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25 nostalgic things you remember from a specific year or decade!

Started by retrorussell, June 30, 2022, 03:32:12 AM

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1. I moved back in with my folks in Portland, OR after living with my mom/stepdad in Federal Way/Auburn WA for a handful of years.  My brothers were still pre-teens. 
2. Got a job at my dad's old department store doing all sorts of odds and ends-- pushing baskarts, bagging groceries, opening the cigarette case for customers, getting stamps for the checkers, loading groceries for pick-up, etc.  Had to iron my own tie/dress shirt and start my shift early in the morning (so glad I don't do that shift anymore!).
3. My Blazers went to the NBA Finals!  The whole town was buzzing, with signs on people's windows, billboards, store signs all saying "Rip City" or "Go Blazers" or whatnot.  I remember my boss let me watch the Conference Finals against the Jazz on the tv's in the Electronics department.  It hurt that my brother was totally in love with Michael Jordan as he and the Bulls knocked us off in 6 games-- especially when we were up 15 points in the 4th quarter of the last game and crapped it away (with a number of Bulls starters getting a lengthy rest!).
4. I also had another favorite sports team get to a championship-- my Bills in the Super Bowl-- but they also didn't win it.  They were 0 for 2, and would go on to 0 for 4..
5. However.. my favorite baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, DID win the World Series!  Their first, in fact, and the first for a team outside the US!   I watched them topple the Braves in 6 games in a thrilling extra-inning game 6, at my sister's apartment.  She had cats that were driving my allergies haywire.  Sweet little guys, though.  Her husband was a POS drug abuser-- not mean, but stupid and spongey. 
6. Saw UNFORGIVEN at the Tigard Cinema-- enjoyed it but didn't understand the universal acclaim.
7. The SEGA CD came out in the US!  I used to dream about some sort of game system that would play out a cartoon or live-action movie.. well, dream no more!  Some hated it for its many Full Motion Video games, but I personally loved SEWER SHARK and NIGHT TRAP.  I think I purchased mine the following year.  I would visit our store's video game department to see what newest games came in.
8. Also, the epic sequel to SONIC THE HEDGEHOG was released!  SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 kicked my @$$ into the stratosphere!  So much fun.
9. And of course, MORTAL KOMBAT.  Parents were understandably mortified to see Sub-Zero rip out his opponent's spine but their outraged cries weren't nearly enough to prevent it from being a worldwide colossal hit.  New dialogue entered kids' lexicons in the form of "Test Your Might!", "FINISH HIM/HER!", "Flawless Victory!", "Fatality!", etc.
10. Not to be outdone in the fighting genre, SNK releases the awesome FATAL FURY 2.  I remember when it came out at my department store, I was dumbstruck how cool it was.  It gave me goosebumps when the announcer intoned, "AGAIN...  LEGENDARY MEN...    RETURN!", leading to the title screen.  "FATAL FURY 2!!!"
11. I think this was the year my sister introduced me to the guy that would be my friend for decades.  We got along great but he was an alcoholic and had insecurities up the wazoo.  Can't believe he's been gone for 8 years!
12. THE DREAM TEAM!  The USA basketball team is comprised of all NBA players for the first time!  Mostly legends like Bird, Jordan, Magic, Malone, Barkley, Stockton, Drexler, and more-- the rest of the world DID NOT STAND A CHANCE.  Blowouts in every single game.  The team even admitted it was hard to "get up for a game" due to the talent disparity.  This qualifying game-- held IN PORTLAND-- was the epitome of embarrassment for the opponent Cuba.. a 79 point drubbing!
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13. The Salvadorian Civil War ends with peace accords in Mexico City.
14. Bush and Yeltsin meet to officially declare the Cold War is over.
15. Cannibal/serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is sentenced to 15 life terms in prison. 
16. Massive unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovena after their declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.
17. 4 officers acquitted in the Rodney King beating leads to rioting in the Watts district.  I remember one of my Blazers' playoff games vs. the Lakers had to be moved to Vegas!
18. Sinead O'Connor causes major controversy on Saturday Night Live when she rips up a picture of Pope John Paul II and says "Fight the real enemy!".
19. Texas billionaire Ross Perot runs an independent Presidential campaign.
20. One of Al Pacino's better-remembered quotes was simply "Hoo-wah!" from SCENT OF A WOMAN.
21. The highly controversial BAD LIEUTENANT is released.
22. Didn't like MY COUSIN VINNY nearly as much as everyone else seemed to.  At least most people seemed to think Marisa Tomei's Oscar was not well-deserved.
23. Went to see ALIEN3 at the Washington Square Cinemas.  The projector wasn't working properly (an ongoing problem at that facility) and we finally had to leave the theater.  When I went to the booth to ask for my refund they tried to not give it to me!  I was ticked and finally they gave me my money back and a ticket for a future show (I had to work that day, so no).  When I finally saw it years later on VHS it seemed I didn't miss anything.
24. Also went that year on my own to see DR. GIGGLES, which was largely filmed around Portland!  My sister had gotten married right where some of the scenes were shot.  I walked through some heavy snow to see this rather stupid movie.
25. The Pittsburgh Penguins win their 2nd straight Stanley Cup!
"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."


Memories of 2013

1.   Bombs went off during the Boston marathon, set by two brothers in sympathy with Al Qaeda, who then continued their killing spree into the night. One murderous brother did fatally drive a car over the other, though, showing every dark cloud has a silver lining.

2.   Lance Armstrong finally admitted he used banned substances throughout his career; testimony would show him to have been an abusive bully, but also really at peace with getting stuck with needles every day.

3.   In summer 2013, my children were twice one another's ages: 1, 2, and 4. T'will never happen again.

4.   The Ocean at the End of the Lane was Gaiman at his most poignant. After nine years it also remains the last time he published a novel without collaboration. I blame Amanda Palmer.

5.   Sarin gas was used in Syria, and there was outrage at this deviation from the more accepted forms of war nice folks preferred, like shooting people, blowing them up, burning them alive, burying them under rubble, starving them during sieges, stabbing them, garroting them, drowning them at sea, blasting them from the sky, and lacerating them with shrapnel while they cowered in foxholes screaming for their mothers. International outrage made it clear to those barbarians to fight nice!

6.   Being a canon lawyer, Benedict XVI found a precedent for papal retirement, said ciao, and with a puff of white smoke, there was soon a new Pope in town.

7.   Edward Snowden....nah, nevermind him. Instead let me say the Borg-like Google Glass flopped; President Obama began his second term; the Harlem Shake was funny for fifteen minutes; and Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez both died, leading to Chavez' less than April-fresh remains being paraded in all their bloated glory.

8.   On TV, Orphan Black was darned cool; Breaking Bad called it a wrap; the Red Wedding blew the minds of the uninitiated; The Office went away two seasons after its natural conclusion; and in my diary I described Arsenio Hall's comeback attempt as "like him waking the cold bellies of the living dead." I'm not sure what I meant.

9.   Around the time of his fourteenth birthday, Tyler, mon fils qui n'est pas mon fils, told his mom, Dana, he'd been butt-bumping with other boys for months. He also said he didn't care to be called gay, because he wanted to be an individual, and didn't like labels. I found out there exists a backlash among some homosexuals against the gay community, with many saying that identifying as gay can come with too many controlling expectations. Pardon the pun but isn't anything straightforward anymore?

10.   I first played Dishonored, and about 360 hours of my life were eventually "invested" among the rooftops and sewers of plague-stricken Dunwall. Sure, I pulled myself away to join in the mass slaughter of Diablo III, but my heart was soon back in that steampunk city with its diseased rats and murderous counter-coups. That autumn my husband pre-ordered a PS4, but it wasn't til Bloodborne in 2016 that I drifted away from PS3.

11.   A friend of mine wrote his debut book and I was the first person to read it as a work in progress. When I was first given this honor, I thought yeah, well, good or bad I'll be polite about it, but the fact was I got into it and enjoyed every page.

12.   We did a weekend trip to our lakeside cabin, and our dog, Chocolate, trotted from the van to the shore to get a drink, inspiring my almost five-year-old to follow her to the water, get down on all fours, stick out her tongue, and prepare to join in hydration. I barely scooped her up in time and said, "Don't do that, it'll make you sick." To which she told me, "It didn't when I drank like a doggie from the river." Say whu-uuut???

13.   For an April Fool's Day prank, that same daughter and my husband had me take a bite of what I thought was cherry jello, which it was, only it was cherry jello made with unadulterated lemon juice instead of water. Pucker city!

14.   I called a man about tilling ground for a new garden, and he asked, "Is it virgin earth?" I said, "I haven't inquired into its personal life, sir." Sometimes I don't know what gets into me when it comes to things I'll say. Like my friend Clare and I were talking that May on the anniversary of her brother's death, and out of nowhere I said, "He's still dead after thirteen years? That's just lazy." I had no idea she could draw such a long breath, or knew so many cuss words.

15.   I ran into a girl named Peri, a waxer of my one-time acquaintance, who told me she'd left that profession and was in art school. Then she bragged "I don't work right now, I got a sugar daddy." Uh, okay, good for her, thought I, never having heard anyone else actually use that term in real life. Flash forward a bit and I re-encountered Peri at a gallery opening, and she introduced me to her sugar daddy who was none other than (drum roll, please) the dad of a girl named Sharon whom I used to mentor in 2003 when she was in high school, a man who'd once made me a similar offer. Small world!

16.   The Weather Channel's Mike Bettis and his crew were miraculously unhurt when a vicious storm in Moore, Oklahoma rolled their car two hundred feet while they were storm chasing live on the air. There was poignant courage in Bettis' last words before the wind hit: "Hold on, brothers!" I'm glad they walked away from that.

17.   Not everyone was so lucky. At an air show we saw the beautiful, smiling, gregarious woman who'd milled among the crowd moments before, do her performance as a wing walker. Minutes later the plane stalled, did a nosedive into the runway, and exploded. We were near enough to see her mouth open in a scream and see her instinctively throw her arms in front of her before the impact. I was glad my four-year-old, who nearly came, decided to stay with her grandma, and was spared witnessing that horror.

18.   At our house in August we had Dog Day's Night, a dusk to dawn hangout event that had us watching as the Perseids meteor shower peaked in the heavens. Friends came over and we swam in the dark and gazed at the skies and saw many shooting stars. For the survivor's breakfast the next morning we had coffee, donuts...and haggis.

19.   My goddaughter, Courtney, my friend Gina's oldest, informed me her imaginary friend, Mrs. Blind, did not like me. This was chilling news, since I had read enough Stephen King to know 100% of childhood "imaginary friends" were malevolent entities.

20.   At age thirty-seven my Aunt Sarah, who'd moved to the US four years earlier following her divorce, got engaged to a Jewish man with great taste in women. I still do not know how my rosary-devoted grandma across the ocean failed to implode with shock at her youngest wedding a member of the twelve tribes, but she remained healthy as a miller's cat.

21.   During a government shutdown, razor wire was put up around DC's WWII memorial, preventing aged vets from visiting. One member of that fabled generation died days after being denied access on the only trip to the capital he ever made.

22.   We did our annual twin Halloween parties, the first in the day for kids, the one at night...not for kids. As always we went all out, with a dry ice machine, and theatrical gel that tinted the glow of our two-story lighthouse blood-red in the night. Our theme was Egypt, and I was a Nile vampire. Someone else came as a were-skunk. Fun time!

23.   Incredible as it may sound, in 2013, India, birthplace of the Kama Sutra, banned homosexuality. Yup, a nation with too many people banned the one kind of sex guaranteed not to make even more people.

24.   Tired of having a birthday on Christmas Eve, I vowed to begin celebrating on January 24th instead....which still hasn't quite happened. That year I did get a nice 1904 edition of Walter Scott's works, which included this eerie, thirty-second prophecy-poem:

25.   Finally, in an announcement, actor Michael Douglas attributed his throat cancer to a lifelong fondness for giving women oral pleasure. It sucks that I licked my urge to insert a cunning joke into the creases here, but going down the list didn't leave me anything juicy to come upon, so with this fold must I part.

And that was 2013!

What does not kill me makes me stranger.



1) After a hiccup over the past few years job-wise (having been thrown a curve ball 3 years previously by being given a series of jobs I did not want), I managed to get my career back on track to where I wanted it to be, rather than where the job wanted me to be. I would manage to continue on this course until I got to the point the current day with my end goal very much in sight.

2) Malaysia Flight 370 vanished. Bits of it have since been found, but not the whole thing and only guesses can be made as to what actually happened to it. This combined with the later on shooting down of Malaysian Flight 17 would be enough to convince me that it was an unlucky company to fly with (as well as seeing examples of what passes for safe practice on many east Asian airlines, wtf

3) My new job had me frequently underemployed, leaving me nothing to do for long periods at work. I'd start idly browsing the net, which led me to reading a bunch of bad movie reviews, which would then lead to me actually posting on here once I'd run out of reviews to read and not because of any of the other reasons people have asked why I ended up here (which include looking for places to advertise my services as a freelance hitman, working in intelligence and a few other random reasons. Nope, I came here purely for the bad movies).

4) An Ebola outbreak kills nearly 30,000 people. Only the sheer lethality of the disease prevents it from spreading further. I had some friends in Zimbabwe who when anyone asked if they were safe would reply that we were closer to the disease outbreak than they were. Other people pointed out we had a lot of water between us and it, while they had land.

5) I spent a lot of time being amazed that I had actually gotten married. Much of the first year was spent with both of us being ill as we constantly traded European and American virus variants.

6) Having not wargamed for a decade, I got back into the hobby, playing WW2 games instead of the sci-fi and fantasy games I'd played previously.

7) The previous year had an incredible summer. This one however was much damper. The long walks we'd had in 2013 were not as common as we'd managed previously. The first few months of the year were just filled with storms. We'd get a day or two between them if we were lucky.

8) Speaking of walks, I discovered myself and Kristi had gained a level of fame locally for always being out on walks together. This took me by surprise.

9) Microsoft stopped supporting, what was for me, the least worst version of Windows.

10) Boko Haram were being right pains in the arses, kidnapping and murdering through bits of Africa. The French wanted to help out, which surprised me a lot. Less surprising was that they lacked the transport capabilities to get there, and the RAF had to ferry them into position.

11)  George W Bush's decision to disband the Iraqi military (and leave lots of militarily trained men suddenly unemployed with no way to support their families, gee who could ever have foreseen that would cause major problems) bore fruit when ISIL seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, meaning we had to go back there, and are still involved to this day. In just one action, they would slaughter almost 1,600 Iraqi airforce recruits. A campaign against the Yazidis saw 4,000 of them killed in a single region. I wonder if this caused them to cast any doubt on their claim to be gods chosen people when he/she/it did not choose to intervene and save them? Any religion whose adherents claim to be the only chosen ones should have a look at what has happened in their history and what divine interventions have taken place to justify this claim.

12) This year marked 100 years since the start of the Great War. We had a few events to mark this, some of which were organised by my wife. I always wondered if and how this was marked in Germany?

13) Scotland narrowly voted against independence. I had a massive internal struggle over which side to support. While I wanted always wanted independence, at that particular point in time it would have made things difficult. I started off planning to vote against it (reluctantly), but the arguments of people on the remain side convinced me we could leave and make it as they kept claiming various things I knew were wrong. Had I not voted that way, I'd forever have felt ashamed about it.

14) Rik Mayell died. I considered this to be a very selfish prick-type move, worthy of many of the characters he played. Eli Wallach also died, but he at least made it to a good age. The night after me and Kristi were having a conversation where we asked each other what is the Ultimate Warrior doing these days, it was announced he had died. This was not the first time we'd wondered what had happened to a once famous wrestler, and not the first time they'd died either. We stopped this being a topic of conversation after this one though and to this day we have never asked it again. The death I'd mourn the most for the celebrity world though would be Robin Williams.

Besides, mostly these days the answer seems to be in AEW.

15) Someone I potentially could have married confessed to being in love with me. Had they said this more than two years previously, they would have had a good chance but as it was, they were a bit late.

16) I got my first credit card. I still consider this to have been a bad idea. If I could, I'd still pay for everything in cash. It had certainly made it harder for the government to track me, something that I miss.                                                                      

17) I started looking at posts working on the Lightning II, as this would have meant a year living and working in the states and I figured Kristi would like that. She surprised me by telling me hell no, as she felt things were much better over here than over there, although there were a few things she missed. In the years following I'd increasingly meet people who were leaving the US for Europe, feeling it was a freer society with more civil rights and protections, or appreciating the lower student debt or whatever. For a while, I'd wonder if there was a brain drain going on from the US to elsewhere, in reverse of what had been the case for years previously, but I'd never bother looking up the relative emigration rates and the education levels of those moving.

18) I decided to make an effort to listen to newer music, rather than just cling to stuff from the 80s and 90s.

19) While in general married life agreed with me, I found it mentally exhausting being someone's sole emotional support. Always being there for someone else left me drained, but given she was now an ocean away from her nearest family, I could hardly not be supportive.

20) I used up my entire year's worth of leave, taking time off to spend with visitors, or going to see family (both mine and Kristi's). While I had enjoyed our guests, I also vowed that in future I'd take one to three days off to spend with them, rather than matching their entire holiday. This may have been kept better some years than others.

21) The wife of a friend would get drunk and tell me she wanted to have an affair with me. I turned her down as politely as I could as I neither wanted to risk my friendship nor my marriage. When I told Kristi about it, I got told I was in trouble for not making it clear enough that I was already taken.

So much for honesty.

22) I decided to watch all the Batman movies in order and came to the conclusion that Batman Forever had aged worse than Batman & Robin and was in fact a terrible movie, overacted by Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones.

23) A friend got me a signed picture from my childhood crush, Erin Gray. It remains a treasured possession.

24) We went on a holiday to the US and visited Disneyland. I also managed to persuade my American family that we should do more than just drive to Disneyland, so we visited Universal, one of the Californian beaches and took a trip to Rainbow Bar and Grill for my 40th birthday. I had the best pizza I have ever tasted in my life and refused to make eye contact with Ozzy Osborne when he entered the room in case he asked for a slice. I also made sure I had a Jack Daniels & Coke. Alas, Lemmy wasn't there when we were in as I'd have liked to have had a drink with him. We also visited the Hoover Dam. It felt like walking along the edge of a piece of paper put on its side. There were a lot of middle eastern tourists also visiting the dam, but it only has a narrow sidewalk. They all expected Kristi to move out of their way. I stood in front of her and made it clear that she would not be moving onto the road for them.

25) I lost my temper with Kristi for the first and only time. When we first got married she had a habit of slapping me on the back of the head, which I found immensely irritating and asked her to stop. She continued. She'd also often grab my hand and twist my arm up my back pulling me in for a kiss. This normally would only have been irksome, but I had tennis elbow not only in my elbow but also in my shoulder (caused by having to shift 22 tonnes of paperwork in two weeks) and this would send bolts of agony down my arm. Asking her nicely, begging, talking to her, and warning her not to do this were all tried over that summer and ignored.

One night she thought it would be funny to punch me in the shoulder. This was a full-force punch, not some little love tap, and on my sore shoulder to boot. I leapt out of my seat and roared that I never hit her and I didn't expect to be hit, but if she ever did that to me again I'd get up, do the same right back and see how she liked it and it wouldn't even violate my promise never to hit a woman first. She scrambled back to her seat and left me alone. Later on, she'd say that she was disappointed because she never thought I would get that angry at her. I said I was disappointed she would ever think it was ok to hit me. Regardless, she has never tried hitting me again and while we've had arguments, we've never gone anywhere near that far again.

It is sadly something I've noticed with women though. Asking them not to do something in a relationship is a sure-fire way to get them to do it. I wonder if this is the same with men?
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness


That's a deep, introspective list of memories.

And I can't say I've especially noticed men doing things I've ever seriously asked them not to do, so maybe it is a woman thing. Now you got me thinking....
What does not kill me makes me stranger.


Quote from: ER on July 15, 2022, 03:55:59 PM
That's a deep, introspective list of memories.

And I can't say I've especially noticed men doing things I've ever seriously asked them not to do, so maybe it is a woman thing. Now you got me thinking....

Guys, start asking women to never, ever give you oral sex.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness


2004: the Year of the Austin Soap Opera

1.   That February a little site called Facebook was founded, that would eventually waste more of people's time than all other social media combined.

2.   Hosting the Olympics that summer was partly responsible for the ruination of Greece's already crumbling economy, though internet gossip would also blame mysterious super-villain George Soros.

3.   The Red Sox broke the Bambino's curse and won the World Series, making my northeastern college friends happier than a wino with a whisky bottle. Sooo many babies nine months later!

4.   Some members of the FBI formally apologized for not sharing germane domestic intelligence in the months leading up to 9-11, revealing the freakin' stuck-up frat boy, game-playing, nose in the air, strutting-around  "let's make this job a rivalry" derelict jerks so many of them got away with being coming out of the late Clinton years.

5.   Coverage of the murders of Laci Peterson and her unborn son shoved aside stories about the Super Bowl's Nipplegate, a perilous event that threatened to erode our national morals. The most amusing media feeding frenzy of all, however, came after Britney Spears and a high school chum jumped over the broom for two glorious days as man and wife.

6.   Ronald Reagan joined the unseen majority in '04, and his funeral would be the biggest post-mortem event since coverage of Princess Diana's passing seven years earlier. When I was little it felt like Reagan had always been President and always would be.

7.   Lost was just what the world needed, but it was TV finales that were bigger news, as Friends and Frazier both left the air. I'd never watched an episode of either and still don't know if I missed something good; to me Kelsey Grammer will always be Sideshow Bob. TV seemed boring in 2004, except for CBS' Cold Case, and VH1's I Love The ('70s, '80s, '90s).

8.   The Da Vinci Code, basically lawn fertilizer in printed form, rode the best seller lists all year. A certain man in Texas---more on him in a minute---bade me read it, so I did. Sigh, I admired almost everything about him but his taste in books.

9.   Right after Christmas a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean would kill possibly as many as a quarter-million people. Sorry but God sometimes you just don't come through.

10.   The Passion of the Christ made Mel Gibson the darling of evangelicals, who called it a masterpiece and praised his attention to detail, like doing the entire film in ancient languages. Cynics meanwhile dubbed it artsy torture porn. Me, I wondered what was wrong with it being a little of both?

11.   Poor Ashlee Simpson got busted for doing what half the pop stars did, and became a lip-syncing punch line. The next March I'd escort my cousin's daughter McKenna to her concert, and actually liked her kinky song Lala, which far as I could tell was about an insatiably abuse-seeking girl fantasizing about getting rogered on a kitchen floor.

12.   For a few weeks my longtime pagan-nerd friend Rob asked everyone to start calling him Rio, though if I remind him of that today he'll throw a hissy fit, even though he remains fond of unusual names, having called his oldest son Draven, after The Crow, and his younger son Tolkien, after an obscure South African writer.

13.   Right before her thirtieth birthday, Dana asked me to go downtown with her, to a bar in the palm court of a historic art deco hotel, where she tied a few on while equally lamenting and embracing her impending thirties. Eventually she told me, "Watch this...." then proceeded to cutely explain to the hotel's manager: "I'm getting ready to turn thirty, I'm a little depressed and I had a whole lot too much to drink, which your bartender served me, and which my mom, who is a bulldog lawyer, would say makes you just possibly responsible for the fact I am in no fit state to drive. So because you got me drunk and because you're nice, I want you to comp me a suite with a good view of the city." I don't know where the BS-ing left off and actual liability on the hotel's part kicked in, but to my astonishment the amused queen-ish manager did exactly what she asked and gave  us this $500.00 a night suite, free! We ordered room service, jumped on the bed, and laughed through years of shared memories while gazing out a huge window at the glowing streets twenty floors below. Before she sobered up she even gave me a long, lingering, un-cousinly kiss. It was the most amazing thing! Not the kiss, I mean her getting us a suite like that.

14.   For the second time in my life, the polyandrous quality my employers had identified in me was in evidence. One of the men I had feelings for was someone I'd worked with since 2000 and had unexpectedly gotten extremely close to; the other I'd been involved with since late 2001 (for the first year sexlessly) but we took a break around New Year's '04, and that's when the guy in Texas leaped in, wanting us to be together. Eventually I'd marry the other man, and as for the one in Texas, he would bitterly tell me that he'd left his wife in part because he was in love with me, and in return I'd ruined his life by not giving what we could have had a fair chance. "Do you know how many women I could have had in the time I waited on you?" he demanded, and it was true, as he soon proved by pillowing about one percent of the women in Austin. We're still (shrug) friends but on his part it's more an "I forgive you but I haven't forgotten" deal, and considering my conduct toward him, I don't see how it could be anything else.

15.   Around this time I refused an assignment on the military base near Austin where I'd been working, and even if you are not in the military, as I wasn't, employment on a base comes with strict rules and serious consequences if those rules are broken. I had to appear at an intimidatingly formal hearing presided over by people from Washington DC, and right before we went in I asked my lawyer what the odds were I'd serve time. He said, "Only one in five. They respect some of your past contributions and regard you as made." In the end I was not charged, but I could have not only been fired from the job I'd worked since my teens, but gotten 180 days in jail. As I said in the hearing, I was wrong for what I did, since a person should never be the weak link in a chain. What I did not say was my refusal of the assignment had come because I wanted away from Texas and the man I'd loved and hurt there.

16.   Some lines from a popular song spoke to me: " to mistrust the ones you supposedly love the most/How to pretend you're fine and don't need help from anyone..." In the midst of sturm und drang so profound I was hearing messages in Alanis Morrisette songs, I made a middle of the night call to Los Angeles and talked for hours to that man I considered practically the devil, but who knew all about coming back after completely f**king up; someone with whom I had a begrudgingly deep history. I felt better after our talk, teaching me that sometimes the only way back to the light is through darkness.

17.   Also in Austin I worked with a Russia Jewish émigré named Menahim, who'd been a translator for the governments of both Israel and the United States. He was supposed to marry a young woman named Emily, who'd converted to Judaism during their engagement. About two weeks before the ceremony, Emily was having a pre-bridal shower party, and took ecstasy and did vodka shots. At some point after all but a couple friends had left, and those who remained were inside, Emily somehow fell into the pool off the patio, and her friends found her body in only about three feet of water in the shallow end. Menahim resigned his position in Austin and moved to Israel. The last time I saw him he stared vacantly like he wasn't even seeing me. The transformative power of grief was something I understood.

18.   John Titor, a supposed visitor from the mid-21st century, who claimed he came back in a time machine made by GE, got attention online when he warned not to be in Washington DC on March 15, 2015, because WWIII was to begin on that day with the nuking of the city. When that did not happen his apologists claimed he was telling of events in a different timeline than ours.

19.   Home that summer I took Tyler, who was almost six, to a park, and when we got back in the car I smelled gasoline, and the car wouldn't start. I got down on the ground and looked and someone had punched holes in my gas tank, and police would say an "Eco-Warrior" had been doing that all summer in a protest against fossil fuels.

20.   George W. Bush's reelection left me angry. A friend in another state had tried to talk me into voting for Mr. Bush when I was back in politically-purple Ohio, telling me my vote could count as his could not in his deep-red state. I respected him and his request but after going to three military funerals in the last six weeks, truthfully I would rather have marked my ballot for any third-party candidate than contribute a vote that helped return Rumsfeld's boss to office.

21.   Long wanting a grandchild and not getting any from her children, Aunt Christie, my dad's oldest sibling, went to China and returned with my baby cousin Alba, a sweet little girl we all quickly came to love. Later my aunt would tell me that being a twice-divorced woman of late middle-age, she had to pay over a hundred thousand dollars in bribes to get the adoption through.

22.   "The Man in Austin" and I did a road trip to San Antonio, and while touring the Alamo I asked where Ozzy Osborne had urinated. He said, "Against the chapel wall." I asked if a red-blooded local had shot Ozzy in mid-pee, would a Texas jury have convicted him? He said, "Maybe not if the shooter had pleaded he was so outraged by Ozzy's actions that he was temporarily insane." He was serious. Don't mess with Texas.

23.   In my time in Austin I would encounter Lance Armstrong, Jewel, Colin Farrell, Billy Bob Thornton, Colby Donaldson, Andy Roddick, Sheryl Crow, some of the cast and crew of The Real World: Austin, and Paul Walker, among other celebs milling around town. Compared to the staid environs of back home it was like Hollywood-lite, and famous people were all around.

24.   Proving how weird life is, within weeks of almost getting charged with dereliction, I received a commendation from my employers relating to "meritorious activities" from earlier in the year, and got a pay-raise. One thing about the people I worked for was they were remarkably tolerant of quirks and flaws, as long as you did not mess up on the job itself, which I hadn't, I'd only refused an assignment. They'd keep me around in various capacities til 2021, when I took twenty-five year retirement.

25.   And yet days later, having finished a long-term project for my bosses, I requested and was granted a leave from my job, left behind the US and its entangling problems, and went to live in Ireland, where I also have citizenship, not sure when or if I'd be coming back. (Um, spoiler, I did.)

And that was 2004, probably the craziest year of my life.

What does not kill me makes me stranger.



Mostly what I recall from this year, was what was big on the news.

1) This was the first new year that I have vivid memories of sitting up for, although I know I had been awake for several previously. I eagerly awaited Billy Connolly doing some jokes. This would be a highlight for several years of TV shows. I had heard of the book '1984', but hadn't read it (or seen the movie. Indeed, I still haven't), but I recall people talking about it at this time.

2) I saw pictures at school of the first untethered spacewalk. Cannot remember the names of the people involved though.

3) Iran would accuse Iraq of using chemical weapons. This did not lead to an outcry from the rest of the world, especially not from the countries funding the war or supplying those chemical weapons... It would surprise me a lot when this wouldn't come up some years later though.

4) Having moved from Cumbernauld, I would end up living in the town I'd spend the rest of my childhood in. I would continue living there until I was 27. Sometimes I disliked living there, sometimes I hated it, but my feelings about it were never positive. Several attempts to move away from it would be defeated by outside circumstances, but I would maintain a determination not to ever move back.

5) I recall the Soviet Union announcing it would boycott the Olympic Games that year. The whole tit-for-tat boycotting thing seemed pointless and childish to me.

6) The IRA attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher and failed. They did manage to kill several other people when they blew up the hotel she was in. This would lead to a wide-changing review of how the security services checked these places in advance and vetted people.

7) Speaking of assassinations, the Prime Minister of India was the victim of a successful attempt. It seemed like assassinating leaders you didn't like was a popular theme in Indian politics to a young me. She was killed by her Sikh bodyguards which lead to many anti-Sikh riots that left tens of thousands of them dead. Still, at least it didn't start a world war.

8) The new school I started this year was not a bad one. It sat near the shore, and often on nice days when school finished we'd meet up with the rest of my family and go spend the evening by the sea. I could spend hours just staring at the sea, although I have always been an indifferent swimmer. I would later become a proficient canoeist though.

9) The Ethiopian famine started to be shown on the news. The news constantly showed pictures of starving children, their stomachs strangely bloated and lacking the strength to swat the flies crawling over them. Irishman Bob Geldof and Scotsman Midge Ure (lead singers with The Boomtown Rats & Ultravox would be so shocked by this, that they would first gather up lots of UK musicians to first record 'Do They Know Its Christmas' and then go on to organise Live Aid, and many years later Live 8. Other countries jumped on the bandwagon and for a while, it seemed like the first world might actually do something about the third world.

10) Ronald Reagan won the election in the US. It is the first election outside of the UK that I can recall hearing about. That they would pick a former actor as their leader was a subject of much mirth in comedy shows for the next several years, it being the equivalent of hitting a gold mine of jokes. Schoolyard talk started to be more and more about nuclear war. Generally, viewpoints were divided up into three separate camps. The first (one person), was that no one would ever be stupid enough to press the button, the second (majority) was that the USA was the country most likely to fire its nuclear arsenal first and the third was the Soviet Union starting it.

11) The Bhopal disaster struck. The final death toll from this would be over 23,000.

12) I watched my first pirated VHS tapes (Raiders of the Lost Arc, Return of the Jedi and The Terminator). Depending on how you'd view watching a tape of Wrestlemania the following year, these would also be the only pirated VHS tapes I'd ever watch.

13) My best friends at this time were Richard Stirrit, a guy who I never saw win a single fight although he also didn't know when he'd been defeated and would end up taking several severe beatings. One especially, from a boy called Lewis Campbell left him so badly beaten up that the police had to get involved and Lewis would end up in court over it. Every time Lewis went to walk away from him lying, sobbing on the ground, he'd start shouting abuse at him and Lewis would turn around and give him another kicking. I couldn't help but feel it was his own fault for just not shutting up). William Brownlee, who was a fantastically talented artist and the best fighter in our class (he'd also end up in trouble with the police when he accidentally cost a girl an eye when he threw a stick at her) and Jim Rilley who the last I heard had joined the army and became a signaller.

14) I got into roleplaying games when I bought a book called The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I didn't know anyone else who was interested in playing them though and it would take a few years before I'd find a group of people to play.

15) I tried playing football but found it stupid (that is the real football for any Americans out there, you know the one that is played by having your foot kick a ball, not running with an egg-shaped thing).

16) I played on my first computer (rather than a console), a Spectrum 48K. Initially, I'd play a lot of platform games, but I quickly found them boring and would look for games that were more tactical.

17) The Quickshot II became my favourite joystick. When I heard about a new interface for computers I couldn't imagine it ever replacing them. Besides who would be stupid enough to buy something called a mouse?

18) I asked for and got a really good fishing rod for my birthday. I would get to use it twice. My father would however use it many more times than I would ever get to.

19) For Christmas I asked for a toy called Jetspace. You'd build up a network of tubes and some futuristic buildings that all connected together, then use pumps to propel little vehicles around them (including firing them across an open-air dome. I accidentally found where my parents had hidden it (underneath my brother's bed, not shoved to the rear or with anything in front of it. I spotted it when it was my turn to hoover up the rooms. Owning up to discovering it got me in trouble. I wouldn't quite learn my lesson about honesty and the bother it would get you into quite yet though.

20) I'd get a lot more toys than this that year, including Go-Bots (a Harley Davidson bike and a race car), Transformers (Bumblebee) and a lot of Star Wars figures (mostly revolving around the characters from Jabba's palace). I'd never get into the transforming vehicles much though. I did like the gun I got though that could be built up into multiple configurations including as I remember, pistol, machine gun and rifle.

21) I kissed my first girl. Jacqueline Robertson (or possibly Robinson?). It was at William Brownlee's birthday party and we snogged behind a pillow. I didn't really fancy her or anything though. There really was only one girl in the class that I was attracted to. She would leave the school though over an Easter break when her parents moved to Ireland. I wonder what ever happened to her after that?

22) A girl called Libby-Anne Munn (who was Jacqueline's best friend. I guess Libby was short for Elizabeth. For some reason adding Anne or Ann on to the end of a name was incredibly popular in 1974 in this part of Scotland, there was from what I can remember there was a Margaret-Ann and a Libby-Anne. There were others, but their names have been lost to time and a lack of care) who would start doing handstands with no knickers on at school. She'd do this every day at lunch for a couple of weeks, at least until word of it reached the parents).

23) I was forced to start going to Judo on Saturdays (which I enjoyed), and church of Sundays (which I didn't enjoy). I felt like I had no weekends anymore though. If I sat up late at night to watch horror movies at the weekend now, I'd be tired in the mornings now. The church attendance would last for 3 years and would include sitting through the adult services and then Sunday school and left me with a determination that not only would I not go to church when I had the option, but also that any children of mine would equally never be forced to attend it.

23) Everyone at school was raving over The Young Ones. It would be years before I would get to see it though.

24) I wasn't allowed to see Evil Dead, but I was allowed to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Satanic panic was a strange and random thing. Even at that age, I knew that it had more to do with distracting people from other things going on than any real connection to the devil. Combined with being forced to go to church, I really was gaining a very low opinion of religion. If I knew then what I know about it now, I'd have been disgusted by it and refuse to even pretend to sing the hymns or say the prayers (I used to change the words in the hope that if I didn't say them, it wouldn't count as worshipping. Shame I hadn't found out that all I had to do was not really mean it, but never mind).

25) I got lines for the first time as a punishment from school. I can't remember what they were for (I suspect it was for fighting though), but I do remember I had to write something out 50 times. I cheated and only wrote it out 43 times, but it wasn't noticed. This would come in handy the second time I got lines. I only ever got detention once. Anyway, I didn't want to admit I'd gotten them to my parents, so I got my friend's mum to sign them for me. My older brother would tell on me to our parents though. He always was a creep that way and trying to suck up to people.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness


Memories of 2005

1.   I lived part of '05 in Ireland, and spent new year's detained by police in Dublin following a dumb but innocent bit of accidental B&E undertaken by a group I was with, guided by one of our number who believed his friend still lived in a particular flat, and wouldn't mind us dropping by in his absence, even if it mean gaining access via the window. Turns out it, um, wasn't still his flat...

2.   Since my internal clock remained on US central time, I kept strange hours, and one night wrote an unpleasant tale called Notes From January 2005, that became my first story published outside the United States. I'd be asked to read parts of it to a UCG creative writing class.

3.   I hung out with a friend of my cousin Eonne's, this bisexual man named Orlando, who was born in Ireland, raised to his teens in Canada, and who came back to Ireland and took up the same profession as his mother: prostitution. He said it was in his past, but Eonne said don't believe him, it's not. He was a cool soul but a near constant liar who burned through friends like flame through a cigarette.

4.   YouTube launched (how-DID-we-exist-without-it?); Hurricane Katrina left 4/5ths of The Big Easy under water; Martha Stewart was released from prison; Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch; and Charles and Camilla got hitched.

5.   Straight Texan males lost their minds over Vince Young, who quarterbacked the Longhorns to an undefeated season. One I knew gushed to me: "He has the body of a Greek god!!!" Hmmm.

6.   John Paul II completed a papacy that began the same year I did. After white smoke went up, I was watching the reveal of the next Pope when I was asked who I thought the mystery person would be. I said, "75% it'll be Ratzinger who comes out wearing the ruby slippers." It was, and he became Benedict XVI.

7.   I came home and started things up again with my eventual husband, which I think was our... third....time of getting back together in 3 ½ years. I figure I must have something going for me because I know I am not always easy to be in a relationship with.

8.   Still, The Man in Austin told me he and I would be together in the end. He said this even as he was plowing a lot of women in '05, and making sure I knew all the details. Every time he added someone new to his conquests he'd count from one up to whatever number his latest bedmate happened to fall at, a figure that quickly rose deep into double digits. A couple of the women really grated me to know about, plus he managed to bring his ex-wife back into his life as well, a miracle considering the animosity of their divorce, and she made sure I heard about it, figuring revenge was a dish best served horizontal. Why tell me about his women? Partly he and I were confidants, but I think mostly it was out of a degree of anger. You see, there's something his pride didn't want anyone to know, but despite everything this man and I felt for each other, we never had sex. Truly. So he spitefully enjoyed trying to make me jealous almost as much as he did sleeping with all those women.

9.   George W. Bush returned to office boasting he had political capital and intended to spend it. No one, including probably Bush, knew what the hell he was talking about.

10.   I went to an Israeli film festival and saw 2 Minutes From Faradis. I also saw A Christmas Story on stage. Revenge of the Sith wrapped the prequels that year, but on small screens, The Office failed to gain much notice its first season. I'll also note The Rocky Horror Picture Show found a place in the National Film Registry.

11.   John Mayer's song Daughters, constantly on the radio in 2005, struck me as yucky. Fathers should be good to their daughters be-cause someday they'll be some man's lover? Really? That's why?

12.   Since my new work position was only one city distant from where I grew up, I was able to get an apartment near my family. One of my neighbors was Tilda, who worked for an airline and grew marijuana in her apartment, using her trucker boyfriend to sell it. Tilda, a hundred-ten pounds soaking wet, wore wigs and kept her head almost shaved, and owned a collection of strange pets with physical deformities, which she called her "life forms." These included an eyeless skink, a misshapen hermit crab, a songbird born with only one wing, and an albino ball python. Tilda was unabashedly omni-sexual: a word I don't think I knew in 2005. One night I was at her place while she was smoking a particularly potent indica, and she started kissing and groping me. She stopped when I pulled back and she said, "I just wanted to make sure you really didn't want to." She also later tried to fix me up with her trucker boyfriend.

13.   Another neighbor was Katie, a curly-haired, pear-shaped born-again Christian of indeterminate age, 35-50, who'd escaped from a cult, and who was the nosiest and gossipiest person I knew. She rarely left her flat where she resided with several housecats, and spent her days spying on the complex. She had solemnly warned me away from Tilda, though, so maybe I should give her some credit.

14.   The death of newsman Peter Jennings seemed oddly shocking to me, and I think it was because all my life he had been there, on TV. Now there isn't a lot left in pop culture I can say has been around all my life.

15.   Conan O'Brien discovered he resembled the President of Finland, a woman named Tarja Halonen, and went so far as to film ads supporting her re-election.

16.   If 2004 had sometimes been like living in a hailstorm, 2005 was the rainbow after the clouds cleared, although it was also the year I paid a thousand dollars to a man who accidentally killed someone I loved, to get him to tell me every detail of that day, because not knowing was worse. I listened to him, prodded his memory, showed little emotion, then went home and sat in the dark til morning, when I felt better.

17.   While Dana was off having twins, her first three children stayed with me, and her daughter McKenna put a whole granola bar in her mouth, and when I made her take it out, she called her dad AT the birthing center, DURING Dana's labor, WITH TWINS, to get him to tell me it was OK for her to do that! That girl is a type-A person.

18.   My sixteen-year-old maternal cousin Celia visited me that summer. We did things locally and then did a few days in Chicago; she got a Brazilian wax, ha. It was such a wonderful visit it's hard to reconcile those good times with the cruel person she went on to be, even in the future plotting to have a fellow addict abduct my baby and hold her for the money she needed to pay for opioids. In 2005, though, hosting this girl I'd loved ever since I was ten and held as a newborn, made me happy.

19.   A woman whom my Don Draper-ish grandpa had once "kept" in the 1960s came to me and asked for financial help. She wasn't trying to extort money, and had truly loved my grandfather, so I helped her. I was a teenager before I was clued in by all-knowing Dana that the grandpa I was so close to had not been faithful to my grandma during their long marriage, and it broke my heart, though it was only after his death that I was confronted with how much cheating there had actually been. Lessons learned? The people we love are not perfect. Try to love them anyway. Also: try not to leave messes behind your family will have to clean up.

20.   I was on a flight to Virginia when a man woke up in the midst of a night terror and flung himself all over the plane's interior thrashing and howling in multiple languages for maybe twenty seconds before his colleagues settled him down. He had severe PTSD but because of stigma back then it took years before he sought help with it. I saw him a few months ago and he's doing well.

21.   Because I'd learned American Sign Language, I joined an ASL conversation group at a community center, and it was fun to "talk" to people that way and also learn ASL swear words so lurid they'd make Yiddish blush.

22.   For the first time in years I inked something on my bedroom ceiling, the Victorian writer Mathew Arnold's: "Wandering between two worlds, one dead/The other powerless to be born..." If ever I were to get a tattoo, and I am not going to even though in retirement I am finally allowed them, I think I'd go for words over illustrations.

23.   In one busy weekend, my dear friend Clare got married, my future husband and I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and while there saw Bright Eyes in concert. By Monday I was operating on sheer adrenaline.

24.   I got a bloody nose in a work-related self-defense class sparring with a USAF instructor named Tyrone, who wasn't supposed to make that kind of contact, but who had a chip on his shoulder about the pecking order there. When the admittedly light jab landed my inner child thought, "Hey, boys can't hit girls!" There is zero doubt he did it on purpose. No one would hit me again for a decade and a half, til Clare's mom slammed her ringed fist into my face in a parking lot one morning and almost calmly said, "You know what that's for." I didn't, actually, though if she'd have specified a decade, '90, '00s, '10s, or a family member, son, daughter, husband, godson, herself, it might've helped narrow it down. I swear, if there is such a thing as karma, it is mine to be connected to her family, and I'm not sure I could escape if I tried.

25.   2005 was mostly great, but nothing is perfect, and I saved the worst for last. Late in the year I moved into the house my grandpa left me, the house I still live in today, and also persuaded Gina, my longtime best friend, to move in with me. However, Gina discovered she was pregnant after breaking off an engagement. Poor soul went in a few weeks from virgin to engaged to this. She said she could not have this child, that it would entangle her forever with the controlling man she'd gotten away from. She told me she was going to have an abortion, and asked me to go with her to a clinic upstate, where no one would know her. I lived in dread every day, begging her please don't do this. I did my best to be there for her, I didn't love my friend any less, other women I knew had terminated pregnancies, but the fact Gina of all people went through with an abortion was a shock like few I have ever known, and to the last minute I thought she'd change her mind. She wouldn't tell her family for years.

And that was 2005.
What does not kill me makes me stranger.


1. I remember hearing about the big DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT or "DISCO SUCKS!" event.  It was a destruction of disco records/albums that had been put into a large crate in the middle of the field at Comiskey Park during a White Sox/Tigers doubleheader.  The 2nd game is forfeited due to the mess/ensuing chaos.
2. Disco was still going strong but it would crash and burn in a couple years or so.  I WILL SURVIVE and MAKIN' IT was huge around our house.
3. I remember getting a MR. MICROPHONE for Christmas '79.  It was a popular toy around that time but I don't know if I ever really used it.  I would go on decades later to enjoy karaoke even to this day.
4. Blondie had their breakthrough hit (their first #1) HEART OF GLASS debut.  Debbie Harry was a hot little thing but man was she stoned out of the stratosphere.
5. The US hostages at the assembly in Tehran was ALL over the news.  They were of course released unharmed in 1981.
6. There was a total solar eclipse, very rarely visible in the US.
7. Eventual NBA titans Larry Bird and Magic Johnson meet in the NCAA Championship game.  Johnson's Michigan State Spartans prevail.
8. Margaret Thatcher is elected as the first female UK Prime Minister.
9. The city of Seattle gets national recognition as the Sonics win their first, and only, NBA title.
10. Game shows in the 70s were huge, and I remember some new ones debuting that year-- WHEW!, PASSWORD PLUS, and MAKE ME LAUGH.
The rest to come when this computer finishes re-booting.
"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."


11. I remember seeing news breaks concerning the fall of Pol Pot's regime in Vietnam, and he and his Khmer Rouge exiled to the Thai border.
12. In animation news, I remember a crappy special of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.. also, the much-maligned character "Scrappy Doo" made his debut.  THE BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER MOVIE would go on to appear on cable approximately a hundred billion times.
13. The cool INTELLIVISION debuts, and gives the mighty Atari 2600 a bit of a competitive scare, though its sales still end up well short of Atari's.
14. I went to the Tanasbourne Mall near Hillsboro OR to see KRAMER VS. KRAMER.  Though it was long and not really for an 8-year old kid, I cracked up when the kid tells Dustin Hoffman (the dad), "I hate you!", to which Hoffman retorts, "I hate you back, you little sh*t!".
15. We went several times to see the cool TIME AFTER TIME.  I got freaked out by the severed hand scene.
16. My mom told me how badly ALIEN scared the bejeezus out of her in the theater.  No way was I going to get to see it!  I thought it was odd that it played on a double bill with STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE (which was rated G!).
17. Had a lot of fun watching THE MUPPET MOVIE; still love that "Moving Right Along" song/scene with Fozzie and Kermit.  "A bear in his natural habitat.. a Studebaker."
18. ASTEROIDS was such a big deal!  That kind of "Jaws" theme playing as the space rocks close in on you got me all kinds of excited!
19. We freaked out over the Bond villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) actually speaking in MOONRAKER!  "Well.. here's to us."
20. THE JERK was Steve Martin's big breakthrough in the movies.  I still quote it to this day.  "He hates these cans!" XD
21. Oh man.. the old Valley Theater that never got properly fixed up.. went to see MEATBALLS there and loved it!  "Spazz!  Spazz!  Spazz!", "It just doesn't matter!" and the song "Are you ready for the summer?" I still fondly remember.
22. I remember the great tagline when PHANTASM came out: "If this one doesn't scare you.. you're already dead."  Kind of dumb movie though.
23. The Ramones really took off when they got their movie exposure with ROCK 'N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.
24. Great opening to WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, with "Have you checked the children?" and "The call is coming from inside your house!  GET OUT!".  Too bad the rest of it sucked.
25. I remember seeing CALIGULA in the papers and hearing about major controversy surrounding its sex and nudity.  It's.. not a good movie.
There's plenty of other things I could mention that struck a chord with me back then (or things that were popular at the time that I was not aware of at all at the time) but I think I've covered a nice medley of personal experiences and some memorable events for others.
"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."


Quote from: retrorussell on July 19, 2022, 01:10:29 AM

24. Great opening to WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, with "Have you checked the children?" and "The call is coming from inside your house!  GET OUT!".  Too bad the rest of it sucked.

I saw that at a theater in Queens, NYC!
Supernatural?...perhaps. Baloney?...Perhaps not!" Bela Lugosi-the BLACK CAT (1934)
Interviewer-"Does Dracula ever end for you?
Lugosi-"No. Dracula-never ends."
Slobber, Drool, Drip!


Quote from: Trevor on July 05, 2022, 10:53:20 PM
Quote from: Alex on July 04, 2022, 06:34:22 AMWe carried him inside and used him as a doorstop.

Oy  :buggedout: :wink:

I often come across people who have no greater possible use than as a doorstop.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness


Quote from: RCMerchant on July 19, 2022, 07:31:52 AM
Quote from: retrorussell on July 19, 2022, 01:10:29 AM

24. Great opening to WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, with "Have you checked the children?" and "The call is coming from inside your house!  GET OUT!".  Too bad the rest of it sucked.

I saw that at a theater in Queens, NYC!

I remember one of my aunts being really freaked out by When A Stranger Calls.
I'll show you ruin
I'll show you heartbreak
I'll show you lonely
A sorrow in darkness


Quote from: RCMerchant on July 19, 2022, 07:31:52 AM
Quote from: retrorussell on July 19, 2022, 01:10:29 AM

24. Great opening to WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, with "Have you checked the children?" and "The call is coming from inside your house!  GET OUT!".  Too bad the rest of it sucked.

I saw that at a theater in Queens, NYC!

And the rest of it still sucked! 
If you want to view paradise . . . simply look around and view it!


Memories of 1991

1.   Operation Desert Shield---which sixth-grade boys were known to call Operation Panty Shield---turned into Desert Storm that January. It used to irk me to see those omnipresent stickers that barked out: "Support Our Troops!' Why not: "I Support Our Troops"?

2.   Gina's nine-year-old brother, Mark, was scheduled to get braces, something he opposed so much that one night I watched him trying to straighten his teeth with pliers.

3.   Kentucky Fried Chicken switched its name to KFC, and while sitting in traffic, I was watching a crew change  the sign at one, when I saw sparks start coming out of the lighting area behind  the sign. We had to drive on, but the news that night showed the restaurant minutes after we'd passed, with its brand new KFC sign engulfed in flames.

4.   In entertainment, it seemed like T-2 ruled the multiplexes, while Northern Exposure became my new favorite TV show.

5.   Muscovites bravely stood up to would-be oppression when old-guard Communists rolled the dice, and Gorbachev survived the coup attempt that made Boris Yeltsin a hero.

6.   At twelve I played in my first tennis tournament, and considering my late start in the sport, was surprised to make it to the semis, though I wouldn't advance that far again til '92.

7.   My mom made me take piano lessons after tennis on Saturdays, proving that whatever other talents I possessed, I had NO musical aptitude whatsoever.

8.   It was like all at once almost everyone at my school started eating this thing called Fruit By The Foot. It was beyond explicable how quickly it took over a generation's snacking agenda, so I suspected mind control.

9.   My parents used to let me take a bus alone downtown. Mostly I went to the huge main library, then sat on the Square and fed pigeons scraps of bagels. Occasionally I'd go down to the river and watch barges pass by, or go up on the observation deck of the tallest building in the city and see three states. It gives me pause to think I was allowed to do this, since even "the most livable city in North America three years running" had dangers.

10.   I was downtown by myself one Saturday when a Scientologist handing out pamphlets for a free personality test approached. He asked my name and what I liked to do with my time, and I said play tennis. He said, "Uh-huh, well let me ask you something, do you think you might like to invest your life in something vitally important to humankind, or do you want to spend it playing tennis?" I said, "Playing tennis." But I took his pamphlet.

11.   I was obsessed with Jim Morrison for a few months, but when the Oliver Stone bio-pic came out and lots of people got into The Doors, I was afraid everyone would think I was only into them because I'd jumped on the bandwagon, so I pretended I hated the band. I will say the first time I heard The End that spring, I got goose bumps, and I can't think of another song that ever did that to me, including Smashing Pumpkins' magnum opus, Tonight, Tonight.

12.   I finished sixth grade ranked fourth in my year, which you'd think would've gotten me some praise at school, right? No, I had to see my advisor to discuss why I didn't do better, and then go over suggestions for how I could move up higher next fall in seventh grade.

13.   The hero of Saturday mornings during my '80s childhood, Pee-Wee Herman, got caught....enjoying himself in a public place. A joke that followed was: "Hey, kids, the secret word is, 'exposure!'"

14.   That summer my maternal grandfather, a learned and kind-souled man who ran his parish's outreach to shut-ins and the poor, took me to The Dublin Museum of Natural History, which had none of that modern interactive stuff, just awesome displays of cool things to see. My grandfather was a serious, soft-spoken sort of man who liked almost everyone, and was liked by almost everyone in return. He was never rich, never poor, and he read a non-fiction book a week for fifty-some years, making him well-informed about a great many things, despite his formal educating ending at fifteen. The older I become, the more respect I find I have for him in memory.

15.   Same summer, my cousin Magda, who was a year older than me, taught me how to read Tarot cards, something delightfully illicit, since our rosary-rattling grandmother would have thrown them away if she saw. We sat out in a pasture beside a centuries-old stone wall, and she showed me each card and told me the meaning, then beguilingly informed me my future would contain many loves and many secrets. I got my own deck when I came home. Still have it too.

16.   We had a bulldog old nun subbing for us on the first day of seventh grade, and as I passed her desk at the start of class, she grabbed my arm like a vice and pointed to a faint patch of blue ink on my hand, where I'd been stamped to get onto a tennis court the day before, and chewed me out in front of the other students, then made me go scrub my hand twice, coming over each time to inspect it. I hope these days she's the only nun in Heaven without a McMansion.

17.   I used to come home from school and watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, even though it was lame. It featured middle-school kids willing to spend half an hour running full-tilt around a floor map, in order to win a mail-in coupon for an atlas. I think I was soon watching it to laugh at the stupidity of contestants, but I seldom missed it.

18.   Nirvana's Nevermind debuted in the fall, and was the first CD in my life that I remember taking over my stereo that completely. I played and re-played Nevermind for weeks, then the album got popular, and in rebellious disgust at myself for liking something so many others did, I shelved it for around six months, missing the fact that as with The Doors earlier in the year, I was vicariously letting other people control me. Needless to say Nevermind remains one of the decade's cultural milestones.

19.   That fall, in the middle of my hometown, the most conservative city in America, there was a massive pro-marijuana rally. The state had decriminalized possession of up to 100 grams back in the '70s, but local cops found creative ways to bust people for something bigger when caught smoking. It was outrage over this which drew NORML to come, and it all unfolded twenty-five minutes from my house. Needless to say, Dana went, and when she came back I asked how it was. She disgustedly said, "Wasted people wasting time talking about hemp for oil when everybody really wants it for smoking." Dana was always giving me mixed messages about drugs, saying she was going to get me stoned someday (not that I exactly wanted her to) yet also saying that me doing drugs would be like tearing the wings off a butterfly. She was confusing.

20.   My mom was taking evening art classes, and I'd go with her and roam the university campus, where I struck up acquaintances with a few students. I remember one extremely weird boy called Carl was sitting outside reading a new novel entitled American Psycho, which I didn't know much about, so I asked Carl how it was. He got this faraway look and said, "I get Patrick Bateman. I really do." A couple years in the future when I read American Psycho, I remembered Carl and wondered how could he "get" someone as shallow and materialistic as Patrick Bateman.

21.   Anita Hill accused SCOTUS-nominee Clarence Thomas of lewd behavior while she worked under him at the EEOC. Not since Iran-Contra were federal hearings so broadly watched by the public, and I was gladder than ever I didn't drink Coke in a can.

22.   At school, everyone was yanked out of class and abruptly assembled to find out who glued a Playboy centerfold to a classroom door. When ID'd, the culprit, an eighth-grade boy, got expelled. If you haven't figured it out, those running my school were cut-throat. For example, a couple times a month I and all participants in a special group taking advanced classes had to see a psychologist named Dr. Nora, who told us she held anything we ever talked about in confidence, but the truth was she recorded our sessions and gave them to administrators, who kept notes on them.

23.   I turned thirteen on Christmas Eve, and as we drove home in the middle of the night after midnight mass at the 19th century cathedral downtown, it started snowing beautifully, and by the time I woke up there was two inches on the ground for our White Christmas!

24.   In the last week of the year, I was finally allowed to go to the mall and get my ears pierced, practically the last girl my age I knew to do it. That night my right earlobe burned, so I got out of bed and went downstairs for an ice cube to hold to the piercing, and fell asleep with it there. The cold fluid filled my ear canal, and I spent the rest of 1991 with an ear ache. Feel free to laugh.

25.   Sick as I was, on December 31, 1991, I was glad to see the Soviet Union come to a well-deserved end, when on live TV the red flag descended at the Kremlin. It was probably the biggest historical event since the end of WWII.

And that was 1991.

What does not kill me makes me stranger.