Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Upper Deck Pro Shots

One of the first things I collected as a child was baseball cards. I remember my parents used to buy me a pack every Friday when they would go grocery shopping. The cards would be intelligently placed by stores at the checkout line along with candy; making it impossible for parents to leave a store without buying something for their kids. My eyes would open up at the sight of the glimmering gold or silver packaging that the cards would come in. My favourite brand was Upper Deck, followed by Donruss, Topps, Fleer, and if I was broke O-Pee-Chee. While baseball cards were cool, I always felt the hobby could be taken to a whole other level. I wasn’t satisfied with just a picture of a player and his stats printed on a piece of card board paper.
Suddenly McFarlane Toys came along a few years later and decided to start a new hobby market by creating sports figure collector toys. These figures were great because the details were amazing, there was lots of variety (many players and sports), and they looked amazing placed on your desk. However the one figure I never saw from McFarlane Toys was a Michael Jordan. Luckily Upper Deck (probably owned the legal rights) decided to then produce sports figures as well, and I was finally able to get a Michael Jordan version. What made the Upper Deck Pro Shots version even better was that they released figures in different iconic Jordan basketball position. My favourite was the dunk that he made to win the 1988 All-Star slam dunk contest; this is the version that I bought from Pro Shots (more specially Series 2 figure 4).
The toy is up to the same quality as a McFarlane toy, and comes in a clam shell case which makes it perfect for people that like to collect mint in box toys (like me). My only complaint about the toy is that you do see paint smudges, and that the version that was released isn’t the same one it was supposed to represent. In the real dunk, Michael wore a red “away” jersey and white cement sneakers. Upper Deck did release a figure that was accurate to the real dunk, however it was limited. I would have definitely preferred that version to have been the general release version and not the one I have. The figure is still an amazing collectable and I would definitely recommend any Jordan fan to pick it up as well.
Upper Deck:

Monday, April 25, 2011


I’m not a gamer. Well, I’m not a gamer by today’s modern definition. I assume that today’s hard core gamer must spend hours playing video games every day. They like to play on-line, love first person shooters or fighters, have a vast gaming library, wait till mid-night to buy a game, and drink sleep and eat video games. I on the other hand like playing once in a while, will get bored after a few hours, and prefer simplicity over complexity. That’s how it used to be in the good ol’ days of the Nintendo NES. Games were fun, easy, and didn’t take very long to beat. That’s why I believe the Nintendo Wii was so successful; it carried forward these “keeping it simple” rules to a modern gaming generation. Today Nintendo announced that it will release a new gaming system in 2012 (unless the world ends). This news came out of nowhere this week, although the rumours did start earlier in the month. To assume that Nintendo would stop working on the Wii, a system that has made them very rich and popular, seemed absurd. But today they confirmed these rumours. My thoughts are that this is a very smart move by Nintendo. This gives them an advantage of being first to release the newest next generation system (and gain all the press attention). It also forces the competition to play catch-up and have to speed their next gen as well, and maybe even come unprepared on someone else’s terms. I think that was a reason why the Sony Playstation 3 did so terrible in sales; they were a year behind the Xbox 360. The expensive retail price was also another reason why many people passed on the PS3; and opted for the much more affordable Wii. Nintendo also announced that they will reveal a playable version of their next gaming console at this year’s E3 (Los Angeles from June 7 to 9). While there are many things I hope to see from it (HD and maybe 3D), I also hope Nintendo sticks to their winning formula of making fun games that are easy to play and are timeless.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It has become a tradition for me every year now during the winter months to curl up in bed and watch a TV show on my computer.  I especially love to watch a TV series all at once, from beginning to end.  I guess this habit of mine first started back in middle school when I bought my first VCR and was able to record TV shows.  There’s nothing like watching a show back to back; it provides the chance for the viewer to focus all their attention on the story and pay attention.  This habit also came in handy when I first saw the show 24.  It’s a fast moving show and watching a whole season all at once made it more exciting.  This year the show I decided to watch was Dexter.  I was trying to hold out on this show for a few years, but couldn’t resist it anymore. 

I’m a fan of psycho killer films, so I was waiting for the perfect time to watch it.  In my head the perfect time was when the show was about to end, but since it’s kind of on a break for now, I thought why not watch it now.  So far I’ve only seen a couple of seasons, and I gotta say it’s pretty good and has met most of my expectations.  The pro’s of the show are that it’s on a cable channel; meaning lots of violence, nude scenes, and swearing.  I also like the story lines, though a little predictable they still can surprise you here and there.  The con’s of the show are that the violence isn’t very graphic (which I guess only a horror film fan would care to mention), and that many actors on the show can’t act.  The good news is that many of the bad actors (Dexter’s sister, cough cough), are offset by the incredible actors that where part of other great shows such as OZ and Six Feet Under.  Below I have provided a link to a website where you can watch the entire series.

Link to the TV series:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight

Title: Bill Bowerman & Phil Knight: Building the Nike Empire
Author: Keith Elliot Greenberg
Art Work: Dick Smolinski
Publisher: Blackbirch Press
Sometimes the way I like to find books to read is by looking at the bibliography of a book I have read and seeing what similar titles from that list I would also enjoy reading.  This is how I happened to find this book, Bill Bowerman & Phil Knight: Building the Nike Empire.  My next step is to look in the library catalogue to see if they have it, that way I don’t have to buy the book.  Luckily I was able to find this title, but was surprised to find out that it was a children’s book when I went to go pick it up.
Regardless of that fact I still decided to read it.  The book is about 48 pages long and is pretty easy to read.  Like most kids book’s it gives a general overview by showing how Nike was started, focusing especially on Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight.  Although it is short it does include many interesting facts about Bowerman (serving in the U.S. Tenth Mountain Division and taking a pair of sneakers) and Knight (using his mother’s laundry room as an office).  The book also comes with drawings that are paintings, something that I’m sure kids will enjoy.  This is a great book that I recommend for kids and children of all ages.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Transformers Ironhide

Even though I was born in the early 80’s I never really felt Transformers were a huge part of my childhood.  I guess it must be because I was still too young to appreciate them.  Especially because there was continuity in the story line, which made it hard to follow if you missed a couple of episodes.  In all honesty saying “not a huge part of my childhood” isn’t really the correct thought I want to express.  I think it’s more of a feeling that there was just too many good TV shows to choose from that you couldn’t be a fan of them all.  I do however remember having a few toys as a child, and even posing for some pictures with them.  There are so many unique things about Transformers that makes them special.  The fact that you can have a toy that can transform into 2 different things (a car and robot) makes it twice as fun.
Reflecting on how much I used to like the toys I decided to pick up a few Transformers when they went on sale.  The toy that caught my eye was Ironhide.  He came packaged in vehicle mode as a truck.  I like how much detail the toy has, which makes it almost identical to the real version of a GMC Topkick truck (I’m a big truck fan).  Once I opened up the packaging, transforming him took longer than what I expected.  I guess people that collect these toys must be pros and just make it look easy when I watch their videos.  Once I had Ironhide in robot mode I didn’t really like him that much.  I hated his head design and especially his feet.  It looked like he had his toenails painted.  I then decided to turn him back to a truck and have him only displayed that way.  While I’m not overly excited about this model, I am glad I still bought him and believe he is a nice addition to my Transformers collection.
Transformers website: