Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Travels of Adam

In the four and a half years since I started this blog, I haven't missed a month. Here it is June 30th, and this is my first post in the month of June, just barely keeping my streak intact. I have barely kept up with the Cardsphere since late April, and I'm sure I've missed quite a bit.

I did see Nick mention yesterday that Bob Walk The Plank is calling it quits, which hits particularly close to home for me, since that particular Pirates blogger and I started right around the same time, in January 2014. He's done zillions more posts than I have, but it's always tough to see another blog decide to cease operations. Despite my relative absence around here lately, I still intend to keep this blog going. I like writing; in fact hardly anything puts me in a state of "flow" more than this. Unfortunately, "baseball card blogger" isn't a job title that will pay the bills, as much as I'd like to live in that world.

Yet despite all its frustrations, my day job affords me the opportunities and the resources to see a bit of the world. Come along for the ride and I'll tell you what I've been up to the past couple of months while ignoring my blogger feed.

As I mentioned last month, I took a trip to London, England in early May. It was a great trip, and I saw some sights I'd wanted to see for quite some time, and also flew on a Boeing 747 for the first time, which was one of the reasons I took the trip in the first place. By now, I mainly recall the fond memories like world-class art museums, awesome corner pubs, tons of history, beautiful parks, outdoor food markets, cheddar & onion crisps, contactless payments nearly everywhere, usable public transit, and lots more. The general travel annoyances of jet lag, walking so far my legs and feet hurt, and generally being sandwiched in like a sardine in the Tube and in Economy class on said 747 are slipping out of mind.

However, one less forgettable issue I encountered within about five minutes of venturing out into the city was losing my wallet somewhere near Victoria Station. Once I stopped kicking myself, ordering replacement cards and ID online was a cinch, which were all waiting for me when I got back stateside. Mercifully, I had the foresight to squirrel away another credit card, my Oyster transit card, and a couple banknotes in a separate wallet that became my lifeline, and is part of the reason I discovered the prevalence of contactless payments in the UK.

£120 evaporated into thin air, which is a bummer, but I'd say the biggest loss of all was probably my Wallet Card. It was a 1994 Topps Gold Joe Girardi, and it had been all over the place, including Vienna, Sacramento, and of course my home city of Denver. Interestingly, that particular card was sent by The Card Papoy, who mans the French outpost of the Cardsphere. I guess that Girardi card really wanted to be near the 0° longitude line (which I saw while visiting Greenwich).

1994 Topps #372 Joe Girardi
Fortunately, my girlfriend recognized my plight, and gave me a replacement just a few weeks ago. There's Mr. Girardi in his inaugural-season Rockies gear in Mile High Stadium, pictured on the 1994 Topps design. Longtime readers will recognize that as the first factory set I ever purchased, so this card has a lot of meaning to me, gold or not.

That explains a week or so in May, but that still leaves June. Well, work has been crazy the past couple months, but they believe I'm enough of a top performer to award me with a second President's Club award. The first award took me to Vienna, and this time I was headed to Orlando, Florida in mid-June. I happen to have friends and family in central Florida, so I extended the trip a few days before the company event started.

The first time I visited Florida in 2013, I was there for an old friend's wedding. She still lives there, and I got to meet her four-year old daughter. The next day, we went to Acme Superstore, which is first and foremost a comic book store, but also has aisles upon aisles of pop culture memorabilia. Star Wars, Mario, Hot Wheels, you name it. There were a few baseball cards, including a 1962 Topps Gaylord Perry rookie card, but I didn't pull the trigger on it.

1999 Pokemon Fossil Unlimited #52 Omanyte C
One thing I did get for myself was this Pokémon card, the first one in my collection. Like many people in the summer of 2016, I played Pokémon Go, a great opportunity to get out and about and explore my local parks. This little critter Omanyte, which is based on the extinct ammonite (a sort of nautilus squid thing), inexplicably became my favorite little Pokémon. I set it as my "buddy" when they added that feature to the app, and couldn't pass this card up when I ran across it.

After visiting friends and family, the four-night company event began in Lake Buena Vista. Similar to the Vienna trip, there were various daily activities to choose from, concluding with a dinner each night. It all went pretty well, other than flipping my kayak over in a creek following an inadvertent collision. One evening took us to dinner at a Universal Studios soundstage, followed by a rather empty theme park to explore. I have a lot of friends and family who are into Harry Potter, so naturally my guest and I spent some time in Diagon Alley.

Harry Potter Chocolate Frog Cards Gilderoy Lockhart (s17)
One can't go to Diagon Alley without getting a chocolate frog, and inside those chocolate frog boxes you'll find a pentagon-shaped lenticular card like the above. In addition to a pretty decent 5 oz. chunk of solid chocolate, I pulled Gilderoy Lockhart's card, the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, portrayed in the film by Kenneth Branagh.

It's hard to find a complete list of these, but I think there are only seven or eight to be found at the Universal parks. This isn't something that Beckett has cataloged yet, and it'll be tricky to find a spot to store it. There's a little "s17" in the corner, which may refer to its release year.

So that's why I haven't been around much. "Work Hard, Play Hard" has definitely been the name of the game lately. That doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging, and has put me even further behind on trade posts from Nachos Grande, A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts, blog reader Chris, and my annual Opening Day blaster. The year's flying by (in fact the baseball season just hit the halfway point), but I'm still around.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


  1. Dang. I wish I knew you were in Central Florida earlier this month. I would’ve met up and swapped some cards.

    1. My dad lives in Melbourne so I'm sure I'll be back!

  2. I had no idea Chocolate Frog cards actually existed, very cool! Losing your wallet though is decidedly uncool, I had that happen to me a few years back. At least we know there's a Joe Girardi card floating around in England now.

  3. Was at Barnes & Noble the other day and bought a chocolate frog, but the cards were the standard 3.5" by 2.5", not the pentagonal shape of the Lockhart card.
    London sounded really cool. Sorry you lost your wallet and wallet card. What a bummer! Way to sneak one in at the end of the month and keep up your posting streak!

  4. Congratulations on winning that award for a second time! You must be doing something right. It'll be interesting to see where you get to go next time when you win it :)

  5. Sorry to hear about the wallet... but congratulations on getting to travel across the Atlantic and for winning your 2nd President's Club award.