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To burn or not to burn:  What to do with pictures of your ex

Posted by Vicky Lane Categories: Advice, Humor, Marriage, Relationships,

What to do?

This is a tough one for me because I never, EVER throw away pictures. I am a big believer in holding on to memories, even if they aren’t always pleasant. A lot of people disagree with me and believe that once the relationship is over, any and all photos, concert tickets, t-shirts, and whatever else was saved goes into the trash and set aflame never to be seen again. Well, I can agree with the ridiculous things that we girls keep… I actually had a “love box” for one boyfriend with match boxes from restaurants we went to, dried petals from the flowers he gave me, and a few cheesy greeting cards he sent me (pathetic). Ladies, these things must go!!! But photos, to me that’s a whole different story.

I spent a significant amount of time with some of these old flames and, of course, had some good times. Photos are an image diary, and just like reading through those journal pages (yes, I’ve kept a journal since the 80’s), it reminds me of those good times, who I used to be, and wow look how far I’ve come.

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Holiday Gift Guide Flashback: A Dark Lord Christmas

Posted by David Torres Categories: Editorial, Features, Toys, Kids,

Darth Vader action figureI was nine years old and I was a huge Star Wars fan. I was looking forward to Christmas like every kid and I hoped to get a ton of Star Wars stuff. 

Christmas morning finally came and back then I would try to sneak out of bed at four or five in the morning so I could start playing.  Sometimes I would get caught and I was told to go back to bed, but I always came out later after the coast was clear.

That Christmas I woke up early and quickly ran to the living room to start opening my presents.  Every gift I opened was a toy.  I don’t remember all of the stuff I got, but as I said it was all toys!

I went searching to the back of the tree to see if there was anything I missed and I found a present in the shape of a rectangle.  This meant it was shirt box – clothes!  Ugh.  I tossed it back and buried it under some of my sibling’s presents.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Remembering my first DVD player

DVD playerBeing both an early adopter, someone without a bunch of money, and a gadgetophile is a hard combination to pull off. Back in 1999, that was me as a teenager, and the thing I wanted most that year was a standalone DVD player. Sure, I had the DVD-ROM drive in my Sony Vaio desktop computer, but my monitor was only 15-inches back then, and I had a 28-inch television. Who wouldn’t want to watch DVDs on their awesome 28-inch television, with ghetto stereo sound?

That year, my girlfriend at the time decided she would surprise me with a DVD player. If you weren’t in the market for DVD players back then, allow me to fill you in. Those $25 deals you are seeing this holiday season on players at Target and Wal-Mart? Yeah, prices have fallen exponentially. My first DVD player sold for $399.99. A serious token of her love, most certainly. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t have gotten a DVD player otherwise.

I immediately snapped up The Usual Suspects and a couple of other titles that I don’t even remember. I didn’t even care, I was just all about the slick new piece of technology.

What about you? Any fond memories of holidays past, where you gave or received an awesome gift? Let us know in the comments

California Extreme Channels a Simpler Time

Posted by Paul Hamilton Categories: Culture, Editorial, Retro,

Pinball Players at California Extreme 2007

Gamers of a certain age, if given half a chance, will gladly recount grand tales of smoky rooms, dimly lit by a few dozen cathode rays where the only sounds are the white noise of competing digitized soundtracks, crude speech sythesizers, blips and bells, pings and whistles and artificial arpeggios rolling down an electronic scale.

The misty sincerity of those gamers who cut their teeth on the quarter-munching cabinets of Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command and Sinistar is almost enough to make one forget what a mess the modern arcade equivalent has become. The gargantuan interface machines with their elaborate weapon approximations and physical demands juxtapose over a likewise spectacular price per play resulting in a hollow shell of what the old guard knew so well. These are not arcades as exist in those guarded memories, they are interactive entertainment experiences: The kind of branded, marginalized speciality device that has been focus tested and trade-show marketed to get the premium floor space right out front in view of the mall concourse is showpiece here.

Even those arcade machines which can still accurately be described as video games compete for the higher-yield ticket-generating skill games (which ironically involve very little skill). Most of those who recall the days when 3D graphics referred to the vector lines of Tempest pass by these modern emporiums. Perhaps they shake their heads a little or make a disparaging comment. Kids these days. Get off my lawn. They don’t enter; inside is only heartbreak.

Perhaps what hurts the most is that it is a heartbreak we chose. We have no one to blame but ourselves, for while the arcade as it was may be dead, ultimately it is us who killed it.

We wanted the more valuable entertainment experience. We asked for and then demanded a perfect replica of our arcade favorites that we could play at home from the comfort of our couches. We pressed for more arcade-quality graphics on our home consoles until our set top boxes had visuals that outpaced anything showcased on a standalone machine. We asked for, and received, greater narrative depth in our games and as a casualty for our insistence we killed the arcade—the very entity we now mourn.

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What He Said

Posted by Monica Edwards Categories: Alijah, Family, Humor, Personal, Tommy,

I was reminiscing the other day about Alijah and the cute things he used to do as a baby, then realized that everyday he says something that cracks me up and that I should be writing these things down to look back on with fondness because he is growing so quickly. I thought I would share some of his gems with you... 1. We have two new puppies, a girl and boy, and my 12 year-old is holding the girl and I am holding the boy and he says to me, "Mom, is Zelda a girl?" and I reply "yes, of course" and he says "how can you tell, cause she has one of these like Luigi (pointing to her pee pee as I will refer to it). I reply "yes, she does, but she does not have these" while pointing to Luigi's scrotum. And he asks "what does he have?" And again, I hold up Luigi and say this time, "she (Zelda), doesn't have balls...see, Luigi, he has balls>." To which, Alijah, who I did not know was listening very intently, promptly replies very loudly, "I want balls mama!"

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Blogger Envy

Posted by Monica Edwards Categories: Alijah, Family, Personal, Tommy,

Tom and AlijahMy favorite blogger whom I have admitted to being a groupie of, Heather Armstrong of Dooce, writes a newsletter every month for her 'cute as can be' three year old daughter Leta. She recounts each past month for her in a way that touches my heart and makes me envious that I do not have the discipline to put down in words the very memories that she is able to; words that will hold them together as a family forever. Everytime I read one of these newsletters I just want to say to her, wow, you have described the very feelings that I have for my 3 year old. I did not think such deep emotions could be put into words, but there they are.

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My Mind Won’t Let Me Remember

Posted by Monica Edwards Categories: Family, Personal,

The only memory I have of you is so elusive--it feels like a dream I had rather than an actual moment of my life when I knew you as my Mother. It seems like such a silly thing to remember and I ask myself why it is, of all things, my mind chooses to recall this particular instant because it seems so trivial. You were visiting me and my sister, at the orphanage that you made into our new home. You had come and the only thing I recall from that visit, is you getting ready to leave- you gave me some money, a few shiny coins that felt like a treasure in my tiny hands. I don't remember if I was scared, or sad. Maybe you weren't visiting, maybe you were leaving us there at that time. It is all a haze to me and I feel so lost like I am spinning out of control trying to relive that fraction of a moment with you. I can't picture your face, is that awful? Should I know what you look like? Why did you leave us there? I have so many questions but don't have the slightest clue as to how to start looking for you. I don't think I wondered about you as I was growing up, I might have shut that part of my life out of my mind as a preventative measure because I also have a few bad memories of that place you left us in.

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