Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Thirsty Turtle

I apologize in advance to Professor Lindemann because this blog entry will somewhat revolve around the general theme of drinking, but I have to do it.

The Thirsty Turtle was the textbook definition of a fad, as it briefly swept through College Park from the winter of 2007 to the winter of 2011 luring underage students into its double glass doors.  Turtle was always the bar with a line wrapped around Potbelly’s, but rarely was “filled to maximum capacity.”  At least that’s what they said.  Try walking into the upstairs of Turtle and staying for over 15 minutes when the bar was jam-packed with sweaty college students.  It was a tough feat.
 
Thirsty Turtle In the Day Light
Image from here.
Anyhow, the funny thing about Turtle was how its reputation evolved.  When it opened during the winter months of my freshman year, word on the street was it was the bar that would not accept any fake IDs.  We all know that that didn’t last for very long.  In fact, the bar’s reputation immediately did a complete 180 and instantly became known as the bar where you only needed a cut out ID with your first grade picture glued onto the front.  Often times the bouncer would laugh, criticize your ID, hand it back to you and let you in the doors; all of this with a police officer standing immediately next to him.  It was truly amazing that the bar lasted as long as it did. 
A Completely Valid ID to Show the TT Bouncers
Image from here.
Some Things One Would Encounter at TT on a Typical Night:
  • Techno jams...especially on Techno Tuesdays
  • Upstairs filled to the brim with sweaty students
  • A person acting like Bill Gates with a $10 bill at the bar [especially on 50 cent rail nights] 
  • People making out left and right 
  • Kids grinding on each other, groping each other and getting to "know" each other...on a "very" personal level...
  • Drinks at an unbelievably low price.  Key word being unbelievable because the drinks you were ordering were not the drinks you were getting.  For instance, you order a shot of "$2 Grey Goose" you're really getting a shot of 10 cent Ruble.  
  • Watch the owner of Turtle drop a college kid causing a scene
  • Girls fighting to get on the stage to grind with each other
  • A pretty legit bathroom experience because if I have to award Turtle for something it would be having the most bathrooms of any of the other CP bars.  So for a quick bathroom experience that did not resemble the Middle Eastern conflict like its competing bar, the Mark, Turtle I commend you.
Unfortunately, Turtle met its demise on one very sad, sad night.  After years of being the epicenter of CP life, especially for the underagers, the bar was brought down after four students were stabbed.  The bar was officially pronounced dead on November 3, 2011, but the memories from TT [or lack there of] will never be forgotten.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mashup Songs


Gregg aka Girl Talk performing
Image from here.
I remember the very first time I was introduced to the mashup genre.  I was at Bonnaroo in the summer of 2006 and stumbled upon some random stage, in fact it was the Which stage.  If you are unfamiliar with the Bonnaroo stage system, the stages are arranged as three tents: Which Tent, This Tent and The Other Tent. Confusing. Annoying. Hilarious.  Anyhow, I was at Which tent? Oh yeah, the Which Tent, and all a sudden a loud voice comes over the mic:  

“Yoooo BONNAROO!!! This is the biggest event I have ever played.  My name is Gregg and this is Girl Talk. Enjoy.”  

My A.D.D. found its musical soulmate…the mashup.  The wonderful combination of different songs and sounds became an instant sensation.  Immediately after that summer at Bonnaroo, Girl Talk blew up and today is known by people of all ages.  The mashup genre since has blown up as well and it has even come up in a recent class discussion, which was my inspiration behind writing this blog post...

Some Mashup Masters of Today: Girl Talk, Milkman, SuperMash Bros., White Panda, Ludachrist, DJ Earworm and Weezyer 

Any more mashup masters anyone?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

UMD Athletes and Their Scooters

Maryland Athletes Scooters on campus
Image from here.
So everyone has to have seen the Maryland athletes zipping around campus on their sweet scooters.  I mean I know I am always jealous when I am in a hurry trying to walk fast, but too tired to really pick up the pace and all a sudden a scooter rolls along by me, usually with two guys on it.  I don’t know why there is so much guy-on-guy action on those scooters, but for some reason it is all the rage on campus, or is it just me?  Anyhow, I digress. 

The scooters have actually led to many problems amongst their athlete owners.  I mean who would’ve guessed that letting athletes drive around on a scooter without a helmet would lead to any problems?  Unfortunately some of the consequences have been pretty dire.  For instance, while riding on his scooter one Maryland football player Pete DeSouza was struck by a car.  Another Maryland cornerback Dexter McDougle was involved in a single scooter accident where he broke his clavicle.   These two accidents have led the newly instated Maryland football coach Randy Edsall to put a ban on the scooters for the upcoming 2011 season. 

Probably a smart move, but I do feel for the football players who never abused their scooter privileges and are being penalized.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Silly Bandz

When Silly Bandz hit the market in 2010, kids worldwide found a new way to annoy the hell out of their elementary school teachers. #winning.  What was it they discovered? Well, technically rubberbands, but not just any ratty old yellow/brown old school rubberbands.  Silly Bandz are rubberbands that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes in every color of the rainbow.  If you have been living under a rock for the past year here is what some Silly Bandz look like:
Image from here.

And if you spent the last year in any sort of elementary school during the outburst of the Silly Bandz you probably saw a million little kids with wrists like this:
Image from here

The Silly Bandz epidemic of the past year was very reminiscent of the tamagotchi epidemic of my era. Elementary schools banned the Bandz proclaiming they were distracting and dangerous [apparently some kids got their circulation cut off by have too many!].  They sure are cute though and I am almost embarrassed to admit I cannot resist them.  Team Silly Bandz all the way, just not so many!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Foreign Fad [Thanks to Noble]

So I have been challenged this week to find a foreign fad and discuss it by my friend and classmate, Noble. I began searching the Internet to find some fun fads around the world and China has taken the cake for the weirdest new fad. We all know that China does not have the best reputation when it comes to human rights.  Well, apparently China has no regard for animal rights as well. It appears that the latest fad in China is having keychains containing live turtles and fish in them.  Weird, right?

Picture of a goldfish keychain in China
Image from here.

Well, it's not just weird, it's pretty messed up.  I mean, I get that a live fish or a live turtle would make a pretty cool keychain, but at what expense to the poor little creature? There is certainly no way to feed the fish or turtles in the keychain, so what happens?  The answer: they die. Apparently, the Chinese vendors claim that the water is nutrient rich, but it is a bunch of nonsense (click here for more details).  The turtles or fish meet their demise in a few days, but hey, you sure looked cool with that keychain, right?


Wrong.  It definitely is NOT cool having a dead fish or a dead turtle hanging in a plastic bag from your keys. It is unfortunate that this is legal in China and it is more unfortunate that people waste their money on such things.  Thoughts?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Weird High School Fad...

Cigarettes Flooding a Toilet
Image from here.
I found the weirdest thing/fad in my high school to be smoking cigarettes in the bathroom stalls.  


Now, is it just me or did every school always have a group of kids smoking cigarettes in the bathroom stalls?  I mean, I personally never truly got it.  Why the bathroom?  It is gross, it smells gross and it leaves students at a much greater risk at getting caught by a teacher or an administrator.  


The major excuse I have gotten for why many students smoke in the doorless stalls of the public school bathrooms is that they were not permitted to leave the school premises without an official pass from an administrator.  I suppose this makes sense.  These kids in my book are somewhat justified and in the clear.  


However, at my high school, students were always permitted to leave school grounds whether it was to run to the parking lot or grab something they left at soccer practice the previous day.  Therefore, this was never an excuse at all.  The students [and I don't mean to stereotype, but it was usually the Emo crowd] just happened to ALWAYS mark the bathroom stalls as their territory for smoking their cigarettes, typically the last stall in the row, farthest from the door.  


Personally, I am a nonsmoker with nothing against cigarette smokers.  However, when it's sixth period and I really need to pee, walking into a cloud of cigarette smoke is just a royal pain in the ass.  Any thoughts?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Slapping the Bag

For me, Franzia hit the scene around 10th grade.  It was pretty epic and spread rampantly.  There is one girl in particular I remember who single handedly made slapping the bag a vital part of every high school party.  For those of you who are completely confused as to the fad I am referring to, I will break slapping the bag down:
  • Get a box of Franzia.  In my opinion Blush is the best, but there are some options.  Market price is around $12-$16 for the big box and $9-$10 for the smaller box.
Blush Franzia
Image from here.
  • Take the plastic bag inside the box of Franzia out of the cardboard box.
Image from here.
  • Find at least one friend, but the more people, the more epic your experience. 
  • Have your friend hold the bag high in the air, but not too high.  High enough so you can slap it.  A tall friend is a good friend for this situation. Example:
Image from here.
  • Look at the bag while you wind up your slapping hand.
Image from here.
  • Stare that bag down.  You got this.

Image from here.
  • Slap the bag; slap it with all of your heart and soul.  
Technique to Properly Slap the BagImage from here.
  • Immediately begin twisting the plastic knob on the box of wine to the left as you kneel down.  Some boxes also have a button to press.  This is ideal and in this case just push the button.
  • Open your mouth wide and start gulping cheap wine. Keep drinking until you feel satisfied.  Once satisfaction is reached, back away slowly from the box as you let wine drip on the ground in front of you.  Make sure not to spill all over your clothes.  Make sure not to vomit.
    • CAUTION: The dark red Franzia stains!
Image from here.
  • Take a bow. You were just the life of the party for 2 minutes.  

Image from here.
  • Okay, now step aside.  Your 2 minutes are over either get lost or hold the bag for the next person.

Friday, April 15, 2011

And the words of the day are....

SLINKY.

The Original Slinky
Image from here.
What a fun word and another throw back fad.  The toy was developed by a naval engineer named Richard James in the early 1940s.  The slinky is not the most exciting of toys, but it sure is timeless.  Even today, the slinky is featured in the epic Toy Story series through Slinky, Andy's reliable dog. 
The Timeless Slinky the Dog
Image from here.
Slinky's were cool for a few seconds and a nice piece to have on your desk, but overall are pretty lame.  Maybe it's just me, but I'm way over the slinky in under 2 minutes.  Seeing the Slinky crawl down the stairs was probably the coolest thing the Slinky had to offer.


And the newer, cooler slinky's came in all sorts of colors and shapes and tended to be more plastic in nature.  They were way more fun and tended to look like:
New and Improved rainbow edition slinky!
Image from here.


And another fun word just to throw in there.  Yo Yo!  Very appropriate.  The Yo Yo was most certainly a fad that spread rapidly throughout the years and apparently has quite a history...check it out!

The Yo Yo is a really fun, inexpensive toy that is perfect for showing off tricks.  Though I was never a Yo Yo master I certainly attempted some of the elite tricks such as walk the dog and around the world.  Around the world was a bit dangerous and usually ended with me taking a Yo-yo to the face.  

There were three distinct types of Yo Yo's.  I personally worked the butterfly the best, but here's a look at them:

Image from here.


The biggest problem I have with the Yo Yo is the string.  It always seemed to get stuck to my fingers or twisted up at the bottom.  Perhaps that is because I do not have the skills of him.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just Ridin' on my Razor & Hoppin' on my...






Ahhh.  the Razor, and I'm not talking about the hair removal ones ladies and gents.  I'm talking about the appearance of the 1999 EPIC RAZOR SCOOTER.  Kids, you no longer have to take the bus!  So how long would it take to get to school on a scooter??  Well, lets just put it this way. If it took the bus 15 minutes to drop you off, it probably take you about 13 minutes on your Razor.  Actually, with preparation and parking, probably around 17 minutes.  But, hey, you looked the man, HanSOLO!


I don't care what haters have to say.  Scooters were really fun, and just like all of the other fads, parents HATED them.  Parents would always try and make you wear a helmet because some spaz kid tried to do a flip off of a ramp and cracked his head open.  Moms that look quite like HERE.


I will say though, if you actually wore a helmet while scooting on a razor, that's pretty lame, especially in middle school.  I mean I guess if your like a scooter Pro doing crazy Razor tricks its a different story and helmets welcomed; but for everyday riding around school helmets were definitely not the coolest. 

The variety of colors and sizes made the scooter different and gave Micro Mobility Systems the competitive advantage.  
Different Color ScootersImage From: this website.
--Once I had my Razor, I had my first taste of freedom. --Anonymous

AND HERE COMES AN EPIC 
THROWBACK TO AN 
UNFORGETTABLE 
FAD FROM A  
LONG TIME 
AGO. 


DRUMROLL SLASH SLOW CLAP...

wait for it..... wait for...it... 

THE POGO STICK!

I personally SUCKED at the Pogo Stick.  I maxed out at around 3? 4? It was not a pretty sight.  There was always one kid that was amazing and could hop around for days, making the rest of us look pathetic.   

According to this world record information regarding the Pogo Stick are as follows:

"Jumps on a Pogo Stick: The greatest number of consecutive jumps achieved on a pogo stick is 177,737, by Gary Stewart at Huntington Beach, California, USA on May 25-26, 1990. The attempt took him 20 hours and 20 minutes. Gary first tried a pogo stick in 1974, when he and his older brother, Dave, were given a dime-store model by a neighbor. 

Dave managed 31 jumps, and so Gary “stayed out in the garage until I could do more than 31." His determination eventually paid off and by 1985 he had set a record with 130,077 jumps in 17 hours, 26 minutes, which he went on to beat in 1990. And the reason for all this bouncing around? "Ever since I was in the first grade I would get a Guinness Book for Christmas every year. That book was my bible. Getting my name in it was like really an important thing to me. It was kind of a childhood dream."

Pretty cool stuff...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bop It BABY!!!!

Though the Bop It came out in 1996 during my elementary school years, it is well-worth mentioning.


Bop it. Pull it. Twist it. Pull it. Pull it. Pull it. 


It sounded almost sexual, the weird fad that was Bop It.  This was like the modern era Simon Says that had three options announced in a deep, demanding voice: bop it, pull it or twist it.  Or that's how it started...
The Original Bop It
Image from here.


Then it got extreme.  The options went to: bop it, pull it twist it, pass it, spin it, flick it or pass it.  This was a challenge.  It really got to be a complex mind game memorizing how fast and in what order the functions were in.  
The Bop It EXTREME
Image from here.

I always wanted to bring a Bop It to a library and just play to see how long it would take every person in the place to completely flip out.  It could be funny and maybe make it onto Tosh.0.  Anyhow the Bop It now looks like:
NEW Bop It Extreme
Image from here.
Craziness!  Look at that new and improved baby.  It would probably be really hard for us kids who grew  up with the original Bop It Extreme because all of the functions are all out of order [sneaky manufacturers!].  


The only question I have about the Bop It is did anyone ever win???  Like seriously, I am determined to know if any single person I knew ever reached an end that was like "YOU WIN THE BOP IT. NOW GO DO SOMETHING ELSE."  Really though, that did the game ever max out? Anyone??

An Ode to One of the First Cell Phones on the Block

Old School Nokia Cellphone
Image from 
I will never forget the day I got my first cellphone.  In hindsight if cellphones didn't come onto the market for another 10 years I would have saved my parents thousands of dollars in the amount of cellphones I have either lost or broke.

Anyhow, I digress because this cellphone wasn't just any stinkin' cellphone.  It was the bomb.  I had the old school Nokia with the supped up antenna.  What up now? And I had a cover that was shiny and blue so my phone was pimped out.

But the best part of the phone by far (minus all of my 9 contacts) was snake.  Snake was the best cellphone game to this day I will say it proudly.  Brickbreaker doesn't stand a change in competing with the awesomeness level of snake.

Something about chasing a small black dot around with a growing black line that grows and grows as you eat the dots was thrilling.  Not to mention addicting, once you started a game of snake, you were zonked out for at least spans of fifteen minutes.  Almost the equivalent of today's Angry Birds. 

An old school game of Snake
Image from here




This first cellphone changed the course of teenage life as we know it.  It was immediately followed by camera cellphones and look at how far we have come today.  But, remember an ode to that old school Nokia!!!!

Also I was just informed of one of the greatest tricks ever for all you snake lovers.  Props to Ryan Haughey.  Anyhow, for everyone with a Mac you can go on any Youtube video pause it.  Once it is playing you press the up arrow button and the left arrow button at the same time and you can play snake on the YouTube screen.  Pretty cool.  Check it out!  Here is a screen shot of playing snake on just an average YouTube video


Image is a screenshot from a Mac on a Black Screen YouTube video. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just Takin' a Stroll in My Fresh HEELYS

Heelys came onto the scene in 2000, right around the year I was entering middle school.  They were created by an American, Roger Adams, who sought to make a shoe that could role on command.  The shoe itself was epic.  It basically was designed like a normal tennis shoe, but embedded in the heel of each shoe was a wheel, where the kid was to ride, rather than walk down the hallway, the street, the mall or wherever he/she should choose.


Photo from Dicks Sporting Goods online store listed as
Heelys Street Lo Girls' Roller Shoes


The thing about Heelys was you were either a total expert or a total spaz and the in-between phase of learning to figure out these guys was both epic and life-threatening.  The idea is to lean back with one foot ahead of the other and glide down smooth surfaces.  However there were several initial problems that would arise.


The first, the typical "I-leaned-too-far-back-and-just-busted-my-butt-trying-to-look-cool-down-the-hallway."  Example looks like this.


The second, the also common FACE PLANT.  Example looks like this.


The third, the how-the-hell-do-these work??! Example looks like this.


The cool, suave middle school Heely masters aspired to look like her.  [You go Heely chick!]  These were the elite blanaced kids.  Heelys took going to the mall to another level.  You think your just walkin' around the mall?  Not if you have a fresh pair of HEEELYS!!!!! You can roam the mall like this:




clip from YouTube "Heelying at the mall"



God I loved Heelys, but I was such a spaz to begin with usually would wobble into a face-plant.  But I did improve and then I just got too old to wear them.  It was fun while it lasted and I wish I could just still age-appropriately wheel around, but unfortunately I can't though I am very jealous of those mall kids!  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Onto the Middle School Fads: The GOTH. [watch out for the chains]


The Goth.  The most blatant oxymoron of a fad.  The sheer irony of these kids always will amaze me.  Think about it.  The Goth kids are the anti-society, colored-haired rebels who don't give a shit and have an attitude that screams, "screw-the-world!"  Right? Riiiiight.  This is what they think.  


Well, Goth kids listen to my perspective on things.  You wake up at least an hour earlier than everyone else in the morning just to show how much you hate the world.  You buy pants with chains on them, which has to take an extra few minutes to:

1. Assemble in the morning and 
2. Walk down the hallway

     I mean come on those pants are a walking disaster.  Take a wrong turn and your shoe winds up in the awkward criss-cross straps that are your pants (link or pic).  You take at least fifteen minutes every morning drawing on layers of black eye-liner and caking on that black eye shadow. I mean dayummm those Goth kids in my middle school wore more make-up on a day-to-day basis than Krusy the Clown does. (the goth makeup... OR a much better look...)

My personal favorite part of the Goth fad was the other classifications that branched off, but were “completely different” from gothic.  Though the Goth kids are still around today, most of the Goth kids at my middle school went through a full-scale evolutionary cycle that started with Goth and has transformed into hipster. Apparently when being Goth loses its appeal there are many other options to choose from including: punk, scene, emo and hipster.  Let me help breakdown the differences:
Evolution of the pants of the goth to the hipster… 

Another one of my favorite memories of the Goth kids was their transition from middle school to high school.  A significant portion of the Goth middle schoolers gave up their chained pants, colored hair, black eyeliner and combat boots as they entered high school.  I guess they, too, realized that it was just becoming a hassle to wake up so early to hate the world as they decided to shift from anti-conformists to average teenage students.  The shift was shocking, however, for those of us who spent the last three years knowing a student as a Goth, equipped in their Goth attire.  It was kind of like a, “Holy $hi%! You have blonde hair??!!” type of revelation.  Now if I was surprised to see this immense transformation I can only imagine the parents of these kids.  I mean it had to be a giant sigh of relief when your daughter goes from wearing this to school to this.  

For some reason or another being Goth peaks throughout ones middle school years.  Perhaps it’s the awkward transition into puberty that drives kids to adopt this lifestyle.  Perhaps it’s a blatant opposition to one’s parents throughout these tough years.  Whatever the reason may be, I have one suggestion for all the future Goths of the world:

Drop the act by high school.  If you are still dressing up in all black to put your middle finger up at society in high school, you need to check yourself.  It was funny and entertaining for three years, but by high school join a club or organization that professes these ideals you hold cuz let me be quite frank, unless you are a member of Kiss, people will not consider your ideals [whether or not they are valid] in your freaky Gothic attire.

And in case your into huntin' hipsters, check this out:


Just a note to the Goths of the world: this is all in good humor, please do not take anything I write personally.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pokémon Cards

The epic, the Charizard card.

Image from this website.


1. Unlike Beanie Babies, Pokémon cards actually ended up being worth a significant amount of dough (The Charizard Pokemon card still goes for 36 bucks).


2.  Girls certainly enjoyed collecting Pokémon cards.  Though I was not one of them, many girls have assured me they too enjoyed the feeling of ripping open a fresh pack of Pokemon cards.


3. How about those holograms? "Open up a fresh pack and you see Charizard...it was the best moment of my life" [That was a direct quote from 20 year old Ryan Haughey I have no idea who Charizard is, probably some really large Japanese lizard if I had to guess]


4. It was addicting.  Those cards just took over the schools.  People would get those binders just like the Pog binders and have them stacked to the brim with the evolutionary cycle of each of the Pokémon.


5. Energy cards. "Worthless piece of $^&T energy cards" [Another direct quote from Ryan Haughey]. These cards were used to be able to make your Pokémon attack when you played the actual Pokémon game, but who played the actual game?  I have learned through research in the game respect Pokémon cards were pretty much like Pogs.  Not many people really played the game it was more about collecting the cards that were the rarest.  


6. Lunch time was prime time for Pokémon trading.  Pokémon trading was an innocent hobby that set the future businessmen from the future social workers.


7. On the bottom right corner of every Pokémon card there was a symbol.  You either got a circle, a diamond or a star.  Getting a circle meant you got coal for Christmas.  Diamonds were neutral and when you got a star you hit the jackpot.  The stars were the cards you really got pumped about.  Victory dances that looked like this.


8. Pikachu!  Though I initially thought this little yellow creature suffered from chronic allergies I learned that this was his actual voice.  Pikachu is a central character in the Pokémon anime series, making him one of, if not the most recognizable Pokémon.  


9. Here's another funny question that I stumbled upon while on my quest for research about Pokémon cards.  Ever wonder how they came up for the names of Pokemon cards?


10. The Japanese obviously had some secret chemical that they were putting into their toys to make them especially addicting.  Tamagotchis, Pokémon cards....both were not that fun, but for some reason were that addicting.


Anymore Pokemon memories, anyone?