Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AJ Lee auto!

Finally landed an auto for my AJ Lee collection.

Aw, it's a cute one! (excuse the lines from the penny sleeve.)

Here are the rest of the cards in my AJ PC.

And a couple customs to round it out.

Definitely not my biggest PC, though it is my biggest female PC, so that's something. And the auto gives it a nice boost.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

COMC eases the pain of missing the card show

I couldn't resist placing another COMC order during their spring cleaning sale a little while back. It was my 3rd order on the site within a couple months. That's definitely more frequent than my norm. But hey, I missed June's local card show because I was in Hawaii (boo-friggin-hoo, right?), so this package of a couple dozen cards helps me get my fix of picking up some various new cards.

I always like picking up shiny, colorful Bowman parallels here and there. Manuel Margot is having a solid year for the Padres' AAA team. The card on the left is 2015 Bowman Draft Chrome Asia Exclusive Black Refractor, while the right is 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor (/150).

Keeping with the shiny, I made a little progress on my foolish 2004 Topps Chrome black refractor parallel setbuild.

Yangervis Solarte is a current Padre standout of whom I didn't previously have an auto (though Topps pretty much saturated the market, putting out a ton of his autos in 2014). These two ran me just $3.56 combined.

A couple more autos of notable Padres. Well, the Steve Finely card says Arizona, but whatever. Maybe I'll make an overlay for it someday. I wanted an auto of his to top off that passive PC, and this fit the bill for only $1.89 (#'d /499 to boot). As for the Khalil Greene, well I already have a few autos of his, but for just $1.74, I couldn't resist this one #'d /135.

I don't add cards to my Nate Colbert collection very often anymore, but this blank-backed oddball is kinda neat (1977 San Diego Padres Schedule Cards #NACO.3). On the right is a Michael Conforto (2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions Certified National Team Mirror Green #129) #'d /199 that was discounted thanks to a dinged lower right corner. I don't mind that much, and was happy to pick up an early card of his.

I grabbed another cheap Jon Jay auto. Poor guy recently broke his forearm and will be on the shelf for a while. I had an extra Tony Gwynn Socks overlay lying around, so I figured why not pair it up. I'll eventually find it a home.

NOT PICTURED: I also picked up a dozen ~50¢ needs for my 1965 Topps setbuild. Forgot to snap a photo before I filed them away; Oops. I'm at 61% complete now.

That's it for this time. Not a huge order, but I wanted to take advantage of that free shipping window.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 Diamond Kings blaster

I recently worked out a deal with a guy named Jim S. who grabbed a few things off my Amazon wishlist for me. Included was a blaster of 2016 Diamond Kings which had some good stuff in it.

Howdy! That's a nice hit. Rob Refsnyder has been playing well for the Yankees.

Dual jersey relic stickergraph numbered 4/25. eBay tells me this is about a $10 card. If any of you Yankees fans have eyes for it and have a comparable card that fits in better with my collection, I'm up for trade offers.

Here's a red framed card numbered /99 on the back. Frankie Montas is currently with the Dodgers organization.

A smattering of inserts, heavy on catchers (surprisingly not in catchers' gear, which you'd think would be in Panini's wheelhouse thanks to less logos to worry about). Funny to see Jose Bautista's iconic bat flip on a Panini card, seeing as how it's sort of ingrained as a Topps card image by this point.

Here are some base cards of dudes I collect.

I thought it was odd that I pulled 2 Miguel Sano cards from the same blaster, but upon juxtaposing them, the uniform is obviously different. They both have the same card number on the back, so I guess one must be a variation or something. Seems kinda pointless.

So yeah, there were the highlights. It was a decent blaster, thanks mostly to the /25 auto I pulled. Diamond Kings tend to give you decent bang for your buck, so I like to rip some to check out, though I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to pick up any more this year.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A tension-filled trade-roundup

Ok, maybe there's not really that much tension here, but I'm grasping at straws for a theme for this trade roundup featuring a trio of unexpected mailings that arrived while I was on vacation.

First up is GCA. We had traded a month or two ago, and while it was a fine trade, I think we both felt it could have gone smoother. GCA, the stand-up dude he is, took it upon himself to hook me up with a few more cards.

Nice Al Kaline! With this card, I've completed up through the first and second series of 1971 Topps, and am two Word Series highlights away from finishing the third series. I'm in good shape with the fourth series as well. But it's the fifth and sixth which are the stinkers. I'll get there eventually, thanks in part to the generosity of traders like Greg.

A couple gold foil parallels of top-tier dudes I collect!


Some stars of yesteryear, highlighted by 3 Vide Blue oddballs. Yep, those 1972 cards...

OPC! Nice additions to my Vide Blue collection.

Big thanks, GCA! Great stuff! I'll try my best to round up some more cards for you soon.

-  -- - ---o

Next up is Night Owl surprising me with a nice lot of Dodgers and Padres.

Always happy to take anyone's Kershaw & Kemp dupes. Some good ones here.

Some Padres old-timers. I'm pretty sure that's the 2nd same Goose Gossage pin Greg has sent me.. but hey, I'm happy to have an extra now because that means I can put this one on my backpack rather than treat it as a collectable!

(Yeah, it's about time for me to retire this backpack. The zippers just aren't cutting it anymore.)

A few younger Padres.

And a couple sparkly 2011 Topps parallels. A Bowman mini Met breaks up the LA/SD card parade. Very happy to receive this shimmering Michael Conforto. Bummed he got sent down recently. He was doing great to start the year, but had been in a big slump for the past month. Hopefully he gets his issues worked out and is back in NY soon.

Thanks, Greg! I'll be sending you out a return soon.

-  - - ---o

Finally for today, here's a 2-card PWE from Jedi Jeff. See, fitting into the "tension" theme of the post, he and Night Owl kinda went at it recently. Hey, disagreements happen, and sometimes they get a little ugly, even in relatively chill crannies of the internet such as the cardsphere.

Here we've got a Gwynn I'm pretty sure I needed from 2000 Topps, and a red wave refractor of a random Rockies prospect from 2014 Bowman, Kyle Parker. Beautiful card, but what makes it extra awesome?...

Christmas Card!

Very cool.. thanks, Jeff! I was able to scrape up a return PWE for you already, so expect that shortly.

Thanks again to Jeff and the two Gregs for the great cards!

Friday, June 24, 2016

I got a LeVar Burton auto.. but you don't have to take MY word for it.

Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation.. now that's a frickken impressive triple crown of a résumé right there. Sprinkle in a dash of Big Bang Theory and Family Guy, and you're a pop culture icon, no question.

I wanted to snag a LeVar Burton auto for my collection, and I recently made that dream come true.

Pretty cool! And on-card! LeVar's got a pretty spectacular, intricate signature.. always nice to see as opposed to a couple quick squiggles. Very happy to add this one to my collection.

While I don't specifically remember LeVar's Family Guy guest appearance (I guess it's just these couple lines in a big TNG cast sequence?), I'll take it. I won't lie and say I'm a big Star Trek guy, but growing up, my mom was a loyal Next Gen watcher, so the show (and Geordi La Forge) is close to me whether I want it to be or not. Personally, I'm more of a Reading Rainbow fan. As far as educational kid shows, it was right there with Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood as the best around in the 80s.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend, guys.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

a box of 2014 Panini Classics

I've posted about busting the two hobby boxes of 2016 Topps Archives I pre-ordered a few months ago (see the best pull of my life and the Fantastical Machine trilogy), but I also grabbed something else to help bump me past the free shipping threshold at Dave & Adam's: a box of 2014 Panini Classics Baseball. It's a pretty nice mid-level release that seems to be a one-and-done product, as there was no 2015 version and no word yet of a 2016 release on the horizon either. I've seen 2014 Classics on blogs and gotten 2 or 3 cards from eBay or traders, but hadn't ripped any of it myself. I even put it on my Christmas list last year, but Santa passed on it, so I had to take matters into my own hands. I'm glad I did, as it turned out to be a pretty solid box for me.

This would have been a nice box for a Red Sox fan. Not a bad David Ortiz jersey/bat dual relic /99. He's having a great farewell season, despite being in a lot of pain.
And while this is the Cecchini brother I don't actively collect, I don't mind adding a /299 auto of Gavin's big brother Garin. He was sold to the Brewers after last season, and has spent all of 2016 in AAA so far.

My other 2 hits were definitely solid, as well.. a couple auto/relic cards each #'d /299.
Nick Castellanos is a fine young third baseman who seems to get better every year.
Jameson Taillon made his MLB debut earlier this month and looks to be an important arm in the Pirates rotation going forward. My biggest complaint about 2014 Panini Classics (well, besides no logos) is that all the autos seem to be stickers.. all the autos I got, at least.

I got a couple Timeless Tributes rainbow foil (or whatever) parallels #'d /149, both guys I kinda-sorta collect a little-- Billy Hamilton and Mark McGwire-- so that's cool I guess.

Here are a couple big names you're not likely to pull from a new pack of Topps cards. It's still odd to me that Topps has been shunning Bonds, while giving love in recent products to Canseco, McGwire, Clemens, and Palmeiro. Maybe Barry won't sign with them or something?

I was happy to come up with a fat stack of keepers for my collection, a few of which are shown here.
Looks like Panini got a little out of control photoshopping out stuff, and photoshopped out Mike Schmidt's mustache! LOL

While most of my interest was with the old-timers, there are plenty of cool active stars in there too.

So yeah, this was a fun box to bust.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hawaiian vacation recap (Cardboard in Paradise)

Aloha! I'm back home after a week in Hawaii. And while this is a big "showing vacation photos" post that some might find boring, don't worry, there are some baseball cards in it that you can scroll down to!

In fact..

One of the best things about going on vacation is coming home to a sweet mail-hold mail-day. Some eBay buys and unexpected trades. Not pictured, a blaster of 2016 Diamond Kings and a couple PS3 Sonic the Hedgehog games. Look for these cards to be featured in upcoming posts.

First we went to Maui for a couple full days. Maybe you remember several months back when I talked about going through the ordeal of listening to a timeshare presentation? That was to get our lodging in Maui. But the place they original gave us was a freakin' barebones hostel. We weren't feeling that, so we paid to upgrade to get a nicer hotel. And that cost of upgrading basically negated anything we were "getting" from our timeshare presentation experience. So lame. Never again! Just a warning to you guys if anyone tries to talk you into sitting through a timeshare presentation in order to get something, punch them in the nuts/tits and briskly walk away!

Let me state it clearly for search results: Casablanca Express sucks! They screwed us. Do not trust them. The vast majority of timeshare companies probably suck, but I'm specifically talking about these guys. Big waste of time and money. The hotel we ended up getting wasn't terrible, but not great. For one thing there was no AC and it was hot and muggy there. Tough to get a good night sleep. Also, the tap water tasted terrible. Oh, and while I'm complaining, not related to the timeshare place, but the flight really did a number on my ears; for a couple days, it was like I was wearing ear protection or something as I waited for my ears to "pop" or whatever.

Ok, with that negativity out of the way, let's get back to the positive vibes.

Our first adventure out in Maui involved snorkeling at Honolua Bay. Really pretty bay with beautiful coral reefs.

Lots of neat-looking fish around there, though the highlight of the stuff we saw was an octopus who would swim around for a bit then change color and camouflage on the coral with only his blinking eyes (or gill things maybe they were?) giving him away. (Underwater stuff not pictured in this post, as we didn't get an underwater camera this time around.) No turtle sightings, unfortunately, but I saw so many last time we were in Maui a couple years ago on our honeymoon that I was ok with missing them this trip.

There are a lot of wild chickens around.

Gotta include some obligatory sunset photos.

More sunsets later.

Not pictured was a hike down to Olivine Pools, which are some natural pools by the ocean. My wife wasn't up for the treacherous hike down volcanic rock to get to them, but I didn't want the twisty drive to get there to be in vain, so I went myself at her urging. It was pretty cool, though I did get a couple small booboos from the sharp rocks.

Here's something for the beer guys out there. We hunted out a few breweries on our vacation. This place was tricky to locate, but I'm glad we did.

Wallet Card Tony makes an appearance here with a flight of beers from Kohola Brewery, all of which were tasty (I think the lager was the only one of the ten that I wasn't really into). They had various games at each table. My wife beat me 2 games to 1 at Uno.

On our last night in Maui, we caught the sunset from lounge chairs at the hotel.

Gorgeous! (#nofilter on any of these either.)

Oh, and one fun card-related mission was to send a PWE to the Tim Wallach guy so he could finally check the state of Hawaii off his map of places that've sent him Wallachs. Hopefully my envelope successfully made it to New Mexico. I'll be intently keeping an eye on his blog!

Anyways, that was Maui.

We took a puddle jumper flight over to the island of Kauai for the second half of our vacation.

We arrived a couple hours before check-in at the hotel, so we found a brewery and grabbed lunch. My food doesn't look all that appetizing in the pic, but it was a very decent bowl of mac & cheese. To drink, I got the Kauaibock and later had a Beer Co IPA, both very tasty.

Then we did a little shopping for our stay. Not to sound like a snob, but I go to Walmart like once a decade. Seriously, just 3 or 4 times stepping foot in one in my life. When my wife suggested there was one close by and could be convenient for our needs, the thought of "baseball cards!" jumped in my head and I was happy to go along with that plan.

The card section was really small, and as for baseball, all I saw were a blaster or two of Gypsy Queen and Series 1. I wasn't temped by either, and it's a good thing, because my one piece of luggage was a carry-on backpack that was already stuffed to the max. But what I really had on my mind was some cheesy breadsticks.

Success! Though our hotel room didn't have an oven, I was able to convince my wife to give it a go with the microwave. She kicked it up by wrapping bacon around the breadsticks. Not the best meal, but hit the spot for cheap vacation eating.

As for the cards, well, I was bummed I didn't get anybody I collect. Still though, Noah S. and Donaldson are solid names to pull. I'll at least hang onto one of them as a cardboard memento from my trip. Wacha's available.

The Kauai hotel was way better than the Maui hotel. The AC was very appreciated! They had 2 pools in addition to being right on the beach. I amused myself in the pool for about 45 minutes throwing a bottle cap and trying to swim after it and catch it before it hit the bottom. Unfortunately, that day I forgot to put sunblock on my forehead (thinking, oh, I'll wear my hat today, no need). So I got a little sunburnt on my forehead, but it wasn't too bad. And thankfully, I made it off the island otherwise unscathed (my wife wasn't quite so lucky, getting a bit burnt that same day, though it could have been worse).

This is the beach at the hotel. We played in the water our first evening there and had an incredible time getting tossed around by the waves.

This was a different beach we drove to. We did some boogie boarding then hit the man-made "pond" near the middle of the photo.

Some more beach photos from by the hotel.

Had some awesome boogie boarding there.

A brief break from marital harmony, my wife and I had a little spat and ended up taking some respective alone time. I spent an hour or two enjoying the beach and observing several little sand crabs do their thing. This brave guy was the closest to me. I named him Rodney and we had some laughs. I'd throw a little rock or something by his hole in the sand and watch him scurry over and check out the rock before retreating back near his hole.

Some of the more interesting "rocks" I found on the beach. The top one feels/looks like it used to be a little plastic sheep toy (I'd like to think it dates back to the 60s and washed up from France, but what do I know). The one on the left almost looks like it could be a petrified shark tooth. The one on the right is just a skull-looking thing (ghost shark tooth!). I didn't take these home with me, but rather returned them to the beach from whence they came.

Full disclosure, I wasn't listening to a cool band like Rocket From the Crypt on my iPod at the time, but rather guilty-pleasure material such as The Simpsons Sing the Blues and Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl. My wife soon joined me, met Rodney the crab, and all was right in paradise again.

The hotel had a restaurant with a worthwhile happy hour. The live music in the evening was nice too.

Hawaii is pretty.

Our big adventure on Kauai was an off-road tour. You can pay extra to drive the ATV, but we were perfectly content to just enjoy the ride. The tour included a couple stops at great viewpoints.

That's my lucky shirt I'm wearing. It used to be white, but now it's a nice mud brown. I've had it since high school. I dyed it blue once back then, so this isn't the first time it's changed color. Anyway, yeah, this tour was on our 2-year anniversary, by the way. In addition to the ATV ride through mud to pretty views, the tour included a decent little hike through the forest and to a couple ziplines (hence our gear in the above photo). It was a first for both of us, and we had a lot of fun. My wife's a little afraid of heights, but she was ok on the line. The suspension bridge between the two ziplines was the scariest part for her, funny enough.

There are many feral cats in Hawaii. This girl was a sweetie, well-known to the tour guides Nate and Wyatt. She basically lives near the spot where the tours stop for lunch, so she probably gets plenty of scraps and petting from tourists.

After the zip lines, the tour took us down to this cool swimming hole with a waterfall. On the right you can see a little platform for jumping ~8 feet into the water. I got in a few fun jumps off it. I'm not really afraid of heights, but it's still a little freaky. There were also innertubes for those who'd rather just wade around lazily while the guides prepared the lunches on a nearby picnic table. In all, there were about a dozen people in our tour group. Most of the other folks were fine, though there was one annoying family that induced a few eye rolls from the rest of us.

This, our last evening in Hawaii, also included a swanky anniversary dinner at a place called Cafe Coco. We did a lot of drinking on this trip, btw, as my face seems to indicate. ("Hey, we're on vacation ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ") I'm going to need to dry out for a few days!

So there were the bulletpoints from our vacation.

The flight home provided one last great sunset. Oh, and the in-laws sprung for first class tickets for us, so the 5.5 hour flight wasn't bad at all. Lots of booze and entertainment. Movies I watched during the vacation (either on the plane or in the hotels before bed) included Hail Caesar, The Revenant, Dirty Grandpa, Hateful Eight, Zootopia, Zoolander 2, Ride Along 2. They were all fine/good.

We got back into Portland late Sunday night but there was still one more bit of excitement before arriving to our house. Our friend Eli picked us up from the airport, and on the way driving us home, she got distracted and accidentally ran a red light. Another car came mere inches from T-boning us. One of the freakiest moments of recent memory for me.. seeing it coming and just bracing for impact (that thankfully didn't come thanks to the two cars just barely maneuvering away in time). My poor dog Annie (Eli was dog-sitting for us) got thrown around a bit, but she's tough and was able to shake it off. Very nearly could have been a gnarly collision. That really would have put a damper on our vacation. But thankfully everyone was ok, just a little shaken up. Got home pretty tired, but still stayed up past 1 a.m. to watch an incredibly brutal episode of Game of Thrones. Great way to wrap up a hell of a week. I also had taken off Monday from work, so I had a day to decompress.

Gotta admit this post was largely for myself, as I tend to forget details about the places I go and things I do. My wife is the opposite of me as she remembers crap like this for years, yet frequently misplaces her keys and stuff like that. I'm a lot better at remembering where I put stuff, rarely losing things. So anyways, this is a post for posterity that I can use to refresh my memory years down the line (Knock wood my blog doesn't get hacked, or Blogger goes belly-up, or something like that causes this post to disappear), remembering this vacation celebrating my wife's grad school graduation, and our two-year anniversary, and our new jobs/promotions, and my late grandfather's birthday, and you know, whatever else. My 3 year blogoversary was in there too. With the exception of most of the first part, those Archives Adventures posts were written at the end of a long Hawaiian day (though I obviously took the photos before I left). Didn't get a lot of pageviews (probably partially due to being published at the middle of the night), but were fun to write. If you missed them.. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3.

But hey, I hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading and take care.