Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts

Monday, September 27, 2010

New England Mating Season

It felt like Fall this morning in Austin, so much so that I wished I'd not left my hoodie at work when I left the apartment this morning. I know it won't last (the real, consistent, Fall weather still being a few weeks off here) but, as a someone who grew up in New England the cooler weather stirred some pleasant memories.

I believe it was my friend Mark Wood who once described Fall as "mating season" for New England kids. The reasons for this ranging from the increased likelihood of sharing hot chocolate whilst cuddling to remain warm with members of the opposite sex (or same ... if that's your deal) to the preponderance of Fall related activities that the northeastern United States revel in, hokey shit like hay rides and what have you. In all honesty though the Fall is really the only consistently "nice", so it's when people tend to get together and go out to do things. Winter is pretty consistently awful. Spring is wet and depressing for all but a couple weeks towards the end. Summer has spurts of niceness, but in large is too humid to really enjoy. Fall is entirely bearable though and what with the changing leaves, largely consistent weather, and the aforementioned hay rides, it's downright romantic.

At any rate, it felt like Fall in Austin this morning and while it's "nice" for much more of the year here than it ever was in New England, I still have a soft spot for that cooler weather. For New England kids past, present, and future, it's mating season again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Heeey Yooou Guuuys!

I just got back from The Goonies quote-along at the Alamo Ritz in downtown Austin. If you've never been to a quote along, imagine karaoke for movies. Take a movie everyone knows and that everyone has watched dozens of times, add some quote-along text at key moments, and encourage people to talk during the movie. As someone who has seen The Goonies more times than I can count and who can recite much of the script unaided, this was a "can't miss" experience.

There were a lot of great movies around when I grew up: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters; movies full of adventure, humor and excitement. While those of us who were born in the final years of what is generally considered Generation X watched and loved these movies, they were mostly geared towards our older siblings and cousins. This didn't stop us from pretending to be Jedi, adventuring archaeologists, time travelers, or paranormal investigators though, but we were always removed by age from ever actually being those things. When The Goonies came along in 1985 the tables turned, it was our time ... it was our time for an adventure movie of our own with kids roughly our own age. And while I love Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the rest, The Goonies will always be the greatest adventure movie of all time for me.

I grew up in what was more or less nowhere Connecticut, in a neighborhood not too conducive to adventure. My parents were fairly protective and I was somewhat timid as well, so my excursions mostly involved my backyard. Compared to my street, my friends lived in much more interesting neighborhoods, with interconnected backyards, small wooded areas, and overall less concrete and traffic. It wasn't until we saw The Goonies that we really realized the full potential for adventure that lurked there however.

Here was a movie about working class kids in anytown, USA that go on a grand adventure virtually in their backyards. The Goonies didn't talk down to us, it didn't hold our hands, it even sweared at us several times, and it gave us an adventure where kids like us (not archaeologists or warrior space monks) were the central characters. These were kids who talked like us dressed like us, and acted like us to the point where it wasn't hard to see a little bit of Mouth, Data, Chunk, and Mikey in our own circle of friends. In our young minds at the time it didn't seem too far outside the realm of possibility that one of our parent's attics might hide a map to buried treasure and that the woods behind my friends houses might sit atop a vast tunnel network filled with booty traps ... I mean booby traps. Adventure wasn't just something for grown ups anymore, adventure was something we could live in our own backyards and live it we did. Sure our group name was different (and changed every week), our nicknames weren't the same, and we didn't need to save our parent's houses from a country club developer, but we felt the call for adventure. And while there was probably a great deal more mischief, and a great deal less danger than The Goonies experienced, it influenced and inspired us nonetheless.

I've run into people later in life who have never seen The Goonies and while there are movies that when I hear this I make that person go out and watch it, this isn't one. For me The Goonies was all about the time and place of being 8 years old in suburbia and my love for the film was only enhanced by mine and my friends attempts to emulate it. Someone who's 32 and watching the movie for the first time just isn't going to get that. For me the Goonies became a part of my life, a part of my world, a part of my DNA, and when I watch it now, from the moment Jake Fratelli breaks out of jail to the moment we see The Inferno sailing off into the distance, I'm 8 years old again traipsing through backyards and thickets of trees in search of adventure (and  maybe buried treasure) in my own backyard.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cleaning House

After months of putting it off I've decided to dive head first into my closet and begin the process of auditing the numerous boxes of miscellaneous crap I have just sitting around and gathering dust. Moving is one of my least favorite things to do in the world. It seems that every time I move it is at least a mildly traumatic experience brought on by a combination of my own procrastination and a lot of last minute scrambling to get various random objects packed. This is always exacerbated by the fact that I never fail to realize the sheer volume of useless junk I've been carrying around with me for years.

For a while it wasn't too bad though. When I moved back to Boston in January of 2004, I really didn't have that much stuff with me in the form of random objects. I had taken the usual necessities: computer, music, games, DVD's, books, comics, and various homey items like my futon, bed, dishes, and such. I made a trip up with the big stuff in a U-Haul and then another trip later on with various items in my car. It really wasn't much, in retrospect. Still, come that August I was moving up the street to Jamaica Plain and I figured 2 days off - one for the move and one after - would be enough to get it all done. I had been "packing" for about a week and while I hadn't done the kitchen yet or taken apart the living room furniture, that was all going to be a breeze. Something anyone in Boston needs to understand (that I in my previous 5 years as a resident in the city had somehow failed to grasp) is that Aug 31st/Sept 1st is a HUGE moving day and - little known to me at the time - U-Haul tends to overbook. So I found myself on the morning of my move without a truck. Luckily I was able to locate a larger moving truck at a rental place across town and I had my good friend Donny to help me move all my stuff. When you're packing it never seems like all that much stuff. Even when you stuff it all in the truck, it's really not that bad. When you've spent all morning scrambling to finish packing, find a moving truck, and then find yourself 14 hours later clearing a space to sleep on the floor of your room in your new apartment that is filled to the brim with all your wordly possessions however, you begin to realize that you've got a lot of shit.

I don't remember if I got rid of anything after that move and I'm fairly certain that it may have been at that point when I began putting aside the eternal boxes. There are at least 3 boxes that have made multiple moves with me now. These boxes are filled with junk I can't bear to part with, but never actually need. Were the number of these junk boxes to have remained merely 3 I may not have had a problem. This is sadly not the case however.

When I moved to Virginia in August of 2006 things went a little more smoothly. I had plenty of time to pack and on the morning of the move actually spent a good deal of time being bored while waiting for the movers to show up. I had allotted an inordinate amount of miscellaneous items to ride with me in my car and was lucky to have been able to fit them all after the movers too my better packaged items away, but other than that it was a rather uneventful move. Yes, the number of junk boxes had grown, but it didn't seem a problem at the time as my new apartment had two large walk in closets.

I was content for a while in Virginia to just let my miscellneous junk fester in my two closets. In truth I only really used to front closet for storage and kept the bedroom closet for more traditionally closet worthy things such as hanging clothes. Even if I did all of a sudden find myself with an abundance of junk to find space for, I also had a small locked storage area in the basement of the apartment building. I was living the good life with all my useless junk. I had even bought another couch as my living room was large enough to fit both it and my old futon. Yes sir things were good, that is until my parents finally finished moving out of the house I had grown up in back in West Haven Connecticut.

When they came to visit in September 2007 they came bearing gifts, well not gift so much as boxes and boxes of junk from my old room. There must have been at least 20 of them and they all went into he front closet, with overflow spreading to the bedroom closet. I let that stuff sit there for a good 6 months. Out of sight, out of mind after all,  but then that winter I decided to buy and exercise bike and that I might want to rearrange my living room to use only one couch and store the disassembled futon in the closet. There was no way the bike and the futon were going to fit in the closet in it's present state and due to the fact that it was winter, Virginia, and I had just been dumped, I wasn't leaving the house for anything other than work, so while I was sitting around watching movies I might as well go through the countless boxes in my front closet.

Going through those boxes was like going back in time. Now, I had lived at my old house in Connecticut as recently as the end of 2003, but even then most of the stuff in my room had been boxed up or was just junk lying around. Going through those boxes in what was now 2008 was like taking a time machine back to the mid-late 90's, when alternative rock became modern, a young Will Ferrel was teaching us how to laugh again on Saturday Night Live, and O.J. Simpson was still searching for the real killers. There's definitely something fun about looking through piles of old junk, when it's yours at least. It's like looking at a photo album, except instead of pictures you've got objects. I must have gotten rid of 2/3 of those boxes by the time I was done, but regardless, my stack of miscellaneous boxes - the stuff I chose to keep but never had a need for - had grown. I had 2 closets though, what did I care.

It's August of 2009 and I'm moving down to Austin. This move wasn't quite as bad at the move to Jamaica Plain in 2004, but still not as smooth as the one to Virginia in 2006. I had underestimated the amount of extra stuff I had and at around 3am on the morning of my move, I still had things to pack. I went to bed and woke around 6:30 in order to complete packing and with a little help from the moving men (apparently wardrobe boxes and great for packing all those odd shaped things you can't fit into smaller, squarer boxes) everything of mine was packed and on the truck by noon. I had meant to get out of Virginia by 1-2pm, but I still had to clean the apartment, drop off my cable box, stop by Good Will to get rid of a bunch of old clothes, and get something to eat before hitting the road. I didn't leave Virginia until 7:30pm, but that's a whole other story.

Now I'm in Austin, Texas in an apartment roughly the same size as the one I had in Virginia, but lacking the storage space in the basement and the second closet. All my miscellaneous boxes are in the closet along with my hung clothes, the pieces of my futon, and the futon mattress. This should be a walk in closet, presently it is not. There are at least 10 miscellaneous boxes in there, not counting the 4 or 5 that are just comic books and I've been meaning to go through them for months now in order to make some room and in there so that I can put the boxes that I need to keep (empties for Rock Band and Guitar Hero, 2 of the comics boxes, and one legitimate box of miscellaneous stuff) in there and out of my living room. Tonight I've decided to begin that process and reclaim my closet. Once again I'm turning back the hands of time in order to battle the beasts of nostalgia and get rid of junk I no longer need. Will I be successful? Only time will tell.