Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Random Tandem Wednesdays: VHS Cassettes and Other Things of My Youth

Going into this blogging thing, I told myself, “Cacy, don’t be random. Embrace focus.” Alas and alack, to be focused is not my nature. It was only a matter of time before my randomness broke through and I diverged from topics relating to writing and books. I can try to say, hey, this random thing relates to writing-slash-books because of XYZ, but I decided not to lie to myself, or you. Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself be random—I’ll at least try to relegate it to Wednesdays.

So this weekend, I was reading my six-year-old niece the story of Beauty and the Beast from this big book of fairy tales. I had to explain to her that there are a lot of different versions of the story because she kept comparing it to the Disney movie. She went further to say, “We used to watch it on…What do you call it? The black thing.”

“Black thing?” I said.

“You know, it’s black and it has the white circles.” She traced shapes in the air.

“Oh. A video tape.”

“Yeah. We used to watch the video tape, but the thing you put it in broke.”

“You mean a VCR.”

“Yeah, a VCR.”

As an experiment, just to double check, I pointed to the entertainment center across from us and asked, “What do you call that thing?”

She looked at me like I was weird. “A DVD player.”

“And what do you put inside one of those.”

“A DVD.”

It is the end of an era, people. Goodbye, VHS and VCR. I knew you well. Yeah, okay, so they’ve been out of the picture for a while, but there’s nothing like a conversation with the generation who are going to forget that the technology of your youth ever existed to really drive the point home.

Although I do need to find myself a functioning VCR. Cleaning out the garage a few months ago, I found a video tape labeled “Cacy’s Cartoons.” Pull it out of its cardboard case, and there’s a second label (written on in pink marker) that reads, “Don’t record over! This means you!!! Cartoons only!!! With Cacy’s permission!!! So stop if you’re thinking about it!!!”

I meant business. You could tell by all the exclamation points. I need to find out what’s on it. It could be the Spiderman series from the 90s (which was my favorite) or some of the shows from ABC’s One Saturday Morning Block (Pepper Anne, Bump in the Night maybe even - dare I think it - REBOOT!). Though I’m hoping it will contain some of the really random and obscure cartoons that I’m sure no one but me remembers even though I can still sing their theme songs (Ned’s Newt, Stickin’ Around, Science Court).

Gosh, I love cartoons.

Speaking of which, are Saturday morning cartoons a thing of the past? On cable there’s Cartoon Network, Nick Toons, Toon Disney, Boomerang, and what seems to be a plethora of channels that allow 24/7 access to cartoons. I was a dedicated Saturday-morning-cartooner. I was up before the sun to catch those cartoons no one else watched because they only aired at 5am on Saturday (Sky Dancers, Dragon Ball – that’s Dragon Ball, not Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon before it got all popular and moved to a later time that conflicted with my other shows so I had to be like, sorry Pokemon, I choose Spiderman.)

I even watched the lesser Sunday morning cartoons that came on the one channel that thought they could carve a niche for themselves by putting their kid’s programming on Sundays instead of Saturdays. (I remember something about teens who turned into cars to fight evil. It wasn’t very good, but I watched it.)

My cartoon watching wasn’t just a weekend hobby. Oh no, I had my before school cartoons (The Mask, Sailor Moon, Mummies Alive <--AWESOMENESS!). I had my after school cartoons (Gummy Bears, Darkwing Duck – look out! – TaleSpin, Gargoyles), even though I wasn’t allowed to watch TV after school because I was supposed to be doing my homework. But when you have a passion you do what you have to.

When I got to high school, and none of my friends watched cartoons anymore, I was still committed and the cartoons were still awesome (Recess, Powerpuff Girls, Invader Zim, Batman Beyond, Invasion America – where’s book two, Spielberg!?! Where is book two!?!).

I didn’t realize what to call my love affair with cartoons until I was in college and a creative writing teacher wanted the class to do presentations on what we were obsessed with. The night before my turn to present, I honestly and truly thought I had nothing to call an obsession. Until, well after midnight, I looked around my room. I had stuff like this taped to my headboard:

(I can’t believe I still have that, by the way.)

And stuff like this on my wall:

(Click here to make your own Powerpuff Girl! or Guy–which would technically be a Rowdyruff Boy, I guess.)

And my bed looked like this:

(Boy, sometimes I forget what a big dork I am until I dig up a picture like this.)

And on my TV was Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, which was the station my TV was on about 50% of the time. (It was on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, another 30%). Needless to say, I realized what I should do my presentation on.

I miss the days when network television offered a wide variety of cartoons (in the allotted time spots). These days, if you don't have cable it's like cartoons don't exist anymore. I don't have cable. I'm not so up-to-date on the latest in animated television, but I still love cartoons. I was so excited to hear that Genndy Tartakovsky (almost spelled it right without having to look it up!) had a new series that I got the season pass on itunes. I cannot wait for Nick's new Avatar series (and my family and friends had to endure a two-year tirade from me on how bad the movie was going to be--it started the moment I found out Shyamalan was writing, directing and producing it). I think a Venture Bros movie would be too much awesome for one screen and I'll be first in line to see it. And look what my sister got me for Christmas:

I’m starting to think I’ll never grow up.

Quote of the Week:

“It’s pink, and it stinks like cake!” – My six-year-old niece.

Why is this the Quote of the Week? Because it sounds like something Invader Zim would say. (In case you couldn't tell, I'm something of a fan...)

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