Thursday, May 14, 2009

The department of lost ads found OR: ...and knowing is half the palace

a pretty butterfly
Today is a great day in the Kingdom of Macrocrania, but to understand why I have to take you all the way to the year 2000. I was living in Tucson, Arizona and it was that year I began raiding the microfilm archives of the Tucson main library for old toy robots ads. I didn't have a digital camera so if I wanted copies of ads I had to print them at 15 cents a pop on the library printer. It worked good at first and I would write on each printout the date, store and city the ad originally came from. This got expensive over time so I had to limit myself to only collecting toy robots ads instead of ads for every 80s era toyline as I would like to have done. I wouldn't have minded the cost but oftentimes the printouts were horrid and unreadable. Heck, some of those prints looked more like Rorschach tests than Robotech jets. There exist clearer pictures of the Loch Ness Monster.


(also, bad cropping)
Eventually I got frustrated with paying so much for prints that were nowhere near the quality of the images on the monitor, so in 2001 I began renting a digital camera to take pictures of the ads straight off the microfilm reader screen. I remember thinking my rented digital camera that could save 1024x768 resolution pictures straight to a floppy disk was the greatest invention ever-the pinnacle of digital camera technology. Even today, almost ten years and 8 megapixels later I still take my library robot ads pictures at that resolution. In light of current cameralogical advances some might call that retarded. It doesn't matter to me though, because I like to think of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace as the toy robots internet equivalent of upskirt pictures. YOU AIN'T THERE FOR THE QUALITY.


Then in 2003 we had to move to Turkey where there were no American libraries. It looked like the end of my hobby. As I packed I figured I'd have to give up my dream of building the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. Faced with this roboplastic apocalypse, in a fit of nerd rage I tossed my old stack of printouts in some packing box and forgot about it. I should have kept that stuff in a safe place. Three years later when we got back to the states I wanted to resurrect my website idea but then an awful realization hit. I found that while I had digital versions of many of those early printout ads, the paper printouts with the information I'd written in the margins about what store they came from were lost. I feared without that information the internet would never take seriously my archive of old toy robots newspaper ads. That was until I realized no sane person in the history of the universe would ever put "internet", "seriously" and "old toy robots newspaper ads" in the same thought together.


It always bothered me that there existed a handful of ads at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace for which the source information was unknown. But it didn't bother me enough to dig through my garage to find that one deeply buried box with those printouts that hadn't seen the light of day since 2003. Tonight while digging through all my stuff in preparation for our upcoming move to Miami, I found it. I found the original stack of paper printouts that were the foundation of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. These meant so much to me and not just because the internet would finally know it was Osco Drug store selling Optimus Prime for $19.99 in December 1985. These papers are memories of good times I had in the Tucson main library, bought 15 cents at a time. That's worth more to me than the clearest picture of the Loch Ness monster taking a Rorschach test while piloting a Robotech jet!


Heavyarms said...

I am begining to think that the VSTP is the greatest contribution to robotardation ever. EH-VUR.

You don't think that maybe there's a possibility you'll come across the box with The Ark-shaped cardboard in it, do you?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Sadly, I disassembled and threw away the Ark before leaving Tucson because I just did not have enough room for it. Those pictures are all that survives.

I think the VSTP is the greatest manifestation of robotardation ever!

Anonymous said...

Finally! Congrats.

Weasel said...

Gotta love it when you find something that triggers a few dozen memories.

And VSTP for-evah!

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Yeah anonymous sister, you know how I was blaming everything from space aliens to evil relatives to evil space alien relatives for stealing these papers? Well after I found them, Shanda said I needed to apologize to everybody for thinking those things. But I am still paranoid enough to consider the possibility that my evil relatives from outer space stole the Space Toaster files then put them back with their evil alien relative tractor beams.

I sure do love the memories, 'wynde. I didn't think it was worth writing about but I was so consumed by this search I wanted to tell somebody. I knew it wouldn't be as interesting as my previous post and that bothered me because I really want to maintain a certain level of roboplastic interestingness, but whatever. Chronicling extremely personal adventures of no apparent value to anyone else is what blogging is all about.

And it's weird how the Tranformer pages of my little ad site have been catching on lately! Pretty crazy!

Hooper_X said...

Miami, eh?

well, if you ever find yourself in Atlanta, the Georgia State University library has the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution all the way back. I mean ALL THE WAY BACK.

If I had the time and the impetus, I'd totally swing by there and see what I could find, but I really lack both. However, you are more than welcome to come up and crash on our couch sometime if you want to raid GSU - they have some other papers as well, although I think it's mostly an archive of independent black papers.

OK, I just looked - they have the Memphis and New Orleans daily papers on microfilm until the late 80s or early 90s. You might have to drive out to the suburbs to get, say, the Marietta paper on microfilm (that's the second biggest paper, serves the northeast suburbs), and Augusta and Macon are both about two hours away.

Anyway, it's not like Miami is close to Atlanta or anything (it's a 12 hour drive or so) but like I said, I've got a couch and a bunch of libraries in relative driving distance, so you're welcome to come up sometime.


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.