My Year in Hobbies 2019: March!

March 2019:

Cover of The Green Lantern Volume 1 trade paperback. Green Lantern Hal Jordan, center, a white man with brown hair, wearing a green mask that covers his eyes and nose, in a green and black bodysuit with white gloves, holding a green lantern, pointing a glowing green ring at "The Green Lantern" logo, stands in front of an outerspace background, with various yellow stars and planets in the distance. Artwork by Liam Sharp.
Cover of The Green Lantern Volume 1 trade paperback. Green Lantern Hal Jordan, center, a white man with brown hair, wearing a green mask that covers his eyes and nose, in a green and black bodysuit with white gloves, holding a green lantern, pointing a glowing green ring at “The Green Lantern” logo, stands in front of an outerspace background, with various yellow stars and planets in the distance. Artwork by Liam Sharp.

I was a little late to this party, and had to track down some back issues in a hurry, but The Green Lantern (I linked to DC’s site, but c’mon, go buy it at your local comic shop) is both the best Green Lantern comic book and the best Grant Morrison comic book in ages. Liam Sharp’s art, kinda intense ideas about human anatomy aside, is terrific, as well. It’s basically like Judge Dredd in outer space with Hal Jordan instead of Judge Dredd. I got in on it in February of this year. The first 12 issue, 1 annual “season” is done, and is collected in 2 trade paperbacks if you can’t find the individual issues, and they’re finishing up a three issue interlude series, Green Lantern: Blackstars this coming month, before going into Season Two #1 in February.

A selection of TSR Marvel Super-Heroes role-playing game handbooks, fanned out to the left, and a white legal pad with a pen and a large array of 10-sided dice to the right, on a brown table.
A selection of TSR Marvel Super-Heroes role-playing game handbooks, fanned out to the left, and a white legal pad with a pen and a large array of 10-sided dice to the right, on a brown table.

I actually got out the TSR Marvel RPG stuff in March, and rolled up 4 characters (creating them near-entirely from cues my dice rolls gave me, and taking few if any mulligans) that I have done nothing with since. I should go back and look to see if there’s anything good there. I also need to find people to play Marvel with me, as it’s still my favorite RPG system of all time. Is anyone here interested in trying to navigate an online Marvel game on Roll20, assuming their data breach didn’t scare you off?

A ceramic sculpture of a neon green duck wearing a neon pink cowboy hat, with a neon pink cowboy riding it, his fist raised triumphantly.
A ceramic sculpture of a neon green duck wearing a neon pink cowboy hat, with a neon pink cowboy riding it, his fist raised triumphantly.

I got some art in 2019. This is one of the earliest pieces from the current iteration of Zimot Industries, though I own a few other pieces of theirs. As fantastic as this sculpture is (and it is truly one of my favorite things that I own), it was just the beginning for Zimot. Just go look, and buy some stuff.

1989-1990 Topps Senior League baseball card of Dock Ellis, pictured in the center of the card, a man with brown skin and a black beard, wearing a red St. Petersburg Pelicans hat and warm-up jacket. Card has a woodgrain border, and logos from Senior League Baseball at top left, Topps at top right, and the St. Petersburg Pelicans at bottom left, with Docks name and abbreviation for his position, P for pitcher, at bottom right.
1989-1990 Topps Senior League baseball card of Dock Ellis, pictured in the center of the card, a man with brown skin and a black beard, wearing a red St. Petersburg Pelicans hat and warm-up jacket. Card has a woodgrain border, and logos from Senior League Baseball at top left, Topps at top right, and the St. Petersburg Pelicans at bottom left, with Docks name and abbreviation for his position, P for pitcher, at bottom right.

I posted about the 1989-1990 Topps Senior League Baseball set back when I got it in March, but it was one of the highlights of my card collecting year, so here’s the Dock Ellis card again.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter, weird stuff happens…

A Mego Tootie action figure from The Facts of Life series, a teenaged looking female doll with black hair and brown skin in a maroon and white private school uniform, drinking a mug of beer.
A Mego Tootie action figure from The Facts of Life series, a teenaged looking female doll with black hair and brown skin in a maroon and white private school uniform, drinking a mug of beer.
A Mego Jo action figure from The Facts of Life series, a teenaged looking female action figure with white skin and brown hair in a maroon and white private school uniform, drinking a mug of beer.
A Mego Jo action figure from The Facts of Life series, a teenaged looking female action figure with white skin and brown hair in a maroon and white private school uniform, drinking a mug of beer.

First-run movies watched in March 2019 (1): Captain Marvel (I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to more.)

Television seasons binge-watched in March 2019 (1): Punisher Season 2 (I also enjoyed this, but I’m sad that it’s over. Hopefully, Disney rethinks the cancellation of the Marvel Netflix stuff and puts it on Hulu or something.)

My Year in Hobbies 2019: February!

February 2019:

As some of you will remember, I collect Mego action figures, and got a bunch of them in 2018, after the company relaunched. Finding Megos in the second half of 2019 would prove to be tough (I got beat out on a bunch of pre-orders because I didn’t have the money handy to grab certain things in time), but I had some nice successes in the first half of the year.

A Mego Joe Namath 8" action figure in its original package rests on top of a red and white bag. Football player Joe Namath, a smiling white man with brown hair, in a white uniform with green trim, with helmet and football. On the package's card, to the left of the figure, there is a picture of Joe Namath in a green uniform with white trim, holding a football.
A Mego Joe Namath 8″ action figure in its original package rests on top of a red and white bag. Football player Joe Namath, a smiling white man with brown hair, in a white uniform with green trim, with helmet and football. On the package’s card, to the left of the figure, there is a picture of Joe Namath in a green uniform with white trim, holding a football.
A packaged Mego 8" action figure of boxer Muhammad Ali, a man with brown skin and black hair, wearing a white and red robe, with red boxing gloves and red, white, blue and gold championship belt, rests in a red shopping cart. A picture of Muhammad Ali, right arm raised, is on the card of the package, to the left of the figure.
A packaged Mego 8″ action figure of boxer Muhammad Ali, a man with brown skin and black hair, wearing a white and red robe, with red boxing gloves and red, white, blue and gold championship belt, rests in a red shopping cart. A picture of Muhammad Ali, right arm raised, is on the card of the package, to the left of the figure.
Mego 8" action figures. Top row: Planet of the Apes character Dr. Zaius, humanoid orangutan with orange hair in beige and brown outfit in front, with a number of other figures behind and next to him.
Mego action figures stand on a worn white cardboard box against a beige background, with grey molding to the right of the figures in the shot. Top row: Planet of the Apes character Dr. Zaius, humanoid orangutan with orange hair and beige skin, in beige and brown outfit in front, with The Lizard, Spider-Man, Aquaman, The Falcon, Mr. Spock, Mr. Fantastic and Superman behind him. Bottom row: The Gorn.

…and, from the vintage side of things, Dr. Zaius! My first Ape!

A screenshot of multiplayer wins statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS, showing that the author is in 600th place overall.
A screenshot of multiplayer wins statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS, showing that the author is in 600th place overall.

I hit 600th place in February…

A screenshot of multiplayer wins statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS, showing that the author has 5,000 overall wins.
A screenshot of multiplayer wins statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS, showing that the author has 5,000 overall wins.

…and got my 5000th win not long after.

Comic books cancelled or ending in February 2019 (1): Mage: The Hero Denied (Image). 2019 saw the finish of several stories in fiction that I’ve been following for most of my life. I started reading Mage as a kid who didn’t get half of it in 1984, but wow, was it cool. It was supposed to be a trilogy of 15 issue story arcs that finished up probably around 1990. For one reason or another, it took Matt Wagner almost 3 extra decades to get to the finish line. From the perspective of a person who hasn’t read the first 2 arcs in 20 years, the ending was satisfying, but not extremely satisfying. The first arc was always going to be a lot to live up to, and that was kind of the case with the second arc as well, but it was really nice to spend time in the world of the characters again. I have a lot of things that I actually haven’t read yet ahead of doing this, but I want to sit down and read the entire story sometime soon, and see how I feel about it all after doing that.

Matt and his son Brennan are doing a nice job with Matt’s character Grendel at the moment (though I come at it from a different perspective than most other people reading it, because I’m actually not super-familiar with Grendel; one of the things ahead of a re-read of Mage in my reading queue is the pile of early Grendel stories I’m starting to find in my travels), and I recommend that book.

My Year in Hobbies 2019: January!

In the interest of not making y’all deal with 10,000 word posts with 100 images, and in the interest of making the load a little lighter, given the new imaging captioning policy on this site, which I’ll get into a little later (and which I’m still figuring out, years and years too late; please be kind as I’m getting used to doing this, and if you have suggestions on how I can make my captions better, please share them in the comments), I’m breaking 2019 down into months. Here’s January!

Screenshot from the video game No Man's Sky. A space ship flies through a star-lit stretch of outer space, past the silhouette of a planet, and over grey hills on the horizon, leaving a green vapor trail behind it.
Screenshot from the video game No Man’s Sky. A space ship flies through a star-lit stretch of outer space, past the silhouette of a planet, and over grey hills on the horizon, leaving a green vapor trail behind it.

I started out the year, again, feeling quite ill, dating back to a pretty severe concussion I got on my wedding day (life’s weird). I didn’t actually realize how ill I was (we’re talking 14 months of serious post-concussion symptoms, and still some lingering ones, some of them probably permanent because I’ve had a LOT of concussions and sub-concussive hits), because I’d been playing an absolute ton of No Man’s Sky, dating back to the last month and change of 2018. As it turns out, it was helping me mitigate a ton of neurological vertigo, related to eye tracking, which I didn’t find out until I 100%-ed the achievements in the game at the beginning of April. Apparently, “play a video game for 3 winter months to help me deal with some sort of illness or another” is a thing now, though I’m hoping it’s just a 2 year trend. I can play video games just fine without being so sick that I can’t leave the couch for months. I am back to playing the game over the past week, trying out the new update, so if you play, let me know in the comments.

A copy of issue #53 of Jim Balent's Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose comic book, published by Broadsword Comics, with a $7.00 price sticker at the top left (cover price was $2.95). On the cover, in the top right, there is a logo which reads "Jim Balent's Tarot" in green with a black rose with a blue center to it extending from the letter R in "Tarot", resting under the O and T in "Tarot", with "Witch Of The Black Rose written underneath the rose. At the cover's center, Crypt Chick, a white-haired, pale blue-grey skinned (see-through, in parts, displaying her bones) woman in a black bikini top with white outline crosses on it, a black leather belt with silver rings hanging off of it, a black patent leather micro-mini skirt, white panties, black and white striped tights on her right leg, and black leather boots with silver buckles, sits on her knees near green skulls against a black background. Artwork (signed at bottom right) by Jim Balent.
A copy of issue #53 of Jim Balent’s Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose comic book. On the cover, in the top right, there is a logo which reads “Jim Balent’s Tarot” in green with a black rose with a blue center to it extending from the letter R in “Tarot”, resting under the O and T in “Tarot”, with “Witch Of The Black Rose written underneath the rose. At the cover’s center, Crypt Chick, a white-haired, pale blue-grey skinned (see-through, in parts, displaying her bones) woman in a black bikini top with white outline crosses on it, a black leather belt with silver rings hanging off of it, a black patent leather micro-mini skirt, white panties, black and white striped tights on her right leg, and black leather boots with silver buckles, sits on her knees near green skulls against a black background. Artwork by Jim Balent.

Toward the end of the month, I got a copy of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #53. If you’ve never seen it before, or have never read the article I linked to above, it’s one of the best worst comic books of all time. I will give you the one-panel CliffsNotes version of why, if you don’t feel like reading the other article:

A comic book panel from Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #53 in which Skeleton Man, a brown-haired white man with a skull mask over his face and a black leather jacket with a bone on the right sleeve, yells "Samantha Brown! You have to get out of here! Your vagina is HAUNTED!" at a white woman, whose right arm, hip, and leg are barely visible in the picture. Artwork by Jim Balent.
A comic book panel from Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #53 in which Skeleton Man, a brown-haired white man with a skull mask over his face and a black leather jacket with a bone on the right sleeve, yells “Samantha Brown! You have to get out of here! Your vagina is HAUNTED!” at a white woman, whose right arm, hip, and leg are barely visible in the picture. Artwork by Jim Balent.

Yes, that’s a thing that happened. And I have a copy of it for at-home reading now.

A screenshot of multiplayer solitaire statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS. The field is broken into 4 horizontal bars. Going vertically from top to bottom, the top bar is a blue bar with "Multiplayer" written on it in white lettering at left, and at right, an up arrow meant to collapse the data if you touched it on the iOS touch screen. The second through fourth bars are a grey with black lettering. The second bar says "Wins" at left and "4569" at right. The third bar says "Ties" at left and "0" at right. The fourth and bottom bar says "Losses" at left and "1162" at right.
A screenshot of multiplayer solitaire statistics from MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS. The field is broken into 4 horizontal bars. Going vertically from top to bottom, the top bar is a blue bar with “Multiplayer” written on it in white lettering at left, and at right, an up arrow meant to collapse the data if you touched it on the iOS touch screen. The second through fourth bars are a grey with black lettering. The second bar says “Wins” at left and “4569” at right. The third bar says “Ties” at left and “0” at right. The fourth and bottom bar says “Losses” at left and “1162” at right.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really gotten into this here, but I play a lot of online multiplayer solitaire, using MobilityWare Solitaire for iOS. Enough that, out of over 300,000 users who have played at least one game of online multiplayer solitaire on the app, I was ranked 650th in the world in late January.

Television seasons binge-watched in January 2019 (1): Grace & Frankie Season 5 (I loved it, of course.)

Comic books cancelled or ending in January 2019 (the first of an ongoing theme for this year): Exiles (Marvel Comics). I loved this book, and hope to someday see more of all of the characters from it. Saladin Ahmed has written some terrific comics over the past couple of years.

February will be up soon!

Posts About Posts

1. “My Year In Hobbies 2019” is on the way, but as I couldn’t escape having it be super-complex, it’s taking a while. I’m into September on my draft. It may be a few more days at this rate (especially with Wrestle Kingdom 14 happening this weekend, and yes, that’s foreshadowing for this upcoming post, as well), but hopefully it’s worth your while, and not too overwhelming. For the long-timers who followed me here from the card site, there aren’t a ton of bubble gum cards in it (I do have a lot of hobbies), but they do make a fairly strong showing. Stay tuned!

2. Also on the “stay tuned” front, the separate post going over how I did on my goals for my hobbies from this past year (interestingly, my post about my year, despite having a bunch of highlights, is not very goal-oriented), and what my 2020 hobby goals are is also in the works and, amazingly, might not be super complicated to write up. It’ll be up next after the year in review post.

3. Because I really needed a distraction while I was putting these posts together, I have finally begun archiving what I feel are the best posts from the old card site, since I mentioned the possibility of doing so here, with new notes on the old posts as circumstances warrant. The first two are up now, and while they’re being added to this site at the original date and time they were posted on the old site, they can be found more easily by using the Classic Posts From The Old Card Site category. A link to that category will be permanently added to the sidebar shortly.

In the meantime, I hope you all had great holidays, or, if you don’t celebrate holidays, I hope you at least got some rest, peace and quiet while the other people were celebrating holidays.

Disco Era Dandies

Got ’em.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a flawed set, because it uses the wrong era team logos, pictures of the players in the wrong uniforms from the wrong eras (I’m pretty sure Bench is in a ’60s flannel uni, and everyone else except Lou Brock was photographed in the ’80s), and also because it’s a 6 card set instead of a 600 card set, but it’s still a lot of fun to look at. Had the last 2 cards I needed shipped from COMC a few weeks ago, just got around to scanning them before putting them away. I dunno if I’ll continue going after the Upper Deck Decade base set, I don’t find enough of the stuff to justify building the set and I’m trying not to buy sets outright (even if it’d make more sense in some cases) because I end up not digesting the sets, so to speak, when I do that, but I’m glad I got these inserts, at least.