Monday, January 16, 2017

Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company Book

Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is a 2015 release I finally got around to finishing.  I wish I was better at reviewing books so please bear with me.  This book follows rebel soldiers during their battle with the Galactic Empire.  These are the boots on the ground  who don't get the glory but fight for the tough ground inch by inch.  This looks at their fights, their questions about leadership, questions about the rebellion and why they do what they do.  Along the way you are introduced to a core group who have been there, done that.  They fought all over the galaxy while never knowing how much, if any, difference they are making.  This is not that different from some modern day movies or novels based around the military.  While it isn't a movie it has a Rouge One feel to it.  Not everyone survives nor does every battle go their way.  I liked this book.  It is different than most Star Wars books in how it introduces completely new characters, the likes of which we haven't been introduced to before, and shows us what it looks like in the trenches.  Again it could look like many other military novels but they did a good job here.  Not all 496 pages will knock your socks off but I think it is worth the read. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The San Diego Chargers have announced they'll be leaving San Diego for Los Angeles.  I'm very sad for the fans and the Charger's owners.  Ownership tried to keep the team there and have worked to get a new stadium deal done for over 10 years.  I also understand why it is so tough to get public money to make things happen.  We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars and for any city that is a huge bill to swallow  With all sides - fans, ownership, and the city of San Diego - wanting this to work it is a shame.  This isn't the same as when Stan Kroenke screwed over the city of St. Louis.   

That said the NFL is using an old business model in getting new stadiums built.  The NFL is bigger than ever and while I'm not saying they have a billion dollars to throw away I do think they can assist enough to make these deals happen.  As is, the Chargers will pay $500M to relocate.  The NFL was up for loaning $300M for a new stadium. There is $800M right there.  Something doesn't add up.  Heck the NFL probably has enough money to loan a team all the money and let them pay it back.  I know owners aren't always keen to own and run stadiums but the NFL has to know this would be better than a team moving. 

Now San Diego's owner has to sell his team to Los Angeles when he's been saying for some time he
doesn't want to go there.  The San Diego fan base who has been there since beginning is without a team.  And Los Angeles is supposed to support two teams?  They haven't proven they can support one yet.  Both the Rams and Raiders have left L.A. in the past.  The Rams attendance was good last year but they are still in the honeymoon phase and the Rams have history there.  This in no way sounds like a good thing.  The Raiders seem to be on their way out of Oakland as well.  This is the NFL's fault.  While the NFL isn't going to go out of business this disloyalty to the fans can't be good long term.  This truly is sad to see and the NFL is again failing it's fans and now even it's owners.    

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Atlatna Falcons Beat Seattle Seahawks

Wow what a huge win as Atlanta defeats Seattle 36-20 in the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs.  The big news is how well their defense played.  You new the offense could score but what you didn't know is what Seattle would do when they had the ball.  After an inconsistent start to the season they had regained their running game and had a good balance coming into this game.  Luckily Atlanta was able to keep the running game in check and Russell Wilson never got in rhythm after some early success.  Matty Ice on the other hand was once again phenomenal.  He and the outstanding running game did what they have all year - score. 

So who do we want next week?  That is a tough question.  Cowboys in Dallas or Green Bay in Atlanta?  To be honest I'd rather travel.  Green Bay, especially if Jordy Nelson is back, is one of the teams who can keep up with Atlanta in a shootout.  And it might be too much to ask the defense to play so well two games in a row.  Dallas on the other hand has a rookie quarterback and a shootout may not be something he is ready for in the playoffs.  No matter what, just being in the NFC Championship game is a huge deal for the Falcons and no matter the opponent I think they have a shot to win it.  I'm not saying they'd be favored but they'd have to be right there.  Great win this week and I can't wait for next weekend. 

2016 Topps Star Wars Rogue One Series 1 Trading Cards

1/1 Magenta Printing Plate Autograph (Paul Kasey)
2016 Topps Star Wars Rogue One Series 1 Trading Cards:  This may be my biggest blog entry as far as total photos go.  I love this set.  Santa Claus was generous and I was able to pick up a hobby box of these cards and I'm so glad I did. 
Top card is a promo card from Star Wars Insider magazine, others are base cards.
The base card design is great to me.  I won't sit here and say it is groundbreaking but personally I love it.  It deviates from the other Star Wars cards we've seen of late but in a good way. 
Base cards.
Base cards have great screen shots from the movie itself as well as promotional stills.  Both are very nice.  The Empire or Rebel Alliance symbols are on the front of each card depending on what we are seeing and a brief description or character name is at the bottom.  Pretty simple but very nice looking.
Blueprint and two Darth Vader continuity cards
Each hobby box is guaranteed two hits.  I pulled a medallion card but the prize really was the 1/1 Magenta Printing Plate Autograph of  Paul Kasey who played Admiral Raddus in the movie.  I've rarely pulled significant autographs and never anything like this.  It was in the first pack I opened and really set the tone for the box.
Character Icons
I also enjoyed the insert cards especially the Montage, Character Icons and Gallery cards.  The art on these inserts was great.  All three were a huge hit for me and would love to collect the full sets of these inserts. 
Heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Villains of the Galactic Empire, Stickers
The Heroes and Villains cards are pretty much the same as we've seen in previous sets which is fine if not that exciting.  The stickers are pretty nice though I only pulled two.
Parallel cards don't do anything for me other than take away from my collecting of the base set.  I get their draw and in some of the sets I have preferred the parallel colors to the base set colors but again I'd rather have a better chance at filling out my set.  I did get a Gray Squad parallel numbered 008/100. 
More Montage cards
Medallion cards take up a lot of space and take away from cards you could pull and I would be alright with more base cards as a whole. I know some folks love them but they just don't do it for me.  You'll also see them in some of the Star Wars card blaster boxes.

Really no negatives here for me.  Anything I've brought up is just nit picking.  I love the design and the cards I pulled and would have even without the 1/1 hit.  This really has me excited for the 40th Anniversary Star Wars cards coming out this Spring and I'm seriously considering grabbing a box of those cards as well.  Series 2 of the Rogue One trading cards also come out in March.  I'll be on the look out for those too.  This was so much fun, I can't wait until I get the chance to break another box of Star Wars cards.

185 - Total Cards
112 - Base Cards
12 - Death Star (Parallel)
12 - Character Icon Cards
8 - Green Squad (Parallel)
8 - Blueprint Cards
6 - Gallery Cards
6 - Montage Cards
4 - Blue Squad (Parallel)
4 - Heroes of the Rebel Alliance
4 - Villains of the Empire
4 - Darth Vader Continuity Cards
2 - Sticker Cards
1 - Gray Squad (008/100) ) (Parallel)
1 - Magenta Printing Plate Autograph (1/1)
1 - Medallion

Friday, January 13, 2017

Card Show Find #2: 1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Series 2

Another box I picked up was the 1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Series II baseball cards.  I've always liked Upper Deck cards though the Collector's Choice brand of cards weren't always my favorite.  This box was $10 so I had to pick it up just for the fun of it.
I wasn't disappointed.  I loved the cards.  The photography was great, the design good, and my pull was good.  My favorites were those at the top - Bonds, Puckett and Jackson.  Great photos. 
The backs have nice big color photos different from the front and while they don't have a player's full career in stats they do have the last five season's worth.  The back of the Bonds card may take the cake.  That look is priceless.   
Harold Reynolds prepping for his GQ photo shoot.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Card Show Find #1: Two 1984 Donruss Rack Packs

I went to a card show last fall but life and the lack of access to a scanner has held me back from posting my finds.  My favorite find was two 1984 Donruss rack packs.  Each held 45 cards and 9 Duke Snyder puzzle cards. 
My favorite pulls involved three of my all-time favorites.  Harold Baines, Bob Horner and Jerry Royster.  Baines is a great hitter from his time but not quite Hall of Fame worthy.  Horner was a typical power hitting third baseman, while Jerry Royster won't be known much outside of Atlanta Braves circles.
If it was up to me I'd buy an old box of this set but the price is prohibitive for me.  So when I was able to snag these I was very happy.  These were a favorite in the eighties and still seem to hold favor with collectors.
 I didn't get the fabled Don Mattingly rookie but I was very happy with the stars I did pull. 
Maybe someday I'll be able to grab the entire box of cards.  That would definitely be fun.  I did pick up a couple of boxes of cards while at the show and I'll be putting up the fun from those soon. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 Panini Contenders Football Cards

Grabbed a pack of the 2016 Panini Contenders football cards.  I thought I had reviewed these in passed years but it doesn't look like I have.  I normally prefer cards with full photographs including the background but these aren't bad.  The fronts have a photo of the player and include three pertinent stats for the player.  The stats "SEC", "ROW" and "SEAT" instead of what the actual stat is so it wasn't apparent at first what the stats actually are weight, height and jersey number.
I pulled a pertinent number card (5) but had no idea why that number is important to the two players shown on the card (Jordan Howard - Bears and Paul Perkins - Giants).  It says ROUND 5 on the back so I'll assume that means the round they were drafted.  As to the random numbers they decided to display on the front of the cards - I don't get it.  Of all the stats they decided to go with they went with those?  Kind of a letdown.  So I'm ok with the layout and look of the card but overall I'm not that excited about these cards.