Friday, July 8, 2011

The Childhood Nostalgia Contest winner issss...

Mikko, blogger of Down the Rabbit Hole!
I remember when I was a kid my dad took me to a police raid - it was epic for me :)
I have to say, that sounds pretty damn awesome. Best Take Your Kid to Work Day, ever! I'd still gladly go on a ride along, with just a tiny hope of gaining a goofy criminal sidekick, like in Breaking Bad.

Mikko, I've sent an email to the Hotmail account listed on your profile!

Thanks to everyone for sharing your memories - honestly, I had a hard time picking a winner. All of them were great - I share memories of mapping out '3D' dungeons in Shining in the Darkness & Phantasy Star II, gorgeous summer days, and first love (definitely awesome). And well, I always sucked at most sports, movie68.

For the last time, the giftcard was won with Swagbucks, and I've earned two more since it! If you're still searching with Google, who rewards you with nothing but ads, switch to Swagbucks and earn a little something for nothing.

Search & Win

And I have to apologize for my sheer laziness when it comes to blogging lately. I've been gearing up for the fall semester by selling tons of crap on eBay and Craigslist, saving money for the busy semester when I won't be able to work as much. I've also been going on a couple 10 mile bike rides a week, getting into the habit of it, so I can catch the bus at the highway without keeling over on the way. I have lots of topics planned, including my dedication to Jim Henson, I just need to buckle down and stay up later than 10 pm to work on them! I swear, when I'm actually physically active (beyond chasing Booger around the house), I suddenly need twice as much sleep!

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for leaving a comment, reading/skimming my ramblings, and just stopping by! Take care of yourself, and love as much as you can every day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another lazy Sunday

Yep, its another of those days. Booger and I are lounging on the couch, watching Sesame Street and goofing off with his shape-sorter ball. I'm trying to get caught up on my blog comments, however my internet has been very spotty. I have crummy wireless broadband (my only option for internet), which is terrible even in town, but is nearly unusable out in the jungle. I bought a $200 antenna (with $70 of super-fat low-loss cable) to boost my signal, but its still only 3 out of 5 bars, on a good day. And today is apparently not a good day.

I blame today's laziness on my effort to go bike riding more often. I usually go for a few miles every other day, but on Friday something possessed me to go from my house to the highway. Its five miles each way, and none of them are close to being flat. We have some mean hills in my subdivision, which make my slow pace even slower. Nothing beats going down a big hill full speed, wind in your face and making that awesome whooshing sound in your ears. Instant trip back to being a kid for me. I'd like to get to a physical level where I can make the trip to the highway in less than thirty minutes, and not completely winded and covered in sweat, by the beginning of the fall semester. My trip took me around 45 minutes-1 hour. If I can just ride my bike to the bus stop, I won't have to get a ride there and home every day, and I'll have my bike for transportation in town. However, it rains pretty much every day here, and no amount of training will make me like riding in the rain.

Just a reminder, my little Childhood Nostalgia contest ends a little over a week from now on July 5th!

No_Its blog is an art blog of a talented guy that sketches some really interesting subjects. He's in a little bit of a slump for ideas, so give him some! My suggestion of a zombie clown riding a zombie dinosaur turned out pretty awesome.

I love video games from the 80's & 90's, and Jon over at Jon's Lost Corner covers a variety of them, with a smidge of new games as well.

Speaking of Sesame Street - I'm working on a multiple-post dedication to Jim Henson and his many fantastic creations, which I hope to start posting sometime this week. His work has touched several generations of Americans, and the Jim Henson Company continues to produce new films and shows. I hope you all will enjoy it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reasons why you DON'T want to live in Hawaii

[Wrote this a few days ago, forgot to hit Publish. Herp derp.]

As I write this, I'm sitting in a Starbucks roughly 30 miles from my home. Why? Because there is no DSL or cable available at my home, and this is the closest wifi spot. The place is packed with people on their laptops, cords are strew about across walkways and tables and along the walls, people are sitting on the floor in clusters near the precious few outlets, which have double surge protectors plugged into them. It looks like a refuge camp of hipsters. I'm sipping a $4 12 ounce iced coffee (the cheapest item on the menu), so I don't feel like such a leech. And to try and keep cool in this oppressively body-heated slum den. Why am I doing this? Because I NEED the newest Game of Thrones episode - its released late at night on Sunday here, so I drive here Mondays to get it. And how fast am I downloading this 550 mbs? A grand 35kbps. Seriously. I'll let you figure out how many hours I'll be stuck here before its finished.

But wait, I have less nerdy gripes than pathetic prevalence of internet availability!

Everything is #$%&ing expensive.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good night, sweet cheap-ass Sony prince

It is with a heavy heart, and a mouth full of curses I announce the death of my fourth PS2. After owning it for a mere four months, it has bit the dust. I bought it used, with a bunch of memory cards, two controllers, a few random DVDs and a (useless) remote for $40. It worked fine, and I barely found time to play it. We put in maybe thirty hours, tops, then ended up unplugging it to make room on our teensy TV entertainment center, and insure its slender, delicate carriage would not be crushed.

But, alas - I hooked it back up this evening, and as I plugged its power cord into the surge protector the prongs gave an ominous spark. I frowned at that, but figured it was just static build-up or some other physics crap I'll never try wrapping my mind around. I popped in ICO, intending to FINALLY beat it, pressed the little red-lit power button, watched it turn green, then nearly instantly turn back to red. I watched my TV for a flicker showing it was receiving a signal. No sign of life.

More button pressing, more red-to-green flashing.

Unplug the cord from the surge protector, plug it into the wall. No improvement.

Jiggle the power cord in the back of the PS2. Nope.

Blow frantically into the open disc drawer. Cross fingers, press the button more.

Resist urge to bring a Fist of Doom upon the cheap, plastic goblin. Kick heavy entertainment center instead.

Get another power cord from one of the other unfortunate PS2s; doesn't magically fix itself.

Look up symptom online, find a half dozen potential problems, half a dozen urges to call Sony. Somehow I doubt they care very much about a broken second-hand PS2 in the light of the humongous angry mob the Playstation Network debacle has created.

Just how in the #$%& does something break when its just sitting on a #$%&ing shelf anyway?!

That brings my tally of dead consoles up to four PS2s (two original fat models bought new, two slims, one new, one used), two dead PS1s (one original used, one new slim), one dead Xbox (left behind by a roommate), and two Dreamcasts (one bought new that was purposefully destroyed by an asshole stepbrother, and one bought used). Consoles I've owned that NEVER stopped working - NES, SNES, original Sega Genesis (had a cheapass Genesis 3 that broke), Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, Gameboy (I'm convinced nothing outside of total water submersion can kill these), Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and finally, a launch day Nintendo DS that has sustained tons of abuse, which I wish would die, so I could finally justify buying a DS Lite.

I could build a mountain of dead consoles, how about you guys?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day, a day for dads to barbecue, go fish, drink some brewskies, and receive terrible gifts, like ties and aftershave. My husband, Booger and I will be attempting to have a cook-out, however the weather has been monsoon quality here, so we might end up cooking indoors. I had planned on buying him a PS3 for Father's Day and his birthday (coming in September), but I'm broke. Ha.

I'd like to remember my own dad here, briefly. I think of him every day, but Father's Day always hurts a little more. My father passed away in March, 2008, after finding out he had throat cancer only six months earlier. He was only 53. My dad was my best friend growing up, and broke all parent-child conventions. He let me make my own decisions (such as they were, as a kid), and didn't lecture. He spoke to me as a real person, gave me good advice, and earned my trust and assurance that he'd always be there to talk to, whether about every day worries, contemplating the universe, or everyday stuff.

What I loved best about my dad is how intelligent he was, without being an intellectual snob, and his absurd, yet sometimes black, sense of humor. My dad could make friends with anyone. And he would be their truest, most reliable friend. He would go to the ends of the earth for anyone, stand up to their bullies, and never treat any act of kindness as a debt owed to him. When I came to him when my friend confided in me that their family member had been getting drunk and touching them inappropriately, my dad invited them to stay overnight, spoke to them in the most calm, comforting way until they opened up, and took them to the police station to make a statement. Then, they stayed with us for weeks until they could move permanently to another family member's home. My dad was a hero to them, and even more so to me.

My dad was my favorite person in the world, and is the biggest inspiration to who I am today. I feel a lot of regrets, when it comes to our relationship. My mom moved with her fiance to Hawaii in 2000, and begged me to come and at least visit for a year. I did in 2001, when I was 15. In April 2002, my husband moved into my mom's boarding house, and we ended up falling in love in July. I decided to stay in Hawaii, because I was in love. My dad understood, and spoke of how I was grown up enough to decide where I lived.

The years went by, and I was happy. I feel guilty about not even visiting my dad, but my parents were both poor, and couldn't really afford to pay for a roundtrip ticket from Florida to Hawaii. December 2007, and my dad called me at Christmas. He complained of a swollen throat, a little pain, but he didn't think it was serious. I didn't speak to him again until February 2008, which was quite a long time. He had avoided telling me for as long as he could that he'd finally went to a doctor, and found out his sore throat was actually an advanced cancer. He was undergoing treatments, and he was hopeful that he was improving, but he wanted me to come and visit after so long. But, he demanded I wait until spring break (I was a full-time student, working two college jobs), because he wasn't worried and would not have me mess up my grades and jobs over a little visit. He told me he had bought me a ticket for March 22nd, and I excitedly packed for it right after getting home on Friday, the 21st. I woke up early the next morning, and packed my car for my boyfriend to drive me to the airport. As we were about to leave, my phone rang. It was my aunt, and she asked me to sit down, she had some really hard news to tell me. I'll never forget her words, her tone, and the feeling of my stomach instantly turning to a solid block of ice. Tears were in my eyes before she even finished saying 'Your dad passed in his sleep last night'.

When you get bad news, really bad news, its like you know before it even hits you. Then it hits you, like a semitruck full of concrete. Just writing this, I feel it all over again - my stomach is tense, I can't breathe deep without a physical pain, and all my thoughts just stop on 'he's gone, he's gone, he's gone'. I feel so much guilt for my dad passing away on his own, because I wasn't there with him, because he didn't want to tell me how bad he really was, how determined he was that his health not ruin my stupid classes, and just what a terrible daughter I was to not even see him for seven years, to just leave him to die alone. As anyone can tell, I've not moved on the grieving process on my dad's death. Its real and unreal all at once, even years later I still think 'he's in Florida', I wait for a letter from him, I sometimes pick up the phone to dial his number before my brain stops my fingers and says 'he's dead'. The sudden death of a loved one is a trauma in every sense of the word. Its painful, its jarring, it knocks your mental and physical wellbeing out of whack.

I don't want to end my post on such a down note. When I said I think of my dad every day, its not in a weeping, screaming fit. I think of all the good times we had. My dad singing Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" (reason I linked that video last time) along to the radio in his big black, leather seats pride-and-joy 1970 Cadillac. The awesome sandcastles we'd build on the beach. The Halloween he dressed as Gomez, and I was Wednesday, from the Addams family. Playing 'Walkin' After Midnight' on his huuuuge piano when I was three or four. Him encouraging me to read, going to the library together, and bringing half the books home. I just want to be as good a friend and parent as he was to me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shel Silverstein was a genius

September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999

Sheldon Allan Silverstein, better known as just Shel (or even Uncle Shelby, to the kids), is one of the few people I would nominate as a representative of great American art. He dabbled in everything, and succeeded at it all - poetry, song-writing, played many instruments, composed music, wrote screenplays and children's books, and of course - drew simple, yet fantastic art.

His best known works are the 'children's' book (personally, I think its a book for anyone, that happens to be short and have pictures), The Giving Tree, and his collections of poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. He also won a Grammy for his song "A Boy Named Sue", which became one of Johnny Cash's best known songs.

Reading a few of Shel's poems is like an instant trip back to childhood for me. I remember reading them with my class in the first grade, then returning to the school's library to check out any of his books I could find. His poems have the feel that they're written with the soul of childhood - there's great imagination, pure joy, a world knowledge that somehow diminishes as we grow to adulthood, fear and wonder of the unknown, and stubbornness and selfish behavior we all know we possessed at some point and can laugh at when we see it put down so cleverly. He's one of those rare adults that not only remembers what its like to be a kid, but how to share that experience with everyone.

There are many books for children with colorful, detailed art, but someone Shel's simple ink sketches won the day with their humor, emotion, and imagination. In a way, they remind me of John Tenniel's surreal illustrations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There's so many of his poems and sketches I'd love to post, its easier to say I love them all, and to just go read his books.

Shel was an eccentric, in a way. He disliked doing interviews, making it difficult to learn about him as a person. He insisted that he had control over the way his books were presented, from the layout of the poems and art, to the type and size of font, and most especially, the grade of paper. He firmly believed books must be printed on good paper to be enjoyed properly, and would not allow most of his books to be printed as paperbacks. He was an open marijuana smoker, writing several songs referencing the drug.

Everyone should have at least one of his books - I recommend Where the Sidewalk Ends. Its a smaller book, just set it on your coffee table. Flip through it, read a poem or two. I bet many people that spot it will pick it up and enjoy a few too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Childhood Nostalgia Contest! $5 Amazon Giftcard Prize!

The time has come to test how shiny and awesome your childhood memories REALLY are! I'm giving away a $5 gift card, won by me through Swagbucks (my referral link)!

Its super-easy to enter - just post your happiest childhood memory story here as a comment. Most epic birthday or Christmas gift! Best vacation ever! Badass science fair winning! Beating a bully's ass! Shooting a man just to watch him die! Whatever memories you hold most dear from your time as a kid. You can include a link to pics, or a Youtube video.

I will pick the one I like best, based on arbitrary values of feel-goodiness and how large an urge I feel to high-five you and yell a 90's catch phrase.

Rules & stuff!
  • Only comments ON THIS POST will count as entries.
  • One entry per Blogger account. Posting multiple stories will disqualify you.
  • English only, please.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length to the story. If you need multiple comments to post it all, feel free.
  • You must post some kind of story, a solitary Youtube link or picture doesn't count!
  • The prize is in the form of one (1) giftcard code in the amount of $5.00, & will be delivered by email.
  • Contest ends on Tuesday, July 5th 2011 @ 12 PM Hawaii time (3 PM PST, 6 PM EST).
  • I will announce a winner on Friday, July 8th, 2011, time TBD. If there are a toooon of entries, it might take me longer.
With that all said - HAVE FUN, AND GET REMINISCING!