I didn’t want to let the summer slip by without hitting a flea market at least once, so this past Saturday, I braved the sun and swore to never do that again.
The Englishtown flea market in New Jersey did not disappoint. It rarely does. This is the same flea market I’ve written about many times before, and I’d originally planned to do the same today, but, eh, let’s try something different.
Here’s a video review of my flea market haul!
In that video, you’ll see everything from old hair gel to a Garfield book. And also the Green Ranger made out of Lite Brite pegs. Thank you for watching, because I’d otherwise have no valid reason to buy this stuff.
I did good enough on Saturday to want more, so assuming it’s not raining next weekend, I’ll probably look for another flea market to get filthy at. You should try it, too!
To tie in with Dino Drac’s Cruel Summer event, everything featured in this edition of Five Retro TV Commercials has something to do with summertime. Or cruelty.
Get set for ice cream, fried chicken and water-squirting robot men!
Butterfinger Ice Cream Bars! (1991)
I was never big on Butterfinger bars before Bart started shilling them. I’m not sure if I ever really liked them, but a vote of confidence from Homer and Bart meant everything in the early ‘90s. I endured them because the Simpsons said to, even if I deep down knew that super oily candy bars with the consistency of particleboard just weren’t my thing.
On the other hand, I thought Butterfinger was marvelous as an ice cream component. I lavished praise on Butterfinger Ice Cream Nuggets during the last Purple Stuff Podcast, but I was almost as big on the Butterfinger Ice Cream Bars featured here. Read More…
Remember last year when I showed you some pages from my 1992 diary?
Well, here’s the 1993 version:
That’s the diary, right there. Or “journal,” because diaries were for girls, I guess?
I kept this one during the summer of ’93. I was 14, though the book reads like it was written by someone younger. (That isn’t terribly surprising, given how altogether stunted I was.)
I’d just finished middle school and was on my final summer break before high school, which I was utterly unprepared for. Knowing how that went, it’s perversely humorous to see fourteen-year-old me be so unwilling and unable to evolve.
High school ended up being a bizarre experience, and reading these pages, I don’t know how it could’ve went any other way. It was like preparing for war by eating potato chips, almost literally.
If I had to describe the me-of-then, I wouldn’t choose too many nice adjectives. Goofy, depressed, alone — an ironically-round square peg. Yet I was still so completely me, in a way that you can only be when you’re that young… for better and for worse.
Below are several “highlights” from this diary. Honestly, even after so many years, they’re some of the only entries that I can bear sharing. The rest still seem too embarrassing, if not outright incriminating. Scars don’t bleed, but we still try to hide them.
The journal began with this needlessly melodramatic foreword, which for the sake of my pride needed to be trimmed to its least-embarrassing passages. (I cropped out the part about my “many and various” enemies.)
The big news was that I now lived downstairs, in a larger bedroom that wasn’t right next to my parents’ room. That bedroom was a huge part of my life, which was only natural given that I spent more than 80% of my summer vacation hiding in it.
Oh, and as for that “Journal Ankh” thing…
I used to give my diaries names. The one I covered last year was called Journal Stellix, with “Stellix” being my made-up “cool-sounding” surname. This one was Journal Ankh, with a tip of the hat to Neil Gaiman’s Death: The High Cost of Living.
In that comic, Death lived among us for one day each century, so as to better understand the souls she reaped. She’s portrayed as a happy-go-lucky teen with goth stylings. Back in ‘93, I was obsessed with her.
…like, obsessed enough to chase down an ankh similar to the one she wore in the book. It was this big, gaudy thing that turned green in a week, but I wouldn’t leave home without it. Even if I was just going to the bank. Read More…
Captain Pollution is the best thing that ever came out of the Captain Planet universe. Fight me.
There’s my dude. Captain Planet’s evil double, which is pretty much my all-time favorite trope. Powered by pollution and sounding like a dickhead version of Michelangelo, Captain Pollution didn’t appear often, but when he did, OH MAN. Lights off, volume up, popcorn popped.
If Captain Pollution is news to you, below are five facts that will help you feign expertise. Remember, the polluting power is yours. Read More…
To keep this edition of Five Random Action Figures on-brand for Cruel Summer, I will only feature figures that have some tangential tie to the season. Enjoy!
Mike, The Sewer Surfer!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
This screwball Michelangelo was from a set of TMNT figures that gave our heroes intense new costumes, and even new occupations. (Raph became an astronaut, Don became a sneaky detective… you get the picture.)
Since every kid who collected TMNT toys started with the original Turtles, it made sense for Playmates to keep redressing them. To their credit, these “extra” Turtles weren’t cheap cash-grabs with rudimentary facelifts. Each had a mold all its own, and they were littered with so many details that the first wave of figures seemed positively antique by comparison.
Just look at all of the little touches on Mikey. Seaweed! Baby sharks! Gnarly crabs! Hell, I’ve had this guy for 30 years, and I’m only now noticing the octopus on his foot. Read More…