Results tagged “Atari”

100_4405.JPG"Gonna get there? I don't know. Seems a common, way to go..." (Skitch Grateful Dead, Thanks.)  When I was younger, Unisonic was a brand. Hand held games hadn't become a thing...yet. They were just starting to find ways to make LCD and LED calculators functional, yet entertaining. I guess this would be that. My brother received this as a Christmas gift, only he got the pocket version. I don't remember if the pocket version of this Calcugame had memory, but who cared. This played BLACKJACK. No, not a device usually filled with anything hard and round that evil peeps would clobber innocent peeps with. No, not the licorice candy. No not Jimmy Carl Black, "the Indian of the group" from the Mothers Of Invention. I'll stop there.

100_4406.JPGThis seems like a very functional LED calculator. If you weren't getting a split hand or doubling down on those "face" cards or taking an additional "card" and then staying, hoping the house would be less than you or go over, um, well, that was it. It's not a really good calculator because if you needed more than basic functions, you pounded sand. That's why the portable one was better. You could take it anywhere in your pocket. This one was clunky and took those "C" batteries. If you put those silver Evereadys in it and forgot they were there, forget about playing this again in a year. AciEEEEEEEEEd, AciEEEEEEEEEd. It also doesn't have the best "tactile" feel. More like hammering those "Chiclet" keys on an old TRS-80 Color Computer. So, I'd imagine this being used for the game play and little else.

100_4404.JPGBecause I'd never seen this one in the wild, I bought it instantly when I saw it. A 3.00 purchase. You can't see where the C batteries go, but there is the power port for those cheap adapters you could buy anywhere. Thankfully, cheap universal adapters are going, going, going, but still, there is a ton of junk needing them. You'd use them for 6 months to a year and if you never moved it, you might even get several years from one. However, as a person that had several multi-voltage adapters, especially for tape recorders, the cords usually went bad, or the switches, or sometimes a blade fell off the plug or the adapter just gave up the ghost. It will be nice once we finally live in a 5V world. *End Cheap Universal Adapter Rant*  I do like the shape of this "High Tech" gaming device. It looks like a something that would be on the desk of Captain Archer in the "Star Trek: Enterprise" series.

"Hello ship! This is your captain. You won't believe this, but somehow I've leaped into this acting job"

"Hiya Cap. What the hell are you talking into a Unisonic "Jimmy The Greek" 21 calculator for?"

"Can't you see? I pushed the INSURANCE button and now GUSHY and Dean Stockwell are nowhere to be found!"

"Dean Stockwell? He appeared as a guest star on this very show as a lame attempt to get ratings. You're better off beaming back into that chimp."

"Captain, this is T'Pal. When we do the episode where I have exposed  belly button giving fanboys everywhere fits, I want to leap with you into television history, or porn..."

"No NO. Damn you all! I lost 200 on that bet. I need to move on. Maybe they will bring back the TV series Gung HO!"

"WELLL! Mon CAPTAIN! You're younger and not BALD ASSED! You're FUTURE is playing blah blah blah in New Orleans!"

"It's character actor John De Lancie as the mischievous Q! Take me too my new career! Maybe I'll work with my old friend Jay Thomas!"

*****Captain Archer suddenly beams out and into the body of a guy that used to throw a football at a meatball on the David Letterman show****

"Oh Boy....GET RID OF EM!"


100_4409.JPGYep. This was a "Jimmy The Greek" endorsed card playing calculator. Say what you will about Mr. "The Greek", he was still someone that Unisonic wanted to endorse their nifty calculator devices. Who knows. I guess that was a bit of a bump in Playboy magazine or wherever they promoted this thing. (Yes, old Playboys were great for a younger me when I had just gotten a Atari 2600 and I could find scores of ads from 1977 or 1978 in my step father's old Playboy collection.) Had I known more, I'd have taken a ton of car ads from those old Playboys as well. Hey, my mom was liberal. She used to let my brother and I run around with the centerfold playing "I got the boobies" from dad's playboys when I was just a shaver. Yah. Jimmy was good in his cameo with Dean and Sammy in Cannonball Run... Couldn't act, but it was still fun.

100_4408.JPGUnisonic. Many a cheap calculator or watch or even a video game system? Every BEST or US Merchandise Or Service Merchandise Or (enter name of your local catalog retailer) had lots of crap from these guys. It says something that this game still plays as I'm sure if the batteries didn't rot in your device, makes a good piece of nostalgia or a conversation piece or a JUNK BLOG post.  Split those JJ's.  You'll likely win many worthless points. -Ric

Alt Studio

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100_4347.JPGMan. If mixing boards could talk. "Hey mate, do you know you have the F-IN BEATLES in there?" ""This could be the best Rock And Roll I've ever mixed from a band made of LED" "OHMIGOSH Just spike me with 220, this Hendrix Guy...""Roll me another "J" for this song "Truckin"" "I'm GAGA over this LADY" "I'm really DOWN for this SYSTEM" Okay, I'll stop. This board is more like... "Why are you wearing that spaghetti pot on your head?" "Why would I want Breakfast at Uncle Louies?" "OH! You're EM1 and He's EM2 so you're BOTH OF 'EM...hahaha.." "Olson NWS, who? Lubin? Get out of my store!" "Awwww Ricochet, not another Radiolawn show..."

Gemini's finest. A basic "Disco Mixer", that was my main mixing board for years and years. Way back when I got an actual "band" called "Unedible Two", I started recording by having a tape recorder and plugging the outputs of musical devices directly into the recorder. Okay if you wanted to record it directly, bad if you then wanted to add vocals while you were recording said musical devices. The audible "click" as you plugged in the microphones to your dual input jacks just didn't make it a "good" recording. Enter this mixer. $100 from your local Olson NWS store next to Leathers Deli in the Fairview Park Shopping Center. See Walt for photos.

Who knows why these were carried. Gemini was at the time making "pro" stuff that ranged from okay to "check those speakers before they leave to make sure they work." I got this mixer and was off to the recording races. A Sanyo tape deck, Gemini condenser microphones, tons of adapters and connectors, and we were a band.  Plus, I recorded my solo stuff "Singin Inside A Bucket" was the aforementioned song where I used my mom's big spaghetti pot over my head as an unusual way to alter my voice. Want to hear it? Nahhhh. It's in the vault.  It was used as an alt-board when I had my real chance at obscurity "Spudlok", but my band mate had a better consumer board that had separate stereo selectors for two of his channels, which was high tech to me. 

Later this board became the workhorse to recording my "Radiolawn" show. At least 150 shows were banged out on this board. I do remember when Boomer and I tried to run a pirate station at a convention we were at how BAD this board was. Take a FM transmitter and run it through the cheese cloth that is this board and you have more HUMMMMMM than Pigpen's harmonica. (Okay Dead Heads, I'm sorry for that one.)

In bad need of some rewiring and maybe some shielding, I got a new board that had all the fancy bells and whistles and this was relegated to my turntable pre-amp. That was until I went alt-Windows and my studio went "HOOWEE". You see, the new computer didn't play too well with what I was used too, and that meant it became very tough to record in that state. Causing me to go old school and set up an old style "Alt Studio".

100_4348.JPGGee, that was two computers ago. Look at the size of that BOX! A man BUILT THIS, it's Winners EXPEE.  It's a NON USB WHEEL MOUSE! GASP! Do you know how much that antique is WORTH? You mean that computer only has THREE USB Ports and they are ALL ON THE BACK OF THE MACHINE? Where is the rock you got this from under? Didn't they bury these in the desert like Atari E.T. Cartridges? Wait! Under that BOX! Hiding in PLAIN SIGHT! Is that a cheap scanner so obscure that ALT WINNERS never heard of a DRIVER? It hooks in with what? A Serial Port???? You talkin' CHEERIOS Here?  PS2 all the way on that keyboard and mouse. Way to score quality!

Well, the picture doesn't say all of that, but I had to go back a few generations of computer and set it up in the basement to make my "Alt Studio". Why? Because IT WORKED! I remember getting this computer from Boomer because it was faster and could show video like the early You Toobs. I watched the live internet only broadcasts from Hurricane Katrina on this computer. More important, when I turned it on, set up to record, I recorded and the show came out like I wanted. No "that's not what I wanted" or "why won't this work?" or "why is it doing that" or 'work...damn you..just WORK..."

100_4349.JPGYes, while people floated on the boxes of "Spap Ooop" from the flooded A&P down Bourbon street, I watched it all unfold with this computer from the comfort of my Yuengling fuelled central nervous system using "Alt -" Samsung's finest 17" viewing device. It was only my second monitor, first being a Packard Bell 12" "orphan"  monitor. ("Orphan" because it was broken away from an entire system so it didn't have an official model number.  I found out later from an FCC registry site that it was made by our good friends at TATUNG.) Ahhh, the memories of how Yuengling used to come in 22oz "Bomber" bottles and how you could peel off the clear plastic labels and put them on other things. This one lasted the longest. "Samtron" brand was Samsung's attempt to make cheaper stuff to sell to suckers like me. Isn't that what Samsung was about anyway back when?  My monitor never blew up....

100_4346.JPGSo there it was save for the portable CD player I hooked into the alt board to play the Radiolawn intro/outro and other junk like background music. Yes, I know, I was using a system capable of multi tracking but that takes TIME. I always try to do my shows as live as they possibly can be with a minimal amount of post production. What? Am I going to save that really good belch or me freaking out "work you piece of S*IT! WORK!" for future generations to realize I was a lazy ass buffoon with a microphone that smelled like a Yuengling? Yeah. Of course I used my beer boxes to help me set this mess up. I even recorded three episodes down here before Boomer game me a really small desktop computer with Winners XP on it. I was able to have an alt computer in my studio again so I didn't have to drag mikes and equipment down to my basement and endure seconds of extra processing time while the computer was "saving data".  Wahhhhhhhh! You could use the exercise.

Oh yeah, Christmas is coming... So good you didn't pack away those Christmas lights. You can just pick them up off the floor and hang them back where they were outside in just a few weeks. Dumb-ass. -Ric

Workhorse "Monitor" Or Cartoon Viewer

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IMG_0595.jpgThey say that kids are aliens.  If they are, they just wouldn't know what this is. Hell, 20 years olds may not even know this artefact, but 10 year olds.. Thanks to the GubMint, if you're lucky and figure out how to "turn on" this "device" that used to show "moving pictures"  and by spinning a knob, happen upon a blurry image of a Spanish speaking "moving B&W image"  delivery service. What in THE HELL did they use these for? Was it for warming up in the winter? It does generate some heat... It does produce a loud "fuzz" sound...

100_4330.JPGWowee! A princely relic of antiquity! Made in 1982. In Japan! Remember when "Made In Japan" was a bad thing? There were songs about it. There were movies about it. "They took or JOBBBBS" (South Park, Skitch.) Hell, fans of the JUNK BLOG ova dey will know that I'm the king of the crap. This sure is some crap. It's a Panasonic Black and White, 12" portable TV. Why haven't I chucked this long ago? It still works. Sort of. Kinda. When it warms. I think the last time I turned it on, I needed a digital TV box and had a problem with the vertical hold for a few minutes until it warmed up. I was able to then keep tabs on a Daytona NASCAR race that got rained out on Sunday. No, I'm not a die hard NASCAR fan, but I had waited five hours to see the race at my brother's house when they called it.  I needed my yearly dose of the first race so I could them lose interest. That was a few years ago. Gee, I can buy a TV for $60 that doesn't need a box and has a remote? Yet I hang onto this analog history. 

100_4326.JPGA blurry look at a way faded technology. This stuff was on the way out in the 80's and pretty much was gone by the 90's except on the cheap black and white televisions like this was made by companies such as "JIC", "Megatronic" "POS" and "Crown." In fact, there were a few small color televisions that I remember selling to parents who spent all their money on a Nintendo, Sega or NEC and wanted a 12" color set for only $99. Let's say it was the late 90's when even cheap televisions went to tuners that were like radio tuners.

So, when we moved into my new house, my brother got the bigger bedroom but I got the television that got UHF. My brother's room came equipped with a 25" black and white that only got VHF channels, or "3" 1980 era channels. When I got an Atari for Christmas, my TV which was a 21" or some weird size GE B&W set became very popular. My brother used to use it, but when I came home from school, it was VIDEO ARCADE with Candy Kramer time on Channel 61 and old time cartoons like Dastardly and Muttley or Top Cat.  We lived right on the lake and one Saturday, we had a huge storm and I was watching whatever, turned my head to look at the mass rain and saw a huge flash into the lake followed by loud thunder, and when I looked back, the GE was no more. It was fried.

So, as I mentioned on this blog a little while ago, I was relegated to playing my Atari video games on a 5" B&W portable television. Finally, for my birthday, I was given this Panasonic. It was smaller than my GE but  did the job and I was back in business.  It even had a headphone jack so I could listen in silence or tape stuff off the TV. Whohooo. I was living it up multi media style with my GE tape recorder and my GE AM/FM portable radio.

100_4329.JPGHere is the "business end" of this fine television product. For those of you looking at this alien device and wondering if the GUBMINT bugged my television, here's what we used to call a "switch box". You see, in the days when televisions only had screws or a round "coaxial" input or both, if you wanted to play your PONG game or early video device, you had to "convert" the signal, translating it to a language your television understood. I know! Right? Where do you place the coals? This is even an earlier converter box! If your TV had the single coax input you'd have to use a thingy with screws that converted it to a coax. In this case. to hook my digital tuner up to the TV, I needed a coax to screw terminal thingy. Can't we all get a standard HDMI hookup and a USB outlet and WIFI for your DVR? Yep. We suffered for our fun way back when.

100_4328.JPGYou also needed a ton of space for the television. Can you believe that when this television came out, "Car Phones" were huge bulky bricks and it would be a few years until they would fit in a suitcase. VHS or BETA was the big question for your $500 home entertainment investment. "Video Phones" were a novelty that barely worked via telephone lines.  Plus, computer modems allowed you to join a "bulletin board" to post messages or even "chat" one on one (or more via Compuserve.)  This was my "entertainment center" and many an hour was spent watching VHS or playing Atari or programming my Atari computer. I used it up until I bought my current "studio" television, a 20" Toshiba Stereo TV which I bought weeks before the electronics retailer I worked for went belly up. This still got use when I played any video games or my computer but when I joined the Winners Internutty crowd (pretty much 20 years to this week) , I don't believe this was used again. I kept it for the converter box. I used to have a few, likely I have more in the boxed Atari computer boxes I have some place. Now I can get a 35" flat screen for $129 that is thinner than anything from 5 years before and they don't even have the power supply built in??? Next up, paper thin and roll up. It's coming. 


100_3688.JPGWhen hand held electronic games became all the rage, so did this kind of debris. Here's a game I played by myself an awful lot because I could. The scanner made noises that lead you to where the thief was located. The idea was you could earn clues and zoom in on the criminal before the rest playing the game. Of course, two players were ideal, but I was the only one crazy about board games when I was a kid. The rest of my "Fandamnily" didn't care, although when I got an Atari, my brother was very interested in that. One year, my black and white TV got blown out by lightning. I remember playing my Atari on a 5" portable television. Okay. Back to this.

100_3689.JPGA crime is being committed. Game night Saturday night. Dad with an 80's "Hudson Brothers/Doug Henning" moustache and his Stepford wife playing this game with a girl and a boy with clown make up on.  I'm sure these kids would rather be anywhere else, but when there's money for college or cocaine to be made posing for a picture on a Parker Brothers game that was really costly so most parents would pass it by.. To credit my 'rents, I wanted this crap UNTIL I got an Atari. When they got cheaper... From there, all I wanted was more fuel for my Atari. Video killed the board game stars.

100_3692.JPGHey! Mr. Fat Hanz is showing the Electric Crime Scanner (tm)! A man built this! It's Electronic. One out of three ain't bad. Not for crime. Not A scanner. You can look on the webs and maybe the video toobs and see this and hear this. Actually it's pretty descriptive for being an electronic game thingy. You had the LED readout as well. Otherwise, this was the waste of money that was playing this game. It's exciting. Using this device, you could actually hear yourself riding the subway or shooting a heater. Yep. Hear the alarms. Yep. I'm really trying to embellish this one. It really wasn't a bad game. Really. 9V battery meant I never had batteries leak in this so, yes, it still works.

100_3695.JPGA Band Apart. It's a QT joint! This was exciting to me. Playing a tiny plastic gumshoe that didn't get chewed up by my dog Copey Dopes. I had an odd childhood. Maybe I'm telling you about this, I can just say it's "PA". Pre-Atari. This was excitement "PA". I could make these guys dance to the sounds produced by the ECS(tm). Or, I could make these guys into instant football players by setting them on my brother's vibrating football game. They weren't good runners wearing trench coats. They also shot everyone they tackled. They are carrying guns you know. Plus those hats were no match for... *deep breath* ITS EXCITING!

100_3696.JPGSee this! We had make believe perps to pretend were running with our make believe scenario. Somewhere in the Brothers Parker game design department they must have had family friendly writers doing family friendly humor so the family could get together and take a family friendly photo for coke money. The "safe cracker" was named SAUL TEEN! *Haw Haw Haw* More important, criminals in this game always had deformities, like John Doe. He has Antlerhead! He was wearing his hat one day and antlers grew out of it. His teeth became Bugs Bunny sized.  Oh yeah, he's now a "Buck Passer", which I guess means counterfeiter? Let's not forget the guy that is a cat burglar actually LOOKS LIKE A CAT!! OMG! ITS EXCITING!!!! Never mind "The Brain" . He's a closet masturbator. Wear a glove when you handle his card.

100_3701.JPGYou get to choose who you can be in this game? Is that in addition to selecting what color of plastic DICK will be walking across the board? WOW!  You mean I can play WONDER WOMAN? Wow! But the plastic color DICKS are all MEN! It's in the land of make believe. Remember, it's exciting. Wait! Carrie Badger is a double agent! I think she's married to the cat burglar. There's a movie in there. This is only a board game. Finally, my mom makes a cameo in this game. There is a picture of her in the 60's wearing funky odd colored glasses and having straight hair. I swear this detective was her. Or, this detective is Andy Warhol in lipstick...

100_3704.JPGThe ECS(tm) would give steps on the read out of spaces that you could go and try and catch the thief. The orange spots are possible places to catch a guy with antlers out his head and then play a ring toss with Matt The Cat before he deejayed at WMMS in the 70's. That's all. That's it. How about some EXCITING bonus content!

100_3706.JPGWho knows why I save this debris in old game boxes. I understand why I save an article about Mad Magazine in the Mad Magazine game, but a McDonalds clipping in a EXCITING game that I hadn't touched for years? Well, think about this. Where the hell else would I keep something like this? Somewhere where it's not going to be damaged, which would be somewhere I wouldn't look for five years. I started working at McD's when I was in high school, and well, I didn't have many places to go. I just wanted to get out of school, so I didn't have any plans for higher education. "What? PAY to torture yourself? F-That! I'm going to earn minimum wage and then be a big time muckity muck and go to Hamburger U and manage a McD's in a future dying mall and get a crew person pregnant." Gee, I wonder how they fit the extra fryer needed for the nuggets in this classic "Double Arch" store?

100_3707.JPGI didn't re-read the story, but I'm guessing this was the last "double arch" McDonalds in the Cleveland area and they were going to demolish it soon. Although it looks to be located in the parking lot of some shopping center, more than likely they moved to a bigger plot of land rather than "converting" this restaurant. I worked for one of the very first McD's, and it was a conversion store, that was with the lobby. You know what it is, with the yellow colored beams on the roof and the brown front. They were "conversions" because they wrapped a new building around the old one. The roof still tilted back. They added a hallway so that we wouldn't need to go outside to go down the steps to the basement. Complete rebuilds had the same design, but larger lobbies and double window drive thrus. It seems now, they do a complete rebuild on a McDonalds for their new design only if your store was a conversion.  The one I worked at made it until the early 90's  before it got torn down completely and rebuilt with that 90's glass and boxy look.

Okay. I know you're all ZZZZZZZZ. That guy looks like every 80's field reporter or politician here in Cleveland. City councilman Forbes incarnate. You're loving this aren't you Paige? "I don't have the money. Yah. You know one of these days you're gonna corner me and I'm going to KICK YOUR ASS. Keep F**KING WITH ME!"

Entertaining to ME. It's EXCITING! Alan Shore was pushed. -Ric

Facts In Fivel (Games Junk Series #11)

100_3742.JPGMost of the games in this collection could be some amount of fun when played alone. I mean, not really. You can play way with the chess set of the checkers from Connect Four. You could be amused by the Mad game or play Douche against yourself. You could even stick the Pente pieces up your nose or use the Inner Circle game pieces like they were claws. Yep. So, this game is truly a junk game. It's about facts. You need five of them. You write them in a' la Yahtzee. Yep. Fun for one or all in your family game night. Or not.

100_3743.JPGThis edition of the game was published by a company called Avalon Hill made this series of "Bookshelf Games", or for about the size of a large dictionary, you could have hours and hours of family fun. Indeed. No game board involved. Just some cards, some "chits" (Dungeons And Dragons original edition fans will know that reference.) Score cards and game cards. That was that. Oh yeah, a neat glass sand timer Neat. Need a three minute egg? Neat. Gotta have the card holder stand. Neat.

100_3750.JPGMr. Fat Hanz (TM) shows off the timer in the game. Made in West Germany. Remember that? East and West Germany? Before Mr. Gorbachev tore down that wall? Nevermind. The name of the flick that I saw about the wall in 1982-3, I can't remember it at all. It featured someone famous and was about something, and I used to know it all the time. No, not Wargames or Octopussy, or even Running Scared. Forget it. So, what do you do in this fine book shelf game?

100_3744.JPGSince this isn't the NFL, I'll disseminate the details. You pick the playing cards. It gives you clues that you write down on your score card. You pick a topic and then you pick a sub topic. Product name.  Then Cigarettes.  Then you have to pick your letters at random. Then you have a few minutes with the flip of the timer to fill out your card. To win the game, you have the most points. I think you do each column one at a time. Game over after each column. We as a family might have played this a few times but it went into the closet of broken games. I had a little fun with some of the blanks of this game as, it was all I could do. I think I played it with a few friends as well, but we quickly lost interest and went to play Atari. That's what we called in back in the.... ahhhhh forget it.  Je joue Atari aujourd'hui? Tais-Toi Chien!

100_3748.JPGYep. This was fun to someone my age. This was a self created card from self created answers. The final answer for I and category "Count Pats". (No idea, but it looks like it may be like U.S.A or U.S.S.R or something.) So true. I was young and stupid and well, that's no excuse. You know I made my own games that were no better and spelled just as badly. That's for another junk blog.

100_3745.JPG If I have any eggs, I'll make them very smart with this fine timer with a busy stand. Oh, it's a 5 minute timer? Seems like it... I guess... so the eggs will be ready for salads I guess. I like salads. I didn't play this much. In fact this was the first time the box was opened to see the contents in 20 years or so.  It goes into the vault for another 20 years. Maybe I'll play it. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Beuller?



Name Tag Time

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100_3448.JPGYep. We all had em, some still do, and my sweep and mop of the lobby goes out to you denizens of the hourly wage and the name tag. I'm nothing special. I was in radio, doing what I wanted for my career, but still wore several name tags. Believe me, since I'm not in my career choice but something where I make a living, I'm only steps away from a name tag gig. Question is, why do I have so many in my collection? Aside from the few I had where my name was actually imprinted in it, most were just cheaply done with one of those old style Dymo labels. Of course, the names have been removed to protect the 3.35 an hour.  Mud and Fudd were the names of choice.

100_3453.JPGWe'll start with a home made one from Jr. High school. We had an "Academic Challenge" style gave in house.  We were put in teams and we could walk around and bad mouth other members of other teams. In the morning, they would have two teams fight it out during the announcements and the winner went on and the losers were out. We were asked grade appropriate questions. History, Geography, Math, I had a smart guy on my team, the rest of us were typical products of our school system.  We were the "R-Team" and I was Muscleman T (Torture) because I couldn't be Mr. T. If you saw the weakling that I was, you'd agree with not calling me Mr. T.  I would have been called "Muscle Milk T" or "Mouseman T" or "Muselix T" or even "MST3K" (Kick starter, bring it back, just look for it on the weeb). We lost after the second round and I didn't answer any questions at all. "What two countries are attached to the United States?" "Um, Cuba and Texas?"

100_3459.JPGHere's a brand you may remember. Or not. It was a pimple on the 70's mall ass. When I first moved to MALL CITY U.S.A. I remember this store being in my mall. They always had a massive projection TV just outside the store playing the video of the day. Big screens started as "Projection" TVs. There was a huge concave white screen and then a huge box with red, green and blue lenses that made barely a picture. Of course, they were better in a dark room. Plus, they were hugely expensive, got dirty really fast and were always needing to be focused. Sure they came out with all in one cabinets by the time I was shlepping screens. My friend and band mate actually worked at the store for a bit in his earlier days. I didn't know it was a Radio Shack company until he told me. The chain folded and a few years later Shack would try again with "Incredible Universe", which also failed. Can you believe that a 2 hour VHS videotape used to cost $10? (This was before EP speed!)

100_3445.JPGHere's one of the electronic stores that I was longest tenured at. This was Northeast. When someone asked us what A.S.A.P. meant, (I think I was asked three times in almost two years) we just made up an answer. Why? We were never told what it meant. Er, check that. I believe it stood for "Appliance Store Assurance Plan". Yep. Northeast's parent company the Appliance Store was too damn cheap to get Northeast Appliance badges made up for us. We just said it was for "As Soon As Possible" appliance delivery. Of course, "All Sh*tty A** Products" was a favorite. "No Highs, No Lows, Must Be Bose" was another favorite. When a salesman got in trouble after he said that to a Bose secret shopper, we all heard about it from our managers. I dunno, I think they sound great. I bought a system...but it was mostly free from the Bose points I earned from selling them pieces of wood.  I wouldn't actually buy them. Now that I've had them for 20 years, maybe I would.  Turn the name tag over to see how we really felt. :)

100_3444.JPGI was always known as a little odd. I always said that if I was at a party wearing a toga, I'd dump a big jug of mustard all over myself for no reason (just like Brother Bluto from Animal House.)  It was a small hell we lived in for the time I worked there, but we were a band of brothers. Our store was so empty, the assistant manager and I worked out a game where we would toss a roll of packing tape up at all our portable stereos and other crap behind the counter and score by the number of things we knocked off.  I still have the chair I sat on all those hours. When they closed our store, they tossed the chairs, and well, my junk.

100_3452.JPGHere's a tag from Bess Buy. I had two tenures working for this company. Likely this was from my first. All of the stores I had worked for had gone under because of this behemoth. So, being the out of work dumbass I was, I went to work for the company that killed the traditional "you make lower" business model that I'd know and hated. I was assigned to the video department as that's what I felt my strongest expertise was. Well, not really, but I did know the ins and outs of a "flying erase head" and "Diamondvision". I could sell on the floor and talk product with my customers and say "this one is better than" without thinking "I'll make x on this one if I sell it as opposed to Y on the one I think I'd like for myself." Actually, that wasn't true. I had been through the wringer and lost on all ends. I never sold a TV based on the fact that it had a $10 spiff.  I sold that 25" Zenith Hotel Style TV for $299  because it was a good deal if you didn't mind not having fancy stuff like on screen junk and inputs. No, Best Buy was worry free selling. I was paid by the hour. I could flip burgers or make another dollar to not have to wear a polyester uniform, paper hat, and smell like dehydrated onions for a day. 

Of course, they just wanted to blow out all the peeps like me that had mad skills at knowing the difference between "Scandium Oxide" tubes and "cable ready" as opposed to "cable compatible".  So a few days after I started working there, they asked me if I'd help with a truck. Then they would ask more and then I'd be handed a dolly when I came in.  No use complaining. Bye Bye Blue Shirt Crew. I had mad skills. You want fries with that? Would you like to get a coffee with that bagel sandwich? That's 10.63 for those three bags of manure. Repeat.

100_3457.JPGWhich leads me to one of the shortest tenures of any of these stores I'd worked for. Technically, this was the competition that put the old style stores out of business, but indeed the were no match for the store in blue. I had been on the "beach" for a bit after Northeast went under. I walked into my Sun store and found several retail "vets" (debris) working gigs at Sun TV. Now, this was a company that sold the cheapest of the cheap and advertised it that way. They were big in the new personal computers trend and pretty much ate the markets lunch for the appetite of new style IBM clone computers Windows 3.1. It was now "easy" to operate a computer and at $2500, it was cheaper than ever. *Cough* So, with a good word from one of the retail "vets" to the manager of the joint, I was in like Flynn but had to start by selling personal electronics. (Demoted!) I could sleep and sell a boombox. Of course I had to sell the computers as well. I steered clear of them. If it didn't have an Atari "Fuji" and a cassette drive to "Cload" "Bruce Lee" for 17 minutes, I didn't know anything about it. Then I discovered that, if I didn't work in appliances,  I wouldn't make more than my minimum anyway. No incentive to learn about computers, but only the most costly paid anything. I was taught about the importance of selling their "extended warranty" and well, that was what did me in. We had cashiers where people could come and get self serve stuff and they had to sell the extended warranty. Pretty sure even the security people had to suggest the warranty.  Another reason why there wasn't much money in personal electronics to be made when the phones could be picked up like a Wal-Mart and walked to the check out.

I actually made a BIG sale in my time there. ONE big sale. A $300 boombox that was nothing like the ones I sold a ton of a few years earlier. No, this was a deluxe, everything but a turntable boom box. So, here's how it went.

1. Sell the damn thing.

2. Carry it to the "sales desk" (sort of like buying a car.)

3. Get the info from the chump (er...customer), and then begin trying to sell them the extended warranty. Refusal #1.

4. Try to tell them all the things the extended warranty would cover and the advantages. Refusal #2.

5. "Fake" that something was wrong with the computer or the printer, grab another sales person, have them say they were an assistant manager and give the selling of the extended warranty another try, (Really, we had to do this! Of course, if that guy was successful, you split the sale.) Refusal #3.

6. Finish typing up the ticket, and then go to the cashier.

7. Wait in line for a checkout! (Yes, they made us do this as well. If it was busy, we had to wait. Everything went through a cashier when it came to payment.)

8. The cashier would ask again if the customer wanted to add the extended warranty!  Refusal #4.

9. Customer cashes out and then you would walk them to the central desk, where bigger items needed to be checked off and I'd have to hand them a copy to be signed off on.

10. Finally the customer had to be checked that they actually paid for it by the security guy at the door.

SERIOUSLY!  It honestly took ONE HOUR to sell a boombox from my introduction to the customer leaving with their purchase. Needless to say the next day I worked,  I had two friends visit and they were going to have lunch, see a movie, then go to the happy hour at a participating Chi-Chi's restaurant. I said I'd join them for lunch..... After the movie, I went back to get what little I had in my locker and left to stuff my face with nachos and salsa. Mmmmm. Happy hour. One week. Done. Hills is hiring!

100_3455.JPGThis one is quick. When I worked for the temp agency in Louisville, I was issued one of these so I could work at State Farm as a phone and file jockey for flood claims. The phones were hopping and overtime was had by all. Then we started to slow down. When I was one of the last temps there, I was told I could take this tag off as they knew us by then. Wow. Before 9/11.  Good times. My boss found a "pocket rocket" in the trunk of his rental car. Good times. Steemie Steul and the Irregulars. Good times. "Put that Photon laser tag gun away or I'm sending you home!" Good times.

100_3454.JPGLike Sun did to Northeast, Builders Square did to Forest City/Handy Andy. Bigger, cleaner, everything piled high to watch them buy. Plus, they were K-Mart! They had a huge buying power so they could get that $69 storm door or that $20 faucet.  I worked the last few weeks stocking shelves of this new hardware palace and then signed the 2x4 beam that they sawed apart when we opened to the world. A few weeks later, I realized I was just a cashier. Sure I wanted to know about Karlin boxes and the differences between wood and machine and drywall screws. However, as the weather became nicer, more and more I was working as a nursery department cashier and stock lackey. After moving pallet after pallet of fertilizer, I realized that, breathing, something we all as humans need to do, was becoming a chore. Coughing and sneezing and being stuffed up seemed the new normal, until I was a half hour later in fresh air. Hmmmmm. Ya think moving all that stinky chemical crap was having some kind of.... So, I was back on the front lines and "Telechecking" declined checks and the writing was on the wall.

100_3466.JPGHere is one I self created. It's how I would eventually feel over many of the retail jobs I held. There were a few more pins in the collection. The McDonalds one in the beginning frame is going to have it's own junk blog post coming up. I had an extra Best Buy tag from my second time working there in addition to a broken Northeast tag. There was also a bonus pin with "Do The Right Thing" style lettering advertising Pioneer car stereo. It was one of the few "promo" pins we had to wear at Northeast. I'll wrap up with this relic from the past. a Junk Blog BONUS.

100_3463.JPGElectronic Fun With Computers And Games. A Wikilook and another click will get you to PDFs of the issues of this rag. I didn't have a lot of money back when, but I bought the issue of this with E.T. on it announcing that E.T. was "ready for X-Mas" and had E.T. playing HIS game (or something like his game) just 1 inch from the screen with a joystick in his hand. It didn't show that he took it back to Kiddie City and asked for his money back because it was such a crappy game. You can read all about how 1983 video game crash was pretty much blamed on this game. (Pac-Man was the opening salvo of the crap to come. However that title sold in huge numbers because it was the only way to have a crescent wrench that opened and closed on square dots while flickering pieces of digital dung tried to touch you and make you shrivel up like the eye on a Woolensak reel to reel tape recorder.) Whew! Bonus points to those who got that one. Reference Obscura (TM).  The only way I got this key chain is either I sent a letter in about a game or it came free with one of the magazines. I think the latter. I only got a few of the issues. The only ran less than two years. It was a good read at the time, with honest reviews of all the crappy carts I'd be buying for two dollars at Fisher's Big Wheel as all the video game companies crashed.  They tried to change their name and be more computer orientated, but "It's OVER Johnny."


100_3025.JPGHow fast media storage has moved in even the past 5 years! CD-R Media came out and pretty much replaced all floppy/magnetic media. DVD-R advanced the storage wars, but then USB chips took over and removable hard drives.. This little stack of disks likely holds a total of less than half the 512 Meg USB chip that was my first portable storage. In 20 years, will there be anything to read CD media? These discs aren't worth a spit.

100_3027.JPGAhh yes. It was always so expensive for this media. It wasn't until personal computers like Atari and Commodore sold off their stuff for cheap. I had a cassette recorder that loaded my programs, but wow. Slow and low. Then, you didn't know what program started where. Plus, if you wanted to play a program other than the crappy little basic stuff that I copied from Antic magazine, set it and forget it with tapes. The only pro game I owned on tape was Bruce Lee. It took 22 minutes to load. My computer only had 64K of ram. So, unlike discs which could load and load and load as the game progressed, this was like the cheesiest way to save stuff. It was in memory and that was that.  The same program took about two minutes when I got a disk drive.

100_3029.JPGNow when I was younger, computers for the home were a novelty. We had barely gotten past PONG games and moved along to Atari 2600 or Intellivision or even Colecovision. Apple IIC computers had become the computer of choice to teach us nards the BASIC computer language. I signed up for the program at my library and had hour blocks of time to use the computer. Mom took me to a computer store and I bought a "Generic" brand  (yes, it was printed on the sleeve) floppy disk for $4. That's ONE floppy disk. The double sided disks cost a few dollars more but I learned that with a notch carved into the plastic, you could double your storage. Never had one fail, so FU Big Floppy!  I made great BASIC programs too. Inventive stuff like 10 Print "F**K YOU WITH A SINGLE SIDED FLOPPY" 20 goto 10. Of course, the librarians didn't like that...

100_3028.JPGA little history on the magic of the recordable magnetic 5 1/4" floppy.  They came out with an 8" floppy before it, and  big huge high speed cakes of magnetic tape before those. Just about every 80's and 70's TV show or movie that went to a high tech location or government office had those big systems with big tapes that rotated forward and backwards. Imagine the hell of that. Tape on heads. At least when they came out with floppies, nothing touched the floppy. Of course the 40's and 50's, you had stacks and stacks and STACKS of punch cards and it was totally mechanical to save our billing info. Damn. It was 40 years until we had floppy disk storage and personal computers (mostly gaming systems that had basic.)

100_3030.JPG...and before we entered a new world, I'll show the OTHER computer that used to be in schools and small businesses. The Radio Shack TRS80. These were the first lower cost "all in one" computers that were widely available with a built in B&W monitor and a 5 1/4" floppy.  I bought this disk from Radio Shack in Great Northern mall to record my sophomore computer class. I just copied what I did from my library days into the school computer, and that was that. "Darnnit" was a pick an ending text game. Totally crap writing and totally crap BASIC programming. I think I got a "C" for this.

100_3031.JPGIt wasn't long after the video game crash where the cheap computers were dumped to the world that computers started to get better and "professional" (Macs and IBMs) started getting smaller and cheaper. It was when Apple released the Macintosh that really started the change over to the 3.5" floppy. It was double the size at 1.44 Meg (or didn't need to flip it if you put cheap nicks in you 5 1/4" floppies.) They could store more LODE RUNNER or newer versions of ZORK on the 3.5. Also, you could carry it in your shirt pocket and it was thicker, so you didn't have to worry about it getting messed up in a drunken "miss" of your disk drive. It wasn't until the IBM "clone" computers came out that these discs became the default way to backup your data.

100_3034.JPGFor me, it would be a few years until I enjoyed my first "real" computer. You see I was an aspiring "writer" and I needed more than a typewriter so I could make my many many mistakes and edit many paragraphs of crap. On my Atari, I had a two "printers." One was a cheap "printer/plotter" that made each letter by drawing it with pens. Drawback? 5"  roll paper. It made great graphs though, or printed a mean receipt. Then I got a "print quality" printer which was the worst POS ever. It worked by having letter quality letters on individual "drums" that spun around to print each "letter" one at a time. Trouble was, it was extremely slow and would stop every few minutes to "cool down". Other than small letters:

Dear Mr. Consumer:

Thank you for purchasing this POS. We hope you have many weeks of enjoyment waiting for it to print one f**king page. You can have a ham sandwich or a bowl of soup while waiting, and we promise to print in barely passable typewritten quality so your 240 page manuscript will be outdated by the time it's finished printing. Thanks and P*SS OFF!

                                                                                      Sincerely, The Bastards of Bankruptcy

Well, I had to do it right so I spent $300 and got a Smith Corona word processor. While it was a real pain to edit on and printed pretty slowly, it was a world away from Atari. I used it for a long time. It even came with a cheap program so that files typed in Microsoft Word or Apple's word processor could be converted to use on the SC. I had typed a lot on my friends Macintosh when I lived with him. So, I need to convert all the programs. One morning at the radio station I was working at, I used it to convert the stories I had written. Unfortunately, I "turned off" the computer when I had finished. That knocked the whole station's news department out of news. How would I know? There were no "do not turn off..." signs. It appears they were all linked to each other somehow. Ooops. I bought doughnuts to make nice.

100_3033.JPGEnter the 100MHZ, 16 Meg Ram, 1G Hard Drive, CD Rom, 14.4 modem/sound card, 1.4" floppy Windows 95 machine that I went into hock for $1100 with cheesy 12" Packard Bell monitor. I finally took the plunge to be serious about my writing. Never happened. By this time they were finding ways to back up on multiple floppy discs. You could use programs like WINZIP or a file connector/backup to save 500Meg on these teensy disks.  CD Roms were becoming the norm for commercial software but it would still be a few years yet until the recordable CD Rom would be cheap. They did have ZIP/JAZ/Sparq drives which were super storage of 1G or less, but they were extremely unreliable and went bye after the CDR became the norm.

100_3036.JPGMeanwhile, I had JUNO e-mail. That was the free e-mail so I could send e-mails to my friends that had the computers. Shortly thereafter,  while working at the Toledo college radio station, I got to fool around on this "new to me" "internet" "thingy" for as long as I wanted as it was a college and I was on a T1 line directly to the SUN. What I found blew my mind. "You mean, there are PEOPLE who actually feel closer to wolves and foxes and horses and tigers than HYOOMANS? Look! They have a gathering right in my HOMETOWN!" *GASP* "Would you like to know MORE? YES! How much for this UNLIMITED INTERNET THINGY? It's $20 a MONTH? I can have these ANIMULES in my very own HOME for $20 a MONTH? I have the computer.... "

The picture before has a disk with "Pirch", the first IRC client that let you connect to TWO separate networks at the same time with one client. I started doing IRC (Internet Relay Chat) because when I did it at friend's houses that had BBS'es on Atari and Apple, I thought it was amazing to speak to someone in Florida from my basement in Cleveland. By the time of Windows 95,  several hundreds of people from across America could be using IRC to be spamming or sexxin or playing in the virtual "TFIT" (The Furry Infusion Tank, where you could become the actual character you portrayed on line.) I fell down the rabbit hole and never looked back.

Why I show the disk above was, I was saving all the e-mails I wrote way back when. A year after finding the world of fuzzies, I found Boomer The Dog who was like me. "Why don't I put an ad in the newspaper asking if there are any others like me out there." We were doppelgangers. We both loved radio, him pirate, me commercial. We were both music fans. We both liked writing forever about our experiences. We both liked Blimpee sandwiches. Wait, wasn't this a post about junk? Well, Boomer does provide the web space to host this blog... Okay, let me finish up here ova dey....

100_3038.JPGWhen Negativland came out with their "Dispepsi" album, one of the songs on that disc was "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and one of the lyrics from that song was "Old outdated software being thrown into the trash." Nothing rings more true than when OS'es came of multiple zipped up floppies. It was 2006 when I got my first laptop. A really old hand me down IBM 33MHZ with a 120 meg hard drive and a corrupted operating system. Boomer said he had something that might get it running and provided me with Windows 95 on floppies since it didn't have a CD drive. It took forever to install, but it worked. I installed the base programs that would get me on-line  and got a 25FT. phone extension cord to run outside and sit on the patio and chat with the IRC denizens. That's low-tech for 2006 all right. I got better. Now I count that IBM as junk. Maybe on a future blog? When I can now have every song and picture and letter in my collection stored on a 64G USB chip....

This quaint look back at computer storage history (don't even talk to me about small tape drives and super disks and CLOUD storage and solid state hard drives and USB3 sticks and SD/CF/MS/SM/xD memory...ohy...) is brought to you by the CHEEPDOG. Think about it.

ARF! -Ric