Friday, August 31, 2012

You Left Me Standing Alone.

       I do not own a page of Blue Moon Odom cards.  If fact, I looked in a few places and I am not sure if I own any Blue Moon Odom cards.  Which is a shame, because I like the name Blue Moon Odom and it would be topical, tonight being a blue moon and all.  I also have been drinking.  DRUNK POST!!! WOOHOO!!!!   Like I said, I couldn't find any Blue Moon Odom cards, but if I had been looking for Sam Octoberfest, American Pickers reruns, and homemade chili...mission accomplished!

       One page I did find, however, is very amusing to drunk Max:

At the end of most of my player books, you will find a few 4 and 8 card pages with the odd sized oddball cards.  This one is especially beyond the normal amount of odd oddball though.  Before I get into it, let's look at the back too:

We're gonna have to break these down one at a time, starting in the upper left.

1) That is a sticker that came with the Mr. T In Your Pocket gag gift that I bought my ex-girlfriend about 8 or 9 years ago.  It was one of those little soundboard thingies that spouts catchphrases when you hit one of the buttons.  My ex, being easily amused (she dated me for 4 years, after all) used to call me and just press one of the buttons over and over again.  Along with the obligatory "I pity the fool!" it also said things like "First name Mister, middle name period, last name T!"  and my personal favorite "Quit your jibber-jabber!"  I hadn't thought of it in a very long time, but seeing that sticker made me miss answering the phone and hearing "Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Quit your jibber-jabber!!!"  She would hit the button rhythmically for emphasis.  I have no idea why it is in here but it did kindle nice memories.  OK, moving on...

2) A 1984 Carl Yastrzemski Donruss Champions card.  I think that is just runoff from the legitimate cards in the book.  Poor Yaz, always stuck near the end of the list.  Pity us poor 'M' people; sometimes folks will throw the people at the end of the alphabet a bone and start at Z and work backwards.  Either way, us M's are right in the damn middle.  Did I mention I can spell Yastrzemski without looking?  Even drunk?  Now that is a bar bet I should go clean up with....

3) Billy Joel "The Stranger" press pass.  They gave these out at the Last Play at Shea concert, which I was lucky to attend because my buddy's girlfriend had to work:

buddy: "Hey! You got 275 buck to waste?"
me: "Sure!"
buddy: "OK, you're going with me to the Billy Joel concert tonight" 
(I may have been drunk then too...)

Anyway, I am not a huge Billy Joel guy.  I like him fine, don't get me wrong, but I like my music a little more hardcore and rock and roll and non-mainstream and whatnot (hipster! snob! *flips bird*).  But growing up in the 80's with a more mellow music liking brother, I am overly familiar with Mr. Joel's canon (and I am sure he would appreciate me blogging about him while I was drunk).  I went to the show, which was bathed in historic rhetoric - last rock show at Shea Stadium, blahblahblah.  Considering we had awesome seats and like half a dozen other famous classic rockers showed up (Roger Daltrey, Steven Tyler, Paul McCartney, etc.) it was about 100x cooler than I imagined it would be.  So, they gave us this thing, which I am not sure we got because we had good seats, or if everyone got them, or like the first 10,000 got it or what.  But I remember being offered $50 for mine after the show.  And I also recall them going for similar money on ebay afterwards. But I am a sentimental fool - and because I had such an unexpectedly good time - I kept the thing for prosperity.  Somehow, it wound up here.

4) Mickey Mantle: His Final Inning.  At first glance, one would think this is a card, but it isn't.  It is one of those bible tracts people hand out on the street by subway stops and whatnot.  I am 99% sure I got this in Boston in the late 90's or early aughts.  Full disclosure: I used to collect these things.  As a lapsed Catholic and confirmed atheist, I found the real fire and brimstone tracts funnier than most prime time sitcoms.  They usually had names like "Heaven or Hell - Which Will You Choose?" or "Do You Want to Burn for All Eternity?" with corresponding graphics and over the top preaching backing up those notions.  Hilarious.  Alas, that collection was only a passing fad and I am pretty certain I chucked the whole pile in the trash after moving them one too many times.  I should have put them in top loaders or pages like this to preserve them.  Anyway, this one is a little less old time religion and more self help.  It covers the Mick's drinking and how he recovered and redeemed himself before he died.  It is actually kind of rational about the whole thing.  Definitely a switch from most of the little pamphlets I was handed by the Park Street Station.  I can only assume I kept this thing due to its baseball subject matter.  (I just checked ebay - I could get a whole dollar for one of these.  Plus my memory for dates isn't always flawed: it says there they are from 1998).

So, all that from a few beers and a lack of Blue Moon Odom cards...Wow.  Admit it, you missed me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blaster of Puppets.

       Today I had to go to K-Mart today to pick up a few staples I knew they would have cheap.  I also saw that Night Owl had posted about new Topps Chrome being out, so I knew that these two pieces of information would come together to make me drop my disposable income on a blaster.  As I have posted before, I have a disturbing predilection to Chrome, mostly because of the shiny.  OOOooooo....shiny...

Since I have a page of Chrome going back to its 1996 inception, first things first, let's look at the page I created from that blaster:
A very nice mix of team colors and players with a couple of my obligatory catching poses.  I would have liked a Pirate or an Athletic to break it up a little more, but oh well, the purple of that Tulo will have to do.  This page nicely keeps my run going.

Now let's get to the shiny.  SHINY!!!!
The blaster came with a bonus 4 card pack of purple refractors (which is why I chose the blaster over the rack packs - extra colorful shiny!).  I got three stars and a rookie I have never heard of before.  The blue Trumbo there is numbered to /199.  I was hoping to get a Met since those look so nice in blue, or a Dodger to trade to the aforementioned Night Owl.  The regular refractors of Cabrera and Pill are in the 'meh' column.  The Ackley is an X-fractor and those always look better in person, but trust me, it is plenty shiny.  The cream of the crop here is the Mike Trout.  I have decided to keep all Mike Trout cards I pull and I am going to try and trade and or buy all I can.  The kid is the goods.  The other 8 cards here are all available for trade if you want them.

Just for the sake of completeness, here are the rest of the cards in the blaster.  They are also available for trade if you see something you want/need:
The two hiding there are Stephen Strasburg and Hunter Pence.  Man, I got a lot of players traded during the season in this blaster.

Here is the blaster box, which will be cut up for some homemade card(s).  Of course, I couldn't just buy one thing, not when I had some time to kill.  As you can see, I also bought some of the new Triple Play.
I remember Donruss Triple Play from my youth.  It came around in the early 90's while I was in my mid to late teens, so I think I was a little out of the demographic they were going for...I still am, but I am glad they brought the name and notion back; there should be more cards specifically for kids.

Panini, of course, cannot use Major League team names or logos, but they worked around that in a pretty nifty way, with stylized cartoons of the players instead of photos.  I kinda like this idea.
This is the page I made from the four packs I bought.  The Posey and the Longoria are especially nice.  But what is the point of a cartoon of a head shot?  I mean, OK, for someone as known and cartoonish as Big Puma Lance Berkman or The Freak Tim Lincecum, sure, it works.  But I couldn't pick Carlos Santana out of a line up (unless it was the guitarist) nor Brett Wallace for that matter, so those seem a very poor choice. On top of that, the only reason I know what Justin Verlander looks like is because of that video game commercial he was in with Kate Upton that they played at the beginning of the season ad nauseum. And to be honest, I wasn't looking that closely at him during it.  

Since the Triple Play brand is for kids, they put "kid" things in the packs, like giant puzzle pieces:
Since I like the caricatures, I would like the puzzles too, though I doubt I will never put one together.  I think they could have made the puzzle pieces a little more interesting on the front (or is that the back) other than a repeat of the original card picture over and over again.  (and what is that Bruce Bochte card doing there?  Well, he was laying on the floor of the K-Mart, no doubt a refugee from a busted open repack.  So I picked up Bruce and put him in my pocket.  I have a collection of mangled found cards, and while he is not really mangled, he will find a good home with those misfit cards.  Technically, I guess this is stealing, so I guess Bruce is not only a refugee but a fugitive too!)

Since I couldn't make a full puzzle, I made an odd little collage that sort of looks like a baseball player:
I also realized I could never flip it around to scan it, so I had to take a picture of it sitting on my scanner.  How meta. 

There were other "kid" things like stickers and an insert set called focus:
OK, as a kid I loved stickers, so those are a winner, but the "Focus" inserts are kind of silly.  A close up of the intensity of a cartoon?  Someone did not think that one through.  That kind of nonsense barely works with actual photographs.  Overall, my inner 8 year old was very pleased with these cards, and at a buck a pop, my 37 year old wallet was pleased as well.

I almost got out with just the Chrome and the Triple Play, but then I looked down and saw the discount blasters.  One of them was a tin of 2005 Topps Football for $5.99.  I can't resist really cheap cards and in a tin to boot, so I grabbed it without thinking about it much
Oh, caveat emptor.  I forgot that the 2005 draft was not very distinguished, so the rookies I got were underwhelming to say the very least.  Even the stars I got were less than exciting.  I did get a Drew Brees All Pro card, but in 2004, Brees was still on the Chargers.  I may as well have set this six bucks on fire.  Damn you, lack of impulse control.  I don't think I will even make a page out of these.

Last but not least, I saw one of those dispenser display boxes of Mars Attacks.  OK, I am obviously going to be helpless to the allure of alien cartoons on cards.  Plus, I had been meaning to pick up a few pack of this to make a page:
They do not disappoint. Aliens, spaceships, flames, lasers, giant bugs, dogs in distress, tractor beams.  Needless to say, I am tickled to death with this page.  Plus, as a neat bonus, I pulled one of those 1/1 sketch cards out of these three packs (not shown); those are a 1:96 pull, so that was certainly unexpected.  Since Matt from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius is kind of obsessed with these things, I will surprise him and send it to him. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Not Dead Yet.

       Alternate subject: Vacation, all I ever wanted.

       I have been traveling up and down the eastern seaboard the last five weeks or so.  I spent some time in Boston, some in Philly, some down the shore; some of it was work, some of it (well, most of it) was play but the all encompassing thread of this past month plus or so was I spent most of it unplugged from civilization.  I find it best to spend some time away from the online world during the summer.  Oh, I checked my email from time to time and even answered a few of them but for the most part, instead of the usual 10+ hours around the computer a day, I have spent maybe 10 minutes or so a week.  Besides, sitting on a beach with an ipad or laptop is just plain wrong; a book or a newspaper is far more preferable.

       So I have been away from home and the internet for a while and with that, my blogging obviously dropped down to zero.  And that after I had gotten a pretty good momentum going in July too.  What also got lost amongst my prolonged absence are a few trades.  Fear not!  All of them are still on my radar and I will fulfill and complete them soon.  Of course, if we had corresponded about a swap and you haven't heard from me, feel free to drop me a line.  I promise it won't take me a month to get back to you.

       One thing about being away from home for a week or two is that the mail piles up something awful.  Most of it is junk mail, or worse, bills (why do they still send paper bills when I pay most things online?) but one of the exciting things is the little manilla Jiffy packs that intersperse those unwanted pieces of mail.  A few of them were forgotten ebay purchases, but the best ones were overzealous traders who sent me stuff first. 

First off is a first, a reader and fellow Mets fan named Steve without a blog who sent me some stuff from my wantlist:
He had some doubles to fill my brand pages.  Very much appreciated, Steve.  I have a package of Mets for you that will hopefully find the mail by the end of the week.  Plus, time and my scanner willing, I will have those completed pages up on the site soon as well.

Next is Brian from 30 Year Old Cardboard who had some of this year's Allen and Ginter up for trade: 
He completed my "What's in a Name" page and I sent him, um, I think a Jim Palmer card?  My memory is fuzzy, but I am pretty sure I actually sent it out to him. *UPDATE* I checked, it is. 

Up next is my favorite part of this blog: altruism and reciprocation.  I recently sent Thorzul some random shiny Brewers cards I had laying around.  Sometime in the last month or so, he returned the favor:
I love that Franchise Favorites card, the blue goes well with the Mets.  Even better is the orange refractor from 2010.  I like those so much, I might see if I can drum up seven more to make a Mets orange refractor page from that year (I have the David Wright too).  Plus, Piazza cards I don't have are always well received.  Last is that Brian Harper card, proving Thorzul really reads my wantlists closely.  I noticed I still haven't posted my big post about this.  I will have to get around to that.

Lastly, in this pile were these three mystery cards:
I am pretty sure the Jason Bay came in with the What's in a Name cards from Brian.  I think maybe I meant to put that Orioles card in a package for Kevin from O's Card of the Day, but that package already went out.  And the Mike Trout?  I am slowly becoming a Mike Trout devotee but I am not sure where this card came from.  Did I get it from someone?  Did I promise it to someone?  Did I just put it aside for me and it wondered into this pile?  I dunno.  I am also aware that I owe both Robert from $30 a Week Habit and Shane from Off the Wall trade packages.  They will go out soon.  If there is anyone I missed, please let me know.  Getting back into the swing of the real world takes all the help you can get.  Plus, now that I am back, there is so much to cover, both coming up and that I missed: the Mets collapse, the beginning of football, etc. etc.  So rest assured, I am back and will be here and blogging know, as soon as I figure out how to pay all those aforementioned bills.