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!