Jar Lids: For Every Event

I forget that my wife is five years older than I am. Many of our interests growing up were different. Our upbringings were also different, but it also shared many similarities. Sometimes I find stuff of hers that I just didn’t know existed. Such as an old hobby of hers.

I do know all about cross stitching. My wife has made some beautiful Christmas stockings for our family years ago; as well as a couple of pieces she made for our kids. I knew she was talented in that aspect. She has immense patience when doing a task like that.

However, I did not know that it was a thing in the late 80’s to make cross stitch for jar lids. “For Every Event” no less! I suppose if you’re crafting, why not make jar lids for your canning as well?

The designs are rather simplistic. They remind me of Perler Beads or old computer video game animation. Very squared off and somewhere along the lines of being 16bit.

This makes sense to me. I miss seeing creative people at conventions making cross stitch fan art. I wonder if they started with “Jar Lids For Every Event” first? Perhaps these crafters started with something similar to understand the basics.

I have a feeling my wife will be getting back into this hobby once we move. What other reason would she have for leaving this on our table for me to discover? In fact, I may just have to take up the hobby as well.

I’m pretty sure we have a stash of jars that need decorative lids for our new home.

My Top 5 Colecovision Games

I love retro 80’s video games. However, Atari was never my thing. I have always favored the Intellivision, but a close second is the Colecovision. Both of which were superior to the Atari in all aspects.

Aside from my opinion about which home console was best in an era “Pre-Nintendo” I also had 5 top games that I loved playing on my Colecovision.

Antarctic Adventure

A forward scrolling game where you jumped over holes, caught fish and avoided seals. The idea was a timed trial race around Antarctica. I completed this game numerous times, but still recall the “boing” sound as you bumped into seals.

Cabbage Patch Kids

This is a side scrolling “Pitfall” style game that gets harder as you go. I remember playing for hours on end, mastering each sprite location for the perfect jump. With only three lives to give- I don’t remember if there was an ending to the game.

Zaxxon

This was a space side scrolling game. The difference was that it was more of a 45° angle side scrolling- which proved tough to judge obstacles. The sound of the thrusters buzzing was classic.

Frenzy

This was a top view maze game, where you ran from room to room killing monsters and robots. Simple and a good way to burn off frustration.

Pepper II

Kind of Pac-Man esque. You avoid this creatures as you zippered up sections of a maze.

All of them were a great way to spend hours playing. Trying to beat high scores, how far you got, or times. Simple and cartoony. Pretty sure these games would be easy to beat nowadays.

Timex T80

Back in the early 80’s my father had a wrist watch. I don’t remember what brand it was- either a Casio or Timex. I do remember the watch being digital with faux gold. He was really happy when he got it, showing it off to my mother and I. I was maybe five years old at the time, but I remember the feel of the metal strap and how it flexed.

Forty Years Later…

My wife bought me a Timex T80 for my birthday. But not just any Timex T80- the Fortieth Anniversary Pac-Man wrist watch T-80.

Timex came out with this watch last year to celebrate Pac-Man’s 40th Anniversary. This Timex T80 is a great combination of style and class. When I unboxed the gold watch and placed it on my wrist- I felt like my father did forty years ago.

I’m not a watch person. But the watch looks great and feels fantastic. I always wanted a Timex like this one. It was the perfect gift for me. My wife also remembered that I loved Pac-Man.

Besides a great retro look… my favorite bit of this watch is that it plays the Pac-Man theme when you press the top button!

Retro or Junk?

As we declutter and prepare to move, we are finding lots of items that we have collected over the years. Some are really unique and deserve a second look. Other things feel like we are holding on to them for nostalgia sake.

Today my wife showed me a unique bottle from Germany that she got prior to us meeting. I think it is pretty cool and want it on display in our next kitchen.

At the same time, we have this hideous plastic cat clock from the 50’s or 60’s that has been on display in a bedroom for decades. I have no love for this item, but since it is in great shape and retro- I’m sure someone else finds it amazing.

In the end, it’s all a matter of taste. What is retro cool and what is just junk is a matter of opinion.

I Need A Hero

Last week I wrote briefly about Saturday Morning Cartoons. Those cartoons were generally pretty abysmal in the animation style and story telling. A comment was made about the show “He-Man” and looking back on that show (which was a favorite of mine back in the day) it was pretty bad. The character names were barely thought through. He-Man, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Man-E-Faces, Clawful… seriously no effort.

Over the past week I began singing a song from another 80’s tv show.

Look at what’s happened to me
I can’t believe it myself
Suddenly I’m up on top of the world
It should have been somebody else

Believe it or not, I’m walkin’ on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flyin’ away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me…

Yup. The theme for 1981’s Greatest American Hero. I saw that it was on Amazon Prime last week. So yesterday I attempted to watch the pilot episode. Oh Em Gee… not good.

Again, was no thought put into the premise of the show? The writers stole ideas from everything from the late 70’s/early 80’s.

First let’s start off with a teacher in charge of a group of “Special Education” students a la Welcome Back, Kotter. Follow it up in a few minutes with a visit from a UFO with a scene that looks like it came from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Suddenly we are in a buddy cop show. Then we top it off with Superman. Which the show references at least three times, including the fact that the female lead looks like Lois Lane.

People in charge of entertainment in the early 80’s were something else. Even video games in the early 80’s were bizarre- Frogger and Joust come to mind. Greatest American Hero is written as if the writer’s room threw darts at every possible genre and generated 44 episodes of a show that really has no place to be.

The best part of the show is the theme song. Enjoy the theme: Greatest American Hero

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Back in the 80’s, Saturday morning cartoons were the best part of childhood. I’d read thru our TV guide and set my morning ritual watching about 2-3 hours of shows. Once 10 am arrived, it was time to get outside and play. Until then, rotting my brain in front of a tv was the thing to do.

This morning, I went on YouTube and found some episodes of “Kidd Video” to watch. I watched the first episode while eating my grilled cheese sandwich. For the second episode, I curled up on a beanbag chair with my ALF blanket.

There was some great commercials as well that someone uploaded with the first episode. Targeting kids with a variety of toys and Spaghetti-o’s. The show made no sense, and the ads made little sense as well. All the while trying humor to fill the gap of confusion.

Some things need to be left behind in the memory banks. Shows like this do not hold up. Even though it was more entertaining to make fun of the show with my son.

What did you do on a Saturday morning during your childhood? What do your kids do on a Saturday morning?

Let me know in the comments.

Mio Amico

On Monday I excitedly made a purchase online for something that I won’t be receiving until 10/10/2020. I’m one of the lucky 2600 “Founders” of the future gaming system- The Intellivision Amico.

Back in 1981 my father received an Intellivision for his birthday. That Christmas the family received a bunch of games. It was my first introduction into video games at the age of 5. I played the shit out of that system. Then my parents sent it out to goodwill along with our Colecovision when I was 13. I was okay with that, because it was Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo that entered my life.

At age 19, I picked up a used Intellivision with a bunch of games for $60 from a newspaper ad. My friends and I played for hours on end. I played the shit out of the system. We had so much fun hanging out playing games like SNAFU and Triple Action. I still have this system and play on it from time to time.

Anyway, this past Monday I laid down my $100 to secure my ability to be one of the lucky owners of the retro inspired system. This gaming system boasts the idea of playing games as a group again. Couch cooperative! Showing my teenagers about this system has them excited as well. Yes, girls and boy aged 13, 15, & 17 are excited to play games with dad!

That’s the sort of fun I love about video games. The Amico has potential to be a great system with many original and revamped classic titles that Intellivision fans will love and remember. I’m hoping for a good version of Astrosmash to be available.

So check out the video in which Tommy Tallarico shares his new vision of the Intellivision brand: Amico Trailer.

New High Score

I remember being excited when I would break a high score on a video game.  Getting a personal best was always an achievement.  However, in the early stages of home video game entertainment systems, the score was lost when the system was shut off.  Proving your worth to your peers was difficult.


I loved playing on my ColecoVision and Intellivision. Because games of yesteryear just kept repeating and getting faster making them more difficult. There was never really an end, just repetition. 

Just repetition.

Just repetition.

And I played for hours. Usually giving up to have dinner or go to bed.


Of course, in the 80’s the technology was so advanced at all it took was connecting the RF switch to a VCR and you could record your high score to share with your friends!  Now I could have proof of how cool I was and would share with my one or two friends… who showed little to no interest in my accomplishments… but I was excited.

Mortal Kombat 4. My personal arcade machine.


Then there were arcade games.  Every kid I knew in the 80’s wanted their own arcade game.  We all had personal favorites.  But not always having an arcade to go to, we were limited to what the local convenience store/mall had readily available.  I played “Burger Time” when living in Edmonton at a pizza place whenever I could.

The early 80’s had bred arcade playing rockstars.  All shooting for a high score or a “kill screen”.  Two of my favorite documentaries on the subject are:

King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters

Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler


Moving on from the 80’s arcades and as home video game console got better, so did the sharing of high scores.  By the early 90’s, magazines were now devoted to the gaming industry and went hand in hand to a young teen like myself. My personal favorite magazine for gaming info was “Gamepro”.


I had a two year subscription to it.  Every month I’d flip to the back to see alphabetically, the high scores of many games.  My vested interest was in Tetris and Columns.  I played those as much as possible.  I never hit the scores that were posted, but it gave me a goal. (As sad as that goal might have been back then…)

But there were also arcades with more selections now.  From Altered Beast to Street Fighter 2- games took up my free time when away from home.  There were a place to go to and hang out with friends.  As new games came in, I was still drawn to the classics- Centipede, Pac Man, Frogger.  Those were my “go-to” games.  Heck, I’d love to get those in my home one day…  I was close to buying a Frogger machine at an auction once, but the price jumped too high for me.  Pun intended.

Aw look, matching Astrosmash shirts.


Playing videogames that have no ending are my way of unwinding sometimes.  I’ll play Pac Man or Astrosmash until I’ve had my fill, then shut it off.  Re-playing games with a goal, such as Super Mario World or Zelda, doesn’t appeal to me.  If I finished it once, why do it again?  The goal was achieved.

The games I enjoy are much like life.  Life just goes by faster and faster getting harder and harder with no real end goal in site.  All I’m doing is trying to reach a high score before “Game Over” happens.