Sunday, March 12, 2017

Toy Stories

For once, I got up with plenty of time to have a decent breakfast. Made Buttermilk Corn Pancakes based after a recipe in The Vermont Country Store Cookbook. Listened to the Streets of Fire soundtrack while I ate that and a half of a grapefruit. Switched to the soundtrack from the 1967 version of Finian's Rainbow with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark while getting ready to head out for the day.

Picked up the bus on the White Horse Pike around noon. Surprisingly for a Sunday, there wasn't much traffic. I was in Cherry Hill in 20 minutes. No trouble figuring out where I was going this time, either. The Holiday Inn where the toy convention took place is directly across from the Market Place shopping center, where I went a few weeks ago. I got off the bus and was right there.

While it was only two rooms and a hall, those rooms were jam-packed with tables and booths laden with every type of toy, action figure, stuffed animal, game, Lego, and puzzle you can imagine, along with books, magazines, activity and coloring books, catalogs, and records and cassettes related to them. Transformers, Star Wars, Marvel and DC, Strawberry Shortcake, Pokemon, wrestling figures, Gund stuffed animals, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man, She-Ra, anime, fast-food figures from the 80's and 90's. I even saw toys from lines I haven't thought about in years, like the Blackstar figures we had in the mid-80's that we adored. They were basically He-Man imitations with a gimmick - some of the figures had a lighter that, when flicked, would light up the "gem" worn by that character.

There were two big problems. A lot of these were collector's items and were very expensive. The other was most of them didn't take credit cards. I only had so much money on me, the ATM machine in the lobby was broken, and I wasn't running across a busy highway to use the one at Citizen's Bank.

I did find a few interesting things. A young man had a box of Star Wars action figures (mostly from Revenge of the Sith) mint in their packaging, 3 for 10 dollars. Good thing he was one of the few sellers who took credit cards, because I couldn't resist that price. I ended up with Mace Windu (who has the same mechanism that moves his lightsaber arm when you squeeze his legs that my Revenge Anakin and Obi-Wan do), Stass Affee (a female Jedi who was on the Jedi Council - she came with a speeder bike that comes apart), and a random Wookie warrior.

(The young man was really sweet, too. I mentioned when he ended up typing my credit card into his system that I was a grocery store cashier and have done things like that before. He said he understood - he works at Target.)

Found something for Lauren at the same table I saw the Blackstar figure at. It was mostly laden with colorful, slightly scratched older action figures. Among the wrestling figures was a small "Rowdy" Roddy Piper with an arm you could pull back and let go for a "punch" effect and a very exuberant, well-sculpted face. Roddy is Lauren's favorite classic wrestler. His iconic white "Hot Rod" shirt was a bit scratched; otherwise, he was fine. He was only five dollars, thankfully, since this seller didn't take credit cards.

Thought I'd try the hotel's bar for lunch. Red, White, and Blue was a simple, dark-paneled bar-restaurant with a barbecue and blues theme. It was nearly 2 by the time I ate, which may be why the place wasn't very busy. My Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger was simple but amazing, big and meaty, smothered in cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, thick bacon slices, and caramelized onions. Even after removing the bacon and eating it separately, I still had a hard time closing the bun. The fries were good too, crispy and golden and just salty enough.

Walked around the rooms for about a half-hour more after lunch, but the few things I saw that I liked, I either couldn't afford, or they didn't take credit cards. Besides, the place was mobbed. I could barely walk around. I figured it was time to head out around quarter of 3.

I did finally make my way across the street. I had to pick up the bus at Market Place. Since the Hallmark is right there, I ended up buying a nice card for Mom for her birthday (which is the 20th) and deciding I'd give the card I previously bought for her to T.J later that evening.

Once again, the bus was on time, and there were no problems getting home. When I got in, I put Roddy in the back room and my new action figures on the shelves with the other Star Wars figures. Managed to squeeze Mace in between Leia and the Obi-Wan figures. Stass ended up sitting on the top shelf, keeping my thin-legged Power of the Force Princess Leia company. (She didn't come with a lightsaber, for some reason. I ended up loaning her one I had in the box with the accessories I have for them in the back. It doesn't fit in her hand very well, but it'll have to do.) The huge Wookie didn't fit anywhere and towered over my 1983 Return of the Jedi Chewbacca. I just put him on the top shelf with the bounty hunters until I can figure out what to do with him.

Worked on my story a bit until it was time to head to Dad's for T.J's birthday dinner. He wanted spaghetti, so we basically had a repeat of Jodie's spaghetti dinner from a while back, with an added Caesar salad and creme brulee in place of cake. The moment I got in, Jodie gave me a huge bowl of pasta covered in her spicy tomato sauce. I added a few meatballs, a slice of bread, and salad. (There was also hot sausage.)

Khai's friends Bee and Chloe arrived shortly after dinner. I watched them throw Beanie Babies at each other in an attempt at a game. When they got bored with that, I amused them by doing voices for each Beanie Baby and having them relate a fact about the animal in question. Chloe in particular thought it was hilarious.

Finally headed home around 7:30. Dad's neighbor Sandy was on her way out. She ended up driving me and my bike back to my place.

Oh, and Rose finally found out what she's having. It's official - I'm going to have a niece in July. Rose is having a girl! I'm kind of glad. Not that I wouldn't love a boy, too, but I already have three nephews. Time to redress the balance. I also got an invitation to Dana's graduation in early June.

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