This nostalgia trip was brought to you by the letter “c” for “cereal” and “cartoons”

At the beginning of “Breakfast Club,” rapper Murs alludes to the notion that we should all be able to relate to the following childhood memory: waking up on Saturday morning, grabbing a big bowl of sugary cereal, and watching cartoons.

Sounds pretty sweet, right? If that’s how you remember your childhood, then bully, just bully! I, for one, harbored a very similar routine, only sans the sugary cereal.

You remember the whole “anti-dentite” routine from Seinfeld? Well my folks were “anti-sucrose-ites.”

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Future Retro

Everything old is new again to somebody, somewhere. While plenty of inventions get their 15 minutes (if that) of fame and are never heard from again, some things find a bit more staying power. In this Geek Force Network article, I extolled the virtues of material goods from the recent past that someday might find new life in the world of “retro tech.”
(And to complete the story that I started here about my niece wanting a typewriter for Christmas — she got one! And she’s already used it to type her first letter — typing paper, ribbon, clackity keys, and all. Amazing.)

Geek Force Network

My pre-teen niece recently celebrated another birthday. Prior to the festivities, I asked her what she was hoping to get.

“A typewriter!” came the enthusiastic response.

Taken aback, I paused. “Like… a computer?”

“No…a typewriter,” she repeated as if I had become deaf, and dumb.

“Oh. A typewriter. But why?” I queried.

She didn’t skip a beat. “Because they are cool.”

Well, duh.

Still, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the image of an young, modern girl sitting down to formulate a document via and old-fashioned typewriter, but what did I know. The fact that she even knew what a typewriter was floored me. But it became a strangely proud moment as I considered “hey, my niece knows what a typewriter is! Take that iPad society!”

It also got me thinking about the notion of “future retro,” which I might have just made up or might actually…

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Totally 80s: Dot matrix printer paper

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #47 from 50 Things only ’80s Kids Can Understand

The stress of pulling the edges off your dot matrix printer paper.

The sights, the sounds...
The sights, the sounds…yes, the paper, it actually makes a sound. Can’t you hear it? *scritch…scriiiiiiiitch…scritch scritch…scriiiiiiitch*

The sound of a dot matrix printer printing has got to be up there with dial-up modems in term of memory-based sounds. I mean, for several years, outside of the television and the various sounds it emanated, our dot matrix printer was the nosiest damn thing in our house! And that was from me just using it to print out school papers!

But oh, that dot matrix printer.

This is a nicer (and probably newer) printer than the beast that graced our home.
This is a nicer (and newer, relatively) printer than the beast that graced our home.

Continue reading “Totally 80s: Dot matrix printer paper”

Totally 80s: He-Man and She-Ra (Though mostly He-Man, and Teela)

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #16 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand

How She-Ra was the O. G. badass.

Well okay, but...
Well okay, but…

I think Buzzfeed might have gotten their female Masters of the Universe characters mixed up here, because I’m pretty darn sure that Teela was the real O. G. badass of the series…the animated series.

That's right, boys.
That’s right, boys.

Or, maybe the Sorceress was.

These image searchers are becoming scarier all the time.
These image searches are becoming scarier all the time.

In any event, when I first considered this list item, I couldn’t for the life of me place She-Ra in the same sphere as He-Man. While doing my dutiful research, I remembered that’s because she wasn’t. At least not at first. She was introduced in a later animated movie. Looking at images of her action figure, I’m pretty sure she was not in my collection of Barbie and Jem dolls. But Teela…Teela was, as was all the badassery that came with her.

Continue reading “Totally 80s: He-Man and She-Ra (Though mostly He-Man, and Teela)”

Totally 80s: Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #35 from 50 Things only ’80s Kids Can Understand

Pee-wee’s Playhouse and a big bowl of cereal was the highlight of Saturday mornings.

Twenty-four years ago this week, on November 17, 1990, the last episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse aired. It’d be foolish of me to sit here and spout anything other than “meh” about that event because until I did some online searching about the unsinkable Pee-wee and his playhouse, I had no clue as to the show’s duration. Though I avidly watched Pee-wee’s Playhouse for as long as it was on, I wasn’t watching with a mind towards its cultural significance, but rather with that part of my brain that refused to grow up. That part that still got a kick out of watching [old and new] Saturday morning cartoons (Garfield and Friends preceded Pee-wee’s Playhouse, so there was that), re-runs of The Muppet Show, and vignettes from Sesame Street. And the “childlike sense of wonder” that I retained despite being an anti-social teen who was trying desperately to “be adult” was what Pee-wee’s Playhouse was all about. It was one of many shows that straddled quite brilliantly the line between being a kid’s show for kids and a kid’s show for kids who wanted to be (or had to be) adults.

Continue reading “Totally 80s: Pee-wee’s Playhouse”

Totally 80s: The New Kids on the Block

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #51 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand

You loved NKOTB and had memorabilia mostly of your favorite one in the group.

(Aside: It’s easy enough to argue that the NKOTB probably reached the heights of their popularity in the 1990s, but their rise to super stardom began in the 1980s.)

The New Kids on the Block
Um…sure. Whatever.

This list item is one that did not pertain to my life literally, but rather it foreshadowed one niche that of my personality that now defines me – that of the distant, general fan.  This is a really convoluted way of saying that oh yes, I tried with all my awkward teenage heart to fawn over the New Kids on the Block like practically all my female classmates, but…I just couldn’t.

At the risk of becoming even more wordy and circuitous in trying to explain that, let’s travel back to the late 1980s. I’m a horribly discomfited middle-schooler (getting ready to transition into high school) with few real life friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t try to make friends. In fact, I tried all sorts of dumb ways to get to know my classmates better, none of which ever proved fruitful. Though my attempts at being personable never won many people over, I was often able to reach a common ground with others through music. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I was a HUGE fan of Top 40 radio at this time, and the knowledge that I gained by regularly listening to the latest and greatest the pop world had to offer helped me avoid full-on outcast status. Though I didn’t like everything I heard, I could at least hold my own in “Madonna vs. Cyndi Lauper” arguments, discussions on Bruce Springsteen’s patriotism, and debates on George Michael’s turn from bubblegum prince to sex machine. Problem was, though I was devoted to music in general, I wasn’t particularly attached to one pop star or act over any others. Sure, I liked some songs more than others, but I didn’t sport band shirts or plaster my walls with band posters. If someone had then made a slightly cheeky shirt that simply said “MUSIC,” I would have worn that sucker out.

Continue reading “Totally 80s: The New Kids on the Block”

Totally 80s: Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #46 from 50 Things only ’80s Kids Can Understand

The joy of the first scratch on a brand new Scratch ‘n’ Sniff sticker.

I can practically smell the memories from here.
I can practically smell the memories from here.

My first sticker book, my only sticker book, was 50¢ spiral-bound jammy with the words “STICKERS” drawn ever so colorfully and creatively on the front cover (by yours truly). I’ve mentioned stickers several times in these here posts, so I don’t think the fact that I made my own sticker book would come as much of a shock. The phenomenon of sticker collecting as it pertained to the 1980s isn’t one that even I think I comprehended at the time, but I was obligated to participate in nonetheless.

Obligated?

Continue reading “Totally 80s: Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers”

Totally 80s: Rainbow Brite

Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)

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List item #12 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand

Thinking Rainbow Brite was the coolest girl EVER and drawing fashion inspiration from her colorful getups.

rainbow-bright-28055469847_xlarge
This post is all about motherfucking RAINBOWS, yo!

When I first went through BuzzFeed’s 1980s-themed lists in preparation for these posts, I highlighted this one about Rainbow Brite because two things immediately jumped to mind: my Rainbow Brite doll (that I loved so much more than my Cabbage Patch Kid), and my Rainbow Brite sheets (the only character sheets I ever had).

Now that I’m here actually writing about Rainbow Brite, all I can think of is the color black.

See, the Buzzfeed list item specifically referenced garnering fashion inspiration from Rainbow Brite. I really can’t say much to that one way or another. When I was in to Rainbow Brite, fashion wasn’t much on my mind. However, color was. And it’s quite possible that Rainbow Brite had something to do with that.

Continue reading “Totally 80s: Rainbow Brite”