You’re probably thinking, what’s with all the nostalgia, Claudia? NO ONE CARES!
Yeah, I know no one cares.
But I think they’re all coming from how much I’m missing Moscow and thinking about all the time I spent there as a kid/teen/young adult. Just the constant thinking of Moscow is dredging up a bunch of old memories.
So yeah, that’s the explanation. Sorry if you don’t like it.
The random thing I remembered today was a set of fairy tale books I had when I was a young kid (first and second grade, maybe?). The series was called “Another Point of View” by Alvin Granowsky and it presented classic fairy tales/fables from the “traditional” perspective and then from a different perspective based on one of the other characters in the story.
I think my mom got me several of these, but the one I remember was “The Three Billy Goats Gruff/Just a Friendly Old Troll.”
Edit: sweet, here’s a lady reading it on YouTube.
I remember my mom always emphasizing the importance of critically looking at stories, especially movies. Thanks, mom!
I remember having a very distinctive lunchbox in elementary school. It was this big hard plastic thing that was pink and purple and it had these funky dials on it that you had to turn to open it. I would use it to put worms in after rain storms to keep them from drowning in the puddles (see this blog post about my “worm saver” nickname from elementary school; yes, I was an odd child).
Anyway, I was talking to Nate about this lunchbox and wondered if I could find it by just googling something like “purple lunchbox with dials.”
And lo and behold, here it is!
That’s the exact freaking lunchbox, OH MY GOD. I don’t remember if I had the thermos, but I put so many worms in that little sandwich compartment.
The nostalgia is real.
Also, these images are from an eBay listing for the lunchbox, and it’s sooooo tempting to get it just for the sake of having it again.
So I have NO IDEA what triggered my memory of this, but back when I was in elementary school, my dad had gotten me the Thinkin’ Things collection (original, Collection 2, and Collection 3). These were three computer games that consisted of sets of puzzles, interactive playthings, and things that made a lot of music/sound.
I LOVED them. I have so many memories of playing through them for HOURS at my dad’s condo on that old Mac computer that he had.
Here’s a place where you can play the first one.
My favorite was the shapes that all made different sounds (the icon with the white dot grid and the geometric shapes on it)
And the second one.
I think my favorite game in the second collection was the one where you could draw a path and have a set of shapes follow it (the one with the window/circles icon).
I can’t find an interactive version of the third collection, but here’s a YouTube vid:
The one with the balls and the sand (7:34), OH MY GOD I LOVED IT. I remember all of these sounds, man. And the half time one (25:01) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Did anyone else have these games?
Have I mentioned this game on here before? I’m not sure and I’m too lazy to check (pro blogging, yo), so I’mma mention it now.
Among the funky computer games I played as a kid was this one called Pantsylvania. I remember playing this with my friend GE in Troy a lot. It was basically this game where you could explore the town of Pantsylvania through several different buildings and with the guidance of different characters that had you do different things in the buildings. It was super point-and-click fun for young kids and I remember really enjoying it.
The frog gets a lot of hate, apparently. He was my fave.
Edit: here it is if you want to play it yourself!
Do you remember those nights when you got to stay up late after your parents went to bed? Do you remember when Cartoon Network went off the air (prior to Adult Swim being a thing) and having to find something else on TV to entertain yourself with?
If so, I’m sure you remember this:
This immediately brought me back to Saturday nights at my dad’s old condo. It was infomercials, Early Edition, or Baywatch once my dad went to bed.
So this song came up on shuffle today:
I hadn’t heard it in a while and I forgot what a tremendous feeling of anxiety that opening gives me.
Why, you ask?
(Shut up, just pretend you asked.)
Well, we were going to play this in band in 7th grade. We didn’t have any oboe players to play that opening solo thingy at 2:18, so being the nerdiest band nerd that ever nerded, I said, “hey Mr. Garrett, I’ll learn oboe, an instrument I’ve never even touched!” So I got my hands on an oboe and had about three weeks to learn how to play it (and play it well enough to do the solo thingy). I remember being so incredibly anxious about it every single time we practiced and, of course, when we performed it. I can’t remember how badly I botched it, but I’m sure I botched it quite nicely.
Also, cannons have nothing on the MAHLER HAMMER!
My mom sent me some old pictures she found while cleaning/organizing her stuff. And since my blog is nothing but random nonsense that no one else cares about but me, here are said pictures.
My grandpa in the military. He never seemed like the military type when I knew him, but there ya go.
Case and point: here’s my grandpa (and my mom) with books on their heads ‘cause I had a book on mine.
Apparently we had an actual factual pony when I was a kid. I have zero memories of this pony. This is, obviously, my mom and me.
My mom and a kitten!
Me with our cat Wooder sleeping on me.
“We ride at dawn!”
Do you ever have the sudden urge to re-read books that you loved as a kid but haven’t read since then? I don’t know if it’s because COVID has me in a super nostalgic mood or what, but I really want to revisit some of the books I enjoyed as a kid. Some of the ones I can think of off the top of my head include:
ALL of The Baby-Sitters Club books (Ann M. Martin) – I had almost every single one of these books when I was a kid/early teen. I always liked that there was a character named Claudia and that she was super artsy.
Skinnybones (Barbara Park) – I remember this book being absolutely hilarious to me as a kid. I loved the writing style.
Sixth Grade Secrets (Louis Sachar – yes, the guy who wrote Holes) – Another book where I remember liking the writing style. I also liked the story.
Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade (Barthe DeClements) – I have vague memories of this book, so I’d like to read it again to see what I’m actually remembering.
The Fudge books (Judy Blume) – I had most of these as a kid, I think.
Crooked (Laura McNeal) – This was a book I read when I was a little bit older…7th grade, I think? I remember this was one of the first books I read that had a plot with a more “serious” tone. I remember liking it a lot.
Anyway. There were a lot of other books I read as a kid (obviously); I wish I had the memory to recall the names of all of them in case there were others I wanted to revisit.
Are there any books that you remember you liked as a kid that you would like to read again now that you’re an adult?
So I don’t know why this is, but every once and a while I think about a show I used to watch when I was a kid (six or seven years old? We lived in Troy at the time, so somewhere around that age) in which a bunch of kids get permission from a TV station to do their own news show type-thingy.
In my several years of searching for this show, I have never been able to find any clips of it – mainly because I didn’t remember what it was called and the only two things I have a distinct memory of the intro (at least parts of it) and one clip where there were kids dressed in snazzy sequin coats singing “Rockin’ Robin.”
But I finally, finally had some success with my searches today!
The show was called Kidsongs, and here is the intro:
God, this made me want to go into TV and/or radio hosting so badly. I’m sure my mom remembers that summer where I was doing the fake radio station stuff AND the summer(s) where I had the camcorder. My poor mom.
Edit: holy crap, it’s the “Rockin’ Robin” thing:
Those jackets are snazzy as all hell.
So when I was in 12th grade, one of the elective classes I took was drama. I don’t remember much from it other than us performing Ayn Rand’s “Night of January 16th” (I was Magda), us dicking around a LOT during class, and the tryouts and subsequent state drama competition.
I had two pieces I performed for the state drama competition. One was with my friend Bethany; we did a scene out of Hamlet. The other was a solo piece that my drama teacher thought would fit me very well. It was called Twirler, and after just a little digging on the Tubes, I found it here.
I remember practicing this. I remember buying a baton and making my costume. I remember practicing a southern accent.
(I don’t remember saying the “n” word, though; surely I would not have been comfortable with that. We must have subbed it out with something else.)
I remember the tryouts, too. The regional ones were held one weekend in our high school building and I had to give my “Twirler” performance in one of the math rooms, which just shot my anxiety straight through the roof.
But both of my pieces got called to go on to the state competition held somewhere in the south – either Twin Falls or Idaho Falls, I can’t remember. We couldn’t do the one with Bethany because she had some sort of other prior commitment, but I went and performed “Twirler.” They said I would have gotten into the final round had I not gone over time.
Which, you know, is how things always go with me.
But yeah. I just had a sudden flashback to that piece and wanted to see if I could find it.
When Nate and I were on our walk last weekend, we somehow got on the topic of shows we used to watch when we were kids and I mentioned that Talespin was one of my absolute favorites. My dad had eight or so VHS tapes that each had two or three episodes on them and they were awesome.
Anyway, talking about Talespin made it so that the theme song lodged itself nicely in my brain for approximately a week.
I’d also forgotten how fantastic Don Karnage was. He was always my favorite.
Hahaha, I found this movie terrifying as a kid as well.
Edit: aaaaaand of course they’re making a sequel this year. Nothing is safe. Humans are terrible.
For some incredibly random reason, this little rhyme popped into my head this afternoon and I couldn’t get it out.
Did any of you guys ever sing this in elementary school? I remember G.E. and I sang it quite a bit. It was about as rebellious as you could get in a Catholic elementary school.
The “Missouri” version is most similar to what we sang.
Elementary school, man.
Man, this brings back a lot of memories.
Back when Beanie Babies were a huge thing, I (read: my dad) had a huge collection of them and we were super serious about collecting and preserving them and seeing if we could find any rare ones. We had hangtag protectors, we had display cases for some of them, and when McDonald’s had the Teenie Beanie Babies going on, we would go there as often as possible to get all the Teenies.
Hell, we had catalogs that detailed all the rare Beanies, mentioned pricings for different conditions and different generation tags, and talked about all the rare and different versions of some of the Beanies that had been produced. I would read that catalog every morning when I was at my dad’s house on the weekends.
I remember I always wanted a Caw, but they were like $300 back in the day and I never got one, haha.
It is November 20th today.
As you may or may not know (depending on how long you’ve followed my blog and/or how much attention you pay to past blogs), November 20th is the birthday of the person known as Lead.
Lead, for those of you who don’t know, is the nickname I use for the person that I had a massive, massive, massive crush on all throughout the end of elementary school, junior high, and high school (and it would have started earlier, I’m sure, except he didn’t come to Moscow until 5th grade).
I have long since ceased giving a single fart about this guy, but just the date “November 20th” brings him back into my memory because he was a serious part of my existence for about seven years of my teenage life.
Today, that also brings up something that I’ve come to realize about my mad obsession with this dude that I’ve never really shared. This is a realization I made a long while ago—like, 8th grade, maybe—but was one I kind of kept inside hoping that it wasn’t true, because that truth was more pathetic than frantically stalking a dude for the sake of true love.
(At least, that’s what my 14-year-old brain convinced me of).
This realization? I wasn’t obsessed with Lead because I was in love with him or was soul mates with him or any of that lovey nonsense. I was obsessed with him because I wanted to be him. He was everything I wish I was, especially in junior high and high school when I was so painfully apathetic about, well, pretty much everything but Lead.
The guy was popular. The guy was good-looking. The guy was athletic. And most of all? The guy was smart.
Like… S M A R T.
I don’t know if he actually had a genius-level IQ, but I’m 99% convinced of it. Super smart. He put everyone else at that garbage bag of a school to shame with what he could do with his mental prowess and how easily he seemed to do it. He got a full ride scholarship to some school in Montana after he graduated, but I’m sure if he didn’t take that he could have easily gone to MIT or Harvard or Oxford or something like that. And he would have blown those fuckers away at those schools.
That’s what I wanted. I wanted to be that smart. I probably could have faked my way through high school a lot better if I’d given a crap (I think my cumulative GPA at the end was like a 3.5), but it would have taken work. I would not have been able to do it with the ease he seemed to do everything.*
This is the Amateur Hour psych student in me, but I think I hid my jealousy of him with admiration. I thought, “hey, if I can’t be this guy, maybe I can get him to like me. If he likes me, that means I’m good enough to at least be liked by a dude of this caliber. So let’s do that!”
Anyway. I know, I know, stupid shit. But I figured I’d mention it now that I’m so far removed from him that I don’t even think we’re Facebook friends anymore. Or at least, I’m no longer obsessively checking his Facebook like I used to. Haha.
*Yes, I know I might be wrong about this. He made it look like it was easy for him. Maybe it wasn’t. But goddamn, he sure made a convincing argument that getting through school was as easy for him as slicing butter with a hot knife.
I remember when Tamagotchis were a thing, yo. I think they came out in 1997 in the US. My friend Emily and I needed them, haha. I think either my mom or dad bought me mine from JC Penny. Mine was the “yellow w/ orange” color, Emily’s was the “purple w/ magenta” color.
We took them everywhere.
I eventually amassed at least nine digital pets during elementary school—I had a few Tamagotchis, I had this one bear Tamagotchi knockoff, I had a Dinkie Dino (my favorite), and a whole bunch of others.
Sadly, I lost the giant keychain of them on the airplane back from California. ‘Twas a sad day. I wish I still had all of those, they were great.
So I totally forgot to mention this when I found it a month or so ago as I was cleaning out the crap in my closet, but I found a story I wrote way back in 4th grade.
It’s a bag of trash and there’s 52 pages of it, but I’mma type it up all pretty and post it for you as a blog at some point down the road, ‘cause that’s what my blog is for: humiliating myself.
I wrote a lot of really crappy poetry in junior high.
And since I have nothing interesting to say today (what else is new?), you get said crappy poetry.
Enjoy the cringe.
My chicken longs
For a pair of tongs
To pull it out of the pan.
If it were alive
It would strive
To get out of the pan if it could.
It would, if…
It had a head, some feathers, and a knife.
And I said to my chicken,
“Hey, get a life!”
Go to the John
Puddin’ and pie
Hung the wash
And now it’s dry.
Wish he still had both his eyes
You might believe this guy is great.
Can’t you hear?
Sleigh bells, jingle jangle!
Home again, jiggitty jig.
What to do?
But what the hey!
Jam on biscuits.
Say that again, randomizer.
I wasn’t paying…
Jelly, jelly, jelly…fish!
Looming through the deep
Glowing as it creeps.
Has no brain, no heart, no lungs
Last low tide on a rock it clung
Hung there for 2 minutes or 3
Released it’s suction, now it’s free.
Jelly, jelly, jelly…fish!
He will sting you if you wish.
You shan’t be deceived by the dawn or the night,
Dream small and live large shall be of your might.
Take the sin from your mind and replace it with hope,
Give much of your laughter to repel hatred’s rope.
Hold your love dearly or it might slip away,
Like shepherds with sheep so they don’t go astray.
Live your life with a purpose and not an excuse,
Make sure that your hands get a lot of good use.
Live without judging, but have lots of bliss,
Don’t go off the path and be taken amiss.
Be prepared to find pain and not simply power,
Don’t just smell the roses, stop and kiss a flower.
When the Bulls Come Out
When the sun goes down and the bulls come out,
The moon does shine without a doubt.
All sheep walk on a moonlit path,
While parakeets take a moonlit bath.
The stubborn boar is in this, too,
He lives right by the rendezvous.
The mighty bear, the timid snake,
All come running to partake.
This joyous fest, one time a year,
Rises past the Troposphere.
The stars shine brightly down on them,
All is peaceful, no mayhem.
The from the distance comes a noise,
Which made all the animals poise.
Then out came man, oh yes indeed,
Riding on his noble steed.
He cleared out all the trees and grass,
All creatures did run, so now, alas,
The moon does shine without a doubt,
When the sun goes down and the bulls come out.
I TOLD YOU
Today’s post is another one of those “why have I never shared this with you people?” posts. Ready?
So when I was a kid/tween/teen, I went to Linda Canary’s art camp during the summer. Art camp was two weeks of artistic freedom and bliss—it involved everything from clay to oil pastels to soapstone carving to batiking to plaster mask making. It also involved a lot of shenanigans in tree houses and in Paradise Creek.
I’ve talked about all that before. But anyway.
Linda was really good with kids and gave the camp a fairly loose structure. However, the one thing that we were “required” to make every day was a mandala.
For 20 minutes or so, we would go in the art studio and make mandalas based on whatever mental image or journey Linda would guide us on. During this time of quiet (it really was the only quiet part of the day, haha), Linda would play music over the stereo. Lots of Enya, lots of Deep Forest, lots of instrumental music.
One song she played a few times for us was called Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. It’s from 1973 and is nearly an hour long song filled with a ton of instruments and interesting musical transitions. Give it a listen. It’s quite awesome.
Yes, the intro part was used in the Exorcist. The rest is so much better.
Y’all thought I was done with the obnoxious home movies yet?
Y’all thought wrong.
Here’s another “series” which is really just two videos titled “Hiking with Altoids” and “Hiking with Altoids II.” I’m a little bit older in these—sixth grade or so, probably.
For whatever reason, Altoids were what was happening in 6th grade. Everyone had a tin of them, we traded flavors, and we had competitions over who could hold the most Altoids in their mouth without freaking out over how strong the taste was. We pretended they were drugs.
Catholic school kids gone bad.
Our family also happened to live in a house with a back yard that ran right up against the U of I arboretum. Which, of course, was a perfect place for a lot of my nonsense movies.
So enjoy Hiking with Altoids and Hiking with Altoids II.
Yeah, this was what I did with my spare time.
So last weekend y’all got The Grandpa Twins. This weekend it’s Coo News at 8:30, aka “The Most Depressing News Channel Ever.”
Not sure what a coo is? Read this.
That “accent” I’m using is how coos talk.
Also, sorry about it getting all warbly at the end. This was at the very end of the tape.