Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PLEASE HELP! GO VOTE!!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...

Alright, I have a slight suspicion that there is something weird going on, but somehow the guy I'm losing to in this poll went from 2-3 votes to 55 votes in a matter of hours... however, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, go vote for me (Sam Pair with his 1952 Warren Spahn for $10) in his poll. Certainly a 1952 Warren Spahn is more impressive than a 1958 Warren Spahn... seriously. A vote for me is a vote for America, and you don't want the terrorists to win, do you?!?!?!?! PLEASE VOTE, I really want to win!!!!

For all those who vote, I will award you one free internet... and a big web-hug... so in other words, please just vote for me!!!! PLEASE!!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Normally I'd just keep my mouth shut....

Yes, normally I'd just shut my mouth and move on to next week... however I cannot do it today. After watching the Texans again today, I cannot stay silent. Here are my MANY gripes:

1) Gary Kubiak - You were hired as an offensive "guru". Why so many 3-and-outs... why so many punts... why do we consistently go into half-time with only ONE SCORE on the board? YOU SUCK!
2) Frank Bush - We hired you away from Arizona because you supposedly have a great mind for defense? YOU SUCK!
3) Bob McNair - You say you're all about accountability and routinely throw the players under the bus  for shortcomings that are due to the coaching staff and front office. YOU SUCK!
4) Rick Smith - You put this team together. YOU SUCK!
5) Gary Kubiak (yes, you get two gripes) with 4th and goal from the 3 yard line and :59 left on the clock, you chose to kick the FG and make the Jets score a touchdown. Look across the sideline, you know what Rex Ryan would have done? He would have gone for it, because you can't count on your defense to stop ANYONE AT THIS POINT. Make them score a TD w/ a 2-point converstion, or start the drive from their own 3 if you don't make it. YOU SUCK!
6) Houston Texans Defense - How hard it is to keep a receiver in front of you and play basic man-to-man defense? YOU SUCK!

Kubiak and his entire coaching staff and front office people need to be fired!!!!!!!!! Rick Smith did absolutely nothing to help build a defense and the coaching staff has failed to teach these kids how to make up for their natural deficiencies. Texans 2010 = 4-12 and I don't see now how we won those first 4. BOOO!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 Wild Code - JD's Wild Cardz Blog Code Contest

Well, I cracked the code! It took a solid month, but I was the first and got it done today! Mike has asked me to put a post together to explain how I solved the various levels of the code, and ultimately the last step.


First of all, I'll say that I didn't start the code until five days after it started. I got a quick start, as the first step was pretty straight forward, an alpha-numeric decoding that sorted out pretty nicely in Excel. Read right to left, top of column to bottom. See picture below, which also include what I used to track and decipher the next couple of steps as well. I'll explain those after the pic.
I wrote out the message from the original code on lines 29 and 30. Directly below that are the answers to the 14 questions that Mike posted here. In column Y, I put in the underlined letter from each of the questions. This spelled out IMVTLNWSAP, which descrambled to TWINS AL MVP so I emailed Joe Mauer to Mike, which led me to the next level of the code. Keep the data in the bottom left corner in mind for the next step...


Now this is where I got a little bit off the true track, as Mike sent a code as well as a PDF which would be explained by the code. I was at work during this so I looked at the PDF and immediate noticed a few words that really stood out to me. As a big fan of "Casey At The Bat" by Ernest Thayer, I knew that the poem was in there, just didn't know how.
The big word that stuck out to me was "violence", and doing a CTRL+F search for that word in the poem, I found it in the next to last stanza. I crossed it off, then started crossing off every word in the second to last stanza, was left with a sizeable amount of words left over. That's when I noticed the word "somewhere" listed a few times, and went to crossing out words in the last stanza. That left me with the data I told you to remember in the lower left corner of the Excel sheet. Of course that's after I groups them together into something intelligible. You can still go to 2010wildcode.blogspot.com and check out the photo I was presented with. (You'll see I'm a follower of the blog, but I wasn't the first so I was a bit worried I was behind). I e-mailed Mike that I had gotten that far and he informed me that I was to determine which of the 21 cards pictured didn't belong.


This is where it all started to fall apart for me. I'll tell you now that I just got this part of the puzzle solved TODAY, November 16th and I had gotten to this point on October 20th! I fired off about 10 guesses over the next couple of days, and in hind sight it's amazing how far off I was. The only clue Mike gave me to start with was to look north of the border, which indicated Aaron Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays was the place to start. I had no idea what I was looking for. As it turns out, I had started down the right path at one point, mistakenly thought it wasn't right and quit on it. Anyways, after about a week and a half of trying to solve it I knew that the more I looked at it, the more frustrated I would get. In the comments on the code page, you can get a feel of my frustration! I kept an eye on the regular blog for any updates/clues or notification that it was solved. I saw earlier this week that Mike posted another clue and thought I should try again, asked for a clarification and started back at it today. He hinted that the next card involved a player that joined the Padres this year, and I instantly knew it was Ryan Ludwick. Things progressed quickly this afternoon...


I saw that Hill ended with an L and Ludwick of course started with one. I started the chain by looking at it in such a manner and ended up with the list I sent to Mike as part of the solution:
1) HilL
2) LudwicK
3) KemP
4) PorcellO
5) OrtiZ
6) ZimmermanN
7) NomingA
8) AbboT
9) ThomE
10) EllsburY
11) YaztremskI
12) IwamurA
13) AnkieL
14) LirianO
15) OswalT
16) TayloR
17) RyaN
18) NadY
19) YounG
20) Garcia
As you can see, each name linked to the next one until there was one player/card left standing... Nick Markakis. My month of frustration with this picture was over... The code however, was not...


Mike sent me the following coded message saying that they were clues to a card in the 2010 A&G set, send a picture of that card to him and I win... and that Markakis was the key...
3, 14 , 21, 6 ,3 ,21, 8
  
22, 12, 9, 17, 8

6, 21, 8, 1, 24, 9, 8
  
22, 25, 21, 12, 24, 25, 24

 2, 25, 6, 3, 23, 9, 10, 14, 25, 12

I then plugged the numbers into an Excel file and plugged in a vlookup formula against an alphabet listing. Of course the straight A=1, B=2, etc came back with gibberish. I remembered that "Markakis is the key" and saw in the picture that his uniform number is "21". So I plugged the code in based on A=21, B=22, etc as you'll see below... 
At first, ashamedly I didn't get it. I was thinking the color brown and I put all five words into google together and got nothing. I was a bit confused. I looked through the A&G checklist and saw Da Vinci. Italian, bearded and I knew he had an early concept of the helicopter. Then I wondered how Langdon and Brown applied. I had an A-HA moment when I remembered the book/movie "The Da Vinci Code". The irony was not lost on me... So I had solved it. I sent a picture of the card in to Mike and was greeted with a warm congratulations. Hopefully this has impressed someone enough to include me on the next A&G Code break... haha! 

Thanks Mike, this was a lot of fun and it challenged me to break it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

$10 Beckett.com Card Shop Challenge

So I decided to enter this contest and headed to my card shop to see what I could find for $10. Luckily for me, Howard just bought a bunch of 1951 and 1952 Bowman from a guy and they weren't in the greatest of condition. They had been corner pocket-ed to a page with a piece of tape holding the top center of the card to the page. I looked through the collection and decided it would come down to a really cool looking card of a HOF'er that I've always admired...
You can see the tape damage a bit around his head, and I'll tell ya now, the corners are no where near as sharp as they look in the scan. But I really liked this card and am glad Beckett ran the contest or I'd never have ended up with it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2009 Upper Deck Icons ERROR? and Need list...

So I stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home tonight and grabbed another blaster of 2009 Upper Deck Icons... I kinda of like this set if you can't tell already from previous posts. Anyways, I got the usual 1 Game-Used jersey card, Victor Martinez - Cleveland (another solid white swatch, kind of annoying, but whatever...) and got a bonus: my first "Rookies" insert. I think there's an error on this one, I hope it shows up well in the scan. But it is supposed to be numbered 369/999, however if you can see in the scan it is numbered 369/099. Don't know if this raises the value any... but still a cool mis-stamp nonetheless... Let me know if any of you have come across something like this...

Anyways, I've got the full base set from 1-100 now, so if anyone is looking for 2009 Icons here's a "for trade" list...
A slew of base cards, let me know if you need any and I'll see what I can send your way...
Red Foil: Evan Longoria, Carlos Lee, and Manny Ramirez
"Icons" numbered to 999: Posada, Glavine, Lackey, Ryan Zimmerman
Game-Used Jersey Cards: Posada, Victor Martinez and Chone Figgins

If you have any Astros GU jersey cards available from this set, let me know b/c I'd love to work out a trade.

BTW... I have been bad lately I know, please please please send me an e-mail at samuelpair@yahoo.com if I owe you cards. I do have 2 packages ready to send out, one to Ryan and the other to Matt F. Mr. Hopper, I know I owe you cards as well, just working on getting some time to go through your want list(s) and find something to send as well as the Glavine card already discussed. Thanks!

Friday, November 5, 2010

TRADE and Blaster Video!!!!

Alright everyone, here's a video showing off a couple of trades and a discount 2009 Icon blaster opening... sorry, couldn't get the scanner to work right so I had to do the trade posts via video!

Monday, November 1, 2010

CARDS, CARDS, CARDS!!!! GET YOUR CARDS HERE!!!!

Alright, some of you may remember that about a month ago, I got a very generous offer from Dan in Maine. Well, he's contacted me to let me know he's got more cards to parcel out for the following teams:

Phillies
Marlins
Rockies
Giants
Padres
Blue Jays
Dodgers
Indians
Rangers
Mets
Pirates
Mariners
 
He's a great guy and doesn't EXPECT anything in return, but by all means please try to send him some Red Sox cards back in return! Contact him directly at drm52574@aol.com if you are interested, you'll be glad you did!!!