The song of the day is Rose Petals by S. Carey on the album Hundred acres (2018). Not every day has a song. Every day is not the same. That is what makes life brilliant and enduring.
Today was spent watching football. A lot of people watched some football today. My estimation is that roughly half the people watching television today watched some football. That is an amazing amount of attention on one thing. Our attention is rarely so focused on any one thing. Sometimes I wonder if maybe we could bring this much attention together to accomplish something meaningful. Our ability to really focus the collective power of nation seems to have vanished. Something without our social fabric or maybe civil society itself has broken down in ways that were not expected. We are fragmented and focused on very specific things instead of the national trajectory. Maybe that is where my writing needs to start focusing again. It has been well over a decade since my entire writing journey was focused on figuring out ways to strengthen civil society. It is a noble pursuit or at least something worthy of figuring out.
For some inexplicable reason the dog woke up 6 times last night and that was enough to kick start my day way before sunrise. Most of the time when I get woken up during the early hours of the morning I cannot go back to sleep. Being awake right now provided an opportunity to look at the window at the darkness and start to write a bit without interruption. Maybe that is worthwhile or maybe a few more hours of sleep would have been better. A few notes have been taken in my Moleskine sketchbook. Right now I’m still using that medium nib Parker Sonnet fountain pen that I picked up last year to scribble down notes on unlined sketchbook paper. I have always preferred to take notes or write down my thoughts on unlined paper. Today is going to be a big day in Kansas City. Like a good portion of the western united states it snowed last night here in Denver and from what I can tell in Kansas City as well. Today will be an interesting playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts. My plan is to have my trusty ASUS Flip Chromebook at the ready during the game to capture any thoughts between eating nachos and watching the game.
A few careless searches on eBay earlier today reminded me just how far my baseball card collection has fallen in value. It fell a lot. Seriously, it fell a lot more than I had expected or anticipated. In terms of packs of cards, I have been collecting cards from around 1985 to last year. That collecting has involved buying packs of sports trading cards at stores. A lot of them were bought at Target over the last few years. Before that the bulk of them were bought from grocery stores. I pick up a box or two. They end up on my desk and I have enjoyed opening them. The experience today is pretty much the same for me as it was decades ago. I mean they stopped putting gum in the packs, but that was pretty gross anyway.
Today for some reason it seemed like a good idea to search for “baseball card lot” on eBay. With just a couple clicks and a small amount of reading it was very clear that the value of my baseball card collection is not worth what it used to be. My large boxes of 1990’s commons cards are stored in BCW super storage boxes that hold about 5,000 sports trading cards. Within some of those eBay searches I could see stacks of those boxes in people’s basements and rooms. Each of them holding a reasonably sized sports trading card collection. Every one of those boxes contains cards that somebody cared about and carefully transferred from pack to storage. A lot of my best cards were sold about 14 years ago. In hindsight that was as sound decision. The vast boxes of common cards that are currently in the basement are not even really worth selling on eBay. I’m not entirely sure they could be abandoned (handed over) to a sports trading card store anymore. Those stores probably do not even have the space to store them in perpetuity.
Sports cards have value based on the people who want to buy them at the time they go up for sale. My guess based on a quick assessment of the online market is that the number of people selling has greatly outpaced the number of people buying. That market dynamic is a recipe for dropping prices. Most of my collection does not have any real emotional value to me outside of it being mine and I have kept it safe for over twenty years. A chunk of that collection includes graded George Brett cards, autographed Kansas City Royals cards, and autographed Kansas City Chiefs cards. Those three categories cards are not classified as common cards. That is how the bulk of my collection would be described. My collection is without question a vast set of common baseball cards from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. For those of you who know what that means in term so value you already know they do not have a ton of value anymore. A few of them are probably useful for people who collection anthologies of specific players or maybe team sets. I have been working on a graded George Brett anthology for about a decade. It has value to me and brings me joy. That is probably a nostalgia-based joy mixed with the joy a get from collecting sports trading cards in general.
Tonight, is one of those nights where I am glad that we have a YouTube TV subscription. This time around it is not due to a Kansas Jayhawks game. It happens to be due to a Monday night football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Officiating in these games makes such a big difference. At the moment, I’m wondering how this game will go. It just started, but every play so far has been full of bright yellow flags flying all over the field. Oh well, I’m invested so far in watching the rest of the game. Throughout the evening my attention has been focused on finishing up the, “Recommendation Systems with TensorFlow on GCP,” course by Google Cloud on Coursera. That is the last course that I need to finish up my, “Advanced Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform,” specialization on Coursera. I should be able to finish up the 5-course specialization tonight. Throughout the last year, I have been really invested in completing the Google Cloud courses being offered on the Coursera platform. Overall, the courses have been really good. Some people like to play video games. I prefer doing course work at night to help focus my thoughts and let me relax my mind. The first quarter is about half over and things are not looking very good. Maybe things will calm down here and the Rams offence will slow down. 6 bright yellow flags have already been thrown against the Chiefs. I’m going to have to put on my headphones and focus on some lectures. Nobody is going to throw any flags against my learning efforts tonight.
We got to attend a Colorado Avalanche hockey game this weekend. Visiting the Pepsi Center in Denver is always an adventure. It is a reasonably fun and all around nice place to attend a sporting event. Throughout the entire event the people around us were very nice to use beyond simple civility.
It seems like a long time ago that I first visited the Pepsi Center. That was back during the CU Boulder days. We ended up getting tickets outside the event right before the game. It was fun enough that it was memorable.
Today seemed like a good day to spin up the Google Docs and do some writing. My goal for the moment is to write for the next thirty minutes without stopping. It seems that Google Docs is able to save my writing efforts in near real time. That pretty much means that the hardware could fail at anytime and my words would live on in the Google Docs cloud. Things like that seem pretty straightforward now, but they are rather increible compared to a decade ago.
Writing today will be occurring to an epic soundtrack. It is far too late for coffee, but it is just the right time of day to listen to the 2017 album New Millennium from the band Dream Theater. The album has the subtitle, “The Classic Broadcast 1999/Live Recording.” It might be my favorite album of 2017. Buying vinyl records continues to be one of my hobbies. I almost wrote habits, but changed out the word to hobbies. Maybe habits is a better description. It was a phrasing that seemed a little off to me at the time. Hobbies are important. A small stack of my paintings exist in the basement. Recently my myriad of hobbies has streamlined into collecting: vinyl records, sports trading cards, and guitar pedals.
Collecting sports trading cards has been a part of my routines since the early 90’s. Sure that might seem like a long time ago. It really does feel like a long time ago. You could literally say it was not even this millennium and be accurate. Writing about writing might be less than interesting, but writing about hobbies could fall right into that same categories. My interest in sports trading cards probably involves a mix of nostalgia and my interest in statistics. Each card really is a snapshot. Sports trading cards capture a moment.