I spent about two hours yesterday roaming the halls of the Javits center at the 2006 Toy Fair. I was expecting the coolest toys since sliced bread, but was left a little underwhelmed. Sure there were really cool things there which I’ll soon describe, but I was left feeling like I took a trip to a giant Kay-Bee Toy Store manned by corporate thirty and forty somethings with nice tans and distant accents. Nevertheless, I’m still glad I went. Where else can you hear such wonderful phrases as:
- in an Australian accent, before life sized busts of famous fictional characters: “He’s my favorite head sculptor!”
- before a giant Lego mechanoid-robot, a man explained to his girlfriend or colleague that they must be using two-by-fours or two-by-sixes. At first I thought he was talking about lumber, because the robot was seven feet tall. But as I walked away I realized he was talking about the size of the lego bricks. Two holes by four holes.
- before a resin figure of a hammering Thor, “Thor! That’s my second favorite superhero.”
I also saw a really cool “one-manned-frisbee-on-a-string” that exploited physics to allow a single person to whiz it back and forth on the end of a string. (Many of the coolest toys there equally exploited physics to their advantage.)
I saw a sewn, stuffed, and logoed “triangle-football.” You know the ones I’m talking about. You made them in grade school and flicked them through your friend’s “goal-post” hands. Now they come in pre-fabbed colors.
I saw a husband and wife dressed as Obi-Wan and Count Dooku. The wife was Obi-Wan.
There was a “Space-Age Ant Farm” made from some kind of blue gel. Each had about five or six fire ants inside making tunnels. The box read, “Ants not included.” So…where do you get them from?
There was a game called “That’s my Fish.” No explanation necessary.
There was a bizarre and strangely compelling music video on one screen with an alien dressed in cliche space garb called “Zarbie and the Martians.”
There was a lot to see. I was heading down the escalator for home when a man behind me on his cell phone said, “I’ve just completed the first floor. One more to go.” Another floor? I thought. The basement level was clearly where the smaller, less working-capital businesses were. When the vendors saw my badge (and they eyed them much more observantly on this lower level) they hawked me over: “Does your company sell sports games?” “Wanna play a game with lasers?” I did actually want to play with lasers, though. The game looked really cool, like chess but with mirrors and blinding, coherent light. But I wasn’t interested in hearing the corporate spiel. I was just looking for cool toys.
In writing news, I worked on my novel for the first time in two weeks, I added artwork to a story in Sybil’s Garage, and I received a new issue of Weird Tales. All in all it was a full day.