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On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I decided to check out this toy show that was being held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

It was such a feast for the eyes as the toys and various other vintage items were displayed at various vendor tables. The whole show took on the air of a flea market with an emphasis on vintage stuff dating anywhere from the 1900s to the 1990s.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Someone had a jukebox for sale, which reminded me of my childhood when many of the local restaurants had them and people could choose songs to play for about a quarter each.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The jukebox played music during the entire event. (Which proved that it definitely still worked.) I couldn’t help taking pictures of the songs that were available on the jukebox. The majority of them were hits when I was a kid.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

And speaking of music players, here’s a vintage 8-track player with an Elvis Presley 8-track tape. I once had a stereo system that included an 8-track player but I never owned one like that. But I could’ve sworn that one of my friends or maybe one of my cousins had a player just like that but I don’t know for sure. (Memory is one of those funny things where you remember something but you don’t remember when, where, or how you remember it.)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Late last year I did a series of blog posts with accompanying photos known as A Tabletop Christmas (so-named because I limit my Christmas decorating to just a single tabletop in my living room). Among the items I showed off was a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I’ve had since I was a child. I didn’t know anything about the origins of this puppet. It wasn’t until I went to the toy show when I saw a tiny plastic Santa puppet on sale that’s identical to mine.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The only difference between the two is that this Santa still had its label at the base while mine doesn’t have any labels at all. (I suspect that whatever label it had must’ve fallen off a long time ago.) My Santa puppet is currently stored in a box with the other Christmas decorations in the attic but here’s a picture of my Santa puppet that I took last December.

photo15

At first I thought the animal in the next picture was a stuffed animal until I saw the dog move his eyes around. He laid there the entire time I was at that show.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

This show also had examples of how the mighty had fallen. I found this book by disgraced former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly on sale for only $1 at one of the tables. (LOL!)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There was one token of something new that I found. Someone was selling glow-in-the-dark versions of the hottest toy of 2017: Fidget Spinners.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

By the way, you can check out a video I shot recently where I unboxed and played with one of those Fidget Spinners for the first time (and, no, the one I bought didn’t glow in the dark).

Everywhere there were visual treats, many of which harkened back to my own youth.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

As I was walking back to the light rail stop I shot this photo of The Cow Palace building because it had a nice small garden.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I didn’t buy a lot of stuff at that toy show due mainly to tight finances. But I managed to snag a couple of things at bargain rates. I found the second season of The Simpsons DVD set for only $6.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I bought a Monster High doll for only $5. I was attracted to her pretty winter-themed clothes. At first I thought I may have purchased a relative of The Snow Queen until I did an online search and I was able to make a definite identification. Based on this web page, her name is Abbey Bominable and she’s described as the 16-year-old daughter of the Yeti.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Here’s a closeup of her hair, which looks like it has glittery plastic pellets weaved throughout the strands. It gives a really cool ice/snow effect, especially when the light reflects off of her hair.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There were a couple of early morning panels that intrigued me but I had to miss them for reasons that were closer to home. Basically my community was having its Electronics Recycling event from 9 a.m.-12 noon on Saturday morning and I had some old electronics I wanted to unload. The Electronics Recycling is only held about 3-4 times a year and I really wanted them out of my home in order to reduce clutter. On top of that, the American Rescue Workers were having their truck in my neighborhood at the same time for people to drop off old clothing and other usable items. I figured that if I had to drop off old electronics at one place, I might as well drop off some old clothes at the parked truck. (I have lost so much weight in recent months that some of my shorts are now too loose on me.) To me having a slightly less cluttered home was worth missing out on some early morning Otakon panels.

So once again, I ate breakfast, changed the food and water in Spike’s cage, dropped off the used clothes at the American Rescue Workers truck, dropped off old electronics and dead batteries at the Public Works plant, and drove off to the North Linthicum Light Rail Stop. Once I got there I encountered a large crowd. Not only were there Otakon goers at that stop there were also soccer fans as well. I learned from one of them that the English Premiere League had rented out M&T Bank Stadium (the usual home of the Baltimore Ravens football team) and there was a soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. With London hosting the Summer Olympics during soccer season, I guess that the English Premiere League was looking for alternate places to play so it’s sending some of its teams to the U.S. so the soccer season can continue.

So it was basically standing room only on the light rail until it reached M&T Bank Stadium then I found a seat that I was only able to sit in for just a couple of minutes since the Baltimore Convention Center stop was nearby.

Once I actually reached the BCC, I saw that there were huge crowds waiting to get into the front door. I decided on an alternate entrance. I went into the Baltimore Hilton Hotel next door then took the skybridge that connects the two buildings together. On my way to the skybridge, I saw this cosplayer dressed as a robot getting groomed by a friend in the hotel lobby.(I later learned via the Flickr comments that this person was playing a character from the anime Full Metal Alchemist.)

Man Cosplaying as Robot

So I missed the two early morning panels that seemed interesting to me but I managed to reach this panel called “Japanese PVC Figures and Collecting”. I’ve seen these figures being sold at events like Otakon and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for years and I’ve taken numerous photos of them. (I’m not a collector of such items partly because of space issues and partly because many of them are so expensive.)

Japanese PVC Figures and Collecting Workshop

Once again I stood in a long line about a half an hour before the workshop started. I learned yesterday that you had to get in line at least 15 minutes before the panel started if you wanted to get in. If you arrived late, the Otakon security wouldn’t let you in at all.

I found the workshop very informative despite this woman who sat behind me. The workshop leaders showed PowerPoint slides on various PVC figures and the woman blurted out the anime character names and which anime they appeared in. At first I was amazed by her extensive knowledge of anime characters and her ability to identify who they are and where they came from. My attitude towards her changed when she interrupted the workshop leaders and asked them not to say “make available” and say “release” because the Japanese tend to use the term “release” instead of “make available” so therefore it bugs her when English speakers say “make available” instead of “release.”

But, wait, there’s more! When the workshop leaders were talking about one can buy PVC figures in various stores (both online and in real life), the same woman sitting behind me blurted out about how shops in Japan hates to use word “store” and prefer to use the term “shop.” Therefore she said it bugs her too when the English-speaking workshop leaders were using the term “store” instead of “shop.” Okay, whatever!

As the workshop went on, the woman’s frequent blurting out about her knowledge of PVC figures started to annoy me so much that I turned to my cellphone and made this tweet on my Twitter account.

(And in case you’re curious, that woman was not from Japan nor was she even Asian. She was a caucasian American whose first language was English, which she spoke with a Mid-Atlantic Regional American accent.)

Despite that woman, I learned a few new fascinating things about Japanese PVC figures. For example, I learned that “cast offs” refer to figures whose clothes can be removed by the owner (as compared to the clothes that are painted on the figure). The workshop leaders also displayed some real-life figures that I photographed.

Japanese PVC Figure
Japanese PVC Figure
Japanese PVC Collectible
Japanese PVC Figure

Even though I thought that the PVC figures on display were totally gorgeous, I won’t be starting my own collection because, as I wrote earlier, I’m trying to both declutter my home and save my money as much as possible. But I will continue to view and enjoy them in stores and at various events in the future.

After I left the workshop I made a wonderful discovery. The good news was that the general public were allowed to use the escalators and many of them were working, which was definitely an improvement over yesterday. The bad news was that there was one major exception to that “no riding on escalators” ban being lifted—people still weren’t allowed to use the escalators located in the main entrance of the Baltimore Convention Center. Why? I don’t know. It didn’t make much sense to me.

I also made a less-than-wonderful discovery. Like the day before, I had opted to pack both lunch and dinner in this large insulated Wegmans bag along with a few bottles of soda and a large ice pack to keep everything cold. I did this in order to both save time and money. There were two downsides: 1) the bag was a bit on the heavy side and 2) sometimes you may get something leaking. For dinner I had packed this mozzarella caprese salad that I purchased from Wegmans. It was in this sealed container along with this small package of oil and vinegar salad dressing. It wasn’t until I had sat down for the PVC figures workshop that I decided to get one of the sodas out of the bag and discovered that the soda was covered in oil. I managed to run to the bathroom soon after the workshop ended, grabbed a bunch of paper towels, sat down on a bench, and proceeded to unpack the bag and inventory the damage caused by this tiny oil spill in my bag. I found that it was just a small spill and it didn’t affect the other things in my bag too much so I wiped the inside of the bag and repacked everything.

I didn’t have those kind of problems with the food that I brought with me to Otakon the day before. (For dinner the previous day I brought pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese that I purchased pre-made from Wegman’s. It held up really well.) That’s the downside of carting your own food from home to a major event in order to save time and money from finding a restaurant that wasn’t too crowded or too expensive and paying to eat.

At least I didn’t have problems with the bagels and cream chesse that I brought with me for lunch or the blueberries that I brought for snacks both days.

In any case, I decided to walk around Otakon for a while and I took a few pictures such as this person wearing this reall cool looking Yeti costume.

Awesome Costume at Otakon 2012

I found this strange flyer posted on the wall that said “BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK” and “MORIARTY WAS REAL.” I don’t know the significance of the Sherlock Holmes reference at Otakon.

Believe in Sherlock Flyer

I don’t know who this person was supposed to be but that roly-poly costume was cool.

Awesome Costume at Otakon 2012

That demon costume was also pretty cool.

Awesome Demon Costume at Otakon 2012

This is what it was like to wait in a line in the hopes of getting an autograph from someone who’s big in the anime industry. Fortunately I went through the program book and I didn’t recognize any of the big names who were going to sign autographs throughout Otakon weekend so I saved myself from having to endure a line like that.

Long Autograph Line at Otakon 2012

These two wore very colorful winged costumes. I later found out via a Flickr comment that these two are Foster Cosplay and Ballard Cosplay and their wings were designed by Samm of KO Cosplay.

Two Winged Cosplayers at Otakon 2012

These were some of the literally thousands of anime DVDs on sale throughout Otakon.

Anime DVDs on Sale at Otakon 2012

This person dressed as someone that one of the Flickr commenters identfied as Chell from Portal.

Cisplayer at Otakon 2012

This fancy-dressed couple was identified by one of the Flickr commenters as portraying Princesses Celestia and Luna.

Two Cosplayers at Otakon 2012

This next photo is an excellent example of recycling. This woman took an old Dance Dance Revoution dancepad and refashioned it as a cosplay costume. The results were pretty cool.

Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

Some of the many plushies on sale at Otakon.

Plushies for Sale at Otakon 2012

This woman wearing a sexy outfit was portraying, according to the Flickr comments, Molotov Cocktease from Venture Bros.

Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

While I was exploring the Dealers Room for the second day in a row, I purchased a few more things for myself. One of them was a very cute pink Arpakasso llama. I first heard about these ultra-cute creatures via Facebook a few months ago and I was so smitten that I actually hit the “Like” button and I shared one of the photos with my Facebook friends. The dealer who sold the Arpakasso llama gave me a short lesson on how to tell a bootleg from a genuine thing. (Basically check the hangtag to see if it says “Arpakasso” on it. If there is no hangtag attached, look at the animal’s tush tag. It should say “Arpakasso” on one side and “AMUSE” on the other. That was a good thing to learn because the other tables in the Dealers Room were selling Arpkasso knock-offs. (They looked close enough to the Arpakasso llamas but they had tags indicating a different manufacturer.)

I purchased this kit from another dealers table. If I can put together the pieces correctly, I should get something that looks like a doll or action figure that’s based on an anime character. (I’m not familiar with the character or the anime in question. I purchased it based on the very cute line art on the box cover.) I purchased it in an effort to force myself to create again. (My creativity efforts have slowed down a lot because I’ve been letting my current personal problems overwhelm me. I do have inventory to sell from my past efforts but I know I can’t rely on that forever.) I’ll write more about this kit in a later post.

I also purchased a deluxe edition of the graphic novel version of The Last Unicorn. That purchased entitled me to get the original novel writer, Peter S. Beagle to autograph. (One fun fact I learned is that Peter S. Beagle helped to write much of the content for the graphic novel version.) It wasn’t until after I left that I realized that I should’ve pulled out my smartphone and taken a photo of him signing my new book. I’ll just have to make do with these two photos that I took of him the day before.

Peter S. Beagle at Otakon 2012
Peter S. Beagle at Otakon 2012

I spent the rest of the day carrying the book in my hand rather than put it in my large Wegmans bag because I didn’t want to risk such a nice new book with a recent Peter S. Beagle autograph getting smeared with oil and vinegar salad dressing. (I was so relieved when I finally ate that salad for dinner because I didn’t have to worry about salad dressing leaking.)

I also saw something in the Dealers Room. I really can’t explain what I saw other than to say that it involes females and pole dancing. I think it’s best explained with this very short video that I shot and uploaded on YouTube.

After I left the Dealers Room, I continued with photographing cosplayers. This furry costume is supposed to be, according to a Flickr comment, Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Cool Costume at Otakon 2012

This woman wore a cute cupcake waitress-themed outfit. (She turned her plate upside down to demonstrate how the cupcakes on her plate were actually non-edible fakes that were glued on the plate.)

Cute Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

About 15 minutes before the start of the next workshop I was interested in, I sat in line outside where the next workshop was going to be held. The doors didn’t open until about 10 minutes after the workshop was originally scheduled to begin. The workshop was called “Bookbinding for the Anime/Manga Enthusiast.” The next photo shows some of the supplies that were provided for each participant.

Bookbinding Workshop at Otakon 2012

That bookbinding workshop started off interesting. (It was cool seeing how you can use one sheet of paper to make a tiny book.) But then it got goofy when the workshop leader had us take our new tiny books, draw or write something on one or two pages, pass it to the next person, draw or write some more on one or two more pages, then pass it to another person, etc. Many of the participants were rolling their eyes at having to pass the tiny book yet again. I noticed after the workshop ended that many people left the books behind. I did too. I did take the info sheet in the above photograph because of the links to online tutorials that I wanted to pursue in the future.

After that workshop I took two more photos of cosplayers like the person dressed as Shadow the Hedgehog and a group of people dressed as deadmau5.

Cosplayer at Otakon 2012
A Bunch of Deadmau5 at Otakon 2012

I headed for the late Saturday afternoon Asian ball-jointed doll meetup. This one was way better than the morning one I attended the day before. More people showed up with dolls. Plus I didn’t have any strange encounters like the one that happened at that previous meetup I attended. (These two women approached me, asked me if I ran the website Kim’s World of Art. When I answered yes, one of them asked me to remove this photo of her bag from five years ago that I posted on my website because she said she felt uncomfortable with that bag picture being online. When I said “Huh?” and gave a puzzled look, they walked away before they provided any kind of information—such as the URL of where the offending photo is located. Neither of the women from that previous meetup were there at either the late Saturday afternoon meetup or the Sunday morning panel on Asian ball jointed dolls.) It was basically a laid-back experience filled with glorious eye candy. The next few photos were taken at that meetup.

Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meetup at Otakon 2012

When the meetup started to break up around 8 p.m. I felt so tired and sore that I decided to head back home. I did take one last photo before I left the Baltimore Convention Center. It was a person dressed in this incredibly cute mouse costume.

Cute Mouse Cosplay Costume at Otakon 2012

I timed my depature perfectly because that English Premiere League soccer match at M&T Bank Stadium had ended and the Baltimore Orioles were in the middle of playing a Saturday evening game at Camden Yards so I had no problem with finding a seat on the light rail. While I was waiting at the light rail station, this fellow Otakon attendee took one look at the Otakon badge around my neck and The Last Unicorn deluxe edition book that I still carried around in my arm (despite the fact that I had eaten my dinner and tried to wipe up as much of the inside part of the bag as possible—I still didn’t want to risk the possibility that my new autographed book could still somehow get stained with salad dressing) and said that she envied me for having that book. Then she started talking about how she attended the Funimation panel and how Funimation is going to release lots of anime and manga stuff in the U.S. over the next year while proceeding to rattle off the titles of various anime and manga that will be released in the U.S. under the Funimation banner. I nodded politely even though I didn’t attend that particular panel and I have never heard of any of those titles that she rattled off.

When the light rail arrived, I got on and found a seat. The woman followed me and sat next to me. She said that she grew up in Baltimore then asked me if I grew up there. I mentioned that I actually grew up in nearby Glen Burnie. (For the record, I was born in Baltimore and I lived there until I was five years old when my family opted to move to Glen Burnie. I lived there through my school years including my college freshman year—when I attended Anne Arundel Community College. At 19 I moved away when I transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park. I moved back to Glen Burnie after college graduation. I lived there for 10 months until I got married at 23 and I moved into the townhouse that my husband purchased near Washington, DC.)

Then she started to talk to me about how she’s currently writing a manga series of her own that would be set in Baltimore and involves magic and it would also involve different storylines and she even described the magical characters. She said that one of the storylines would have a magical character who lives in Glen Burnie. (I’ll admit that I personally found the concept of any kind of magical being living in Glen Burnie—known as the “auto dealership capital of Maryland” because of the numerous auto dealerships that can be found on both Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway—to be a totally laughable idea. In my high school, anyone who even acted like he or she was the slightest bit magical would’ve gotten the shit kicked out of him or her by the jocks and/or would-be juvenile delinquents in training who ran rampant in that school.)

This person talked my ears off about her manga series throughout the light rail trip. I was pretty sore and exhausted by that point and I really wasn’t in the mood to hear such a long-winded dissertation on a proposed manga series. I was relieved when the light rail finally arrived at the North Linthicum stop and I got off. Luckily for me the would-be manga writer’s ultimate destination was further south so I was able to leave her behind on the light rail.

I drove back home and spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympics on NBC.

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