Previous Article - X-Entertainment - Next Article --- By Matt - 9.12/'02

Next up: Silly Springs. What are 'Silly Springs'? About two inches of coiled plastic. Pfft, and I wasted all those Christmas wish lists asking for a bike? Of all the vending machine toys I've seen, Silly Springs have to be the worst. I guess they were trying to create a miniature Slinky. They failed miserably.

Bossk, one of our article models, wanted to add this: 'Ergjjdf shilahs reequinanare.' In his native Trandoshan it means 'I crap on Silly Springs.' I stand in agreement.

The next few items were found at the grocery store. I ran out of change by the time we got there, and was forced to ask one of the cashiers to turn my cash into coins. I told the woman that I needed the change to make a phone call, which retrospectively was pretty stupid since she watched me pour coins into the toy machines immediately afterwards. It sucks because I'm always in this place, and will likely have to see the cashier again in a day or so. Now we're gonna have this silent rivalry, with her always wanting to ask about the infamous quarter lie, and me always wanting to ask about her infamous mahogany mustache. I'm not sure if our Cold War will ever reach a climax, but I'm copyrighting the movie rights before anyone can rip me off.

I took a picture of myself wearing the 'Horror Teeth,' but the photo isn't something I want spread on the Internet. This is coming from someone who has pictures of himself holding plastic dicks and dressed up like the Ultimate Warrior on his website. So yes, Horror Teeth do succeed in their intent - you will look mighty stupid.

Personally, I prefer wax lips. You can chew 'em when the novelty wears off. I guess you can chew Horror Teeth too, but you can't swallow it without paying an ultimate price far greater than fifty cents.

While 'Pink Lemonade' and 'Very Cherry' are two popular varieties in the gum machines, they're nowhere near as fun as the baseball-inspired gumballs. You know, the ones with a hit status written on them, like 'Single,' 'Home Run,' etc. I've probably played baseball for a total of ten minutes in my entire life, but I loved having virtual games with my friends using the gum. I understood that it was the closest I'd ever get to a home run, or even just a double. The gum tasted like chalk, but this wasn't about flavor. It was about sportsmanship and competition.

Somehow I sucked even worse at virtual baseball using pieces of gum. The only sport I'm good at is golf. I've never actually played it, but I'm sure I'd be great.

The next spot on my journey was the corner deli - a particularly dirty and dilapidated corner deli. The kind where they turn the wall calendar date back four years so you don't notice that the milk expired when Courtney Love was only on her second nose. They had a group of vending machines outside that look like they haven't been touched in a decade, but the plus side was a window to some of the more charming items of years past...

'Mini Aliens' and 'Ninja Fighters' were small rubber figures, simple as that. I don't care much for the aliens, but these ninjas are a perfect example of a good vending machine toy, at least from the eyes of kids. We didn't expect a gold brick or a video game to come out of the machine - just something that could give us a minute or two of enjoyment before we went back to eating paste. Ninja Fighters were just that. Each of the different-colored figures had a different action pose, so you could theoretically get into collecting them all without feeling like you're buying the same guy over and over again in different clothes.

I'd always hope for the black or red ones, of course. Those are the Super Ninjas. Who wants the yellow one? Who's ever heard of a yellow ninja? I mean, I thought half the point of those outfits was to help them obscure themselves. Unless this guy is working his Eastern magic up in a lemon tree, he's missing out on the true ninja ideals. Of which I know plenty about, because I'm a ninja. A ninja and a hell of a baseball player.

The astutely named 'Robot Keychains' were actually the nicest thing I found on the trip - 6" robot figures strung to a keychain. You can dangle them and turn the beast into a Dancing Robot Keychain. That's worth fifty cents in of itself, because dancing robots > regular robots.

Then we've got a machine boasting what they call a 'Sticky Mix.' Sticky mix indeed - since the machines haven't been looked at in twelve years, whatever these things were supposed to look like is a distant memory I'm not privy to. Instead, they've all now formed one solid mass blob of orange goop on the display card, and what you get out of the machine seems more like penis discharge than a slime toy. Making matters worse, the slot door was covered in melted sludge from the toys. At least, I hope it was from the toys. Otherwise I should've washed my hands before my nighttime ritual of licking myself clean.

I liked the 'Spinning Monster Tops', mostly because I got the Creature From The Black Lagoon version. Prune Face adds: 'Ffrrite Frrottina Ffffertite.' Means 'don't wear suede in the rain' in Dressellian. Bossk was a little more on topic, sadly.

Oh no, it's the 'Homies'. Every one of my siblings' kids collects these things, and I just can't for the life of me figure out the attraction. I mean, I could if my family wasn't a collective group of wops. Homies are little figures fashioned after an urban culture - meaning most of the figures either look like gangster rappers, or for some reason, pastry chefs. According to my niece, there's a few 'rare' ones that fetch a pretty penny. You know, if Homies are popular, there's just no reason for companies to go through all these demographics and marketing tests anymore. Who could guesstimate the popularity of something like this?

They've even got cheap knockoffs, such as the right-pictured 'Homie Clowns'. The regular Homies figures have a few inexplicable clown figures, and those are the most sought. So some company just made a bunch of figures that looked like them and skirted the copyright just enough to get by. I'm not fooled. Real Homie figures always carry a weapon. Everybody knows that.

To close out, we've got the 'Sticky Icky' mix. I took a chance and ended up with a gooey worm. My mind reels from the intense playtime activities presented here. I suppose I could trick someone into thinking it was an edible gummy worm, but then I'd have to pay the hospital bill afterwards, which would go above this article's budget of 4.00. But that doesn't mean you can't try it.

So ends our brief trip through the world of vending machine toys. I hope you found it informative. I'd like to thank the underside of my couch cushions and the floor of my car for financing this project.

- Matt
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