Fandom Merchandise and Where to Find It

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​As I look at my Christmas gifts, and my recent birthday gifts before that, I am struck, but not terribly surprised by how much relates to the variety of fandoms and pop culture things I am involved in. Many of these things have stayed with me since my teen years, to the point that I no longer participate, but they still hold an important place in my heart. The one example that comes to mind was my getting a new messenger bag: ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding. It’s so glorious that I’ll be writing a separate review of it. My son was a little annoyed that I would be getting it – it was a little expensive, but with the thirty percent discount that was offered, it was well worth it. He was still a little annoyed and exclaimed, “You don’t even like Dungeons & Dragons!” I think I may have snorted. I was momentarily speechless.

I don’t like Dungeons & Dragons?! Do you even know me?! I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons since high school. In our school cafeteria, we would use the half-pint milk container as a six-sided die. Every weekend in college, we’d get together in the blue room to play. Dave, our DM (dungeon master) would not let us have any alcohol. We got stupid. We were probably the only group on a Saturday night not drunk. We would play all weekend, talking time only to sleep before the next night’s game.

I met my college roommate in a study hall through a conversation about character sheets.

My oldest son used my original books when he and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons.

Not a fan?! Harumph!

Glancing at The Walking Dead trivia box, the Hufflepuff necklace, the Supernatural zipper bag, the Star Trek 50th anniversary gold ornament with sound, I saw just how many fandom things there are, and I also realized how difficult it was to get some of them.

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50-40 – Collections

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I have always been a collector. I’m not quite at the hoarding stage yet, but it’s not that far off, so I need to be ever vigilant and aware so I don’t end up on the nighttime news when they come with a shovel.

Our whole family collects something or other. My oldest son collects fire department memorabilia and history, books and pictures. My husband and middle son collect comic books and action figures. My middle son also collects Lego. He loves to build them and display them. He also continues to play with them. My daughter collects clothes. She wants to be a fashion designer and she loves putting new outfits together and seeing how she can make something old new again.

In my basement, I have videotapes and newspaper articles, magazines that I wanted to keep forever. I have the newspaper when NY Yankee Thurman Munson died. I have magazines when Princess Diana was married and I saved the newspapers somewhere for President Obama’s inauguration.

I have a collection of pewter pieces, primarily on the medieval theme, but also groupings of griffins, my favorite animal. Yes, of course, it’s a real animal.

I collect some stamp sets and sheets, usually the ones that my kids would want to have when they’re older. I’ve showcased some of them on here recently.

I collect coins. Not anything really worth much, but just a remembrance of where I’ve been or gifts that I’ve been given. I’m not sure where they all are, but I have German marks and French francs. A shekel and a Scottish paper pound. My friend sent me New Zealand money from his home and my husband brought me coins from the Philippines when he was there for his work. I almost always have Canadian money on me somewhere. We just went over the border this past summer for a couple of days vacation.

I also collect Hufflepuffs. They are a rare find, so I’m pretty sure I’ve got everything sold in our local stores, including Hot Topic.

My biggest collection is my pins. I love pins. I buy them wherever I am, and I am sent them by frineds, although I usually have to ask. I have San Francisco and Las Vegas from a friend. I have a Hello Kitty from Japan and my son brought me an Eiffel Tower pin from Paris. He recently went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and he brought me my newest pin from there commemorating the fire department. Another new pin is my 50th anniversary Star Trek pin that a friend got for me at a convention. I have loved Star Trek since I was a little girl, and I thought that since I was also turning 50 this year, I’d really like the pin. The picture below is what my jacket looks like currently, but I display my pins on corkboard and need to get a few more squares of it to get the rest of them on.

My collections remind me of things, whether they’re what’s depicted on the pins or they remind me of the person who gave it to me, or the adventure I had when I got the pin. That’s especially true of my Gettysburg Bike Week pin.

All of my collections remind me of who I am and the important things I’ve done and want to remember.

The pins currently on my jacket: from the top, clockwise: my RCIA cross, trio of crosses from the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, rainbow Pride, Gishwhes, safety pin, Niagara Falls, 9/11 Memorial, 50th anniversary Star Trek, Hufflepuff, Supernatural anti-possession symbol, Star Labs, Michonne and Daryl from The Walking Dead, Wales, Niagara Falls/Hard Rock Cafe, 9/11 Memorial larger version. (c)2016


Pewter, Top, clockwise: Griffin hatching out of an egg, Griffin, Ceirdwen, griffin, medieval table, Ladron, griffin. (c)2016


Hufflepuff, Coins, Stamps. Left, then top to bottom: Hufflepuff pin, Hufflepuff key chain, coins from Canada, UK, and US Bicentennial, Repeal of the Stamp Act stamp sheet. (c)2016

The Post Office, Part 2

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First Day Issues and in the center a cancellation from the Benjamin Franklin Post Office in Philadelphia, a real post office in the coloinial style commemorating Franklin as the first postmaster general. (c)2016

Elvis Presley stamps

[All photos of stamps copyrighted to kbwriting and griffinsandgingernaps.wordpress.com]

The Post Office, Part 1

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Starting at the top, clockwise: Lapel pin of America Responds stamp, Ornament commemorating 100 Years of Letters to Santa through the US Postal Service, America Responds stamp sheet, Harvey Milk stamp sheet, plastic mailbox to hold stamps or Valentine’s. (c)2016

Starting at the Top, clockwise: Baseball Sluggers, Sunday Funnies, Star Wars, Disney Magic, Super Heroes Chapter Two, Animals, Super Heroes Chapter One, Disney Romance, Star Trek. (c)2016

Stardate: 1-9-6-6-2-0-1-6.9.8

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Space…
The final frontier.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise;
It’s five year mission:
To explore strange new worlds,
To seek out new life and new civilizations,
To boldly go…
Where no man has gone before.

These iconic words from Gene Roddenberry, brought to life by William Shatner have withstood the test of time.

Fifty years ago today, Star Trek began what would be its fifty-year and ongoing mission. Roddenberry’s vision for the future is still some way off, but I just saw a video on the realities of transparent aluminum, most of us use communicators in some fashion or another, and having a Black woman superior to us in the workplace is more common than 1966, although we could do better.

In 1966, it was somewhat controversial to have such a mixed race crew, let alone the actors who played them. While Jim Kirk was born in Iowa, Williams Shatner hails from Canada. He is still a Canadian citizen, and not a naturalized American. He, Leonard Nimoy, and Walter Koenig are all Jewish. Sulu and George Takei are Japanese. Nichelle Nichols was a Black woman. She and Shatner hold the first for an interracial kiss on television. Pavel Checkov’s character was a breakthrough especially during the space race of the 50s and the 60s. The idea of working with the Russians was nearly impossible to imagine then. And of course, Jimmy Doohan’s Scotty gave homage to the many Scotsmen and women who led the industrial revolution and got the engines running.

Even in today’s Kelvin timeline, not reboot (according to Mike and Denise Okuda), there is an homage given to the original cast as well as bringing the story into the 21st century for us moviegoers.

I’ve watched every iteration of Star Trek including reading the comic books, every new series (Deep Space Nine is my favorite after the original series), every movie, every animation. Wasn’t there a Star Trek meets Scooby Doo or am I imagining that? Somewhere in the depths of my basement boxes is a photojournal of Trouble with Tribbles that I had once memorized. I learned Klingon as a young adult, and went to conventions so long ago that there were no charges for photos or autographs.

Reflecting on 50 years of science fiction, watching it intersect with science fact, sitting in the captain’s chair at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and forging our own new worlds through our own inspiration to write and world-build.

Star Trek is many things to many people. I have been a fan my whole life, and will continue to be into the next half century and beyond.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!
And many more to come.
The stories yet to be told are out there, and I for one, can’t wait.

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US Postal Stamps, issued 2016

Collections

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There’s the largest ball of twine and dryer lint, Coke bottles, and spectacles, but for most people collecting is a little more subdued. For each of us collectors we all have our origin stories, how we began collecting our treasures, our first whatever. We get all excited and starry eyed talking about our things and hope in our reverie that our audience’s eyes haven’t glazed over while they go over their shopping list in their heads.

For me, I’ve had several collections over the years for a multitude of reasons. When I did historical re-enactment, I collected all manner of books on the Middle Ages: art, children’s history, fiction. When I was a teacher, I collected children’s cooks. I’m always on the lookout for Jewish stories for children. After my first visit to Wales. I’ve collected both history books and travel ones. Books are big in our family. My husband and middle son collect comic books (and action figures). My daughter’s love is fashion – reading about it, wearing it, and designing it.

When I travel, I still collect pins and postcards and foreign money, especially coins, and ask friends to collect it for me since I travel so infrequently. I also collect griffins and pewter pieces.

My mother collected stamps. My brother has her collection, and she started getting my son some when he was a baby, like dinosaurs, comic strips, super heroes, etc. We still do that, but we’re more selective as they relate to our interests (Batman, Star Wars, and the like. I recently bought a sheet of Harvey Milk.) There is something for everyone.

I have a couple of church friends who collect Mary (the Blessed Mother) statues from their world travels.

In an informal poll on my Facebook, I was surprised by the diversity of people’s collections, some I’d heard of, but many I had not even considered. Demographically speaking, not including myself, respondents were ten female and two male, ages between 21 and 71. Orientation was evenly split for those that identify publicly and all but two were the same race. Most religious practices were unknown to me, but two are Jewish and five are practicing Christians with various degrees of devotion. All but one are college educated with four still in college. Jobs include administrative assistant, nurse/LPN, teacher, nanny, EMT, with two in the insurance industry.

Here is a rundown of the collections; maybe you’ll find one of your collections on this list:

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