Archive for the nostalgia Category

Egg Roll Nostalgia

Posted in food, nostalgia, rambling on 20 March 08 by mikevc

Today, out of nowhere at all, I suddenly got this unbelievable urge for egg rolls.  Not just any egg rolls, mind you.  But, the vegetarian egg rolls and sauce that used to be sold by a vendor on the Drag in Austin.  There was a cart set up in front of the Co-Op (before it moved down the Drag, or it might have been something else), right next to the pedestrian crossing to the Texas Union, and every time I was down there in the late ’80s and very early ’90s, we would grab two egg rolls for lunch.  They were huge, flaky, greasy, and delicious.  I have never had their equal.  Unfortunately, the stands (were there two?) were gone by the time I started at UT in ’93.  So, that means I probably haven’t had one–or even thought about them–in somewhere between 16 and 18 years.

Why the sudden urge?  Who knows?  But, damn, those were good egg rolls.

There’s a Little Evel in all of Us

Posted in nostalgia, rambling on 2 December 07 by mikevc

When I was a kid, Evel Knievel was one of my early heroes.  At around ten, Evel inspired me to try to become the world’s youngest stunt man and eventually the greatest pre-teen daredevil.

evelk.jpgI can remember devising stunts for myself to impress the neighborhood, like rolling down the driveway in a cardboard box with nails driven in it on all sides, jumping from one level to another in a shopping mall, surfing pillows down staircases, and leaping from the balcony in our house to mattresses and sofa cushions piled up in the living room.   I even remember planning to mimic Evel’s failed Caesar’s Palace fountain jump here in H-town by jumping the fountains in front of Herman Park on my bicycle.  I spent hours sitting around with friends drawing plans for the ramps and writing down meaningless mathematical problems and formulas like I had seen on a special about Evel Knievel and his planning of his big jumps.  Later in life (14 or so), I tried to impress friends by doing stupid things like hanging off of my dad’s convertible while my brother drove, surfing on top of cars, and attempting to get the highest air on a skateboard off of a launch ramp (this latter lead to a severely broken arm).

I saw that Mr. Knievel passed away yesterday.  Though I have grown out of my childish ambitions and find myself critical of the kind of thirst for fame and celebrity that would drive a man to jump the Snake River (and am terrified to think that J and T (particularly Toby) would ever be as stupid as I was in attempting to style themselves stuntmen), I will admit that seeing a picture in the paper of Evel in his ridiculous red, white, and blue jumpsuit complete with cape quickly transported me back to those care-free (and recklessly stupid) days of youth.    For that, I thank and remember him.

Gaming – IIe Style

Posted in nostalgia, video games on 15 November 07 by mikevc

I had completely forgotten about the gaming I was engaged in on our old Apple IIe in the late ’80s until I read Otrops’ post. I remember that after we bought our IIe we went on a spending spree at some computer event at Palmer Auditorium and loaded up on games. I don’t remember many but I do remember spending hours playing Maniac Mansion in the piano/dining/computer room of our house in South Austin. I particularly liked the humor of the game; as an example, I remember the depressed young tentacle who only wanted to rock.  As I read Otrops’ post, nostalgia swept over me and I felt the need to introduce the young boys to the joys of Maniac Mansion. It is as much fun as I remember and Jonah really gets a kick out of the MM controls for the characters. Unfortunatley, I cannot remember how to beat Maniac Mansion and it does not look like I can save progress on the free downloadable version.


Oh well. I wish I could find the original version of Oregon Trail.

Would You Believe…? Missed it by THAT much.

Posted in music, nostalgia, television on 25 October 07 by mikevc

A colleague had posted on her blog how a particular temporary walkway/tunnel through our under-construction library reminded her of the theme from Get Smart! (which, by the way, has to be one of my Top Ten All Time Sit Coms (I capitalize because I feel this may be the title of the post coming next) ).
After reading her post, I have been unable to go near the tunnel in question w/o the theme playing in my head. Sharing this with a friend, I learned that he had no clue what I was talking about–even after I hummed the song and acted out the introduction to the show. So, for those who don’t remember or–God forbid!–have never seen Get Smart!, I share:

History – An Important Subject

Posted in family, nostalgia, Uncategorized, video games on 9 September 07 by mikevc

mario.pngI recently discovered an app in facebook that connects to NES Cafe, which is a site that emulates the old Nintendo Entertainment System. Not only that it has virtually every game ever made for the system. Thus, I have discovered over 1000 ways to take a trip down video game memory lane…and, I am taking my son with me. It is somehow fitting since these games roughly correspond to my musical nostalgia posting of the past few weeks.

punch.pngSo, in the name of education–in particular History (of Video Games)–Jonah and I have been playing every iteration ofducjhunt.png Mario (Super, Brothers, Dr., vs. Luigi, you name it), Punch Out, Excitebike, and a bunch of games I never played. I am floored at how terrible the graphics and controls are–especially compared to what is out there today. I remember this stuff being cutting edge in 1990. That is probably a trite observation, but I remember that to us this stuff was 1000% beyond the Ataris and Intellivsions of eight years prior. My son can’t distinguish between any discernible differences in quality between the two eras. Oh well, the perils of aging.

Extra credit for whoever can identify all 3 games pictured here.

Ah-Ha! Shoulders Mystery Solved

Posted in music, nostalgia on 7 September 07 by mikevc

For those few (1?) who were riveted by my previous post, I figured it out. The version of “Trashman Shoes” and other Shoulders’ songs I remembered listening to in the car were on the self-released cassette Hungry Man’s Dance. Thanks to Dirk Horst for compiling and preserving this important information.  Dirk also has links to discographies for Husker Du, Poi Dog, The Feelies, Big Country, and…Cactus World News!! (I thought Matt Hammon and I were the only American fans of this late ’80s Irish band).  It looks like his page hasn’t been updated since 1998 but this is why you gotta love the Internet.  I find a page some guy created nine years ago as a project and it answers a question that is driving me crazy.  How could I have done that 15 years ago?

You gotta love these new-fangled Intarwebs.

The Perils of Being a Great Live Band

Posted in music, nostalgia on 7 September 07 by mikevc

So, I promised no more Austin nostalgia, but…I lied.  I got the Shoulders CD Trash Man Shoes in the mail today and ran to import it into iTunes.  The problem with it is it was recorded in 1993, a few years after I remember going to their shoes.  Anyone who ever saw these guys performs knows that they were an amazing live band.  The CD is the same songs but they are overdone somehow; it seems they lack the energy of the live shows.  I remember in 1990 or so constantly listening to a tape of four or five of these songs.  It may have been a live tape from the radio or a DIY tape.  Regardless, it captured the live energy and is what I remembered.  Oh well, the songs are still good.

I had the same problem with Ten Hands, who are apparently reformed.  My brother asked me to find some of their tunes.  I found some and they were the same songs but…they weren’t.  I remember “Love is the Question” and “The Big One is Coming” as being…I don’t know.  Again, live show=amazing.  Recorded songs=not so much.  Or maybe, the intervening 15 years have impacted how I remember things.

Interestingly, I have restocked the first three Poi Dog (who was unquestionably the best live band of that era in Austin) CDs and–w/ the exception of Vola Vola which is their weakest set of songs–they all hold up to my memories.

Wiki Wiki!

Posted in music, nostalgia on 5 September 07 by mikevc

So, in my Austin from my youth nostalgia (as rambled about in several posts), I ordered a bunch of old CDs. The first to arrive was a CD that merges Poi Dog Pondering’s first two releases Poi Dog poicircle.jpgpoi2.jpgPondering (1989) and Circle Around the Sun (1990). Anyway, as I re-listened to these tunes, which are fantastic, for the first time in more than a decade. I noticed the intro to “Circle Round the Sun”, where someone screams out something before the band comes in. I remember thinking it was just nonsensical words. It turns out, part of what he is saying is “Wiki, Wiki!”, a Hawaii’an term that means “quick” or “enjoy” depending where you look and is where the ubiquitous word “wiki”. It makes sense since the singer and a number of the members grew up in Hawaii. Who knew Poi Dog was so ahead of their time?

Anyway, I am again reminded of those good old days. Poi Dog shows were the best, always on a Saturday, the culmination of the week, because they were the biggest draw. There was nothing like a Poi Dog show–and in the following few years of intensive show going I never experienced anything quite as exciting or fun again. You always left Liberty Lunch (aside from a few outdoor shows and Houston gigs, I can’t remember ever seeing them play anywhere but LL) in a wonderful mood, which translated into all night fun. Somehow, once Frank Orral moved the band to Chicago and started changing the line-up (he eventually dropped everyone but Susan Voelz), which completely changed their sound (the sound that I loved), they were never as good. Maybe, I never forgave them for leaving.

Isn’t it interesting that I could not find a single image of the Circle Around the Sun cover. For a while I thought I had imagined its existence and it was always just a part of Poi Dog Pondering. I finally found someone on eBay selling it as an LP and I borrowed his image. I hope he doesn’t sue me. I knew it existed!

Anyway, I promise you, my two readers (one can dream), that this will be my last nostalgic post about Austin and the music I loved in High School.

“I’m not going back in the closet.”

Posted in music, nostalgia, rambling on 2 September 07 by mikevc

twangy.jpgI found a site that has every song on “Me So Twangy” (1990) free to download. I am listening to it now on iTunes. I remember Jeff forwarding this to Jacques D. and I back in 2000 or so but it was pre-iPod and my big shift to digital music. Glad to see it is still available. I loved the days of the homemade cassettes with the photocopied covers. Anyone have “It’s a Twang Thang”?

grains.jpgAs for Grains of Faith, I found that Joe McDermott has two songs from the great Bee Cassette (1989) on his MySpace page. They are not avaialable for download but are great to hear. I am still dying to hear “Sea Wall” again; I think it is one of the best songs from that time. If anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know.

I am also dying for some Stick People. I have searched but no luck.

As I did nostalgic searching, I discovered that Uncle Tupelo played a showcase at Liberty Lunch with Grains of Faith in 1991. I did not discover Tupelo until a few years later. So, it is a real shame I missed that show. All the same 90 and 91 were the best SXSW I ever went to.

“A rose is a rose is a rose by any other smell”

Posted in music, nostalgia on 1 September 07 by mikevc

shoulders.jpgIn my wave of nostalgia for the Austin music scene of the early 90’s, I forgot to mention one of the most fun bands of that time period: The Shoulders. They had kind of a Tom Waits/Pogues vibe going and featured Lyle Lovett’s Cellist, John Hagen, when he was in town. They were incredibly fun and “Trash Man Shoes” was a great song. I remember at SXSW ’90 (and don’t get me started on SXSW back when it was $15 and you could actually show hop all night) the record execs loved “On Sunday”. Not to mention, “Uncle Achin”, “Mr. Troll”, and “Lula’s Bar and Grill”. A google search shows me that I can track down their CD that was popular in France for a while. I think I will do so.

I wish I could track down those old cassettes of Twang, Grains of Faith, The Shoulders, Stick People, The Duckhills, that were made in the years right before it was possible to make relatively cheap CDs.

Any other Austin greats I missed?