Internet Rabbit Hole

When the Internet first took off in my life it was… slow. With emails and text based websites being all that was available. By my mid twenties it was getting faster. This brought on FLASH animation and a genre of uselessness. As animation got better and the Internet expanded, actual videos were beginning to surface along with YouTube.

Yearning for faster download speeds and better quality images also happened. Upgrading computer video and sound cards became a frequent habit. With these upgrades came “The Void.” The bad habit of viewing anything and everything sucking you into a Rabbit Hole which was hard to break free from.

Long nights and obsessive behaviors took over. Mouse clicks and search engines. Wasted time. Sharing links in order to have your friends follow suit. Then came Smart Phones. Take the addiction with you…

Maybe I’m a bit cynical looking back on the advancements. Some of it is uselessness showcasing as “informative”. I’ve found that if there’s something you want to search out, chances are it’s in the World Wide Web. From bits of song lyrics to the benefits of eating dirt, or building an oversized Nerf Gun to buying a deed to some land on the moon. There’s is a vast uselessness available to be consumed.

Uselessness is one way to describe it all. But it’s also entertaining. Going online sparks the imagination and encourages us to travel, eat healthier, and exercise more. I can’t imagine a world without the Internet. Nor can I imagine an Internet world that is heavily policed and controlled- but I know it is. Someone, somewhere is saving us from ourselves while still manipulating what we purchase.

I think this blog post spiraled out of control. Time to end it. Until tomorrow when I’ll likely discuss my life again.

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.

SNES


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.

Don’t Dream It. Be It.

Ah, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  

A musical experience I saw at the start of my pubescent life.  There it sat on the shelf of my local video store in the rent one, get one free section.  My mother had given me her video rental card long before I chose to rent this film.  I had seen numerous horrors, comedies, ‘B’ movies, & cult classics prior to renting this film.  None of these films left a lasting impression the way “Rocky Horror” did in my young life.  Sure, I’d seen films with sex and violence before, all without my parents knowledge, but never one this good.

Oh Andy…

I sometimes referred to TV as my third parent- much to the chagrin of my mother.  I was about eight years old when I was given a TV in my bedroom back in the early eighties.  It was originally for my Colecovision.  I even had a set of rabbit ears and would manipulate them in order to watch four different channels.  It was an art to figure out the right angles to get the best reception.  But for my tenth birthday, my father ran cable to my bedroom.  I now had 12 channels and no need for the rabbit ears anymore!  An entirely new universe of late night tv watching with the sound turned down low, (so my parents wouldn’t hear it) had now begun.

A couple of years later, my father had gotten a new VCR that could record more channels, so I was given the old one that they had since ’81.  It still worked great, like most things that were made in the 80’s, and I started to rent movies every weekend from our local store.  Back then, everywhere was renting out movies.  Gas stations, grocery stores, and these shitty little dingy shops (before Blockbuster came around in the 1990’s sometime) all carried videocassettes of the latest films.

The summer following my grade nine year, we moved into a new house in a newly built subdivision.  There was a video store that had just opened up a few blocks away from our house as well.  There was something different about it compared to all the other places I’d ever gotten a movie from.  This one had older films.  Stranger films.  And they constantly brought in new ones.  Not just new releases, but new to the store.  Because we had moved at the end of the school year, I didn’t have any friends living nearby, so I walked or rode my bike to the video store nearly everyday.  I’m guessing my parents felt guilty or something, because my mother must have given me a few hundred dollars that summer to rent movies or videogames (I had upgraded to a Sega Genesis that previous Christmas) any time I wanted.

 

The lips that haunt my dreams.

 
Then I found it- “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  (Originally I rented the film because I knew of Tim Curry from the movie “Clue” that I had rented earlier that summer.) It was magnificent.  There were jokes, violence, boobs, singing, & men in drag.  Everything  a 14 year old boy could want in the privacy of his bedroom.  There’s no good way to dissect what this film was about.  Was it about discovering sexuality?  Was it about the constantly changing music scene in the 70’s?  Or was it really about finding oneself in this crazy universe?  

I can’t answer any of it.  The one thing I walk away with from the film that really means something to me is:

Don’t just dream it.  Be it.

Don’t judge me.