Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Hidden Parallels of 1987 Topps

Back in the summer of 2022, I made a bunch of 1991 Fleer "white border" mods. This past summer I was back at harnessing UV rays on cardboard, but this time I turned my attention to the big dawg of the hobby that is 1987 Topps.

While '87 Topps was a bit trickier to work with than '91 Fleer, gotta say I saw some neat results. The tan woodgrain burns down to a mellower gray, with hues of red and blue often coming out. Variances in the design, original ink levels, and bleaching duration can all contribute to how a card ends up looking, resulting in many subtle differences, or revealing several "hidden parallels" (if you wanna get whimsical about it).

This photo gives you an idea of the range we're talking about, with a regular Bo for scale. The Nolan is about as blue as I've gotten any '87, while the Joyner is probably the most red. Drawing on junk is something I've been doing a lot lately as part of my 2023 cardart exploits, so you might assume I manually colored in the borders somehow with ink or paint or something, but nope-- it's a case of solar-powered addition by subtraction.

I had an extra McGriff "Topps rookie" from the Traded set to work with, and eventually ended up with a cool unofficial variation for my PC-- pairing "gold" (unaltered on the left) & "silver".. sort of. Turns out the regular flagship cards on dark stock are easier to work with than white paper stock versions-- I'm talking about Traded, OPC, and tiffany-- which seem to hold onto their color more.

I thought about coming up with cute parallel names... "Birchwood Edition", "Mahogany", "Smoked Wood", "Rosewood", etc... but think I'm ultimately just sticking with bleached border mods.

It's hard to keep the photo unaffected, as the right side of this pink Will Clark shows.

I had been on the fence on whether or not I should put my "cardartist stamp/signature" thing on the backs or leave them untouched. I'm now leaning towards stamping them going forward (as well as the 1991 Fleer mods, which up to now I haven't stamped), if for no other reason than to prevent confusion down the road, as another cardart guy was recently talking to me about. You guys know I'm just here for finding fun in the hobby, not trying to trick or confuse anyone!

Anyways, here are a few more...

I've started adding a few of these to my eBay store, still working on getting a cardart side hustle off the ground by the end of the year. Always happy to talk trades, too.

But one card I've been hoarding for myself so far...

I've ended up with a nice rainbow of the classic Bo Jackson Future Stars card. I usually stick to cheaper cards to deface-- I like to think of them as "quarterbox canvases"-- but am willing to pony up a bit more for this one. Here we have the base, tiffany, (he wasn't in OPC that year), and then some mods of varying hue. 

Not a dupe among them! LOL. The plan was to make some extras to sell/trade, but dang it, I just love 'em and so far they've been different enough that I've been compelled to hang onto them all. I'm tempted to eventually make one more to "complete a page."

In addition to 1987 Topps, I messed around with '86 over the summer a little as well...

Just playing with the big yellow PADRES up top on these. Might be hard to tell on the Flannery, but it's kinda speckled.

1988 Topps gets into the bleach-away-yellow action with this "white stripe" Don Mattingly. A simple yet satisfying (unofficial) variation of a classic baseball card.

Of course I'm still doing some border art here and there, too.

Always loved Ron Gant's '88 Topps Traded card so it's a fun one to work on.

And I've got more new ideas brewing. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Trip to Greece

My wife and I went to Greece last month. My original "live journaling" draft of this post was really just a bunch of complaining leading up to the trip-- hey, I'm a homebody who doesn't like to leave the house if I can help it-- but it turned out to be a very nice vacation so I'm going to delete the intro bitching and just share some pictures I took. A few incoming baseball cards are at the end, too.

We made it to Athens after a super long day of traveling-- basically a "double stuff'd" day for us flying into tomorrow. We stayed in a small, but nice enough room in the city. Lots of honking during the day, but walking distance to historic Greek sites like the above pic.

After 3 days in Athens, we took a ferry over to the island of Naxos. This cat, the apparent reincarnation of Hitler, gave me an inauspicious greeting, violently regurgitating moments after this photo was taken. But overall, the feral kitties were cool and my wife tried to befriend them all. 

After I die of probably a heart attack in a few years, I totally expect her to promptly enter "crazy cat lady" territory. (Only reason we don't have a cat is I'm allergict [sic]).

Had really nice beach day in Naxos. Hell, I even popped off my shirt and ventured out a bit. (No sunburns for me for the trip, thankfully, though my wife did get a little too much sun one day.)

Gorgeous sunset viewing from the roof of our hotel in Naxos.

Naxos was my wife's favorite of our vacation's 3 or 4 legs. The only thing that ruined it for me was an annoying barking dog who lived across the way who did no favors to our already-wacked sleep schedule.

One day we took a bus tour up into the hills to check out some more sights. It was a hot one, nearly 90 degrees American. Got some awesome caramel ice cream in a small town, checked out an ancient olive oil pressing place, watched some pottery get made, hit another nice beach. Another highlight was seeing a couple donkeys hanging out. I mean, I know there are donkeys back in the states, but still..

Just a little off-center on the wallet card photo with this Naxos landmark known as Apollo Temple's entrance (Portara).

Of course I gotta do the traditional dipping-of-the-wallet-card in any body of water I encounter in my travels. Aegean Sea here.

After that we took another ferry over to Santorini, another Greek island.

Our place in Santorini had a personal hot tub in the back balcony. That was pretty swanky. Wallet card Tony didn't get dipped, but makes an appearance nonetheless.

Perhaps my favorite moment of the trip, I was just getting out after a soak, looking up at the skyline of illuminated church towers when all of a sudden everything flickered and went dark. Cool, surreal moment.

The power came back on after an hour or so. We had some downloaded Simpsons episodes on a iPad to help wait out the outage. Then later in the wee hours of the morning, my bad luck with neighbors disrupting peaceful sleep continued yet again, when the occupants of the room next door cranked up loud music for a while. groan.

My wife is more of the food photographer, occasionally snapping pics before we'd dig in, but the one food I photographed was this calzone I got for lunch one day. I'll keep fond memories in my heart for years to come of "the terrific calzoné I had back in the old country." Sure, that might be more of an Italian thing, but whatever. Had some nice baklava, too, and a little ouzo. Did I mention the winery tour in Santorini? That was a lot of fun. Chatted with some fellow American couples there via cruise. They had to rush back to the ship after the last stop, but lucky for us, our hotel was a 5 minute walk up the road so we were able to hang back and take our time.

Here's one last beach pic from when we were killing time on our last day in Santorini before a short flight back to Athens where we spent one last night in Greece in a weird airbnb type place (I was expecting a standard hotel room, but it was more like somebody's house who wasn't there) that only had one little trash can (in the bathroom)-- Oh yeah, one crazy thing about Greece is the plumbing isn't great so people don't flush their TP but rather throw it away. God bless the U.S.A!

Then the next morning we took a crazy taxi ride to the airport-- and btw, I'm really glad we didn't end up renting a car because the roads are often insane. Big old flight back to DC then a short layover and a big flight back to Portland. That must have literally been the longest day of my life, packing several hours onto the standard 24.

Now I've been home over a week and finally back to a decent sleep schedule. Honestly I'm fine not traveling again for the rest of my life other than the occasional trip to Hawaii (and we'll probably hit Canada at some point since I've got a passport now and it's not too far), but maybe my wife'll be able to talk me into another overseas vacation one of these years.

-  - --o

Now let's squeeze in some incoming cards.

I got a nice PWE from gcrl shortly before my trip that I wasn't able to mention yet. Here we've got some vintage set needs for me plus a pink mini Ryan Helsley RC which is of interest to me because...

it's a Christmas Card!

Great stuff.. thank you, my friend! I hope my return was sufficient. (I really need to build up my trade fodder).

-   - - --o

When I came home, I didn't have too much of a "mailhold mailday" bonanza to dive into, but I think I received a couple small eBay pickups and one box from Best Bubble Bob which was pretty neat.

Thanks to this lot of 1992 Leaf Black Gold, I've passed 75% complete with my parallel setbuild. I've never been much of a binder guy, but I might have to page up the set eventually. Damn near every card is a work of art in that black and gold frame.

Bob knows the Four G's to my heart/collection-- Gwynns, girls, glow-in-the-darks, and Gavins.

Even a miscut Pee-Wee card. I've ripped a lot of this 1988 set and can't recall seeing one so off center, making it a great addition to my "super OCD master set" of this product where any excuse to consider a card "unique" works.

Uncut magazine cards! Lots of good ones here. Tempted to cut this into separate cards.

Finally, a sealed San Diego Chicken board game from the early 80s. That'll kick my little PC of the legendary mascot up a notch!

If I had kids (or if there were cards in it), I'd be tempted to open it up and give it a go, but as it stands I'll plan to leave it in "collectable" condition.

pic from eBay

The star of the game are the little rubber chickens, which I had to find a picture of for curiosity's sake.

Thank you, Bob! I was already in your debt and now I'll really need to work up a respectable return soon.

That'll wrap up this long post. Thanks for reading!