To talk about what Little E is getting for Christmas, one has to realize that in some respects, the boy lives in a little bit of a time warp. He likes old cartoons (to give but one example: he’s a sucker for the animated segments of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, which I dug out simply because he’s so crazy about the games… he’s not quite so crazy about the Captain Lou live-action segments.) This time warp is a bit of a bubble that he’s entered simply by spending a lot of time in my room with me. We play Super Mario and Pac-Man on the computer and on the Wii. He watches Pixar movies of an older vintage than Cars 2 (his favorites: Wall-E and Toy Story 2).
Of course, toys tied to a specific thing like a movie or a game have a very specific shelf life: as soon as the thing’s off the market and no longer making money for the studio, it’s very rare for the merchandise to stick around. Not everything has the seemingly eternal staying power of Star Wars. And this… is what drove me to eBay to do some Christmas shopping this year.
In my previous blog entry, while ruminating about not wanting to saddle someone else’s kid with toys built around a super-violent story, I also mentioned being keenly aware of the risk of saddling someone else’s kid with something completely lame. This Christmas list for Little E was derived from listening to him talk about what he’d like to get over the past year. Everything here is something he’s said he wants. Other family members will get him clothes and books and stuff, and believe me, I’m grateful for that. That leaves me open to get the cool stuff for him. Everything was paid for by me eBaying off some of my own stuff to raise funds.
Here’s the cool stuff.
Wall-E was three years ago, and it wasn’t that heavily merchandised in the first place – it wasn’t as on-the-nose and “obvious” as, say, Toy Story or Cars. Furthermore, since the backbone of that movie was a cautionary story about corporate waste and pollution on a massive scale, I think Disney was perhaps a bit self-conscious about cranking out a ton of not-so-recyclable merchandise based on that story. Still, I managed to find an unopened Wall-E figure for the little guy. I watched a couple of auctions for the Eve figure, but those tended to climb a lot higher than I was budgeted for (why they’d shortpack the number two character in the movie, I have no idea; I know the boys’ toy industry is allergic to the notion of making an action figure out of any woman who isn’t a superhero, but c’mon… shortpacking a female robot!?). If he’s really upset about his Eve-less-ness… I’ll try to find one later that doesn’t break the bank. (Anyone got an open one from a smoke-free home?)
Toy Story 3 was just last year, but here’s the trick: Little E just isn’t a big fan of TS3, not to the degree that he’s a fan of the first two (with the emphasis on TS2). Problem: there are a lot of Toy Story 3 items still out there, but they feature the additional characters from that movie. Well, except for the “Bonnie’s Room” set, which features the core characters of the last two movies (Buzz, Woody, Jessie and Bullseye the horse). He’s gonna flip over this one. Just last night he was saying he wants a Buzz Lightyear so bad. Darn those space toys!
And then there’s the Super Mario fix. I found a lot of Banpresto Super Mario World action figures, already opened and supposedly barely even played with, for a reasonable price. When the box got here, the figures were in great shape but there was one little problem: not from a smoke-free home as advertised. Fortunately, dad’s got a backup plan for this. This is a trick I learned from my previous game-collecting “career”, a hobby where you’ll inevitably wind up with some items that reek of someone else’s smoke. Here’s what you do: get a box or bucket or a decent-sized tupperware bowl whose lid can be sealed shut. Spray Lysol or Febreeze in it. Close it. (Any houseflies that flew in there before it got closed just became six-legged paint huffers.) Wrap your items in “pouches” made from Bounce dryer sheets. Open the recently-sprayed container and put the Bounce-wrapped items inside. Leave them in there for at least 48 hours. Whatever was in there, including the now extremely high but also very disinfected housefly, will smell better.
The denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom are serving with de-stink-tion
But what to wrap the Mario stuff in? More on that when I’m done with the Mystery Box. Stay tuned.