Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Christmas post

 Over the past few days I’ve gotten a few surprise packages, along with 1 or 2 I was expecting, as well as some Christmas presents that I wasn’t really expecting to get that have bolstered my collection. Let’s take a look. 

Kevin from The Diamond King had a giveaway recently and I claimed the cool die cut Chris Sale card. Kevin was nice enough to send 3 numbered cards along for the ride with the Sale, a really cool Purple Optic parallel of Blake Snell, a parallel of Al Kaline from this years Absolute Memorabilia set, and a numbered insert of Scott Kazmir from 2005 Studio. Back in the day, I would’ve had a really good chance at pulling the Kazmir, as I got at least 10 packs of ‘05 Studio and seemed to pull low numbered inserts like the Kazmir in just about every pack. 

Dime Box Nick also had a giveaway recently as part of his blogging anniversary, and I had my eye on the Randy Arozarena highlight SP from this years Archives set, and the Eric Thames card from the 2017 Topps Heritage set. Along with those, Nick included the beautiful Robert Campos purple refractor from this years Bowman set, a baseball magazine Trammell, a Topps Archives Al Kaline, a 1958 Topps of Harvey Kuenn, my first Allen & Ginter card of this year with Shane Baz, the McClanahan All-Star, a Vidal Brujan Chrome insert from 2022 Topps, Randy’s 2022 Archives base card, and a sweet Fearless Prism Casey Mize insert. The Kuenn and the Mize made me speechless for a little bit. 
Along the unexpected front, I got this card in an envelope from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown. I really wasn’t expecting anything from him, and this card has me stumped for a while. I figured it was a box bottom for while. Then I looked and found Trammell didn’t have one. I searched online for ‘white 1991 Fleer’ and couldn’t find anything. Then I remembered that Gavin experimented with putting a card in direct sunlight and seeing the changes before and I figured that’s what the Trammell card was. Had I actually read the note tucked into the sleeve instead of only reading the first one, I would’ve realized this a lot sooner. What a cool card and a nice holiday surprise. Definitely looks better than the standard yellow. Thanks to Kevin, Nick, and Gavin for the nice holiday packages. I’ll have to see what I can do around the holiday season in 2023. 
Close to a month ago, I got a value box of 2022 Topps Chrome and tried emailing the receipt to Topps to get entered into the retail drawing for what I thought was a silver pack of Chrome cards from that set. I was under the assumption that the drawing fro December purchases was closer to the end of the year, so I kind of forgot about it. A few days ago, I got an envelope from Topps/Fanatics. My guess was that it was maybe a ToppsNow end of the year card for winning a HR Challenge earlier in the year. I opened the package, and it was only 1 card, a 2022 Topps Chrome Spencer Torkelson refractor. I don’t know if I got that in place of the silver pack or just as a consolation prize, but either way, I was stoked!  I don’t know if the sellers were out of touch, but I found 2 listed on eBay for 100-200 bucks. I was just happy for the card to be a Tiger!  
Then at Christmas I didn’t get any cards on the 25th as we only did presents at my house with Kyler and Karens mom and we only got Kyler stuff. I kind of figured I wouldn’t get any cards for Christmas, and that was fine. We ended up going down to Lakeland to see my Mom and stepdad, and then going up to Davenport on the way back to DeLand to visit my youngest sister and her husband. We told everyone to just get Kyler stuff, but my mom ended up getting me 2 packs of Series 2, and I got a few inserts that I didn’t have. My brother in law ended up getting me a Series 1 pack, and I pulled an orange sparkle Luis Robert card. He also went through some loose cards that he had access to (they had just moved and his cards weren’t really where he could get to them), and gave me a few doubles (including a 2006 Bowman Chrome Alex Gordon rookie), and gave Kyler 3 packs of 1988 Leaf from a box. He had a box of ‘88 Leaf from his old LCS in Jacksonville, and I would’ve loved to open that as my ratio of Donruss to Leaf cards is about 50/1. Ky pulled a Rickey Henderson, 2 Will Clark’s, an Alan Trammell, and a Paul Molitor. Not too bad. On top of all of that, I got to stop at my favorite Chinese place before leaving to pick up a pound of my favorite bourbon chicken and General Lee chicken, and got to take home half of my moms famous cheesecake. I swear, that cheesecake has made me the talk of many girls in Montgomery, Alabama. I made it for a few of them for Christmas parties and stuff, and one girl after eating it wanted to hold my hand for 30 seconds each time she saw me after that (2 regular tubs of whip crème, 2 packs of cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of sugar, mix together with a mixer, and add cherries on top if you prefer, and that’s basically the recipe). 
Sorry I didn’t take pictures past the 3 blogger packages, it’s just been crazy. I still want to add some cards to TCDB, but haven’t had the chance to since the last post, but perhaps next Tuesday on my next day off, I’ll be able to do so. I’ve added 2 more complete sets (1994 and 1995 Topps), and missed out on some decent priced ones that sold (1997 and 1999 Topps). I should’ve just pulled the trigger, but I’m hoping to find a few sets under 40 bucks plus shipping and we’ll see if I can add the ‘97-‘99 sets and just trade for the missing cards from ‘86-‘93. Another reason to get them cards logged in so I can create a master missing card list. 
Not sure when I should organize some of these binders, but it might be a good idea for me to wait until everything is logged in and I might just leave spaces in my binders for some of the sets that are really close to being finished. 
That’s about it. I had a great Christmas and hope you have a s well. Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Might pull the TCDB Trigger

 In the past few weeks, I’ve added the 1985-1994 Topps Tradrd complete sets and the 1990-1992 Topps MLB debut sets to my collection, and have become 5 cards away from completing the 1987 Topps set. I’m really wanting to complete some older Topps sets because if I know my collection, I am probably 20-50 cards away from completing a number of junk wax sets. My dream would be to complete every Topps/Topps Traded set from 1983- the present, but with some of the prices for rookie cards, it might be cheaper to knock off some of these sets by trading than to get the complete sets. Some of the prices for complete sets (and Traded sets) are starting at 100 bucks plus like 20 dollars shipping for some of the sets, and thankfully, over the past 10-15 years, I’ve accumulated a number of the ‘main’ rookie cards from Topps/Update sets, save for the ‘05 Verlanders, the ‘08 Kershaw, the ‘12 Harpers, the ‘13 Machado, and a few others. Nothing a decent trade  couldn’t  help me acquire. 
That leads me to want to log all of my cards into TCDB. I’ve heard the horror stories about how it’s difficult to learn and how it takes forever to enter everything. I kind of know that going in. I want to be able to enter cards by team (which so assume I could do by typing in a set name and checking the ones I have), and when I have done that with all my teams and have put in whatever cards I have in other binders, then I want to be able to see how many cards from each Topps set I need before they are complete. Is there a way to look that up once all the cards are added to ‘my collection’?  Seems like a waste of time if not, but there are some parts of the site that are still a little confusing to me. I would ultimately just like to add only the basic Topps sets to my collection, but I want to have a good selection of stuff that aren’t flagship Topps cards just so I can have a nice trade stash so I can make some trades on the site when all is said and done. I figure it would be cheaper to do some trades, I wouldn’t have all of the doubles that I would be if I got a handful of more sets , and I could find a place for all of my Yankee$/Padre$/cards of idiots like Justin Turner, Manny Machado, and Yadier Molina to go. Sounds like a win to me. I’m sure it has been asked a thousand times around the different blogs, but is logging in all of your cards worth it?  Are there tricks that make it easier?  Will I be able to see my ‘needs’ and easily make trades once it is all said and done?  Any other advice?  My username is Karensjer if you want to add me. 
Thanks in advance. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

A random assortment

 Since my last post, I've been trying to get everything as back to normal as it can be with a wife who just had surgery, a kid who is hyper and smart as ever, and a job as a baker in a retail store with zillions of Instacart shoppers, production still at crazy levels since COVID hit, a major holiday coming up, and a boss from hades. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied at how things are. 

Karen is on the mend. The surgery went well, the headaches are gone for now, and we are just waiting for the incision to heal up. She is actually in Tampa right now, about 3 hours away, enjoying a work Christmas party at Top Golf. If I were off tomorrow, I would be there with her. 

I couldn't resist the urge and purchased another value box of 2022 Topps Chrome just hoping to pull a Wander Franco base card. I didn't, but I did pull another Jarren Duran refractor. Not much of a box, but I did get some trade fodder. While we were in Gainesville, we stopped at a card shop between checking out of the hotel and going to the hospital, and I picked up some Tiger singles from the '70's mostly. 
I should've looked at my sunset card list, but I just didn't have the time to dedicate to looking at lists besides my Tigers want list. I got some good cards, including a Mark Fidrych rookie for about 50 cents each. The '59 card was 3 bucks. I thought I found a Bill Madlock rookie amongst the '70's cards, but it turns out it is his second year card. Oh well. I'll just add it to my Cubs binder or trade it to someone who could use one. 
I have kind of been on a spending spree lately when it comes to cards. I purchased a few lots on eBay of Topps Traded sets, just hoping to complete a few sets by adding the Traded ones. I also got some random Tigers and Traded sets from a FB junk wax group. All in all, I have the 1985-1994 Topps Traded complete sets. As far as complete sets I already have, 1986-1990 are complete, 1991 is missing some (I don't know how many), 1992 is complete, 1993 is missing a few, 1994 and 1995 are missing a number of cards, and 1996, 2000, and 2019-2022 are complete. The rest are missing a number of cards, some sets more than others. I don't know if I could get a complete Topps run from say, 1985-2022 with what I already have, what I'm willing to spend, and what some of the prices for cards are these days, but I'm happy that I have the run of Traded sets that completed the 1986, 1987 (5 cards away from being done, which should be easy to find), 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1992 Topps sets. 
I also purchased the 1990-1992 Topps Debut sets, just because I always saw them on the back of 1991-1993 Stadium Club cards and have aways wanted to own a few because I could never find them anywhere. All 3 of those sets should be arriving tomorrow, and Kyler should have fun sorting those out. I have my eye on a 1999 Topps set and a 1999 Topps Traded set on eBay which would knock another set out, but I gotta watch what I'm spending and how much I have coming to the house before Karen decides to put an end to all of it. 

Karen and I had our 10th wedding anniversary on December 8, and we went on a short lunch cruise along the St. John's river. While we were probably the youngest people there, it was fun, and I had a blast spending time with her. After that, we went to a few stores and got most of our Christmas shopping done. 

We took some family pictures a few months ago and finally got them back. I was happy with the results. 
Don't let the smiles fool you. We are all crazy and have our problems.

I had a little time to work on customs today. My new laptop is nice, but I'm still trying to get used to everything on MS Paint and the newest version of GIMP. I am able to pull up a number of templates that I have saved to set pages, but for some reason, when I open them in Paint, they are about 3/4 of the size they need to be. I think I figured out that GIMP will show them normal size, and if not, I can zoom in a little more delicately that in Paint, and that allows me to get a screenshot of the file in the correct size, and then open it in Paint. 
I have been back working on the 1996 Topps set. On my old laptop and older version of GIMP, I had a system to where I could get the blue headshot on the card just by setting a color level (I can't remember which one now) to 235 or so, and it worked like a charm every time. I can't find out how to get to that setting on the newer version, but I think I found a way to turn the entire photo blue and I just have to blend it in with the card template. I think it works. Here are some of my first attempts on the new GIMP program.

That one was really weird looking. 
And now here are some of the ones with the new process I am trying.

Not exactly like a 1996 Topps card, but better than a color shot. 
I'm also stoked because I found a photo file I made a long time ago that featured card company logos, rookie card logos, team logos, uniform logos, hat logos, even templates for the 'position' baseball players from the 1976 Topps set. I thought the file was gone forever, but I decided to see if I sent it to anyone in FB Messanger. Sure enough, I did. I pulled up the file, had to open it in GIMP, but I got it the size I want, and it's back to its original form. The AJ Sager card above had a Tigers logo, and I smudged it away, took the Rockies logo from a David Nied photo, and added it to Sager's cap, and then also added the Rockies logo to my logo file. You don't know how much I missed that file. I'm off Friday, so maybe I'll make some more customs.
I also updated a number of pages today. I updated my Tigers,Rays, and Sunset Cards wantlists, updated all of my Favorite Players so my 'haves' list is current, and I added a special section to my main wantlist that lists all of the Detroit Tigers Topps cards I need from 1980 to 2022. I have the complete Rays Topps run from 1997 to 2022, and I figured with the Traded sets I've purchased, and maybe some trades and luck, that it could be finished by this time next year. While some sets are complete (1989 and 1990, 2019-2022), others have a decent amount of cards to go. I also included 1 or 2 '70's sets in the list since I am 2-3 cards away from completing them. If you have any Tigers cards you want to get rid of, let me know, and I will be happy to add them to my collection and maybe complete some Tigers Topps sets along the way. Your help is appreciated, and I'm starting to get a nice trade stash going to send back your way.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, December 2, 2022

A lot on the plate

 It has been a kind of hectic week here at Topps Cards that Never Were headquarters, and it will probably be so for the next week, but I was able to get a little free time after work to setup my new laptop, from which I am typing (most) of this post from. Between the mundane tasks such as getting groceries and getting gas and stuff like that, there have been a number of extra things going on or going to be going on during the next week. Some are fun, but they take planning none the less. 
I figure I'll get the not so fun ones out of the way first. Most of you who read the blog know that my wife Karen has been dealing with excess Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) in her head for a while now. She has had a number of surgeries to put in shunts, take shunts out, fix shunts, and everything else to try to improve the problem. The last one was like in June, and it seemed like it was working and draining enough fluid to make the headaches from the high pressure stay away. Well, about a month ago, she started getting headaches again, but not the normal high pressure ones, but more like a low pressure headache, where too much fluid is being drained and it tugs on the back of her head. The only way to relieve those is to drink caffeine, which helps with the production of more CSF fluid, and to lay down flat. She has been dealing with those headaches for the past month, but on Thanksgiving, she was in so much pain that she spent most of the afternoon and evening on the couch, and on Friday it was so bad that she went to the Emergency Room here in DeLand. They did some scans of her shunts, and had her transported Shands in Gainesville where Dr. Murad, her neurosurgeon works. Since it was the weekend, he was gone, and the team of nuerologists there lowered the setting in her vp shunt and sent her home and told her to follow up with Dr. Murad in a few days. The new settings didn't help, and after a few days of trying to work from home on the couch and being able to stand up and do things for maybe 45 minutes at a time, she called Dr. Murad's office, and was able to get an appointment with him yesterday. I was off, so we drove up there and he made the call to change the setting of her vp shunt to the lowest it could go and see if that would keep more CSF fluid in her. We think the vp shunt isn't working or draining very much at all and that the lumbar shunt is doing all of the work, so we're not realy expecting this to work. The plan is if it doesn't work that we will drive up to Shands on Monday and have surgery that afternoon. Dr. Murad will open her back and disconnect the tubing. If it drains CSF on the right side, it means that the lumbar shunt is working correctly and he will change the settings on the lumbar one to a higher setting so it doesn't drain as much CSF. If it doesn't have any CSF fluid come out, that probably means there is a leak higher up on the tubing and he will examine further. The thing that confuses both me and Karen is how the low pressure headaches came on so sudden after things being relatively decent since June. I guess we will find out on Monday. Like most of the last surgeries, I would love for it to be fixed, but I don't have much hope. 
With that being said, I had kind of a revelation on the way home from Shands. Most of you know that I am a Christian. Not the best one, and I have a lot of work to do, but it is an important part of my life. I have struggled a lot with Karen's surgeries and asked why God just lets her suffer and doesn't let her be fixed. Karen always has been positive about everything and she's the one that is dealing with it, but I tend to focus on the negative and what I can't change. I have also struggled with when she had a miscarriage in March 2021. Some days are better than others, but there are times when I question God and why all of these bad things happened. 
While at a Casting Crowns concert a few months ago, they were playing a song, and it was a song about the lead singers' mother passing away and how God held him throughout the process. It was during that song where I could hear God telling me as plain as day that He loves me as much as he loves our child that we will never know. I see that in 2 ways. One, that He loves our angel baby a whole lot. Two, that he loves me, as despicable as I can be a whole lot. 2 things that I can't comprehend. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it is nice to feel like there is a meaning behind all of it and that I am loved and that maybe I will see the purpose to the suffering. 
While driving back to DeLand yesterday, Karen was asleep, and we had songs on her phone going. Audio Adrenaline's 'Original Species' song came on. Basically a song pointing out how intricate and amazing the human body really is and how we couldn't have evolved from apes or whatever and that there was an intelligent creator (God) who knit us together and has a purpose for us. The song got through the first parts, the bridge, and then to a loud final chorus, and the lyrics just hit me: "I'm an orignal species more enlightened than Nietzsche. I'm sure you'd love to meet me 'cause I am loved by a Maker who's so clever. I was made to live forever. Though my body turns to sand, my soul is in His hands.". I was just overwhelmed with emotion. I just felt like God was telling me again that me and Karen are loved, and that there is a purpose to this, no matter what happens. So, I guess we'll just go into Monday without knowing answers, and maybe come out of it not knowing anything more, but it will be ok no matter what happens.

Besides that going on, there are a number of other things happening in the next 7 days. Tonight there's a storytime thing at church for the kids that we'll probably go to. Tomorrow is the Christmas parade in DeLand. Our church will have a float in it, and I'll be on it. The band plays Christmas carols, and I'll be on the keyboard, and Karen will sing if she can manage to feel well enough to. It will be tiring doing the parade after a long day of work, but it probably is the event I am looking forward the 2nd most out of everything. Monday and Tuesday I'm off, we might go home from Shands early Tuesday if everything goes well. I was stupid a few weeks ago and got a ticket for avoiding a traffic light after I cut through a gas station and turned right so I could get past the light. I want to take the safe driver course to avoid the points on my lisence and the insurance rate hike, but I have to register with the clerk of the court, and of course they aren't open on the weekend, and I don't realy have time during the week. With all of my off days being filled with Dr. appointments and the like, I haven't been able to do that yet, so I'll probably do that this week on Thursday perhaps. Only problem with that is that Thursday is our 10 year wedding anniversary, and I booked a river cruise for Karen and I before I knew that we were going to probably have surgery on Monday, and before I got the ticket. I have till the 12th to register for the class, so hopefully I can squeeze that in at some point before then. The cruise is the thing I am looking forward to the most, but I completely will understand if Karen isn't feeling up to doing that 3 days after surgery. I have also had an issue with the latch on my trunk on my car since before the first hurricane that hit us, and I've had my trunk rained in a number of times since then. I finally went into Kia, and they had to order a part. They just got the part, and I think I have an appointment with them next week as well, and I will be happy to finally have my trunk shut and stay shut. Like I said, a number of these things are good things, I just feel like a lot is going on. 
There are some fun card things happening, so I'll finish off the post with them. I got a package from Night Owl yesterday, and the cards blew my mind. He had mentioned the 500 ct. box of 1987 Topps cards that he had, and after I looked at my binders, I somehow needed a number of cards from the set. Greg stepped in, and knocked most of those cards off of my list.

 I am still missing a few, and I'll add a list to the bottom of this post in case anyone has '87 Topps cards they can spare. Greg also must've taken a look at my want list, as he added not only a 1998 Topps Chrome Refractor Tony Saunders card, but a 1978 Topps Lance Parrish/Dale Murphy rookie. 

The Saunders card was cool because it only leaves me with just his '98 Topps Inaugural Diamondbacks card from having his base/Minted in Cooperstown/Inaugural Diamondbacks/Inaugural Rays/Chrome/Refractor 1998 Topps rainbow. The 1978 Parrish card is probably my favorite one of the bunch. Not only is it a great rookie card of 2 borderline Hall of Famers, but it is an original card from Greg's collection when he was a kid. I feel honored to have a card that Night Owl had when he was a kid growing up, and to me, a card like that is better than a gem mint 10 superfractor chrome dazzle sparkle prizm card of the next up and coming rookie. In addition to those cards and the 1987 cards, were some Rays and Tigers from this year, most of which I need. I haven't decided if I'm going to try to go after all of the Wander Franco rookie cards, but thanks to Greg, I now have the Diamond Kings one. Thanks, Night Owl, for the cool cards!

I also ordered some Topps Traded sets from eBay. I (basically) have complete Topps sets from 1986-1994 or so, but not the Traded sets. I'm kind of want to finish up some of my Tigers master Topps sets, as well as regular master Topps sets in general. The Traded sets I ordered will give me every Topps Traded set from 1986-1994. I also ordered the 1 card I needed to at least give me the 1995 Tigers Traded set as well. Some of the newer Traded sets like 2002 and 2003 might be a long time coming as they have SP veteran cards, but at least I have some earlier ones and the 2019- present ones. I would love to get the MLB debut sets from 1989-1991 (or 1990-1992 if you go by the design), but with Griffey rookies and such, the flipper brah's made these cost more that what I think they are worth (especially the 1992 set). With just Bagwell, Pudge Rodriguez, and Thome in that set, I don't get why it's so expensive. Heck, I got the Bagwell from a dollar box 15 years ago. I might see if I can get some sets with just the Tigers. At any rate, this will put my organizing back to square one, but at least I'll have some full sets to look at while I'm organizing them again. 

That's about it for me. If you would like to send me some of your 1987 Topps cards, my needs are as follows:

6 Ruben Sierra Record Breaker Rangers
170 Bo Jackson Royals
261 Ruben Sierra Rangers
319 Greg Swindell Indians
323 Al Newman Expos
369 Brian Dayett Cubs
527 Jim Wohlford Expos
565 Dusty Baker Athletics
568 Ben Oglive Brewers
581 Cubs Leaders
690 Dane Iorg Padres
761 Greg Pryor Royals
788 Tim Stoddard Yankees

Thanks for your generosity, and I'll find something to send back. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.