Card Show 2017

Two weekends ago I snuck off to the Houston Tristar card show for a couple hours. In all honestly, it was pretty disappointing. Most vendors packed up early and went home, leaving people wondering around a half empty hall Sunday afternoon, which was of course the day I had time to go. I got there about 1:30 and allegedly the show was open until 6pm, which I swore was what they had listed on the website. When I bought the ticket to go in and handed it to the guy at the door he turned and look at the other security personnel and said “well, that’s probably about all we’ll get, I guess pack up the turnstiles.” What? If I had waited 5 more minutes I could have just walked in, and saved my $12. The security literally left the door when I came in. Ok, “maybe they’re just paying them for half the day”, I thought. I know this goes until 6.

An hour later I’m looking through some dime boxes and the guy starts putting the lids on the boxes I’m not looking through. “Are you leaving?” I ask. “Yeah, I’ve got a long drive and I’m leaving at 3”. Oh, ok. I finish up, pay like $4 for a stack of cards and he throws everything on a dolly and heads for the door. I go to another vendor, start looking through his boxes. He actually makes me an offer on the entire box ($100, didn’t take it) so he won’t have to pack it up. By 3:30 over half the vendors, and most of the ones I was going to look through, were gone.

Aggravated, I walk over to the fudge and beef jerky vendor. Why there’s a fudge and jerky vendor at a card show I’ll never know, but there they are. I ask them what time the show ends. They say 4pm. At this point it’s still 3:30 and I’m determined to at least find something worth the $24 (12 and 12, parking and entry) I paid just to come to this stupid thing. Here’s what I found in the little time I could actually find something to look through.

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Inspirational Fire

I wanted to try something a little different with a custom I was working on. For the longest time I’ve enjoyed seeing the work of a fellow by the name of Tyson Beck. You might not recognize the name right off the bat, but you’d probably recognize his work. Topps hired him to work on the “Fire” brand of inserts and cards. The overall look of the “Fire” brand of cards changes from year to year, but on the whole they usually involve both geometric abstracts as well as paint/dust/particle effects. Some would say “paint splatter”, others “grunge and dust”, I just call it fantastic and inspirational. I was using the “Fire” inserts specifically from 2016 Update Baseball as inspiration.

So, with that said, and with literally 100 different “paint” brushes in photoshop, I came up with this…

 

 

Diamond Kings Box Breakdown

I’ve said many times before that I’m not a “box buster”. To date I’ve probably opened about 10 in my entire collecting life. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s simply that a $75-100 gamble vs a $2 sure bet is a no-brainer. I’ll buy cheap cards all day long provided I know what I’m getting. Busting a box, to me, is the collecting equivalent of gambling. I just don’t have money to waste, every dollar is precious, so I like to get the most return for my money. That said, it is fun to do, especially when someone else bought the box. This Christmas my parents decided to wonder through my Amazon wish-list and settled on a hobby box of 2016 Diamond Kings as my present. A very thoughtful gift that I appreciated and enjoyed opening. The box guaranteed two hits. In my opinion, I got five. Read on…

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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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