I Love Junk

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So, the return of both Matt and Annette to fairly regular blogging has prodded me to wanna post something here. I really do love having a blog for humor/pop culture stuff, and I miss writing on it. I still don’t really have any content to add here, but I figured I’d at least explain where I’ve been.

There’s a few good reasons I haven’t been blogging here:

1) I had big plans for a Halloween countdown/megaparty/other-word-less stolen-from-Matt last October. I got exactly one post into that countdown before my mother had a heart attack and died. This whole year I’ve been trying to recover from that. I don’t think I’ll ever be over that, but I’m at least slowly starting to feel like a human being again. Still, there’s nothing quite like losing your mom to kill your fun/humor blogging mojo.

2) And yet, I have been spending a LOT of time this year concentrating on more serious writing, mostly pertaining to hippie shit none of you care about and may find infuriating. Which is why I don’t generally share it here. (On the off chance you do care about hippie shit, my other writing is here.) So yeah, all my blog-juice has been going into my other blog.

3) Except for a few brief stints here and there, I’ve been unemployed since April 2009. You’d think being unemployed and bored would result in *more* blogging, but since this blog is about toys and junk food and media, and my access to all of those is significantly limited right now, the well runneth dry. I can only write so much about random crap I find lying around my house, and I really do not want to be one of those people who just links to shit I find on Youtube.

4) Much as it pains me to say it, I seem to be growing up. I am almost 25 years old. I started this blog when I was 22. That doesn’t sound like a big age gap, but if you think about it, it’s the difference between being barely old enough to drink and being able to see 30 on the horizon. I still mostly feel like a kid, but I can also feel my thoughts being pulled toward settling down, having kids, caring how my house looks, and various other boring adult shit. Kerplopitgoes Island is calling. Although apparently I am not too far gone, since I’m using Rocko’s Modern Life references to describe adulthood. But the point is, spending all my money on toys and candy and stuff isn’t as appealing as it used to be.

5) Let’s face it – we’re not in a great era for junk right now. The economy is still in the shitter, people are becoming more conscientious about food choices and consumerism, and there’s a disturbing “fun is a waste of time” mindset creeping through American culture as a whole, even (or perhaps especially) with regard to kids. All of this is bad for toys, games, junk food, cartoons, and goofy frivolous shit in general. We are just not living in the era of blue french fries and purple ketchup anymore 😦 (On the other hand, thinking about this makes me want to blog here more just out of rebellious spite, so perhaps this can work to my advantage.)

There’s also a few not-as-good reasons I haven’t been blogging here:

1) I feed heavily off X-E for inspiration, and during the off-season (and let’s face it, X-E is a very seasonal website – which I frankly am fine with, because I share Matt’s overall sentiment that late winter and spring are boring) I just don’t feel super junk-oriented.

2) I always feel like I write about the same crap over and over again. I know y’all are tired of Star Trek and Michael Jackson. Even I am.

3) Anytime I want to write about something nostalgic, I become overwhelmed with Simpsons-Already-Did-It Syndrome. Oh, Matt has an article about this. Oh, Mystie already covered that. The Angry Video Game Nerd has a video about that game, the Nostalgia Critic has a video about this cartoon, everyone will think I am ripping them off, yada yada. Kinda kills the fun.

4) A lot of my childhood favorite things are actually from the 60s or 70s, or even earlier, and I assume this stuff will bore everyone.

So I know it’s pretty lame to make a return post just to make excuses for never blogging, but I felt like getting all that off my chest. That being said, I really do want to use this blog more. If nothing else, I think lightening up a bit would be very healthy for me at this point, and this is a good outlet for that. The good news is, I’m in the middle of some life changes that will make my life less monotonous, and that will undoubtedly give me more to write about.

…is cancelled. Family emergency. HOWEVER please do check back here, because I have a few things that are so awesome I can’t possibly avoid posting about them. I just can’t commit to the whole countdown anymore.

Ironically for a post in which I’m announcing the cancellation of the official countdown, I’m also providing an entry. Because this is too awesome not to share. If any of you are going to Halloween Horror Nights and want to avoid spoilers, skip this. Otherwise, you MUST watch, because it is epic. Those of you who read this blog regularly will have noted certain patterns in my interests, and will also note that those are extremely well-represented here.

Seriously, y’all. Having seen Spock dancing to “Single Ladies” and “Thriller”, I can promise that this will be my last thought upon dying, even if I die 60 years from now. This is officially the most awesome thing I will ever see in my entire life. A fantastapotamus couldn’t top it.

The first law of blogging is this: If you go around promising posts ahead of time, something WILL happen to make a liar of you. Because this law seems to apply tenfold to me, I managed to miss the first day of my own goddamn countdown. FML. But fear not! I have 31 posts planned, and 31 posts is what you shall receive. I’ll just have to double up, or triple up, depending on how big of a slacker I turn out to be.

I was hoping to start with a long, interesting article, but as today draws to a close I’m realizing that’s not going to happen. A cheap start is better than no start at all, yeah? So instead, I submit for your approval….

Klaus Nomi! Singing songs other than “Lightning Strikes”!

What the hell does Klaus Nomi have to do with Halloween, you ask? Well, his music is… unsettling, to be sure. And he looked like the MPREG lovechild of Liberace and Count Chocula. Surely that counts for something?

Plus, he was German. That’s kind of evil.

In case that first song didn’t make jamming an icepick into your ears seem like a good idea, here’s another. This one comes complete with bonus cheesy 70s video editing effects. Hey, it worked for Queen, right?

Bonus: If you’re a Venture Bros. fan, now you know who that other dude was that hung out with David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Perhaps this tidbit will one day win you some swag or something.


Welcome to I Love Junk’s 2009 Halloween party! You can expect a new post every day of October, each featuring a different piece of Halloween mayhem. I’ll be mostly covering things I haven’t seen around any of the other blogs I read, so expect to find some buried treasure. Also some buried crap. But I promise everything featured here will be of higher quality than that banner up there. This blog is called I Love Junk, not I Love Shit A Kindergartner Could Make. Subtle difference.

I don’t wanna give too much away, but expect insanity. Expect stupid things you forgot about. Expect nostalgia. Expecto patronum.

Happy October, everyone!

Okay, I think that last post got all the depressing, gushy stuff out of my system. In the immortal words of that weird Apollo dude on Star Trek: “NO SAD FACES!!” Yesterday was a historic day for reasons other than people dying. Why? Because Wil Wheaton fucking replied to me on Twitter, bitches. Lookie:


That’s right, I’ve exchanged Simpsons quotes with a Star Trek actor over a website on which my username is derived from a D&D-related internet meme. I have truly arrived in the Land of Geek. It is less basement-like than I had been led to believe, though it does reek slightly of melted solder.

I also learned that random-ass motherfuckers will follow you in a heartbeat if they see your name on a famous person’s Twitter feed. If any of the, like, two of you who read this blog decide to follow me please let me know you saw me here, because otherwise I will assume you’re just some crazy person who wants to rape me and sell me a timeshare, not necessarily in that order. You’d be a pretty bad salesman if you tried to make your pitch after the rape.

Speaking of the two people who read my blog, DJ D gave me an award! He actually gave it to me nearly a month ago, but since I am a bad blog friend I did not know this until he told me on Facebook some 30 minutes ago. Quoth the DJ:

I randomly stumbled across her blog last year while at work and sat in the corner quietly shaking with the church giggles as I read her assessment of Babysitter Club books.

“Shaking with the church giggles” was not previously part of my phrasebook, but it totally is now. Few people are better at prodding me to write than DJ D, with his incredible Jewish mother guilt trip powers. (This is a good thing – there is no better motivator, for a writer, than knowing someone really would like you to please hurry up and write something already. Unless that someone is a professor.) You should go check out his blog, and all the other awesome people he gave awards to, most of whom will definitely be on my blogroll just as soon as I finally get around to making one. You can expect that around the time people stop making crackpot end of the world predictions involving Nostradamus (translation: holding your breath is not recommended).

I’ve always wanted to do a proper “Christmas Fallout” post, so here it is! My 2008 Christmas, in pictures:

Pictured above is the stuff I opened on Christmas morning, less one shirt that needs to be exchanged and one visually uninteresting throw pillow.  This is all pretty self-explanatory, except that the bottle is vanilla bubble bath and (in case it’s not obvious) the purple stuff below that is lavender incense.  My mom has finally picked up on the trend that every scented thing in my life has to smell like lavender, vanilla, or lavender-vanilla.

With a couple of exceptions, everything here was something I specifically asked for. The Spiderman basketball hoop was kind of an odd gift; I asked for toys, hoping to get Legos, or Pokemon, or something nostalgic like a Barbie. You know, something I would’ve played with as a kid, which my mom should have a good handle on since she raised me and everything. Instead I got a random Spiderman basketball hoop. I actually like it more than I thought I would, because having an excuse to throw stuff in the house is pretty awesome. Plus if I really wanted to I could put it over my trash can and pretend to be a teenager in an 80s or 90s sitcom. Since I’ll never get my own phone booth this is a pretty good substitute.

The only other non-requested gift was the makeup. I’d never think to ask for makeup since I own tons of it, but as my mom pointed out this is because I never throw it away. She probably got tired of looking at my Pleistocene-era makeup in the bathroom, so she got me this neat little kit. It’s a pretty nice kit, where niceness is defined by how many of the eyeshadows are sparkly. At least four or five of them are!

I should also mention how nice it is to have season 1 of The Simpsons. Our local Fox channel doesn’t seem to run any episodes before season 8, probably figuring everyone has the early seasons on DVD by now. As a result it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen anything from the first seven seasons. Watching season one is like spending Christmas with a long-lost childhood friend.

There’s a semi-interesting story about the Scrabble game. I have a close friend who I used to share a dorm with, but who lives far away now, and we both love Scrabble. We spent a lot of nights this summer playing internet Literati but neither of us owned the actual board game. This year for Christmas, we BOTH got Scrabble. Totally unplanned. Not the most exciting coincidence ever, but I thought it was really cool.

And I got a waffle iron! I haven’t made homemade waffles since I was 15! WAFFLES!

And as for Rubber Soul, I was probably the last remaining Beatles fan on the planet who didn’t own it. Now that situation is rectified!

I also got some money, so I went out today and bought this stuff:

HELL YES. I’ve been wanting a new Pokemon game for years but have never kept up with the current handheld gaming technology, so this is my first version since Red. I chose Pearl over Diamond partly on a friend’s recommendation, and partly because it contains a Pokemon called Glameow. I don’t care if the actual Pokemon sucks, the name Glameow is just kickass. And after my recent disappointment with finishing New Super Mario Bros. in a week (still loved the game, but fuck), it’s nice to have a DS game that will occupy me for the next 400 years.

SingStar Legends is just totally badass. I already own SingStar 80s, but two of the four people willing to play it with me aren’t too familiar with 80s music, and the other two moved. Legends has a lot more variety – it’s got everything from Bowie to Elvis to Joy Division to the Jackson 5, and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t find at least one song they know on here. I’m so in love with this game.

I already owned three different versions of Trivial Pursuit, and now I own four. This one is unique though – the questions are electronic instead of on a thousand little cards, and best of all, you can totally customize the categories. I’m planning on giving this game its own post once I’ve actually played it, but I’m thrilled to death that I can now live my dream of playing Trivial Pursuit without a damn sports category.

Not pictured is stuff I got from people at work. From coworkers, I got lots of candy, various scented candles, one of those mug-and-cocoa-mix sets, a nice hand soap and lotion set, and slippers. From parents of students, I got a little vanilla bath set (yay! vanilla!) and a set of fancy coasters that you can insert photos into.

For posterity, here’s a list of stuff I got my mom:

  • Elvis CD
  • Mr. Coffee iced tea maker (works just like a coffee maker, but makes pitchers of tea)
  • The Honeymooners DVD set
  • Electric blanket
  • Candlemaking supplies
  • Various hair accessories, bubble bath, and body powder
  • Giant collage photo frame
  • Calendar with pictures of puppies
  • Two pairs of slippers

I had a hard time getting in the spirit, but I think it was stress getting to me. Two weeks to relax, play, and get my bearings is my greatest gift this year, and I sure am enjoying it. I hope you all had a great Christmas, or whatever else you celebrate, if anything – and if nothing, I hope you had a great December anyway.

Most people dread cleaning out storage areas. It’s an annoying chore, especially since these tend to be the places where we throw things we have no clue what to do with. This was certainly true in this case. However, digging through all the ugly shirts my ex left behind and all the random boxes I saved for unclear reasons, I found a lot of stuff I forgot I had. Much of it is really awesome, or at least really amusing. Here are the top 10 most interesting things I found in my closet.

#10: Photomosaic Tiger Puzzle!

This is something I totally forgot I had, and for good reason: I hate puzzles. I’ve hated puzzles ever since I was a kid, for no other reason than I just plain suck at them. The only puzzle I could get into was my kickass TMNT puzzle that showed the inside of the Technodrome, and that was only because my love of Krang was more powerful than my puzzle hatred.

As an adult, I have literally sat on a carpet with a bunch of six year old special ed students, furrowing my brow as we struggled together to try and assemble a 24-piece dinosaur floor puzzle. Usually they figured it out before me. My problem with jigsaw puzzles is mainly that I tend to look at the colors rather than the shapes, because shapes are not my forte. For the same reason, I’ve always preferred painting over drawing, since with paint you can sort of blob on some color and smear it around until it looks vaguely like a tree, or the Virgin Mary, or your Aunt Martha’s psychotic poodle.

For someone who is bad with shapes, Photomosaic puzzles are like a punishment from the 9th circle of Hell. Basically, they’re a bajillion tiny pictures that combine to form one larger picture. As art, they’re brilliant, and fascinating to look at. As puzzles, they’re pure, undiluted evil. Each individual puzzle piece contains several different pictures, meaning you cannot use color to tell where they go. You can’t even refer to the box, since every piece looks exactly the goddamn same. These things make me flip out ninja style.

So, why on earth would someone who loathes puzzles buy one of these in the first place? I blame the zoo. See, every time I go to the zoo, I go with one thing on my mind: TIGERS. I’ve always been fascinated by tigers. They look so loveable and cuddly, yet they will eat your fucking face off. This makes them equally appealing to boys, girls, furries, and fans of homoerotic magic shows alike. The problem is, our zoo rarely has tigers around. For years it lacked tiger awesomeness entirely, until one day they made a big announcement: They had white tigers. White tigers are the cream of the crop when it comes to felines, so of course this was a major event. Major events meant being able to talk my mom into getting me things from gift shops, and that’s how this puzzle came into my life. Maybe one day I’ll actually sit down and work on it for like ten minutes before my cats jump on the dining table and knock the pieces all over the floor.

As a bonus, when I opened the box, I found these doodles I did of eyes in random different colors. I have no more insight than you do as to why I would have drawn a bunch of eyes and tucked the result into a puzzle box. In fact, you probably have more insight into this than I do. Share your insight with me.


#9: Naked Baby Alive Doll!

Why is it that when we discover our old dolls lying around the house, they’re always naked? Baby Alive is an odd shape and size, so I can’t think of any other pressing use I would have had for her clothes. Maybe little girls just go through a phase where they like stripping the clothes off their dolls, perhaps around the same time they start chopping their poor Barbies’ hair into hideous mullets.

In case you’re not familiar with Baby Alive, her claim to fame is being the nastiest doll around. Move over, Betsy Wetsy. Baby Alive does your work and then some: She pees and poops. Even better, she poops runny green diarrhea, because runny green diarrhea is what you feed her. Clearly this is designed to provide a lesson in realistic childcare: babies shit all the goddamn time, and it’s not nice round droppings like the ones your dog plops out. More clever kids than I probably drew the ultimate, awesome conclusion that you could force the doll to eat her own poop. I wish I’d been that clever, because that’s the best use for a baby doll ever.

What I remember most about Baby Alive was the weird little food packets. She came with these little individual pouches of weird powdery mix. Add water, and you get her delicious diarrhea food. The sad thing was the stuff actually smelled pretty good. I always wanted to eat it myself, but I knew I mustn’t. This watery goo had a purpose in life, and that purpose was to drip slowly through a plastic doll and leak out of her crotch. Baby Alive needs to get that fistula checked out.

The dolls have recently made a comeback. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it’s nice to see that kids are still playing with dolls that highlight the grosser side of parenting. On the other hand, the new dolls creep me the hell out. Either way, Baby Alive is gonna be sticking around for awhile, making poop that is indistinguishable from her food.


#8: Evil Pig Statues!

It wouldn’t be a true closet-cleaning experience without unearthing some bizarre, creepy piece of kitsch. These alarming pig statues fill that quota nicely. Given to me by a coworker who was cleaning out her closet, they were originally intended to be passed on to someone else. It was like a neverending game of Pass the Pigs, except without the potential for making softcore pig dice porn.

See, when I was in high school, I had a close friend who collected pig-related items. The unfortunate fate of anyone who collects something easy to find is that when word gets around of their hobby, they never get a normal gift again for the rest of their natural lives. Never, ever again. If you collect pigs, you can kiss your bath sets and pre-mixed jar recipes goodbye, because every gift you ever get will be pig-related. If, on the other hand, you collect antique Mexican cookware, you’ll keep getting the same cocoa mugs everyone else gets, but at least those have regifting potential.

So I brought these piggies home with the intention of giving them to my friend, but I never got around to it. I also obviously never got around to actually looking at the damn things, because they’re the stuff of nightmares. Now that I’ve released them from their plastic bag prison, I think the two on the left are going to kill me in my sleep. The third one is less disturbing, a fact verified by the fact that it, and only it, tripped my camera’s “face recognition” function. I like to think he’s merely a misguided pig youth, persuaded to join the Cult of Evil Swine by Papa Pork and his false promises of wealth and protection. Perhaps the little guy can still be rehabilitated, and give up the danger of the streets for a life as a spoiled exotic pet.

Or perhaps I’ll dump them all in the garbage tomorrow, since they creep me out. Fuck, that’s gonna be harder to do now that I’ve personified them. Lesson learned: Never personify pig statues.


#7: Ancient Roller Skates!

Roller skating is often thought of as a 70s trend, and it’s true that during my childhood, rollerblades were a lot more hip. But for some reason, between about 4th and 7th grade, kids still develop an insatiable need to go to skating rinks. This probably stems from the raging hormones of puberty paired with a desire to get the hell away from your parents. Skating rinks are one of the few places that are still considered safe to leave kids alone, with only the supervision of a few greasy college students and maybe the old guy who owns the place. They’re also a place where young love tends to blossom, due largely to “couple skates” and the resulting pressure to find someone to hold your hand as you skate along the same oval path, over and over and over.

But the best aspect of skating rinks was undoubtedly lock-ins, special events that caused your parents to become temporarily insane and decide it was acceptable for you, at the tender age of twelve, to stay out all night. Naturally these always turned into a competition for who could stay awake the longest. If you fell asleep, you left yourself open to having all sorts of cruel things drawn on you with highlighter. Nobody wants “I LOVE SCOTT” glowing on their forehead in neon yellow as they fry themselves under a blacklight, especially if Scott was the smelly fat kid who pooped his pants in 5th grade.

I got these skates when I was ten. This turned out to be excellent timing, because that was the age when my feet decided to go on strike and never grow again. These skates are a size 8, which is the same size I wear now. The laces need loosening, but apart from that, they still fit. At some undetermined point in time I attacked them with glitter glue, making them all disco-fabulous with little dots of silver and gold.

Sadly, my local skating rink is gone now. To be honest I was always a terrible skater, and had to suffer the humiliation of losing my balance every time a four-year-old whizzed past me at 80 miles an hour. But it would still be nice to be able to visit there again for the nostalgia. Then again, seeing middle-schoolers engage in the same drama I loved so much when I was their age would probably nauseate me now.

grape escape
#6: Grape Escape!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a board game nut. There are so many different kinds, and as an only child, board games carried the added bonus of instant parental attention. I couldn’t play them unless my mom would join me, and she couldn’t not join me, because she already shelled out twenty bucks for the damn game, and it would be a waste if I didn’t play it every single day until a vital piece went missing or got eaten by a cat.

The first board game I loved was Mouse Trap. Like most kids, I rarely actually played the game, preferring to spend like two hours setting it up and then making the trap go off until it got boring. Of course, Mouse Trap has 47,000 pieces, and it wasn’t long before they got lost and it became totally useless. So a few years later when I saw a commercial for Grape Escape, I had to have it.

Even just looking at the box, Grape Escape really feels like a Mouse Trap ripoff, right down to the 800-piece assembly line of doom. But in Grape Escape, you weren’t just trying to trap your opponents. In Grape Escape, the stakes are higher: your goal is to maim and kill your enemies. I got this game around third or fourth grade, an age at which kids reach their peak hostility levels and the appeal of senseless violence against peers is at its highest.

Basically, this is how the game works: Your “movers” are grapes that you form out of Play-Doh using an enclosed mold. The game board is an obstacle course filled with various death traps designed to mangle your soft, doughy body. The goal, of course, is to avoid being maimed yourself while simultaneously ensuring the deaths of as many opponents as possible. The myriad ways to die include being stomped by a giant boot, mashed by a roller, sawed in half with a saw, or my personal favorite, snipped in half by a giant pair of scissors.

We never really played the game all that often. It had numerous flaws, the worst being that most of the obstacles were so weakly held together that rather than squeeze the delicious wine out of you, they’d usually just snap off. Also, I can’t shake the feeling that I really would’ve enjoyed this more if I had siblings. Squashing clay grapes is fun no matter who they belong to, but taking your youthful hostilities out on your mom just isn’t as cathartic as doing the same to a little brother.

cabbage patch

#5: Cabbage Patch Kid!

I missed the boat on a lot of the girly toy trends of the 80s. I only had a passing interest in Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears, and even then I just read the books. I knew nothing of Rainbow Brite. I might have had one or two My Little Ponies, but they also might have been cheap knockoffs, because my childhood was full of those. But Cabbage Patch Kids were another story. I had Cabbage Patch MADNESS. A relative gave me my first CPK, and I was in love. I had some totally awesome Cabbage Patch bedsheets that I used until I was far, far too old for them. Luckily my friends in elementary school were the sort who kept watching Sesame Street until like 6th grade, so it didn’t matter much.

This doll wasn’t my first Cabbage Patch Kid. My first was a redheaded one that I got when I was about three or four. The doll shown above is actually dressed in her clothes, and I have no idea where her own clothes went. Maybe to the same hell Baby Alive’s clothes are burning in. Anyway, this doll was one I begged for when I was in third grade, after my best friend got that awesome one that came with the hair crimper. She always had better toys than me, and I coveted them badly. She had glitter crayons, Quints, Pizza Hut Skipper – pretty much every toy I ever wanted and didn’t have. This was the case with the damn slutty Cabbage Patch with her styling products.

Naturally, I didn’t get the same doll my friend had, but I did get this doll, who for reasons I don’t fully understand, smells like cookies. Even after years at the bottom of my filthy closet. She was my favorite baby doll, and seeing her brings back instant memories of playing house with my friend, who always insisted on being called Isabella. We got in a fight over this every single time, because I thought she should get a new name after being Isabella 17,000 times. I think I got my way one time, and she triumphantly called herself Isabelle instead. I gave up after that.

Incidentally, I have no idea why this doll, who I’ve arbitrarily decided to call Ruby Tuesday since I never bothered to name her before, has acquired such an eerie facial tan. Probably because my mom chain-smokes and everything in our house turns orange, but I prefer to think it’s a result of bad tanning products, because there’s a lesson in that.


#4: Hilarious Emo Song Lyrics!

When I was about 13, I went through what I suppose you could call an emo phase. But we didn’t have emo then, so it was just a goth phase with more whining. Whatever you call it, I had this irritating notion that I was deep and poetic because I wore black nail polish, listened to depressing rock music, and hated “preps”.

During this phase, I happened to read a biography of Kurt Cobain, the ultimate idol for depressed teenagers who think they’re emotionally deep. At least he was until My Chemical Romance came along. Anyway, the biography mentioned that in one of the houses he lived in as a teenager, he used to scribble song lyrics all over the walls. Oh my god! Talk about DEEP, man! I was starstruck by this, hoping that one day when I got famous, people would examine my childhood home and be floored by how awesome my taste in music was.

Naturally I couldn’t write on my bedroom walls, because I had parents. But my parents didn’t go in my closet, so I set to work immediately covering the walls with song lyric scribbles that reflected my tormented, deeply philosophical nature. I even dared to write a few of my own original lyrics, because that would be even more impressive when I got famous. (Ironic that reading a biography of Kurt Cobain made me MORE determined to be famous. Guess I didn’t read the whole thing.)

Most of the scribbles have since been painted over, but since I was stupid enough to write the ones above with Sharpie, you can still easily read them. I’m disturbed by my incorrect use of “your”, as I’ve always been an excellent speller and wouldn’t usually have made such an error, even in 7th grade. Googling the lyrics disturbs me even more though, because apparently they’re from a fucking Limp Bizkit song. Oh yes, 13-year-old me. Limp Bizkit. That’s sooo deep. Almost as deep as the hole in your bleeding heart.

bart doll
#3: Vintage Bart Simpson Doll!

Ah, the infamous Bart Simpson doll. I got this for my 5th birthday, which was in late 1990, so The Simpsons was just taking off as a huge craze. Unfortunately, five-year-old girls are rarely into the sort of craze that involves bright yellow people who burp and ride skateboards. Me, I was into another, girlier craze: Quints.

Quints were basically these little sets of five tiny baby dolls, but that wasn’t what held my interest. The part I was so nuts about was the fact that all their accessories came in fives too. You had five little connected cribs, five potties, five high chairs, even a little pool with five connected inner tubes. I’m not sure if I was witty enough that I would have asked for five dolls for my fifth birthday, but it would have been more interesting if I had been. More likely I just saw the commercials and wanted the damn dolls. Either way, when my dad called to ask what I wanted for my birthday, I jumped at my chance and practically shouted “QUINTS!!” into the phone. My poor dad had no clue what the hell I was talking about, so my mom had to explain it to him.

I could barely contain myself waiting for that birthday, knowing it was going to be damn special, because my dad was coming over with Quints to satisfy my toy lust at long last. Naturally when it came time to open presents, I grabbed for my dad’s first, because it contained the holy, long-awaited, much-anticipated… Bart Simpson doll?? Ohhh fuck. Talk about birthday drama. I don’t remember my exact reaction, but I remember that it wasn’t very nice and that it made my dad feel like ass on a stick. To put it succinctly: I had a cow, man.

Fortunately, I’ve since become a huge Simpsons fan, and consider this doll that came out so early in the show’s history to be a wonderful collector’s item. Or it would be, if he had a shirt and didn’t smell funny from being left in a shed for like six years. Either way, I now appreciate my Bart doll a hell of a lot more than I would appreciate a bunch of freaky clone babies who all shit at the same time.

little people
#2: Little People Dollhouse!

I had literally over 100 dolls of various types when I was a kid, because my mom assumed I was 200% girlier than I actually was, and she just plain liked buying them. I liked dolls, to be sure, but more than the dolls themselves, I loved their little houses and furniture. I’m still obsessed with houses, which in my adult life has naturally translated into an obsession with The Sims. But years before I even knew how to use a computer, I had my Little People house.

This house really has everything you want in a dollhouse. First, it folds open and can be separated into two entirely different houses. The little rooms are easily switched around, there’s a little basketball hoop that you can launch a tethered basketball into with a flipper, and best of all, the trash can is a slide. Your suicidal Little People can throw themselves down a hole in the balcony and pop out of the garbage can, with a smelly, rancid new lease on life. There’s also a little treehouse which contains yet ANOTHER slide.

One of the original appeals of Little People was that they were tiny and portable. The newer ones are larger, presumably so they present less of a choking hazard. This makes sense given that their target age range still eats their own poop, but it also takes away the charm of having dolls who are basically round pegs. I mean, no matter what kind of design skills you have, there is no way to create a house for the new Little People that allows them to hurl themselves down a garbage chute. For me, that’s a dealbreaker.

And now, the absolute best, most awesomely awesome thing I discovered in my closet…

#1: A Bunch of 80s Vinyl!!!

Motherfucking jackpot. I’m sure plenty of people have had the experience of cleaning out a neglected attic/garage/bomb shelter and finding a stack of old records. But they’re usually not records you particularly wanted to find. Nine times out of ten they’re forgotten relics from some long-dead relative, featuring exciting artists like the Ink Spots and the Doodletown Pipers. Since I grew up in the digital age, where everyone has attention deficit disorder and most people don’t even listen to an entire song before they get bored and switch the station, I certainly didn’t expect to find vinyl in my own closet.

Now, anyone who knows me at all knows I have a total hard-on for the 80s. I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute. How on earth could you have 80s records and forget about them?” Good question. Apparently I snagged these babies for cheap in an eBay auction, pissed my pants in excitement, realized I didn’t own a record player, and tucked them away for safekeeping. To be perfectly honest I thought I might have some vinyl shoved in a closet somewhere, but it was equally likely I had dreamt it, and in either case I had no idea what albums I had. I certainly wouldn’t have imagined a selection this awesome.

I squealed pretty loud when I pulled out each of these, but I squealed the loudest for 1999, because I’ve been on a huge Prince kick lately. The man is seriously underrated as a musician, too often being thought of as another 80s pop trend, when in fact he’s a really talented multi-instrumentalist who wrote like half the pop music you’ve ever heard. Plus he’s shorter than me, which is a feat not many men accomplish.

I was also super excited for Like A Virgin. This was the golden age of Madonna, back when she was just slutty, instead of slutty and pretentious. Early Madonna is really great stuff, and was some of the first pop music I heard as a kid. I think my first taste of the generation gap came when I was dancing my ass off to “Material Girl” and my mom started complaining about the lyrics being immoral or some shit. “It’s just a song, Mom! Jeez!”

Thriller was made less interesting by the fact that I already own the CD version, which puts me in the awkward position of having to explain to people why I own two copies of a Michael Jackson album. But it’s great music, and if you’re going to own vinyl from the 80s, you can’t do much better than Thriller, which spent years as the undisputed best-selling album of all time. I think it was recently ousted by some piece of crap, but I’m not going to go Googling to verify that. That’s partly because I’m lazy, but also partly because deep inside me there’s still a four-year-old who gets really excited whenever “Beat It” comes on, and I really don’t want to piss her off any further. She’s still seething about the new Chipmunks movie.

This set of albums is also notable for the fact that Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince were all born the exact same year as my mom. Years of watching Pop-Up Video burned this sort of information into my brain, and now I can’t get it out. I’m sure if I ever get Alzheimer’s and don’t recognize my own children, I will still remember that Pat Benetar used to be an opera singer and Elton John’s middle name is Hercules.

Oh, and uh, there’s also The Gap Band. They are clearly musicians of some sort and I’m sure their mothers are very proud of them.


Special Bonus: MONEY!

MONEY! Yes, digging through some old bags, I found a grand total of six dollars. Hey, that’ll buy me a cheap lunch, or some cheap liquor. I need to clean more often. Maybe I’m actually rich, and I don’t know it. Maybe you are, too. Go clean something, you slob.

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September 2022