Hurricane Harvey was unknown a mere handful of days ago, but just like that, friends of mine were sending pictures to me of people lining up for gas and bottled water.  I can’t believe how quickly this came into play.   The flooding has taken a HUGE toll in our area.

Thankfully, our house does not look like it will be threatened by flooding (for now.)  However, check out the before and after pics a few minutes down the road in our neighborhood.

Okay, so I may have photoshopped Nessie in there, but everything else is completely legit.  I could show SIGNIFICANTLY worse pictures / videos (record # of tornadoes, 20 feet of water in buildings, etc.) but this is the closest thing I personally could get to in order to take a shot of.  What worries me most, is that Harvey is projected to go back down over the gulf, pick up even more water and make a second run at us.  Your prayers are GREATLY appreciated!

As with everything, this brings me back to … you guessed it:  cardboard.  It took another hurricane, about 11 years ago for me to bring out my collection for the first time in a very long time.  Since the power was out, there was nothing to do, so I thought I’d bring my Canseco cards downstairs to look through them and put them in pages.

To give you an idea of how little I cared at the time for them, I often wondered if I had mistakenly sold my Canseco collection off with a bunch of other cards, and didn’t realize it.  It gave me a sinking feeling, but not enough to actually check!

The picture below was taken in 2013 when I was selling my collection at the time, and was basically my entire collection, which shows quite a few more cards than when I had taken them out years prior to look at during the hurricane in 2006.  While it looks like I probably have about 3,000 cards showing below, I should note that no card was worth more than $10, most likely, and the VAST majority of them were duplicates.  For example, I’m not saying that there were 3 1988 Donruss cards in the pic below; I’m saying there were probably 50.

Shown in the picture is a binder that housed my Canseco collection as a child, which my son commandeered years ago to store his cards.  (I just went into his room to take some pics of it for you to see.)

Pictured below on the left, inside the binding showed that I had 856 total Canseco cards in 2010, most of which I believe to have been different, if not all.  Not bad, but again – almost everything was common.  To the right, shows a splicing of two 1991 Fleer stickers that I did when Jose was traded to the Rangers.  It was a sort of ritualistic way for 12 year old Tanner to be okay with the transaction.

Anyway, back to the 2006 hurricane.

With the electricity out, and my Canseco cards sprawled out all over the table downstairs, my sister and mother in law came over for something.  My sister in law (16 at the time, and now 27/married!) came in, took one look at my collection & unknowingly shamed me in three words.

“Man crush much?” (LOL!)

And just like that, I felt like she was three years my elder.  I don’t recall what my response was.  Surely it was me explaining away that I hadn’t looked at the cards in forever and wanted to put them in my binder, but she likely wouldn’t have cared or understood.

While we are in the midst of the storm of the century that was caused by a category 4 hurricane, it has caused me to contrast my feelings going through cards back then with the cards I have now.  Back then at the table, surely, I held up my lone 2000 Tek base card to admire its transparent medium, while tilting it back and forth to enjoy its refractive properties, not caring that it was only a 50 cent card and not knowing there were 19 other variations of the card, each with an ultra rare gold parallel that would drive me nuts a decade later. (#longestsentenceever)

2000 Topps Tek Pattern 2

Or perhaps take time out of my sleeving duties and appreciate another 50 cent card from Mother’s Cookies.  As with the above card, there were no thoughts of value or scarcity.  Just a true admiration of the photography, the card and its history that represents a piece of my childhood.

1989 Mother's Cookies

2006 was just me and my cards, enjoying them regardless of scarcity or value.  No obsessive behaviors to try and get them all, no constant eBay checking.  Just enjoying what I had.

Fast forward to the 2017 hurricane, my collection and collecting habits have changed a little bit 🙂  Nearly all the cards i had back then are gone, with the exception of very few.  Everything now is checklisted, scanned and accounted for.  There are no doubles that I don’t know about, and they are all separated & readily tradeable ONLY for Canseco cards I do not yet have.  I probably have HUNDREDS of cards that would have easily been the centerpiece of my collection back then.

As a collector who puts a huge emphasis on trying to enjoy my collection and share it online, I try hard to find ways to share & show my passion.  It is difficult sometimes to get out of laser-focused hunting mode – I don’t want to just acquire, acquire, acquire and put them in a box.  I want to not only fully appreciate my cards, but I also want to influence others to do the same.

In doing this, I find myself at a crossroads though – I don’t want to mislead anyone into giving collecting a higher importance of collecting over family, helping others, adult responsibilities, etc.  Because card collecting is a hobby, and it should not be the focus of your life.  (Did I sound convincing enough here?)

With all that said, I want you and me to be able to enjoy our wonderful hobby to the maximum.  This can manifest itself in different ways for different people.  For me, it is showing what I have online.  Finding ways to display my collection on my website or in forums, social media, etc.  Getting feedback makes it extra fun as well!  I’m not sure if you have experienced this, but I have found that the better I take a picture of a card, the more I enjoy it – probably because I’ll look at a card in my collection 100 times more on my computer or phone screen than I will in person.  Here is an example.

2017 Topps Clearly Authentic.  The pictures below do absolutely nothing for me.  Please keep in mind that I am not talking bad about the people who took the pics of them, because they are merely selling the card and likely don’t care much about it.  It is, after all, an acetate reprint card with a signature.  Not terribly huge news.

When I got mine in, I took a pic and cleaned it up, while trying to show how it is see-thru as best as I can, and came up with this for my website:

2017 Topps Clearly Authentic Autograph /135

This may do NOTHING for you whatsoever, but for me?  I can’t stop looking at it! 🙂  There is no difference between mine and the three above it, but since I look at my collection online far more than I do in “real life”, I figured I should probably spend some time to make sure I can get the most enjoyment out of looking at it on my screen.

Another card I really wanted to make sure had a good “screen” presence was my latest mail day acquisition:

Sorry, wrong card.  I LOVE this patch – the curved patch material puts this card as one of my favorite non-sleeve jumbo patch cards ever.

Sometimes, I’ll take pics of cards with jumbo patches staged on top of a jersey to show where the patch was taken from.  (Am I alone in thinking this is fun?)

What I am about to show you will leave no room for doubt in your mind that I do in fact spend too much time with my collection but I really wanted to take this to the next level, and wanted to do something with multiple scans of my collection.

I was unsure what to do with these at first, but then I started “bending” the scans in photoshop, and added shading for depth, etc.  Creating passage ways to other areas of my collection, to give an immersive, “house of cards” feel.

And I ended up making some of my favorite cards (including my custom in the middle) 3d looking.

The term that kept coming to me was “mind palace” (ala Sherlock).  I think it fits perfectly, because I wanted there to be a multi-level depth on display for my mind palace … errr … collection.

Last but not least, the plan was to go forward with a 3d video showcasing my collection, with my customs right alongside with my “regular” cards.  I don’t know if anyone has done this before, and I may be seen as more of a lunatic than I already am for doing it, but I LOVE how it turned out.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Welcome to my mind palace, in 3D: