Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

The Budget Collector wishes you a happy and healthy New Year, Feliz Nuevo Ano (sorry, I dunno how to do the tilde) and a wonderful 2012.

The one promise that I will make is that I WILL post more in 2012 than I did in 2011. Obviously I'm not into this blogging thing on a regular basis, but I should strive to do one at least once a week, if not more often.

To that end here's some budget tips for after Christmas Shopping:

Don't be too disappointed if there's nothing left on the shelves. I've been to several local Targets and TRUs after the Christmas holiday and noticed a distinct lack of everything fun and collectible. Which means that their buyers are getting a lot better at actually supplying the buyer's demands. For our budgets this is bad, as the after-Christmas sales are fewer and farther between. For the economy, this isn't that bad though, and we should all be happy with a more stable economy.

One item I do want to mention is the former exclusive 7 figure GI Joe Resolute sets are now $16.99 at ROSS. Also the TRU exclusive Spirit and Quick Kick single figures have been seen there as well. I haven't PERSONALLY seen them, but there are reports from all around the country.

Finally, here's our New Year's Eve Fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Redstitch's Recycled Angels

No not those kind of Angels - the Christmasy kind. Last year my lovely wife Redstitch came up with a nifty crafty project that we gave to some friends and family. This year we decided to do a bigger batch and put them on Etsy. Who knows, maybe they'll become the next Cabbage Patch Kids or Beanie Babies. One could only hope.

I kid I kid.

But not really.

In 2010 we made 8 total figures and gave them to friends and family. This year we're making a total of 25, and numbering and dating each one so they retain their collectibility.

Buy 'em here - and if you mention that you saw it on my blog we'll rebate 10% of your purchase price!

So When Do You Think the First Cards of Pujols as an Angel will hit?

I'm guessing there will be an airbrushed card in Topps 2012 Series 1. This is the best news that Angels fans could get today - signing BOTH Pujols and CJ Wilson, creating a log-jam at 1b that you LOVE to have. The Halos aren't done either, I would expect Kendrys Morales to get packaged now, but you never know.

2012 is going to be an exciting year!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Found Character Building Figures in Vegas

Remember those new Character Building Figures that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago? Yeah I found 'em in a Las Vegas Target over the holiday weekend. Picked me up one of the two soldiers, the uncommon version. I could feel the gun through the bag.

Nifty hunh.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Budget Review: Character Building Micro Figure Series 1

Mini-Fig collecting is certainly a more niche field these days, but in contrast to the past, there's quite a few more lines available now than there ever have been. Lately I have been fascinated with the little guys, I suppose Lego's blind packaged figures have really made their impact on me, though I can't say I've been enamored of EVERY one of those figures.

The other day the wife and I were at Target doing grocery shopping, and as I usually do I hit the Trading Card aisle on the way out (because we know there's never any new GI Joes at Target) and I happened upon a new blind-bagged trading figure from our friends at Character Building, you know the folks who do the Doctor Who Construction Kits. Yup, following on the heels of Lego, Mega Blocks and Playmobil, CB is doing blind trading figures.

Here's the cool thing, they're a whopping TWO BUCKS at Target! AND there are three levels of rarity spread over 12 figures. These are perfectly compatible with the Doctor Who figures, as well as the previous Her Majesty's Royal Forces figures. This series is a bit mundane when you look at what's available, but what's here is pretty darn cool. Initially I only bought one figure, but I was drawn back to buy a few more just a few days later. I noticed that they're not available in every Target too, so if you're looking for these make sure to ask for them.

Character Building Micro Figures Series 1 Review

Packaging: 3 of 5

It's a foil wrapper, it's yellow. What more do you need? It's quite eye-catching and it shows off a couple figures. I didn't take a pic.

Instructions: 3 of 5

While what's here is totally adequate, a double-sided full color sheet showing all the figures available, complete with a rarity key, there could have been a BIT more, such as a catalog for their other products which are compatible, but I guess at this price point what you get is what you get.

Sculpt: 4 of 5

Each figure in this series is based on either a male or female buck, and they are different. The female body is slimmer than the male and has bumps in the right places. Take a gander at the female Red Ninja and Amy Pond and you will notice they are the same body, while the Doctor shares his body with the other boys. That's actually a nice touch that Lego and Mega don't usually do. The heads and accessories are the only real unique pieces in the series, and each one is done quite nicely.

I'll say this too, boy that picture makes Amy's head look humongous!

The most interesting aspect of the head sculpts to me is the way they designed the helmeted figures, it appears that they are several pieces sonically welded together, which saves money on paint I suppose. For example the construction worker's head is at least three pieces: the yellow cap, the brown hair and the flesh tone face and neck. The astronaut has his white helmet, a flesh colored face and a very tiny bit of brown hair. The Ninja though is only two pieces as the flesh part of her face is painted on, while the mouth covering is a separate piece.

Decorations: 4 of 5

MOST of the painting is done tampo style and it looks pretty good on these guys. The Astronaut is a real stand-out due to the intricate detailing on the breathing apparatus. Their shoes are painted on, and on a couple of them the paint work is a bit sloppy, but nothing overly terrible.

Accessories: 3 of 5

I admit that I'd like to see a stand with these guys, so that's one point knocked off. The second point is knocked off because not every figure HAS an accessory. There's a cool sword with the Ninja, and a pick-axe with the Construction Worker. The Astronaut gets a backpack, but the race-car driver gets NOTHING. Unless you count the visors on both the Astronaut and the Driver, but I don't. In a series like this, each figure should have SOMETHING extra, but at two bucks I guess we're lucky to get what we get.

Price: 5 of 5

TWO BUCKS A FIGURE! That's downright cheap. Lego figures are MSRP at $2.99, as are the Mega brand lines, and Playmobil is at $3.99, so you're getting a bargain here.

Overall: 4 of 5

Yeah overall I give these guys a 4 out of 5 mostly for the sheer fun factor and the solid price point. Let's face it, these guys are going to end up being different costumes for my Amy and The Doctor mini-figs, and that's fine by me. I've already got a couple of comic strips in mind, but I don't want to spoil them now.

These are being imported into North America by JDNA a Canadian company. I can only hope that in the future maybe I'll see the Doctor Who blind packed figures at Target. I can hope right?

NOTE: These figures were purchased by the reviewer. I am, however, more than happy to review whatever you like if you want to send it to me. Please email me at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Story #1 - "An Unearthly Child"

I know it's been quite a while since I began the "Doctor Who Review" and I realize now that I made a mistake in not starting at the beginning. So I've gone back and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Airing a mere one day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the first episode of Doctor Who is entitled "An Unearthly Child" a moniker referring to the Doctor's Grand Daughter Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford). The show debuts in a junkyard, the "Foreman" junkyard at that, in an eerie scene with only the smallest hint of what's to come. We see a bobby pass by and we pan to a police box. Next we're whisked off to a London school where Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell) are discussing the titular lass and how difficult it has been to teach her. Even in this first exchange of dialogue we are treated to the overall arcing themes of the show, as Barbara says:

"She's waiting in one of the classrooms. I'm lending her a book on the French Revolution."

Ian replies "What's she going to do, rewrite it? Oh, all right. What do we do? Ask her point-blank?"

And there we have it, one of the major plot lines that runs through most of the almost 50 years of Who, can time be rewritten, and it's right there, in the initial episode. Either they decided that was going to be a theme early on, OR, more probably, the current writers and producers have watched a lot of old Who.

In any case, the two school teachers decided to follow Susan home after a weird conversation that they have with the 15 year old girl, and discover that she lives IN the Police Box with her Grandfather, the daffy old Doctor (William Hartnell). Soon enough the quartet is inside the box, which Susan informs them all is called the "TARDIS" or Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. In fact, Susan says that she made the name up herself! The old man is incredulous that Susan would bring these two outsiders into their lives, but somehow he understands their curiosity, he explains that he and Susan are aliens from another time and place, and that they have been around a lot longer than humans, but he cannot let them leave knowing what they know, in a panic, somehow the TARDIS is activated and off they go.

As we've discussed already, most of the pre 2005 Doctor Who episodes are multi-part stories, and this first one is no exception. The early episodes are all individually titled though, where later episodes are merely given a single over-all title with part numbers after. Episode 2 of Doctor Who is "The Cave of Skulls", episode 3 is "The Forest of Fear" and episode 4 is "The Firemaker". Once the TARDIS settles on a destination, our intrepid crew discovers that they've gone to prehistoric Earth, year unknown (The Yearometer on the TARDIS doesn't work properly), where they are soon captured by a tribe of cave people who are in search of fire. The next three episodes detail how the Doctor and his companions escape from the tribe and mediate a peace between the different factions of cave-people who then try to kill them.

It's actually pretty tame stuff when you get down to it. There's some caveman on caveman violence, and Ian acts like Prometheus by giving the Cave people fire, but in the end it's a pretty discardable story line. Though I wonder if the setting might be revisited at some point to see what's become of the newly fire-enabled primitives, who happen to speak with perfect British accents.

This first story is stark contrast to the current 11th Doctor episodes, in that there's practically no budget existent early on. Also the Doctor is, well, a dick. He refuses to actually tell Barbara and Ian the full story, and he also refuses to let them go. Of course within a couple of episodes they won't want to go home, but we don't know that quite yet.

Some interesting tidbits to note: there are actually THREE versions of the first 30 minute episode floating about. They're all relatively the same, though the second released version looks quite a bit better than the aired version. There's actually continuity with the aforementioned French book as well, as it will appear in a later episode. The first utterance of the show's title "Doctor Who" is in the second episode (Cave of Skulls), when Ian calls the Doctor "Doctor Foreman" - he replies "Doctor Who?" Since that's the major question going into next season's episodes, it's nice to see it all the way back at the beginning.

In the end while you'd think that the first episode is required viewing, sadly this is not. Other than the opening segment that is. The plot line of the cave people is about as disposable as they are. There's no one really to save, and the universe isn't really in danger at all, neither are our protagonists. Sure the Cave dudes get the drop on the feeble Doctor and his companions, but come on who couldn't outwit CAVEMEN who can't even start a fire. In fact, what the Cavemen call knives, we would call sharp rocks.

Then there's the TARDIS, the police box that's bigger on the inside. In her (yes I'm calling it a HER) first appearance she looks rather new I suppose. The inside is all pristine and smooth, with only a few human touches - such as the velvet chair that Susan spends some time sitting on. The console is familiar in it's hexagonal shape and the center rotor moves up and down in the old familiar fashion. The noises she makes are all very familiar also. And yet, it's not the same TARDIS that we all know and love. Even though we're told later that the Doctor stole her and that when he did she was already outdated and ancient, she looks damn good here. But funny, the Doctor can't really operate her properly, and oh did I mention the chameleon circuit? Well they don't call it that yet, but surely enough when the ship (for the Doctor says bluntly: "I use your own outdated terminology for any craft which does not roll along on wheels") doesn't re-configure itself upon materializing in the past both Susan and the Doctor are befuddled. Susan even points out a couple of her previous incarnations as a Sedan Chair and an Ionic Column. Perhaps the TARDIS is simply upset at the old Doctor for picking up a few more strays.

As the first companions Ian and Barbara are cemented in place in Whovian lore. They're the everyman/woman teachers that the BBC wanted to use as the viewers touchstone when dealing with time-travel. As such they're terribly smart and make good companions in this initial incarnation. Ian even quickly understands that if they're going to get out of trouble they need to rely on the fast-thinking wit of The Doctor. Susan is a bit more difficult to place and understand. While there's no mention of the Time Lords yet (that phrase wouldn't enter the lexicon of Who for a few more years) we have nothing put before us to say that she ISN'T his actual Grand Daughter. Over the years of course we would find out that the Doctor has had a family, but what becomes of Susan after she leaves the TARDIS during the second season (oh damn, Spoilers!) remains somewhat of a mystery. Seems odd that such a close relation would be all but forgotten, but unfortunately she is. Whether she is a Time Lord is also up to debate, as she shows virtually none of the later facets of being a Time-Lord other than traveling in the TARDIS. In the unaired pilot version she claims to be from the 49th Century, but that line is cut from the actual aired broadcast. In the opening episode of this arc she tells Barbara and Ian that she's been on Earth for about five months, and that before that she had a few other adventures with the Doctor.

Should you decide to watch the first Doctor Who story, you can do so right now! The video is available on several sites, though if you try to watch it on YouTube you'll miss the second part of "The Cave of Skulls". I watched most of it Here, and both versions of the pilot are on YouTube. You can also read a transcript of the episode Here.

As to merchandise for the episode, there's of course the First Doctor action figure with TARDIS, featuring his walking stick and funny little cap. A single carded version of the figure was a Forbidden Planet exclusive.

Note that the version of the First Doctor figure in the 10 & 11 figure sets is slightly different (he's wearing different pants), and the Black and White version is also a costume variation that is not on the same model. Character Building also has a version of the First Doctor in their 11 Doctor Set of Micro Figures in Lego Scale. Back when the Role-Playing game was produced there were miniature versions of Hartnell as well.

Other merchandise includes a Target Paperback adaptation written by Terrance Dicks, which I believe is actually still in print, though original copies are readily available for reasonable prices. There's also a comic book adaptation and the obligatory VHS/DVD sets. I'm sure there's more stuff out there, especially vintage pieces such as television guides and other paper ephemera, but after about 40 years the supply of old stuff dries up and becomes much more valuable.

Next time I'll continue the series with the first appearance ever of The Daleks!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Transformers Kre-O Jazz

After getting the Character Building Mini Tardis set in the mail I suddenly had a deep-seeded need to get more Lego and Lego-style mini-figures, so when I saw that Target had a sale on the Transformers Kre-O line of building sets I finally pulled the trigger on one of the small sets - Jazz. I chose him over the similarly priced Mirage because, well I dunno, I liked the colors on Jazz better. I guess I like the character better too, after all his original G1 incarnation was voiced by the legendary Scatman Crothers.

It is interesting to note that this is not the first time that Hasbro has attempted to do building brick versions of Transformers toys, in the early 2000's they came out with a line called "Built-to-Rule" which actually had better transformations between modes. This set, like all the Kre-O sets cannot actually be transformed, you have to take apart the models and put them back together. And then you'll have some parts left over. For the car mode you can practically put a Jazz torso together with the left-over pieces. The robot mode omits the fenders amongst other pieces.

Kre-O Jazz Construction Kit Review

Packaging 4 of 5

I like these boxes, they could be a bit more sturdy, but they are nicely colorful and have all the information that you need to make an informed purchase. They don't lie on the box either, you know right up front that you have your choice of modes and that the product doesn't convert. The side panels are cool as well, one side shows you the actual size of the enclosed "Kreon" figures (the main selling point for me) and the other looks like it could go on a book shelf as part of a collection. There's a gold foil hologram sticker on the front which tells you that this isn't a bootleg toy.

Instructions 3 of 5

I didn't find anything especially exciting about the instruction booklet, other than it's rather thick. Then again it has to be because it has two different modes to help us build. There's the obligatory parts list, and a couple of pictures of other bots available in the line. I would prefer an actual line-wide catalog I suppose, and honestly the instructions are at times rather obtuse.

Construction 4 of 5

In each mode there are pluses and minuses in the construction. Let's start with the vehicle mode since that's what the instructions start with. Originally Jazz alternate mode was a Porsche 935 turbo, here his alt-mode is some sort of boxy car that vaguely has a sports car shape. It's certainly NOT a Porsche. Because of the dual nature of the kit there's an awful lot of parts that in a Lego kit wouldn't really be used. However, it's because of this extraneous piece use that the car itself once finished is a hefty little toy. The real rubber tires roll freely and there's space inside for the driver Kreon figure to sit, he can ever get in the vehicle via the doors or the roof which both open. Articulated "mirrors" on the side are a nice touch, but they'd be better if they articulated from side to side rather than up and down. Also the doors have sort of a "roll cage" effect with a long studded piece on top of the door, making it look rather silly when the doors are actually open.

I definitely like the lines of the front and rear though, and the "Jazz" license plate is a nice touch. The automobile version of this toy is totally the best feature so far.

Once you finish the car mode, you might be tempted to make the robot once. Go ahead and do it, but once you're finished you're going to want to put him right back into a car. Why? Frankly the robot mode stinks. Oh sure, it has a great head, but that's only because the head is a completely separate piece unused by the car mode. It's also made out of a more pliable rubber substance, which provides for better detail and it has two pretty decent paint ops in the eyes and the face.

In fact, the entire torso of the bot isn't bad at all, and the arm articulation is fairly good as well. So why does the figure fail in so many ways? The legs and the hands. Well, more specifically the lack of knee articulation in the legs and the lack of actual hands make this thing look like more of an after-thought rather than an actual toyetic design. It looks to me like the larger kits have better articulation than the smaller kits and also have better designs, so I'll chalk this one up to the size of the kit itself.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the blocks themselves, which STRONGLY resemble the patented LEGO brand, with the exception of a single "dimple" on one of the studs of practically every piece, which while you think might be useful for plugging in the included weapon for the Jazz Kreon, really isn't at all. It reminds me of the original 12" GI Joe's backwards thumbnail and his facial scar, i.e. details included only for legal purposes. The plastic used is nowhere near the quality of LEGO either, while the Character Building set's are really close, Hasbro's attempt isn't much better than their earlier BTR sets. Also the gray pieces tend to show stress lines or other imperfections that are never shown on LEGO pieces. They do fit together nicely though, but I wonder how they will deteriorate over time compared to Lego (though I notice on some of my more recent LEGO kits their plastic isn't always the best).

Decorations: Stickers 2 of 5

I don't like stickers, I don't know of too many LEGO fans who do. The stickers included in this kit are flimsy and hard to put on the toy (well difficult for me with my fat fingers). One of the rear fender stickers even ripped on me as I was pulling it off the sheet. I know it's too expensive at this price point for tampo, but come on Hasbro, step it up!

Figures: 4 of 5

For me the selling point of these toys are the included "Kreon" figures. The little versions of the Autobots and Decepticons are adorably cute and on models for the G1 counterparts. Jazz comes with removable helmet, blaster and wings, while the oddly colored generic human "driver" figure has a ball cap and helmet. While the "kreon" figure works well for the robots, it utterly fails for the humans. The heads are not rounded all the way around, which is fine for a robot, but looks WEIRD on a human. Plus the arms are all the same with huge shoulder pads and forearms, which again work well for robots but look odd for humans. Still it's nice to have two figures on a kit this size, and you can always put your driver into the car and forget about him.

Articulation on these guys is even one step better than the Character Building figures as well, since Kreons actually have ball jointed hips that work well. They also have the waist twist, along with ball jointed shoulders, swivel head and cut wrists. The ONLY drawback on the Jazz figure is that his wings (i.e. the 'doors' from his car mode) are really wide and make him look a bit silly (and also don't let him in the Tardis.)

Price: 5 of 5

I got this kit for just under $10 at Target, which is a great price for 177 pieces and two mini-figs. Considering that similarly sized LEGO kits are between $20 and $30 at retail, that's not bad at all.

Overall 3.5 of 5

Despite the somewhat mediocre overall score (which I average out from the individual scores) I really like this kit, and I'll actually be looking to purchase at least one of the larger kits at some point. Hasbro really needs to take a page from Mega Blocks and Lego and sell the Kreons in blind bags, which if they did they would sell a buttload.

Wow, two posts in two days, I'm on a roll! I even have another post up my sleeve for either later today or tomorrow (saw my first packs of Topps 2011 Baseball Update yesterday, so I have to post on them). Also I have decided to CONTINUE yesterday's comic strip and have constructed a couple of new figures for the ongoing saga

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My FIRST Comic Strip

Created using Comic Life, iPhone 3G & Mac Mini.

Click to embiggen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Character Building Doctor Who Tardis Mini Set Review

Building the Tardis

I think that just about everyone who was born after 1965 has had something or other to do with Lego, either watching their kids play with it, or more than likely, playing with Lego themselves. I wish I could count myself as a first-generation Lego kid, but alas, that's not really the case. Lego has been around since the late 40's, and their iconic construction bricks first appeared in 1964, but I started playing with them in the mid-70's.

Which is all really cool, but this article isn't really about Lego. I will have something on Lego next week, as we are planning our first trip EVER to California Legoland this weekend for Kaylee's 5th birthday, but SHHHH...that's a surprise.

Nope, this article is about the Doctor Who Character Building line of toys, which isn't at all Lego. Though it looks a LOT like Lego, and feels a lot like Lego, it's really not Lego.

That's OK, there's a LOT of brands that are "not Lego." Even back in the day there was Lock Blox and Mega Blocks, which is not really the same brand as the current Megablocks. Today there's dozens of "off-brand" or clone Lego bricks each with varying levels of quality. I've played with quite a few of them over the years, and I've personally invested quite a bit in the Mega Blocks line of Pyrates and Pirates of the Caribbean sets. NOTHING usually compares to Lego. UNTIL TODAY.

Character Options has had the license to create Doctor Who toys since the stalwart BBC series was revived in 2005, creating a vast line of 5" scale figures, role-playing toys and all sorts of toys and ephemera based on the entire realm of Who and isn't slowing down any time soon. This year they decided to try Construction Toys, as the price of plastic seems to be irrecovably tied to the price of oil (gee I wonder why) many toy companies are looking for ways to expand numbers of skus while contracting the amount of plastic involved. Hence, smaller is better. We've seen this before by the way. Part of the popularity of the original Kenner line of Star Wars figures was that they were cheap to produce and to purchase, so kids could have a lot of them. Their sub 4-inch size was 50 to 75% smaller than other popular toyline sizes at the time (Mego's 8-inch line of figures and Hasbro's 12" GI Joes).

The new line of Doctor Who toys is branded "Character Building" which is actually it's own line of toys, as there are Non-Who building sets and figures that are also available (mainly in the UK) that are compatable, so if you really want to build a military UNIT type squad to accompany your Doctor figures, you can. It's quite cool.

Following Lego's massively popular Blind Packed Figure Series the Doctor Who line is available in both set form, and blind packs. Complete with chase figures. Joy. I managed to find the Tardis MIni-Set online for just about $20 shipped. More on that later.

Character Building The Tardis Mini Set Review

Packaging: 4 of 5

The box is nice and sturdy with the current BBC Logos and nice glamour shots of the actual product. The back has a short write up on the series and the TARDIS and introduces the Doctor and Amy. As if you needed that. We're also shown the figure's actual size twice. So that's something.

Instructions: 4 of 5

The booklet is quite nicely illustrated much in the style of current Lego instructions. They pictures are not quite as good though and there are a couple of instances where even an adult might get confused, but for the most part, it's well done. There's also a parts list, but that's about it. There also weren't any other inserts other than two sheets of stickers. I suspect there's only supposed to be one sheet, as you really only need one sheet, but I got two.

Construction: 4 of 5

The TARDIS is a box, let's not forget that, so as such it should be pretty easy to build, and it is. Though there are a couple of tricky spots with the doors (those TEENY TINY prongs that form the hinges are very small and could be easily broken. Plus they are difficult to put in their pegs). Once your doors are in place, you definitely don't want to open them inside (as the Doctor always does) because they're very difficult for big fingers to pull out. The size is also extremely deceptive. This TARDIS is tiny on the outside and inside. The entire height of the box including the light on top isn't much more than 3 1/2 inches tall, and it's barely 2 inches wide. In Lego parlance, it's 6 w x 6 l x 9 t.

The bricks themselves feel very close to Lego plastic and appear to be made with the same or similar quality control. There are a couple of unique pieces that I've not seen made as Lego before (namely the top of the TARDIS , the light bulb and the panels of the Police Box). The model itself is very simply constructed with nothing really difficult about the engineering. It's simple enough to not need any additional tinkering either.

Decorations: Stickers & 'cardboard': 4 of 5

The stickers are well printed, especially the front plaque, but they're still stickers, and for adult fingers they can be a pain to put on. There's also a cardboard insert that goes inside the box which gives the illusion of it being "bigger on the inside". It's a nice piece and doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic, but it can be difficult to get 'just right' in the box.

Size Comparison: Mini-mate, Amy Pond, Toy Story Alien Lego, Musketeer Lego, 11th Doctor

Figures: 5 of 5

Here's where the set really shines, the Amy Pond and 11th Doctor figures are simply superb. They are virtually the same size as Lego, and infinitely more cute. Plus they have slightly better articulation with the addition of a waist swivel that Lego can never duplicate. They're certainly different than Lego as well, they're much more about curves and roundness with sculpted uniqueness rather than uniformity of Lego. The tampo printed torsos are very nicely done on both figures, each depicting very small details such as buttons and belt buckles. The faces are cute as can be as well, with the Doctor showing a smirk that he knows something you don't know. Plus the Doctor has his Sonic Screwdriver. Very cool. The figures can both sit down, Amy isn't even hindered by her vinyl skirt. I'd love to have more 'accessories' but really what do you need besides the screwdriver?

Price: 3 of 5

I purchased this set from Langton for just over $20 shipped. There isn't anywhere else cheaper on the Net right now. MSRP on this is somewhere between $15.99 and $19.99, which I would consider as pretty pricey. A comparable sized Lego set runs about $12 at retail, and the other clone brands are even cheaper.

Overall: 4 of 5

I LOVE this set, and I was excited to both order it and to receive it. Especially since I ordered it directly from the UK. I don't know if there's any differences between the UK and US versions, I highly doubt there are, but if so, mine's original! Even though I consider it more expensive than it should be, it's still a great small set, and I can't wait to get more. Problem is you can't find these things at retail AT ALL! I would imagine that they were available to Comic Book stores through Diamond Distributors and that at some point they'll be available widely in the US, since they're being advertised on the BBC America broadcasts of new episodes. I sure hope so. I haven't seen the blind package mystery figures yet either.

Monday, August 29, 2011

MORE Adventures in Ebay

I've just put up 100 lots on eBay - click here:

VIRTUALLY Every single starts at 99 cents, with a BIN of TWO BUCKS and FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING.

And remember, if you send me the password "WildWill" when you pay for your item, I'll throw in an extra or two for being my reader.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Macho Madness

I THINK this is the interview I was referring to yesterday in my piece on the Macho Man. I spent last night watching several old matches and promos, and man, will he be missed.


THIS is the interview I was thinking about:

Oh wow, here's a RECENT promo where Randy talks about his Defining Moments action figure, which is sure to start selling out everywhere. I saw several yesterday at TRU and K-mart, but I'm telling you, this would be a good figure to pick up right about now. There's also a nice Warrior figure to go along with it so you too can recreate Wrestlemania VII.

Friday, May 20, 2011

RIP Macho Man Randy Savage

It's no secret that I love Professional Wrestling. It's also no secret that I hate it as well. It is the very dichotomy that IS professional wrestling that makes me love it and hate it. The limits that the performers blow by in their never ending quest to put on a great show equates to too many early deaths and ruined lives. So many of the wrestlers that I grew up watching have died young, and it's sad. It's always sad. No matter what the circumstances.

Today we lost one of my all-time favorite wrestlers, a man who wasn't even in the public eye anymore, and was happy enough to enjoy his life in retirement. Macho's getting a lot of love today, even people who didn't like him respected what he did in the ring and how he carried himself in life. That's the true measure of a man, when people who don't like you still are sad that you passed. Nixon didn't have that. Though he may have actually been redeemed a few weeks ago by Doctor Who of all people. Terrible non-sequitur I know, but it's been that kind of day.

I'm not going to go on boring you about how I feel about Macho dying. It's sad. I'm sad. I honestly hoped that Macho would get back in the ring some day, just as Bret Hart has done recently.

So I'll just leave you with this, a great Saturday Night Main Event from 1987, I was a senior in High School, and I remember watching this one when it originally aired.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lots more Singles on eBay

I've got 60 Singles listed right now, virtually ALL of them start at 99 cents with free shipping.

Give me the password "DylanDog" in a note if you win one of my cards and I'll throw in FREE Allen & Ginter minis.

Here's the listing:

Thursday, March 31, 2011


It's finally here, seems like the MLB off-season is longer than the other three sports ("seems? I know not seems"). The day when every team still has a shot at the playoffs. Ah, the sweet smell of spring and daytime baseball. Wish you were here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One-of-a-Kind TMNT Collectible Up on eBay

Hey guys/gals whatevers, I put up one of my rarest collectible pieces on eBay, a one-of-a-kind T-Shirt/Iron On Prototype Design of Leonardo of the TMNT. It was given to me by Kevin Eastman himself for winning a trivia contest at the 1989 San Diego Comic Con. In any case here's the eBay link:

I'm also donating 10% of the final sale price to Japanese Earthquake Relief

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Head to Head Fun Baseball League

Hello readers, I know, I know, I don't blog nearly enough. This is true.

Today I beseech you to join my Head-to-Head FUN Fantasy Baseball League. See, I SUCK at Fantasy Baseball and I want to change that, so I'm doing a fun league this season. We already have five teams signed up, but I want MORE. the link and join up.

Password is "Wildwill"

The live draft is Saturday, March 26.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Relics and Autographs and Short Prints - Oh My!

Howdy once again. In my ongoing effort to pare down the amount of extra cards in my collection (and mostly to get some money to pay for the rent) I listed a whole bunch of new stuff, this is pretty much the best of what I have to sell - sad isn't it?

Anyway, I'd really appreciate it if you all would take a look and see if there's something that PIQUES your interest. Once again, I'm willing to refund 10% of your total purchase if you send me a note saying you read my blog with the password "Shortest Month" in your note when you pay.

Oh and did I mention, I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on all my singles? Yes, that's right.

Some of the good stuff

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Adventures in eBay Selling 2011 - February Edition

So as I probably blogged, last Wednesday I put up 50 items on eBay, hoping to score some cash before I go out of town this weekend to visit the in-laws and stay up at a cabin at Sundance. Yes, the Sundance, the actual hill, not Park City. Nice eh?

21 of the 50 items I listed were single trading cards, mostly Chrome stuff that I've been keeping for just this purpose. I put all of them on for a 99 cent start price, with only three exceptions (and they only started at $1.99), with free shipping. Just for giggles I figured out that if I sell an item for 99 cents, I end up making a whopping 8 cents. So that paradigm isn't really going to work for me, except that hopefully I'll get some nice feedbacks and every item I sell counts towards getting a discount on my fees. It also gets rid of a bunch of cards, and those who want them get a pretty good deal.

So I'll keep doing it, even though I'm not going to make a whole lot, I really need to get rid of most of the stuff that I don't need, and honestly I can't keep track of trades anymore.

What WAS nice is that a couple of lots of Comics sold for decent cash. Not that I didn't lose money on them, since you know I bought them at cover price or near cover price when they were new, read them and stashed them away. "Y The Last Man" #2 though #38 sold for $50, which isn't bad, except that I paid 37x$2.95 apiece for them. I also sold about 20 issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man" from a couple years ago for $25. Again, a little more than $1.00 per issue, which cost me somewhere between $2 and $3 per issue.

Still I'm not complaining, at least that stuff is selling. I have tons of stuff I can't off-load because I will only use Priority Mail Flat Rate (because frankly I'm not going to bother buying boxes or envelopes, and I like the fact that I KNOW how much shipping is going to cost). The thing is, when you're buying 5 or 6 comics at buck apiece, adding 6 bucks to ship doesn't work out very well.

In any case, I now have about $60 to play with this weekend. And that's the important part.

Contest over at Clear Cut Cards

Hey there, there's a cool contest to enter on Clear Cut Cards:

Check it out and enter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Topps Diamond Giveaway Transmogrifier is Live

Per multiple other blogs, the Topps Diamond Giveaway machine is live today.

I unlocked my first (and only) code today:

Oh boy 1974 Norm Miller - well at least it's not junk wax.

But wait, I'm not done yet, I guess with every code you enter you get a dig square! I tried digging at first base and got nothing. So I reloaded and dug again and this is what I won:

Looks like if I collect 5 rings I get a bonus card and dig, 10 is a $10 ShopTopps gift card, 15 is a custom skin-it and 45 is a complete set of Topps 60th Anniversary cards (perhaps this is also the prize for the pack-pulled redemption?). If you manage to get 60 rings you get a diamond ring. Joy

You don't have to re-register

Here's the cool thing, your log-in name from the ToppsMillion site will work for this one too. NOW if they could just transfer over the catalog of cards you have in Millions to continue trading on the 60th Anniversary site....ah well.

SPEAKING of ToppsMillion

THIS is what I have currently - I don't have to pay for shipping because I'm in California - I already verified this as I have had two cards shipped already.

I'm more than willing to trade any and all of this crap (except for the one Angel player Minnie Rojas, I have two of him, but I want them both).

I want ANGELS cards

SO send your trades in the machine, or something like that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

eBay Singles Blowout

Hey there cats and kitties - ye old Budget Collector finds himself in need of a budget again. I'm never going to be able to bust more 2011 Topps if I can't sell off the old stuff I don't want or need. So here's the deal:

I'm putting on a TON of singles on eBay over the next few days - virtually all of them will start a 99 cents plus FREE US Domestic Shipping. Overseas shipping will be actual cost plus a buck. Get this - I'm even doing free shipping on multiple purchases - so buy one card or buy multiples, your shipping is FREE.

PLUS if you let me know you're a read of my blog I'll even throw in bonus freebies - just put the secret password in your note to me when you pay - the secret password is "BLOWOUT".

Here's my eBay page:

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl XLV Packers 31, Steelers 25 FINAL

First down on their own 13 - 25 yard pass
First down on their own 28 - 4 yard pass
2nd Down on their own 33 - Incomplete
3rd Down on their own 33 - incomplete
4th Down on their own 33 - Incomplete

Green Bay takes over with 49 seconds remaining. Ballgame.

Green Bay has won their 4th Superbowl and 13th NFL Title.

Good game, not a great game, but a good game. Not disappointing that's for sure.

Superbowl XLV Packers 31, Steelers 25 4th 1:59

Stupid penalty on the kick pushes the Steelers all the way back to their own 13.

That "Limitless" movie looks awesome.

Superbowl XLV Packers 31, Steelers 25 4th 2:07

The Steelers hold on 3rd and goal from the 5 and the Packers kick a FG. The Steelers have one time out and the 2 minute warning after 1 play. They must score a TD to win. Big Ben either makes his career here, or Aaron Rodgers wins in his first Superbowl proving that Brett Favre really was replaceable.

Either way, should be pretty damn exciting

Superbowl Commercials Part 20

Mercedes Benz - Sure starting the commercial off with Janis Joplin and having Diddy get his car stolen...and it's some sort of futuristic thing? Whatever. Not boring though.

And with that I'm done on the Commercials.

Superbowl XLV Packers 28, Steelers 25 4th 3:25

I say it every year, but dammit, I want to see a freaking overtime game in the Superbowl!

The Steeler defense is fired up - sacking Rodgers on first down and as Joe and Troy just said, the Packers have abandoned the run.

The Steelers D caused a false start on third and 5 to make it 3rd and 10, but Rodgers in true MVP form hits Jennings for 31 and a first down.

Once they get on the Steelers side of the field they go right back to the run, only their 10th attempt, but they get a first down from Starks.

Back to the run on first down, for a couple. 2nd and long bam, James Jones and a first down. 1st and goal on the 8.

Superbowl XLV Packers 28, Steelers 25 4th 7:34

The clock is running out on the Steelers who were behind by 11 points with 11:48 to play in the season. Rifflesboinger can bring them back though, he's done it before and they still haven't completely abandoned the run.

They take 4 minutes off the clock and get a TD from Wallace. Add a 2 point conversion and it's a 3 point game. CRAAAZY

Superbowl Commercials Part 19

Car Commercial - Forgot who it was for, clever though.

Pepsi Max Date - Funny. Finally

Rio - Looks colorful, I bet my 4 year old will love it.

Oh man, I've posted so much I got the word verification!

Bridgestone Beaver - Haven't I Seen this one?

Go Daddy 2 - Wasn't that supposed to air first?

VW Beetles - Nifty keen

Raising Hope - Again, great show. It's on the DVR list.

Superbowl XLV Packers 28, Steelers 17 4th 11:57

Mendenhall's 3rd fumble of the season leads to the Packers scoring 7 more. That's the game story right there, 3 Steeler turnovers, 3 Packer Touchdowns.

MVP balloting is available. Rodgers gets the vote I guess, but the Green Bay Defense should win

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 4th 14:53

The Fourth Quarter began at 6:26 pm PST

WOW, another Steeler turnover. That could be a game breaker.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 4th 15:00

Tomlin makes the Packers repunt after a penalty and gains 12 yards on the exchange. The Steelers then run for 8 and here we are with the Steelers threatening to score going into the fourth.

Not a spectacular game, but still pretty darn fun.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 3rd :37

Last year the 4th quarter began at 5:59 pm PDT. The 4th quarter here won't begin for a few more minutes since Green Bay is challenging the call on the field, stupidly - since I don't think they're going to win.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 3rd :48

The Packer Defense certainly came to play as well. 3 and out - the Steelers, who have 15 first downs are only 6 of 11 on 3rd down.

The Packers are looking kind of inexperienced there, 15 yard penalty on the kick, ouch. Packers ball 1st and 10 on their own 13. Turnabout is fair play

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 3rd 2:23

The Packers finally put together a decent length drive - forcing the Steelers to use their 2nd Time out, but all the end up doing is taking some time off the clock and putting the Steelers on their own 13.

Interesting - we haven't had any review so far.

Superbowl Commercials Part 18

Chrysler Eminem - LOOOOONG BCC with a good soundtrack

Strangely they actually showed a lot of game without commercials. Over 20 minutes in fact.

NFL - Very fun. There's one I wouldn't mind seeing again.

Jack in the Box - Again I don' think that this is on the national feed, since JIB isn't everywhere. But the Jack commercials are consistently funny. This one is no exception. Not groundbreaking, but still funny.

HTC Phone - Boring Phone Commercial

Cadillac - BCC

Rango - Looks fun - Weird

Bud Light Dog Sitting - Cute. Best one of the night for them

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 4:29

Joe Buck prognosticator - "The Packers haven't had a sack on Rifflesbarger all game" - next play - sack.

52 yard FG not even close. The Packers get the ball on their own 42. They need at least a FG out of this drive.

Superbowl Commercials Part 17

Stella Artois - Adrien Brody and a bunch of hotties - at the Canyon Club in Hamburg = me wanting a beer. Sniffles.

Carmax Back to the 50's - Amusing. Very amusing

The X-Factor - Whoop-de-doo.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 7:34

Back to the run, the Steelers are moving the ball at will for the most part, creating third and shorts. Time out

Superbowl Commercials Part 16

Hyundai - Jeff Bridges channelling the Dude? Made my eyes hurt

Groupon - Err...yeah I signed up but I haven't bought anything yet.

Coke No Man's Land - Stupid. Do they even make those bottles anymore? Wait, I know they do.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 3rd 9:00

14 unanswered points from the Steelers. Packers better put it in gear.

I have actually heard of the Medal of Honor recipient. Good man. Good soldier.

The Packers are suddenly looking like a team that hasn't been here before, and guess what, they haven't. Steelers defense makes 'em go 3 and out, and are riding a wave of momentum.

4th punt for the Packers.

Superbowl Commercials Part 15

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Probably the next movie I'll get to go see in the theaters. HIGHLY anticipated

Mini Cram it in the Boot - Cute - Two words, TEST BABY. Amusing

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 17 3rd 10:19

We have ourselves a ball-game ladies and gents. Helps that the Steelers haven't abandoned the run, in fact right now they've got about 3 times as many yards rushing as the Packers.

That entire drive was on the ground, and they ran it right now the Packers throat.

Good, I hate blowouts.

Superbowl Commercials Part 14 - amusing

E-Trade Enzo - I HATE THAT DAMN LINE OF COMMERCIALS. Make them stop. Please.

Best Buy Multiple Gs' - FUNNY. Justin Bieber is certainly EVERYWHERE this weekend, he was on SNL last night. At least the kid can poke fun at himself. I hate it when Celebs can't do that.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 10 3rd

Now that we've collectively gouged our eyes and smashed our ear-drums after that atrocity that was the Half-Time show, we can get back to the game.

Charles Woodson out for the game, that's a shame. He deserved better.

Shields and Driver will be back.

Emmanuel Sanders out for the game for the Steelers.

Rafflesbogie is pissed at the way he's playing according to Chris Meyers.

Penalties on the Packers are starting to pile up, that Facemask after the punt is a bad bad thing

Superbowl Halftime Performance

I'm not a fan of the Black Eyed Peas. I like a few of their songs, but I'm not a fan. Hell I've seen Fergie act more than I've heard BEP songs. The opening number was typical big stadium overblown choreography that you only see on this size of stage or in like the Olympics.

I liked the part with Slash and Fergie doing "Sweet Child o' Mine". She sounded better than Axl usually does.

I even like the light up costumes. Fergie is looking pretty hot actually.

The rest of the medley, well I've heard Weird Al do better renditions during his Polka mixes.

Usher hasn't and doesn't do anything for me whatsoever.

SOme of my favorite tweets thus far:

I've seen the future. It looks like 1975. Only with black people wearing have worse fashion sense and the acoustics suck. #superbowl


This is so much better if you imagine how uncomfortable John Madden and George Bush are right now. #superbowl

Superbowl Commercials Part 13

Daytona 500 - Looking forward to it

AMEX Plum - Almost as boring as a car commercial

Daytona 500 Fan - Clever - Isn't that what I did when I signed up for Twitter? Remember twitter to me @wnoetling

Superbowl Commercials Part 12

American Idol - meh

Chevy - BCC

Android Thumbs - OMG what the F? That was just...odd

Dodge Ram - BCC

I'm taking a short break right now. If you'd like to comment, please do so...

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 10 Halftime

Decent half of Football, the Packers defense is really gaming today, but the Steelers aren't laying down.

The Steelers are actually leading the time of possession battle by almost 2 to 1! But they have 3 more penalties and the two turnovers which equals the 11 point lead right now.

SO it's been a good game, just not spectacular. No real super-exciting plays besides the turnovers.

I don't particularly care for the Black Eyed Peas or the Halftime Show, so I'll be eating some dinner and be back in a few.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 10 2nd :47

So far I'm not seeing any of the fast track, what I am seeing is guys going down by slipping and falling. So far we've seen three guys go out on seemingly normal plays.

Almost a third Ruffiesblarg interception.

So with two of the Packer starting secondary in the locker room, the Steelers close the gap, and the under of 45 is looking kind of shaky.

Will the Packers do anything with 47 seconds left?


Superbowl Commercials Part 11

Chevy Malibu - BCC

Captain America - Looks fun.

Strongest Drive of the Playoffs - Looks like the Steelers better repeat that performance if they wanna stay in the game. Appropriate ad.

Carmax - I feel like a hippie in a drum circle.

Glee - OK I might actually watch tonight.

Superbowl XLV Packers 21, Steelers 3 2nd 2:24

SO that's now 14 points off of Rufflesborg interceptions. He's now got 2:24 to keep this close.

IF the Steelers don't score before Halftime, this game is over. If they DO, it'll still be a miracle if they win.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 3 2nd 4:25

Another Rofflesberg interception. If the Packers can capitalize, this game might be over.

Superbowl Commercials Part 10

Snickers - Continuing their theme from last year with celebs Richard Lewis (Whiney) and Roseanne Barr (Bitchey). Roseanne getting whacked by the tree is the moment of the game so far.

Something dot com...Dunno, was too busy laughing from the last ad.

Super 8 - so that's Abrams & Speilberg's new movie. I still have no idea what it's about.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 3 2nd 4:35

OK at least you can't say that Fox is shying away from Big Ben's past problems.

If Driver is out for the game the Packers are going to have a hard time in the air.

Rofflesburger is proving why he does know how to win games, and he keeps running despite that knee. He's got tenacity that's for sure.

If you were wondering, last year I had 49 posts on the Saints victory over the Colts, and in '09 I had 37 posts on these same Steelers over the Cardinals.

I'm not sure where I'm at right now, but I think I'll be going over 50 posts.

I'm at 25 posts with this one and we're not even to Half time.

Time Out - Pittsburgh

Superbowl Commercials Part 9

Coca-Cola Dragon - So far, that's my favorite. I love the animation.

THOR - One the few Marvel movies I'm actually looking forward to, mostly because of Kenneth Branagh directing.

VW - Little Darth Vader - Would have been a lot funnier if it hadn't been leaked ahead of time.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 3 2nd 11:08

Is it me or does Aaron Rodgers in his helmet look a bit like the Great Gazoo?

Pittsburgh holds the Packers so their anemic offense can go back on the field.

Isn't it a bummer when a player gets hurt early in the game? I feel pretty badly for them, especially if they don't get to come back.

Superbowl Commercials Part 8

Budweiser Western - Peter Stormare is a great actor. Tiny Dancer though?

Teleflora Faith Hill - Ooooh kay, next please.

Transformers 3 - Oh boy, more robots blowing shit up. Didn't see either of the first two in the theaters. In fact it took until just a few months ago for me to watch the 2nd one. Part 3 = more of the same.

BMW - BCC My wife said that it's cool they're being built and designed in America. I guess.

Motorola XOOM - OK who is the girl? I like how they were specifically trying to distance themselves from Apple.

BMW Diesel - BCC

Wow, two BMW ads in the same break.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 3 2nd 11:08

Packer defense holds on 3rd and 7 at the 20 and the Steelers are forced to try a FG. The Packers D came to play, they're missing a few plays here and there, but for the most part they're keeping the Steelers at bay.

Superbowl Commercials Part 7

Bridgestone Email - At the end of the ad they have a link that says "go to whatever site and see the extended version". So basically go to their site to see a LONGER version of their advertisement. For free. Actually you are paying for internet connection. Lame.

Chevy Volt - BCC

Go Daddy New Girl - Funny, predictable, but funny. Now THEIR ads I might go visit online since they're "not rated". But then again if you can't find free porn on the internet, you're not trying very hard.

House - Not a big fan

Apple iPhone on Verizon - I think Verizon is overrated to be honest. I have a new iPhone 3GS on AT&T and it's fine.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 0 2nd 15:00

So Big Ben digs himself a big hole, the running game only has a bit longer to go before the Steelers will have to start airing it out. Unless Mendenhall can actually get more holes.

Holy crap, the Steelers have a guy on Offense with Polamalu hair too. I thought that the NFL only allowed one per team!

Whoa, BIg Ben slipped on 2nd and 9 and isn't looking especially mobile, and as I type that he runs for 18 yards and a first down.

Superbowl Commercials Part 6

Lipton Tea Eminem - This is a nice throwback to the good old days - Lipton used to do claymation commercials all the time, so it's nice to see a new one.

Superbowl XLV Packers 14, Steelers 0 1st 3:20

Is it a pick six or not? Yes, excessive celebration. Who cares. The rout is on. Or is it?

Big Ben would have been better off taking the sack.

Superbowl Commercials Part 5

Cowboys and Aliens - OK great idea, good cast, and looks nifty. Based on a comic book that was only created so that the movie could say "Based on a comic book". They GAVE the thing away.

Optima - OK that was a NIFTY use of special effects.

Raising Hope/whatever follows it - I like Raising Hope, a lot. It's by the same guy who did My Name is Earl. Same sensabilities too. And it has Martha Plimpton.

Superbowl Commercials Part 4

Pepsi Max Nerd Revenge - Meh

Doritos Fish Sitting - OK WTF? Doritos can bring the dead back to life? So THAT"S how the Zombie Apocalypse is going to start.

Hyundai - Err...whatever. BORING car commercial. From now on I will refer to that as a BCC

Fringe - We watched this show religiously up until the end of last year when our DVR took a dump and had to be replaced. Missed too many since then. Will catch them all at some later date.

NFL Draft - Now in Prime-Time - who cares? It's not like they're going to be a season next year anyway.

Superbowl XLV Packers 7, Steelers 0. 1st 3:44

John Madden's texting, George W. Bush is looking at someting in his lap while Laura is watching the game, and Cameron Diaz feeds popcorn to A-Rod.

Meanwhile the Packers might actually score here.

Yup. Touchdown Rodgers to Nelson - and heck they could have called Pass Interference on Gay too.

80 yards 9 plays. Ouch

Superbowl Commercials Part 3

Bud Light Movie Shoot - dumb.

Chevy "Tommy's Stuck" - Amusing. I really liked "I didn't even know this town had a volcano"

Fast and Furious 5 - Now starring The Rock. Joy

Chicago Code - I'm sorry, NOTHING has made me want to watch this show yet.

Superbowl XLV Steelers 0, Packers 0 1st 5:53

Oh god, Troy Polamalu's hair is especially long today. You know, in the olden days of guys like Chuck Bedanarik and Decon Jones, if a player had their hair that long it would get ripped out of their helmet. Then they'd wear it on their belts as a war souvenier.

Not that I'm ashamed of long hair on guys, my long-time friends will remember that I had a pony-tail for much of the 90's and through the 2000's. No, when the hair is flowing out of the back of your helmet, it's not right for Football. Alls I'm saying.

Packers Time Out - they're moving the ball

Superbowl Commercials Part 2

Doritos 'cheese' - WRONG on so many levels

Chevy Old Folks Home - Cute, but too agist

Pepsi Max - Silly fun. Violence is always funny

Superbowl XLV Steelers 0, Packers 0 1st

Offical Game Tracker is

The Steeler run game seems to be getting on track. The run will be the key to this game, as it often is. According to all the players this is a "fast track" which I would think would give an advantage to the running backs over the receivers.

They ALMOST got to the 50 on that last possession. So far, two possessions, 29 yards.

I'm older than Mike Tomlin

More Commercials.

Superbowl Commercials Part 1

Quick Comments on the Commercials

Bud Light New Home: LAME.

Doritos Doggy: Awesomely funny

Saab Escapees - Clever. That will probably be the best car commercial of the game

Superbowl XLV Steelers 0, Packers 0 1st 11:05

Suddenly the Packers are showing life with a 24 yard completion

My wife started singing "I'm a Lumberjack" when they showed Brent Kesel's beard. "Who is that lumberjack on the field" she said. I also had to point out which team was which.

They stall on 3rd and 7 and are kicking.

We should get our first batch of commercials right about now.

Superbowl XLV Pittsburgh 0, Green Bay 0 1st 12:24

Oh right, there's a football game happening right.

Pittsburgh goes 3 and out to start, not auspicious. The second down tackle of Mendenhall behind the line of scrimmage did them in.

Fumble on the punt, Green Bay comes out with the ball.

Super Bowl XLV 1st 15:00 Pittsburgh 0, Green Bay 0

Focus Rally America is the Pre-Kick show sponser. Whatever the hell that is.

OK the Super Bowl is getting pretty full of itself when it has Michael Douglas narrate a brief history of America and comparing err...JFK and MLK to the two QBS today? OK he didn't do that, but just about...

Deion got the most cheers in Dallas when the HOF 2011 class is announced. Big shock.

Coin toss goes to Green Bay who defers. OK, I guess it's that important now.

BTW Deion tossed it, Pittsburgh called Tails.

Kick off next

Superbowl Pre-Kick Show - 10 minutes and counting

The Packers have won 12 league championships - 9 pre-Superbowl in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965 and three Superbowls I, II and XXXI

The Steelers have won 6 league championships, all Superbowls in IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL, XLIII.

In 1943 the Steelers merged with the Philadelphia Eagles for a season during the height of WWII. They were known as the "Steagles".

The NFL trophy is named for the Packers legendary coach Vince Lombardi.

The Packers trace thier history back to 1919 (also coincidentally the year of founding of my Alma Mater UCLA)

The Steelers were founded in 1933 and are still owned by the same family.

The Packers are owned by the citizens of Green Bay Wisconsin. The cannot sell their shares for a profit, or something like that. The team will never move from Green Bay. They are the only publicly owned sports team in North America, and the only non-profit as well. Packers tickets are notoriously difficult to come by.

The Steelers have the fifth most members of the NFL Hall of Fame with 18, the Packers have the second most with 21.

Game times is a few minutes away.

Superbowl Pre-Kick Show

Wait, it's the what now Pre-Kick Show? Of course, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are announcing, they are Fox's A-Team after all. I happen to really like Aikman, loved him as a Bruin, loved him as a Cowboy. Back when I was collecting FB cards I was proud to own Aikman's most expensive rookie card, his 1988 Score.

Joe Buck on the other hand annoys me to no end. When he does Baseball all he can talk about is the Yankees. When he does Football he has a rampant streak of homerism for whomever is the more popular team. I guarantee you that he'll be supporting whomever is in the lead, whereas Aikman will actually call the game.

Still they're better than Madden and Summerall. OK Aikman's better than Madden. Honestly, I'd rather hear Al Michaels today.

Oh yeah, Glee is on after the game. And of course, new Animation Domination shows. Since I have a buddy working on "The Cleveland Show" (Hi Doug!) I give it a shot every time. The new "Bob's Burgers" is just gawd awful though. Looking forward to Simpsons and the rest.

20 minutes until Kickoff.

Superbowl Pre-Game Countdown: 30 minutes & counting

So I think perhaps the talking heads are done with their expert commentary. I thought Jimmie Johnson had the best analysis, as I often do. I like Strahan, but he doesn't have the same type of experience that Jimmie does.

I think it's really interesting that the NFL is doing the tribute to America thing, reading the Declaration of Independence with Americans from all over. I think it's rather salient at this time to remember why we are the country we are, especially with revolution ripe in other parts of the world. We as a people should remember those words, and those in Congress and in political power should also re-read the Constitution to remind them of what's important.

I believe in this country and I believe in the Constitution of these United States. I often find myself at odds with it's current leadership, whether it be Republican or Democrat. Still, I truly believe that we have the best form of Government world-wide, because we as individuals have a voice.

Sorry, enough prostelytizing. Damn, never could spell that word.

Nice montage though. I'll try to link it later, I'm sure the NFL will post it somewhere.

Superbowl Pre-Game Countdown: 60 minutes & counting

Good Afternoon Football Fans - welcome to my annual Live-Blog of the big game. If you'd like to spend your time reviewing previous year's live-blogs by yours truly, just click the "Superbowl" link on the right side of the screen, that will show you the 2010 and 2009 iterations.

This year's matchup features the Packers versus the Steelers, which for all intents and purposes should be a good matchup. To me it's boring. I don't care about either team, and there's no compelling reason on either side for me to root for them. I can root against Pittsburgh because I frankly don't like the team. I respect them being an original member of the NFL, and I think the Rooneys are great owners, but I just don't like 'em. In 1995 I happened to be in Rochester New York for the AFC Championship game between my then-home town San Diego Chargers and the Steelers. We watched the game in a sports-bar we found, and I had brought some Chargers gear to wear. I was the only one wearing Chargers gear, the entire bar was against me, and while they were cordial, it was a rough day. Until the final play that is.

I also don't particularly care for Ben Rothelisberger. His off-field exploits far overshadow his actual playing ability, and I think he's just a system QB, rather than having any innate talent - other than not getting sacked. Put him on the Lions and they go nowhere. The fact that if he wins this year he'll have three rings and be a sure lock for the HOF is kind of annoying in the same way that it's annoying that Tom Brady with his three rings is a lock already. Yet another reason why having SB rings shouldn't really be that much of a consideration when it comes to HOF voting.

Speaking of which, while I'm happy for Marshall Faulk and ambivalent about Deion Sanders, I'm kind of pissed that Tim Brown hasn't gotten any more love from the HOF voters. Shannon Sharpe certainly deserves to be in as well, but since he played a majority of his career for the Broncos, who I hate with a passion, means I can't actually enjoy his entry.

I'm not going to really comment on the innanity of the talking-heads on the pre-game show, other than it's the same old BS that you get every Sunday in the morning before the games. I used to watch and care about these guys, especially since most of them are former players that I watched play. But sadly, I think that the actual level of intellectual commentary on the upcoming games has declined dramatically in the Fox Superbowl era. Yeah, I said it. Fox for all it's technological advancement is still trotting out the same old tired pre-game nonsense that hasn't flied for years. Having Terry Bradshaw interview Ben Rothelisberger is not a big innovation, it's a foregone conclusion. Let's see if he actually owns up to his behavior or if he just wants to discuss the game. Bradshaw isn't a hard-hitting interviewer either.

Hey that Priest movie looks good in a B-movie kind of way

Superbowl Live-Blogging & Centsports Betting

Shall commence sometime between 2 pm and 3 pm PST. I'm not watching the marathon of pre-game show because, let's face it, it's pretty darn boring.

But I'll probably break down after the 2 o'clock hour and turn it on.

No party for me, I'm not involved in either team enough to care. I'm staying home, in fact I'll be retiring to the bedroom to watch the game on my 46" Plasma that was a gift from a departed neighbor.

In the mean time, I can tell you that my Centsports is up to over $2 thanks to some nice bets I made recently. I managed to hit a 2 game parlay on Thursday betting on the Heat as 1 point favorites over the Magic, and taking 3 on the Spurs over the Lakers. Whenever the line is that weird, I'm taking it.

As for my Cent bets on the big game today, I've got 1.40 on the Steelers on the money line (for a $2.50 win!) and a 90 cent 2 line parlay with on the Steelers at +3 and the Under of 45. If I win the second bet I stand to get about $3.00. I have no idea why or how the Packers are the favorite, but I'm going to ride the Steelers because let's face it, the Steelers are the glamour pick.

I LOST my two Cent bets on MMA last night, proving I have NO IDEA what I'm doing over there. I bet Vitor over Anderson Silva. That was a HUGE mistake. Have you SEEN that kick? No?


It's at 6:50 of that video. Never seen ANYTHING like that before.

I also lost a few cents on Rich Franklin vs. Forest Griffin. Big deal. Good card though.

OK catch you all in a little while.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Topps 2011 Part 3 - Hobby vs. Retail

HOBBY Reflections

Being that I titled this blog "The Budget Collector" perhaps I should include some budget or economic based posts? Yes, I think I should.

Yesterday I picked up my first 2011 Topps cards at Target, as you may recall I bought a single rack and a single retail pack, a total of 48 cards or the equivalent to 4 retail packs of 12 cards each. For that I paid $7.66 or just under 16 cents a card. Today I checked out my friendly local hobby store, Beverly Hills Sports Cards and bought 4 packs of Hobby from a brand new box. The cost was $13.17 after tax for 40 cards or 32 cents a card. Obviously right off the top you're paying double per card, and that's not a smart thing at all.

So if I'm paying twice as much per card, shouldn't I get some good cards? Well, yes and no. See what you're really paying for is the CHANCE to get better cards. When you look at the odds listed on the pack though, you find something very, very interesting: unless you're a big sucker for long-odds high end pulls, retail is actually a better buy. Certainly there are cards in Hobby that don't exist at Retail, specifically Silk, Black and Press-Plate parallels, the manufactured gloves and most of the autos and relics are only found in Hobby. However, the easiest of those to pull are the black paralles at 1:100 packs!

The odds on the standard non relic/auto inserts are virtually identical in hobby and retail. Gold parallels are half as easy to pull at 1:8 in hobby vs. 1:17 at retail. Something really odd happens though to the remainder of the auto/relic sets, they are actually EASIER to pull at retail rather than hobby. That's awfully strange, but true. Example: A Diamond Duos relic is 1:12,500 at hobby and 1:10,500 at retail. The 60th Anniversary Reprint Auto set falls at 1:13,200 retail and a whopping 1:14.750 at retail. The 60 for 60 redempions are 1:150,000 at retail and 1:167,000 at hobby. Again, long odds, but significantly less at retail.

Bottom line here, if you're looking to build the set and want most of the low end inserts, go with retail. If you're actually try to get hits, well, I think you should really look for a different set, other than the flagship.

So let's take a look at exactly what I got for my $20+ "investment" in 2011 Topps shall we?


Base 28/37
Topps town 4/ 2
Topps 60 2 / 2
Gold 2 / 1
60 Years of Topps 1 / 2
Diamond Ann 1 / 1
Diamond Duos 1 / 1
History of Topps 1 / 0
Kimball Champions 0 / 1
Vintage Repro 0 / 1
Total Inserts: 12 / 11


Total Cards 88
Base 65
Total Inserts: 23
Topps Town 6
Topps 60 4
Gold 3
60 Years of Topps 3
Diamond Ann 2
Diamond Duos 2
History of Topps 1
Kimball Champions 1
Vintage Repro 1

So far the best two cards I've pulled were the Jeter Mini and the Topps History with Eisner. Yuck. Honestly, I'd just as soon pull more of these:

Honestly, I'm paying a bit more than 25 cents a card here, and besides putting together a set, which I attempt and fail at every year, I'd be better off buying singles rather than packs, but I'm just so addicted to opening packs. It's a problem I tells ya.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super...err..."BIG GAME" Blogging Reminder

Hey there, I didn't want the week to go by without mentioning that once again I will be live-blogging the Superbowl...err..."Big Game" - NFL please don't sue me.

Can you believe that though, the NFL has trademarked Superbowl and will not allow you to use the name in conjunction with any event unless you pay them. So, for example, the party that 570 KLAC AM is holding during the game at Dave and Busters in Arcadia cannot be advertised as a Superbowl party. Silly isn't it?

In any case, yes, I own that Superbowl I - err...AFL/NFL Championship Game ticket from 1967. It was my Fathers' who left it to me. I also have a Rose Bowl ticket of his from 1963, not that I care mind you, since that was a USC victory year. I've never been to the big game, even though it was held in my home city twice in 1988 and 1998. In '98 I did go to the NFL Experience, which was a blast! I knew then that price-guide value was BS, when I couldn't even get Emmitt Smith's father to buy his own son's Classic Die-Cut Auto, which was booking at $500 according to Beckett.

I did have a buddy who went every year, the season that the Rams won I had him buy me a program from the site, which is really cool. Little known fact, that the Superbowl programs on site are different than the mass-market editions they sell everywhere. Thus they are more valuable. I have five or six programs from years past, including XXV (Giants v. Bills), which is really nice as it's a comprehensive history of the game. Of course I also have one from the year that the Chargers lost to the Niners. One of these days I'll do a nice blog entry on programs of all sort, but that will have to wait because they're all in storage.

For what it's worth, I'm rooting for the Packers, but I think the Steelers will win. I don't really care mind you, I'd rather not see Pittsburgh get a 7th Superbowl, but the Packers winning their 4th doesn't really thrill me much either. I guess I just want the old cliche' - a good game.

Topps 2011 First Impressions Part 2

More Inserts

Sorry about that, had a slight family emergency to attend to. Nothing spectacular I assure you, all is well. So moving on...

Here we have this year's version of "The Cards Your Mom Threw Away", which are more reprints. Yes, I realize the back here doesn't go with the front, why should I do more than one scan? In any case, I actually really like the backs this time around, as they don't really focus on the play on front, but rather the set as a whole. Plus they seem to be written by someone who actually knows about the hobby! Here we have an insert set that I actually want to pull, sweet! Oh and there's original backs too. These are seeded at 1:3 retail/unlisted rack (which I guess means 1:1). The original back versions are 1:12/1:36.

There's also the "Lost Cards" insert set, which I haven't seen yet, but they list out at 1:4/1:12 and then there's an original back version of those too which are 1:36/1:108.

The first actual insert I pulled this year was this card, which is a "Vintage Reprint" and seeded at 1:2/1:8. Considering this is reprinting the most famous card in history, that's not too shabby. The set is numbered with a "CMGR" prefix, and this is #10. They're also old-school cardboard stock. Another cool set, but I'd have to see what else is in there before I pass judgement.

The last card I will be spotlighting today is this mini of some damn Yankee or another. I'm not a HUGE fan of minis, I think they're nice an all, but the multiple sizes across sets kind of turns me off. I mean they're kind of nifty, but they don't really float my boat. This set is called "Kimball Champions" and is 1:4 in retail/unlisted in rack. It's a 50 card set and has the usual suspects, including some pretty common vintage names. The checklist is on the back of this one (and I ASSume every one) and really isn't that special to be honest. I'm not sure why there are so many vintage card styles out there, when this looks just like Allen & Ginter to me.

I also got two ToppsTown cards, one in each pack. They're actually very shiney as well this year and the backs aren't just fluff and a code. OK they still have the code, but the fluff text is a bit more beefy this time around. I've completely the ToppsTown Baseball set each of the past three years, and I expect to do so again this year. You can't put the codes in quite yet though, Mid-March says the website. They have never actually had an online component launch on day and date of the set thus far, and I think that's a real failure on the marketing team's part. If the site isn't ready, then don't launch the product. There's nothing more frustrating than buying a product with an online component, only for the component not to work when you buy the product. Happens way too often too. Companies have to learn that the online component isn't a selling feature to a product if the component doesn't work immediately upon purchase. I venture to guess that the Diamond Redemption Site isn't working yet either. I didn't pull any codes, so I can't say for sure, but considering the ToppsMillion site didn't go live right away, I wouldn't be guessing that this new version would be working on drop day.

So in all I purchased 48 cards at a retail price of $6.98 + tax. That works out to just under 16 cents a card, which in today's marketplace isn't all that bad. Consider that Bowman Chrome at retail is $2.99 and comes with three cards, and virtually ever other brand runs above 50 cents per card, your value is definitely with Topps Flagship. Plus to me, there's still some cachet value to the big T's main set. Especially in this anniversary yet, if you had all 60 years worth of sets you'd really have a great chronicle of Baseball for the second half of it's entire life, and that's not too bad.

I'm sure I'll be buying more of this product than any other this year, in fact, at the moment I'm not planning on buying any other product, except for a few packs of Heritage, A&G and Chrome when they hit. I'm no longer interested in one-off brands or Topps "High End" products. Gimme a few packs of Topps Base and I'm a happy Budget Collector.