Monthly Archives: December 2011

Gifts From Three Wisemen

We’re not talking gold, frankincense, and myrrh here; we’re not even talking Topps Gold, Frank Quilici, and Mauer, neither.

This past week I sent out five different packages, and none were to the three guys that sent these packages to me. I’m guessing that a lot of us card collecting bloggers out there are making a year-end effort to clear the trade piles off the desk. Well, now that my various Christmas musical responsibilities at church are pretty much over, I can see about picking up the rest of the cards I need to fill out these three trade return packages and drop them in the mail with the last minute holiday rush. Sounds like a plan, anyway.

I’ve had several trades with flywheels at Cardboard Collections, and I know many of you have as well. I didn’t know UD made magazine inserts for Tuff Stuff until flywheels posted about them, but now I (maybe) have all the Twins from the set. Plus a few other nice cards.

clockwise, from top left: 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Green Xfractor #BCP199 Manuel Soliman; 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen red-back mini #286 Jason Kubel; 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen mini #307 Danny Valencia; 2006 Upper Deck Tuff Stuff Magazine insert #TSUD-45 Justin Morneau; 2006 Upper Deck Tuff Stuff Magazine insert #TSUD-48 Johan Santana

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NCIS: Duryea, PA [2011 Topps Update]

Here’s a great card from 2011 Topps Update. It has a cool photo: bright colors, action shot, foreground image, and I like the horizontal format.

2011 Topps Update #177 Rene Tosoni

Now the question is, can we identify exactly what play is captured on this card? What can we tell right off the bat, so to speak?

1) no, it’s not Busch Stadium, this is in fact Target Field in Minneapolis
2) it’s a day game
3) #12 is shortstop Alexi Casilla
4) in order to make any deadlines for the Update set, it had to be a game from earlier in the season, and the long sleeves bear that up
Also, this isn’t a typical toss to the cutoff; probably an XBH or a deep flyball with a runner on first.

Once more I’m amazed with the gang at WGOM for their dogged investigations. What did they determine?
– Tosoni and Casilla only played in six home games together in which they were in the field and the opponent got a base hit
– of those six games, the first game of the April 28th doubleheader looks promising
– there were two doubles hit to left in that game, both by Ben Zobrist; since both were scoring plays, there was a chance it would be in the MLB archives, and it was!
– the play is a two-out, two-run double in the 7th inning
– the Rays won a 15-3 laugher; Ben Zobrist set a team record with 8 RBIs in this game
– the photo was of Tosoni playing in his first game in the majors; he collected his first two hits and was 2-for-4

So there you have it — another case successfully solved.

You May Already Be A Winner!

Play at the Plate had a contest, and instead of the inevitable 2nd spot on the randomizer list, I won! What the…?!

PatP sent me a Topps Value Pack, which had some nice tradeable material and a few niceties to give my LCS owner (he treats me well), plus a healthy bunch of Twins singles I needed, a sampling I’ve shown below.

clockwise, from top left: 2004 Fleer Patchworks #18 Corey Koskie; 2004 Fleer Platinum #195 Boof Bonser/Rob Bowen; 2011 Topps Chrome Vintage Chrome #VC43 Tsuyoshi Nishioka; 2011 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor #154 Justin Morneau

Expect a little something in your Chrismas stocking, PatP. 😉

Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #8: Grab Bag (Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Season)

This week’s Spookymilk Survivor challenge: grab bag!  Spooky chose several “Create a Challenge” submissions and each player on a team had to choose a different one of them.

Even though my “Siskle & Ebert” challenge was one of the chosen few, I decided to take on “Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Season” instead…because I’m lazy, and it seemed easier to me.

This particular challenge was to present a story where the bulk of the focus is on trivial fluff, to the point that vital information is virtually ignored. The heart of the challenge instructions was specifically regarding news reports, but I mulled this around until I came up with a different direction to take it:

Heretic: Hell’s Maw (episode 2) walkthrough by 2 FLY 4WiFi, continued…

The Catacombs

You have now reached the fifth level. Go forward to the ledge and follow the wall to the left until you pass the second (unlocked) door. Enter it.

In this dank room is the first appearance of a Disciple of D’Sparil. One of the most impressive of enemies in Heretic, the levitating disciple is resplendent in his dark gray robe with blood red collar and gold-trimmed hood and sleeves. While no visage can be seen within the darkness of his hood, trust me, he’s in there. The graphical resolution limits what can be deciphered from the dark wizard’s ornate vestments, but some have conjectured that the top portion depicts an upside down trident and the lower portion runic lettering spelling out “spawn,” or “follower,” or even “hungry.” To me, the first symbol definitely depicts a tortured skull.

One should rightly fear the crushing wave of magic missiles these pupils of D’Sparil summon from between their upraised hands, but the creepiness level is intensified by their whispered incantations echoing from the damp stone walls. The phrases they utter are actually backwards recordings of “Destroy the Heretic” and “Succumb to us, Heretic,” but it is quite easy to imagine their Latin conjurations attempting to call up the very evilest of the denizens of Hell’s lowest levels.

Turn around and exit — this room is unnecessary for the completion of the level. Turn left on the ledge and move on to… (continued)

Yep, a game walkthough. I was always a fan of the early id Software FPS and followers — you know, Doom, Heretic, Quake, Duke Nukem, Serious Sam — and after playing through a game, I’d use someone’s walkthrough to see if I might have missed something. Walkthroughs are known for their brevity and directness, so spending a couple paragraphs on trivial aspects of one of a game’s enemies is totally out of place. I did really like the Disciples of D’Sparil and their whispery chanting, so this was my little nod to Heretic.

RESULTS, about what I expected. Sadly, more non-submitters, including a SPOILER ALERT! teammate. *sigh*

K: I laughed my ass off. This is a completely unexpected way of attacking this challenge, and the hero worship the narrator has going on would have amused me for several more pages. Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get funnier, “this room is unnecessary.” I wasn’t even expecting a great button to this, but there it is. 5

DK: I see what this is trying to do, but I’m not sure it follows the parameters of the challenge quite enough. I like the creativity enough that I’m not going to punish it like I would punish, say, writing a whole challenge in Engrish. 3

Special thanks to Eric Idle, the king of pithy newscasting, for being my inspiration and for instilling “resplendent” into my vocabulary.

Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #7: C’mon, Try It

Okay, it’s pretty safe to say that this challenge was not inspiring to me in any way.  Last week’s optional challenge was “Create a Challenge” (for which I submitted a slightly modified recycled idea from last time around), and unfortunately, this week’s challenge was one of the “winners“:  in 300 words or less, pick some aspect of everyday life and imagine someone was thinking of it for the first time.

I had a few ideas, but none that grabbed me:

  • the English language with no silent letters, presented as a professor’s college lecture
  • the English language based on Phoecian alphabet (or whatever) where certain letters didn’t exist, also presented as a professor’s college lecture
  • I even considered Spookymilk Survivor X without bhiggum, the person who came up with this uninspiring challenge!

My eventual submittal was:

A semi-conscious Kelvin reached over and thumbed the switch on his buzzing alarm clock, rubbed his eyes, and swung himself out of bed. Friday – he knew his wife was already on his way to work, and it was his turn to get the kids to school today.Kelvin noticed that the kids were already up and eating their breakfast.

“Hey Jim, did you know that in the wintertime when raisons aren’t growing anymore, that they use beetles from Mexico instead?” said Stephanie.

“Aw, shut up!” replied Jim, putting down his spoon of raison bran.

“Jim, don’t let Steph flip your toggles,” said Kelvin, glaring at his daughter’s grinning face.

After a quick shower and shave, Kelvin noticed that the laptop was left on on the kitchen table, and he accessed his Facebook, deftly flipping the rockers on the switchboard as he quickly replied to a couple of posts while the kids got dressed. “Do you have your books and homework?” he said over his shoulder as he heard them enter the room while he was logging off; they both mumbled in the affirmative. “Let’s go then,” he replied, hitting the microswitch to open the garage door.

As the kids in back strapped their seat belts, Kelvin adjusted his rearview mirror, tripped the radio preset switch #5 (his wife was listening to talk radio again, it appeared), and began backing out into the cul-de-sac.

“Hey Dad, why aren’t buttons like on my Game Boy used anywhere else?” asked Jim, as he powered up Kingdom Hearts.

“I don’t know – I guess if they could have, they would have,” Kelvin replied as he triggered the remote’s microswitch to close the garage door as they started up the street.

To which Stephanie turned to Jim and said, “Stupid!”

I thought a simple “slice of life” narrative would work the best (ie: easiest). It seems like game systems have been an important way for several innovations to be created, which led me to the ending idea.

And finally, thanks to a couple non-submittals, team SPOILER ALERT! gets a break.  RESULTS

K: “Flipping the rockers on the switchboard” to use Facebook sounds like a horrifying process, but hey, the layout of the keyboard doesn’t make much sense and every American has it memorized. I really like this, but without a major moment, it’s going to get buried in a week that was so much better than any of you expected. 3

DK: I like this idea, but I wish it was a little more of someone being convinced that buttons could be more useful instead of just observing they’re not used. 2

Meh, a 2.5 average, I’ll take that…

A Marquee Trade

(I see WordPress brought back the falling snow to their blogs again this year)

Who? the Dimwit
What? the entire 2011 Topps Marquee Twins set (both cards), an auto, and a refractor
Why? still got good trading relations

clockwise, from top left: 2005 Bowman Signs of the Future #SOF-JR Jay Rainville (auto); 2011 Topps Marquee #41 Justin Morneau; 2011 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor #C148 Justin Morneau [254/562]; 2011 Topps Marquee #99 Joe Mauer

Thanks again, dude!