Sunday, October 10, 2004

On the Road

Don't let the title fool you. This will have no relationship with Jack Kerouac's classic.

Yesterday morning, Sunday, I drove from work to a place in Seattle for a toy show. Old toys, classic toys, collectible toys. Or so I hoped. I knew it was asking too much that I would be able to fill some gaps in my toy soldier collection for a reasonable price, but hope springs eternal. So I drove the hour up there, paid my three bucks to get in, and circled the room six times in search of something, anything, I might want. I ended up with a 100-piece kid's jigsaw puzzle. The picture was of a cowboy roping a steer. The cost was four dollars but the guy sold it to me for half that.
There was one dealer with some Marx playsets, but his prices seems a tad high to me. Another guy had some Marx figures in bags, and his prices were way up there. As I was looking over one bag of six or seven common pioneers with a $27 sticker on them he said to me, "I can do better on that price." I replied, "I should hope so." I'd estimate that half the tables there had junk that was neither old nor collectible. Fast food giveaways, action figures, broken, rusty, moldy items that have lost all value. What are these people thinking?
A few tables had legitimate collectibles. I saw a Lawman lunch box for $37.50 in decent shape. I saw some old model kits, games, advertsing pieces, and comics. Nothing I needed, but the kind of wares that indicate that the dealers know what they're doing.

We're down to one more baseball playoff game in the first round and I'm hoping Houston defeats Atlanta. I feel somewhat responsible for Houston's loss today. You see, I'm a jinx. When I got back from the toy show I tuned in the game and the Astros were ahead 5-2. Not ten seconds after I switched on the set an Atlanta player hit a three-run homer and tied it up. My fault, I know it.

By now the 2004 Bouchercon is over and I'm looking forward to all the reports from those lucky enough to attend. And by reports I of course mean the dirt, the scandals, the lowdown. At the same time I'm feeling a little less connected to the mystery world nowadays. I find too many of the books bloated, the field dominated by women who, while perhaps talented, don't speak to me. It seems the mystery has become a forum for social and political cant and it's losing me. I hate cozies, too. Luckily there are still some authors left I enjoy, and I'm not about to desert the genre entirely, but I can't see myself wallowing in it the way I once did. Not until it changes; and I have a feeling it won't change in a way that suits me.

Happy Columbus Day. Makes you wonder, though. If they can have a holiday for a small city in Ohio why not a large city somewhere else? I think the fix was in on this one. But it means a night off work for me and I'll take that any time.



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