Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hattie learns to type

A couple of nights ago, Hattie managed to cruise across the hearth and discover Ryan's vintage Underwood typewriter. She spent about 20 minutes carefully pushing a key, then reaching to touch the letter that popped up in response to her actions. She approached the typewriter with awe, curiosity, and respect, never banging on the keys or playing with it they way she does with other toys. She is truly Daddy's little girl.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Plastic bread and circuses

I really, really love Playmobil people. I have a Playmobil pirate and a Playmobil mummy that "unwraps" to reveal a Playmobil pharaoh.

Playmobil figures and sets are the bright paradoxes of the toy world. They manage to be detailed in their simplicity. Practically every character has blank, staring eyes, a fingernail crescent of a smile, and C-shaped hands--and women tend to sport uniform under-eye lashes--but the variety of "costumes" and snap-on accessories is fairly staggering. The themes range from the typical farm, zoo, and rescue team cliches to scaled-down sports arenas, sea ports, and a "leisure" category that boasts little plastic people sunbathing on a yacht (the Blue Marlin), racing around on jet skis and ATVs, and picnicking outside of a family camper. Anyone who's checked Commonplace in December might remember that we own a Playmobil nativity set, something that, I believe, Lego has yet to produce.

Tom's Toys, a shop in downtown San Luis Obispo, usually has a Playmobil set of some sort or another featured in its window. For the last month or two, the set-up has been sitting under a banner that says something along the lines of "The Triumphant Procession of the Romans."