When You are a Card Collector, Your Birthday Has Its Perks

Today is my birthday, and its the one day every year that I can buy a few things for me without feeling guilty about the money. Im sure all of you have similar feelings when your birthday rolls around, and this year I wanted to make it worth my while. Because there was nothing that I desperately needed, I tried to go outside the box a little bit.

First, my biggest target was to get a Favre auto of him in a Vikings uniform that could fill the hole in my Vikings collection. After searching now for about 4 weeks, I dont think there is going to be one I can afford at this point. Because the number of Vikings fans have exploded in recent years, I have to compete with five million people whenever one is posted. I have a few Packers ones that I would settle for, but I still feel kind of dirty buying one. But when you see prices like this for his Vikings stuff, your fandom and rival buying ethics start to take a back seat. So, that one was off the list.

My second target hearkens back to another collection that I have, Comic Books. I really wanted to get a crap copy of the first Hal Jordan in Showcase #22, and have been looking for years, but price was always a limiting factor. With the movie coming out, prices have only spiked even more, leading me to cross another item off my list of targets.

I also wanted to get one of the new Twins road jerseys, and luckily for me, the hong-kongthentic jerseys are still pretty cheap on eBay. I managed to get a Mauer for 50 bucks, and though it isnt AUTHENTIC, its “authentic” enough for me. My wife got a Morneau one for her birthday, and we were able to get some amazing family pictures that may or may not be worthy of awkward family photos due to our team allegiance.

Lastly, I wanted to get a 2001 Morneau Bowman auto once I found out that it existed. The cards usually sell pretty high, but I was luckily able to find one at a good price for me to purchase. This card kind of served a dual purpose, though, and that I am not ashamed to admit. Because I really wanted it for my Twins collection and I knew my wife would LOVE it if I got it and gave it to her, things could not have been more perfect. She was indeed incredibly happy to add it to “her” Morneau collection, something that has been steadily growing over the year.

All of those things though were peanuts compared to what I really NEEDED for my birthday. Since my surgery, I have lost close to 100 pounds. I am closing in on a very normal weight, and unfortunately, my wedding band no longer fit me. I could not have it sized for a reasonable price, so I needed to get a new one. Thanks to some clever haggling by my wife, I was presented with one last week that fits me again. Its much nicer than the one I had before, and I am ecstatic to be able to wear one again.

All in all, I would say its a pretty good haul this year.

My State of the Union: Happy Second Birthday SCU!

Today is the day that SCU was born, two years ago. In fact, I cannot believe its been two years already. Feels like yesterday I was just another angry collector. Although the blog is two years old now, reaching over 20,000 visitors per month, and is responsible for people recognizing me at card shows, its still fun to do each and every day. I cant think of a reason why I would have kept going if it hadnt been fun this whole time. I have obviously had my ups and downs, built and burned bridges, and even inspired a few hate blogs in retaliation, but that is never an occurance I would have fathomed possible in the beginning of this site. SCU has outgrown even my own dreams for this once tiny blog.

When I started SCU, I was looking for a place to write, mainly because of my background in English from my undergrad at George Washington U. I loved creative writing, and I knew that I wanted some place to express it. Unlike most creative writers, I needed to write solely about something I love, and cards became that subject after a few tries at other things. Its rare that one can find something that provides as much material as this hobby has, and I am glad to say that material is not drying up either.

I think its also rare to find a community of people like we have here in the card blogger network, something that is one of the best things about the hobby. When I started you could pretty much count the blogs on two hands, instead of now, where hundreds of people have signed up to write about what they collect. I didn’t even know about sites like Stale Gum or Wax Heaven at the beginning of my tenure here, but I soon came to understand what it meant to have to work to get to the top. Chris and Mario were two of the first people to welcome me to the net, even going above and beyond to help educate me in some cases. It was easy to see how much work they put into their sites, and it was where I discovered how to turn SCU into where it is today. Although the community is much, much bigger now, I consistently see others working together to spread the word, supporting their bretheren and sisteren(?) regardless of whether or not they agree. A blogger is a blogger, no matter the site, and almost all of us understand that speaking out is worth supporting, no matter the discussion topics.

The community itself has led to a number of events that wouldn’t be possible without a wonderful community. Whether it’s the wildly successful group breaks on here and other sites, the blog bat around (which will be making a comeback shortly), or even just the twitter discussions we all seem to have daily, we have created a media source unlike any other. No editors or people to answer to, no alterior motives, no bullshit, we do it because we love it, and that’s what makes it great.

On top of all of that, blogs have often become the defacto police force of the internet, a role I take very seriously here. Fakes and scams have always been a huge target for me, even before SCU, as my crusader nature has always lent well to rooting out the douchebags who make the hobby a terrible place. I will voice a commitment to continue that as long as this site is up, as I don’t think I will ever be able to let someone take advantage of an uninformed collector without saying something first. Not only that, but I hope others will do the same thing, as our voices collectively is much more powerful.

Now that two years have past, its tough not to look towards the future, which is becoming more and more uncertain with the drastic changes coming in my life. Although Im not sure how active I will be able to stay, I know that all the people who live to hate me arent going to win any time soon. You have already seen guest posts from Voluntarheel, and he will not be the only one taking up the SCU flag in the future. One of the great things about having a site like this is it becomes easier to connect with likeminded people, thus giving me a good bullpen to work with when I cant meet the demands of the site. Thank you in advance to those people.

Speaking of haters, I have oddly developed a following of fans whose sole purpose is to express how awful of a person I am. Whether its claiming that I am laughably paid by Upper Deck, or any number of other things they like to harp on, I cant help but laugh (and ignore) their constant prodding. Much to their chagrin, it is one of the reasons that SCU has survived as long as it has, and most likely will be a reason why it will continue to thrive. There is no such thing as bad publicity, and I take the good with the bad in terms of people. It also helps that the letters from new collectors I get daily always contradict everything they say, as I have always prided myself at being a resource for uniformed people looking for info.

Lastly, thank you to the fans of SCU, the people who make this site a daily stop on their trek through the web. I live for you guys and gals, and you drive me towards success more than anything or anyone else. Nothing makes me happier than helping someone find an answer, start a blog, or even just talk about the hobby in their own way, and I think the favor is returned every day in many numbers of awesome ways. Then to see their support help get SCU onto ESPN, Deadspin, and Yardbarker’s front page, makes me even more thankful for the copious amounts of support they give.

Lets face it, I may not be the easiest person to agree with, read about, or cheer for, but I appreciate the ability to be a part of your favorite pasttime. Thank you all, and here’s to another two years!

Happy Belated Birthday SCU

So, a little over one year today, SCU was born of anger and retribution. I have to admit, even I didn’t even expect it to last this long. I mean, once I started, I found it quite hard to post things every day, sometimes more than once, and to continue to find relevant things to talk about. On top of all of that, I never expected to get any traffic, mainly because no one knew who I was, and the CBN (Card Blogger Network) was only a third of what it is today.

Once the CBN hit full stride, things really picked up, as for some reason, people enjoyed reading my rants, or hated them enough to come back and see what I would say next. Really, I was just looking for a place to have fun writing, and usually when its about something you love, its much easier to do. Funny enough, I found there was a lot of shit that goes down in the hobby that I really disliked. There was rampant problems with established institutions that no one wanted to question publicly, there were problems with the cards themselves, there was problems with the people who collected them, and most of all, there were a ton of really ignorant people who seemed to be multiplying by the second. With that, I decided to stake my flag and really show people what could possibly be behind the curtain.

Unfortunately the gap between the smart and the stupid continued to grow, and people continued to take advantage of the lack of information and transparency. Luckily for everyone, the CBN also continued to grow and continued to challenge the paradigms that have long plagued collectors in the industry. They also provided complete up to date info, a fresh perspective, and quite a bit of pizazz to boot. New people joined up every day, and I tried to help as many of them as I could to find their voices. SCU’s blogroll continues to grow by the day, and I will never hesitate to add a friend, even if your views arent quite on point with mine.

As of today, over 100,000 unique visitors have seen the site, and most of them have come back multiple times for the same reasons as when this page first started. My biggest contribution, the Blog Bat Around is still running strong with a new person at the helm each month, something I love seeing. Hopefully the BBA will continue to be an awesome display of the might of the CBN.

As for SCU, well, I hope there are more years to come, more people to piss off, and more rantabulous posts to write. Really, the only people that deserve the credit are the guys from the SCU staff and you, the visitors. Thanks a ton guys and gals.

Now where is Matt Forte to jump out of my cake?