I’ve been writing for this site for over 15 years which I find amazing. When I first met Andrew Gaughen, way back in 1998 I was looking for a place to
sell my Star Wars custom figures. I climbed back into collecting in 1995 when the Power of the Force collection came out, and then started going into conventions
and antique toy shops looking for the older SW stuff I didn’t get when I was a kid. Those were the good old days of collecting. My son was only about seven so it gave me a perfect excuse to
hang around Aisle 7C in ToysRus, and man did I hit every TRU, Target, Kaybee and drug store from where I worked at Fox Studios to where I then resided in Burbank. I finally got
up the nerve to talk to Andrew and offered him a look at my customs and then we started talking about toys and collecting, and he offered to put up my customs on consignment with the
blessings of Don and Jan who own AFT. That gave me reasons to hang out in the ACTA Game Guy store, which is where I met the infamous Toygodd. At first I was a little frightened of this
man, fast, witty, sharp in mind and tongue. But, as the time passed I found him a good friend and generous beyond belief. He ate. slept and bled AFTimes, as did I. When I first started writing
for the site, I had no idea how to even post pictures. With the help of Andrew (Randy) I finally got the hang of rudimentary HTML coding and could get my pictures uploaded with
my text. I know that Andrew had to put more on his plate and I appreciate his patience.
Comic Cons were the greatest of all the adventures for me. Meeting great people like Diane Kamahele of Sideshow Collectibles, Randy Faulk, Hot Toys, Digger from Art Asylum, Jesse Falcon from Toybiz and a host of others
At the end of the weekends we’d be exhausted and have hundreds of individual photos to crop and post, not like today.
Then several years ago Doc Owen came to town and helped bring new life into the site, with tons of reviews and videos and he then got the site a much needed upgrade and got us into the 21st Century.
He wrote to me after Captain Collector left and after speaking with him I really am glad that he pumped life into our little site and got us back to rockin’ and rollin’! I know that when his schedule allows
that he will return and inspire more collectors with his reviews.
I have to say that after all the fun and collecting and chasing the elusive piece of plastic, the people are what make this such a fun place to work. A big reason that I love AFT is you guys, the readers and contest winners, griping, geeking and generally being a great group. You all are why we all do this and we thank you for your embracing us and being such loyal fans. You guys are tops, ladies too!
Now, 2013 is coming to an end and my collecting habits have curbed quite a bit, money being as tight as it is. Hot Toys has helped me get some figures I never thought I’d see in person by letting me review some of their product. Round 2 and Captain Action are some of the figures that I am jazzed by at the moment as well. Minimates from Diamond Select Toys are very cool as is everything from DST. The Classic Television Batman is also very welcome in my collection, but I’ve almost quit the Star Wars line as rehashing figures I already own does not inspire me like it did in the old days. Of course, that will change when the new products to support the new movies roll out, then I expect that I’ll be back in the aisles looking for that hard to find piece. Cash in hand.
I don’t know if it’s entirely the economy that slowed down my collecting. At my age I’m also looking at having a garage full of toys and when I’m gone, what’s going to happen to it? Will my son sell it on Craigslist for a song? Will my wife toss it in the recycle bin? Ahhh! So, how many middle aged collectors out there are feeling your age? I’d like to see some comments.
These are my two Chiweenies (part Chihuahua and part Daschund) Lt. front is Buddy an abused dog one of my wife’s students found on a construction site and Rt. rear is Pokey that we rescued from the Pasadena Animal Shelter. They are both wonderful and loving dogs, although Pokey still barks endlessly at Toygodd…. Oh, yeah and we all are big Miami Dolphins fans. We had a bad day last Sunday…
I look forward to 2014 and hope that healthwise, hobbywise and financially it will be a terrific year for all of us.
Happy New Year
Edltor Umpire of AFTimes.com