Happy New Year

There’s not really any reason why I haven’t updated since November except to say that work was exceptionally crazy. In December I typically photograph a lot of Christmas parties, this year was no exception, and that took up the majority of my weekends. At work I also had a big push to finish a large web project by the end of the year. On the upside, with the free time I did have, I managed to carve out a good portion of time to do things with the family, which is infinitely more enjoyable than typing into a blog editor panel. We went to see the nutcracker ballet, we saw movies (Moana good, Sing bad), we played games, we had people over and cooked and ate and enjoyed the time we had together. I was going to mention something about my birthday, but thankfully it was a non-event, just how I like it. Lots of little things to catch up on here and there.

Overwatch – Had some time to really dig deep and enjoy it. I retract any of my previous statements about it being “vanilla” or generic. It has surprising depth and I’m really liking it. It’s that next evolutionary step beyond Team Fortress 2’s “rock, paper, scissors” formula.

Moana – Was genuinely awesome. The animation was good, the story was good, The Rock was excellent. Disney’s in-house animation is now on par with Pixar, I think that’s safe to say.

Sing – Was disappointing in a number of ways. For starters, everything in between the singing, which was fine, was very nearly PG-13. That’s fine for me, but it’s considerably above the heads of most 5-10 year olds. There’s robbery, foreclosure, depression, gambling debt, scams, breakups, theft, assault, near-murder and all sorts of other fairly dark themes that kids just aren’t going to get. It’s marketed as a kids movie, and it’s not that.

Rouge One – Wow. That was an impressive dip into the Star Wars universe that satisfied all those “geeky” needs, without destroying the franchise, and sucessfully expanding it. I’m not going to get into original Lucas canon vs. new Disney canon, I just don’t care that much. All I know is that it was good, really good, and the entire movie didn’t even have a light saber in it. If I’m being perfectly honest, I kinda liked it better than Episode 7.

Raspberry Pi – I finally got on board the Pi train this Christmas. That was my present from my awesome wife and I love this thing. I loaded it up with BerryBoot (boot loader) right off the bat and created several partitions to play with. Raspbian was an obvious choice, but I also installed RetroPie and PirateBox as well. I’m also thinking about a PiRate Radio as soon as I can track down a jumper for one of the pins and a random length of copper wire. We had considerable fun playing old Nintendo games over the holidays with RetroPie and a USB knock-off of a SNES controller. I’m letting the kiddo learn the classics. The pure joy she had when she got the end of the first level in Mario was priceless.

Cards – Yes, I did get some cards throughout December. Those are sitting by the scanner for when I have a minute. I have a good sized SportLots order and a hobby box of Diamond Kings to share at some point.

BBQ – I finally nailed a perfect brisket. Do I get my Texan card now? Achievement unlocked? I’ve always been good with pork and ribs, but brisket took some serious practice. Look at that rendered deckle…

Customs – Last but not least, in my spare time, which is mostly single moments in-between emails, I’m still putting together custom cards. I’ve been able to recreate several BUNT designs that, at least in my opinion, should have been real physical cards and not just digital designs (he says, as he creates digital designs). BUNT Posters, Infinite and Heroes & Legends to name a few. I’ll show those off down the road. I’m also working on approximations of Panini Noir, 1966 Topps Hockey, FIRE, Goodwin Champions and BUNT Blueprints.

Custom Cards: 2016 Olympics

The way I approach a custom card might be slightly different than most. For starters, if I’m doing a strait recreation of an existing card, it’s to fill a gap in reality. If a person didn’t get a card in a certain year, or on a certain team, that’s a good candidate for a custom. Second, if I feel like the idea was a good one, but I thought it could be executed differently design wise. That’s the nice way of saying that I didn’t like something about the original. That’s not because I believe in any way that I’m a better designer than any of the artists already employed by Topps or Panini, but merely that they have deadlines and productions schedules to meet, whereas I could take months working on something. The third type of custom is the original custom. I love being inspired by a design and then putting my own spin on it. I’ve got a few of those in the works, but this post is actually about the second type.

Topps created a design for this years Olympics cards that was pretty good, but had, at least in my opinion, a few things that needed tweaking. So, this is my re-imagining of the 2016 Topps Olympic card set.

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Summer Stockpile

Seems weird to say “goodbye to summer” in November, but in Texas it’s finally dropped below 80°. Baseball is over for the year, we just set the clocks back, the weather is changing, the summer is most definitely over. I refrained from posting a lot over the summer mostly due to time issues, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t pick up a good amount of cardboard. That said, this isn’t the entirety of what I found, just the highlights, and it’s also representative of May-October, so there’s quite a few. Image heavy post ahead…

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More Cards From AJ

I know I wouldn’t classify myself in the same league as most of you who trade cardboard on a regular basis. In fact, most of my trades are done with a tiny handful of people. Not that I wouldn’t mind making more trades, it’s just that I’m horrible at it. I don’t buy enough stuff to readily have things for other people all the time and I feel vaguely inadequate sending flagship base to people. One of the few people I do trade with is AJ from The Lost Collector. Seeing as how he’s a Yankees fan, and seeing as how the two most heavily included teams in products tend to be Yankees and Red Sox, I actually have various Yankees cards worth trading. He probably feels the same way about the Red Sox. AJ’s trade packages are always excellent and I’m always glad to receive one. I’m filling a box full of Yankees as a return gift, but the box isn’t quite full yet, I need to cram a few more in there to get the most out of my postage dollar.

Let’s see what AJ sent…

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Change of Plans

It’s funny how the plans we all have are often times not the path we end up walking. We learned on Friday that my wife’s job will be going away shortly. The business owner is retiring and they’ll be closing the doors soon. We had hoped to visit my family in New England this year, let the kiddo experience a real white Christmas, all that good stuff, but that’s probably not happening. That’s ok, plans can change. What’s important is that we find a good fit job wise and it’s something enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s only a minor bump in the road, nothing we can’t handle together. Wish us luck!

More team sets

I showed off random team sets earlier this year when several of them hit at once (S1, GQ, etc). Now that the summer has drawn to a close we can take a look at what the past few months had to offer.

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Man Cave Tour

I forget which blogs I saw it on, but over the summer someone had floated the idea of showing off your card room and/or man cave. I thought that was an awesome idea. Like “Cribs”, only super nerdy.

So, I welcome you into my man cave and game room. Let me give you the tour…

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The Double Rainbow

I’m calling it. I have completed it. Honestly, I thought I had it completed two years ago, but Topps has this lovely habit of extending parallels into infinity and not really mentioning it anywhere. If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about and why am I not just posting pictures of cards, let me catch you up.

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One thing after another

It’s been one of those summers. One crazy thing after another, big projects at work, big projects at home, lots of money spent on things other than small rectangles of cardboard. At one point we had a vacation or, as it’s more commonly referred to by fathers, “that time when I drove 12 hours and had to listen to kids music the whole way”. I joke. We did have a vacation, and I did do a lot of driving, but it was a good trip.

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2016 Stadium Club Hobby Box

I was fortunate to get my hands on a free box of 2016 Stadium Club thanks to the awesome folks over at the MLBPA and their twitter contests. I hadn’t busted any hobby boxes this year, that sort of thing just isn’t in my budget, so when I was notified that I won I was pretty excited. Stadium Club has always been about the amazing photography and, as a photographer, I’m deeply envious of every photographer who gets to do this sort of thing as a day job. It’s, literally, my dream job. I couldn’t imagine anything more awesome than combining two of my favorite things on the planet.

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