The Harrowing Adventures of a Nerd Week Contest Winner!

A winner is me..

A winner is me..

The prize for winning The Junior Junkie’s Nerd Week Contest arrived yesterday, and I nearly paid for it with my life!  That’s an exaggeration, but the box was huge (over $18 to ship!), and I was on my way out, so I stupidly decided to carry it over to the parents’ place with me.  Conditions were also way worse than I was expecting, and my main shoes are super old generic Shape-Ups types with no traction left on them.

Basically, it was a recipe for disaster, and, long story short, disaster indeed struck.  I ended up crashing and burning pretty bad on hidden ice patch close to halfway between here and there.  I hit the back of my head on the sidewalk, but I popped back up pretty quickly without difficulty, no wooziness or anything that would indicate being concussed.  A couple of folks I had passed a short ways back quickly came to my assistance helped me get my bearings and everything I dropped.  Very grateful to them for that.

The pain was mostly gone within a couple of blocks of continuing on my way, and any lingering head pain has minimal and infrequent, though I will get checked out if the random, brief little twinges of discomfort persist.  I finally managed to make it over to the parents’ place without further incident, and after getting cleaned up, I was finally ready to cut the tape and dig into the box!

The box in question..

The box in question..

And so I dug, and dug, and dug some more!  There was a LOT more in there than the DVD.  Are you ready to be as blown away by the thought and effort and generosity that went into this amazing prize package as we (the parents were very impressed too) were?

The note..

The note..

Here’s the handwritten note TJ sent, congratulating me and running down the contents.

The original prize..

The original prize..

Of course, the DVD was in there.  Say what you will about Family Guy in general, but the Star Wars specials are always straight up inspired.  Gonna enjoy this. 🙂

Are you ready for some football?!

Are you ready for some football?!

I’m taking this back to the parents’ place next time I’m over, because it is small and plushy and can safely be thrown around over there during the rare lulls when we aren’t skewering anything and everything on TV MST3K-style or talking about generally geeky and/or nerdy things when dad, my little brother, and me are all there at the same time.

Original art by Jason Goad..

Original art by Jason Goad..

I love art.  I am an artist (allegedly), after all.  But I can’t afford much original art beyond relatively cheap sketch cards very often, so this is was a super awesome thing to find in the box!  It’s a fantastic piece and I absolutely love it! 😀

A trio of CDs..

A trio of CDs..

Styx and The Who will definitely get some airplay around here, and I’m not quite as down on Dane Cook as most, so I’ll be giving that a listen at some point as well.

Under the CDs, you can sorta see the corner of one of the pair of monstrously huge Pinnacle screwdown holders.  I swear I took a picture of them along with everything else, but I can’t find it.  Anyway, they are so ridiculously thick and heavy that they might legitimately be able to stop a bullet.

St. Joseph's Prosperity Bean..

St. Joseph’s Prosperity Bean..

I didn’t know what this was because I’m a lazy millennial, but mom seemed to recognize it and thought it was pretty cool.  I read a little bit about them when I got back to my place.  Very interesting, and I will be keeping it on me.

Mardi Gras Beads!

Mardi Gras beads!

I’ve always wanted to go to Mardi Gras (because I’m sure my antisocial arse being around hundreds of thousands of loud, crazy, drunk people for an extended period of time would go just peachy), but thanks to TJ, a little bit Mardi Gras has come to the frozen wastes of the Midwest.  He notes they’re the real deal in the above letter, so I can’t help but wonder what he had to do to acquire them…

Anyway, I’m just glad he sent beads and not the terrifying New Orleans Pelicans King Cake Baby.

The last thing you see before you die..

The last thing you see before you die..

There aren’t enough NOPE gifs in the world… My apologies for the impending nightmares, ladies and gentlemen.  We should probably just move on with a quickness.

Various Asian candies..

Various Asian candies..

There were four different things in pouches, and my trying them out went badly.  I definitely haven’t acquired these tastes yet.  The Lychee was the best in a walk, and it kinda tasted like accidentally getting fruit-scented soap in your mouth.  But the experience was still worth the while and very much-appreciated.

You know, we’ve gotten this far and haven’t even made it to the cards yet!

Three boxes of cards..

Ah, there we go..

But they were there, and they were many.  I tore off the old shipping labels on the outer boxes before I took the pictures, just to be safe.

So many cards!

So many cards!

The top box had tons of Ryne Sandbergs, Mark Graces, and a random assortment of other Cubbies.  The bottom had miscellaneous non-sport stuff and some unopened junkwax era packs, most of which I will be drawing on the backs of at later dates.  Twas also home to the blue and silver beads.

The completely full box was bananas, with large amounts of 2012 Panini Golden Age, 2011 Panini Americana, and 2012 Topps Summer Olympics, as well as some Goodwin Champions, Allen & Ginter inserts, more random non-sport and entertainment cards,  and the occasional hockey card.

The big pack sittling in the middle of everything is a pack of 1986 Donruss All-Stars, which may be posted on A Pack to be Named Later at some point, and the rest will get a post of their own here once I’ve scanned some of them.

Since around half of the set was there, I’m definitely going to chase the Summer Olympics set now.  The other big stacks didn’t have enough for me to justify it, but I’m keeping a Single Page of both Goodwin Champions and Golden Age, as well as the vintage-ish Star Wars cards, and probably a fair amount of other things.

My canvas..

My canvas..

Finally, this card not part of the prize package.  This card is for a commission.  On the back of this 1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Sr. card, I will be drawing Ken Griffey Jr. from his RC, the very next card in the same set.  I loved the idea and will get to work on it as soon as my body stops being so creaky and achy.

For this commission I was paid $12, and even the money was worth mentioning.  Check it out!

$2 bill!

$2 bill!

Yes, that is a two-dollar bill.  I’m pretty sure haven’t seen one of those since back in the late-1990s when I got one back as change at one of the last card shows held at the local mall.

The flipside..

The flipside..

Easily the coolest looking piece of US currency that still spends.

There you have it.  This has to be in the running for the single greatest card blog prize package ever made.  The amount of time, thought, effort, and money that must have went into this making it possible boggles the mind.  I know TJ puts a ton of effort into his collection and his posts, so maybe it comes as no surprise he’d go all-out on a prize package, but I am still beyond honored and humbled to be its recipient.

Thank you, TJ!  And thanks to everyone for stopping by!

It was worth the pain…

 

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Topless Robot Art Contest Entry

The Rob, The Robot, and a bunch of Roboteers

There it is, probably a good 12 hours of work over the course of the last 4-5 days.  The coloring was done in colored pencils, which I haven’t used in any meaningful way in years.  No inks here at all.  Anyway, hope y’all like it.

Until our next…

Turkey Pizza Recipe?! Wat?

That’s right, my first post back after the announcement of my return is a recipe.  But it’s around Christmas time, so I figured I better get to this whilst there is still time.  You may not know this, but I am something of a culinary mad scientist.  I received some of my parent’s cooking skills (90% is from my mom, but even though he is useless at literally every other kind of cooking, my dad was, and maybe still is, quite good with a grill), and combined with my own natural laziness and occasional bursts MacGuyver-like resourcefulness, I have become fairly successful at making pretty decent food mash-ups.

And that leads us here.  I went full out and made the turkey pizza idea that had been forming in my head sorta from scratch on Thanksgiving.  Turned out I had enough ingredients for two, and they turned out amazing, greater than I ever could have hoped.  And Paul of Random Stuff fame requested I post the recipe, since it turned out the one thing he couldn’t have on it proved to be nonessential.  So here it is, my turkey pizza recipe.

It should be noted that this is going to be rather open-ended, since besides the turkey, how one goes about almost every other thing is pretty up to them.  Also, we didn’t write this down as it was being.  Totally winged it, so a couple of details I can’t remember off the top of my head and may need to be updated later if I remember to do it.

Now then, let’s begin…

~~~~

Ingredients:

One 12″ pizza crust-

3/4 lb-to-1 lb of turkey

1 cup of brown (turkey) gravy-

Optional Ingredients:

Mashed Potatoes- Not strictly required, but if you like them, they’ll make a great addition.

At Least 4 oz. Shredded Cheese- Went with the mix specifically made for pizzas, but cheese is entirely optional.  You will barely be able to taste it, if at all, so if you don’t use it, it’s not a big deal.

2-3 Mushrooms, thinly sliced- You can basically use any toppings that you want on this.  I just used what was handy.

1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup- If you use the mashed potatoes, this is good to drizzle over the top of that.

Bacon Bits- See above.

Cayenne pepper- See above.

Preparation:

First, the turkey.  I picked up a package of boneless turkey loins, since I couldn’t afford a whole turkey.  And just having to shred a big thick slab of meat rather than having to tear it off the bone was probably a much easier task.  Each one was approximately 4/5 of a lb, and when shredded made plenty for a 12″ pizza.

I also doused it in cayenne before it went in the oven.  Just rub it down with part of a stick of butter or whatever substitute that will have the same effect, then dust it with whatever seasonings you’d like.

It took about 1 & 15 minutes to cook the two pieces (about 1 3/5 lbs total) in the oven I think, though I’m not 100% sure on that.  Also I don’t remember what the oven was even set on.  So I will have to update this part when I find out for sure.

Once it’s hit the proper temp, just take it out and maybe let it cool briefly.  Then take a couple forks and start shredding to heart’s content.

Now for the gravy.  This will act as your pizza sauce.  We just used a packet of instant turkey gravy mix, though I guess you can use whatever kind you like best.  It made two cups, which was enough for two pizzas, with plenty to spare, so one cup will be plenty.  Basically just follow the directions on the package.  You may need to use a bit of flour (probably shouldn’t take more than a teaspoon for a single cup) to thicken it up a bit.  I did.

Next, you’ll need a structurally sound pizza crust.  Whether you make it from scratch or buy it from the store, you will really be loading it down, so it must be strong enough to hold up.  I went with the cheapest option of course, a surprising excellent off-brand two pack (12″, so basically a medium-sized pizza at most places) from the grocery store.  Just brush a very thin layer of oil (the type doesn’t really seem to matter) over it and start topping it.

Finally there’s the matter of mashed potatoes.  It’s optional, but I found the potatoes really bring it all together.  Use whatever kind you like.  I went with instant because that’s what I prefer.  I can’t help you on how to cook these though, since my mom did these with no input from me.  You’ll have to ask her.

The Pizza itself:

First spread the gravy on the crust.  Follow it up with a thin layer of cheese (if you’re using it) the turkey, more cheese (this is the layer you’ll use the most), and then any other toppings you decide to use.  I used mushrooms and bacon bits because that’s what was handy, but you can use whatever you like.  And once you’ve put on the other toppings, put another thin layer of cheese over that.  At any point, you may add any spices you have an affinity for.

Then you’ll top it off with the mashed potatoes, if you chose to make them.  You can add them after the pizza is cooked or before it goes in the oven.  I can’t verify it for sure, because we didn’t really think of it till later and didn’t get to properly test it, but I think the potatoes will brown if you put them on before throw the pizza in the oven.  Just glop it on and spread it out as best you can.

I mentioned above that the potatoes really seemed to bring the already surprisingly good thing together, and I really mean it.  With the potatoes, it’s basically all your main Thanksgiving leftovers except the cranberry sauce (and maybe the green beans and corn), and I’m not sure if you’d really want to mix that stuff with it anyway (except maybe the corn, that might not be too bad).

Anyway, actually cooking the pizza itself won’t take too long, since your main toppings are already pretty much done anyway.  Should only take 10-15 minutes on either 400 or 425.  Again, I’ll have to verify the temp.  No one was writing this down as it was being made.  I’m pretty sure the timing is right though.  I’m also unsure what adding the potatoes before you put it in the oven will do to the time.

And aside from maybe tossing a lil more gravy of some kind on top of the potatoes (I used cream of chicken), that be that.

Notes:

Sadly I have no pictures to show how it should look when it’s done, though I will try to get some if I get to do it again for Christmas.

The final cost of this endeavor?  For two 12″ pizzas, it cost around $21.  The cost of living here seems to be quite low though, so I don’t know what it would be in a bigger or more well-to-do city where things are more expensive in general.

Health-wise, the parent lady also came to the conclusion that the pizza actually isn’t too bad for you, and even better without the cheese, which isn’t a necessity anyway.

Making something fairly involved like this goes much quicker & more smoothly when you have the help of an experienced cook backing you up.  As long as they don’t try to take over of course.  Ha.

Finally, let me know if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.  And if you try it out, let me know how the recipe works out for you!

Thanks for letting me indulge my culinary mad scientist.

Until our next…

Belated Trade Post (Aren’t They All?)

Yes, for me they are.  Anyway, here’s the cards I received from Shot Not Taken back in 2003.  Lol, kidding.  It was late summer/early fall I think.   Anyway, here’s a selection of the cards I received!  All but three are 2006 BBM Japanese baseball cards, which I’ve come to learn have a tendency to be EPIC on occasion.  You will see at least one such example below.

Icons Steve Slaton RC #'ed /799

Before we get to that BBM though, let’s start with the Icons Steve Slaton RC.  The foil is surprisingly not that fugly, considering it’s Icons we’re talking about.  Slaton has come on a little in recent weeks, no doubt due to rediscovering his ability to either phase through stuff or turn invisible, as shown in this card. 😛

A couple names you might recognize. Yes, Kawakami and Iwamura. *sigh*

Hmm… I think I might know what to send to The Troll for making the closest guess and finishing last in the 5000 Hit Contest.  How does a Japanese card of Iwamura sound as a consolation prize?  Oh, and speaking of said contest, would the second place winner please choose from the four remaining cards please?  The V-Mart/B-Phil X-Fractor is taken, leaving the four football cards from which to choose.

More base cards for your viewing pleasure.

Two ex-Cubs (well, Cabrera was drafted by ’em), who went on to be stars in Japan.  Along with the legendary  Tuffy Rhodes, I guess the trinity is complete.

A couple more names American fans may be vaguely familiar with in this 6.

The top three are second version cards, and now we get to the subsets! Yay subsets!

I guess second version is kinda like an Updates/Traded-type set.  I’m not exactly well-versed in Japanese cards though.  See the great Japanese Baseball Cards blog for expert analysis.

And yes, we have a Benny Agbayani sighting!

I like the Cool & Toughs.

I’m sure it’s just me being oblivious, but the Cool & tough cards being both vertical and hoizontal threw me off just a touch.  Huh… Here’s some more:

Are YOU cool & tough?

Well, are ya?

Hottie interlude. :d

The One with the Wacky Checklists

Can we please please PLEASE get wacky picture team checklists in 2010 topps?  Please?!  Also here’s some more Ceremonial First Pitch cards.  More on that later.

Finally, we arrive at the big hits of the bunch, and two instant favorites in my personal collection.

Proof that these Jersey and card frame things can in fact be awesome!

Yes, a Fergie Jenkins card and swatch frame!  How cool is that?  I’m not sure what the swatch is though.  I’m not convinced it’s jersey.  Whatever though, still hella cool.  And Warrick Dunn!  Running slight fever & a little nauseous patch! (cuz it’s not quite sick, y’see, but still cool… *sigh* nevermind)

Dude’s ridiculously good at pulling good jersey & card frames, having also pulled Frank Thomas, two Karl Malone’s, and an Antoine Walker (it’s pretty awesome to me at least) on his blog.

Thank you very much, Ray.  I’ll have more stuff coming your way soon. 🙂

Oh yeah, I promised something epic at the top, didn’t I?  Here it is:

Tell me that ain't EPIC!

Until our next…