Random Review: Totally Certified Basketball, Christmas Present

It’s New Years Eve and I just now opened one of the two boxes that I got for Christmas. As I stated, I have pretty good will power and waited until I had a hunger to open a box.
I opened my Panini Totally Certified 2013/2014 box. It had 6 packs with a hit in each pack. The price point wasn’t too bad as I bought the box for $50 from Valley Sports Cards – no they don’t sponsor the site, I just love namedropping them when I can because of how awesome they are. This is actually my second foray with Totally Certified as the very first Random Review that I ever did was the football version of the same year – found here. I was underwhelmed with that box but I chalked it up to a poor rookie class; plus at my price range, I don’t really have many options when I go into the store. I am a basketball collector anyway so I didn’t mind taking a chance.


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As I stated, I finished college. I just want to take the time say that anyone who is thinking about going should go. I am going to take a break from cards and tell you a few things that I wish that I would have gotten through my head about college. If you did graduate already then accept a belated congratulations on my part and wait until the next entry. But for those that haven’t then keep reading.

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Bid Board Finds #11

When I went to pick up this haul, a nostalgic tear came to my eyes. I have been attacking the bid board at Northridge Sports Collectibles for the past 2 years because it was so close to my University. This semester was my last as I have officially earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from California State University Northridge. Unless I get a job or move close by, I probably won’t be going there as much.

Knowing this was potentially my last visit, I loaded up – probably not my last, I will just be infrequent.


The haul for $14:

Wade Boggs 1986 slabbed by Fanatics
Markel Brown Panini Threads auto
Stephon Marbury & Allan Houston dual warm ups
Kevin Garnett & Sam Cassell dual warm ups
Kendall Marshall Prestige autograph
Paul Lo Duca Prizm autograph
Isiah Thomas autograph from NFL Pro Line 1992
Laken Tomlinson Contenders autograph
Cobi Hamilton Magic autograph
Jeff Fuller Contenders autograph
Tony Boselli autograph

Probably a bit more than I should’ve paid but I wanted to go out with a lot. My favorite and possibly favorite card that I got all year is the Isiah Thomas autograph. I love how it’s an NBA Hall of Famer in an early NFL set. I come away with another Boselli autograph from the bid board.
In all this is the perfect way to go out as I came away with a little of everything. A prospect autograph in Markel Brown, a few autographs who are nobodies in Fuller and Hamilton, a Dodgers autograph in Lo Duca, and some great dual cards. If you have read past Bid Board Finds segments, this has almost everything that I have encountered; very fitting.


A Christmas story about my PTSD

In the past on here, I have been open about my PTSD and anxiety that goes with it. This entry about is a little window further into it.

On Christmas I didn’t get any cards but I did get an ‘IOU’ and a gift card to buy cards. Like anyone, I couldn’t wait until the day after when I could cash those in. So on the 26th, I headed to my favorite card shop, Valley Sports Cards.

I rarely ever can afford to buy a box of cards but this time I was able to buy two. Sure I was buying two $50 boxes and not a box that cost $70 to $150 but this was a big deal to me. Even though I ended up spending $110, this was by far my biggest card purchase ever at any retail shop. This combined with buying a chase pack and winning, was enough to make my head spin and trigger my anxiety.
I have covered the chase packs that I buy from Valley Sports Cards before: here. In the past I have said that I have grabbed the thickest pack so I went with the opposite this time; I grabbed the thinnest. I wasn’t expecting to win a prize, and am not sure that I really wanted to. It is when you aren’t expecting to get something that it usually happens. The odds say 1 in 16.6 on the front but I have probably had much better luck than that. When I saw that I won, I was kind of pissed. I didn’t want Alex and Lona to think that I was cheating the system. I know part of this thinking is normal but it is magnified even more with my anxiety. This combined with buying 2 boxes was too much for my head. I picked a Kurt Rambis autograph as my prize by the way.

I drove with my brother. Going back from Tarzana, where the shop is, to Simi Valley, where I live, is a 30 minute drive because they are not freeway close so for 8 miles or so I am on side streets before I hit the 118 freeway. For the first half of that span, you could hear a pin drop in the car. I didn’t turn on the stereo or say a word.

A huge key to getting through is anxiety is getting through destructive thoughts. Destructive might be too grand of a word to explain this as I am functional during this thinking, but you get what I am saying; it was unhealthy. The key is to identify destructive thinking so you can reverse it and put a positive spin on it as fast as possible. After 15 minutes, I apologized to him and told him what was bugging me. For a high school sophomore, who I don’t see all the time, he was cool about it. We talked it out and came to the conclusion that this purchase was a huge anomaly and if I got the boxes yesterday then I wouldn’t be feeling this way; after all this was from 2 people. With regards to the chase pack, I will just have to accept that Alex and Lona know that I am a good person who would never cheat them; plus good things deserve to happen to me: a fact that I need to come around to.

I was going back and forth about whether to share this. Ultimately I decided to share my thoughts because I know that these depression and anxiety is more common than it should be. As a great person on Twitter said, we should break the stigma of mental health issues being a problem. I am not sharing this for people to feel sorry for me, I am sharing this to add to the rhetoric that needs to be growing.

By the way my purchases:


20151227_141933The contents of the chase pack.


This is what’s great about the hobby #10

I am going to kick this off by saying that I really need to do something nice for Alex and Lona at Valley Sports Cards. They are reminders that we live in a beautiful world with amazing people.

As collectors we all have our white whale autographs. You know which autographs I am talking about. The ones that you would give anything to have in your collection. I have been lucky and accumulated lots of the autographs on my white whale list. Players that have been my white whale autographs in the past include Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Zack Grienke, Larry Walker, and Tom Glavine. As you see, I am talking autographs that I wanted so bad that I would do a lot for them.

Which leads me to this. Until last Saturday, if you told me that I could have any autograph that I wanted, dead or alive, I would have given you the name of Tommy Lasorda. The man is Mr. Dodger, my all time favorite team. This is a man who has said that if he can’t be buried at Dodgers Stadium then he wants a Dodgers schedule put on his grave. So when Valley Sports Card held a raffle, with that a Lasorda signed ball as one of their grand prizes, I knew that I couldn’t miss it.
Alex from Valley Sports Cards does these raffles a couple of times every year. There are many ways to get raffle tickets over time. I get them from chase packs and his bid board; there are other ways as well. I missed the last raffle (plus I found a bunch when I got rid of my car) so I had about a dozen or more tickets; it was a full year’s worth of tickets. With card shops few and far between, and bleeding money as it is, it says a lot that Alex does these raffles for his customers. And despite what certain members of my inner circle may think, I am not owed anything because I don’t spend a lot of money there; the fact that I bought 2 boxes there recently with birthday money was a fluke that never happens.

On may way to the raffle, Alex messages me and asked if I was coming in. I didn’t think much of it, as I thought he was just counting heads for the raffle. When he noticed that I was in the shop, he pulled me to the side and gave me something amazing:
It’s a Dwayne Jarrett signed Panthers football. I didn’t know how to react as I was thankful in so many ways so I just hugged him; and I am not a hugger. I am the type of person where when I come out ahead, I leave before my luck evens itself out. Say I come to a casino with $50; if I am at $75, then I am done gambling. Truth is, if I didn’t want to attack the dollar bin, then I would’ve bolted. I am glad that I stayed.

In the past I have taken various methods. I spread out my tickets and won a Pau Gasol signed basketball; and didn’t come away with anything when I stacked my ballots in the item that had the least another time. When Lona said that the Lasorda had by far the fewest ballots, I handed her my stack. I don’t blame people because the other prizes were Albert Pujols, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson autographs. Maybe if they had lesser entries, I would’ve spread it a little but I doubt it. No offense to them but none of those guys are on my must have list. Even with the odds stacked in my favor, winning wasn’t guaranteed.

The started off with a dozen door prizes. I didn’t win any of those. After that they moved to Grand Prizes in order of ticket amount; so they started with the Lasorda ball. Alex called my name. Standing their as they raffled off the remaining prizes gave me enough time to get the feeling back in my legs from nerves.


Twitter Finds #1

Buying cards on Twitter can be a dangerous game. Unlike places like Ebay or COMC.com, you really don’t have much quality control in place of con artists. For every ten good seeds, there is a dozen bad ones. That is why when people who made trades or sales on Twitter, they are encouraged to post a picture of the items in their hand immediately.
As a low end collector on a tight budget, I don’t like to take chances. That didn’t stop me a few weeks ago when I impulsively bought a card; something I never do online. The item was shipped right away and came in the mail pretty fast.
When @Double_Z_Sports posted a card that I wouldn’t otherwise normally acquire in my price range, I impulsively grabbed it.

For $8 , I acquired this beauty. It is not often that I get material from top quarterbacks, so this was the reason for my impulse. I would definitely buy from @Double_Z_Sports again.


Happy Star Wars Day

Happy Star Wars Day to the majority of the world. I personally could care less. I am a 30 year old man who has never seen any of the movies. As a teenager, I bragged how I was a non-conformist for not seeing it. Once I matured though, I had no reason for not seeing the movies. I was going to see the movies with a girl that I was dating who was super into the movie but that relationship didn’t last.  Maybe I will wait until another girl makes me see it because as of right now, I am kind of annoyed by Star Wars.
The amount of promotion that they are putting into the movie is insane. At every chain store in my area, there is merchandise being promoted like crazy. Is Disney trying to justify its investment or do they just know that people will buy this stuff? Star Wars has even crept into my school merchandise.

What is the point in having California State University Northridge Star Wars gear?  Students surely don’t need to be reminded that Star Wars exists. In all of my classes, current events are a regular discussion. Furthermore Professors are inevitably going to be Star Wars fans. When I was taking script writing, my Professor said that the first movie is the single best script ever written; this was a man who wrote 2 very successful movies himself. My religious studies Professor this semester took the class’ temperature to see if he could do a Star Wars week; we didn’t.

I am making this sound like I have something against Star Wars. I don’t anymore; it just isn’t my cup of tea. I was never into science fiction. I love sports. I just thought it was too funny and insane that there were Star Wars CSUN shirts.

Bid Board Finds #10 & 10.5

Two quick Bid Board Finds.

Haul 1:
Mike Goodson autograph and Harold Baines autograph: $3.75
Harold Baines is one of my favorite players and that is where the majority of the total came from as I paid $3.50 for that card. One of those unheralded players who has amazing career numbers. Mike Goodson is a former Carolina Panther so both of these are legitimate personal collection items.


Haul 2:
Random Shaq lot: & Luis Sardinas autograph: one dollar
The Shaq lot included rookies and sample cards. I have a small personal collection of so called samples. You also have to love the Blue Chips card.



Bid Board Finds #9

With school coming to a close, I went to the card shop near school on a Saturday to attack the bid board. I put a good $30 worth of bids with only 2 hours until it closed. Naturally, I won a dollar’s worth of cards. When I walked in to pay for the cards on Monday, that is literally what I paid. One dollar because I didn’t get much. That is the way things go sometimes.


I paid 50 cents for the oversized Jamaal Tinsley card. I may have bid on a ton of stuff but I will be honest, this was the card that I wanted the most. I like oversized cards. As a low budget collector, a lot of collectors hate them because they are hard to store; so naturally that means that I am able to pick them up on the cheap. My inner child likes these cards the most as I know that I would love the card if I was a kid.

Despite being in the news recently thanks to his trade to the Mariners, I was able to get the Leonys Martin jersey for a quarter. I will gladly take it.

The last item was a lot of a dozen NBA cards. All but one of them was from 1996-97 Topps Finest. There were duplicates but they were all of star players like Alonzo Mourning, Reggie Miller, Kevin Garnett, and Dennis Rodman. The one non Finest card was an Alonzo Mourning rookie. I will gladly take them, as these cards are currently at least 50 cents each on COMC.com

Bid board finds #8

Compared to last week’s haul this week’s offers little in value; but then again that was a huge haul.
Only 4 cards today, and I paid $6.75. $3 of that went to the vintage 1951 Bowman card and another $2.25 to the Bryce Brentz autograph flier that I took. The other 2 cards were a dual UFC card and Billy Butler uncirculated rookie. This was my 2nd uncirculated card in as many weeks. I said before and I will say it again, they are under appreciated in today’s market. The UFC card had Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, limited to just 188 cards.