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Thu, 24 May 2007 02:15:00 -0400

Robots!

Doc here, recently returned from a toy robot convention called Botstock. No, I didn't name it. But I suppose I'm at least partially responsible for the event itself.

Four years ago, I decided to take a trip out to the Toy Robot Museum in Adamstown, PA. A friend of mine from Kansas decided to come out, too. As did a documentary filmmaker who was looking to sell his newly released DVD, Unwound. (Not to be confused with another documentary on vintage robots currently in production.) That's when Joe, the proprietor of the museum, decided that maybe we'd like to invite a few more people. So we all jumped onto the robot boards at Alphadrome and began hyping the weekend. A few more people said they'd show up, and then a guy who goes by the appropriate online neame of Robotnut came up with a poster and the name. Next thing we all knew, a toy robot convention was born. Now we're on Botstock IV, having spent numbers two and three at the Robot Hut in Washington state and the Chicago Toy Show, respectively.

We also grew from about 20 people to about 50. Pretty incredible.

Even more incredible, though, is that I could go out to a toy robot convention -- once again taking place at the Toy Robot Museum -- with dealers and traders and all sorts of toy buying opportunities, and still somehow manage to return home with all my money. There had to be at least a million antique stores in Adamstown, a few of which focused almost entirely on toys. But I still couldn't spend any cash, no matter how hard I tried to find something worth buying.

So why the trouble? Because, while I did find a few toys worth picking up, most were overpriced or simply underwhelming. I'm pretty particular about what goes into the Attic of Astounding Artifacts. It's true, there are common pieces in the collection, but each of these nonetheless caused my heart to skip a few beats when I opened up the shipping boxes they came in. I don't care if a toy's high end or not -- if it rocks, it rocks, and I want it. But the opposite's true: a boring toy that's super rare is still boring.

But that doesn't mean Botstock was a bust. It's always a good time hanging out with fellow collectors. There's nothing quite like a bunch of guys -- and a couple ladies -- hanging out with some 'bots and beers, shooting the shit, talking about the relative merits of a wheeled walking mechanism vs. a pin walking mechanism. Okay, sure, you sort of had to be there.

I also had the opportunity to hold some extremely rare space guns, including the elusive Arliss Shooting Bubble gun and a blue Marx Rex Mars sparking gun. No, I don't own them myself, and yes, this keeps me awake at night, crying into my pillow.

Both guns are in the Fineas J. Whoopie collection. Long-time visitors to the Attic might have noticed his name in connection to the C-Cell Mechanized robot; he was also present at the Great Saturnian Uprising of 1648, but the less said about that the better.

And I did manage to pick up some new items for the Attic, including vintage hardcover science fiction anthologies and pieces of rare artwork. They'll all end up in the library, which I promise to have finished soon... though apparently, not soon enough to stop your bitchin' and complainin'...

In closing, I'll leave you with this thought: "Party party / Join us join us / Party party / Join us join us / Party party / Join us join us / Chase your blues awayyyyyy." -- Shin Chan, 12:30 a.m. on [adult swim]

 
     
   
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