Wrapping a month of totally true facts about myself, how about a few of my most interesting (to me) YouTube, Google, and Wikipedia searches?
Don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like!
For you, six of my most random searches from the last ten years. I could think of more, but these are my favorites!
1: 1980s Animated Movies
I spent (no lie) three hours one evening on Wikipedia looking at 1980s animated movies. I realized how many animated movies I’d never seen from the decade, owing to the obscurity of some of the movies, and others not exactly sounding like something I’d want to see.
I mean, I like bad movies, but there is a fine line between bad and wasting time.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the search I took: 1980s in Animation
2: Operating A LaserDisc Player
Thanks to Mustachioed Leonard Nimoy, I know way more about Magnavision than I ever needed to know!
And since I’ll never own a LaserDisc player in this lifetime, that’s ten minutes I’ll never get back!
Sidenote: I also know about this dead format, watched on the same day as the LaserDisc video!
3: Uncle Feather Said What?!
I read Fudge-A-Mania as a third grader in the early 90s (among other required readings, but this was definitely one of my favorites!), and years later, was doing a random search on (where else?) Wikipedia. For some reason, this novel came to mind and I had to look it up.
Imagine my surprise when I was reading through the synopsis (you know, for nostalgia’s sake), and found that someone managed to slip in that Uncle Feather, Farley Drexel “Fudge” Hatcher’s pet myna bird, dropped f-bombs instead of “Bonjour, stupid!” (which is what he really said!). How that got by, I have no clue, but this was also around the same time that Wikipedia’s credibility was called into question.
I tried to find it again while preparing this, and well, it wasn’t there. But the fact that it was at one time makes me wonder how these “sources” manage to get their information published on Wikipedia!
Which brings me to my next point about “sources.”
4 I’m Listed As a Reference on Wikipedia!
That’s right, me!
I had no idea this actually happened, but in December 2017, while I revisiting a previous Retroist article for a video commentary I was working on for A Visit to Santa (the revisiting article), I found the Wikipedia entry during the actual recording session. No lie, I started actually talking about it in the middle of the recording. Since I tend to ad-lib these and not actually prepare a script, I was a bit caught up in the moment.
Someone found my research skills (I watched the actual film short a few times) to be worthy of reference. But then again, this was a really bizarre Christmas short film from the 1960s that I first saw on RiffTrax, so no shocker that I’m aware it exists.
5: Some of My Favorite Retroist Articles Came As the Result of Random Google Searches
For instance, I had no clue Tiger Electronics released their own version of Casio’s My Magic Diary, that this tape player I played with once over thirty years ago was called the Talk’n Play, or that The Devil’s Gift was actually a film and not just part of Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders. I had heard it was, but I didn’t believe it until I actually saw it.
And yet, all of these things existed. That’s because someone had the time to just put it out there!
And I had time to impart my newly-found knowledge of it!
#6: Dead Malls
Long before I started watching Dan Bell’s dead mall videos, I was reading about defunct, dead, and dying malls. I was fascinated by Harvey, Illinois’s Dixie Square Mall as far back as early 2009 (I was on seasonal unemployment at the time, which lead to many late nights reading way more than I should about any subject). This, of course, lead to nights of sitting in front of my laptop reading about other dead malls. I never knew there was such a culture for this subject until I started watching videos of it on YouTube, but in 2009, it felt more like a morbid curiosity, and less like a way of life. I discovered this whole culture of Urbex long before I knew what Urbex was.
To be honest, there is something beautiful and eerie about dead mall culture. To see a mall consumed by nature and time is equal parts fascinating and saddening. These were places people visited and shopped at once upon a time. To know that something once so busy and occupied is now abandoned, forgotten, and overgrown is fascinating. We wonder where something went wrong for such a structure to go unclaimed, while sparking a curiosity for the Urban Explorer within us.
As exciting as that sounds, I’d be too concerned about my safety to ever seek out this kind of experience.
There you have it – six random research topics, and my own name involved in one of them. That’s still weird to me – I never would have expected to be quoted anywhere. Hey, it’s Wikipedia, but we all start somewhere!
Next week, we resume the bizarre world of Internet finds with more Totally True Facts that are thankfully, not about me or my internet research topics.
Until then, check out one of these topics. They’re quite the experience!