Monday, May 5, 2014

1980's and 1990's Color Palettes

Long time no post! Let's get back into the blogging habit with some color palettes! Personally, I really love the colors that were used a lot in the 80's and early 90's. It's not all just dayglo neons, but also a lot of really charming pastels. These color swatches were inspired from a variety of different advertisements, clothes, and toys that were available in the 80's and 90's.

It's hard to put your finger on what exactly makes the color schemes popular in the era so special. I think perhaps that the girly colors aren't the traditional pastel rainbow but are instead filled with salmon pinks, turquoise blues, aqua greens, and peachy oranges. An so often they're combined with bold black an white or some other vivid color!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Top 3 Most 90's Episodes of The X-Files

The X-Files was one of the most iconic TV shows of the 90's for pretty much anyone who lived through the decade, regardless of whether or not they actually liked the show. But, over a decade after the 90's ended, in a show that practically defined the 90's what are the most iconic of the 90's episodes that The X-Files has to offer? Occasionally while revisiting the series I'll come across an episode that is just soaked in 90's culture, and that's what today's brief list is all about!

Season 3, episode 3. Original air date Oct. 6, 1995
D.P.O is a rather depressing episode about an outcast who doesn't do a whole lot more than play video games who also just so happens to be able to control electricity and uses it to get revenge on people who've bullied him and who he sees as being in the way of his teenaged dreams. Jack Black stars as his equally loserly friend in an era where Jack Black was young enough to play a high school student. James (a band most people are only familiar with because of their hit single "Laid", you know you've heard it before, even if you claim to have never heard of it), Filter, and The Vandals are featured in this episode's soundtrack. If you're unfamiliar with The X-Files's soundtracks, this is an unusually musical episode, which really hammers it home just how iconically 90's this episode is. 

Season 3, episode 1. Original air date Jan. 12, 1996
Two nice girl high schoolers get wrapped up in some Satanic styled witchcraft (except, surprise, the episode's twist is that it's not really Satan) and turn into vicious, eyeliner smeared, hair-spray loving murders. I might say that Syzygy is The X-File's version of The Craft, if only it didn't come out almost half a year before The Craft was released! Like D.P.O, this episode features some iconic 90's music in the form of Live's "All Over You".

Kill Switch
Season 5, episode 11. Original air date Feb. 15, 1998
Kill Switch was actually co-written by cyberpunk icon William Gibson, and it really shows! This episode comes right before the late 90's dystopic sci-fi obsession that movies like The Matrix spawned. There's no iconic 90's music, arcades, or witchcraft in this episode (although there is a lot of eyeliner), but the themes of digital obsession that was really prevalent in a lot of sci-fi works in the age where the internet was just becoming a thing really makes this episode so iconic of it's time.

In a series that was so definitive of the 90's, there are, of course, other episodes that practically oozed ninetiesness, but these 3 are some of my all time favorites!

If for some reason you never got into the series the first time around, or during any of the subsequent reruns, The X-Files is available streaming on Netflix instant. For me, and many others, this show was the show to watch in the 90's and it's not surprising at all that it's held up over the years.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Animation Magazine 1993 "Outrageous Issue"

Animation Magazine Outrageous Issue with Beavis and Butthead on the coverMy local comic shop tends to have a large collection of back issue and vintage magazines lurking around, usually for a dollar. One day while digging through some bins of them I came across this 1993 issue of Animation Magazine. I've passed up older volumes of Animation Magazine before because it seems to be largely an insider magazine and generally about stuff I don't care about in the slightest (despite the large amounts of cartoons I watch this side of age 7), but I was pretty excited to stumble across this particular issue, dubbed the "Outrageous Issue" and all about what the early-to-mid 90's did best: ridiculous cartoons. Featuring Beavis & Butthead on the cover and filled with articles and interviews about the shocking cartoons of the day: Rocko's Modern Life, Duckman, Aeon Flux, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and dozens of indie cartoons that have been forgotten through the decades.

I'm not going to scan the whole issue, and I don't plan on including all the things I did scan in this particular post (I plan on saving the MTV articles for another post!) but here are some of the more interesting things. Click for a larger image!

Mr. Lawrence. Rocko's Modern Life director and voice of Filbert.


Nightmare Before ChristmasNightmare Before Christmas

Klasky Csupo

One of my favorite articles in the magazine is the more-or-less negative review of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Disney movie that was a whole generation's first foray into the world of spooky was apparently not scary enough for this reviewer, who, despite working for an Animation magazine seemed disappointed that Disney didn't make an all-out horror movie.

Another thing I'm particularly fond of is the closing statement in the Mr. Lawrence post, about the merits of working within network standard. I think what he's talking about is where the "Adult Party" new Ren & Stimpy episodes failed.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Scream: The Official Goosebumps Fan Club Newsletter 1997

I have absolutely no idea if this is still a thing, and I feel that it isn't, but growing up in the 90's, most popular kid's media included the possibility to subscribe to some sort of fanclub. Usually the price was between $10 and $15 and you got a fan-kit of a bunch of cool and useless junk, as well as a newsletter of some sort or another. Growing up my all time mom-I-have-to-have-this fan club was the Lisa Frank fanclub, but unfortunately, it cost about $14 and my sister and I were just not willing to share, and therefore my mom was not willing to shill out an extra $28 bucks on top of the monthly Lisa Frank budget, which I imagine sometime in 1996 was more than I can possibly imagine. Somehow or another in late 1996 I managed to convince my mom that I just had to be a part of the Goosebumps fan club, which was a series I had only just gotten into a few months prior.

I don't remember what came with this fan club, besides a wallet I unfortunately destroyed with hot glue sometime in high school, but I recently stumbled upon one of the quarterly newsletters. I vividly remember the 6-8 week wait to receive the fan-kit in the mail and specifically remember fickle little me thinking "But I'm sick of Goosebumps now!" by the time it finally arrived. Despite my too-cool-for-Goosebumps attitude (I had since moved on to Animorphs and considered it far more sophisticated reading material since the back suggested it was aimed at 6th graders and Goosebumps was aimed at a mere 4th grader) I still loved getting The Scream in the mail and used to reread them constantly.

Lucky for us all, in a recent archeological dig through piles of my old junk, I found a Dec 1996/ Jan 1997 copy that managed to survive. Click for a larger picture!

These also came with a similar tri-folded puzzle sheet with some various craft ideas and word games, but I didn't bother scanning it in because apparently when I was in 6th grade I somehow didn't understand what a Mad Lib was and just filled it in with the most appropriate words and I figure the internet didn't really need to see that, or my half hearted attempt at finishing a crossword puzzle.

Digging around the internet for any other info this fan club, I stumbled across the following video of one version of this fan-kit that has managed to survive the years intact.

This wasn't the same kit that I got, I know mine contained a neon green wallet, but it's about on par with what sort of stuff came with mine. Some stickers, a bunch of pencils and pens, goofy booklets, and just general miscellaneous junk. There was hardly anything sweeter than getting to crack open that junk filled cardboard coffin though, I'm sure much to all of our parents dismay. They may have felt like they flushed $14 down the drain, but a fan-kit like this was a pretty exciting thing to get in the mail.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

90's Perfume Review: Juice Bar Cotton Candy & Jovan Individuality Fire

Today I was incredibly excited to see the mail carrier pull up with a couple different packages from me, because they each contained a different perfume that I used to wear back in 1999! I had used up my original bottles of these over a decade ago and by the time I had used up both of them, they were nowhere to be found in stores. Lucky for all of us, Ebay is a pretty easy source to find long since discontinued scents. There are a few other sites out there that sell discontinued scents, but I just prefer Ebay because it's much easier to get to see the total price after shipping.

Juice Bar Cotton Candy Refreshee Spray
Juice Bar's Cotton Candy is a delightfully neon pink liquid!
First up in the review is Juice Bar's Cotton Candy Refreshee Spray. First up, I have no idea what a refreshee spray is, and it seems to be some phrase Juice Bar alone uses. It's just your standard body spray really. However, what makes this body spray different from all the other ones out there, besides the sassy girl on the cover and the neon zig zags, is this one smells like heavenly cotton candy. I spritzed this on me and was totally taken back to being 13 and borrowing my friend's bottle of this after gym class (after a tough afternoon of hiding out behind the bleachers, not, you know, actually participating in sports).

I've always thought that this spray smelled exactly like Bubblicious cotton candy flavored bubble gum, and it did not disappoint all these years later. This is clearly a girly teen scent and it practically smothers you in sweet, almost fruity, scent if you spray too much of it. I tend to go totally crazy with Victoria's Secret body spritzes, and was tempted to do that with this when I got it. Yeah, don't. One spritz (nowhere near your face, unless you want to be tasting it all day) lasts several hours!

Juice Bar Lemonade and Cotton Candy
I hope to add more to my Juice Bar stash!

Juice Bar's scents were always pretty straight forward, and uncomplicated, the cotton candy smells just like cotton candy, Lemonade Squeeze (of which I actually still have just under half a small bottle of, all these years later, it was my least favorite of the ones I have, but nostalgia has made be grow much fonder of it) smells just like ultra sweet lemonade, and I certainly remember the Gummi Bear smelling like just that, but I guess we'll find out whether or not that is true in another review, because I'm definitely going to be hunting down a bottle of Gummi Bear.

The second scent is another one I got in 1999, Jovan's Fire scent from the Individuality line. I first learned about this line during some trip to Walmart or the mall, or some place that sold perfumes. Instead of sample bottles, they had an array of scented temporary tattoos featuring element symbols to try them. I remember thinking "Oh! Free temporary tattoos!" the first time I saw them, grabbing a couple of each, and the coming back for about a handful more of the Fire ones the next time.

Jovan's Individuality temporary tattoos
14 years later, I found a stash of these in my middle/high school makeup case!
I lived off of these little tattoos, carefully sticking them on my inside wrist so I could casually huff them all day long, until my mom actually bought me a full set of these, the Fire was the first to go. They're not actually perfumes, or even body sprays, but rather perfume oils (although I believe they also came as a traditional perfume), which is a scent style that I've always loved and still frequently use, so I definitely was excited to get the chance to pick this up again.

Jovan Individuality Fire

Upon opening the package I was pretty much totally floored with nostalgia. What they say about scent being tied to memory is so true, and this was my absolute favorite scent for years. If Juice Bar is a teen dream, Jovan's Fire is definitely a more grown up perfume. It's a deeply woody and smokey scent, totally fitting of it's name! I dipped a little bit of it on my wrist and gently pressed my wrists together and the scent lasted for a few hours before gently fading away, just like most perfume oils.

If you're a fan of dark woody scents, even if this particular scent isn't something you got to experience the first time around, I would suggest trying to pick up a vial of this on Ebay, I paid $9 including shipping (which is significantly cheaper than it being when it was new, if I remember correctly) and it was well worth the price. I wasn't too much of a fan of the other scents in the series, the only one that really stood out to me other than this one was the Earth scent, which smelt very much like freshly cut grass, but I might see if I can pick up the rest of the elements online sometime!

This has been my first experience buying long discontinued scents online, something I was a bit worried about because I was unsure how the scents held up to both time, and my own memory, but I was happy to find that neither time nor memory has don anything weird to these particular scents and will definitely be hunting down some of my former favorite scents again! If I was a braver person, I'd be considering hunting down some of my favorite discontinued beverages from the 90's, but I'll probably be leaving that to the more adventurous retro bloggers out there.

Retro Push Button Japanese Pencil Cases

Note: This post was moved from my Hail Kawaii blog to this one
Pretty exciting on the outside.
I know that pencil cases probably aren't the most exciting thing in the world, but I'm secretly sort of in love with them. You see, when I was little in the early-to-mid 90's, it was all the rage at my elementary school to have a really ridiculous pencil case that had buttons on them that made various gadgets pop out. The coolest cases were pastel colored and had blobby animal mascots on them. This trend was on it's way out by the time our grubby little hands got a hold on these pencil cases, so their popularity was quick lived amongst my age group.

But even more amazing on the inside! Photo from Flickr.

I, of course, was not one of these cool kids with the magic push button pencil cases, but these ridiculous cases sort of stuck with me over the years and I have been trying to hunt one down. Unfortunately they tend be outside of my pencil case budget since everyone else tends to be nostalgic for them as well and are quick to snap them up when they pop up on Ebay. Even the new ones ("Deluxe Pencil Case" they are often called) on Amazon are going to cost about $25 after shipping, which is probably twice the amount that I've spent on pencils in the last decade. 

Check out how deluxe this is! On Amazon.

I'm pretty content with just looking at them online though, as there are a number of retro pencil case collectors out there who share a pretty impressive Flicker pool, and push button cases are sprinkled throughout the pool. But I still do dream of the day when I happen to visit a flea market that has one of these excessive exorcises in pencil holding for a cheap price.
Some of them were a bit more deluxe than others. From Flickr.

Some were relatively simple. From Flickr.
For a change, have some mint green! From Flickr.
The more I stare at them in their dreamy pink push button wonderfulness, the more I talk myself into thinking that I need a crazy place to put my pencils and I'm honestly probably going to give into my nostalgia one day and and just spend the $30 one of these is going to cost me. As far as collections goes, it's not the most pocket-emptying one you could have, it's just the fact that I know that some of these weren't that expensive back when they first came out, and I'm sure there are hundreds the world over just gathering dust in the backs of closets just waiting to be discovered again!

That's one of those blobby pastel animals I mentioned. From Flickr.

Mattel's Spectra: Barbie's Distant Space-Cousin With More Awesome Fashion Sense

Note: This post was moved from my Hail Kawaii blog to this one.

Let's start this blog out with some rambling about some super old school cute toys! First though, let's side track a little bit so I can talk about myself: I love toys. Especially a) weird toys, b) plastic character toys and c) scifi stuff. I actually never really played with Barbies when I was little, and never really got into that whole thing even later but I was really excited to stumble across Mattel's Spectra online a few weeks ago because it fulfills all of my "OMG I really want this!" needs, it's weird, from outer space, and it's a little plastic person (Not too big into retro plush or animals really). A little plastic person to obsess over and pose goofily on a shelf or table somewhere. As an added bonus, as soon as I saw a picture of it, a great and ancient mystery was solved. The mystery of "WTF is up with this weird pink-bodied robot Barbie?" that either my sister and I, or one of our friends, used to have when we were little. Mystery solved, she's not Barbie's subservient robot friend, but rather some distant space-cousin!

Mattel 1987 Spectra doll gang

My absolute favorite thing about this line of dolls is their amazing fashion sense. They're dressed in uber 80's outfits that look a bit like if Madonna (of that decade, obviously) descended from space. It's all glittery lace and iridescent organza in all the colors that didn't make the cut for Barbies various prom dresses. It's pretty much exactly like if we blasted a bunch of teens from the 1980's into distant space and then checked on them in a couple hundred years to see what sort of society they built. Obviously, it is a pretty awesome society, because, hey what could ever go wrong with a plan like that?

Mattel's 1987 Spectra dolls
Photo from Flickr
One of the major bummers about this particular line is the second hand online price. I sincerely doubt that everyone is hurrying to the internet to buy these as fast as they pop up on ebay, but ebay seems to be loaded with a few sellers who've managed to get loads and loads of these still in box (complete with giant markdown stickers for $4 on them) and are selling them for around $60. I don't really have a problem with this normally, hey, it's their giant box of discount space Barbies, they can sell them for whatever they want, but checking out the sold listings, these are largely going unsold. There are a handful of them that ended up selling for about $30, and a ton that sold for $15, but all that remains are the overpriced boxes. Unfortunately, like most retro fashion dolls, the out-of-box ones tend to be pretty beat up and are generally nude, dirty, and have matted hair (Hey, Spectra, I'm not going to judge what you've been doing these past 25+ years...) and aren't exactly very appealing for the prices people are trying to sell them for. I guess I'm going to have to take my search to yard sales and Goodwills for Lacy Spacy Out-of-this-World doll.

You can find some more info about Spectra and her futuristic friends here: