Sunday, August 30, 2020

Panini's NASCAR Chronicles is a disappointment

 When I learned that Panini was bringing the Chronicles brand to NASCAR, I was really thrilled. I thought it would be fun to get a great variety of designs into the sport, see some things we hadn't seen before. 

Then I got some. 

The more I look at it, the more disappointed I become. It's just gimmicks...but it's worse than just being a gimmick set, it's the SAME gimmicks over and over, in three basic forms. 

You have the base cards, which is the first problem- it's only 40 cards. Instead of one large set like the NBA release of 2019-20, it's one super small base set- the smallest Panini has given the sport- and each design is numbered as it's own insert, most 25 or less.

It's just a driver image in front of nothing, a computer generated waste of space.

Then you have a bunch of other designs which are just a driver standing in front of nothing, most taken at the Media Day before the season even begins.

Even this is a computer generated background, although it's superior to the other nothings shown.

Then we move on to the Holographic nothings...

The "Unparalleled" a parallel. Yes, really! 

Then we move onto the Chromed nothings...

The last one, Phoenix, seems to be the most common. I pulled one in each of the four packs in the blaster, the only design to appear in every pack...although one was a Prizm...

Every single one of the designs shown, and several I didn't get in my blaster, has at least 7 parallels....including the one called Unparalleled. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE parallels. I'm one of the few people who does...but there's really no point in making a parallel of something with the base version is just so boring and bland...and inane. 

Who wrote this, a 5 year old? 

Each blaster promises an autograph or a relic, and that provided the closest thing to an action photo to be found:

Although calling this an action photo is quite a bit of a stretch, at least it's a real photo- not just some made up crap. 

It appears that there is not a single car photo to be found in this set at all. Apparently Panini doesn't know what NASCAR is all about.

I am constantly disappointed by Panini, every time they reveal a new checklist. But I think this may be the most disappointed I've been by one of their sets. I don't know if it's because the set is truly terrible, or because I built it up in my head so much, and it didn't come anywhere close to my expectations.

The sad thing is, I will still collect it as much as I can...because it appears to be one of only three sets they are bothering to give us this season, and more importantly, because they actually included ARCA and West/East drivers, something we rarely see on cards. For example, ARCA driver Brad Smith, who has been active since 1988, had only ever gotten one card before this release, and that was all the way back in 1992! By my calculations, there are 10 drivers who got their first ever cards in this set, only one of whom made an appearance in my blaster, Ty Gibbs, grandson of Joe Gibbs. Our current president also gets 2 cards- well, he gets one and his limo actually gets it's own card. I guess there is a car photo after all. 

They really missed the mark with this set. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I actually miss Press Pass. 

I'm going back to my scale modeling. That's been going great lately and is all NASCAR. At some point I'll carve out time to get up a post on my modeling blog. But I don't know when I will get the chance, because I have about 40 models to build right at arm's length, and right now, that's what I want to do, and will be doing.

Friday, August 28, 2020

A new 4-wheeled family member!

 Since 2005, my brother has driven the same car, a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. No longer! He bought a new car today, (yesterday, since I'm scheduling it) a 2014 Ford Focus SE, which, while not entirely new, is new to him. 

He had been looking for a while, the Cobalt was literally breaking down. Although it never rusted, despite being exposed to the elements 24/7, the mechanicals were just stopping to work on a regular basis. I may have relayed the story about how we were in Times Square when it started to stop on it's own this past December, and how we barely got it home...

He's only had it a couple of hours, and it was pouring rain/thunderstorm when he got it. So it has basically only gone from the dealer lot to it's new home. but we are wondering where it will take us into the future...who knows? The Cobalt took us from Maine to Toledo, ranging as far south as Trenton, NJ, and from 2015 to 2018 was our family's only working car. 

He got us the Edge in 2018, and we have been so happy with it that he got a Ford now as well. He also completes the trifecta, his first two cars were Chrysler products both Plymouths, the second two were Chevrolets, and now a Ford joins in. For a car guy like me, that's a big deal, although to most people it probably wouldn't be. 

I went with him for the test drive, and it's actually pretty darn comfortable. I think he will be happy with it for a long time.

He's actually in it here, although you can barely see him.
Here it is parked next to our Edge

It's pretty exciting really! We don't get new cars very often- we tend to run them until they break down, and then keep running them anyway as long as we possibly can. The Cobalt, which was traded in on the Focus, will not be resold but cannibalized for parts, making my brother the only owner it ever had. He is the second owner of this Focus. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Sharks Week 2020

This past week was Shark Week on TV, so you know what that's time to look at the San Jose Sharks cards I scanned during the week! 
Unlike last year, I didn't hold any cards back specifically waiting for this the numbers may be down from last year. 
Joe Thornton somehow missed the first Sharks Week post back in 2018. 
Aaron Dell makes his debut in the Sharks Week series. Actually, I believe that I only have two cards of him in the collection total.
Joe Pavelski here in an unflattering photo. Like somebody just stepped on his cat or something. 
He is the only Shark to appear in all three years of Sharks Week, and he's the only one who can be since no one else was in both of the previous years. 
And a Marleau from 2010-11 Donruss wraps things up. A smaller post than usual, but that's just what came out of the "to be scanned" boxes this week. 

(Editorial note- I've had this post ready to go since Sunday. But I've been working on scale models this week, and having an incredible run of everything going right. I'm running at a 95% success rate this week, and I'm usually below 10%, so I'm doing as much as I possibly can while everything is going well. I'm finally just scheduling the darn thing!) 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

I just realized something...2000-01 Fleer Futures is really 2000-01 Metal!

 Fleer's Metal brand ran in the NBA from 1995-96 through 1999-00, and then it was gone forever...or was it? The entire Fleer lineup changed pretty drastically between 1999-00 and 2000-01. Metal, the Skybox name and the Flair name were dropped, although the Metal set is the only one that didn't continue on with a new name...or so I've thought for the past 20 years. 

On August 13th, I scanned a page of 2000-01 Fleer Futures, a singular release. 2000-01 was the only year it was released. This set always smelled like Vick's Vapo-Rub, and even though I've always liked the set- it's one of my favorite releases of the 2000-01 season- and have collected it extensively since new, and scanned a large portion of it, it didn't hit me until today (13th)...this set is really just part of the Metal line! 

Why do I think that you may ask? Two main reasons. 

The front of the cards feature a metallic texture. Unlike the etched foil used on most Metal sets, it's literally silver glitter sparkles laminated to the front of the card. But undeniably metallic. 

Here's a closeup:

The back, and this is where it hit me- look at the background. 

That's pretty clearly a turned metal look. All the thousands of times I've looked at these cards, and I never put 2 and 2 together. 

Unfortunately, it was the end of the line for the brand, no matter what, since Futures never appeared again.

(Third time's the charm. I meant to post this on Friday, then fell asleep before I could. Did the exact same thing Saturday. Now, finally, I'm getting it published!) 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What took me so long?

As you may recall, I set my goal for 2020 to be "Finish Scanning the cards I got for Christmas 2019 before Christmas 2020". Even though it was more than 800 cards, I got it done on January 5th, and in the post where I talked about it, I alluded to the fact that I still had big stacks of cards from previous Christmases waiting for scans. I apparently never officially mentioned that I had made getting the Christmas 2018  cards scanned my new goal, although I thought I did (perhaps I did on the Database only?) but I didn't really work on it at all. I think I did two pages of each of the 4 sets...if that much. I may have done only one of the Olympic set. 

I couldn't let them hang over my head anymore, and attacked the stacks on August 10th...and I'm wondering what took me so long, because I'm typing this at 4:19 AM on August 12th...and they are all scanned. I have not labeled them yet- I will do that when I finish typing the majority of this post. It took me only about 2 days- not even a full 48 hours- to get them all scanned! 

It was 84 cards from 2018-19 Hoops...
63 from 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee, which unfortunately many of the cards came out of the box with damage. (there are two spots of damage on the front of this card)
81 from 2018 Topps US Olympic & Paralympic Team Hopefuls, 
and 53 from 2018 Donruss NASCAR, which is the one set I had worked on the most, so I had less to do this time. 
Giving me a grand total of 281 cards. Again, I don't know why I put it off for so long. It's not like they were hard to do, there was not a mirror foil, chrome, not even any die cut, in the bunch. It's not lack of interest, because these were all card I asked for. It's certainly not laziness as I've scanned about 10,000 cards since I got these.  I think it's just because I'm scatterbrained, and will burn out fairly quickly if I do large batches of the same sets over and over...unless I'm in the mood for doing that sort of batch, which I have been the past two days. 

Interestingly, the O-Pee-Chee stack was physically largest, since those cards are so much thicker than the others. 

Also interesting: I scanned a card of both Tyler Johnsons, which I believe is the first time I have ever scanned a card of two different people with the same name on the same day that were not a Sr-Jr. scenario!

That's definitely it for my 2020 goal. While I do still have large batches of cards I got for Christmases in 2017, 2016, 2015, etc. awaiting scans, they would be much more challenging to pick out. I had the Christmas 2018 cards in their own box, not mixed in with everything else. 

I currently don't have any goals planned for 2021. But, I only settled on the goal for 2020 on December 31st, 2019, so I still have plenty of time. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

That wasn't fun. (Hurricane Isaias damage)

My previous post on Cardboard History ended up being a first, and hopefully a last as well. It was published without power.. Hurricane Isaias hit the Hudson Valley hard, and we didn't escape damage. Power was out for more than 25 hours, costing us the entire contents of our fridge. A neighbor's tree snapped in half an ended up in our yard...and being without power so long, I missed an entire day of Topps Now NHL stickers. (I had scheduled the previous post, by the way)

This is my yard during the storm. 
My mom and I were sitting in the car- power was already out by this point, and it was cooler outside, and brighter too, so I went out there to read. We heard a loud cracking and it turned out the tree in the yard behind us had snapped clear in half.

I had actually been up where it fell taking pictures only about 10 minutes before. When it fell the storm had already moved on, it was no longer raining and the wind had almost died down completely.
With no power the stars seemed brighter...the entire area was blacked out so no light pollution whatsoever. This is the moon, my camera doesn't have the capability to capture stars very well.
This is taken the next morning, still without power, already starting to wilt.

So, since with my health problems I can't deal with the heat, we ended up at a local Holiday Inn. They had some interesting stuff, like a nightlight in the bathroom plug, 

a giant TV
And a really weird light.
The bathroom mirror had the lights built into it! Never saw that before. And it was in two panels on two walls.
Add caption
Here's me with the downed tree, to give it some scale.

Our spare fence piece blew down in the storm, and when I flipped it back upright several crickets came hopping out from under it. You can see one in the photo, on the second plank from the bottom.
The dual hook hanger that our bird feeder is on was supporting the entire weight of the tree.

During the outage, I read this entire book cover to cover.
The owner of the yard behind us, who owned the tree, hired a small family run tree company to remove it, and they were fast and efficient! We were so happy with them we are going to higher them to do some stuff ourselves.

It only took them about 25-30 minutes to clear it totally. 
Here it is now...
like nothing ever happened. We may have lost our suet feeder (or it may have just knocked it down when it fell, forgot to check) but we got off fairly well with yard damage. 

It turned out to be the second longest power outage of my life, at more than 25 hours. Really not fun, but at least it's in the past now.