Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Spookymilk Survivor X — (Optional) Challenge #10: Misleading Logline

The Spookymilk Survivor writer’s challenge for this week was optional, which was a nice touch during the holiday week. The goal was to write a letter from someone totally misunderstanding the basis of a movie.

This was another idea that came out of nowhere, but once I latched on to it, I knew exactly how I wanted to develop it:

Dear Timmy:

I am so proud of you for being selected for the exchange program! I know you will enjoy your three months away from home. My goodness, I was 28 before I left the country, and that was just to Winnipeg – you’re only 17 and going all the way to Thailand!

I didn’t want my favorite great nephew to go without a gift, so I looked to see if that nice Rick Steves from the PBS made a video for visiting Bangkok, but the store did not have one. I did find one by someone else, though I’m not sure who Emanuelle is, but she had a lot of videos so she apparently gets around. Anyway, the helpful man at the video store was sure that you’d learn a lot from it.

I’ve also sent a book of stamps, so you can write to me often. Take care, and fly as fast as the plane!

Love and kisses,
Aunt Ella

The video is of course Emanuelle in Bangkok, which is not at all what Aunt Ella wants to be giving to Timmy, regardless of the video store worker’s recommendation.

And the big payoff: RESULTS. Hey hey, my first immunity! The judges’ comments:

K: The sweet, familial tone here really drives the gag home. Is there really one with the word “Bangkok” in the title? Subtle!

DK: I laughed a lot at this one. I probably like it so much in part because it’s the only one that goes for a praise angle, but the naivete is both believable and hilarious, and it doesn’t drag out too much either.

So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice…

Merry Christmas!

There’s another mouth to feed in the Runner household!
Belle is a 4-yr old Dachshund/Miniature Pinscher mix (Doxie-pin). She loves car rides, barks very infrequently, and is a better fielder than Delmon Young ever will be. And K is already her best friend.

Merry Christmas everyone from the Runner family!

Christmas Firsts

A couple more trade packages arrived under the wire before the holidays, and in them were a few firsts for me:

  • first eTopps card
  • first Pacific GU or AU code
  • first Allen & Ginter code card
  • first trade with Napkin Doon and Stealing Home

From Napkin Doon of The Adventures of Napkin Doon (obviously), for a few Rangers cards I upgraded my 1970 Kelloggs Harmon card, and got the aforementioned Pacific relic and eTopps cards.

clockwise, from top left: 1970 Kelloggs #61 Harmon Killebrew; 2003 Topps eTopps #5 Torii Hunter; 2001 Pacific Private Stock Game Used Gear #105 Matt Lawton (bat)

Meanwhile, from Stealing Home (All Trade Bait, All The Time…) came some 2011 A&G Twins that I needed plus a couple other goodies, in exchange for random HOFers and Dodgers.

clockwise, from top left: 1997 Pacific Prism #44 Marty Cordova; 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter code card #350 Joe Mauer; 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter #48 Francisco Liriano; 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Cognac #99 Ben Revere

Thanks guys, and happy holidays!

Holiday Friday Random 10

Time to point WMP at the Christmas folder on the external HD…

  1. “A Song and a Christmas Tree” – Andy Williams, The Andy Williams Christmas Album
  2. “It Came upon a Midnight Clear” – The Salvation Army Brass, Christmas in Brass 2009
  3. “Comfort and Joy (Thomas)” – The Salvation Army Brass, Christmas in Brass 2008
  4. “Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing” – Mannheim Steamroller, A Fresh Aire Christmas
  5. “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heav’nly Light” – Glad, An Acapella Christmas
  6. Jingle Bells” – Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Jingle All the Way
  7. “The First Noel” – Tom Stacy, The nu-view Christmas
  8. Holly and the Ivy” – Jon Anderson, 3 Ships
  9. Variations on the Kanon by Johann Pachelbel” – George Winston, December
  10. “Angels We Have Heard on High” – London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chex Holiday Classics

Happy holidays, everyone!

Santa’s Helper Has A Name: goyboy

Back in October I made a big purchase from goyboy at his Blujay Online Market website, and on a whim I recently went back and took a look at what he had there.  Besides several more Twins cards I added to my cart, he fished through some others boxes and when all was said and done, the 200+ cards I bought from him (for a little over $60) topped the 149 cards from the previous purchase.

There is such a variety of great cards, I had to show a sampling from each brand.

clockwise, from top left: 2001 Topps Stadium Club Super Teams Twins; 2004 Topps Fall Classic #FC1987 Twins vs. Cardinals; 2008 Topps Opening Day Tattoo TC Bear; 1993 Topps Rockies Inaugural Year #200 Kirby Puckett; 2003 Topps Total Total Topps #TT17 Torii Hunter; 2003 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Trent Oeltjen [0890/2003]

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Organizational Behavior

In the past month there were posts by other bloggers regarding how they organize their collections. This (finally) inspired me to finish a couple organization projects that definitely needed completing.

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Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #9: Cliffhanger

The Spookymilk Survivor writer’s challenge for this week was fairly straightforward — cliffhanger! In 500 words or less, set up a story that ends in a tense cliffhanger.

I have no idea where the seed for my writing started, but with some careful mental direction, I was able to bring it to a head under the 500 word limit, allowing me to flesh it out a bit more.  After some added details and the usual spit-and-polish, this is what emerged:

Detective Robertson fidgeted at the back of the open warehouse. When Three Precincts had their monthly police auction, the auction house is contracted to handle everything, but some late-coming information had the boys on alert, and Robertson was assigned to blend in and keep an eye open. So far, besides a slightly larger crowd than normal, Robertson didn’t see any unusual activity, and his interest was waning. But as the bidding started on the current lot and almost a dozen numbered paddles were raised, his instincts pulled him to attention.

The typical police auction included drug seizure items, unclaimed stolen material, and even some surplus police equipment. As Robertson checked the page he was handed when he had entered the door, his eyes wandered down to the item up for bid, Lot #17: Four Hummel Figurines.

“Who will bid $400?” Cherilynn Lei raised her paddle, as did several others. An experienced collector of porcelains, she quietly hoped that the bidding died down soon, although she was prepared to go higher. One of the figurines caught her eye as being uncommon enough that she did not have its name off the top of her head, but she knew it would fetch a tidy sum on the Hummel boards.

“$650?” Ella Stimssen quietly sobbed into her handkerchief as her son Jens dutifully lifted his number. She appreciated that he had taken the morning off from his work to help her, but seeing many other bidders also raise their paddles, she knew that her limit would be reached far before the bidding was finished. The thought of her daughter selling her family’s keepsakes for drugs and now of those treasures being lost forever to strangers started another round of tears.

“$950? Do I hear $950?” Dieter Kraus noted that there were still a handful of bidders who continued to bid on this lot. A drop of sweat tracked down the side of his face; not because he was nervous, but because in spite of the warmth of the auction crowd, he was still wearing his coat — a field jacket that hid the bulge of the snub-nosed Mauser HSc strapped to his side. If anything, he was excited, because another of the lost “Hitler Hummels” had been found. No, Dieter was not nervous. If the bidding went above what he was authorized to spend, he and his sidearm “Klaus” would have a little “Herz zu Herz” with the winning bidder after the auction.

Robertson watched the bidders attentively as the bidding rose above $1500, and four of them were still going strong. As he was easing his way into the crowd, the sound of the gavel jolted him, and he began edging towards the location where the auctioneer was pointing, keenly aware of the service revolver tucked under his belt at the small of his back under his loose Hawaiian shirt.

“Lot #17 sold, for $2250 to #34!” A commotion was breaking out just as Detective Robertson got there and found himself standing near the winning bidder.

One aspect of David Lynch films that I like is that he imbues every character with some interesting quirk, and although I didn’t have the word limit to do this well, but I still enjoy introducing characters into a story. And while I initially was just focusing the cliffhanger on “who will win the auction?”, I liked the Ronin-like guns-in-crowds direction that I folded in. And the winning bidder was #34: we still miss you, Kirby.

Anyway, RESULTS. And how about that — high score, way to go team SPOILER ALERT! Sadly, another non-submission as well, at least on one of the other teams this time. Judges’ takes:

K: Wow, another winner. Cut and paste my notes from the last one. Though it isn’t an action scene, everything else is the same; our characters and their stories are interesting, and we’re heading for something big. 5

DK: This is another one that I think has a strong effort to set up multiple pieces that could pay off in multiple ways, and I think the characters here are a little more defined. Or I just got a huge kick out of the German joke. 5

Many thanks to Mo & K for their input and encouragement.