Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Not As Advertised

*first morning cup of coffee,getting prepared for a small rant*

You ever buy something and find out later that it wasn't as advertised?

Well, here are a couple of examples of what I mean.

I remember being a kid and on the TV commercial for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Tiger Saba Sword really made me want one. It looked like the coolest toy around and being a big Power Rangers fan especially of the White Ranger, I was sold. So I saved and saved and saved money I earned working for my grandmother and some Bingo winnings so I could purchase said toy. When the day came when I had earned enough, I made my parents go to the store and I bought it.

I waited until I got home to open the toy so I wouldn't lose all of the pieces, busted that box open and put some batteries in and boy....did it fall flat. Where were all of those sound effects on the commercial? Where was all of the buttons they showed? Why didn't my Saba talk? Did I really just spend $40 on a toy with three buttons?

Yes, yes I did. Definitely not as advertised.

Then there was the time when I saw that Subway commercial for some new sub. Man, that's loaded with meat and everything under the sun so you purchase one for yourself and bring it home. Well, remember that sandwich on TV where it was this huge monstrosity, well, it's got a few pieces of meat and is as flat as a tuna sandwich on regular bread.

Once again, not as advertised.

And of course you wanted to try one of those new "loaded" blizzards from Dairy Queen where there's more candy than ice cream...supposedly. So you buy one and find yourself eating vanilla ice cream with a couple pieces of candy.

Falsely advertised.

*takes a few aggressive sips of coffee before continuing*

By now I bet you are thinking, yup, I bet he bought something cardboard that wasn't as advertised. And the answer to that is yes.

I was searching for some base sets for my 1990's Spx chase and I stumbled upon one for 1997-1998 Spx hockey I didn't have. It was fairly priced and even had a make offer attached to it. So I did what I usually do to save money and made an offer and it was accepted.

It took a little while to arrive because of the slow mail from Covid, but I got the set and was pretty stoked to have done so. I even gave the seller top scores of five stars before even opening up the set to check it out.

I assumed I was good. The set appeared from the outside to be safe in a plastic carrying box and I figured it was all good coming from a reputable seller.

A couple days later I opened up that plastic case to start taking pictures for a blog post and that's when I started to notice something.

Top card. Beautiful hologram, some etched foil and a touch of blue for color.

A few cards later, Mr Ray Bourque. The one and only athlete I have ever met in person and got some stuff signed of.

Curtis Joseph

Hmm. This card stopped me for a minute. Where is the blue on this card? It's more of a silver. Maybe they did some team colors?

The Great One

Then this Brian Leech. This had more of a shiny silver foil on it than than the previous silver and it doesn't match the color of Gretzky.

John LeClair

Jaromir Jagr and his famous mullett

Another shiny silver. This wasn't the last one I saw either.

And a Joe Juneau to end it.

Something seemed off about this set. There were quite a few cards in here that didn't have the blue and had silver and shiny silver to them. So I did some minor research, I hadn't remembered the details of this set in a long time, and found out that the silvers and shiny silvers are parallels.

The 1997-1998 parallels for the hockey set were Bronze, Silver, Grand Finale, Gold, and Steel (shiny silver).

So I didn't have the base set. I only had a partial base set and some parallels.


Overall I found 10 silvers

and two Steel parallels

That's 12 cards not apart of the base set I will have to find now. Which may or may not be easy which is why I buy the sets as sets. Sometimes buying singles costs more than buying the set already done for you.

*grips on tightly to coffee mug*

I didn't ever go back and complain to the seller about it because in actual reality, I did get more value this way but it wasn't what I had hoped for.

*chugs a half cup of coffee, pours the next cup, grabs a no bake cookie sitting on the counter and munches on it before finishing up the post*

I can't say that everything that comes Not As Advertised is bad. Even above I did score more value despite it not being what I had wanted. And I have gone to plenty of yard sales where I have bought boxes marked common cards and found some amazing stuff. Those are the good stories.

Then there once again is that Subway sub and that Saba sword. At least a lesson was learned with those, but I also can't guarantee that I won't make the same mistake again.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Coffee Break:2020 Score Football Fat Pack

Welcome, this new segment on here will feature new products I review and breakdown during a coffee break. A coffee break is when you take a stop from work and drink coffee. Not when you take a break from coffee, that would be just crazy

*cup of joe ready to go, let's rip this pack*

My father has been very lucky in finding packs at Walmart in the past month while I see many other collectors coming up empty. From new products to even some old ones, his timing is almost perfect.

Almost of course. Even in my area there are those flippers.

In the past month, I have been trading him cards for packs since I haven't gone to Walmart in months and need the occasional rip and he has been more than happy to help me with that.

One of the newest releases I craved, like I do every year, is the first official NFL release in Score football. I like to get the first cards of not only my NY Giants, but of other teams as well and the new incoming rookies. Though I am not a big fan of the rookies still in College uniforms, I will take it for now.

*sniffs coffee, sniffs pack. The sweet, sweet smells tickles my nose*

For Score this year or so far as I hope to think of it, I ended up with a Fat Pack. There are 40 cards in every fat pack and the pack is just under $6. The legend, I won't call him GOAT as that's Eli Manning of course, Tom Brady graces the pack cover this year.

And I believe Tom his own Tribute insert line in the product which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Save that for when he retires and make one for Eli who has retired and has also earned one for this year. Come on Panini.

Here is the back of the pack with breakdown of what could be inside.

That feeling of the unknown within is just as thrilling as that first cup in the morning.

*a couple of sips before opening it*

Once I opened the pack, I am blessed with some great action photography right off the bat. The card, despite being a Giants fan, that caught my eye first was the Michael Gallup. Look at that angle of that photograph.

As for the card backs, yes I do look at the stats and read the write up, I iked what Panini did. I do wished there was more stats of the player however.

Though I do find this Fun Fact add to the back very interesting. I didn't know that I enjoyed, I mean, Matthew Stafford enjoys golfing. (if you don't get this joke, my name is Matthew)

The next four cards show Allen Hurns and Will Fuller making dives into pylons while Ed Oliver celebrates a big play and Olivier Vernon pass rushing. I was curious how he would do with the Browns after the Giants traded him off like Odell, seems he took another step backwards according to his stats. Good move G-Men.

Four more cards and this time we catch T.Y. doing his T.Y. touchdown celebration

Another four base cards and Russell Wilson is making his swift moves. I don't think he gets enough recognition for the great QB he actually is. I doubt Seattle even wins half of their games without Russell.

Final three veteran base cards including Richard Sherman who helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

Before I move on, I must mention the base set is a big one built up of 440 cards including 110 rookies which are always last in the pack. We will get to those soon I promise.

Up next in the pack was the three Red parallels that are exclusive to Fat Packs. Every retail level has it's own exclusive parallels. So if you're thinking about building a rainbow, well, you will have to dabble into each or I suppose you could just buy singles but where's the fun in that.

My three reds weren't terrible. Two great defenders in Gary and Suh and then a promising rookie that signed with the 49ers in Hasty. He could be one of those sneaky undrafted picks that turns out to be the next Terrell Davis.

*before diving into the inserts, takes a gulp of coffee, bite of bagel, wipes butter off hand so it doesn't ruin the cards and continues to go back to type*

The next 12 cards in the pack were inserts. So much for the 90's where you would have one or none. It's a guarantee now.

Score 2020 features a variety of inserts that stay the Score course and some exclusive just to retail.

Here is a breakdown of the offerings I found in my Fat Pack. I should also mention each insert has their own set of parallels,

3D offers the best defenders on a team and has 15 cards to collect
Game Face is exactly what it says, a players game face. This insert also has 15 cards to collect
Huddle Up really took a step back this year in terms of size, there is only 10 cards and not the usual every team offering. Which is really disappointing.
In The Zone is all of the best players in the game who are almost unstoppable. There are 25 cards in this set to collect and this one was my favorite design of the group
Next Level Stats has 25 cards in the set and shows the top stats for each player that are quite impressive.

The final six cards in the base set are always the rookies. From top rookies to the bottom of the crop, Score always offers it all especially with 110 of them to collect.

I don't know a lot about this years rookie class so I Googled the ones I didn't know
Anthony Gordon-QB for Seattle who was undrafted (well guess who won't be seeing time to play)
KJ Hamler-Speedy WR got drafted in the 2nd round by the Denver Broncos
Antonio Gandy-Golden-4th round WR drafted by the Redskins
Lynn Bowden Jr was RB drafted in third round by the Las Vegas Raiders (it's so odd not to write LA or Oakland for the Raiders)

And my final two rookies
Chase Claypool was a second round WR pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Trevon Diggs is a 2nd round draft pick by Dallas Cowboys and younger brother of Stephon Diggs

*finishes up the cup of coffee, now onto cup two to finish this Coffee Break*

My thoughts are the usual when it comes to Score, it was a fun cheap rip and gives me my first NFL cards of 2020. I just hope I am able to get more, I need some of the top draft picks rookie cards and the Giants inserts since I have the base now that someone gave to me.

I also hope there is some football this fall. I NEED SOME FOOTBALL. You gotta give me that at least 2020.
Ratings (ratings based on 1-5 🍵)

Design 🍵🍵🍵
Photography 🍵🍵🍵🍵
Inserts 🍵🍵🍵
Hits (not applicable)
Price 🍵🍵🍵🍵🍵
Value 🍵🍵🍵🍵

Friday, June 19, 2020

Retro Cup:Out Of This World

The Diamond King sent me a box loaded with 90's basketball goodness. LOADED. So I came up with an idea to do a mini series with so many great cards to show off called, Retro Cup. Along with the card showings, I will re-live a memory I had as well when it comes to coffee. So I hope you are sitting down with a cup of steaming fresh hot coffee so we can give this series a go.

*takes a sip of a new brand of coffee, daaaaannng pretty good. May be out of this world....*

Have you ever had something that tasted so good, that it gave you goosebumps or even made the hair on your arms stand up? Maybe it even gave you that tingly feeling on the inside or even made you smile on the outside? Maybe you even consider it out of this world?

I have.

Some of my grandmothers cooking always took me there and it was the oddest of things that she made that brought it home.

Let's take a look at a list of items she made that was so weird, it was good.
  • Fish Stick Gravy. I can picture your faces right now reading this. But, it was pretty darn amazing. I do not like seafood at all and can't stand fish sticks, but, somehow she turned something so disgusting into something amazing. She would fry up the fish sticks, make her homemade gravy, add them in and some special seasonings and wahbam, a masterpiece.
  • Frozen Milk With Vanilla. Yeah, it should say ice cream, but it never turned that way. She would take a bowl of milk, add some vanilla and salt, stir and stick it into the freezer. For some reason, it only froze the top layer but the flavor but it tasted so good.
  • Raisin Pie. There was no dessert I looked forward to more than her raisin pie at Thanksgiving. I am not normally one that's a fan of raisins, but that family recipe that she used to make it and how well it tasted in a pie, not to mention homemade crust, it was pretty mind blowing.
  • Bread Stuffing. This is another classic Thanksgiving favorite. I would spend the entire previous day to Thanksgiving breaking up pieces of bread, usually three loaves, and we would let it sit in a bowl overnight til it hardened. She would then cut up some onion, add some Old Bay seasoning, some hot water and bake. It for some reason or another, this was so much better than store bought stuffing.
  • Butterscotch pudding and Peanut Butter sandwiches. This was my favorite meal she made. When you are low income like she was, you sometimes create the cheapest but yet greatest meals ever.
  • Varieties of toast toppings. From favorites of peanut butter to butter, there was also cottage cheese, coffee crystals and some funky stuff she bought in a plastic jar but no matter what she added to my toast, grandma's knew best and knew it was going to taste great.
  • Beef Stew. It's simply beef stew. The question here is if the beef she used was beef or not. It came from the food shelf and was marked Beef on the outside of the can so it makes you question what was actually in there. But, it still was darn good.
  • Strawberry Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust. She simply experimented one night after we went to bingo together and took a can of strawberry filling and dumped it into a graham cracker crust. Despite the sugar overload, it was really good. 
  • Her Coffee. You know I couldn't have made this list without coffee. Hers was odd as it was boiled on a stove in a pot and then she served it that way with milk and sugar. She didn't always allow me to have coffee as she was old fashioned in that nature, but she would sometimes reward me after I had helped her with a cleaning project, etc.
This is just some of the items that come to mind first. Some of those items and remembering them just gave me goosebumps.

*takes a giant gulp of this delicious cup of coffee*

The mid to late 90's produced some of the greatest cards EVER. EEEEEEEEVVVEERRR. The base, inserts and even the rare occasional hits were well designed, creative and just plain out of this world.

Recently with the popularity of Fleer (Skybox) Metal coming back for every sport, mainly the Fleer Metal Universe sets from 1997 to 1999, I had forgotten how much I appreciated the set myself and started to dig into my collection just to see what I had. What I didn't realize is I didn't have much. Here I was thinking this whole time I was sitting on a bunch of these to look back on some day but I actually wasn't. So where did my Metal go over the years? I have no idea. Maybe I looked in the wrong spot, maybe my father sold it off. Who knows.

Either way, it was disappointing but I plan to keep looking.

Luckily, my disappointment turned to some happiness when I found some in the box I got from The Diamond King.

1997-1998 Fleer Metal Universe Kevin Garnett. What other card is etched foil textured and takes a popular basketball player under the sea? None. The only thing missing here is Spongebob.

Great background. This was from the 1998-1999 cards. At first glance you would swear it was the same photo as the previous year, but, the facial expression is different.

Tim Thomas first trip to space

After I saw these three from The Diamond King in hand, I became addicted and wanted even more so I took to Twitter to see if anyone there had any to trade. I had a lot of RT's, but only one response. That one response was from @Offbeatallstars who had a handful he was willing to trade to me.

So fortunately for me, I haven't ever traded with him before, he was as easy as it was trading and we had a deal done pretty fast. I like traders like that. He gets something he can appreciate and I do as well. In the end, we both were really happy and to me that's what really matters in collecting.

Within a few days, his mail day was in hand. Here's what he sent,

Rodney Rogers who is playing some major street, or I guess you could say interstate ball

 Brevin Knight driving away from a mysterious cloud

Tracy McGrady in our solar system

Michael Finley towering over the city

Keith Van Horn, seemed like I always pulled his cards, is jamming away from the milky way

Danny Fortson

And Tim Duncan playing out of this world.

Appreciate the trade @offbeatallstars! Hope to do it again.

*the final sips of cup one, will lead to cup two but will be done this post before that happens. I am trying to savor every moment of this first cup*

Getting these in hand, gave me that arm hair standing up, goosebump feeling and made me smile. The creativity like this is what we are missing a lot of from today's products. Too much of the same old thing or trying to repeat something that is done gets kinda boring. Sort of like today's food in comparison to my grandmothers.

Card companies, go make something yucky great again!

And yes, I am seeking more Fleer Metal Universe of any player, team and sport. I also feel a hankering for a piece of my grandmother's Raisin Pie to go with this cup of coffee. If only she was around still like Fleer Metal, as I bet she would have been more than happy to have made some and would have put this breakfast out of this world.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Retro Cup:Inside Outside

The Diamond King sent me a box loaded with 90's basketball goodness. LOADED. So I came up with an idea to do a mini series with so many great cards to show off called, Retro Cup. Along with the card showings, I will re-live a memory I had as well when it comes to coffee. So I hope you are sitting down with a cup of steaming fresh hot coffee so we can give this series a go.

*Takes a sip from a very hot cup of coffee, tongue goes numb for a second but it's okay, the coffee is in*

When I was younger, I always used my time wisely. I didn't waste a single minute because even at that age, I knew, life goes by way too fast. So have fun whenever you can was my approach. So no matter if I was inside or outside, I found a way to not sit around and waste anytime.

When I wasn't outside, which wasn't very often (it had to have been way too cold or really raining), I found some fun things to do that wasn't sitting down in front of the TV.

I would write first of all. Hundreds of stories, hundreds of comics (I created a series off from Ren and Stimpy called Aaron and Stimpy. It was the adventures of my friend Aaron and the lovable cat Simpy).  I would play with action figures and use my imagination. I would read. I absolutely loved to read, non fiction of course. Then throw some PS1, not a lot, in there later on in the 90's but no matter what I did, I always kept myself busy. I was never bored.

Oh, and there was coffee. I can't forget the coffee when I was a bit older. I should also say there was cards to. At that point in my life, there wasn't Cards Over Coffee 😏. When I finally got into collecting, I spent a lot of time organizing, re-organizing, and writing down EVERY SINGLE CARD I OWNED in a notebook to keep track. Along with that, I would write down their "book values" and keep track of down and up value arrows, etc. I studied the Beckett like it was U.S. History.

Long before the days of the internet, in the 80's and 90's, we had something called outside. I would play out there in snow, rain, sun, sometimes even an occasional rumble of thunder. I would be there from the time I woke up til the time I went for bed (with a few snack breaks in-between)

The outside was a marvelous place where you could use your imagination and let it blossom. I spent a lot of time by myself using mine. I would take myself on this wonderful journeys created in my mind either re-creating myself as Darkwing Duck or Tommy from the Power Rangers or even make myself some new hero I created. I would travel different dimensions, times, planets, etc fighting against the most evil villains ever. My imagination was endless. 

Other times, especially as I got older, I would play sports by myself. I found ways to use my garage to bounce a baseball off of and try to catch it. If I dropped it, the player was on base and safe. I created a full MLB league and kept track of stats/standings etc doing so. During the winter, I would do football season. I would throw the ball to myself and dive into snowbanks or try to keep my feet in bounds from doing so while playing as some of my favorite players in the league. I would keep track of stats, standings,etc. Then of course came basketball. I wont' go too far into this sport quite yet, but let's say it was comparable to the other sports I already mentioned.

Why not talk too much about basketball yet, well, that's because The Diamond King sent a lot of it and I have stories to save for another day.

*takes a much cooler sip of coffee, starting to get tongue feeling back*

Back in 1993-1994, Fleer Ultra created a basketball insert set called Inside Outside. This 10 card set was built of guys who dominated inside and outside the rim. These cards fell in random packs of 1993-1994 Fleer Ultra Series 2. I couldn't find the exact odds on these but I assume it was one of the easier inserts to find.

The front of the Patrick Ewing, the number one card in the set, of the card looks pretty cool. A fireball of a basketball flying into huge hoop with player in the forefront. The only place you can find a cool looking insert like this is the 90's.

The back has a write up and another new pic of Ewing with the Inside Outside.

Here's a look at other cards in the set that came along with the ride from The Diamond King

Dan Majerle

Jim Jackson

John Starks

Latrell Sprewell

Walt Williams

Larry Johnson

Seven of the ten cards are here and I believe I have the other three. I definitely have the big one in MJ. I pack pulled it about ten years ago. I will let you know in another post if I have the set.

*finishes up first cup, pours a second cup*

As an adult now, inside and outside has really changed but what hasn't changed is my approach to life. Don't waste a single moment.

Blogging, card sorting/organizing, playing Madden, house chores, DRINKING LOTS OF COFFEE

Even as an adult, I still prefer to be outside more than in. Unless it's freezing cold or boiling hot. I could handle that more as a kid than I can now.

Gardening, playing wiffle ball with my nephew, taking a walk.

Though I will admit that my imagination is still there, just can't express it the way I used to. How odd would it look if my wife came home from work and I had my action figures out on the table.

Instead, I take a look back on those memories I made and write about them on here. While also have some Cards Over Coffee.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Just As Good The Second Time Around

*wakes up way too early, but is ready to go with a cup of coffee. Not surprised at all are you?*

Some things are just as good a second time around as they are the first. Some things are not.

For example, if you brew some coffee and pour yourself a cup, it's pretty good. However, if you leave that coffee maker off for a few hours with leftover coffee and decide that a second cup sounded good so you microwave it hot, well, it's not great. Many like it that way, but it's definitely not as good as the first time.

Another example, Spaghetti. It tastes great the first time around but if you let that sit and eat it again later in the day, it still tastes just as good if not better than the first time.

Or maybe you tried something years ago that you forgot about and then discover it again and it's just as good as the first time. I have had that experience a lot but there has been some things that were not (mainly from companies who changed the formula to the way they make the item)

What am I getting at? Well, recently I had the chance to try some things a second time around that I haven't in many years.

First up, these Goetze's caramel creams.
I haven't eaten one of these in many years, but do remember enjoying them a lot when I was a kid.

So when I was down the candy aisle and saw a bag, I said, hey, why not? So I grabbed the bag and ripped them open when I got home.

My big hope was that they were as good as I remember since it had been awhile.

I slowly opened up the wrapper and the candy fell into my hand. I could smell the sweet caramel and icing center from a distance. I picked up that piece of candy and....

*a sip of coffee*

I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in the backseat of my parent's car. Taking that weekly trip to Ames (local department store), going into the store and heading straight to the card section. The first packs every time I looked for was 1995-1996 Fleer basketball. I thought the base card design was out of this world and my biggest love was the Flair Hardwood Leaders inserts that fell one-per-pack. It was the same love I had for the 1995 Fleer football that had one Flair Preview per pack.

So I would grab a pack or two, carry them throughout the store hoping to land a new set need for my Hardwood Leaders chase and when my parents cashed out, I ran to the car with those packs still in-hand and ripped them open like the chocolate bar that Charlie ripped to find the golden ticket.

The excitement was wild.

So when the Last Dance came on and the excitement of basketball cards returned, I found a four pack lot of of 1995-1996 Fleer basketball on eBay hoping to re-live what I once did. I wanted that ooooey-goooey feeling all over.

*takes another sip of coffee, then another and another in excitement*

When they arrived, I grabbed the package from the mail box and ran back to my house. At least that's what I pictured in my mind. At age 37, being quarantined with a few extra pounds and having not run in many years, I fast paced walked instead. Out of shape I am as Yoda would say.

I got home with said package in hand and opened it.
The blue pack immediately stared back at me. I felt like a little kid for half of a second. Until I realized I had adult duties to take care of before I could dig on in.

*few hours later*

Each pack of Fleer basketball came with 11 cards. There were four different insert sets to chase and the base cards had four different designs to build up the base set. None were tougher than any of the others to pull. There were chances at Hot Packs which would be a pack of all inserts. Only ever pulled one once from all of the Fleer I opened. It wasn't easy, but was hoping maybe one of the three I would open would have one. Yup, I plan to save one unopened like I do with every throwback break I do.
The back of the pack had me reminiscing as much as the front.
Would this one be a hot pack? Only one way to tell...

So I slowly ripped it open, the scent of cardboard wafted to my nose. The scent not only jumped out at me, but, the top card was my Hardwood Leader....

(shakes in excitement)
Derrick Coleman. Which actually turned out to be a dupe for me. I have been re-chasing this set for a couple of years now hoping to feel that magic of owning it again.

Rest of pack 1 wasn't too shabby either,
Sir Charles! the front of this card is pretty laid back design for 1995 Fleer

Card back shows a good amount of statistics. I sometimes can't figure out if I want more stats, less stats, a write up or no write up, guess it depends on the card

Mookie was the next card. Little bit more wacky 1995 Fleer

Card in the middle, Total D of Dennis Rodman! Along with the Hardwood Leader, you can also find one insert per pack. For me it's always weird seeing Dennis in anything else but a Bulls uniform.

that's the Fleer I know!

the fourth design

if this card doesn't scream 90's,what does?

Last card in Pack 1.

Now onto Pack 2. The final two packs I won't show all of the base, just the key highlights from each.
Mitch was a dupe for me again, curses!

Sweet Double Trouble of The Admiral.

Wait what....MJ sighting!!

Pack 3 highlights,

Glen Rice, YESSSSS one I could use! I tend to associate Glenn with the Hornets

Shaq All Star weekend insert.

*my closing final sips of coffee, onto cup number two to finish out this post*

My final thoughts on both the rips of Fleer and
caramel I took a bite of

MJ says it best,
They both were drool worthy, terrific, tremendous, mind blowing drive to the basket with your tongue hanging out awesome. 

In easier terms, just as good the second time around.