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 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

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) 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:, 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.