Hunting down grab bags in the dank, musky bowels of the dealer room is one of my time-honored convention rituals. The allure of a grab bag lies in the opening. For a mere $10-$20, you can damn near replicate your childhood Christmas mornings. Sure, some of the grab bag loot is like getting socks from an aunt you never met. But there’s always that one item in the haul—the "Castle Grayskull" of the set—that makes the entire journey a success.
You can’t just blast open a grab bag right there in the dealer room. It demands your undivided attention. You need to make an event out of the opening. Typically, I’ll wander the con floor for hours clutching the grab bag and contemplating its innards, but never surrendering to the urge to sneak a peek. Once I get back home or to the hotel room, I clear a space, open the bag and remove each item one at a time. Then, I carefully examine each item to determine its ultimate fate, like the Quintesson judge from Transformers the Movie: “Guil-ty or Inn-o-cent?” You win 1,000 bonus points if you get that reference. If the item is lame, then it’s forever banished to the ceremonial death mounds of the junk room. However, if it’s awesome, then it earns a place of distinction on my shelves.
Ah, the loot. I love loot. Looty, loot, loot.
If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic heading to the Wizarding World for the first time, you should check your wallet with someone who’s less enthused to be there. You might get caught up in the atmosphere and try to buy everything you see. And this shit isn’t cheap.
All of the Harry Potter World merchandise is in-character. Most of the candy and toy packages feature a tiny, requisite Harry Potter logo on the back. Other than the covert logo, the packaging is true to the story. When you get home and sort through your haul, it looks like you apparated into the Harry Potter universe and scored some genuine Honeydukes treats and Zonko’s gags.
My Harry Potter fandom is about to reach epic proportions now that I am the proud new owner of annual passes to Harry Potter World, I mean, uh, Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. I have been itching to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened last summer, but I heard horror stories about the crowds and decided to let the fervor die down before heading there myself.
The first time I actually researched the new Harry Potter attraction was a few weeks ago while trying to decide between annual passes for Disney or Universal. I prefer exploring theme parks without knowing too much about them beforehand. I‘m not even too fond of the maps—makes it more of an adventure. I pulled up a few articles and read about the sheer awesomeness of eating at The Three Broomsticks and browsing the dusty wand boxes at Ollivander’s Wand Shop. I was sold.
I have always had a special place in my heart for carnivorous plants. I love an underdog and it’s a fitting turn of events for
the once defenseless bottom of the food chain to bite back. I first learned about
them on Mr. Wizard’s World, an old 80’s Nickelodeon show
that aired on weekday mornings after The Mysterious Cities of Gold--the
finest hour of kid’s television programming ever. I tried to nail down a video clip
of that Mr. Wizard’s World segment, but Nickelodeon is stingy with their classic
shows. You can buy the DVD of Mr. Wizard’s World Season One, if you’re interested.
I actually had heard of Venus Fly Traps before I saw that episode of Mr. Wizard’s
World. As a kid, I subscribed to Boys’ Life magazine. No, I wasn’t a boy scout.
I only went to one Cub Scout meeting and thought the whole thing was retarded. For
what seemed an eternity, a group of us sat in a small, dim room with our parents and
made paper mache armor for no apparent reason. Oh, rad. Where the hell was all the cool stuff like learning
survival skills, building fires, tracking beasts, and pitching tents?