Archive for the personal Category

Shooting the curl in landlocked Alabama

Posted in 80s, high school, life, nostalgia, personal, pop culture, vacations with tags , , on July 29, 2016 by Paxton

Surf Alabama

My buddy Shawn over at Branded posted an article talking about his “skate” phase where he discussed the fashion and the gear he coveted during his early days of embracing “skate culture”.  It’s interesting how similar that was to many of our own experiences at that age.  But there was another phase that was very similar to the “skater” phase that included some of the same clothes, but the philosophies were vastly different.  I’m talking about the “surfer culture”.  Which is what I wholeheartedly embraced from late elementary school through high school (and even a little bit now).

How did I come about embracing surfer culture while living my formative years in landlocked Birmingham, AL?  Well, starting in 2nd grade, I became a competitive swimmer.  So I loved being in the water.  Also, my family, throughout the 80s, would travel every summer to Sunset Beach, just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC.  So I would constantly have my surfer tendencies refreshed in a beach town filled with surf shops festooned with giant shark heads and neon ocean waves with names like Wings, Bargain Beachwear and Eagles.

wings-store Bargain Beachwear

For me, it wasn’t just the look, which was a big part of it, but the entire philosophy of surfing which suited me well.  Even in elementary school, I was very laid back and took life as it came.  I grew my hair a little longer than everyone else.  It was this lifestyle that spoke to me in many ways.  So I embraced the fashion and culture in a hardcore way for many years.

TandC_Shirts

Shawn mentioned T&C skate shirts.  This is where there is some overlap.  I also wore T&C shirts, but I wore the ones with the surf designs.  This was, hands down, my favorite shirt brand.  They had cool and interesting characters and a huge variety of designs.  I had several group shirts like Da Boys, but the one I remember most is the “Hard Core Detective Stories” shirt with the “usual suspects” type lineup.  And I had it on a BRIGHT yellow shirt, of course.  I coveted a few of the T&C solo character tees as well.  Especially any of the shirts with the tiki guys like “Shark Repellent” and “Surf Sacrifice”.

surfshirts

There were other shirts besides T&C that I wore as well. Two other brands I really liked were Panama Jack and Ocean Pacific.  I realize now looking at all these pictures that my favorite type of shirt was clearly the character picture on the back of the shirt with the small logo on the front left breast.  T&C was that style too.  For some reason, I just LOVED having a cool surf image on the back of my shirt with a small brand logo on the front.  My brother and I had matching purple Panama Jack shirts.  I really need to find a picture of that.

Sun Britches

What would I wear with my surf shirts? I would accept nothing less than Sun Britches board shorts. In my eyes there was no other swimsuit worthy of covering my delicates. These were true surf shorts and they were pretty popular even at our community pool in Birmingham, AL. The bright colors with the colorful rainbow stripes on the thighs, button snap, velcro fly and the blue/white sun and water label on the outside back so everyone can see how cool you are. I LOVED THESE SHORTS.  Still do.  I think some of the shorts used a shoe string tie instead of the button snap, which was also kind of cool.  The only drawback I can think of was that the velcro fly tended to be very dangerous if you were not careful.  If you know what I mean (and I think that you do).

So while I couldn’t really get a surfboard and showcase that around the neighborhood, the next best thing, for me, was a BMX bike.  Like Shawn, I liked skate boards, but I was terrible at them.  Plus, it felt like if you rode a skateboard, you HAD to know how to do tricks.  But if you rode a BMX bike, it didn’t feel like it was also necessary that you know how to hop up and down on one wheel or ride around on your seat backwards. You could just ride. And look awesomely cool.  And my ride was an early 80s Huffy Pro Thunder.

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This is almost exactly what my bike looked like (photo via BMXMuseum.com).  Silver with the red highlights.  Obviously the first thing I did was to remove the chain guard (chain guards are for cowards).  Next I removed all of the pads and reflectors making the bike as dangerous to ride as possible.  Eventually I would get a BMX number attached to the handle crossbar.  I loved that bike and rode it EVERYWHERE.  Unlike Shawn’s ride, this one didn’t come with the awesome mag wheels.  It had spokes, which I didn’t mind.  But some of my friends had mag wheels and I really loved them.  I eventually wanted to put them on my Huffy, but it never happened.

I’m not entirely sure what happened to my bike.  I assume it was sold away in a garage sale for a price not even half its actual worth.  I do still have some of my surf shirts squirreled away somewhere.  I’ll have to find them.  Speaking of, I couldn’t find any specific personal pictures of myself with any of these items.  I’m still ransacking my house to see where they are.  When I find them, I’ll post some stuff up.  I’m pretty sure I have pics of my shirts and/or shorts, but I’m not sure a picture of my actual bike exists.  But I hope it does.

Thanks, Shawn for sending me down nostalgia lane to find a picture of my old bike which sent me spiraling into memories of Sun Britches and Ocean Pacific.  It was a lot of fun.

 

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Crashing the Galloping Ghost, The Largest Arcade in the United States

Posted in nostalgia, personal, pop culture, roadtrip, video games with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

It’s not often I get to profile an actual arcade on Cavalcade Arcade, but that is my pleasure today. While you’ve probably seen and heard that both the Nerd Lunch and Atomic Geeks podcasts united in Chicago for C2E2, a few of us broke away from the convention nuttiness to live out a boyhood dream of playing in a dedicated video arcade. And one just happened to exist in the suburbs of Chicago.  And it’s called the Galloping Ghost Arcade, reportedly the largest indoor video game arcade in America.

Galloping Ghost arcade

So, without further ado, here is a journal of my adventures with Jeeg and Christian traveling to outer Chicago to find the mythical Galloping Ghost Arcade.

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The day started off with breakfast at McDonald’s, then Jeeg, Christian and I had to hightail it to Union Station to catch a train to Brookfield. We were cutting it close, but we made it. Here’s Jeeg running for the train.

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Jeeg, Christian and me.  Train buddies. Traveling to a mythical nirvana of pixels, CRT monitors and nostalgia.

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Right off the train stop in Brookfield, there was this awesome little ice cream shop called Cock Robin. I was afraid to walk over to it because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion of a time warp to a 50s diner in perfect hibernation.

Galloping Ghost entrance
And after planes, trains and automobiles, we finally arrive. The Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL.  HALL-LE-LU-JAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

Walking through the door for the first time, you literally have to stand back for 5 minutes to even process everything that you’re looking at.

Galloping Ghost wide 01

Galloping Ghost wide 02

Then expect another 10-15 minutes just walking around open mouthed looking at the games. You’ll literally say over and over again in your head, “They have THAT?!” or “I haven’t seen that in YEARS!”

So you shamble over to the counter, pay a $15 cover and begin your own personal spirit walk.  Everything is set to free play.  No quarters.  No tokens.  Just bliss.

After taking stock of the situation, it was really hard to decide which game would come first.  What should start off this massive orgy of electrical consumption?  The arcade made that decision for us.  Or at least, for Jeeg and me.

Krull game

We had literally just done our Krull episode for Nerd Lunch and I discussed how 100% of my knowledge of that movie comes from this game.  We had to play it.  And play it we did.

Krull Pax Krull Jeeg

That game was a fun blast from the past.  And with that, the seal had been broken.  Before we split up after playing this game, Jeeg and I stated that our goal before we left the arcade was to play each other in Karate Champ, a very favorite of both of us growing up. Making that pact, we split up and explored the wonders that lay within The Galloping Ghost.

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Rediscovering AC Comics’ Bolt from 1984

Posted in comic books, nostalgia, personal with tags , , , on March 4, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

I started comic collecting back in the mid 80s. I still have my entire collection in a filing cabinet and a longbox sitting in my garage. I thought maybe I’d go through some of those issues and find long lost gems and sort of spotlight some characters and issues that I’ve always been fond of.  Today’s character is the perfect place to begin this quest.

Recently while digging through my comics I re-discovered a comic that I got WAY back in the day. It was called Bolt and Starforce Six #1.

Bolt and SF6 #1

It was published by AC Comics in 1984.  AC Comics may not sound familiar but they made a name for themselves publishing Femforce which was a huge indie hit in the 80s-90s.  For a while in the early 80s they also had the rights to publish comics featuring Charlton super heroes right before DC bought them out.  AC would create the super team Sentinels of Justice featuring Capt Atom, The Question and Blue Beetle.

I happen to love the sh*t out of this Bolt cover, btw, which is probably reason #1 that I had a small obsession with this issue.  The cover itself was drawn by industry vets Steve Lightle and Jerry Ordway.  Inside the comic was written by Bill Black and drawn by Rod Whigham.

I don’t remember how I acquired this particular issue.  I ordered a lot of comics through the mail from Mile High Comics which required you to choose alternate books if one you wanted wasn’t in stock.  Also, if you ordered a certain amount Mile High would send you free comics or other comic book related ephemera.  That’s one way I could have gotten it.  Alternatively, I could have found it in the bargain bins of my local comic shop in the late 80s and decided to take a gamble after falling in love with the striking cover.  I honestly don’t remember.  But after I had the issue, I sort of fell in love with it.  And most of that was with the character Bolt.

Bolt page 1 Bolt page 2

The story begins with some astronauts up studying space debris when their “video radar” is damaged. Mitchell Cameron goes out in an experimental radiation suit to fix said “video radar” and is engulfed in what is described as “the enigma cloud”.  One of his astronaut colleagues SHOOTS A LASER at Mitchell to try to disperse the “enigma cloud” and winds up causing a reaction that fuses the suit onto Mitchell and turns him into a being of pure energy with incredible light and energy powers.  The government would of course see him as a threat (as they tend to do) and send out their best super team, Starforce Six to try to retrieve and capture him.

It’s mostly an okay story but the Bolt character design is kind of awesome.  I love the red and blue suit and I’m a sucker for “energy powers” (notice all the quotes?  It’s an 80s comic, guys, filled with lots of 80s-ness).  And Bolt is pretty cool in the story, unfortunately, as far as Starforce Six goes, they couldn’t be more boring, horrible cliches.  Just dumb.  Their team uniforms are powder blue jumpsuits.  One guy has an eyepatch.  It’s just awful.

Well, after falling in love with this issue I looked for YEARS and was never able to find a Bolt and Starforce Six issue #2.  Bolt just sort of disappeared from the comic landscape.  Never to be seen again.  Or so I thought.

Just a few years ago, while randomly searching comics I discovered THIS:

Bolt Special #1

Bolt Special #1.

Discovering this sort of stopped me dead in my tracks. My brain hitched.  It was like discovering Noah’s Ark in my local Wal-Mart. I was like, “WHAT. THE. F**K?!”  Before my brain could melt out of my ears, I grabbed the comic and greedily hid it away like I was Gollum in LoTR.  NO ONE was going to get this from me (I didn’t really stop to think and realize that NO ONE was looking for this comic which is why it had been sitting where it was since Reagan was President).

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The movies I’m anticipating in 2015

Posted in movies, personal, Star Wars with tags , , , on January 23, 2015 by Paxton

Okay, I’ve showed you the best and the worst movies I watched last year. What about this year? I thought I’d throw out a few movies that I’m looking forward to in 2015. Now, I’m not saying the movies I list here are going to be the best movies of the year, these are just the movies that I personally am super excited to see as they have something about them that flips that switch in my wheelhouse.

First things first, let’s get the obvious blockbuster ones out of the way. You know the ones:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Superman v Batman
Furious 7
Jurassic World
James Bond: Spectre

Of course I’m anticipating these movies so I’m not going to elaborate any further than that. I’ll do everything I can to see those movies in the theater. Those are a given for me. So, with those out of the way, let’s take a look at some other movies I’m anticipating that may not even be on your radar.

Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland – This looks amazing. Brad Bird is awesome and he got Clooney for this so the script has got to be good.  And check out that awesomely atmospheric teaser.

Hateful Eight
Hateful Eight – Tarantino’s new picture. It’s a western. And it stars Kurt Russell, Sam Jackson, Bruce Dern, Walt Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Channing Tatum. So, yes, I’m in.

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Mission: Impossible 5 – I loved Ghost Protocol and this entry will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie who last worked with Cruise on the awesome Jack Reacher.

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Victor Frankenstein – Not a part of Universal’s planned Monster-verse movies that started with Dracula Untold, this particular movie is from 20th Century Fox, is directed by Max Landis and stars James McAvoy as Victor and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor.  The movie is told from Igor’s point of view.  Cast and plot sound AWESOME.

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The Disney Goofy Challenge is here.

Posted in life, personal, running with tags , , , on January 9, 2015 by Paxton

Walt-Disney-World-Marathon-Weekend2015

Well, TGIF everyone.  By the time you are reading this, I should be off traveling to Orlando to participate in Disney’s Marathon Weekend 2015. The Disney Marathon is a huge deal where tens of thousands of people come from all over the world to Walt Disney World (and Disney Land) to compete. There are several different races run, one each for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The race I’m doing is called The Goofy Race & and a Half Challenge.

goofy challenge

It involves a half marathon on Saturday morning and then the full marathon on Sunday morning.  I was actually going to do the Dopey Challenge which involves all three races that weekend; a 10k on Friday, the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday, but it was sold out back in June when I signed up so I had to go for the Goofy.

The courses are pretty cool, you run through the parks early in the morning, starting and finishing at Epcot.  There are character stops along the way where you can get pictures with Disney characters.  Plus, like I said, you’re running through the parks so it should be a pretty awesome course.

I officially started training back in September.  I’ve done a few back-to-back 10mi/20mi runs on consecutive days, so I hope I’m ready.  I don’t plan on busting any personal bests I just want to finish and have fun.  I’m very much looking forward to this.  Next week, I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Happy Halloween!

Posted in Halloween, holiday, personal with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by Paxton

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This is it! Another year of AWESOME-tober-fest comes to a close. I’ve had a blast. Hope you guys have enjoyed it as well.

Well, it’s Halloween, so what did I dress up as? My costume is a Black Lantern version of myself.

Black Lantern Pax

And if you don’t know what a Black Lantern is, then you didn’t read my review of DC’s Blackest Night back in week two.  Shame on you.  Get back there and READ IT!

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Some of my biggest Pet Peeves

Posted in personal, pet peeves, soda with tags , on September 24, 2013 by Paxton

LEB

It’s League time. This week, we are asked to talk about some of our “pet peeves”. I have them, so I thought I’d talk about them. If you do any of these, I’m sorry in advance…but I hate you.

Shopping Cart
People not returning their carts to the cart corral. OMFG this absolutely drives me up the wall. Supermarkets, Wal-Mart, Target, you name it, and people will leave their carts in the middle of the parking spot. Or with the front wheels lodged over the curb.  WTF?!  I’ve actually returned 5 or 6 abandoned carts to the corral before even walking into the store. I’ve seen abandoned carts in parking spots that actually sit RIGHT NEXT to the cart corral. That’s just lazy, people. God forbid you walk your cart 10-15 ft to the nearest cart corral. Yes, I have been in the situation where the nearest cart return is on another aisle (usually when you park close to the front of the store). In that case, I take the cart back to the store.  It’s polite, plus, it keeps from making the parking lot an obstacle course when you are trying to park with all of these abandoned shopping carts littering the landscape like dead bodies.  PUT YOUR GODDAM CART AWAY.

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Leaving your movie seat looking like a popcorn/soda bomb exploded.  I think it’s a cop-out to say “they have people to clean that up”. How hard is it to take your leftover bag and cup and drop it in the trashcan on the way out of the movie? I’m not saying you have to grab a broom and sweep up, just walk your trash over to the goddam cans you lazy SOB.

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Movie trailers. I love them, but lately they show too much of the f**king movie. And why do studios now release all these clips of the big tent pole movies? Before Avengers was released to theaters you could probably have pieced together 90% of the movie with all the trailers, international trailers and TV spots that were released to the Internet. I hate that. STOP IT.

The above can also apply to TV viewing.  Many shows have begun showing “coming up after the break” previews before commercials.  It’s irritating.  I have to mute or fast forward before seeing something early which ruins it if it’s supposed to be funny or particularly shocking.  I’m already watching the show, so essentially those “teasers” are preaching to the choir.  Stop that sh*t.

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