On Friday, we found ourselves back on the familiar floors of Cherry Hill’s Crowne Plaza, ready to drink through the latest Monster-Mania convention.
This was the 27th Monster-Mania. The first one I went to was only their third ever. Almost ten years later, and I still get a kick out it. I don’t know whether to find comfort or shame in the idea that I might still be going to these things twenty years from now.
I can’t give you a full convention report, because we were only there for a day, and we barely scratched the surface of what Monster-Mania has to offer. After meeting John and Jay at last August’s convention, we all became fast friends, and heading back on Friday was mainly an excuse to hang with them — albeit with the neat backdrop of total strangers wearing scary clown costumes.
Saturday was spent at the Englishtown flea market with Ms. X and Jay. We three marveled at old records, cajun peanuts, and what I swear was a lipstick-wearing John Cena, immortalized on an unlicensed throw blanket that was large enough to double as a circus tent.
The highlight — if you don’t count the part where poor Jay’s car got stuck in the snowy mud — was another stop at Englishtown’s famous Toy Room.
You might remember last year’s article about that vendor, who sells an ungodly amount of vintage toys, from Transformers to Masters of the Universe and beyond. His indoor booth is as much “museum” as “store,” and it’s impossible to spend any length of time there without drooling like a sick dog.
Since I’ve already covered Toy Room’s good stuff, I thought I’d spend this post writing about their not-so-good stuff. Just outside Toy Room’s booth are many shelves filled with lower-end thingies. Thingies that are too unpopular or in too poor condition to bother displaying in a meaningful way.
It was there that I stumbled upon the bin shown above. In it were more than a hundred beat-up action figures. I mean, EXTREMELY beat-up action figures. Missing limbs. Chewed heads. Mud caked in every crevice. Ink stains, paint stains, and stains I’m not sure I care to identify.
That bin was pure action figure hell, but for some reason, I loved it. It seemed artsy. It seemed like it had something to say. Most importantly, everything in it was super mega cheap. The dealer could hardly hide his surprise when I inquired about the prices, I guess because there isn’t a huge market for Dick Tracy “Flattop” figures with no arms or legs.
The toys were between a quarter and a buck each. I went home with a substantial bag filled with absolute trash. These are my five favorites finds: (more…)
Anyone catch The Goldbergs last night? Oh boy.
Set in the late ‘80s, I’d been aware of the series, but somehow never bothered to watch it. Then, last night, my email and Twitter accounts blew up with stern demands that I check out the newest episode as soon as humanly possible.
And I’m glad I did, because holy shit. That kid’s bedroom. Oh my God.
Nutshell summary: 7th grader Adam Goldberg misfires on an attempt to woo his crush, Dana. Instead of flowers or a note or whatever, he tries to impress her by showing off his toys.
Hol. Lee. Cow. Adam (based on the series creator of the same name) had to be the luckiest kid on the planet. He had EVERYTHING. I’m only being hyperbolic in the slightest sense. This was UNBELIEVABLE.
If you’re anywhere near my age, there’s no way that you didn’t have a few of the things seen in Adam’s bedroom. No chance, no how. It was like the showroom version of the 1987 Sears Wish Book. I don’t know if they borrowed some super-collector’s stuff or actually hunted everything down on eBay, but whatever the case, kudos to the production team. Every last touch felt incredibly genuine.
Of course, while most of us had several of the things in Adam’s bedroom, I don’t know anyone who had ALL of the things in Adam’s bedroom. If you’re able to catch this episode, the nine-year-old still buried deep inside you is going to SCREAM with envy.
This obviously called for a dissection. Below are most of the toys I spotted, even if I had to cut some loose to avoid writing about this for the next five years. Not since I explored Fred Savage’s bedroom from The Princess Bride have I seen such an impressive and familiar bunch of toys. Enjoy! (more…)
We spent New Year’s Eve in Atlantic City, with The Sexy Armpit’s Jay and his girlfriend Corinne. All I really remember is punching balloons and getting my ass handed to me at three card poker. And walking past some guy that I swore was Johnny Torrio from Boardwalk Empire, even if, in my heart, I knew he wasn’t.
The trip was a private misadventure amongst friends — not something I planned to write about. That all changed in the morning hours. Curing our hangovers with cherry Powerade, we attacked the boardwalk with just one thing in mind:
The Atlantic City boardwalk is full of incredible crap shops. I’ve been providing proof of this for more than a dozen years. This time, though, we landed at the crap shop to end all crap shops. The ULTIMATE crap shop..
Or, more accurately… THE BEST 99 CENT STORE EVER.
I recognized it straight away. It was the same 99 cent store that I used to go to as a newly minted teenager, back when my parents practically lived at the Trump Taj Mahal. It hadn’t changed at all, and I cannot mean that more literally. The stuff that was inside this store… was the same stuff that was inside this store twenty fucking years ago.
At first, none of us realized that we were surrounded by treasure. We were finding good things, but nothing terribly outrageous. Fifteen minutes must have passed when Jay casually announced that they were selling Dennis the Menace pinball games from 1986. Moments later, I found a Kevin Nash air freshener from 1998.
From that point on, it was complete joyous lunacy. Our eyes were open and we were ready to see the truth. This place was COVERED with amazing shit. Everywhere we turned, there was a new reason to scream.
I think this photo sums it up: (more…)