Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wallet Card Wednesday: Universal Studios Edition and the Future of Wallet Card?

Here we are - the final Wallet Card Wednesday of 2015. It's been a heck of a year, and I'd like to thank everyone who bothered to indulge this series of very not-baseball-card-centric posts. And a big up to Gavin, of course, of Baseball Card Breakdown for creating the whole thing.

Here are a bunch of photos from the two Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Florida.

Each section of Universal's Islands of Adventure was a different world. Examples include Dr.Seuss, Marvel Superheroes, and Jurassic Park as you can see above. The detail is fantastic.

But nowhere was the attention to detail more prevalent than in the amazing Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter. This is a view of Hogwarts from Hogsmeade.

Ollivander's is on the right. That's where we got our wands. Yes, we bought wands. We weren't leaving there without wands.

Butterscotch cream soda in case you were wondering. Very tasty, and sadly, non-alcoholic.

The Griffey ended up in all kinds of strange places and got dropped more than once.

I was glad to see Woody Woodpecker is still all over the damn place at Universal. I was not surprised that most of the kids did not know who he was.

Diagon Alley is at the other park. Here you can visit Grigott's and watch the dragon blow fire. Not pictured: Knockturn Alley which was pretty much my favorite place at both parks.

That is, until we got to the Simpsons area.

This gigantic donut is the real deal and the most reasonably priced item I found at either Universal park. It was much tastier than I was expecting.

Orange soda and dry ice, in case you were wondering.

How perfect is this?

Not a Griffey to be had.

Don't get me wrong: everything is just a glorified gift shop or food court, but the detail was amazing. I was all tingly.

I would consider this a strong candidate for Wallet Card photo of the year.

So yeah...

As you can see Universal required far less walking than Disney, but still far more than your average Joe walks in a day.

So that's it. Now what?

Should I continue into the new year with the Wallet Card? Or should I retire the old girl before she falls apart? I've considered sending it in to BGS and getting it slabbed, maybe taking wagers on the grade. I've also considered continuing to carry the Griffey and only taking photos sparingly which means no more Wallet Card Wednesday. What do you think? Suggestions welcome below.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year to you and yours...

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Great Griffey Frankenset: Page 11

Welcome to Page 11 of the Great Griffey Frankenset!

If you're not familiar with the idea of a Frankenset, it is a customized set of cards properly sequenced by card number that all tie into a connecting theme. Some frankenset themes include whole teams, mini-collections, and even just generally great cards or photos. This is the first Frankenset I'm aware of that is made up of just one player: Ken Griffey, Jr., the man of a million cards. I took the liberty of including things like inserts, parallels, cameos, and oddballs for the sake of variety and because it's just more fun that way. Enjoy!

Here is page 11 of the Great Griffey Frankenset:

Completeness of page: 9/9

Completeness of the Frankenset so far: 100% (99/99)

Team distribution so far: Mariners: 69/99 (70%), Reds: 27/99 (24%), White Sox: 1/99 (1%), No team indicated: 2/99 (2%)

Approximate retail value of this page: $79.00 ($1893.25 running total)

Page 11 Notes: It's Christmas - what are you doing reading this?!?

Page 11:

91. 2000 SP Authentic #91 #/2500

A short-printed base card - it was only a matter of time. I like the use of blue shading and negative space on this one, but it’s nothing to write home about.

92. 2013 Topps Archives #92 (1982 Topps Design) Day-Glow Orange

I actively collect Griffey on vintage Topps designs, so finally having one in the 1992 design helped that collection a lot. Frankly, I’m not crazy about the day-glow orange with those colors, but it was just too weird a card not to include in this spot.

93. 2009 Upper Deck #93 SP (Mariners)

Aw, hell yeah. This is probably my favorite SP of all time (the Tony Gwynn from 2013 Topps Update is a close second). Junior is back in Seattle to wrap up his storied 20-year career. I’d like to say it was a moment of triumph, returning home to finish out in a blaze of glory. Sadly it just didn't feel that way. The return to Seattle was more of a resignation move, sort of like transferring a grandparent to hospice. You know the end is near, and it’s only downhill as we go. And all of that is evident in this one perfect photo. Feel the feels.

94. 2008 SPx Ken Griffey Jr American Hero #KG94

I knew the instant I thought up this project that card #’s 1-100 were covered no matter what because of this 100-card insert from SP. I also knew that I must do everything in my power to avoid including any of those cards for the Frankenset because that would be lame. Then I met #94. There is no alternative to the 2008 SPx American Hero insert card for #94 – it seems to be the only Griffey with card #94 in existence. And here we are. Still, we could do worse. Shiny.

95. 2005 Topps Opening Day #95

There were a few contenders for this spot in the Frankenset, but none were up to the task of showing up the dap (aka fist bump). Frickin’ love the dap card.

96. 1993 Studio #96

A landmark set of sorts. This is the first year Studio portraits were all done outside the studio. Where the ’91 and ’92 sets were clearly photographed at an actual photo studio a la Olan Mills (with a couple of exceptions in the ’92 set), this year they were are just close-up photos taken on game days and at training camp just like normal card photos. Oh, and I should mention that this is the best Studio base set ever looked. Period.

97. 2012 Topps 1987 Minis #TM-97

Yet another Griffey on a vintage Topps design. These throwback minis, along with Archives, have been my number one source for throwback design Griffeys. Great to finally see Junior on an ’87 woody.

98. 2010 Topps The cards Your Mom Threw Out #CMT98 (1991 Topps base card)

Ah – God bless lovely, glossy reprints of junk wax era cards. They shouldn’t even exist, yet here they are.

99. 2005 Upper Deck Pros & Prospects #99

Holy Cincy Throwback, Batman! There’s one thing there simply are not enough of, and that’s Griffey cards featuring throwback uniforms. That being said, this beauty from 2005 Pros & Prospects almost single-cardedly makes up for just about every other set lacking them.

Here's the back of Page 11:

Thanks for reading, and look for Page 12 next Friday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wallet Card Wednesday: Disney Animal Kingdom and EPCOT Edition

Yep, more Disney. Here we go...

Come at me, bro!

This is a lot of friggin' gators, and I live in Louisiana.

A group of giraffes is called a tower. Here's the first wallet carded tower of giraffes.

There's a roller coaster in Animal Kingdom called Everest, and it's actually damn good.

The Griffey in a crazy fun house mirror!

I've been to a lot of Lego Stores in my time (well, four, really), but the one at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is far and away the best one. Better even than the one at Rockefeller Center or the one in the Toys R Us at Times Square. No comparison. Came home with some great stuff.

Out front you could build a car and race it.

And there was also this massive Lego dragon chilling in the lagoon.

We ate at Planet Hollywood, so I got the opportunity to take some photos of the Griffey with a few bits of movie history including Chuckie here.

Also Gizmo (who I'm told is ca-ca).

Of all the props we saw, this is the one that got to me the most - the ax from The Shining. I saw it from across the restaurant and thought, "Looks like the one from the Shining, but can't be. The Shining ax belongs in the Smithsonian." You can ask my family - I literally said this out loud. Halfway through the meal my curiosity overtook me and I went to see what it was actually from, and yes - The Shining. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I was kind of upset for the rest of our meal that any Joe Schmo could douse his fries in ketchup just a few yards away from one of the world's great pieces of film history. Stanley Kubrick probably touched this ax, and Jack Nicholson definitely did. And I'm pretty certain that is Shelley Duval's kitchen knife. I was awestruck and sad at the same time, and I found myself seriously considering tearing it right off the wall and running like hell.

Oh, this, too.

EPCOT is my favorite of the Disney parks.

Captain EO is back, by the way - I didn't even know. It was a nice surprise.

These were everywhere, collecting dust.

This is art from the Museum of Cute (Kawaii) in Japan. It was actually a really fun little place.

So let's talk about the famed "beers around the world" challenge wherein you drink one beer at each of the eleven countries showcased at EPCOT. I started it, and four countries in, I stopped. Why? long story short, I'm getting too old for this. All around us were obnoxious young adults who were obviously part-way through the challenge, acting all drunk and disorderly and making ridiculous scenes - I just didn't want to be one of them. Five years ago I would have gone full-bore and tore it up Junkie-style, but with twin 8-year old nieces and a pregnant wife in tow, I just couldn't justify it. I am lame now.

But I can also afford all the Legos I want, so here's to that.

Fun side note: Monday November 30th was our first day at Disney, and Wednesday was our last day. Check out the iPhone pedometer - these were all records for me, especially Wednesday. That day was just ridiculous with the walking.

Coming next Wednesday: the last Wallet Card Wednesday post of 2015 from Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. Thanks for reading!