Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dark Shadows

As a kid, I was really into Dark Shadows. I loved watching the stories unfold on the TV screen. However, there was much more to Dark Shadows than the TV show.

First off, there was also a whole series of books related to the show. The author, Marilyn Ross, was actually Dan Ross writing under his wife's name. I probably read most of these books at a young age. A precocious and avid reader, I tended to sneak and read the things I actually wanted to read instead of the more age-appropriate offerings.

I also had two board games that tied in to the series: Dark Shadows and Barnabas Collins.

Dark Shadows was a game in which you moved a token around the board. It was a traditional board game by Whitman, and it was my favorite of the two. As a bonus, it included a wallet-sized photo of Barnabas himself.

Barnabas Collins was different; the object of the game was to collect bones and put the skeletons together. Milton Bradley also included a set of fangs that glowed in the dark.

I also found this cool site about Dark Shadows collectibles. Looking it over, I think I recognize the pink Magic Slate, so it's possible I had one of those. I have no idea why I didn't have the two jigsaw puzzles, since I loved putting them together, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. Still, the one in front looks vaguely familiar, so maybe I really did have that one. My memory is pretty faulty, so I just don't know.

I remember how happy I was when Dark Shadows was revived back in 1991. It was really good, but unfortunately, it was only around for twelve episodes.

I've tried to watch the original series as an adult, but I gave up. It just wasn't the same, so I thought it was best to leave the series in my memories.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

First Apartment

Most people probably remember their first apartment. I finally got mine after living in the dorm for two years.

My first apartment was very small. It was one of several in a house that had been converted into apartments intended mainly for college students. I believe this particular house contained four apartments, although I might be leaving one out. It was a very short walk from campus, the downtown area, and other necessities.

My tiny place was one of two apartments on the house's lower level. It was furnished and had one bedroom, a living room, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. The grand total for rent was $100 plus electric. Unfortunately, I had electric heat.

I lived there for one year and then moved to another apartment. While a student, I never paid more than $200 a month for rent. Then I got a job, moved away, and found out how expensive apartments could be.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I remember when I couldn't take a nap if I tried. It just wouldn't work. No matter how sleepy or exhausted I was, if it was the middle of the day, it wasn't going to happen. I've never been a high-energy type, so it certainly wasn't that. I don't remember ever being able to take a nap as a kid, teenager, or beyond.

Well, that was then. Now, I can sit down on the couch and be asleep in no time at all. Notice that I said "sit." I can konk out without even having to lie down. Don't get me wrong; I'm not narcoleptic, although I've had my moments. It helps if I'm trying to read or watch TV. Something about trying to stay awake makes me fall asleep faster. It figures.

In the past, I didn't understand how some people could fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I think I get it now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Video Games

When I was in college, I spent an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money playing video games--arcade games, to be exact.

There was a game room in my dorm. It wasn't very big, but it did have quite a few games, and it was often packed with people. I played a lot of Pac-Man, Q-bert, Millipede, Galaga, and many more. For some reason, the dorm didn't have my favorite arcade game. The only time I could ever play it was when I left town for the weekend. That game was Moon Patrol.

I also owned some video games, as well as a few hand-held games. Still, I preferred arcade games. I could put more strength into them without worrying about breaking a tiny joystick.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lance Choc-O-Lunch Cookies: Then and Now

Yesterday, while writing my post about Keebler Opera Cremes on Diary of a Non-Person, I realized I had a similar product to mention here: Lance Choc-O-Lunch Cookies.

Lance Choc-O-Lunch cookies are still being produced today. However, they're not the same as they used to be. That's why this post goes here instead of in the other blog, which is only for things that no longer exist.

The Choc-O-Lunch cookies being made now are chocolate sandwich cookies with vanilla creme. In the past, they were chocolate sandwich cookies with lemon creme. What an incredible combination!

I still like Choco-O-Lunch cookies, and they make a great snack. I just wish they still had the chocolate/lemon combination.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gym Class

Back when I was in school, people pretty much either loved gym class or hated it. Those who were good at sports enjoyed taking the break from the classroom. Then there were those who weren't the least bit athletic; they dreaded their time in the gym.

Gym class, also known to some as "phys ed," wasn't restricted to the gymnasium. For example, students could end up on the tennis court or on the track, depending on what was planned for that particular week. Over the years, I had to do everything from climbing a rope to roller skating around the gym. I had to learn how to square dance and how to play several different ball games. Gym class was nothing if not varied and unpredictable.

In junior high, gym class alternated days with health class. That's when things got really interesting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easter Egg Candy

Chocolate bunnies are good--no doubt about it--but I always preferred the candy eggs.

When I was a kid, there were these large candy Easter eggs that had to be sliced because they were too big to eat the whole thing at once. In fact, some of the slices had to be sliced in half; that's how big they were.

These candy eggs had a thick milk chocolate shell. My favorites were peanut butter, coconut cream, chocolate butter cream, and maple nut. I also remember fruit and nut, which was a cherry-flavored cream filling containing small pieces of (you guessed it) fruit and nuts. I think Russell Stover made all these varieties, but I'm not sure.

I've seen some homemade versions from time to time, but nothing recent. The homemade versions were smaller and had much thinner coatings. They were different from the store-bought eggs but obviously still tasty.

Once, I found a Russell Stover egg I hadn't seen before: heavenly hash. It was a solid chocolate egg that contained marshmallows, nuts, and (I believe) raisins. It was wonderful; unfortunately, I was never able to find another one.

Nowadays, Russell Stover has the small candy eggs, and they're delicious. I just wish they'd bring back the eggs a lot of us remember from the past.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Back in my college days, I occasionally pulled all-nighters. I'm sure students still do that, but I doubt it's the same.

Basically, whenever a research paper was due, it was a sure bet that I'd be up all night just to get it finished. It's not that I hadn't done any work. I had. I just hadn't finished. So there I'd be, sitting at the table with my pen and paper in front of me, going through a whole lot of books I needed as sources. Yes, that's right. Pen and paper. This was back when hand-written papers were still accepted.

I was always careful but sometimes I'd mess up pretty badly and have to start that page over. Sometimes my pen would run out of ink, which is why it was always a good idea to have two or three of the same kind handy. My hand always hurt long before I finished writing.

When I had to study for a major test, things got a bit more complicated. If it was a final, sometimes I'd just go to cafeteria at the student union and study there. Otherwise, I'd stay in my dorm room or apartment. After staying up all night, I'd think, "I know this material. At least, I know it well enough. Maybe I should just go ahead and take a short nap."

Sure enough, I'd either:
1. Get up late and just barely make it to the exam.
2. Be unable to get to sleep because I was worried I wouldn't get up on time.

Fortunately, I didn't pull all-nighters for every paper or test--just the big ones.