Toy Talk
Volume XL

By Mark Patraw
Posted on 5/12/14

As I mentioned last time, the previous week's toy hunt was a bust, but things went much better over the last seven days, as I found, and purchased, a small mountain of stuff, which is good, as I was really beginning to get discouraged (you can only come away empty-handed from toy hunting so many times in a row before you start feeling like you're wasting time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere).

In this installment of Toy Talk, because it's so big, the 2003 Fisher Price Loving Family "Classic" Doll House (five dollars on 5/7/14) serves as the setting, instead of the brown cardboard/desktop background I usually employ. With that explanation out of the way, we'll now move on to the four items displayed on the second floor master bedroom of said dwelling: First, all the way to the left, is a 2003 Spider-Man magnetic wall base (twenty-five cents on 5/7/14); to the right of that structure is a 2011 Spongebob Squarepants Discus Spongebob figure (twenty-five cents "Spongebob Squarepants" grab bag on 12/21/13); moving along, there's a 2006 Columbia Pictures/Carl's Jr. Monster House "House Tricks" marble maze; and, finally, a Hexbug blue Scarab motorized insect (both of those items were in the same twenty-five cents "boys awesome" grab bag on 4/23/14). I purchased everything from the Ishpeming St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store on the dates noted above. If anyone reading this knows more information about any of these items, that I haven't already discussed below, and would like to share, or just chat about toys, feel free to e-mail me and let me know!

This is the fortieth volume of Toy Talk. The roman numerals "XL" represent the number forty, but "XL" can also mean "X-tra Large", and this structure is definitely that!

Here we have the 2003 Fisher Price Loving Family "Classic" Doll House. I believe that this item was released more than once, with different color schemes, as I saw some photos, online, of a cream version of this same structure with a hot pink roof.

I've been obsessed with dolls' houses lately. For the last month or two, I've been reading numerous books on the subject, from the two closest libraries, watching YouTube video tours of them, downloading images, etc. Eventually, I'd like to make my own, completely from scratch, but, in the meantime, this structure should suit my needs for smaller dolls (it's scaled for ones that are about 5-6" in height). I remember that one of our aunts hand-made a large, Barbie-sized dolls' house, for my younger sisters, when we were kids, but, alas, that one eventually got ruined from general wear-and-tear and our cats marking their territory on it.

The structure takes up a lot of room--I really don't know where I'm going to find the space to store it (at the moment, I've been temporarily stashing it underneath my computer desk when I'm not using my PC). Closed, it's 22.9" (58.2 cm) tall, 16.7" (42.3 cm) wide, and 11.6" (29.5 cm) deep. Open, the height remains the same, but it swells to 31.1" (79.0 cm) wide and 16.9" (43.0 cm) deep. The size impresses me as an adult, I can only imagine how awe-inspiring it would be to a small child.

I don't drive, and I'm too cheap to pay bus fare, unless where I want to go is outside comfortable walking distance, so, believe it or not, I carried this thing 3-4 miles (and that is not an exaggeration) to get it home. The house isn't heavy, as the components are all plastic, with the exception of some metal screws and rods, but it's also kind of an awkwardly shaped thing to tote around (I balanced it up on one of my shoulders most of the way). Thankfully, the thrift store cashier had a garbage bag to put it in--I can only imagine the looks that I would have gotten while openly walking around town with a giant doll house in my arms (not that the public embarrassment would have stopped me from doing it).

As you can see from the photos, the two outer wings of the house swing inwards to close the building, decreasing the size of the structure for storage. The first and second floors, as well as the staircase, fold upwards, into the interior of the center of the house, to facilitate this. The uppermost roof serves double duty as a convenient handle for toting the toy around. When it comes to moving/lifting it, I suppose that the sheer size of this piece might be too much for younger children to manage, but, it's light enough that older ones should be able to handle it. While anything can be broken if you try hard enough, this house seems pretty durable to me, so, it should be able to weather some rough play. That said, I want to note that the working mailbox, on the front of the house, has a simple bending plastic hinge that will eventually wear out and snap off it you use it too much--Fisher Price really should have used a pivot joint for that instead.

My sample is pretty sparse without any furnishings (beyond the built-in kitchen appliances). In addition to figures of Father, Mother, Baby, and Dog, brand new, this item would have come with a table, a couple of chairs, a dinner tray, a swing for the baby (which would attach underneath and between the two pillars in the main hall on the first floor), and a cradle with blanket. Additional Fisher Price Loving Family furnishings could be purchased separately for the other rooms of the building (to keep costs down, toy manufacturers seldom fully furnish a doll house). Thrift stores occasionally sell loose dolls' house furniture in baggies, so, I might get lucky and find some in the proper scale one of these days. Alternatively, I could make my own fairly easily, it's just a question of time and ambition.

You may have noticed that my sample is missing the front doors for the first floor. Technically, I actually have two left doors, and no rights, so neither entryway is complete. When I bought this item, both left doors were attached to the second floor balcony (if you look closely at the photo of said balcony, you'll see that one of the door handles faces outwards and the other doesn't), which is how I've left it. Oh yeah, there should also be some green flora in the planters outside the second floor windows too, but I don't have those decorations either (some faux moss would probably fill those nicely).

Notice the decal on the left--I love it when a doll house has a doll house!

The interior of the house has seven rooms. The center structure has three floors, an entrance hall, a second floor master bedroom with balcony, and an attic. I particularly like the ingenuity of the purple staircase; it can be flipped up, or down, depending on which floor you want to provide access to. Can you imagine a real house with that kind of set-up? If I was a kid living in this place, I'd ascend to the second floor, pull the stairs up, and then taunt everyone else done below, "Nyah, nyah, I'm up here and you can't get me!" The left section of the house has two floors, a den or living room with a detailed fireplace on the bottom, and the baby's room, with a built-in shelving unit, above. And, finally, the right wing of the house has a kitchen on the bottom, complete with a variety of appliances that have working doors (refrigerator, microwave, and oven) and a fold-out table or ironing board, while the floor above looks to be the bathroom.

Most of the house's coloring comes from the molded plastic--there's very little in the way of actual paintwork. More elaborate detailing is provided by dozens of decals (some of which are starting to peel on mine, but, being secondhand, that's to be expected). It's a shame that some of the neater sculpted elements, like the trellis on the exterior of the building, with blooming climbing vines and birds, have nothing, color-wise, to make them stand out from their surroundings. I imagine a custom paint job would really transform this building. Still, even as-is, it's an attractive looking dwelling.

McDonald's Liv dolls hanging out on the second floor balcony. They're roughly the right scale for the house.

G.I.JOE action figures congregating in the attic.
This particular room has a lower ceiling than all the others, so smaller characters, like these 3-3/4" ones, work well here.

Polly Pocket figurines chilling on the front porch. They're too short for this house, but serviceable if that's all you have.

Hordak: "Are you guys sure this is Castle Grayskull? I don't remember it being done in pastels."
They certainly don't match the decor, but, scale-wise, vintage Masters of the Universe figures don't look too bad in the main hall.

Barbie Chelsea/Kelly dolls hanging out in the living room (left), various McDonald's Barbie dolls in the kitchen (right).
The Chelsea/Kelly dolls work, although they're a tad large (keep in mind that she's supposed to be a child),
but the McDonald's Barbies are just about right, which is great, as they're cheap and easy to come by.

Brand new, this item retails for around $100 at Amazon, so, getting mine for $5, even without all the pieces, was a pretty good deal. Doll houses, in a variety of styles and sizes, are common finds at thrift stores, so, if you want one for a child in your life, or even for yourself, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one. Also, don't overlook box-shaped shelving units, as those can be easily converted into a multi-room doll house with just a little work and imagination.

The Loving Family "Classic" is a durable and attractive miniature building that would make a great "starter" doll house for any child. Simply for space/storage reasons, I do kind of wish that I had waited a bit and bought a smaller model (sure enough, the thrift store got in several more petite dolls' houses, including one that came with a big bag full of dolls and furniture for $8, just days after I bought this one), but, that aside, the missing doors are the only sour note.

This is the magnetic base/diorama that came with the 2003 Toy Biz/Marvel Comics Spider-man (2002) Super Poseable Spider-man with Magnetic Leap 'n Stick Action. I don't have said figure, or the large launching pad accessory that flung him at the wall, but, even without them, I felt that this item would make a nice display piece for my 6" Marvel figures (and it's within the realm of possibility that I'll run across a Spider-man action figure with magnetic hands/feet in the future). In addition to Super Poseable Spider-man, the fifth series of the Spider-man (2002) line also included Morbius, Manga Spider-man, and Scuba Splash Spider-man. As a brief aside, that's a classic example of an often criticized aspect of action figure toy assortments: too much focus on the main character/hero at the expense of not providing enough variety/depth in the roster with supporting characters and/or villains.

It's uncommon for a display base/stand to have any articulation, but this one does. The top extends upwards, revealing another thinner section of brickwork, with a window, which is a neat feature. Closed, this item measures 6.6" (16.7 cm) tall, but, fully open, it almost doubles in height to 11.5 (29.3 cm).

The building facade looks nice. The only odd aspect about the sculpt is that the bricks on the upper half of the base are worn with cracks and pits, while the ones that make up the windowed lower section are pristine. I suppose that they had to be smooth or they'd potentially snag when you extend/collapse the wall. A black paint wash gives the base a realistic gritty look and emphasizes the molded details. This piece also has quite a bit of heft to it (doubtlessly the large metal magnet contributes significantly to the weight)--I wouldn't recommend throwing this item at anyone or anything, as it'd probably do some damage.

I may not have the Super Poseable Spider-man action figure that originally came with the magnetic wall,
but 1st Appearance Spider-man, from the Marvel Legends 10: Sentinel BAF (Build-A-Figure) Series, is happy to fill in.

The Daily Bugle advertisement cleverly conceals the polarized surface that the original Super Poseable Spider-man figure could adhere to. Simply place any magnetic object on it, and, provided that said item isn't too heavy, it will stay there, defying gravity. My photos aren't sharp enough for you to read it all, but the smaller text on the poster is legible, which I've reproduced for you here, in html table form, if you're curious:

D.A. Fumes Over Ruling
World's Seas Will Rise
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: Several sightings of the masked marvel leaves many wondering if this SPIDER-MAN is a friend or foe?

For instance shop owner Sandro Lopez cites, "If he is good, why is he hiding his face?" Another witness Mike Mucci says, "He is doing some good trying to keep the peace".

Many still wonder and wait if he is the real deal super hero New York citizens have been waiting for.

New York tourist David Vonner exclaims, "He is a spectacle in the air, . . . AMAZING!"

Many more residents are still feeling out who is this Spider-man? Is he from New York? Why here? Why now? Can this man really be trusted?

Will this catch up to the residents of New York City? Will we have to repay Spider-man for his deeds?


That's some neat attention to detail. Knowing that the Daily Bugle's publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, hates Spidey, I fully expected the text to be more negative than that though. It also would have been cool if Toy Biz's designer(s) had planted some Easter Eggs, mentioning, or alluding to, some of the other Marvel super heroes operating in New York, like the Fantastic Four.

Spidey is totally faking it, but, as three of my Spin Master Zoobles are demonstrating, the magnetic surface works very well.

The combination of a magnetic wall and corresponding action figure is a great way to translate Spider-man's wall-crawling ability into interactive toy form. There have been a lot of figures of Spidey made over the years that incorporated a variety of gimmicks, but, in my opinion, this is one of the better ideas that toy manufacturers have come up with.

Peter Parker is really praying that mutated Venom doesn't look up!

Before they dropped them altogether to focus on BAF (Build-A-Figure) pack-ins, Toy Biz used to include some really nice diorama pieces with their Spider-man Classics and Marvel Legends 6" action figures, and this piece is no exception. The brick wall looks great as-is, but the extending and magnetic features really add to the play potential and versatility of this item.

I'm fairly certain that the ability to twist your body completely around, in a corkscrew-like fashion, to provide more torque on your discus toss, would constitute an unfair advantage and be against Olympic regulations.

Here we have another of the 2012 Viacom/McDonald's Olympics-esque Spongebob Squarepants figures, Discus Spongebob. In addition to this item, there were fifteen(!) other toys in the assortment: Skateboarding Spongebob, Basketball Spongebob, Weightlifting Spongebob, Soccer Spongebob, Windsurfing Spongebob, Kayaking Spongebob, Gymnastics Spongebob, Golfing Spongebob, Karate Spongebob (covered in Toy Talk Vol. XXVI), Spinning Patrick, Rodeo Patrick, Skating Gary, Tennis Squidward, Boating Sandy, and Fencing Mr. Krab. If you want to collect a complete set, you've really got your work cut out for you!

Discus Spongebob's appearance/design is appropriately silly and charming. As usual, Spongebob Squarepants can't, or won't, do things the normal way, so, instead of spinning his entire body around, prior to flinging the discus, he's wound up his torso like a spring (just one of the many advantages of not having a spine). The sculpt captures his cartoony proportions/form very well, and the minimal paintwork, while a bit sloppy, provides some much-needed contrast with all that yellow. My sample has a bit of the white paint scratched off of his left eye, which is unfortunate, but, other than that, the figure looks great. At the uppermost corner of his head, Spongebob stands 3.6" (9.2 cm) tall.

Spongebob has five points of articulation: rotating cut joints at the shoulders/thighs and a spring-action torso. Twisting the figure to the right, and then releasing it, will cause Spongebob's upper body to snap back into its original position, flinging whatever object he has in his left hand. I don't have it, but, obviously, this toy originally came with a discus accessory for him to toss. Given the aquatic theme of the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon, it was designed to look like a sand dollar, and amusingly, the evil character Plankton was attached to it. I imagine that any number of everyday thin, circular objects would work as a substitute (coins, buttons, etc.), but, I felt like making a projectile from scratch, which brings us to my:


Step #1: Get yourself some thin cardboard (I used a cereal box). Now, find a cylindrical object (I employed the base of the permanent marker shown in the photograph) and trace two circles onto the cardboard with a pen or pencil. If you're wondering, the hole in the cardboard on the left represents my first attempt--the resulting one-ply discus worked okay, but I felt that a slightly heavier, and thicker, two-ply variation would look, and function, better.

Step #2: Carefully cut out the pair of circles with scissors. Snip along your drawn lines as closely as you can, so that your discus halves will match up better when you join them together.

Step #3: Using white glue, or some other adhesive, cement the two halves together (plain sides out, graphic sides in). The exterior of cereal boxes, and other food items, tend to have a slightly glossy coating, which makes them a tad slippery, so I lightly sanded them, with an emery board, so that the glue would hold better--that extra step isn't strictly necessary though.

Step #4: If the two halves aren't exactly the same size, and there's a slight overlap, carefully trim the excess off with scissors. I lightly sanded my finished discus, again with an emery board, to smooth it out and give it a beveled edge, but that's optional. The sanding process also had the added benefit of removing the ink and seam lines, giving the discus a clean, smooth appearance. I didn't do it, because the cardboard is already more-or-less the gray color that I wanted, but you can also paint or decorate your finished discus if you like. By the way, my creation has a smaller diameter than the one that originally came with the toy, so, feel free to make yours larger.

Spongebob is all set for discus-flinging fun!

Don't wedge the discus too far down into Spongebob's hand, or it'll stay stuck there, instead of leaving his grip. You want him to hold the discus lightly so that it will fly out from between his fingertips easily. In practice, I found the effectiveness of the tossing action to be so-so. Sometimes the discus flies beautifully, but, at other times, it goes horribly astray. Even so, the flinging function is a fun, well-integrated addition to the figure.

Here's a group shot of all the Spongebob Squarepants junk that I've accumulated to date. Unfortunately, some of these pieces are missing parts.
For example, the Rodeo Patrick and Spongebob Golfer figures, which both belong to the same McDonald's assortment as the Karate and Discus ones, are missing their respective bases (a clam for the former, a piece of turf for the latter), and their action features don't work without those components.

In summary, this is a pretty nice Spongebob Squarepants collectible. The twisted body visually captures the zany, over-the-top nature of the character, and the spring-action discus tossing action is a nice spin (pun-intended) on the projectile firing theme so prevalent in the toy industry.

I told that stupid architect that I wanted a hedge maze, not a house maze!

This is a 2006 Columbia Pictures/Carl's Jr. Monster House "House Tricks" marble labyrinth. To the best of my knowledge, we don't, and never had, a Carl's Jr. restaurant in my geographic area (according to Wikipedia, the franchise chain is most common in the West and Southwest of the country), so, this is a bit of an unusual find for me from that perspective (it's also the only Carl's Jr. fast food toy in my collection.) However, we do have a Hardee's in my area [one of the other fast food franchises owned by the same parent company, Carl Karcher Enterprises (CKE) Restaurants, Inc.], so, it's possible that they may have carried the Monster House toys too. Anyway, in addition to this item, the assortment also included "Toy Snatcher" (a disc-eating house), "Chowder Saves the Day" (a wind-up excavator), and "Sticking Together" (a 2-sided puzzle).

I very much like the cohesive design of this piece and how every inch of it reflects the subject matter of the film. The brick-red physical frame is shaped like the silhouette of the house (including molded bricks, windows, roof tiles, etc. along the sides). The maze's full-color backdrop depicts an interior setting, and it could be argued that the transparent walls of the labyrinth itself are a figurative representation of the halls and rooms of the dwelling. Finally, the excellent lenticular image, on the opposite side of the toy, captures the essence of the house's secret, and sinister, nature. In a way, you could almost look at this piece as an abstract take on the traditional dolls' house (with the metal marble being the occupant). At the top of the roof, the haunted plastic building stands 3.3" (8.3 cm) tall.

According to the instructions (that are printed on the plastic bag that a mint copy of this item would come packaged in), you're supposed to roll the metal ball over each of the various toys depicted on the labyrinth's background (a soccer ball, tricycle, baseball bat, and kite, one in each of the four corners) before finally navigating to the "END" region at the center of the maze. Initially, I wasn't too enthused about this concept, but, upon further consideration, that is a more involved approach than the traditional goal of just guiding a metal sphere from the starting point to the exit, so, I've got to give them credit for trying something different. For added fun, if you've got a stopwatch, you could record how long it takes you to accomplish the process and then try to beat your, or a friend's, best time.

Well, that explains why the property values in the neighborhood have recently plummeted.

The large, three-stage lenticular image (a picture that changes as you view it from different angles), that depicts the building morphing into a monstrous head, is very impressive, especially for a cheap fast food toy. Carl's Jr. could have easily saved some money and left that graphic element off of the toy, or just used a normal, motionless decal, but I'm glad that they went the extra mile to adorn the marble maze with something truly memorable. While I haven't seen the Monster House computer-generated movie that this item is based upon, the concept reminds me an awful lot of the living house found in the third book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, The Wasteland.

I really like this item. I own several marble mazes, but this one easily outshines them all. The designer(s) worked hard to make "House Tricks" something special and it shows.

I found out the hard way that Raid doesn't work on mechanical arthropods--looks like I'll just have to resort to the tried-and-true method of stomping on them with my boots (in all seriousness, I rarely kill bugs--if they get in the house, I just capture and release them outside, unharmed).

What we have here is an Innovation First Hexbug blue Scarab. Unlike the cheap McDonald's ones that I looked at in Toy Talk Vol. XIX, this is the "real deal". In addition to blue, you can also purchase the Scarab toy with an orange, black, red, or green color scheme. And, if you want something a bit more impressive, and expensive, there's also a deluxe, extra-large version of the Scarab that's remote-controlled.

While the six legs and body shape are the hallmarks of an insect, the prominent mandibles and angular appendages give it a bit of a spider-like flair as well. The figure is assembled from a combination of transparent, vac-metallized, and opaque plastics, which gives it a very unique and futuristic look. I like that you can see all of its internal workings (gears, wires, batteries, etc.) At the tip of the highest knee spike, this mechanical vermin stands 1.6" (4.0 cm) tall; the widest distance between the leg's "feet" is 3.2" (8.1 cm) and the bug's body is 2.2" (5.5 cm) in length.

This item is powered by three L1154F button batteries, which are accessed by unscrewing and removing the transparent bottom of the body. A simple on/off switch, located at the end of the abdomen (the bug's "butt", if you will), controls its operation. Unfortunately, the batteries in my sample were completely dead when I got it (which is probably why the thrift store staff deposited it in that cheap mystery grab bag to begin with). Of course, when you have as many toys as I do, it doesn't take long to find another item that you can borrow batteries from (in this case, my Transformers: Armada Starscream--and, yes, the Decepticon whined about it the whole time). Once I supplied a working power supply, I was pleased to see that this Hexbug performed very well. It scampers about on its six appendages at a good clip and in a very realistic fashion. It immediately aroused the predatory interest of our cats when I showed it to them, so, that's a big thumbs up in my book. The bug doesn't negotiate carpets or other coarse/uneven terrain very well, but it scurries along great on flat, hard surfaces like wooden tabletops and linoleum floors.

Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a Hexbug mechanic!

I didn't notice it at first, but the six legs are asymmetrical in shape. Three of them have really long barbed knees, while the other trio have short spikes (they're orientated short-long-long on the right side, short-long-short on the left). What's the significance of this? Well, that unique arrangement allows the Scarab to automatically right itself if it happens to fall, or get knocked over, onto its back, which is a pretty neat feature.

Out of the four Hexbug toys that I currently own, this one is the most impressive, both in appearance and function, but then, as it's the only one that isn't a Happy Meal toy, I didn't expect anything less. I don't know what kind of battery life this critter has if you use it a lot, which is the only possible reservation I'd have about recommending it to you (I returned Starscream's batteries to him after I got done teasing the cats with this blue creepy-crawly--I'd never hear the end of it from the Decepticon if I didn't).

Bonus(?) Feature

Mystery Toy Grab Bags

The silver marker that the thrift store staff used to write on these two bags was difficult to photograph.
Usually, they use a darker color, like black (see further below).

My regular readers know that I get a lot of my toys from cheap twenty-five cents "mystery" grab bags (I also occasionally buy more expensive plastic sacks of toys where you can actually see the contents). As I've mentioned in the past, each one is like a little Christmas to me. I thought that I'd quickly show you the contents of the last four bags that I bought, two intended for boys, the other pair for girls (in addition to gender-centric sacks, they also put together themed ones, like Transformers, Littlest Pet Shop, Disney, etc., but I prefer the bags that can potentially have anything and everything in them, as there's a much better chance of getting something unusual and I like surprises). I'm not going to go into any great depth here, as this installment of Toy Talk is already long enough, but you'll probably see several of these items explored in more detail in future volumes. Some of the stuff in the bags in rubbish and most of it is average, but there's almost always at least one item that I really enjoy.

Contents of the "Boys Awesome" Grab Bag, purchased on 5/9/14.

Contents of the "Girls Awesome" Grab Bag, purchased on 5/9/14.
You would not believe the piles of jewelry that I've accumulated from these things.

And yes, I somehow ended up with the exact same 1998 McDonald's Ty Teenie Beanies Bones the Dog plush in both bags, what are the odds of that? I've mentioned in the past that the Goddess of Toy Collecting mandates that I receive at least one set of identical twins every month, and if these photos don't make you a believer (there are two pairs of matching red and blue plastic Native Americans in the boys' bag too), then begone from Her shrine, heretic!

I actually waited until I got home before opening these two--usually I don't.

Here's the other pair that I bought the day after the first two shown above. If you're wondering, the "awesome" part of the previous two bags' titles doesn't really mean anything, you get more-or-less the same type of stuff regardless of the adjectives that the thrift store staff uses to label them.

Contents of the "Boys" Grab Bag, purchased on 5/10/14.

Contents of the "Girls" Grab Bag, purchased on 5/10/14.

Believe it or not, I got all of this stuff (86 items total) for a mere $1.06 (twenty-five cents for each bag, plus six cents sales tax). Other than receiving toys for free, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal. The other thrift stores in my area typically sell their bagged mixed toy assortments for about $2.50 (although, to be fair, their sacks are usually larger).

Anyway, seeing as how I mention them so often, I just wanted to give people a better idea of what these mystery grab bags are like. Hopefully, wherever you live, your local thrift stores do something similar, and, if not, it might be worth suggesting to the employees/volunteers. They're popular with the customers at the Ishpeming St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop and, from a business perspective, it's an effective way to clear out excess toy stock that probably wouldn't sell very well otherwise. To quote what one of the cashiers told me one day: "They go fast." Of course, I'm one of the primary reasons that they disappear so quickly. Speaking of which, I impose a strict two-bags-per-visit limit on myself, because it'd be greedy, and unfair, to buy them all and cheat someone else, particularly a child, out of experiencing them. At times, it can be awfully difficult for me to narrow it down to choosing just two bags when they've got several that I'm interested in, but, so far, I've never broken that vow.

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