I’ve spent my whole life fascinated by the outdoors. It might be one of those situations that occurred because of my curiosity; I grew up in the suburbs, moved to the city and only went camping a handful of times as a kid, never in the woods or anything like that. I had this urge to get away from civilization, at least temporarily, and really experience nature. By the time I did, I felt like I had missed a lifetime of experiences, so my wife and I decided that for our first camping trip, we should do it up. Instead of going and doing a trip to a KOA or something like that, we aimed high. We were realistic and knew that we would likely be “car camping,” which involves a designated campground, parking near your tent, and having some sort of access to bathrooms, water, etc. To us, the more appealing option was to spend a day and a half driving across the country to a place with no nearby airport, no TV or radio, no cell phone service and a decent chance of being attacked and eaten by a bear.
It was the summer 1989, and I had finished suffering through the 2nd grade. George H.W. Bush had been president for less than six months, and for the first time in my life, I knew the name of the president. I hadn’t quite turned eight yet, so although slightly embarrassing now, it was a milestone. I probably only knew who he was due to a Dana Carvey impersonation, but that’s for another time and place. This is an ode to what I consider to be the original portable gadget: Nintendo’s Game Boy.
It sounds cliché, but my first Jolt Cola was consumed at a local comic book store. It was the kind of beverage that made mothers cringe, with the catch-phrase “All the sugar and twice the caffeine” proudly emblazoned on the can. Jolt wasn’t widely available in tradition outlets like supermarkets or convenience stores, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be in a vending machine. It was the kind of drink a kid growing up in the suburbs saved for special occasions, always consumed from a chilled can and not poured over ice, lest it be diluted. Jolt didn’t have the smooth taste of Coca-Cola, or the gentle sweetness of Pepsi. It tasted like a store-brand soda on steroids. Something tells me if you were making a drink with it, instead of Jack Daniels you’d throw some Evan Williams in there, just so that the whole thing was equally harsh.
I don’t really know when I first noticed Bruce Campbell. If my memory serves me correctly, it was likely during radio ads for The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., a program that was broadcast on the FOX network for a single season. I didn’t watch the show during the original airing, but did eventually get around to seeing a few episodes. The first time I sat and watched Bruce Campbell though, that I remember.
I’ve always been behind as far as PC gaming goes. Our first family computer was a used 286 from my uncle, and we didn’t get that until I was in the fifth grade. This is odd, considering my dad worked in IT, but in retrospect I attribute it to his desire to escape from the office while at home. I remember the first game I bought for that computer was King’s Quest II, and it was well out of print and collecting dust at an end-cap at my local Target store (come to think of it, it was the Target in the next town over since our store hadn’t been built early enough to have a PC game that old in its stock room). Anyway it was 1997 or so before a friend of mine turned me on to Syndicate, which was already dated, but ran alright on my dad’s shiny new Pentium. And by alright I mean life-changing. In brief, if you haven’t played this game, keep your mouth shut about strategy and squad based gaming. Tom Clancy has nothing on this.
Moustache, the ultimate symbol of refined masculinity. Possessed by the manliest men (and manliest of women for that matter), the moustache is more civilized and cultivated than the slovenly, caveman-ish beard.
As a man that does not come from a very hirsute linneage, I am envious of anyone that is capable of growing a full, robust moustache. We’re talking full blown soup-strainer envy here. If my father is any indication, at some distant point in the future I will be able to grow a glorious, full blown crumb catcher. But until that time, all I can do is sit and wait and hope and dream and imagine the moustache I will eventually possess and focus on my moustache role models. Whose moustache’s are worthy of emulation? Find out after the break.
This week we lost one of the greatest musical talents of the past fifty years. While he had his critics and his … peculiarities, one cannot deny the massive influence that Michael Jackson had on American popular music and culture. While it is a sad day for music lovers everywhere, some people are crass enough to have started taking pot shots at him and his memory before the body was even cold. I usually don’t get all butt hurt over people making light of celebrities but for Michael I make an exception. I do this firstly because he released Thriller, easily the most influential record of all time*. Secondly, and this is the biggie here, I do this because those that criticise and deride him the most are the same type of people that made him what he is today. It’s the same celebrity obsessed lookie-loos that cracked him and skewed his world view. Read after the break for more.
So here’s the setup. For the last two Octobers, around my birthday, my wife and I have quietly celebrated the occasion out of town. However, Minneapolis presents its own geographical difficulties for a quick weekend on the road. To the North, the only major city is Duluth, and since I don’t smoke meth it is not the most appealing destination. Heading West or South, I would have to go as far as Seattle or Kansas City, respectively. Not really realistic. So my only option for maximum vacation/minimum travel time is East. The choices to the East are: Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee. Madison is smaller than Saint Paul, and from what I’ve gathered is a “college town.” I’m fine with that, but I’m getting a little old for the scene. Chicago is a minimum six hour drive. Minimum. Anyone who tells you less is either lying, terrible at basic math or takes a route that includes one of our country’s “imaginary time zones.” Not to say I don’t enjoy Chicago, but everything is talked up so much it gets hard to discern the true gems of the city.
July 4th, 1998. I was sixteen, and since my birthday the preceding October, I had been relegated to borrowing my father’s Plymouth Voyager, the 1991 model. But this day was more than a national day of independence; it was a personal day as well. My family had taken the thirty minute drive to my uncle’s house to celebrate, as well as purchase my first car. It was a transaction based on faith since I hadn’t seen the vehicle, and at the time the Internet was PG (Pre-Google) and my connection was dial-up, so I had no clue what the car looked like. As we rolled into that Camden residence and strolled to the backyard, I finally glimpsed upon my first car: the 1985 Ford LTD. Read the rest of this post »
Why will Communism never work? Why is world peace an impossible dream? Why is it that I can’t take more than 3 ounces of liquid through security at the airport? Why do coffee cups at McDonald’s have warnings on them about the temperature of their contents? Because of the one asshole rule. What, you may ask, is the “one asshole rule?” Continue reading after the break to find out.