Ever since I moved to Florida back in 2003, I occasionally have this dream where inexplicably everything is reversed and I’m back in my job at the warehouse in Michigan where I worked for six years before moving away.
Last night I had the same dream again.
What was strange is that it wasn’t as panicky as it normally is … when I first moved, it was honestly more of a nightmare where I was back up north pulling orders for auto parts and when the thought of Florida would come up, someone would explain that it just didn’t work out and I was back now, and that was it.
But this time it was almost more of a temporary visit, and things were different from how I remember them in reality. We had just gotten bought by our competitor – which did happen in reality – and a bunch of new employees had been brought in from another branch who were presumably going to be replacing many of us who already worked there … something that also happened, but not nearly to the extent that it did in my dream.
And so what was different this time was that abruptly I just made the decision that I was going to quit and go back to Florida – that was going to be my last day – and I told my friends and my boss, and everyone understood.
I don’t know what made things different that time, and it was hard to piece together within the dream what/where/who I had memories of that I was going back to, but unlike most of the other times I’ve had this dream as a nightmare indicative of failure where the one thing I had wanted so much for years had fallen through my fingers and was just gone, this time I suddenly had some control of my own and it was no longer an absolute that I just had to accept.
An interesting evolution after 12 years of living in Florida, indeed, though it does beg one other question – will I ever find myself at a point where I don’t have the dream at all anymore???
Or then again, if I finally do have some control into my own fate, maybe having this dream just isn’t such a nightmare anymore after all…
So the last time that I was back home in Michigan, I set aside another pile of stuff for my Dad to shuttle down with him during his annual vacation to a warmer climate, and one of the more interesting items was a box full of my old comics and comic & Magic cards, circa mainly my early teenage years?
Well, after leaving them out in the garage for a year and a half … which was totally a mistake because we kind of have a minor cockroach problem out there and apparently a handful took up residence around the boxes and binders (thankfully none inside the individual card boxes!) … I finally decided to bring them inside, figuring it might be fun to flip through them while I’m watching TV and see what’s even there because it’s been something like two decades now since I was into that sort of stuff!
Just for my own amusement, I decided to look up a few of the more rare ones in the mix … and I also had some old price guides from back in the day, so it was “interesting” to see how, well, apparently collectibles don’t really seem to hold their value worth a shit… 😛
First up – Magic: The Gathering cards.
I started playing Magic right around by 14th birthday, which I’m mostly assuming based on the release dates for the series’ that we played. Admittedly I only have a fraction of what my original collection ended up being because in my later years of high school, I had started selling a lot of my rares online (via usenet!) … plus, a sizable number “disappeared” in a karmic manner which I can only say was pretty much deserved at that point in my dumb, adolescent life.
So that said, here’s a handful that jumped out as well as what this guide says they’re actually worth right now:
- Revised : Dual Lands – Underground Sea ($180), Plateau ($40) … I knew that these had become the most rare because I’ve seen them under glass in comic shops – sucks because I used to have the whole set and I’ll bet I sold them for $15-20 a piece!
- Revised : Fork ($2.10) … What?! These were so rare that I never even saw one until I stopped playing and was only collecting, and now you can buy them for the price of a gallon of gas???
- Legends : Elder Dragons – Arcades Sabboth($3.57), Vaevictis Asmadi ($5) … My friends and I just missed out on Legends because the series sold out at our one and only local shop, but we later fell in love with them via Chronicles. I’ll guarantee you that I paid more than nine bucks for these when I went and bought the originals!
Next up – Marvel Comics cards.
If Magic was (early) high school, Marvel was my middle school years because as much as I didn’t really get into comic books proper, I was super into the collectible cards of Spider-Man and Iron Man that replaced the football and basketball cards I used to collect of sports that I honestly didn’t even really understand! 😯
Now what’s really sad about these ones is that although some of the artwork on these things is just absolutely gorgeous (Hildebrandt Brothers, anyone?), apparently their value nowadays is kind of a joke – the idea that I could literally buy a complete set of any of the series that I used to collect on eBay for less than $20 a piece, with the special holograms and foil cards not costing that much more … was it that $20 was just A LOT more money to me back in 1992 than it is now or what?!
Anywho, lastly let’s talk – Comics!
I had relatively few comic books – in fact, I think most of these were probably acquired in bulk packs at Toys ‘R Us or maybe at the grocery store, but seriously, if anything … the #1 issue of Voltron: Defender of the Universe has got to be worth SOMETHING, am I right?!?!?!
- Current Value – $3.00
Alright, super friends – I’ll save you from the cockroach-infested garage, but it’s back into the closet with you for now…
I’ve had this episode of Foundation in which Kevin Rose interviews Leo Laporte earmarked for a while now, but I finally found some time this week to listen along and it was really enjoyable just listening to someone who’s as creatively passionate as Leo talking about his career at large and the road bumps that have slowed him down along the way, and even some of the challenges he faces today with trying to transform TWiT from The Leo Laporte Network into something that’ll actually give him a chance to take a vacation after a while!
I actually really respect both of these guys because like many, I was introduced to them when I switched to digital cable back at the turn of the millennium and suddenly this amazing channel called TechTV existed to embrace this geek culture which was only starting to really blossom as the Internet itself was beginning to take hold. I’ve always kind of considered TWiT to be my lifeline back into tech because even though I honestly don’t watch any of their shows very regularly, I know that whenever I’ve got a couple of hours to kill or need something to put on in the background while I’m pretending to be productive, TWiT just has this incredible wealth of tech content from all of these passionate hosts – Leo and the rest of the former Screen Savers crew included – and it’s always a good time to see what these guys are talking about and get my finger back on the pulse of what’s really going on in tech.
Ironically, one of my favorite TWiT memories still is a few years back now when Steve Jobs passed away and listening to TWiT’s live coverage and the sort of sense of community that it presented to help make sense of such a visionary’s passing as Steve’s happened to be…
After listening to this episode in its entirety, amusingly enough YouTube then recommended an episode of Triangulation (which is one of Leo’s shows) and in fact was one where the tables were turned and Leo pretty much did the same interview with Kevin in the hot seat! I mean, so much of TWiT sometimes is just listening to these guys reminisce about TechTV and their experiences from the other side of the camera, so both interviews are a lot of fun if you happen to be fans from The Screen Savers days or even just enjoy listening to passionate people talking about their craft! 😉
I haven’t done a post like this in a long time, but after revisiting some of my earliest blog posts I guess I’m feeling nostalgic for something a little different today… 😉
- I feel like we still have a ridiculous amount to do for Christopher’s birthday party, and whenever I try to think about it I just get overwhelmed by the idea that he’s almost 1 year old already!!!
- His favorite show by far is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but sometimes I also treat him to the occasional old episode of The Muppet Show and it delights me to no end how amused he gets by the puppets despite their being nearly 50 years old.
- I bought new seeds the other day to try and resurrect my mini-garden out by the pool – cucumbers, tomatoes, and flowers. The pots are currently filled with weeds that are growing great, so maybe that’s a good omen that I’ll do better this time???
- I really hated the movie Oblivion, yet it seems to be on TV all the time and I end up watching parts of it anyways.
- I’ve probably been eating way too many peanut butter M&M’s lately.
- My office is a complete disaster right now because I had to tear my closet apart looking for something and I never put all of the boxes back. I should really pause from writing this and take 10 minutes to put them all back.
- There – that’s better!
- Over the last several weeks I’ve found myself inundated with this strange urge to go hiking – not suburban sidewalk hiking, but actually out in the woods and stuff. It’s just that time and scheduling are limited, and I really need a new pair of shoes, and roughly 1,000,000 other excuses…
- I’ve really been in the mood for plugging in the PS2 and playing a little bit of Grand Theft Auto, but I feel like I have way too much on my plate to justify it right now.
- I think that the Series 13 set of Lego Minifigs that just came out is possibly my favorite yet, even though my wall display is almost completely full and I’m going to have to redo the entire lot to fit them in.
- I need to set aside some time and do our taxes one of these days. We’ve finally got all of the paperwork and we should even be getting a refund … I just have little desire to wade through all of my business receipts for the last year to file for it!
- I hate housework because it feels like such an insurmountable task to me. I look around and see just such a ridiculous amount of stuff to do between the garage to the kitchen to the general clutter – it’s frustrating when even an honest afternoon’s work barely puts a dent in it.
- I really want to start writing my humor column again, but whenever I think about it, fifteen other things pop up that I should be doing instead.
- I need a vacation! We’d really like to go on another cruise this year, and possibly go up to Michigan for a week this summer, but logistically with everything else that’s going on I’m not sure whether either of them are actually feasible.
- I have a feeling that 2015 is going to go by really quick, and I desperately hope that I have some great things to show for it.
This video amused me when I came across it late last night because I totally had a Power Glove myself and like 100% of other Power Glove owners, unfortunately these teens’ experiences were pretty much par for the course!
I didn’t get mine when it first came out – in 1989 I had only had my Nintendo since the Christmas before, so I was much more interested in getting more games than a peripheral that costed nearly as much as the console itself did at the time. I want to say that my Power Glove was a birthday gift from one of my aunts 5-6 years later, mostly because they had found it on clearance at KB Toys back when they were still around, so for $20 it was worth a try…
And even though at the time the controller was pretty god-awful, it’s still kind of neat to look back and see where an attempt at motion controls first started because now here we are 25 years later and not only is the Wii pretty darned good at it, but you can even plug in a Kinect to your Xbox and use your whole body as a game controller! It doesn’t apply to all, or even most games, but the technology is still cool.
If only Lucas could see us now! 😉
I’m a nostalgic guy, and especially when it comes to tech, sometimes I honestly just find myself in awe when I stop and think of how far things have come just here in my own modest lifetime.
Case in point – above is a screenshot of This Week in Tech, Leo Laporte’s sequel to TechTV after it merged with Comcast’s gaming channel and subsequently went belly up about a decade-ish ago? The show started as a simple podcast in a bar with some friends and has since grown into an entire network of technology-based programming, arguably better than TechTV was at its best (and probably more profitable!).
But that’s not the amazing part, believe it or not … well, it’s one of them! What really amazes me though is simply that what you’re looking at there is streaming HD video that I’m pulling through Plex onto my new 4k TV, and it looks beautiful.
This is a big deal to me because I first started watching Leo & his friends on TechTV when digital cable first rolled out to my neighborhood up in Northern Michigan, and at the time we were excited to get a whopping 1 Mbps down and I’m sure some fraction of that up! The package was about $100 for digital cable and broadband – I remember because I paid for it out of my own money when I still lived in my Mom’s basement.
Timeframe was probably around 2000-2001.
So now here we are 15 years later, and in comparison to how things were at the time we really are living in the future!
- In 2001, we had just shrugged off the chains of dial-up in favor of high-speed broadband Internet.
- In 2015, I have a 75 Mbps fiber line connected to my home that facilitates HD streaming and can download the equivalent of one optical CD-ROM from 2001 in less than a minute and a half!
- In 2001, cell phones were just starting to become a thing – I think my voice-only Nokia candy bar phone had 100-minutes a month of air time.
- In 2015, nobody uses their cell phones for calling anymore, but 4G speeds connect to that same Internet to give me access almost anywhere at speeds rivaling my home connection!
- In 2001, HD was the new, new thing and for the first couple of years, Discovery HD Theater was how many of us justified buying our brand new, gigantic HD TVs.
- In 2015, I just upgraded to a new 4k TV that has four times the resolution of HD, and even though there’s only one movie available for it in true 4k today, even just watching the trailer makes me drool for a copy of the full-res film to really see what this thing is capable of!
Technology has always been an exciting part of my life and today I find myself surrounded by more gadgets than ever, from advanced video game systems to tablets and smart phones to a new streaming media server right here in my own home. In a way, it’s just kind of crazy to be able to pull up TWiT on this ginormous 4k screen in my living room because 15 years ago I used to watch the same guy teaching me about tech stuff on an old TV setup next to my computer while I was building the very first version of Just Laugh.
…and ethernet cables spanned the floor because I hadn’t quite gotten wifi figured out on my laptop just yet!
It makes me wonder what the whole landscape is going to be like when Christopher gets to be in his teens, but then again, just like how *I* grew up on 8-bit consoles and an Apple II clone, my son is going to grow up in a world where you’re never really not connected to all of those people and all of that information.
In fact, by the time he’s old enough to notice that kind of stuff…
- 75 Mbps Internet is going to feel slow to him.
- The Nintendo Wii will be considered a retro video game console.
- And it’s really going to drive him nuts that the cable company still doesn’t take those stupid lower resolution channels out of their line-up when better options are available!
As a wise man once said, it’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and I for one am kind of curious to see where the next 15-20 years actually takes us! 😉
I stumbled across this award show for video games tonight via a random tweet that somebody else posted – I really have no idea what the rest of the show covered, but it was neat to see these two veritable icons from my childhood get some recognition as vanguards in the video game industry some thirty years after their prime.
One of the earliest computer games that I ever played was a little text adventure called Mission Asteroid – despite it’s numbering, it was actually the third game that Sierra created for the Apple II. It was before I even had a Nintendo, so I must’ve only been six or seven at the time – I remember having to keep a notebook by the computer so that I could write down the various commands that worked as I progressed through the story! I don’t think that I ever actually made it to the asteroid – I could never seem to get the rocket to take off, but it sure was a fascinating experience to me and no doubt helped to spark a lifelong love for video games at large…
From there I played the same classics that everybody else played – King’s Quest, Space Quest, and when my parents weren’t around, Leisure Suit Larry! I was a HUGE Sierra fan, arguably almost a collector at my age because I would get their magazine that would have the Buy 1 Get 2 Free offers and end up ordering 6 or 9 games at a time until I literally had shelves of their game boxes in my room … the Hoyle games, the 3D Ultra games, you name it.
I remember playing Shivers for hours and hours before I could even figure out what I was supposed to be doing, though granted this was long before my need to watch scary movies with every light on in the house!
I also remember Phantasmagoria being something really special because this was around the time when Myst and other CD-based games just started to emerge, and it was kind of crazy to hold in your hands a game that required seven CD-roms to play!!!
Anyways, now that Ken and Roberta are well into retirement, I mostly read along in envy with their adventures in yachting on Ken’s Blog, it’s pretty awesome to see these two recognized as the pioneers in adventure gaming that they are, not to mention their little ceremonial passing of the torch to the crew that’s working on the next King’s Quest game.
Kinda makes me want to dig out some of those old game discs and spend a night exploring with Graham and Roger and Larry for old time’s sake… 😉
It’s kind of been a long time since I’ve played with computers like I used to back in the day.
The other day between writing this post and thinking about upgrading some random stuffs, I started tinkering with the old hardware that I’ve had stacked in the spare bedroom since we moved here two years ago. On the downside, it didn’t take long to remember the issues I was having previously because one of the two still won’t output any video at all, but on the upside, I also just so happened to have a junk laptop that my sister-in-law had asked me to fix before she just gave up and bought a new one instead, so I ended up reformatting that one and was able to get a copy of linux (CentOS) running on it to play around with in fairly short order.
The goal with this one is to take another stab at building a media server because I’m not really happy with what I can do with Apple TV and I’ve currently got three boxes of DVDs also sitting in the room next door that aren’t really doing anybody any good! Nobody wants to sift through boxes of movies just to find something to watch and we simply don’t have the room to have shelves upon shelves of DVDs anymore, so right now I’ve been playing around with Plex to see if I can get the thing to work even just a little on that old laptop there before moving to something bigger…
In a way it’s kind of been therapeutic to dive back into circuit boards and jumpers and ribbon cables, even though it’s incredibly frustrating and I’m quickly making a pile of stuff that can definitely get recycled for good this time! Sometimes I need to just step back and take a break from pretty much everything in life and despite all of the other work that I’m not getting done as a result, it’s been fun to poke around inside of these things and hopefully by the time all is said and done, maybe I’ll even have a swell, new way to watch all of my old movies by the time this fantastic, new TV of ours arrives in the next couple of weeks! 😉
- The Cleanliness: Taken roughly six months after the last photo was taken, I think this is probably the cleanest that you would’ve ever seen my apartment. Circa spring 2005, I’m pretty sure I was getting ready to go on a trip or something – no idea how it got this clean, but I assure you it didn’t last.
- Snoopy Blanket on the Couch: My god, I’ve had that thing forever and I love it so much. It hardly has any warming properties left to it – my Mom had stitched it up and stuffed some filling in it before sending it down to me, but it’s a bundle of childhood and probably my favorite blanket ever. Sadly, in 2014 it remains folded on a shelf in the closet because Cleo would just tear it to shreds…
- Sprint Phone on the Counter: LOL – that was my first phone when data kind of started being an option with phones, although it still totally sucked. I think I could post MoBlog photos and e-mail posts to LiveJournal, and that was about it!
- Patio Furniture: I got that FOR FREE up in Michigan – the warehouse where I worked rented some space out to a furniture store and they would constantly leave people’s old furniture that they had picked up by our dumpster, so when I saw this almost brand new table & chair set, I threw it in one of the work vans and drove it home after hours! It’s kind of sad because it started out as really nice furniture, but I kept it outside and the weather just ruined it over time. Sara even helped me cover it in plastic at my next apartment to give the table another year or two, but the chairs were pretty gross by the time I finally got rid of them.
- Neon Dolphin???: No clue where I got that thing – maybe Walmart or something? I was kind of in a dolphin kick at the time, so they went into a lot of my decorating … you can also see a great white shark statuette on the other side of the door frame where the stairs were.
- TINY OFFICE!!!: If my office in my Mom’s basement was big enough for me to fit a couch in comfortably, this thing was basically the size of a closet! There was almost no room on the floor around my chair and I had bookcases and crap piled everywhere, but for my first two years in Florida, that tiny room was where I spent an exceeding amount of my time in front of the computer!
- Our Loser Friends, The Poster: I had those printed up after we finished the series and all three of us signed them so we each had one. Unfortunately, I didn’t take care of mine nearly as well as I did the signed money poster and it’s about ready to get thrown out because the ink is bleeding, but it was still a neat memory to carry around for a while. The two photos below the poster are ones I took in Michigan during the few months before I left – one is a waterfall in the Upper Peninsula, the other is a sand painting at the bottom of the campfire bowl done by the camping group I was a part of in scouts.
- New Networking Stuffs: Apparently I had just bought a new router from Best Buy, too? I don’t know – I can’t remember everything… 😛
- I really loved that couch! The couch that you see there in the photo was totally my bachelor couch – I paid maybe $300 for it when I first got my apartment and within two years time the cushions were already starting to get a little gross after becoming coated with my hair gel over time, but I can’t tell you how many nights playing video games in that place I spent kicked back on that couch with no place better to be and no girlfriend to be there with anyways! Just like the TV, it lasted quite a long time until it got demoted to being an outdoor couch at our last house and from there, the weather and a hungry puppy got the best of it after many, many comfortable (to me) years.
- I remember being particularly proud of the pillows that I found to match with that couch, too! 😀