29 January 2019

It's GO Time

One of my guilty pleasures is the mobile game Pokemon GO. It helps to pass the time when I travel for work, and when I'm home it gives me a reason to get up and get out of the house. I've visited a lot of neat places thanks to the game, looking for new Pokemon to catch. Recently I decided to pair my digital collection with a physical one, and collect a trading card of each Pokemon I've caught in the game. I went into my digital collection and sorted by date caught, then wrote out the list in order. When I catch or evolve something new, I add it to the end of the list. So far I've got almost three card pages filled with Pokemon cards, mostly ordered through COMC.

My method is pretty simple. I focus on foil cards, and select the card with the art I like the most. So far I've been able to get a lot of the cards for a dollar or less apiece, although that Jolteon EX in the upper right cost me $5 on eBay.

My favorite card on this second page is probably Golbat, although I also like the Doduo card a lot. My collection is not particularly valuable, but it's fun to have a physical representation of my collection. There are also memories associated with some of the Pokemon. I caught my first Jynx in the parking lot of a Burger King in July of 2016, during one of the resident courses required for my current job. The Pokemon experts in my readership might note that many of these early Pokemon are evolutions of other more common Pokemon. That's probably because I evolved the lower-level Pokemon in-game after catching them. I wasn't sure if I should precede each of those cards with the basic Pokemon, but decided that it made sense for my longest-tenured critters to evolve as they traveled with me. That's my story, at least. If I had a way to go back and look at my log in greater detail, I would probably go in strict order, but this is the best I've got.

So far I have around 280 different Pokemon on my list, so there is plenty of collecting to catch up on. It was fun to search out these first few pages of cards, and it is a relatively cheap collection to add to, as long as I don't seek out the really rare or old cards.

Here is the first page of my checklist. It would probably be easier to build the list on a spreadsheet program, which would allow for more information and better sorting capabilities, but some lists need to be written out on paper. This looks like a list I might have written up as a kid, when Excel wasn't something I dealt with. You can see that I've checked off about 6 pages worth of cards, but those last few pages haven't shipped yet. I couldn't find the cards I wanted on COMC for Primeape and Goldeen, but I know which ones I want.

18 January 2019

Who do You Think of First?

It's been a little while since I posted anything here. I've been mired in a deep depression for a long time, and the last few months it's about all I can do to get up in the morning and go to work, and when I get home I mostly just feel like going back to bed. I somehow managed to get through my first semester of graduate school. I finished with two B+ grades, but I probably did not deserve them. I guess if you manage to get the assignments turned in eventually, then they have to pass you to keep their numbers looking good. My next class just started, and hopefully things will be easier with just one course to keep up with. I am still doing hobby stuff, but most of my online posting has been on my Twitter account. It is easier to toss out a few Tweets than it is to compose an entire blog post.

I decided to try out the recent challenge that's been going around the blogs, naming the first player who comes to mind when a team is mentioned. In looking at my results, you can tell that I am relatively new to collecting baseball cards, as many of the players I listed are current or recently retired players. My basketball list would probably trend a bit older as far as names go. I can also see that players I've read about recently come to mind over players that I might be a fan of, like Manny Ramirez for the Red Sox. With the Hall of Fame voting going on, I've seen his name in print a lot lately.

Baltimore Orioles - Chris Davis hit a bunch of home runs for my fantasy teams, and then I drafted him a few more times to chase those numbers. He always wound up killing my teams' batting averages, though, more than he helped with the other stats.

Boston Red Sox - I don't have a lot to say about Manny Ramirez, but he was the first guy to come to my mind when I thought of the Red Sox.

Chicago White Sox - Jim Thome is the guy I thought of here.

Cleveland Indians - For some reason my brain completely shut down here. I couldn't think of a single Indians player, so after a minute I moved on. Later I came up with Francisco Lindor and Larry Doby in the same thought.

Detroit Tigers - Miguel Cabrera, although I had a hard time thinking of a Tiger, too. Maybe I was just in a funk for a couple of minutes.

Houston Astros - Jose Altuve is one of the best current players on my favorite team, so it makes sense that I would think of him here.

Kansas City Royals - I always liked Country Breakfast, so Billy Butler was a natural choice here. I feel like he got pushed out of the league a lot faster than maybe he deserved, but maybe he was done with it and decided not to keep pushing. I don't know. He is apparently a member of a rec league softball team in my state. That makes me want to go on a road trip, but actually following through might make me a little bit creepy.

Los Angeles Angels - Mike Trout pretty much is the Angels right now, although Shohei Ohtani is the hot hobby commodity of the moment.

Minnesota Twins - One of the baseball cards of my youth that is seared into my memory is Paul Molitor's 1990 Topps card, which pictures him as a Brewer. But that doesn't matter here, as his name came up in my mind for the Twins.

New York Yankees - I'm kind of surprised that Gleyber Torres or Aaron Judge didn't jump out at me first, but Gary Sanchez was the name that popped out of the randomizer here. I must have been sorting one of his cards or something recently.

Oakland Athletics - There's an anecdote floating around out there about someone overhearing Rickey Henderson giving himself a pep talk after striking out, saying something like, "It's okay, Rickey. You're still the best." I use that quote a lot when things aren't working out for me. I don't even care if it's true.

Seattle Mariners - Ichiro is one of the bigger names to play for the Mariners, and I associate him with the team more than most players, even Ken Griffey Jr.

Tampa Bay Rays - Chris Archer was the only guy I could think of right off. He finished 2018 with the Pirates, but spent a lot of time with the Rays.

Texas Rangers - Nolan Ryan played for a few teams, including my Astros, but I associate him most with the Rangers.

Toronto Blue Jays - It was a pretty big deal for Jose Bautista to really break out with the Blue Jays, and he had some big moments with the team.

Arizona Diamondbacks - Paul Goldschmidt would have been the other guy here, but I thought of Randy Johnson first.

Atlanta Braves - Chipper Jones was the guy here. He recently went into the Hall of Fame, and also was in the news for rescuing people in his 4x4 during a storm.

Chicago Cubs - There are plenty of famous Cubs, but I thought of Anthony Rizzo first.

Cincinnati Reds - I lived in Ohio during the peak of Eric Davis' career, so for me he has always been the guy for the Reds.

Colorado Rockies - Todd Helton won the brain game here, probably because of the Hall of Fame balloting talk, and whether he and Larry Walker will ever get in due to the Coors Field bias.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Yasiel Puig popped up here for me. His cards were big just as I was getting back into card collecting, and he often makes the news for silly reasons.

Miami Marlins - Alex Rodriguez Derek Jeter is the ringmaster, and the Marlins are his circus. That franchise was already kind of a joke, but adding him to the mix didn't help things along. (Apparently I somehow got A-Rod and Jeter mixed up in my head. A-Rod is the clown, but the Marlins are Jeter's circus.). Whatever the reason, Alex Rodriguez was the name that popped into my head first when I thought of the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers - Robin Yount came up here, probably because he's had a number of pretty sweet baseball cards issued, like the Stadium Club one with the dirtbike on it.

New York Mets - Thor and his magnificent hair had to show up here. Noah Syndergaard has a cool name.

Philadelphia Phillies - I noticed that I missed a letter in Mike Schmidt's name on the list. I considered going back and fixing it, but I didn't want to go back and make edits on the original document. I was just telling my son with the behavioral problems that it's okay not to be perfect, so I am trying to practice what I preach.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Starling Marte steals a lot of bases when he is not suspended for PEDs, so he's been on a few of my fantasy teams. Also his first name is a bird.

San Diego Padres - I was trying to think of the catcher who hit a triple at the game I went to in San Diego last year, missing a grand slam by inches, but couldn't come up with Luis Torrens' name, so I defaulted to Tony Gwynn.

San Francisco Giants - I wanted to think of Madison Bumgarner first here, but I'd been sorting cards and Buster Posey was in all the sets I was sorting, so his name was stuck in my brain.

St. Loius Cardinals - Chris Carpenter? Okay, I guess his name made a lasting impression on me at some point in my life.

Washington Nationals - Future Yankee (or Phillie) Bryce Harper has been dominating the free agent talk lately, so he's the guy here.

That's all the teams. I was surprised by a few of the names on my list, but overall I don't think there is anything too crazy here. I am not sure why Chris Carpenter was my guy for the Cardinals, but that's probably about as odd as my list got. I am still kicking myself for the error in Mike Schmidt's name.

Here's a blank back card I picked up of Bartolo "Big Sexy" Colon from the Topps Vault eBay store a while ago. I hope he comes back next year, even for a few starts here and there. He's really close to 250 wins.

Like many of my other recent acquisitions, I showed this card off on Twitter, but here it is on Blogger. I don't know how often I'll knock out a post on here in the near future, but I will try not to let this blog die off completely.