Wednesday, April 26, 2023

10 years ago today...

 10 years ago today was pretty much the worst day of my life. It's the day I came literally 5 minutes away from dying. I had become diabetic but didn't know it, and it had turned into ketoacidosis, which is when your body shuts down and basically starts burning your insides in a last ditch effort to keep running...if you don't treat it, you don't survive it, and I didn't treat it for a full see, I started feeling terrible a week before, at the NNL East model car show, when I drank a Mountain Dew, something I did only once a year, there. I had assumed that the Dew had been tainted, so I felt like that I just had to wait out the food poisoning I was sure I had...but I was very, very wrong. 

I got worse and worse but steadfastly refused to go to a doctor. I don't really trust doctors, which goes back to when I was in 6th grade and my health problems manifested...I went through so many tests, so much poking and prodding, all of which was inconclusive and told me nothing...the mental trauma it gave me is still affecting me all these years later. 

Finally, on the morning of April 26th, my Mom said (paraphrasing, because I was essentially unconscious- not sleeping, passed out/comatose) "the heck with what you say, I'm calling an ambulance" and I'm very glad she did. The ER doctor told her that five minutes later and I would not have made it. That is not hyperbole, it was really that close. They told her and my brother to say their final goodbye. 

I was actually pretty much unconscious the whole day. I remember seeing, of all things, Buffalo Wild Wings out the window of the ambulance and the next thing I remember is when I came to in the hospital many hours later, after they had gotten me to the point where I was going to survive. 

It's unknown what my blood sugar was so high that the hospital machines couldn't read it - but they estimated around 1200 if I remember correctly. It's supposed to be around 70...yeah, it was that bad. 

But, I survived. You wouldn't be reading this if I hadn't, of course. I spent a week in the hospital and every year since then I celebrate "Glad I'm Not Dead Day" on May 1st, the first day of my second chance at life. 

However, since today is the 10th anniversary of my ordeal, I'm celebrating today...because I'm glad to be alive. Yes, I can be pretty miserable sometimes, a byproduct of my health problems mostly, but deep down, I'm glad to be here. There's so much I want to see, and do, that even though I struggle to do stuff, I am not going to stop trying.

So, I thought I would go through my photo archive, and choose my 10 Favorite photos I've taken over the past 10 years! I tried to limit myself to 1 photo from each basic topic, although it was an extremely hard choice to pick just 10 photos, out of literally nearly 100,000 I've taken since 2013. As it turns out, none from 2013 through 2016 made the cut. 

I am sharing the photos in chronological order of when I took them, which is kind of a neat byproduct of how I label each photo to keep them in order on my website. 
The earliest photo is from September of 2017, which was a prototype adventure of sorts. My brother, realizing I was very depressed, wanted to get me out and doing stuff, and my doctor literally prescribed me to get out of the house and walk, so my brother set out to do that in the most fun way possible. 7 of the 10 photos that cracked the top 10 are from our Adventures. 
This is Lake George, NY, my favorite place in the world, taken from Prospect Mountain. This was the first time we had ever gone up Prospect Mountain despite visiting Lake George almost every year of my life, missing only 2013-15. 

The next photo is from our first "official" adventure, which was the Fordham Museum of Ancient Art & Artifacts in the Bronx, NY. I have been a big fan of ancient history for quite a while now, and I got to see some amazing things there, including the oldest man-made artifact I've ever seen in my life. This is an ancient Greek amphorae. This was taken in October 2018.

I really, really love aquariums, and this was taken at the New York Aquarium on Coney Island. I love the face this fish is making! This was taken in January 2019.

Another photo from 2019, this is an F-22 Raptor (I think) doing a flyby at the New York Airshow, which had been moved to Newburgh for a couple of years. I also saw the Blue Angels practicing for about an hour but this was the best photo I took that day, and I really couldn't resist making this one of the top 10. 

2019 was the most populous year in the top 10 favorite photos, with 3 images making the cut. This one is one of my favorite car photos I've taken, with the pink tree making a nice backdrop to the black car. I wish the hood was down, and I wish the cruise in this was taken at still happened, but this photo just sticks in my memory...I almost used a photo of our Edge in front of Devil's Tower but I had to go with this one. 

I love to take pictures of the road, and I love to take pictures of the landscape, and this one has both. Taken on I-84 in Port Jervis NY, we were actually up higher than the small airplane that I circled in the photo. This was taken on March 1st, 2020, just days before the pandemic shut everything down. This one is the one I was least "sold" on putting into my Top 10 list, but I really like this photo.

Due to my health problems we didn't do much in 2020, but sometimes the photos came to me. I LOVE squirrels, as is well known, and this is such a fun photo I've even used this as my profile picture on some message boards. 

The only image from 2021 to make the list, the New York City skyline is just spectacular! I actually took this from New Jersey, where we had gone to see a NASCAR show car. This was actually taken September 11th, 2021, 20 years to the day after the terrorist attacks that shook the city and country to it's core. 

Taken in May 2022, this is my best photo of Mount Rushmore. I have always wanted to see Mt Rushmore, it was one of the top things on my "bucket list"...and last year we made it happen. I still can't believe we were able to make that happen...that I was able to do it! 

This photo, from September 2022, represents the greatest day of my life, when I visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It's actually hard to get a good photo like this, because the Hall is too large to fit in one photo, but this was the one I liked the best that I took. I also set my record that day- I took over 3000 photos in the Hall of Fame. (And I still missed stuff!)

Just for fun, I also picked out my Top 10 favorite photos of myself taken in the last 10 years. 9 out of 10 I used as my profile photo on Facebook. 
In 2015, I got dressed in a Halloween costume for the first time since 1997ish, maybe earlier, as a Roman Senator. 
This photo was taken at the Rhinebeck Car Show vendor area. all these neon signs were for sale. I love neon and I love car stuff, so this was doubly cool.
This one is from the Fordham Museum as well, and is the only one that didn't make it to be a Facebook profile picture. That little square is a cuneiform tablet from ancient Babylon, the earliest readable language in the world.
From January 2019, this was taken at Madison Square Garden, holding a game used stick of my favorite player in the NHL, Henrik Lundqvist. 
Also taken in 2019, this was taken at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Manhattan. 
Another image from 2019...I realize making this post that 2019 was my best year, lol, This was taken at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut. This ray is in the "touch a fish section" and swam right up to me. He wouldn't swim away until I reached down and pet him, and then he was happy. 
Another from 2019, at the Adirondack Nationals. I'm not really a big celebrity person, but Faye and Bogi of All Girls Garage were really cool. They seem fun on TV, and they were even more engaging in person. 
Last one from 2019...but it's a big one! I used to attend the NNL Nationals model car show in Toledo, but it got to be too expensive and too difficult to do with my health problems and my mom's health problems, but when they announced that 2019 was going to be the last show we had to go back. While we were there, we took a day trip to Illinois and ended up on Route 66! Route 66 is an icon of America and car culture, and driving on it (riding, actually, as my health does not allow me to drive) was high on my Bucket List...higher than Mount Rushmore even. The funny thing is that getting on it was completely an accident, as we were looking for a restroom, and it's not labeled as Route 66 anymore. Due to my knowledge of it, I was able to figure it out while we were still on it and I took this photo of myself with Route 66 in the background. This was in Joliet, Illinois, and was only about a month after the photo with Bogi and Faye. This is the only selfie of the top 10.
I just really like this photo. It was taken in Yonkers, NY, at the Untermayer Park & Gardens. 

Me on the big screen at the NASCAR Hall of Fame...nothing more needs to be said there!

On to the next 10 years...

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Alternates & Throwbacks in my hobby box of 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1

 I'm debuting a new series today that will be fairly rare due to the fact that I rarely buy hobby boxes anymore. I did, however, get a hobby box of 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 as an Easter present and I just got done scanning and labeling all the cards today, a full 11 days to get them all done. 

I really enjoy seeing the alternate and throwback uniforms worn in my sports, so I thought I would spotlight them. 

The Coyotes brought their original Phoenix design back as a throwback last year and this year.
The Hurricanes have a lot of designs and I am not actually sure which one is the standard road white, it's possible they are ALL alternates in the set. This black, red and gray design with the warning flags is definitely an alternate though. 
The only card showing a special warm up jersey, this is for the Hockey Fights Cancer program. I LOVE these and I wish they wore them for the entire game. (I lost my dad to cancer)

The Jersey alternates debuted last season. Bonus, this is my first card of Nico Daws.
I'm genuinely surprised that Lou Lamoriello allows the Islanders to wear an alternate, but here it is. 


The Flyers had the most alternate appearance in the box, with 4 cards. (One more coming below). There was only one card of their standard home orange in the box!

Two for the Sharks' black alternate. I like the teal so much better. 
So many teams wear black or dark blue as an alternate now, and the Leafs combined them with a black and dark blue uniform. This is only my second card showing this alternate.
Some pretty big star power in the Cap's alternate here, with the best player in franchise history, 

The current Jets wear the original Jets' design as a throwback, even though they are two totally different teams. This is my first card of Morgan Barron, I believe. (Hard to remember the short time Rangers, haha)
The Throwback alternate appears in the Young Guns section too! 
Moving into the inserts, we see the Ducks' alternate which is actually a burnt orange color.
The Flyers' alternate appears here again, although I'm only going to count it one more time, haha.
More star power appears in the UD Portraits insert, with the Oilers' dark blue with neon trim alternate. 

Although I hadn't done a hobby box of Upper Deck S1 since 2019-20, it feels like there are less alternates and throwbacks appearing in here than I expected based on what I've gotten of previous seasons via blasters. I will be curious to see if the second and third series have more in them...interestingly not a single one of the cards shows one of the Reverse Retro designs I don't think (Anaheim and Pittsburgh may have been their reverse retro)

I did pick up a hobby box of 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee while I was at National Hockey Card Day so hopefully I can get another one of these posts up in the series before too long. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Pretty big Rangers collecting milestone!

 It should not be a surprise that I know how many cards I have of "my" New York Rangers. I ended March with 1,991 cards of my favorite hockey team. I'm guessing you've already guessed what that major milestone is now- yes, I hit 2000 cards of the New York Rangers! 

I hadn't actually gotten any new cards at all in April until Easter, when I received a hobby box of 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 and a handful of parallels from MVP- my intention is to write about them in their own post- and that pushed me over the mark. 

Barclay Goodrow got the honor of being #2000. As a bonus, this is also my first card of him with the Rangers and second overall! At least I think it is. I've only scanned one card of him, anyway, until now.

I didn't get all the Rangers in the set, but I did manage to pull a rarer one- the French parallel of Igor Shesterkin, which is the first French parallel I've pulled. (I didn't get a hobby box of the previous releases since it's returned to the set). The French parallels are one per hobby box. 

Unfortunately I didn't get the base card of Igor. I'm glad they labeled it as being the parallel on the front because odds are I wouldn't have noticed otherwise- at least right away. I usually read the card backs as I'm scanning them so I would have noticed by now, but I wouldn't have noticed the day I got it.

Before I got this hobby box, I had exactly 1 card from the set, thanks to Chris the Collector, making this the latest I've gone into the season without opening a single pack of Upper Deck s1...the NHL season ends on Friday, unfortunately. 

To put into perspective how much of a lead the Rangers have on my collection, there are only two other teams that have even cracked the 1000 card barrier, the Bruins and Canadiens. Although the Red Wings are less than 10 away and will likely hit that mark sometime on the epic adventure my brother and I are getting ready to take. I'm bringing some cards with me to open in the new states I visit, something I really like to do, but don't always remember to do. For example I missed Nebraska last year. The box I have saved to bring with me, I actually got at a Wal-Mart in Rapid City, South Dakota last year! It's crazy that I live in an area with three local teams and my stores here don't stock the Parkhurst brand, but go to South Dakota- nowhere near any teams- and they had several blasters available, of which I bought one. Go figure. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

New People scanned in March 2023

 March was a HUGE scanning month for me...with the new way I came up with that I wrote about a few posts ago, I just was moving through the cards so quickly that I ended up scanning a grand total of 2410 cards in the month of March! That's one of the largest months I've ever had...checking the chart where I write down what I scan (really label) and what date I do it, I have to go back to May 2020 to find a month with more cards...there are several months with exactly zero cards. (I started typing them into Excel after my original remote hard drive crashed and took scans with, if I lose scans again, I will be able to know what I need to redo if I lose something)

I ended up with 145 new people scanned in the month, which is a huge amount! All letters except O, Q, U and X got somebody new this month. 

Since I started taking these screencaps back with the November 2019 scans, this is the 5th largest month for new people. The record is 273 people back in December 2019, a crazy scanning month. Although it would be hard to top that, I could see it happen if I start concentrating on the random baseball and football I've got stashed away that people have sent me...but I would be ok with that record standing because it's a lot of work to do all this, haha. In fact, it took me 9 full days to do, meaning April will have significantly less to do, which is OK because I won't be home to do my traditional starting on the first of the month upload, I'll be at a model show. In Utah. 

of the 145 new people scanned, there were:

  1. 36 baseball
  2. 12 football
  3. 5 non-sport
  4. 7 other sports
  5. 7 Auto racing
  6. 2 basketball
  7. 76 hockey
you can tell what I spent the most time working on this month...