The New Tech: I Get Around

Thursday, October 20, 2005

First things first, an all-new, all-different Here’s the Thing… entitled “What Do I Do?” Find out the answer!

Second things second, Sean Maher is giving away a copy of Jeffrey Brown's AEIOU and all you need to do is a) go to your comic shop b) check out a Top Shelf book and c) tell him what your impression of the book was. That’s it! So what are you waiting for, go do it. And for you Marvel/DC exclusive types (not that there’s anything wrong with that – even though there are plenty of things wrong with that), Top Shelf is a comic company – Sean wasn’t saying you should take some random book off of the top shelf of your comic shop.

Third things third. I don’t remember if I got to pimp Mark Fossen’s Focused Totality (although I did give him a nice big thank you in the back of Elk’s Run #4 for his review of the bumper). The guy gives good reviews – nice and honest, not affected by strong-arm prone publishers (which even H&B can be at times).

Fourth things fourth, please, please, please be sure to tell your retailers how badly you want to get you some Elk’s Run. Here’s an order form. Print it out, fill it out, give it to him – he’ll know what to do with it.

Fifth things fifth, it’s story time…

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First off, I admit, this story isn’t exactly “New Tech”. However, my original “CD Player Story” was really lame so this is a last minute substitution. If this substitution is lame, I apologize, but I’m not going to do another story.

Sticking with the “evolution” theme that made the video game and computer story a bit more popular than the rest of the week I figured I’d do a little focus on transportation – sounds exciting, aye?

Our original family car was this old, red Oldsmobile that we called “Betty” (after my mom’s love for Betty Boop). My pops loved this car despite its unreliability. It would breakdown every so often; we’d occasionally leave a muffler behind on the BQE and the heater only liked to work when it was 90-degrees and humid out. The ceiling started to sag – you know how the fabric would detach from the roof of these old cars and just sort of hang? Betty’s entire roof was like that by the time we got rid of that car. When people sat in it they’d have to tilt their head to the side or slouch otherwise their entire head would be covered in roof-fabric.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t riding a two-wheeler just yet – I was still training wheels. I was actually a late bloomer with the two-wheeler; I must have been seven or eight when I learned how to ride one. The reason for this was quite simple, really, who the hell would want to learn how to ride a two-wheeler when they had a Knight Rider Big Wheels?

Fucking Big Wheels, was there anything better during childhood (besides bed tents, obviously)? Some genius said, “Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna make the cheapest bike substitute imaginable – it’s going to be plastic. The whole fucking thing. Hollow fucking plastic. It’s a goddamn wiffle-ball bat with wheels. And then we’re gonna put a sticker on it that says “K.I.T.”, another sticker that looks like some computer shit and a fucking emergency break on it so when the kid hits it going twenty miles-per-hour he power-slides for fifty-fucking-yards. And we’re going to sell it for fifty-bucks and make MILLIONS!”

Everyone in my neighborhood had them some big wheels. 95% of us had the Knight Rider version.

Back to my pops, there might have been another used car between Betty and the Audi, one we only had for a little while, don’t remember. But yeah, we had an Audi. Don’t know how we got one. We were pretty poor and all but I can’t fault my pops either way. This is a guy that, when I was growing up, had two things that were “luxuries” and the guy worked hard enough to deserve more. The first one was his Marntz stereo system that he got wicked early during the CD craze – it was the equivalent of getting an HD ready Plasma Screen TV five year ago. But hey, my pops loved his music. His second luxury item was this Audi and he loved that one as well.

The stereo was stolen within months when we visited the Bronx Zoo. The whole car was stolen shortly after.

Meanwhile, I was in my skateboarding phase. I sucked.

My original board was this Thrasher I bought in Toys R Us. The thing weighed about twenty pounds. I eventually got my first real board – it was a Natas deck, Independent trucks and I have no idea what wheels it had. I got it a couple of days after my sister’s baptism. Her party was held in the local Knights of Columbus – they had an illegal slot machine in the back. At the tender age of eleven I hit the trip-7s and won two-hundred and fifty bucks, tipped the bartender and used the rest to buy my first real skate deck. A short time later I traded in the Natas for a two-tailed Valleli.

Despite my attempts at being a good skater, my heart was with the Pogo-Ball.

Yes. That’s lame. I know.

But when friends were over my house they’d love to play the Pogo-Ball games I invented.

Goddamn it. It keeps getting worse, doesn’t it?

I had this book, with tricks I made up in it. And each trick was worth points. And I would keep track of what tricks my friends and I did and keep a running tally of our points. Some of them were standard (Indy with the Pogo Ball) and some of them were, well, dangerous (like pogo-balling down the stoop).

I don’t know, I was awkward on the skateboard. I could ollie and do a couple of flip-tricks but everyone I hung with where going off these monster ramps (like three, four-feet tall!) pulling airwalks and roast beefs. I can’t hang with that.

Meanwhile, my father moved on to the more practical Camry. This was the redesigned one – back when it first became the new-shit. That car was trustworthy, made many a road trip down to Florida or the Poconos. We had that car for a long time, until my father started at his current job, in fact, where he went from full-time printer to printing “consultant and salesman” meaning he plays golf and occasionally visits clients (and gets paid a good chunk more).

Good for him, after working two jobs for most of his life the man deserves it. He’s bought two new two cars since.

Meanwhile I was back to the bike. My Grandma Fran bought me a Mongoose and I was whizzing around the streets of Brooklyn with no helmet, narrowly dodging cars. In college I got this beat-up, old Schwin that I used to pedal around campus. Most of my friends had their licenses at this point; some even had cars, but not me. In fact, the Moose in the Closet Year I spans from 1978, when I was born, until 2000, when I graduated college. Within those twenty-two years I never even got my permit. I actually got my first license two and a half years ago.

_______________

Next week I’m doing something kind of fun. The week is called “The Passion of the ‘88” and it’s designed to be a look at hip-hop from a neighborhood perspective. Up until 1987 hip-hop was all break-beats, battle-rap and this feeling of ownership with certain MCs based on where they grew up. In 1988 hip-hop became huge; it blew up, and drastically changed from the type of shit we were listening to. I hope you guys enjoy, I’ve been having fun writing it. Hopefully I’ll have it done in time, if not I’ll go to the week of stories I already have written.

Also, I’m in NYC this weekend. 49 Woodhull St is about to change owners for the first time in over two decades. My roots – where I grew up – is going to be out of my parent’s control and turned into condos. It’s going to be my last time seeing it. If you’re my people in NYC, come on by and pay some respect. My mom’s making Frankfurter Soup on Saturday. I’ll admit, I’m going to be crying all goddamn weekend, but I promise I won’t make it too awkward.

40s on the roof for those that will be around. For those that won’t, here’s the story of my house, written a couple of months ago.

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