Sunday, May 8, 2011

Star Wars Action Figure Shopping with Sean and Ena

Ena and I were in town yesterday, it was a really great warm day with sunny skies. We biked into town and then parked to just walk around a bit. We don't do that often enough, when you are on a bike the city just whizzes past. Not as fast as if you are in a car, but still pretty fast. It is nice to wander around on foot at a slow pace sometimes.
We ended up at Canal City. This could very well be the only mall in the world that I will admit to liking. It is outdoor and an interesting place for a stroll. A lot of people hate it for the tacky pastel colors they did it in. Personally I think there is a time and place for tacky pastel colors and somehow Canal City manages to squeeze into that perfectly.

One of the things I like about the place is that if you go on a weekend they will probably have some sort of free entertainment going on in the amphitheatre. Yesterday they had some acrobats putting on a show, which we spent about half an hour watching:
We had lunch there and then wandered around downtown a bit, strolling through Tenjin. We came to my favorite store in all of the world, Mandarake:
Mandarake is kind of a nerd paradise. Its a big store that sells comics, video games, toys and other nerd-related paraphernalia. They just moved to this new location last month. Most of the stuff is of no interest to me, but what I really like (mostly just to look at) is the old toys that they have. They remind me a lot of stuff I had when I was a kid, most of which is now considered "vintage" and most of which I threw out or sold back in the late 80s.

Since Ena got a dog she's been letting me make some guilt-free purchases of the sort of useless stuff that pleases me to no end just to have. So I convinced her to let me pop in for a look for any such items that might catch my eye.

As we were wandering the aisles I spotted this in a glass case:
I then suffered an event that medical researchers call "Nerd Breakdown" right there in the store. My conversation with Ena went something like:

Me: "Oh my god! Empire Strikes Back!! Look Ena! Its an Empire Strikes Back action figure! Oh my god oh my god oh my god! Yes! This is awesome! Look, Ena! Look!"

Ena: "Uh-huh."
Me: "Yay! I want it I want it I want it! Gimme gimme! Ooooooh look! It says "Revenge of the Jedi" on it! Oh my god! That is like, what the original title for Return of the Jedi was going to be but then they changed it cuz they, like, thought the word Revenge wasn't appropriate for the Jedi. Anyway, long story, not important. Oh my god oh my god, look at it, Ena, look!"

Ena: (flashing embarrassed smile at passersby) "Mmmmh, yeah."

Me: "OK! Yay! I want it I want it I want it I want it. Yes. YES!"

Ena: (looking at watch) "Fine."

This went on for a few minutes until I calmed down and came out of it.

I think the world of North American males born in the early to mid 70s can generally be divided into two broad categories. Those who still have their childhood Star Wars action figures and those who lost them decades ago. I'm pretty sure that covers everybody as I've never met a guy my age who didn't have Star Wars action figures as a kid. I fall into the latter category.

For us, life since the 80s has largely been spent reminiscing about our lost childhood possessions and thinking about how awesome it would be to have them again. Its something the kids who still have their childhood Star Wars action figures just can't understand because they've never been there.

I think this explains my nerd breakdown at Mandarake. And the fact that this thing really is cool. I had him when I was a kid. He is a robot bounty hunter who appears briefly in the Empire Strikes Back for about 2 seconds in the background and has no spoken lines. Due to the peculiar logic of the collective Star Wars nerd mind, this means that he is deserving of about 745 different toys, comics, video games, full length novels and an Off-Broadway production devoted just to him.

I like the back of the box. It has a picture of the other Star Wars action figures out there:
I remember looking at this exact same picture about 28 or 29 years ago and picking out the ones I wanted (I consistently concluded that I wanted all of them). Somebody had cut out the proof of purchase on this one, which you could send in 6 of to get an Admiral Ackbhar figure. I remember doing this as a kid with my Dad too. We accumulated enough of them to order three figures in total (4-Lom, the Emperor and Niem Numbh - I can't remember my own phone number but somehow my brain has seen fit to store this useless fact for almost 3 decades).
I'm not sure why this thing still exists in its box. It really should have been played with by someone back in the day rather than just sitting there for all these years.

Anyway, I went a bit overboard and bought more than just the one:
I may be developing a problem here.

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