Monthly Archives: September 2010

This Trade Will Rule

It figures that a trailblazer like Thorzul from Thorzul Will Rule would be the first to take me up on my relic swap offer, and in a short time we had ourselves a trade. In trying to decide what else to throw in with the Gallardo relic card, I tried to think what else he might want that he might not already have. In looking through my Brewers stack, I decided on some UD Documentary (I know he loves those!) and 2010 Opening Day cards to maximize my postage. Thorzul, on the other hand, one-upped me:

clockwise, from top left: 2006 Upper Deck Gold #898 Johan Santana checklist [149/299]; 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History Stadium Scenes #SS-JM Jim Mauer/Metrodome; 2006 Upper Deck Gold #697 Luis Rodriguez [233/299]; 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch #SW-MO Justin Morneau

Serial # cards? Seriously? Well, I love whittling away at the parallel sets, so that was a pretty sweet swap, dude. I owe you!


Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #16: Genre Swap

Week 16 of Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge again has one fewer former The Winner Group member (this week is for you, Eric B.B.. The current challenge: take a famous movie scene and rewrite it in a different genre, with the same characters coming to more-or-less the same conclusion.

Once I finally came up with the eventual concept for this one, I was really happy with the end results. Still, wasn’t quite good enough.

Originally I wanted to do some scene as a Shakespearean adaptation, and considered the mayor’s office scene from Ghostbusters (Shakespeare was a master at insulting people) and other movies, then decided to scan through the Top 250 movie list at to get ideas. I came across several military movies, then my eyes fell on #122 The Wizard of Oz. What if I did the initial throne room scene from The Wizard of Oz with a military movie genre feel? I tracked down a copy of the script, and as I began some initial modifications, I noticed that it was emerging with a The Dirty Dozen feel to it, so I intentionally made it a pseudo-mashup of the two movies. Here is the end result:
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An Other Worldly Exchange

In my eternal quest for someone new to trade with, I contacted Dan from  The Other World. This was low-hanging fruit, since I already had a spreadsheet of Phillies cards available for trade from some previous trades with other Phillies traders. We were able to come up with a couple dozen cards apiece to swap, and another mutually beneficial exchange was in the books.

clockwise, from top left: 2003 Bowman Gold #15 A.J. Pierzynski; 2006 Upper Deck Masterpieces Black Border #103 Jack Morris; 2003 Bowman Uncirculated Box Topper #173 Justin Arneson [163/250]; 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter #261 Torii Hunter, that’s his “O” face

Dan hit the wantlists with some Bowman, A&G, and Goudy, plus some nice other items like the ones shown above. Thanks again for the trade, dude!

Nox Strigiformes Cardboardus

Okay, I’m sure that’s not Latin for Night Owl Cards, but close enough. I threw a query out there concerning a Mauer Documentary card he had posted, and it turned into a mini trade, and although it wasn’t exactly a team dump, Night Owl hit my wantlists nicely from among the other random cards that he sent, the treat being a Red Foil opening day card (see below) — didn’t even know of this parallel.

clockwise, from top left: 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP55 Tobias Streich, who is this guy?!; 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP76 James Beresford; 2008 Upper Deck Documentary #3860 Joe Mauer; 2006 Topps Opening Day Red Foil #127 Shannon Stewart [772/2006]

Thanks, Nox Strigiformes — hopefully some of the cards I sent you have come home to roost, too.

Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #15: Interrogation

R.I.P., The Winner Group — now in our 15th week of Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge, the remaining two teams have been dispanded and we’ve all been thrown together into a free-for-all. Still, this week’s for you erstwhile The Winner Groupie, New Guy. The latest challenge: create an interrogation scene between a person and one or more interrogators, the only caveat being that the tables have to be turned on the interrogator at the end.

To paraphrase Spinal Tap, it’s a very fine line between clever and immunity (results) — the vote jockeying is getting interesting now.

I stretched the definition of “interrogation” a bit; here is what I put together for this week:

This writer’s challenge sucks. Your scores have been on a real downslide the past few weeks; okay Numbnutso The Magnificent, what magic are you going to pull out of your hat this week?

Thanks. Thanks a lot. Why are you blaming me? YOU are supposed to be my muse, aren’t you? Nothing to turn in this week, I guess.

No you don’t – don’t turn this around on ME! Your scores aren’t helped by your screwing up the formatting, writing like you’re Roget’s worst enemy, confusing the judges with bewildering constructs, and cloaking my outstanding concepts in a mantle of non-grammatical turpitude. Haven’t I given you a something wonderful to work with every week? Haven’t I??

“Wonderful” is a stretch. So, you’ve already had a couple days to ruminate on this one – what have you got?

How about a 4-year old girl as the interrogator, and she repeatedly asks her father, “Why?” to everything he says?

What?! How many weeks are you going to continue to lose Beau before we’re finally voted out?

Ha ha. Well then, how about Data interrogating Deanna Troi about living as a human – he can begin each line with “Inquiry?” Throw in all the classic STtNG clichés, like Picard being French and always surrendering, the weekly holodeck incident, Riker hitting on every female (or questionably female) alien, or Geordi never getting the girl (sorry, Dr. Leah Brahms as a gal pal could NEVER have happened – that’s why it’s called “fiction”). Could you work with that without butchering it?

Well, that’s right in my wheelhouse. I COULD, if it was a good idea. It’s not.

I’m just getting warmed up; I’ve got a million of ‘em. How about if the interrogator was a psychiatrist? He could grill his patient about sexual repression, Munchausen syndrome, Oedipus complex, use a little hypnosis, oh — and be sure to mention “diagnosis must precede treatment” somewhere in there. That could be killer, right?

But what would be the reveal at the end? No, sorry, I’d be in over my head with that one.

It’s always something with you, isn’t it? Okay, how about someone submitting a book idea – no, wait, a movie script (Spooky would like that!) and the interrogator is the prospective producer. He gets grilled about various aspects of his screenplay, and eventually the producer ultimately passes because there is no catchy twist at the end of the storyline. That has promise, doesn’t it?

Boy, I’d have to really get the details right, and I don’t know the industry well enough to do that. Besides, what’s the big deal with this idea? What’s the reveal at the end?

It’s M. Night Shyamalan. Get it?

Ha ha. Lame.

Listen bucko, I don’t need to take any more of this. How well do you think you can do on your own?

Well, if you had been paying attention, you’d have noticed that I’ve been writing down this entire exchange. Who needs you? Go away ‘til week.

Wait, what?! Oh, snap!

I decided that it would be fun if my interrogation was between my “muse” and me, about a topic idea for this week’s challenge. Like I said, it’s not exactly an interrogation, but I was careful to end each of my muse’s exchanges with a question, to keep the idea intact. What made this enjoyable for me is that this was a sort of “meta-submission” which described some of the thoughts I kicked around half-heartedly before settling on this one. Once I considered that my “reveal” would be that my muse was foiled by the actual exchange being the interrogation, I decided this would be what I submitted.

One other aspect that made this entertaining was that I got to poke a little fun at our omnipotent judges, in an obvious way. (And no, Beau, any episode in which Geordi gets the girl can not be considered canon!)

Anyone Looking for Relics? And a Swap with The Sandlot

First, the relics: hopefully everyone has a friendly neighborhood baseball card shop like I have here in St. Chas. County, MO. Mark, the shop owner, has a large box of a variety of relics — stuff like 2010 Peak Performance, some Goudy, a few manu-patches — you name it, even some football relics. If you have any Twins relics or autos that I need, or any Cardinals relics or autos that Mark would like (particularly current Cardinals), we will be happy to swap for whatever player/team relic you might be looking for that he has. No guarantees on particular players, but a few cards from pretty much every MLB team is represented in the pile of cards (and again, a few football relics). Drop me an email or a comment here, and I can see what cards there are that you might want and what kind of trade can be done. Scans can be made as well, if wanted. (Oh, and please look through my wantlists, and ask what else I might have for trade that you are looking for.)

Now, I return you to your regularly scheduled post…

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A Twins Treasure Trove Turns Up from Tulsa

Not long ago, I responded to a team dump request from Cameron at Reds and more…, and started pulling Reds cards to send in return. When I got back from my latest business trip (to Omaha, of course), a big ol’ box of Twins was waiting for me. Upon opening it up and seeing three autos and an Xfractor laying on the top, I knew that I’d have to swing by my local card shop and augment my return package!

clockwise, from top left: 2009 Topps Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Signs of the Future #SOF-OS Oswaldo Sosa; 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Autograph mini #AGA-DS Denard Span; 2009 Upper Deck Starquest Black Ultra Rare #SQ-40 Francisco Liriano, okay, that’s an intense stare; 2003 Topps Xfractor #67 Corey Koskie [47/50]

While it was a team dump, and contained the expected mid-80s to mid-90s junk wax, there was a whole lot more than that. There were enough late-90s and 2000s cards from my wantlists to make this an exciting trade. Especially appreciated were the several Bowman cards, 2010 Allen & Ginters, a couple serial #’d cards, and a variety of base cards that I was missing.
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Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #14: Meeting of the Mimes

We made it past unlucky #13 are are now on the fourteenth week of Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge. This week’s for you, Andrew. The challenge? Present a dialogue-free confrontation between two people, in 200-500 words, ending with one of the two in a much better position than at the start, and the other in a much worse position.

Another one that was more work than I would have liked, but I was moderately pleased with how it came out (results), but you know it’s getting down to the wire when The Winner Group as a team scores a solid 4 and still has to eliminate another writer.

The non-speaking confrontation, as I pictured it:


At the sound of the starting gun, Jerome launched into the huge plate of bratwurst with both hands, stuffing the one in his left hand into his mouth, while the one in his right awaited its turn. Now that the competition had started, he found he had no time to be nervous anymore, even though this was his first public contest. Jerome’s friends on the HS football team were always amazed at his eating “powers” and had finally egged him on to go pro, even if this was only the quad-county fair. And actually, he had a pretty good feeling he could win.

Continuing to munch-and-swallow his seventh brat, he was too nervous to look for his friends in the crowd, but he did take a few furtive glances at one of the other six contestants on the stage, Contestant #5, who had travelled over 200 miles to participate – an obvious ringer. The guy was short and wiry, with mousy black hair – nothing like Jerome’s 6’2” 225 lb frame. Where does this guy pack it all in? Jerome took a swallow of water to lubricate his throat, then dived into the next brat.

Number 23 going in, number 24 in hand – Jerome was in the zone. As the oldest of six, he had learned to eat quickly, and it was paying off now; Contestant #5’s plate was noticeably higher than his own. It was going to be all Jerome could do to finish his plate (36? Yes, it looks like “just” three dozen were on the plate to start), but with his current lead he knew if his pace flagged a bit, he should still safely finish as the winner. Jerome ignored the crowd noise. Keep chewing! Keep swallowing!

As he began laboriously working the last couple of brats, Jerome once more eyed Contestant #5, who, though he continued to chew unabated, still had four brats left on his plate! Jerome had done it! As he carefully chewed the final brat (36!), he raised his fists in silent victory. He was the first to polish off his plate — and thankfully it ended when it did, because there was NO WAY he could have eaten more; as it was, the last swallow in his mouth was taking its sweet time to engage.

In turning to back to Contestant #5, a puzzled look came over Jerome’s face as the dripping corners of Contestant #5’s still-chewing mouth turned up into a grin, two brats still remaining on his plate. A motion in front of Jerome brought his attention back, where another plate of brats had just been placed. Jerome never did finish that last swallow, as the reality set in: it was not a timed contest, but an endurance contest. Crestfallen, he willed his over-taxed stomach to subside…at least until he could track down his friends and share a generous portion of semi-digested bratwurst with them.

I half-heartedly fiddled with a couple ideas before I came upon the reason for the two combatants to be in a non-speaking situation was because their mouths were full. I decided that within the limits of rules there could be more than just the two main characters, but I intentionally did not refer to any other contestant, judge, assistant, crowd attendee, or friend specifically. As a matter of fact, I also intentionally only referred to the opponent at “Contestant #5” to give him a more unknown quality.

What ended up as difficult for me was the use of names and pronouns; I had to walk through the story a couple times and swap “Jerome” and “he” or “his” in places to I didn’t get too redundant. As far as whether the situations of the two main characters shifted significantly enough from start to end, that’s a matter of judgement. I was just happy to get the thing done and out the door.