Category Archives: Life Crap

80’s Christmases: Fuzzier than now.

OK, this is really hard to pinpoint, unless you were there.

80’s Christmases were “fuzzier”. Primarily I mean the picture on the television set, but also that it was a low-definition decade. Aside from LaserDisc, watch those old YouTube commercials. Note how everything has a warm and friendly haze surrounding it? This effect is made greater by the fact that we were oft gathered around an ancient CRT that spewed a warm light blaring a soundtrack of 80’s bargains, toys and stores.

Seriously, look at any commercials pre 1989. No CGI, nothing special technically, but man did they feel warm and homey. Watch “Nobody Beats the Wiz” commercials, or especially Folgers “Peter’s home!” commercial. If you don’t know which one I mean by that last one, there’s no hope for you recognizing anything I’m talking about.

But it goes forward: catalog photos and newspapers: slightly fuzzy, dim views of what you hoped for. You couldn’t pick out too many details, making what you ACTUALLY got for Christmas always a bit of a surprise. Also, any pictures we took were invariably slightly warm and fuzzy looking also – witness Polaroid instamatics.

The point is, the past literally had a warm, fuzzy glow to it that is not just in photos. I remember when NOTHING was online, there was only the phonebook and what you could find via telephone. Nothing really says Christmas to me like the warm glow of windows and tree lights streaming out from my grandmothers house onto cold and bleak streets that my mothers car would slowly make its way to. We’d bundle up and head inside, to the stale smell of cigarettes and the muffled sound of old creaky Christmas specials coming over the ancient TV purchased in the 70’s from the now-closed Montgomery Wards downtown. Inside, it was warm and intimate – my mother and father, my grandmother and I together exchanging presents. They bought way too many for me, and I opened them with great joy as millions of polaroids were taken (which, my grandmother having passed, I am thrilled she took).

I remember when we didn’t have the right batteries for some robot, so my dad and I headed out to his truck and drove slowly through the abandoned streets to the corner drugstore, the only place open Christmas (Wal-Mart had not yet come to town). An eerie but beautiful silence fell across our little neighborhood, while old Christmas songs played on the scratchy radio in the truck. We crossed the parking lot, filled with exactly two cars as light snow fell to the ground. The young clerk, freezing outside the store, quickly extinguished his cigarette he was barely managing to hold in the freezing cold. $7 and “D” batteries later, we paid the extortion money required to get such things that only a child could need Christmas morning.

In silence, we drove away, after wishing the clerk a Merry Christmas. In the warmth of the cab, bundled up I snuggled down and smiled as my father silently took us back to Grandma’s house, carrying me asleep inside to lay down and awaken later in a winter wonderland which now lives only in fuzzy memories.

Merry Christmas to all – and Dad and Grandma, I’ll always love you both, and I miss you every day.


The Consumerist.

I hate to admit this, I really do.

God I love buying appliances. Especially things for the home that are useful, but also elevate one’s status into “serious consumer” territory. My Plasma TV was my first big taste of it. Came with a “Panasonic Elite Service” card, that was a trip. I know I shouldn’t let companies make me feel important, but I love it. Surround sound system was neat too, but not the same rush. Which brings me up to date.

A week or so ago, we wandered into Dillards looking for a new toaster, and there was an Empire Red Kitchenaid Toaster, half price! (Thunder Punch is seriously into red kitchenaid – mixer, knife set, containers, kitchen island, mitts, measuring cups, sponge holder etc). Man what a kick! High quality goods at a good price. I swear, it made me high for a couple days. I love things that will last, are high quality, and are fashionable but timeless. Well, that was a good hit, but of course, gotta keep it coming.

So, as TP (Thunder punch from here on out) was getting ready to bed down for the night a week ago, I pulled the trigger on a new Net10 Phone. Best phone service ever – crazy cheap, allows me to use only what I pay for with no surprises and an average monthly bill of $30 for TWO phones, and I never run out of minutes. My old Nokia 1100 had gotten crappy about a year back, and I needed a new one. FInally pulled the trigger cause we need to stay in touch better now. Right as I clicked “buy”, TP’s water broke. Perfect timing eh?

Well, it finally showed today and I spent the day programming it and trying to program the old theme from Macross into it. No go. But overall a real step up from before. It’s a Motorola v176. I don’t take pics of things, so no camera phone is necessary. Best part? Bought it refurbished from their website for $60, which included a 600 minute card, plus 300 minutes on activation. I pretty much got a free phone, some free airtime and paid for two months service. Nice. But that’s not the killer – cell phones are neat, but they don’t inspire the sheer “department store rush” I need. No, that occurred today when this bad boy showed up, thanks to DHL.

The original Dyson vacuum cleaner, the DC07. As usual, got a fantastic deal on it on Memorial Day, but man the rush from this one was huge. We live in a rented towhouse/duplex and using my grandmother’s old 1959 Kirby was not doing the job. Now that I have a kid, things have to be upgraded: new car, new toaster, new cell phone, new Vacuum!! All these things are bought to enhance my kid’s existence (and to not burn the place down). It’s nice to get nice new things and have a good reason too. I know this Dyson is a touch on the older side, but the cyclonic tech is the same all over. It appears identical to the Animal version of the DC07 that a friend of mine paid over $500 for. Plus its kind of neat that its the first of its kind, a collector item if you will. Anyhow, DHL dropped it off, and I can say, I’ve NEVER been so happy to vacuum! HEPA filtration, brand new plastic smell, and 4.9 ounces (yes I measured. On a scale. Yes. I am a cleaning nerd.) of dirt removed! It did SUCH a nice job on the carpets – pulling up carpet dust (the kind to make it smell better) that we’d put down months ago the Kirby couldn’t reach.

Man what a rush. I can’t wait for next week when I can vacuum again. It’s that much fun to make the house all nice and smelling good. Now at this point, if you’ve read my blog, you know I led off with a whole diatribe about how I am about doing not things now. This is still true. Before, my aimless lust for crap would lead me to a stuffed house full of useless things. Now I can channel my urge for cool stuff into useful things like vacuums and toasters and what not. I gotta say, it’s fun to buy a Dyson – but it’s even more fun to make a purchase and think “I’m buying a cleaner house.” That feels even better than the cool graphic design of the box and brochure.

But only a little.

Tuesday Morning, 7 am.

Cheers to those of you who can spot the mangled Simon and Garfunkel reference there before reading this line. We’re still in the hospital and supposed to be able to leave today. Aside from my offspring, the best part has been room service. Sure the food is just OK, but brought to you by someone who takes your order on the phone is tEh awesom3. Here at  last in this post is a pic of Tiny Claws herself.  Thunder Punch and I are doing just great. Can’t wait to get home though!

Tiny Claws!

Not sure what we’re gonna do when we get there, but I’m sure it will involve: babies, boobs, sleep. Pretty sure that’s the sum total of baby existence. I’m gonna think of something fun and 80’s related for later on after breakfast.

A hint? Ohhh yeaahhh it’s gonna be awesome.

Now my life is about doing, not getting or having.

OK, buckle up.

For a long time, I was a toy collector. I still am, only I just buy 25th Anniversary Joes. Man, I used to have it all. MASK, Robotix, Joes, Transformers, TF Classics, some Marvel, tons of comic books, tons of Star Wars crap. I had probably over 1,000 individual toys. A sprawling basement held them all, and the internet was my playground for finding more and sharing my interests. I loved having all this cool crap from the 80s.

Then, my grandma and dad died, within two years of each other. I guess I can trace it to that point: I realized that what I called the “Somewhere in Time” effect of my 80’s cave was irretrievably broken. It wasn’t gonna be my childhood again, not with half my family gone. So about then I started reconsidering.

We moved to another city for my schooling, and I packaged all this crap up in the biggest U-Haul they could rent me and left a lot back at home, which over three years I picked up and brought to Cowtown, my new city. I then left for a summer and went to “Big Anonymous Air Power Organization”. Ha, my disguises are lame. Anyway, I learned there all I need to live are clothes, some money and a place to stay. Very liberating.

I came home and was almost immediately revolted by the sheer amount of stuff. So I started the great eBay athon – I sold so much I made PowerSeller in three months. Made a good chunk of change and bought some adult stuff – 42″ Plasma TV (1080p), a Wii, Surround sound etc. I’m becoming less materialistic, but I wanted some actual stuff I’d used. Sure M.A.S.K. rocks, but I haven’t played with Condor in years. So now I’ve noticed my collections piss me off. So off they go. Now I keep Masterpiece Optimus Prime, my Joes and a single Rubbermaid tub of my old 80’s toys (Captain Power etc).

I really feel alot better. That and I read everyday. Makes me feel good to get rid of stuff. A simpler life is a better life I think. More to come. I’m thinking of posts on Photon, Lazer Tag, Spiral Zone and a few others. Let me know in the comments what you want to hear. I can continue relating my life story if you want.