The Return of the Commodore 64?

Posted in hobbies, Pop Culture on May 9th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It holds the Guinness World record for best-selling single computer model of all time, so who had a Commodore 64?

My family had one when I was growing up, and I enjoyed playing hours of games on it.  I remember how novel it was that we could create a sign, card, or banner on the computer and then print it out –  complete with pixel-riddled graphics and what-do-you-call those side strips on the paper with the holes in them that you tear off and either discard or twist them together and make art out of them.  My uncle had a subscription to Loadstar, which was a Commodore club of sorts – he would get magazines and new games monthly in the mail.  I used to love some of those Loadstar games, unfortunately, I can’t find them to play on emulators now.  I really enjoyed an Activision game called Toy Bizzarre, and my all time favorie game for the Commodore 64 was Maniac Mansion – I was addicted to it until I won it, and then I had to go back and win it with  all the different character combinations.  They did make a version of Maniac Mansion for the original Nintendo, but I was biased toward my Commodore version.  I always thought that game would make a great movie (think Clue), and when I was younger, I tried to write the game into a novel but never finished it.

So what’s got me thinking back to the 80’s days of the Commodore today?  I came across an article on cnn.com about how advance orders are being taken for the resurrection of the Commodore here in 2011.  It’s being made to look just like the Commodores of the 80’s, but it will have today’s computer capacities since the ’64’ in Commodore 64 referred to the unit having 64 Kilobytes of memory – about the equivalent of one long email, according to the article.  If you’d like to read the article, click here.

It’s STILL Scary!

Posted in Kids, Pop Culture on December 13th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When I was growing up, my parents pretty much operated as a pair, and my dad worked outside the home.  Therefore, I only remember two times when he was left in charge – the time I went missing and the time I watched the movie Poltergiest.

Both incidents occurred when I was 4 or 5.  My dad was having a meeting with someone I didn’t know (think it was an insurance guy), so I didn’t want to come in the house from playing and walk past the scary insurance guy because I was a really shy kid.  So I waited for him to leave, and I waited, and I got sleepy, and next thing I know I’m waking up in our little red wagon in the dark garage and my sister is there saying, “I found her!”  My parents had the neighbors all out canvassing the neighborhood calling my name, and so my babysitter came over afterward and I remember showing her how I had just learned to tie my shoes.  My parents probably don’t remember the incident in quite the same light…

As for the other time, somehow my sister and I were allowed to watch the classic 80’s horror movie Poltergeist even though we were both under the age of 10.  If you haven’t seen the movie, then you wouldn’t know about the terrifying clown scene that takes place in a kid’s bedroom.  My favorite stuffed toy at that time just happened to be a Ronald McDonald doll, which was no longer the case after I saw that movie.  The Ronald McDonald doll went into the basement, and a few years later, I decided I was over it and went to look for my old friend.  But he was gone, and when I asked my mom about it, she said that she had put him out for Amvets since I had decided I was done with him.  But I had trouble explaining that I wasn’t done with him; he was just on probation!  So I felt badly, but it was probably nothing compared to how my dad felt when mom found out we watched Poltergeist…

So anyway, I was thinking about my Ronald McDonald doll after seeing Mr. McDonald in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, so I decided to look it up on the internet.  If you ask me, you can’t really  blame a kid for being scared and banishing this thing to the basement:

delete mcdonald doll

Totally 80’s!

Posted in games on November 20th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t done one of my board game reviews in awhile, so I thought I’d write about a little treasure we found at the Goodwill tonight and actually had time to play – Totally 80’s Trivial Pursuit.  Since my husband and I were both children in the 80’s, we thought we’d enjoy this version of the popular trivia game – even though I threatened to kick some butt since  between the two of us, I’m the one who’s chosen to fill her head with useless knowledge (most of which I’ve forgotten over the years anyway!), but what I’m trying to say is that I usually win the trivia games in our family.  So we start to play the game, and the pawns are in the shapes of various pop culture staples in the 80’s.  There is a Care Bear, a computer, a Trapper Keeper, and a CD – cute!  And I loved how the pie pieces are stored in the bases of the pawns when players earn them!  My only complaint is that there definitely should have been more pawns – can’t believe there wasn’t even a Rubik’s Cube pawn?!?  How about some Jelly Shoes?  A banana clip?  Cabbage Patch Kid?  Atari console?  The list could go on and on…  Here are the ones they did include:
delete 80s pawnsBut anyway, my husband did end up beating me, but I have two excuses.  1.  The kids came down in the middle of the game and kept trying to play with the pawns which was distracting and I  lost my focus.  2.  My husband is older than me, and therefore he remembers more of the ’80’s – haha!  Ouch!  Ok, so I’m a little bit of a sore loser –  rematch tonight?

(I guess this didn’t end up being much of a review.  It’s a Trivial Pursuit game, nothing new there.  But if you were around during the 80’s and enjoy getting quizzed about the decade of excess, you’re in for some fun!)

Ahh… A Relaxing Baseball Game And A…. LOSS?!?

Posted in Everyday Life on March 5th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had a really stressful day yesterday.  The kids went completely crazy at night – was it a full moon?  I didn’t check.  Even if that was the case, other little things kept going wrong also.  Little things – things that really  shouldn’t matter.  Except that when those little things are added up, they equal one bad day.  So I thought I could beat my stress by looking forward to watching some BASEBALL on TV.  Yes, that’s right, I said BASEBALL on TV!  And it’s only early March –  we haven’t even changed the clocks yet!

I just happened to look on tvguide.com yesterday to see if I could look forward to a new episode of Lost, and I noticed that my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, were set to play their cross-town rivals, the Chicago White Sox and it was going to actually be on tv in our little corner of NW Ohio!  Even though it’s only spring training, that brightened my mood considerably since it’s been MONTHS since I’ve gotten to watch baseball.  With the way my day was going, I was sure something would go wrong – the tvguide had made a mistake and we didn’t get it, Vegas (where the game was played) would disappear into a sinkhole, something like that.  But 10:00 finally rolled around, and the game was on!  AND, the teams were putting in their starters rather than their scrub players, which meant real, actual baseball to watch!  So I felt better; I relaxed and sat down to watch the game, and of course, that’s when my  two middle children (the trouble-makers of the brood these days) decided to start fighting.  So it wasn’t peaceful, but I did get to watch the game.  And it was a good game – the Cubs were down, but then they tied it up, but of course the Sox came back to win.  A disappointing outcome for such an otherwise great game.  But the good news is, it was only spring training so who cares  who won!

After the game I left WGN on the tv, and I was treated to an episode of the old tv show Alf.  Remember Alf?  It was a sitcom from the 80’s about a family who discovers an Alien Life Form (ALF), and takes him in to live with them.  Alf is a furry wise-cracking puppet with an affinity for cats (to eat!), and the family must keep him secret so he doesn’t get taken away.  Alf was a huge fad in  the 80’s; there were toys, lunchboxes, a cartoon spinoff, you name it.  After the Alf episode, on came the Steve Wilkos show (he’s the former bodyguard from the Jerry Springer show who now has his own trashy talk show – I wrote about this in a previous post, probably because of my disbelief that they would actually give this guy air time).  And that was my cue to hit the sack for my lovely 4½ hours sleep.  So far, today has been a little better, although our trouble-making 4-year-old is at school.  Tonight I’m looking forward to a brand spankin’ new Office episode – YIPPEE!  But first I have to get through a few boring meetings.  Sure hope I don’t doze; I am awfully tired!

Please Come Home For Christmas

Posted in music on December 18th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s my favorite contemporary classic Christmas tune, yet I can’t find the original version that made me fall in love with the song, “Please Come Home for Christmas”.  I spent much of yesterday evening downloading different samples of the song; it seems every famous recording artist from the past few decades covered it.  The musical acts that were sampled were very diverse: Aaron Neville, Sawyer Brown, Bon Jovi, Vonda Sheperd, Gary Allan, the Drifters, Lonestar, Toby Keith…  Twenty renditions later and I still haven’t found the original version I heard – my favorite one to date.  I heard it in the 80’s or early 90’s, and it was the most popular version they would play all the time on the radio; country and easy listening / rock.  It’s sung by a male artist or group…  if anyone has any suggestions of who it might be, I might be up to fishing through a few more versions of the song.  That is, unless any of them are as bad as Toby Keith’s.  And this is coming from a country music fan!

CMA TIME!

Posted in music on November 12th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 It’s fall – time for the CMA Awards already!  If you don’t know that CMA is short for Country Music Association, then you have my permission to skip this blog post – it will only bore you anyway!

For other country music fans like me, this is one of our two biggest nights of the year – the Superbowl for country fans.  I get really excited, and unlike other awards shows like the Oscars, I don’t like to tape  (I am a child of the ’80’s) record country music awards, and I especially don’t like to miss anything – the live performances are some of the best parts!  I always play along and try to choose the winners, but I don’t think my picks are going to be that strong this year because I’m listening to country music radio less than ever – I enjoy talking to my kids in the car, or they’re watching dvd’s.  At home I’m usually listening to Dora, the DoodleBops or Noggin.  But the CMA Awards show will be a blast to watch, as always, and there are only two nights like this a year – cross your fingers for me that my kids decide to act like human beings tonight and let me watch the show.  My picks for the winners, however uneducated they may be, are made obvious by my comments in itallics:

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Kenny Chesney – ok, so he doesn’t dominate this awards show like the ACMs, but I’m going with him anyway – just because he is not one of my favorite singers and I’m not expecting the show to go well for me
Brad Paisley
Sugarland
George Strait
Keith Urban
  Top Female Vocalist
Alison Krauss
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood – I called her from one of her first appearances in American Idol.  I said – she’s going to win Idol, but she has a voice for country.  Now she’s established herself as one of the best female country singers out there today.
Top Male Vocalist
Kenny Chesney
Alan Jackson – my favorite of those nominated, but what’s he done lately?
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Keith Urban – my pick to win – tough call between Keith and Brad, but you gotta congratulate a guy for a successful stint in rehab
Vocal Duo of the Year
Big & Rich
Brooks & Dunn
Montgomery Gentry
Sugarland – their unique sound will win them many awards – just one question:  who else is in Sugarland besides Jennifer Nettles?
The Wreckers
Vocal Group of the Year
Eagles
Emerson Drive
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts – tried and true, these guys have talent.  So do Brooks and Dunn, but they haven’t come out with anything lately
New Artist Of The Year
Jason Aldean
Rodney Atkins
Lady Antebellum
James Otto
Kellie Pickler – another American Idol reject crossover
Album Of The Year [Award to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company]
Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride Produced by Mark Bright
Brooks & Dunn’s Cowboy Town Produced by Tony Brown, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks
Alan Jackson’s Good Time Produced by Keith Stegall
Kenny Chesney’s Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates Produced by Buddy Cannon and Kenny Chesney
George Strait’s Troubadour Produced by Tony Brown and George Strait – gotta give him something
Single Of The Year [Awarded to artist and producer]
“Don’t Blink” Kenny Chesney Produced by Buddy Cannon & Kenny Chesney BNA Records
“Gunpowder & Lead” Miranda Lambert Produced by Frank Liddell & Mike Wrucke Columbia Nashville
“I Saw God Today” George Strait Produced by Tony Brown & George Strait MCA Nashville
“Stay” Sugarland Produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush and Jennifer NettlesMercury Nashville – not really sure of the difference between single and song of the year, but Stay has to win one of these.  I’m going with Single, I guess.
“You’re Gonna Miss This” Trace Adkins Produced by Frank Rogers Capitol Nashville
Song Of The Year [Awarded to songwriter and primary publisher]
“Good Time” Alan Jackson EMI-April Music/Tri-Angels Music
“I Saw God Today” Rodney Clawson/Monty Criswell/Wade Kirby Big Red Toe/Extremely Loud Music/Steel Wheels Music/Blind Mule Music – like I said, I don’t think Strait will walk away with nothing tonight – just hope I didn’t reverse the single and song of the year!
“Letter To Me” Brad Paisley EMI-April Music/New Sea Gayle Music
“Stay” Jennifer Nettles Jennifer Nettles Publishing
“You’re Gonna Miss This” Lee Thomas Miller/Ashley Gorley EMI Blackwood Music/New Songs of Sea Gayle/Noah’s Little Boat Music/Songs of Combustion Music
Musical Event Of The Year [Awarded to each Artist]
“Another Try” — Josh Turner featuring Trisha Yearwood MCA Nashville
“Every Other Weekend” — Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney MCA Nashville
“Gone Gone Gone” — Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Rounder Records
“Life In A Northern Town” — Sugarland featuring Little Big Town and Jake Owen Mercury Nashville
“Shiftwork” — Kenny Chesney (duet with George Strait) BNA Records – What does ‘vocal event’ mean anyway?  By the looks of how they wrote the nominees, I guess ‘vocal event’ means ‘when record labels lease their stars’.  Chesney always wins big at awards shows, but I personally prefer Jimmy Buffet’s beachcomber style over Kenny Chesney’s knock-off version.  I’m guessing the Country Music Association does not agree.
Music Video Of The Year [Awarded to artist and director]
Don’t Blink Kenny Chesney Directed by Shaun Silva
Good Time Alan Jackson Directed by Trey Fanjoy
Stay Sugarland Directed by Shaun Silva – everyone knows by now that Jennifer Nettles cried real tears during the filming of this video, is it enough to win her the award?  My vote is yes, but maybe it’s just wishful thinking.
Waitin’ On a Woman Brad Paisley Directed by Jim Shea
You’re Gonna Miss This Trace Adkins Directed by Peter Zavadil
Musician Of The Year
Jerry Douglas, Dobro — Drums
Paul Franklin — Steel Guitar
Dann Huff — Guitar – will win.  But then again, this is the blind lottery award for viewers.  Like I know who any of these people are, so I just picked the name that jumped out at me, and Dan Huff it was.
Brent Mason — Guitar
Mac McAnally — Guitar

For sure, a great time will be had by all.  I might update my blog with winners as I watch tonight.  And after reviewing my reasons for my picks for tonight’s awards, it needs to be said that it’s been way too long since some classic artists (and my personal favorites) came out with anything noteworthy!  Alan Jackson Garth Brooks and Martina McBride, you know who you are!