Posts from the ‘wishlist’ Category

Retro Wishlist V: That’s “Five”, Not “Vee”

Before I get started, permit me this outburst:

OH MY GOD I GOT 99 HITS YESTERDAY. NINETY-NINE. BEST. DAY. EVER! Also my total hits are OVER NINE THOUSAND. (Over eleven thousand, actually!) If I had some money, I’d buy everyone who reads this thing a drink. But alas, I am one broke-ass bitch. So instead, have a new post!

9. TMNT 25th Anniversary Figures

When I was a kid, I was all over those pizza-scarfing ninja-fighting turtles. I got up to watch the cartoon every Saturday, I watched the first two movies so many times that I memorized them, but I never got to have any of the toys! I guess I never thought to ask for these action figures, thinking that my parents probably wouldn’t have bought them for me anyway because I was a little girl. I actually didn’t have much Turtles merchandise at all, come to think of it. But now that I’m a big girl, I have the opportunity to buy whatever I want within reason, and these suckers look exactly like the old ones! Joy!

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My favorite Turtle when I was a kid was Michelangelo, because he was the “funny” one, and I was all about the funny back in those days. But later on, I started to really like Donatello. He’s smart, nerdy, and kind of a goofball. I married a guy who is smart, nerdy, and kind of a goofball, so…yeah.

10. A Turntable

I would love to own a turntable, so that I can play any weird old records I happen to come across in junk shops. Some of you might remember me having found copies of Mickey Mouse Disco and Sesame Street Fever on vinyl, but I didn’t buy them. I hoped that I would not come to regret that decision, but I have.

Anyway, some might say that I’m too young to remember vinyl. Those people would be 100% wrong. My grandmama had one of those big cabinet stereos, and I would listen to records on it all the time. If it were up to me, I would have that very stereo in my house right now. But it ended up in my sister’s house with her 87 dogs, 40 cats and three boys, so it’s toast.

So yeah, I have some pretty fond memories of records, and even though I’m not a big vinyl enthusiast, I would like to own some. You know, for posterity.

That’s all for now, folks. I tried to come up with a third item, but…I got nothing. So how about a survey: Least favorite Ninja Turtle and why?

Retro Wishlist IV: Big Fat Hairy Deal

This isn’t going to be a premeditated article-like installment of the Wishlist. Instead it’s just me blathering off the top of my head. But hey, you chumps have to right to complain about me posting two days in a row after not posting anything worthwhile for like, the last 6 months.

Anyway, this post is all about the big, hairy orange cat himself: Garfield. I have loved Garfield for as long as I can remember, and though I’m pretty disgusted by what he has become today, I still love him. Over the years, I have owned much merchandise with his face plastered on it, most of which is gone now. But I want to start collecting it again. So here I am, writing this post.

7. Danbury Mint Garfield Figurines

Today I stopped by my mom’s, which I hate doing, but it’s Thanksgiving, so I had to. Shortly after I walked in, I saw something familiar sitting on the china cabinet: one of my old Garfield figurines. And not some cheapo plastic ones either. These are ceramic ones from the Danbury Mint. You know, those people that make collectible plates and whatnot. My dad bought them for me sometime in 1992, and I treasured them. They’re really charming and detailed. Here are the ones I have, minus one that I can’t find a picture of.

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Anyway, I was under the impression that these things were long gone and that I would never see them again. But all the ones I had were there. So why am I putting them on the Retro Wishlist? Well, three of the five have several pieces broken off, and the colors are much more faded than they should be. They’re in sad shape, especially the birdbath one, which is falling apart. Seeing them again makes me both nostalgic and depressed. Therefore, I want to replace the three broken ones with ones that are in better condition.

8. Garfield Phone

I shouldn’t even have to post a picture of one of these, because I’m sure everybody has seen one at least once.

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I’ve wanted one of these ever since I was a kid. I don’t even have a landline to hook it up to, but it doesn’t matter. I still want one. Apparently they’re getting hard to find now and I really want to snag one before they start selling for more than they originally cost. Plus his eyes open and close when you pick up and hang up the receiver, and that’s just too damn cute.

Anyway, I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving. Mine was full of mixed feelings but was mostly good. I just wish my husband could’ve been here.

Retro Wishlist III: The Search For Spock

Man, I’m on a roll lately! D’oh ho ho! Get it? Roll? Post about food? Ah, forget I ever said that.

Oh yeah, in a couple of weeks, it will be a year since I started this blog. Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long already. Maybe I’ll do something special to commemorate the occasion.

Today, kids, I have for you the third installment of the Retro Wishlist! (Check out the first two here and here.) And as for the title of this post…well, that was just me being non sequitur. So no, Spock is not on the list. Also, I promise this post will be better than that movie.

This time, all the items on the list are foods I used to eat as a child that I miss and would like to eat again for old times’ sake.

6. Nestle’s Alpine White Bars

Oh man. Alpine White. I’m pretty sure that this candy bar is the one that ensured white chocolate would have a permanent place on American store shelves.

I couldn’t find any pictures or anything, but here’s a strange, somewhat cheesy, very 80s commercial:

I remember eating these things as early as three years old. They may be the reason I love almonds so much. When we went to the grocery store, I would usually come home with one of these things and it was a real treat.

Sadly, Nestle discontinued Alpine White sometime in either the late 80s or early 90s.

These days, I don’t care for white chocolate anymore because it’s too sweet and…fakey for me, but if Nestle brought back the Alpine White, I would definitely buy one once in a while just for the nostalgia value. Symphony bars are a good substitute though. It may not be quite the same thing, but it’s creamy chocolate with almonds in it, and it’s certainly better than that awful Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar. Ugh.

7. Hardee’s Cinnamon n’ Raisin Biscuits

Yes, Hardee’s still exists, I know. But they don’t exist in Oklahoma anymore, because Carl’s Jr. took them all over about ten years ago. I’m 90% certain the Carl’s Jr. restaurants don’t carry the Cinnamon n’ Raisin Biscuits anymore. (Though I may have to go find out pretty soon.)

I grew up in a small town where if some new establishment came in, it was a really big deal. So I actually have quite a few memories of when they built a Hardee’s on the corner of Green and Washington. My memories of the event itself are fairly clear, but for some reason I’m not exactly sure what year it was. It’s safe to say that it was either 1986 or 1987.

A few years after it opened, my mom got a job there making biscuits. Therefore, I actually spent a lot of time at Hardee’s when I was a kid. That sound the ovens made when it was time to take things out is permanently etched into my memory– it sounded like the first few notes of Beethoven’s 5th.

One of my favorite things to get from the breakfast menu was the Cinnamon n’ Raisin Biscuit.

I also couldn’t find any pictures for this, or even a commercial about them, so here’s another Hardee’s commercial for some Disney plush toys, of which I had a few. Not sure where I got them from, seeing as how we definitely didn’t have a Hardee’s yet in 1985, but whatever.

Anyway, about the biscuits. I think I might try to make these things at home sometime because I remember them being really, really tasty, though I could do without the icing. This and the chicken biscuit were my favorites, since I didn’t like sausage or ham or cheese or anything like that back then. (I almost added the chicken biscuit to this list, but you can get those at other places now.)

Another fun memory of these biscuits is that they sometimes gave you a toy with the purchase (probably for an extra dollar or something). I had a bunch of those California Raisin figurines they gave out, and my dad actually still has one of them to this day.

8. Pizza Hut’s Pizza

Okay, I know, here’s another one that still exists. However! Pizza Hut is not the same as it was when I was a kid. The last few times I’ve had it, it was vomit-inducingly awful. Even their logo is awful now. Maybe the pizza was always bad and I just didn’t realize it, but I somehow doubt that America would have made it the most popular pizza chain if that was really the truth.

Have a warm and fuzzy commercial.

I had so many good experiences eating with my mom and dad at Pizza Hut. The atmosphere was always comfortable, with moody lighting and the occasional 80s/90s tune coming out of the jukebox. Oh, how I loved putting quarters in the jukebox. And I remember the pizza being tasty. Greasy, but tasty.

Honestly, I guess the thing I actually miss is the experience. At Pizza Hut, fun times were always to be had. They sometimes had cool toys too, like those Land Before Time hand puppets. And don’t forget Book It! Read books, get pizza. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Oh yeah, and that huge Back to the Future II promotion they did. I had those “future” sunglasses, and being a very…imaginative kid, I thought I could see the future with them.

Nowadays, Pizza Hut isn’t the warm, fuzzy family dining establishment it used to be. The marketing and commercials are insipid, the stores are getting shadier all the time, and they never seem to get any business. Maybe there’s just no room in America for a good old-fashioned sit-down pizza joint anymore.

9. Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Chicken Littles

Here’s one I almost forgot to include. How could I do that? I was in love with these things when I was little!

And now, ridiculously cheesy 50s-ish commercial!

In my family, as with many other families, it was something of a tradition to go out to eat after church on Sunday. (Yes, I was raised in church. More about that in a future post.) There are two places I remember going to the most: Dairy Queen and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Before it was officially known as “KFC”, we just called it “the chicken place”.

Anyway, I didn’t really like eating chicken off the bone at the time, so these were my favorite thing to get there. They weren’t really anything spectactular– just a chicken patty with mayo on a bun and sort of looked like those White Castle burgers. They didn’t have cheese or pickles or anything else scary that I hated, so they were wonderful– well, as wonderful as processed, mechanically separated “chicken” can be. Hell, for only 39 cents a piece, what do you want? My parents probably liked that price quite a bit.

Also, if I was good, I got to have a Little Bucket Parfait, which was really just graham cracker crumbs, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip, but when you’re five years old, you take delight in such simple things. When you’re twenty-five years old, you look at it and say, “Meh, what chemicalicious over-processed junk.” Or at least…I do.

I don’t remember Chicken Littles being around for long. I think they were discontinued in the early 90s. They sorta-kinda brought them back in the form of the “Snacker”, which I haven’t tried yet.

KFC is another fun childhood experience that also got ruined somewhat. I hated the new logo and renovations they did in the 90s, and then I had a job there for about a week when I was a teenager and got fired because I didn’t make it to the staff meeting at 8AM on my day off. I’m still kind of pissed off about that. But the KFC near here is newly remodeled and actually looks nice, so I don’t mind giving them my business every once in a while. Maybe I’ll go there and try the Snacker pretty soon.

Whew! I sure did eat a lot of fast food as a kid. A lot more than I do now, that’s for sure.

Retro Wishlist II: The Revenge

Hey, kids! It’s time for the next installment of the Retro Wishlist! These additions are much more expensive and difficult to obtain than the first three items, but what’s a wishlist without stuff like that?

04. A DeLorean DMC-12

Oh, come on. You knew I had to include this. Who doesn’t want one of these things?

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The DMC-12 was featured in a certain series of time-travel comedies and has since become something of an icon. It was only in production from 1981-1983, since DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt after the arrest of its founder. Thus, the number of cars that still exist is relatively small, estimated to be somewhere around 6500.

This is one of the most unique cars I’ve ever seen. Instead of being primed and painted, it’s plated with stainless steel. Apparently, some owners have painted their DeLoreans; I personally would never do this, since I think it really takes away from the value and charm of the car.

It also has those distinctive gullwing doors. As a kid, I thought they were the coolest thing ever (which led to a short-lived obsession with Lamborghinis). I still think they’re pretty damn cool, but I have to wonder about something: Do DeLorean owners have to park on the outskirts of parking lots to be able to open the door and get out of the car?

Only three times have I ever seen a DeLorean in real life. The first time, I saw one speeding down the interstate and had to suppress the overwhelming urge to stalk it. The second time, I saw one sitting at a car lot/garage as I passed by. (The next time I drove by there, it was gone.)

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The third time was two nights ago. I’m staying with a friend while waiting to move into an apartment, and I was just hanging around when my friend comes inside talking about something awesome he just saw. Naturally, I had to go outside to find out what was going on. Well, the neighbors had a DMC-12 sitting in their driveway, which is fucking amazing enough as is. But it wasn’t just any DMC-12– it was decked out to look just like the time machine from Back to the Future. It was all lit up and had the wires, cables, flux capacitor, the whole nine yards. It even had sound clips from the movie playing through its speakers.

As you might expect, I had a nerdfit and did a really stupid happydance after inspecting it thoroughly. I’m still kicking myself in the ass for not asking the guy if I could take a picture of it. Of course, it’s gone now. Damn it.

I’ve heard that the car is going back into limited production next year. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it is, I’m so getting one when I get 50,000 dollars to spare.

05. A Big Ugly Dish System

…Also known as “television receive-only”. Surely you guys have seen a ten-foot satellite dish sitting in someone’s yard before. That’s what I’m talking about. Satellite TV, 80s-style.

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Why do I want one of these when I could just get one of those modern, much smaller dishes? Mostly to fulfill an old childhood desire.

When I was a kid, my family spent a lot of time at Uncle Sonny and Aunt Ruby’s house. (They weren’t really my aunt and uncle– more like my mom’s cousins or something like that.) They lived in a rural area, and since you couldn’t get cable out there, Uncle Sonny had a big ugly dish. Since I was just a little bitty thing, and BUD systems are kind of complicated, I was never allowed to mess with it.

Back before we had cable, the idea of getting TV from places other than Oklahoma City boggled my little mind. I really wanted to see what kinds of new and interesting channels I could find, and if there were any cartoons on them. My dad said Uncle Sonny could get channels from all over the planet, which even now, sounds fascinating.

Anyway, I never got my hands on that dish-controller-box contraption. In the 90s, Uncle Sonny left his big dish in the dust and got Primestar– a newfangled satellite service that used a much smaller dish –instead.

Unfortunately, TVRO is pretty obscure now thanks to stuff like Dish Network and DirecTV, which makes me a little sad. This makes it something of a waste for me to ever try getting one set up, not to mention I’m no electronics hobbyist, and would have to pay somebody some serious bucks to set it up for me. I don’t like TV that much. But if I ever have large amounts of money lying around, and no better use for it, I’d go for it.

Retro Wishlist

Today, dudes and dudettes, I present to you my Retro Wishlist. This post will have pictures to look at, since apparently that plays a big role in whether or not people read something.

Anyway, I plan on adding to the Wishlist whenever I happen to think of a new item, so this is just the beginning.

01. Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby

Possibly the coolest toy to come out of the 1980s, Teddy had a cassette player in his back in which you put special tapes. He would tell stories that you could (sort of) read along with in the accompanying books. His eyes and mouth moved along with the sounds, and 20 years ago, that was pretty badass technology.

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I got a Teddy Ruxpin for my third birthday in 1986. I was instantly enamored. Teddy became my best friend. Even though he weighed about 50 pounds, I still managed to lug him around with me whenever the opportunity presented itself.

My parents bought me a bunch of the book/tape sets and I played them over and over. They even got him a little red aviator outfit that came with a hat and a vest. And eventually, they even got me his partner in fun: Grubby, a…giant yellow worm-thing called an “octopede” if memory serves me well. If you hooked the two of them up with a special cable they would “interact”. More innovative technology. I never really used Grubby that much for whatever dumbass reason.

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Anyway, even after this boy I used to play with broke Teddy’s lower jaw off, I still loved him. Apparently that jaw thing was a common problem, but I was still pissed off at that kid. Why are little boys so bent on destroying other people’s shit?

Over the years, Teddy and Grubby got lost. As soon as I get over my fear of eBay and acquire some cash, I’m probably going to buy Teddy back, hopefully one that doesn’t have a broken jaw. I hear talk that they made a new version that uses cartridge thingies instead of tapes, but that just doesn’t sound the same to me. Plus, I want to see if you really can make him react to other cassette tapes, because hearing Teddy blare out some 80s hair metal would just be too funny to pass up.

02. Rainbow Brite’s Dress

No, I’m not talking some freaky cosplay thing. I mean, I need a dress for my Rainbow Brite doll that I bought at a thrift store last year. Amusingly, she came dressed in some camofluage doll clothes. I hate to just buy another doll, but it might be easier.

Like I’ve said before, Rainbow Brite was my world when I was little. I had all manner of Sprites, a small Rainbow doll and a plush Starlite.

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The Rainbow doll had come all the way to Oklahoma with me when we moved from California in October ’85– I was two, with my third birthday coming in February. She, too, was missing a dress…I guess it got left behind. Anyway, much like Teddy, I carried Rainbow around with me everywhere I went. As a result, I remember her being quite dirty and kind of beat up. But we still had some good times.

I did have the larger Rainbow doll at one point, but it vanished into a black hole somewhere along with virtually everything else I owned back then. So when I saw one for two measly dollars, I snatched it up faster than you can say “I’m 24 and still play with dolls”.

Now if I could just find her a damn dress, life would be one step closer to complete.

03. A (Working) RCA Selectavision Player and Discs

I’m pretty sure nobody reading this knows what the hell a RCA Selectavision player is. Well, allow me to enlighten you. It’s only one of the coolest pieces of obsolete technology ever! At least, it is to me.

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Sometime in the past, some guy thought it would be a good idea to put video on a groove-based medium, such as a vinyl record. RCA developed the technology for years, and wanted to launch in the late 70s, but didn’t get the system on the market until sometime around 1981.

Most people call them “videodiscs”, but the fancy-schmancy term is Capacitance Electronic Disc. I don’t entirely know what that means (I looked it up once but it only confused me more), but it’s essentially a type of video record.

Since the discs were quite fragile and would be damaged if touched, RCA developed a special caddy for them to extend their lifespan. So, CEDs are not to be confused with Laserdiscs. They actually looked like a big plastic rectangle. You would insert the caddy into the player, and a quite sophisticated mechanism inside would extract the disc from its protective armor. Snazzy.

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Unfortunately, the system came onto the market way too late, because certain other formats were already entrenched in epic combat (that’s another story for another time).

The system’s major downfall was that you couldn’t record onto it, which was a huge factor in the success of home video formats back then. You also couldn’t really pause it– well, you could, but it couldn’t freeze frame, it just blanked the screen, which was another inherent flaw that came with it being a grooved medium.

The system was, for all intents and purposes, dead by 1986. VHS reigned over all others as the King of Home Video. Shortly after the demise of Selectavision, RCA was bought out. (The name lives on, but they don’t actually develop their own technology anymore as far as I know.)

However, this doesn’t mean that Selectavision didn’t have its day in the sun. Thousands of titles were available for the system and people actually bought them, even after player production had stopped.

My dad bought one of the players when we still lived in California. I’m guessing sometime in 1984 or so, probably when they were cutting the price way down just to get the players sold. He brought it with him when we moved, and since the format was dying by then, you could get discs pretty damn cheap.

As a result, we had a whole stack of the damn things, including the Star Wars movies, Alien, and a few Rocky movies. We also had what I recently learned is a hard title to find: a disc with two episodes of Rainbow Brite on it. I watched the shit out of that thing even though the disc skipped a lot. Eventually my dad copied it to VHS for me, before the disc totally crapped out.

My dad still had the player and the collection of discs as recently as 2003, but then he GOT RID OF IT. Without asking me if I wanted it first. He said it didn’t work anymore, but according to what he said was wrong with it, it probably just needed a new belt and a new stylus. I would have taken good care of that thing. Therefore, one of these days I’m buying another one. I’ve heard that if you know how to contact them, RCA (or whoever owns them) still has a large inventory of styli stashed away somewhere, probably in a warehouse that looks like the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I didn’t mean for this to get as long as it did. But there you go.

Afterthought: The singular of “media” is “medium”. It took me until now to notice the errors. I’m not an idiot, honestly.