Jul 07

Constantly Upgrading … Maybe

My experience is Sunday is the hardest day to write. It has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with an utter lack of stimulus. So today I’m out and about. While I love my Chromebook, its battery life leaves something to be desired. But hey, no pressure!

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Feel the power!
Image credit: ignis

Fortunately today, I was able to catch up with an old friend.

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Jun 22

Sleep: Why Bother?

A couple months ago I attempted to reset myself by staying up all night and throughout the next day. It didn’t help much, but at least then I did it on purpose.

Today’s “reset” was totally inadvertent. I tried to get some sleep earlier, but weird dreams are all I have to show for it.

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As usual I don’t remember details, but they involved wearing remnants of Georgia State Route 40.
Image credit: Bill Futreal

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May 31

Friday Crap Roundup XVI

It’s the last day of the month. Kids all over the country are graduating high school. All the best to everyone. My high school graduation was 22 years ago yesterday.

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Oh my, we wore some strange colors back then.

By the way, my sister (also pictured above) will receive her M.Ed. from Lewis & Clark College this weekend. Much respect there too.

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May 28

Gaming for Luddites

I was born in the United States in 1973. If you were too, you either (1) heard of the Atari 2600 or, (2) grew up under a rock. Note I said “heard of” instead of “owned.”

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While most definitely familiar with the Atari, I owned one of these bad boys.
Image credit: Evan-Amos

I often get nostalgic for the 8-bit halcyon days of the 80s. Be it the romance of the video arcade before it descended into Chuck E. Cheese corporate banality, or the simple Zen of playing BurgerTime on Intellivision, if there’s one thing I miss about childhood, that’s it. The adept video game historians among you know Intellivision was technically superior to the Atari 2600, so you might assume I’ve ridden the crest of technology ever since.

Well, you’d be mistaken.

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Apr 13

Treatise on a Boring Saturday

The worst enemies of a blog like this are boredom and mediocrity. Unfortunately, today is rife with both. A day to drink water, get a headache and contemplate the depressing silence enveloping you. It’s bland, blasé. Dare I say stagnant?

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Yes, comrades. I dare.

Although it’s sunny out, it’s one of those windy days you’d just as soon not be a part of. You know it’s cold. You don’t have to go outside or look at the weather. Crispness is seen in the air by those in the know. That in turn keeps you inside … where absolutely shit bloody nothing is happening.

It’s that time of year in the 2T. Especially during March and April, southern Idaho has a hard time remembering what the hell season it is. One day it’s an idyllic spring wonderland. The next, your internal barometer wonders if the Idaho State Bengals lost their football game yet, or if the ass-whipping this week has an evening kickoff. Many other places experience this phenomenon, but it’s here where I grew up and therefore here I write about.

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It used to be worse.

Back in the 80s a day like this was made to watch golf, mainly because nothing else was on. Also because to this day that’s pretty much all Dad watches on the weekends. Yes, even now I can hear the announcer’s forebodingly soothing intonations as Craig Stadler‘s ball finds the water hazard on 16. “Deep into a watery grave.” So much for his chances at that year’s Bob Hope Desert Classic.

After the United Airlines golf sign-off the day invariably degenerated further into the likes of a bad TV movie or worse, The Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. There are very few specific memories from these ordeals. It’s all a blur of Charo, polyester and toothpaste commercials.

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“Abandon all hope, ye who sail with Gopher.”

Later on I’d try to break the monotony with bike trips to the neighborhood Circle K and/or 7-11. But Big Gulps only go so far in terms of entertainment value. Barring something unexpectedly cool such as a hailstorm, the day would lethargically and mercifully.

Sunday might be a better day, but after Saturdays like this the odds were never good.

Mar 24

March Blandness

March Madness is all over the news, so I might as well give it a mention. Inspiration is definitely in short supply today.

I’ve never been much of a basketball fan, so every year when the NCAA basketball tournaments come around I give them little more than passing notice. When the subject comes up thoughts invariably turn to Idaho State’s upset win over UCLA to make the Elite Eight.

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And that was way the hell back in 1977.
Image credit: thedraftreview.com

Although I’m not the prototypical American sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, I follow college football much more closely. Even then, my tendency is to check the scores online rather than watch the games. I know how they’re played, so except for the occasional big play they hold little interest for me. If I want to watch the big play later, it’s easy to find.

My sport of choice used to be hockey. I was a fan of the old Quebec Nordiques and to this day host a web site about the team. Many years ago I held press passes to report on Idaho Steelheads and Philadelphia Phantoms games for a long-dead minor league hockey news site. I haven’t been to a hockey game since I lived in Las Vegas. That was nearly eight years ago.

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I haven’t looked at the Nordiques site in some time. It needs some work.

Based on the premise that the person least knowledgeable about college basketball is the one who wins the office pool, I was going to fill out a bracket and post it here. However, I didn’t get around to doing it. Since the tournament is half-over there’s no point in doing it now. Maybe next year.

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Florida Gulf Coast. Really? Well, gotta go with them now.

A closing thought for today. Apparently “March Madness” is also a term to describe the height of the annual European hare mating season.

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Which would have undoubtedly made for a much better article today. Oh well.
Image credit: Takkk

Mar 17

More Embarrassing 80s Videos

A little over a month ago I wrote about a couple video relics from the 80s which stuck with me over the years. As a writer I find this is a pretty good well to go back to. If my site stats are any indication, you agree. So here we are again.

If you know what the image below is, this will all be review. As for the rest of you, prepare for an education.

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No fair Googling or using Tineye.

You Can’t Beat Our Meat

I had the “honor” of working at the Wendy’s in the 2T in 1991. Before I say anything else, let me assure from personal experience that this is 100 percent REAL.

As those of you who have worked fast food know – which I assume is damn near all of you – the job sucks. It’s sweaty. It’s greasy. You don’t get enough hours to qualify for benefits, and you have to wear the same goddamn shirt every day. You’re also controlled by corporate shills who just don’t understand the “younger scene.”

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“But, but, everybody loves Justin Bieber!”

And no, I didn’t live in the “good old days.” Consider this 1989 training video on “grill skills,” which I was instructed with in those dark days. It’s a bit slow at times. I’m posting only the second half, but stick with it and bathe in its innate cheesiness. The first half features a lot of the late Dave Thomas blathering about your “important job” in a curious accent. If you really want to watch that, it’s here.

Who’s up for chili?

Check out the rap and country rock excellence here. It’s somewhere between Biz Markie and, um, Billy Ray Cyrus or something. Incidentally, they had me wearing the exact same teal shirt featured, unfortunately without the glitter.

I was so glad when I got to leave and go to Idaho State later that year. You have no idea.

Canoe, Canoe?

Oh man, every time this spot appeared on MTV I cringed. Just cringed. Even though at the time I had no chance whatsoever of dating a hot chick – and if I somehow managed to succeed I would have blown a gasket – I knew this was just … wrong. If you kids think the marketing for Axe is over the top (and you’d be correct), you should have seen what it was like a generation ago.

So from the same pheromone experts who brought you such venerable female magnets as English Leather and British Sterling, Canoe allows you to talk to hotties familiar with international maritime signal flags, and smell like you raided a 10-year-old’s Christmas stocking in the process.

“We now return to Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp.”

I don’t know about you, but to this day I’m pretty sure if the first words out of my mouth in any singles setting were, “Oh! Canoe canoe?” a restraining order wouldn’t be too far behind. Afterwards, every once in a great while MTV would redeem itself by giving me a glimpse of the mystery girl in the Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” video, but usually this crap was followed by more crap like Night Ranger.

The Proto-King of Cars

OK, this never aired nationally per se, but the basic concept plagued several media markets throughout the country in the 80s. The 2T was one of them. As a matter of fact, this guy like the 2T so much he actually moved there from somewhere back east later in his career. I want to say he was originally based in upstate New York, but I’m not 100 percent certain about that.

Anyway, meet Dave Campo, the undisputed master of local used car ads. In the 2T he worked for an outfit called Latham Motors, which was at the time the local Chrysler dealership. Sadly I was unable to find any Campo-era Latham Motors ads, but in his heyday his modus operandi was the same for all his clients. Take a look:

“With all the candy!”

Campo made what the industry calls a “shitload” of ads during his career, easily over 1,000. To this day anyone who lived in the 2T while he was active can recite the basic ad structure word for word, myself included. Campo died a few years ago. His favorite client Latham Motors went under at around the same time. Yet his legacy lives on in loudmouth used car TV spots to this day.

Is the US a lucky nation or what?