they had a video.  In it they said all books, movies, and music was 25 cents each.  A far cry from 25 books for a quarter, but a nice deal for CD's (half price) and DVD's (75% off).  Also it gave me a chance to check out some vinyl because I never knew the price.  Also the $3 Disney VHS tapes they were included (yes they wanted $3 for used VHS tapes that weren't in good shape).

So my mom and I decided to go just for kicks and also to head to the Dollar Tree (another store we don't visit near as much these days, but not because of the 25 cent price increase).  So before the Savvy stuff, we'll look at a movie I got at Dollar 25 Tree.

My biggest reason for not going to Dollar Tree as much is because while they've really added a lot more movies lately, none interest me.  Not even the handful of Blu-ray.  I knew they'd have movies and didn't expect to buy any.  For a buck I would take more risks, but an extra quarter, now I wonder if I can watch the same movie for free on Pluto or Tubi.  Anyways, I saw this Bruce Willis movie and since he doesn't plan on making any new ones, I thought I'd grab it.  I may not watch it anytime soon, but it was nice to add to my collection. 

That was it, I was fine with that, I don't really NEED more movies, but it was still fun to look.

So let's get into the Savvy Loot Box, as I explain I try to limit myself on how much I spend because I'm cheap but also because the whole point is to spend less than an actual Loot Box.  At the end I'll tell you how much I spent on everything.  I hope this won't be the last time I do one of these, but I'm afraid it might be.  Anyways, let's dig in.


 When I got there I went straight to the media section.  CD's were what I looked at last, but I think I spent the most time sifting through them.  They were scattered and if I didn't want to fight potential bad weather, I would have spent more time on it.  However I knew right off the selecting wasn't that great.  I bought the Nonstop 3 album (still sealed) because I think I confused them with two other bands.  I think I confused them with Nonpoint and Marvelous 3.  My friend thought they might be a St. Louis band, but I'm not sure.  I will check them out at some point, but so far haven't listened to them.  The Collin Raye one I bought because I like him (and has his Greatest Hits, but not sure where its at), but it also had three solid songs on it including my favorite "Little Rock".  Before I got into Alternative Rock and all kinds of music, I really liked 90's country and Collin Raye and Joe Diffie was the reason.  I still go back and listen to 90's music often and on some days spend the day just on country.  It was a nice find.  I do wish I found a few other CD's but oh well, I found more music, so I can't complain.

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to this sale was because of the vinyl.  I don't actively buy a lot, but my collection is modest.  I went because my best friend had a birthday last week and I wanted to get him a few records.  He is a huge collector of records and after I got home to see if any I bought he already had I realized the scope of his collection.  According to his Discogs page, he has over 3,000 records.  Think of every hit George Brett had in baseball, then imagine if someone had a piece of vinyl representing every hit.  That's my friends collection.  In comparison, I have maybe 4,000 Royals cards in my collection.  He will surpass me soon I believe.  Anyways, I did find 7 records for him that he didn't have, and I was happy about that.  Two of these were one's he already had, so I kept them.  I should have known he had the Boots Randolph because he showcased it on his Facebook a few weeks ago.  Everyday he posts a record of the days (which at this rate it will be about 9 years before he runs out of records, but he adds more weekly).  The Keith Green one he also had.  He's fine with having doubles, but I figured I'd hold onto these.  The only one I really wanted to keep was the Lee Mace's Ozark Opry.  I am all things Missouri and even local TV, and his show was one of the first local shows when TV became a thing.  It was filmed at the Lake of the Ozarks and I thought this was a cool find.  I'n not sure on the value, but I don't care.  My mom told me later that a relative was actually on his show once.  So I thought that was cool.

Most of the records was either standards you'd find everywhere or Gospel (which you'd also find almost anywhere).  The covers are all worn, but that's fine by me.  I didn't take pictures of the one's I got for my friend, but he has already put them on his Discogs page.  I thought adding 7 records to his collection was a nice bump.  Until he told me he just returned from a record store doing 3 for a buck.  "Did you buy a lot?" I asked, to which he replied "What's your definition of a lot"?  Hmm 20?  "Yeah, I bought a lot.  73 or so is what I picked up today".  WOW!  So yeah, I'm happy for him.  I'm also a bit jealous because I found out he found a Gram Parsons record in that sale.

So while I was browsing the movies, my mom finished looking at books which she found a couple.  I didn't spend too long on books this time, but I was happy she found one, and happy for her she found another.  I'll show those real quick.

I joked with her that she could author a biography on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt as much as she knows about them.  I was happy she found that book since she didn't have it.  Though I was much happier that she found the Rodney Dangerfield book.  It's not one I seeked out or even heard of, but I think it might be a good book to read one day.  As I speak, I have a bookshelf full of books I still need to read, so I don't I'd get to this anytime soon, but I am happy I finally have a bookshelf for my books.  I will do a dedicated post on them one day more than the few pictures I've taken.

After she finished looking at books, my mom went to search for puzzles.  I can't say the pandemic caused us to do more puzzles, but it has allowed us to find more I think.  Plus my sister has been giving us a steady supply as well.  We also found out our neighbor does puzzles and she says once she finishes a puzzle she's done with it.  So she have given us a ton lately and in return my mom has plenty of books for her.  Despite about 30 or so new (to us) puzzles we've got this year, we always look for more.  More new puzzles means more time between doing ones we've already done.  So she found a few puzzles which may take us a while to get to, but should be good.

The Puzzlebug ones are usually found at Dollar Tree but still not bad for 50 cents.  I think my mom might work on that one alone, since it shouldn't take long.  The masterworks one might take a bit more time, and I will help her more than likely.  I haven't been in a puzzle mood as much, but I still spend some time working on them.  I do enjoy the time since its usually a quiet time and you can put something on the radio or TV and enjoy.  Or I can also talk to my mom and spend time with her.  The last puzzle is the most intriguing though.  Its a tall one, and the poster for it was just as tall.  The shape of the puzzle is interesting and I think will be fun to work on.  I just wonder how we'll fit it on the table, might have to work on it sideways.

Those were nice finds, but she found more, and better ones.

Photomosaic puzzles are challenging but fun when you finish them.  They are tiny pictures that combine to make a big picture.  These are the most exciting finds of the day, especially the last two.  I tried to look up if the last one was indeed the Twin Towers because it seems they skirt around naming them on the puzzle box.  Online it doesn't say it is exactly, but a few people selling them say they are, and I tend to believe them.  This isn't the first puzzle I have of the towers, the other is a panoramic of the skyline as well, but it actually names them.  These will be fun, but it might be the end of summer before we get to them.

So by the time she finished looking at puzzles, I was wrapping up looking at movies.  I thought I'd find a few obscure DVD's but didn't have any luck.  However I did find a few VHS to add to my collection including some Disney.  I should have took pictures of their selection, but I wanted to just go through what they had.  My friend went later and someone told him they planned to redo the media section, so I hope next time they have more room and are stacked better.  In the meantime, here is what I found.

I was excited to find The Lion King because first and foremost I when I rebuild my VHS collection I want the ones I had growing up.  This was one I had, so I was happy.... until I came home and realized I already had it.  Oops, I guess I should learn to use my new Tracfone more and keep track of what I have.  Also let me say all the photos in this post were from the new phone.  I'm still trying to get the hang of it, but I get why people use their phones for cameras these days.  I need to take more pictures when I'm out, but for now I'm still looking for a case for the phone so I don't like taking it out in stores or at different places.

The other Disney VHS was one I never had but do have it on Blu-ray, so it wasn't a big deal.  I was still happy to find Toy Story on VHS.  While my niece may argue that Toy Story 2 is better, I still enjoy the original more.  That said I think I enjoy the third one most (never seen the 4th one yet), mainly because I saw Toy Story 3 in theaters with my other sister and my nephews, and the story was good as well.  If I had to redo things, I would have picked up Finding Nemo instead of The Lion King, but I'm not too mad about it.  Paying 25 cents on something you already have isn't the worst thing.  Much better then paying 3 bucks like they did charge in the past.  I think after this sale the prices on Disney will go to 2/$1 or at least I hope.

I did find a couple more VHS as well.

I really thought I had A Time To Kill on VHS, but maybe I didn't.  I do know I don't have it on VHS, and despite it being on one of the free apps, I still wanted a copy.  As for Volcano, I will always love that movie and really hope to find it on Blu-ray one day.  My DVD is getting scratched up, so at least having a VHS copy is nice just in case the DVD won't play.  Neither were ones I had growing up but they still make nice additions to my collection.  In a few weeks I will redo my media and when I finish I will show off my collection of books, movies and CD's.  It should make a good few posts.  Maybe I won't discuss each one (that would take forever), but I can at least show them off.  Maybe I could start a new blog and show off something new each day.  That's an idea, but having more than one blog hasn't worked out too well for me in the past.

While I struck out on DVD's I was quite surprised to find a Blu-ray.  The price was also a quarter, which was even better.

While I didn't love this movie as much as a lot of other people, I did enjoy it and have watched it a few times.  I never owned it on any media, but a few people found it at Dollar Tree and I had hoped to find it there.  I was more than happy to find it used for a quarter.  I don't plan on getting the sequels, but this was really a good find.  My Blu-ray collection is over 150 at this point, but I don't know how many more I'll add.  I have become a bit more selective and my focus now is more on upgrading my DVD's more than finding new movies to add.  At any rate, this one was a nice addition.

So after looking at the media, I did look at the rest of the store.  There were a few other items I liked but I didn't want to get on this trip (if I miss out, oh well).  I did alert my friend about a Veggietales box set on DVD (which he bought for a quarter later), and also about some Cutetitos in the new section for 5 bucks (which he also bought since his daughter loves them).  I like them too, but I didn't care for the style of these, so I passed.  When it came time to check out, I was curious at what we spent.  I knew the puzzles were mostly a buck each, so I figured around 10 bucks.  In the end, the total of all the items shown here (plus maybe a couple things my mom might have found) totaled to around $10.50 cents.  I think I did very well especially on since you consider I bought 7 other records not shown here. Over 20 items for 10 bucks, you can't beat that.  That would be a great Loot Box.  Plus since we spent over 10 bucks, they have a punch card you can redeem.  After 10 punches I think you get 20% off your total.  We are one punch away now from getting that offer.  It's been a while since we've had it punched so that was good.

So before we headed home, I was curious about a garage sale.  I knew we couldn't stay long because the wind was going to start getting stronger and making it tougher to drive.  In the end we made it home right before it really started gusting, so it was perfect.  The garage sale had pictures that showed puzzles and a VCR.  I would really like a backup VCR since my main one died a couple months ago.  I still have one, but its not as good so tape conversions are on hold for now.  By the time we got to this sale, happily for them, they sold a ton of stuff.  In fact, no VCR and no puzzles.  To me it was a wash, though I did like a couple stereos they had, and well worth the $40 price tags, but nothing I needed.  My mom however did find a book, and while I have no interest, I thought you guys might.

I mean 50 cents is a good deal for a book at a garage sale.  It's not my kind of thing, but I was also happy because we didn't was gas coming up empty at this sale.  They did have a few VHS tapes, but non I was interested in.  If we went earlier, I think I would have found stuff.

So that wraps up my weekend trip, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to do a post like this again, but thanks to Jon it did motivate me to get out and look.  It did make me hopeful to hit some garage sales soon so I'll be on the lookout.  Until then I will probably organize my media, and I do have some cards to show, so I should scan them soon.  I'm not sure when I'll post next, but I hope it will be much sooner than this one.  Thanks everyone for reading, and have a great week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

RANTING AND RAVING! Yeah, just like my dad.

 I have posts I want to make and even have the scans for it, but I've been doing stuff.  Though today I just want to air my thoughts on stuff.  I don't really tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook much because so much happening in the world is negative, and I don't want to add to the toxicity.  I like to stay positive even if stuff around me isn't also so chipper.  Though today I just want to rant.  I think you might know what its about.

In 1994 Major League Baseball went on strike and the season was the first without a World Series.  I was 12 years old in 1994, and while I watched all kinds of sports (everything from baseball to soccer which was making a surge in 1994 do to the World Cup, to roller hockey on ESPN), baseball was my favorite sport, and it would always be.  What some saw as boring, I saw as soothing simplicity.  Sports was to make you take time from the world around you, and baseball allowed you to put all that noise to rest and just enjoy the game.  Other sports have more action and you get more involved, but to me the simplicity is what kept me hooked on baseball.  It also helped that baseball cards were much more plentiful around here than any other sport.  Actually baseball cards is what drew me into the sport, and my dad and uncle is what drew me into baseball cards.

The strike continued into 1995 and replacement players were introduced.  To by then, 13 year old me, baseball was baseball, and even though the players wouldn't be as good as the superstars, I still got to see the game.  However the bickering between the two sides were enough for my dad to stop caring about the sport.  Baseball was dead to him, and so were baseball cards.  I have mentioned it on here in the past, and I will add to it that my dad also gained new interests that honestly he may not have explored had it not been for leaving behind a sport he cared so much about for many years and cards he'd collected since was much younger than I am today.  Baseball was no longer HIS American Pastime.

The strike eventually ended and Major League Baseball would suffer for it for many years.  Some even say they never fully recovered from it.  The card industry would still be pretty popular and baseball bounced back thanks to Cal Ripken's streak and the Summer of 1998 (which Bud Selig turned a blind eye to steroids for the sake of regaining fans, but then claimed he didn't later).

As I grew older, baseball done many things wrong, but I was somewhat of a blind loyalist.  Yeah, they did bad, but it's okay.  I did that for many years while vilifying Bud Selig and many others in the sport.  Every story needs a villain right?  Well, the story sadly is adding chapters to this story and now there is a new villain- Rob Manfred.

When the MLB owners announced a lockout of the players in December, I didn't care much.  It was a shame, but Spring Training was over two months away, and in that time they could work out a deal.  However while thinking that, I always thought the owners were in the wrong.  Jump ahead to the first announcement of Spring Training being cancelled or at least cut short, that is when I started to get concerned.  What did the owners want?  What did the players association want?  Where could they meet to put an end to this?  That was all that mattered.  Even then I didn't worry because no way would they be foolish enough to cancel games that mattered.

Within the last week I got more concerned, and I was thinking how my reaction would be if and when games would be affected.  I'll say at this point I still don't know fully my reaction.  However I understand more than ever why my dad left the sport behind.  It's easy to say they don't care about their fans, but the question is what DO the owners and MLB care about.  If it's only money, then why do I care about the sport anymore?  Why should I make the rich even richer without getting anything in return than an hour or two of enjoyment a day.  Which at this point I don't know the last time I got to see a Royals game on TV anyways.  What do the players want out of it?  Well, I'll be honest, I don't know all of their demands, but from what I've seen money isn't their big issue.  They have a few issues but it seems like they kind of want to keep baseball the way it is, with the only money being available to all instead of just the major players.  I won't mince words, players in all the major sports make way too much money, but I've also thought about this a bit.  If owners are making millions a year, then why can't they split it better with the players.  The owners are making money off of fans paying to see the players so the players should get more of that money than the owners in my mind.   I'm going off on a tangent though.  My problem is this.  Why should I continue supporting this league when it seems like they don't care about the fans that have been around for years?  As a Royals fan I remember being a fan since around 1992.  It was a few years past their Championship run in the mid 80's, and around the time Ewing Kauffman passed away.  It was at that point the Royals pretty much sucked.  They had good players, but couldn't hold on to them.  From 1992 until 2013 there were only two good years- 1994 and 2003.  2003 was a fluke, but 1994 could have had promise.  I don't like what if's but let's look closer.  IF the Royals had a playoff run in 1994 then maybe they could have had a couple of runs in the late 90s, and 2003 may not have been a fluke.  With a good run they might have been able to afford to keep players like Damon, Dye and Beltran, and possibly even upgrade positions they needed.  It's a stretch, but who knows.  My point is this- I suffered for two decades of crappy baseball, and in 2014 and 2015, I finally got the joy of my team being popular and contenders.  It was a small window, but big enough to understand the 20 years was worth it.  David Glass sold the team and John Sherman became the new owner.  I have high hopes that he wants to make a championship run for many years, and will start building the team soon.  However is it too late for me to care.  I haven't seen Sherman's feelings on this lockout, nor do I care.

I am sad to say that for the future, at least for now, I am no longer a fan of Major League Baseball.  They have ruined the sport that I thought had no faults.  I can only ask a few questions now.

What will fill the void I have without baseball?  Well, like my dad, I have other hobbies, and now is the time to work on them more.  I won't miss it since I hardly get to see games much anyways.

How can MLB get me back as a fan?  Well, this might take time.  What I'd really like is things they won't ever do, and maybe they shouldn't.  The past decade saw many new changes to the sport, most just to attract new fans, which really just alienated the fans they already had.  I'd love to see many of those reverted to make the sport the same as it used to be.  Though honestly, most of the changes implemented so far haven't been as bad as I thought.  Though I do wish the extra inning rules would return to what they was, I don't mind 18 inning games.

However, I understand if that can't happen, new things can bring me back.  First and foremost, they need to find a way to eliminate blackouts.  If they want me back and to gain new fans, they need to get access to the games.  While my cable system doesn't carry the Royals games, does.  If I had access to watch the games on there, it would really give me a chance to see more games especially ones I want to see, which would be the Royals.  This not only benefits fans like me that are more than an hour away from the stadium but in the local market, but fans that can't even watch away games.  Places like Iowa have it worse, they have SIX teams they can't watch.  How do you build a fanbase without an audience?

The other big thing is quit trying to kill the minor leagues.  MILB should be there to make MLB better, and should have more access to those games.  Killing the league a couple years ago was not only inexcusable, but unneeded.  Instead of molding the future of the sport, they are killing it even if they aren't aware of it.  If they can't bring the teams back they killed off or outcasted, then they should work with more of the independent leagues.  Also they need to pay the minor league players better.  I don't think they should get 100,000 dollar contracts, but they need enough for the players to not have to worry about having off-season jobs or worry about homes and food.  If they want the best players in MLB they have to start treating the MILB players like this is a career not a hobby.  MLB needs to work with MILB and not only mold the future players but train the fans to understand they should go to the MILB games to see the future players.  MILB games are fairly cheap and they are great for the family.  MLB should advertise that so not only when the players move up they can root for them, but maybe the family will start going to the MLB games to see them too.  I just think there is too much that MLB is missing out on and by bastardizing MILB like they did it ruins not only the future of the players, but baseball in general.

So can I truly ever quit baseball?  No, I can't.  At least I don't think I can.  However I can look for alternatives.  Independent baseball leagues aren't on strike.  The power of the internet allows for catching games online either the audio or even on video.  For a few years I even listened to a few MILB games a week on TuneIn, not only to hear more games, but to hear the future of the sport.  I listened to quite a few Tony Schiavone called games for Gwinnett where Ronald Acuna played.  "ACUNA MATATA!" was a call Tony would make sometimes for a home run.  That excitement got me into collecting some of Acuna's cards.  I hope to start finding more leagues to do that with this year.  I also hope to find some more local wooden bat leagues to hear the games of.  Their is a league called MINK that plays summer ball, and maybe I might venture out to catch a game.  My advice, find a similar league and enjoy it for the sport, not for what MLB has made it into.

As for card collecting, how will this impact it?  Well, to be honest, I don't collect much new product anymore, so finding more cards from the 90's and earlier won't be affected.  I do worry a bit about the future of cards though, how much this will hurt sales.  We'll see though.  Maybe this might be good for the true collectors, and the card industry will bust again.  Honestly I hope so, it might drive prices back down and get rid of those just in it for the money.

I've ranted for a bit, and maybe I'll end it there.  I have more stuff to do, but I needed to get stuff off my chest.  Thanks for sitting in on this rant session, thanks for reading if you did, and I hope to have new posts soon.  Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

What Am I Doing?

 In last month's post it seemed like I was back on track and planning to blog more.  Then I just stopped.  There were a few reasons but the main one which I've mentioned the last few years, I'd rather have quality over quantity.  I could do a random post or two with not much substance, or I could wait until I actually did something and post then.  I considered doing a Hall of Fame post with who I'd have voted for, but I felt it wouldn't be very positive of a post.  Other ideas were just forms of ranting and raving, which is a throwback to older blogs, but when you only post a few times a year, having a higher percentage of them being complaining and hardly any pictures is never fun.

Since my last post, I haven't really gone anywhere or done much.  In January I watched a lot of movies, and played some PS4, and listened to music.  I watched the Kansas City Chiefs make it to the AFC championship then fall.  I haven't even decided if I'm going to watch the Super Bowl this year.  My curiosity of if the Bengals can win isn't as high as my disdain of Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams.  Its more than just him pulling the team out of St. Louis, I just generally don't like him.  I was a fan of the Nuggets in the NBA for a couple years until his son Josh took over, then he made some decisions I was against and besides not being much of a fan of the current NBA, it was easy to bolt.  Point is, I want the Bengals to win, and I want to see Dr. Dre at halftime.  Other than that, I don't care much for the game.

That said, I have accomplished a few things recently, and took a bunch of pictures and I thought I'd show and explain myself.  I don't have scans, because while a lot of this is card related, I have no cards to show.  I also was testing out a phone and tablet and seeing how well the pictures turn out.  Guess I'll mention that first before we dig in.

A couple months ago, my mom was informed her old Tracfone was going to be put out to pasture along with any other phone's on their 3G network.  She had until roughly today (February 6th) to upgrade her phone.  She was quite fond of the flip phone she had, and she's not tech savvy.  I've said technology has passed me by, but for her, she never quite got technology.  She has never used a computer (she has pushed a button or two, but never actually used one).  Anyways, I decided I'd help her pick out a new phone, and while a flip phone was an option, she told me since I was with her most the time, might as well get a better phone and I could use it.  We never use the phone since we still have a house phone and Tracfone isn't really great unless you use it casually.  That is unless you get a smartphone, then you can get better deals.  Anyways, initially we looked at phones and didn't care for the options a lot.  Around November I checked again, and noticed a message- her upgrade was actually free, so she could choose from a lot of phones.  I narrowed it down to two and spent a week or two deciding.  I decided on a Blu View model phone.  I decided to wait until after Christmas to make it less likely to get lost in the holiday season.  So I went back after Christmas and it was sold out.  At least the other option wasn't, in the end a new phone was had.  It's a Samsung Galaxy and I'm still learning a few things one it.  One thing I think I've mastered it pictures so that's the bulk of the pictures today.  It's weird to have a newer phone, especially since the only real thing we'll use it for is making calls.  I taught my mom how to use the phone function and she's learning the camera, so that's all she needs.

At the same time, I decided she needed a new tablet.  In the last year, I have shown her how to use my sister's old Nook from 2011.  She doesn't mind the age of it and that it basically has no internet capabilities, but I wanted something better for her and something with more room. The Nook at the moment needed a new charging cord anyways, so might as well upgrade.  After using a gift card, I found a nice Amazon tablet with pretty much all the bell's and whistles she needs, and 32GB storage (plus room to expand).  She has enjoyed it a lot since she has gotten it, and while I load most the stuff on there for her, she enjoys it a lot.  She has a free trial to Kindle Unlimited and Washington Post, so for a couple months, she'll get use out of those.  Then I'll have to find other ways for her to get books.  I think we'll get library cards since our local library finally has ebook options.  The tablet also has a camera, and I took a few pictures with that as well.  They perform about the same, but honestly, the phone seems to be easier to take pictures and easier to transfer to my computer.  It has a selfie camera too, but I doubt it will get much use.  Another good thing about both is it should help when going places and finding cards.  I can have a checklist handy of what I need or want and buy less doubles.  I still need to play around with the internet on both first.  Though I doubt I'll use the internet away from home on the Tracfone since it will use data and I want to save as much as possible.

Okay, enough words, lets dig in.  Now where to start.

I've mentioned in the last couple years I've been working on puzzles more, and this might be one of the best ones I've done.  Paid 50 cents for the puzzle, and it was a blast to work on.  After putting it together, I wanted to buy a picture frame for it but didn't like the options Walmart had.  I remembered having a picture frame in storage with a picture I wanted to hang, but I decided to take the picture out for now to see if this would work.  I really like it and it's my first framed puzzle.  I have a feeling it won't be my last, but I'll have to order more frames.  Until I get a better one for this one, I can't hang it.  The frame itself doesn't seem that sturdy and its actual glass, unlike most newer ones using plastic, so I don't want it to fall and shatter.

I decided to take a few more pics to let you see what cards you can spot in the puzzle.

A good variety and I actually spot a few Royals, so it was pretty cool to spot.  My nephew stopped by yesterday and upon seeing it said "you have a lot of those cards don't you?"  Well, not quite, but I have a couple.  The George Brett up top I'm sure I do and maybe a few others.  Vintage is surely lacking in my collection.  Then again I'm not sure how many would fit in my collection.  A lot of pre-Royals cards wouldn't fit in my PC's either, so aside from KC Athletics or St. Louis Browns or Cardinals, I'm not sure how many I'd seek out.

This is not only the newest completed puzzle, but also the newest puzzle.  Last weekend on a random trip to Dollar General, I spotted puzzles for 5 dollars.  Of course there were some 300 and 500 piece ones, but there were even a few 1000 piece ones like this.  Walmart has puzzles around 10 bucks each, so for 5 bucks I was quite impressed.  This was a fun puzzle, and it took 3-4 days, but I might have to fin another frame for it.  The current plane will be take it apart and if I ever find a nice frame I'll put it together again.  It's always fun after finishing a puzzle seeing all the extra details you can't find on the box as well.  Also as I assumed, Missouri was one of the last places we finished, but not for lack of trying.  I opined that we'd likely find Arkansas and Kansas before completing Missouri.  Ugh. I think the first ones we completed was Delaware and West Virginia, it just took time to get them connected to other parts of the puzzle.  Tennessee might have been the last one we found.

Here's another recently completed puzzle.  The plan for this one was possibly frame it as well.  A year or two ago, my oldest sister mentioned how she remembered and misses seeing our Grandma's walls.  Her walls were covered with plates such as these.  Like her entire living room and part of the dining room.  It was a site to see and I admit I miss it too.  I've tried to find a few plates I remember her having but can't remember many.  Times like this I wished I could go back in time only to take pictures.  Pictures of things I remember or things I wished I didn't miss.  Anyways, I figured if we can't find the plates, maybe this puzzle might be the next best thing.  So another frame I'll have to find.  Plus I think this would look awesome on a wall with or without plates surrounding it.

I mentioned a new cell phone and I had to get another house phone as well.  The house phones are a few years old (I bought them while with my sister Andrea before her cancer diagnosis so at least 12 years ago), and one was acting up.  A few weeks ago I decided to open it up to see if I could fix it.  Turns out when I opened it, I broke a couple wires so the speaker wouldn't work.  It also wasn't holding a charge too well, so instead of replacing the batteries, now i had to replace it.  At least the base still works.  Anyways I found a few on ebay and I didn't want to spend a lot.  I had a number in my head.  A few were slightly over my price, but since I had them on my watch list, maybe a sale will happen.  Turns out a few days later, a seller gave me an offer.  He knocked off 25 to 30% of his original price and it was under my number in my head.  This phone was still new, but the box was opened.  I was fine with that, and it works perfectly after I pared it up with the existing one we have.  I'm sure for a few bucks more I could have gotten a newer system, but my mom really like these phones and more importantly the answering machine still has my sister's voice on it which my mom will miss more than the phones if something happens.  It's been close to 10 years since my sister Andrea passed on and it hurts my mom as much as the day it happened.  Hearing her voice whenever a new message comes at least gives her a bit of a smile.  

I mentioned some card related stuff at the beginning, and here it comes.  The first may not be what you expect, and I may have shown it before, but I'm going to finally use/display it, so its time to show it off, maybe again.

I bought this binder many years ago and it was pretty cheap.  While I have a few beanie babies, I never really looked for the cards much.  Luckily, I didn't need to.

The binder was full of cards, and almost a complete set of Series One.  I'm not sure if the person who donated these cards had another binder for the other series, or if they just lost interest.  I know there were at least three series of cards, and there was a competing set as well.  Almost every kind of animal is included in the beanie baby kingdom, and these cards nicely showcase them.  Like other sets of the time and even today, they even had variations and inserts.  There are also puzzle cards, and while that one is incomplete, I might have the rest of it because I have a few other cards as well.  I also have doubles.  This binder also had some other interesting stuff.

These I guess would be like oversize cards, but I don't think they were actually related to the trading cards.  I think these might have been fan club exclusives.  You pull the white part down and the picture gains color.  They are very unique, and I should look to see if these are the only three they made or if there are more.  These fit nicely inside the binder sleeve inside but I might find a way to display these on a shelf or something.  I recently moved my collecting shelf and I haven't refilled it yet.  Usually around this time I like to display wrestling, NASCAR, and baseball.  However I decided to limit the baseball items until the lockout ends.  As for NASCAR and wrestling, my interest has waned a bit as of late, so I don't plan to display as much.  That said, I do have other things I like to display, and now is the chance to do it.  However currently, One shelf if filled with other stuff so it limits my display space.  That will be fixed soon.

There was more stuff inside the binder as well.  It makes me chuckle a bit to know beanie babies fanatics were much like card collectors.

There was a membership card, and I think more (I should look for the rest of the stuff that came in the lot when I bought it.  This card was put in a nine sleeve pocket with the rest of the cards.  There was also a nine page printout of all things related to the trading cards.  As I looked at the pages I thought of all the wasted blank spaces on the pages, and the useless need for ink.  I don't print much, but if I printed something like this, I would try to be much more proficient in filling the pages.  At least the bottom one was better at filling the page.  It was an actual checklist of what cards they had and needed.  I don't think all the cards had all four variations, just the first 50 if I remember.  Though this is good for me so I know what else I can look for if I ever decide to finish the set.  I'll be honest, all the work gone into this, I feel a bit obligated to finish the job.  It's also fun to see each card which also has the birth dates of the beanies.  It will be a project I spend little money on, and no real timetable to finish.

It wasn't the only binder I was looking for this weekend, and this next one is what is spurring my excitedness in sorting cards again.

I'm pretty sure I did a post on this in the past.  To recap, when I was growing up, my dad had this exact binder he had cards in.  As the years went on, it got rougher and worse condition.  After my dad passed, I found it, and the front was barely hanging on, and was in no shape to hold cards.  I kept the front and cut the green on the sides and back to keep, possibly planning to place them on a new binder if I needed to.  I watched Ebay for a few years, and finally this one showed up cheap.  In fact I was content on finding a used one, but this one just had box damage and possibly never been opened.  So I bought it.

The only problem I had after it arrived was how was I to use it?  I'd rather put most of my collection in boxes so I can store more and grab these fairly easily if I need to.  Should I put newer cards in it, should I put cards my dad collected?  Another question is how many pages and cards will it hold so it doesn't get in rough shape like the last one?  Until I had answers, I decided to keep it in the box.  Fast forward a couple years and I decided its time to take it out of the box and use.  However none of the questions have been answered.  I'm leaning toward putting a few of my PC's into this binder not only to clear up room in the boxes but also so I can pull out the binder and enjoy the cards.  Hopefully I can fill it with the likes of Greg Maddux, Albert Pujols, Ozzie Smith, and Barry Bonds.  If I have room, I'll put a few others.  Other ideas is maybe my Missouri related cards which would included teams that called Missouri home or people from Missouri.  I also thought about my Mizzou collection, or even a list I created on TCDB (which I should finish) which is birthdays.  Each pocket would hold a person with a birthday for every day of the year.  I can swap them out freely if I need to refresh them.  All are ideas I will hopefully decide upon soon.  Maybe I could include a Frankenset of cards and just put random ones in it.  Or even just fill up the pages for an entire year and see how many cards I get.  When I decide, I'll make a post about it.

So this book was around 1990-91 but I thought it was fun to see what the prices were at that time.  I thought it was interesting that they didn't have a price for the Billy Ripken card, or Cal for that matter.  This was something else in the box with the binder.  When I opened it today, everything was still inside except the baseball cards, which I remember I took out when I originally got this.  None of the cards had value, but I didn't buy it for the cards.  This price guide was fun to look at and maybe I'll revisit another day comparing prices through different times and currently.

There was another book that was interesting inside as well.

I thought this was fun to look at too.  I might even try to scan the pages at some point to show all of it.  It is more in depth than I thought it would be and covers all the basics.  Maybe I should devote more time to this, but its getting late and I have more stuff to show.

At this point I should mention how pleased with how well the phone and tablet took pictures.  I long said I don't think a phone could replace my point and shoot camera, but I could see it doing just that.  I might even be more open to using it for video down the line.  I think a good test will be this summer filming my towns parade.  Its sometimes 5 minutes or less, so enough time to try it out.  If it doesn't work no loss, its the same entries every year.

Okay more stuff to show off.

I have school spirit, and these are a couple items I've wanted to display for a while.  The top item is the remnants of a seat cushion from when I went to school maybe in the mid 90s.  The foam is long gone, but it displays nice.  I've had it in a closet for a few years, but now its time to show it off.  The pennant is something I've had on my display shelf for the last year or so, but I have some pennant holders and I finally brought one back from storage, and now is the time to hang it.  The location isn't the best, but I think it will be just fine.  Not a lot of light will hit it so it shouldn't get sun damaged.  I don't know the age of the pennant, but I think it would be early 90's if not 80's.  The fabric is very thin and almost brittle, so I'm glad I got the pennant holder for it.  I have other pennants, but right now I'm not in a rush to showcase them, plus I only have so much space.

Speaking of spirit, in the 90s was a song about smelling like teen spirit.  I wasn't a teenager when the song was released and honestly I never liked the song as much as most people.  However something I did like was candy.  I don't think I'd want to smell like candy, but...

This wasn't a purchase because I thought it was cool.  Well, not ONLY because I thought it was cool.  I actually will display great next to the Mike & Ike lip balm and Mike & Ike Hand Sanitizer.  However, I actually needed some body wash, and I found this before I went to the place I usually do to get it.  This was at Dollar General, and was only a buck.  If I try it and hat it, I can always display it.  If I like it, I can display the empty bottle.  At worst, I'm out a buck.  At best, I can use it and smell great.  When I use it I might give an update.  I did mention to someone recently how I miss my dad always use strawberry smelling shampoo, and I should look for some, so maybe this can cure that itch.

I forgot to show these earlier with the binder.  Inside the box was 3 pages to fill cards with.  I noticed two interesting things about them.  First, the holes were never punctured so the plastic filling is still inside them, which I thought was cool.  The second was that these aren't Ultra or BCW pages.  These are Hygrade pages.  That is the company that sold this set, which I thought was interesting they made their own pages.  These are also very think, and I don't know if I trust early 90s card pages, especially since without cards, they are already sticking.  I think I might just keep them in the box without puncturing the holes.  I gave most my binders and pages to a friend a few years back when I decided to go binder free, but luckily I held more than enough pages back to fill this binder.  My oldest sister also bought me some pages recently as well.

I have more stuff to show, but this is a rather long post, and this seems like a good stopping point.  I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and the pictures I've provided, and I hope everyone has a great week.  Thanks for reading!