Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Another song and the Hall of Fame

 The year was 2006. I had just moved to Montgomery, Alabama to live with my old college roommate JT (Jophis). The goal was to start a band, make a CD, get some gigs, tour, and get rich. Seemed like with our talent and experience, we would get there by 2007 at the latest. Around May or so of 2006, we had already recorded our first song (Liberate the Penguins), and were working on getting some of my original stuff in the works of being recorded. A guy that JT knew named Nick, who played guitar, had come along and also been fortunate enough to be able to stay with JT at his parents place. Soon, along with one of JT's friends Walker, a violin player, and Nick, JT and I formed the foursome known as The Younger Griffin. 
Band Logo

I was given the moniker Captain Scratch, Walker was Ranofer, and Nick was Professor Dynamite.

Captain Scratch- Piano/Keyboard, Rap & Secondary Vocals

Jophis- Main Vocals

Ranofer- Violin/Strings

Professor Dynamite- Guitars

 We worked on a few songs together, even recording some piano, vocals, and violin to a song JT and I co-wrote. Unfortunately, we didn't use a click track, so the rythm got all messed up, and that was a lesson learned and a song that will probably never be  heard by anyone. Another song, an instrumental called 'Tunnel' did get recorded, with piano by me, and some guitar by Nick. Untortunately for that song, we never burned it to a CD, and even if we had, it would've been lost over the years probably. Whatever computer that track has been saved to is probably in a landfill somewhere. I do plan on making my own version of that song without Professor, as I remember most of the chord progression, and the main keyboard riff to it. 
As far as a 4-piece band, that is as far as the Younger Griffin has ever got. While we could probably call on Ranofer to record some violin for us, a month or so after Professor moved it, he flew the coop. He had a steady girlfriend at the time, whom both Jophis and myself had met. She seemed like a nice girl. I had a feeling that Professor would get on his feet, and we would see a lot of this girl as time went on. Unfortunately, apparently Professor had been cheating on her with some girl he met while working at Subway, and had gotten the other girl pregnant. I can't remember if she was out of state or what, but the end of the story goes: Professor moved to Kentucky or Tennessee or somewhere, had a kid, broke up with his girlfriend, moved in with his baby mama, and was working at Wendy's. Jophis and I saw Professor like a year later with his new kid (the baby mama didn't make the trip), and while Jophis is friends with him on FB, I haven't really kept up. Last I heard he married someone (maybe the baby mama), tried out for the Voice and was going to be on the show but something happened and he had to go home and now he's not married anymore. Things happen in life, I get that, but Jophis and I always thought he was kind of a flake after he cheated on his girlfriend and skipped town. 
Jophis would always joke that Professor was going to leave Wendy's and go for higher money at McDonalds, and we should make a song about him called 'All my bro's work at McDonalds and all my ho's go to McDonalds'. I took the phrase and ran with it, and actually made a few different versions of the same song.  Song #1 was a little raw, but it is what it is. Version #2 came about when I played version 1 for one of my co-workers at the time and his brother. They suggested I change the word burgers to patties and have a little break part where I go 'flip flip flippin those patties'. Version 2 does have some lines about patties but no break part. I decided to make a version 3 because I wanted to take some words that might be deemed 'offensive' out and also so I could add the break part. That is the version of the song that is on this video. 

So the premise of the song is basically about a day where the main character is working at McDonalds in his first week and Professor is one of his co-workers. All about how easy it is to work at McDonalds, the shady types of people you work with and have to deal with, all of the food that gets tossed from the floor to the fryer, and basically making fun of Professor and the fast food chain.  Same deal as last time. Video is below. Comments and suggestions are welcome. . I have to say that I'm learning how to use the editing program a little better. I have figured out how to get some of the effects to do what I want them to do. I think if I wanted to, with a little patience, I could make each line appear and disappear and do that in the order I want. For now, I just had each line start as the line in the song starts and hopefully got to where it doesn't start too late. I have also got the chords to stay right where I want them to on top of the lines, and even tried to put some lyrics over a photo (of a friend kicking a McDonalds tray off of my head). Unfortunately, that didn't work the way I wanted it to, but at least I am starting to make sense of some of the features, and might be able to make a video where the words are right where I want them to be and the viewer can make sense of everything. 

I really hope this years Hall of Fame election gives us more guys than Big Papi getting elected. I've been seeing a little bit about it on TV and online.  Even without steroid guys, I think Papi, Rolen, Helton, Schilling, Kent, and Vizquel all deserve to be elected with Andruw Jones being on the edge and possibly getting elected without falling off of the ballot. I feel Jones will get elected even if he does fall off of the ballot, and guys like Hudson and Wagner might fall off the ballot, but will get a good look with all of these sabrmetric stats becoming popular. A-Rod, Pettite, Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Sheffield, Clemens, Palmeiro, and Bonds are steriod guys I feel deserve to be elected. McGriff, Mattingly, Kenny Lofton, Keith Hernandez and Dave Parker are just a few guys who've fallen off the ballot who deserve to be in, with guys like Dwight Evans, Darrell Evans, Ken Boyer, Jim Edmonds, Bill Buckner, and Vada Pinson are not neccessarily Hall of Famers in my book, but worth another look. Heck, if Raines, Baines, Gil Hodges, Andre Dawson, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar, Mussina are in and all of the guys clamoring for Dick Allen (and who have whined about Raines, Hodges, and Santo not being in) get to have their way, I think Shawn Abner will get elected on the next veterans committee ballot. It's not that I am a 'big Hall' kind of guy. I just think a number of 'very good' players have gotten elected who fell 3-4 seasons of 'counting stats' short, while a number of dominating guys like Lofton, McGriff, and Parker fell like a seasons worth of HRs or SBs short of getting 500 or whatever is deemed worthy. Why elect Hodges, Baines, Raines, and Mussina without putting McGriff, Lofton, Parker, and all of the other guys I mentioned who are far superior than some guys already in the Hall? I followed baseball like crazy in the late '90's and the whole decade from 2000-2010, and I feel my ballot would reflect the best players from those eras. Just because the sabrmetrics became popular and someone didn't have enough WAR for a computer geek to think they are a Hall of Famer doesn't mean they weren't a good player. I could find any bozo off the street with a computer degree to make up a computer program and tell them to input player stats and they could read off whatever list the computer spits out and make a case of who deserves to be in the Hall without having watched a game in their life. I've attended more games in my 38 years than some longtime baseball fans have even watched on TV and attended combined, so I think I should get a little consideration, and maybe actually have a real HOF ballot in 2023. If anyone reading can make that happen, I will make it worth your while (as long as it doesn't involve putting Dick Allen or Mark Buehrle or Bobby Abreu in. I guess we will see the final results on Tuesday.

I got the 2021 Update set in the mail yesterday, and Kyler helped me sort the cards into teams on today, my last day of freedom before going back to work. I'll still have a little time to work on some more lyric videos after work tomorrow. Perhaps I'll work on my song about Surge soda and all of it's greatness. Hope I can remember how to turn the ovens on at work and not burn anything after being out for almost 2 weeks. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Monday, January 17, 2022

First song: Liberate the Penguins

 The last post was kind of a downer, and I have nobody but myself to blame for that. I just need to be more patient on the road and not go too fast when I’m putting a keyboard on a stand. 
Things have kind of turned for the better since then. While Kyler did end up testing positive this morning when we tested him, good news is I am off the next 2 days, and if he is halfway into it like we think he might be, he could just end up missing this week from school and be able to go back next Monday, and it should be something all of the adults in his life (myself, Karen, and Karen’s mom) should be able to cover if he needs a sitter on Thursday and Friday. 
I have also been able to make a (lyric) music video to what I hope will be one of the first of many songs I can torture my loyal readers with. Before I post the video, a little background. 
I was homeschooled for a good amount of my childhood. 1st grade-half of 2nd grade, half of 5th grade-end of 10th grade. I went to a private Christian school from 2nd-5th, and most of the social interaction I got was at church. Not a good deal for someone being thrown to the wolves at public school in 11th grade. I basically didn’t say a word to anyone for the first few weeks and became friends with anyone who pitied me.
That included some crazy people. Jason Sitta, his brother Josh, Bradley Agee, his brother Branden, and another Josh (Richardson), and his brother Jordan. I hung out with those guys the majority of 11th and 12th grade. They were your basic gothic kind of guys who enjoyed video games and wrestling. That love of video games led them to the game Metal Gear Solid, which had some group in the game called the Sons of Liberty. Josh R took it a step further and made a group called the Grandsons of Liberty. Josh R, and the rest of the gang took to the halls of school to add members to the group. Main goals of the group? Liberate penguins, hats, and words that end with the letter ‘a’.  Naturally, I was a perfect fit for the club. Each member got a code name (I was brown sugar), and had to recruit other members. I have always enjoyed penguins, so I had no problem being in the club and getting people to join. 
In 2001, I went to college at the University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama, and recruited a half a dozen or so people. One of them was a guy named JT. He would become my roommate during my 2nd semester there. I moved back to Florida in 2002, and in 2005 before Christmas, decided to hang out in Mobile for a few days and see some old friends, 1 being JT. While hanging out with him, we were messing around on his piano, and started writing music to a song about penguins. I went back home to Florida and finished the lyrics, and within 6 months, I had moved back up to Alabama to stay with JT and his family and try to get a band going. We had a Weird Al-type of band called ‘The Younger Griffin’, and a serious project called ‘Resiliency from Obscurity’. JT ended up getting a traveling job like a year later, but before that, we recorded piano, synth, and all of the vocals to the song. I moved back to Florida in 2009, and added the bass and drums to the song, and it has been the lead Younger Griffin song since then. Both bands we made are still ‘active’ today, although neither I or JT have much time to devote to the projects. JT became my brother in law in 2013, so I see him a few times a year, and we keep telling ourselves that we are going to get together and record one weekend. I have been doing some recording during the past 6 months, but really need JTs expertise in singing and writing lyrics and recording for that matter. I do have confidence that if nothing else, I might get some of my stuff recorded, and just use the 'Resiliency' brand to get it out there this year. 
So short story long, that is how we ended up with this song about liberating penguins. For the Younger Griffin, JT refers to himself as Jophis, and I am Captain Scratch. Keeps our loved ones from being embarassed and stuff. Here is a simple video with the lyrics, chord progressions, and even a watermark from the site that I downloaded the program to make the video with. If this thing works well enough, I'll keep making videos like this to put my songs up on my blog with. Please leave comments (or hate remarks), and I will try to improve things going forward.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Plans change

 Well, I promised new music stuff on the last post, but I have kind of been on the DL for the past 2 weeks. It all started on the 8th. Actually, let's go back to the day before, a Friday. I had it all planned out...
I had just purchased a dual stand for my keyboards and had planned on setting it up Friday after I got home from work. I was working Saturday -Monday and then had 2 days off without our son on Tuesday and Wednesday where I planned to work on getting some songs either transferred to a player I could put on the blog or put up on YouTube somehow. 
That is how the stand looks right now. Unfortunately, before I got it set up all nice, I was trying to move a keyboard from the desk in front of it and grab wires off of the floor at the same time. While trying to hold the keyboard up, it ended up falling off of the desk, and hit my left pinky finger. If you are squeamish, scroll past the next 2 pictures. 

That’s what it looked like shortly after it happened. I managed to stop the bleeding with cotton and a band aid, and my wife gave me instructions on how to care for it. Lucky for me, it cracked and most of the blood came out from behind the nail so it doesn’t really hurt, but I haven’t tried to play since it happened. 
That’s how it looked a few days after. I think it’s slowly healing. 
So after that happened Friday, Im at work, and get a text from my wife that she tested positive for Covid. Me and her got our boosters back in September, so they probably aren’t as strong as they were when we first got them, but the short of that is that I tested positive on Monday, but both are seemingly at the end of it and made it through ok, and so far Kyler hasn’t got it. 
It also threw a loop into my plans for any music recording as all 3 of us have been home the past week. I took another test yesterday, and it still came back positive, and that combined with still being stuffy and having a little cough led my work to keep me out another 5 days, so with my off days for this week being Tuesday and Wednesday, that will have me going back to work on Thursday. We have a number of people who have stepped up with people being gone for Covid and stuff, and I’m truly appreciative for people covering for me while I’ve been out. While I’ve never been a fan of going to work, I do miss the routine, and I’m thankful for having a full time job with benefits. With that being said, I have a feeling I will thriving when I am able to retire. It has been a great thing for me to be able to sleep in to 9 or 10 (or 1) instead of having to get up at 3:45 in the morning, and my wife and I have just been having a blast being able to hop into the bed around 9 or 10 and not having to rush to get to bed. We have been turning the TV on, talking some, playing games together on the phone, and just having a ton of fun hanging out with each other before bed. My job schedule just doesn’t allow for it, so this has been good for me, and I hope to go back to work a little refreshed. 
The whole staying inside thing has been a bummer. The Sunday after Karen tested positive, we had planned on going out to dinner, as we hadn’t had a date night in like 2 months, and I was really looking forward to that. We’ve needed groceries a few times since being quarantined, but Karens mom has been nice enough to bring stuff by a few times. It still stinks being locked in the house and not being able to do the normal stuff like going out. 
I kind of wish I would’ve just stayed home today, though. Karen was cleared to go back to work, so she went in, but forgot her laptop. I probably won’t go back outside until I test negative or at least until I work Thursday, but she needed her laptop, so I drove out to her work and she just got it out of my car and then I drove home. 
At least that was the plan. I was about 3 minutes from home with some asshole in front of me going 20 in a 35 zone. There was a stoplight coming up and I knew I could cut over into the va parking lot on the right, cross the street, and pass the idiot while he was at the red light by cutting into the gas station parking lot and turning right. I pulled the move off great, even managed to shoot them the bird, but as I was making that final right turn to get back on the road, I must’ve clipped the curb, and sure enough, my damn tire blew. So I’m currently sitting in my car waiting 120-135 minutes for the tow truck to get here typing this post. I hope that asshole that can’t go the speed limit has a crappy day and loses their wallet or something. I’ve cut that corner at the gas station so many times coming from the intersecting road in order to not get caught at the red light and it’s been fine every time, with some spinning out being the worst thing that’s happened. I’m still mad about it. I have a headache, I was 3 minutes away from home, was going to hang out with Kyler for a few hours before Karen got home, but now my day is shot and I’m probably out a few hundred just because some jackass can’t drive fast enough and I clipped the curb on a move I’ve pulled out expertly 10 times before. I probably should’ve been more careful in doing it, and I’ll take responsibility for that, and you can bet if the situation arises again that I will do the same thing again and just pay more attention to the curb. People say I like to make excuses a lot, and I’m ok with that. I just know that had I not had to bring that laptop to Karens work I wouldn’t have been on the road, and had that jackass went even 10 miles faster, I would be home right now and it pisses me off when someone else’s actions cause me crap when I’m just sitting at home minding my own business. I really hope that slow driver gets what’s coming to them. It just sucks that I won’t be there to see it. 
Hopefully I’ll get this car stuff fixed today, and I’ll have another day like this tomorrow (without the car crap).  Kyler is off school Monday (seems like he hasn’t been to school in a month), and as long as he tests negative, I’ll have those 2 off days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe I’ll have a song or 2 up by then as well. 
While I’m not coming back to card collecting completely, I have kind of gotten an itch to get the 2021 Topps set, and I’m kind of looking forward to 2022 products. I remembered that John from Johnnys Trading Spot had gotten a few of the 2021 Topps sets and I reached out to him, and he is kindly sending one my way. I purchased an Update set on eBay, and I’ll probably just sort them and put them in their team binders. As for 2022, I’ll probably get a few packs of Topps and Donruss (yes, they are putting out a set this year) and call it good. Any other packs that Karen gets while at Target will probably go to Kyler, and I’ll just oversee in case he pulls a Trout autograph or something that doesn’t deserve to get macaroni and cheese on it. Then at the end of the year, I’ll probably get the set. 
I think I’m also going to try to get the 4 Brody Koerner minor league cards I am missing and at least some base copies of any Topps/Donruss/Bowman if he can get on some this year. The perfect scenario for me will be if he gets a card in Series 1, if they make a combo of him and the other 2 guys who made their MLB/Yankee debut in the same game, and if he somehow gets a Donruss card. Yeah there is a chance since he is a rookie and Topps is all about the rookies, but he’s never had a Topps card (or Topps contract, perhaps), he only appeared in 2 games and it was mainly because of Covid, but it could still happen. Whatever cards he does get on, I would try to get a few copies of and then bring those to that wedding in March that I am probably going to be roped into going to, and hopefully Brody will be able to make it. I figure between the 10 or so cards I have of him now that the number will be closer to 20 should he get a Topps issue, and I’ll just feel him out on how many he would be ok with signing for me. Maybe have a few extra copies to pass out to his parents/siblings/relatives too. The lockout and him being a free agent kind of makes things weird. Should the strike be over with before March, there is a chance he could sign with a team that trains in Arizona, and he could be a no show at the wedding. There is a chance of that if he signs with a Florida training team, too. I almost feel that having a lockout go through early March is my best bet at him showing up. I might have to get my wife to send a text to the bride (their mutual cousin) and see if he’s returned his rsvp or not. 

We’ll end on a good note with the music. I just wanted to note that with some of my songs (even with the first few paragraphs of this post), that I come off as really negative and angry, and to be honest, it’s easy for me to get there. Then on other songs, I talk about God and some of them almost sound like they have been from personal experience. Well, they are. I don’t confess to know everything. I’m not the perfect example on how to live life. I’m still looking for answers. I have songs saying ‘God will be your peace’, and then ones that express wanting to get revenge on ‘the man’ for oppressing the poor. Then others that ask ‘why do I do the things that I do?’  It’s a constant struggle and some days I’m up and feel like I’m doing what God wants me to do, but then a minute later I’m doing exactly what I don’t want to do, and not caring about it. I’m not the perfect guy, and I just ask that if you are questioning if God is real or needs to be a part of your life that you don’t hold me to a super high standard because I’m not going to be able to achieve it, unfortunately. I just ask that you be open to me, and I will try to be open and honest with these songs and that somehow we will find the truth together and be better and make others better for it. It might take some time, but I will get some songs up soon. 
The tow truck is here. Off to make the rest of this day go a little better. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Been a while

 It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I would assume after the last post that everyone wants an update. That’s fair. 
Well, it hasn’t went exactly the way I thought I’d would, but it hasn’t been all bad either. I haven’t purchased a pack of cards for myself since the last post, and my wife has purchased a number of ones for Kyler since then. I’ve opened them with him and it’s seemed to go ok. He enjoys going through each card and asking if the player is one we’ve seen in person at a game. By now, he recognizes some of them and can remember if he has seen them them or not. He has also pulled 2 autographed cards and a jersey card. The autos were a Ryan Weathers from the 1986 Topps insert in 2021 Update and a Nick Madrigal from 2021 Topps Fire. The jersey was a Ryan Mountcastle from 2021 Update. Whether he remembers these cards and is collecting years from now is anyones guess. 
Now for what may be the not so good. I have been kind of secretly pulling the Rays/Tigers/guys I collect from the packs and recently organized my Rays and Tigers binders on a day off. I’m not proud of pulling the cards, and I probably could have not updated my binders with loose cards that I hadn’t put it, but it happened, and that’s where I’m at now. I don’t know if I am just trying to get justification for doing it or what, but yeah, that happened. 
I am proud of how long it’s been since I’ve opened a pack and I think I’ve come to realize that while I think it’s good to have cut down on reading blogs and buying packs and chasing every card that the interaction with people is still a good thing. 
With that being said, I wanted to address each comment left on my last post individually, as they all meant a lot to me. 

Nachos Grande- You’re right about everyone needing to do the best for their family and personal situation. I’ve also enjoyed your blog (although I haven’t commented much either), and I enjoyed your team giveaway you did at Christmas a few years ago. 

Fuji-Glad to have your support. Your blog is a personal favorite of mine because of the thought-provoking questions you pose at the end. I wish I could do that. Glad you enjoy that Posey. 

Johnny’s Trading Spot-I appreciate that. Glad to see the Braves win the Series for you this year. 

Jeff B.-Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. The music has been a good outlet to replace it (more on that later).  I feel like I was tempted a lot early on, but now it isn’t as bad (doesn’t mean it can’t rear its head at any time), and I feel like at least that area has got better with my wife, but I will always have areas to work on.  

Adam-You are right about kind of feeling a freedom. With all of the time that I devoted to organizing cards, updating this site, making customs, there wasn’t much left. Now, I don’t feel like I’m in as much of a rat race, and I have more time to work on music stuff and devote to family and other things. 

Night Owl-You are right about needing moderation in everything. Too much, and it’s an addiction, too little, and you run the risk of going crazy and not having any fun. 

Rod-I’m glad that someone can relate to me in all of this. I love the ‘meet you in the air’ part. I will have to keep that in mind when I end up saying goodbye to someone. 

The Diamond King-I sometimes wonder if I’m posting stuff that’s too personal, but yeah, I trust my readers and feel like if someone doesn’t want to hear what I’m saying they will just tell me or read something else. I do trust my readers and feel like maybe I can help them with something they are dealing with so I kind of wear my heart on my sleeve (like I do in real life). 
It’s tough for me to change some of the ways I’ve believed since I was young, but I sincerely hope I can change some of my long held beliefs for the better. 

Matt-Yep. The greater good is what is important. 

Jon-Thank you. So far it has been good. 

Jafronius- You are right. Sometimes it’s hard to see, but they really are the most important thing. 
I’ll probably be on the lookout for some Brody Koerner cards. Can’t wait till Topps puts out the final checklist for Series 1 so I can know what I’m dealing with. One of his (and my wife’s) cousins is getting married in March 2022, and although I would rather not go, should he be there and have a Topps card by then, that might change my mind, lol. 

A Cracked Bat-Thanks for the well wishes. 

Mark Staffieri-Yeah, I think probably anyone who has collected for more than a year has probably dealt with the addiction factor. 
Doing customs because of the money factor is a good idea. Side note, would you ever be interested in handling the customs part of this blog with the checklists and custom cards and stuff?  Let me know. 

I think that handles it with the comments. Thanks to everyone who commented and went well wishes. 

While I don’t want to get full-time back into blogging, I feel like I kind of want to use this platform as something to just write about life, music, what I am feeling or going through at the moment, and maybe even some baseball thrown in. Just something to connect with everyone, and possibly, just help someone out there who is going through something. 

So what have I been up to since the last post?  We’ll, I’ve made a bunch of music. I probably recorded 20 songs. Some have been in the works for years, some have been written in the past month or 2. It has taken about 3 months to get a halfway decent setup and figure out what works as far as recording. When I first started out, I was just recording using my voice recorder on my phone, my keyboard, the garage band app on my phone, and no mic. Then I would email it from my phone to laptop, cut out parts into tracks, and have a song. Not very good at all. Since then, I’ve added a bunch of things to improve the sound, and it shows. I added a USB external sound card, a few 1/4 inch cables and adapters, an adapter that goes from my phone to headphone jack size, and finally a microphone. Not high quality stuff, but it gets the job done. Probably half of the stuff I’ve recorded will have to get re recorded in order to get rid of unwanted noise and stuff, but I should have some good quality versions of songs that I’ve wanted to record for years. Some of them are serious and have positive messages. Others are just rants about work, corporate machines, and getting stopped by the Man. Still, others are just songs about how much I enjoy Surge soda, working with thugs at McDonalds, or about penguins. Just totally random stuff, but they all have stories behind them. Hopefully I can post some, and you will glean some wisdom from the serious ones, and laugh at all of the rest of them. Stay tuned for some music in the near future when the holidays are done with. 

My wife has also been through some stuff since the last post. The headaches came back, and with all of the symptoms she was having seemed to point to her artery being clogged again. Her neurosuegeon had her in, and after doing scans, we could see that the tubing in her lumbar shunt was kinked again. At that time, we didn’t talk about the artery and just scheduled a surgery to try to reposition the tubing. This was early December. Dr. Murad, her neurosuegeon went in, moved the tubing to a different area, and was about to close up, and it moved, so he had to try a second time, and after doing scans, it looked like it stayed in place, so he closed up. 
It’s been about a month since the surgery, and the headaches are back, and she has had a few episodes where it’s almost like she’s drunk, where her words are slurred and none of her texts make sense. She’s also had issues with breathing which are worse than her normal asthma flare ups. All of the symptoms point to the artery being clogged to me. Blood not getting to her brain could cause the speech and neuro issues, and if there isn’t enough blood with oxygen circulating, that could be causing the breathing issues. The reduced blood flow could be making the headaches bad. That’s not to say that the shunt being kinked wasn’t an issue, but I wished they would’ve at least consulted with the vein people and perhaps done a scan before going in for this last surgery. 
We are getting in contact with the vein people and waiting for an answer. The last time we spoke to them was probably sometime last February when they saw that one of the veins they unclogged in the last surgery had clogged back up again. They didn’t seem to worried about it since another one had grown and seemed like it was doing the job, but I really wish they would’ve monitored it more closely. I believe they said that if the stent they put it the veins didn’t work that they did have another surgery they could do, but it would be complicated. I guess we’ll stay tuned for what they say. 

We went to St. Augustine about a week ago with some family, and although it was a good time, 2 things just stuck out to me and made me sick. 
On the drive there, we got to an intersection, and there was a group of like 15 people with signs and megaphones. Apparently it was some kind of white power rally. Signs that said ‘White Lives Matter’ and stuff, but the one that really got to me was one that read something like ‘Young black men murder white babies’. WTF???  Where do they even get that convoluted  idea from???  I realize where we were at was redneck city, but I didn’t think we were that F-d up. Everyone has thoughts and generalizations of other people and races that aren’t necessarily right or they stereotype certain groups and that’s not ok, but at least they don’t go off the deep end like this group of people. I would like to think that if a life or death situation happened (a war, a shooting, hostage situation, bad car accident, etc), that 99% of people would help out another person, no matter what the color of their skin, beliefs, or whatever. Seeing that crap just made me sad to be a human and wondering the state of the world today. I want to raise good human beings, so why have I only been able to have 1 kid in 10 years and why is it so damn hard to adopt? I’m sure some of those jokers are popping out kids like nobody’s business. Just frustrating. I hope they lose momentum to whatever sick party they are a part of. 
The other thing that I saw that day that concerned me wasn’t anything that really affected me at the time, I was just concerned about what could happen in the future. 
We were going to the main part of the city with the big Christmas tree when we saw 2 young grade-school aged punks with their parents behind them. They were armed with toy machine guns sweeping back and forth, acting like they were shooting up the crowd. While the act didn’t cause any harm in itself, I just imagined what those 2 punks could be doing in another 5-10 years. I’m not opposed to people owning guns per se. I’ve fired a gun before, I know people who hunt. I just think they are a tricky subject and there should be certain stipulations and precautions taken before someone should own certain types. Especially if you have kids. Those 2 kids obviously aren’t going to purchase a gun when they come of age to go hunting with. Maybe we will get lucky and their parents will get them involved in ROTC in middle school and some of that agression will get channeled in with discipline. Or maybe we won’t and somebody will have to be a casualty of parents who don’t teach their kids the difference between good and bad, fantasy and reality, etc. Another instance that day which made me pissed off that the chances of us having another kid don’t look very good. I think it was just worse that day because my wife’s brother and 2 cousins were there with us that day. All 3 couples were pregnant when we found out we were last February. I think it was the first time we saw all 3 of the new kids in the same place after our miscarriage last March. Parts of the trip were fun, but had I known the bad stuff we would’ve seen, I would’ve just stayed home. Maybe I can make sense of all of this with music or something. 

Back to a positive vibe, we had a pretty decent Christmas. Kyler got some legos, puzzles, and other fun stuff for Christmas. Work has been hell with tons of orders and sales going up 20%. Perhaps I’ll get a decent cut of the profit….. I’m just glad that the big holidays are over with. Just got to get through New Years Day, which won’t be too bad for me, watch Bama lose to Cincinnati (a man can dream, can’t he?), and I’ll get a break for a few weeks. I hope to have a great 2022. My ultimate dream? COVID getting under control, moving out of Florida, a nice vacation where we see a new stadium or 2 and go to some nice places to eat, a healthy wife, a pregnancy and healthy birth, lots of songs recorded, and maybe a new house and man cave should we move. If we stay here, maybe a little break from relatives and my boss quitting. 
Sorry this is so long. I will try to keep newer posts shorter. Hopefully with some music to go with it. If you are interested any in what is going through my head musically or any of the piano stuff I am playing, I am working on a piano/music theory kind of blog. I’ll put a link up when I get that up and running. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

A (probably) final update

 Hello everyone. I kind of felt the need to write and just let everyone know where I'm at as a person/collector, why I dropped everything, and maybe help you make sense of everything. I hope this doesn't get to be too long winded, preachy, or non-relatable.
Ever since 1992 or so, baseball, as well as the cards have been a big part of my life. Maybe more so during my middle school years. I think by then, it was starting to get to be more than a hobby. By the time high school came around, I spent most of my money on getting cards, and any time I have the chance to go to a game, I would bring the cards and try to get autographs. I think by that point, it had gotten to be more than a hobby. It just grew by then. When I moved back home to go to college in 2002, I went to a lot more games trying to get autographs, and was buying cards like they were going out of style. 2004 came, and my parents split up, so I really didn't have my mom hounding me to not buy cards, and I started doing the ttm autograph thing. Baseball and the cards were there for me during some crappy times in my life, and although it was fun, the both had become an addiction that I didn't want to let go. 
I met my wife in 2011, and she was concerned at the money I spent on cards and how much time I devoted to baseball websites and the like. I told her I would change, and of course, I didn't. We got married in 2012, and I got a little better, not really buying any packs in 2013 or 2014, but in 2014 I started doing the custom cards, and in 2015, she got me a few packs, and I was hooked again. 
There were a few fights on how important cards were to me, and I made small changes, but would go back into bad habits again. Around 2 months ago, it got really bad, and I'm surprised that my wife stayed around. Every last second of my life was devoted to the cards. I would spend all of my free time on an off day either doing customs or organizing cards. When I got home from work, I would ignore straightening the house up or other daily tasks that needed to be done just to do baseball things. On days both of us were off and we would have a chance to nap, I would purposefully miss sleep in order to get out the laptop and make customs. Any chance we had to go to Wal-Mart, Target, or wherever, I would get more cards. I was just a complete and total selfish jerk. She called me out on it, and on that day, I made the decision to stop with them. It was (and still is) hard, but that is just what I have to do. I have got a few packages in the mail from bloggers, and I've just took the cards out, or quickly went through them with Kyler, and then then quickly put them away in a box that Kyler has for his cards. I honestly can say that I really hope he forgets about them and doesn't get into collecting. It can be fun and good, but I have just went too far with it, and I don't want him to get like I have. The tough part has been if Karen has purchased a few packs for Kyler. I open them with him just because she wants us to have daddy-son bonding time and because I always wanted my dad to collect with me, but the evil part of me wants to keep the cards for my collection and just go back into old bad habits that got me in the place I am now in the first place. And she has said that she is ok with me collecting. I just shouldn't make them more important than other people, and they certainly were. I just don't think I can keep getting cards without going full force back into them, so I had to 'burn the ships' as they say. 
This has left me with a lot of time on my hands. Some of it is alone, some of it is not. I have tried to work on music when I am alone. While none of it will ever get picked up by anyone serious about music, and the music is just nonsense to begin with, it keeps me occupied and has somewhat of a purpose. During times with the family, I've been trying to be more present, probably failing 90% of the time, but still better than when I was 100% into baseball. I've been actually sleeping when we nap, and it feels good to get a little more rest (just wish I didn't have to get up at 3:45 AM every day for work).
Brody Koerner, a guy we are kind of related to (his Uncle John married my wife's Aunt Charla), made his MLB debut in August this year for the Yankees. He might be on cards in 2022, and if so, I want to tread extra lightly, perhaps not even trying to get a simple base card, just so I don't open up the wound again. I might follow the playoffs this year, but hopefully with only a passing interest, even if the Rays do like they did last year.
Here's where it might get a little religious, and if you don't want to hear my thoughts, please scroll down.
All of my life, I have grown up in church. I prayed the prayer, went to the services, read through the Bible a few times, and thought I was living a good life (didn't have sex until I got married, supported Republicans, hated the right people). The more I have been with my wife, the more I have come to realize that it's more about a relationship with God than it is a list of do's or don'ts, and although people may be doing things I don't agree with, there are a lot more sides to an issue than black and white sometimes, and I don't need to judge. It is very hard for me. Very, very hard. It is scary to think that I have been living my life the way I have for 30+ years, thinking I was going to heaven if I died, when I may not have been living my life the right way at all. It is so hard for me to change after 30 years of thinking what I was doing was right. 
With the baseball cards, I always had that lingering thought in my head that should I die, or should Christ return before I died, that the cards would just be left to someone, sold, or if Christ came, just be burned to the ground with the rest of the earth at some point in the tribulation. Yet, still I collected. Still I wasted money. I hope nobody I work with reads this, but sometimes I really hate my job. If I had spent money and invested it, I could've probably retired at least 5 years earlier. Not now, and although I have some cards that I could probably sell for a few hundred bucks, I really doubt if I could even get 5-10 thousand for my collection. I don't want to know what I've spent on the whole thing in its entirety. 
I remember one time in like the 7th grade, a missionary came to our church and gave a powerful talk about how they needed money to keep doing what they were doing and feed starving people. My mom took us to Kay-Bee's and got us kids something, me baseball cards, of course. I felt something inside me (the Holy Spirit) telling me to ask her if I could just leave the cards at the store and donate the money to missions. I was a coward and never spoke up, and while it may not have made a difference in the long run, it is telling of what I have done for years and years. Basically putting myself and the cards first, instead of putting Christ, my family, and others in thier proper spots. I have been trying to consciously change that, trying to help out at work more when I would just rather say 'screw you guys, I'm going home', trying to listen to the Holy Spirit when I am at work or home, and just tyring not to judge people and be open. I am scared to death that I am going to just repeat myself. It seems like every time I try to change, it works for a week or a month, and I just go back to bad habits. I try not to make negative comments, and it works for a few days, and then I'm right back at it. I can't afford to mess this up, or I could lose the best thing in my life (my family). I know it's not realistic to expect to be perfect, but I almost feel that I have to in order to keep my family. I feel like I may be on to something just putting things in their proper spot as far as priorities and letting the rest fall into place, but I guess only time will tell. I would love for any advice. I feel like maybe how they say it takes 17 days to form a good habit could work for me, as I've been basically not messing with cards for at least 17 days, but I just don't want to mess anything up. I have an addiction, and I think as a self-proclaiming Christian, it means more for me to give up these cards and get my priorities straight than someone who isn't (not to be judgy or anything). I guess I mean I just have to choose to actually live like Christ would and believe that heaven after death is real and that only good things we do here on earth matter, or not and just do whatever I felt was best for me. 

Ok, done with the religous part. I also wanted to apologize to some of my readers. I recieved packages from Jay of Card Hemmorhage, Kerry from Cards on Cards, and John of Johnny's Trading Spot. I confess, I haven't read blogs since I quit blogging, and I probably won't, but there were a few trades that were kind of in the works since I stopped everytning (mainly with Jay). I didn't reach out to anyone to ask if they wanted me to ship cards, and I should've. It would've been awkward, but I should have. Jay reached out to me yesterday and called me out on that. I should've reached out, or just went ahead and sent the cards. A few days before I stopped everything, I went to my LCS, and found some cards for Night Owl, Fuji, Card Hemmorhage, Cards on Cards, Johnny's Trading Spot, Cards from the Quarry, and maybe 1 or 2 other bloggers. I haven't sent any of those out. Some are packages, some are envelopes. I hope on Wednesday to stop at the post office after work, and finally just put that to rest. All I ask is not to send anything back. I can't do this anymore, and I just want to put cards behind me. 
I have had some great memories with collecting, and I do have some things I've done in the process that I feel might have some eternal worth (sending someone a nice card they weren't expecting, making someone happy with a custom I've made), but ultimately, I feel that I could be doing so much better without doing the cards. 
As far as this blog, I might check every once in a while to see if there's a comment that really needs addressing, but I feel that after a while, there won't be, and hopefully I can just put it to bed. Part of me wants to see a complete missing player checklist done for all of the Topps run 1951-2026, but I know in my heart that it ultimately doesn't matter. That isn't to say that people who collect cards or do customs are anywhere below me. I think I have shown through my actions that I am one of the chiefest of sinners, if not the worst. 
A reader, David, reached out to me about some earlier customs he has done, and I have given him access to this site in order for him to post them. Not sure what will happen with that, but I trust he has fun and anyone who sees the cards he posts will gain enjoyment from them.
Well, that is about it. If you have any questions about all of this, I guess just let me know. If you feel like I'm decent enough to keep following, I am on Facebook (Jeremy DeJong), though I rarely post, just mainly see what everyone is up to, and occasionally show up on one of my wife's posts. I wish you all the best in life, and hope you can have the best life (whether that involves cards or not). 
Thanks for reading my (probably last) post.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Hanging it up

 This could be my final post for a while. Things are fine in my life, but I need to take a break from cards, blogging, making cards, and baseball in general. I appreciate everyone who has ever sent me a card in the mail, followed the blog, or made a nice comment. The kindness shown was truly undeserved. I hope this page can still be a nice reference for anyone who is into custom cards or just wants to see their favorite player get a Topps card that they never had. If anyone feels like taking over the page, I am happy to hand over the reigns. Thanks again. You guys rock. 


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Latest rip to the card shop

 My last post was a little Covid-heavy, but I really expected at least a few people to ask me to pick them up some cards when I went to my LCS yesterday. Nobody took me up on the offer. Tough crowd. I still made out with some nice cards, and some stuff that I'll hopefully have shipped out in the next week or two. 

I was planning on mowing the lawn, but ended up putting it off until next week, and that gave me time to look through 4 or 5 boxes of .50 cent cards, as well as a pencil box with some loose Rays and Tigers cards in it. 

I've been to the shop enough to know that the owners, 'Pop' and TJ know me as the 'Rays guy', and they had a stack of Rays for me to look through when I got there. That was a nice touch. 
I'll start first with the Tigers I found. Somebody must've had a bunch of 2018 Bowman Refractors, because I found some from a number of different teams, including the Tigers. I wish I would've had that Parker Meadows in 2018, I saw him play at West Michigan that year when I was on vacation, and was able to get him to sign a custom, but I always love the look of a signed Refractor. I also got some 2021 Bowman's, including 2 of Dillon Dingler, the Tigers 2nd pick in the 2020 draft behind Spencer Torkelson. I still need to get a Torkelson and Casey Mize 1st Bowman card. Not pictured are the 2002 Topps Tigers I pulled from the pencil box, leaving me a handful short of the (non-Traded) '02 Topps set. The Heritage cards leave me 1 card short (Spencer Turnbull) of the 2021 Topps Heritage Tigers set (including SP's!!). 
I didn't have as many Rays, but did find some nice '18 Bowman Refractors and '20 Stadium Club Chrome cards. I'm still high on Brandon McKay (and Brent Honeywell), even though they have been injured for a good portion of their careers. The Rays could have a starting rotation of Glasnow, Shane Baz, Honeywell, McKay, Shane McClanahan, and easily trot out Ryan Yarbrough or another power arm in AA or AAA in the future. If only it were that easy. They just traded 2 more good arms (Drew Strotman and Joe Ryan) for a steroid abuser (Nelson Cruz). This move ticks me off for a number of reasons. First, because they should've made this move in addition to keeping Blake Snell. Imagine the club with Snell at #1 with Glasnow as your #2 guy in a 5 game series. Cruz could put them over the hump with Snell still there. Now he just helps keep you getting in the playoffs, but you still don't have the solid 1-2 starting pitching punch like you would've if Snell was still on the club. Second, Cruz is a steroid abuser. There is always the chance he will get caught, and he's not going to keep up his HR production without them. He's been caught with them before, and I don't know why nobody mentions it and keeps talking about him being a great person and good for the clubhouse. On top of that, he's only a rental, since he's a Free Agent at the end of the year. Lastly, Ryan and Strotman are good pitchers, each one on the Rays Top 30 Prospect list. Some of these trades that the Rays have made where they give up a minor leaguer to acquire a Major Leaguer have stumped me. They gave up Jesus Sanchez to get Jesus Aguilar, and they only rented him for a few months. Sanchez was a top prospect before he was traded, and he's one of the top prospects for Florida now. In the Jose Martinez trade, while they did get Randy Arozarena, they gave up Matthew Liberatore, who is a decent pitching prospect. Martinez was basically gone after a few months, with nothing to show for it. I'm just scared this trade won't get the Rays any further in the postseason, and they will have nothing to show, and Minnesota will have some good pitchers for a decade or so.  Back to the cards, there were some Arozarena cards in that stack they saved for me, and I happily got them. I'm trying to hold off on getting any 2021 Topps singles, since I plan to get the set as soon as they come back, and I did a good job, just getting some inserts and parallels from the set.
For Favorite Players, I found a 2021 Topps Gold of Paul DeJong, a 2021 Bowman and Bowman Chrome Logan Gilbert, a 2021 Donruss Blue Orel Hershiser, a 2012 (or 2013?) Finest Drew Hutchison, 2 Casey Mize cards from 2021, and cards of Michael Taylor, Eric Thames, and Touki Toussaint. 
As for stuff I got for trades, I found some Refractors, a few parallels, and other cards that will be thrown in to packages in the near future. 
I’ve been hitting the 1991 Topps set like crazy, finishing all of the missing cards as far as Major Leaguers. Just have to do some stadiums, team photos, and a few Future Star cards to finish the set, which I think I can get done by the end of the weekend with any luck. Next up will be the 1991 Traded set, and then I think I’m leaving to the 1990 Topps set. I know I’m trying to get all of the players from the ‘90’s finished, but the ‘90 Traded set (as well as some from the regular set) will meet that criteria, and I’ll be missing out on that criteria on the back end as well, as the cards from the 2000 Topps Traded set will feature guys from 2000, not 1999. I just feel that 1990 will be a heck of a lot easier than my next option (1995), as it has only 1 font instead of 2, 2 less teams to deal with, and a lot less players overall. Plus it will still give me a run of complete sets in a row (1990-1994), as opposed to 1991-1995. 
That’s about it. Thanks for checking out my latest post.