Friday, August 30, 2019

Now I can sort of read my Japanese cards!

SumoMenkoMan has sent me a lot of Japanese cards. I really appreciate that because I would have pretty much zero chance of getting them otherwise. But I couldn't read them. Luckily, and somewhat confusingly, the team and player names are in English on the basketball cards...but I couldn't read the backs at all.

Until now!

Yesterday, my brother got a new phone, nearly identical to mine. He was the first in the family to have a smart phone and it's dying, so it was time to upgrade. When he was checking out his new one last night, we saw an icon on the camera screen and didn't know what it was, so naturally, he clicked on it. As it turns out, it's something called Google Lens, and it has a few options. You can place it over food to find out more information (something I've not used yet), over products or images to pull them up on sales sites or a general Google search, it can copy text, and on the far left of the icons- Translate.

My first thought was about cards. I ran and grabbed my phone, and I had it too. So then I went and got one of the latest cards Ryan had sent me and tried it out! It's not perfect...but it's a heck of a lot better than it was before!
 This is a regular picture taken with the camera on the phone
This is a screencap of Google Lens. As you can see, it works pretty well but not translated Brave Thunders as Brave Sanders, I'm not sure what Students should be in the bio area, and it gets the nouns a little confused (we don't refer to people as It) but this is a FAR cry better than it was before! When I could read nothing. Interestingly, it didn't translate the stat headers, but they were printed in English anyway.

I've actually got half a mind to go in and screencap each and every one of my international issues- not just the Japanese cards. I've also got cards from Germany, Belgium, and others, although the vast majority of untranslated cards are Japanese.

This is a pretty cool tool to have, now I need to get out some of my world coins and see if it can translate them...

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Odds & Ends: A catchall post

This post a catch-all of several small topics that I need to get posted, but don't have time to give a full post to.

First, I realize I'm going to break my streak of 10 posts per month that I had going. Last time I did not hit 10 posts in a single month was September 2016. I kept it going longer than I thought I would- but I'm not going to hit it in August 2019. There's a very good chance I won't hit it in September or October either, as I'm going to be extremely busy during the next few weeks, including my favorite day of the year- the Adirondack Nationals is fast approaching.

I got new glasses last week, for the first time since 2005. I'm not really adjusting to them well- I made a poor choice when I selected them. But I like the design, so I'm keeping them...for now. Next month I will get a different pair, and transition these into painting glasses. But it feels like I'm wearing scuba goggles all the time here. I'm at 20/900 vision by the way. Without my glasses, I'm pretty much blind. With them, I can see again. I was at the point where I couldn't read license plates or the scroll on the bottom of NHL Network or NBATV. Now I can. Ironically, adjusting to the computer screen is proving to be a bit of a challenge- which is one thing I could see just fine before. Odd. But I will get used to it eventually.

I have done almost nothing with cards this month. I am writing this on August 27th, and I have not scanned a single card at all this month. That's just a weird feeling, but I have been doing other things. For one, I had been backlogged in updating the original files that go into creating Cardboard History Gallery. That was the last thing I really did in the hobby, then I just kind of shut it down. I even have some cards I scanned in July that I have not edited yet. I just tonight typed in all the cards I've gotten during the month earlier tonight- it's not many. And if I hadn't received (another) generous gift from SumoMenkoMan I would be looking at essentially 50 cards. Instead, it's 183 cards. That's my lowest month in a long time, I think. I do have it all written down but don't feel the motivation to check it.

I'm still at total burnout stage, which I have been at for a while now. August is typically my least-card active month, based on my records. I suspect it may have something to do with the heat, which has always badly interacted with my health problems, and I just don't want to do much.

However, these past few days, the weather has been good so I got the model stuff out and got to work again. That has been going well, surprisingly well- one model literally fell together in a single day, everything worked just perfectly, as I've never seen before. And I've built more than 300 models over the past 20 years!
This was the first one I finished this month. It was originally intended to be a factory stock build, but the paint can was defective. I decided to make a lowrider out of it. Totally coincidentally (this build was started last year) the next model show I plan to go to's main theme is lowriders. The theme was announced after the direction this build would go in was already decided. I used the parts supplied in the kit to make the left front wheel off the ground, as you sometimes see with lowriders- first time I've ever done that.  I've never been to the show before, but some of my club members have and they say it's a good one. There's actually another local model show coming up next weekend but it conflicts with the Adirondack Nationals, and I can't give that up. It's my favorite day of the year, and I need that right now as I'm dealing with a health related thing that is making me very depressed. I don't want to talk about what it is but I am not sure I can enjoy the Lake George trip this year. Even "cardboard therapy" didn't help this time.

On that note, real life has been somewhat trying of late. Our new fridge (purchased 2018) had an issue where everything went bad, our new AC (purchased in April of May of this year) died, our car (leased July 2018) had an oil leak, my storage unit where my models and all kinds of other stuff is stored changed their system and now, what used to be climate controlled, is now set on 80 degrees, which means my entire model collection could be facing damage from the heat. Now I think my tablet may be dying as well, it's certainly not acting right. I'm feeling pretty beat down right now. Coupled with my continued health problems I'm finding it harder and harder to find any happiness in anything. I don't really want to get out of bed each morning at this point...I do, but I feel like I'm just "going through the motions". The Adirondack Nationals is, as I've said, my favorite day of the year, and it couldn't come at a better time...although with my health problems it's getting harder and harder for me to do the car shows.

On a happier note, I got an unexpected package from Fastenal Racing this month, with a hero card and a sticker for the Fastenal Fan Club. I remember signing up during a contest to win some race used sheet metal. I apparently didn't win, but I'm very pleased to get the hero card. I have not gotten any in years now, then I got a new to me card from 1986 a few months ago, the Derrike Cope card I got at the NYIAC, and this one now. I think the last one I got before these was 2012. It's been a while. My intention was to plug my scanner in and scan it, but again, lacking motivation, so I took a picture instead.

I hit an NBA milestone earlier this month, 93,000 different cards, if my count is correct, via trade on the Trading Card Database. So far, I've made 36 trades this year, adding 790 new cards to my collection. I've never tracked it before but I'm keeping a running total via a list on the Database this year. I'm not including Random Acts of Kindness either, just actual trades where I send something and get something. You can see the list HERE. I linked to page 4 which shows the most recent trades. if you hit the link, you'll see I also made my first ever Twitter trade earlier this month. Actually, I made it last month, the cards arrived to me on August 1st. I know I'm several trades down on recapping them- remember when I used to do that?- but I've misplaced a box of cards including some absolutely needed to make the post, entire trades worth. It's not unusual for me to lose things, it IS unusual for me to lose cards before I write them into my paper listings. This is only the second time I am aware of, the first time I discovered it when I found some cards in a box that were not registered as part of my collection. There may be more, mixed into my storage unit somewhere, probably never to be seen again, that I just don't remember.

I have been toying with the idea of moving away from my paper listings. It's at the point now where updating them causes my pain, but these are the backbone of my collection. There was a time (a little more lax now), where I didn't even consider a card a part of my collection until it was entered in my paper listing. But I can't bring myself to do it. When I was away from the NBA from 2006-12, I actually missed working on the paper listing more than I missed the cards themselves sometimes, if you can believe it. I can tell my handwriting is getting worse- I'm losing some of my fine motor control. And if you've ever seen my handwriting, you know it's never been good. I realized that I don't need it to be perfectly legible- as long as I can tell what is supposed to be written there, it's good enough. If I spell something wrong, it's not that big a deal. There are a few pages that I've rewritten due to too many mistakes in the past. Not going to do that anymore.
I just don't trust the computer enough to transition to using it instead. I've had files corrupt, I've had storage devices corrupt, and with my computer not having a battery backup of any sort, if we lose power, I lost any unsaved work. That's too many variables I have no control over. Paper doesn't corrupt. I'm up to 4 binders each for the NBA and NHL, 2 for NASCAR, one for Non-Sports and other sports and one for Misc. which currently has WNBA, multi-Sport and NCAA basketball.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Blue Angels, Red Arrows and F-35 Lightning Demo Team

How was your day today? Mine was spectacular! The New York International Air Show is at Stewart Airport in Newburgh. NY this weekend, and I won't be going- for my family to attend would be $750, it's crazy expensive. However, today the Red Arrows and F-35 Lightning Demo team took a flight to the State of Liberty today. The Blue Angels were supposed to join them but cancelled due to plane maintenance so I didn't expect to see them. I was wrong.

My mom and I took a trip to Newburgh, and parked in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. I had recently gotten a gift card for the store, so I figured, that would work well. The B&N in Newburgh is right below the flight path for the long runway at theory, they would go right by us when they returned. That's exactly what happened!
The Red Arrows took one circle around and then landed, but the F-35s did some stunt practicing!

Those little dots in the middle of the image? Those are the F35s. They were high, they were fast, and hard to get a good photo of...but, you know, I managed to.
My favorite photo of the entire day, and I took over 400!

So after they all landed, we went into B&N, then the plan was to head to Roy Rodgers for lunch...but I was already more than an hour past my medicine schedule and my head was pounding, so Arby's, which is much closer, was chosen as lunch. (The fact that you have to drive right past the airport to get there didn't hurt, although it turned out to be a dud- I didn't see any of the Red Arrows, F35s or Blue Angels on the ground.

As we're driving back after lunch, I hear the roar of jet engines over the car. It's an unmistakable sound, and I love that sound, even though it's much louder than anything I usually like.
I look straight up out the roof and what do I see, but the Blue Angels practicing their stunt flying! I have never been happier that our car has a sunroof! We pull back into the same lot, and watch the Blue Angels practice for over an hour.

 My best Blue Angel shot

I know the pictures are not that great...they were moving quickly, and up high- and my camera is not that great, so I did the best I could. Even though my pictures do not compare to how incredibly awesome they were in person, this is something that I will never forget. It's not the first time I've seen stunt flying- I saw a single fighter jet doing stunts at an air show in the mid-1990s- this was the most amazing, spectacular thing I've ever seen involving an airplane...or airplanes.

It's unbelievably awesome to see these pilots, the best of the best from two nations-doing their thing.

I wish I could have captured it on film how great it really was. I'm so thrilled I got to experience it...see it, hear it, even smell it, because they were close enough that I could smell the jet fuel! (a smell I like, by the way)

I also hit 20,000 photos taken on the year today...I blew past my personal record for most photos in a year months ago, and I'm just adding to it all the time. I will never top 2019 in photos.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The first player from my first NHL pack has sort of retired

When I began collecting the NHL officially back in January 2017, a current season pack was not the first I opened...I had found some packs from 2014-15 MVP and one of them ended up being the first pack. The first player was goalie Eddie Lack, and as of right's my only card of him. Earlier this week, he announced that he had taken a coaching job at Arizona State University, essentially ending his playing career...although he's not calling it retirement. He's been struggling with injury for several years and has put his playing career "on hold" for now. If he can regain his health, he's leaving the opportunity open that he may play some more...but history has shown that most players don't come back once they've taken a coaching job. If this truly is the end of his career, it's a stark contrast to the first player out of my first NBA pack, who played for 13 years after I opened that pack. (Sam Cassell). Unfortunately I don't remember who was the first person out of my first NASCAR pack. There's only one left active from my first season, but the possibility does exist that it could have been Morgan Shepherd.

If Eddie Lack is done, he's going to end up being a fairly obscure player. He got into 143 NHL games with four different teams. He last played in the NHL in 2017-18, which was my first full season. He did get over 200 cards so odds are more will join the one I do have at some point. I actually like getting cards of obscure players more than the superstars, to be honest, so I think it's actually pretty cool.

I thought it was an interesting contrast between the two sports where I know who was first, and worthy of a quick post.
2014-15 MVP #193

Monday, August 19, 2019

Surprise #2 finally revealed

I am finally ready to reveal the second surprise I had up my sleeve for the Cardboard History Gallery. I didn't expect it to take as long as it did, but's here! And it's probably going to be my favorite section of the entire website!

This is the last part of the website I plan to reveal. Everything else has either been created or the groundwork has been created. Unlike the Gallery of Hits that was surprise #1, this one I am doing out in the open where anyone can watch me upload as I work, if they so choose.

As you all know if you've been reading my previous postings, cars are everything to me. To me, the Earth doesn't revolve around the sun, it revolves around classic cars. But, health problems prevent me from doing anything with the real I collect cards instead. I have created a listing of Automotive by Brand, where each car brand gets it's own album, like each person does. And there are a lot of them- 158 different brands. (although some of them are the same brand changing names- like each sports team, I'm keeping it to what it was called at the time.) There have been over 2000 automotive brands in the USA alone, so there's a lot of room for expansion.

Unfortunately, most of the brands have only one or two cards, there has not been a truly decent automotive themed card set since 1996, and even that was only Corvettes. Cars were much more popular to see on cards in the past, and while I don't have a lot of them, I'm always looking for more. From my research the earliest automotive set was issued in 1908, although the earliest in my collection is from 1922.

This, like each team and eventually each person, will be uploaded after the first of each month, depending on what I scan. I do have more that needs to be scanned, this is not a complete listing by any means.

I also want to point out that my knowledge of fire trucks is severely lacking, so I had to go by the captions on the cards in many cases. I don't know if they are entirely accurate. If you see a mistake, please point it out to me. Accuracy is important to me and I've done the best I can do with the knowledge I have...but as I said, I don't have a lot.

Chevrolet has an almost insurmountable lead, with 119 cards in it's album at the time of creation. Chevrolet was very supportive of the trading card hobby from 1990-96, with multiple all-Chevrolet large sets issued...and most of mine still awaiting scans. Once I get them scanned Chevrolet will be over 300 cards. No other brand comes close to that many; Ford has 101 cards currently but a higher percentage of my collection of Ford cards is scanned, they will not top 200 cards. No other brands will even hit the 100 mark.

I did not include race cars- those are in the albums for the people who drove the cars in the Auto Racing section. I also did not include motorcycles, but I have been considering adding them in. I have very few motorcycle cards so to do that would take me literally about 3 minutes. I AM including advertising postcards in the project, like the ones I got from the brands themselves at the New York International Auto Show.

In the creation of the albums for uploading, it is the first time that I have ever determined exactly what automotive brands appear in my collection, and how many of each brand I have, I have never known this before, and the Trading Card Database does not provide this information.

With the high number of albums, it will probably take me a few days to get them all uploaded. I'm going to start now but I don't expect to finish them today as it's at the end of my day. And I'm starting from the bottom alphabetically and moving up. So if you hit the link and see the albums starting with lower letters, just stay tuned, because I'll be working on getting them all posted as soon as I can.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

that horrible feeling when you realize you've invalidated 10 years of effort.

Well, I feel like an idiot. In the last post, I mentioned that I was debating sorting my non-sports non-people cards so I could figure out how many base, parallels, inserts, etc. I had. I was trying to decide if I would wait until I finished scanning everything, or do it now.

Well, I decided to do it now. What a mistake that was. Oh sure, getting the cards was easy- for the most part- and sorting them into subject took only about an hour or so. It wasn't until after I had sorted them...multiple times over...that I realized my mistake.

If you remember, back in January, I posted about how my Excel files had been made mostly obsolete thanks to the Cardboard History Gallery. I still plan to type my cards into them eventually, but for now I am labeling the boxes that have not been entered differently than the boxes that have. Except the non-sports cards, with I have kept theory to type them in anyway since so many do not have the standard personal album each athlete gets.

But I forgot. I sorted the cards that had been entered with the cards that hadn't been. Multiple times over. And there is no way I can remember which cards were in this wave.

So, in essence, the Excel file that tracks my entire non-sports card collection- with some 6000+ cards entered, everything I've scanned since 2010...has been essentially made useless. When I realized my mistake, around 4 AM Wednesday morning, I thought some rather unprintable things- things I would never actually say. And thought for a while about how I could fix it.

I can fix it, without having to retype anything. Since I only list cards I've scanned, and I keep track of the cards I've scanned on an Excel chart, ever since my remote hard drive died and took scans with it, it was ostensibly to know what I had to rescan if I lost something again. But in this case, I could sort each month, then simply copy and paste it over. (Honestly, I've been debating doing that with everything).

But...I'm not sure I want to. With the Cardboard History Gallery, the Excel files are, as I said, obsolete. I only ever used them to find a scan, but now that I have the Cardboard History Gallery set up to show everything by person, set or team (for sports) I don't really have to go hunting for anything. I can easily navigate to it. I have not actually pulled up the non-sport list that I messed up and searched for anything...ever, that I can recall. Certainly not since at least January 18th, the last time Excel records it being opened.

Do I really need it? I'm not so sure that I do.

For now...I'm going to do nothing. Nothing about that, anyway. I'm much more interested in the stats that sorting the cards have given me. I was not able to find my Star Wars box. I THINK I've found everything else I've scanned in full, but I'm not 100% sure. I had the foresight to write down exactly which boxes I included in the numbers here, and have it right in the file itself, where I can't miss it, so if I find something later, I can check and see if it was included. Because, while it's present in my memory right now- it won't be for long. I want there to be no question as to whether or not something was listed.

So now, finally, let's look at the raw numbers. This is only for cards that aren't of one specific person, that lived on this Earth at one time or another...I keep a separate count for them.

The first thing I notice is, I need more parallels! In an ideal world for me, the numbers of inserts and parallels would be reversed. Of course, non-sports cards have more than 100 years of existence before the parallel concept was created...and I do have a pretty decent tobacco era collection going. The vast majority of my collection is 1977 and newer though. Promos and samples are huge in non-sports. My entire Sample collection for cards of people- 99% athletes- is only 244. This is almost exactly half that number, which is pretty impressive really. And I know there are more in the Star Wars box that I was not able to find!
The Star Wars numbers are pretty skewed- they are actually my largest section of non-sports cards. The box that went missing is a 900 count, and there may be an 800 count as well that's about half full, if I recall correctly. You'd think it'd be automotive considering how much I go on about cars and car stuff, but there has not been a decent car set since 1996. Star Wars gets multiple sets every year, and when I got back into non-sports hard in 2010, that was what I focused on the most. When I do find that box(es), it'll put Star Wars over 2000 cards scanned.

DC and Marvel together is destined to always be the smallest section. They only issued two sets together- 1995's DC vs. Marvel and 1996's Amalgam. Unfortunately for me, they both came out when I was moving away from non-sports and going sports only. So I don't have many of them....40 total is it. They are all scanned, and I believe they are the only subject I can say that about, although the argument could be made for the Fantasy designation as well. Animals and Music are both close to completion but still have more cards to come. Everything else has lots of cards left to scan. With both people and non-people combined, I have only 6985 non-sports scanned in full, and my collection is over 15,000. I have a lot of them ahead of me. Luckily, it's one of my absolute favorite subjects to scan...even if I don't talk about it as much on here as I do hockey or basketball or NASCAR. It's mostly due to lack of access to new cards. Most of what I prefer to collect is now older, since most modern non-sports sets are TV & Movie, which I have comparatively little interest in. Not that it stops me from collecting them...

History and Military- which some people would probably consider the same topic- both have a ton of cards where I scanned the front, poorly, but not the back, meaning they aren't counted. Military, in particular, has a lot in those boxes....full sets of both Topps and Pro Set Desert Storm, more than 500 cards from just two sets alone, for example. I have so much left to scan, and I'm not complaining, because I truly do enjoy it.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Figuring out exactly how many cards I've scanned

A couple of days ago, I filled up the cases that comprise a "wave" of scanning. Since then, I've been entering them into my Excel charts where I track what I've got of each person.

While I do have a chart of what I have overall for each person, and one for each sport, I've never tied it together and figured out everything...although it turned out to be super easy, since all I had to do was type it up and let Excel do the math. Total time to figure out this information? About 10 minutes spread out over the course of the past week, as I created it before I typed in NASCAR, NHL or NBA for the this wave. Now I wish I had thought to do it sooner- and keep much better records. It would have been so cool if I had done it right, right from the beginning. You can see I got better with the record keeping in 2018. Not a coincidence, as I finished scanning what was needed for the Database in December 2017 and thus had more time to work on my various Excel projects.

I'm glad that I thought to create this at this wave, because it's the wave where I hit the 10 year anniversary in my scanning project. And I'm very clearly now in the home stretch. I hit 70,000 NBA card scanned in this wave, and then some, meaning I "only" have about 21,000 cards left ahead of me. NHL still has a ways to go and NASCAR is only about 2000 away from completion. Non-sport still needs a lot of work because I did not count the cards that are not fully scanned- the ones I did the fronts of, only poorly, back around 2010-11. They won't get counted (or uploaded to the Cardboard History Gallery) until I either fix the scans I made, or, if they are too terrible, rescanned.

This is the first time I've ever figured out how many non-people non-sports cards I've scanned. I thought it would be more. I got this number by going through my scans and adding the total number of files in the albums, then subtracting out the number of cards that were listed as people cards. That's certainly not a foolproof way to do it- I surely lost some scans when my remote hard drive crashed that never had a chance to be put in the right place, and I may have made some mistakes in sorting the fixed vs to be fixed files (scans), so at some point- possibly not soon- I will need to get them all out, sort them, and recount them. I am considering pulling them out and sorting them NOW, but I am not sure I can find them all right now. I am really dubious of the number and want to know what it really is. So...I might be working on that soon. Perhaps as soon as tonight. Or I might wait until I finish scanning everything and sort everything back together. More likely to be done soon, though. If I can find everything...I really do want to do it though, because I would create the usual Base/Parallel/Insert/etc charts that I have for all my people cards and should have created for my non-people cards in the first place. I'll have to see if I can get my brother to help me get them out.

It was also the first time I added up all the other sports, and the other basketball as well- that is, International leagues, CBA and of course the Harlem Globetrotters.

I do still have to enter this entire 15th wave into my overall person chart, but that shouldn't take me all that long, since I don't have to sort anything. Just type the numbers in. I expect that to take me an hour or two, so I should get it done tonight.

I hope I remember to enter the next wave into the chart when I finish it. I finish about 2 waves per year, and I probably won't get another wave ready to be entered until sometime in later winter or spring 2020. Hopefully by writing about it I'll remember.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Sharks Week 2019

From July 28th through August 4th was Shark you know what that's time to post some San Jose Sharks! I have to be honest, I held back on scanning some of these earlier so I could get them into this post..

Hard to believe that Thornton and Marleau have been in the NHL for almost 25% of it's history.
 I'm guessing he got made fun of a lot growing up.

 Can't believe they let him walk.

I scanned a full page of 1991-92 Pro Set just so I could include this card in the post. Not that I wouldn't have scanned them eventually, but doing them now was solely for this post.

My brother bought me a series 1 tin at our local shop, which I think was only my second trip there this year. This was the only Sharks card I needed from the tin.

I probably would have done some more, except that I filled the cases on 7/31, and didn't do any card stuff at all on Saturday, and almost none on Friday. (the 1st is my monthly upload to Fotki)