Archive for June, 2008

Thrift Store Adventures

Much to everyone’s delight (or dismay?), here’s another post already. There must be something in the water, because I’ve also got another post that’s simmering on the back burner as I write this one.

Today, I am going to blather on about thrift stores. I used to do this in my Livejournal from time to time, but I haven’t been junk hunting in quite a while. Since I had a few dollars in my pocket and some gas in my tank, I decided to go do just that.

I’ll start by saying that it’s actually quite difficult to find anything of value in thrift stores these days. Sure, you can find old things, but…mostly things that are old in that obsolete, halfway-functioning, worn-out way. Stuff that should probably be thrown away instead of sold.

Also, awesome 80s toys are sort of rare in these places nowadays. (I blame eBay.) I have gotten lucky before though, and that’s what keeps me going back.

Here are the things I’m usually looking for when I go to these places:

1. Toys. Older toys are preferable, but if it’s cute and cheap I’ll typically buy it.
2. Unique VHS tapes. I also look for the home-recorded kind, because those often have cool commercials.
3. Kids’ books. I try to find ones that I had as a kid, but that’s not necessary.
4. Anything that’s old and quirky or otherwise catches my eye. Like knick-knacks or what-have-you.

The first place I went today was the nearest Goodwill. Let me tell ya, if you’re looking for cool old shit, do not go to this place. You’ll find plenty of shit, lots of which is old, but very, very far from being cool. I swear to God all they have is racks and racks and racks of clothes– which isn’t a bad thing, but they never have anything that fits me or looks decent –and four walls full of shelves that are packed with cups, glasses, plates, and useless odds and ends.

In the toy department, this Goodwill fails utterly because it DOESN’T HAVE ONE. How can you be a thrift store and not have a damn toy section?!

The VHS section was too sad to even talk about.

The books section was a complete nightmare, so I didn’t even bother trying to look through the kids’ books. Damn kids not knowing how to put things back on the shelf properly.

And quirky things? Well…they had a pile of records, most of which were from people nobody’s ever heard of. But they did have a couple that stood out.

One of them was called Sesame Street Fever. The jacket was covered in images of Grover and Bert and Ernie wearing white polyester leisure suits. The other was that Mickey Mouse Disco record that every kid in America had a copy of. Living in the 1970s must have been…interesting.

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I seriously considered picking them up just for the novelty of owning such ridiculous things, but the records didn’t have any prices on them, I didn’t feel like tracking someone down to ask about it, and I don’t have a record player anyway. I really hope I’m not going to regret the decision to leave them behind.

So, overall, Goodwill sucks ass and I don’t know why I keep trying to find things there.

Next, I went to this little bitty thrift store and I really wish I hadn’t. There was no one in sight when I went in, and it was silent. I was sufficiently creeped out. Just as I was going to leave, the owner came out from the back of the store. He asked me a bunch of semi-personal questions and then told me he was looking to hire someone. I said I wasn’t looking for a job, because I’m not, and I just wanted to get out of there.

But I didn’t leave empty-handed. For 50 cents, I got one of those Christmas-y Baby Fozzie plushies that McDonald’s sold in 1988. Here’s what he looks like, except mine is missing his hat. Sadface.

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This thrift store failed in all categories. AND it was uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m ever going back there again.

Next up is Ultimate Thrift Store. Pretty pretentious name if you ask me.

Toys? They had plenty but they were all uninteresting and/or ugly. LOTS of naked Barbies. Also, just about every single thrift store does that thing where they stuff a bunch of random, unrelated toys into a plastic bag, seal it up and mark it “$2.98”. And it has a note on it that says that it can’t be sold if the bag is opened. I hate this practice so damn much. I can understand why they do it, but still.

Books? Couldn’t find any, but I could have just missed them.

VHS tapes? They had plenty of them, but none were really of interest to me. Except for the home-recorded ones. They had a couple bags full of them that were priced at $1.98, but it was more of this “DON’T OPEN THE BAG DAMMIT” crap. One bag had a bunch of recordings that dated back to the early 90s (according to the labels), mostly of movies and stuff. Another bag only had one tape that was labeled. I thought about getting one of them, but I couldn’t decide which one, and buying these things is a pretty big gamble. You either get a goldmine or a pile of uselessness. So I left them there. Sigh.

Oh, and as for other interesting things…well, they had this VCR that I probably would have bought, but the power cord was cut off! Eff that noise. Even if it is only a dollar, I don’t have the means with which to put on a new power cord. I would’ve liked to have had that thing, too.

Lastly, I hit up Unique Thrift Store. Another bad name, since it was pretty much exactly like all the other stores I’ve been to.

However, I can’t complain too much because this is where I really scored.

Their toy department was loaded with those bags, and I finally decided to look at some of them. One had a big white Pound Puppy in it and a little black one, and a Miss Piggy plushie like the Fozzie one I got. But the little Pound Puppy’s nose was coming off, and the other toys in the bag looked pretty forgettable, so I kept browsing.

Another one caught my eye– it had a Care Bear in it. I took a closer look, thinking about how I don’t really like to buy Care Bears because they’re almost always the new, dumb ones and HOLY SHIT WAIT A MINUTE. This Care Bear was not a newer one. This sucker was VINTAGE. Its name is Good Luck Bear, so it’s green and has a clover on it. I could tell it was old by the different face and the funny lock of “hair” on top of its head. Its right eye is fixed in a permanent wink as if to say, “You know you wanna take me home, baby.”

Here’s what it looks like. Thank you eBay.

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So now I was torn. Pound Puppy and Miss Piggy plus a bunch of other toys I didn’t want, or VINTAGE CARE BEAR? In the end, I went with the Care Bear and was pleasantly surprised to find a circa-1980s Odie plushie hidden in there, along with a few other random cute things and only a few that were lame, including Beanie Babies of Donkey and Puss in Boots from Shrek. Who needs those bastards when I have VINTAGE CAAAARE BEEEAR.

Why am I so excited about VINTAGE CARE BEAR? Because I only paid three dollars for it. These things typically go for at least ten or more on the internet, not including shipping. Victory is mine.

Other than that awesome find, though…this thrift store was about as boring as the rest of ’em. What’s odd is they also had VCRs with the power cords cut off. Okay, now I’m wondering what sick reason they have for circumcising these poor machines. Why even sell them if you’re going to do that? I mean, I guess if you need VCR parts they’d be worth the money, but still.

Also, a lot of their other small appliances were grossly overpriced. They wanted ten bucks for a rice cooker. I can get a brand new one for fifteen to twenty dollars. Who do they think they’re fooling here? Not me, that’s for sure. They also wanted twelve dollars for a thirty-year-old food processor, which is pretty hilarious. Mark it down to five and then we’ll talk.

Anyway, junk hunting sure does get frustrating sometimes, but there have actually been very few times that I haven’t come home with anything. I think VINTAGE FUCKING CARE BEAR OMG was definitely worth all the bullcrap I went through today.

Well, that’s it for that! Expect a post in the next day or so relating to everyone’s favorite thing: food.

Under the Stairs

Okay! Finally! Something more normal to write about! Because I want people to, y’know, keep reading this shit.

I really am sorry if that last post didn’t float anybody’s boat. I guess I mostly did that one for myself, and honestly I wasn’t all that inspired when I wrote it, so…yeah. Excuses, excuses. I’m a freaky weirdo and we all know it. Moving on.

I was trying to come up with something to write about next, so I started thinking of old stuff. Considered doing a couple of things, and then a memory popped into my head. And of course, it’s one of those that’s positively loaded with nostalgia, so it’s perfect material for a post. A peaceful Saturday morning is a great time to write about such things, so here we go.

When I was a little girl, I desperately wanted a playhouse. But, as you probably guessed, they were and are really expensive. Like, the Power Wheels kind of expensive, which to a four-year-old is like a thousand hundred million dollars. I used to ask my dad to build one for me, but he’s never been much of a builder and my four-year-old brain didn’t understand that all the materials needed to build a decent one would also cost a big lump of cash. So this is one of those childhood dreams that almost went unfulfilled.

No, I never got a playhouse, but I did have the next best thing, and I loved it to death. To an adult, it was just a hole under the stairs that needed to be closed up. To me, it was a second home within my home– within my own room, even.

The house we lived in back then was old (built in the 20s or 30s I think) and had a weird floor plan. My room was sort of like the center of the house. You had to pass through it to get to my parents’ room and the bathroom. And around the corner was the staircase. The house didn’t originally have a staircase– my grandfather put it in when I was very young. The wall that covered it wasn’t completely finished at the time, so there was an opening underneath the stairs.

Since I’d been wanting my own secret place, I took to it right away. The “room” was big enough for me to stand up in, but any adults would have had to stoop down. It would have been dark too, but there was either a light put under there or a lamp. It was also just big enough to fit my kid-sized wooden table and chairs and– get this –my Rainbow Brite toy fridge and stove.

Lots of time was spent playing make-believe in that hole under the stairs. One of my favorite games back then was playing house. (I still like “playing house” today.) I would sit at my table and pretend to eat the fake food from my fake fridge.

Now, since that damn fridge meant a lot to me, I’m going to go on about it at length. Here, I even managed to find pictures of it by searching the web! They’re not real clear, but they’re better than nothing and I’m very grateful to this person for posting them.

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There’s the front of the fridge. That text there in the cloud says “Rite Hite”. Indeed it was. I love how the Sprite on the top door is giving Rainbow a scoop of ice cream.

The “freezer” and “fridge” doors both opened so you could store stuff in there. I mostly put books and crayons and stuff in it, which is pretty hilarious.

Now, let’s look inside…

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Okay, well, the photo’s too blurry and JPEG’d to really see what’s in there. But that’s why you have me here to describe it for you! (Aren’t you glad.) I swear I must have had nothing to do as a child, because I can remember sitting and staring at all kinds of pictures for long (or, at least, they felt long) periods of time. One of those things I used to do this to is the painted-on food inside this refrigerator. I remember some of the details even though I haven’t seen the thing in like 17 years or something. The picture definitely helps though.

Up on the very top, there are some of those canned frozen juices– from concentrate of course. Apparently, those were big in the 80s for some reason because I remember my mom and Grandmama having them around a lot. I never liked drinking them, but whatever.

On the shelf under that is a bunch of frozen-y sweets. I remember that one of them is a bag of frozen strawberries, and at least one of them is ice cream, and there’s some Cool Whip-looking stuff too. Those were always my favorite things to pretend to eat.

In the “fridge”, there are some eggs. Right next to them, for some reason, is a flower. I distinctly remember wondering why that flower was there. As far as I know, flowers pretty much never get stored in the fridge.

The rest of the stuff I don’t really remember in detail; from the looks of it, it seems like a collection of various condiments and drinks. I have just realized that the “food” in this thing isn’t even really food. But then again, I guess actual food isn’t kept in the doors of real-life fridges either.

Anyway. Another game I liked to play while hiding out in there was to pretend to watch TV. I had a Fisher-Price music box toy that looked like a little TV set. Had dials on the front and everything. When you wound it up, there was a scrolling picture as well as music. And I would make believe it was a real television. I even made up my own jingles for the pretend channels.

Now, why in the hell did I do this when I could just go watch something for real? Well, my best guess is that this was probably what I did when somebody else was using the TV, maybe when my mom was watching Young and the Restless or some lame crap like that. Or it could just be that I liked to pretend I could pick up stations from other states. Yes, even at four I understood this concept.

Before we had cable, every once in a while, a station from Fort Worth, Texas– channel 11 –would come in on our TV by some fluke of nature. Fort Worth is a couple hundred miles or more from where we lived at the time, so that’s pretty amazing.

The first time this happened, it blew my fricking mind. I thought TV only came from Oklahoma City, so when that channel showed up all fuzzy on the screen, I was fascinated. And from that point on, I always wondered what TV was like in other places. (The answer, of course, is…pretty much the same. But I didn’t find that out until years later.) This is probably the obsession that my love of station IDs was born from.

I do sort of feel like this post is all over the place, but the playhouse under the stairs is one of my favorite childhood memories, and I wanted to immortalize it somehow. Hopefully somebody out there enjoyed reading it. So, until the next post– which won’t be very long, so stay tuned –be excellent to each other. And…party on, dudes!

Shock and Horror! Logos of Doom.

Maybe it’s a bit early for posts about scary things, but I feel inspired to write about this. Instead of Christmas in July, it’s Halloween in June. Crank the AC all the way up, put on a sweater and exercise your imagination.

Anyway, this post will feature a few of the “scariest” production logos, according to yours truly, roughly arranged from mildly creepy to panic-inducing. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Scary LOGOS? Oh, how geeky and retarded.” And maybe you, dear reader, are correct. But judging from the number of online groups and message boards dedicated to these kinds of things, I’m not the only one who’s fascinated by this stuff.

Now, the impact of these things is greatly lessened when viewed on the computer. The reason that so many of these things were shockers is they would often catch you off-guard with zooming animations and jarring music and sound effects. They’re also much scarier when you’re four years old.

However, keep in mind that some of these bastards are really freaking loud, so watch your volume! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Read more…

Meme Thingy (AKA Big Fat Cop-Out)

Before I get started, I got the most views ever in one day on the 27th: 68! That’s a lot for my little secluded corner of teh internets. I literally got up and did a dance when I saw that. So thank you, readers, for visiting. Even if you think I suck at this, thanks for dropping in anyway.

Okay, so I actually did this a month ago on my Livejournal, but since I don’t think many of you read that, I thought I’d repost it here, especially since I talk about my childhood quite a bit in it. I also don’t have a lot of time to write a “real” post right now. So take it or leave it. ๐Ÿ˜„

Oh, and I’m not going to post the rules and whatnot because I’m pretty sure everyone’s already done it anyway.

1. Since I was 14 years old, I’ve been trying to write a story.

I was given an old Packard Bell computer that ran Windows 95, had no CD-ROM drive and a broken floppy drive. It certainly couldn’t get online. Since there was essentially nothing else to do on the damn thing except play Solitaire, screw around in Paint, and write stuff in WordPad, I ended up writing on that thing quite a bit.

The plot was nonexistent and the writing in and of itself was pretty lame. My favorite part about writing was (and still is) playing around with characters. I still remember my first two characters’ names: Ian Sheridan and Cameron Chase. After I gave up on that “story”, I ended up unconsciously re-using Cameron’s personality for a character named Adrian, and consciously re-used the last name “Sheridan” because I liked it so much. ๐Ÿ˜„

Also, I was heavily inspired by Star Wars, and thus wanted to write a big space opera, but I gave up on the idea a long time ago.

I’m a much better writer nowadays, but I still haven’t finished a project. >_>;

2. When I was three years old, I fell through the ceiling.

True story. My grandpa was building a second story into our house, and I was up there playing while he was working. I remember tromping around wearing my mom’s red pumps, and then I hit a weak spot in the unfinished floor. I don’t remember anything after that, but apparently I was somehow hanging on to one of the rafters and screaming bloody murder. So it’s not like I fell all the way through to the floor. If I had, I probably would’ve been hurt pretty bad, because it was like an eight- or nine-foot ceiling.

3. I’ve landed smack on my head before.

One time when I was about eight or nine (can’t remember exactly), we were at the lake for July 4th. I was swinging in the playground with my friends, and of course we used to do dumb shit like go as high as possible and then jump out. Well, I was swinging really high, and decided to try to jump out, because that would make me cool, right? Well, I messed up somehow. I remember seeing the ground fly up and over me and then I landed on my head. Apparently, I did a flip in midair. I cried for like an hour afterward. That shit HURT.

4. I don’t think I could live without ice cream.

Seriously, I buy a carton every week. There is almost always ice cream in my house. I manage to eat it and not gain a ton of weight. Maybe it’s because I don’t really eat cheese and I drink fat free milk. ๐Ÿ˜„

5. I was born out of wedlock.

=_= Nobody bothered to explain this to me, either. I found out when I was about 16 and had to have my birth certificate to get my driver’s permit. “Mom, why is your last name on here as ‘Cooper’?” She explained it to me, and I got REALLY mad. Nowadays it doesn’t bother me, but I do wonder if that’s why my grandmother didn’t like my dad and wasn’t very close to me.

6. I’ve never met any of my dad’s family.

Most of them lived in California, and nowadays half of them are dead. My grandparents died when I was just a baby. My dad is going to be 60 on the 12th, and he’s the baby of the family, so. I haven’t seen my other sister since I was two years old, but I’ve talked to her on the phone a couple of times. She has three kids which I’ve never met or even talked to. Someday, I’d like to go out to California and meet them, but that’s a long ways off.

Anyway, there you have it. Hopefully within the next week or so, I’ll have another post up. But I make no guarantees. ๐Ÿ˜„