Archive for personal

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.

huffyprothunderP3_blowup2

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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This month the Cavalcade turns 10 years old

Posted in blogging with tags , , , on March 17, 2016 by Paxton

Happy 10th anniversay to…well, myself.

COA-transparent

That’s right, 10 years ago this month, March 2006, I began The Cavalcade of Awesome. Check out the spiffy new 10 Years badge! You can give a shout to CT for that design. Tell him he did a great job. I love it.

So, 10 years. Here’s a link to that very first inauspicious article.

Actually, my blog wasn’t originally titled The Cavalcade of Awesome, the original title was What I’m Thinking.  Here’s that original blog header.

bttf_blog_banner

And shortly after I changed the title to Cavalcade of Awesome.
bttf_blog_banner2

Here’s another early blog banner design. I used this one for a LONG time.  It’s based on Gmail’s “ninja theme”.

ninja_blog_banner

Lots of cool, crazy stuff has happened to me on this blog. I’ve met so many cool friends.  Let’s talk about a few of the highlights.

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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.

tom-cruise-mission-impossible-5
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.

victor-frankenstein
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.

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.

movie_concessions
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.

coming_attractions
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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5 school supplies from back in the day that I couldn’t go to school without

Posted in nostalgia, personal, pop culture with tags , , , on September 4, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

New assignment from The League.  The assignment says simply, “Back to School”.

Back to School
(Via UKnowKids.com)

I had a ton of fun during the summers of my youth. I practically lived at the community pool and one week each summer my family would go to Myrtle Beach with my cousins. It was awesome. But, then comes the last few weeks in August. The city swimming leagues have finished up their seasons, the pools are closing and the stores have put up their “back to school” displays.  I loved this time.  As much as I enjoyed the summer, the idea of going to K-Mart or Green Valley Drug Store for “school supplies” elicited no end of excited fist pumps from my elementary school self.

So, thinking about back to school, I wanted to take a look at how a young me would “gear up” for the school year.  So, here are 5 things I couldn’t start my school year without back in the day.

Trapper Keeper front Trapper Keeper inside
1. Trapper Keeper – Thanks to Shawn for the pics.  I had several Trapper Keepers during my schoolyard  life.  I usually gravitated towards the solid color Keeper (blue, red, green, etc).  However, the “Designer Series” was always very eye-catching.  I loved the side pockets in the folders.  Amazing design decision.  And the clipboard in the back was awesome as well.  I loved the zipper pocket you could hook into the 3 ring binder and the plastic slider used to open said 3 ring was whisper silent.  This is probably the greatest achievement in school supplies since the erasable pen.  Speaking of…

Bic Erasable pens
2. Bic Erasable pens – I loved these things and couldn’t begin a school year without at least 1 new package.  It has been my Holy Grail for the longest time to find a Bic Erasable pen from the 80s. It was my pen of choice throughout elementary school and high school. They came in solid body colors (red, blue, yellow, green, etc), wrote in blue ink and didn’t clump.  Check out a commercial for them here.  Scripto also made an erasable pen but in my eyes it was inferior.  The ink globbed  up into a mess everytime you started to write.  Go Bic Erasable or go home, ladies.

college ruled paper
3. College-rule loose leaf paper – All of my friends were in love with college rule.  In our eyes, wide rule was for kindergarteners.    I think I liked it because when we’d have to write out vocabulary words or a report, it just looked neater and more professional on college rule as opposed to wide rule.  For instance, two book reports are identical in content but one is written on wide rule and one is written on college rule.  In my 9-10 year old head if the wide rule got a B, then the report on the college rule would get an A+.  And a Ferrari.  And maybe marry the hot chemistry teacher.

Mead 5 subject notebook
4. 5 subject notebook – They were like the Franklin day planners for elementary school kids.  FIVE subjects in one notebook?  It almost blew your mind to think about it.  And the manila dividers with pockets were just gravy, baby.  I lived and breathed these things.  No school year was complete without a few of these.

Sinister Scarecrow Shark Reef Skeleton Island
5. The Three Investigators books – Not a “school supply” per se, but these were essential reading for my friends and me in elementary school. During library time, we would literally fight and push each other down in the mad free for all that would ensue if we found a new book sitting on the shelf.  And if you were the first to read said book, you loudly spoiled the mystery ending as often as possible for everyone to hear in order to suck all the enjoyment out of anyone else reading it.  It was cutthroat and not for the faint of heart. But, to the victor go the spoils…

Other Back to School activities from around the League:
1. Green Plastic Squirt Gun gives an awesome timeline of the metal lunchboxes they carried throughout elementary school.
2. Good Will Hunting 4 Geeks gives us a lineup of his dream pop culture teachers from movies/TV. And yes, he includes Good Will Hunting.
3. Shez Crafti talks about an obscure song from the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie.
4. Rediscover the 80s talks about the thin line between school supply and toy.