I do believe the end is probably near.

| 19 Comments

I had a discussion recently with a long time Friend Of The Crack and I really can't disagree with him at all.

Now he's been an attendee of the GRC since either the first or second one and his addiction has spanned many more years than mine, moving with the ebb and flow of Transformers product throughout the various eras.

I went with him to my first GRC back in 2003 and every year since but this year, for both of us, the love just isn't there any more. Not only for the con but for a good chunk of everything else!

He mentioned to me that he probably will now only make a day trip of it, and then only because he's got to get the things he's already paid for . He's even considered taking the small hit and canceling his Primus package because he just doesn't care anymore and the expense can't be justified this year.

He's even decided to drop the monthly hamster cage liner and once again, I can't fault him for that one bit.

The thing is... if it wasn't for wanting to get my yearly fix of Zeta Convoy, Mr and Missus Duce, Despotes, and the few others I enjoy meeting up with, I would probably just do exactly the same thing!

The chance to see these people is the only thing keeping me from total apathy right now. My sense of being... and I use this loosely... part of the fandom... revolves around the people I've met and has absolutely nothing to do with the product any more.

The con toys this yearhave zero interest for me. Zilch.

If I don't dump them immediately at the con for maybe dealer table credit I may end up quickly breaking up the sets and auction them or offering them to you all. (My honest feeling on this is that a lot more people will be dumping this set than keeping it so I've got to try and do it before others do.)

This may change when I see the actual figures but quite frankly, I know right now that Jazz, Richochet, Goldbug, the minicon, and even the Prime hold no real interest for me. And my Starscream interest is really tenuous at best.

In our discussions, my friend and I kept coming back to the same problems we have with FP and the con in general now and sure enough, I think a huge part of our issues are with something I've talked about a lot on here: the adult collector.

Neither of us really can tolerate spending money on events or things that we do not know exactly what we will get before hand.

And Botcon unfortunately, is now all about prepaying for something vague and even then historically the same old thing over and over again.

I don't care what the FP apologists say, the fact there's no guest list, and especially one of any uniqueness or caliber, really has to warrant consideration for me again.

I've plopped down thousands of dollars to attend professional conventions and conferences and I know up front exactly what I'm getting and when I can attend it.

Should I expect any less from a toy convention where my typical expenses still run around $1200 or so?

Hell no!

Toy conventions, useless clubs, blogs, and all the other pointless shit don't even bring any enjoyment to me anymore.

And my fandom frustrations? Oy koledy! I don't even want to go there.

I don't even care to even post here anymore (and certainly not contribute elsewhere)... if I did I'd have finished the site redesign and such but it just doesn't matter. This was only supposed to be an online database to keep track of what I owned.

Indeed... maybe it is time I swallow my own pills and remember that they're just fucking toys and move on and pursue my adult interests because frankly, like my friend, when it comes down to it, I really don't care any more either.

Kid's toys, a kid's cartoon, and shitty Hollywood movies based on kid's toys and kid's cartoons aren't worth wasting time on anymore. My own retardation is the only reason I can say why I've lingered for so long with this crap.

My adult frustrations with the con are merely just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for me. Most of you probably know this already. Especially you long time readers.

Maybe it is indeed time for me to just enjoy the little bits of this addiction on a personal level and to say Do widzenia to all this online and fandom toy silliness.

19 Comments

"The End is important in all things."

-The Hagakure

My continued interest is about two steps above yours but I entirely understand where you're coming from. So it goes.

Yeah I know how you're feeling too. I think its partly due to getting older. Another part is that I've explored the heck out of these toys and things for 20 plus years so there isn't much left to discover.

One thing I keep going back to is that I buy them then maybe play with them for a few minutes and then they go on a shelf. I'm finding it harder and harder to justify spending the cash on that kind of temporary enjoyment. I came face to face with Masterpiece Starscream this weekend and walked away without picking him up. They wanted $110 for him. I also found Mego Spock still in his package and this is the second time I didn't buy him. I have a Spock not in the package anyway.

I get excited for things like the Classics line because I love the G1 characters so much and it would be nice to have them. But yeah, I don't play with them anymore.

I've been really into the 25th Anniversary Joes too and the con had tonns of them. It was like being a kid again. They too now sit on a shelf while their predecessors are in a rubbermaid bin all tucked away.

These thoughts are a clear indication you are nearing 40 years old (just a guess).

You make some very good points, I have explored these feelings as well. For me it helps to have a six-year-old around as he stokes the fire. When his interested waned, mine did as well. Now he is interested again, and I'm happy to join him.

Personally, I've never been much of a toy collector. But there will always be a part of me that appreciates a great toy, be it a transformer, R/C car, gundam figure, what have you.

Bummer! I really enjoyed your enthusiasm for the "art" of collecting these and opened my eyes to the fact that the plastic crack/crap can still live on from my youth!

Curse getting older! Boo!!!

But at the same time, I agree. Plastic. Molded. Painted. Change it a few times. Shelf it. They are still good time passers when my job requires a compile - watch code fly by and change a few characters...

Alas... I'll keep reading until you delete it completely...

I guess, as an outsider, my frustration stems from 2 things: a) this year's figures are lame. b) there ARE NO guests. c) they keep moving the date of the con.

FP doesn't care (as has been said again and again over the years) as long as they get your money.

If you keep moving the date around, year to year, less people can plan to attend, exhibit, or appear. 9 months between cons? Really? FP can't pick a weekend, or at least a month, or even a time of year?

Half-assed event planning at best. If you like the toys, order em online. Don't waste the plane ticket or hotel room.

At least I've got other friends in Cinci to visit.

Damn -- when did I turn all evil-Giga.

Say it ain't so, Nala.
Truthfully the costs at some time must justify themselves, and let's be honest--this particular hobby has an awful hard time doing that consistently.

And when you have as much useless shit as you possess---it's only natural to reach a true state of transforming toy robot nirvana.

Now I know why I'm liking Lego a helluva lot more than TFs at this present moment in time... You can change it to suit your mood/theme/season! Whereas with a TF, it just sits there looking at you in a benign way, saying "please hold me, transform me?"

Hm.

M.

Hear hear or whatever.

My interest these days are back to my old mainstay of "Technology". I was at TRU the other day, I actually came across some Joes and Star Wars I wanted. But I didn't.

A) I can't afford this shit anymore.
b) With what spending money I have I could instead buy something more useful. Like saving for a nice camera or a better mobile device.

I went through the same sort of slow withdraw with gaming. Yeah, I still play games and I'll likely continue to pick up the stray toy here and there but I haven't been "hardcore" on either for years. I don't care at all about the new stuff aside from the portable DS and even then my interest is weak at best. I've been plugging away at Pokemon for like 9 months now. I got one game from my boss as a Christmas present and I bought one other one on clearance for ten bucks in that time. That's pretty much it.

All good things etc. I get much more enjoyment out of working on my computer or photography these days than those old hobbies. A true testament to this, my game/toy blog has gone to crap over the last few months while my personal blog has been flourishing.

anyway, I'm getting long. I should maybe instead just do my own blog post response. Blogging is my new "number one" hobby these days anyway. All of my hobbies center around it ultimately.Collecting toys and ifno for blogs, photographing for use in blogs. blog blog blog.

:( i am sad to hear you are tired of the toys...

last year was the first botcon i ever went to, and i was there just as a day pass because it happened to be in my backyard here. it was alright, mostly it was a fun thing to do for a day. what i don't get is why it is so many days?

i actually play with my toys all the time, but i have a lot less of them than you do, and if they don't bring you pleasure then it seems silly to have 'em.

Man, I've been done with the convention itself since I saw the way this fandom turned on Glen like a pack of starving dogs. I go to see my friends, and if I don't have the money? Fuck it. I'll stay home. No skin off my ass. I'm certainly not in it for the tchotckes, although if I really want 'em, I have friends who will snag me a set (this year, the only thing I find remotely interesting is the possibility of mini-cons).

So whatever. I like Transformers a great deal, but the current convention stylee has completely turned me off. Such is life, I guess.

Living on the other side of the world, I don't get to go to the GRC & it doesn't affect me in the slightest. I don't overly-contemplate it or anything like that. It's no big deal. I agree with you in that this year's Figs are pointless & stupid. I don't own any GRC figures from years past & there's none that I truly desire to own. But that shouldn't be the reason to got to the GRB. Go there to catch up with the guys & see if you can find any rare late japanese stuff you're after.

Just like the others hav said, When you get to a certain age you tend to question the need to spend money on toys - when that money could be spent/invested so much more wisely. I believe all collectors question why they collect something & then do something about it to bring it back to more manageable levels. When I was in Years 9 & 10 in highschool, Me and all my mates collected something (I won't reveal what it was as it's pretty embarrasing to speak about it these days) but one day a question-based tirade by someone else in our year made us reconsider why we wasted out money on this crap & we all made a pledge to sell them all off to those sports memorabilia stores & never speak of them again. The thing is - that's the only memory I'll have of that guy as about 2 years ago he was drinking & speeding in the middle of the night and that became the end of him.

As I told you a couple of months ago, My Star Wars lego count was up to 25 or so & they made me sick just looking at them collecting dust. So I flogged them all off, & the sight of the last of them leaving my house was truly a great day.

What I would suggest would be sorting out the ones you don't want (the 1500 or so) & taking them down to the GRC to sell them to the other saps. If you have to fork out for a seller's/store fee, so be it. You'll feel so much better about yourself. A couple of months ago I went from 330 down to 271 & I feel so relieved about it. It was truly a cleansing experience. Getting rid of the crap & only leaving the ones you want will make you look at these plastic toys in a totally different light. Going from a completist to an elitist collector will definitely reinvorate your inner luv that stretches all the way back to Microman & all the way forward to Animated.

Wow, like the others, I can totally relate to your perspective on the TF collecting hobby. My interest started 2 years ago, but has died down the last couple of months as well. But I think the Animated line may bring interest back.

And I'm like "that carl guy" ... I pick up a new fig, play with it a bit, then it sits on my dresser for a few weeks, then later in a box in the closet.

I love reading this blog Nala, it'd be a shame to not read your hilarious thoughts on the hobby, fandom, and toys. But I completely understand dude.

I think there is a lot of sentiment we can all agree with - the rush of acquiring another specimen for the collection; the completest need; the sadness as the elder and less-loved items gather dust.

It's all part and parcel of who we are, and who we want to be; maybe the collection needs adding to, or pruning, or shelving, or dumping on eBay with an $18,000 price tag. That's between you and your toys. :)

But GRC... that's some whole other story. I haven't been in the US long enough to speak authoritively on the history of Fun Publications and the way in which they choose to run the event.

I can, however, as an entrepreneur, say this: Fun Publications style of business seems quite, quite mad.

They spend who only knows how much producing their Astrotrain; and then create a Classics Seekers set, in limited quantities, that they could have sold continuously for an extraordinarily high price.

Despite the implicit understanding of the material they license, they continue to rehash the same content each year with variation being emphasised only in the fannish figure 'theme'.

They are by no means doing an awful job; but there appears to be so much room for improvement and most alarmingly, there seems to be no effort on the part of Fun Publications to explore this profound new space.

While I haven't reached the point I'm assuming you're at where you just don't want to collect toys anymore, I did get into this mindset a couple of months ago where I reached this point where I was so sick of having so many toys in my bedroom/office that I boxed a lot of my toys up and put them in a corner in my dining room where they're at now.

I'm a fan of Transformers, I'm a fan of Spider-Man, I'm a fan of Star Trek and so on and so forth but I've never been a big enough fan of anything to the point where I felt I had to go to any kind of convention so I guess I can't relate to you there.
But I do see what you're saying about spending lots of money on toys that basically just sit on your shelf for the rest of their lives. That's why I don't try to be a completist of any kind and just buy the toys I want. Saves me money and space in the end. :)
But if you're seriously tired of your stuff just give me an e-mail or leave a comment on my site as I'd be more than happy to take your G1 stuff off your hands (and I'm willing to spend some big green on any G1 stuff in good shape).

Despite it's 'official' status, I don't personally give Fun Pub's TF Con any more credence than any other con. I've been to the past two, and will go to this year's because the stars have happened to align that way, but I've never done more than the $10 general admission ticket, so I don't seem to have the same investment in the con as so many folks.

That being said, if the movie line was continuing, I'd feel the same way. I haven't bought a Transformer since last fall, but I am really, really excited for Animated and Universe. Up until recently (last year's con, where I met you guys, and started trolling your and your circle's sites) collecting Transformers was essentially a solo occupation for me anyway, so for me, the social element is this great new thing. It's that and the two aforementioned lines that are keeping me going, no matter how lame the convention, club, and other associated agencies might be.

Nala, I hear you. I love the rush of getting a new toy. But that rush is negated when the toys are bought en-mass. Or when you find out you overpaid. Or whatever.

The happiest point in my collection was when I finally was able to display my entire collection in my former apartment. My apartment was small but to see them all on shelves FINALLY made it all alright.

That was 4 years ago now. And I get depressed to see boxes where I should see toys. Particularly in a room that should be a place of Zen (or at least a spare bedroom).

"A completist to an elitist collector." That is just profound. I need to try and get to that place.

There's an important confusion at play in our mutual lifestyle choice that deserves further exploration.

Each of us that were original G1 kids, stand at the intersection of a few separate influences:

1) A Love of transformable robots (which regardless of any other crap, is a brilliant idea that still stands the test of time)


2) The lure of the process of collecting things for its own sake, driven by our insanely consumerist culture and our inability to attribute monetary value to goods based on their intrinsic ability to bring us happiness vs. occupying our time or creating false "wins" where we spend 10% less than our neighbor, after doing 5x the research.


3) The mondo level of products released under a mega brand like Transformers, both good and bad, that contribute to both points 1 and 2.

Nala, when I got back into collecting for the first time in 17 years last summer, its was smart, funny sites like yours that made the research and collection process fun. Unlike the terrible marketing materials over at the Collectors Club web site (ugliest web design ever!), you cared enough about your plastic crap to take pro quality photos, you de-constructed the crap bots, and trophied the good ones, and generally provided a guiding light for guys like me.

I dare you: ditch all your crap bots you don't truly love, stop keeping things in packages unless they are real investment plays, and spend more time with your woman and only an appropriate hobby style amount of time on robots (1hr/day or less).

If we can all find that balance, we'll spend less, enjoy more (because good things are better in small doses) and leave more toys on the shelves for the kids they are intended for.

It's not the bots or hasbro or the other collectors that are the problem....its us, and the way we use them as excuses to justify our own overboard behaviors.

Looking to break the habit with you...

James

I have found that downsizing is wonderful, and since I don't spend gobs of cash on other entertainments, I don't feel too guilty about the toys in my life. If I was dropping thousands at Atlantic City or was a concert junkie or liked to drink expensive wine, I think the crack would have to take a back seat to my other entertainments, but I don't so it doesn't. It's a large part of who I am, and I probably won't quit, but I will sell off more and feel very satisfied about it. I'll tell you though, I have been pretty unhappy about my movie purchases, because I just don't like them---I've tried! I'm looking at all the Autobots as I write this, and unfortunately, not even Robo-vision Prime holds the appeal I feel he should to me. These are not the Transformers of my youth, and no amount of realistic styling or auto morph technology could ever give me the warmth of feeling that my first Thundercracker gave me back in '84. But I think that the Animated toys will, and I know that the Classics/Universe stuff has and will. Why don't we just forget the movie and related items and move on, but don't give up a large part of who we are in the process.

I feel this way sometimes, and then I see Target Exclusive Barricade with RED Frenzy. :)

All is then better with the world.

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This page contains a single entry by Nala published on March 19, 2008 8:02 AM.

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