Having an 8th grade boyfriend.

Before relationship statuses on Facebook, there was...

...writing "I <3 boy" on your fist.

Song of the Day: If You Love Me

As much as we love this song, it begs the question: why Brownstone? Did they think being a trio was close enough to Triassic sandstone? Or did they realize their group name would become associated with rich yuppie houses and/or heroin, a la Guns N' Roses, and so would make us wonder forever?

In any case, according to Wikipedia: On April 28, 2009, Maxee Maxwell of Brownstone confirmed that the group had not disbanded. The group is said to be recording new material for an album with an anticipated release date in 2010.

Song of the Day: Anywhere

I'm serious. NSFW, don't watch this with Asian parents, not suitable for computer lab browsing, etc. etc. etc.

Song of the Day: Mr. Wendal

Song of the Day: All My Life

If you never dated a boy who played enough piano to play you the intro in front of everybody in the auditorium, you totally missed out.

Lexicon: Cyber

Pronunciation: si'-bur

1. adjective: of, relating to, or involving computers or computer networks (as the Internet)

2. verb: to engage in quasi-erotic activities on the internet that involved PMs (private messages) and repeated usage of the "M" key

Private message from socrboy83: yo baybee u want 2 cyber?

(image via Technospot)

Song of the Day: Free Your Mind

Prejudice, wrote a song about it.
Like to hear it? Here it go.

This song may be 17 years old, but the lyrics are still fresh.


Delicious Vinyl Sampler - 9 free MP3s from Amazon.com. Includes Bust A Move and Wild Thing. If you love yourself some throwback, you'll love yourself this download.

Song of the Day: Holla Holla

Here in upstate New York, we had a low of 35ºF last night, allegedly with patches of frost. So lame. I'm missing the Beach something fierce right now.

Song of the Day: The Sign

Add this to the list of videos I hadn't seen until now.

Fitting a lyric + inside joke + relationship start date + subprofile link in 1KB

Do you remember AIM 1.0? Do you remember when screenames could only have ten characters? Do you remember a time when getting somebody's screename was much, much more likely (and exciting!) than getting somebody's cell phone number? Did you ever have warning wars? Did you have involved conversations with SmarterChild and then update your Expage with the transcript? Did you spend time with Notepad editing your profile HTML so you could fit more information into those measly 1024 bytes? Did you constantly monitor all the screenames that clicked on your SubProfile link? Did you measure your popularity based on Guestbook entries in said SubProfile? Do you remember when people started getting broadband internet and competed for the longest online time? Do you still have a screenshot of somebody having been online for 16 days 8 hours 22 minutes somewhere, maybe on a Zip disk? Do you ever long for the days where "status updates" could also have fonts and colors and line breaks and weren't there for everybody to read long after you'd taken them down?

Enough questions. Time to right-click => Get Info...

(I believe the screename belongs to a bot - didn't feel like editing it out of the found screenshot. Intensely accurate profile Photoshopping thanks to yours truly.)

Song of the Day: Sexual Healing (Reggae Remix)

Marvin Gaye's original will always be a classic, but this is the version we all grew up hearing on Z104. Guess there wasn't an actual music video, though.

Song of the Day: Trippin'

Classic Missy in a suit. Oh yes. Doesn't a Missy collabo just make everything better?

First there was the Hokey-Pokey...

Seems to me like there are some dance routines that are basic to our experience as schoolchildren. First we learn little things like ring-around-the-rosy (morbid, much?), then it's the hokey pokey, then it's square or line dancing (at least, that's what happened at Fairfield Elementary), and so on and so forth, until finally we enter the realm of school dances.

School dances in Virginia Beach are nothing like what I keep seeing in movies or on the TV. We didn't have punch bowls or a live band. I already did a short bit about school dances though, so I'll keep moving. Anyway, no school dance would be complete without a DJ to play all the greatest group dance hits - the Chicken Dance, the Electric Slide, YMCA, the Cha-Cha Slide, or the Macarena.

If you don't know the Macarena dance for who-knows-what reason, there's even an instructional video on it, complete with children who shouldn't be shaking their hips:

Now for the full song, so you can put your newly acquired dancing skills to the test:

I was going to find the rest of those dances, but I've gotta get back to work for now. Maybe next time I feel like you need a little torture. I'm sure you're already cursing me for the Macarena.

Song of the Day: They Don't Know

According to Wikipedia, Jon B. comes from a musical family, like the way Mozart came from a musical family.

Oops, sorry. I'm not supposed to bring my current real life into this blog. Carry on!

Song of the Day: Livin' La Vida Loca

Maybe it wasn't really the start of the Latin invasion, but it was definitely a sign of things to come. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

An unexpected benefit of having Squids stalk you at your local Chick-Fil-A

If you're a girl, that is. Virginia Beach is Recession-Resistant.

Lexicon: Squid.

Pronunciation: skwihd'
1. any of an order (Teuthoidea) of cephalopods having eight short arms and two usually longer tentacles, a long tapered body, a caudal fin on each side, and usually a slender internal chitinous support
2. a male sailor, usually under the age of 30, who frequents fast-food restaurants near any of the Hampton Roads military bases that are also located near high schools between the hours of 2pm and 4pm to pick up unsuspecting young girls.

Song of the Day: Name

And now for a rock break.

Song of the Day: Sweat

All together now: a la la la la long, a la la la la long long li long long long!

Song of the Day: Regulate


JNCOs and Sailing Jackets

Like many fashion crazes, I'm almost completely sure that this one began as a way to conceal illicit behavior. How could someone wearing pants that wide NOT be up to something totally shady? Also, I think my little sister has the dresser in the background.

Back when these pants were popular, in the second half of the 90s, 20/20 did a special report on Latino gangs in Southern California. Out there, the girls wore their pants so wide that they STAPLED them to their SHOES to prevent EXCESSIVE MOVEMENT. So innovative.

All you need to complete this outfit is an oversized polo shirt and a Nautica or Tommy Hilfiger boating jacket.

It doesn't matter if you've never set foot on a seafaring vessel, or that the jackets are not suitable for any temperatures below 50 degrees. Just focus on how awesome you look. Full disclosure: I owned the red one in 7th grade.

Song of the Day: Here Comes the Hotstepper

ExCUSE me, Mr. Officer! Nahhhh na-na-na-nahhh na-na-na na-na-na na-na-na, na-na-na-nahhhhh.

Song of the Day: Tupac x 2

Thanks to these alleged photos of Tupac and because one of these songs had a montage for its video, you get a double special today.


I guess I could have come up with a creative title for this post, but I think in this case, just the word says it all.

Who knows how we got started with these little horror novels - maybe it was the library, maybe it was another kid, maybe it was one of those Scholastic Book Fairs. Whatever it is, I was hooked and I don't know anybody who wasn't.

I read all the ones I could get my hands on, getting my dad to buy them, borrowing, trading, whatever it took. It was my goal to read every single one, including the "Give Yourself Goosebumps" series, which were of the choose-your-own-adventure variety. Looking at this list of titles, though, I don't think I even came close, although I definitely made it through the majority of the early ones.

The original Goosebumps were published from 1992-1997, with several spinoffs coming soon after. There were also movies, games, and a TV series. I guess you could say that boys would have enjoyed these more than girls, but I don't think that's true. In fact, I remember it as one of the few series that wasn't directed at a specific gender (i.e. Nancy Drew vs. the Hardy Boys). Thanks for the unisex gore, R.L. Stine.

File under: Songs Your Older Sibling Might Have Liked

Song of the Day: Genie in a Bottle

Ah, the wave of blonde teenage girls making pop hits. First it was Britney, then it was Christina (before she was Xtina), then it was Jessica-Mandy-Pink-Willa-etc-etc-etc. At least this one could sing.

Speaking of Barbara Ciara

We have to give a shout-out to our dearly departed Terry Zahn. My sister and I played violin at his funeral, which was held at our Catholic church in Chesapeake. Click here for a video about his personal battle with cancer, which included being active in our local Relay for Life.

Les Smith is a TRAITOR

While doing "research" for yesterday's Don Slater bit, I found out that Les Smith was no longer at WAVY-TV 10. I won't lie, I was a little upset. I mean, what is the news without Les Smith and Alveta Ewell?! He apparently left just about a year ago, on April 24, 2008, rather abruptly and without a real explanation.

Well, now the truth is out: as of April 25, 2009, Les Smith is anchoring at WTKR. I called him a dirty traitor, but Vivian had this to say:

"no dirtier than barbara ciara"
Good call, Asian. Let's take a moment to remember my favorite co-ed news anchor duo:

Side note: Alveta Ewell's MySpace page is an atrocity.

Lexicon: Aww sookie sookie now!

Pronunciation: ah suh'kee suh'kee nah'
1. a phrase denoting extreme joy or excitement

The phrase "aw sookie sookie now" was originally an ad lib in the opening bars of the song "Groove Me" by King Floyd.


Song of the Day: Hypnotize

On the Notorious biopic:

vivian: the retarded girl who interviewed puff daddy at the golden globes pre-show was like, "why is this project so important to you?"
vivian: clearly someone did not do her research
vivian: i was like, wtf, do you ask jesus why god is so important to him?

Don Slater, the best weatherman ever

In recognition of the first hot day of 2009 here in upstate New York (it reached the mid-80s!), I would like to celebrate the achievements of Don Slater, meteorologist at WAVY-TV 10. Maybe my family started watching their version of the 11 o'clock news because Jay Leno was on afterward, but I have not been satisfied with another news team since I moved out of Virginia Beach. Apparently, I'm not just crazy, because they won a pile of recognition at the 2008 Associated Press news awards.

Anyway, during one of our little heat waves back in the summer of 1995 or so, my most vivid memories are of watching the Price is Right and then the news at noon with my grandma. The clearest recollection is that of a weather forecast, where we learned that the daily highs would be over 100 for the next several days and that the blacktop was so hot, you could fry an egg on it. Like, literally. Don Slater busted out a damn egg and fried it on the ground. It was amazing and made him forever my hero.

Promo for the WAVY-TV 10 Weather Team:

And finally, here is a video of a spot for the Weatherschool program he did, because you know I love me some video embeds:

Song of the Day: Never There

Today's video inspired by having cake in the workplace.

Song of the Day: Here We Come

Timbaland and Magoo - some of the best product to ever come out of Norfolk.

Song of the Day: Top 9 at 9 Reprise

As penance for not having posted for a few days, I will now attempt to re-create a mostly realistic Z104 Top 9 at 9 from 1995.

Note: No songs will be repeated from previous posts, so there will be some rather glaring omissions.

Number 9: Blues Traveler - Run-Around

Number 8: Jodeci - Freek'n You

Number 7: Collective Soul - December

Number 6: TLC - Creep

Number 5: Hootie and the Blowfish - Only Wanna Be With You
(I promise it's there, about 30 seconds in)

Number 4: Backstreet Boys - We've Got It Going On

Number 3: Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

Number 2: Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's

Number 1: Seal - Kiss From a Rose

The Orange Julius at Pembroke Mall

Before Mac Arthur, before Greenbrier, before Lynnhaven, there was Pembroke Mall. And inside Pembroke was our very own Orange Julius! Does anyone know what an Orange Julius is, and why in God's name you would want to order a hamburger from something called Orange Julius?

According to Wikipedia, an Orange Julius is a mixture of orange juice, powdered milk, egg whites, and crushed ice. Way to take advantage of the 80's raw-egg-white-drinking-to-build-protein craze.

Or maybe you will do your homework in opaque pearlescent turquoise ink!

This awesome pen set is available at made-in-china.com and is sure to enliven your AP Euro notes.

Third grade social studies

Correct me if I'm remembering wrong, but the third grade social studies I recall focused on Virginia history, especially that of Virginia Beach. We learned about the seven boroughs, Princess Anne County, and how we came to be an independent city with no county. Homework consisted of things like marking all the important sites on a map and coloring images of historic houses and sites. We even took field trips to see the Norwegian Lady and the Thoroughgood House. This was in addition to learning about the settlers at Jamestown and the production of ham and peanuts, of course.

The Wikipedia article about Virginia Beach may as well be titled "History and Statistics of the Best City Ever."

(photos via Virginia Beach Public Library and About)

Song of the Day: No Diggity

Yeah, so Teddy Riley is from Harlem, but he still operated out of VaBeezy. I think you can also say that you've successfully created a genre when Ice Cube name-checks it.

Song of the Day: Informer

Canadian white boy reggae? Yes, please.

Maybe today I'll do my homework in lavender...

So maybe while you were at the Dollar Tree picking up some neon Pixy Stix knock-offs, you picked up one of these multi-colored pens, wondering how a pen could possibly write in ten different colors and what those ten colors could be. You'd marvel over the little shuttles (at least, that's what I’m going to call them, since these are called shuttle pens) and push each one down, seeing if you could get more than one shuttle to stay down at once. Then you'd sit down with a piece of paper, using each different color to scribble or write a line, deciding which one you liked best and/or would bother your teacher the most. I was a big fan of light blue.

(image via Oriental Trading)

Song of the Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit

I figured we could take a little break from rap and hip-hop, even though we know that's what put Hampton Roads on the map.

Song of the Day: Payday Double Special - Nookie vs. I Want It That Way

Quite likely the most epic battle ever seen on TRL. Thanks, summer of 1999.

Hiding under your desk totally keeps you safe from terrorist attack

I don't know if schools across America are all like this, but Virginia Beach City Public Schools seem to be hell-bent on conditioning us to respond to certain situations in a very specific manner. The training began with fire drills as soon as you started school.

Firemen would come in and explain escape routes, how to determine if the fire is right outside the door, and that smoke rises so you should stay low to the ground. You would then practice going down the stairs (never the elevator) and heading out the nearest door. Sometimes it was awesome to get interrupted during a never-ending lecture; sometimes it was a pain in the ass to go out in the rain or cold. The most annoying part would definitely be the announcement afterward, telling us how slow we were to get out of the (not) burning building.

In middle school, we had tornado drills in addition to the usual fire drills. We would all go into a hallway and curl up fetal-style, head toward the wall. God forbid you start giggling about the fact that your ass was facing out, or else you'd be forced to run laps. Or maybe that was just how they rolled, KLMS-style.

Of course, the ultimate drill came in high school, when we began running terrorist drills. Okay, fine, so at first they were really more like school shooter drills, but you know what I mean. The alarm would go off, the teacher would turn off the lights and lock the door, and we'd huddle under our desks, wondering if a shooter would believe there would be an empty classroom in the middle of the day.

I'm not gonna lie - if I saw terrorists like this, I'd straight up jump out the window.

(photos via Danville, VA and Xinhua News Agency)

Song of the Day: Everybody (Backstreet's Back)

You know you're resisting the urge to do the arms.

Pager Code

Remember how awesome it was when your parents got you a pager? Remember how much it sucked when they were always paging your ass to find out where you were and if would pick up your little brother from soccer practice?

Fortunately, pagers had an awesome redeeming quality. You could use them to send totally gratuitous and borderline incomprehensible messages to your friends—using pager code!

You could tell someone "hello": 43770

Or "I love you": 1 70113 4011

Or "where are you": 11143123 8123 4011

My sister happened to have a very pager code-friendly name: 1123173. So did her boyfriend: 177117 500

Here's a pager code key of the entire alphabet, courtesy of UrbanDictionary.com:

A = 8
B = 8
C = 6
D = 0
E = 3
F = 4
G = 6
H = 4
I = 1
J = 7
K = 15
L = 7
M = 177
N = 17
O = 0
P = 9
Q = 0
R = 12
S = 5
T = 7
U = 11
V = 11
W = 111
X = 25
Y = 4
Z = 2

Song of the Day: Give It To You

Did you ever take the time to think about the lyrics? They're so wrong! Also, way to show impressionable kids that the hot girl (read: harlot) smokes cigarettes.

It's creepin' around in my head
Me holding you down in my bed
You don't have to say a word
I'm convinced you want this

Song of the Day: Can I Get A...

I guess I should warn you that this isn't the pansy radio edit. If you still think the chorus says "can I get a what what," this may not be the video for you.

I just sneezed blue!

I don't know who came up with the idea of colored / flavored sugar in a tube to be consumed straight-up, but he clearly had world domination in mind. Pixy Stix controlled a large portion of the our middle school behavior, between hyping us up and causing us to spend time scraping up enough change to buy more.

I suppose that they had different flavors, although it was hard to tell the difference once your mouth was coated with the powdery stuff. I have to admit, though – the purple ones were not my favorite. For those of us who liked things sour, colorful, and/or cheap, there were those neon ones from the Dollar tree. How annoying was it when neither end would open up all the way or when it was humid outside and it all got stuck together?

Of course, the texture of the original Pixy Stix lended themselves quite well to being snorted. I'm not really sure that we were trying to imitate doing drugs so much as we were fascinated by the idea of a quick delivery system. It was also unbelievably entertaining to be out trick-or-treating and to hear somebody say “whoa, my snot is blue!”

Ah, pure sugar. It's too bad that we refine our tastes as we grow older.

(photos via copyrighteous, flickr x 3)

Song of the Day: Freak Me

I hate it when YouTube forces me to resort to other methods to embed music videos. Also, I sincerely hope that if you ever made a slow jam / get-it-on mix, this was on it.

Happy little trees!

(photo via Wikipedia)

So you're home sick from school. The novelty has worn off and you are bored out of your mind. The Price is Right is over, Don Slater has given you the weather, and those pesky soap operas have started. You turn to channel 15 for relief, knowing that you won't be seeing mommy-oriented commercials, even if it means you might be watching something educational instead. You hear something about phthalo blue and happy little trees, and you know it's on: Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting.

As you watch, you feel convinced that you could become a master painter of landscapes, especially ones involving trees, clouds, mountains, and water. You also feel oddly tranquil, calmed by that gentle voice. If you happen to actually be sick, you are almost certainly feeling better at this point.

Things start with haphazard-looking patches of color put on with a big brush. Rough faces of mountains and rocks appear with a swipe of a painting knife. Pine trees come to life with masterful dabs of the fan brush. Not just any pine trees - happy little pine trees. You may even have some happy little clouds floating above your happy little trees. By the time the half hour was up, an entire scene had come to life and you felt relieved that, once again, Bob Ross had done it.

If your parents were feeling generous and it wasn't TCC Saturday Enrichment Program season, you could enroll in a class at Michaels taught by somebody certified in the "Bob Ross method". You would buy all your supplies and then do some wet-on-wet oil painting, confident that all the time you spent watching the show would embue your hands with the power to do exactly the right thing. Mine did come out looking like a riverbend with rocks and trees, although admittedly rather amateur compared to Bob Ross's creations.

Bob Ross died in 1995, but his legacy lives on through Bob Ross Incorporated, who has apparently taken the time to have all clips removed from YouTube. In order to enhance your life, I scoured the web and found you this gem. It may load slowly, but it does the trick. Enjoy!

Edit: After much fussing, it appears that Youku videos don't load in Blogspot pages. Lame. Here's a link instead: Bob Ross paints High Tide

Song of the Day: Runaway

I'm feeling the need to get away from snowy Rochester (yes, you read that right: it is now the second week of April and there is snow on the ground). Va Beach is sounding like paradise right about now.

Play you for that slammer

According to Wikipedia, pogs originated in Hawaii, where the bottle caps of a Passionfruit, Orange, and Guava drink were used to play a game. It then made its way to the continental states where, in the mid-90s, it became one of the most memorable fads of my childhood.

I was constantly begging my dad to take me to the local comic shop so I could pick out the latest pogs I wanted. I had some really awesome metallic ones for a while, but some jerk kid stole them out of my desk. Eventually I started collecting sets of pogs: Peanuts, presidents, states, etc. That went over a whole lot better with my dad, anyway – much more female-appropriate than 8-balls and skulls.

Many a free afternoon was spent making stacks and smacking them down with my lucky slammer of the moment. I only played for keeps when it was a kid (usually a boy) I didn't like; otherwise, it was just friendly matches. I was good at making the boys cry, though, let me tell you!

These days, all of my sweet pogs and slammers live in their green and black tubes, probably in my grandparents' place in Flushing. Do you still have yours? Care to join me in a game?

(photos from Campaign Coalition and bearsilber's flickr)

Hurricane Precautions

Did anyone really think that doing this to your windows would keep your house from getting wrecked? According to Bob Vila, it's pretty ineffective. However, you can all continue filling your bathtubs with water in case the local water supply is rendered unfit for consumption.

Song of the Day: Nobody

And who can love you like me?

TCC Saturday Enrichment Program

If you were in a Virginia Beach middle school, chances are that in the 6th and 7th grades you received a little flier about a Saturday Enrichment Program at TCC. I bet a ton of you saw something about classes on a Saturday and tossed that shit before your parents could get on it, but the nerdiest of the nerds (a.k.a. kids who were nerdy even among their KLMS peers) actually read the thing and thought, “ooo that sounds kind of interesting.”

You could choose one of three tracks: Physical Science, Science and Technology, and Biological and Chemical Sciences. You indicated your preferences and got entered into a lottery and, if you were lucky, you got put into the track you wanted along with all of your nerdy friends. I went both years, although I can't remember which programs I was in. I'm guessing I was in Physical Science one year and Science and Technology the other.

Things that I do remember, though mostly a little vaguely:

  • learning AutoCAD, mostly using the keyboard / command line
  • creating slideshows in AutoCAD using some very basic scripting
  • doing some very, very primitive 3D rendering, also in AutoCAD
  • being taught the importance of grounding yourself when working on computers
  • attempting to memorize all the equations for conic sections
  • being shown a disgusting black smoker lung (quite enough reason to be a non-smoker for life)
  • going to the NOAA Chesapeake Bay headquarters and learning how to read weather maps
  • measuring water depth and creating topographic maps of the river/bay bed
  • testing water and netting sea life on a boat
Let's face it - those are some pretty complex topics for a bunch of 11 year olds. It was also a slap in the face when, 6 years later, I had to take Magnet Technology Foundations and was forced to sit through what appeared to be AutoCAD for Massive Idiots Who Don't Understand the Command Line. That doesn't mean my classmates were all massive idiots - it was just the way it was taught. If you know the class I am talking about, you know exactly what I mean.

Gratuitous picture so the post isn't all text:

Song of the Day: ...Baby One More Time

How long did you think I could go without posting this one?

Gifted education, Chesapeake-style

In Chesapeake, once you were identified as a gifted fifth or sixth-grader, you were carted off to Indian River Middle School Annex once a week for GATE (Gifted and Talented Education). This is where you got to do things like design rollercoasters using ACAD...

(not a rollercoaster)

...watch decade-old episodes of the Voyage of the Mimi starring a young Ben Affleck...

...learning about orienteering in the common area where the portables were...
(this photograph is factually accurate because about half of us were Asian)

...learn to count in Mayan...

...copy Alley Cat from your teacher's 5.25" floppy onto your hard disk...

...take field trips to the NATO headquarters...

...and make an Egyptian (death) mask out of papier mache.
(I didn't think this was morbid at the time)

Then at the end of the day, you all trooped back on the bus and went back to your home school to do times tables with the regular kids.

(Photos, from top: NewFreeDownloads.com, Entertainment Weekly, Berkshire Sport, Mexico Connect, Retro CPU, Julia Shea, DLTK)

Lexicon: Worsesome

Pronunciation: wor'some
1. annoying
2. socially inept
3. possessing the quality of being a net-negative contributor to society

contraction of "worrisome"; worse than "bothersome"

Synonyms: triflin', trippin'

Usage: Tyrone, give me back my fuckin' weave! Why you gotta be so worsesome?

Song of the Day: How Deep is Your Love

I remember finding out that they were from Baltimore and feeling a combination of pride that it was close by and jealous that it wasn't Virginia Beach. Then again, I don't think something like Salem Woods Park would have lent itself nearly as well to an R&B group name.

Oh, and was anybody else hot for Nokio or was that just me?

What comes next?

You're in first grade and you're already solving long division and acing those Mad Math Minute drills in 30 seconds flat. You are driving your teacher insane because you are bored out of your head and cannot understand how the other kids don't get that anything times one is the same number, so you've started bringing your GameBoy to school instead.

So what happens next? (Besides having to sit out of recess, that is.) You get pulled out of class and told you're going to take a test. So you're thinking, "ugh, just because I do better than the other kids doesn't mean I should take extra tests!" But lo and behold, it's unlike any test you've ever seen before.

It's got pictures and diagrams, asking you what might come next or what doesn't belong. Some of us were handed a set of colored blocks and a strip of paper with instructions reading something like:

  1. There is a red block above the green block.
  2. The bottom block is not yellow.
  3. There is a blue block directly adjacent to the green block.
  4. There are at least 2 red blocks.
I made those directions up, so don't try to solve the puzzle.

Anyway, if all went well, which is likely if you're still reading this post, you got called into a meeting with another teacher and told that you could leave school one day a week and go to a special program. I don't know about you, but I said heck yeah - I'd take a day away from these slackers anytime!

If you were a super-nerd like I bet you were, you'd repeat this process at least a couple more times. I personally took these gifted tests 5 times: once in Norfolk for their Field Lighthouse program, again when I moved to Virginia Beach halfway through second grade for ODC, yet again for KLMS, then for the Math/Science Academy at Ocean Lakes, and then finally for my senior year, when I doubled up on the magnet programs and went to the Governor's School for the Arts in the afternoons. Okay, fine, that final one was really a music audition and not a creative thinking test, but you know what I mean.

For those of you who don't have any clue as to what I'm talking about, well, I'm sorry you missed out!

Missy Elliot, the musician who took Hampton Roads national

Yes, I am fully aware that there were other musicians of note from the Hampton Roads area before Missy Elliot released Supa Dupa Fly, but none of them were hip-hop musicians, and no one quite knows how to give a shoutout to their hometown like a rapper. I mean, before Missy came out, even people like you and I only thought about Portsmouth as that stuff across the river from Waterside mall, where you may or may not have gone to check out the Children's Museum. And then remember when Missy joined Lilith Fair and they came to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater? I would've braved hairy pits, hemp skirts, and ineffective organic deodorant to see that, had I been old enough.

It seems a little counterintuitive to talk about musicians from Hampton Roads and not mention the Neptunes, but that is deserving of another post of its own.

Song of the Day: I'll Make Love to You

You better be singing along.

Song of the Day: Be My Lover

If you don't remember this song, you clearly were not conscious in 1995.

Will you go to the 8th grade formal with me?

You know the deal: hands on the shoulders or waist, six inches apart. I don't think we ever actually had chaperones walking around with rulers, but I definitely heard talk of such things.
Inevitably, they wouldn't be able control us anymore and we'd end up like this (or worse):

Do you remember this dirty dancing anthem? I remember all of us tweens figuring out what it meant and giggling. Those are some risqué lyrics!

(I'll cite the images soon, I promise.)

Song of the Day: You Are Not Alone

V: the most disturbing part is when they show lisa marie's back naked
V: who would ever willingly disrobe in front of mj?!
H: well, the implication that the two of them are naked
H: ahhhhhh
V: groooooss

Song of the Day: Daydreaming

Computer Time: Kid Pix

Maybe the whole class trooped down the hall to the computer lab (quietly behind the line leader, of course) or else you were rewarded with time at the classroom computer for doing your work, but we all know what the best part was:

My favorite memories are the random voices counting and the exploding firecracker. What were yours?

(screenshot via Wikipedia)

Song of the Day: Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)

This is how we all learned to count in Spanish, right?

Before I bought my GBA...

I had my own TI-83 at home, a TI-89 through school, and a TI-92 from one of my college math professor father's conferences. It was awesome. I was also the reigning champ of Phoenix in Mrs. Green's Magnet Chemistry class.


There were lots of games, but we all spent most of our time with Tetris, Nibbles, Insane Game, Mario, Tunnel, or that ridiculously difficult Penguins (am I the only one who remembers that one?).

BONUS for you making it to the end of the post: ZTetris gameplay video.

Song of the Day: Candy Rain

That loud-mouthed, hilarious Indian kid in your math/science/programming class

Pavan Gupta. Either you know or you don't.

Song of the Day: Fantasy

This is actually the remix with ODB; all of the copies of the original song/video had embedding disabled. Besides, this is the version I remember being played over and over and over and over again on The Box.

Virtual Reality at Nauticus

Nauticus is little more than a glorified Navy recruitment center for the pre-teen set, but we all took a field trip there in the year 1995 nonetheless. (Bonus: lunch at Waterside!) Supposedly Nauticus was the home of the world's first group virtual reality experience, but I sort of feel like Questor was a group virtual reality experience, wasn't it?

Anyway, Nauticus pretty much had only three attractions.

1) The People Mover. This was basically a conveyor belt that you stood on, and it became less exciting once you had traveled to an airport larger than the one in Norfolk, where they are quite common, and a LOT less exciting once they actually installed one at Norfolk "International" Airport.

2) The dog tag kiosk. Is it just me or was it kind of creepy for prepubescent kids to be wearing metal identification tags that exist solely to identify your body in the event the rest of you is charred to a crisp? Plus, they kind of made you look like a tool. The only famous people who wore dog tags were those bitches from Top Gun, and we all know what happened to the careers of Val Kilmer, Tom Cruise, Guy Who Died When His Ejector Malfunctioned. Leave the dog tags to those who actually need them.

3) Virtual reality. Everyone I knew skipped the actual education parts of Nauticus to secure a spot in the virtual reality line. I can't seem to find any information about it on the official Nauticus website. Perhaps they took it down because they realized that sending kids on a virtual mission to save the Loch Ness Monster's eggs is a shitty, shitty way to get them interested in maritime sciences and technology, seeing as how Loch Ness is a LAKE and the Loch Ness Monster is IMAGINARY.

I'm sorry, I take that last one back. Plesiosaurs are real.

Song of the Day: Hey Lover

Further adventures in interactive media

Does anyone else remember Radio Graffiti on 92.1 The Beat?

Channel 19

Growing up, I didn't have cable. In fact, my father still uses bunny ears and dial-up. Anyway, I was always jealous of my friends with their fancy-pants MTV, excluding me from their involved conversations about the latest and greatest parody by Weird Al Yankovich or how naughty LL Cool J's newest video was.

Then one day, as I fiddled with the antennae to get them in just the right spot, I discovered a channel heretofore unknown to me: 19. Sure, we had 3, 10, 13, 15, 27, 33, and 43, but 19?

At first glance, it seemed pretty useless - just a bunch of scrolling text and occasional beeps and boops. However, on closer examination, I realized that it was listings of hit songs preceded by three digit codes. And as I sat there, hypnotized by the numbers and letters, something at the bottom of the screen changed:

You know what happened next.

Even though the reception was often wonky and it eventually became MTV2, The Box was my one hope for social acceptance. I never did call in for a video (the idea of an unauthorized charge on somebody else's phone bill still frightens me), but I was always content to sit there watching endless repeats of Gangsta's Paradise, Amish Paradise, Dr. Greenthumb, One Sweet Day, or whatever video was the hit of the moment.

Extended clip of listings and promos:

Song of the Day: Spice Up Your Life

Extra points if you remember the movie.

The unfortunate supposed comeback of jelly shoes

Even though we lived in a climate where these shoes were even plausibly a good idea (sandy beaches, lots of ocean, also the added bonus of avoiding a sandal tan), I think we all knew deep down inside that wearing plastic t-strap sandals was something that we would all someday regret. Sometimes that regret even came less than 24 hours later, while you were soaking your blistered feet in an Epsom salt bath. (But they just looked so cute with your floral-print baby doll dress!

So needless to say, I am a little skeptical of the newly resurrected House of Style doing a segment on the comeback of the jelly sandal.

However, they also did a segment on friendship bracelets, and as we well know, those will be awesome always and forever (or 637, if you will).

Song of the Day: Gangsta's Paradise

You know you knew all the words. Don't deny it. The real question is: what was the three digit code?


Would you consider this layout to be "nifty" or "spiffy"? I just can't decide!

WordArt courtesy my mad Word 97 skills

What's better than fried chicken & biscuits?

Fried chicken and DEEP-FRIED biscuits! With honey on top! Mmmm....frying oil and honey taste so good together. (photo via)

Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to find a picture of Pollard's puffs. Not even the kid in the picture is eating a puff. He appears to be eating a dinner roll, or a piece of Hawaiian bread.

Pollard's Chicken has been our go-to chicken joint since I was a kid. It's kind of ghetto inside, and when I was a kid, I would be so embarrassed to go inside. I would think to myself, WTF there is not enough room in here for my whole family! Why do I have to eat my chicken on top of the Pac-Man table?! But now I yearn for their delicious chicken and biscuits.

I found out much later that my parents loved going to Pollard's because it was where they ate dinner after they got married at the Justice of the Peace of Va Beezy back in 1980. That must have been the most tasty, well-seasoned, and juicy love dinner of all.

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