Treasure in the Basement!

While getting my laundry tonight, I walked through the basement of my building.

In the back room (which I can only surmise used to be the coal room, because the coal door is still intact on the outside wall and the old coal-burning furnace is still in the adjoining room, even though it isn’t being used anymore. I need to get pictures of it, it’s *really* cool), I found two dusty milk crates full of LPs. I crouched down and took a look, and discovered they were some of my all-time favorite albums.

There were TONS of albums by Elton John: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Caribou,” “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player,” “Madman Across The Water,” “Greatest Hits,” and many others. There were also a lot of Billy Joel albums, including “52nd Street,” “The Stranger,” “An Innocent Man,” and “Piano Man.” Eagles albums included, “Their Greatest Hits,” “Hotel California,” and “The Long Run.”

Then I found the 12″ singles of Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand’s “Enough is Enough (No More Tears),” The TRIPLE-album soundtrack to “Thank God It’s Friday,” and a double-album called “A Night at Studio 54” with full dance-mixes of CLASSIC disco songs. All originals.

Summary: Whoever owned these has the same musical tastes as me.

And he HAD TO BE GAY!!!!

Holiday Hiatius!

Hi… just checking in. I’ve been pretty busy lately with chorus and work. The chorus show, “Revolt of the Elves,” is gearing up quickly and it looking to be a really fun show. And work of course is keeping me busy, which is good – employment is GOOD! 😀

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I’m pretty much going to take the week off. So while I’m away, I’m leaving you with a funny video that has captured my heart in the last few days.

I love YouTube for many reasons, but one of the best things about it are the clips from old game shows and other TV shows long gone. I found this great clip from the old game show “The Joker’s Wild” that had me laughing for 15 minutes solid a couple days ago.

Sophie was a former postal worker from Los Angeles, and she was a contestant on the “The Joker’s Wild” the early ’70s. Sophie made quite an impression. She may not have known many (or any) of the answers (except one!), but she answered everything with CONVICTION and she did exactly what she set out to do … have fun!

I don’t know whatever happened to Sophie, but you’ve just gotta love her wonderful positive energy.

Oh, and if you don’t have much time, you HAVE to wait until she answers the question about dinosaurs. You’ll never laugh so hard!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Blast From the Past: Prodigy

I’ve been going through a sort of 80’s rebirth lately. It all started with the re-unification of a group of friends my sister and I met in the early 90s on Prodigy. Remember that?

For those who don’t remember, Prodigy was an online service/community before the Internet/WWW became mainstream, and even before America Online became big. It was offered as a joint effort by, of all companies, IBM and Sears. When my mom bought us our first computer, a friend told us about Prodigy and told us we should buy a modem, because most modems came bundled with the software. So we bought a 2400 baud modem (can you imagine?) and I installed it myself (I always had a strange innate ability to figure out computers). I loaded the software, and our lives changed forever.

In a few short months, my sister and I came upon a bulletin board (there were no chat rooms then) called “Name That 80+ Tune” I forget where exactly we found it, but it was listed among hundreds of other topics and contained sub-topics where members a line or two of a song from the 80’s and beyond and everyone else had to guess the name and artist of the song. It started out innocently enough, but after a while, this little group started to actually get to know each other. There were times when messages would get posted to the boards almost instantly, so we created a separate “UCC” board, or “Utter Chit Chat.” And next thing we knew, we had friends all over the country.

Because there was no way to send photos via Email at the time, we sent them through regular mail. Next we all shot videos of ourselves and our hometowns and sent them to everyone — those were hysterical. At that point we really felt like we knew each other pretty well, so we started to get ideas about meeting in person. One girl, Lynn, lived in Chicago, not far from my sister and I; one guy, Tony, lived in New York and another, Scott, lived in California. Others included Beckie, who lived in Connecticut; Emily and Sarah, who lived in Seattle; Paul, who lived in Minnesota; Lauren, from St. Louis and Amy, from Phoenix.

We decided to meet in Chicago/Kenosha, since it was central and three of us already lived in the area. The first “union” brought five of six of us together, and the second brought four. Other, smaller “unions” happened across the country, with one of the guys, Scott, being the “constant” in almost all of them. Eventually, everyone had come in contact with one another in some way. Our little online community had grown into true friendships.

As time went on, and technology changed, Prodigy changed as well, and the group began to disband. We tried moving everything to America Online but by then the Internet and the World Wide Web were starting to gain popularity and nobody had time for silly bulletin boards. The main “group” still kept in touch via Email and phone, and a few of us met once or twice more, but after a while, life caught up with us and we lost touch with nearly everyone.

Until Facebook.

15 years after we first started all of this, our little group has reunited. I found Scott there, and he found another former member, Heather. Then my sister joined, and we found Amy and Beckie. So I decided to create a “Name That 80+ Tune” Facebook Group, and basically resurrected our old game.

I never dreamed it would be so successful. As of today, 15 people have joined the group, and of that 15, 13 were members of the original Prodigy group. We’ve been having such a great time, remembering all the crazy things we did, posting pictures of our ‘unions,’ and even planning some reunions. We’ve all grown up, some have gotten married, some have kids, but all of us still have a love for music and those goofy 80’s tunes. And we’re even back to playing the game, just like we used to.

What happened back then was so new and exciting. We created a community before MySpace, Friendster and Facebook. Heck, even before AOL. I don’t think it could ever happen today. It’s just too easy to exchange all of that information. Back then we were just names and words. There were no judgments based on looks, lifestyles or backgrounds. Today everyone has pictures, profile pages, websites and blogs… it’s almost too easy to find people, but not so easy to really get to know them.

And to think it all started on Prodigy, which doesn’t even exist anymore. In a way, I like to think we were pioneers.

The old Prodigy gang, in my parents’ backyard, 1993:  
Clockwise from top left: Scott, me, Tony, Beth and Lynn.

Today in History: I Have A Dream

On this day in history, August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his monumental and historic “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, DC.

Tonight, history will be again be made on this date, when, for the first time in American history, an African-American man will accept the nomination for President of the United States of America.  How far we have come, and how far we still have to go.  Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud to see his dream realized.

Blast from the Past: Great Space Coaster!

TheBadMonkey, a friend on Plurk, shared this video with everyone, and in a matter of seconds I was 10 years old again. I swear it’s groovier and more wonderful than I even remembered it:

And my favorite segment from “Great Space Coaster,” Gary Gnu. No Gnews is Good Gnews!