Sunday, June 26, 2005 A.D.
Toy Conned and Devilishly Happy
I don't have any intentions of making it a weekend rule, but for the second week, I found myself in a sea of people who lose all individual thought when finding themselves in proximity with similarly minded organisms. If I were an advance-planning flu virus, I'd know where to start a breakout next year. Everybody practically smelled like everybody else, and it wasn't a good thing. While I was the unwilling recipient of many an elbow at last week's music festival, being in the presence of black-shirted, glue-sniffing city jail types, I observed that I was better equipped to be the giver than the receiver this time at the 4th Toys, Collectibles and Hobbies Convention. You see, despite being a professed geek, I think I've already been bullied many times in my formative years to effectively dish out bully techniques. Trying to find something interesting (but hoping that it wouldn't be too expensive), I bullied my way through the toy-obsessed throng to the different stalls that were set up to effectively induce claustrophobia in children who wander away from their ill-advised parents. Note to parents: toy conventions are not for kids.

I first spotted a stall with retro memorabilia. They were selling Beatles pomade for PhP350 and Coke Russell yoyos for PhP100. I found the pomade cute, but doubted that I would find a use for it anyway even if the contents were still good and greasy. As for the Coke yoyos, I already have a good collection of better engineered ones and the ones they had on display weren't in the best condition anyway. Scrounging through the other stuff they had, I found this one item that I haven't seen since prep school. I remember finding a 10 peso bill half submerged in a urinal, picking it up by a dry corner and instantly cashing in my dirty money for a coke and a bag of Jack n Jill whatever at the cafeteria. After receiving the presumably more sanitary change of 5 pesos, I headed for the school supplies store where, for some time, I had been eyeing these Marvel cardboard stand-ups that they had displayed. They sold for PhP2.50 each so I picked the two more interesting characters, being Iron Man and Thor, who I think were made interesting only by the fact that I didn't know who they were. There were five in the bag, with the other three being Spider-man, Hulk and Captain America. They would have collectively retailed for PhP12.50. The toycon stall, manned by a familiar-looking guy in his 40's, offered a bunch of the stand-ups for merely 25 pesoses for the set of five, bagged in their original flimsy supot, slightly discolored, but looking every bit as I remembered them. They bore 1978 copyrights, were labeled as party favors, and looked as if the machines that printed them have long been outdated. It was like digging into a pair of old jeans and finding forgotten cash, so I simply had to get two bags because I definitely would open one and keep the other mint-in-supot. It was probably nostalgia for the most part, but it was cheap nostalgia, and that made it even better. I feel as if I paid more for these things when I was six years old, because thinking about it, I essentially defiled my delicate fingers with anonymous biological secretions all in exchange for cardboard cutouts. That's almost like self-pedophilia, and pedophilia, according to most priests, is not a good thing.

This is what the stand-ups look like (they may not look as good now, but it used to be that kids would whore themselves for these):

Dodge wanted to get a bag of these stand-ups but ended only buying these things at the convention despite staying for a few hours:

This Turtle Toddlers set is basically a late birthday gift from him. I wasn't able to find these when they came out locally, so thanks!

Lastly, here's the haul that did me in... an exclusive Muppets Sweetums figure.

Supposedly released in limited quantities late last year, this 10-inch tall hairy monster is still available from but can only be shipped within the states. I'm lucky that my friend Unleashed brought in an extra because the retailer was giving me hell when I tried to purchase one early this year. Sweetums is the only figure I need to round out my Muppets collection, so I'm doubly grateful. To add icing to the plastic cake, Unleashed tossed in a free Santa she-devil bobblehead. A she-devil would have been enough, but dress her as Santa and she becomes bobblehead gold. I personally think that it's pretty handy to have a 5-inch Santa she-devil bobblehead around the house, particularly for moments when one feels the urge to sing Satanic Christmas carols to a plastic avatar with an oversized wobbling head. I also get reminded of this one Christmas when I traded 37.5% of my soul to Satan for a bootleg Transformer from Taiwan because I didn't receive a single gift that I liked. I remember that I ended up paying 42.5% because he threw in a bag of Marvel Hero Action Stand-ups into the bargain. I figured that the additional 5% was better than having to dip my fingers once more into other people's liquid byproducts.

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