Results tagged “Negativland”

100_4331.JPGMan does this thing bring back some memories. We never had a lot of money as I was growing up. We were never very stereo orientated. My brother never had a stereo except in his car. I didn't have one until a neighbor was moving and gave me his old Soundesign turntable (with an amp) and receiver/8 track player (also with an amp) and two 5" speakers in a box. I was really thankful. I bought a few 8-tracks from Goodwill across the street and I had a few 45's which I used to play on my brother's portable GE record player. That was it. We never were high fidelity kids. The Soundesign crap I'd been given for free was the closest thing to HI-Fi I'd own. I did get all high tech with a Hitachi boom box (which will be featured in a future junk blog) so I could play back my growing tape collection. That was decent. I also started listening to a lot of 80's radio. Pretty soon I was bringing home LPs from the library to record on my boom box. It was that time that I've coined the phrase "Kneedeep In The Hoopla Is The S*IT" as yes, I enjoyed that Starship album, or the radio told me to enjoy it.

100_4332.JPGAfter a bit of use, the turntable amp gave out and that BSR turntable with Soundesign guts gave up the ghost. The amp in my stereo was also a bit wobbly, and that's when I started looking at all of the "modern" Soundesign "rack systems" that Zayre and other discounters had. They were shiny. Some of them had a lot of blinky lights. I don't think any of them were more than $299 with most in the $100-$200 range. They were the best that Zayre had to offer. I think there was even one that came with a television, and that one was expensive. I got this one for Christmas. It cost $149. It had "high speed" tape dubbing. It had an "aux" input. It had two large speakers which were 6" drivers.  It had an integrated turntable, but was separate from the stereo. I bought a double LP "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" (movie soundtrack) for $1 from Camelot Records and Tapes in Westgate mall. It played records but sounded like it was. A rock stylus immediately wearing on the cheap record. The tape deck dubber wasn't quite as good as my nice Hitachi boombox, but it played tapes better because of bigger speakers. Believe me, we went through all this in the 80's, 90's and Oughts until cell phones and computers made all of this junk obsolete. Of course, there is much better equipment. I'd say that in the 90's, Hi Fi really became better and cheaper. Right then however, Soundesign stereo was the S*IT!

100_4333.JPGActually, the pressed board of the rack matched the speakers and it was a handsome sight. I'd imagine there were many hours spent by minimum wage Zayre employees setting these stereo racks up and busting through the pressed board by over tightening. Soundesign had the fake EQ design down. The shiny EQ was all the rage back in the 80's. Everybody had a separate EQ and some had the bouncing display. Oooooooh. Soundesign made larger EQ's on their stereos, there were some that were even 5 band, but the majority were three band, just looked like more with double sliders. Shiny plastic went a long way back in the day. How did it sound? Well, the whole stereo sounded better than a boom box. That's the best thing I can say. It was HI-FI to me. Dammit. They had so many pretty stereos at Zayre. I gots me a pretty good one. 

100_4336.JPG Look at all that pressed board. It seems they made a ton of stuff out of that formaldehyde laden cheap stuff way back when. I guess they have kind of phased the stuff out now? The DC out was for the turntable. It did have a pre-amp for the turntable. I never saw it work with the better turntable I bought a few years later. The Aux got very little use until... I think I hooked my VCR Up to it a few times, but my VCR was across the room and was a mono unit, so all it did was make the hiss louder. Yes, this did me well for a year or two, until everything changed. My friend Pete purchased a 12" record from Kraftwerk. It was the "Musique Non-Stop" maxi single. We came home to my place and played it. it started with a robotic voice saying "Boing Boom Tschak". I had a thing for comedy records and had a few tapes I'd made from library records of Dr. Demento discs. This "Boing Boom Tschak" was almost novelty to me, but something came alive. I taped it. I played it over and over. In a week, when my friend Marc and I were up in Michigan and I bought "Electric Cafe" and down the rabbit hole I went. 

100_4334.JPG Soon after I had all the Kraftwerk on tape and then I got into DEVO and likewise got all of it and then got deeper. Radio was less and less where I got my music. This used to be be the tape storage area where I kept all of the tapes of my growing store bought tape collection. Then my friend Steve bought the first Sony CD Portable player and man I liked the sound it produced. At the same time, prices were dropping and there was at least 6 appliance-electronics stores operating in my area, all at their throats trying to get our business. Mace electronics was the newest in the area, and when they had a Teac Three Beam 2x Oversampling model for $149 (sans remote), somehow I had the cake to buy it. I went to Camelot in Westgate and purchased Electric Cafe for 18.99 on CD. (Where I got the cake from, I've no idea.) I hooked it up to this stereo and instantly I was really REALLY HIGH FIDELITY. It sounded even better through the Koss headphones I'd purchased from Forest City Home Centers (which also had a appliance and electronics selection back when) and loved every minute of the lack of hiss from the CD player. From there, I only used the tape decks to record tapes from the CD's I'd bought. Of course, I had Foreigner "Records" and Van Halen's "1984" and Beach Boys "Fantastic Summer Best Of" , but I traded them all when my friend Bill started selling CDs and got me hooked on Frank Zappa, Negativland and Nitzer Ebb.

Well, Soundesign made systems in the 90's. They even made some that were re-branded Radio Shack. One had a HUGE upright loading CD player clad in pressed board that was more of a space taker than a good sounding CD player. Still, even the worst CD players sounded better than records or tapes right? They made other portable sound equipment, but none of it was more than a slightly better GPX product. Yeah, I was glad they were around at a time when the sounds started to mean stuff to me. Now, a portable computer tablet through good headphones containing all of my music sounds better than the old Soundesign. My computer speakers sound better. My LAPTOP sounds better...um..with external speakers... Koss...

-Ric

Cootie Cootie Cootie (Games Junk #15)

  • Posted on
  • by

100_4410.JPGIt's from Schaper. This one found in a thrift store is 90% complete. It was cheap, so I bought it for the kitsch of it. I never owned this game, but when I went to my cousins house, we'd play this from time to time until they had lost all the parts or they were sucked up in the vacuum. You'd be surprised how many games that kids get lose parts to the vac or dropped down heating vents. I lost two pair of good headphones to the evil vac. Countless army guys, Lite Brite pegs, misc game pieces as well as 16 cents were found in the vents when my furnace was replaced. Dig that funky 60's writing in the name "Cootie".

100_4411.JPGI like that the box had a little strap on it so you could carry your cooties all over the place. Of course, I don't think I wanted too. Girls would all say that "I have COOTIES" and all I could say is "Yes, Wanna play this really moronic game that has been played by more that 40 million children in two generations?" They would laugh and go play dolly while I'd proceed to light the Cooties on fire and watch them melt as all boys did. Fire was cool.

100_4414.JPGHere was another slogan on the box. Lots of slogans on this box. "The Cootie Company" was a nifty game company as well. It was Schaper. She-OP. I like that game company name. It's almost as catchy as one of my favorite grocery store chains. SHEEEEEOP and SAVE! You see when you go there, you SHOP and then...strangely enough...you SAVE! Hahahahahahahaha.

100_4412.JPGHere's why I couldn't love the Cootie. "Two Or More Players". Really, I wouldn't have anybody to play this with or if I did, it would be a bore fest after one game and I'd quickly see how these Cooties held up to bombings with Legos or some other worthless time killer. In fact, I think the only game I may have had listed on the back of this was "Don't Break The Ice" bought from a thrift shop when I was a few years older. I used to race Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars across the ice breaking cubes until the cars fell through or the "bridge" caved in. That was fun. I used to tape books together to make bridges across my room. Heh. See what we did before there was EVERYTHING else?

100_4417.JPGThe funny thing was, I never remember this part of the game. I guess you rolled the dice and found piece that you could make your little plastic bug with. I guess.  We never had this when I was playing at my cousins place. You placed the pieces parts in this board and pulled them out when you were putting together your Cootie. They might have done away with this board because it encourages the little ones to pull legs and wings of captured insects. ICK. I wouldn't even get close to a bug. We had the biting flies and all I ever did was swat them to their deaths or watched them fry on those cheap blue electric lamps we put up. You can check in, but you'll never... *ZZZZAP*

100_4418.JPGHere they are, all assembled. One is sans eyes. Like I said, this isn't a complete set, but I can't trace down the original owner of this game. If I could, I could tear up their furnace to find the parts. Likely I'd just end up with 16 cents. Aren't they cute little plastic bugs? Do you use plastic bug spray to get rid of them? CB-38. Preferred by 4 out of 5 frenzied Northeast employees that don't bathe despite their B.O.

100_4419.JPGHey. These are complete. There was enough parts for three out of four. They almost look like they are alive. It's another chance to have more fun than I ever did playing with this plastic crap as a kid. Can I think of a story where these things do battle and beat themselves silly and all the parts will fall down the vents and remain in the heating pipes until the heater gets replaced? Well...

100_4420.JPG"I am QUEEN PINK BUG. I may LOOK like every adult toy available at shops near the airport, but I'm no VIBRATOR. I am BUG! I will scatter when the lights come on and outrun any attempt to squash me underfoot. I'm QUEEN PINKBUG! Two SNAPS up with a CIRCLE! Give me some FRUITY DRINKS! Show me to the BATHS! I'm QUEEN PINKBUG!"

100_4421.JPG"Well I'm KING REDBUG! I'm not used as much as your color when making ADULT TOYS but I am associated with FIRE and EVIL. That makes me the RULER of the Cootie Bugs. I am the RULER"

"Um, Hey guys, I don't have any eyes, but I am GREEN and that means I'm a sick little BITCH. So, I'm the ruler of the Cooties. You can call me John Erreiah."

100_4422.JPG"Hey you crazy bugs. A Boo Boo baby. I'm the Blue Cootie baby. I got the BLUES. Call me K. Blooey. I'm not in this fight right. I'm just going to smoke dope over there and listen to some obscure jazz on Blue Note bay-bee. Here, I'm even laying down to show submission. You guys need to chill out man. Make peace not war man..."

100_4423.JPG"Eaaaaaagh Eaaaagh I'm no GREEN COOTIE with no yellow eyes like DATA would have had if this was a episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or the bad last movie...no...but I am a ROBOT! ROBOT BUG! DATA BUG! Microsoft BUG! Green screen of DEATH! Like in FUTUREWORLD. They made noises like EAAAAAGH when their faces were removed revealing that they were robots. We'd get played a whole bunch of times on Cleveland's Big Chuck and Lil John making an impression on the author of this blog. Our prequel WESTWORLD would be a made into a TV show in 2016. We're ROBOZ, not like in the TV show RIPTIDE with master actors Perry King and Joe Penny. NO, we're put here to make all COOTIES conform to the COOTIE COLLECTIVE! You will be ASSIMILATED."

100_4424.JPG"AH HA HA! You are now part of the COLLECTIVE. Even you QUEEN PINK BUG. Now I SHAT on your PINK BODY. Um...well, that would be kind of gross since you look like an adult toy. It would imply that you either have a poo fetish or you were used to enter a place that is normally an exit. Ick. We don't have any of that nonsense in the COOTIE COLLECTIVE. We are all of one purpose. We will DOMINATE all of COOTIE world. We will fly into a vent and lose our wings and be called NOT TERMITES by a NODDING HEADED LADY!  Er..what's that noise? It's getting louder and LOUDER. OH NO! IS THERE ANY ESCAPE FROM NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

100_4320.JPG"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! EEEYAAAAHGH! EEEYAAAAGH! EYYYYYYYAAAAAAAGGH"

FIN!

100_4425.JPGWell, I didn't blur out the address on this one because it's long gone. I sucked all the Cooties up in my Dirt Devil in the last post. I tossed them in the trash long ago so there will be no more threats from any Cootie. Funny that toy manufacturers use to have replacement plastic parts available with a mail away coupon. Of course you could get "X-Ray" glasses and "Sea Monkeys" and "Space Rocks" from the back of comic books for cheap, so why not offer replacement plastic parts to your precious Cootie game for only a 50 cent investment to a likely $2.98 game. Heh. You could get HEAD or TAIL or even TOUNGE for 50 cents back in the day. Heh heh heh. Mr. Smutty mind. Just ask for "Catalog No. 200 B".

-Ric

Button Panel #1

  • Posted on
  • by

100_3485.JPGWelcome to the near end of my button box junk posts. This is the panel of buttons I put together to make it easier to finish doing these button box junk posts. I have too many to tell stories about on an individual basis. It's just stupid stuff anyway. Again I had to use black dots of pain to cover up the guilty. On that button at the bottom, it was an "in memoriam" pin. I don't remember who the person was or why I came into possession of it. I could have left it out this picture, but I don't think so good. So, "black dots of pain" is that button. Dupe buttons are all over like "Dawg Gone". Not worth repeating.  Otherwise, here goes. 

100_3487.JPG A lot of these pins and in the following pin posts were created when a bunch of us were sitting around our college radio station WBWC with a pile of magazines and a button maker. If I get another Appliance Store button, I'll sic the black dots on them. The monkey was just one of those created at the radio station. The 70's equipment and microphone was a upgrade from the 50's radio crap we used to use. Hell, we thought it was bonus that we had a , what did they call them, a "compact disc" player? I think we got it when record labels started sending CD Singles to promote.  WCSB was another one of the radio stations I provided "content" for with our "Under The Shelf" show. 

You should know the story of Maximum Compact. Get it? Those are the dots and dashes that make up a digital signal. Bwa ha ha ha. Speaking of Nofeast, towards the end of my Parma store and the end of the company's tenure in Cleveland, we had a fly by night extended warranty company that sold coverages for your big screen about $200 less than other warranties at the time. They paid us pretty well too. Trouble was , they went under and guess who was left holding the debt? Lesson learned. We then had GE Financial backing our warranty. They cost more, but GE wasn't going anywhere right? As a company, we were, but not GE Warranty!  You know the handmade badge. It's for an obscure band called "Spudlok". Who would name their radio show "Under The Shelf" and their band "Spudlok"? Hmmmmmm.

100_3488.JPGNow, don't be shocked by the Nazi propaganda up on top. That's a button for the band "The Residents" and I believe that's a likeness of TV's Bill Shatner. I was a minor fan of The Residents, and we called them the "Kings Of The Avante Garde" over on the WBWC hosted by Evan Ford. My friend Bill was all in and knew every nook and cranny about the band that's most famous for appearing as four giant eyeballs. I just couldn't get too much of a groove for these guys. The button is from "Third Reich and Roll" which I wish I could say was a good album, but too odd for my tastes. Therefore I listened to Negativland! "Negativland Is Stupid" with the little Monopoly house was a symbol from their "Big 10-8 Place" album.  I really became a fan when they released "Escape From Noise" album. I covered the boys and their inspirations on me in this post: http://ricochet.boomerthedog.net/blog/junk/2015/07/negativland-rip-don-joyce.html -- The mice button was from  a McPromo for some Dipsney feature that I don't know and don't remember. Maybe it was Cinderelly? Never saw it. "We're you anywhere near Chernobyl comrade?" "I don't remember." (Letterman, summer of '86.)

100_3486.JPGNow we're almost cooking with gas. I think we're cooking with Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagermeister. I made it into the liquor preferred by Bill Clinton. I think I got this button when I got throw uppity from drinking the stuff. I also have a steel stamped ashtray that says Whirlpool from the same night.  What did I do? What did I say? Did I really puke in the buckets used to hold up our radio station's tent? Did we really stop at a quick wash place to rinse the buckets out? 

There's a Zappa button. I like Zappa. I actually had a ton of Zappa and came close to having everything. Then, no job, no future, no rent money, hmmm, these Zappa discs over here gotta be worth something... Then of course, the famous Miami Vice pair of cops, Crockett and Geordi La Forge. Never mind they were a few centuries apart. Then, a self made Kraftwerk "Electric Cafe" pin. Being as this was the first CD I ever bought, it has become the most listened too CD that I own. Why not have a cheap B&W pin created with a xerox and Scotch tape? The Amelia Earhart button was from a previous post. More crap from Curtis Mathes. Well, it's cut off here, but it seems Dolly Parton needs a breast reduction and Nitzer Ebb is on a 10K run. ....and scene.  Button Panel #1, roll away,  adieu. 

-Ric

It's why it's called the BUTTON BOX

  • Posted on
  • by

100_3138.JPGI guess I'm pretty much half way through the interesting stuff in my Button Box, I thought I would actually show some BUTTONS before I actually go to the final Button Extravaganza junk blog. My BB(TM) has always been a junk pile with special junk, a little too small or nice enough to keep with other like junk. I've waxed poetic about NOFEAST APPIANNCE, and well, this was going out in the trash as I helped close my branch. I had to take them. They are history to retail grunts everywhere.

100_3139.JPGThese were from an advertising campaign that ran for a month or two. The commercial featured a bull in a field and the announcer said  Northeast was the store with the lowest everyday prices. That was NO BULL. Now of course, you could always "dicker on the sticker". When the product was a "Nail" tThe lowest priced whatever in the category where there was no dicker to the sticker), we'd still get folks that  tried. They would say "You Make Lower" or "What My Price" or "Name's Stash, I'll take two." Some smart- as*ed sales guys would take the tag off the product and drop it to the floor and say, "now it's lower".  We had to wear these while the advertising was on the air.  I think we got a gross and were supposed to give them out. I got the rest of them.  Now you see what this blog is all about. Junk.  I'm the Fred Sanford of Angus. I'm the Lamont Sanford of "YOU BIG DUMMY! " I'm the Grady of...aww forget it.

100_3140.JPG"Cheap Thrills at the back of my car" FZ from the album "Reuben and the Jets." (It was FZ's take on 50's greaser music, and even fooled some of the deejays that thought it was a throwback band.) Toke was the joint I closed before I closed Northeast. I don't remember an advertising campaign behind this one. In fact, there was a pretty good pile of them in a nook and/or cranny. I took a lot of them. We really couldn't give them out as they had a long pin that stuck out from the side and did not have a latch. Cheap thrill indeed.

100_3141.JPGHere's a piece of real retail BULL! I was working as a cashier at home improvement store "Handy Andy". (They were the big box home improvement store that was the area leader before the final fight played out to Lowes and Home Depot.) This particular tour as a cashier was I remember, a sad affair. I stood at the counter all day and waited. Unless my manager said to clean the front or help in some department, I stood all day. The count room was a hell. I tried to be perfect. Telecheck machines ringing away. Skus that didn't match. Credit cards declined. I did this kind of "turn off your mind" job several times for several companies before and after I put three electronics chains out of business. All those years wasted just stumbling around. Adam Carolla was pushed. I had an apron and on it, I wore this. I think the "month long sale" was actually any time we were open. Had to keep the button. I think I may have the apron someplace.

100_3144.JPGNothing to see here. I got it from 3WE while I worked there and we made fun of the fact that the competition was running the Cleveland Browns games with no commercials. They went to weather and news reports at half time. Dog Gone was a slogan for the "Modell Sux and "Taglia-BOO"  crowd. (Cleveland Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore for those junk blog readers that may not know. We've been pissed ever since. )

100_3405.JPG

Yet more buttons! There's a couple of repeats here, so we'll delete those and get to the rest. This was "Collection #2". Duplicate buttons. See? Junk. I keep lots of it. I'm drowning in it.

100_3406.JPGSpeedee! I started my working career at a McDonalds near you. Believe it or not, it was more a "clubhouse" than a job. We had a African American store manager who was really funny and gave a damn. He had to deal with the then "upper middle class white bread" suburbanite kiddies that we all were. He tolerated our shenanigans and to this day, one of the managers I remember the most fondly.  I wanted to work at Mickey Macs and become a manager and go to "Hamburger U". I think this button came later in my tour. I must have quit and been re-hired at the same Mickey Macs several times. I still would go to work there. Yeah, now they don't make everything (I mean EVERYTHING, including MEAT) fresh to order. No, it sits in trays. It's "microwaved fresh" to kill off all the "odd bacteria". When I worked there for the microwave stint, the weird "blue liquid" inside the steamers that kept the meat warm was ..well... CENSORED. (Can't tell what it was as it was a secret according to the hazardous materials manual.) I digress. They had a nostalgic run and we had these buttons. Don't mean nothing to us kitchen grubs or drive thru schmucks. (More on Mickey Macs in another post. I have name tags to go through.)

100_3415.JPGHere's a button I'm a little baffled as to where it came from. I assume it was from yet another home improvement center that no longer exists. I think it's from my tour at Builder's Square as a cashier. I do remember that taking a Discover card was different from Visa/MC. It required a longer 300 baud modem powered approval process and a bit of a wait to take it. We had to wear these on our SMOCKS. I actually had a Discover card for a short time. I forget why I cut it the hell up. It may have had something to do with their bitchy collections people. I ran it to it's limit while working in Toledo and didn't have the funds to pay it off. I was a "scumbag", I know.  However Discover had the bulldogs of collections. Worse than the others. Bye bye worthless card.

100_3417.JPGThis is one I remember fondly. Maximum Compact! It's been mentioned before on this Junk Blog that my friend Bill was a genuine store owner. He had the first "CD Exclusive" store in the Cleveland area. His store had two "listening booths" where you could hear before you bought. CD's were pretty new and he was the ultimate knowledge in music. I gotta say some of my favorite bands/artists were introduced to me through Bill's knowledge and he became my "dealer". "Hey, here's a sampler cassette of Frank Zappa. I'll get what you like from it..." "Hey, here's the newest CD release from a band called Negativland. It's called "Escape From Noise". "Hey, they are releasing TRAFFIC on CD!"  "Hey, Todd Rundgren has..."  "It's really XTC, but they play authentic 60's music as The Dukes Of Stratosphere"  "This is Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age album..."  I thought it was so cool that I had a friend that opened a store! I even worked there for a few months until I realized that I had no musical skill and couldn't tell anybody about anything. However, our friendship didn't suffer. It should have, but to Bill's credit, he didn't resent the employee that stiffed him by not showing up on a few shifts. (Friends should never work for friends for a paycheck.)  Great logo eh? Digital bits.

100_3414.JPGYeah, I know. I should have blocked out this button but I couldn't. There was a flea market that I've mentioned on this Junk blog before. I bought this as my first "wacky" button from a vender that sold a whole lot of wacky buttons. This might be considered the first addition to my button box. Wow. This is when I was driving a Monza and working at the above McDonalds and didn't have a pot to piss in. Ahhh, but the message was important enough to me to fork over a 2 dollar bill for such a positive and yet sarcastic message. Doesn't he look a little like Speedee? I wonder if that's why I bought this? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Arf! -Ric

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

Negativland: RIP Don Joyce

This blog is to feature my junk box but sometimes it will feature tributes when I feel like it's needed and when I can tie it in to the junk theme.  First and foremost, I learned about the recent passing of a MAJOR influence on the "fun" side of my musical/radio career. Negativland has been on my radar since my friend Evan Ford played a piece called "Big 10-8 Place" on his avante garde show on WBWC. I made sure to get a copy of it. It was the most unusual piece I'd heard and it sent me down the rabbit hole. Within a few months we were emulating Negativland. We were performing free-form jams on the radio. Sound collage. We got better at it. My friends got in on it. Negativland came out with their "Escape From Noise" album and we were all in.

Don Joyce had a radio show at KPFA and met the Negativland guys when they were two guys that released an album while still in high school. (It was unusual to have a record in the early 80's because it was so damn expensive. Even more that it was an album of noise rather than rock and roll or new wave.) They charmed Don and he began performing sound collage and began working with Negativland, and from there became the unofficial voice of the band. He created so many characters and scenarios and "Over The Edge" became the longest running free form radio show.

http://www.negativland.com/news/

IMGP0216.JPGHere's why I thought to post on the junk blog. They are hardly junk, but they don't get used because they have all been since released on CD. They are tape cassette releases on an edited "Over The Edge" show. The first two spotlighted "The Weatherman", David Wills and the next two spotlighted "Dick Vaughn" and "Pastor Dick" played by Richard Lyons. Endless catch phrases made it into our lexicon. "Jamcon" and "Moribund Music" were used on countless shows we did.

IMGP0217.JPGThere was no internet when these came out and Negativland "official" releases were all that was available on SST Records. "Escape From Noise" was a good cross of all members of the band. The follow up "Helter Stupid" was a true classic and was all about one of the media "hoaxes" Negativland pulled off. I remember listening to it VERY QUIETLY at work at Tokyo Shapiro when the reprise of "Christianity Is Stupid" came on and I raced to stop it. Too hip for the room. It wasn't until the new single from Negativland entitled "U2" created all sorts of fallout with SST and that became another chapter in the culture jamming world of Negativland. So, that they even released these tapes was an amazing feat and a great peek at the activity we couldn't hear every week. 

IMGP0218.JPGEnter "Spudlok". Bill Camarata and I put together a band where we played music in the back room of his CD store. When my tenure at WBWC was about over, we both thought we couldn't get enough of Negativland and their "jamming". We'd wet our whistle with the stuff we did with Evan Ford and by then, his predecessor Len Peralta's "Raw Nerve" show. We went into the studio at WBWC and did lots of what Negativland was doing. Connected odd sounds, disjointed comedy with sounds behind it and other nonsense. We created a 1/2 hour radio show and  called it "Under The Shelf"  Yep. Before the net. We'd make the noise ourselves.

IMGP0219.JPGWe did a few shows until we built up about 5 or 6 half hours. The idea was, we'd put the show on WBWC in it's own time slot. However, the station had changed and so did the format and the programmer. Our offers for a odd 1/2 hour show fell on disinterested ears. It was such an odd show that a formatted station playing hot rockin alternative "not a hit yet" music didn't think we could fit a nutty show. So, Bill had a connection with WCSB, the Cleveland State radio station.  Chas Smith (RIP) said he'd play our show on his "ESO Radio Network". The prime selling point is that our show had a specific INTRO and OUTTRO.  That's what got us on the air. What the hell did we care. We were on the air each week.

IMGP0220.JPGOf course, when WBWC management found out that we were producing a show  in their studios to air at WCSB, that meant bad things. We were asked to leave but by then, all of our friends were graduating or giving up on the station. I said goodbye to my first morning show. As you can see, we did almost 100 shows for WCSB. The majority of them were jamming and music and also some were features/replays of what we had done at WBWC. Most of the show was based on what Negativland was doing and Don Joyce was a huge part of the nonsense.  When we rebooted at WXUT in Toledo, a large part of what we did and what eventually got us all canned was jamming, parody and otherwise free form radio. My current tape show "Radiolawn" is largely made of the same free form radio, all brought to us by Don Joyce's "Over The Edge" and Negativland.

Farewell Don.  Keep talking. Keep Jamming.  ARF! -Ric