September 24, 2009

I Got My Baby Box, Baby Box!

Several years ago, my mom gave me a big box of toys and nursery wall decor that were mine when I was just a wee, little Baby Anthony. My family actually called me Tony (and still do), but I tried to put a stop to that at some point in my teens when I had decided that Anthony sounded more mature. Besides, that is the name on my birth certificate!

Anyway, I know that it must have been a bitter-sweet moment for my mom when she gave me these things because she told me that she had been saving them for the day when I might have a child of my own. Well... back then, adoption by gay couples wasn't as prevalent as it is now (may not have even been legal), and she certainly knew a grandchild wasn't coming by natural means! So figuring it was a lost cause to save it, but also knowing how special it would be to me, my mom went ahead and handed over that magical box of babyhood memories.

It's interesting how I can remember some of the things perfectly, and others not at all. What really amazed me was the smell inside the box and on the stuffed animals. After lo these many years, it all still has a very distinct scent that (((WHOOSH))) instantly takes me back to the nursery. Fascinating, the way our sense of smell is so strongly connected to memories. It can almost evoke more than a photograph. Or, at the very least, the scent of certain things can conjure something that a photograph just isn't capable of capturing. Know what I mean?

Speaking of photographs, the one at the top is of my mom and me. Just thought I should clarify that in case it somehow wasn't totally obvious to everyone. And below you'll see a few that I took of two very psychedelic pieces of wall decor which came from grandparents on my dad's side. I imagine that they probably hung over my crib. The wall hangings, not my grandparents. When looking at them, keep in mind that I was born in the '70s!

Colorful enough for ya? Both wall
plaques are likely responsible for
why I'm so drawn to color...

This one is my favorite of the two!
Not quite sure if it's because of the
particular color combo, or that this
bear is cuter blowing bubbles with a
horn while wearing a nightcap?
Probably both.

That is all, for now. I plan to continue sharing the rest of my Baby Box contents as a series of exclusive posts, much like the 'Happy Music' and 'A Boy's Toy Joy' series!

Stay tuned...

September 19, 2009

Happy Music: 'Goodnight and Go' by Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap is one of my favorite artist/musicians ever. She's right up there with Annie Lennox, K.D. Lang and Madonna. One major thing that sets Imogen apart from the rest is that, in addition to using her uniquely beautiful voice, she also does just about everything else on the creation/production end of it all. She writes her own music and lyrics, plays several of her own instruments and is very involved in all of the technical aspects of producing her albums.

This English musical genius was born in London, 1977. She began playing music from an early age, and went on to be classically trained on many instruments including cello, piano, clarinet etc. By the time she was 13, Imogen was already writing music. A bit later, she wound up teaching herself music engineering, sequencing, sampling and production on Atari computers. Clearly, she was destined to one day use her multiple talents for creating amazing entertainment.

To date, Imogen has released 3 solo albums. The most recent, Ellipse, was just released this past August and I love it. I think she's one of those artist/musicians who could do almost anything and I would buy it, sound unheard. I'm that much of a believer! She was also the female half of a collaborative project known as Frou Frou, with her good friend Guy Sigsworth. So far, they've only released 1 album, Details, but Imogen has said that they will more than likely work together again, someday...

The music video I've chosen to share with you is actually from her second solo album, Speak for Yourself (which was critically acclaimed, as well as a huge success), but I picked it because it's both a great song and an even greater, eye-poppingly beautiful video. The whole visual style of it totally speaks to my own aesthetic. And, of course, watching it makes me quite happy! It's titled, Goodnight and Go.

Please, enjoy...
(After the annoying commercial!)

~Top photo of Imogen via Google Images~

September 11, 2009

A Boy's Toy Joy: The Kenner Sit 'n Spin

Who would've guessed that a kid could have this much fun sitting down?!

For a young child growing up in the '70s, there was really only one thing that came close to inducing the sensation of a mind-altering drug... and that was none other than the wonderfully dizzying toy for tots, the Sit 'n Spin. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I played with mine long after I was a tot. It was that much fun!

If you somehow missed out on experiencing this virtual "krack 4 kidz" firsthand, let me describe it for you. Obviously, you sat down on the thing. But you had to sit with your legs crossed (a.k.a. the now politically incorrect, Indian style position) for maximum effect. Then, much like the teacups ride at Disneyland, you would grab onto the middle disc and spin yourself silly, using every bit of your wee might and determination until you fell over! The resulting sensation truly was mind-altering, and very addictive. Had the television show Intervention been around back then, I would have made quite a suitable candidate!

There's been many iterations of this toy over the years, and I understand that Playskool is now making it, but both the quality and fun do not measure-up to the original. Lots of parents who knew the joy of Kenner's version when they were kids, now complain that the newer ones they've purchased for their children are made of cheap, thin plastic. And worst of all, they don't spin like they used to! Something in the current design seems to purposely prevent any wild and dangerous, seated spinning frenzies... I guess I was among the lucky ones who just narrowly escaped this rotating death trap!

~Toy photo via Google Images~

September 5, 2009

"OFF with (my) head!"

Lately, I've been suffering major headaches. Much more than usual. In other words, I've been miserable every single day for the last week-and-a-half! See, the last time that I saw my doctor I told him that I had been having real intense headaches more and more frequently than usual, and he asked me what I take for them. I said that I almost always take Excedrin, and sometimes more than once a day. Well, his professional opinion was that I was experiencing rebound headaches caused by the Excedrin! My basic understanding is that once your brain gets used to frequent doses of the high caffeine content in the drug, and then you stop taking it for a day or two, your brain throws a fit in the hopes that you'll take it again. Thereby, creating a vicious and oddly symbiotic cycle!

His remedy for this was for me to detox by not taking it at all for at least 2 weeks. And he warned me that it would be hell, much worse before it got better. Boy, was he ever right! It's been really tough! I usually have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but nothing could have prepared me for this. What I don't understand is, why wouldn't I just stop taking it for good, throw it away and never buy it again? If I went back to taking it, wouldn't the whole sick cycle start over? I guess that I should have asked the doc more questions...

Bottom line is, after about only 3 or 4 more days of this misery, I should be feeling a whole lot better. And I would be more than happy to permanently remove another drug from my daily medicinal regimen! In the meantime, let's have a good laugh with the following mix of both vintage ads and modern images, shall we? They do say that laughter is the best medicine!

"Poor Anthony" is more like it! But screaming
would just make my head hurt even worse.

"Will you pass the Brain Salt, please?
Mine is a bit bland..."

Just thinking about telling his
wife that he's really gay, made
his head hurt. Then he thought,
"Maybe, one of my boyfriends
will make my head feel better."

I love bulldogs! I hate headaches.

Just thinking about why her
husband never wants to have
sex, made her head hurt. Then
she thought, "Maybe, all he
really needs is more time out
with the guys, doing guy things."

This one's a bit creepy, but also fascinating. I
mean, it's like an x-ray of a headache, you guys!
And it's so pretty!

Maybe, taking off the hat and tie would help a little, grampa!

This is an old medical chart for trepanning,
a centuries-old surgical procedure that
involved drilling holes into a patient's skull.
It was believed to cure epileptic seizures,
migraines and mental disorders. Could you
imagine?! I need that like a hole in the head...

You have got to be a total sucker if you think
that this is gonna work! Aaaaand the television
commercial is so annoying it could make your
head hurt just from watching it.
"Head On... Apply directly to the forehead.
Head On... Apply directly to the forehead.
Head On..." Oh, just shoot me now!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everybody! Remember, those of us who actually still have a job will be returning to work on Tuesday, so have some fun but don't go "losing your heads"!

~All images via Google Images~
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