Friday, April 26, 2019

A to Z Challenge--X--X Files

X is for X files in this portion of our A-Z Challenge and that means we get X-plore (yes I did, I'm so sorry) Agent Mulder, the cutest and geekiest TV FBI agent in the history of TV FBI. Holy moly. I started watching X-Files for the aliens, I stayed for Mulder, and his convictions. Because I want to believe. That he will appear in my bedroom, wearing nothing but a smile. And I do live in prime UFO territory, so it could happen. Okay, all crushes aside, one of the things I loved about this series, besides the obvious, is that it opened up a world of mythology that hadn't been done in this way before. Since this challenge is about 90's nostalgia remember, this was pretty groundbreaking at the time. Creator Chris Carter was onto something. When you heard that trademark theme whistle at the beginning of the show, it was, I imagine, like the generation before you hearing the Twilight Zone theme. It was a feeling. It was a sense of communion. It sent chills down your back and opened your mind to possibilities. Other shows had tried and had fallen short, and X Files was a pioneer in the realm of urban fantasy and a trailblazer in the genre of dark fantasy. I am saving some of the newer revival stuff for the summer because school and, yes, I am a snob about revivals, but I am willing to give it a chance. I am also really really loving some of the Cold Case Files on Audible, in which Mulder and Scully revive some, you guessed it, cold case files from their previously unsolved plot lines. Definitely worth a listen, and they are in bite-size installments at a only a few hours each. Tre Magnifique. What is also cool, and waiting for me in TBR pile, is the origin stories of our leading detective couple--basically Mulder and Scully as teenagers and I am addicted to YA and also to the author, Kami Garcia, tasked to this teenage reimagining, so I am looking forward to this as a summer read. We have junior Mulder and Scully in graphic novel form, YA novel form, audio form--there's something out there for everyone. Hover the links to check them out, and leave a comment or hit me up on twitter to let me know what you think!

A to Z Blog--Day 26--Z--Zima

So I’ve spent the majority of this blog talking about how I was a teenage girl in the 90’s, so naturally Zima would have to make an appearance. Of course that’s going to make people laugh, but you know, it wasn’t that bad. It was basically seltzer with a slight bit of vodka in it. Not all that different from hard soda or hard iced tea like you can get now. The ones you can get now are slightly better tasting and probably have a higher alcohol content, but I think Zima’s biggest problem was trying to market it as a “beer” which is clearly was not, and it had a reputation right out the gate as being effimiate and girly and if you drank it you were immediately effiminate and girly and that was that. The only thing that made sense about that label was that was that you could drink a six pack of those things and not get buzzed due to the low alcholo content. So, if you did end up getting buzzed or drunk on those things, maybe alcohol was not your game.

A to Z--Day 25--Y--Y2K

Start looking this up on Google and you get meme waterfall of hilarity, mostly of how intensely people were afraid that the world was going to end, and I remember that vividly. People were on tv, telling us we better get right with God, because, for sure, this was it. This was going to be the big one. Computers would fail, phones would go down, TVs would test the emergency broadcast system. Newscasts went over checklists of what to do in case the grid would go on, and how you should stock up on essentials just in case. Then midnight happened on the other side of the world and absolutely nothing happened. Then midnight on our side of the world happened and absolutely nothing remarkable happened except we all got a little older and the 1900’s went away forever and that was a little exciting to be on the brand new side of the new millenium but...no planes fell out of the sky. No computers crashed and we still had electricity and phones and the world kept on turning just like it always did. There was even a theory going around that somehow the nuclear codes were going to somehow reset themselves (I never quite understood how this would happen) and whole world go boom. People really felt like we were going to die, though. I think we all knew someone who knew someone who was absolutely convinced (there’s always that one guy. Or girl) who buys into it.People were terrified. They swept the shelves, they hid in their basement. And lets not forget our dear religious folk. Signs everywhere: The End Is Near. Repent Your Sins, etc. Sightings of Jesus and Mary and Elvis. I couldn’t explain it, but, I was so unconcerned with it all, it just didn’t seem logical to me that the whole world would come to an end because of New Years Eve. You know? I thought we, collective humanity in general, would have some safeguards in place and that the mere passage of time wouldn’t break us. It didn’t.

A to Z Challenge--W--Wonderwall

Wonderwall I love this song, I do. It makes me want to roll down the windows and drive around and sing it on top of my lungs when I get to the chorus. The word "wonderwall" means "the person you constantly find yourself thinking about". This song is simply about the feelings, human beings get when they experience the initial stages of love and infatuation (limerence). It describes the volleying between euphoria and agony that a crush can make you feel. I did some research on this song, I did. My inner music nerd has been combing through my 90’s favorites for these blog posts this month so I’ve been combing through interviews and playlists, and found out some interesting tidbits. For example, from a 1995 interview that asks the question “What exactly is a Wonderwall?” (citation follows): “It’s that vulnerability, evident in his tenderly chosen words and in Liam’s piercing vocals that really make this one such a legendary song. Anybody can say “I love you”; try telling the one who means the most to you, “You’re my wonderwall” instead. It may not make much sense, but it somehow says it all.” https://americansongwriter.com/2015/08/behind-song-oasis-wonderwall/

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A to Z Challenge Day 23-V--VHS

I really kinda of miss VHS tapes, although I can’t say why. Pure nostalgia, or just the aesthetic there’s no practical reason. They were bulky and clumsy, and a pain to rewind, and sometimes got eaten by the VCR. They also took up a lot of space. I am very grateful for digital storage space. I find it interesting that the lexicon is still in our vocabulary--we say we’re going to “tape” something (at least I do. I’ve heard other people say that too, although I’ve had a few kids question me on what that means. Because I am old, I guess.) VHS stands for Video Home System, and why yes, I *do* remember getting a VCR for the first time, although I was very young. Then, in the way that kids do, it became about taping everything of interest off the TV, and playing it back when nothing of interest was on, and this technique became perfected in the 90’s when a particularly great special or show came on (Keep Circulating the Tapes!) But there are few cool apps now that are fun to play with that old crinkly sound and vaporwave feel to it, I wouldn’t go back to the clunkiness, I like the space.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A to Z Challenge--Day 18--R--Riot Grrl

Riot Grrls were a female based movement in music that I would define in both third wave feminism and in underground punk culture. I personally caught wind of them through books, magazines and literature and probably through comics. I have to admit I wasn’t really into that much punk, still not that much of a fan, but rock, definitely, and I for support what the riot grrrl movement was about and what they were doing. So what was it they were doing and what were they about? Since the history begins as far back as the 70’s, and I’m trying to keep these short, I can post to some interesting links, but punk and grunge were pretty heavily male dominated industries so it was in part a response to that, but also to revive the dead/dying feminist movement of the 80’s, as the second wave has already crashed upon the shore. It was anti-corporate, anti-establishment, DIY, in your face activism that attracted a lot of girls and women to create their own--everything: clothes, music, magazines, art. Even though it’s largely not around today (you see some trickles of it here and there in various personalities but not as an actual movement) DIY culture is still around and the music, zines and of course feminism still remains, although debate continues on whether there were any real waves past the 90’s.

A to Z Challenge---Day 20--T--Trapper Keeper

The most I have to contribute about the almighty Trapper Keeper right now is that a vintage Lisa Frank one goes for about $60-80 on eBay, so I wish I would have kept mine. In any case, I can only guess why these things were the height of ultimate coolness and popularity. I think it was a popularity thing. It had to be that because of brand affiliation, it was a way to show off your personality. See, I like sports, or Care Bears, or Star Wars, or unicorns or something. That's the only thing I can think of. Or maybe you could pretend you were organized? I honestly don't know. It was about the image, mostly, because anything popular is always about appearances. I remember I had one that had a palm tree and beach on the cover with realistic (not cartoonish) waves and water droplets on the cover that I would stare at in class and tune out with and pretend that I was there, make up vacation stories about. I wonder whatever happened to it, I loved that thing.
Interesting Link

A to Z Challenge--Day 19--S---Seventeen Vs. Sassy

So on the complete opposite other side of Riot Grrrl we have Seventeen vs. Sassy magazine. I think Sassy was better, because it articles that featured testimonials and confessionals that felt like an older sister was talking ot you about How Things Really Were and was letting you in on the Big Secret of How Adulting Things Were Done. I think that’s why people objected to it and why it eventually went under, people (read:parents) thought it was too adult for young impressionable minds. I didn’t think it was bad. Seventeen was okay, and it told you the necessary things about How to Be A Girl and How to Do Your Hair and Make Up and Which Colors Go With That. My sister bought Seventeen on occasion and I leafed though them when I was bored. Girl magazines barely held my attention, I just didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t understand them except they told you how to do make up in steps and how to do your hair in steps and by step two it was already too complicated for me.

A to Z Challenge Day 21--U--USA Up All Night

Coming back to more TV, yay! USA Up All Night aired super low budget, super crappy, super bad bad movies late at night Friday and Saturday nights on, you guessed it, the USA network. The so bad they're sometimes good and hilarious bad kind of movies, that are sometimes riffed by the likes of the minds behind MST3K, but some of the movies are so ruly terrible they may be beyond the riff. There were various hosts during this time, who would introduce the movie, have segment bumps and provide sarcastic commentary about the bubble-brained coeds in the movie, or the truly spectacularly bad "special effects." It was trashy and campy and fun, something to watch when SNL went off the air at 1 am and I was still up and looking for something to watch and still in the mood to watch tv and wanted some sketch comedy and bad movies.It was eventually cancelled when new management took over in favor of searching for better material in the late 90's. However, lists of the truly terrible and the laughably bad movies exist floating all over the place.
Rhonda Shear Best Of Reddit USA List

A to Z Challenge--Day 16--P--Pulp Fiction/Pre-Digital

Right before and right after this movie came it was everywhere all the time and so were the quotes. Uma Thurman especially with almost every scene she was in, completely iconic. Cocaine sniffing scene, iconic. Amos and Andy, iconic. Watusi, iconic. Needle through the chest, iconic. It was noir, and it wasn’t. It was noir and it was Tarantino. It was a movie where almost every line was quotable.
The other part of the 90's that was interesting, and worth study, was that it was a transitional decade. At the beginning, it was analog, at the end it was digital. It was a time of becoming, and to be a teenager and a young adult during this era, to grow up as the Internet was growing up was, and is, something only Gen Xers get to lay claim to. That doesn't take away from the experiences of other generations, who get to claim Google and smartphones and lots of other cool stuff, and previous generations who get to claim radio and TV (and who knows where we'd be without that technology), but this one is ours, at least the 90's incarnation (I know the prototypes began long before). I think deep diving into the unique memories of the pre-digital world and the world that came after and its comparisons is worthwhile--look at its popularity in its current revival in pop culture. It's not a black and white world we live in, things are often not as cut and dry--the pre-digital world wasn't perfect, it was simpler, sure, but I find as I grow older I long for things and times that are simpler. But I also enjoy the technology that allows me to do the things that I do, write, play almost infinite music playlists, research almost anywhere, play games, and on and on. I find my memories slipping a little but some things remain the same--there's still radio and TV, after all, and while they've changed some, I can still lay on my bed and read an actual book made out of actual paper with the window open and the breeze coming in while listening to music and it's still one of my favorite things to do. I can do that in any time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A to Z Challenge Day 15--"O"--Orbitz

I only remember drinking this maybe once or twice. Like a lot of food and drink trends in the 90’s (Fruitopia, hello) it didn’t last long. Maybe people didn’t like little bits of things floating in their drinks (but people like orange juice with pulp for some reason so go figure) but this lasted for a blip on the radar and was gone. I can’t even tell you what it tasted like only that I remember thinking it was kinda a cool idea, hey I’ll try it, and I remember thinking that it was kind thick and sludgy. It didn’t taste like juice, and it didn’t taste like pop. It didn’t taste like anything you’d expect, or anything you’d like or be familiar with, and that’s why I think people didn’t like it. See, marketing people, people like new things. And they don’t like new things. Get it?They like their new things to be somewhat familiar. But not too scary. Obitz was too scary and tasted like clear sludge. With bits in it.

A to Z Challenge--X--X Files

X is for X files in this portion of our A-Z Challenge and that means we get X-plore (yes I did, I'm so sorry) Agent Mulder, the cutest a...