Can8ianben's Blog

This is a blog about me. I'm sure it will at some point talk about the things that I love... that being, my wife Meredith, family, friends, EMU, the Jays and baseball, the Maple Leafs, music, art, TV, biking, and whatever else is going on in my mind.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ben's visit to Dunder Mifflin Inc.

Today I took a little driving adventure to try and find the setting of one of my favourite TV shows, NBC's The Office. I had read online that it was possible and was even able to locate an address for the business park. Mapquest gave me a driving time of 25 minutes and that seemed doable. I figured it would be fun to check it out.

For those who are new to the Office, go watch the show! It's really great. If you've seen it before you know that it is located in Scranton, PA. Funny then that it is filmed in a shady part of Van Nuys, CA. Today's weather seemed more like late September in Pennsylvania than California, so the setting was almost perfect. As you can see from the picture below, the outside isn't much to look at...

It's basically a big gray warehouse with Valley Center Studios listed on the outside. There are a bunch of trailers for the actors, and on days when the show is filming (such as today) there was also an angry looking security guard by the big gate. There is one telltale sign that you are in the right place, just above the hedges...

Yup! A very odd place to put this, but there it is -- an advertisement for the fictional Dunder Mifflin as well as their TV neighbours, Vance Refrigeration. AWESOME. It's hard to find a place to park on weekdays, but I eventually found one and wandered up to the chain link fence where I was met with such a wonderful sight...

The front door! I had to take this shot through a chain link fence, and I couldn't get much closer than where this picture is taken from, but still very cool. Also...

if you are an astute fan of the show you will recognize this little blue car (complete with Pennsylvania license plates) as Pam's. Hopefully will also recognize that it was where the audience first found out that Pam and Jim were dating and then saw them kiss in the season 4 premiere. The parking lot also contained my favourite item of the day...

Yup! Meredith's van! (ugh, what is her problem?) It looks pretty beat up in real life, which I guess is the way the show implies. Very cool to see that. To check out the loading dock around the corner involves walking a little into another business, but fortunately no one was around to ask me what I thought I was doing. Remember when Michael went to get a joke from the warehouse guys? Here's where they were sitting...

And here's the dock, complete with a nice sign.

While circling looking for a parking spot I discovered the corner from the fun run where Jan offers water to Toby and Michael (don't believe me? watch the episode)...

and I also drove past a Staples store which I can only assume is the one that Dwight breifly worked at (however that is a pretty shaky claim considering the outside of the store was never shown in the episode and this appeared to be a pretty rundown location...

That's all, but it was fun while it lasted. If you have any questions or comments, please post them and I'll try and answer.

And keep watching the Office.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

That's Mr. Glen Stassen....

...sitting there with his hands folded in front of his mouth seated at the same table as the President of Iran. And he's my professor of ethics at Fuller! Check out this article for more on what he has been doing this week (besides giving me a lecture in class on Monday).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

something new...

I've been thinking about this for a while, now it's a reality. Based on what I see from my friends (links found at the right) daily photo blogs can be really cool... and I think it could also give me something to strive for - kind of an attempt to be devoting myself to an artistic quest :)

Here's the link for the few of you who check this thing from time to time...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ben's Toys

One of my guilty pleasures is collecting McFarlane Sports Action figures from the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. I've been quite successful in keeping my collection complete but it's kind of trailed off recently due to being married (being more financially "responsible") and moving into a smaller apartment with less room to keep stuff that just stays in its box.

I enjoy this collection for many reasons. It allows me to be young again, it's a fascinating way to get an up close look at a team's uniform and player history, and it is exciting thinking of being able to show these to my grandkids someday. As you can see from the newest release above, the detail on these items continues to get better and better all the time.

For the sake of my own sanity I'm going to use this blog entry to keep my track of my collection and what it still needs. It's really an interesting hobby once you get involved. McFarlane releases a number of players every year but also does some random things such as issuing players in former team uniforms or with an alternate jersey on or even with a mohawk. From time to time players are also released in miniature 3 inch form (typically players are aproximately 6 inches tall). These items have not been my focus, however I do own a couple and wish I owned a few more. For clarification: want it/have it

First the Blue Jays:

Eric Hinske - Series 4 (won ROY and got an action figure - what has he done lately?)
Roger Clemens
- Series 6 (a rare item, re-issued in Blue Jays uniform from Cy Young seasons)
Carlos Delgado - Series 10 (unfortunately traded shortly after this came out)
Roy Halladay
- Series 11
Troy Glaus 2 - Series 17

A few notes here -- the fact that Canada is a hockey first market may be the reason for such a small amount of players to be released. It's tough on collectors that 2 of these items are almost impossible to find without using ebay. It is also worth noting that Glaus is actually a repaint of a previous release and Hinske is also available in home and away uniform (with home being the rarer of the two).
And finally, there also exists a Frank Cattalanotto/Orlando Hudson 3 inch pack which is pretty hard to find, only handed out at a game in 2005.

And second, the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Curtis Joseph - an odd one, this was originally produced before McFarlane had the rights to produce NHL uniforms and was issued without the Leafs logo. It was then re-released once NHL rights had been purchased and is very hard to find (and typically sells for hundreds of dollars).
Mats Sundin - Series 1
Alexander Mogilny - Series 3
Tie Domi - Series 5
Owen Nolan - Series 7
Ed Belfour 2 - Series 8 (a repaint of a previous release in another uniform)
Gary Roberts - Series 8
Frank Mahovlich - Legends Series 1
Brian Leetch - Series 9
Mats Sundin 2 - Series 9 (the only one where I purchased both home and away)
Joe Nieuwendyk - Series 11
Bryan McCabe - Series 13 (released with helmet on, and with mohawk showing!)
Darryl Sittler - Legends Series 4
Darcy Tucker - Series 15
Johnny Bower - Legends Series 6
Jason Blake - Series 17
Grant Fuhr - Series 19
Doug Gilmour - Legends Series 7
Vesa Toskala - Series 20
Mats Sundin 3 - Series 21
Darryl Sittler 2 - Series 22
Terry Sawchuk - Legends Series 8
Tim Horton - Legends Series 8
Luke Schenn - Series 23
Jonas Gustavsson - Series 24

As you can see from this list, the Maple Leafs have been fortunate enough to have MANY current and former players issued wearing the blue and white (a big part of this may be due to the fact that Spawn/McFarlane creator Todd is Canadian). Another item to point out is that on two separate occasions a three pack of Leafs has been released in the Canadian market. There have been several 3 inch players issued but typically they come with a player from another team which makes me much less interested in collecting them, not to mention if they are released as a 3 inch figure, they most likely have already come out as a full sized issue. Most of the items listed have been released with both home and away jerseys and there does not seem to be any reason for which one is considered to be more valuable other than which one was issued in greater number.

Update, May 13 2010: I haven't bought or received one of these as a gift for quite some time. I guess you could say I've lost interest, but another big part of this stoppage has been that we don't have much space in our current apartment to display these collectibles. Some day when I've got a den of my own, I'll add to the collection and display it somehow.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

a few items of note...

I had a great birthday yesterday (and the two days before that!). Yesterday also involved more orientation info and a cookout hosted by Fuller's Theology department. Meredith and I actually celebrated my birthday on Monday night by going out for dinner and on Tuesday night by Meredith making dinner and spending some time opening gifts and watching a movie together. All in all a very good (3) day (s).

News of note is that the Blue Jays will finally introduce a throwback jersey next year going all the way back to their powder blues of their original season. I think it's awesome! You can see a tiny little picture here (until it gets taken down) and the website from which it came right here.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Half way there...

15 down, 15 to go.

Last night marked the half way point on my quest to see all 30 major league baseball stadiums. Dodger Stadium was a great stop on this seemingly never ending journey of mine (4 new parks are set to open in the next 3 years).

Highlights and impressions:

- loved the old school pastel colors on the seats in the different levels
- thought it was awesome the way that this stadium was built into the side of a hill
- really enjoyed the tradition of the clean white/dodger blue uniforms that haven't changed in years
- Dodger Dogs are tasty but very overpriced
- the "THINK BLUE" sign reminiscent of HOLLYWOOD in the hills of Chavez Ravine is a nice touch
- fake flashbulbs around the stadium after a HR were tacky, but fitting with the LA crowd
- Randy Newman's "I love LA" playing after the game was a great way to cap off the win
- Dodger fans seem more blue collar and multi-racial than Angels fans (which gives them credibility in my books)
- getting in early for batting practice means being crammed into the small left field section
- the San Diego Padres are the bad guys !?!
- I think I very quickly find myself being a fan of this team

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

a day of baseball and fans of Angels

Yesterday was crazy, I need to write about it...

My good buddy Scott tipped me to a autograph signing in the Anaheim area. I wasn't sure that I wanted to drive an hour to get a few Angels to sign, but combining that event with the fact that the Indians were in town and my aunt Suze suggested I be a supporter, my wife being out of town, and my recent fascination with catching baseballs at games (check out this guy -- ) all in all I thought it would make for a fun day.

Anyway, the morning started out kind of bad - I arrived at the furniture store an hour before Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver, and Reggie Willits were to arrive however the line already extended down past two other stores, around the corner, and behind the building. I would say I was probably about person 1200 or so in the line and I was an hour early! Incredibly people continued to arrive and it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't going to be possible for everyone present to get what they came for.

After three hours of waiting I was a few hundred feet from the store entrance. Unfortunately that was about the time when the doors closed for good. The store owners understood that they suddenly had a ton of unhappy people on their hands and started handing out a ton of free stuff including tickets to a future game - so I guess my pain was not all in vain.

From there I headed over to the stadium to see if I could get some autographs the old fashioned way. I checked the players parking lot and found out that most players were already inside. I did see a few others drive in, and one player (former Blue Jay, Mr. Justin Speier) even pulled over to sign my ball.

Once 3:30 rolled around I headed in and began watching batting practice. Some people think that the posted time of a baseball game is when you should arrive but a lot happens in the two hours before then. Fans get the chance to be up close to their favorite players and you get to watch batting practice take place. It's also a great time to try and snag an official major league baseball and get more autographs.

I've been close on several ocasions, but yesterday I actually snagged a home run ball during batting practice! It even has some great green smudges from where it banged off the Angel Stadium seats.

The game was fun too. I changed seats several times and didn't sit in the seat I bought for more than an inning. I wore my Indians jersey and the visitors won 6-1 making the team I'm cheering for two for two when I'm there. Don't tell any Angels fans! All in all a great day.

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