Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blogging Dodger Blues (or, "Warning: There Are Better Ways to Spend Your Time")

Here's the thing: I'm boring myself. I can only imagine what that means to the handful of people who stop by to read this blog. I think they come here because, on very rare occasions, I have something interesting to say. But not very often. People stop by mainly because I've traded with them, maybe shared a connection thanks to our collective interest in cardboard, and because I have some nifty pictures of cards to look at, and we all love cards.

But, let's be honest. As much as I enjoy writing, I've failed to really find a niche here. There are many people out there with card blogs, writing far more interesting things. I know that's true because I regularly stop by to see what they have to say. And, if I'm being honest with myself, I'm pretty sure that Playing With My Cards, if it were some other dude's blog, would not be on my must-read list. It might be if reality matched up with the way I imagine things could be. But it doesn't. And I'm beginning to realize that it probably never will.

1995 Topps Traded Mark Gubicza KCR #94T

The thing is, though, I don't want to lose my place in this community. I've enjoyed being a part of it too much. I don't want to lose my connection with y'all. So, here I am, an uninspired blogger, churning out meaningless posts ("look what I got... look what I got..."), when I am able to motivate myself to even do that, simply as a way to hold on to my place in the community. As a result, I'm pretty much wasting everyone's time, including my own. Hell, I feel sorry for anyone who's reading this right now.

2005 Donruss Team Heroes Billy Wagner PHI #234
2004 Topps Total Kelvim Escobar ANA #115

I feel especially sorry for Alex, of Chavez Ravining, who was kind enough to send these spiffy cards my way. He deserves at least the words that I'd planned to write about them, explaining that I dig the Grips, that some (like the Leskanic and Schilling below) have me thinking about what should really be considered a Grips card, that I dig getting Topps Total cards from him, that I enjoyed all of the other great cards of pitchers that he sent (such as the Finley further down the page), etc., etc., etc. But, frankly, even that would have been boring... even to me.

2004 Topps Total Curtis Leskanic KCR #614
2004 Topps Total Curt Schilling BOS #230

I feel sorry for Nick, and Harry/Mark, and Chris and Gavin and the handful of others who have stopped by and supported me since I first imposed myself on the bloggin' world. I feel sorry for those I didn't just mention, who deserved to be named. I feel sorry for the people who have sent me cards and haven't yet received their due. I feel sorry for Bo and Al, who probably aren't reading after waiting nearly a year to find out which one of them has won a contest that was supposed to end last year.

2001 Upper Deck Chuck Finley CLE #80

I feel like having this blog and engaging in trades with you awesome card-bloggin' people out there entails making a promise that I am having a very hard time keeping. But, then again, feeling this way means that I'm being way too self-important. And if I'd just shut up about my neuroses, try to just come up with the occasionally interesting post, and enjoy the experience of blogging, reading, and trading, everything would be fine.

1995 Upper Deck SP Wilson Alvarez CHW #143
1995 Upper Deck SP Mo Vaughn BOS #125

I hope very few people wasted their time reading this post. Alex probably did, hoping and expecting something better for his generous efforts. Sorry, Alex.

So, what's the answer? Do any of you go through this? When you have bad days, or weeks, maybe even months, and you have trade posts backed up, and ideas you don't have the time or inspiration to properly implement, or have nothing particularly interesting to say, what do you do? How do you remain a part of things while you're not feeling like you're a part of them? Or do you even have these kinds of problems, or worry about them if you do?

I guess I hope these are rhetorical questions, since I hope nobody's reading this.

Thanks for the cards, Alex. I dig the cards, and I enjoy having them. Whether I have an interesting or inspired way of saying that, it needs to be said. Thanks, Alex!

(To be continued...)


  1. To be fair, Ethan, I actually enjoy your tales of OCD-driven neuroses. I wish I were more OCD at times, yet at the same time I see a lot of my own neuroses in your writing and your descriptions of how you collect. But, if you're not having fun, then change it up and find what makes collecting fun. But don't stop writing, if you ask me (and you really didn't but I chimed in anyway).....

  2. And, to actually address your questions, if I'm backed up with trade posts and don't feel like writing about them, well, sometimes I don't do it for a little while and wait for inspiration. Other times, I'll read other people's blogs and look for inspiration. Still other times I'll just google something that reminds me of the cards or the players or the teams or of absolutely nothing at all and just start writing what comes to mind.

  3. I stop by because even though I mostly collect Cubs cards,I enjoy looking at cards from all teams. Like how awful/awesome that Leskanic card is. I don't want it anywhere near my collection but it made me exhale loudly through my nose. That card made your post worth it to me. And what's up with Mo Vaughn's bat? Is it broken? A weird angle?

    These are cards I wouldn't have seen without your post. So thanks.

  4. Step away from the ledge and have a slice of cheescake or something, m'man! I'm bored by most things, but I enjoy your blog and read it as regularly as any of the others. This is supposed to be a fun diversion, right? So don't complicate it!

  5. One man's boring is another man's meat and potatoes. I enjoy the posts. I sometime have ideas, but not the time or inspiration to complete them. I generally let the posts breathe. Some bloggers post two or three times a day. I can't do that. But I'm not them. In the years that I've been blogging I've tried to cram them in, have toed the line of apathy, and traveled that road a few times, stopping to see all the sights along the way.

    You've got a voice. Keep using it.

  6. Dude, you've been a welcome part of this community.
    Sometimes we get so much into our own heads that we don't see how we influence - or as bloggers, entertain others.
    As Kaz said, keep it fun and don't think too much.
    Some of us bloggers write like scribes, but some of us (like me) write like scrubs.
    It aint the great American novel, but it's our hobby.
    Kick out the posts as the mood strikes you. Don't let it become another job....

  7. Say what you want, but "Playing With My Cards" has DEFINITELY found a niche around here, Ethan. It's one of my favorite blogs around, no doubt. It's been awesome to meet another collector with similar Random tastes like mine.

    Something I've learned in recent months is that there's nothing wrong with taking a day or two off of blogging if you're not feeling it. Blog whenever you feel like doing so. One of the beauties of the blogosphere is that there aren't any deadlines and that you can wait for your inspiration, whenever or wherever it may come.

    As for trade posts, I usually try to space them out a bit and blog about a few of my (somewhat) original ideas in between. I find that it keeps the writing fresh and exciting.

  8. First off, thanks for the shout out and I am glad you enjoyed the cards. Secondly, don't get down about the blog or the hobby. There are days that I just don't feel like looking at my cards or writing posts. But there are other days that I want to do nothing but sit down at my computer, scan cards, and pump out as much content I can (I save it and publish it throughout the week of course).

    I know that every time your blog pops up on my blog list, I click on it, regardless of what you happen to be showing off that day.

    So step back, think about ways to spice up the blog, and do what makes you happy. I know that no matter what path you decide to go down, I will always be ready to read.

  9. Don't sell yourself short. Yours is me of the first blogs I go to every day. I enjoy yours posts and the way you collect and organize. We have also had email interactions away from the blogs about the hobby which have been enjoyable. I don't write a blog so I don't have a so called deadline or quota to produce a post. No worries. Post when you feel it.