Classical Geek Theater: Atari hunt turns ugly; shopping spree results

What a gorgeous weekend.

In all seriousness, I can't remember a better weekend. To begin with, the gods graced our campus with an "Indiana Jones" marathon. If you didn't show up for at least one of the movies, you really missed out. I refuse to believe that any quantity of alcohol is better than Short Round in a mine cart.

The fun doesn't stop there, though. Do you ever remember a weekend in January with weather like that? I'm inclined to say that Hoggish Greedily and Dr. Blight succeeded in their plot to change the Earth's weather patterns, because God never intended Indiana to be this pleasant in January.

Naturally, something had to go wrong.

For two years I had been looking for a couple of replacement controllers for my Atari 7800. I went to garage sales and scoured every used video game store in Indianapolis. All I wanted to do was play some "Dig-Dug." Not so bad, right?

Somehow, it knew. It whispered to me like The One Ring, calling out my name. "Moouusssee.... eeeBaaayyy..."

Eh, why not give it a look? I typed into my browser. I didn't mean to do it; I didn't mean to get hurt. I was just curious. Oh, but it was curiosity that killed the cat, let me tell you! I found precisely what I wanted: two Atari 7800 controllers, $9.99 a piece. The seller had 100 of them.

Click, click, click.

Still, the seller had 96 more controllers left. While the chances were slim that 97 more people would bid and raise the price, the chances were still there. There was only an hour left on the auction, so I figured I could just hang out and look on the site for an hour. Just to make sure.

"Moouusssee.... eeeBaaayyy..."

To curb my spending habits, I only collect "Star Wars" action figures of Jedi. More specifically, the Jedi Council. Sadly, my local stores stopped carrying "Star Wars" toys when the Plo Koon figure was released.

It was on eBay for $4.95. In two minutes, the auction would close forever. It would be mine; oh yes, it would be mine. What followed was a Duel of Fates. I would click "bid" only to find that I was already out-bid by someone else. Nobody out-bids me, by God. What excitement! I felt like I was shadow-boxing the world's darkest soul in a battle for control of the universe. Whether or not that dark soul belonged to the other bidder, or eBay, I will leave for you to decide.

Click, click, click. $12.01 after shipping and handling. I had another half hour before the Atari controllers were safely mine. I knew nobody else would want them, but I was having fun - I mean, I wanted to be extra careful. I looked around at some Japanese import "Star Wars" posters, Sega Dreamcast games and even a French magazine that had Natalie Portman on the cover. I didn't see anything I couldn't live without.

Then I remembered the "Fantastic Four" movie. That's right, the very 1994 film that was so awful 20th Century Fox even refused to release it to video; it is only available in bootleg form. The actor who played Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic, also played young Henry in a deleted scene from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." I could not live without owning this movie.

"Moouusssee.... eeeBaaayyy..."

Click, click, click.

$11.52 after shipping and handling.

At this point, I had won the Atari controllers. I went to check my e-mail account and found that it was flooded with bid notification e-mails. They were a testament to my failure as a responsible consumer. Just like that, I was out nearly $50. At least I didn't buy "Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie."

Hey, that's a good idea.

Click, click, click.

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