Retro

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As a professional photographer, it’s sad to see Kodak’s coffin apparently on the verge of being nailed shut permanently.

They filed for bankruptcy protection today and if memory serves me correctly, this has been a bit of a recurring occasion for them over the past few years.

I think at one point they even demolished a number of their buildings on their historic campus in Rochester, New York simply to save some money on property taxes. You know you’re in rough financial shape when the situation is so dire that things like that begin to appear as solutions.

Though I rarely used Kodak film during my days of shooting with a film camera (in favor of, im my opinion, the far-superior FujiFilm) and haven’t even considered purchasing a roll of film since my switch to digital over a decade ago, I still use the phrase “Kodak moment” from time to time.

It’s going to become outdated quick — if it hasn’t already — like saying something like “Tommy Gun” or “Chicago Typewriter”.

My uncle says stuff like that and had I not sat and watched Geraldo’s anticlimactic primetime opening of Al Capone’s vault, well, I’m not sure I’d even know what a tommy gun is.

Obviously it’s a gun, duh, but for those that are completely lost, a tommy gun was the drive-by shooting weapon of choice from 1920 through, hmmmm, probably the mid-1940’s. Simply put, it’s an old school machine gun.

Anyway, back to the present, at less than 50 cents per share now, I almost want a piece of Kodak just to say I had it. Maybe even frame it and put it on the wall.

Do they even issue paper stock certificates anymore?

Probably not.

That’s too bad.

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Angry BirdI hope they, the buttons with resistance, don’t go the way of the record player.

In the 1980’s, while I was honing my own typing skills playing games like Sierra On-Line’s King’s Quest, I used to cringe watching my dad type on a keyboard while doing whatever it was he actually did on the computer — both index fingers fully extended hunting and pecking away on the keys.

He was pretty fast but, still, who uses their index fingers for every single keystroke?

Things like Ctrl-Alt-Del were always a challenge for those utilizing the two-finger methodology.

Fast forward a couple of generations…

Of late, I’ve noticed that my 2 year old, Duncan, already “expects” a touch screen interface.

A few weeks ago he got to “play” Angry Birds on a friend’s tablet, you know, flat glassy looking thing without any buttons.

He “played” for no more than 5 minutes, max, before losing interest.

But since then, I’ve caught him, on more than one occasion, touching the television screen and flicking his finger as if that’s how we change the channel.

He even does it with my wife’s non-touchscreen cell phone. Pretty much anywhere that there’s a digital “display”, he thinks it’s for touching and quickly sliding an extended finger across.

Yet, he has zero interest in a keyboard and only a slight fascination with the mouse — though I’m not sure he yet realizes that the pointer on the screen is directly related to the mouse…

Won’t be long now, I’m sure, until he shows interest in that controllerless Xbox Kinect thing I keep seeing commercials for.

And twenty years down the road he’ll probably get a good chuckle out of how dad even owned a button-smashing Punch-Out arcade game

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I read an article today about movies with upcoming sequels that probably shouldn’t have sequels.

The article itself was terrible — you know, just one of those articles with a bunch of single sentence paragraphs.

Oh wait, that’s a perfect description of this place…

Anyway, it referenced the movie Die Hard. I was unaware that another sequel was in the works (apparently one is with Bruce Willis on board) and, from a personal standpoint, they probably should have stopped making Die Hard movies half way through the second one. That’s about where I lost interest in John McClane.

But the original from 1988 is one of those few movies that acts as an anchor when I’m channel surfing.

I mean, there could be less than 10 minutes left until it’s over and I’ll still stop to watch.

It’s that good.

And that got me thinking, will Duncan and Henrik like Die Hard the way I do or will it be one of those “stupid old movies that dad likes…”

I was in 7th grade when Die Hard came out. I’m not certain if I was in the target demographic — probably not — but it certainly stuck with me.

The movie came out 21 years before either of my kids were born. Applying that to myself, can I think of a movie my dad would watch over and over that came out 21 years before I was born? One that I also enjoyed?

Off hand, no.

The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of 1955 is, sadly, the first Back to the Future movie. Another of my favorites but not really applicable here since it came out in 1985.

A quick google search reveals that Rebel without a Cause came out in 1955. I’ve certainly heard of the movie but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it. Don’t recall my dad ever watching it on the couch either.

Marilyn Monroe’s Seven Year Itch came out in 1955 too. I had to watch that movie in high school (for reasons that I can’t recall) and thought it was fairly entertaining.

Can I imagine my dad saying the same thing?

Um, no.

The only old movies that I can think of that would instantaneously get my dad to stop surfing were Ben-Hur (1959), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), and Planet of the Apes (1968).

Ben-Hur is pretty close to 1955. That said, I thought it sucked — along with all of the ancient Greek and Roman clone movies that followed. I think my dad just enjoyed any movie that could boast a cast of thousands with a few chariots thrown in.

It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I realized what a great movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly truly was even though Clint Eastwood is quite clearly one of the worst actors in history.

I vividly remember in high school rolling my eyes each time I’d catch my dad watching it on a Sunday afternoon, like, every single Sunday afternoon.

Seriously, to this day, I think that movie is on television at least once per week. At least. I catch pieces of it all the time.

Still, though, I can’t claim to have enjoyed that one alongside my dad either.

And who could forget the Planet of the Apes? I couldn’t stand Charlton Heston but I liked this movie and all of it’s sequels right up until Marky Mark and Helena Bonham-Carter ruined the entire franchise a few years back.

Now these were movies that we’d watch together. While I remember the plotline of original the best, I think it was one of the goofy sequels (or the tv series?) where they’re in modern day San Francisco (or some other such place) that I remember most fondly.

Sadly, outside of the original or the Marky Mark remake, you never see these on television.

Eitherway, those movies (the sequels) are only a few years older than I am — not a couple of decades older. They don’t really apply.

So, will my kids treat Die Hard (or Star Wars, or Back to the Future, or The Goonies, or Red Dawn, or Rocky IV, or Space Balls — all 20+ years old now) the same way I treated Ben-Hur?

Man, I *hope* not.

Here’s to hoping Angie is right!

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Money Beagle‘s comment to Monday’s posting was so awesome that I thought a response was worthy of its own posting.

Click here to read the original post — and his follow-up comment.

Really, you need to click on the link — otherwise the rest of this post is meaningless.

Regarding me missing the mark…I beg to differ.

Don’t get me wrong — I thought it was a good commercial. Well, the first minute or so of it was good.

I thought the soundtrack worked (partially because you never heard his (Eminem’s) nasally voice).

I thought the message was, well, it was good too.

I just thought the star was all wrong for the reasons I listed out originally.

Beag mentioned the Grammys — Eminem’s got to have some curb appeal. Good point but that’s the thing — how many folks over the age of 30 have ever heard any of the songs nominated in any of the categories?

We’re about the same age — right in the center of that most coveted advertising demographic. I don’t know about you, but I pretty much punched out of the modern music scene in the Dave Matthews era and the waning days of Pearl Jam.

Don’t get me wrong — I know who Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, and Miley Cyrus are. I’m not totally out of touch.

I’m also not ashamed to admit that I enjoy listening to all three… Back-to-back-to-back…

At the same time, though, I have zero interest in the acts performing on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve celebration anymore. Haven’t had any interest in over a decade. The same holds true for the Grammys — performers, nominees, and presenters.

I think I’m in the majority on that one. I still watch the show but mostly because nothing else is on on that night — kinda like how I watched the Super Bowl even though my Bears weren’t in it.

Point is, Eminem has little appeal to me and probably everyone that I know over the age of 30.

On a tangent, since I mentioned the Dick Clark thing, I’d like to take this moment to mention that Will Smith’s daughter is terrible. Just terrible. “Whip My Hair?Huh?

Now, for the whole “Made in the USA” thing, well, I know that that hasn’t been the case in the auto industry since, well, probably the early 1970’s — just like you mentioned.

I drove a GEO Metro in the early 1990’s. It was a GM product. Inside the door, it said Suzuki. Go figure.

My BMW was assembled in the heart of NASCAR country. German engineering? Yeah, right…

My Scion was actually assembled in Japan. I’m actually pretty surprised by this.

I only mentioned the “across the river” to connect it with the Justin Bieber reference. That, and hailing from southern Ontario, I know first hand that the landscape is dotted with humongous auto assembly plants. And technically, Windsor, Ontario could be considered a Detroit-area assembly plant like you mentioned — close or not, it’s still in another country.

I also thought it was appropriate as they threw “Imported” from Detroit right in your face as if Detroit itself is another country. What’s up with that?

We’re in total agreement that Chrysler had/has lost its edge. I blame the Plymouth Voyager explosion of the mid 1980’s. Mini-vans were their bread-and-butter back then and they held on to that “image” for far too long.

They do need some “edge”. But I still say that Eminem in a Super Bowl commercial was the wrong way to go about it. On MTV, during a Jersey Shore marathon, sure, but not the Super Bowl.

When it comes to widely viewed events (such as the Super Bowl), the memorable commercials are the ones that have appeal to the masses.

Comedy is one way to get there — though that generally works best for beer commercials.

The Volkswagen Passat Darth Vader spot used comedy and a “villian” from 35 years ago. That worked. My son is the same age as your little one (to the day, I think) and he knows who Darth Vader is. My mother knows who he is too.

It appealed to all ages (and genders) making it a perfect Super Bowl commercial.

VW is not suffering from an image crisis though…

Back on topic and regarding what I think was a poor casting choice for a Super Bowl commercial.

The last big, BIG televised event that I can think of was the Winter Olympics last February. You may or may not remember the BC Tourism commercial that ran nearly every break featuring Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Reynolds, Michael J. Fox, Steve Nash, Kim Cattrall, and Eric McCormack.

If not, here it is:

Same idea as the Chrysler commerical, while not all local to Vancouver or even British Columbia, all of them are Canadian and pretty much everyone on the northern half of this hemisphere will know of at least one of those celebrities. Further, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll have a neagative image towards any one of them either…

The 30-something crowd knows who Sarah McLachlan is, whether it’s from her music of the late 1990’s or the ASPCA commercials that can make grown men cry.

Ryan Reynolds was named People’s most beautiful person three years in a row. I’m not certain why — he’s alright, I guess — but that crown ensure that grocery store tabloid readers know who he is along with all those folks going to see his chick flick movies.

The older crowd would know who Michael J. Fox is from his time on Family Ties. Or even the Back to the Future movies. More recently, he’s the face of Parkinson’s disease. He’s well known and, as far as I can tell, pretty well respected too.

Steve Nash was the NBA’s MVP for a few seasons. All of the wannabe jocks know who he is.

Kim Cattrall covers the cable crowd. She was one of the stars in the Sex in the City series that got so many people to pay extra for HBO. She’s also been in tons of movies and even dated Pierre Trudeau (a former Pime Minister of Canada).

Eric McCormack, rightfully so or not, covers the gay crowd. I’m not sure if he’s actually gay or not, I don’t think he is — it doesn’t really matter — but from his role on the tv show Will & Grace, I’d say that the masses just assume he is.

How do these six spokespeople differ from Eminem? Well, first off, the variety alone ensures that 95% of the audience will identify with at least one of them. Maybe Chrysler should have had a few more cameos.

Further, though, and more importantly, they all have pretty squeaky clean images.

I’m not an expert on any of those celebs — I listed pretty much all I know about them — but I do know that their image is treated with higher regard than that of Eminen. Image is everything.

That’s why I thought the commercial was terrible.

You just don’t want a perceived thug telling you they’re coming back. To me, that’s the message Chrysler sent and it’s 100% because of the casting. It’s not edgy — it’s almost insulting.

Oh, and I don’t see Detroit making a comeback.

Dearborn, maybe.

Okay, does this mean we should have a rap showdown?

;0)

Seriously — I really appreciate the well thought-out, not to mention long, comment. Thanks Dude!

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Last week when I posted about needing baby name suggestions for the impending Smurfling number two, of which we received some decent name options that we’ve tossed into the mix (thank you!), Angie mentioned that we should “go outside in the back yard and yell” the name a few times.

I’ve actually heard about that idea — the one of shouting out the name a few times from the back yard — before. A few of the books or baby magazines that we’d read shortly before Duncan was born said the same thing.

We didn’t do it for Duncan and…I don’t think we’ll do it this time either.

Back in the 80’s, as the sun went down, I remember dreadfully awaiting the sound of my Dad‘s voice calling out my name as it was time to come in so I know where the idea comes from.

Thankfully, I was usually one of the last kids to get “the call”.

Either we ate dinner really late or the others kids’ parents were lame. It’s probably the latter. No, it *is* the latter.

Seriously though, with the (unfortunate) direction that American society is rapidly heading (and the main reason I won’t be testing this method), I’m pretty certain that I’ll never have to call out any of my kids’ names from the back porch cause they’ll all be packing cell phones by the time they reach kindergarten.

I’ll just call them on their cell. From my land line (powered by MagicJack and costing me less than $1.75 per month) — since I can bet that I still won’t have jumped on the cell phone bandwagon

Along those lines, but going back to the mid-1980’s again, there was this one kid in the neighborhood that’d get the shout out not only to come home for dinner or because it was getting dark but for a phone call…

“Meeeeeegggggaannnnnn! Phhhh-ooooooone!!!”

And then off she’d run.

I remember standing there completely puzzled, whenever this would occur, and questioning among my friends “What could be so important on the phone that her mom would call out?”

What was wrong with saying “Sorry, she’s out catching frogs… a quarter of a mile from here…”

I mean, in the second grade, well, I didn’t exactly receive many important phone calls. None of my other neighborhood friends did either.

To this day, I’m still not sure that I receive phone calls that would warrant a shout out from the back porch.

So… who are all these kids I see each and every day — some probably still in kindergarten — talking to all the time?

I guess I’ll find out soon…

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Nintendo Punch-Out!! Arcade GameOkay — so yesterday afternoon I picked up the first piece of furniture for our newly renovated rooms.

That’s it over there to the right…

Yep — I bought the 26-year old arcade game Punch-Out!!

The last time that I played this game — and if memory serves me, the *only* time — was at a roller skating arena called United Skates of America. I was celebrating my 8th or 9th birthday.

Anyway, I’m 34 now. You don’t have to do the math… it was a brand new game when I played it *and* a big attraction in the arena… How I was able to get my turn is truly a mystery — Punch-Out was a big deal back then. Seriously…

As for that old the roller skating arena… Well, it’s been long torn down and a big box store’s parking lot is there in its place.

Perhaps that’s why I haven’t heard anyone mention a skating party since, wow, probably 1989… That’s too bad. It was one of my better birthday parties.

And what ever happened to that old Punch-Out machine from the roller arena?

Well, it’s in my garage right now as you read this. For real. I swear — I own it.

Now I don’t know for sure that this is the same exact machine that I played way back in the 1980’s but I do know that its condition is unbelievable — as if I really were the last person that played it a quarter of a century ago.

I mean, compared to my other arcade game (which was manufactured in 1991), this one is in amazing condition. Such a great purchase.

I like it. I mean, it’s a freakin’ classic.

Duncan obviously likes it too. That’s him up there delivering one body blow after another on poor Glass Joe.

And the wife, well, she let me use her truck to pick it up so that at least means that she didn’t veto it.

So where’s it going to go?

Well, if you’ve been following my home renovation updates, it’s going to be in what was once the dining room. We’re going to make that the computer room — one side will have all of our computer equipment (which is currently upstairs) and that green wall up against the stairway will have our two arcade games.

What, you didn’t think I requested that electrical outlet there for something else, did you?

Now if we can only manage to get them in there (they weigh around 300 pounds each…) without messing up the new floor…

Anyone wanna help me move them?

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R2-D2Over the weekend, I bought a vacuum cleaner.

Not exactly exciting or out of the ordinary stuff on its own until I tell you that I bought it used *and* I paid just shy of $800 for it.

Say what?

Yep, see, of late (and for the last 7 years) we’ve been getting by using a $60 piece of crap Eureka upright that I bought at Ames (when they were still in business) and my wife’s much nicer Hoover upright.

I say it’s nicer because it has a headlight, you know, for those night time vacuuming sessions…or something?

Anyway, my vacuum apparently doesn’t work (according to my wife — I obviously don’t do a lot of the vacuuming).

And I just don’t like upright vacuums.

See, everytime she vacuums, I launch into an asthma-like attack where the rest of my day is pretty much shot.

This might explain why I don’t do much of the vacuuming. It’s one of those cause and effect things…

Back on topic… When I was a kid, we never had an upright vacuum. When ever there’d be a vacuum featured on the Price is Right or something, I always thought it looked weird.

Little did I know, our vacuum was the “weird” one.

It looked like R2-D2 in a brown 1970’s style colour scheme. Where R2 had those two blue vent looking circles on his chest, well, that’s where the hose went on our vacuum.

It was a beast — and it looked like the best robot ever.

When I went away to university, my mom was still using that same vacuum cleaner.

And I *still* thought it looked cool.

Dare I admit, I even used it a few times. Yep. I did.

So, anyway, a few years pass and I come back home after university… The R2-D2 vacuum is still going strong (now pushing 30+ years old) but my dad — now retired — is sucked in to an Oreck XL infomercial.

I’m not sure how he manged to click off of FoxNews for more than a second, but he did, and a few days later the Oreck XL — an upright vacuum — arrived on our front porch.

So long R2-D2.

I wasn’t actually home when R2-D2 disappeared — I would have appealed — but it didn’t take long to notice that *something* in our house was different.

I couldn’t breath.

At first — since I’m one of those guys that’s allergic to *everything* — I thought I might just be reacclimating to living in a house with dogs after so many years away.

Then I blamed the Glade spray that my mom would spray in the basement where she smoked (she’s since quit).

Both seemed like great explanations until one day I was on the couch watching a UConn Women’s basketball game and my mom started vacuuming.

It was that damn Oreck XL. It blew more crap out than it sucked in.

And it was like it’s bag was coated with some sort of deodorizer or something. In the sunlight, you could see that the room was *filled* with a fine powder.

Dust, maybe, but it was scented like that Arm & Hammer powder people use to cover the smell of dog pee. Mmmm… potpourri flavored dog piss in powder form…

I wanted R2-D2 back.

Anyway, when I finally moved out and bought my previously mentioned Eureka upright — strictly avoiding Oreck — I quickly noticed that Oreck wasn’t to blame for my breathing issues.

Upright vacuums, in general, were the problem.

They *all* have a freakin’ fan in close proximity to the spot where they’re supposed to suck. What’s up with that?

Talk about a design flaw. Yeah, even you Dyson…

So off I went to eBay in search of one of R2-D2’s siblings. When they say that you can find ‘IT‘ on eBay, well, they’re not kidding.

There he was — the exact same vacuum I remember sucking up my Legos and my sister’s Barbie shoes. Built in 1971 he was commanding $350 on eBay?!

What?

And he had 27 bids?

Holy crap?!

I let my parents have it over the phone — they threw away R2-D2 when they could have sold him for hundreds of dollars?! Ugh…

At the time, I couldn’t pull the trigger or justify spending so much money on a 30+ year old vacuum but I made sure to remember the name.

Rainbow LogoRainbow.

Someday I’d have one. Someday.

Well, that day will be later this week when it arrives.

I didn’t buy the 1971 model opting instead for an early 2000’s model. It still resembles R2-D2, kinda-sorta, except he’s not all metal like he used to be. No chrome either.

Maybe this one won’t weight as much as an anvil.

The horrible brown colour scheme remains, though. Go figure.

JawasActually, you know what? This newer model kinda looks more like that other little droid that the Jawas tired to sell to Luke’s uncle Owen. His name was R4-D4.

Yes, I *really* enjoyed the first couple of Star Wars movies…

So, in the end, I paid $760 for a decade-old vacuum.

Crazy?

Perhaps, but brand new it would have cost me around $2600 (and required an in-home demonstration from a pushy salesman that would make me very uncomfortable).

I was already sold — I don’t need a salesman to sell it to me — but that’s the way they do business.

Since good old R2-D2 was still going strong after nearly 30 years, I felt confident in buying this one used.

Sure, it seems gross to buy someone else’s vacuum — it skeeves me out too — but it’s not like you eat off of it or sleep on it or anything.

Best of all, I think we’ll be vacuuming a lot more often once it arrives — no, not because it’s easier but because it won’t cause me so much post-vacuum misery.

That, and since it’s *my* vacuum, my wife will probably make me do more of the vacuuming myself.

This is a win/win situation for both of us!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

PIAC Post Extension:

Rainbow E2For the record, the model I purchased is the Rainbow E2.

You can look it up if you like. It’s a canister vacuum that doesn’t use a bag — it uses a pan of water that you fill each time to collect the dust, dirt, dog food, Legos, and Barbie shoes and things.

The whole marketing gimmick that they use is that “wet dust can’t fly”.

It’s a pretty fair statement — wet dust really doesn’t fly — but it sounds like a load of crap at the same time — you know, like how a Dyson can cruise around corners on it’s ball and “never loses suction”.

Yeah, okay, whatever Jim… That fancy accent of yours isn’t going to fool me.

I’ve never personally had a Dyson but I’ve also never had a problem taking a corner with a vacuum cleaner either…

But here’s the thing — the ridiculous gimmick of the water reservoir on Rainbow vacuum cleaners *actually* works. That and a design where there isn’t a fan blowing right on top of where you’re vacuuming doesn’t hurt either.

Yeah, this is a glowing review. This thing works, I’m telling you, and I don’t even have it in my hands yet.

Twenty five years of personally living with R2-D2 proved that to me.

The newer models might not be built like a tank but the idea is still the same — and it’s still *so* much different than anything else out there.

Yeah, I’m talking to you Dirt Devil, Electrolux, Hoover, Eureka, Dyson, and Bissel…

It’s a shame that so few people have ever even heard of Rainbow.

And seriously, who doesn’t like R2-D2?

By the way, the latest models use a blue colour scheme… Yep, just like the real R2…

And I’d bet than in another 30 years, Duncan will be saying to his wife, “We should buy one of those vacuums that looks like that beeping robot in that dumb space movie my dad liked…”

And it’ll be a wise decision.

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McDonald'sI’ve recently rediscovered my love for McDonald’s hamburgers.

At one point in high school I was convinced that I could eat two McDonald’s hamburgers for every meal indefinitely.

Not to date myself too much but back then a McDonald’s hamburger was 59 cents. Two of them came to exactly $1.25 including Connecticut sales tax.

That meant that the quarter that I pocketed each weekday from the lunch money my mother gave me was enough to buy a late night weekend meal with my friends after an evening spent at the video game arcade.

Okay, if that doesn’t date me, I’m not sure what will…

Seriously, how did video arcades survive into the 1990’s?

Anyway, for a few years there in my twenties, I was starting to think that maybe my father might have been correct in avoiding McDonald’s like the plague during my childhood while repeating something along the lines of “Someday you’ll stop wanting to go there…”

I still visited McDonald’s now and then — usually because their fries are the best around if you’re lucky enough to get a fresh batch (a rare occurrence) — but I really hadn’t ordered a hamburger in quite some time…

So a few weeks ago, I had a craving for a McDonald’s hamburger… Wow — I’d venture to guess that I had my very first hamburger there in the late 1970’s and today, in 2010, they taste exactly the same.

There’s just, well, I don’t know what to call it, but there’s something about the texture of those bland and flavorless little onion bits and the piping hot pickle and the less than fresh bun that looks like it’s been stepped on.

It’s like peculiar form of perfection.

They’re not 59 cents anymore but they’re still a pretty decent bargain.

So last weekend I introduced Duncan to McDonald’s:

Here’s to hoping he continues to enjoy their signature item for years to come…

…and avoids the cheeseburger.

That thing tastes like cardboard.

Can You Dig It?

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