How was your day: Angry’s First Vacation

TLDR: I know that you came here for pictures of cards and they are on the bottom.

Here is a little nugget for you: I hate vacations. It has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t like being around people. It has nothing to do with wanting to stay home. It has everything to do with knowing how I work. I struggle falling asleep in my own bed, and it is impossible to fall asleep in hotel beds. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing but I always found myself stressed out on them. So that had nothing to do with anything, other than to set up that the fact that I took a vacation must have said a lot about how I was feeling.

In June, the pastor wasn’t in at my church. I didn’t realize it at the time but it soon became apparent that all of the heavy lifting at church, and even more so, a ton of minor details needed my attention there. I do a ton there as it is. Anyway, doing all of that made me realize that I needed to get the heck away. So I saw a card show was going on in Anaheim. I have been dying to get back to an Indian casino, and I sorely missed living in Lancaster when the Jethawks were a few blocks from my place. So I set it up. I would head to Lake Elsinore on Friday to hit the Pechanga Indian casino and a Lake Elsinore Storm game, followed by two sports card pit stops fifty miles away from there in Anaheim. As an added benefit, the Storm were playing the Jethawks. I would have gone to an Angels game but they weren’t in town.

I wasn’t sure about doing this but I found a great AirBNB with a private floor for sixty percent less than hotel rates were going for on Independence Day weekend. I was avoiding staying in someone’s home at all cost but it worked out great and when a buddy of mine told me that the people that host usually have things down as they do this a lot, I wasn’t worried. The people I stayed with were amazing and I already miss their dogs.

So I make the hundred plus mile journey, and the vacation is already off to a nice start. Driving long distance wears me out, and I hit a bit of rush hour. I have a bad right knee and driving has been known to bring out its worst. I was sad to leave my pets but I must have been in a good mood if the driving didn’t bug me. I get to the home that I am staying at, and one of their dogs greets me at my car. He looks exactly like my dog but a different color. I get settled, leave all of my stuff their including cards that I bought to trade on Saturday. After ten minutes, I leave to buy a Storm ticket and hit the casino. The Storm ticket was nineteen bucks and I got a padded seat in the second row behind home plate.

Side tangent: yes I did this alone. I needed a break and needed to do things on my terms. If I wanted to stay at the casino for ten minutes, I could. If I wanted to stay for ten hours, I could without worrying. Also, I had three very specific interest and lets be frank, if I took someone they would be miserable at some point. I say this is my first vacation but I have taken vacations with other people; this is MY vacation if you understand that.

I get to the casino and it is crazy in there. Every table is full. Every machine is taken. It reeks of smoke and everyone is fifty years older than me. Did I mention that I hate slot machines because there is no skill involved? Even the empty machines are taken by people who are somehow allowed to play three games at once. I find a poker machine on the opposite end of the casino from where I parked and settle in. I came for the experience and slow play twenty bucks as long as possible; that ends up being ten minutes. I lose interest and go back to the car but had two hours to kill before the game.

So what is one to do when they have two hours to kill in Temecula? Find a card shop. I end up spending ten bucks on base cards I needed to finish of my 2019 Score Football set. They had eighty percent of what I needed. I also spent another ten on new Panthers offensive lineman Greg Little’s autograph. Don’t worry, I didn’t mistakenly grab the former Browns player of the same name. I tried hard making friends with the people there but they had no interest in talking.

‘Do you guys break here?’
‘What is selling here?’
‘Oh, I see that you are doing eBay, what is your eBay name?’
‘What are people fans of in this area?’

This hobby is so full introverts that you make this introvert feel like a social butterfly at times. Whatever. They squeezed me a little on the price of the base cards because they knew that I needed them but I still had a good experience. I will be honest, I would have bought packs if they showed a little gesture of caring about me as a customer or talked to me for longer than one sentence answers.

I get to the ballpark and on the way there, I see that little things like the Walgreens down the street has made their building resemble a baseball stadium. Maybe it is because I was itching to go to a minor league game but I find the stadium amazing. Little things like the sights and sounds of the game were awesome. It is cool how these teams really value to local community and make an effort to connect with them. Yes I came from a few counties over but to see the local city council people get noticed on the field is something that I know that my community would appreciate. Its not just that. When I was in Lancaster, the Jethawks always opened with an exhibition game against a local college team. It is nice to see a team have a give and take with the community instead of what it feels like in the major leagues where you pay a premium and only get to see the best talent. Here, you get the talent who will be in the major leagues plus a place that goes out of your way to make you feel welcome regardless if you are a season ticket holder or someone sitting in the lawn. Another great thing is the promotions they have with local businesses. I know they pay for sponsorships but I have walked out of games with amazing coupons to places that I go to. At my very first minor league game, they gave out frozen yogurt as we were leaving; and I am not talking about coupons.
If you follow me, you may have noticed that something crazy at the ballpark happened. The biggest earthquake in California hit in about the fifth inning. The players didn’t even notice and two pitches went by during the earthquake itself. Unlike the NBA summer league where a game got canceled in the middle of the game, this game went on. Unless it  got mentioned on the radio broadcast, no one mentioned it from the team at the stadium. Being a veteran of minor league games, I like how people around you aren’t afraid to get to know you. My section really came together after the quake. Heck, we bonded during it when we asked each other if it was really happening or if the earthquake was in our heads. If an earthquake or anything happened at a Dodgers game, would the people next to you ask if your family is alright after they see you texting them? Heck, would they even be quiet when you are on the phone with people making sure they are alright?
I was thinking about grabbing some funnel cake and cheating on my celiac disease by grabbing some fresh funnel cake but the earthquake killed my appetite. So I guess the earthquake did me a favor in that sense, as my body literally has an allergic reaction with my intestines swelling when I eat gluten because of the disease. The game ended with fireworks and thankfully fireworks that were launched from center field and not from a disaster.

The next day, I wake up and head to Anaheim for a card show. I didn’t buy anything but that was because I was not interested in forcing things. Perhaps if they had dime or dollar boxes. The dealers were nice and they had deals, they just didn’t have deals that suited my personal collection; and if they did then it was from cards they already had. I did give out a few AngryCardCollector stickers though.

My next stop was the Frank and Son collectible show. Oh man, what an utter disaster. There isn’t any parking there so I had to park two blocks away. When I did get in, everything was crammed. I can only imagine how bad it is there when they do signings. About eighty percent of the place is Pokemon or Magic cards. The other twenty percent is sports card dealers who act like they hate people. I tried to get a word in to ask a few people if they had certain things but they didn’t even look at me because they were too busy talking to their friends. It’s like dude, ‘I am making eye contact with you while wearing a Carolina Panthers shirt.’ I clearly am someone who could give you business. I couldn’t even get these guys to look at me. This happened at at least three stalls. If I could go back, I would reward the store owner who asked if he could help me while I was eyeing the Garbage Pail Kids and Ninja Turtles packs that I didn’t buy. I get that the hobby attracts introverts but if you want to make a sale, at least make eye contact with a potential customer. This is why I call out the hobby cronyism so much; is it so hard to treat everyone with respect? That friend you are talking to will be there if you make him wait a minute but will the customer? I get not talking to everyone or not being a people person but even with the guys in Temecula, they at least directed me. There was a ton of people there, I get it but I was one of the people who spent more than five seconds eyeing your product. I didn’t get that here at the places where I wanted to buy cards. My best interaction with a sports card dealer was from a kid who had to be younger than ten years old. Every time a few customers took interest at his table, he said the very basic ‘if you have any questions, ask me.’ Even then, his dad was too busy talking to a friend while he said it. You guys give a ton of grief and say a lot of negative stuff about the youth of today but all I see are kids who are or will make the world a better place; they certainly made it a better place at Frank and Son. How fitting is it that I am talking about a son at a table at Frank and Son?
I did buy two boxes and a couple of Funko’s. The Funko’s were impulse buys but I was on vacation. Of course, both of those were sports ones, Cam Newton and Jose Altuve. Altuve was an impulse but I saw him as a Jethawk so I felt that it was apropos. As a final hurrah, I grabbed a box of 2018 Pro Debut for $60.

That last picture features 2 players that I saw play on Friday in Ryan Vilade and Luis Campusano. The very last pack that I opened from the box yielded a Ryan Vilade relic. I found it very fitting and a nice way to end my vacation.

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How was your day: Being Thankful in Misery

This post has one line about cards. I know that a lot of you don’t live in California and am putting this down here for historical purposes. If you skip it because you want to read about cards, thank you for getting this far. As a lot of you know, I live in a community that was deeply affected by the fires and recent mass shooting. I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The genuine outreach from the card community during this craziness has been amazing.

 

Tuesday November 6th: Election Day and my birthday. Nothing major. Just weird that this week happens on my birthday.

Thursday November 8th: The craziest day of them all.
3 am or so: My phone goes off in the middle of the night with Facebook notifications and press releases from the local Sheriff department. They don’t appear to be urgent so I ignore them. At the time I think that it is just a post on one of the social media sites that I run, getting more traction than normal.
7 am: When I wake up, all the alerts end up being about the shooting and people sharing stories, some involving people they know. I also see my sister who lives in Chico sharing stories about the fire there. I have to be on the 101 freeway for work. During my morning routine, I see the news of a shooting in Thousand Oaks. I don’t have time to read it but I catch the gist of it: 12 people died. I also get local Nixle alerts about the shooting with freeway ramp closures. I will be passing these ramps on my way today. I am alarmed but desensitized a bit and am more concerned with how this will affect my drive.
10 am: I am coming back to Simi Valley and traffic coming back gets me caught up in the procession for the dead sergeant. The side of the freeway that is closed is not the one that I am on. I pass it directly coming back. It felt wrong to drive during this, so I pulled to the side of the road, on the side of the carpool lane no less.
After 10 am: Stories from the shooting are coming in. Between the procession and reading the stories, it sinks in how crazy the shooting in. Also the fact that I go to the place to see punk bands play hits home with me. The stories are insane. I have friends who lost friends. Someone I know lost their best friend in the shooting. I have friends that are neighbors with the shooter. I know tons of people who hang out at the place normally. If it happened on a Friday or weekend, I would have definitely lost friends. I work at a church at people are reaching out to see how they can help. Other church’s are making sure that we didn’t lose congregants and if so, can they help.
3 pm: I have found myself in the Woodland Hills area conducting more business. On the way home I see major fire. It looks like it is near my house. I brush it off as I think that the people that I live with will tell me if it is close. I say major fire but at the time, I have confidence that it will be put out by the time that I plan on arriving home in a few hours.
6 pm: I walk outside for the first time in a few hours. The sky is red and there is some ash being rained down. ‘Oh crap, this is insane.’ I drive home praying to make the craziness stop.
6 to 8 pm: By this point, the day is insane. I have one glimmer of hope: my favorite team is playing Thursday night football. They get slaughtered. I don’t even care. I still zone out and relax as best I can.
During all of this time, I am keeping tabs on the fire. My community is still glowing from the fire. Facebook statuses of friends read ‘make it stop.’ The worst is yet to come.
9:30 pm: A map is posted of where the fire is and where it is going. I get scared beyond belief when my tiny street is shown on these maps. My sister, who I live with, makes the decision to keep the kids home from school and she will stay home from work.
10 pm: The school district announced that all schools are closed. I look outside and my house is glowing. I freak out and start packing. I have food, medication, clothes, and pet stuff packed and ready to go. I question what cards I would take and limit it to just my Prestige autographs and memorabilia cards. I forget that I kept a storage box close by with my Miguel Cabrera autograph ball and a few other goodies in case this happens. I do not tell my household as I do not want to scare anyone.
Midnight: Somehow I fall asleep. I wasn’t expecting to get good sleep but I think the mixture of the shooting and the fires has worn me down.

Friday November 9th: I wake up and see the fire from my house still. I can see Firefighters are in the hills doing some work. We are all on edge and trying to stay together for the kids. They know what is going on. We have friends who are evacuated. We talk about where we will go. I look a few days later to the city we talked about and see that it was in the danger zone. Internet goes out. I don’t care. I do care because it is my only information about the fire but I don’t mind being away from this craziness.
This fire is huge. The same fire affecting me has caused friends living 20 miles away in Woodland Hills to evacuate. The two places that I have roots in Simi Valley/Thousand Oaks area and the San Fernando Valley are now being devastated.
One wind shift and my house is as good as gone. The hills and mountains on fire, are my backyard literally.

Saturday November 10th: The past two days have felt like a month. We keep getting messages throughout the day that evacuations are still in effect for parts of my town. Internet is still down. I get a call from someone who is evacuated and offer to let her stay with me. Her daughter took a high school yearbook and the shooter is in it. That story to me paints the best picture of what my community has gone through.
Internet comes back around 8 pm. We also get a message that evacuations have been lifted.

Sunday November 11th: Now comes the bad part of being active in a church: I get to hear all of the stories. I had no idea that friends lost homes. In one case, they found out while watching news coverage and their home was on fire on television. I also find out that someone that I know in the Woodland Hills area has lost their home. By the grace of God, my house was protected. With the internet back, I go a little crazy buying into breaks. For me that means spending $30 but I need to zone out bad. I didn’t hit anything.

Monday November 12th: I was in Los Angeles in the early morning. At around 10 am, another fire pops up closing both sides of the freeway going in and out of my town. I also get news that Stan Lee died. As my sister comes downstairs, I tell her to go back up and lock herself in the room. She wants to go back to sleep because this nightmare isn’t ending and only got worse.
At around 3 pm, the fire is taken care of and the freeway is open. Naturally there is a fatality accident closing it again.

Thursday November 15th: I am in Thousand Oaks for the first time since the fires. It is also my first time driving by the 101 since this time last week. The firefighters did an amazing job. There are hills on fire but at the top are houses that are still standing. I don’t know how the firefighters did it but they saved those houses. The hills by the 101 are absolutely insane. Where there was once miles of green, is now miles of black. It is so sad. The morale in the Thousand Oaks area was better than I expected. Normally when I drive around after a traumatic event, you can feel the cloud of sadness. That is not the case here. It is nice to see things turning around.

Despite being two weeks ago, this feels like a good few months ago. I definitely have aged that much.

How Was Your Day?: Fat Packs Updated

10 days ago, I posted about being on the Beckett radio podcast. Fat Packs has now posted it. I just wanted to update everyone with the link. Forget my story, the other stories in this are awesome. Every collector has a different journey and this episode definitely shows it; for that matter every shop owner has a different journey.

 

For context on my interview and to see how fun that day was as a whole, check out the post from it here.

How Was Your Day?: Fat Packs Podcast

A week ago on Facebook I saw an ad promoting an appearing by the Fat Packs podcast in Van Nuys at a card shop that I have never heard of before. Being that it was within 30 minutes of me, on my day off, and a podcast I occasionally listen to I marked it on my calendar as a must go to event.

That appearance was today and I had a blast.

When I first walked in, I immediately noticed Eric from the podcast and introduced myself. After some quick greetings, he invites me to interview on the show. Woah! I was not ready for this as I was expecting to be a fly on the wall. Of course I said yes. After meeting a bunch of other people there, we were off with the interview. My irrational thoughts on it are at the end of this.

I met someone from Beckett and another Twitter follower. I am awful with names but great with faces, so if I met you today give me a shoutout as I would love to stay in touch.  The turnout could have been better so the people there got to know each other pretty well. Hey, some of the best concerts that I have ever been too are the ones with the worst turnouts and today stayed true to that. It was fun hearing everyone’s stories. I came to be a fly on the wall and ended up being an active participant.

During an interview break, Eric invited myself and another collector to play pack wars. We cracked a box of this year’s Topps Series one baseball. The person who pulled the hit got to keep all of the box contents. I was a little slow opening packs because I was enjoying the inserts and rookies. I didn’t pull the hit but the other collector was awesome and let me keep some Astros card and an Alex Verdugo rookie. That was super awesome of him and I am thankful for the gesture. Also, thanks to Eric for picking me to play. The relic pulled was a Salvador Perez spring training relic.

I stayed for all the interviews which were great. The guest may not have big names but they have great stories. Every collector, collects from a different angle and it was fun to hear from a shop owner, a high end collector, and the shop owner’s mom. I left just in time to hit notorious LA traffic with two accidents on the freeway on my way home.

Check out Fat Packs at Beckett Radio. Here is the link for you: http://beckett.com/radio

Also thanks to Cardboard Legends for hosting a great event. I can’t believe the store was never on my radar.

 


 

This is down here because of potential spoilers on my interview:

A music teacher told me that any artist thinks that everything he does can be improved. My interview went that way. I bobbled simple questions like “what sport do you collect?” and “tell me about some bands you played with.” These were softball questions and I bobbled them. I am a hardcore wrestling fan, and they had Mark Henry on their most recent show. I could have steered it to my wrestling collection.
We talked about my love for the 2017 draft class and I found myself talking about  ArDarius Stewart because my brain couldn’t think of better players that I am excited about like C.J. Beathard, Solomon Thomas, Mitchell Trubisky, Hasson Reddick, Cam Robinson, and Curtis Samuel. Then when we talked my music career, I wanted to brag how I played shows with bands that turned into Portugal the Man and Fun! I couldn’t think of a PG story to tell from that area and ended up talking bands whose names might get cut from the show because I talked about the Circle Jerks. I have great stories to tell from that time but they are either too mature to talk about and/or incriminate members of great bands or friends of mine. It is funny though, in my time working the music industry and for a local newspaper, I did a bunch of interviews but was never on the other side myself. Sorry if the interview was bad. I have no hard feelings if it gets cut.

How was your day: Toys R Us

With Toys R Us closing, I thought that I would go on a little field trip. Well truth be told, it was decided for me when my mom gave me a $25 gift card that would die with the store. So I thought ‘why not?’

Since I live equidistant to 2 stores, Thousand Oaks or Porter Ranch, I took the one that I thought had the best chance at cards. Plus I didn’t want to deal with the Porter Ranch air – if you don’t know what I am talking about, Google it.

I never go to Toys R Us for cards because blasters are usually $25 there. I didn’t have high hopes to begin with. For the sake of this, I limited my (crappy) pictures to the card rack.

First thing I notice at the store is that the signs outside say that everything is up to 30% off but everything inside is only 5% to 10% off. Then I get to the card rack and it is annihilated. Take a look, it is all mini Funkos, Yu Gi Oh, Minecraft, and som Yu Gi Oh cards. The packs of cards that look decent in the picture are some no name kids game.

My blurry pictures are about as good as the quality of stuff available in the section.

The Funko aisle was stocked up.

So I end up buying a Power Rangers things from a knock off Funko company and a Toys R Us exclusive Funko of a Disney princess. I figured that I could flip it until the lady at the register decided to take a sharpie to the bar code. I was not allowed to exchange it for one with a decent bar code.

I originally took 2 other items up. A Walking Dead dog tag that was buried in the mess of a card section and a Street Fighter Ken Toys R Us exclusive Funko. I mixed and matched to get $25 worth. Geez everything was overpriced, I thought the Funko’s said they were only $9.99. I paid $25.08. I decided to go with the Disney Princess one because I didn’t want to start collecting Funkos for myself; cards are bad enough.

Overall the trip was a waste of energy. Even if they had cards, a blaster box would cost you $22.50 which is only worth it to kill a gift card.

I will say this, with Toys R Us accepting gift cards still, if there is something that you want you can probably buy the gift cards for dirt cheap. That is your best bet to get any savings there as everything is overpriced and by the time prices come down, the good stuff will be gone, as you see. Every store is different. Hopefully, you will get lucky. Perhaps if I went to Porter Ranch, I would have done better; although I doubt it. If you did go to your local Toys R Us, put us out of our misery sale, how did you do?

I expect to have a card post up later this week.

 

How was your day: 2013 Panini USA Champions

I had a post all written out and hit the save button instead of the publish button. So I thought this was published Wednesday, and was surprised when I went to publish round 2 of it. I am sick and on antibiotics for the first time in ages. It is nice realizing that I haven’t need to take antibiotics for anything in the past six to ten years, so I guess that I was due.

 

Anyway on Tuesday I went to open a box of 2013 Panini USA Champions.

If you follow me on Twitter than you know what happened next:

I bought the box for $30 all the way back during Blowout Cards 4th of July sell last year. I didn’t open it until last night. I will finish the box this week.

While it is nice to have nice things, Kris Bryant just doesn’t do anything for me. A lot of that is coming from the Dodgers fan in me, and the Cubs being our biggest rival the past few years. That said, I was in awe. I put the cards down, laughed and enjoyed the moment. Pulling that card felt good.

Today I finished the rest of the box.

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According to the Bryant jersey card, it is a prime piece.

Before you go running out and buying a box for yourself, I cannot stress enough the huge bust factor at play here. Every non Bryant card in this box is dollar bin material. I was expecting to be excited about this box because of the base and players but if you take away the Bryants, I am not a fan. I was looking forward to the base cards because it is full of my favorite players, but the collation was insane. In one sense, it was truly random but I would like to see some collation. I have 3 of some base cards from this box but don’t have a set. This is a great boom or bust box at the price but I bought this for the fun rating and that kind of failed me. I was hoping for any combination of Mark McGwire, Will Clark, George Springer, Blake Rutherford, Terry Francona, Troy Glaus, Jim Abbott, Mike Mussina, Jeff King, Tommy Lasorda, Jesse Winker, Corey Seager, Robin Ventura, Reese McGuire, I can name about 40 more names…

How was your day: Depression ruins a RAOK

Forgive me as this post is not about cards, although the last few entries have been more about dealing with my depression/PTSD than cards anyway but I am doing this one on purpose. I did not mean for this site to be a journal about my life outside of cards, just my life involving cards. The climax of this story involves cards and I am using it to take an opportunity to show the disease.

Anyone that follows wrestling and reads wrestling news once a week is probably aware that WWE Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo has been out for mental health reasons. A lot of people don’t accept that mental health issues are a disease. I have them and truthfully it has taken me until very recently to truly accept that fact. Something happened to me Saturday to highlight the very fact that it is a disease:
I had one of those 36 hour periods where I can look back and say that I did everything right; something that I haven’t been able to say in years. (Only saying this because it matters to me but it shouldn’t but this is not one of those bipolar highs. I wish that I had those as I would probably be a happier person during those highs instead of constantly down on myself.) The hours were one of those times where even the hiccups were just pebbles in the road; like finding out an hour before something is happening that I was expected to be there. So I am doing work in the house and decide to take a breather and grab the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything so when I see my name on a package, I immediately think ‘oh crap.’ I saw that it was from someone that I sold to on Ebay so my blood pressure goes through the roof for a second. If you read the site you know that I am awful at opening packages or anything, sorry GTS but I still haven’t opened that hobby box you sent me and for the record I am not selling that either. This was a box in front of my door. I don’t even think that I went down the driveway to my mailbox to get the rest of the mail. I ran in and opened the box thinking the worst. Either I was sent a bag of dog poop or they were returning what I sent them. I even had one hand on my mouth ready to go to Paypal for a refund. It was neither dog crap or a return. In it was a paper that said #RAOK. Random act of kindness. Holy crap; and from an Ebay person no less. So I go from horror movie excitement to Disney movie excitement in one swing. I couldn’t believe it. Even without this RAOK I was having a great day, this was the cherry on top. I will post about what was in the box later this week but remember I said this was a post about mental health. I also want to do this person justice for being awesome.
I was being productive but I was still in my head so the time wasn’t perfect. However I had no reason whatsoever to be in my head. I sit down to finish what I was doing and no less than five minutes later I felt my depression trying to come back and ruin the RAOK. I had no reason to be down but I found myself in this internal fight with myself that was trying to keep me down. It feels like with everything that I did and have been doing, I am burned out because I working twice as hard as I should be. (For the record I am not trying to discount what anyone else is going through as we all have our own problems and I know the reality is that no one would want to trade lives with anyone.) I realize that everything that I did on top of me fighting just to be together and a functioning member of society was me working twice, thrice, etc., as hard. When you hear that someone is going through mental health issues, this is a glimpse of what they are going through. Mauro Ranallo might miss a hefty Wrestlemania payday because of similar issues. I wish him, everyone struggling, and everyone in the world the best. We all deserve to be happy and have peace of mind.
Speaking of happy, my next post will be what was in that box and a TL:DR version of this story. I don’t know when exactly that will be, but it will be before the month is up as I don’t want you reading it April Fool’s Day thinking this amazing act was a joke.