Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cardboard Mixtape: The B Sides

Last week I let you guys peek into My Awkward Years.  Today the saga continues as the geeky high school freshman (don't you love it when people think they're cool enough to speak in the third person?) evolves into a flannel wearing, Pearl Jam listening, college student who still collects baseball cards.

The first step in the transition is to burn my copy of Peter Cetera's Glory of Love and invest in some "gangsta rap"...

NWA:  Straight Outta Compton  (1988)

Picture a sixteen year old version of the Fresh Off The Boat kid bumping NWA in his mom's Ford LTD... and you have me back in 1988.  It sounds ridiculous... but it's true.  I've been a big fan of NWA for a long, long time.

Growing up in a middle class neighborhood in Northern California, I can't really relate to what life in Compton was like...

1978 Topps #36

But I know Eddie "Mother F'n" Murray can.

MetallicaEye of the Beholder (1988)

In high school, I wasn't only listening to "gangsta rap", I was also rocking out to Metallica.

...And Justice for All was the first album of theirs I ever purchased, but not the last.  It paved the way to my Metallica fandom.  It wasn't easy choosing a favorite song on this album, because they're all good.  So I decided to pick a song with a title that fit one of my all-time favorite insert sets...

1999 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes #GH5
2000 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes #GH2

We all have our own definition of beauty.  When it comes to insert sets, there are few that match the beauty of the Gallery of Heroes cards inserted into Topps Gallery packs in the late 90's and early 2000's.  Well... at least in my eyes.

The D.O.C.: It's Funky Enough (1989)

A year later... I have my first real job scooping ice cream at Thrifty's, and I'm still bumpin' in my mom's LTD.  This song is a classic and like the D.O.C. says,  "no crowd can avoid, the D O to the C".

1985 Donruss Box Bottom #PC1

Back in the 80's, baseball fans from all over the country wanted a chance to see the other DOC pitch.

Public Enemy:  Fight the Power (1989)

Do The Right Thing is my favorite Spike Lee movie.  I've probably watched it twenty-plus times... and every time... I'm treated to Rosie Perez dancing to Public Enemy's Fight the Power in the opening sequence.

It's a beautiful way to kick off a beautiful movie... and here's a beautiful card related to this beautiful song:

2015 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Auto #FFA-SH

The 2002 Oakland Athletics and their third lowest payroll in baseball were the David's in a league filled with Goliath's... yet they found a way to fight the power and have one of the best records in baseball.  Along the way, the Athletics set the American League record with 20 consecutive wins.

Hatteberg's home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Kansas City Royals on September 4th, 2002 gave the A's their 20th consecutive win and the record.

They Might Be Giants: Ana Ng (1990)

1990 was a big year for me.  I found myself working at a baseball card shop called National Pastime and living the dream.

That's also the year I made the transition from high school to college.  I was accepted to San Jose State University, but my dream college (UC Davis) turned me down, so I decided to attend De Anza Community College in hopes of one day transferring.

At De Anza...  I met a guy who always wore They Might Be Giants shirts to class.  I don't remember his name, but I definitely remember the music.

The first album I bought was Lincoln (in 1990... even though it was released in 1988) which features the song Ana Ng.  I heard that they came up with that name after seeing a lot of Ng's in the phone book.  That got me thinking... what's the most common last name in baseball?

1998 Donruss Significant Signatures #R2
2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #1
1998 Bowman's Best Autographs #5

According to some quizzes I took online... Smith, Johnson, and Jones are the three most popular names all-time.

A Tribe Called Quest:  Check the Rhime (1991)

My students think it's cool that I grew up listening to Run DMC, NWA, Tupac, and Biggie.  But whenever I mention A Tribe Called Quest, the response is always the same.  Who?  It cracks me up, because almost everyone who listened to hip hop in the early 90's can appreciate some Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

1977 Topps Cloth #8

Check the Rhime is an all-time classic and one of my favorite parts is when Q-Tip compares himself to the legendary Lou Brock.

Anthrax:  Bring the Noise  (1991)

Next up is another Public Enemy song... but this time around they've teamed up with Anthrax to Bring the Noise

1987 Topps #320
1987 Topps #184

I've always enjoyed seeing musicians (especially from different genres) collaborate to produce something special.  The title of this album along with an article from an old issue of Topps Magazine reminded me of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and how these two guys with completely different personalities came together to produce something special in the early 90's.

Temple of the Dog:  Hunger Strike (1991)

Let's slow things down a little and close out this post with a change of clothing styles, a different hobby, and enter new era of music for this nineteen year old college student.

In the early 90's, I wasn't only collecting cards anymore.  I started wearing flannels and Doc Martens, hanging out at record stores and listening to music, and building my collection of CD's.  I still have a section devoted to the whole Seattle Sound comprised of groups like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Guys from both of these groups teamed together to form Temple of the Dog, which produced an iconic gem from that era:  Hunger Strike.

Sadly... I can't actually say I've ever fasted in protest.

1983 O-Pee-Chee #143
1985 O-Pee-Chee #10

And I'm guessing that two of my favorite players from the early 90's probably didn't either.

Well that wraps up my teenage years... which is a shame, because 1992 would be a big year for me both hobby wise and in terms of music.  But I'll save that for another day in another post.

In the meantime...

What are some of your favorite songs and groups from the late 80's and early 90's?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lights, Camera, Box Breaks!

I'm one of those guys who loves watching movies... but doesn't enjoy watching The Oscars.  Sure... I'll look to see who won some of the major categories in the morning.  But that's only because all of my friends will be discussing it tomorrow at lunch and I don't want to be completely oblivious.

Nope.  While millions of people are laughing at Jimmy Kimmel's jokes, playing drinking games, and finding out whether or not Denzel Washington takes home his third Oscar... I'll be sleeping.  Yup.  Sleeping.

I've been sick the past few days with a head cold... and tomorrow I'm back in the classroom, so I need to get as much rest as I can.

However... before I hit the sack, here's a quick recap of some 2011 Panini Americana blasters I broke over the weekend.

I picked up ten of these blasters off of Dave and Adam's during their Black Friday sale for $55.  Each blaster contained 8 packs (5 cards per pack) with one guaranteed relic card per box.

With only 100 cards on the checklist, I figured I would be able to make at least one... possibly two hand collated sets.

2011 Panini Americana #12

Unfortunately... I came up one card short.  Anyone out there have an extra Gloria Stuart laying around?  I have plenty of doubles, triples, and quadruples to trade.

Don't worry Panini.  It's not like I purchased these boxes for the base cards.  I was mainly interested in pulling a James Dean or Marilyn Monroe relic.  Let's see how I fared...

Relic #1:  She Done Him Wrong  (1933)

I kicked things off with a movie I had never heard of before.  At least I recognized both of the stars featured on this card and it looks like this movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Outstanding Production (Best Picture) back in 1934.

Relic #2:  The Towering Inferno  (1974)

I watched this movie years ago, but never realized it won 3 Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Song) back in 1975. I just remember that there were a lot of famous people in the film.  

Relic #3:  A Streetcar Named Desire  (1951)

I've heard of this film, but have never seen it.  According to Wikipedia, it won four Academy Awards (Best Actress, Best Screenplay Writing, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress), so maybe I should give it a shot.

Vivien Leigh took home an Academy Award for Best Actress for this movie... and for another film you may have heard of... Gone with the Wind.

Relic #4:  National Velvet  (1944)

Okay.  I'm starting to realize that most of these relics involve movies that premiered way before I was born.

Never heard of this movie... but I have heard of Elizabeth Taylor.  She's the woman that stole Carrie Fisher's father away from her mom.  Oh... and she won a pair of Academy Awards for Best Actress too.

Relic #5:  Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

I'm a huge fan of movie posters and this one is pretty awesome.  Plus... it's my first chance at pulling a James Dean relic.  Let's see if I do...

Aww shucks.  Oh well... at least Natalie Wood is a nice consolation prize.  She was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this movie.

Relic #6:  A Streetcar Named Desire  (1951)

Duplicate.  See Relic #3

Relic #7:  Mezzogiorno Di Fuoco (High Noon) (1952)

I'm a big fan of westerns.  Heck... Wyatt Earp, Young Guns, and Tombstone would all fall within my top 200 movies of all-time.  But surprise, surprise... I've never heard of Mezzogiorno Di Fuoco.  Grace Kelly?  Yes.  Who hasn't heard of Princess Grace?  Gary Cooper?  Hell yeah!  Pride of the Yankees is one of my favorite sports films of all-time.  But sorry High Noon fans.  This film just wasn't on my radar.

However now that I know that it took home 4 Academy Awards in 1953, I'm excited to check it out.

Relic #8:  The Caddy  (1953)

Yeehaw!  A sports film!  Wait.  Haven't heard of this movie either.  Was this the prequel to Caddyshack?  With Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis starring, it's safe to assume that this is a comedy.  And it looks like some of the biggest names in golf made cameos.

Relic #9:  Rebel Without A Cause  (1955)

Another shot at a Dean relic... and another miss.  Oh well.  At least this is a dual this time.  This time Wood is paired up with Sal Mineo, who was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for this film.

Relic #10:  Piper Laurie

Laurie was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (The Hustler) and nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role twice (Carrie and Children of a Lesser God).  But like most of the movies featured in this post... I hadn't heard of her.

Which means that the Cardboard Gods made sure to load me up with her cardboard.  I pulled both of her insert cards:

Wrapping up these blaster boxes were these two numbered parallels:

The Noth will go into my Prime Numbers PC, while the Ventimiglia will go into my ever-growing box of non-sports inserts/parallels.

I didn't pull a Dean or Monroe memorabilia card... and you can pick up these blasters for $10 less now... but overall... I'm happy with this box break.

Now it's time to rest and recuperate.  In the meantime, maybe you can help me out.  Outside of The Towering Inferno, I haven't seen any of these films featured on these relics.  

Which of these films would you recommend to others?

Enjoy The Oscars!  Happy Sunday and sayonara!