What Turning 30 Means…

Warning, incoming rant..

Warning, incoming rant..

In the wii hours of the morning on February 9th, 2015, I will officially turn 30 years old.  It’s a milestone year, and nice, round numbers are typically thought of as a good time for reflection.  The word reflect itself calls to mind something quiet, thoughtful, and personal.  It’s really hard though, to keep it calm and cool when reflecting on the first 30 years of my life.

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Whaddya mean smile? This *is* my happy face..

The barely functional walking disaster you see before you has come a long way just to get to “barely functional walking disaster”, as a few of you who have traded with me over the years can probably attest.  There’s no sense of accomplishment that comes with the knowledge that you’ve done as much as you have to get to where you are when you still feel this wrecked.  I might be in a nominally better place than I was in some ways, but ultimately, all I see is what hasn’t changed, what hasn’t been accomplished.

I’m still in the exact same circumstances I started in, and I still don’t know how to get out of them.  I still live in the same godforsaken place.  I’m still basically unemployable.  I still can’t hold up my end of a conversation in real life.  I’m still a fat, lazy slob.  I’ve still never been in a relationship.  The stability of my mental health and well-being that makes up the sum of all of the above is still a very clearly dubious thing.  It’s horrible and it sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up.  It’s just frustrating to look back and ruminate on how sideways a person’s life can go without even having a bad upbringing or the discovery of a predilection for illicit substances along the way (besides shiny cardboard, of course).  Just being some combination of bipolar/borderline/aspergery can screw a person up just as bad as trauma and drug abuse.  I feel a million times more guilty about it too, because it’s hard to explain when you have no specific trauma or addiction you can point out to people to explain why you are the way you are.

I’m just a fucked up weirdo who happens to be self-aware enough to realize it, but not smart, or maybe schooled is more accurate, enough to explain it or make sense of it.

It just doesn’t feel good to feel like you’ve let down every single person that’s ever cared about you and/or saw potential in you.  Isn’t that a fun thing to feel whenever you can’t distract yourself hard enough?  I don’t know if, if somehow I managed to accomplish all the dreams I’ve ever had, that I could ever make it up to everybody I’ve let down in my first 30 years.

The truth is, I’m just scared.  Afraid to fail, afraid to succeed.  I don’t trust myself.  I don’t believe in myself.  I feel like a giant fraud, and I’m afraid I’ll never stop seeing/feeling/living life this way.

Griffey commission..

Griffey commission..

Here’s a handy case-in-point.  This is the sketch card commission I did for The Junior Junkie.  He said he loved it and plans to give it a place of honor in his collection, but all I can see is how much unexpected difficulty I had with it, and the resulting mistakes I made in trying to get it looking right.

When I look back, the failure is all I see.  Failed potential, wasted talent, all the dreams I’ve let fall by the wayside because I’m too scared and lazy and damaged and stupid and hopeless to even take the first step.  There’s nothing about me I see that anybody could ever find worthwhile in me…

I think what might scare most in this very moment though, is that while I’m writing this at 30 years old, and I fear that I might not having anything positive to change about it, or add to it, by the time I revisit it on the morning of my 40th birthday.

#DirtyThirty

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Flea Market Finds #9: Sixth Binder Page

Back with another binder page ready to go!

1980 topps Dwight Evans, Dale Murphy, Mets team card, Andre Dawson, Dave Kingman/Gorman Thomas '79 HR Leaders, Dave Steib RC(!), Carlton Fisk, Yaz/Lou Brock '79 Highlights (3000 Hits), 1979 topps Mark Fidrych

Why Purchased: An entire page of almost vintage stars of the day and Hall of Famers, duh.

Keepers: Definitely Andre Dawson and maybe Kingman/Gorman Thomas (though I will part with it for the right offer).

Notes: The negativity and/or wangst of Mets twitterers make it seem like they haven’t won a game at all this year, but… well, okay they are tied for the second worst record in the NL (at 12-18), but that’s only 6 games under .500 right now.  To read twitter makes it sound like they’ve already been mathematically eliminated from pennant contention though.  That’s Cubbie territory, dammit!  Quit stealing our gimmick!

Wait, no.  Actually, y’all can have it.  I refuse to be a negative bum, wallowing in mediocrity and negativity.  I want a f***ing winner, dammit! (Gee, I sure do rant a lot these days…)

Not a whole lot of star power on that Home Run Leaders card huh?  At least not these days.  They are both kinda forgotten.

Also, I keep having to remind myself that the Brewers used to be in the American League.

Another rookie of a non-Hall of Famer that was a star of his day.

The Lou Brock reminds me that cards of him in a Cubs uniform just upset me…

Mind-Blowing Statistics: Nothing much coming to mind, so we’ll go with Lou & Yaz both getting their 3000th hit in 1979 I guess.

Thanks for reading!

Dale Murphy should probably be a Hall of Famer…

Odds & Ends + A Bonus Rant!

I’m still here I guess.  Been busy with the sketch cards & was sick all day yesterday.  Looks like we’ve run out of time on the group break, to get it done on opening day at least.  If the six or seven who’ve shown interest still want to do it sometime though, I’ll keep the option to do one open until we do get enough people who want in, however long that may take.

And I haven’t forgotten about any trades or people I still have to send cards too.  I’ll get on that sooner or later, I swear.  Baseball Dad and part 1 (because I forgot to put the McGriff sketch card in it, so there will be a second package with that & translucents & the Rich Hill joisey etc) of the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame‘s stuff is as good as on it’s way and maybe I can just devote an entire day to trying to all the others together whenever I take a day off from card drawing and am not otherwise distracted.

To reference the maybe still vaguely relevant to things Yu-Gi-Oh!, my heart just hasn’t been in the cards lately.

«~•°•°•°•≈Warning, I feel a rant coming on…≈•°•°•°•~»

I’ve almost sworn off ripping new stuff (with two possible minor exceptions later in the year) due to that now infamous patronizing bullshit press release by MLB, and distaste for a topps exclusive (if not topps itself, jury’s out) in general.  topps has never done it for me.  I think I’ve preferred pretty much every other brand that came and went in the past thirty years over topps.  Maybe even Pacific!  And frankly I don’t give a rats ass about topps’ history and tradition, that they so enjoy shoving down our throats.

Look, I loves me some real vintage cards of all kinds.  I love that I get them in trades once-in-a-while and would pick more of them up on my own if I had access to decent (or any) card shows or shops around here.  I happen to have a sweet tooth for history in general, it truly fascinates me.  But something rings hollow about topps’ hanging their hat pretty much entirely on their history, and the history of others whom they’ve acquired the rights to (206, Allen & Ginter, and Bowman going wabac).  It’s like topps has nothing but history (and shitty gimmicks, though I don’t personally mind those) to offer.  And I, like probably most that grew up and started collecting in the 1990s or later, have no real connection to that.  My very first cards weren’t even made by topps (seven packs of 1991 Upper Deck on my 7th birthday)!

Maybe topps really doesn’t have anything else to offer.  Aside from the surprisingly decent flagship, the only good stuff they did in 2009 were the usual suspects Chrome and Allen & Ginter, the latter decidedly retro and the former has been around for about 15 years (their A&G brand is no rookie either, starting in 2006).  Heritage was only notable because it pulled a good year design-wise in 1960 (and because I pulled a Gordon Beckham auto from retail).  topps206 was an uninspired ripoff of the A&G formula (though I guess the A&G formula got it’s start in the original 206 sets from topps from 2002-2003, but A&G perfected it, so the point stands).

And despite Upper Deck’s releases never really rising above mediocre in 2009 and usually falling well short of even that, topps still managed to put out probably the two worst reviewed sets of the entire year in Ticket to Stardom (with it’s wonderfully nonsensical tickets and little overall bang for the buck) and Unique (I can think of about ten reasons it sucks just off the top of my head).  And it’s pretty well known that topps’ high end is… wait, let me put this in a way that topps will understand: utt erc rap.

So yeah, maybe they’ve got nothing more to offer, though I’m starting to think topps was never anything special to begin with.  Sorta the McDonald’s to all the exciting and interesting companies that came and went from 1981 until 2009.  Just a tepid, mediocre product with name recognition and the “tradition” and “heritage” that comes with being around the longest.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have the connection to look back at topps’ history with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia.  And I can’t look at topps offerings with anything other than disdain if they insist on shoving history down my throat and every attempt at something new is riddled with crippling flaws or just plain uninspired.

I’m not even going to delve into topps’ laughable cluelessness when it comes to the marketing towards kids & whatnot.  Another rant for another time, perhaps.

But I will close by saying this: If we’re going by current companies that make the best quality cards, then neither topps OR Upper Deck really deserve an MLB license, let alone an exclusive.  Upper Deck’s baseball had been on the decline for at least a couple years before losing their license and I think I miiiight have mentioned above that topps could use a good kick in the pants to shake the perpetual creative mediocrity and stupid nostalgia kick they’re on.

Honestly MLB, since the decision to even let an exclusive happen in the first place is ultimately on your shortsighted and archaic-thinking head, I’d take Tristar, In The Game, and good lord even Panini over topps (and Upper Deck for that matter) right now.  Even their average stuff is better and more importantly, more FUN, than all but very best of what topps has to offer (well, Panini is still a work in progress, but showing improvement).  You should be begging them to make cards for you.  So fuck the confusion noise, because I don’t give a damn.  It’s not a good time to be a baseball card collector.  Period.

Rant mode off.