Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Wondrous Holidays - Little House of Horrors

At first my roomy’s collection involved a lot of eBay shopping when My Little Ponies were but a toy of Christmases past. It was pretty exciting, truly. I spent loads of time with her (way more than I care to admit) learning the various collecting tidbits (discoloration, hair condition, pony cancer – yes, ponies get sick too), and I even knew enough to buy her some coveted ones for her birthday, along with the rest of our pony supportive gang.

We also hit loads of consignment and second-hand stores. Those are gold for discarded pony toys.
Coveted expensive British pony.  Roomy squee'd loads when she purchased him.
Then, things changed. Hasbro, makers of My Little Pony, took out a new line (the third by then, actually), and although at first they were greeted with skepticism, my roomy soon fell in love with them. Completely and utterly in love. That's when the collection started to get big.  Out of control, some might say. But not I.  I've seen how many ponies she could actually own.

So we went to toy stores and discount stores and even grocery stores to hunt ponies. I thought it was kind of fun, to be honest. The thrill of the hunt (and of watching your roommate squeal louder than a five-year-old on sugar).

THEN things grew. An entire online community popped out of nowhere (well, okay, from SOMEWHERE, but I certainly didn’t know they existed). They started to not only chat about collecting the ponies – they now wanted to customize them.

That’s right. They made their own.

Old disheveled ponies were renewed or customized, and new easy-to-find and generally uncoveted ponies (read: rejects!) by the pony community were changed and re-coloured into something completely different. What does that mean, you may ask (foolishly).

They pull their heads off, rip their hair out, boil them, bleach them, dye them, repaint them, re-hair them, sometimes glue them or add clay to them and then, to seal the final act, they rename them, as though doing so will somehow erase the terrible memories of what’s been done to them. It’s true plastic surgery. Gone terribly wrong.
De-haired pony ready for action.  See this pony?
I've spared you the graphic photos (you're welcome).  See this pony almost fully customized.
Now see this pony.  I have to admit she's awesome.  Totally awesome.
Still, getting to that final product ain't pretty.  It’s a house of horrors even Jason would avoid.

Sometimes, early in the morning, I head into the kitchen and there’s an army of beheaded ponies staring at me, pleading to be saved.  “Help us!” their eyes implore.  If they still have eyes, that is, and they haven’t been acetoned off. (Acetone. Did I mention the acetone? Roomy has a HUGE BOTTLE of it!)

Roomy says they feel better afterwards. I've yet to study the plastic pony psychology to support this statement.

But they ARE plastic ponies, let’s keep things in perspective, and although they may not feel much, they do look cool afterwards, like these:

Firefly fan, anyone?

Ridiculously small and detailed ship.  This isn't even the worst of it. Roomy has strong painting Kung Fu. 

Almost four years ago, after buying my new car, my roomy mentioned that there was going to be a pony fair in Memphis. Three days’ ride away. Game on! We packed the ponies and crossed the border, enjoying a lovely road trip. The community was very nice, I must admit, and I spent most of my time in the convention enjoying their company. Loads of them are artists, and very impressive artists, to boot. They have contests, art shows and prizes, some of which Roomy won (I’m very proud of my roomy).
See?  Awards!

The next year the fair was in Rhode Island. I joined again. Only one day away! We headed off and crossed the border easily again (we’re very honest. Few people question you when you have proof that you’re heading to a pony fair). Again, loads of fun.

On the way back, we were stopped at the border and told to pull over. We watched from the sidelines in bemusement as they opened luggages and bags only to find pink plastic ponies everywhere. My roomy was mumbling that she hoped they wouldn’t pop their heads off (not so good for the customized ones).

But we were soon on our way, with shocked border guards stating they had never seen so much pink. It’s true, I bet you they hadn’t, and probably haven’t since.

This year we went to Kentucky, which was also a hoot.  I truly enjoyed these fairs, and thought the folks there were nice and fun, and there were loads of shiny things to look at and then tell my friends back home about, like war stories from some distant and vastly different land.
Mmm, Kentucky...
Roomy makes pet companions, too, and clothing.  And she gives them cool accessories.  Very important in Pony land.
More award-winning ponies, celebrating the 25th anniversary.

All right, I kept it light.  I didn't show you the beheaded ponies.  You'll have to take my word for that.  But the end results are pretty amazing.  Even when (evil) kittens chew on them, she finds a way to make the design work despite chew marks, which I think is talent.

I should mention that she has customs up for sale and you can also commission a pony.  This is (almost) 2011, people.  Pony collectors don't mess around anymore.

One more installment of Wondrous Holidays is coming up.  Stay tuned!