What the Future Holds…

I guess I better get to the 2015 round of resolutions I cannot possibly keep while we’re still in the afterglow of a new year’s dawning.

Collection Goals

15 trades- I think I got close enough to my goal of a dozen last year not be entirely disappointed in myself, so let’s up the ante.  I already have two that are slowly coming together, one with longtime frequent trading partner Shot Not Taken and another with Baseball Card Breakdown.  I’ve also pulled out some odds & ends for a few other bloggers, and I’ll start sending out emails to the lucky(?) perspective trading partners soon.  I also reserve the right to add the two I got in just under the gun in 2014 if they get me over the hump at the end of the year, since their actual arrivals did and/or will take place in 2015. 😛

Finish the following Single Page Sensations- I am over halfway done on almost all of the following, so I’d like to finish as many as possible.

Cubs: Albert Almora (5/9), Javier Baez (8/9), Kris Bryant (7/9), Tyler Colvin (6/9), Ron Santo (6/9)

Other Baseball: Dick Allen (6/9), Roberto Alomar (7/9), Albert Bell (7/9), Carlos Santana (6/9)

Bears: Charles Tillman (6/9)

Basketball: Luol Deng (7/9)

Wrestling: Victoria/Tara (7/9)

BenchWarmer: BenchWarmer model (none over 3/9)

Baseball Sets: 2011 Topps Legend Variations (6/9), 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Legend Variations (8/9), 2012 Topps Museum Collection “Canvas Collection” Baseball (8/9), 2014 Topps Museum Collection “Canvas Collection” Baseball (6/9 if I keep Strasburg)

Football Sets: 2013 Topps Museum Collection “Canvas Collection” Football (8/9)

Add 2 new licensed and 5 new personal Raven sketch cards- The former are crazy expensive for a B-list team character and there just aren’t a whole lot of either to go around.  I think these are pretty reasonable numbers to strive for though.

Finish both the licensed and PSC DC Comics miscellaneous Single Page Sensations- I am starting the year at 4/9 licensed and 3/9 PSC.

Complete any other sketch card Single Page Sensation- Lots to choose from, but I’m over halfway done on but a very few.

Blog Goals

Write 80 new posts- Again, we’ll up the ante a juuuust a smidge from 2014.  I did a good job of posting with a fair degree of regularity when I was actually here and posting in the year gone by, so I think I can average a little better than 1.5 posts per week in the year to come.  I’m not going to make any requirements on the number of non #collect-focused things this time though.  I feel that was a small contributor in falling off the map so early last year.  I’m stupid (not true, but I am very, very lazy), so I’m going to keep it simple.

Art Goals

Complete 50 new sketch cards- I managed 38/50 last year (1 side of that weird Marvel two card puzzle was completed).  That was close enough to not feel too much shame, especially in light of how much I managed to draw in total.  Still, this isn’t close enough to up the ante, so I will give the same number a good go again in 2015.  Paul Molitor (repurposed) and Boromir of Gondor (artist tile) are the first two in the queue.

100 total new works- I’m pretty sure I coasted past this number last year, and if you consider the multiple pictures on single pages as individual works, then I did even better.  Everything was unofficial, however.

Finish 30 old sketch cards- I barely finished any old cards in 2014, and I don’t feel like I did a very good job on what I did do, so I’m making this a point of emphasis in the new year.  I’m off to a good start, having already finished seven oldies on January 2nd (also colored most of two others).  I’m also happy to report my coloring seems to be back to nearly as strong as it was at the height of my powers a couple years ago.

You can keep track of my 2015 art progress HERE.

Writing Goals

Finish a first draft of any novel idea- I barely got anywhere on anything last year, and while I’d like to say a more stable computer situation would have helped, I’m not so sure…  There can be no excuses this year though.  I just bought the one I’m currently writing from a month ago, and I hope to have a laptop, and the additional mobility that entails, to go with it by spring.

Meryl Davis Autograph!

Here is your reward for sticking around to the bitter end: Please enjoy my best pull of 2014, a Meryl Davis autograph! ♥

Aaaand that’s all for this post I guess.  There are plenty of other things I’d like to accomplish in 2015, but these are the most pressing and/or well-defined.  A bit simpler than last year, and I’m sure I’ve probably broken a couple resolutions already, but thanks for stopping by!

Until our next…

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Dream Story

So I just woke up from this crazy dream that seemed to mix all the things processing through my mind in recent days, in a bizarre, semi-coherent post-apocalyptic setting.  It was cards, the fact that collecting keeps me broke, but also sane, yet is probably ultimately pointless, and possibly of the pointlessness of life in general, Amiga longplays on Youtube, desperation to get out of this godforsaken place I live and see the world cropping up again… And rather than just talk about it, I decided to try and turn it into a little story.  I dunno, I can’t really make much sense of it either way.

Also, I wouldn’t count on it, but if it sticks with me long enough, I may try to add some illustrations to it at some point.  But anyway, enough jibba-jabba.  It’s storytime!  (Oh, fair warning, I am really bad at writing short, succinct sentences.)

In a series of cave-like structures rising out of the desert somewhere on the barren husk of a planet its inhabitants once called “Earth”, a pair of young scavengers bring in a new box of artifacts for the caretaker of this place.  Several long stone slabs in this place are dedicated to them.  The caretaker meticulously catalogs the tiny rectangles of (mostly) cardboard with pictures on them, before sticking each one in an individual-sized hard plastic containment unit.  Then the old archeologist or historian of a sort affixes them to these massive stone slabs.  Not that any unit of time has much meaning when the clock on the life of humanity rapidly dwindles to zero, but it would be fair to say he has done for this decades now… Ever since he ended up at this place when he was a small child.

He thought it a hobby, but maybe it was an obsession.  It kept him sane as the world died all around him, and had kept him fit some 30 years after the fact.  Knowing he wouldn’t be around forever, he taught the younger scavengers who found their way here the craft and why he used to believe it was so important.

“This is the story of our history!” the kindly caretaker would beam. “Even if it is lost to us, maybe someone will someday find this place and have some idea of what we were all about.”

The caretaker used to go out into the world to forage for supplies and artifacts with rest of them.  He was hopeful and often even exuberant in his quest.  But even he couldn’t feign hope forever in a world that no longer seemed truly capable supporting life as we knew it, and indeed one day the light finally extinguished in his eyes.  From then on, he buried himself in his legacy.  The cards.

But these days even that couldn’t mask the hopelessness and despair consuming his heart.

‘What good have I actually done?’ he often found himself wondering when he allowed himself the time to think.

It was hard to lie to himself about the emptiness he felt.  The seeming pointlessness of this monotonous endeavor.  It kept him sane for the longest time, but that was it.  There was nothing more to it, no legacy or actual importance.  Just some old man attaching these little colorful pictures, mostly depicting the sportsmen of their day, onto giant stone slabs.

He was so jaded but he never let it show.  To the other dozen or so residents running around this half-buried little monastery-like structure in the shifting sands, he was still the kindly old caretaker, full of homespun wisdom and a warm smile.

The old caretaker pulled down the hood of his ragged robes and ran his fingers through his long silver mane of hair.  He adjusted his glasses examined his latest wall of work.  Finally he knelt down before the latest box, but stopped before opening it.

“I want you fellas and your sister to do this,” he looked at the young men, smiling.

They stared down at him, confused.

“This is a young person’s game,” he dragged himself back up. “It is not in my heart to do this anymore.”

They seemed confused and tried to protest, but he raised his hand to silence them.

“Now I taught all of you how to do this at one point or another,” he spoke more gruffly than usual. “You can still go out in the world to hunt.  I did both until I became an old man myself.”

“You know the process, how it all works,” he reassured them. “It is time to start the next slab.”

He spoke softly as he walked passed the duo, one of whom was fighting back tears, “Please keep up my work for me wall I’m away.”

After informing the others of his decision to leave the encampment and offering his words of encouragement and saying his goodbyes, he packed up his few belongings an the few days worth of food and water they could muster, hopped a windjammer (think surfboard + sail + small engine), and was never seen again.  No one at the underground compound would ever know what exactly happened to him, but he somehow managed to kick around out there in the desert wastes, surviving for many years.

The old man was many mostly, but not constantly, lonesome adventures and thousands of miles away from his place in the cards by the time his ancient and weary frame had finally fallen into such disrepair that he could no longer continue his journey.  Through the dissipating remnants of a raging sandstorm, he saw two big bright lights in the sky nearby loudly jet away.

Desperately he called out to the lights as he futilely dragged his broken body towards where they had been.  The old man collapsed atop the ridge in the crater whatever was connected to the lights had caused in the burned out land.  He gracelessly slid and rolled and tumbled and crashed and burned down to the center of the surprisingly deep crevice.

“Ow…” the ancient explorer deadpanned after laying face first in the sand for a moment.

At last he summoned the strength to drag his broken carcass up for what he knew was probably the final time.  He couldn’t believe his eyes at what stood before him.

“A… a potted plant?” he stared in amazement.

He wondered if he was hallucinating, but the aroma the flowery, bushy, fledgling tree gave off was too real to be mistaken.  He hadn’t smelled anything like it since his youth, when the dying world he inhabited was still modestly capable of creating life.  It was just so out of place, a bizarrely innocent reminder of somewhat less hellish times.

All the broken down old man could do was laugh riotously as his strength faded and his body gave out.  His manic laughter sputtered into pained wheezing and he collapsed over the pot holding the plant, willingly giving himself up with joyful tears in his eyes…

~~~~

Some millennia later and you can feel it all around this lush and beautiful world the original inhabitants once called “Earth”.  From the Tree of Life that reignited this lonely little planet with the enrichment of one little spark, to those now meticulously preserved old caves full of cards thousands miles to the south and east.  To everything in between and far, far beyond…

Strange beings now inhabit this world.  They aren’t quite human, but not quite those that left that silly little plant all those eons ago either.  They seemed something of an amalgamation.  Their head and ashen skin tone were more like that of the extraterrestrial interlopers, but they had smaller, smoother, less angular bodies like humans were believed to have had.  An odd mix indeed, and very few, if any, of either original species is believed to still exist.  Their conflict is what nearly destroyed both of them anyway.  But hey, this world lives again.  And I guess that’s something.  Right?

I don’t even know…

Return is Imminent

It has been way too long since I posted anything, and I’m not even sure how many tweaks I’ve made to my collection at this point, let alone how many have actually stuck.  But I’ve still been updating my lists on occasion and scanning stuff.  And despite my own computer being barely functional at this point and not being able to temporarily borrow mom’s spare computer because her laptop is doing strange things, I have every intention of blogging with a certain degree of regularity again in the near future.

I may also have another project or two on the horizon, but we’ll see how that pans out before I have anything.  The point is, regardless of what I write, I need to do a whole helluva lot more of it.  I don’t have an eta for when business will start to pick back up around here, but barring something going severely wrong, it eventually will.

I guess that’s all for this dispatch from the desolate hellscape I call a life.  As I wander off wistfully into the pre-dawn haze, I leave you this morning with this magnificent sketch card by everyone’s favorite pony enthusiast.  Behold!

Ernie Banks Sketch Card by Dayf..

Ernie Banks Sketch Card by Dayf..

Let’s play two…

Checking In

Hi!  What’s new in the new year?

Not much to say on the card front, other than I finally got around to having my latest order from Check Out My Cards shipped.  A little over 100 more on the way.  Night Owl & maybe a couple others will be getting their cards out of this deal.

What’s been taking a lot of my time the past week or so is a pretty new story idea deciding to start fleshing itself out in my head.  So I started putting it to digital paper.  Pretty happy with it so far.  We call it Missionworks, a fantasy/steampunkish tale.  It’s coming together quite nicely, and I’m excited to get to work on the story itself.

The other main thing I’ve been doing is polishing off my FATSA: Lord of the Dragons sketch cards.  My main ones were finished days ago, but I just got what are my likely to be my Artist Proofs penciled and inked, and I’ve gotta say they are some of the nicer cards I’ve done in awhile.  I end up despising how 75% of my cards turn out, but I’m really pleased with at least three of the four.  I’ll be posting my FATSA cards here & dA & wherever else I can think of once I get them scanned and submitted for approval.

Now to get started on my Mac & Trouble cards.  Don’t have much time on them, but I only have two (and two Artist Proofs) to do, so no worries there I guess?

I cleaned a bit.  Got the place looking a little better than Reverend Jim’s, though it’ll be spring before the clutter levels start dropping dramatically (provided they don’t block the damn doors during spring cleanup, like they did in the fall… idiots).  Next step in this stupidly long process: get a new (used) chair that isn’t broke so my back will stop bothering me so much.

Finally, card buying is about to go way down (yes yes, you’ll believe it when you see it), because I have the quite frankly insane idea of trying to hit both Otakon and The National this summer.  The National is in Otakon’s home of Baltimore this year, and happens at the same place, something like three days after Otakon.  It may be time to part with some of my bigger hits to raise funds.  Also maybe get a few for-cash commissions or something?  Please?

Guess that’s about all I’ve got for now.  Hope to be back soon.  Seeya.

Until our next…

Here’s to New Beginnings!

Or, the Obligatory New Year’s Post.  The Obligatory New Year’s Resolution Post?  Whatev.  Anyway, as I begin writing this, there are nine hours and fifty-six minutes left in the year 2009 (where I’m at anyway).  Was it good to you?  Are you ready to move on?  Are you ready to step boldly into the next decade?  Do you have any resolutions for the coming new year and decade?

This is probably about the first year I’ve ever seriously considered making any resolutions for the coming year.  I was chatting with my friend David from Spain, and he asked me if I had any.  And as it turns out, yes, I kinda do.

So here they are:

First is to just be a little more focused in general.  This will help me in all facets of my life, I think.  Just focus, stick to one thing at a time a little more.  I have the attention span of a guppy (which I assume is really short, as is mine).  If I had a little better focus, I may have done something worthwhile in my life already.  It’s not too late, as sad as it makes me because it feels old to me, who’s emotionally stunted in my very early teens, I am only in my mid-20s.  I think I can still learn to focus, maybe even along those lines, learn some organizational skills.

That leads me to my most tangible goal for the new year.  And that is to accomplish something as a writer.  Finally getting close to 1000 words on something, and I want to get much, MUCH further in the new year.  You know I’ll keep y’all posted on how that goes, though it may slow down my posting at times.

Next, I want to continue to push the limits of my artistic ability.  I’ve gone from thinking I couldn’t draw anthropomorphic characters to having no trepidation at all with them in short order.  I’m still nervous when it comes to coloring and inking, but the fear is subsiding there as well.  So I want to keep moving forward.

That brings me to my next resolution.  I mentioned most of my sketch cards taking damage recently, but I’ve done eight more since they got messed up.  It brought me down for about a day, but I came back strong and have drawn eight more so far this week.  I must keep this attitude up, when it comes to responding to adversity… to deal with it, and keep fighting onward.  It is all one can do, right?

The last resolution came to mind as I started writing this post, and pertains to cards.  Virtually everyone I’ve traded with knows how slow I can be in every part of it, so I really need to be quicker in all facets of trading.  I need to email, and reply to emails faster (I’ll email about trading you that Holliday refractor sooner or later, Mojo!).  I need to send out trades faster (Roll Out the Barrel and Sooz and GSNHoF are waiting, though I need the first two’s addresses… oh and Night Owl, I finally have your stuff ready to send!).  I need my cards to be more organized so I can send out trades faster (I have cards EVERYWHERE, and only a few teams have any semblance of order).  So yeah, even though this might actually be the resolution most likely to fail, it’d do me good to get it right like all the rest.

Those are my long-winded resolutions, what are yours, if you have any?

Oh, and here’s the back of that box topper from last time.  As always, thanks for reading!

Happy New Year! 😉

Eight hours and fifty-three minutes…