Monday, October 27, 2014

Here's a Kickstarter to Back

Sorry about this, I really am.  Except that I'm not.  Because I'm going to blatantly plug a specific Kickstarter to the five of you who read my blog.  Where We Begin is a short film directed by award-winning director, and my friend, Mitsuyo Miyazaki.  Mitsuyo is really my wife's friend, they went to college together at Southern Utah University, home of Utah Shakespeare Festival.  When we were at the festival earlier this Summer, partly on business partly for fun, Mitsuyo ran into Melissa and they concocted a plan.  A plan to have Melissa be the costume designer on this amazing film.  Shooting in Cedar City in a month.

So in late July my wife left me for two weeks to shoot this movie.  Towards the end my Mom and I took our daughter Kaylee to the set in Cedar City so that she could appear in the film as well.  Mom and I were on set as chaperones, or Kaylee wranglers so-to-speak.  We had an amazing day, and my wife got to have the experience of a lifetime.  One that I hope she gets to repeat in the future.

Here it is finally, the Kickstarter campaign.  Everyone who worked on this movie sacrificed something, blood, sweat, tears, time, money, sanity, you name it.  The film is almost done, they just need a little more funding to get over the hump.  Here I am begging you to help out.  Kickstarter is an amazing thing, I've dabbled in it myself helping fund four projects so far.  I've received my rewards for two of the four, and am waiting for two more.  Being a part of this project has given my family something that we needed so badly, a project that we could pour our love into, and it shows.  EVERYTHING about this film is amazing...and I haven't even seen the whole thing!  I've just seen bits and pieces, basically everything that's in the trailer on the Kickstarter.  If that moves you at all (the last couple of minutes), please, I beg, give some dough.  You won't be disappointed.  I guarantee it.

Here's the link again:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

UCLA Bruins in the NBA - 2014-15 Edition SIXTEEN BRUINS BABY!

Complete with a cool pic of Mr. Kevin Love as a Cleveland Cavalier, the UCLA BRUINS home page has their annual article letting us know how many Bruins are on NBA Rosters at the beginning of the season.  Last season I wrote a nice article on our boys why not do it again this year!

Two Bruins who played last year are not on rosters at the beginning of this year: Malcolm Lee and Earl Watson.  Lee played 35 games for the Timberwolves over the last two years, but was traded on draft day to Phoenix, who then traded him to Washington and was released shortly thereafter.  He's had injury problems including extended outages for groin and knee issues.

Earl Watson retired after 12 seasons with six different teams.  He took a coaching position with the San Antonio Spurs after making bold statements that he'd like to be the Utah Jazz head coach.  Watson's retirement now makes Matt Barnes the last Bruin in the NBA to have played under Steve Lavin.

Jordan Adams - Memphis Grizzles
Arron Affalo - Denver Nuggets
Kyle Anderson - San Antonio Spurs
Trevor Ariza - Houston Rockets
Matt Barnes - LA Clippers
Darren Collison - Sacramento Kings
Jordan Farmar - LA Clippers
Jrue Holiday - New Orleans Pelicans
Ryan Hollins - Sacramento Kings
Zach LaVine - Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Love - Cleveland Cavaliers
Luc Richard Mbah-a-Moute - Philadelphia 76ers
Shabazz Muhammad - Minnesota Timberwolves
David Wear - Sacramento Kings
Travis Wear - New York Knicks
Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder

The rookies this season are Adams, Anderson, LaVine and the Wear twins.  Only the Wear twins were undrafted.  LaVine went #13, Adams #22 and Anderson #30.

Arron Affalo started the year last season with Orlando but was traded back to the Denver Nuggets, where he played between 2009 and 2012 in June.  He can opt out of his contract at the end of this year.

Trevor Ariza begins his second decade in the NBA with a return to the Houston Rockets.  He's played for five other teams in 10 previous years.

Matt Barnes returns to the LA Clippers and is joined by former two-time Laker Jordan Farmar.

Darren Collison signed a free-agent contract with the Sacramento Kings, where he will be joined by his Clipper team-mate Ryan Hollins.

Kevin Love was probably the biggest move any Bruin made during the off-season, bring traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he'll play with a returning LeBron James.   The same deal saw the Prince of Cameroon Luc Richard Mbah-a-Moute from the T-Wolves to the 76ers.

Jrue Holiday returns to the Pelicans, Shabazz Muhammad returns to the T-Wolves and of course Russell Wesbrook returns to the Thunder.

The NBA Season begins October 28

Friday, August 8, 2014

The first set of 2014-15 Hockey IS HERE! Upper Deck MVP is live

I just got back from my LCS (hi Matt and Zack) and purchased my first few packs of the new season.  Of course I'm still buying 13/14 products, but since I'm almost done with my Upper Deck sets, and I'm pretty much giving up on anything Panini related, it's going to be an easy transition.

MVP is a budget product, or at least it's supposed to be.  Hobby boxes are running $46 at DA Cardworld and they are $48-60 at brick and mortar.  Boxes are 24 packs with 8 cards each.  In each pack you get 1 silver script and 1 SP high number.  The set is 300 cards and there are multiple inserts.

Upper Deck is following Topps parallel program it seems, not only are there the silver scripts, but "super-scripts" each numbered to 25 and then the extremely confusing "colours and contours" set, which are die-cut and have multiple levels of rarity from 1:6 to never gonna find it.

Besides the nifty autos and relics, the inserts are actually rather decent this time, celebrating the season that just ended rather than just another insert-set with bad graphics and the same old tired checklists.  MVP includes Rookie of the Month, 3 Star Players of the Month and 3 Star Players of the Week.  I like this idea better than the old paradigms because it actually focuses on the games rather than careers or even single seasons.  Plus there's plenty of Kings to chase here.

There's a four part Rookie Redemption set that are separated by conference (one for each) and are case hits.  Obviously we don't know who are in the sets yet, but these should be pretty popular I would think.  There's also a single Young Guns card with long odds as well.

So what did I pull in my four packs?  Well I only got one King, but it's Marian Gaborik and it's a short print.  It's my first Gaborik in a Kings uniform, because I don't buy high-end Panini crap.  I got one nice 3 Stars of the Week insert, featuring Sidney Crosby and Patrick Marleau.  And I pulled two box hits.

Yes you read that right, out of the four packs I snagged two box hits with 1:36 or higher odds.  The first was a Contours/Colors Gold Die Cut of Valtteri Filppula (there's one on the bay of e for $7) and the second, well, the second was pretty darn cool.  Here you go:

That's #05/25 of HOFer Patrick Roy as a Canadien.  Not that I even *LIKE* Roy because I still hate his guts for beating the Kings in the '93 Finals, but hey, it's a good card and if I can flip it I can buy some Kings cards.  I put it up already.  There's one other (#10) and they want $33 on the BIN with 2 days left.  Mine is priced a bit higher, but it's a lower number and it's from the US.  Plus I offer free domestic shipping and I tried to reprice the international shipping to just it's actual cost to me.

I don't know if I care to put a set together, I'm not 100% sure yet.  I will be chasing the Kings though, that's for sure.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

At Last - A Completed Collection - 12 Years in the Making

During the 2002-03 Hockey Season the LA Kings did an interesting promotion, they gave away five mini-Lego type figurines made by the now-defunct company SMITI.  The five figures were available at five different games, the first of which was in October and you got a box to go with your first figure.

Not my set, but this is it.
I didn't go to ANY of the actual games.  At least I'm pretty sure I didn't, I don't have my ticket book hanging about to double-check.  In any case during the season I managed to acquire four of the five figures and the box, but the Ian Lapierriere figure eluded me.


Now granted I probably forgot to check for him for a few of those years, but I've had an alert for a single figure on eBay for several years.  This last week while we were on vacation in Utah the alert popped up, and the price was right.  $4 shipped.  AT LAST - my set is complete.  Well, he has a broken stick, but I don't care.

Problem is that the other four figures and the box are in storage.  Dammit.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Budget Adventures in KICKSTARTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thoughts on Tony Gwynn's Passing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

RIP Tony Gwynn 1960 - 2014

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

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

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

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

My order cost me $23.10 shipped.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adventures in eBay - LA Kings Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition

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

Here's what I got:

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

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

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

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

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

These last few cards are from previous purchases

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a card so nice I bought it twice

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Nathan MacKinnon RED Parallel OPC Rookie

Mikael Granlund Young Guns Exclusives #41/100

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

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

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

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

That's all for today, remember GO KINGS GO

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mini-Figure Trading Time

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

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

Doctor Who Blind Bag Series 3
Judoon Trooper

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

Scooby-Doo Character Building (no stands)

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

Simpsons Lego Mini-Figs

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

Series 1 Blind
Weeping Angel Serene

Series 2 Blind
Silent Open Mouth 

Series 3 Blind
Rory Eyepatch 

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

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

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

11th Doctor Maroon (11 Doctors Set 2)

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Buy My Cards on eBay!!!

Looking at my seller dashboard, eBay tells me that my first ever sale was in 2002 and that I've sold over 1000 items for just about $5,400 since then.  Those numbers aren't all that spectacular, but they are decent in my humble opinion.  Up until the last couple of months I did what every other seller usually did, list items for a 5 or 7 day auction, but I've recently seen the light, and am now simply listing each item on a 30 day fixed price.  WITH FREE SHIPPING in the UNITED STATES.  Yes, that's right.  I start most of my items between $1.29 and $1.49, with only a select few priced higher than that.  Anything priced higher than $2.00 can be bought with a best-offer bid.

NOW, free shipping really only includes an envelope and a stamp.  If you buy more than one card then I'll throw them in a padded envelope.  I haven't had any complaints with my shipments.

So check out my current auctions, there's going to be a bit of everything up over the next few days, AND if you buy something and tell me that you read about it in my blog in a note with your payment I'll go ahead and throw something free in your shipment.

Click and Check out my auctions 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Changing of the Seasons - MLB Opening Day & NCAA Tournament Thoughts

When I reminded my wife that today was opening day for the Angels she said to me "Of course it is, didn't basketball just end?"  Yes, yes it did.

I suppose I should just get this out there and out of the way.  Once my team is out of the playoffs I GENERALLY don't care about who wins the rest of the thing.  It's Monday afternoon and other than Florida and Kentucky I don't know who the other two in the Final Four are.  I should check.  Hunh, UConn and Wisconsin.  I actually picked Uflop and the Badgers in my pool, and I have the floppers winning the big game.  Not that I really care mind you.  Again, I don't.  I watched maybe five minutes of the tournament after UCLA lost on Thursday.

So yes, for me Basketball is over.  I don't care what happens in the NBA other than for the draft because I am curious as to where Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine end up.  Kyle might have played himself into the top 5, whereas Zach may go late first round or early second.  That's what I read anyway.

Neither appear to have any trading cards available, but they will, and soon.

2014 is the second year in a row that I've not bought any Baseball cards prior to opening day, and since I didn't break a single pack of 2013 product I'm pretty sure I'm not going to suddenly get the itch to buy the same stuff only with a new date on the front.

I have to say I'm no longer optimistic that Mike Scioscia can bring another championship to Los Angeles.  Yes, I know they play in Anaheim.  I wish they didn't.  Though I still have to say I'd rather go to a game at the Big A than Dodger Stadium.  You know I haven't been back to Chavez since before I was married.  That says something I think.

Some of the names on the projected opening day lineup are unfamiliar to me.  Kole Calhoun?  Doesn't matter, it's still opening day and everyone still has a chance to win it all!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Topps Bunt is Back for 2014

The fusion of online trading cards and fantasy baseball that Topps introduced in 2012 is back for another season, and Angel Favorite Mike Trout is their official spokesman this year, which means his mug is all over the app.  Not that it's a bad thing mind you.

The bad thing about BUNT is that your previous cards won't gain you points this year, so you'll have to spend a bunch of coins on new cards, or trade off your 2013 for 2014.  However, since today is the first day, the market for 2013 and previous cards not just went soft, but it melted into a mush.

So this year we're able to do 9 for 9 trades or 9 for 1 or any combo that would allow.  SO that's better than the 3 previously.  We're now only allowed ONE account per device, which I think is great to get rid of scammers.  Sadly scammers will still try to scam, and Topps won't be able to do much about it, just as in previous years.

We do get a new "rate your trader" functionality, but since you can make a rating on a declined trade, I'm not sure how that's going to work out.  We'll have to wait and see on that.

Oh and the players themselves score points way differently this season.  Now it looks like each player has 5 tiers of cards from Commons worth 1x points to Super Rares, which I guess are worth 5x or something.  Not really too sure on that.  The other rarity levels are each worth more now too, uncommons are green and worth 2x, rares are red and worth 3x and scarce are silver and worth 4x.

I'm back playing this year, my user name is WILDWILL (same as in Huddle too).  Hit me up as a friend and send me your Angels cards.  All I care about is collecting the Angels Team Set.  If you tell me you read my blog in a trade offer I will give you a free DOUBLE 2013 rare from my collection.

AND hit me up on this Bunt/Huddle/Kick fan forum where I'm also WILDWILL

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Madness - Bracket Challenge

My Yahoo Group join up and make your picks by tomorrow.

3D Printing for Dummies - Or How I Learned How to Order on Shapeways

Blue Neo-Ego
This is about all I can
get him to do.
I'm a sucker for technology, I love following the latest and greatest gadgets and tech.  3D Printing is something that I've been following for a long, long time, and I'm please to say I finally dropped a dime and ordered my own 3D prints of existing models from Shapeways, the biggest 3D printing company in the world.

I had lurked on their forums long enough and seen all the really cool things that Shapeways can do for an intrepid CAD modeler.  I have ZERO CAD skills whatsoever, and no inclination to start learning, but what I do have is an endless fascination with miniatures and toys, and Shapeways is a place to satisfy that fascination.

Mr. Red Neo-Ego can pose
For my first foray I went ahead and ordered two different versions of a miniature articulated figure, not unlike a Lego Mini-Fig.  The first was this one: Cool Ego and Neo-Ego.  These babies aren't cheap, they run between $6-8 per figure, and shipping is a flat $6.30 per order.  I decided to order four figures to minimize shipping costs.  After a couple of weeks I got two of my four figures, the Cool Ego was not printed and cancelled.  The Neo-Egos printed fine and after a bit of difficulty I got them put together.

Or just stand there
The Neo-Ego is not great, I have to say.  The articulation isn't quite as nice as I'd hope (though it's still better than Lego) and the tightness of the figures fit is very hit and miss.  The red figure is pretty stiff and will hold a pose, while the blue figure is completely loose and can't pose for beans.

Needless to say I wasn't that thrilled with the fact that they cancelled half of my order and my shipping discount was basically blown.  I actually decided to call Shapeways and ask about the shipping once the creator of the Cool Ego figures rejiggered his model to print properly.  They actually gave me a credit for the shipping and even though the remodeled figures were slightly more expensive, I made a second order.

Ms. Blue Cool-Ego
Ms. Red Cool-Ego, though
you can't tell she has a face
Cool Ego is light years ahead of the Neo Ego.  There's two head-sculpts included, and the portrait is actually quite nice.  The articulation is really well done and the pieces fit together tightly and hold their pose.  The only difficulty is that putting it together can be a real drag.  The plastic that is printed is not "smooth and polished" like they advertise on the site. It's quite rough, though the roughness makes the small details really pop up close.  I do believe the heads can hold standard Lego head-gear and the hands are standard Lego clips.  The Cool-Ego has wrist swivels, while the Neo-Ego does not.

I haven't tried any of the other plastics available but I'd like to do so in the near future.  I bet a clear version of these guys would be really cool looking.  I'd love to get a full sized 1/18th scale figure printed but I don't see any viable candidates at the moment.
Blue Cool-Ego, Vintage Lego Mini-Fig, Red Neo-Ego

They fit in a golf-ball cube
Looking Good There Guys

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adventures in eBay - Lego From My Childhood Edition

If you grew up in the time period roughly from the mid 1960's to today you probably played with Lego Bricks at one point or another.  The Lego company traces their existence back to 1916, and their brick toys to 1947.  Suffice to say the growth of Lego toys seriously impacted virtually every kid at one point or another.  Lego seems to be a toy that grows with kids, and kids never really grow out of them.  I stopped buying Lego kits sometime in my teens, but as soon as I moved out of my parents house and had a job of my own I started buying them again with a vengeance, and I never really threw away my Lego.  I still have most of my bricks and instructions, if not the boxes themselves.  Over the course of time I've been trying to reacquire a few sets from my youth that I didn't keep intact.

My first Lego sets were the Universal Building Sets, which now are simply tubs of bricks.  These were the sets that had no real models to build, just whatever you wanted, and the best thing was that they came with large base plates you just don't see much anymore.

I do recall my first large set, that would be #585-1 Police Headquarters which was one of the last few sets BEFORE real mini-figs came out in 1978.  I know for a fact I still have some pieces left from that set.  My second major set was #6929 Star Fleet Voyager and I remember getting that for Christmas somewhere in the early 80's.  While I don't reasonably expect to ever repurchase a Police Headquarters, and with the static old-school proto-mini-figs I really am not sure I'd want one.  But I do check out eBay and other places for the Star Fleet Voyager on a regular basis.

The last of my three original kits that I desired to repurchase was the smallest: the simply elegant 6648-2 Town Dump-Truck, and thanks to a recent eBay purchase, I now have one.  I paid $6.99 plus $5.95 shipping.  Considering it's a vintage kit, with instructions, I think I did OK.  I recall that the original price my Grandparents paid was about $5-10 but that was at the Los Angeles Children's Museum, which isn't there anymore, and it was over 30 years ago.

The vehicle is all of 41 pieces, most of them yellow or black and all pretty much standard.  The only real "specialized" pieces here are the rollbar, the windshield, the truck bed and the hinge piece that lets the truck bed dump out.  It's a really simple build that took all of about two minutes to complete.  It is a thing of beauty.  Lego just doesn't do small vehicles quite the same way.  Now the cabs are all one piece and the wheels are tiny.

My original set wasn't kept as a truck very long.  I loved the bed with six wheels and the tilting rear, so I designed a small airplane using most of the same parts with forklift type sleds in the front to make it look cool.  It flew off the back hinge as a launch ramp.  This one though, it's staying on my desk.  Without being put together with the Kragle...because hey, the driver does kind of look like Emmit from the movie doesn't he?

By the way, the pictures were all taken in my new light tent, nifty hunh?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Adventures in Economics and 2x Rack Pack of 2013-14 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey

I knew it was out because every time I look for Martin Jones cards I keep seeing his Young Guns Series 2 card on eBay, so I wasn't that surprised that I found brand new packs and boxes at Target this afternoon.  What I was surprised about were the prices and the configuration.  Let's see if this makes any sense shall we?

Retail Packs = 8 cards for $2.99 or $0.374 per card.
Rack Packs = 32 cards for $4.99 or $.0156 per card.
Retail Box of 10 12 packs of 5 cards = 70 cards at $19.99 or $.0286 per card.

If you're buying on a per card basis CLEARLY Rack Packs are the way to go.  However, UD is not being as generous with their insert cards in Racks as they have been in the past, I bought TWO of them this afternoon and pulled one insert, a Young Guns, whereas in years past a Rack would usually hold at least two if not more inserts.  Heck Topps usually gives you about five.

Here's what I got:

2 x 2013-14 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey 32 cards per pack

Base: 62 - 1 double
Young Guns 1:4 - 467 Philipp Graubauer

That's it.  Oh and two Kings - Justin Williams and Ben Scrivens.  Oops I meant one King and someone we traded away.

At least the Young Guns is a goalie who's got some value I suppose.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Big Day in Los Angeles Sports - - The Los Angeles Kings versus The UCLA Bruins?

Today marks the 15th time that the Los Angeles Kings and the UCLA Bruins Mens Basketball have played on the same day this season.  My two favorite teams have both won their games five times so far.   Three of those games that the Bruins won were in 2013 when the games don't really matter and UCLA is playing exhibition games or cupcakes.  Out of the 14 games played on the same day the Kings have an 8-6 record.  The Bruins are 10-4.

Today the Kings are taking on the hated Lame Ducks of Anaheim at Staples starting at 7:30 PM. Kings Captain Dustin Brown is a scratch because of illness.  US Olympic Starting Goalie Jonathan Quick is questionable, meaning most likely Martin Jones, super-rookie, will be starting in net.  The game is being televised on both Fox Sports West (The Kings flagship) and Fox Sports Prime Ticket (The Ducks flagship).
Drew Doughty congratulates Martin Jones back in December
Harry How/Getty Images

The quackers are tied for first place in the Pacific Division with a line of 44-16-7 for 95 points.   The Kings are firmly ensconced in third place with a line of 38-23-6 for 82 points, 9 points ahead of Phoenix in 4th.  This year the NHL realigned to four divisions in two conferences.  The top 3 teams in each division get a playoff birth, with the final 2 spots going to the two next best teams.  If the playoffs started today the Kings would get the #6 seed and play San Jose in the first round.  It's going to be tough to climb up since Chicago has the #5 seed and 8 more points than the Kings, and there's only 15 games left in the season.

Every game at this point is a big game in the NHL.  Not quite as big as the games on the hardwood though.  While hockey clubs are jockeying for position for the Stanley Cup playoffs, hoopsters around the nation are getting ready for the BIG dance.  The 68 team tournament kicks off next week and if you want to join my BRACKET CHALLENGE at YAHOO Click Here.

Today marks the SIXTH time that the Bruins have played in the Pac-12 (Pac-10) Championship game.  So far we're 3-2 beating Wazzu in 87, Cal in '06 and Stanford in '08.  We lost to 'Zona in '90 and Oregon last year.  Arizona at 15-3 was the outright Pac-12 Champion this season and is ranked #4 in the nation, the Bruins squeaked to a 12-6 conference record good enough for #2.  No other Pac-12 team is ranked in the Top 25 right now, IF the Bruins managed a win they will most likely move up and get a decent seed.

That's basically what the Bruins are playing for at this point, a decent seed.  Arizona win or lose will most likely get a very high seed in the West, which will be played in Anaheim this year.  IF the Bruins win you can expect anything from a 3 to an 8 most likely in the West as well.  If they lose, well, look for a 6-12 anywhere but the West.  Though currently ESPN's Bracketology has them a #6 in the West.

The Bruins are an enigma this season, their first under new coach Steve Alford.  Our "wonderful" AD Dan Guerrero has made a number of questionable hires INCLUDING Alford, and while we Bruins are happy with the direction of the Football program, we are a BASKETBALL school with the pedigree of JOHN R. WOODEN to live up to.  Most years in FB we're happy if we beat U$C and have a good bowl game.  With Basketball anything LESS than a National Championship is a bad season.  That's what happens when you have 11.

So while I'm willing to cut Alford some slack for being a new coach and everything, he's going to have to take his lumps, especially since the same day he was hired his son Bryce committed to the team and he gets significant minutes despite being a less than average player.  This year's version of the Bruins has a Jekyll and Hyde identity, playing great in games against #21 Colorado on my birthday and then promptly losing to Utah two days later WHILE being ranked #25.  The win against the Buffs represents their lone victory against a ranked team this season.

Kyle Anderson's MONSTER DUNK against Oregon from Thursday
IN fact, the biggest knock agains these Bruins is that they can't win the second game in a weekend series.  In addition to the Colorado/Utah trip, they pulled the same stuff in Oregon beating the Ducks in Eugene and losing to the Beavers later that weekend in Corvallis.  IN February up in the Bay Area they continued the trend by beating Cal and losing to Stanford 3 days later.  The next weekend they came home and reversed the trend losing to Oregon and beating OSU, but the very next weekend the trend came back with UCLA winning against Washington and losing against lowly WSU.  Fully four of their six losses in conference play came on the back half of the series.

This team won't bring back many players next season either.  The Wear Twins are graduating finally after it seems like they've been at UCLA forever.  At least one of the two Super Sophomores Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson are likely to jump to the draft (Anderson is sure to go, Adams, is a maybe).  SO that means that three, possibly four of the starters for today's game will be gone next year.  Good thing there's some real blue chippers coming to Westwood, we've had a great recruiting season, capped with the commitment by Aaron Holiday, Jrue's little bro who will be coming to UCLA in 2015.  Incoming Freshmen for next year include two power forwards in Kevon Looney and Jonah Bolden and two Centers Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman.

As to who wins today's games?  Well, obviously I'm hoping for a sweep by the LA teams.  I think though it's far more likely that the Kings win and the Bruins lose.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Enter This Contest

Monday, March 10, 2014

2013-14 Upper Deck SPx Hockey 4 Pack Break

A few weeks ago I won a contest on Upper Deck's Blog simply by submitting a funny caption for an old Upper Deck card of Sidney Crosby.  My prize was 4 packs of Upper Deck SPx Hockey from this year, and they just arrived about 30 minutes ago!

Considering that these have a price of about $100 for a box of 12 packs, I'm going to say these are running probably $10-15 apiece in stores, which pretty much prices me out of Hobby packs.  Maybe if they hit retail I'll buy a few more, you never know.  In any case, I was really happy to get between $40 and $60 worth of packs of cards.

I don't keep these pack by pack, sorry.

Base: 13 including Datsyuk, Getzlaf & Patrick Sharp

Rookies 1:2.5 #104 Jacob Trouba
Rookies SP 1:10 #150 Charlie Coyle

SPx Rookie SP 1:30 #46 Tomas Hertl

Rookie Jersey/Auto 1:12 #193 Hampus Lindholm

In terms of beating the odds, I'd say I did really well.  I got the major advertised box hit, even if it is a bit underwhelming.  I mean Lindholm was the #6 pick in the draft, but he's a defenseman who 61 games into this season has 5 goals, 17 assists and 28 PIM.  Oh and he's a Duck.  You know I can't stand the Ducks.  I also didn't pull ANY Kings, and that seems to be a recurring theme with my Hockey cards lately.  The last several times I've bought any quantity of cards I haven't gotten any Kings.  IN fact the last King I can recall pulling was a Gretzky from a very old Collector's Choice pack.

Strangely the longest odds were for the Hertl card, which when you handle it is rather flimsy.  Seems like the card is just a bit thinner than the rest.  Oh and one other thing you'll notice, I got 17 cards instead of 16!  The first pack which had the Lindholm jersey/auto had five cards, which is funny because usually they have less than the stated number of cards when there's a big jersey.

I have to say these cards are awfully nice looking and a great throwback to the premium sets of the 90's.  I love the retro die-cuts, and I'd really like to get the Kings versions.  In fact I may chase a Kings team set or at least as many Kings as I can get.  To that end, I'm putting all the hits and maybe a few of the base on eBay as fixed items with offers, like the rest of my cards.  I've gone to a no-auction format because it's easier and seems to be more effective.

IF you win one of my auctions (and remember I offer FREE SHIPPING to the United States) and you mention that you read my blog in the comments when you pay I'll throw in something extra.

Check out ALL my auctions here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


So IO9 came out this week with 30 Cult Movies That Absolutely Everyone Must See that got reblogged and commented upon.

I agree with MOST of these films - here they are BTW:

30 Zardoz
29 Tremors
28 The Warriors
27 Lost Boys
26 Born in Flames
25 Sharktopus
24 Tales From the Hood
23 Death Race 2000
22 The HUnger
21 Plan 9 From Outer Space
20 Dark Star
19 Slither
18 Buckaroo Banzai
17 Time Bandits
16 Evil Dead 2
15 Night of the Living Dead
14 Brother from Another PLanet
13 Cherry 2000
12 Altered States
11 Repo Man
10 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
9 They Live
8 Primer
7 Naked Lunch
6 The Man Who Fell To Earth
5 Re-Animator
4 Big Trouble in Little China
3 Eraserhead
2 Donny Darko
1 Rocky Horror.

As I mentioned on Facebook when the list was published I had seen 25 out of 30, I subsequently watched Death Race 2000 yesterday after I read the list.  The others I HAVE NOT seen are #26, 25, 19, & 8.

For the most part I agree, though I think there's some that don't belong here and some that aren't here that should be.

SO here's what I propose - either in Comments here or on your own blog, post what movies you think should be removed and what should be added.

I'll say this:

I'd get rid of 8, 13, 19, 24, 25 & 26 that gives me 6 to add...

A Boy and His Dog
Blue Velvet

Now, I would also REPLACE a couple of these items with similar films either by the same director or in the same series.  For example, Evil Dead 2 is a great cult film, but Army of Darkness is better.  I *LIKE* Tales From The Hood, but there's better anthologies, in fact the best is probably Twilight Zone the Movie despite all it's flaws.

SO what are YOUR thoughts?

Monday, March 3, 2014

I bought a light-tent

Something that I think every blogger worth his or her salt should do (besides dumping such stock cliche' phrases as "with no further adieu [sic]) is buy themselves a light tent for halfway decent photos.  I finally pulled the trigger on one myself, this one to be exact:

I do not own a digital SLR though, I pretty much stick to my iPhone camera.  Which works for me.  I suppose I should get a DSLR soon though.  Maybe Christmas?  Hey someone want to send me one for review?

These are my FIRST shots with the box, the velvet background did not come with the kit, my wife had that in her fabric storage.

I've been working on this "set" for a while now, it's 25th Anniversary versions of the Original 12 GI JOES (plus Cobras) in a vintage case.   Missing Grunt, Zap and Short Fuze.  

Bought this almost complete case on eBay a couple of months ago, along with a much more battered brother.  Just need to find the weapons locker lid, which is really tough to find.

These are the remnants of my vintage Micronauts collection.  I'm pretty sure that I obtained all three from my buddy Tom way back in the 80's when I bought two very large boxes of Micronauts from him.  I have a lot more Palisades and newer Microman figures, but these are vintage beauts.
So I notice that I need to learn how to light better and to focus on the details better, but I'm sure practice will make perfect.

For $33 total (gotta love Amazon Prime) I'm really happy with this setup.  The lights work perfectly, the Camera Stand is tight and easy to use, and the box itself is easy to setup and take down, and everything stores really easily which is paramount because we just don't have enough room.