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My nerd loot from StarFest ’89

By April 9, 2014 Growing Up Geek, The Vault

I’m glad to see that even 25 years ago, I was snapping photos of my geeky obsessions. I recently uncovered this pic from StarFest ’89 in Denver, Colorado. My middle school friends and I were devotees of StarFest and StarCon, saving up our allowance money and planning out our costumes and convention activities months in advance. Once we got to high school, our parents finally relented, allowing us to stay overnight at the hotel. Looking back, it probably wasn’t too worrisome for them, as we were total nerds and weren’t likely to get into too much trouble.

Scattered atop the hotel bedspread you’ll notice: Vulcan Language guide, The Visitors Handbook, Batman movie buttons, rolled up Enterprise NCC-1701 D poster, Star Trek: The Next Generation Data action figure, and convention newsletters featuring Star Trek V.

On the table in the background: homemade Tricorder, replica lightsaber, Star Trek collectibles price guide, and an RCA VHS camcorder.

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That time I collected Spawn figures…

By March 25, 2014 Growing Up Geek, The Vault

Found this shameful polaroid scattered amongst a million other embarrassing photos in a cardboard box that’s probably better left closed. It’s not a drunken party pic or a terrible college fashion choice. This is much worse. It was just a fraction of my Spawn action figure collection, circa 1998. Notice that I built a pegboard wall rack to display them? Creepy.

There’s was a moment when my friend Xjan and I went temporarily insane, buying series after series of these figures. At one point we both just wanted them to go away. We eventually set up a vendor booth at a toy convention and sold through half of our collections. Xjan sold the rest of his to a Korean buyer on eBay. I gave mine to Hasser to sell on eBay and he eventually ditched them at a consignment shop in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Rolling in Phantom Menace collectibles (1999)

By January 22, 2014 Collectibles, Growing Up Geek, The Vault

Here’s a somewhat embarrassing photo from 1999, just a few weeks before the eagerly-anticipated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace premiered in theaters. I was a TV news photographer and we were doing a live remote from a local Target store which just received the first shipment of Phantom Menace toys. I was overjoyed to be among the first nerds to be handling the figures. Looking back now, it’s kinda weird to me that this photo was even taken, considering that it wasn’t immediately going up on Facebook or Instagram. Posterity, I suppose.

Now mind you, I wasn’t allowed to purchase any of these figures. There was a hard street date release on these toys, and this Target wasn’t going to be open until 9am. Luckily, I had a backup plan. I hauled-ass back to work, parked my live truck, and then raced to the nearby Toys R’ Us, which happened to be holding a midnight release party.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a release party, as it was an opportunity for a mob of unruly toy collectors to trample each other in order to get a JarJar Binks action figure. I rolled up on the scene, where a line stretched around the store and met-up with my buddies from The WB, who got me in the store, just ahead of the line. The clock struck midnight, the doors flung open, and then it was complete mayhem for the next hour as all the Star Wars displays were stripped bare. I managed to snatch up a full set of action figures and went home deliriously happy.

The next morning in the clear light of day – I recall glancing over the figures thinking, “I reallydon’t think I’m that into this Star Wars movie” and returned all but Darth Maul to the store. The Force was definitely strong with me that day.

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