Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Shameful Tamagotchi Experience

One of the favorite toys of the 90s were Tamagotchis, and I can’t help but feel incredibly guilty when thinking about my own virtual pet experience. There was something fantastic about caring for a blob with eyes on a screen, enclosed in a plastic egg attached to a handy keychain. The life of this poorly animated tech pet was in my hands… Without me he would die, and I vowed to never let that happened. Unfortunately, that vow was broken after a week of having it.

Turns out, the little guy was incredibly needy. At first, cleaning up digital poop, feeding it digital food, and its constant begging of attention was all really adorable and good fun. Soon that cuteness turned into an annoying chore, and as a kid, I avoided real life annoying chores as much as possible… Why was I opting for extra work? So I stopped tending to all of my pet’s needs, and then within a couple days, it became terminally ill. Its health status showed that it had become sick due to lack of hygiene and starvation. There was nothing I could do- it was too late. Suddenly, I felt terrible that I had abandoned the poor little guy. He was going to die because I’m an awful irresponsible parent- it was all my fault. As I watched my tamagotchi take his final breath, I felt sad for a few moments and then pressed the reset button on the back to start over. I was going to provide a new and better life for my pet this time. But, it almost seemed that my pet was even more needy than he was in his last life. Again, I quickly became annoyed, abandoned it and left it to die.

The tamagotchi was created to teach kids in a “fun” way of how to be responsible and care for a living pet. The only thing is, real living pets don’t have a reset button on their backs if they die, and not caring for them would be considered animal abuse. Luckily, the ASPCA has yet to say anything about my past history of tamagotchi abuse. 

Why Being a Little Girl in the 90s Was So Much Fun!

What better time to be a little girl than in the 90s?

All my school supplies were Lisa Frank brand…
All my folders had psychadelic, rainbow puppies and kittens, and my notebooks had rainbow-making unicorns. I also had a book of Lisa Frank stickers and stuck them EVERYWHERE. Once and a while my mom still finds one my stickers stuck behind a couch or under a coffee table in our house.

I was all about the “Girl Power” music…
Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and of course the Spice Girls were always on my CD Mix that I would play on my walkman religiously. I was a preteen girl and that’s the kind of music preteens would listen to- Don’t judge me.

I wore Jellies…
They were comfortable, waterproof and cute sandal-like shoe that came in every color. I had a pair of red ones and even though they were supposed to be a summer shoe, I wore them every season and all year round.

I had 5,000 scrunchies... Or more...  Literally…

Big scrunchies, little scrunchies, rainbow scrunchies, neon scrunchies, scrunches with detachable flowers and butterflies- I had them all! Besides being a fabulous hair accessory, they were also fun to fling at my brother.

My Beanie Baby collection was impressive…
I was a serious Beanie Baby collector. I would make my mom drive to the local pharmacy or toy store so I could see if they we’re selling and beanies that I didn’t have yet. Funny enough, I rarely ever played with them; they were more of a financial investment. I was so convinced my Beanie Babies were going to be worth something one day so I would put a plastic cover around the “Ty” tags, because without their tags they were considered worthless. I also bought a Beanie Baby collector’s book that listed how much each was worth and their expected growth in value. Turns out, Beanie Babies aren’t so precious and valuable today. This is when I decided to never pursue a career in finances.

My friends and I played Girl Talk at every slumber party...
Every weekend my friends and I would look forward to having a slumber party and playing the pre-teen board game Girl Talk. Why did we love this game? It was a “truth or dare” type game that involved admitting our boy crushes and daring us to call our boy crushes. Above all, this game taught us the fun in gossiping and being girly.

Clueless was my favorite movie...
 It was a movie that made being a ditzy, rich, and materialistic girl look awesome. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the most appropriate movie for a young girl to watch, but whatever. This was a movie that defined many colorful aspects of 90’s pop culture. The fashion: baby doll dresses, doc martens, and belly shirts. The slang: “What-ever,” “Like totally,” “Like, DUH!” It’s a great 90’s movie that will forever hold a special nostalgic place in my heart.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Crap We Ate as Kids in the 90s

These candies were so painful to eat, and why we still ate them- I do not know. When you first put them in your mouth and started sucking on them, it was so intensely sour that it felt like you were slowly breaking your jaw. Then after a good 30 seconds, the candy became sweet and there was no better relief, however your tongue felt completely numb and inflamed. I remember during lunch at school, we would have warhead wars; who could suck on a handful of warheads the longest. Yeah, I never won a single battle.

Baby Bottle Pops
Another ridiculous candy we thought was awesome in the 90s. The baby bottles were full of sugar and the nipple was a hard sucking candy. Basically you dipped the hard sticky candy in the bottle full of sugar. Personally, I thought the whole thing was awkward and creepy. I’m kind of glad I haven’t seen them since 1998.

One of my favorite sugary snacks! They were Kangaroo-shaped crackers that you dipped in vanilla or chocolate frosting. DE-LICIOUS!

When my mom didn’t have time to make me lunch to take to school, she would give me a lunchable. The were two kinds of lunchables when I was a kid… First, there were the pizza kits, which consisted of stale crackers (the pie), tomato paste, pepperonis, and shredded cheese. Then there were the mini sandwich kits; overly- processed and slimy slices of deli meat, chunks of cheese, and a few pathetic crackers to make a sandwich out of it all. My favorite part of the lunchable pack, and probably the only thing I ate, was the desert, which was usually a baby candy bar, such as a Crunch or Hershey’s bar. Opening my lunch box and finding a lunchable was the most disappointing experience. And that’s when I learned how to make my own lunch so I never had to eat that lunch in a box ever again.

If you had a pack of gushers in your lunchbox, the other kids would trade you anything for it.  They were little gummy balls with sweet liquid goo inside. When you chewed them, they would explode and “gush” in your mouth. Gushers were the coolest!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who remembers GAK?

GAK! It was so much cooler than Playdough or silly puddy. It was slimy and oozy and glorious!  It had that liquid plastic smell that you kind of felt guilty for liking. Best of all, you could make farting noises with it... And for a little kid, that means a good time! 

15 Songs From The 90s That Just Came to Mind

Baby one more time (Britney Spears)
 In the 90s, Britney Spears was crowned my generation’s pop princess, and we welcomed her with open arms. Every little girl wanted to be Britney, and how could they not... She was the southern girl next-door, who sang sexy songs with her adorable nasally voice, she wore sexy bellyshirts that revealed her cool bellybutton ring, and almost all her songs contained sexual innuendos. Maybe she wasn’t the greatest rolemodel for young girls, but then again she did warn us that she’s “not so innocent.”

Waterfalls (TLC)
To this day, I’m not quite sure what the female R&B trio meant when they said “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.” I’m sure there’s some deep meaning to it that I’ve been too lazy to figure out. I remember that these ladies made baggy jeans look sexy.

MMM-Bop (Hanson)
They were three brothers with pretty faces, long blonde hair, and were actually incredibly lame to say the least. I wasn’t a big Hansen fan per say, but I won’t deny the fact that when this song played on the radio, I couldn’t resist mmm-bopping it.

Jump Around (House of Pain)
I think it’s fair to say that this was the official “party anthem of the 90s. And of course, we all jumped around when this song came on because we do what we are told.

Wannabe  (Spice Girls)
 I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan- HUGE. Yes, I was all about the “girl power.” I must have listened to this song over 1000 times (literally), and to this day, I still know every single word.

Livin’ la Vida Loca (Ricky Martin)
Oh Ricky Martin… Women couldn’t help but drool over the sexy Latin singer with tight leather pants and frosted hair. This was kind of song you couldn’t help but to shake your “bon bon” to.

Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)
What do you get when you combine early rap and “Under Pressure” by the legendary Queen and David Bowie- you get the first hip hop single to ever top the Billboard charts. 

Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-A-Lot)
I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother knows all the words to this little jewel of a song. Sure it’s downright offensive and completely objectifies women; but let’s be honest, in the end, it’s a song about butts… A sense of humor is required to appreciate this epic song.

What's My Age Again? (Blink 182)
I was a pretty big Blink 182 fan (still am) and this song is probably one of my favorites. I remember its awesome music video, in which the band runs through public streets butt naked.

Genie in a Bottle (Christina Aguilera)
 In retrospect, I’m not sure why my parents let me listen to such a song that was clearly filthy with sexual implications. I can actually remember seeing the music video on the Disney channel, and was shocked at even a young age. What, was everyone innocently blind during the 90s?

Getting Jiggy With It (Will Smith)
Will Smith wanted to create clean rap songs and this was supposed to be one of them- I’ve heard many interpretations of the term “getting jiggy with it,” some of which are not very “clean” per say. It’s not your fault, Mr. Smith… “A” for effort.

Tearin’ Up My Heart (Nsync)
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I was a die-hard Nsync fan. Next to “Bye Bye Bye” this was my other top favorite. This song definitely makes me miss the boy band era.

Shoop (Salt N’ Pepa)
This was the first and only song I learned to rap. The story is my babysitter was obsessed with this song, and played it all the time when she would watch me. I learned every little verse, yet I had no idea what any of it meant at 8-years-old. I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when she heard me rap: “licked him like a lollypop should be licked.” She cried and then gave me the “Birds and the Bees” talk. Precious memories.

Gangsta’s Paradise (Coolio)
A song that still has a place on iPod and plays from time to time. In the 90s, Coolio seriously was the coolest. Nowadays, he’s nowhere to be found… Where in the world is Coolio and his crazy hair?

Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
The 90s were known for its grunge movement, and Nirvana dominated as a grunge icon. Even if you didn’t like this style of music, you couldn’t help but rock out and get pumped up to this song.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Revolutionary Decade for Technology

Today, we’ve become a tech-obsessed culture and many of us can’t imagine how we could live life without our beloved iPhones and iPads, Facebook, and YouTube. We tend to forget that the 90s were an incredibly revolutionary decade for technology with a long list of inventions that inspired the more advanced technology we have today. It’s actually quite amazing to see how far we have come with highly developed technology in just a little over a century. Let’s take a look back at what we might consider to be technological dinosaurs today, yet the start of a new era of technology.

Pagers- A simple personal telecommunications device for short messages. A one-way numeric pager can only receive a message consisting of a few digits; typically a phone number that the user is then expected to call. It was more an adult gadget; although, I remember my brother begged my parents for one (no idea why) and finally got one. He thought he was the coolest in kid in town, but the only pages he got were from our mother.

Cell phones- during this decade, we began trading in our Beepers for mobile phones. When we look back now, the cell phones of the early 90s are actually quite humorous. They were big, chunky, and awkward and looked more like a cordless landline phone. In the beginning, mobile phones were used by only a few percent of the population of even the wealthiest nations!
As the 90s progressed, cell phones began shrinking in size, and then Motorola introduced the first ever clamshell/flip mobile phone. In the late 90s, I remember the Nextel walkie-talkie type of phones were popular. That “chirp” sound was so obnoxious, but luckily these types of phones got old real fast.

CD players- what did we do before iPods? We had bulky CD players- that’s what. No one was more appreciative of the iPod than the music-lovers who had CD players. I had a blue one covered in the Spice Girls and Nsync stickers. Since there were no iTunes or digital music libraries yet, I would lug around a hefty book of CDs.

Digital Cameras- for much of the 90s, my mother was all about the disposable cameras. She always had those crappy things in hand on every family vacation or at any special event. As the decade proceeded, digital cameras became more available and affordable. We finally bought my mother her first digital camera, which completely transformed her world. The rest of my family and I were just happy we no longer had to hear that loud horrible wind-up noise or be blinded by that obnoxiously bright flash.

World Wide Web
- I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine surviving without the Internet today. The 90s introduced us to the World Wide Web, and it actually changed the world forever. The web became user-friendlier with its browsers, which allowed even the least tech-savvy people to connect online.

With the web came email and Instant Messaging. America Online (AOL) was one of the more popular ones, especially among 90s kids, like myself. I will never forget the frustrating experience of just connecting to the Internet. It’s funny how these days we get pissed when it takes a minute to load a webpage. As technology has advanced, our patience has only dwindled. We tend to forget how in the 90s, it took 5 minutes or more to connect online. I remember sitting and watching the little AOL yellow man figure running in place, while the painfully long process of connecting online was taking place. Oh, and who can forget that god-awful dial-up sound, after a while it became nails on a chalkboard- just thinking about makes me cringe. Yet some how this agonizing process seemed to be worth it as soon as I heard those glorious words: “Welcome, you’ve got mail.” Oh yes, there was no greeting more rewarding than that one. I would easily spend hours online, and once I learned about Google and other web browsers, I thought there was just so much to explore. There was no reason to leave my computer ever again… So long as no one called our landline phone, immediately disconnecting me from online.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If You Were Trendy in the 90s Then You Probably Had...

Slap bracelets- one of the more dangerous accessories of the 1990s’. They were a flat strip of flexible stainless steel wrapped in fabric or plastic. When the strip is straightened out, gently “slap” it on your forearm, and it wraps around your wrist- Wah-lah! You got yourself a hot bracelet. I remember my school banned these after kids were injured from the sharp metal sticking out of their worn-out slap-its.

Overalls- the 90s’ were a time when farmers were effortlessly fashionistas. Yes, somehow overalls were considered stylish. They didn’t have a long fashionable lifespan, but many people enjoyed the lazy look- some were even in denial and sported this look way after it died. I had a few pairs… sometimes I rocked only one strap hooked- you might say I was somewhat of a fashion risk-taker.

Skorts- if you were a little girl in the 90s, I bet you owned a few skorts (shorts/skirt). I was somewhat of a tomboy in my younger days and my mother constantly begged me to wear girly- clothes. I guess you could say that the skort was a way of comprising with my mother.  I could run and play sports with the boys without showing my underwear because under that awkward skirt flap were a pair shorts.  

Belly shirts- apparently females felt the need to bare their midrifts during this decade. For the most part, it looked like girls were shopping at the Baby Gap for their tops. Belly shirts were all the rage, especially if you had a taunt tummy. Even those without killer abs were all about these trendy tops.

The Rachel-Do- I can still remember sitting in the hair salon, at 9 years old, and telling my hairdresser that I wanted the “Rachel.” Rachel, a character  played by Jennifer Aniston on the hit show friends, sported a haircut all girls and women wanted throughout the 90s.

The Mushroom haircut (AKA the bowl-cut)
- it was a hairstyle many boys sported in the early nineties, including my own older brother. It looked exactly like its funghi name, or like a haircut one of the three stooges had.

The Grunge Look- messy greasy hair, plaid flannel shirts, and ripped jeans… That’s right, I’m talking about the Grunge look. Under the definition of grunge, you’ll probably see Kirk Cobain from Nirvana. This look was punk-meets- bum who hasn’t showered in months. I don’t miss this style at all.

Yes, many of these styles may seem hideous now, and you may be asking yourself: Why did I ever think these fashion trends were cool? Why would I wear this and what in the world was going through my head when I styled my hair like that? These are trivial questions, and we may never find the answers… No, the truth is our culture told us these looks were trendy. Naturally, we believed it and we did look cool… According to pop culture’s definition of “cool” during the time. I will admit that I, myself, was a victim of these terrible fashion fads; However, I have no regrets and I suggest you let go of your shame, too. After all, in 20 years, even the most fashionable people will probably look back at their fashion now and say: What was I thinking?!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best Saturday Nights Ever!

As a kid, on Saturday nights my parents used to make my older brother babysit me while they went on their date night. I looked forward to these nights for one reason only- I got to watch Snick (Saturday night nickelodeon shows). Snick at night had all the “big kid shows” that my parents would never let me watch, but they were the only shows my brother watched; thus, I got to watch them too.              

“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” I wasn’t until this show scared the hell out of me; yet, weirdly enough, I loved every minute of it. The scariest part was the intro; the haunted background music, the eerie attic-creaking noises, smoke hovering over dark waters, and the camera panning over a creepy toy clown. My favorite part was when a match was lit and the flame illuminated the words “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” The show always started with a bunch of kids sitting around a campfire telling scary stories, they were known as the “Midnight Society,” and I wanted to a part of it. Anyways, most of the scary stories involved evil clowns, monsters under the bed, ghosts, goblins, etc., which gave me some pretty serious nightmares. Many years later, my friend bought the show’s DVD collection set, and we watched every episode. Turns out, the show isn’t so scary when your older and realize just how bad the scary “special effects” were. We actually couldn’t help but laugh at just how everything about this show was just so lame. Regardless, I still want to be a member of the “Midnight Society.”

What do you get when you put a psychotic Chihuahua in need of some severe anger management, a good-natured and unintelligent cat, a pinch of violence, a dab of sexual innuendo (my young mind didn’t quite comprehend those references then), and throw in a whole load of toilet humor jokes involving farts, boogers, hairy legs, smelly armpits, etc.? Well, you get “Ren and Stimpy,” of course! Sure it was a controversial show, it was absolutely inappropriate for kids, and my parents definitely wouldn’t let me watch it; however, that didn’t mean I wouldn’t find a way to watch it anyways. Thanks to my responsible and dependable older brother/babysitter, I got to watch the hilariously perverted and inappropriate “Ren and Stimpy” every Saturday night. I memorized the infamous “Log Song,” and by age 8, I could do a mean Ren impression- “You EEE-DEE-IT!” … Yup, still got it.

Some other favorite Snick shows were “All That,” a Saturday Night Live-type of show, but for kids; “Clarissa Explains it All,” Clarissa (a young Melissa Joan Hart) deals with typical kid problems, which included dealing with her nerdy brother, Ferguson, and she also had a slow-evolving romance with her neighbor/ friend, who frequently climbed through her window, and apparently was unfamiliar with the meaning of privacy; “The Secret World of Alex Mac;” “Kenan and Kel;” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” Boy, do I miss Snick!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Furby Fever!

I’ll never forget that feeling I got, as I ripped open my birthday present and saw a little nugget of fur with two giant doughy eyes staring back at me. I was so overjoyed- I almost cried.

“What is that? Is that supposed to be a hamster or something?” my grandmother asked, staring at my gift as if it were a diseased rat.

“I think it’s an owl, Darling,” my grandfather said.

I looked at them, offended by their ignorance.

“No, no, it’s a FURBY!” I exclaimed.

That’s right, I had a Furby. And my grandparents we’re right- it did look like a hamster/owl/gizmo from the movie “Gremlins.”  I had spent months begging for one of my own. Furbies were the must-have toy of the 90s. These little furry robots with beaks started off speaking “furbish,” but if you nurtured them and gave them lots of love, they would develop language skills and eventually speak broken English. These little electronic fur-balls even blinked and could sense when you entered the room or were nearby. Their intelligence made them the coolest toy around, and it didn’t take long for the Furby Fever to spread like wild fire.

I brought my Furby everywhere- to school, to the grocery store, and I even brought him on family vacations, since I considered it part of the family. I remember crying when I found out that my school banned Furbies. Turns out, every kid with one would bring it to school, and during class all the backpacks would start talking in furbish. If one Furby started speaking, it would set off all the others, and it was hard to stop a Furby social.

 The Furby craze only got crazier, and people were a little extreme. I heard a story about one couple going through a divorce, and they actually fought over custody of their Furby. I heard another story about how this guy’s Furby died and he actually had someone perform an autopsy to declare its cause of death (FYI: every Furby has a reset button that brings them back to life). But people were going loony for their Furbies.

For the first 3 months, I was a proud mama of a Furby; but then I quickly learned why these toys were just a temporary fad. The more my Furby matured, the more needy and annoying this stupid toy became. During the night, I was awakened by my Furby crying and whining in furbish. It wouldn’t stop until I held it and rocked it back to sleep. This would happen at least 3-4 times a night. At just 9 years old, I was spending sleepless nights taking care of my Furby, who had more needs than a newborn infant. I could have easily taken the AA batteries out and be done with it, but according kid’s law, it would be murder.
Soon, my Furby experience became something out of a scary science fiction movie. My Furby wasn’t a cute and cuddly creature anymore; instead, it was this creepy evil gremlin that would stare at me when its eyes were supposed to be closed (according to the instruction manual). I began to struggle with the idea that my Furby was no longer battery-operated, but rather it had taken on a life of its own. My Furby started having mood swings. Its voice got deeper and at times, it sounded demonic. There were nights I woke up in a cold sweat from nightmares about those big buggy evil eyes turning firey red and sharp fangs suddenly growing from that weird orange beak. Yes, I had developed a Furby Phobia. Before long, I made my mother throw away my Furby.

To this day, I still feel uneasy when I see pictures of Furbies, and even thinking about that fur-ball with a small beak and big bulging eyes gives me the eebie jeebies. I am grateful this freaky toy is a fad of the past. All I can say is that when I have kids, the only toys they’re getting are good old-fashion Barbie dolls and G.I. Joes.