Friday, July 8, 2016


Why do you do what you do? It's something I've been pondering for the past several days as I have been working to salvage as much as I can of my files.

In the grand scheme of things, writing a blog about cards, scanning cards (and other stuff) and even collecting cards, is not really all that important. It doesn't make the outside world a better place.

But it - usually - provides and escape from the pain of the real world, something normally fun to take your mind off your troubles.

And troubles I've got. Aside from all the horrible stuff going on in the world which doesn't affect me personally, but is troubling anyway- which I will not comment on beyond this (the blog is supposed to be fun, remember) I am in pain 24/7/365. And I have been now for more than half my life.

I'm not a particularly happy person- you may not get that from reading my posts - but it's hard to be happy when you feel terrible all the time.

Collecting cards is supposed to be fun. Usually, it is. This week, it has not been. I am now on day #10 of attempting to recover my scans, photos and files. I still have several days of recovering ahead of me, and that's not even counting having to relabel every scan, as the program I used to recover them did not save file names. It also didn't save the many folders I had sorted everything into- all my pictures, scans etc. got dumped into one giant folder, which had more than 302,000 photos in it!

Ever since I got my digital camera in 2003, I've been photographing anything and everything. So much so that I've picked up the nickname "The Mad Documenter" Now, though, I had to go through every single one of my photos trying to find my scans that were not backed up anywhere but the usb drive. And it have to it worth it? Nobody cares about my photography except for me. I can tell, definitively, because my website, which I have maintained since 2004, tells me exactly how many times my images have been looked at.

Quite a few have been up for over a year with a grand total of zero views.

It's made me question if it is even worth doing what I do...and that's not even taking into account that when my life eventually'll all disappear. Fotki is something I pay for, every year- quite a bit actually, $96 a year to be totally accurate- and when you stop paying, it disappears. I have no heirs to carry on my work, or even just to maintain it - and no prospects, either, as it's been very long time since I've been able to attract attention of the female kind.

That's hopefully going to be a long way off, but...I've already come within 5 minutes of dying. The future is not set in stone. Health related stuff has already forced me to give up: Driving, my NASCAR diecast collection, dreams of being an archeologist, dreams of being a race car driver, being able to breathe when it's more than 75 degrees out, etc. Walking. (sometimes) Oh yeah, not to mention being able to collect cards like I once did.

On the other hand, say I stop photographing everything, stop working towards scanning my entire collection...then what? I spend most of my time working on documenting my collection, IE, scanning cards, with the occasional photograph thrown in- I still have quite a few action figures left to be photographed. The rest of my time is spent reading, and I've already pretty much finished the history section at my local library.

And some of my reading pursuits have been ended in ways I am not particularly fond of. As I've mentioned in the past, I had my first DC Comic read to me at 5 days old, and I've been reading comics ever since. However, DC's leadership is sorely lacking, and they have thrown out their entire history, and are currently telling horrible stories that are not anywhere near worth reading. On July 1st the monthly comic order arrived, and in it was the last DC Comic I will be getting for the foreseeable future. I never imagined a life without DC Comics, but they lost me by producing nothing worth reading, year after year.

Star Wars is in a similar vein. My earliest memory of anything is watching Empire Strikes Back, but Disney bought it, threw away the entire history, and began publishing/producing, to put it bluntly, crap. 2016 is going to be the first year of my life- I'm 32, or will be in October- where I don't watch a single Star Wars movie. Again, something I never thought would ever happen. I still read a couple of the Star Wars comics, but the best one- Darth Vader- was just cancelled, with issue #25 being the final installment. (it hasn't come out yet, but it's been pre-ordered). That leaves me with one ongoing Star Wars comic series to read, and since I'm not really enjoying it...I could see myself walk away from it, as well. I can't bring myself to do that yet, but I can envision it happening.

I never imagined a life without DC Comics or Star Wars- and yet, outside circumstances I have no control over have parsed them from my life, or darn close to it.

I will keep working at recovering my stuff, but it takes a long time...and some of it is corrupted, taken down by a faulty "My Passport" brand remote hard drive. Unfortunately, the one and apparently only Excel file I lost was the stats page for my comic collection, one of the very few that had information on it that was only there, and so, since it's gone, is lost forever.

You'd think I'd have known better than to trust having a single copy of something. I lost my entire NBA collection stats when a floppy disk went bad on me circa 2005-not once, but twice, which was such a huge loss that it contributed to my leaving the NBA from 2006-12.

I don't know how long it will take to recover everything I can recover- it took more than 5 hours to move 1,907 NASCAR card scans earlier tonight- but I will keep working on it.

I am glad, though, that I was able to recover so much that I have. It would have been such a crushing blow to lose everything that I am not sure if I would have bothered, or just given up. I may not actually be able to recover everything, I probably won't know what had been scanned but not yet uploaded to the Database until I finish scanning every card in my collection, and then go through each set to see what's missing- something I think won't happen until 2021 at the earliest, however, probably much later, as I originally estimated in 2009 that I would finish in 2015 and I'm only at halfway on my NBA collection. Estimating is not my strong suit.

Still, though, I have to wonder...I've had, in the time I've been doing stuff on the computer:
  • 1 remote hard drive
  • 2 or more floppy disks
  • 1 actual hard drive
  • at least 3 flash drives (don't remember, maybe more)
  • 1 camera
  • 2 SD memory cards for cameras 
  • 1 Jeep
all crap out on me and die, usually taking  their entire contents with them. Why bother scanning stuff, and working on photo documenting things, or just taking random pictures, if they are just going to be lost forever?


While we are on the subject of Why?....Why do card companies include the player's weight on sports cards? Does ANYONE care about this? Has anyone ever cared about this? Height, I understand, at least for the NBA- you can usually tell what position a player plays based on his height- but weight? I've never met anybody who cared about this. In fact, in more than 15 years kicking around card based websites on the internet, and more than a decade of card shows before that, I've never heard anyone even MENTION it, with the single exception of somebody making fun of Charles Barkley and Oliver Miller once.


Since I don't want to post two consecutive posts without a picture, here's another "why"...why did I think it was a good idea to put this many cards on a fold up card table?  (note that it's bending in the middle!) Not really too visible in the picture but trust me- it was.
 This was back in 2000, and that is my entire NBA collection at the time. I don't remember how it was sorted, I was sorting constantly back then- I don't even remember all the different ways I sorted the cards, but the usuals were by set and by player, and back and forth.

I still use that same table, in fact, it's been where I have had my computer since 2003 when I got my own. I'm sitting at it right now to type up this post.  It still has a couple hundred cards on it pretty much every day, although now it's just small stacks of waiting to be scanned (usually)

And I still have not finished any of the three model kits below the table.

That's enough whining and philosophy. Next post will be back to actually talking about cards.


  1. I know what you mean with DC. The only book that would get me back right now is a Legion of Super-Heroes book starting. Before the New 52 I was collecting around 35 DC titles.

    1. My brother and I collected every DC title...earlier this month the last comic we needed to have every continuity book of the 3rd continuity arrived off eBay. I'm a big Legion fan myself but it has been a while since they got it right. When they announced the New 52 and said that there was no more JSA I knew instantly I was done. I kept reading only Green Lantern but they have basically only told two storylines since the reboot and they weren't particularly good stories so I had enough.

    2. I forgot to comment on the part where you asked why list a player's weight. I actually enjoy seeing the weight on football cards, especially for the linemen. It is interesting to look at how much bigger linemen have gotten over the years. So I would be one person.

  2. "Why?" can be a tough question to answer personally but "why not?" can help get you there. Pretty much whole existence on the internet has been one big "why?" I've written numerous other blogs and designed several websites over the 20 years I've been on the internet and I can tell that 99% of those endeavors faded away into obscurity. (I did have one noteworthy blog post that got a whopping 1,600 views, which I was thrilled about. Shameless plug here lot of times I did ask myself what's the point. But then I realized why not do it anyway? I've enjoyed writing posts, learned something along the way, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment, not whether people read my stuff or not. Sure it's more fun when people look at your stuff but at the same time, the internet is far too big to care.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that even if people aren't looking at your photos, did you have fun doing it? Would you still document everything even if the photos weren't up online? Even if you take a break from certain things, pick them up again later and then with some time to let the dust settle you can realize why you did that thing in the first place.

    Anyway, I don't know if this long late-night rambling makes sense but keep up the good fight

    1. Great reply, thank you. You brought up a point I was in such a rut I lost sight of. My website came about because I needed somewhere to put my pictures, not the other way around. I guess that proves I would do it anyway, website or not. While I was going through my files I found copies of so.e of my favorite message board posts from over the years, some of which I had forgotten that I saved. A few of them may be turned in to blog posts in the not too distant future. I have composed and posted thousands upon thousands of message board posts, and most of them are gone. Most of the message boards themselves don't even exist anymore. But I still post from time to time, like you said...why not?

  3. This is the saddest blog I have ever read. :(

  4. I just visited your website. Mquite a variety of topics. I will be back to revisit. If we didn't collect and organize our collections. What else would we do

    1. Thanks Mark, my favorite section is Nature Shots & Trips, some of my favorite work is in there. Very true!

  5. I for one like the weight on basketball cards though I'm sure I'm in the minority. But I do like it especially for big men. It gives me some perspective on how big they are compared to others. That said I probably look at their weights on more than on cards. Just started looking through your site. There is a ton of stuff so I might be going through it for quite a while.

    Why do it? We do it because it means something to us. That can be something different among all of us or the same. Everyone is different. Don't forget and don't question things too much. Enjoy what you do for what it is - again we all have our reasons.

    1. Good point. Seeing how much Shaquille O'Neal had on everybody else WAS interesting. Thanks for looking at my website!

      It does mean something to me. Thank you!

  6. "Why do you do what you do?"

    Simple. It's for me. I do what I do because it keeps me sane in this crazy eff'ed up world. I blog cuz I like writing and need an outlet for my humor. Ditto for Twitter. Do I think what I do will change the world? I hope so, but I know it won't. And I'm okay with that. Because it's difficult for just one person to make a difference in the world.

    But one person can make a difference to one person. Or a few. A parent to a child? A friend to another friend? Doing something for a complete stranger? That makes the difference in that moment. So I collect, I blog and I do what I do for myself. If, like a grenade, it affects other people, then yeah for me.

    BTW, I am sure you have been told, but Google Drive. 15gig of free backup drive space, and each year you can usually score an additional 2 gigs. And who says you can only have one Google account (wink wink). Billybaseketball@gmail for you BB photos. billynascar@gmail for you NASCAR photos, etc...... There is also Flickr. One free terrabyte of space. I think there is a 300MB daily upload limit, and the fear of Flickr maybe being purchased in the future (and being closed?). But for now I use Flickr to save and link to images for my player projects.

    The world changes, as do we. Maybe you are having struggles with some of these changes (DC, Star Wars, etc.) I can struggle with change in the world. I hear that on every yearly review at my job. Hey - I loved the SW books, and when they blew the entire EU out of canon, it sucked. Royally. But I get why they did it. As great as the books and comics were in the EU, it would have been too hard to work TFA into the EU without messing up continuity somewhere. Can you say "Splinter Of The Mind's Eye"? That book doesn't fit in ANYWHERE. So the EU was great (Grand Admiral Thrawn, Wraith Squadron, Starfighters of Adumar [my personal favorite]), but to build the future, Disney needed a clean slate. If there is anything I hate most about Disney's ownership, it's the whoring out of the license to anyone and everyone.

    I'm writing too much - Hang in there. I can't begin to claim I know what you are going through physically. But I can empathize with the mental crap. I've been there. Too much. The key is to not STAY there.

    1. Thank you for the well-thought comment, Jeff. I do have a GoogleDrive but I have more files than they give you. I went with Amazon Cloud, which I am enjoying quite a bit. Since I signed up two nights ago I've already uploaded more than 30,000 images. It's faster than google or Fotki. And of course for what I want to share publicly I continue to maintain Fotki.

      I loved the X-Wing books too. They really didn't need to toss everything- nobody except Topps really considered the Splinter of the Mind's Eye part of continuity anyway- but if they just cut it off at the Yuuzhan Vong invasion (said it was a particularly strong Force vision or something) it would have been fine. The whole tone of the movie and the new books though is simply not "Star Wars" to me. It's also significantly dumbned down, which I feared would happen with Disney. Unfortunately I was right. Thanks again!

  7. I think everybody else has covered the "why" part already, so I won't even try to come up with some kind of philosophical response. It does sound like you're being plagued by the same kind of thoughts that have been dogging me for the last couple of months though, and I know for me personally, the advice to "try not to think about too much" or "I do whatever I do just for me" doesn't seem to be helping.

    I thought it was kind of neat to see that you had aspirations towards working in the field of archaeology, that was one of my dreams too. Even though it didn't happen, I'm still holding out hope of pursuing it in some sort of amateur fashion. You still have time to possibly go that route as well, you probably won't end up being the next Howard Carter, but there would still likely be some excitement to be had.

  8. I was out of a job a few years ago, just moved to a new town and I tough I sell my childhood card collection to pay the rent. I found the Database and started organizing my collection, so I can see what am I selling. As I was surfing the Database, I came across your writings. The love in which you talk about cards and collecting just grabbed me. In the end, I still sold most of my cards, but not the Kobes and not the Shaqs. Collecting Kobe and Shaq still takes up most of my free time and I love it. So this thank you note is due. Thanks Billy.

    Let me tell you about my brother too, he used to be the Shaq collector. He can recite the height and weight of almost every player who played in the NBA, by heart. As well as their date/place of birth and just about every major stat. Oh, and not just from the NBA. We just got into a discussion of how the size of today’s players effect the game compared to the 90s. Particularly of course LeBron James. He has an amazing memory. If you show him an AU JSY 1/1 card he will say cool, then grabs and flips over some Topps base card and gets lost studying the stats. At age 10 the doctors told him, if he were to show up 2 weeks later, he would have been dead. They said, after the brain surgery he will be lucky enough to walk, much less play soccer (his favorite sport). Guess what… he is an MMA fighter/coach now, and also plays soccer competitively. He is my inspiration in life, and you are my inspiration in this hobby.