My Year in Hobbies 2020

This is gonna be long, and it’s going to be all over the place. There are going to be (some) highs and lows (one of which is rough; consider yourselves disclaimed). Last year, I did things monthly. We’re not doing that this time. I’m gonna go by subject, and do my best to be concise, in light of…well, 2020.

Some website-centric/house cleaning kinda stuff, first:

If you didn’t notice yet, I’m not formatting paragraphs on this website like this anymore.

For a time, I liked it aesthetically because this was such an image-centric website, but I’m told that it messes with readability, particularly for disabled people (while doing some research on accessibility, I read that it can mess with how Autistic people process what they’re reading; and you’re one of my readers and this has been your experience, I apologize, and I’ll do better moving forward), so it’s officially out.

Also, as I predicted it would, figuring out image captioning slowed things down a lot, but that doesn’t make it bad, and I’m practicing it a lot over at Substack, where I’ve been doing far more writing of late. I’m still going to tinker with it a little, because I did it two different ways on this site, and I think that a hybrid of those ways is probably going to be the best way to go, moving forward.

Speaking of, I’m sure those of you who aren’t interested in Another Thing, or aren’t that interested in the rest of what goes on in my life and are Just Here For The Cards, Man are gonna be like “awww, come on” if I spend any more time plugging the Substack like the rest of your middle-aged, white, male, at least marginally sports-inclined friends are, but I can tell you (and you can see) that I’ve been writing here very little, and over there, I’ve written or posted at least something literally every day since August 31st. I don’t make it easy to sign up (you have to actually contact me and ask, and I reserve the right to say “no” or kick people off the subscriber list if they’re lousy in the comments or spread what’s in the newsletter around to the general public), but it’s free and will remain that way, which most other Substacks that have that kind of output are not. If we’ve known each other long enough to have a cordial personal relationship, either through my comments section, by enough trades that the emails aren’t just “PLEASE SEND BASEBALL CARD THANK U” or some other way, I think you’ll enjoy it, even if a good chunk of it isn’t specifically what you come here for.

Classic Posts didn’t get added much, if at all in 2020, and I might take down the old site entirely soon because it’s pretty ephemeral. Do any of you actually think “Hey, I want to read what Scott had to say about The Empty Monster Box of Shame in 2013″ as part of your regular practice? (OK, I probably will add that post to this site, because it’s an evergreen, but still.) Let me know where y’all are at on this one. It’s not costing me anything, but it’s still an old and now-neglected portion of my Internet presence, and I’ve been trying to avoid having those these days.

With all of that out of the way now, let’s begin the recap…

2020 was a weird, no-good, awful, terrible, screwed-up, lousy stinkin’ year. We are welcome, and I’d say, we’ll be encouraged to keep sayin’ it for the rest of our lives. If we made it this far, we’ve earned it. I hope that all of you who were readers of mine before March 11th, 2020 are still with us and in good health, because so many people weren’t as fortunate, and that’s still very much an ongoing thing.

On this note, I’m going to try to tie a few threads together here at once, and this may or may not work well as an example of good writing, but please bear with me.

As longer-term readers of mine may remember, this was The First Card of 2020. I’m just posting it here to cover the usual First Card/Last Card traditions, and we can move on from it after looking at it, as it’s otherwise not relevant to what I have to write (though it’s still really cool).

[Image Description: A 2019 Panini Rookies baseball card of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.. Against a leathery textured brown, denim blue and beige background, Blue Jays 3rd baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (center), a Black man with medium brown skin and blonde dreadlocks, wearing a blue and grey uniform, swings a beige baseball bat.]
While there has not yet been a First Card of 2021, a 1951 Topps Red Back Duke Snider was The Last Card of 2020.

[Image Description: a 1951 Topps Red Back Duke Snider card sits on a black-brown woodgrain Ikea table top. At the diamond-shaped center inset of the card, which is mostly white and has rounded corners, there is a cut-out photograph of Brooklyn Dodgers player Edwin “Duke” Snider, a smiling white man with dark eyebrows, wearing a baseball cap with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ letter B logo on the center of the cap and a white shirt, against a blue background. On the bottom right edge of the diamond inset, text reading “No. 38 IN A SERIES OF 52” is written in black letters. The card also has yellow backgrounds for the top right and bottom left parts of it, and a thin red border around the inner part of the card. At the top left and bottom right corners, there is a red baseball with the number 1 in the center of it, and the word “SINGLE” written in a font that curves around the bottom of the baseball, directly below it (right side up at top left, upside down at bottom right). On the top right yellow section, a small cartoon of a white man in a white baseball uniform with black highlights, facing left, running with a baseball bat after the follow through of his swing, appears. On the bottom left yellow section of of the card, black text reads “ED (DUKE) SNIDER” with “ED” and “SNIDER” in a larger font than “(DUKE)”, then below that, in a different black font, the card reads “Walloping the ball at a .321 clip, the left-hander Brooklyn Dodger out-fielder hit 31 homers and had 107 runs batted in.”]
As a bunch of people have in recent months, because happenings on the site were so unstable for so long, and I’d heard a bunch of vague noise about it on card Twitter and elsewhere, I’ve cleaned out my COMC port for now, mostly so, if anything went terribly wrong with the company, I’d have at least gotten something for what was left in my inventory there. When I did that, I had a good handful of credit in the account, and I used it to buy Duke here, and have him shipped to me. I’d other made single-card eBay purchases from them earlier in the year that were shipped swiftly, and (incorrectly) assumed that they’d be processing shipments of single cards from their website at the same speed. (My assumption is that, at least at the time I ordered the Duke card, though they may have course-corrected by now, all eBay shipments were prioritized over their website orders, because there are actual consequences to late shipments, in the form of persistent negative feedback on a user account, if you’re late shipping items you sell on eBay, whereas, on their own platform, there were no lasting, persistent disincentive to delaying shipments.)

There was a mildly tense exchange between COMC customer service and I at one point, because they were late well above and beyond their stated shipping delays, and were also, for a time (and I’m sure they won’t be thrilled about my saying so, but I have emails and screenshots of both my account and tweets from the company that back my position), publicly dishonest about the circumstances of it, but they did apologize, and they resolved it to the best of their ability at that time. Eventually, if things do stabilize for their business, which went through the double whammy of COVID and a huge surge in business that they were, for whatever reason, unprepared for despite the writing being on the wall for a few years that it was coming, I may eventually do business with them again, because, as I said, they did put in the effort to make things right. Your mileage may vary after reading about my experience, but I don’t have overwhelmingly negative feelings about how they did business in the end, and my experience with COMC, up until the most recent one, was actually an overwhelmingly positive one.

Unfortunately, the delay in shipping did cause a somewhat painful, and completely unexpected thing to happen, as, in the last real conversation I had with my mother, I told her about the 1951 Topps Red Back Duke Snider I had bought there. She loved the Brooklyn Dodgers, had met Duke a couple of times (and once drove 20 miles, paid to get into a card show, and waited in line to get a ball signed by him for me, because I couldn’t be there), was actually named in my will, until very recently, as the recipient of my Brooklyn Dodgers cards, and was excited to see it, but while I held it up to a screen in video chat near the end of her life, I don’t know if she was aware that I was doing it. A lot of times, when something fun but non-essential that we order from somewhere ships late, and even when the person we buy it from or trade something to for it is not great about being consistent in how they do business, it’s frustrating, but the stakes are ultimately pretty trivial. I will be hopefully abundantly clear to those who read this that I don’t think this was specifically COMC’s fault or anything, as none of us knew how things would play out, certainly (and at this point, I’m going to stop talking about what COMC did or didn’t do and move onto the next subject, which is a little bigger in my life than the business practices of a consignment company), but this felt…a little less like one of those times.

It wasn’t a direct COVID-19 thing (though COVID affected everything from my ability to see her in person over the last year of her life to, undoubtedly, the quality of her treatment), but to come back to the subject of those who didn’t make it through the year, and confirm something I alluded to in the previous paragraph, my mother passed away on Christmas morning. It would be impossible to state in a hundred articles like this how much I loved and still love my mom, how much my mom meant not just to me, but also, and this is where this loss isn’t just crushing, but also on-topic, for those fun-at-parties people who are sticklers for that sort of thing even at the worst times, how much she meant to each and every one of my hobbies, and I’ll probably never really know if I was able to convey to her how grateful I was and still am.

She went through so very much shit supporting me in all of them, not just buying me stuff, but driving me all over to get it, sitting in stores she mostly didn’t give a rat’s ass about for long periods of time while I looked through things, dealing with this stuff being all over the homes we lived in together, listening to me talk on and on about it all in the same ways I see my friends with kids around my age complain about how all their kids know how to talk about is Minecraft and Fortnite and whatever else the youth are playing these days. She did all of that and then some, for longer than most human beings have a mom doing that stuff regularly in their lives (because I am a disabled person who lived with family for a long stretch of my life), and she did it just because she wanted me to be happy. I owe her my life and then some, a bunch of times over, and it’s a debt I never would’ve been able to repay even if she’d lived for a long time past when she did, because this is something (along with all of the other stuff that good parents do, even if you don’t have a bunch of hobbies) that she’s done for me from the time I was a small child to the end of her life, and even beyond.

There is $25 cash in my wallet right now that I got from her as a birthday gift this past year, but haven’t been able to spend because I haven’t been in situations where cash is required since March. Eventually, when it’s safe to be out at flea markets and hobby stores and yard sales again, that $25 from her will pay for at least one more fun thing, one more gift, even though she isn’t here to give it to me or see it. It’s going to be tough letting go of it when the time comes, and I may get and use other cash before I use that cash, because I want what I spend it on to be really good (and yes, if you’re careful about it, you can get great things with 25 bucks, still), but that’s the plan, and I’m going to try to stick to it, because it’d be a waste of her resources (which she never really had an easy go of mustering, either) to do anything less.

I’ve said it elsewhere, but she deserved so much better than she got, in all aspects of her life, and I hope I was able to give her at least a small fraction of it back, in her mind. I will miss her terribly, for the rest of my days, but I’m so grateful that I had her as a mom, and knew her as a person.

With that very necessary, but very sad part of the discussion of this year having been covered, not everything that happened in the entire year was terrible (though no matter how bad the rest of it was, nothing in my life to date, speaking purely personally, has been as terrible as losing my mom, and I’m really only about a week out from that, so go easy on me here), and I’ll now attempt to make a really sharp turn back over to “what happened for me in the hobbies I participate in over the past year”. As I mentioned above, I’m going to do things by category this year, in the most concise manner available to me, given how I write (I’m not into the whole brevity thing, man). I’d have given all of these subjects their own posts, but that didn’t end well for any of us last year, and I’d say that a lot of this stuff’s interconnected, too. It should, at least, be less than the 13 part nightmare that was last year’s “year in review”.

Trading Cards:

I’m not collecting 2021 (and forward) Topps baseball sets by default anymore. If there’s a set design I really like, or if circumstances dump a complete set of something in my lap, then fine, I’ll re-evaluate things on a case-by-case basis, but I can’t keep devoting my time, energy, and resources by default to Topps, with them not really interested in doing the same for my type of collector. As I said when I was planning for 2020, 1951-2020 has a really nice ring to it, and I’m going with that for now. If I regret it, I regret it. I don’t want to try to compete for new cards in a world with card bubble scalpers/flippers, though. That’s what pushed most of us out of the hobby as kids in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and apparently people have learned nothing from history, as usual. I also don’t have strong ties to present-day MLB. There are a few players I like, but I don’t have a team, and Rob Manfred is determined to “hold my beer” the shit out of Bud Selig’s tenure as Commissioner, so I’m not feeling a strong inclination to buy licensed merchandise.

I’m still going to do player collections of current players, so I’ll be picking up individual current cards from time to time, and will probably devote at least a little more energy to them, but as someone who once put effort into a Ray Rice player collection (and is still stuck with the goddamned things), I really need to carefully evaluate and regularly re-evaluate those collections, and also come up with an exit strategy (ideally one that doesn’t have me feeling like I need a Silkwood shower after I’m done with it, because of who I might have to deal with to make those cards go away; I’d like, if possible, to avoid the types that aren’t bothered by players doing terrible things…) for any and all of them, should the players in question out themselves as people who I don’t want to have a bunch of pictures of. Even if I resolve to only buy cards of theirs in dime boxes, those dimes do add up.

It’s not fun to think about any of this stuff, but I think it’s worth viewing media consumption (and cards are media) critically, and with at least some eye toward having it be consistent with your own personal ethics, no matter how much you want your hobbies, your sports, or whatever else to be pure escapism. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect everyone who works in every field you have an interest in to be a good person, and it’s basically impossible to avoid engaging with all known terrible people in your entertainment (and ultimately, you won’t be able to, because there’s a lot of terrible people out there, and they don’t always have press conferences to announce that they’re terrible, even if that’s become a popular pastime in recent years), but to me, it feels worthwhile to try and minimize that. All the talk I hear from other people about “separating art from artist” is ultimately a privileged position, because some people, who have had certain unfortunate experiences, can’t do that, no matter how much they’d like to.

Also: in general, this applies, pretty much.

With all of that said, there’s still great stuff in trading cards, and things I love about this hobby.

While that Duke Snider card I posted above is always going to be bittersweet for me in ways I didn’t understand when I purchased it, I do love it, and I think there’s at least a chance that it’s going to end up living on my desk permanently.

I feel like, over this year, I’ve found and gotten to know a part of the card hobby community that aligns a little more closely with my beliefs systems, and that feels good. The people I still follow on Twitter, for instance, are really a good bunch, and I’m glad to know them to the degree that I do. Thanks for having me around, if you’re one of ’em. I also came across people who weren’t and aren’t like that, and that’s disappointing, but I’m choosing to focus on the positive here.

I mentioned dime boxes above, and let me tell you, I was a little skeptical going in, but The Internet Dime Box is a good one. Spent an entire day making an order, got it relatively quickly, and with great customer service. Highly recommended.

Gavin made me copies of some of his customs.

[Image Description: A custom card of the Butthole Surfers from Baseball Card Breakdown, in the style of 1991 ProSet Super Stars MusiCards. The card is a horizontal rectangular shape, with a yellow triangular upper right border, pink triangular lower left border with “BUTTHOLE SURFERS” written on it in black letters, the main photo in between those borders in what looks like a thick top left to bottom right diagonal line, and a black box in the bottom right hand corner with “Pro Set SUPER STARS MusiCards” written in white and purple letters, with a yellow star between “SUPER” and “STARS”. On the main picture of the card is a photograph taken by Bob Berg of, from left to right, guitarist Paul Leary (a white man with long medium brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a black shirt, and looking deeply uncomfortable with his right hand on his head and a crazed expression on his face), drummer King Coffey (a smiling white man with no hair, wearing mirrored sunglasses and a Piggly Wiggly t-shirt), and singer-keyboardist Gibby Haynes (a white man with long black hair, brown eyes, a mustache and a goatee, grinning with a closed mouth, with his head tilted toward King Coffey’s) of the Butthole Surfers.]
[Image Description: A custom card of Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers, from Baseball Card Breakdown, in the style of 1990 Fleer Basketball cards. The card is a vertical rectangular shape, mostly white aside from the center picture, thin red horizontal and blue vertical borders around the center pictures, with a break in the bottom border for the top of the basketball hoop-shaped area for the name, that hoop-shaped area (a red half-circle with the name “GIBBY” in white letters, a white rectangle with a red outer border, a thin black inner border, and “HAYNES” in black letters in the center, and a smaller red rectangle at the bottom with “VOCALS” in white letters), and a “FLEER ’90” logo in the bottom right hand corner, with a longer blue lines above “FLEER”, and a shorter blue line under “FLEER” that ends right before “’90”. In the center picture, Butthole Surfers singer-keyboardist Gibby Haynes (a white man with long black hair and brown eyes, appearing here from the waist up, shirtless) yells into a megaphone which he, in turn, has pointed at a microphone. The background of the picture is dark and blurred.]
[Image Description: a custom card from Baseball Card Breakdown of Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators, based upon the 1984 TCMA minor league baseball card design. The card has a green outer border, with a rounded purple inner border around the photo that has purple stars on a white background in the top corners, and a green tab in the center of the bottom edge of the photo that shows the player’s “position” in white letters, in this case, “V, G” for “Vocals, Guitar”. The picture is a black and white side view photo of Roky Erickson, singer and guitarist for the 13th Floor Elevators (a white man with dark, chin-length hair, wearing a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt), standing in front of a microphone, looking to his left while holding a guitar with a light-colored neck and an embroidered guitar strap, and smirking slightly. Below the picture and the tab, the card reads “Roky Erickson” in white text, and just below that, “13th FLOOR ELEVATORS”.]
I also ordered the Negro Leagues Legends card set by Negro League History while it was still available, which by now those of you who read more card blogs than I do have probably seen everywhere and hopefully ordered (or I hope you have, anyway), though I’d intended on posting about it much earlier (this year had so many different ways of getting away from us all), and it’s terrific. Over time, I’ll likely share more from the set (it was the surprise I alluded to earlier in the year, and I’ve got a bunch of cards from it scanned, but it deserves its own post, late or not), but for starters, here is the card from the set that moved me the most. I’ve written out the entire caption in the image description of the back of the card, and I’ll let it speak for itself…

[Image Description: a baseball card of “UNKNOWN” from Negro League History’s Negro Leagues Legends set, with painted art by Graig Kreindler. On the main part of the card is a painting of a Black man with short hair and medium brown skin standing in front of a brick wall. He is visible from the chest up in a close-cropped bust shot, wearing a black uniform with a white button at the color, and the letters “B T R” across the chest of the uniform, for Brown’s Tennessee Rats, an independent barnstorming baseball team that played from 1910-1926. On the left side of the card, a woodgrain border that looks like cherry wood has “UNKNOWN” written vertically from bottom to top in a white block font, and “Negro Leagues Legends” written in a more stylized script font. In the top right corner, a Negro Leagues 100th Anniversary logo appears, with a brick red shield shape for the background, featuring the silhouette of what’s implied to be a Black man in a dark blue baseball uniform, leaning on a baseball bat held in his right hand and his left hand on his hip. at the top, “1920” and “2020”  are written in white lettering on either side of the image of the baseball player. Just below that, in a larger, stylized font, “NEGRO LEAGUES” is written in white letters that curve upward in a circular fashion along their bottoms, and rounded along the bottom, it reads “100th Anniversary” in white lettering, with white stars on either side of those words.]
[Image Description: the back of a baseball card of “UNKNOWN” from Negro League History’s Negro Leagues Legends set. A light beige border wraps around the large white main section of the card, with corners that look slightly like the tabs that hold pictures in old photo albums. In the main section, which is nearly entirely text, the card reads “Unknown Player, Brown’s Tennessee Rats” above a first thin periwinkle dividing line, then “INDEPENDENT, POS: UNK | BATS: UNK | THROWS: UNK, HEIGHT: UNK WEIGHT UNK, BORN: UNK, DIED: UNK” above a second thin periwinkle dividing line, and “Brown’s Tennessee Rats (1910-1926) were a barnstorming team based in Holden, MO. This player represents the many unknown players whose stories have been lost to time. Newspaper coverage was limited, being the near exclusive domain of weekly black newspapers. Players came and went, often playing for only a few games as fill-ins due to short rosters {12-15 players) and frequent contract jumping by established players. In addition, while Negro Leagues players earned much more than the average black wage earner, life in the Negro Leagues was hard due to endemic racism, making travel and eating difficult and safety questionable.” in the main body of the card’s text. Below that text, a black oval Negro Leagues History logo appears at left, a Graig Kreindler logo saying “painting by KREINDLER” appears at center, a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum featuring a painting of a Black man in a white baseball uniform with the number 12 on it, swinging a bat inside a red circle with Negro Leagues Baseball Museum written in white letters inside it, and an outer border that resembles a baseball diamond with green grass and brown dirt. At bottom center, the card number, 128, is written in black text.]
I got a small number of actual trades done this year, though I’ve really tried to stay the hell out of the post office or anywhere else since March as best I can, but if you were in on those trades, thank you. Madding of Cards on Cards sent me too much stuff above and beyond the one actual trade I think we managed to complete either late last year or early this year, which was very nice of him. I have to figure out a return package, but it’s getting harder to find Cardinals he doesn’t have already, and I’m not getting box lots from the flea market at the moment. I wonder if he likes 1988 Topps Mets cards.

I know I completed at least one card set this year, possibly more. 1991 AW Sports CFL cards is confirmed, because I got the last two I needed from the Internet Dime Box recently. I haven’t put them away yet (it’s been a rough month or so), but I finished it. I’m also 1 card away from the following noteworthy-ish sets, if anyone’s holding, and can make something happen through the magic of either PWEs or PayPal:

1954 Bowman Brooklyn Dodgers Team Set: 170 Duke Snider

1990 Score Rookie & Traded: 100 Eric Lindros

1992 Score: 788 Award Winners Cal Ripken Jr. MVP

1992 Pinnacle: 161 Tim Wallach (this will be my second copy of the set, so it’ll be available for trade as soon as I get a Tim Wallach and can go to the post office safely again, or when I have no choice but to go to the post office for official business of some kind)

1951 Topps Red Backs Brooklyn Dodgers Team Set: 16 Preacher Roe

1985 Topps Traded: 43 Ozzie Guillen (also a second set that I’ll be able to trade or sell someday, albeit one with no box)

1967 Raybert The Monkees A: 13 The Monkees (Pic of all 4 members on stairs)

There are also these sets, which I’m close to finishing, but I need to update this list, because it’s 9 months out of date, I believe.

I wrote about how I was having a lot of fun with digital cards earlier in the pandemic, but that really kinda crapped out. Are any of you still doing this stuff? Do any of you want to make some deals? Let me know.

I’ve made no further progress on the Player’s Wild Animals’ Heads set, but they’re on eBay, so it’s just a matter of wanting to spend money on them.

I think that’s it for cards.

Second Life:

Spent a bunch of time in Second Life this year, though mostly at other peoples’ places. Need to get Heck resuscitated for like the billionth time (it turned 14 on December 15th, but I was, um, preoccupied, so there was no celebration…if the place makes it to 15, we’ll have a big ‘un).

I did get to do an interview this year, which I haven’t done in a long time, and I’m happy I told y’all about vroum Short and her collective at VeGeTaL PLaNeT, even if I’m reasonably sure some of you are not sure why I told you. Explore the (real and virtual) world a bit. Live a little! It’s fun!

Video Games:

Online Multiplayer Solitaire: I’m currently ranked at #349 worldwide out of 466,882 on iOS MobilityWare Solitaire in their online multiplayer game, and closing in on 10,000 wins (about 180 to go there). I played about 2400 multiplayer games this past year (and completed all 366 Daily Challenges (I’ve completed all 2286 since they started them, across 2 iPads), but, as with most things, there were definite “I don’t give a rat’s ass” gaps. I didn’t have many long “complete Daily Challenge in same day” streaks, I’ll tell you that. You’d think someone stuck in the house would play more solitaire, not less…

I didn’t play enough No Man’s Sky this past year, despite being in the house for almost all of it, and I’m way behind, because the developers are saints and have released an absolute ton of new expansions for it. Looking for people who play, to help get me back into the game some.

I beat Tony Hawk 1 + 2, and in the case of 2, it was for I think the 5th time on the 4th platform (Playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation 4, and once I even beat the game on a Mac that had it running in a CompUSA, because it was on there and I had nothing better to do for a little while). It’s still one of the best games ever made. I’m nowhere near as good at it as the kids playing online multiplayer, though, because it’s all they do. Some games (Burnout Paradise comes to mind), there’s actually a cap on how good you can get at them, I guess because of the physics of the game, and you don’t ever really lose the skills. Tony Hawk, people are still figuring out ways to get much better.

I’ve started Stardew Valley over like 3 times, because I can’t seem to get the hang of playing it at the pace the game seems to want me to. It’s fun, and I could just, you know, play it at my own pace, but even if I opt to do that in general, I’d like to understand what doing it “successfully” means, if anything. It seems like a trap they’re using to find out if you’re a cop or something, though.

I played around with Dreams a fair deal, but I may not be imaginative or patient enough to really make the platform work for me as a creator, in the same way I have (sorta) with Second Life.

I’m a few levels into the PS4 remake of Medievil, and I will probably get back to it soon, because the gameplay is still good, but it should be said that Sony really could’ve used a sensitivity reader back when they made the original. That’s true of a few of their big games, though (Crash, Spyro, etc.).

For whatever my reasons, I got both Tempest 4000 for PS4 and Tempest X3 for PS1, when I already owned Tempest 2000 for Jaguar. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go out and try to get a Nuon, though I have played Tempest 3000 on one before. I can’t promise that I’ll never buy the Sega Saturn version of Tempest X3, though.

Wii: still not using it much, but I really need to. Wii Fit balance exercises would probably still help with ongoing vertigo issues, and I could play Nights on it, too (it didn’t get great reviews, but I still love the original, got the sequel years before I got a Wii, and am curious).

Movies and television, going by memory and viewing histories:

I bought Mommie Dearest, The Hideaways, Lady Sings The Blues, and Gilda Live. I still have to watch The Hideaways and Lady Sings The Blues.

I initially did not plan to continue writing about anything but physical media at this site, on the movies and TV front, as seen here, but I forgot about that, wrote a ton, and I don’t feel like moving it elsewhere, so it can stay for this year.

I think the only 2020 first-run movie I saw in the theater was Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which was outstanding (and the best DC Comics movie since Batman Returns), and I saw it with a group of friends right before everything went south, and if that’s the last movie I ever get to see in a movie theater, I ended on a very high note.

I can confirm that, via streaming services and what have you, I watched at least 47 other movies. Of everything relatively new that I saw this year, Birds of Prey, Ready or Not, My Dad is a Heel Wrestler and Beastie Boys Story were probably my favorites, and from what I can remember of what I watched this year, Return of the Secaucus 7 and One Million Years B.C. (no, really, I’d never seen it) were probably my favorite older films that I’d never seen before. I really enjoyed revisiting Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Fade to Black and Motel Hell, too. Yes, it was a “watch horror to escape other horror” kinda year, and we used a lot of October for horror movies.

Running counter to the entire world, I didn’t binge-watch a TV series on Netflix after February 29th (I Am Not OK With This was the last one). Nope, I haven’t seen The Queen’s Gambit yet, and I didn’t watch that fucking Tiger King show (and I’m not even gonna link to the Wikipedia entry on it). What’s wrong with y’all, anyway? Jeez. Now, in 2021, I’ve already binged one complete season (Cobra Kai Season 3), and I had it done by 8:37 AM on January 1st.

I did watch 6 complete seasons of television between 5 shows last year (Grace and Frankie, I Am Not OK With This, I’m Dying Up Here, Truth Seekers which I unfortunately didn’t love, but that’s a long story, and The Mandalorian), though, one of which (I’m Dying Up Here) was the complete series, and my second time through, to see if I still loved it as much, and I did. My favorite new series of the year was I Am Not OK With This, which won’t surprise anyone who knows me. Among a lot of other things I’ve been hopping around between (lots of which are from the old WPIX repertoire), I’ve also started watching Bourdain from the beginning, have been slowly working on Julia, getting The Dick Cavett Show in when I can, rationing Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories episodes, and using YouTube to get The Hollywood Palace and Insight in there when I wanna get weird.

Speaking of, after a zillion years, I finally started subscribing to YouTube channels. I recommend the Norwegian train driver’s channel, Ed Sullivan’sBeyond Wrestling’s , Brick Mantooth’s, and Pop Arena’s, especially for Nick Knacks – A Nickelodeon Retrospective, which is outstanding.

That’s more than enough about my viewing habits, though!

Music (hard copies): here, I remembered that I’m only doing physical media for this site. Of course, I can’t remember what CDs I bought between January and March 11th, my Sleep Envy cassette will get here when it gets here, and I only got two records (both great, though): The Stooges’ Live at Goose Lake: August 8, 1970 and Glossolalia by Zambri (which is dried up on the physical side through Bandcamp or their label, but can be had through a few third party sellers affordably on hell site that I’m not linking to), so while I listened to a lot of music last year, and loved a bunch of it, this section’s probably not gonna set you on fire this year.

Comics: comics are weird, because the industry got knocked on its ass this past year, so even more of what I enjoy reading got cancelled, there was another pointless reset of a comics line (DC), and it became harder, not easier, to order them when DC stopped doing business with Diamond, their longtime distributor (one of many “What the hell are they doing over there?” things about the AT&T/Time-Warner situation).

Of new books I liked this year, Amethyst, Power Pack, Inkblot, and The Other History of the DC Universe have probably been my favorites, so 3 YA books and Black Lightning (though The Other History… has a rotating cast), pretty much. Power Pack and The Other History of the DC Universe are only 2 issues and an issue in, respectively, so you may still have a good chance at being able to jump on if you like single issues, whereas Amethyst just wrapped up, and Inkblot’s ongoing, at least for now.

As far as books that started last year or earlier went, Hawkman (sadly cancelled), Legion of Super-Heroes (maybe cancelled or at least being reworked because DC can’t leave well enough alone), Far Sector (almost over) and Ascender (ongoing, and hopefully it will remain that way for a while) were probably my favorites.

On the back issue front, thanks to the spouse, I finished New Teen Titans Vol. 1 (I was missing the first appearance of Dick Grayson as Nightwing, and that was my birthday present),  and thanks to me, I finished (and actually read all of Son of Satan and…I finally grabbed dat ASS (All-Star Squadron #3, to be exact…) and finished that run, too. I still need to read the bigger runs. I started Titans, but, sing it with me…”this friggin’ year…”


Megos: I got none for most of the year, because scalpers had gotten really greedy with the late 2019 wave, but I rallied toward the end. Phantom of the Opera, The Egyptian Mummy, Khan Noonien Singh (from The Wrath of Khan, as opposed to the original series), The Headless Horseman, Swamp Thing, 3 more Target Skeletons were in my haul for the year, and 2021 started off with a bang…

[Image Description: a Mego 8″ action figure of The Thing, a humanoid covered with orange rocks, or, in this case, a cloth suit silkscreened to resemble orange rocks aside from on his head, hands, and blue trunks, stands in front of a computer screen that’s lit up in a bright blue color. In addition to his trunks, he is wearing a black velvet belt.]
I may have snapped and spent too much money on what was pretty close to the Grail for over 42 out of my 46 years. Ironically, he’s been in my house since 1988, but because that’s a carded example of the figure (and in French packaging that says “LA CHOSE”, so removing him was out of the question; it was better than not having him at all, but it was a really cruel twist of fate, if you think about it), I never got to actually play with the Mego action figure of The Thing until late yesterday afternoon. This was 100% a “life is too fucking short” purchase, on the morning of December 24th (for some context), but it was worth it, and my only regret is that my mom, who spent over 4 decades hearing about how I never got to play with this action figure as a kid or an adult, never got to see me do that. I did tell her he was coming, and hopefully she heard me and understood, but Benjamin J. Grimm finally came home today, a little over a week after she left us.

There are two more are on the way, too, because yes, it was a bad week (the Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon and Peter Criss).

I’m still after the Figures Toy Company Metamorpho (once they release him with his packaging), Hawkman, Atom, Betty Kane Batgirl, and Removable Cowl First Appearances Barbara Gordon Batgirl, and Leatherface, Regan from The Exorcist and The Fly from the 2020 Mego waves. I’m also excited about Willy Wonka, Ultraman, Bride of Frankenstein, Hammer (Christopher Lee) Dracula, Phantom of the Opera in Masque of the Red Death outfit, Straitjacket Hannibal Lecter, and the second wave of DC heroes (Flash, Riddler, and Green Lantern) in 2021, but I really need to hit the lottery or something, because this habit’s expensive.

This is what the family looks like now…

[Image Description: a metric ton of Mego 8″ and other size figures, roughly Mego 8″ scale action figures, Mego action figures not made to 8″ scale and one random kaiju sit on a brown dresser, next to a brown and silver desk lamp with a frosted, off-white glass shade, in front of an off-white wall. As it would be really difficult for me to physically describe 54 action figures and tell you which order they appear in here, I went rough on the latter, and I don’t think I have it in me to describe them all at this point in my life, so apologies there. If you’d like a description of a specific figure or even a few, please let me know in the comments. In some rough order, in parts: Count Orlok (Nosferatu), Evel Knievel (with bike and platform), Greg Brady, 4 as-yet-nameless skeletons from Target, Jo Polniaczek and Tootie Ramsey (The Facts of Life), Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, The Thing, Spider-Man, The Falcon, Freddy Krueger, The Headless Horseman, The Egyptian Mummy, Phantom of the Opera, The Invisible Man (hard to see behind the Phantom, but he’s there), Norm Peterson (Cheers), Frankenstein’s Monster, Jeannie (I Dream of Jeannie), Endora (Bewitched), Dr. Zaius, Samantha (Bewitched), Chekov, Sulu, Uhura and Spock (Star Trek), The Screaming Werewolf, The Creeper, Aquaman, Swamp Thing, Harley (Eagle Force), Alice, Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Lucinda the Cat (Bewitched), Catwoman, Green Arrow, Superman, Captain Marvel (or Shazam, if you prefer), Green Lantern, Jimi Hendrix, Minya/Son of Godzilla, Khan, the Cowardly Lion, “Mirror, Mirror” Spock and Kirk, The Gorn, Joe Namath, Serena (Bewitched), The Lizard, Mr. Fantastic, Major Nelson (I Dream of Jeannie)]
DC Directs: I don’t think I got any. I have no recollection of adding any. The ones I want are getting older, so they’re probably going to become even harder to get, but I’ll do my best, when I can.

Heroclix: I still have a shit-ton of Heroclix, and will sell or trade them for basically anything else. Get me your list, if you’re serious about wanting any.

Tabletop Games/RPG stuff: I did little to nothing. My local game was playing Gloomhaven before the pandemic, and I think we may have gotten in one 2020 session before the shit hit the fan. We all kinda froze after it started, despite best intentions and efforts. Got no Marvel stuff done. A lot of areas where other people really went to town in 2020, I went in different directions, and this was one.

Fantasy Sports: Fantasy baseball was a wash, and, had our league not had nearly 20 years of history, it probably wouldn’t have run. It probably shouldn’t have run, anyway. We’re not sure what we’re doing about it this year, since things are most certainly not back to normal.

Travel/Visiting: really not much in the first 2 months (I made it to northwestern Connecticut I think once, northeastern Connecticut once, and Providence once), and we know what happened from there. Nothin’. No Brimfield. No flea markets at all. No trips back to New Jersey to visit family. This part of it ended up being pretty painful, because of Other Life Circumstances, as it really was and still is not safe to travel down there, so I had to go the last year and 18 days of my mom’s life without seeing her in person. Wear your goddamned masks, get vaccinated as soon as you can, wash your hands and/or wear gloves when appropriate, stay away from each other, make your elected officials’ lives MISERABLE (trust me, if they still think they can show their faces, the overwhelming majority of them are not miserable enough yet) until they have our backs a little more than they do now, and let’s be done with this horseshit once and for all as soon as we can. If we don’t, we’re all toast.

NJPW/Pro Wrestling In General: for the same reasons I was just talking about, this was a weird, awkward, and at times very bad year for wrestling, particularly, but not exclusively by any means, in the United States. While shows have still been running, and in some cases they’re running as almost as much a matter of personal survival as the stuff people in the service industry are going through, I haven’t been to any of them, and I won’t be back out there until it’s genuinely safe. I’m still watching some of the American shows on television, but at times, it’s kinda like I’m watching with my eyes peeking through my hands, because I’m worried about people who’ve entertained me, and who, in some cases, also seem like really good people, getting sick.

Japan was so careful re: COVID, and so strict about doing things the right way that eventually, without incident so far (at least as far as we know), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (and some other promotions) got back to where they could have much smaller live audiences in attendance in relative safety, though they’re still ready to bring the hammer down again at any moment in that country, even with the biggest Japanese pro wrestling event of the year scheduled for this week. Alas, this careful attitude doesn’t extend to every corner of their business.

Over here? It’s been much rougher, and while there have been what feel like very bad decisions made even by “the good guys” (as pro wrestling promotions go), I don’t know that there were any good decisions to make, because the government failed everyone so thoroughly. With that said, some decisions have definitely been worse than others (and they’re pretty well-detailed here).

Life for a wrestling fan has been even sadder this past week (even for those of us who were already pretty sad for other reasons), because Brodie Lee died on the 26th, not entirely, but still kind of out of nowhere, from what apparently was a case of his lungs just kinda failing out of nowhere, completely unrelated to COVID, which he never tested positive for. There was a vibe around him like something more was wrong than they were letting on while he was quietly off television for the past couple of months, but it still didn’t seem like the next thing we’d hear about him was that he passed.

With all of this said, which is a lot, no doubt, and as conflicted and guilty as I feel sometimes about watching any of it (That was a thing before COVID, too, because it is such a dangerous form of entertainment, but throwing a pandemic into the mix? Oof…), I’d be lying to you if I said that it wasn’t still one of the things I look forward to, in a world that’s a lot shorter on them right now than it was a year ago. I’m rooting for these people doing costumed murder gymnastics to come through all of this OK, during a really hard fucking time that just got even harder for many of them, with the loss of a colleague and friend.

I’m also amazed as I watch people I saw in a high school gym and a White Eagle Hall a little more than a year ago become national television stars during one of the most surreal times in our history to do so (there were 11 wrestlers on the two American independent wrestling shows I made it to in 2019 who I’ve seen at least once on TNT since AEW Dynamite launched, without any prior experience of that kind; another’s working for WWE now, so I won’t see much, if any of him for the time being, because I actively avoid what the McMahons do, and one more is probably headed to AEW once an injury heals), and get action figures. I’ve not met a ton of people who have their own action figures without commissioning them on their own in this lifetime, and I usually end up meeting them after they hit “action figure” levels of celebrity, even if they don’t have the figures just yet. Seeing one in particular get there has been a bright spot this year.

Books: I did pick up some books, and I’ve even read them a bit, despite my attention span being shredded. I’m almost done with Kitchen Confidential (as I said in the TV stuff, I’m starting at the beginning), I got I’m Dying Up Here, I picked up a signed copy of Split Season 1981 from my erstwhile trading partner Jeff Katz, I caught David Bowie Is on sale, after seeing the exhibit a couple of years ago, snagged a cheap copy of Dali: The Paintings to remember my excursion from a year and change ago by, got Hiding In Plain Sight as soon as it came out (before I knew that Sarah Kendzior was signing copies in a back alley, near a dumpster for Left Bank Books, which I linked to for the book title, so you can get your own copy with a little stank on it), scored a lot of interesting cookbooks (including the awesome The Veselka Cookbook and the deeply disturbing Best of the Best from QVC Cookbook: Favorite Recipes from Viewers, Hosts, Employees, and Friends) and I’ve even started reading my signed copy of The Calamities of Kalamity Kate (which is available directly from the publisher, signed, on that hell site), by this lady

…and we’re gonna wrap 2020 with Leta Powell Drake, because where do you go from there?

So, 2021 Hobby Goals (and yes, these are all Hobby Goals):

  1. Don’t die.
  2. Don’t kill anybody.
  3. Have fun.
  4. Finish updating my will, and simplify the hell of it, because it’s a rat’s nest right now.
  5. Trading Cards: simplify the player collection stuff, figure out what to do with the digital cards, if anything, stop buying full retail packs of any new product, don’t build or acquire any 2021 sets without a really good reason, maybe finish a few more older sets, make the posts about the scans I have backlogged, especially the Negro Leagues Legends cards, and seriously, look into non-sports cards more. They’re fun!
  6. Second Life: do more with Heck, and DJ at VeGeTaL PLaNeT again soon.
  7. Video Games: keep climbing the solitaire ladder, get back into No Man’s Sky, finish Medievil, read a Stardew Valley strategy guide and try again, figure out if there are games and systems I’m really never gonna use, and also never gonna regret selling like I do Panzer Dragoon Saga, and maybe get a PS5 at the end of 2021, so the people of my household can play the game with the kitty on a machine that can run it properly. Oh, and use the Wii more.
  8. Movies and Television: plug away at getting stuff from the list of DVDs and Blu-Rays I don’t have, still want, and won’t be able to stream easily, and figure out what, among the stuff I have, I’m not going to watch again or care about watching again, then see if anyone can use that stuff.
  9. Music (hard copies): figure out where my Sleep Envy cassette went, get copies of the only two other cassettes I care about owning (Lene Lovich’s No-Man’s Land and a replacement of my Siouxsie Through The Looking Glass cassette), figure out which CDs of albums I can’t live without I don’t own yet because I usually stream the stuff, and keep slowly plugging along on the last few interesting bits of vinyl I’d like, if I even come into much contact with vinyl.
  10. Comic Books: do another audit of what books I want to keep, get even more serious about not buying single issues of non-ongoing series that are just gonna come out as trade paperbacks anyway, and read all of New Teen Titans and All-Star Squadron. Maybe finish a few more series.
  11. Toys: try not to go too nuts buying Mego-scale figures. See if there are some available, affordable DC Directs I really want out there. Find ways to display toys I currently don’t have on display in the house, and figure out if there are toys I really don’t need to still own, that someone else would show way more love to. Get rid of some of those goddamn Heroclix you bought on a whim.
  12. RPGs/Tabletop Games: get ahold of my crew and play something online soon. Invite others to play games online, too. Hey, everybody. Wanna play some tabletop games online?
  13. Fantasy Sports: the baseball league turns 20 this year. If the season happens, I guess I have to at least play the anniversary season. I guess.
  14. Travel: gosh, I hope it’s not too dangerous to travel soon.
  15. Pro Wrestling: watch what I feel comfortable watching, and don’t watch what I don’t.
  16. Books: Read some! Finish them, too! Stop buying so many!
  17. Did I mention “have fun”?

Wow, I actually got through writing this goddamned thing, all 9000+ overwrought words of it. (Remember when I used to post like this here and on the old card site ALL THE TIME? You poor, poor people may have actually read some of that.) If you got through reading it, thank you for doing so, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments (as long as your comments aren’t awful), and here’s to all of us having a much happier and better new year, even if your 2020 somehow didn’t suck.


My Year in Hobbies 2020 Preview

Oh, this is going to be interesting.

Here’s the plan:

I’m going to read through 2019 (and possibly past years), see how I formatted things, and then not do any of that, more than likely. It was a weird, bad, awful year, though in terms of the things I do to keep myself busy, it had its moments, however bittersweet some of them may have been.

This shouldn’t take as long as 2019 did, with any luck, but I guess we’ll have to see, won’t we?

Stay tuned.

2019 Hobby Goals

Yup, we’re gonna do this!

I haven’t written one of these in a few years, and back then, it was on another site, and just about cards. Kinda limiting, but also a lot easier. I’ll manage this, though, and hopefully I won’t put anyone to sleep while I do it, as I do have a lot of ground to cover.

Overall Goals:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Figure out which stuff I really love and enjoy, so I can stick with that, and find good homes for the other stuff.
  3. I was going to move some of the Blogspot stuff here at one point. I need to see if that still makes sense to do.
  4. Keep working on getting my house in a place where it’s set up well to store and display my stuff for years to come.
  5. Ascertain which things I really wish to pursue, and write about, as hobbies.

Now, with this last item, the site has a mission statement in the top right, and here’s how it looked when I started writing this…

“This site is the ongoing story of a man and his hobbies, which he apparently needs more of (or at least different ones), despite already collecting toys, comic books, trading cards, books, video games, t-shirts, music, musical instruments and movies, as well as playing tabletop games, traveling, following some sports and keeping entirely too busy on the Internet, mostly doing nothing there.”

First, the collecting hobbies:

Toys? (Really action figures, for the most part.) Yup. More on this in a bit!

Comic books? Definitely. We’ll go into more detail soon.

Trading cards? Yes, but I think the collection needs to evolve a little. More on that in a bit.

Books? I love books, I love actually reading books, and I need to do a lot more of that, but I have a huge backlog of books right now, not a ton of space to keep adding them, and, again, the more books you own, the less likely it is that you’re going to read them all. A 2019 goal is to finish some books, figure out which ones I haven’t read yet, figure out which ones I don’t need to read, and adjust the collection accordingly.

Video games? I played them for a couple hours tonight, in fact. I am trying to figure out what I wish to actively pursue getting, though, and I’m also going to try to figure out which things I really need to own here, too. (I had a moment in a game store about a month ago where I was looking through my game want list, and wondering why I was still planning on spending money or other resources on certain things, and I’m going to listen to it.) I’m pretty sure I’m close to being sold out of the on-the-fence and don’t-need-it stuff, but it doesn’t hurt to check regularly. I’d like to try to avoid selling off anything else I may regret selling (Panzer Dragoon Saga, anyone?), but that’s a general thing with the various collections.

T-Shirts? I wear t-shirts. I don’t know that I collect them, or really want to, but I have been trying to figure out some practical way to have proof that I’ve owned some of the cool things I’ve worn over the years, without it taking up space that serves no purpose. I haven’t settled on an ideal method yet. T-shirt quilts have been suggested to me, but that’s stuff that takes up even more space than the shirts, and we’ve got a decent amount of blankets in the house, so we’re probably not going there. I’m looking for suggestions on the best ways to clearly photograph old t-shirts and display the pictures (digitally or hard copy), I suppose.

Music? Yup. I’ve stepped up my efforts to get more CDs of artists whose entire catalog I want to own (I’m almost done with Siouxsie and the Banshees, but could really use a copy of “Downside Up”, if anyone’s got it laying around), while CDs are still somewhat widely available. I’m also still buying vinyl, but not in the frenzy that other people are. If something moves me, I’ll grab it. I got a handful of records on my holiday trip to NJ (EZO’s self-titled first record, Alphaville’s “Forever Young”, The Mighty Lemon Drops’ “World Without End”, The Tourists’ “Reality Effect”, and a sealed copy of the self-titled EP by Miracle Room, who are amazing, if you’ve never heard ’em), but way more CDs. Storage (I really hate jewel cases, but don’t wish to go full Case Logic, because it makes them easier to steal and harder to sell; also, I have a little, but not a lot more space for vinyl) is a concern, as it always is.

Musical instruments? Nothing new for a while unless an amazing deal comes up. I finally have a room just about set up to where I can play and record music again, and I even played a musical instrument for fun recently (this is kind of a big deal, because I have music-related anxiety that’s kept me away from making music for over a decade), but I have a lot here, and am not sure how much use I’ll get out of any of it. I could probably use a rack mount case for some of my synth modules and the like, but that’s also money toward storage and display for stuff I might not use. The same mild skepticism applies to any plans of having my instruments and other pro audio gear repaired and reconditioned, because repairs on synthesizers and the like are expensive and above my level of expertise, and so much of this stuff, I could be doing more efficiently on a computer, if I’m going to do it at all, but at the same time, these are museum pieces that hold value (sentimental and financial). So, lots to figure out here. People who do this stuff, talk to me!

Movies? We’re basically between formats right now. We don’t have a 4K TV in the house or a 4K disc player, but as Blu-Rays are already a generation behind, and DVDs are 2 generations behind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep buying. I’m not ready to start unloading anything I have, but I’ve thrown the brakes on buying anything that isn’t essential.

So, that’s all the collecting stuff. Now, the “doing” stuff.

Playing tabletop games? Have a game I’m attending on Sunday, in fact! I have also been amassing a lot of old RPG stuff (1st edition D&D, Marvel, DC Heroes, etc. kinda stuff), because it shows up here all the time (a lot of colleges and a lot of fellow nerds in the area), so I do have to figure out what I can use, of what’s here. I may have some of this stuff available for sale or trade soon. I would LOVE to start up a TSR Marvel Super-Heroes campaign, locally or online, but I’d need to brush up, find interested people, and make time.

Traveling? I really like traveling, but long-distance traveling is also really hard (it can be tough for people without disabilities, and we’re two people with them) and costs a lot of money. Plans need to be made with my better half to figure out where we’re going next, individually or collectively.  Short-distance travel is plenty of fun, too, and, yes, the flea market stuff falls under this header.

Following some sports? Everyone in every part of this business makes it really hard to keep wanting to, but I’m still here. Baseball’s still my number one, despite some “about as gross as football” practices. Hockey’s my #2 sport, but I rarely watch it on television. I have the Islanders in my Twitter feed, and I see them that way. They’re better than expected this year, but I still feel like conditioning’s a problem there. The sport in general, like most professional sports, has a concussion problem that needs to be addressed. I’ve also spent about the past 2 years watching more professional wrestling than I had in the previous 15 or so, and that’s something I’m very conflicted about, because again, concussions, and again, a lot of terrible people make money off of people paying attention to professional wrestling, but at its best, professional wrestling can be incredible, and it can be pretty hard to give things up that are under your skin. I do it and have done it (I stopped being a present-day Yankee fan as soon as they moved into the mall, and I gave football the bird a good while ago), but it takes more effort and sometimes more disgust with the behavior of human beings than it should. I also do have a non-spectator sport that I’ve been out of for a while, but hope to get back to in the spring: running. I love running, but had some injuries a few years back, and life happened after I was healed. If I do start running again in the spring, you may hear some about it here.

Keeping entirely too busy on the Internet, mostly doing nothing (t)here? I’ve found myself wanting to do less of this, certainly less in front of the general public than I used to, and definitely less in venues run by Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Google, but I’m still here. Trying to figure out the best way to go about having a private message board or social network for my friends that will actually get used by people. That’s a slog, largely because, for people to use anything in 2019, it needs a mobile app. The web browser is an antique at this point. I rarely end up talking about the Internet itself on this site, though, so let’s not mention that as a point of focus for it anymore, or at least not now.

Wow, them’s a lotta words about a short mission statement. Much shorter version: for the time being, I’m not advertising my site as covering t-shirts, books, musical instruments or movies as collecting hobbies, as I rarely talk about them and am back-burnering all of those hobbies, I think. Also changing “toys” to “action figures”. Now, obviously, because I’m a human being with a soul, I’m still going to be buying, collecting and hopefully reading books that are not comics, and if I’m finding that I should talk about them on here, I will again, but yeah, I need to actually read some, and finish some (I have like a half dozen books in progress right now, dating back over a few years).

That brings us to:

Collecting hobbies:

Trading Cards
Action Figures

Sort-of-in-the-middle hobbies:

Tabletop games (RPGs, and some board games; we got Letters From Whitechapel as a wedding gift, and I’m dyin’ to play our copy of it, as I loved playing it the first time I did)
Video Games
Music (it’s not exactly passive enjoyment)

Doing stuff hobbies:

Travel (long and short distance, with focuses on finding, documenting and sometimes buying old things, seeing museums and landmarks, eating in cool places, and seeing live entertainment)
Sports (baseball, hockey, professional wrestling, running)

There! I’ve covered what the site focuses on! What a long side trip!

Now, for what I’d like to accomplish in these arenas this year:

Trading Cards:

Here are the rough notes I put together for this piece on cards:

1. Come up with plan for current-year Topps cards
2. Decide which side sets you’re gonna keep getting
3. Try, whenever possible, to only trade for current year stuff
4. Get that fucking Bernie Williams auto already
5. Knock out the Fleer/Donruss/Score/UD sets ASAP
6. Finish Garbage Pail Kids 1-3 ASAP
7. Finish Ringside (1…more…card…)
8. Keep plugging on Dodgers
9. Keep plugging on Fleer Ted Williams
10. Start finding fun non-sport sets to pick up
11. Sell off doubles and digital stuff (decide what stays on the latter)

The last few years (basically since the seeds were planted for me to move to my home of coming up on 4 years now), I have had significantly less interest in current-year baseball cards. Really, I think it’s that I’ve had significantly less interest in paying for current-year baseball cards. They’ve never been a great value, but they’re kinda the worst lately. When new Topps blasters hit the shelves in my local big box stores, I check the card count on them, and I’m kind of stunned that it’s orders of magnitude higher than common prices per-card, all for the promise of getting something that I might not even want to keep. On the other hand, blowing them off leads to situations like the one I have right now, where I’m missing a bunch of now-expensive rookie cards, including Mookie Betts’ rookie card, from the past 4 years’ Topps cards, and I kinda want to keep being a sucker and having complete flagship sets. Kinda.

I’m definitely not interested in opening packs of everything that comes out anymore, and I’m trying to break myself of the desire to collect sets based on graphic design (which was, of course, expensive and filled my house with a number of things I wouldn’t own otherwise). I think I’d rather just look at checklists for each set, list each player whose card I’m interested in on this site and my want list, and see if I can trade for ’em, or something like that…buy singles if I can find ’em…that kinda jazz. Will I still with this? Dunno.

I’m not doing much of anything with digital cards lately, but I have no idea if there’s any practical way to unload the ones I don’t want, and I haven’t nailed down which cards I’d like to “keep” in the apps yet. Seems like the bottom fell out of the value of things on the Topps apps when they introduced secondary, cash-only currency, to the surprise of basically no one on Earth. If any of you are still doing Topps Digital stuff, by all means get ahold of me, and we’ll talk.

There’s stuff I have been, and continue to be excited about in cards. My interest in picking up playing era Brooklyn Dodgers cards has been re-invigorated lately…

I bet you thought I was never gonna put a picture in this post, didn’t you? This is a ’53 Bowman Color Billy Loes that I picked up on COMC.

And here’s a ’51 Topps Red Back Gene Hermanski that’s on its way to me, also from COMC (if the watermark didn’t give it away).

In the same shipment, I’ve got another ’59 Fleer Ted Williams coming…

Remember these? I mentioned them here. I’m still working on ’em (I’ve gotten 3 in 4 years, by golly), and I’ve got Yount on the way. There are a few expensive ones (Babe Ruth is in the set), but I’ve got a bunch of the cheap ones yet to grab, as I’m at 7 out of 36 right now.

…and yes, I’m even working on my ’72 set still! 5 down recently, thanks to my old local.

So, yeah, there’s been more focus on old stuff when I’m shopping (when I’m actually really shopping, and not just looking for the biggest lot of things I can actually use for the lowest price at flea markets), which tends to happen to people. I’ve no problem with that.

I’ve also been more excited about non-sports stuff these days than I have in, like, ever, but I’m still trying to work out what I wish to fill my house with. I have a very short list of Garbage Pail Kids series 1-3 cards that I need:

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 1a (matte preferred, last update 04/02/18): 5 (regular back), 9, 33, 41

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 1b (matte preferred, last update 04/02/18): 2, 8 (checklist back), 29 (checklist back), 41

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 2a (last update 04/02/18): 49a, 58a, 63a, 75a

1986 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 3b (last update 04/02/18): 96b 99b 104b 106b 107b 108b 112b 116b 120b 122b 123b

…so, I guess we can start there. As for other stuff? I like super-hero cards (though they got totally out of hand after a while), and if you’ve got a bunch of 1991 Impel DC Cosmic Cards, I’m the guy to send them to, as I’m working on finishing that set off. I just finished Series 1 of ProSet Super Star Musicards (and you’ll be seeing a bunch of those here soon), so I need to track down Series 2, and possibly the UK set, as featured by Night Owl here. I have Topps Howard The Duck, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi sets in progress. Beyond that? I haven’t figured it out yet.

Yes, I want to finish ’81-’98 Donruss, Fleer and Score flagship sets soon. I’m not that far on most of it. I’m not sure beyond that (Fleer and Donruss kept going, sorta), and I’ll keep the wants on my list, but I feel like those were the important years for those companies. I also want to finish Upper Deck flagship from ’94-’10, but in the immortal words of Louis Gossett, Jr., “My grandmomma wants to fly jets!”. I don’t wanna create a feeding frenzy or nothin’ here, as that would make my job harder, but past ’95, y’all have some idea of how hard it is to finish building an Upper Deck set, right? Like, not even the ridiculously huge ones from ’06-’09, I’m talking the smaller ones. If you weren’t there, buying them at the time, you’re gonna have some difficulty, as I’ve been.

And yes, I really need to get off my ass and get that fuckin’ Bernie autograph. They’re available. They’re not hugely expensive. He’s still my favorite player. I need one.

Earlier this year, I did a cool thing to my  card want list, too. I started including dates on each set I’m building, and updating those individual dates when I get something new. It’s gonna take a while for this to really bear fruit, but eventually, I’ll be able to tell if there’s stuff on my want list that I’m just *really* wasting document space on, and taking the focus off of other things with, stuff that’s not urgent for me to buy or trade for, just plain unavailable. It started on April 2nd (right around the beginning of baseball season, somewhat appropriately), so at the moment, I can tell you that there are 159 matches, or “card sets I haven’t done anything with since I started the process”. That’s still a lot, but down the line, it’ll shrink, and I’ll be able to search for “/18”, “/19”, and so forth to see which stuff’s getting neglected or not showing up, and make decisions that’ll help me focus the collection better. I should maybe do this to the non-card want list eventually, too, but it’s formatted a little differently, and the other collections work a little differently than cards, so we’ll see.

Moving on…


My notes on the comic collection for this piece weren’t quite as meaty, just reminders to read books (I’ve spent a bunch of this week catching up on recent back issue purchases, and yes, I did read Claws Of The Cat a little while ago; fun book, really interesting early snapshot of Marvel trying to figure out how to approach the idea that women existed as independent beings and wanted things for themselves, and I wish they hadn’t bailed on the original character concept and made Greer Grant Nelson into Tigra quite as quickly as they did), find and make space for what’s here and what will be (I need to get more boxes, and clear off more shelf space), and lists of which titles I’m working on getting back issues of.

Basically with comics, I’ve decided that I’m looking to finish the back issue collection I started as a kid, with a little more focus than that kid had. With a few exceptions, that means that the back issue runs I’m looking to finish right now end with books that started in the early 1990s, but mostly are ’70s and ’80s books, with a few ’60s exceptions. Reading complete runs of books is a lot of fun, so I’m doing it wherever possible, and deciding from there if I’m keeping them. I need to read the last 20 issues or so of Blue Devil next (if you’ve never read it, it’s a lot of fun, sort of an “inside Hollywood” story masquerading as a super-hero book, vaguely similar in that regard to Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle’s Crossfire), then I’ve got Walt Simonson’s writer/artist run on Thor (#337-367) ahead of me, which I’ve wanted to read in a sitting or two for a long, long time, and also finished on the last NJ trip.

I’m also buying new comics, too, but the cycle of constant super-hero relaunches at the big two comic companies (and while I read all kinds of books, I am, and will always be first and foremost a super-hero kinda person), and the habit of “writing for the trade paperback” at the smaller ones definitely makes it harder to stay invested and interested in the ongoing stories. I want to get to know these characters and be a part of their worlds for more than 5-12 issues, and if you don’t like a few core characters that the big two are terrified of messing with long term, you’re going to have a hard time finding that. It’s also tough to figure out which of the smaller books will catch on, because if you miss something or word of mouth gets to you late, you’re looking at Walking Dead/Saga prices for back issues (or buying trades, but with that, it hurts, because I don’t like buying things twice, or waiting 6-18 months between segments of an ongoing story that people around me are discussing when we’re talking about a form that my brain processes as “monthly”), and that’s simply not in my budget.

I do have a question: do any of you reading this ever trade comics with one another, the way us card weirdos trade cards? I figure there’s a chance that the form factor (and its higher base shipping cost) may make that prohibitive, but it’s worth asking, as I do end up with doubles sometimes.

Action Figures:

Along with the “figure out how to store/display them” stuff that you’ll read throughout this, basically, when we’re talking about action figures that I’m collecting right now, we’re talking about Mego (and Mego-like figures) and DC Direct (but not usually DC Collectibles, the new name for the line, as I don’t care as much for the sculpts and designs they’re using these days), with some DC Universe Classics, Justice League Unlimited, and a few Marvel Legends figures here and there. I have legacy collections of a bunch of different types of figures (Star Wars, G.I. Joe, a ton of super-hero stuff from Super Powers to Secret Wars to all the Toy Biz stuff, some McFarlane stuff, etc.), all of which I’ve really got to make some decisions on, but the stuff I named above is really the stuff I showcase and still actually buy on the regular without second-guessing too much.

My plans for ’19 are to keep an eye on what Mego’s doing, pick up a little bit of the Figures Toy Company stuff, get what I can of vintage Mego stuff (and parts to fix what I have left of my old Megos), and if some of the DC Direct and Marvel Legends stuff comes up and is of interest, maybe that, too. I’m not in love with the quality of Legends figures, but the sculpts can be really great at times, and they’re producing figures of characters I’ve wanted figures of for my entire life. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of assessing the other stuff, figuring out if it’s staying, and documenting the fact that I had it before I sell or trade it if it’s going. I really, really need to get better at doing studio-quality photographs of all of the various types of collectibles I own, so I can just run some digital frames of these things.


I covered a bunch of this up top, but to sum up: find space for things, finish off some CD catalogs of artists I love, get better sounding playback equipment in the rooms my spouse and I use the most, and where vinyl’s concerned, pick off a few of the things I’m actively hunting (originals of Black Sabbath’s 3rd through 5th albums and “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N’ Roll” for posterity, Nina Hagen’s “Fearless”, Jobriath’s first album, all of Klaus Nomi’s albums, and any pressing of Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” are priorities, but past that, I’m working on the Celebration, Kate Bush, KISS and Toyah catalogs and anything that catches my fancy).

That should put a cap on yet another very long post. Thanks for reading, feel free to ask questions (or answer mine from within the post), and I hope that, within your hobbies and outside of them (as best we can outside of them these days, anyway), you had a great 2018, and have an even better 2019.

My Year In Hobbies


Yup, STILL alive. Have been free enough to start writing again for a little while now, but as I’ve had a great number of things to talk about, it was tough to decide where to jump in. Decision made: I’ll talk about as many of them as time permits in one go, in chronological order.

A screenshot from the Playstation 3 video game Skyrim in which a dark brown horse (center) is named "Dong's Horse" by the game engine, since the rogue character I was using (bottom) was named "Dong".

Despite some questionable character naming on my part (I did not know it would automatically name my horse “Dong’s Horse”, but I ended up making up a song about him and everything…oh, and naming my main fantasy baseball team “Dong’s Horse” this year, too…we won, by the way!), and a whole lot of allegorical racism in the dialogue that seemed to come a little too easy to the developers, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for Playstation 3 was $5 that quite literally saved my life over the winter. I ended up getting the flu in early January (flu shot, which I still strongly recommend, did not exactly work for a bunch of people last year), and the secondary respiratory issues I had after the flu damn near killed me. Had this game not given me something to occupy myself with as thoroughly as it did, I may not have rested enough, and we might not be here to read about my dirty horse name. So, warts and all, thank you, Bethesda, for helping to keep me alive this year.

Mego's World's Greatest Super-Heroes and Star Trek figures sit on a desk. From left to right, Mr. Fantastic, Mr. Spock, Iron Man and The Lizard.

In late February, I unpacked a few of my old Mego figures to keep the Mr. Spock I got at Brimfield company on my desk. By December, thanks to a trade, a wedding present, and the return of Mego in July, after 3 and a half decades out of the toy business, this picture looked very different. More on that later.

I had a good day at the Digital Press store in March. Pictured are Atari 7800 Space Duel, Bally Astrocade Clowns/Brickyard and Dog Patch, XBox Blood Wake and Panzer Dragoon Orta, and XBox 360 Beautiful Katamari and Project Sylpheed.

Then, this happened.

For reasons I’m still trying to process, a near-complete (just need #95 Gene Tunney) 1951 Topps Ringside set, complete with a wrapper, was sent to me by one of my frequent benefactors. I still have not gone through my half-full Ringside set that I was working on before this happened, to see if I want to merge the sets (upgrading some, etc.) or whether I just want to keep the gift together. Whatever I end up deciding, I will likely have a bunch of Ringsides for sale or trade in 2019.

A near-complete Batman joined the crew in late March, once I dug him out and put him together from two partials.

…then, a complete Superman joined them the very next day, after a similar process!

After years of owning this oddball signed piece, I finally worked out that the signature on the baseball was not, in fact, Dave Kingman, but rather, Jimmy Key. I’d call that an upgrade.

I made it to the Hartford Yard Goats‘ opening night just in time to get this picture of New England Fisher Cats 3rd baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. standing on 1st base after a walk in the first inning. I got to see an impressive legacy infield of Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr. that night, and while that didn’t bode well for the Yard Goats, it was nice to see their ballpark, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, for the first time of what I hope will be many visits.

That trade I mentioned, when I posted my early Mego picture, yielded a replacement for my long-lost Falcon figure and, for the first time in my life, I got a Mego Aquaman figure!

My local comic shop (full disclosure: I host their website) had an amazing thing happening on Free Comic Book Day this year, in addition to the free comic books (not pictured).

I may have gotten a little out of hand.

May Brimfield was its usual self…

Cool, weird stuff a-plenty…

…some of which I regret not buying.

That can’t be said for everything I saw there, though, wow, this one pins the Weird-Shit-O-Meter, don’t it?

Sometimes, I left the house to go to places that weren’t stores or flea markets, and that was good.

Though, it should be said, I did still collect things while I was out.

I’m not a big car guy, but I parked next to this car that night, and a picture of it probably needs to be shared somewhere, so here.

I snuck in a yard sale or two at my house over the course of the year. Ron Guidry’s niece bought a bunch of his cards from me at this one, which was pretty cool.

I’ll be a little short on Gator doubles for a while.

(Photo Credit: Licky Oats)

A decent amount of my stuff found new and much better homes this year. My friend Licky Oats bought Bettie and King Kong Bundy from me after seeing them in pics of the garage sale, and this happened.

Another cursed object from my local flea market.

(Sorry. I had to.)

Had a few nice DC Direct adds this year, too! My better half got me my old pal Etrigan for my birthday.

The scene I happened upon at the Toys R Us closing. (Yeah, I got one.)


Ideal Toys did such great stuff. This is a replacement of an old childhood friend, by way of my friend Max (Thanks again, Max!).

July Brimfield. I don’t know, either.

Every time I post a picture of a pile of vintage lunchboxes like this, it can be anywhere from 5 minutes to a few years afterward, I get deluged with people asking me how much they are, and if I can pick them up for them.

I don’t do much in the way of fashion in my old age (I’ve kinda traded in fashion for comfort), but this piece by Mia Vesper, who was set up in Brimfield in July, is amazing.

Not my area or my era of vintage toy, but what a cool looking piece.

…and another cursed object. Actually pretty cool composition, feel bad about not getting the seller’s info now.


Again, I do get out sometimes. Janet Jackson for free-ish because of the class action settlement against LiveNation? DONE. This was a great show.

While waiting for the new Megos to show up, I remembered that I had these fellas in a Sterilite somewhere in my basement, so…

…the posse expanded!

Had a really nice RPG/non-sport card/CCG find in August. At some point soon, I’ll get into more detail on the CCG stuff, but in the meantime, if anyone’s looking for ’90s Star Wars, Star Trek or X-Files CCG stuff (I’m starting to amass more mass-produced Magic: The Gathering stuff than I’m comfortable with, as well), talk to me before it gets sent to COMC.

First sighting of the end cap!

First full end cap!

My picks from the first batch…

…and they join the crew!

I got this awesome specimen of humanity, too (he’s a Marvel Select, just an amazing figure).

I met Oil Can Boyd in August! Nice guy, even better dresser!

I started moving some of my old cassettes on Discogs a few months ago (Sorry, the Type O’s gone now…), and that’s not been half bad. Check out my stuff if you still like/buy/collect cassettes, there’s some real gems in there.

Chekov snuck in a few weeks after the first new Mego purchases.

Another well-loved lunchbox, spotted my local market. The Angels would come up a few times this year.

Rough, but still super cool.

Added my oldest comic to the collection, with a classic Mac Raboy cover where Captain Marvel Jr. prepares to beat the crap out of some Nazis. Back cover’s toast on this, but it’s still so cool to have.

Had a nice day in September at the market, netted me a bunch of TCMA stuff and a couple of cheap update/traded/etc. sets that I needed.

Then, I headed back to Brimfield for the last trip of the year.

In looking through my pictures from this year, I realized that I photographed this beauty of a chair multiple times. I wonder if the dealer still has it (I’ll find out in May, I suppose), and what they’re asking for it.

I wish this game hadn’t been on the pricey side (I think they wanted $60-ish for it). Note the cameo from the Evel Knievel bike underneath it.

There was a dope-ass vintage Halloween vendor at the September show.

I normally don’t go in too deep for sp00p, as the kids call it these days, but this was quality merchandise.

This was from them, too. Tons of black cats and pumpkins.

Yeah, let’s!

One of the coolest, best buys I’ve seen at any of the markets here, and I’m still kinda kicking myself for not getting in on it. Sadly, even though the sign told me not to be, I was a dummy.

Brimfield, home of antique furniture that’ll bring a tear to your eye…

No, seriously.

There are also giant Playmobil pirate men there.

There were people who saw this set and got a different kind of tear in their eye, but I kinda loved it. It has that “bedroom of a teenaged girl who did a lot of psychedelics” look to it, and I spent time with those types in my misspent youth.

Another “Why didn’t I buy this?” piece. I don’t know why it spoke to me kinda loudly, but it did.

Another dealer in September had a ton of ’40s-ish magazines, lots of The Ring and such.

But also some dope-ass nerd shit!

Rough shape, but these covers are absolutely to die for.

I mean, COME ON.

There were Aurora models…

Micronauts like you wouldn’t believe…

Extremely questionable electronics…

Great shirts…

…and, as the season wrapped, the 1970s came home to roost.

Bela Lugosi did, as well.

So did Tootie.

I’m still on the lookout for one of these rascals, though, as the card on this one was all sorts of messed up.

Norm, on the other hand, showed up, as did a coffin for Bela (the first of 2).

As did Mott The Hoople (a local flea market find).

I call this picture “True Detective Season 3”.

The Gorn and Frankenstein’s Monster arrive! If you haven’t been keeping count, we’ve gone from 4 to 19 so far.

And then I got married! (Photo Credit: MacRamos Photography)

But, like clockwork (or at least a slightly malfunctioning clock), I was back at the flea market the morning after the wedding. I did not buy this beast, but figured y’all would want to see it, just the same.

A wild Samantha appears!

It’s a reissue, but it was still one of my grails. Got it as a wedding present, thanks, Rich.

Pidey-Man! Another wedding gift, this great condition figure came from Etsy. I’d been missing him since about 1981.

Here he is with the rest of the crew, along with Bela in his newer, larger coffin (which will come into play later).

We picked up this light for the wedding, which, because of the lighting in the room, was a dismal failure, but man, does it make my bedroom look pretty.

Greg Brady and Alice arrive! (I told you the coffin’d get more use. They look so happy together.)

Jo from The Facts of Life shows up to keep Tootie company! (Yes, this habit got out of hand in a hurry.)

On our last visit of the season, my local flea market was brimming with good will!

Also: Bowman Chrome! (This box is a keeper.)

So’s this card, which was in the box, despite not being Chrome.

Honeymoon time! Lest I bombard you with general honeymoon pics, as much as some of you would love them, I will do my best to keep them collecting hobby-centric, particularly as there are already 498,310 pics in this post!

Armchair Books, Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the best used book stores on Earth.

Traveled a few thousand miles, thought “I’d maybe like to get a cool edition of some Poe” before I got there (despite him being an American writer; just occurred to me before I left that I didn’t have much in the way of hard copy Poe), and there it was on the shelf. I paid more than nine shillings, but not that much more.

Look at this beauty! The first computing I ever did in school was on a PET. This was in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which is one of the best museums ever. Again, I could bombard you with hundreds of pics just from this museum, as we spent close to 6 hours there over 2 days, but I’ll do my best to keep it collecting hobby-centric.

These platforms were not in the National Museum of Scotland (I saw them at a thrift shop around the corner), but goddamn it, they should’ve been. If these shoes could talk, they’d have some stories, let me tell you what.

Gerry Rafferty featured heavily in my mind on this trip, as part of it involved taking the train he’d take back and forth from Edinburgh to London during the period of time post-Stealers Wheel when he was fighting with his record label, and just because he’s an extraordinary, underrated musician, so his case at Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop was an essential stop. (I wrote a little more about Gerry and one of his better known songs here. I am also reasonably sure that there are other Gerry Rafferty fans from the card hobby reading this.)

Alex Harvey is another pretty incredible, underrated Scottish musician (who I’m still just getting started on the music of), and while I wish more of the exhibit featured him, I was still glad to see him here.

Do not attempt to adjust your television sets. You are seeing Strawberry Switchblade featured in a museum!

Many old friends here…

…and here, near the exit.

An Apple 1 computer, if you’ve never seen one.

Here’s the monitor.

The Wall of Telephones!

The only One Laptop Per Child laptop I’ve ever seen in person (at left). Granted, that’s a good thing in a way, because these were supposed to be deployed to places where, logically, I wouldn’t have seen them yet, but still, something else to see one in person.

What, did you think I was going to a foreign country and not hit the flea market? Found a Fields of the Nephilim EP I needed here, too. (More on them in a bit.)

Yes, despite there being very little of a visible card collecting hobby in the UK, I did buy packs of trading cards there! Match Attax is still very much a going concern, so I grabbed a pack of those, and I also got a pack of Lego Incredible Inventions cards, as well. Fun stuff, and if there’s demand, I can scan some up in a separate post.

Onto London! This was a really nice, if pricier than I like my funny books, piece at Gosh Comics.

Orbital Comics are another solid store in central London, and they’ve got a great sense of humor.

I present Exhibit B on that, in the form of the section of their back issues devoted to Captain America one-shot issues.

Some of my London comics haul. First issue of Son of Satan’s Marvel Spotlight run, Captain Britain #3, some Marvel Two-In-Ones, and, while unspectacular by comparison, I was missing the first issue of Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run, so I grabbed it.

So, we went to London (and grudgingly left Edinburgh, which is one of the most amazing places ever) for a specific reason, which was kind of the centerpiece of the trip, as planned anyway.

How’d it work out?

(Photo Credit: Alexander Milas. If you look at the picture, dead center, the person directly behind the pains in the ass with their arms up appears to be me.)

Well, the good news was that both bands were brilliant.

The bad news, not to go to another town and talk trash on the people there or nothin’, but the bad news was that the crowd was…I’ll be extremely polite and describe them as “uncooperative on all fronts”, and try to leave it at that. I’ve been going to concerts for 35 years, in multiple countries, all kinds of music (including hundreds of shows where mosh pits were the norm), all kinds of people, and while they’re lauded as loyal, devoted, intense fans, the London Fields of the Nephilim crowd was…I dunno…let’s just go with what I said above, but also use that “intense” word twice, then drop it. The band were good enough to largely overcome whatever we experienced down there in general admission.

If you feel like watching the show we saw…have at.

Back to the flea market pictures! I spotted this beauty (and even played it a bit) at Old Spitalfields Antiques Market.

This was the first time I’d seen the Lego Voltron, at Westfield mall, which we stayed near, and which we spent entirely too much time in, even though we were, in fact, in London, and probably should’ve been anywhere other than a mall, particularly one quite as Black Mirror as Westfield. In our defense, we’d done the overwhelming majority of the touristy, sightseeing kinda stuff when we were there in 2017. Anyway, they did a nice job on this.

The Space: 1999 dolls, along with the Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Mork, etc. toys, were in a place called Monkey’s Emporium in the Stables Market in Camden Town. Prices were…about what you’d expect from a place with high tourist foot traffic and probably excruciating rent, but they had some neat pieces. Camden Market in general was a lot of fun, stuff to look through everywhere, felt endless but in the good way, even though I’ve heard that they lost a lot over the course of several fires in the last decade.

Last time I was in London, I forgot to check the dice at The Orcs Nest Game Shop. I would not make this mistake twice.

Back home, I added the new Marvel Legends Thing figure (left) to my rock shelf.

I also started adding Mego Wave 3, as the Cowardly Lion showed up!

We got a PS4 as a wedding present, and I’ve been enjoying this awesome, awesome game. If you’re playing, let me know, I’d love to add you to a game, even if we start from scratch.

The Screaming Werewolf arrives!

This finally happened. When the $5.00 Blu-Rays turn into the 3 for $5 Blu-Rays and Point Break is there…well, it’s time to see Point Break. (My other 2 from that grab were Better Off Dead and Sid and Nancy.)

Serena and Endora from Bewitched join the party! Two of the best new Megos to date!

Told you there’d be more Angels! Finally got some Hasbro Angels (Sabrina, pictured here, and a pretty rough Kelly, who you’ll see later) after 40 years.

And just like that, Kelly, Jeannie, Major Nelson, and “Mirror, Mirror” Kirk and Spock join the party, too! This year just got completely out of hand on this front, and I love it. Mego collecting has turned into “make the coolest, weirdest crowd scene ever” for me, and I’m down.

I got a few CDs when I was in NJ. If you put $1-3 CDs in front of me, and it’s stuff I want to fill holes in my catalog, I can’t be responsible for my actions.

I did not, however, buy the Kenny Rogers picture disc. (The Mighty Lemon Drops record behind it, we won’t talk about. The Wiseblood record underneath it, I already had.) It is with a friend, though, and I have visitation rights!


(Anyone got a spare issue 2 for me?)

It’s the blue whale in the Museum of Natural History! The lighting is weird in here, I think, because of the holiday party they were having in the whale room that day. (I barely got in to take this pic.) Thanks to my friend Sola for bringing me to see the whale, and other natural history-like things!

Figures Toy Company Catwoman arrives, as my (to date) last Mego or Mego-like figure of 2018!

So, that’s it for now. (I know, not a lot to digest or anything, right?) This is what happens when you’re working on house renovations, planning a wedding and a honeymoon, and dealing with multiple illnesses (in addition to the flu and flu-related fun, I got another one of my famous concussions the night before my wedding…the wedding was in October, and I’m only just now getting to where I’m about 90% back from it): you take a bunch of pictures of cool things to write about, and then don’t get around to writing about them. We won’t even get into the stuff I’ve scanned, or need to scan. So, my choice was to either plan to write 20 posts that I, of course, wouldn’t write, or to bomb you all out with one very long post that will melt your brains. Predictably, I chose the latter!

I will be back very soon with an update on how I did on 2018 collecting goals that I had (it was busy enough over the last year that I didn’t even write the ’17 year in review post properly, or go into my ’18 collecting goals), and what I’m looking to do (spoiler alert: put a bunch of my stuff that I’m not enjoying enough into good homes) in 2019.

Thanks for being patient with me while I’ve been off living life, and I look forward to your comments!