Nostalgia, I can has it?

I guess it started back in December. That’s when I found myself hanging out with an old friend in the city – twice in one week. The first was a last minute e-mail to catch a concert. An event that used to be a regular occurrence for the two of us, but was sadly my first in about 3 years. Later that same week I finally made it to one of his annual holiday parties that involved almost no one else I know.

That’s not completely true. Aside from his co-host – another friend from college yore – at least two other familiar faces showed up that qualified as true “blasts from the past”. Unlike the usual mingling with fellow alums that I see on a regular basis, there was some real catching up to do with nearly a decade having past since seeing some of them.

Things really started to pick up after our infamous Disney trip, though. First was another venture to a concert, this time in Hoboken. A quick pint with a friend beforehand produced even more drinking buddies from the halcyon days of my youth filled with lots of “Holy %^&*, it’s Slattery” type responses. All of this was topped by the appearance of a dear friend (and consummate bartender) whom I had last played phone tag with after the K’s birth. That reunion was much needed and provided a reminder that my life has, indeed, been good.

Of course not long after these adventures some more complicated goings on at home and at work had my nostalgia mode kick into “overly emotional gear”. Suddenly I found myself wondering when and why everything got so complicated. Sure, there’s the house and the kid and economy and all that crap, but why can’t I be as “care free” as I was half a decade or so ago? Is it just me, or is everybody feeling this way?

After listening to all sort of pseudo-retro songs to quell – or maybe stoke – the fires of over-sentimentality, the ship has slowly been righted. A solo night out at a bar one evening served as an incredible head-clearing episode – kind of like a real kick in the perspective pants. So even as more questions about the future have started popping up I am handling them with a tad more levelheadedness… well, at least after a modicum of freakoutedness. And so as a reward for those of you who made it through yet another rambling post with little to no point, here is “Round & Round” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. One of my favorite tracks of recent years which so perfectly portrays nostalgia:

“Round & Round” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

I was listening to this a lot a few weeks ago. The chorus has to be one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Hmm, maybe I should include more music in my posts…

Close encounter of the Facebook kind

While Facebook is typically a place to answer stupid quizzes and play time-consuming games, it turns out that it can also be a good place to reconnect with old friends. I’ve had a couple conversations with people whom I lost contact with years ago and have been happy to find out how theirs lives have progressed. Up until tonight any real life meetups have passed me by. But today circumstances lined up just right to let me catch up with an old buddy from elementary school.

Several months ago my old classmate Harry and I “friended” each other as modern social networking dictates. I was happy to see that he had made good on his early talents and is currently working as an artist. For the past year he’s been doing a project called 365 Monsters in which he draws a new, bizarre creature every day.  I’ve really been enjoying it and feel a little guilty for not having shared it earlier (since there’s less than a month left). Still, peruse the archives and enjoy the twisted fun.

Last week Harry announced that he would be showing some of the original artwork (many of which are on sale at Etsy) during First Friday in Doylestown. And what do you know? My family just happened to have plans there on First Friday to see a Jim Henson exhibit. What timing!

After a fun filled day of watching Kayleigh’s head nearly explode thanks to the plethora of Elmo dolls the Bert and Ernie puppets, and my own attempt at puppetry, a whole group of us had a chance to swing by the gallery. Although I was happy to see some of the artwork up close (and determine that I must buy one or two), the real kicker for the evening was reconnecting with someone I haven’t seen in the better part of 2 decades.

So maybe Facebook can actually serve a purpose beyond Bejewelled Blitz afterall…

What’s the return policy on nostalgia?

I’m a collector. Of lots of things. CDs, DVDs, books, receipts… Receipts?!?!

Alright, it’s not like I pick up random receipts off the ground or snag them from tables when people aren’t looking or go to trade shows to discuss the latest and greatest in receipts. I simply don’t throw them out. And I attempt to organize them. Attempt being the operative word.

It all started sometime in the mid-90s. I got ahold of a database to keep track of the CDs I purchased. It even had a place to record where and when you bought it along with the sale price and the regular price. For all of those anal retentive people out there who get giddy about keeping track of too much information I say SQUEE! Yes, for years I dutily entered all of this information in the database… and kept the receipts as… let’s just say backup.

But this habit spread. Why just CDs? Soon I was holding onto every receipt for books and DVDs just in case I got a database for them. Then I started thinking of the possibilities. Why not keep track of how much money I spent on clothes, food, or computers parts (which, sadly, may have been more than clothes or food)? And thus I started filing away every little carbon copy I got in preparation for the day that I would finally have the capability to search, sort, and calculate to my hearts content.

Fast forward, oh, let’s say 10 years. My filing system is… no longer a system. Every statement, bill, invoice, receipt, birth certificate, etc. is crammed into random drawers and boxes spread throughout a house that managed to double the amount of paperwork that was generated in the decade beforehand. In other words, it wasn’t working.

Sure, I started to go through things. I would check purchases at the end of some months and chuck any slips for patently ridiculous items – do I really need to remember when I bought those envelopes? But too many things remained – because I did need to remember the $1.09 I spent on a bottle of water… in HAWAI’I! Now we are faced with the task of preparing our humble abode for a small creature who looks to start moving about on her own and putting everything within reach directly in her mouth. Perhaps it is time I dispose of my most carbon and ink covered collection.

Since I’m obviously not going to just dump it all without going through the various piles and folders, a weird sense of nostalgia has crept up. The obvious ones are receipts from our honeymoon and other vacations – little reminders of what we did on this day or that (except for this one for 150 bucks that I cannot for the life of me figure out). But other things start evoking memories, too: my old TV from Nobody Beats the Wiz, liquor for the big New Year’s Eve Party, and the deposit slip for my second car! One of the oldest ones I recently threw out was a dinner with a girl I dated years before The Woman came along – but it was from a couple years before we dated. I do have a funny story from that night – but not one that requires to know the price of the meal.

The computer related ones are fun because every nerd loves reminiscing about the days when we bought RAM in 1 MB increments and were excited to add a 16 color monitor to our rig. My first DVD drive is in there, but not my enormous 420 MB hard drive from freshman year. 50 dollar video games for the Playstation can get a little depressing, but the memory of bringing that system back to my dorm room for the first time is cool.

But it’s probably the CD receipts that still bring back the most memories. I spent many Saturday afternoon meandering through the Village looking for obscure releases and used deals. Each piece of paper from a defunct shop is a jolt back to all the hours I spent browsing cramped aisles searching for some band I heard someone mention to someone else must be checked out. Etherea closed around ’98, but I’ve got proof that I was there! And the first time I brought Neutral Milk Hotel or Autechre home? Fantastic. How about that vinyl pressing of Kraftwerk or Glass Candy? So awesome.

But it’s time to realize that this little obsession has totally nerdified my best shot at hipsterdom. Off to the shredder we go!

Apartment Fail

This is far from the funniest picture ever put up on FAIL Blog, but it might just be the coolest (at least to me):

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Obviously it was taken in Hoboken, but those who have known me long enough should take a closer look. The storefront isn’t as recognizable since Hobos closed up and took their pink awning, but see that place behind the tree? That’s my old apartment. Well, the below my old apartment.

So kind of FAIL Blog to provoke a little nostalgia today (although the picture is originally courtesy of Hoboken 411). More importantly, they gave me an opportunity to test the Wordbook plugin