Posted in Books

Book recommendation: Meddling Kids

I’m going to try something new and recommend books that I enjoyed reading.

Meddling Kids

1509918650722-a847128d-cbe7-41d9-bce7-9defa0466845First up is Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids, which might have been inspired by watching Scooby-Doo after reading H.P. Lovecraft.

Peter, Kerrie, Andy, and Nate, along with their canine companion Sean, achieved notoriety as the Blyton Summer Detective Club. They solved a number of small-town mysteries, which were occasionally unbelievable schemes perpetrated by a man in a bad Halloween costume.

Then they grew up, grew apart, and tried to go on with their lives. But their last case still haunted them, and that’s where Meddling Kids picks up the action. Andy (please don’t call her Andrea) gets the members of the gang back together to investigate what really happened during their final case as preteen detectives 13 years earlier.

Cantero creates a satisfying mystery, complete with all sorts of fun nods to the two genres he’s working with. But there’s also a touching love story and a tale about growing up to be found here.

There are some odd stylistic choices — for example every so often, Cantero abandons traditional prose for a movie script format. It feels very odd the first few times he does it, but I got used to it after that.

Meddling Kids is a fun read that I’d recommend to any grown-up kids out there.

Posted in Odds & ends, Toy Photography

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, part 1 of 5

I got the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Set as an early Christmas present again this year, and I’m sharing photos of what it’s giving me on Instagram. Here are the first five.

The first day of #Lego Advent brought Hera a model of her ship, the Ghost #StarWarsRebels

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The third day of #Lego Advent brought a mini model of the Phantom Mark I. #StarWarsRebels

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Posted in Baseball, Odds & ends, Trenton Thunder

Random baseball photos from 2017

My friend Bart is the last person I know who’s sticking pretty firmly with 20th Century technology. He has no interest in using computers or owning a mobile phone, and he’s still using a 35mm film camera to take photos.

Bart recently sent me prints of some of the photos he took during the baseball season. They’re kinda neat, so I’m sharing some of them here.

The Cuban National Team played a number of games against opponents from the Can-Am League this season. I can’t remember if Bart saw them when they were playing the New Jersey Jackals or the Sussex County Miners, and he didn’t remember who the players are in the photos, but they are still pretty cool.

Cuba Bus 1.jpg

Continue reading “Random baseball photos from 2017”

Posted in Autographs, New York Mets

2017 Mets Autograph: Chris Flexen

I’ve been collecting baseball autographs since I was a kid in junior high school. Over the years, I’ve managed to acquire a signed baseball card for more than 900 of the 1043 players who’ve appeared in a game for the New York Mets.

While I’m no longer as active in pursuing new autographs as I used to be, I still try writing to most of the rookies who go to spring training camp with the Mets every season to ask them to sign a baseball card for me.

This year, one of those rookies was a 22-year-old pitcher named Chris Flexen who’d never pitched above the Single-A level of the minor leagues. Maybe he thought he’d be pitching in New York this summer when he went to spring training, but I doubt that anyone else did.

An unimaginable string of injuries led the Mets to call Flexen up from Double-A in July, and he started nine major league games in 2017. I wish I could say he enjoyed storybook success, but Flexen fared about as well as you’d expect of a pitcher who was rushed too quickly. Hopefully he learned some things that will help him be a better pitcher in 2018 and beyond.

Earlier this week, I got my baseball card back with an autograph, so now Chris Flexen is represented in my collection. Sometime before the end of the year, I’ll have to go through this year’s additions and look through my signed cards to see if I already had any of the players who made their Mets debuts in 2017 to see where my collection currently stands.

Posted in Odds & ends

Fate/Grand Order – Christmas comes early…

Well crap….Fate/Grand Order’s Christmas event starts on Friday.

My original plan was to take advantage of the Thanksgiving event’s 1/2 AP daily quests to level up the servants I ascended during GudaGuda Honnouji and get my Christmas bonus servants ready… well, that’s out the window.


I did manage to get Waver up to level 60, but he’s still not really gonna be that great until I unlock his third skill and start leveling them up. And Cú Chulainn is maxed out at level 70, and I did manage to get Julius Caesar and Jing Ke up to level 60, and Robin Hood up to level 55, so I could be doing worse on Christmas bonus servants. (Poor Medea Lily is NP2 and still at level 1.)

But whatever experience I get over the next couple of days is going to have to be saved for Santa Alter… and hopefully I will manage to have 30 SQ to roll for event craft essences before it starts.

I was expecting to see the London story chapter first, with Christmas coming later in the month so it would actually still be around for the holiday.

If we’re lucky, we’ll get London when Christmas ends. But they could be rushing Christmas so they can shove Saber Wars at us next — on the Japanese server, Saber Wars was loosely tied to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so they might want to have it come out with the North American release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi for us….

and that would leave pretty much no opportunity to level up Saber Gilles or try to summon (and level) a fifth saber class servant before the event… and little chance to accumulate an SQ to roll for the event craft essences.

I’m guessing the game is not going to slow down anytime soon, but it would sure be nice if it did.

If you’re playing Fate/Grand Order, are you excited about the early arrival of Christmas? Or were you hoping for more time to get ready?

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Holiday weekend Mets items

Thanksgiving weekend was a quiet time for actual Mets news.

Noah Syndergaard spend part of his holiday helping to feed homeless people, per the Mets’ Twitter feed.

The Mets are reportedly one of two teams that have made an offer to free agent reliever Bryan Shaw.

Nothing against Shaw, who seems like a quality bullpen contributor… but the Mets have Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos and Jerry Blevins, not to mention unsuccessful starters Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, or last season’s middle relief crew that included Rafael Montero, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker and Paul Sewald. There are plenty of arms that might be effective out of the bullpen and not nearly enough starters that they can count on. So maybe Sandy Alderson should prioritize his limited budget for offseason acquisitions a little bit better?

Queens Baseball Convention tickets have gone on sale, and you can even save a little bit of money if you buy them by tomorrow night to take advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.

This will be my first time going, and I’m looking forward to it.