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Category Archives: Floppies

Eight Years of

8 Year Birthday FigurinePsst. I never notice these things until they’ve gone and went, but over the past week this very weblog has entered its ninth year of operation. Happy birthday to! To celebrate the occasion, I put on my best metaphorical party dress and cherry picked a few of my favorite vintage (don’t call them old!) posts.

Looking back, I’d venture to say that’s legacy (if there is one) might be that it was among the earliest of the “look at the crap I found” type weblogs. It’s always been my mission to write about whatever ephemera or pop culture catches my fancy, with a distinct lack of trendiness, and hoping what amuses me amuses others. Gotta admit that sometimes I come across popular, more thematically focused blogs and wish I had even half their traffic. But in the end I’d rather have a small, loyal audience than a large, fickle one. “Love me, love my quirks” is pretty much the dictum around here.

So sit down, grab a piece of cake, and savor the results of trolling the archives going all the way back to the beginning (note that the pre-2006 entries suffer from broken style sheets, outdated links, and a general look of krep). Behold, “ The Greatest Hits”:

09/11/01 — September 11th, 2001. A personal observation of what happened over the course of that day. For some reason, I could only process the horror of what I was feeling through the lens of pop culture.
09/27/01 — A floor-by-floor analysis of the break rooms at work. Quirky, navel gazing posts like this were unusual in 2001 but would become more common as the years went on.
06/13/02 — Introducing Discards. A cache of found slides becomes a little-known corner of the universe.
10/27/02 — On the groovy costumes in UFO.
01/28/03 — A rant against Frida Kahlo. Honestly, I forgot about this. Didn’t know I hated Frida Kahlo so much!
01/09/03 — Influential songs in my life.
06/26/03 — Recollections of ’80s Movies Filmed in Arizona.
10/31/03 — Seven Things That Frightened Me As A Child. Fun.
02/02/04 — A Yuppie Teakettle for Everyone. Musing on design for the masses.
04/22/05 — Illustrations of Charles Harper. Ladies and gents, the most visited page at Had I known, I would have included more examples. Unfortunately, other weblogs still link to this page even as I’m coming up with newer, better stuff. Attention, Charles Harper fans: please read my new stuff. Please.
05/30/05 — Captured on Film. Screen shots and commentary on the glamorous Manhattan of The Best of Everything (1958).
06/02/05 — Wonderland in Chrome. An unassuming little post that got linked on Boing Boing and drove hundreds of curious clicks. Who knew?
07/10/05 — Off the Treadmill. On learning to enjoy a downsized life. I need to write a sequel to this one.
01/07/06 — Artistry In Motion. More Harper discoveries, given a nicer setting.
02/14/06 — Blogging Tips from a D-Lister. Somebody had to find that advice useful.
03/26/06 — White Lace and Promises. Ruminations on twenty different versions of “We’ve Only Just Begun.” May have been’s definitive “jump the shark” moment.
05/12/06 — The Exploding Plastic Inevitable. The first time embedded video was used on the weblog.
01/01/07 — Another Year of Couch Sitting. A self-pitying reflection on 2006, the year of lowered expectations. 2007 and the first half of 2008 followed right along in the same vein.
01/22/07 — What Makes a Making Of. I thought this was a nice post. I worked hard on it. It generated zero links or comments!
06/04/07 — Cheap Thrill: Joan Crawford on The Sixth Sense. This was fun; I have to do more “Cheap Thrill” posts.
01/21/08 — Cheap Thrill: Children’s Books 1957-69. Speaking of which. This might be the most real estate hogging Scrubbles post ever.
04/23/08 — WDW Day One: Epcot Future World. In which I bore my dwindling audience to tears with an exhaustive, five-part travelogue.
07/04/08 — Riverside, July 3.

Weekly Mishmash: June 29-July 5

Endless OceanEndless Ocean. This game was pretty much what I expected — an open-ended scuba diving simulator on the Wii. One can go on dives, get to know fish better by petting them (yeah, that works in real life), deal with a whiny girl on deck, and perform tasks to earn scuba equipment and other rewards. Though the above-water graphics suck, the diving itself is an enveloping, scarily realistic experience. The fish and various undersea creatures behave so true to life it’s like being in a real aquarium. Though it didn’t knock my socks off, this is a beautiful excuse to chill out and relax.
The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947). It’s Rosalind Russel month at TCM — yay! We kicked it off with a viewing of this little-seen thriller which Russel made for Columbia in 1947. In a plot plugging into the Psychiatry Chic zeitgeist of the era, Russel plays a war widow haunted by the fact that her husband sacrificed his life so his comrades could go on to lead productive lives. On a quest to confront each veteran, she’s intercepted by reporter and part time lush Melvyn Douglas — a guy who also happens to be one of Russel’s targeted men. Although there’s nothing to write home about in the film’s hokey storyline (penned by the wonderfully named Lenore Coffee), Miss Russel does a great job being agitated and lovely at the same time, Douglas is solid and there are several effective, moody scenes. It certainly is an unusual film, structured around Russel’s dreamlike impressions of the various men — and when a young Sid Caesar shows up to mug away things decidedly turn surreal. It was a fun time, which is not something I could say about the other two cinematic efforts from this week.
Heading South (2005). A muddled and ugly little film about middle aged female tourists rendezvousing with Haitian prostitutes. Granted, someone could have made an interesting film dealing with that subject, but the direction is so bad that huge chunks of screen time just amble along aimlessly — which only makes the central women look even more pathetic. This film has nothing remarkable to say, the leading actress is a wishy-washy bore, and the talents of Charlotte Rampling are completely wasted. Avoid at all costs.
Three… Extremes (2004). A trio of stomach-churning and bizarre vignettes by the leading horror directors from Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. I love a good scary Asian movie every once in a while, but this shorter format really underscores how cliché-ridden much of this stuff is — the requisite Creepy Little Girl even shows up! Though all three films had their moments, none of them grabbed me. Kinda like the evil kid from The Grudge, come to think of it.

Weekly Mishmash: May 18-24

C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005). A French Canadian film about a dysfunctional family of five brothers growing up in the ’60s and ’70s — centering on Zac, the twee, self-possessed brother with a supernatural “gift” for healing and a serious Bowie fixation. The first 45 minutes are brilliant and darkly funny, calling to mind Amelie, but in the end it dragged on too long and seemed a bit “meh” to me. I was expecting a penetrating gay-themed coming of age tale, but in fact the central character is bisexual and the film dwells more on how the other characters perceive him. The soundtrack and period settings are great and it’s worth a look if you like screwy family films, but don’t expect to be blown away.
Critter Roundup. A title from Nintendo’s new WiiWare line in which you’re a farmer who has to fence in various animals (shades of the classic arcade game Qix). Not worth $10, but fun in its own modest way. Might be the only videogame in which one can get killed by bumping into a chicken.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). “You’ve never seen Temple of Doom?,” Christopher said to me recently. Yep, I’ve seen films #1 and 3 in the original trilogy, but this one passed me by until recently. Why it took 24 years is beyond me, but now I can see why it was never very attractive to me — Kate Capshaw and that Asian kid. Really, could they have found two more shrill, annoying actors to play those parts? I believe Raiders was about as perfect as an action-adventure can possibly be, but with this one Spielberg clearly dumbed things down into a loud, gross kiddie flick. The movie is okay if you watch it with lowered expectations (it’s beautifully mounted with some ace set pieces), but really the only reason this one still gets love today because many saw it at an impressionable age. Nostalgia rears its ugly head again!
Johnny Belinda (1948). Never saw this one before, either, and it was much better than I believed it would be. For a ’40s studio film, it’s refreshing both in the abundance of outdoor photography and its honest, unflinching treatment of rape. Jane Wyman is excellent as the deaf, childlike Belinda, but I think the part could have been done just as well by a dozen other actresses working at that time. The supporting cast, all of ’em, are also excellent.

My Muxtape Is Chullin’

I have been so busy lately, getting some extra work in before taking the dream trip next week — but I did have time to do a little fun thing last night. I went to and set up a little playlist at (thanks to Jonny). This playlist is the result of an early ’90s female R&B fixation I was on earlier this week, and it’ll keep me briefly hopping for the inevitable more work later on. It’s phat, it’s da bomb, Bill Bellamy digs, peace out.

That ‘Screen Saver’ Look

A new Two Bunnies and a Duck hatched today … and now for something completely different. I was rearranging shelves in my bedroom yesterday and came across a few stowed-away items that have been saved since my first computer came into my life in 1992. First is the sheet of Apple Computer decals which came packaged with my Mac IIci machine. Very rainbowy. Second are a pair of items from Berkeley Systems, makers of the popular-in-the-day After Dark screen saver. An ad for More After Dark carries all the hallmarks of clunky early desktop publishing — including a garish color gradation. Finally there’s a brochure where one could purchase a variety of After Dark attire, modeled by the fashionistas pictured below. Flying toasters away!

After Dark Collection

Hulu Party

Hulu logoIt always happens — instead of doing something productive, I waste away the day on something silly. In today’s case, I visited Fox and NBC-Universal’s to find out if it lives up to the hype. Although I didn’t look into the movies (something about sitting on the computer for two solid hours makes my butt hurt), they do have a decent selection of old and new TV shows. The shows are presented with a nicely designed, iTunes-like interface, unedited and with a few brief sponsored ads where the commercial breaks should go. Image quality was pretty good but it ran jerkily (maybe that’s due to my weak web browser). I watched Bewitched‘s second season Halloween episode, with a little girl who looked awfully familiar until the credits revealed she was a pre-Brady Bunch Maureen McCormick. How fun. When they add some more cool older shows, I will have to waste yet another day there.