Archives for posts with tag: toys

matchbox-logo

For Christmas my girls bought me a Matchbox Karmann Ghia. I have a small collection of Karmann Ghia cars on my desk because it was the first car I ever owned and it is quite possibly the coolest car on the planet.

I was excited when I opened it, and then I looked closely at the car. Wait, was this a Karmann Ghia? I quickly scanned the packaging…Yep, it says Karmann Ghia down the side. But this car really looks nothing like a Karmann Ghia.

good-car

Here is an example of a good Karmann Ghia model. Note the rounded headlights that protrude, the rounded front nose. Note the back that slopes downward, but has small fins. Also note the convertible top. I had a convertible, and the when the top was down, it looked just like that.

Now, look at the piece of crap Mattel/Matchbox tried to pass off as a Karmann Ghia

bad-car

This looks nothing like a Karmann Ghia. Nothing. This could be any car – it lacks all the tell-tale characteristics…the personality of a Karmann Ghia. Really look at them side by side…do you see ANY similarities?

I was so disappointed. It sits among my other Karmann Ghia’s because it serves as a reminder of how toy manufacturing sucks these days. How could Mattel let this slide by? How could anyone look at this model and think it’s a proper representation?

What a rip off.

In true Typical Tracy form I have written Mattel and voiced my displeasure and outrage. I doubt I’ll hear back from them. But someone out there needs to know that this is bullshit.

Rant done.

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Me and cousin Stello, sophomore year, holding Little Bear Foot. Uff da, those posters alone are worth a blog post.

When I was a teenager, I snuck into New York City to go see Cheap Trick. We missed the last bus back to New Jersey and I was very, very late getting home. My father was so pissed at me that not only did he ground me, but he forbade me from participating in the school talent show.

But his punishment was all for naught. I wound up getting very sick and would’ve missed the show anyway. I think he felt really bad, because I woke up the next morning to find the most adorable bear I’d ever seen in bed a long with me – a bear mom said daddy had bought just for me.

The name on his tag read “Little Bear Foot” and I thought it was such a delightful name that I never changed it. I don’t know why, as a teenager, I would form such a strong attachment to a stuffed animal, but Little Bear Foot and I never parted ways.

He came to college with me, where in the fall of my sophomore year his nose fell off – fell off and disappeared. I searched my room for it, but that black plastic bear nose never turned up. So, not liking that Little Bear Foot could not smell, I sewed a button on in its place.

In the spring of that same sophomore year, Little Bear Foot travelled to Vienna with me. He sat on my bed at Pension Pertschy that whole semester, with the exception of when I spent spring break in Basel, Switzerland…then he was jammed into my backpack, his head sticking out through the zipper.

Yeah, that got me lots of looks and giggles at the train station.

At one point during my Vienna semester my roommates, pack of bitches that they were, kidnapped him for a few days. I mean, who does that? Ugh, I shudder to think of what vile things those girls did to him when I wasn’t around.

He then went to Czechoslovakia with me, back to Basel, and then to Luxembourg, where I flew back home to JFK.

And now he sits in my daughter’s bedroom. I’ve told them that is he belongs to me…he’s my bear, but they can let him hang with their stuffed animals. He’s matted and old – hell, so am I – but that bear and I went through a lot together. I hope he never gets thrown out or given away. I hope that one day some grandchild will hold and love just as I did – and maybe take him on a couple more adventures.

Wishbook

When I was a kid there would come a time each fall when my mother would bring home the Sears Christmas Wish Book—600+ pages long and as thick as a phone book. The arrival of this book would trigger a month-long “it’s my turn!” between us four kids, because this book had a killer toy section.

I had all of these, by the way. Sigh…I wish I still did.

Page after page of Barbies, Fisher Price Little People playsets, doll houses, slot car sets, play kitchens, record players, puppets, and tons and tons of games. As a child you practically drooled as you turned each page, eager to see what “it” toy was going assault your “I want that!” senses next.

I think we had this too. If not I know we wanted it badly

I think we had this too. If not I know we wanted it badly

But you didn’t get to dawdle when you had the wishbook, not at first anyway. Once a sibling saw you with the book in your hot little hands, you were asked to hurry up, and sometimes not so politely. Of course, every so often when you took too long, the coveted book was simply ripped out of your hands, leaving you staring at the linoleum counter top as opposed to Malibu Barbie.

One of the creepier pages in the book - I don't think I'd be happy opening the Seance game on Christmas morning.

One of the creepier pages in the book – I don’t think I’d be happy opening the Seance game on Christmas morning.

But eventually there would come a time when the book was all yours. My brother and sisters had had their fill of rod hockey and Jerry Mahoney dummies, and I could take the Wishbook in my hands and do what I did best…pretend.

I would stare at each page that held a toy I wanted and imagine playing with it. I’d just look at the toy and actually pretend that I was opening little Barbie kitchen doors or bringing a plane in for a landing at the Fisher Price airport. I could spend hours in a pre-Christmas fantasy land. What a dork I must have looked like…sitting in a corner talking to a catalog.

bad fashionsAs time marched on and we got older the Wishbook was less alluring. We spent more time glancing at the front of the book which displayed “today’s hip fashions.” However, let it be known that I did not spend much time imagining myself wearing any of the clothes.

With the exception of a bathing suit when I was around 13. I loved that suit. It was my first maillot.

I highly recommend visiting the site wishbookweb.com. Pick a book and flip through the pages—you just might lose yourself remembering all those great toys you got one Christmas.

paper-shopping-bag

Today my girls and I headed to town so my oldest could pick up little gifts for her friends. I was also going to try and get a few things on the sly for both of my girls. I knew that the last Saturday with elbow room before Christmas was going to make for hectic day. I know that NEXT Saturday is the actual last weekend before Christmas, but that weekend is for complete knuckleheads or folks who have really lousy pay schedules.

We got into town at 11:30. By 2 pm I was ready to jump off the fiscal cliff.

I hate crowds. I have now come to the conclusion that when I am on a shopping mission, crowds (aka assholes who are in my way) just piss me off. If I’m at a wine festival or a crowded holiday party, the more the merrier! I have a drink in my hand and all is right with the world! But Christmas shopping? That’s a Santa of a different color.

For example, Toys R Us was a monumental cluster-fuck today. It took me 7 minutes to get from the front of the story to the Barbie aisle in the back. Folks were clogging up the already congested aisles thanks to bins and tables of worthless “on sale” crap placed smack dab in the middle.  This eliminates the shopping cart passing lane that is so crucial at this time of year. While granny is pondering the sticker set on the end cap I’m all dressed up with no place to go.

And it amazes me how clueless people are about the space they are taking up. Stopping to swipe your cell phone is not appreciated when you are blocking the Lego aisle. The cherry on the Toys R Us sundae was when I was trying to get in line to purchase my stuff. Mario Andretti couldn’t have maneuvered the turns they had set up to wait for the next available cashier. There was a woman browsing the Pokemon display which was right at the entry point into the sit and wait maze. This entry required a hairpin turn from where I was positioned and she was not budging. I tried to ease by her, and brushed her purse.

I apologized and waited for her to make room for me, which she didn’t. I then nudged forward again, and made contact with her purse for a second time. Meanwhile, scores of people are getting into line ahead of me from the other, easily accessible side. With each nudge and subsequent brush up against her purse I apologize, and she won’t move. I finally say “I’m really sorry, but I’m just going to have to bust through here” and she says “I’m sure you’re really sorry.”

Fuck you! Who buys Pokemon cards anymore? Can’t you see that your are blocking the entry to the line?

Next we head to Best Buy where my oldest realizes that our lunch isn’t agreeing with her and spends the next 45 minutes in the bathroom. What was supposed to be a 15 minute visit turns into me standing and watching my youngest mess with the iPads. Then the power went out – too many tv’s, computers, and stereos going at once. This day is getting better by the minute.

The rest of our day was no better – crowds in every store, and my youngest with an attitude. I turned into one of those crappy parents who balled her child out in the bead aisle at Michael’s. I  had to change purchase lanes 3 times after I waited 10 minutes in line behind a kid who was paying with her shit from a jelly jar crammed with $1 bills. The normal person would’ve found that charming, but at 4:30, dying of thirst, and aching feet? She was not charming, she was the evil seed.

From now on I think I’m going to do my Christmas shopping online – not just for my sanity, but for the well-being of the folks around me.

Since Christmas I have had to return or completely throw out 3 toys due to breakage or malfunction. Is it me or does that track record suck?

Toy #1 to break was a Dancing With the Stars Barbie. Her arm practically came off after 15 minutes. I’d try to make some clever DWTS joke here, but I never watch it. While the show is lame, Barbie’s dress was really pretty. But even so, Nancy Grace managed to last longer than my Barbie. Ok, I guess I did have one joke in me.

Toy #2 was an ice cream maker by Discovery Kids. Thank goodness I bought this for $13 bucks on clearance, because after trying to make strawberry ice cream and coming up with nothing more than very cold pink slush, I was not in the mood to wash and attempt to repackage this piece of garbage. It went straight into the dumpster along with a scathing review on Amazon – along with the 17 other bad reviews. Note to self: Next Christmas, read reviews before you buy.

Toy #3 was the Cars Lightning McQueen remote control car. This thing looked cool – it had a video screen for the eyes and the mouth and it talked and blinked and was really neat looking. My youngest wanted it bad for Christmas, but it was $50 bucks, and with all the other expensive stuff she got (sans crappy ice cram maker) I figured if she wanted it she could buy it with her own money. Which she did today.

And it was defective. The damn thing would completely shut down after it ran into the couch more than 2 times. I read the instructions and did some online research and determined this was not normal operating procedure for this toy. Luckily I had the forethought to open the package very, very carefully. That puppy is going back tomorrow.

From now on, I may stick to video games. They are fairly reliable, and you seem to get a hell of a lot more play time out of them. I may never get the tv again, but at least I won’t spend a month of Sundays in the return aisle.