Do you collect comics, toys, sports memorabilia or other general nerdy stuff? Are you on a budget like the rest of us? Are you looking for deals, steals and information? This is the place
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Merry Christmas Everyone
That isn't to say there isn't interesting things going on. I've been watching more than a few box-breaks on the intraweb tunnels, some a bit more interesting than others. The Topps Sterling Baseball double box break where the guy pulled a Honus Wagner foldout, then pulled a Reggie Jackson auto-jersey was sweet. The Football break from Chris Cooley featuring Clinton Portis was so much fun it actually made me laugh out loud. However, the best video I've seen recently was the one featured on Wax Heaven yesterday. This quite literally, is the best box-break video I've ever seen. Beats out the one from the guy using a light saber to open a box of Razor. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but it's just fantastic, stay to the end, it's worth it.
I'm going to kill two birds with one stone here and post my Christmas and New Year's Entry together. I'll be leaving for Utah tomorrow for the remainder of the calendar year. I'll be back in Los Angeles on the 31st, but we'll be driving to Las Vegas the next day for the weekend. While I don't have any specific plans for card posting over that time, I can't imagine that I'll come up with anything earth-shatteringly important, so the blog will probably be a bit more quiet than normal.
As to the future of this blog, I'd like to think that in 2009 I'll become more focused on the "Budget" aspect of the blog title, my whole raison d'etre. This blog will never be similar to many other blogs, in that my budget basically doesn't give much leeway for trading card purchasing, so I won't be busting boxes of product on Youtube, nor will I ever do a "pack a day" or "card of the day." I may feature a specific card from time to time, and I'll always continue to show off recently purchased/pulled cards, but I'm really going to try to focus on the deals, steals and specials of the industry.
Here's my obligatory Budget portion of the blog then:
Tomorrow is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, I don't need to point that out I'm sure. While I certainly don't recommend the returns line at any major store, and I realize that shopping on "Boxing" day isn't probably one of your must-dos, if you're looking for card bargains, you just might find some. Many stores will stock up on gift oriented items, Topps Complete Sets, Autoed Balls and other more mainstream hobby items might be clearanced the day after Christmas.
Especially in places that don't typically carry sports cards. So think about your holiday shopping recently. Did you happen to see, maybe a Topps Baseball Card set for $50 at your local Marshalls, Ross or somewhere else that wouldn't normally carry cards other than during Christmas? Well, you should think about checking out those places starting tomorrow, chances are they'll be blowing out their inventory with cuts of 50% or more. Obviously with my other passion in life, toys, this paradigm is much greater, as mass-merchants like TRU, Wal-mart and Target will make just as much money over this weekend as they did last weekend just from gift-card redemptions. I already noticed this morning that there's a Lego Star Wars set on sale at TRU for 30% off it's normal price. That's LEGO, I don't know how much you know about toys, but Lego sets almost NEVER go on sale or clearance, and if they do go on sale, it's usually not more than 10 or 20% off.
I really wish I had more concrete examples to post, but sadly, I haven't found anything truly awesome. If I do come up with something, I'll be sure to post.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Anyway, I won't go into the details here since Thing Done to Cards already did a nice entry on this series. I will say this though, if there WERE any Angels in the set, which I'm not at all sure there were, I'd love to trade for them. I know there's a Vlad Guerrero, but he's on the Expos.
Today's post was created because I hadn't updated in a week...sigh.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
I live in Los Angeles and have now for more than half my life. I think we Angelinos tend to get a bit jaded living in the entertainment capital of the world; I don't care what Las Vegas thinks, more people actually see the entertainment that's created here than in their gambling burg. I think we get jaded because we tend to see the entertainment industry actually at work. A week doesn't go by where I don't see a crew filming a movie, tv show or commercial.
I've run into actors and actresses all over town, so many that I kind of forget who I've seen in public and who I haven't. A couple of weeks ago I stood in line behind Victoria Beckham at Toys 'R Us - she was buying a cart load of toys for her three kids (who were incredibly cute) and I was buying a single pack of basketball cards. The bodyguard tipped me off. In the past I've actually even worked as a filming liasion for a property management company. I managed to get quite a few things filmed on our property (and therefore lucrative location fees for my bosses), including a Coke commercial, the feature film Town & Country with Warren Beatty and Natassja Kinski (both of whom I got to talk to) and an episode of MTV's "Senseless Acts of Video" where Tony Hawk did a skate jump from the roof of one of our buildings to the other. That was a fun day, and maybe some day I'll tell that story.
You also run into people who are either currently working in the "biz" or have worked in the "biz". Hell, my WIFE worked in the industry for about a year as a costume maker for a costume house. She worked on Magneto's coat for X-Men 2 and on costumes for the first season of "Star Trek: Enterprise". Sometimes you meet former-actors, as my wife's first landlord was. Sometimes you meet current actors or comedians: I just met Max Perlich last week, and I've met several comedians from "Last Comic Standing".
Today I got to meet Jay Leno.
My downstairs neighbor and friend used to work as the receptionist for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", and she loves The Cure. When she found out that they were playing on the show TONIGHT, she made a call and got some tix.
We just got back from the taping, and it was freaking awesome. The other two guests were these nobodies, guys you've probably never heard of.
and Tom Cruise
Oh and since we went with a former employee, we got the VIP treatment. We didn't have to wait in line, in fact, we were escorted back-stage to the Green Room since we were on "Jay's List." I did get a brief glimpse of Mr. Caliendo in his dressing room, but we were told very firmly "Do not speak to the guests, especially Mr. Cruise." Which was fine with me. I wouldn't have really have anything to say to him, since I really don't think he's that good of an actor, and there are very few of his films that I personally like. But that's me, there's no accounting for my taste.
On the way to the Green Room we were given a signed 8x10 of Jay, which I scanned below. Pretty damn cool if you ask me. My wife actually has met his wife Mavis through her job: Ms. Leno had a gown made by my wife's company for an event that the Leno's give every year, and as she has dealt with a few other celebs (Jeff Probst from "Survivor" is actually my wife's boss's next door neighbor and when he goes to awards shows he wears a tux that they made) I've begged her to get signed photos of anyone famous and she ALWAYS says no.
We waited in the green room until a page came and got us and showed us to our seats, which were VERY, VERY good. The studio itself is actually quite small, it seats 350 I'm told, which is a very small audience, but larger than most talk shows. It looks a LOT larger on television, and I'm sure when I get around to watching the show tomorrow I'll have an even better perspective.
The show was great. Jay still does his own warmups, so he came out about fifteen minutes before the show. He takes polaroids with a few audience members and chats with them about where they're from and makes them feel special. From what I've gathered, what you see with Jay is what you get, he's an incredibly nice guy who doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He really makes everyone feel welcome too.
The former "Stuttering" John Melendez is the show announcer and after Jay warms up the crowd he does a shtick where he reads the rules (no cell phones, no cameras, don't rush the stage, etc.) and he threw caps, towels and footballs in the crowd. Then they have a miniature talent show where people from the audience get up and do something to get free swag. We got to see a guy tell a very bad joke, a woman sing a Cure song and a guy do the opening of HIS former TV Show in Japan.
Then the show starts and it's all done in real-time, they call it "Live to Tape". If you've seen one show, you've probably know what I'm talking about: Monologue, "comedy segment", Guest #1, Guest #2 and Band. The monologue was good tonight, lots of stuff about the Governor of Illinois, and quite a few chortles. There's also a couple of groaners, and if you watch, you'll know exactly which ones I'm talking about. The comedy segment was "Pumpcasting" where they go to a real gas station (the Costco down the street in Burbank) and they set up a two-way broadcast in the form of fake news. The anchor (who was Timothy Stack, a frequent guest start on "My Name is Earl") asked questions of the befuddled gas pumpers who couldn't figure out why the television on top of the gas pump was talking to them. There's actually a very funny moment at the end of the segment with another gas pumper.
Tom Cruise came out, and boy is he a LOT shorter than I thought, and I'm pretty sure he was wearing lifts too. Jay is a BIG guy, 5'11" which is what I usually tell people I am (though actually I'm barely over 5'10"), and Tom was several inches shorter. He's also very skinny, but I'll tell you, I know why he's a movie star now, that damn smile of his is certainly charismatic. You see that in person, and see how personable he really is, and you wanna like the guy.
In between segments with Tom he came up into the crowd and shook peoples' hands and briefly chatted. He had an extended conversation with the folks behind me one of whom was a pilot like Tom, so that was very cool, because he was about three feet away from me. Tell you what, Movie Stars dress well too.
I thought Tom was short, Frank Caliendo is TINY in comparison, he's only 5'7", which is what the IMDB has Tom listed at, so I'm sure he was wearing lifts now. Caliendo does a great Leno, and did so on the show several times. He did Madden a couple times and was basically funny as hell. In fact I wish Jay had spent more time with him, because he was cracking me up. It was so loud that I missed several lines too.
We were there to see Robert Smith and The Cure play live, which was fantastic. They did "Perfect Boy" off their new album and it rocked. I've never actually seen them live before, so if I don't ever get the chance, this was good enough for me.
After the show was over we were brought on stage and got to meet Jay, and he took a picture with the three of us, that we'll get signed in the mail in a few weeks. Again, Jay was incredibly kind and chatted with both my wife and our friend Lani, since you know she used to work for him. We were then whisked upstairs for a tour of the offices and so that Lani could catch up with some of her former co-workers. Didn't see anything spectacularly cool, though I do love the freedom that the show-workers have with the decoration of their cubicles. As cool as I think it might be to work in the television industry, I've had bigger cubicles before, theirs were TINY. I did get a look at the "Big Board" of upcoming shows, but I can't say that anything really stood out as memorable. I heard some interesting gossip about Jay's upcoming move to the 10 O'clock timeslot, but I was sworn to secrecy, so I cannot spill. Besides, it's not really that exciting.
So that was my afternoon. Pretty nifty I think. Just for shits and giggles, here's the only Jay Leno trading card that I've ever had in my possession, a WCW card from when he and DDP wrestled Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman. Unfortunately I no longer own the card, since it was in a set I sold on eBay a short while ago. Had I the forethought I might have bought another one to get signed, and I probably could have too, but I've already got one auto, and another on the way.
This one is on eBay right now, for WAY too high a bid I might add. ESPECIALLY for a cut signature of a LIVING person.
Oh, and the sports link? There were a couple of Pittsburgh Pirates players in the Green Room. I'm not sure which ones, since I didn't want to bother them, and let's face it, I don't follow the Pirates, so I wouldn't know who they were, and I don't think asking people who they are is appropriate or respectful. Not in the Green Room of "The Tonight Show", I want to be invited back.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sports "Action" Figures
Upper Deck Authenticated, Upper Deck’s memorabilia and collectibles division, has just put together an informative, up-close video chronicling the making of one of its most popular lines: All-Star Vinyl Figures. The four-and-a-half-minute-minute video shows various iterations of the product line with interesting quotes from many of members of UDA’s Collectibles team.
Click on the link below and learn some things you didn’t know about Upper Deck’s All-Star Vinyl Figures.
I'm a toy collector as well as a comic and trading card fanatic, this means that my funds are always split between my three loves, though comics have been getting the short end of the stick since my daughter was born. I find that I can no longer justify $25 weekly visits to the comic store, especially these days when that won't even get me more than 6 comics with standard issues going for $2.99 a pop and soon-to-be $3.99. I find that I just get more value out of cards at $1.99 to $2.99 a pack (remember this is the BUDGET card collector) or Action Figures which have a much easier re-sale ability. I state all of this because over the last decade the vinyl art figure market has exploded as one of the few profitable and collectible areas of toy collecting. So much so that Upper Deck has entered the market. Not once, but twice already.
Upper Deck first flirted with vinyl designer toys a couple of years ago, to middling success. Their figures of Bret Favre and others followed the exaggerated designs that urban vinyl artists have been using for years, and I dare say that Upper Deck's attempts have a much greater print run than any of the vinyl figures you can find at say Kid Robot or Giant Robot, which to me pretty much ruins the entire point of collecting these things in the first place.
You see, one of the big attractions to urban vinyl is that the print runs on each figure is usually incredibly tiny. Some of the "colorways" which is a fancy term for different colors and designs on the same basic figure, can run in the single digits, though runs of a couple thousand are more the norm. Designer toys originated in Asia during the 70's and originally focused on Kaiju and other anime/live-action characters. During the late 90's DJ's and underground graffiti artists co-opted the style of toys being able to produce small numbers of toys for a reasonable amount of money, and customizing them to their own artistic specifications. The field also includes "blind boxed" trading figures, which are reasonably priced (under $10 typically) small figurines or action figures which are all packaged in generic boxes. Much like trading cards you do not know what you will get in each box. Of course each case of trading figures has some pieces more common and some more rare.
I'm not a huge fan of designer toys to be honest. It's not that I don't see the appeal, I just don't really get it. I think some of them are cute, but I have enough small items cluttering up my apartment as it is. I really do not see the appeal of cartoonish looking sports figures that don't have any articulation either. When it comes to action figures I'm an articulation junkie, which means that I like my dudes to be able to hold any pose. These days the choices in sports figures are as wide as they've ever been. There are the McFarlane SportsPix, the Re-Play MLB and NFL figures, the new NFL Robot Figures and now these Upper Deck Vinyl guys. I'm sure I'm even missing a couple.
I wasn't a big fan of the old Kenner Starting Lineups, though I owned more than my fair share; it helped that they came with trading cards and had some moderate articulation. I could never stand the McFarlane plastic statues, especially since Todd seemed to have a bias against the L.A. Kings (seriously look up the number of Kings figures versus oh, say the Canadiens. A few years back Smiti produced a series of NHL figures that were a big larger than LEGO mini-figs, but in a similar style. The Kings actually did a cool promotion where they gave away one figure during 5 regular season games, and a box to hold them all in. I managed to get the box and 4 out of the 5 figures. I still need the Ian Lapperiere figure.
Here's a review from Michael Crawford, the king of toy reviews.
Going back even further than Starting Lineups were NFL Action Team-Mates, that were sold during the 70's and early 80's at places like JC Penny and Sears. Here's a trade ad for them:
Now those were bad-arsed figures, with just as much articulation as an old Mego Worlds' Greatest Heroes figure, but with better plastic. I'd love to get one of these guys now, I wouldn't really care which team (though the Rams or Chargers would be my preference). A carded Dallas figure went for well over $50. This auction sold for $76+ and two of the four figures needed serious help.
Here's the pic from that auction for posterity:
Going back even FURTHER than the 70's Marx and other companies would produce small 2" static generic sports figurines, and those can be quite desirable these days. Hartland Statues are also still in high demand from collectors as they have been reproduced a few times so that even budget collectors can afford a repro.
There are other brands of figures that I'm leaving out, have to have something for another blog entry.
So, does anyone have a nifty collection of sports figures they'd like to show off? Send me pics and I'll post 'em up here.
Oh and anyone with a Chargers or Rams NFL Team-Mate for sale or trade at a reasonable price, contact me.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Custom Cards are IN!
Check them out:
A person could take one of these cards, mix it in with other '08 Topps baseball cards, and you probably wouldn't notice the difference. In fact, that's what I wanted to do to tease my mother on Thanksgiving, but the only place that was open where I could buy a pack of cards didn't have any '08 base, I had to buy a pack of Co-Signers, which SUCKED. Still it was a Topps Pack, so I mixed in the card and handed the pack to my Mom and said "Hey Mom, check out this pack of cards I got, it's really interesting." She looked through a couple and said "Yeah, that's nice." She didn't get it at first. I had to tell her to keep looking. Of course, I had pre-ruined the surprise by telling her that I had ordered them. BUT you could easily fool a loved one with these cards, they're that close to the real deal.
My plan is to actually take older pics of my baby and have a 2006 and 2007 version made up, and then have one card made up for every year of her life. Of course, that might get expensive, but she's my baby, she's worth it.
Mail Day part 2
Last time I left off I was going to look at a few more vintage cards that I got in the mail from Eric S who is sending off packages left and right. I saw a couple of other blog entries indicating they also got packages from him, so if you want a fantastic trade partner, drop me a comment with your email and I'll hook you up with him.
I showed off some of the more modern Angels he sent already, today I want to look at a few of the 20th century cards that I found to be the most interesting. Not that there weren't a TON of interesting cards in that 800 count box, but if I highlighted each and every one I'd be writing posts for WEEKS I tell ya.
Here's a nice 1993 Score card of our current pitching coach Mike Butcher, who had a completely undistinguished career as a relief pitcher. It kind of makes me wonder how many coaches in the bigs had pretty much pedestrian MLB careers. Still, because pitching coaches don't typically get cards, this one is a bit more special to me and will go in my "current" Angels binder, rather than the "former" Angels binder. Yes, I have separate ones.
Lance Parrish looked like he might make it to the HOF at one point in his career, after all he played for 19 seasons, the first 10 for Detroit. Something happened though and his stock fell big time. Might have been the three plus years he spent with the Halos after they jettisoned Bob Boone. In any case, this isn't a spectacular card by any stretch, but it IS a 1992 Leaf card, which I thought had one of the nicest and cleanest designs out of all the sets in the 90's, and it was highly collectable at the time as well.
Nothing special here, a Donruss Triple Play card that most collectors wouldn't look at twice. Check out the back though:
That has got to be the most trivial piece of information that I've seen in quite some time. I also want to know how they knew it was exactly 12 pitches.
I bought a TON of 1993 Leaf, but not Baseball, nope, I bought a ton of Leaf HOCKEY in 1993 and beyond. I always liked the backgrounds on the flip-side, and this one is the epitome of what most people think about when they think about California. I mean, look at that sunset! Makes me want to drive to the beach right now. Alas, it's a bit chilly today, it's only 70 degrees and sunny outside...in November.
I love cards that link two or more players on the same card. I especially love them when the link isn't tenuous such as the "player of the year in 1960 and 2008". Here we have the Pater-familias of the Boone family, Grandfather Ray and Father Bob. I think there should be an updated subset of all the second and third generation ballplayers in the bigs today, Prince and Cecil on the same card? Heck yeah (it's probably the only time the two of them would be on the same page...heh) The two Tony Gwynns? Bring it on. It'd be even better as a relic issue. I can dream right?
Now, HERE was a quandry, I had never actually seen any 1990 Donruss Blue borders, so I had to look them up. At first I thought this might be one of the fabled "Aqueos" Test issues, but the back didn't have the "Test Issue" stamp. A quick Google search turned out that these were from the "Baseball's Best" boxed set. I really like the blue border versus the red border, and the fact that the backs list entire career stats (I'm a sucker for that). Now I did more than my fair share of buying on 1990 Donruss, for whatever reason that I cannot remember 18 years later. Probably looking for that Juan Gonzalez Reverse Negative. If the standard set had been blue rather than red, I'd probably have bought more.
Wow, look at the porn 'stache on Frankie there. Rockin' it son. Seriously, Tanana doesn't get NEARLY the recognition that he deserves. He was a great Angel.
Which card do you think was produced first? These are both Fleer card from the early 80's, one from 80 and the other from 81, both of utility-man extraordinare Bert Campenaris. If you guessed the one on the left, you'd be wrong. That's actually his 81 card, the one on the right is from 80. I can't be the only one who ever noticed that Fleer's pics from 1981 were much, much worse than the ones from 1980. This scan is actually better than the card itself! Early 80's sets weren't without their own quirkiness were they?
I saved the best for last, a 1963 Topps Los Angeles Angels Team Card. Just look at that beauty, they just don't make cards like this anymore. Oh wait, they kind of do, they just call them "Heritage".
Once again, big thanks to Eric S for the box of Halos, now I need to find about 100 more binder pages, and I have a LOT of sorting to do.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Budget Mail Day?
Be that as it may, I felt that I had to share the package that I got yesterday from the fantastic Eric Slette in Minnesota, who sent me without any expectations, an 800 count box FULL of Angels cards, one dating back to 1963! Needless to say, Christmas came a bit early for the Budget Sports Card Collector. In the paragraphs below I'll detail some of my favorite and some of the odder cards that came out of this box. I'm sure I'll find more, since the box contained just about EVERY Angels team set from 1984 to 1995 from ALL of the major brands, plus a very nice selection of older AND newer cards. I really owe Eric a nice box of Yankees, which is what he collects, but he's also a collector of Jeter, Posada and Rivera, so if you guys have any of those to trade to me, I can get those off to Eric. OR if you want to trade directly with him, email me at wmnoe at yahoo dot com and I'll forward you his email. He also collects
Speaking of trading, I know that I owe a package of Red Sox to the wonderful John Arnold in England, and I'll get that off as soon as I can, but the budget is very, very tight at the moment. Strangely enough, as I was working on this entry Mr. Arnold sent me ANOTHER package of Angels, including a cool Troy Glaus jersey from Fleer Authentix! John collects Red Sox if I'm not mistaken, with an emphasis on Mo Vaughn.
I also owe emails to a number of people who asked about their favorite teams, and I really want to trade for even MORE Angels, though I'm going to have to start getting picky, since I now have about five copies of EVERY Angel from '06, 07 and 08 Topps, and perhaps a dozen or more of some Angels from '08 Upper Deck Base. At this point, I'll only take base from those brands as throw ins, meaning I REALLY don't want any more at this point. I have 9 copies of the '07 Topps Vlad Guerrero, and while I'm actually tempted to keep going after them just to see how many I can amass, that kind of seems silly for someone who's trying to keep his collection at a reasonable level.
So, let's get on with the mail day cards shall we?
First up is a Nick Adenhart '08 Stadium Club 1st Day Issue numbered 509/599. I'm guessing that this is the "decoy" card in the SC packs, since it's double thick. I'm pretty sure this is my first Adenhart, as he wasn't the "RC" of choice for the Halos in the early '08 sets. Since I don't HAVE any SC from this year and at what, $25 per hobby pack I'm not about to buy some anytime soon, this is a great card for me. TONS of people have decried Stadium Club this year with it's outrageous pricing and Topps attempt to move reinvent the brand as a high-Mid-Level set, but I kind of like these. They remind me a lot of 1993 SC, which I thought was the best design since the first year.
Here we have two Angels RCs from this year's Upper Deck Timeline, both are the 2005 SP Rookie Short Prints which are 3 per box. Wilson appeared in a whopping SEVEN games this season with a big 6 ABs and a stellar .167 average. I'm not even sure that he's still signed to the Angels. For as many cards as Thompson had in this year's baseball products, he sure hasn't done a thing to earn them. He appeared in two games in April giving up 4 hits, 5 runs in TWO innings worth of work. No wonder they sent him back down. Oh and here's the really strange part about these two cards, the Thompson is die-cut, but it's not punched out. I think I'll leave it that way.
Being the Budget collector, there are certain brands that I just won't touch pack-wise, Upper Deck X was one of those this season. I usually will try to get SOME example of pretty much every set, but this one really didn't thrill me at all, despite the fact that packs were only two bucks at Target. I think I made the right decision after seeing this insert of Torii Hunter. Sure, it's a great LOOKING card at first glance, and it's all bumpy (I know, it's called 'embossed'). I simply cannot STAND having way too many parallels in the same set, and X seemed to me to be pretty much nothing BUT parallels. I'd like to think the photo on this card (same photo front and back, lame) is Torii watching a long homer sail out of the park, but who knows, he could have simply flied to left.
Here we have the obligatory Vladdy card, and as you can see, it's a bit different than your standard "insert", it's die-cut to seem like a beer bottle label if I'm not mistaken. According to Badwax there were something like 32 different insert sets in this release, which I think is a bit much, don't you? This design was also used for the relics, and I have to say, I'd much rather see a swatch where the Authentix logo is placed. I've actually seen and purchased retail packs of this product in the mark-down section of my Target's card aisle, so I'm not that unfamiliar with this product which was one of Fleer's last before becoming yet another UD brand. Besides, I kind of like the subversive nature of the card itself, though I'm also kind of wondering if the label is supposed to be a hot-sauce bottle instead, I mean who actually drinks only 2.7 oz. of a beverage?
That's it for the "modern" section of this blog post, now we'll be blasting back to the past, all the way from 2005 back to 1993, a year where the Halos finished the season an appalling 20 games under .500. Of course 1993 cards commemorate the 1992 season, when the Angels were actually one game worse than their 93 brethren. Yes, this was the era of Halo Ball that we fans would just as soon forget. Still, there were some highlights. OK not many, but a few. I chose these cards to feature not because they were memorable players (though they were pretty good players), but for their aesthetics or quirkyness.
BUT that's going to have to wait for another post, as I'm already way behind on errands and chores. So until then...