Tuesday, August 31, 2021

NASCAR is completely typed!

 My typing project is progressing well. I have now entered the dates for every NASCAR card I know, making NASCAR the first subject to be completely typed. 

While it was good to get the info fully digital, it wasn't really fun...which I knew going in it would be not so fun. I found it was actually more fun the further I got in to the project, and when I got to the time period when I had dates for almost everything, it was much more enjoyable. 

What I wasn't expecting is that entering the information actually made me really sad and depressed for a few days. Especially the die cast cards. As you may know from previous posts, the Racing Champions stuff is the backbone of my collection. I remember some of the days involved with certain cars & cards very well, and even the memories that aren't tied to a specific place, it all hit me as I was entering that info and just got me down. 

The memories of going to places like Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Kmart, Ames, Jamesway and a couple local places, all places that are long closed...and the fact that Racing Champions was killed solely because of NASCAR being greedy...it just hit me so hard, harder than I expected. (well, I didn't expect that at all, but...). My brother and I used to check TRU and Kmart every Wednesday after the comic store, Wednesday is when the new comics come out. It was a HUGE part of my life, some really great memories, and something I miss. None of the stores are still there, and what I wouldn't give to be able to go back to those times. 

I also realized that my interest in NASCAR waned after Racing Champions was killed. It's not a coincidence. Even though it's still the most important thing to me, and I won't skip a race- not even for, say, a Stanley Cup Finals game- it all changed for me then. It's also around the time we stopped going on our weekly runs. The drop off in the number of cards I got post 2005 is VERY noticeable. 

I did discover that I had 357 MORE NASCAR cards than I thought I did! And that's just what I have documentation on. There's actually a pretty high likelihood there's more that I don't remember having and lost before I created my paper listing. (Which, for NASCAR, I did from 2003-07)

I also discovered that I lost the paper listing for 2013 Total Memorabilia. You may recall I bought a case of blasters from Blowout, and I must have taken the paper listing out when I was doing them in late 2016. I never put it back in my binder! Luckily, I was documenting everything on Excel by that point, so I didn't lose anything date wise, and I even wrote a blog series about it. 

I really wish I had been better about keeping track of the dates I got my cards. I started keeping track on the NBA side in 1998, but let it lapse quite a bit so it's not a full record. I didn't start tracking the dates for NASCAR until Christmas Day 2003 (I labeled the listing at that time) and I didn't create a paper listing for Non-Sports until 2010! At least I had enough sense to track my hockey collection in full and properly. 

Something that worries me is that I have records of getting some cards that I don't have any memory of having, and I don't have scans of from when I scanned all the fronts only, but poorly, for my NASCAR collection in 2009-10. I wouldn't have listed them if I didn't have them in hand at one point, but I don't know where they could have gone. 

I do know I missed at least one box when I was typing in the physical cards, because I remembered a large gift from a friend taking two boxes and I only found one...luckily they were on the paper listing so I was able to figure out how many cards were in that box, about 350. I can tell there was some hockey in there as well, because I've started typing them and I've already found some in my records of getting them that weren't typed in. I recall that box being larger, likely an 800 or 900 count box, so there's probably more I will find as I go through but I've only gotten up to 1990-91 to date. 

It took me about 2 weeks to type in all the NASCAR stuff. I don't know how long it will take me to type in everything else, but I've taken a break to work on models for the last three days and I plan to do some more of that again for the next few days, 

I know this post is not going to be very interesting to most people, but I'm doing this series for me, so you can expect some more posts in the series before I finish. If anyone read it all, thanks for reading. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

My top 10 favorite Henrik Lundqvist cards in my collection

 Yesterday, Henrik Lundqvist retired. I kind of knew it was coming, what with the severe heart condition he has, but I wasn't looking forward to it, either. When I began watching the sport in late 2016, he quickly became my favorite player in the league, a role he has held ever since- even though he didn't play at all last year, and won't play going forward, he's still my favorite player. I'm sad I won't get to watch him play anymore, but I'm thrilled that I got the chance to see him play at all...becoming a fan of the sport so comparatively late I missed most of his career. I should add that it's because of him (and Mats Zuccarello, my favorite skater) that the Rangers became my favorite team. Most importantly, he will be able to spend time with his family now, always a plus. 

I thought I would take a look at my 10 favorite cards of the King. He's the only NHL person to clear the 100 card barrier in my collection, currently with 117 present. 

Please note that these cards are in chronological order- not ranked as #1-10. This is a tough choice but here we go:

2005-06 Power Play #148, his only rookie card in my collection. Drafted by the Rangers in the 7th round in 2000(! not first round is mind-baffling) he played in his native Sweden until the 2005-06 season. 
2011-12 Rookie Anthology Cyan Printing Plate #75. Not only my only 1/1 card of Henrik, the only 1/1 hockey card in my entire collection! 
2011-12 SP Game Used Authentic Fabrics Gold. The most I've paid for any card on this list, perhaps surprisingly, I saw this very card in a card shop in 2017 but balked at (or couldn't afford) the $50 asking price. When I went back to that shop, three hours away from home, in 2019, it was still there so I didn't walk away again, having regretted not getting it the first time I saw it. It's my only patch of his and one of three Rangers patches in my collection. 
2011-12 Upper Deck UD Canvas #C56 This is such an awesome photo! Taken from the camera in the net, this wide angle shot shows a great panorama of the World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, the only building to host an NHL game I've ever been in, although it had the basketball court set up when I was there. This is probably my favorite photo in this post.
2012-13 Score #493. Holding the Vezina Trophy for being the best goaltender in the sport. Doesn't get much better than that if you're a goalie! 
2013-14 Panini Contenders #73. This was the very first card of him in my collection. The scan isn't so good, I didn't have as good a scanner when I got this card as I do now, I should really get it out and rescan it. 
2014-15 Upper Deck #132. Just a great photo! When I created my Alphabetical Directory of everyone in my collection, this was the card I chose for him. This iconic pose was seen many, many times after a Rangers victory. 
2015-16 Upper Deck #382. Another great photo taken at MSG, this one apparently taken in game, rather than post-game. It also looks like he's catching the Upper Deck logo, which is fun.
2018-19 The Cup Signature Renditions. I still can't believe I have his autograph in my collection! I didn't think I'd ever get any because they tend to sell for more than I can spend on a single card, but thanks to Kenny making me a great deal I was able to make it happen. 

2018-19 Upper Deck #374. Another great photo, and although he had one more UD flagship card after this one, this is a great "farewell" photo. I believe this is the only card in the list I pulled from a pack myself, possibly 2015-16 UD flagship. 

Like I said above, I'm really glad I got to see at least some of his career, my only real regret is that I didn't start watching the sport sooner. 

As an added bonus, when I visited MSG in January 2019, I actually got to hold one of his game used sticks for a photo shoot, still one of my favorite moments in adventuring. 

Although I have not been able to scan the last couple additions due to my arm injury that I've mentioned a few times, you can see most of my collection of his cards here: Henrik Lundqvist collection

Thanks for the memories! 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Dutchess County Exploration: Route 44 and 55, and found cards!

 Yesterday my brother and I took our next trip in the Dutchess County Exploration project, this was covering Route 44 and Route 55. These were the last major east-west routes in the county we had not done yet, although this was actually one of the first trips I planned when coming up with the concept of the project last year. 

Route 44 is actually a US route, and runs through 4 states, but the scope of this trip is only the part of it in Dutchess County. Route 55 is a New York State route but merges with 44 for a good run before splitting off and going across the county to the south. Other than a very small section just west of Poughkeepsie, Route 55 was already pretty well covered in our last trip to the eastern part of the county. The Wikipedia links actually have a very good description of the roads. 

With this trip done, there is only one more major trip left in the project, and then we'll be picking out the areas we missed. I still have to write the posts for the first few trips, stay tuned for them! 

We started out by heading down Vassar Road, a trip I've made many, many times. 
Vassar College
Vassar again

Now on 55, I didn't post more from this part since I've already covered it. (I did take more, of course)
Now in Pawling, this cemetery dates to 1788.
Scenes from Pawling

We went out to Woodinville on Old Route 55, and this is pretty much the extent of it. It's a very small area that's entirely residential with oddly pitched roads. Honestly, I doubt I will ever go there again. 
Will always stop for a historical marker if possible. 
We circled back to Pawling because we saw a cool store we had to go to...
The Imperial Castle Toy store. It was a very cool place! Lots of toys from the 60s to current, some neat displays, and a very friendly owner. I'm mostly retired from action figure collecting, but we will definitely be going back there for sure. I did get some Starting Lineups and even some cards here- they are at the end of the post. 
A life size movie Harley statue
An 8-foot TIE fighter in the window
Back on the road, headed back towards 22. 55 merges with 22 in Pawling and the entirely of that has already been photographed on two previous trips. 
We looked for the small hamlet of South Mizzen Top, the most southeastern hamlet in Dutchess County. It's two houses on a deadend gravel road, which we elected not to go down. It neither showed up on the map nor even had one of the green signs stating the name of the area, which is what I try to use when the GPS doesn't show them. 
The only other thing in South Mizzen Top is this plaque on a rock detailing the history of the Oblong. 
The area of Quaker Hill Road and South Quaker Hill Road is very nice and picturesque. 

A very impressive house on South Quaker Hill Road
After we finished on South Quaker Hill Road, we had actually dipped into Putnam county, and to head north on Route 22 from that road is an almost 180 degree turn- so far, the sharpest turn we've encountered on any travels-I'm talking in my life, from Maine to Illinois, not just in Dutchess County! On the way back I spotted this 1970 El Camino, meaning if I saw nothing else on the day it would have been a great day!  

There were actually quite a few old cars out and about yesterday- I saw at least a dozen. 

Waiting to turn left onto Route 44 from 22 in Amenia, note our Edge's reflection. 
We stopped again at the Scenic Overlook in Amenia, but this time I brought my camera with 42x optical zoom and 170x digital zoom. The next group of pictures is from there. 

Back on the road now

Another cool old building, this one in Salt Point, NY
If I had the money I'd love to save these old buildings

The Wappinger Creek in Pleasant Valley

First time I've seen one of the new Corvettes up close
This new construction, still in progress, in in Poughkeepsie. I actually like this strip, it had character, unlike most new buildings. 
Now we are in the heart of the City of Poughkeepsie. 

While Poughkeepsie has some amazing architecture, it also has a drug and gang problem, and is considered more dangerous than even NYC. 
Here's the current map of what we've explored, the pink lines in multiple places are the ones I photo documented on this part of the trip...sort of. When  I drew in the red line with yellow border, I actually messed up and colored in Route 52, instead of Route 55. Route 52 should have been in green. 
I was able to add ten new places to the Places I've been project, only half of which showed up on the GPS. Surprisingly LaGrange does not show up on the GPS- only LaGrangeville. 

Now, the stuff I got at the Imperial Castle! He had a whole display of Starting Lineup figures, and I got my first Hockey figures there! When SLUs were common and we had regular card shows, I wasn't yet into hockey so I didn't get any. Now that I am into hockey, the line has been gone for about 20 years. 

Carey was the first one I actually picked up. 
Amazingly Joe Thornton is still in the league, signing a new deal with the Panthers 3 days ago! Too bad the figure predates the trademark beard...but at least here he's wearing pants! 
Although he had quite a few NBA figures, only one of them was not already in my collection, and that was Buck Williams from the original 1988 release. There were three Nets in that first release, and I didn't have any of them...until now! 
There weren't too many cards in the shop- it's a toy store, not a card store, after all. But on the counter he did have these, which I hadn't heard of. As you all know I'm a history nut so I was definitely interested and my brother treated me to a box. You get two cards per box- one taken from the margins of an actual historical document, and one a word or if you're exceptionally lucky, a signature actually written by the president. 
I did exceptionally well on the relic, pulling Dutchess County's only president so far in FDR! 
my handwritten word turned out to be kind of a let down in that it's a simple "a" and not a president I'm particularly fond of, but it could have been worse. I would have been genuinely unhappy if it was Andrew Jackson or Trump. The store owner told us that one of his customers pulled James Monroe and John Adams, which is really pretty amazing. 

The cards are very nicely made and they are now the only things in my collection that were actually held or written by any president, so that's still pretty cool! I wouldn't mind getting some more but they were a little on the expensive side, though I do feel like it was worth it. Sorry, my scanner is still not plugged in so only pictures for now. 

Since it was a smaller trip, I only took about 250 photos. You can see them on my website here: Route 44 & 55 Trip. Thanks for reading!