Crush, Kill, Destroy, Stress

Man.  Deadlines and real-life work can be a huge time suck…all that work just to pay some bills and a mortgage.  My apologies for being less available on the blog here.  I was really hoping to be more inclined to write daily…well, not daily but at the very least weekly, and that hasn’t happened.  But, hey I’m here and spring training baseball games start on Sunday.  It’s a great time to be alive!  (despite the title of this post).

I’ve mentioned many times that I deal with stress in a very specific way and that way is to sort cards…who woulda guessed that having read my blog over the years.  With that in mind, when I have moments to myself and can duck down to the basement, I sort…crush, kill, destroy, stress…or more appropriately…sort, organize, sleeve, file…maybe that’s a better title.  Less depressing.

How do I sort and collate you ask, well let me tell ya! 

PREFACE:

For me, organization is critical but consistency is vital.  I like to begin with a general idea or template for what the overall collection would look like together then move forward with a plan that hopefully satisfies all the known requirements.  That involves lots of deep thinking whilst drinking bourbon.  The ideas flow way better with brown water, you know. 

For this blog post, I’ll be focusing on stars and Hall of Fame players for baseball.  I’ve done the same for football and basketball players as well as team sorting.  Those may come at a later date if there’s more interest in how I do what I do.

STEP 1: Materials

I’ve decided that space between my cards is important.  I like to give the rows some room to breathe and grow as my collection grows.  Having room also allows to be able to grab the cards as I need and look through them without having to pry them out with a shoe horn.  The best material I’ve utilized for this is foam core, white in this case.  Now, foam core isn’t really great for the environment long term, I know.  Living in Portland, I’m constantly reminded of the horrible things I learned growing up in Texas, but at least I’m aware and try my best.  I do lay the boards out in a way that utilizes the whole sheet as efficiently as possible.  Whenever I have scraps I always find uses for them and am able to make something from them rather than tossing them in the trash can. 

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I typically buy 30” x 42” x 1/8” sheets and start marking them up with guidelines spaced out to 2 3/4″ along the 30” side (14 columns) and 3 3/4″ along 40” side (8 rows).  That gives me 112 pieces with some scraps that work well for shipping or spacing out other projects you may have.

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***If you’re unaware of foam core, don’t want to be presumptuous, It’s easy to find at any art shop as well as most grocery stores.  Everything I purchase is from Blick Art Supplies here in Portland (they’re a national chain so find your Blick!)*** 

STEP 2: Labels

The next step is the label creation.  For this process, I use Adobe InDesign and have created a layout that lets me type in a name easily and move on to the next one.  This does take some time the way I have it set up, but I like it and it works.  Plus, I don’t really update this very much after the initial setup.  I had actually created these labels prior to purchasing a printer and did them on 100lb white card stock.  I wanted something a tad more rigid that would be great long term.  In hindsight, I don’t think this was necessary and regular paper works fine…plus it’s easier to cut.

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Next step was to, very lightly score the top and bottom line above the name.  This part is going to be folded over the labels, so the scoring makes it easier to get a nice bend…told you, I was particular about these things.  Next I cut the columns out, then cut the rows out of each column.  That worked best for me…this part does take some time and patience.  Music or a great podcast helps make it move forward quickly…so, definitely do that…also, bourbon.  Four Roses works best with Queens of the Stone Age.

STEP 3: Adhesion

Third step is the attachment process of the labels to the foam core.  I used white masking tape for this.  You can find this fairly inexpensively at just about any store that has a hardware department or an art store.  Mine came from Blick.  I set up strips of the tape on a cutting mat, following the lines for a nice alignment then cut off the jagged ends.  Next I cut the tape to a length that would be able to wrap around the foam core one complete pass, 6” seem to be a perfect length.

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After the tape has been cut and the labels are stacked and ready to.  Start taping amigo!  Make sure you get the tape tightly wrapped around the four sides and that it hangs down enough so you don’t see the tape.  My goal as to not have any visible tape when I look through the cards.  The very tiny amount of thickness on the tape also provides a bit of space for each card as well.

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Then voila!  You have a Cardboard Hog label!  And it only took 4 weeks!  Just kidding…this is a great Sunday afternoon task if you’re so inclined.

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APPENDIX: Sorting

Now that you’ve got the labels ready to go, it’s time to get your cards sleeved and in the boxes.  I like to use the 5000 count boxes for this activity since it holds the most amount of cards.  It does tend to get a little heavy, but also requires fewer boxes…so, just weigh what you want and need.

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Hopefully everyone is doing this, but I just want to remind you that your cards should all be in penny sleeves…that is if you care about them.  Especially mid-90’s cards.  I’ve lost so many great cards as they’ve turned into bricks.  Leaving me with spotted hall of famers and snowy, beautiful cards like this gem.  Penny sleeves are cheap…like, a penny…or less if you buy in bulk.  Don’t be cheap.  Protect your cards!

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NOTES: Revisiting

I like to revisit these boxes every few months just to get an idea of what I have and to add new items.  It’s an awesome way to work through your collection and reflect on all the time and money you’ve spend collecting pictures of young men that do sports better than your or i. 

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It’s also just a great trip down memory lane.  These boxes contain cards from my childhood.  I’ve had most of them since they came out and when I started collecting back in ’85.  That time to sit back and reflect on those simpler times helps me put things back into focus.  I tend to get caught up in the worst of the worst of a moment.  It’s easy and I’m sure most of us do it.  Taking a step back and realizing that all things pass and life keeps moving forward is important and something we should all be doing periodically, no matter your medium.  Take the time to tell the people around you how much they mean to you and never be too proud to apologize for things you’ve done and are not proud of.  Life is precious and can be great.  Taking the time to enjoy small bites of how you got to where you are today are important.  Even if it means you painstakingly create a label system that can be solved with an off the shelf solution for a quarter the price and time.

Thank you for reading and hope you have a wonderful day!

-Cardboard Hogs

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One of my all-time favorite MC’s is Pharoahe Monch.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that a few times on here, but it needs to be restated over and over.  He’s phenomenal.  I first heard him in the group Organized Konfusion.  Their first album was excellent and I highly recommend you listen to it, but for me?  The second album was beyond amazing STRESS: The Extinction Agenda.  Here’s the video.

Parallel Paul

Yesterday was another Super Bowl that didn’t include my Washington Football Team.  At times I feel like it will never happen and I should just give up, but then I think to myself…when it does happen (and it will…at some point…it’s inevitable) it will be the greatest thing ever.  That’s assuming they win, of course, and not just make it to the Super Bowl. 

I know a lot of people really HATE Tom Brady, and I can generally understand it.  I just don’t really get why people hate on greatness so much.  The guy has been to 10…TEN…Super Bowls in his 21 year career and won 7…SEVEN of them.  Just insane.  Hate all you want, but that’s Greatest of All-Time material.

Anyways.

When I rebooted the blog, my goal was to make it something more than a “look what I got today” blog.  I wanted to be able to find a twist or some other way to make this medium more entertaining or readable…but alas.  Work and life.  Life is work these days and will be for the next few weeks.  So, I’d like to apologize in advance for the dull posts.  But, hey.  Dull posts are better than no posts right?

One of my favorite guys at our monthly Portland shows wasn’t at the January show.  Normally that’s a sign that the guy had decided to give up the hobby or just fuckin died.  Well, neither of those were the case with Paul. 

Thankfully. 

I like Paul.  He’s a fascinating guy.  Every time I see him, he’s got some new kind of gadgety thing that you get from some mail order catalog.  It’s like an Inspector Gadget of card collection.  Lots of times he’s there with his kid who seems to be in on the family business.  What Paul deals in isn’t your ordinary kinda cards.  He’s a parallel man.  You know the kind; variations, colors, dots, lasers, patriotic colors, refractors, glossies, not so glossies and super slick glossies.  He’s a veritable one stop shop to get your parallel fix.  Parallel Paul.

That day, I was planning to spend cash at three tables.  Bill, Terry and Paul.  Here’s the Paul portion of the morning.

As I mentioned, Paul goes for the gusto on the parallels and all modern stuff.  I like going through his stuff because I can pick up Washington guys on the cheap.  The majority of his cards are $1.  He’s basically charging you for his cost of retail unless there is something really dynamite about the disco parallel you’re picking up.  But he’s got ‘em all.  Here’s a nice blend of Randy Moss’ kid, Thaddeus Moss.

Ya’ll remember when we used to make fun of blasters and show of a stack of cards for $20?  We’d go “…for the cost of a blaster, I got…”  Well this stack of cards (minus the baseball and relics) cost a tick under that price point.  The sad truth though, if you can find a blaster in the wild it would cost you $20…but you ain’t finding no blasters in the wild.  They’re gonna cost you at least $75 for a box of Prizm. 

I’ve watched a lot of folks rip those Prizm boxes and to be honest, if I paid more than $20 for them I’d be really really really upset.  The hits are rare and the ones you get aren’t that amazing.  I like to stand on the sidelines and wait for disgruntled box break investor flipper guy run through a bunch of Washington guys, toss ‘em to the side so I can grab them for a buck.

Like this group of disco sparkles

Prizm does a nice job of the parallels and including a wide variety of great guys from the past. I was able to pick up the Theismann from Paul today, which i hadn’t added to my collection yet. This one is green…i think…

Also picked up some laser show zippity zappity zoom prizms…stupid dad jokes man…

I was able to chat with Paul a bit.  Again, super friendly guy and incredibly helpful.  I overheard him saying most of what he rips is retail…or something like that.  Maybe there was some percentage I missed in the conversation.  The point is, he’s got the small sales from small investments dialed in quite well.  I doubt he makes a killing each show, but can imagine he’s doing far better than recouping his table and boxes cost.  Nice little income for him.

Along with the parallels paul sells, paul puts pride in presenting player worn garments…i really tried to keep that alliteration going.

There were also a few baseball cards ready to be sorted through. I took a quick pass and found a few gems, these were not included in the “…cost of a blaster…” portion of the story, they were a little more than that, but part of the PC. So, felt compelled to grab them.

Honestly, at this point i’m picking up each and every single Rickey Henderson card I can find these days. I’m never certain if he’s incredibly popular or unpopular, but the cards of his that i don’t already have are hard to find.

As always, thank you for reading and extra special thanks to those that comment to let me know your reading. I really do appreciate it. The last few weeks of work have been rough and i don’t see them getting any easier. I’m very happy that i am fully employed, but sometimes…it’s just more difficult to get motivated to something that doesn’t quite interest you.

Thank you,

Cardboard Hogs

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This video is a few years old, but really cool. Made with 100% Solar Power…take a look.