Saturday, July 12, 2014

Budget Adventures in KICKSTARTER

Crowdfunding is not a new paradigm, it's existed since at least the 16th Century.  According to Wikipedia good old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart tried crowdfunding in 1783 offering such rewards as manuscripts and other paper ephemera with his handwriting/signature, and HE WAS NOT 100% SUCCESSFUL!  Think about that for a second.  If Kickstarter had been around back then he'd have no problems getting more than the amount he asked for.

Kickstarter?  What's that?  Well, it's the biggest crowdfunding site around, though there are others, KS has been the most successful format so far in bringing creators and funders together.  KS uses the "rewards" based funding method in that when you donate to a project you should receive some sort of pre-determined "reward" based on the project itself.  Other projects are "equity" based, meaning that when you donate you receive a certain amount of ownership of the project and based on that ownership you may (or may not) expect a return on investment.  I wish I could afford some of the equity based projects, but for now I'm sticking with rewards, why?  Because I like things.  Yup.

The interesting thing about Kickstarter projects is that you can, if you choose, to donate virtually any amount to the project, even as low as a dollar or two.  Now at those levels you usually only receive virtual rewards, such as wallpapers, pdfs, or a mention on their website.  The more money you donate, the more rewards you can expect obviously.  Most KS projects have many tiers of rewards, and even what's known as "stretch goals" where once they receive the initial amount they're asking for the creators can offer better rewards for the more money they receive.

I backed my very first Kickstarter in November of last year, pledging to give $25 to Dale Mathis for his 3D Art Deck of Cards.  Here's the link to the project.  I can't remember where I got the link in the first place, I might have just been browsing the site for cool stuff, or I may have been directed there by Bleeding Cool or IO9.  IN any case I was transfixed by the cool design and the steampunk theme.  Now at the time I pledged $25 was the least I could pledge to just get the deck itself and while I would have liked to get the dice and frame, those were way out of my budget.  If you get on KS early enough you can sometimes get really good stuff for really cheap.  For example, Dale's FIRST pledge of more than $1 got everything in the KS, because he was being really cool.  Then the next 20 or so pledges could get the deck for like $12 shipped.  So my biggest tip to you if you're interested in KS is to browse often for new projects you like.

The shipping time on rewards is something that can be an annoyance.  Most rewards are made from the funds derived from the project itself, which seems fairly logical.  SO first the project has to fund, which takes 7-10 days after the project closes.  Then the creator has to get the product made, and usually they will have given you a time-table on all aspects so you know what to expect.  If you think you're getting your rewards within 6 weeks, you're mistaken.  As I said I backed this project in November of 2013 (EARLY November at that) and my rewards just arrived today, which is a turnaround of 8 months.  I have backed three other projects since then and haven't gotten any of my rewards yet.

But I did get my 3D Deck of Cards, and they are amazing!  Here's the deck in it's case, which is housed in a custom matte black painted tin box.  The inside has a removable foam insert, also custom.

The deck box itself is a standard paper box, but it's the large 3D Sculpture on the front that is the centerpiece obviously.  I didn't go for any embellishments on mine, and I think it looks amazing.  The gears all move and the thing is seriously heavy.

Some of the cards themselves.  Clockwise from upper left: The double-sided card showing the standard card back, the metal certificate of authenticity which also is used to attached the deck to the custom frame, the DM Logo card, Red Joker with DM Sculpture, Ace of Spades featuring DM Sculpture, and the Black Joker.  The other cards in the deck are standard Bicycle playing cards.

If you're interested in getting one of these decks, I suggest you either peruse eBay or check out Dale's site to see if any make it into the store.  eBay will set you back a bit though, the only one that has sold so far went for almost $80.

Here's the other projects I've backed so far.

Have you backed any Kickstarters?  What'd you do and what'd you get?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thoughts on Tony Gwynn's Passing

I grew up in San Diego, living there from 1980 to 1998.  While I never really lost my first allegiance in Baseball which was for the California Angles (and NOT the Los Angeles Dodgers) I rooted for the Padres due to the home-town bias.  Didn't hurt that the entire time I lived in San Diego I was never further than 5 miles away from Jack Murphy Stadium.  Subsequently I was there and fully entrenched in Padre-mania when it hit in 1984, fueled by the spectacular season that one Tony Gwynn tore through hitting .351 with 213 hits playing Right Field.

Photo courtesy Laura K. Stevens.
I once owned a Tony Gwynn Rookie Card, his Topps issue, coveted by many in San Diego, more so than his Fleer and Donruss issues from the same year.  For one Topps was still "THE BRAND" back then and for two, the newcomers' cards were boring non-action shots, and his Topps showed, well, his ass.  Yup.  One of the greatest rookie cards in Padre history shows his butt.  Something even more curious I noticed, in my friend Laura's picture of Tony's rookie card, he's wearing a number in the 50's.  We all know his uniform number was #19, so hmm...

Seemed like outside of San Diego Mr. Gwynn was well respected, but not that well known.  That's OK, he was our hometown hero, after all even though he was born (like myself) in Los Angeles he went to SDSU and was a Lincoln High guy as well.  After he retired he went back to work for SDSU coaching.  He was a stand-up guy and there are tons and tons of tributes flowing over the last couple of days as there should be.

I don't personally own much Gwynn memorabilia anymore, I may have some stuff still in storage.  I was at the game where he won his final Silver Slugger award, and that was pretty special because if I recall correctly it was a really close race between Gwynn and Colorado slugger Larry Walker.  (Gwynn won the batting title by 6 points, .372 to .366.

I did attend the 1992 All-Star Fan Fest in San Diego at the convention center, one of the first times I'd ever been there, having eschewed the first two SDCCs at the new hall along Seaport Village (total honesty - I've never been to Petco either).  One of the promos was this wonderful full page sheet showing the complete 12 card set for that years' inserts.  The first 10 cards were found in packs about 1:13 or so.  The last two were mail-aways, a common component of sports collecting that I loved to go after back in the day.

This sheet has more sentimental value to me now than monetary.  It represents the early 90's so fantastically.  Upper Deck had been doing these "limited edition" sheets for awhile and Fleer wanted to get in on the action.  If you want one I notice there's one listed on eBay for a $5 bid/$10 BIN.  It's not my listing, so I'm not linking, but you can find it easily enough.  Search "1992 Ultra Tony Gwynn."

The sets of 12 themselves seem to be readily available at under a buck a card too.  Even for the mail aways.  It was the era of junk wax.  It might be more fun to find 1992 unopened Wax and search for the certified autos.  Wait, what's that you say?  Yup, Tony signed 200 of EACH CARD and they were inserted.  So theoretically there's a 10 card signed set out there somewhere.  Yikes.  Back in the day these cards were valued (by Fleer) at $50 each.  They're also readily available on the Bay of E for under $100 each.  Not too bad for a HOFer.

One last thing and here's where I'm going to get a bit preachy.  Tony died of Salivary Gland Cancer, which he contracted from years of chewing tobacco use.  I've had a few friends in the past chew tobacco, and I've never understood the habit.  Really.  It's disgusting to the Nth degree.  And it's dangerous.  It's high time that MLB took a hard-core stand, rather than the still tacit appeasement that they currently have.  Then again that would have the MLB take a stand on SOMETHING and we all know that under Bud Selig they don't stand for anything.

Monday, June 16, 2014

RIP Tony Gwynn 1960 - 2014

RIP Tony Gwynn. My 17 years in San Diego encompassed almost your entire career as a Padre. Saw you win your last Silver Slugger award in person. It was magical. You were the best pure hitter in the game, and I loved you for it. Following the path laid down by Ted Williams and Rod Carew you made the game more fun every time you played. So sad.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Budget Deal Alert - Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - Season 1 DVD for about $23 SHIPPED!

Crunchy roll has great deals every now and then, today's deal with about 12 hours left is a DVD set of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 1.  This is 26 episodes of mecha goodness with some nifty extras.
You get 3 different sets each with 2 dvds and there's also manga included.  List price is about $120.  When you put the item in your cart it will show up as 3 different sets for $10 each, making it $30.  Shipping to California was $9.

Oh but wait, you can get 15% off with code 537C-E735C-7698
AND if you have a premium membership (which you can get with a 2 week free trial) each set is a whopping $5.

My order cost me $23.10 shipped.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adventures in eBay - LA Kings Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition

Because I've been able to parlay a couple of nice pulls into PayPal money recently, I figured it was nigh-time to bring in some new cardboard under the auspices of the bay of E.  Basically that was a long winded way to say I sold some cards and bought some cards.

Here's what I got:

Upper Deck 2013-14 Series 2 - Young Guns Martin Jones and Linden Vey.  I paid $1.00 for both of these, what a steal right?  Naw, I had to pop $6 for shipping from Canada.  I checked though, his shipping only cost him $3.50 something.  Needless to say his star ratings on his shipping price was very low, and he took forever to ship too.

Various lot of Kings cards from Artifacts, Score, Upper Deck, OPC and Titanium.
Upper Deck 2013-14 Artifacts Tandems Jeff Carter and Mick Richards
Upper Deck 2013-14 Artifacts Luc Robitaille Dual Jersey #9/125
Upper Deck 2013-14 Black Diamond Dual Jerseys Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown

I got all of these from the same buyer, decent prices and I got combined shipping, but again I got ripped on the shipping.  It cost him only $3.30 to ship to me and he charged me two bucks extra.  Again didn't get good shipping star ratings.  Great cards though.

I don't know what it is about jersey cards, but I really dig 'em, always have.  I kind of hate the fact that they're so hard to pull, and so basically worthless, unless they're numbered to some ridiculous low number and signed.  See I really like these double cards with two players and two swatches.
Or One player with two swatches (numbered to some ridiculous low number)

Or they're puzzle pieces!
I really dig these Black Diamond dual jerseys.  There's two more Kings in the set, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick and they have a different Kings Logo in the middle.  I'll need to be on the lookout.

These last few cards are from previous purchases

The top two I bought in previous auctions for less than a couple bucks each.  The Quickie I PULLED last week.  I do believe it is the first and only Kings memorabilia or limited card I've ever pulled.  

There are ELEVEN Kings in the standard UD Game Jersey set this year, I checked because I figured I had three already, I might want to go for the full set.  Here's the rest of the set and their odds:  

GJ-MR Mike Richards F 1:23
GJ-WG Wayne Gretzky A 1:3481
GJ-AK Anze Kopitar C 1:65
GJ-DD Drew Doughty D 1:57
GJ-DU Dustin Brown C 1:65
GJ-LR Luc Robitaille D 1:65
GJ-MR Mike Richards B 1:2901
GJ-SV Slava Voynov D 1:57

The Jeff Carter is Group E 1:39.  Marcell Dionne Group F 1:23.  Jonathan Quick Group C 1:65

Now I've looked online, most of those single swatch jerseys are a couple bucks, shouldn't really be a problem, but that damn Gretzky is a short print.  There's only one on eBay right now and they want two hundy.  I ain't paying no two hundy for a single swatch jersey, I don't care how rare or who it is.  OK maybe if it was from Babe Ruth...or Joe Jackson.  Whatever.

Here's a card so nice I bought it twice

That's 2011-12 SPx and it's a 1:18 insert, so not really very rare I guess.  When I bought that one I inadvertently bought several duplicate cards.  It's never a bad thing to have dupes, especially of Kings.  Gives me something to trade.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It's HOCKEY PLAYOFF TIME - Now with good pulls lately

I'll fully admit it, last week when the Kings lost to the Sharks in Overtime in Game 3 to go down 0-3 in the First round I wrote them off.  Oh I always expect the worst because well, when your expectations are so low you can only be surprised by a better outcome.  This was my father's world-view and I sort of adopted it as an adult.

Anyway, I still watched every other game in the series, except for Monday's when I was in a class, but I left early to catch the end of the third period.  These Kings, they might not be a team of destiny like the 2012 squad, but they certainly are exciting.  Bring on the Ducks!

Which, I might add, is a DREAM Playoff Matchup for this Kings fan.

I started collecting Hockey Cards again this season, mostly because of the dual Rookie Card class.  I've pulled some great RCs already this year, including these two beauts that I have gotten from my friendly LCS California Sports Cards - their Upper Deck Series 2 boxes have been very kind to me:

Nathan MacKinnon RED Parallel OPC Rookie

Mikael Granlund Young Guns Exclusives #41/100

I currently have 124 cards on eBay right now, ALL WITH FREE SHIPPING.

AND BEFORE YOU COMMENT CAPTAIN CANUCK - -I DO NOT SET THE PRICES FOR CANADIAN SHIPMENTS - It's supposed to be FREE SHIPPING, but International Shipments aren't covered.  If you're Canadian and you want some of my cards, let me know ahead of time and we'll work it out.

I've already received an offer on the MacKinnon of $50.  BOTH cards are great pulls, the MacKinnon is a case hit (1:336) and has sold twice in the last 90 days, once for $46 (including shipping) and one a best offer (the original price was $80).  So if you're interested, offer more than $50.

 Not sure on how hard the Young Guns Exclusive was to pull, but there's SIX standard exclusives in a case of 10, so it's gotta be pretty rare.  Other copies have sold between $30 and $60, so my $50 price seems reasonable to me.  I'm accepting offers on that one as well.

That's all for today, remember GO KINGS GO

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mini-Figure Trading Time

 I'm pretty sure it's no secret that I collect Mini-Figures of all shapes and sizes.  Be they Lego, Kre-O, K'Nex, OYO Toys, Mega Brands or Character Building, I've got a mini-figure or two.  Some lines more than others.  Character Building is my current favorite, they of the awesome Doctor Who line.

To that end - here's my doubles that I have to trade:

Doctor Who Blind Bag Series 3
Judoon Trooper

Doctor Who 11 Doctors Blind Bags
3rd Doctor
6th Doctor
7th Doctor
10th Doctor

Scooby-Doo Character Building (no stands)

Character Building Blind Bags (no stands)
Race Car Driver African American
Red Shield Knight

Simpsons Lego Mini-Figs

And here's what I NEED from the Doctor Who Character Building Line:

Series 1 Blind
Weeping Angel Serene

Series 2 Blind
Silent Open Mouth 

Series 3 Blind
Rory Eyepatch 

11 Doctors Blind
1st Doctor
5th Doctor
8th Doctor

Brix Wave Blind
Judoon No Helm
Sontaran No Helm
11th Doctor with Fez
Dalek Black

Non Blind Bagged
Dalek Orange
11th Doctor Blue Tie (Newspaper)
Dalek Yellow (Newspaper)
Amy Pond Red Hands (Newspaper)
Space Man (Cyberman Conversion Set)
Cyberman Damaged (Cyberman set)
Cyberman No Logo (Cyberman Set)
Cyber Leader Brain (Cyberman Set)
2nd Doctor Gold (11 Doctors Set 2)
3rd Doctor Maroon (11 Doctors Set 2)
4th Doctor Green (11 Doctors Set 2)

11th Doctor Maroon (11 Doctors Set 2)

If you want to trade please let me know via email or comment (comments are all moderated).