Rediscovered Treasures.

I made the mistake of trying to tidy up my office.

It’s always a mistake! My entire life exists as a series of boxes and bins. Once I start going through those, there’s no end to the madness. What was only meant to be a gentle reorganization has transformed my sanctuary into an imploded pawn shop.

I’m desperately trying to restore order, but everything I do only makes things worse. I’ll try to consolidate two boxes into one, but all that does is spread the contents of both boxes across my floor, with the items so impossibly scattered that I still think unseen ghosts are ribbing me.

Maybe everyone goes through this, but not everyone has the kinds of things I do. Truth be told, there’s just no perfect spot for a three foot inflatable Kool-Aid Man.

All I can do is keep stacking things until I’ve at least made paths the necessary spots. Right now, I can get from the door to my computer desk, but if I want to reach the air conditioner, I’ll need to climb over:

– The Dinosaur Dracula Christmas statue.
– A 30” “Tiffany” doll from Bride of Chucky.
– A box that once held the very air conditioner I’d be trying to get to, but now holds four dozen empty soda cans.
– And so much more!

The bright side? I’m rediscovering so many treasures. I’m a collector of everything. I can’t keep track of it all. I don’t even remember how I came to own some of these things. It’s like they just appeared from nowhere. Maybe “old crap” reproduces sexually? When I’m not looking, my empty can of Pac-Man Pasta mates with Metroplex, and later births a litter of Lazer Tag party plates?

I’ll use this short break from cleaning to rattle off some of my finer finds:

A Reebok Pump sneaker. Just one. I remember buying this years ago, for a post that never happened. I also distinctly remember buying a pair. Somewhere in this office, there must be another Reebok Pump!

No clue if Reebok still makes these, but when I was in junior high, they were the goddamned RAGE. I think you were supposed to push that little button on the flap to inflate the soles with air. I guess it put more spring in your step on the b-ball court?

I could only admire Pumps from afar. While I certainly tried to mimic the cool kids’ style in junior high, there was no way I could pull off Reebok Pumps. I settled on a pair of Fila sneakers, which were a few levels down on the cool meter. (Especially because I chose the hideously puffy all-white kind, which made my feet look like giant marshmallows.)

Madd Matt’s glove. At first, I was thrilled to find this. I bought several pairs for the last few years’ worth of Madd Matt videos, but over time, they’ve slowly disappeared. By this past Halloween, I was down to one glove, and had to make do with using the Sectaurs “Gnarr” puppet to cover my other hand.

I thought I finally had a matching pair again, but nope, this is just another left hand glove. I already have a left hand glove! If I ever do another Madd Matt video, I guess Gnarr will have to continue on as the unmentioned guest star.

Ninja Turtle bandages. Band-Aids, but not officially. How these came to be in my possession is a matter of much debate. I can assure you that I did not seek them out.

They’re from 1990, and since the box has never been opened, I now have enough Ninja Turtle bandages to treat thirty bloody messes with.

The box art is phenomenal, with Leo playing doctor to Raphael’s patient. Note that Leo’s head mirror is attached to nothing. It’s just sitting on his forehead like it’s glued there. Raph, for his part, has gained the ability to surround his wounds with promotional starbursts. There is nothing to dislike about any of this.

If you were an X-E reader, you know that it spent many years under the UGO umbrella. (Though not as many as you might think, because I was too lazy to remove the UGO branding even long after the partnership ended.)

UGO, which finally closed up shop this year, supplied X-E with its advertisements. That was the core of the relationship. They sold the ads, and we split the money.

However, my relationship with the company actually ran much deeper. Around a decade ago, UGO’s editorial staff gave me various assignments that were worlds apart from what I was doing on X-E. These extra assignments almost always paid me nothing, but I’m still grateful for the real life experience I so desperately needed at the time.

Most interesting were the slew of press junkets. In summary, I’d see a special screening of a not-yet-released movie, and a day or so later, get to interview that movie’s stars and director. It wasn’t as intimate as it sounds, because the interviews were usually in roundtable format, with me and six other people throwing out questions for 15-20 minutes.

What a trip. I got into the website game because it was a natural fit for a shut-in basket case. Just imagine how surreal it was to do assignments like those. There I was, with my clown hair and torn apart jeans, sitting two feet from Harrison Fucking Ford, at a hotel ritzy enough to make me feel uneasy even standing outside of it.

You’re looking at a tape from one of my interviews. The junket was for Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. That was in 2002, I think? Assorted memories from that day:

1) Al Pacino didn’t do the roundtables, but instead held one big conference with every reporter present. He was very gracious and quite tiny.

2) Robin Williams DID do the roundtables, and I loved the guy. He was funny, personable and very much “on.” (The other people at my table, who were a thousand times more experienced, absolutely dreaded his arrival. Williams had a reputation for avoiding straight answers and just doing “bits.” But what did I care? It’s not like I had a future in this.)

3) I had a perfect “from 90210 to riches” question for Hilary Swank. As soon as she sat down, someone else asked the exact question I’d planned to. Unfortunately, that was the only question I had in mind, so I spent the rest of her interview pretending to take notes, even though I was clearly recording the whole conversation.

Elsewhere in this office must be tons of other tapes and press kits. I’m so thankful for those experiences, and not just because of the stories they gave me. Around a year later, I started working a real job, one that required AN ABSOLUTE LACK OF SHYNESS. I never would’ve survived had I not spent a starry-eyed year at those junkets, learning how to do things that didn’t hide me behind a screen.

A Teddy Grahams poster, representing the era when said bears acted as rock band. Think “Chuck E. Cheese,” but more demented. Teddy was the frontbear, flanked by Eddy and Freddy.

Yeah, this will be tacked up before the day’s end.

Time to get back to cleaning. God knows what else I’ll find.