the categorical days: Nostalgia

March 03, 2010

10 years ago

I look less pained now, I think

Sent out my passport to get renewed yesterday. Looks like my old one was issued in July of 2000.

Back then I was gearing up for a vacation to Europe with an unknown destination. A friend from high school and I met in Heidelberg, flipped a coin, and ended up in Greece for a week.

It was awesome. We took a boat out to Skiathos (to give you a visual - parts of Mamma Mia were filmed there). We ate excellent food, drank like fish, hit the tiny discos at night and spent the days on the beach where I finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

So what else was going on a decade ago? Let's see...

I was twenty-eight years old and working (probably too much) with a web design company I had started with friends in Cincinnati.

This was our heyday and super enjoyable even with the extended hours. I'm pretty sure all said and done there were 10 of us working together—a close knit group of friends from high school, college and beyond.

We had a warehouse studio on the edge of downtown, afternoon breaks with fresh fruit prepared by our office manager (my mom) and sometimes we'd even take to the windows and let off steam by blowing bubbles down to the sidewalk three stories below.

It wasn't all lollipops and rainbows. As work was going great, I was closeted and pretty disgruntled by the challenge of opening that particular door. (Fret not, the following year would see everything change for the better on that front.)

Other tidbits from the year 2000:

  • Rung in the new year in Salida Colorado with good friends, thinking it would be a fine way to ride out any glitches from Y2K bugs.
  • Shot photos with questionable skill using a little APS film camera and a Sony Mavica that stored photos on a 3.5" diskette.
  • Listenined to Grandaddy's "The Sophtware Slump" on repeat.
  • Also enjoyed David Gray, Crowded House, Coldplay, Adrian Belew, Guided by Voices, Moby and Travis.
  • Cried at Erin Brockovich in the theater and caught other flicks including Cast Away, Gladiator, Chocolat, High Fidelity, Godzilla 2000 and Requiem for a Dream.
  • Drove a VW Passat.
  • It was an election year, so you can imagine it was crazy (I went with Gore and felt good about that).
  • Didn't have a beard, just a goatee. Couldn't grow one proper for the life of me.

And now here I am sporadically posting in my journal. Hi!

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March 12, 2009

the old Facebook

Not mine by the way, you won't find me in bowl-haircut glory here

First things first, I'm feeling better, thanks for well wishes and commiseration through various channels.

I started feeling normal less sick on Thursday night when Dan's niece came to visit. A cool enough night to start a fire and catch up. At some point, the photo albums were pulled out and trips down memory lane commenced.

Semi-related note: I should really make sure I lock down privacy settings so none of my old middle school photos with the body wave can surface tagged online somewhere.

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May 08, 2008

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming

At McDonalds in the outdoor eating area, this bird awaits scraps

Back in middle school we had to recite poems in front of the class. Not only that, we were required to dress up in some fashion, inspired by the work.

I try not to think about this very offten—if ever, but when I sat down to patch the day together with a photo, I kept seeing a raven instead of a crow.

Raven, being the title of Edgar Allen Poe's narrative poem was the one my friend Jenn selected back in those formative years. I remember she wore all black and looked like a beatnik.

As for myself? I crafted a canoe to wear about the waist, attached by suspenders. I bet there are pictures of this get-up somewhere, but I refuse to find them. Middle school was a particularly rough period for my physical being.

I memorized Sarah Bolton's Paddle Your Own Canoe.

An excerpt:

Nobly dare the wildest storm,
Stem the hardest gale;
Brave of heart and strong of arm,
You will never fail.
When the world is cold and dark,
Keep an aim in view,
And toward the beacon mark
Paddle your own canoe.

You might think it overly simplistic, but I think it bested the assignment's required number of stanzas. I probably chose it so I could walk around school with a miniature cardboard paddle though...

Current music: Bon Iver "Re: Stacks"

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May 05, 2008

Another day, another NIN album

Sometimes it's best to leave things on the shelf, as a memory.

"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."
— Frank Zappa

(and no, there is not a connection between the title of this post and the image)

Current music: The Kills "Cheap and Cheerful"

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November 07, 2007

fancy country

It's better than MTV 'cause folks really sing

Tonight I wasn't in to watching kids doing shots of root beer in uncomfortable imitation of their parents on that reality show. So, I decided to turn on the Country Music Awards.

If anything, I can catch up on the world of popular country music. I'm very out of touch with it.

Often I think the latest generation of this genre is too polished—in production and appearance—but then I remember watching the Grand Ole Opry on the tube when I was much shorter.

I always asked why Minnie Pearl didn't cut the tag off her hats.

And what on earth was that Porter Wagoner character wearing? Turns out those rhinestone-covered suits were quite popular at the time. A product of a tailor named Nudie Cohn. They were called Nudie Suits and worn by folks like Elvis, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers and Gram Parsons.

Porter passed on a couple weeks ago by the way. I'm taking off my cap and pressin mute for a moment.


So I suppose new country isn't too much different than old country. There's still big hair and fancy clothes. A little twang and cheatin hearts.

And I've gotta run, some fellas named Big & Rich just got on stage and one of 'ems dressed like Mystery, they have go-go dancers and zany graphics whirling all over on the back wall.

Current music: Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner "Just Someone I Used to Know"

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October 25, 2007


Monroe, OH

This motel was often called the Fantasy Farm Motel (be sure to check out the interior photo)

It sits near Fantasy Farm and LeSourdsville Lake Park (which used to be Americana Amusement Park). Confusing? Yes. Some answers about the long history of the parks, more here.

Me? I just thought the motel was choice looking as I took the backroads to work.

See the whole photo uncropped.

Current music: Robert Pollard "Red Ink Superman"

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September 15, 2007

They suckered me with nostalgia

A special at Hardees

And it was just a big dumb burger.

What I really wanted, was a fun meal. (see more at The Imaginary World's Fast Food Archive)

Current music: The Busy Signals "Low On The Foodchain"

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December 16, 2006

Island of Misfit Toys


I took a picture of these toys back in 2003, but now I've got a better camera so I figured I would commit these figurines to some extra megapixels.

Sadly, I forgot to include Yukon Cornelius into the group portrait this time around.

Otherwise, it's a mellow, quiet saturday and I'm not complaining one bit.

Post note: Where can one find these toys?

There are some if you follow the Memory Lane Amazon "store"

Another avenue to explore? Ebay and Ebay express

Current music: Say Hi To Your Mom "Recurring Motifs In Historical Flirtings"

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November 30, 2006


The new replacement for tacky seasonal flags

Nothing quite says the holidays like a big ol' ripstop-nylon Santa riding a motorcycle inflated by electric fan on the lawn.

I'm trying to squelch a tirade over these monstrosities... The 6-foot tall snowglobes a-flurry with styrofoam flakes... the reindeer with light up noses and insides... the snowman and his family. Littering lawns across the country, thank you very much Wal-Mart economies built on oversea's labor.

I'm trying not to be jaded. These things have been around in some form or another for many years, and if I were 6 years old, they would be the neatest things on planet earth.

I wasn't immune to holiday kitsch as a youngster. I'd get giddy when the Christmas boxes came down from the attic, and be the first to break out the Swedish-angel-carousel-chime-thing with the candles (pictured right).

I'd fiddle too much with it and get wax all over the base. But oh the joy of hearing that ding, ding, ding, ding, ding as the heat rose up and got that windmill apparatus to start spinning.

Good times.

Current music: Pavement "Grounded"

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July 17, 2006

childhood architecture

...comes alive like Frampton

If you asked me to draw a house as a kid, this is what I would have drawn.

Centered door, two windows with four panes, triangle roof, and a chimney. A tree that looked an awful lot like a cloud would probably be nearby.

So imagine my surprise when I drove through Mt. Airy (Cincinnati) the other week and spied the house I architected as a child, albeit with shutters and sans the chimney.

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April 26, 2006



I'm working from my mom’s house today, which is a nice change of pace. There are cats, a stocked fridge, and all these little knick knacks (on a tangent to figure out how to spell this, I found Tattoo from Fantasy Island played a Bond villian by the name of Nick Nack.)

One thing I've found this afternoon is this pincushion that, if memory serves, has been around since childhood. I was fascinated with it, along with all the other paraphernalia in the sewing room. There was a case with bobbins, attachments for buttonholes, gears, shuttles, plates, and a bunch of other stuff that to me, looked like spaceships.

The best toys are always the things you shouldn't be using. Which reminds me of a desktop recorder I would use with the cassette door open as a jeep or Landspeeder. Ah the hours I spent pushing it around with my eye at carpet level as a kid.

Back on topic with pincushions and the like: I never did get the knack (there's that word again) for sewing. My duffel bag project in middle school Home Ec was a disaster.

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April 05, 2006

grease therapy

Monochromatic food

Today on the way back from the pharmacy, driving carefully and feeling the odd sensation of putting preference on my left hand, I gave in to lazy hunger.

Even though I think their new logo is just plain bad, I still make a biannual trip to Long John Silvers and remind myself why that trip is just biannual.

There's a bit of nostalgia there. As kids we coveted not only the paper pirate hats but the little bits of fried batter lovingly called, "the crispies."

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February 10, 2006

dog eared

Northgate Mall

While sitting outside a JCPenney this afternoon, I was regarding the lovely Helvetica and thinking about the Christmas catalogs I would dog ear when I was a kid. Things I never saw on the shelves when the family would make a special trip to the department and discount stores...

Places in these parts called Pogues, McAlpins, Van Leunens, Gold Circle, Shillitos, (and subsequently Shillito-Rikes then Lazarus)... How I've scoured Google for glimpses of these storefronts only to realize there was a time before all this 'lectronic tomfoolery.

A time when I couldn't find out (easily) that JCPenney began in 1902 by James Cash Penney as a dry goods and clothing store in Kemmerer, Wyoming under the banner "The Golden Rule."

My mind wanders...

I realize I'm quick to point out what I consider bad evolutions of identities: fast food restaurants, UPS, and other corporations. But there have been some good ones.

Kmart, for example.

Their move in 1990 to the red K with angled script "mart" was a step in a right direction, and the subsequent migration to a san serif type below the K hit the mark.

There have been some missteps. The Big K branding extension was a bust. Right up there with the tackiness that is Sam's Club. Thanks to the wikipedia I found there was also a lime green logo used at five prototype stores. As much as I enjoy Martha Stewart green, I'm not sold on the variation.

So there's that.

It's all much less interesting than wishing over the Christmas catalog. Peculiar still, my parents knew exactly what to get me even though I never dog eared it:

Yep, this logo hasn't changed much. Just like I remember it from this set..

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March 06, 2005


Mt. Airy (Water) Towers

It was time to hit up the grocery store today. I also visited the laundromat this week.

I wonder if I could generate enough mindless data to figure out when the next haircut is, or when I will be stopping by the theater or the bar. Then i could just populate a calendar in advance.

On the way to the grocery store, I stopped by a park near these water towers as I always find them fascinating when rounding the bend at the top of the hill. They light up nice at night too

It looks like some castle and I fully expect a man with a french accent to pop out from the top and taunt me.

You don't frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you.

I remember going through a phase growing up where I devoured anything I could about knights, castles, armor and whatnot. I'd draw jousting tournaments incessantly. Then it was on to the next thing: be it cowboys, space, pirates, videogames, lego, logo, or matchbox cars. I think I'm still cycling through topics of interest.

I wonder if I could generate enough mindless data to figure out when the next phase begins.

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February 24, 2005

-11 years

I'd like to say I was on drugs when this photo was taken.

I'm digging through boxes looking for stuff from 11 years ago—boxes that need labels. I put these labels on my mental list of "things I don't care if I ever do." There can only be so much allocating. Time is this funny elastic thing.

I got bored rummaging and couldn't find all of the photos from my stint in Switzerland. I've got oodles of student work at my disposal from the quarter spent in design school there... but that's all i've been able to unearth.

Without failing to mention the transit pass posted above, which I like to call "Eyes Wide Open" or "Latka Gravas/Vic Ferrari says cheese"

Ah 11 years...

Now throw in the increased probability that someone can re-find you online after those 11 years, that's funny too.

What I was hoping to find was some trace of Lydia—a compadre from Pennsylvania who suffered alongside me as we tried to make school go as fast as possible (so we could go out and have fun).

Students gave us, 'those-people-are-temporary' eyes... But we had blast anyway. Took all sorts of time to exhaust a Eurorail pass and see Kurt Cobain before Hole drove him gonzo.

Anyways, Lydia called today and we couldn't cram it all in over the phone. This is something that requires carbs and wine. Oh there's lots of stories there, but it's late and now I just remembered something.

I owed my old apartment mate in Switzerland money. I should really try and Google her and set things right.

I don't think it's too late to repay, time is this funny elastic thing.

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February 22, 2005


A lamp, a hat, a book, hand salve and an alarm clock

My skin has been super-dry of late and the Farmer’s Friend hand salve with non-revolting fragrance at bedside is good, but greasy. I leave thumbprints on the pages of the book I'm reading, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I'm just gearing up to see how Tim Burton's vision will align with the printed word.

I did a school project on this book when I was in the fourth grade. I made a chocolate factory out of poster board and colored it with crayola markers. It was hinged to reveal all the stuff inside. In addition to the oral presentation and scale model, I handed out miniature Hershey bars with handmade wrappers that said WONKA, and in them I hid 5 pieces of foil "tickets" colored with aforementioned markers.

This may sound sweet, but there was a sinister side to it. I had put a small dot on those five bars and I was aware of who I was giving them to—I'm embarrassed to admit.

My fourth grade teacher surely knew about the rigging when my friend Heidi "won" an extra large Hershey bar with custom wrapper. (Giving tours of the posterboard factory wouldn't have been much of a prize).

Perhaps I am wrong and this lapse of serendipity was transparent, but it makes me wonder about some things—about kids and innocence or the lack thereof. It makes me hope that I've grown well beyond such schemes. I also ponder what life would be like if I had some piece of that project left today, if even a photo.

Related tangent: A friend lent a digital camera to a young child at the studio the other day, and she went around and took the best photos. I can't imagine how technology would factor into life as a kid. It's got to be exciting, even though crayolas and poster board were pretty kick ass.

Filed under: Books, Nostalgia | | Comments (0)

January 10, 2005

16 Good Things about 2004

Best of 2004TheatreMovie (again)Music VideoCandy BarYumOutfitsMovieNYCIron and WineThe Pixies at CoachellaBoobiePractical JokeThe BeastBoard GameWeekend

Images take you to related links

So most of this stuff is specific to 2004, but I'm aware some of it was around long before.

Videogame: Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal – Platforming goodness for the PlayStation 2. Had I bought of Katamari Damacy for myself, it probably would've made the list.
Concert: The Pixies at Coachella – It's kinda tough to compare anything to this... Lollapalooza with good bands. I admit a soft spot for seeing Kim Deal smile and knowing every single song played.
Roller Coaster: The Beast at Kings Island still wins, with the Drop Zone (also at KI) a close second even though it's not a roller coaster. Why is this on here? Cause it was a standout day with no lines.
Board Game: Settlers of Catan – There was another game by the makers of Cranium I really enjoyed too called Hoopla, but Settlers has a classic strategic greatness about it.
Album: Iron & Wine "Our Endless Numbered Days" – Since I couldn't rightly say I love Grandaddy yet another year, I pick this disc from Samuel Beam. It's mellow genius that never bores me.
Game of Poker: The cigar poker party in NYC – Another fine weekend, capped off with good food, fine cigars, and great people.
Meal: The Matrimonial Barnwarming Meal – prepared by Robbie.
Practical Joke: Getting Kate to unknowingly pose for a photo with a box labeled SEX TOYS
Candy Bar: Hershey's Take 5 – with the Butterfinger Crisp a tight second.
Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – This movie makes me realize what a big hearted messed up romantic wuss I want to be but never succeed at.
Get-away: The Road Runner Regional Rodeo in Phoenix. A nice break in the chill of January, hang time with my brother, and meeting old and new friends alike.
Outfits: Prom 2004 – This is what happens when you think life should have more balloons and polyester.
Music Video: The Sad Song by Fredo Viola – He wrote the song, performed it, shot the video and put it together. Aside from all that, it's wonderful.
Surprise: The Incredibles – Eye candy + classic storytelling - the shallow snarkiness of Shrek.
Boobie: Janet Jackson's "performance" – What's so good about this? I really don't know.
Theatre Experience: Anticipating Miles – I cried. Okay? I saw live theatre and tears came to my eyes, and there was no big chorus number.

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January 06, 2005

The year we lightened up

Yeah, like that

Dan pointed out a link to this fansite for the sadly defunct Pacific Southwest Airlines today, and I was fascinated. I want to live in that era.

No, scratch that. I want this era to LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.

I'm beat with government and faith based agencies trying to determine what is decent.

What a shitty time we live in right now—scared stupid with fines and laws.

I'm ready for the backlash.

It doesn't have to be all retro with free love and wild orgies in the streets—those can be in private homes. But as for feeling sexy and flaunting it, bring it on.

And while we're at it, I think we're ready to loosen the ideals of traditional beauty all around. It's been brewing. We don't need an edict to make it official. I don't mind if the stewardess flight attendant is packing a few extra Twix bars in the trunk. As long as they are happy with who they are and society is happy for them, then I'm happy.

The future is supposed to be sexy, I saw it on TV back in the day. We're supposed to have new shiny fabrics that cling to us and floating cars. To quote Jim, "Listerine Strips and Wi-Fi are the only things that make me "Feel" like I'm living in the 21st Century." So for 2005, I say we sex it up a bit. Fun boots for everyone. And big "I'm happy to be alive" smiles.

Floating cars can come later.

While on the topic of air travel, bring back the frickin’ peanuts. Those with allergies can have their pretzels as an option.

I'm all about options.

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December 13, 2004

Close cover and strike

I've got a match, your embrace and my collapse

My Grandmother collects matchbooks. When moving out of her house she asked what we would want.

I chose the matches.

I've hoarded them over the years as well. Fragments of memories. Restaurants along the highway. Trips exotic.

She's ailing a little bit in the memory department of late, my Grandma, and it makes these bits of cardboard and sulfur seem all the more important.

As I write this I wonder, will these words be familiar as I get on in years?

Not to end on a heavy note, I do appreciate the designs. Lo and behold, of course there are several galleries online for these things.

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December 06, 2004


Didn't scare too easy

Normally I eschew all types of flash photography (this, because I don't have a bounce flash), but there was no other way to catch this critter in the alley.

I could also extoll the talents of my mom again, as she used to make very realistic stuffed versions of these creatures and sell them back in the day.

You'd swear they were real.

My only other thought with this photo is that I had to look up if "opossum" was really how the word was spelled. Without spell check, I am a mess. In grade school, I missed "prairie" in the spelling bee. The devastation was so tremendous to my small mind that I pretty much gave up on earning the top marks in school from that point out.

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October 31, 2004


For documentation purposes

Next Up: More rot and then Thanksgiving kitsch.

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October 11, 2004

Rousters Apples

Them apples

There's a place out near where I grew up called Rousters that has the best apples. This orchard has crafted a particularly sweet and crunchy variety with a juicy white flesh and a freckled matte skin. They call 'em Krispy, and I've never been able to find their equal in the produce aisle of any supermarket.

Sometimes you have to get on a waiting list just to buy a bag of them.

Called em up today and they said they had them available. So I hit the road and rolled down the windows to let in the fall air, drove through tree covered backroads under the changing leaves, and picked up a huge bag and a half of these things, along with two gallons of cider.

I made some deliveries and got back home right around dusk, and I'll be honest, I hadn't stolen a bite of one yet. I was sort of afraid that maybe they didn't taste as good. Perhaps my memory twisted them into something that was no more, or never was.

I'm glad to report, my memory is perfectly intact, I've several cores to prove it.

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October 02, 2004

Fans, BBQ, dirt and dams

All BBQ joints should be garish

Today I went up north and had BBQ. The day was especially perfect. While friends were tending to some house details, I got to entertain the little one outside in the dirt, stacking clumps of hardened earth and drawing in the loose dried topsoil with a stick.

For a moment, I remembered the creek behind the house growing up. The dams me and my brothers would make.

Nature makes the best toys.

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June 03, 2004

I'm going to miss orange

Ye olde LifeSavers

I'm late to the game and did not realize that they switched up the flavors on basic LifeSavers after 70 years of the trusted favorites (or not).

Goodbye orange, lemon and lime
Hello raspberry, watermelon and blackberry.


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May 07, 2004


From the book Meet Mr. Product— Burger Chef

The three bears are in town.

Weather's nice.

Went to the museum.

Jim bought this book with all these advertising characters.

I was in a photo shoot for a music video proof of concept thing.

I was supposed to look mad, crazy, scruffy and slobby.

We a nice lunch at a new place for me... Potluck, it's called. Tasty curried chicken salad sandwich and good pickle.

Weather's nice.

Oh wait, I said that. It's Friday anyway. Time to kick back.


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March 04, 2004


I like these

There's an awkward feeling of conformity when I fork over the 3 bucks for Girl Scout Cookies. With every bite I wonder if I'm going to become...


I have no idea why that is, but if I did more research, I'm sure there's potential to frighten me with the Girl Scout agenda.

But every year, I plunk down some cash for the girls and their moms outside the supermarket, and in this year's case, fill out the order form at the water cooler in the office.

My order was waiting for me on my arrival to Columbus. Perfect for the mid-afternoon sugar rush I crave.

There's something nostalgic and comforting about tearing the crinkly wax plastic and into the partially hydrogenated goodness.

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February 08, 2004


My Phone

So I just got a call this morning. The apartment I was hoping to get is a go. This means I have a lot of stuff to get in order.

One significant thing I am hoping to change with the move is to get rid of the land-line and switch to the whole cable modem + mobile phone. It should be considerably cheaper in the long haul, and this pleases me.

What I will miss however, is the nice full rich timbre of this classic phone when it rings. Or the radio call-in clarity of the connection. Or the surprise when I answer it without knowing who is on the other line.

I could go on a rant about cell phones, their annoying rings and etiquette, but I need to start cleaning house.

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February 03, 2004

Many faces

Superhero, Robot, Beast

Well, I was going to rip a shirt and take a picture of my man-tit, because frankly, we need more boobs in American media.

But alas, I didn't want to ruin a shirt.

So I took a picture of Man-e-faces, the HeMan action figure I scored off ebay for less than 5 bucks instead.

If I was really good, I'd wrap this up by bring together the image and text, but sometimes, it just doesn't work out that way.

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December 30, 2003

The Island of Misfit Toys

Rudolph's nose lights up

Christmas was extended with a trip to Wendy and Tom's house. We shared a meal and exchanged gifts, then broke out Anne's new Folio Yahtzee Edition. What fun! Also gave me an opportunity to snag a photo of the misfit toys placed on the mantle.

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September 19, 2003


It's Mr. Bill

I borrowed an open desk today and got to look at a fantastic collection of bobble-heads.

Aside from that, I was setting up a guest account proper on an XP laptop when I got home. I was fiddlin with the log in options and somehow managed to forget my username and password, I haven't had to enter it for over a year.


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September 02, 2003

I want my 2 dollars back

I'm rich!

I can't fathom life if everyone and their Aunt wrote checks by hand in the express lane.

So here I've been suffering for over 2 months without a debit card.

I hate the word debit. Couldn't they have come up with a new term like Retirement Vacuum, SavingsBuster, CheckWhore, or Withdraw Card. All those stink as options.

Anyways, so there I am, trying to exist without cash or an easy way to get cash. So what do I do? I go to the bank and interact with ACTUAL PEOPLE. And they were friendly! It was so frickin cool.

Getting my cash on, I was asked how I'd like it broken up. The lovely chocolate skinned lady opened her cash drawer and I saw a two dollar bill on top.

"However you break it up, can I have that two dollar bill?" I asked.
"How many would you like?" She replied.
"How many you got?" Astonished, I was.
"Twenty-four of them."
I paused, did some mental calculation and said almost gleefully, "I want them all."

I've always loved 2 dollar bills thinking they were charmed.

I wonder how I can integrate them into my life more. Using them as tips brings just a bit of spark when folks recognize them.

I feel like I am spreading good luck all around.

I've decided to horde as many as possible.

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August 17, 2003


2504 Jett Hill Road

I'm at my sisters, eating yummy pork roast, scalloped potatoes, brussel sprouts, corn and some yeast rolls that were prematurely cooked.

This meal hits me right in my nostalgic gut and I have two helpings. It is fantastic homemade food.

My brother, sister, her husband, mom, grandma, niece and nephews are there.

I don't think there was any occasion in particular, just a good time to get together. My brother-in-law's mom is in town. She seems spry, with a hint of a wicked sense of humor.

I stayed for a couple hours and enjoyed the time just being.

I left and decided to drive by the house where I grew up.

The mailbox is still there. My father welded it out of metal after too many hit and run incidents with baseball bats.

It's impossible to determine when the house was built, but it was sometime in the latter part of the 1800s. At some point, it was a 1,000 acre homestead awarded to a serviceman in the Civil War. I wish I was better with the facts, but I'd have to get a the book on the house from my sister.

One o these days, I'll digitize more family stuff.

I sat in the driveway and reflected on the house. It was my entire world for many years. A parcel of 10 acres tucked neatly into fields of hundreds. There were no neighbors to speak of, at least, I never really hung out with them.

I remember hiding behind my parents waterbed in the nook where no one could fit.

I remember the swarm of bees that came forth from the nests we attacked in the trees out front.

Getting soaked with wet snow sled-riding down the hill into the creek.

Scraping my knee bad as the concrete truck huffed up the driveway and my coaster brakes failed on the gravel soon to be covered.

Finding clearance gifts hidden in the shed one summer, waiting to be handed out the following Christmas.

The barn where we stashed porn mags, cigarettes and the racy calendars found in the attic.

The two round stones next to each other in the hearth that we called Dolly Parton.

The cornfield out back where I realized my arm wouldn't move as the motorbike lay on it's side 15 feet away, still running and expelling black smoke.

FInding out foxes had eaten the peacocks.

Releasing the owl back into the woods after the fella from the conservatory nursed it back to health.

The blood on the stump where a few chickens were made to fit neatly in the freezer.

Running down to the front field and seeing the birth of a calf, and waiting for ages until it stood and walked on it's own. Willie I think we called him.

Hiding Heather in the laundry room while fellas from school stayed over.

Heather getting caught in the laundry room and sent home.

Jumping off the garage roof and spraining both my ankles. "It's easy! Just roll out of it!" my brother coerced.

The Husman potato chip can filled with kittens dropped off in the driveway.

The black snake up in the ceiling molding over the couch in the den. A business end of a hoe would be its fate.

The herb garden filled with smells and textures.

Hanging out in my sisters room and staring at the album covers.

The four trees that stood towering in the front. The trees that were said to represent myself and siblings.

I remember all these things, and I remember when the house went up for auction.

The heaviness of realizing it would no longer be "ours."

The guilt that maybe I should've exhausted some resources to try and get it for myself.

The quiet truth that I knew it was for another family to occupy - to create their own home.

The fact that it will always be my childhood, my teens, my pitstop during college.

The new owners have done well. It seems restored to the white house up on the hill that I grew up in. More so than the gray dilapidated place overgrown with ivy that it became in my late twenties.

They removed the trees out front. It seems fitting.

I want to go back there someday and look inside.

For now though, I'm happy with memories and the view from the end of the driveway.

Filed under: Family, Nostalgia | | Comments (0)

August 08, 2003

Convenient Food Mart

This one looks quite a bit more modern than the one we had

Spotted this Convenient Food Mart in St. Louis. Nothing special, other than our hometown had one of these down in the village with the local pizza joint next to it.

Convenient was the place we went after school once we had cars or were privy to ride with the kids who did.

Convenient and the pizza place was also where we hung out after football games and any other extracurricular activities.

It was the place you went to linger in the parking lot to see if old alumni would buy you beer.

The cops hung out there a lot, with good reason.

It changed into some other nameless mini-mart a long long time ago.

The partial rainbow signage brings back memories of bad hair and questionable 80's radio.

Filed under: Nostalgia | | Comments (0)

June 22, 2003


Inner dialog, "You do not need more stuff.You do not need more stuff.

I woke up to find my some nice homemade banana bread and yogurt spread spread before me. I burned some CDs for the baby bear and chatted about music, furniture and hemorrhoids before heading out.

Brunch at the Majestic (a good notch above greasy spoon with nice outdoor seating in St Louis) followed. I got to chat a bit with some fellers from KC and surrounding area and enjoyed the meal and company.

Since I was heading to KC myself, i agreed to help ease the load and I took a load of tv lamps and a handsome feller along for the ride.

Funny, I've never really had a travelin companion proper.

On no real schedule, if there was something off the side of the road that looked of interest, we pulled over. This could also be attributed to our, not weak, but efficient, bladders.

A trip to Nostalgiaville ( proved a relatively humor-filled tangent for a bathroom. I did feel guilt just using the facilty, so I bought a Dukes of Hazzard t-shirt that is two sizes too small.

It was a good day.

Filed under: Nostalgia, Travel | | Comments (0)

May 21, 2003

Going Up

The elevator up to the studio

So much has been going on lately, that I feel some remorse in not writing, as I know it will be hard to catch up. Though, I have been taking a picture each day and writing down some notes.

I will go back, perhaps during my flight tomorrow and backpost.

In some hours, I travel to Oklahoma City for a rodeo. I've never been there, and I'm quite looking forward to it. We've got a mixer set up for everyone from online, and the response has been quite good, in my opinion.

Aside from the pre-travel jitters, I'm a bit dazed by some intangible joy.

Work has been good. Productive. I've made lists, and crossed things off.

Heather loaded up the stereo with a great mix of stuff the other day at the studio, and we've been working together with them looping continuously. Blond Redhead, Pixies, Yaz, Michael Jackson (gasp), Paul Simon's Graceland, and one more that I forget. We finally ditched Michael Jackson today in lieu of Grandaddy.

It is this odd mix of nostalgia and newness, excitement.

It is summing up how I feel quite well... happy with the solid group of friends I have, and making new ones, little by little.

I've met a fella in town recently and had a few meals with him, many conversations, and the bullshit detector isn't indicating any major warnings. I actually look forward to talking with him and relish the fact that he isn't over an hour and a half away.

In the back of my mind, I sorta wish I wasn't traveling so I could hang out this long weekend in my hometown... But I am trying to keep tempered, patient and hang on to this optimism.

Filed under: Nostalgia | | Comments (0)

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