Moment Of Geek

It’s a Dance off this week! It like Robot Chicken meets the Guardians of the Galaxy. Complements of our good friend Dirk Ellis (Boba) here is your Moment of Geek. #MomentofGeek #DanceOff #BobaFett #GOTG #5280Geek

Advertisements

Your Quarters Worth

Recollection: The Fix Remix

huge toy collection


Written by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

I was blessed to have parents who bought my brother and I lots of toys when we were children. Yet the more they brought me, the less I was satisfied. It was such a limited time that I would stay excited.

There was shiny colorful packaging and its inevitable destruction to get at the contents within. New toys, trading cards, and books each held its own it own distinct smells. There was the powder from that nasty stick of gum inside of those baseball card packs when you opened them.

bball cards with gum
Baseball cards with stale gum

Newness…

I would play with a new toy and before too long I would want for another. Some commercial I’d see, or some friend would show me something else that I did not have. I would want it. I would immediately forget about the new toy I got a week ago or yesterday, or just a few minutes ago.

Of course if I had an Optimus Prime or Liono or Michaelangelo I would need another Megatron or Mumra or Shredder to fight against. I needed Jazz and Bumblebee and Cheetara and Snarff to fight alongside.

thundercats
Thundercats

Then I would need the vehicles because, duh! Heroes and bad guys each need vehicles like kids like me needed toys.

Of course I needed Leonardo, and Donatello, and Rafael, and Rocksteady, and Bebop, and April O’Neil, and a Foot Soldier or two, and Casey Jones, and even Baxter Stockman.

I would play with all these in front of the TV. Sometimes I would share with my brother, Matt. Sometimes I was like “To hell with him.” I wanted all these guys to myself. Matt will tattle to Mom, or worse yet Dad, and they would get me in trouble. I let Matt play most of the time.

4662_1161201876173_1411605270_428508_340520_n
Matt

While we played we watched the cartoons that were designed to sell us these toys that we played with.

Those same shows also sold us the clothes we wore and accessories, like backpacks and lunch boxes with Thermoses {1}. Those same shows sold us cereal boxes and video tapes of the shows and of course the video games of the shows. Boy those theme songs were memorable weren’t they?

Then came commercial breaks…

What is this? A second or third or sixth new series of my action figures I’m playing with right here. “Mom!…”

They had all new third tier characters. Reiterations of guys I already had with new swords that spin in the figures’ hands. Then there were reiterations of the guys I got twice already, but this time they had a gun and the missile actually shoots. I had to have the newest.

turtles
Variations of the same Ninja Turtles

He-Man made way for Thundercats who made way for G.I. Joe. The Joes and Cobras made way for Ghostbusters and then WWF Wrestlers; not those junky plastic ones but the twelve inch rubber ones. My Dad used to bring bunches of those guys home each time. We had the ring and the steel cage ready for the Battle Royal.

Transformers came and then the Go-Bots after them. Everyone knew Go-Bots were just knock off Transformers, but I didn’t care. I got new transforming robots and that’s all that mattered. There were Silverhawks. Those guys were dope. There was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain Planet toys too. There were Hot Wheels, but definitely not those Matchbox Cars. They were impostors. There were micro machines. They were the miniature versions of the Hot Wheels.

silverhawks

There were those tiny army men who came inside a flashlight or a grenade or a canteen or a rifle. The gun or grenade would open or unfold and it became a base for the figures. It was like a boy version of Polly Pocket, but I cannot recall their name.

I asked for them all and collected them all. It was kind of like I was on a quest. The longer I went on the journey the further away my destination became.

The goal became more blurred and obscured.

I collected baseball cards and Looney Tunes Cards and DC Cards and Marvel Cards. My sets weren’t completed until I had every single one and all the holograms. Of course I had tons of duplicates and triples and quadruples of all the common cards with the occasional rare or uncommon double that would be good for a trade for the one I needed…

dangerroom
Complete collection of Danger Room scene from 1992’s X-Men trading cards

I graduated to Magic cards. On that one I would spend how many hundreds or thousands of dollars? On how many thousands of cards? They all filled binders and boxes, but never my want. I bought a few Dragonball Z cards before I was done with the trading cards. It was time to become a man.

As a young man I would spend the same money and energy on music CDs and DVDs of movies and video games and magazines. This continued until I collected a loan for an overpriced car I also collected from a local automobile dealership. It wasn’t new, but it was new to me.

After that I collected credit card debt that took over fifteen years and a lot, a lot, a lot of hours working at jobs to realize did not need any of it.

Credit-card-bill
A bill. (In case you have never seen one.)

The newness had finally wore off.

I didn’t care where my Marvel cards or my Thundercats or my X-Men or my Wrestlers had gone. I wasn’t worried about where all those Legos had disappeared to. I put them together and barely played with them anyway. They just sat on crowded shelves in my bedroom set until I went off to college.

It didn’t matter how much they fetched at my mom’s garage sales later or how much ended up in a landfill or in an ocean or in a time capsule. I had learned way too late the only thing that really mattered was my relationships and my experiences.

What mattered was what my parents and family and friends were trying to tell me by giving me all this sweet shit. The shit never mattered.

jkwedding063.jpg
My greatest collection.

I could’ve done without any of it.

A day outside playing sports, or riding my bike with friends, or at a family barbecue was worth more than any of those collections of new material things. My health and my time held way more value than all those boxes and binders and dollars of cards.

By enjoying the moment, the playing, I was happier than I ever was buying, stealing, opening, breaking, trading, destroying, trashing, selling, or giving sway those things ever made me combined.

Today my wife and I took our daughter to Toys “R” Us closing sale here in Westminster Colorado. I told my daughter that we had veto power over any toy she picked out. She could get something as long as it wasn’t crap. You either know what I mean or you don’t, so I won’t preach on it here.

P1060377
My daughter holding a bank she won from a costume contest at Time Warp Comics in Boulder, Colorado

She looked at and played with darn near everything in the store. Her buying impulses were firing. Mine and my my wife’s were as well since our daughter’s birthday was coming in the next few months.

We left the store with a doll, some shoes for the doll, and an early Halloween costume since it was a great deal. We had an awesome time together. Although we all got a bit crazy, the experience will outweigh even that two foot tall doll in my eyes and I hope my daughter’s eyes as well.

We got the opportunity to teach her about consumerism and why even just the concept of Shopkins is wrong. She asked why Toys “R” Us was going out of business. I told her because bad people ran it poorly.

shopkins
Shopkins

I had a moment as we were about to walk out the exit after we got done stabbing and slicing each other with a NERF sword someone left at the end of a closed register. I reflected on my childhood. Once I snuck over to the local Toys “R” Us behind the apartments I grew up in in East Brunswick, New Jersey when I was younger than her to buy a cap gun. I went with my brother and my cousin, Nicky. I don’t know where that cap gun is, but I’ll always have that memory.

This is the end of an era indeed.


{1}What the hell is the plural of Thermos anyway?
thermoses
Thermoses? Thermi? Thermothesis?
Acknowledgements to my wife, Kodid. She puts up with my neurosis about getting rid of stuff. Love always to my brother, Matthew. You always played with me even when I was being a bad & greedy older brother. I should’ve given you those rides to high school as well. Also love to my oldest cousin, Dominick. Nicky, you were an only child, but never once did you not share all that sweet stuff you had.
Lastly, thanks, Mom and Dad, family and family friends who spoiled me as a kid and a teenager. I get it now more than I ever got it as material gifts or money back then. And I love you all too.

If you enjoyed this article please check out more of mine and other amazing content creators on 5280Geek

And my other creative works: jandreula.wordpress.com (blog) – facebook.com/JohnAndreulaJr@failsupward (on Instagram)@failingupwardsj (on Twitter)

Classic Rock Wednesday

“This is our life! This is our Song!”
#CLRW The 80’s saw it’s fair share of confusion and brand of censorship trying to keep our young minds safe from corruption. So much so that Dee Snider went before the Senate in 1985 to fight the Parents Music Resource Center. Thankfully (with the help of John Denver and Frank Zappa) the act was never passed and your right to party was protected. It also gave us the often joked about now; Parental Advisory label. I think I have a t-shirt with it on it.
In true Neidermeyer form we learn just why we’re not going to take it any more and brought to life one of Twisted Sisters most iconic and recognizable songs of the day. I am the Listener and this weeks Classic Rock Wednesday is for the unsung heroes of the rock world. 

#TwistedSister #werenotgoingtotakeit #ClassicRock #TheListener#5280Geek

Your Quarters Worth

img_2141The Dog Dayz of Boulder

Article and photos by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

What’s more Boulder, Colorado than dog owners taking their K-9 friends to the local community pool?

Hosted by the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, Dog Dayz is an annual event that allows Boulder residents the chance to let their dogs have the experience of swimming at Scott Carpenter Pool, Boulder’s only fifty meter pool. The furry buds are allowed to take a dip but humans are strictly prohibited; an interesting reversal of the normal rules.

IMG_2131 (2)
Dog Dayz “Rulez” board

The Parks and Rec Department closed the pool to the hot masses of summer the week after Labor Day. Before they empty the pool to prepare it for the upcoming $14.2 million tax voter approved reconstruction scheduled to begin next year¹, BPR is hosting the two week event that has been running for over a decade.

I went early on the second day to check out the event. I figured it would be entertaining and peaceful. Plus, watching dogs swim and jump in the full size community pool sounded like it would be quite meditative.

Two young ladies clad in yellow volunteer t-shirts greeted me at the entry gate. I introduced myself, and told them I would be writing about the event. Rachel, one of the two volunteers, went looking for some unnamed coordinator or supervisor.

She returned shortly after, unable to find the supervisor, so I picked a spot at a picnic table on the south side of the pool and set up shop. Cassie, the volunteer coordinator of the event, approached and introduced herself.

Cassie explained how the event has been “volunteer run for three years now.” She stated that the Dog Dayz event is “very Boulder” and “community focused and community run.” Volunteers would either sign up to be a lead volunteer, participating in an entire day, or a shift volunteer, working either the morning or the afternoon session.

Cassie told me she works part time for the Boulder Parks and Rec Department. She typically is in charge of one day events hosted by the department. She runs seventy-two other events besides Dog Dayz, her only multi-day event. I inquired what other events were Cassie’s favorites to plan and she mentioned “Prep the Rez,” the annual Boulder Reservoir kick-off event where volunteers get the “Rez”ready for the upcoming season by weeding, painting lines, and cleaning windows. Cassie also communicated passion towards the Y.S.I., or Youth Services Initiative. The Y.S.I. provides recreational opportunities for Boulder’s low income community. They host a holiday dinner with Santa and gives gifts and meals to families. I thanked Cassie for her service to the community and shared my surprise that she did all this within a part time position.

Tennis balls were floating throughout the pool along the edges. One dog owner, Melissa, stood on the opposite side of the pool near the deep end and used a long orange launcher to send a ball three quarters of the way across the width of the pool while Charlotte, her pup, dog-paddled happily across the pool. Charlotte would emit yelps the whole way and would need to be hoisted out of the pool by her collar when she returned to the edge.

IMG_2143
Dogs and their human friends enjoying the event

Melissa also had a small terrier who stood close by her and refused to take the plunge. There were other hold-outs standing with their owners around the pool, but many were willing to jump or get helped in and swim around. Most stayed close to the edge, but like Charlotte, some ventured out quite a ways into the middle.

Cassie pointed out Natalie Meisler, wearing a volunteer shirt and straw hat on the other side of the pool closer to the shallow end than Melissa. She recommended I speak with her about the event as well. Natalie came over a bit later to chat. I asked Natalie if it was weird that I had come without a pooch of my own. She told me people come all the time just to watch.

She told me about the High Flying Dog Expo planned for the upcoming Saturday, September 16th, between 10am and 3pm. During the Expo volunteers set up a ramp and a tape measure. Dogs would run and jump off the ramp and their distance would be measured and recorded for prizes. Vendors set up booths and hand out samples of their products to gain in person exposure for their companies and services. What a unique concept?

Natalie told me she was a second year volunteer. She explained that “little dogs are a little squirrelly” around the pool. She spoke of the importance of people cleaning up after their dogs. She even rose from the bench to watch to see if Melissa was going to pick up Charlotte’s leavings when Charlotte’s time had come to evacuate herself in the bushes. Melissa did her responsible duty and Natalie settled back into her seat.

Natalie told me that the most important thing volunteers do is defuse fights. She stated, “Anyone who gets along in dog parks, they will do fine here.” I asked Natalie how she discovered Dog Dayz. She said years ago she saw an ad and brought her pug, Cici. Cici likes to run around the pool, but doesn’t care for the getting wet part.

IMG_2139
A small dog that didn’t want to swim

As I sat and wrote my notes I witnessed the larger dogs arriving. A chocolate lab dove out about five feet. A golden retriever paddled circles with a tennis ball in its mouth before bringing it out to its owner, who was sporting a 2017 Bolder Boulder shirt. The golden was reluctant to dive back in, but loved it once in the pool. By the time I was leaving the amount of dogs swimming around the shallow end had tripled, as did the owner’s chatting amongst themselves around the edge.

Dog Dayz expected to draw thousands of pups and their owners. The cost was five dollars per dog and passes were available for forty dollars allowing unlimited access throughout the event’s two week span. Multiple dog owners enjoyed additional passes for only $10 per dog.

Dog Dayz 2018 took place between September 10th and the 23rd. Hours were 11am-2pm and 4pm-7pm Monday through Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturday and Sunday. All dogs were welcome, but the first hour of each session was set aside for dogs under fifty pounds, so as to not overwhelm the little guys.

IMG_2144
The daring ones

Scott Carpenter Pool is tucked back on the southwest corner of the busy intersection of 30th St. and Arapahoe Ave. behind the firehouse, graffiti wall, and free skate park. It is an outdoor pool with diving board, lap lanes, zero entry, and a ramp for access for the disabled. The newly renovated pool is set to reopen in 2020².

The pool sits adjacent to the amazing Scott Carpenter Park. Both are named after the late Boulder native, Commander Scott Carpenter, who was one of the first human spacemen and the second man to orbit the Earth after John Glenn.

Dog Dayz for 2018 has now come to a close. If you ever see a similar event in your area I recommend grabbing your dog and leash and heading down. Even if you do not have a dog, like me, it was a pretty cool spectacle to witness. Like Cassie said, it was “very Boulder.”

IMG_2134 (2)
Another event sign and a cameo of my shadow 😉

Interested in volunteer opportunities with Boulder Parks and Recreation? Visit www.bprvolunteer.org to see upcoming events and positions needed.

¹https://www.denverpost.com/2018/09/07/boulder-scott-carpenter-pool-closure/
²https://bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/scott-carpenter-pool-replacement

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to hit the like button below and follow the blog to be informed of all our future releases.

Feel free to leave a comment or share this if you dig it.


If you enjoyed this article please check out more on 5280Geek

And my other creative works: jandreula.wordpress.com (blog) –facebook.com/JohnAndreulaJr@failsupward (on Instagram)@failingupwardsj (on Twitter)