Monday, July 10, 2006

Dr. Vector, interior decorator

I'm not going to lie to you: I like toys. Legos, Star Wars, Transformers, dinosaurs--all of that. Is it unseemly for a 31-year-old married father of one to want to acquire and play with toys? Not at all.

First, toys are cool. That's a tough one to argue with.

Second, there's Jarrod's infamous defense of adults playing with toys: someday our kids are going to be buying toys. We don't want them to be stuck with the pathetic offerings of a dried-up toy industry. Therefore it's our responsibility to support those toymakers now by buying and using their products.

Finally, it is reassuring to know that I am not alone.

Toys are on my mind right now because the move afforded me the opportunity to get a couple of things out of the box and put them up. One of them is the Lego Ultimate Collectors' Series Y-Wing, which is 26 inches long and a foot wide and contains 1473 pieces. But I'm going to wait and blog about that after I've gotten Vicki to take some good pictures of me holding it.

An equally large box contains the Lego Millennium Falcon that Mike Taylor sent me, apparently just for being a good person. I haven't gotten around to building that one, but it's coming. In the meantime, and to continue the run of photos of me in compromising positions, here's a photo showing how much I love my as-yet-unbuilt Millennium Falcon.

The other thing that I was able to get out of the box is my King Kong V-rex bust. This thing has a complicated history. I am often stumped when someone wants to buy me a big gift, because my day-to-day yearnings are for small, cheap things like paperbacks and comic books. I rarely want things that are both expensive and practical. If someone says they're looking to spend 50 bucks on me, I usually ask for something at least a little outlandish.

Last Christmas, Vicki asked me what I wanted and I told her that I was quite taken with the King Kong V-rex skull.

This is a nice little 8-inch model skull of the new movie's tyrannosaur, the fictional Vastatosaurus rex. It's comparable in size to a human skull, and I thought it would look cool next to the cast human skull I got Vicki for Christmas several years ago.

Vicki was game and ordered the thing well in advance of Christmas, which was good, because they were going to be shipping it from New Zealand. But it didn't arrive. When they missed the delivery window, Vicki got online and zapped a few e-mails around to try to find out what the hell was going on with her order.

At this point I have to express some serious admiration for the people at Weta. They had lost her order, but they were apologetic, and they promised to get it in the mail straightaway. And they did.
Shortly thereafter, an improbably large box arrived on our doorstep. Much too large and too heavy to contain a little 8-inch skull and stand, unless the skull was made out of collapsed matter. I tore open the shipping box and received one of the most pleasant surprises of my life. I don't know if it was just a mistake, or if the folks at Weta felt bad about depriving me of a Christmas present. Don't know, and don't care.

Because they didn't send me the V-rex skull, which retails for about $40 and which Vicki had paid for a month prior. They sent the V-rex bust, which retails over $200. And they sent it from New Zealand. So I could hardly send it back; the postage would be more than the cost of the item.

More to the point, I didn't want to send it back.

This is no small, tasteful knickknack like a model dinosaur skull on a stand. This imposing sumbitch is 10 inches wide, 18 inches tall, and stands out from the wall 18 inches. It is hideous...hideously AWESOME!!!!!

I really can't say enough good things about it. The modeling, casting, and painting are all first-rate. It looks like a damn tyrannosaur just busted through the wall looking for someone's ass to kick. And it looks pissed.

Purists will have noted that the movie tyrannosaur has three fingers per hand, when real-life tyrannosaurids only had two. But whoever sculpted this beauty was pretty savvy. Each hand does have three fingers, but they are cleverly arranged so that it's almost impossible to see more than two of them at once. So on casual inspection the V-rex looks like a T-rex. Which is nice, and may help Weta move a little more product. More power to 'em, sez me.

So of course I wanted to put it up in the living room, right over the entertainment center. You know, really make it the centerpiece of Casa Wedel. Well, Vicki was having none of that. She wouldn't let me put it up in our old place at all. She said I'd have to wait until we moved.

Well, as any decent negotiator can tell you, that was Mistake #1. We were only going to be in the other place for a handful of months. She should have let me put it up wherever I wanted in exchange for a reduced sentence after the move.

Our new front door opens onto a short hallway that takes you into the rest of the apartment. I really wanted to put the thing up at the front of the hallway, so that the first thing you'd see when you came in was a pissed-off tyrannosaur about your bite your head off. But Vicki wasn't having any of that, either. She said I could put it up over the aquarium, and only over the aquarium.

That was Mistake Numero Dos. If I'd gotten my way, Rex would be in the hallway and we'd only see it when we passed through. The kitchen/dining room/living room here is all one big, long space, and even though Rex is hanging in the far corner, it is amazing and gratifying to see how much it visually dominates the room. It's large enough to be visible from anywhere in the living area, and it draws the eye. It couldn't be more noticeable if pirates were riding around it on flying sharks and throwing bears at people.

That lamp in front of the aquarium has to go, obviously. I offered to set up my herd of sauropods somewhere else, but Vicki said she'd gotten used to them being on top of the bookcase. And they do make a nice visual segue to Rex.

More toy-related blogging soon.

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