(Still) Still Alive

Howdy!

Those of you who follow me on teh Twittahs already know that I’m still kickin’ around, and hopefully, I haven’t worried the rest of you much.

Weird times still, of course, and not great ones. I hope you’re all doing OK. If we haven’t talked in a while, feel free to fill me in on stuff in the comments (those of you who I talk to regularly can do that too, if you like, but good or bad, I know about at least some of what’s up with you already).

Keeping busy with a bunch of my hobbies, and eventually, you’ll hear about stuff and see pictures. We’re doing a bunch of renovation stuff in my house, though, so it’s gonna be another minute.

On the trading card front (how most of you who are still following me started following me), I’m still pretty likely done with set-building on new Topps cards, though I went 2 factory sets deeper than I was planning to (I’ve got ’21 and ’22), because the ’22 design is the last one that Fanatics had no input on or influence over. (I’ll probably grab an Update set at the end of the month, too, but that should be the last of it until I move the goalposts again.) I was weak and grabbed (and overpaid for) one of those ’60 Topps design Pro Debut Bo Jackson Memphis Chicks cards, because come on, but that’s probably gonna be about the extent of new card purchases, basically “Ooh, that’s pretty, FINE, I’ll get it”.

I finished Brooklyn Dodgers team sets for ’53 Bowman Black and White, ’54 Bowman and ’55 Bowman since we spoke last, and I’m close (if down to the tough ones: Koufax, Drysdale and the team card) on ’57 Topps Dodgers, too. I’ve put together an entire album of all of the Senior Professional Baseball Association sets, which was fun. I’m working on the master set of Pro Set Superstars MusiCards and Yo! MTV Raps cards, and I’m close there (and need to get back to Gavin about that). I’ve been working more on non-sports of late than anything.

Toys, I got…a few more…Mego-scale figures, and some other things. You’ll see soon, hopefully.

Comics, ditto. I’m close to done buying new big-two-companies comics, though, too. I’m buying maybe a third of what I was a few years ago. I have enough to read for a while, and I don’t like how they handle their properties anymore.

Video games, I’ve got a Playstation 5 which I enjoy but don’t play often enough (Stray is amazing, though, so good, I beat the game twice in a row the night I got it), a Retro Freak which I enjoy but also don’t play enough, and I’ve beefed up my Atari 2600 collection a bunch (even replacing Swordquest: Waterworld and Mr. Do’s Castle, which I’d gotten rid of ages ago).

I’ve filled in my CD collection a bunch (the biggest things are probably completing the Siouxsie and the Banshees and Skinny Puppy studio album collections and the Bobbie Gentry box set), but haven’t done a ton with vinyl since it became much, much more dangerous for me to crate-dig.

I’ve been framing posters. After my bedroom’s painted and the rest of my house is sorted a bit more, I’ll show y’all what I’ve got.

I got some more musical instruments which I need to use more often.

I’m watching a ton of movies and TV. I watched 513 out of 514 episodes of Peyton Place (episode 390 is quasi-lost media at the moment), and it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in both very good and very bad ways. I’m working on 3 other series right now, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Cheers and Dark Shadows. We’re in the middle of our annual October movie thing in my house, though we’re not watching a movie tonight because there’s some painting going on in the living room.

So far:

October 1st: Return of the Living Dead (1985) plus Return of the Living Dead II (1988) (bonus)
October 2nd: Saloum (2022)
October 3rd: Frankenstein (1931) plus Orphan: First Kill (2022) (bonus)
October 5th: Mad God (2021)
October 7th: House/Hausu (1977) plus Werewolf by Night (2022) (bonus)
October 8th: The Craft (1996)
October 10th: Maximum Overdrive (1986) plus The World’s End (2013) (bonus)
October 11th: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) plus May (2003) (bonus)
October 12th: Häxan (1922)
Of these, my highest recommendations go to Saloum, Frankenstein, Mad God and Häxan on film-making quality, but basically everything except May, which hasn’t aged well at all, was fun or redeemable in its own ways. Some were definitely re-re-re-watches, mostly the bonus ones.

No pictures again, and not many links (Y’all know how to look stuff up…be curious and enterprising!) but I think that’s enough to let y’all know I continue to exist. I don’t know how often I’ll update here, but I’ll try to get a post with pics in before the end of the year. I’m way more prolific here, but “here” requires an invite because the public and quasi-public Internet is kind of a drag these days. Feel free to ask for one.

Hey, I’m still alive.

I hope y’all are well, too.

Given what my last post here looked like, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that I’ve been overwhelmed with life stuff since I wrote it. I have managed to fit my hobbies in somewhat over the past 5 months or so, and I’ve even scanned a few things here and there with the intention of posting about them (I have gotten some really cool stuff lately, and I still owe everyone the Negro Leagues Legends card set post or posts, which everything is scanned for), but it hasn’t happened yet.

Part of this, mind you, also has to do with the fact that my main newsletter (which used to be at Substack, but Substack harbors and subsidizes the work of all sorts of truly terrible people, so I didn’t want my newsletter there anymore) has been chugging along at my other website. I’m not writing daily at the moment, like I did from September-February, but I am starting to write with a bit more frequency again. It’s private and invite-only, but also free (unlike a lot of these newsletter ne’er-do-wells), and covers mostly pop culture and my personal life. (A little bit of hobby stuff has leaked in, but I’m really not cheating on y’all that much with the newsletter.)

If you’re interested in reading it (subject to approval; everyone reading it is someone I’ve had some extended contact with either in-person or online, and I’d like to continue to keep it that close-knit, though there are definitely some of you here that I think would enjoy it, and would qualify for being on the other side of the wall), email me (including your preferred email address for receiving newsletters and preferred username for the comment section/archives), and if I know who you are and feel comfortable inviting you in, I’ll hook you up.

I’ve actually given some thought to taking this site private, as I did with my other one to make the newsletter out of it, but for reasons related to my energy level alone, that probably won’t happen for a while, if it does at all. Yes, it would be an inconvenience to people who just wanna read the thing if I did it, but I’ve also come to the conclusion over the past few years that public life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so I’m finding myself more and more inclined to do my writing and Internet socializing in slightly more private settings. I got rid of Facebook and Instagram, I locked my Twitter accounts, and, as mentioned, I even made my main website private.

Honestly, it’s working out well for me, I think. I’m able to concentrate better on what I need to do (which has been important, because holy crap have I “needed to do” a lot these past few months), and when I talk to people I know (email’s been my preferred method, though I also have a private Discord server or two that I frequent), I’ve been having fuller, less surface conversations. It’s been a meaningful and positive change.

With that said, again, if I do put this site behind a wall and make it Newsletter #2, it probably won’t be for a while (my guess would be this coming winter), so you have time to enjoy my extremely infrequent posts, which tend to be more about this site than the topics this site was built for, these days, before it happens.

I do have some other site business, related to what this site’s actually about, to discuss, though! I am also posting to note that Highest Priority Card Set Want Lists, Highest Priority Comic Set Want Lists, and Baseball Card Flagship Sets Progress Report have been updated for the first time in over a year, and that, while I haven’t been able to add many cards to my trade pile (which means there are only about 70,000 available for trade in it), and I only have about half a small box of comics that I’d consider to be “available for trade”, I am fully vaccinated and comfortable making recreational trips to the post office again for the first time since last August (And really, the couple of trips I made last summer? I shouldn’t have.), so if you are interested in doing The Trades, let me know.

That should about do it for now. Again, I hope y’all are hangin’ in there, staying safe, and enjoying what you can.

…and then I disappeared for 4 months.

Sorry about that.

I did not abandon my mission or anything like that, and as you know if you follow me elsewhere, I am still alive and as well as I was before the pandemic started, from what my doctors and I can tell, anyway.

It’s just been something of a weird time to put aside the world’s troubles and think solely of hobbies, even if I am still engaging with mine. I will say that I’m doing so tentatively, for a variety of reasons. I’ve made a handful of card deals (thanks to Madding, Night Owl, AJ, Vossbrink and Gavin, and I hope I got everyone there), but haven’t quite managed to get all the scans done that I want to.

To talk a little bit more of cards, I also picked up something really awesome that I want to feature here, but again, for a variety of reasons, I haven’t had the time or energy to do it justice yet. Until 5 minutes ago, I hadn’t even opened it, even though I got it in late June, and that’s a damned shame, because it’s amazing, it’s something I think a lot of you are going to want to get for yourselves, and I’m glad that writing this post got me off my ass to look through it. I know that not even telling y’all what I got is a big tease, but I wanted to let everyone know I was alive here, before I started scanning and writing at length. It’s gonna be a little while longer on this one, too, because I have a lot of card backs to read, and a lot of card fronts to look at more closely. Stay tuned, and your patience will hopefully be rewarded.

I haven’t just been doing things with cards, though. While I’ve tried to keep the number of transactions I’ve made for frivolous things to a minimum, mostly because I don’t want people to have too much unnecessary contact with one another, here and there, I’ve grabbed some things. A record or two, a few DVDs, a couple video games, some comics, that sort of thing. I’ve not been in a retail store of any “non-essential” kind since March 6th (thankfully, my local comic shop does both curbside pickup and delivery), and my local flea market did the difficult but sensible thing and never opened up this year, but some stuff still found its way to me, and I’ve caught up on some other stuff. I even completed a few comic book series I’ve been working on collecting for a very long time: New Teen Titans Vol. 1 and All-Star Squadron, with the last issue of Son of Satan on its way to me as well, thanks to that eBay coupon (and thanks to Grogg for alerting me to that, as well, because I didn’t get an email notification about it).

A lot of this stuff, I haven’t spent time with yet, though, because again, it can be hard to focus on fun things with a series of looming existential threats around us all. As I’m able to get past all that, in tiny chunks, I’ll be telling you about it.

In the meantime, I hope that you’ve all been well and safe, or recovered fully if that wasn’t the case. I also hope that you’re managing to keep yourself busy with fun things on occasion, too.

A Thing About Image Captions

In the process of frantically wrapping up the year in review/hobby goals stuff overnight, I forgot to talk about a thing I’ve started working on.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve added more thorough image captions to newer posts on this site (and while I honestly may not get to it all, I have intentions of doing this with my older posts over time, as well). If you haven’t noticed it yet, yes, it’s a thing I’m doing intentionally. This is a work in progress, and one I’m honestly finding to be pretty challenging, but I think it’s worthwhile work, not just for me and my site, but for all of us.

Somehow, I made it decades into my time on the Internet without thinking enough about how my posts, which are occasionally very visual in nature, were severely under-serving visually impaired people. This was a mistake, and I’m sorry that I made it. I’m far from alone in making this mistake, but that doesn’t mean I, or any of us, should just keep making it.

So, recently, I’ve started looking into best practices for captioning images for the visually impaired. This is still a work in progress, without a ton of agreement on a style guide that I’ve been able to find. (If you know of one that’s largely agreed upon, please let me know.)

With that in mind, I’m reading the things I can find on the subject, and am doing my best. On my best days, I’m not great at brevity, so I’m still working on being both concise and descriptive. If you do a lot of this work and have suggestions, please let me know.

If there’s anyone wondering how something like this applies to baseball cards, for instance: I grew up hearing stories about my great-grandfather (my mom’s grandfather), who lived with my mom’s family, and had lost his sight somewhere along the way. He was a big Brooklyn Dodgers fan, but he’d listen to any game on the radio or TV. I don’t know whether he had much exposure to baseball cards, even with younger grand-kids in the house, but given that he was a fan, the information on those cards was just as relevant to him as it is to anyone sighted. If Red Barber and Vin Scully could describe things about the game to him, then I can certainly try my best to do the same for everyone else.

More recently and personally, my eyesight has been deteriorating, most likely as a result of the head injuries I’ve sustained. My last concussion changed my prescription significantly. I can’t read most ingredient lists on food packages, or most card backs, without eyeglasses at this point. (Topps needs to start thinking about big, legible numbers on their cards soon, because their customer base is aging rapidly.) I’ve been pretty fortunate, in that I made it to my 40s without these issues, but it’s still frustrating to lose the ability to do things.

I try not to be a person who only cares about a thing if it’s happening to me, or to someone I know. Above, I noted that I should’ve been doing this work all along, regardless of how well I or anyone else I know can see. Sometimes, these anecdotes help other people understand experiences they may not have had, though, so I’m sharing. In a perfect world, people would do things to help people who need assistance because it’s part of being a decent person and a member of a functioning society. Alas, the world isn’t perfect, and plenty of us aren’t taught to do the right thing on stuff like this (absolutely my experience). So, if me talking about my great-grandfather listening to Dodger games or my not being able to read card backs leads to us making the Internet a better place in some small way, awesome.

This news about captioning also means that this site will transform in some other ways. I’m probably going to opt for shorter posts moving forward, with fewer images. In fairness, the amount of information, especially visual information I’ve included in some of my posts has been excessive at times. (No one *really* needed to see my entire 1971 Topps set, fronts and backs, in a single post.) This may also mean more posts from me, as I’ll be compartmentalizing information a bit more. We’ll see how all of that goes.

In the meantime, if you have thoughts about this subject (and please, be kind, not just to me, but in general), please let me know in the comments, or email me.

A few quick things…

1. I hope you’re all well, and stay that way. If I haven’t heard from you in a while, or even if I have, drop a line in the comments or via email, when you can. I think it’s pretty important to keep in touch right now.

2. I will be finishing My Year In Hobbies 2019 relatively soon. I plan on not leaving the house for a while, if I can help it, so it shouldn’t be that hard to make time for.

3. I’d say that we’re still looking for teams for my fantasy baseball leagues, but there kinda might not be sports for a while, so feel free to apply, but who the hell knows?

4. I plan on killing some time at Heck if the sudden downtime allows for it, and have also been playing No Man’s Sky on PS4 again of late (email if you want to meet up).

5. If you’d like to get notified when this site updates, there’s an email subscription form in the top right hand corner (or, on mobile, wherever this blasted unresponsive WordPress theme puts it, until I redo the layout). It’s relatively low-traffic, and will keep you in the loop, if you’re not one of the 3 people who are subscribed to my RSS feed.

That’s it for now. If I think of more, I can always post again (and annoy the email subscribers).