Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Resolutions - 2011

Now that it is almost time to trash the 2010 calendar (and buy a 2011 one on clearance), it's time for another year of resolutions.  I posted my resolutions last year here - and a year-end look at how I fared here.  As it turned out, I successfully completed eight out of ten resolutions...which is great for me!  Let's see how I fare completing these resolutions this year:

1.  Get into a graduate program.
This is the number goal for me.  I've been a full-time college instructor for the past three years or so - but now it is time to take the next step and complete the Ph.D.  If I do get in, I'm sure my blogging output will slow down considerably for awhile - but I resolve to not disappear completely next fall! 
2.  Finish at least three sets on my want list.
This is a repeat resolution from last year, but it's a great goal to have every year (especially as a set collector).  I'm sure I'll be adding some more sets to the want list as the year progresses, so please keep checking it out!
3.  Organize all my "extra" cards.
I have two shirt boxes full of baseball cards that need to be organized, plus a couple of towers of cards that are one strong breeze from falling over and making a huge mess.  I keep all my cards in binders, so organizing is a feat in terms of both time and money (for binders and pages).  I also need to seriously evaluate what I want to collect, right now I've basically been collecting everything...but I'm quickly running out of room on my shelves!
4.  Continue blog trading, try to top 2010s trade total.
Another repeat, but with a small twist.  I mailed out 122 total trade packages in 2010.  How many trades can I complete in 2011, my goal is going to be 125 - or a bit more than one every three days for the year.  If the trade stack idea takes off, I'll probably keep that alive for awhile as well.
5.  Grow my Barry Larkin Collection to 200 total cards.
As of the end of 2010, I have 78 cards scanned and written about.  I'm hoping to do 122 Larkin posts next year - and hopefully find enough Larkin cards to hit the 200 mark!  I know I have a bunch still waiting to be scanned - and there are a few emails in my inbox right now offering me other Larkins that I still don't own...so I'm on my way already!
6.  Attend at least one MLB game.
I won't put any stipulations on which game or who I see - mostly because I don't know how much time I'll have this summer to begin with.  Still, I hope to make it to at least one professional game before 2011 is over.
7.  Be a more visible blog presence.
This should be one of everybody's resolutions.  The sense of community on the blogs is great, but it would be even better if we all (myself included) took a little more time to comment more often.  I know people read my stuff - I typically average 125+ hits a day but I don't receive too many comments.  I also know that I read 20+ blogs a day, but rarely do I comment.  Both things ought to change next year!
8.  Expand the scope of my blog.
This year, I managed to snag a few blog sponsors, including CSN stores.  I hope to continue my relationship with them next year, and perhaps nab a few other sponsors along the way (major card companies, are you listening)?
9.  Review things.
This might go along with resolution #8, but it doesn't have to.  I enjoy reading other people's reviews of things...and I think it's something that I should do more of.  
10.  Surprise people.
Let's just say I have a few ideas already about this one...but they are time consuming on my end - and well, I'll leave it that for now!

Alright, there's ten resolutions for 2011.  All but the first are blog or sports related (though the first will definitely impact the other nine resolutions)!  What about you?  What are your resolutions for the new year?  Feel free to either leave your resolutions in the comments below or a link to your own blog with a post of your resolutions!

Happy 2011 everyone!  Let's make it awesome.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

When Checklists Were Used.

As part of my New Year's Resolutions (which will go active tomorrow on my blog), I've begun the long process of organizing my cards - ALL of my cards.  To begin, I decided to put my 1991 Topps set in a binder.  As I was doing so, I ran across three cards that I ended up with "better" versions of - though these three cards will always hold a special spot in my heart:
Notice the missing corner.  Undoubtedly I valued the checklist cards the least (in terms of condition) so it was probably on the top or bottom of the stack at some point when disaster struck.
Sometimes a simple checklist isn't enough.  For this one, it appeared I decided that I needed two ways of keeping track of my cards, though I no longer remember what I was thinking with checks, lines, and highlighted names.

See, that's what card collecting should be like.  Sure, everyone likes to pull the occasional "valuable" card, but for the most part, card collecting should be fun.  Fun like 1991 was for me.  The Reds had just won the World Series, I was finally old enough to take care of cards properly - other than writing on checklists of course, and I hadn't yet been corrupted by bits of cloth or autographs of marginal players in my packs.  Oh yeah, and you could four packs of 18 cards each for about a buck, after tax.  Life was good!
And sometimes I made mistakes - like that one time I crossed off Joe Morgan's name when I didn't have his card.  Too bad I used ink...though no problem, I simply re-wrote his name!

Unfortunately for my collection, life isn't quite as good now - I realized that my initial list of what I needed was incomplete...and now I need four 1991 Topps cards in order to have the full set.  Remember, I'll happily work out a trade should you have any of the four, OR you can claim my latest trade stack!

Here's what I need from 1991 Topps (and here's everything I currently am looking for).
1991 Topps:
Base:

418, 511, 774, and 781

As always, any help is appreciated!

Past Card Sets Weren't Any Less Confusing...

Since I have some time off from teaching, I've dedicated a bit of time towards organizing, collating, and now (finally) putting my 1991 Topps set into binder pages.  As I was doing so, I ran across this oddity:

Both cards are #337, in fact, everything about the card is the same except the team (and corresponding team color border).  Notice in both cases Comstock is pictured as a Mariner.  

I did a little research (after initially typing I wouldn't - at least that part has been struck from the post) and found the following information about the 1991 Topps set (all courtesy of keymancollectibles):

  • Card 49A Pat Borders (1986 - 40 steals in Kinston) 49B (0 Steal in Kinston)



  • Card 80A Fernando Valenzuela (104 ER in '90 Tied League Lead) 80B (Led League)



  • Card 97A Brady Anderson (Sept 2 RBI and 3 Hits) 97B (Set, 3 RBI and 14 Hits)



  • Card 100A Don Mattingly (10 hits in 1990) 100B (101 hits in 1990)



  • Card 131A Checklist 1 (#727 Phil Bradley) 131B (#727 Mookie Wilson)



  • Card 155A Dwight Evans ( Lead league w/162 games in 1982) 155B (tied for lead.....)



  • Card 167A Randy Tomlin (Harriburg) 167B (Harrisburg)



  • Card 236A Frank Tanana (Tied for lead w/269 K’s on 1975) 236B (Lead League w/269....)



  • Card 270A Mark McGwire (1987 Slug % 618) 270B (1987 Slug % .618)



  • Card 279A Jose Gonzalez (Photo Billy Bean) 279B (correct photo)



  • Card 306A Lonnie Smith (136 Games in 1990) 396B (135 Games in 1990)



  • Card 324A Ron Kittle (set another standard) 324B (tied another standard)



  • Card 337A Keith Comstock (Cubs logo on front) 337B (mariners logo on front)



  • Card 366A Checklist 3 (#19 Carl Nichols) 366B (#119 Carl Nichols)



  • Card 378A Wilson Alvarez (89 & 90 minor league stats deleted) 378B (stats included)



  • Card 454A Kevin Appier (1990 Omaha Stats deleted 454B (stats included)



  • Card 526A Moises Alou (37 runs in 2 games for 1990 Pirates 526B (0 Runs in 2 games)



  • Card 527A Checklist 4 (#105 Keith Miller #719 Kevin McReyolds 527B (#105 Kevin McReyolds #719 Keith Miller)



  • Card 593A Mike Walker (1990 Canton Stats deleted 593B (Stats included)



  • Card 599A Greg Myers (1990 Syracuse stats deleted 599B (Stats included)



  • Card 603A Wes Chamberlain (Photo Louie Meadows) 603B (correct photo)



  • Card 656A Checklist 5 (348 Palacios, 381 Lind, 537 Lavalliere) 656B (438 Palacios 537 Lind 665 Lavalliere) 656C (433 Palacios) 



  • CardA 674 Kevin Gross (1988 Tied for lead) 674B (1988 Lead league)



  • Card 687A John Cerutti (4.46 ERA in 1990) 687B (4.76 ERA in 1990)



  • Card 692A Efrain Valdez (Born 6/11/66) 692B (Born 7/11/66)



  • Card 706A Brad Arnsberg (68.2 IP in 1990) 706B (62.2 IP in 1990)



  • Card 780A Randy Myers (15 Career losses) 780B (19 Career losses)


  • Apparently, I found the only variation that would be immediately visible by inspection (though the Jose Gonzalez and Wes Chamberlain photo cards should be rather easy to spot...assuming I knew what either man looked like - which I don't).  All I know is I'm happy to have all 792 cards - and I'm not about to chase after fixed and error cards from a "junk" set twenty years old!

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    Trade Stack: A "Pack" for a Single Card Off my Want List?

    Here is how this works:

    Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

    The first stack was claimed after two cards.  How long until someone pulls the proverbial trigger on this stack?!

    The Stack:
    Last update:  12/29/2010

    Although life around the blogs is still a bit slow due to (I believe) the holidays, the trade stack doesn't stop growing!  We are now up to eight cards - essentially a pack in exchange for a single card off my want list.  If I told you I had a pack with a guaranteed rookie card, three or more likely Hall of Famers, and an insert you'd probably jump...well, here's your chance:  JUMP!  And finally, remember:  All of the cards in the stack can be yours in exchange for any ONE (or more) cards off my want list!


    2008 Topps Stadium Club:
    112.  Joey Votto (Rookie Card)





    1991 Topps:
    170.  Carlton Fisk




    2010 Allen & Ginter:
    247.  Rajai Davis



    2000 Fleer Focus:
    75.  Alex Rodriguez


    2010 Topps National Chicle
    122.  Roy Halladay


    2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces:
    47.  John F. Kennedy



    2001 Topps High Definition:
    65.  Shawn Green



    2007 Topps
    Barry Bonds Home Run History
    741


    Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

    Beating Stupid with Warning Signs?

    For Christmas, I asked for (and received) a small pair of laptop speakers.  As I opened the box, I was greeted with the following images on the plastic bag holding each small speaker.

    Oh yeah.  That might be difficult to see in the small scan, so let's zoom in on those two upper images.

    I wonder what the lawsuit read that prompted this image on the bag?
    Dear Plastic Bag Company:
      I recently received a plastic bag that was used in the packaging of a gift.  I was so excited for my new gift that I decided the only thing I could with the plastic bag was to wrap it around my head and then hold it tight around my throat.  It turned out that wasn't a good idea, plastic is remarkably difficult to breathe through.  Why didn't you warn me?  In the process of passing out, I fell over and ruined my new gift.  So now I must sue you.
    Sincerely,
      Consumer X.

    I'm guessing after the first lawsuit, the poor plastics company thought it had all possible scenarios covered...but then Consumer X struck again.

    Dear Plastic Bag Company,
      Once again, I am writing to you to inform you I have no choice but to file another lawsuit.  I see you've updated your bag images with warnings not to suffocate oneself.  I appreciate that, and you'll be happy to know that I didn't put the bag over my head while trying to play with my new gift (that I paid for using money from my previous lawsuit).  However, your bag did not warn me not to shove my little baby's head into your plastic bag and let him crawl around the room.  I thought the plastic bag would be a great gift for baby - both of us could have something to play with.  Unfortunately, all it did was turn him blue.  And so, now I must sue.
    Sincerely,
      Consumer X.

    Aye.  It's scary how dumb the general population must be...and with the influx of warnings like the two above, I'm afraid the idea of survival of the fittest is no longer...and our collective gene pool will be the worse for it.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Trade Stack: One of the Best Photos on a 90s Baseball Card.

    Here is how this works:

    Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

    The first stack was claimed after two cards.  How long until someone pulls the proverbial trigger on this stack?!

    The Stack:
    Last update:  12/28/2010

    It's time to add another card to the stack - this time I decided to up the ante a bit by adding a card featuring what I believe to be one of the best photos on any card in the 1990s.  This particular card is from the 1991 Topps 40th Anniversary base set...and is a perfect precurser to 2011's 50th Anniversary celebration.  I can only hope that Topps uses more photos like the one below and fewer boring shots like in most of the 00s base sets.  And finally, remember:  All of the cards in the stack can be yours in exchange for any ONE (or more) cards off my want list!


    1991 Topps:
    170.  Carlton Fisk




    2010 Allen & Ginter:
    247.  Rajai Davis



    2000 Fleer Focus:
    75.  Alex Rodriguez


    2010 Topps National Chicle
    122.  Roy Halladay


    2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces:
    47.  John F. Kennedy



    2001 Topps High Definition:
    65.  Shawn Green



    2007 Topps
    Barry Bonds Home Run History
    741


    Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

    Barry Larkin Collection 77: 1994 Tombstone Pizza #13

    Barry Larkin
    Year:  1994
    Brand:  Tombstone Pizza
    Card number:  13 of 30

    This is now the second Tombstone Pizza card in my Larkin Collection, and unfortunately, I like the first one I featured a lot better.  The front of the card is solid enough for a non-licensed set, though the airbrushing of the Reds "C" logo on the hat leaves a bit to be desired.

    The back of the card is where I find fault in the design.  If you know going into a card design that your set won't be able to show team logos, why in the world would you decide it would be a good idea to have a close up profile shot of a ball player with their hat on?  It looks cheap (because it is) and generally unbecoming of a baseball card.  The rest of the back design is actually fairly nice - but that gigantic logo-less Reds hat on top of Larkin's noggin is simply too much to ignore.  Even so, it is always fun to acquire some of the lesser known, odd-ball type Larkin cards!

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Trade Stack: Half a Dozen cards for One.

    Here is how this works:

    Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

    The first stack was claimed after two cards.  How long until someone pulls the proverbial trigger on this stack?!

    The Stack:
    Last update:  12/27/2010

    The best part of my trade stack idea is I never know what card will be the one that someone ends up needing.  As such, I'll be mixing in random base cards along with plenty of stars and inserts as I continue the Trade Stack idea.  For today's addition to the stack, we have a lowly common from Allen & Ginter - but it's not so lowly if you happen to need it for your set!  This also marks the fifth different team represented in the trade stack, along with one president!


    2010 Allen & Ginter:
    247.  Rajai Davis



    2000 Fleer Focus:
    75.  Alex Rodriguez


    2010 Topps National Chicle
    122.  Roy Halladay


    2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces:
    47.  John F. Kennedy



    2001 Topps High Definition:
    65.  Shawn Green



    2007 Topps
    Barry Bonds Home Run History
    741


    Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

    Delivery Time! Trade with Thorzul from Thorzul Will Rule

    A few days ago, I put up a post offering a rather rare Brewers card in the hopes of nabbing some cards off my want list.
    Well, Thorzul from the Thorzul Will Rule blog quickly scoured his collection and claimed the Brewers card.  Here's what I got in return:

    2009 Topps:
    Topps Town Gold:
    TTT42.  Kevin Youkilis

    Sometimes I worry that I collect things just for the sake of collecting them.  The Topps Town gold variations are a perfect example of that.  Why I am collecting a bunch of junk cards (albeit parallels of junk cards) is beyond me...but, I've made it this far so no point in giving up now right?  After all, I only need TTT24, TTT27, TTT29, TTT33, TTT44, TTT46 now.

    2006 Fleer Greats of the Game:
    Nickname Greats:
    NG-GF.  George Foster

    I wasn't alive during the glory days of the Reds (Big Red Machine) so I missed out on knowing Foster as "The Destroyer".  This card is pretty cool - and it is always great to add a new Reds card to my collecting while also knocking another card off my want list...double bonus!

    2009 Upper Deck Goudey:
    272.  Jose Reyes

    Oh Goudey, how you haunt me so.  In both 2008 and 2009 I bought a large amount of Goudey with the foolhardy thought of completing the set quickly.  In both cases, that dream was quickly dashed by poor collation coupled with too many short prints.  As of today, I still need a bunch of Goudey cards from both 2008 and 2009...still, this Reyes card means I now need one fewer card from the '09 set, so that's something!

    2010 Allen & Ginter:
    Autograph

    AGA-CY.  Chris Young

    And now, it's time for one of the highlights of the trade - another Ginter autograph from the 2010 set!  I've really gone all out trying to acquire any (and every) relic and auto from this year's Ginter set...this card helps me along a bit more.

    2008 Allen & Ginter:
    Team Orange:

    T01.  Cornelius Franks

    Of all the cards Thorzul sent, this one is actually my favorite because it gets me tantalizingly close to completing this blasted Team Orange set.  I now only need two Team Orange cards (4, 10) along with three Ancient Icons cards (6, 17, 18) and I'll have every mini set from 2008 A&G complete!

    Thanks a lot Thorzul!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade - check out my want list and make an offer!

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Barry Larkin Collection 76: 1994 O-Pee-Chee #125

    Barry Larkin
    Year:  1994
    Brand:  O-Pee-Chee
    Card number:  125

    I find myself enjoying a wide variety of sets (as evidenced by my eclectic want list).  However, the O-Pee-Chee line has always been one of the brands that I never particularly cared for.  This Larkin card is an excellent example of what I don't like about O-Pee-Chee.

    The front of the card isn't bad, though most custom card creators probably designed a card that looked better than this design on their first attempt...  If I had to improve it, I'd have made the team name a color rather than clear - and I'd have added the team logo somewhere, probably at the bottom right.  That said, it's not a bad design, just boring...at least for the front of the card.

    The back of the card, on the other hand, is awful.  That is, it's awful if you are a set collector - look at the number in the top right corner...there's the brand logo overlapping it - ugh!  Whoever thought that was a good idea ought to have their computer taken away.  The rest of the card is alright, and like most Pacific cards, you get to learn a foreign language while looking at the card, so that's always fun right?

    Finally, it deserves a mention - the card stock is also awful.  It's barely thicker than a piece of paper - and feels almost as flimsy.  It's almost like O-Pee-Chee used photo paper to print their baseball cards in 1994, ugh!

    Trade Stack: Five Cards for the Day After Christmas!

    Here is how this works:

    Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

    The first stack was claimed after two cards.  How long until someone pulls the proverbial trigger on this stack?!

    The Stack:
    Last update:  12/26/2010

    So it appears that Roy Halladay wasn't enough to entice someone to claim the stack.  Maybe it's because the holidays are in full swing and no one is paying attention to the blogs...or maybe it's because no one likes Halladay.  Or, just maybe, it's because you were waiting for a fifth card to be added to the stack before pulling the trigger and offering me a single card off my want list.  Well, it's your lucky day, here's the fifth card in the stack - and it's another holiday helping of star power!

    2000 Fleer Focus:
    75.  Alex Rodriguez


    2010 Topps National Chicle
    122.  Roy Halladay


    2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces:
    47.  John F. Kennedy



    2001 Topps High Definition:
    65.  Shawn Green



    2007 Topps
    Barry Bonds Home Run History
    741


    Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Merry Christmas!

    Like many people, I'll be away from the computer for the majority of the day celebrating Christmas three different times throughout the day.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day - and until I return, take a look at the latest trade stack if you are bored and see if it entices you in any way!

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    A repost of my Christmas poem from two years ago (because me writing one poem was hard enough)...

    It's the day before Christmas, and all throughout Blogger
    People were posting their Christmas greetings for one another
    The clever greetings were posted all over the place
    With the hope that their readers would soon embrace

    But I in my cap, with my brain still taking a winter's nap,
    said "but I'm not creative and I've got presents to wrap..."

    Merry Christmas to all - and to all - be safe!
    (and may your stockings be filled with baseball cards)

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Trade Stack: And Roy Makes Four.

    Here is how this works:

    Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

    The first stack was claimed after two cards.  How long until someone pulls the proverbial trigger on this stack?!

    The Stack:
    Last update:  12/23/2010


    The trade stack is no up to four cards, will that be enough to tempt someone to claim the entire stack in return for a single, measly card off my want list?  Will Roy Halladay as a Phillie entice you?  (And as a Reds fan, I know it would not entice me...)  OR - are you going to hold off claiming the stack until it grows some more...and hope everyone else does the same?  Here's what is in the stack to date:

    2010 Topps National Chicle
    122.  Roy Halladay



    2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces:
    47.  John F. Kennedy





    2001 Topps High Definition:
    65.  Shawn Green




    2007 Topps
    Barry Bonds Home Run History
    741


    Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

    Nacho Grande Review: Circulon Elite 12" Covered Deep Skillet

    As you probably know by now, CSN Stores has graciously agreed to become a sponsor of my blog - and as a result, for the past few months I have been allowed to choose a product from their vast online catalog to review (and better yet for me, keep)!

    This month, I decided to review the Circulon Elite 12" Covered Deep Skillet.  As with all of my orders, the shipment arrived in exceedingly quick fashion - and the box was huge!

    After opening the box, it was clear the packing was also good (as it has been with all my orders from CSN I might add).  Packaging fragile things (like baseball cards or glass lids for cookware) can be tricky, but CSN seems to have it down to a science how to make sure the items arrive in pristine condition.

    Upon opening the box, the skillet was indeed in perfect condition - and quite beautiful to boot!

    Now, you may have wondered why I would ever need a 12" deep skillet - it turns out I was motivated to choose this item to review thanks to a recent foray into making my own Shrimp Fried Rice.  I'll have to post my recipe at some point, it turned out really good (if I do say so myself).

    As for the skillet at hand, I give it high marks!  The nonstick surface cleans easily, the glass lid is great to be able to see the food cooking with allowing heat to escape, and the aesthetics of the cookware scored big with the lady of the house!

    The skillet itself is quite heavy (so be warned if you are a weak chef in a physical sense) and it needs to be cleaned by hand (not dishwasher safe).  You can, however, use it in the oven (up to 400 degrees) so that's nice - though I haven't tried that yet so I can't vouch for what may happen if you do.

    All in all, I give the skillet an A grade.  The only thing keeping it from an A+ in my book is the fact that it is missing some intangible that makes me stand back and say "wow."  It's kind of like an English professor grading your essay, it sucks to lose points on something intangible (and as a math guy it drove me crazy in college)!  Also, the skillet retails for $120.00 though on CSN you can get it on sale currently for $59.99.  There is no way I'd have paid $120 of my own hard earned dollars on a skillet (I enjoy cooking but sheesh, I could fire up my gas grill even if it is freezing outside instead)...however, for $60.00 it's a reasonable price point for a nice piece of cookware!

    That said, I highly recommend this skillet as both a gift and as something to keep for yourself (and if you only buy one thinking it will be a gift, well...you'll probably be tempted to keep it for yourself anyhow so you might as well buy two and save yourself time)!