Buy Lots Of Silly Things6 February 2006 Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
When I was young (as opposed to now, when I'm... young-ish), I was in the habit of buying large amounts of things of which people normally only bought small amounts.
Sparklers, for example.
The fact that a carton of 10 inch sparklers - or, at least, the kind of carton of 10 inchers that we get in Australia - contains a total of 2304 sparklers (288 boxes of eight), is seared upon my mind. It will stay there if I live to be a hundred.
You know the little plastic ones that look like bottles? They're not nearly as good as the big conical cardboard ones.
I bought one thousand, four hundred and forty of the biggest conical ones for a friend's 21st birthday party.
People were packing their hands with them, three or four or five between each pair of fingers, all of the strings gathered together. Upon The Great Yanking, there burst forth a shower of streamers never before witnessed by human eyes.
Some of the streamers are probably still hanging around that house, ten years later.
Amazingly, all of them vanished from the office within weeks. Nobody knew where the heck they went.
Which brings me to Bear And Eagle, which sounds like one of those disposals places where the About Us page makes you feel uncomfortable, but is actually just the bulk-orders outlet for Ron L. Toms' cluster of sites, all of which sell Products You Don't Need But Obviously Want.
Airsoft guns aren't legal to import into some countries, like the one I live in (though Airsoft tanks are OK here in Australia...), but they're A-OK for people in most of the world, including almost all of the USA.
EBay is, of course, packed full of exceedingly cheap Airsoft guns. The Bear and Eagle guns are, however, worth considering for two reasons.
One: They're better quality than the very cheapest and nastiest guns. They're still not proper repairable heavyweight guns suitable for tournament use, but you can buy a case of a dozen or more Bear and Eagle guns for the price of one "proper" AEG, so I think that's forgivable.
Two: They look cool.
The AEG, you may have noticed, is an FN P90 replica. Looks like a sci-fi prop, is in fact used to shoot various alien menaces in both Stargate series, but also actually exists in the real world. And can now exist on your Toy Gun Rack for $US32.95 ex shipping, or $US359.40 ex for a dozen.
There's that buy-in-bulk thing again. You know you want to.
The "D-90F" has an impressive 400 round per minute firing rate, which along with the price will tip off Airsoft aficionados to the fact that this thing is basically just "mini AEG" parts in a more impressive casing. It doesn't even have hop-up.
But it runs from rechargeable batteries, not dinky AAs. And even a Mini AEG can punch (a whole lot of) holes in paper at indoor ranges, as long as it's not one of those exceedingly weedy "Cyber Gun" ones like ThinkGeek used to sell.
And, I remind you, it looks like a P90.
If you're happy with spring guns (higher muzzle velocity, better accuracy, less ammo wastage; the weapon of choice for getting bronze orange bugs off your lemon tree), you can get two or three dozen MP5s or shortie AKs for quite a lot less money. Or forty-eight spring pistols for $US192 plus delivery.
They only accept orders of $US100 or more, but they'll send you catalogues for free if you're in the USA or Canada.
Ron Toms is not some random eBay scam artist, or some zillionaire wriggling around on mattresses full of cash (unless Nova and Monster Garage pay better than I thought). And, of course, I've got an affiliate deal with him, so people who follow the convoluted links from this page and buy stuff will enrich me as well as him.
So I'm not entirely unbiased when I say that the expanding RLT empire is a good one stop shop for all of your bouncing putty, junior ninja toy, slingshot and sucker dart shooter needs. Feel free to buy your crate of plastic BB guns somewhere else, if you can find the same stuff cheaper.
(I don't think you can find Mini Mangonels anywhere else, though. After I put this page up, someone bought fifteen of those. See, now that's what I'm talking about.)
But buy them. Seriously.
As I said to the little boy who was staring at me as I carried six Super Soakers to the Toys R Us checkout: It's good to be a grown-up.