Indoor Summer

With summer approaching halfway over, my children keep pestering me to go out and do things.  As much as I may think of them as pestering me, it’s really nice that they want to be outside and doing things. When I was a child, going outside felt more like punishment.

Do you know how hard it is to find old logos?

Back in 1983 we had cable tv and a pay movie service called “Superchannel”.  Other kids around had “1st Choice” which was another movie channel.  The two combined in 1984 to become “1st Choice Superchannel”, but that’s not really important here…  When we first got cable tv, it seemed like it was never turned off.  I ate meals in front of it, played with my toys in front of it, I even used to stare at it until my eyes focused on the individual lines on the color tube.  That summer was spent watching a lot of movies.  Many not so appropriate for children.  If I wasn’t watching in my home, I’d head over to a friend’s home and watch.  I saw many films that made me question the world around me or films that scared me so badly that I had to sleep with a light on for many years.

A cult musicals of the 80’s.

However, one film in particular has had a special spot in my youth.  It brought me great joy and a love of musicals.  No, it wasn’t “Annie”, although that was pretty good.  It was “The Pirate Movie”.  It was cheesy, campy and full of fun.  I spent a few hot summer days watching this film.  Superchannel would send out a TV guide of when their movies were on- and I marked every time that “The Pirate Movie” was playing.  But when it would end, the tv never got shut off.  I saw films like “Young Doctors in Love”, “Pink Floyd: The Wall”, & “Alien” that probably shouldn’t have been viewed by a seven year old.  Many more films entered my living room that summer, many more age appropriate mind you, but it kept me indoors most of the time.  This became a regular occurrence for many years to come.  I rarely ventured outside.  I’m not saying I didn’t, but rarely seems about right.


Then in August of 1991, Super Nintendo entered my life.  This wasn’t my first video game system.  But something about it had me spending more time than ever playing on it that summer.  I played Super Mario World and found every level.  That summer was spent in my bedroom playing video games nonstop.  It was awesome.  I have fond memories of my tv and me together.

My children are pretty much growing up with the opposite of my childhood.  They are constantly outside playing, walking around parks, & generally experiencing life outside of our home.  Oftentimes it’s me that tells them to stay inside and watch a movie with me or play MarioKart.  Because that was how I enjoyed my summers as a child.  Honestly, they are having a healthy balance of inside and outside time this summer.  Our theater room has been used less this summer than in the past.  I don’t see my children ever becoming tech-zombies because they are so full of life and enjoy hanging out with other people.

My life has become a better place having my wife and children in it.  They are opening my eyes to a world that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  Sometimes I feel the need to show them my childhood memories, so I’ll put on an old film from the 80’s and we’ll sit back and enjoy it, no matter how cheesy it may be.  My kids usually love it.  

It’s my wife who questions my taste and why I like certain films.  So I’m off to try and find “The Pirate Movie” now in order to share its beautiful campiness with them.

Music of the 90’s

Yesterday a friend on Facebook posted a music video that I hadn’t seen in about 20 years- Pulp’s Common People.  It got me thinking about how many CDs I own that are hidden away in a trunk.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 albums.  All of them were transferred onto my computer a few years ago- that took me a few weeks to do mind you.  Besides thinking of my music collection of the 90’s hidden away to be brought out when I have grandkids or something, I thought back to the many concerts I attended with friends.

Concerts are great.  The musicians put on a damn good performance every time.  My favorite concert that I ever attended was Lollapalooza in 1994 when it was held on the Cloverdale Fair Grounds.  I was 18 that summer and just finished high school.  Lollapalooza was the show that everyone talked about graduating year.  I went with about a couple dozen friends and we loved it.  It was a hot sunny day at the start of summer.  I mostly remember the music, the crowds of people, the ambiance and smoking.  Lots of smoking.  The rest of the show was a haze, but I found someone who remembered the lineup and the show a bit more than I did.  (Read the article here) 

My most vivid memory is Green Day stopping in their first song and yelling at the crowd to pick up the girl who had fallen down in the mosh pit. They warned that they would walk off stage if the crowd didn’t treat people with respect.  From that moment on, the show rocked out until the final act.  The end of the show closed with The Smashing Pumpkins.  It was so bad, that most of my friends and I returned to a buddy’s place a few blocks away.  When we got there, we could hear the music clearly as the show closed down.  As we each had a few drinks at his place, we discovered that what we thought was a tan from being outside, turned out to be dirt.  Dirt that had gotten into belly buttons, noses and ears.

Living in my youth of Green Day and outdoor concerts.

The rest of the summer season was spent enjoying the CDs from all the bands we saw on stage.  Probably my favorite music that year was Green Day and Beastie Boys.  Earlier this week, a friend of mine posted that she was listening to the local classic rock station, only to hear Green Day being played.  I guess that’s my generation now.  Climbing into the classic rock of memories and trying to piece together our past from whatever brain cells we have remaining.


I don’t normally do this, but here’s my throwback Thursday story.  More like a brief recap of my teen years.

I entered Grade 8 and was quickly bullied.  It sucked.  But in my mind, I was there for an education.  I wasn’t popular.  I was a geek/nerd/dork type of person.  My lunch hour was spent in the Chess Club.  Before and after school was spent in the Math Club.  The bullies were usually easy to ignore since I only saw them in the halls walking from class to class.  During classes, I wasn’t always that lucky.  I kept my grades up all through Grade 8 & 9.  It was the only thing that kept me wanting to attend school.  The few friends I made were nice enough that I am still in contact with them via Facebook and the occasional text.


I still have my first chess board after all these years.

Then during the summer between Grade 9 & 10 my family moved about thirty minutes away from that address.   I stayed in touch with only a couple of friends that summer.  Where we moved, new homes were being built, a new Highschool had just been built.  It had all new students, new teachers, new computers, new everything.  A new start.

Grade 10 was when I began to change my attitude towards school.  I wasn’t going to be bullied any more.  The first time I was teased, I dealt it right back tenfold.  I was razor sharp and was quickly respected and not teased all that often.  I never became the bully (at least I don’t think I did).  Instead I befriended everyone I could.  By the end of Grade 10 I had tons of friends, but my grades began to slip.  I just wanted to be liked and it was working.  And girls began to talk to me more.  I even got myself a girlfriend!  I also missed plenty of opportunities to date, but that’s a different story.  On the inside I was growing up, but to look at me, not much was changing.


From left to right, top to bottom: Grade 9,10,11,12. The early 90’s were cruel.

Grades 11 & 12 were kind of a blur.  School was going by quickly, boys and girls were turning into miniature adults, and my grades were getting worse.  I still loved having friends throughout these times, but it soon became obvious that not many were going to be lifelong friends.  I ended my Grade 12 year by doing something that I haven’t ever regretted.  I didn’t attend the Graduation Ceremony or the After Grad.  I knew who I was and wasn’t sure if I’d ever see any of these people again.  I entered the summer of 1994 ready to party.  And I did… for about six years.  The formal education I got during those times was minimal, but I read and studied topics that interested me.  I lived my life and with no regrets.

I’m still a geek.  I still have friends from all my years of being alive.  The biggest thing that has changed about me is that I’m proud of who I am.  My geekiness is a tad more extravagant, I’ve earned a few wrinkles and my hair is starting to recede.  On the inside, I’m still that nerd with a razor sharp wit who loves to learn new skills.

Years later, I’m still showing my geek pride.