Turn Back Tuesday – 1987

So what were you doing in 1987?

As part of my ongoing attempt to recreate a lifetime of memories, I’m focusing this week on the year I turned 15.

I went to band camp and yes, every time I say that I think of the American Pie movie. But no…I didn’t see any flute fornication while I was there. I was WAY too nerdy to have been involved in that type of shenanigans.

Here’s why…my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to get a perm on the top of my head; that way I wouldn’t have to worry about gel or hairspray or mousse or looking like my dad. The problem as that I did the perm on TOP of my head, not the sides or back. And instead of leaving it alone, I tried to comb it out that night…totally RUINING the perm.

This is how I ended up looking for months afterwards:

Yikes

Yikes.

I exited Grade 9 as a kid who was trying to be friends in a certain group of guys and would do anything to be part of “the gang”. I showed off in school…I skipped the occasional class…I was in detention more than I wasn’t. My parents thought I was going down a bad path or something. I just wanted to get some of the attention I wasn’t getting at home.

I entered Grade 10 at a pivotal point in my life. The big thing was that I was finally done being the outcast at school who kept begging for attention. I feel as though I began to settle into my own body a bit and not feel as though I had to be somebody I wasn’t. I began to hang out with a group of people that I really wanted to hang out with.

I still looked like a nerd and I’m sure I acted like a total goof, but I was no longer the butt of ALL the jokes. I had friends who would have my back if something were to happen. I’m still friends with those same people today.

Players Light Smooth cigarettesAs bad as this may sound, but I think one of the reasons I got to hang out with the “cool kids” was because I took up smoking. I mean, this was a different age…I could walk down to the corner store and buy a single cigarette for 25 cents…so the way to “look cool” was to take up this nasty, disgusting habit. It’s such a weird thing to write about today, but I totally gave into peer pressure and ended up smoking over a pack a day for 15 years.  I celebrated 10 years smoke free this year, actually.

My dad's first restaurantDad was working like crazy at his pizza restaurant. Business was booming and life was good. I never had to need anything growing up. We were never a rich family, but we always had a roof over our heads and food on our plates. Dad did very well in the pizza business for a time.

WrestleMania III took place this year. To a non-fan, this isn’t a big deal. To a wrestling fan, though, this is very well known as being the largest indoor sporting event in North America with an attendance of 93,173 fans. That incredible number stood for over 20 years until the 2010 NBA All-Star Game eclipsed it with an indoor attendance of 108,713 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

Did you know that The Simpsons first got their start on The Tracy Ullman Show in 1987? It’s crazy to think that the show is still rolling along almost 30 years later.

The #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was “Bad” by Michael Jackson. I’m a life-long Jackson fan, but I’ll be the first to admit that this was one of his worst songs. I mean, c’mon…out of all of his singles during the 80s, THIS was definitely the worst one. Am I wrong? And I can’t even listen to it without thinking of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody version, whose lyrics at least makes the song itself listenable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA As a Canadian, I would be amiss if I didn’t include the historic introduction of the one dollar coin into our country. It was immediately nicknamed “The Loonie” because of the loon pictured on the “tails” side of the coin (we’ve got a beaver on the nickel, a boat on the dime, and a moose on the quarter…we’re a weird country with our coins).

Three_men_and_a_babyThe top 5 box office films of the year were:

  1. Three Men And A Baby at $167 million
  2. Fatal Attraction at $156 million
  3. Beverly Hills Cop II at $153 million
  4. Good Morning, Vietnam at $123 million
  5. Moonstruck at $80 million

Gosh…it’s hard to imagine that Three Men & A Baby was the #1 movie of 1987. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a horrible movie or anything…but it was a silly comedy with sub-par acting and a generic story. I guess it was a bad year for movies. I saw the top four movies over time but never saw Moonstruck, nor do I have any desire to.

lethal weaponLethal Weapon was released in 1987. I’m assuming that it was because the movie was R-rated that it only made $65 million at the box office. That franchise was, for the most part, pretty darn good. It really blended comedy, action, and drama quite well. The chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover was fantastic, and only got better with the addition of Joe Pesci. And of course, as a Canadian music fan I was stoked to hear that Honeymoon Suite was getting their “big U.S. break” by performing the love song “theme” to the movie.

the_cosby_showThe top 5 television programs of the year were:

  1. The Cosby Show
  2. A Different World
  3. Cheers
  4. The Golden Girls
  5. Growing Pains

star trek tngI consider myself a Star Trek fan. I’m not a “Trekker” or a “Trekkie”, but I’m still a fan. But even still, I had no idea that Star Trek: The Next Generation actually debuted in 1987. Although now that I think about it, maybe I did know that…I just completely forgot and assumed it was a 1990’s television show. Huh. I think it’s fair to say that TNG was vastly superior to any other Star Trek program. I was a massive fan and couldn’t wait to watch every Saturday night at my friend’s house. Yeah…good times.

And for those still trying to wrap your heads around Windows 8, just try to wrap your head around the fact that Windows 2.0 was released in 1987.

That’s 1987 in a nutshell for me. What do YOU remember about 1987?


The Super Scary & Extremely Exciting Combined Income Financial Plan

TOO MUCH MONEYI’ve never had a REAL financial plan before. Sure, I’ve set up budgets and had some pretty lofty goals, but I never ended up following them for more than a week or so. As such, I have never had any kind of savings in my account and have been living paycheck-to-paycheck for pretty much my entire adult life.

Sunshine said something to me the other day that resonated with me. I had to sit there and really think about it.

“I thought our financial situation was going to improve when you moved here. It hasn’t.”

moneyShe was totally right, of course, because we are both living paycheck-to-paycheck. One or two unanticipated expenses have popped up and things have been looking rather grim as we head into the holiday season.

But then I looked at what we make and thought there had to be something wrong. I mean, we’re not raking in the big bucks or anything, but we’re not doing too shabby. Where was our money going?

So we had a discussion; a REAL discussion about finances. No secrets, all money out on the table. What we make and what we owe. To some this may be just a normal marriage situation. For me, especially, it’s a massive leap of faith. I have never shared my financial information with anybody prior to Sunshine. Mind you, that was probably because I was embarrassed about the state of my bank account…but still, this was a pretty big moment for me.

money_issuesSo we have come up with some ideas and solutions and ways to get us back on track. Changing bank accounts here, consolidating finances there…keeping track of ALL money because it’s going to be completely shared. Again, this is something I’ve never done before…but where what I’ve done before has never worked, I’m jumping into the deep end of the pool and trusting that the two of us can not only stay afloat together, but swim strongly.

We’re going to start small and think big. We’ve watched programs on television and have seen ideas online on how to pay down debt and manage finances. The plan is to take care of the smallest debts first so that those payments can then be added to the larger amounts owing.

If all goes according to plan, we should be able to begin actually saving money in January. Of course, we’ll have to see how things go over the next two months…there could be unexpected expenses or we might just be unable to stick to the budget. But with the prospect of having our finances in order and money in our savings account, I think we’ll find a way to make this work.

We’re adults. It’s about time we started acting like it.

At least, y’know, when to comes to finances. Heh.Our money


Fun Music Flashback Friday – “Original Sin”

Do you remember the first music video you ever saw?

I’m 42, so it’s tough to know for sure exactly what the first music video I saw was. But I know which one I can remember seeing first.

You have to realize…back in 1980, there was no MTV or Much Music. There certainly wasn’t any YouTube, either. All you had was AM radio and maybe…if you were lucky…you’d see a live performance on television.

MTV launched to huge success in August of 1981. The first video played was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles. In Canada, we didn’t get Much Music until September 1984. In between, though, I was able to watch late-night weekend video programs to get my fill.

So…do you remember your first music video yet? I can tell you that the first video I ever recall seeing was “Original sin” by INXS.

I don’t know exactly why, but I found the video fascinating. The lyrics were incredibly deep (I still don’t understand them) and the video was dark and brooding. A bunch of guys riding around on motorcycles singing a song wasn’t something you normally saw in early 1984.

It’s still definitely one of my favourite INXS tunes, and they ended up being one of my all-time favourite bands.

So…what was your first video?


I Ran My First 10K (part two)

I decided to take a slightly different route than what I was used to. I didn’t want to fall into any ruts or routines because then I’d just want to run home and call it a day.

I felt strong. Weirdly strong, in fact. As I look back, I think it was primarily due to knowing I couldn’t dial it in and quit after 3K. I needed to push myself and the pre-determined route certainly helped.

As I entered into my fourth kilometer, I realized that I was on a really good pace. So good, in fact, that as long as I didn’t stop I could beat my official 5K race time of 39:52. As I continued to run, I didn’t try to sprint but rather keep up a solid pace. Then I heard the voice from my MapMyRun app give me the following information:

Time: 38 minutes, 4 seconds. Distance: 5 kilometers. Average Pace: 7 minutes, 35 seconds. Split Pace: 7 minutes, 26 seconds.

My face beamed as I smiled a mile wide. Not only had I run a 5K on my own, but I had beaten my race time by almost a full TWO MINUTES!!

I couldn’t believe it. My body was responding very positively to what I was asking it to do. I was halfway through the route and I was ready for the second half to begin.

I walked a bit longer than I probably should have and fell off the pace a bit during the sixth kilometer (8:41). But then I just kept on running until the seventh kilometer was done and I was back on a sub-8-minute time.

Then I saw her: my wife! She was coming towards me as I was walking through an intersection. I told her that I was 7.5 kilometers into my 10K and was on the home stretch. She asked if she could run the rest of the way with me.

Now this is something we’ve never done before, primarily because she runs a lot faster than I do and it’s a bit intimidating. She said that she’d go my pace and just wanted to be there at the end, so that was all the motivation I needed to complete my task.

I finished my eighth kilometer in under eight minutes. I finished my ninth kilometer in under eight minutes.

I was actually going to do this!!

We were less than a block from the house when I heard the final numbers in my headphones:

Time: 1 hour, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. Distance: 10 kilometers. Average Pace: 7 minutes, 47 seconds. Split Pace: 7 minutes, 57 seconds.

I tried to keep running but I just couldn’t. I walked to the front door and took a screen capture of my stats:

10K!!

I pumped my arms in the air as Sunshine smiled next to me.  I couldn’t believe I had actually finished it. Not only that, but I finished it in a really good time (for me, anyway).  I felt like Rocky once he climbed the steps and felt as though he was on top of the world.

I stretched a bit and came inside the house. I was more in bewilderment than exhaustion, though that was certainly settling in at this point. I took a look at the details from the run and couldn’t believe it. I mean, I thought for sure I’d be looking at an 8+ minute time for an average. But no…I was running at about an average of 7.5km/hour, which is insane to me.

I texted Random and relayed my excitement. We shared joy in my accomplishment before I sat back on the couch and stared off into space. Even as I write this post, it’s still difficult for me to fully comprehend the accomplishment this is. I’m 42, overweight, and only began to run back in March/April. Yet here I just finished a 10K in a time that would qualify me for a Disney Run event (lol).

My music helped me along the way, for sure. There were times when I felt “off” or felt tired, but then a song would come on with a perfect beat for running and it would carry me through another four minutes. Music can really help a runner…

10K playlist

Jeez…I just called myself a runner. I suppose I can’t deny that about myself anymore. I ran a frickin’ 10K!! I’m officially a RUNNER now.

Wow.


I Ran My First 10K (part one)

It’s INSANE to think that about seven months ago I was the very definition of “couch potato”. I mean, I didn’t want to do anything physical and running certainly wasn’t high on my list at all. I had tried it before and didn’t like it. I watch my wife complete marathons and such, and I just sat there like a bump on a log.

Then along came my good friend Random Esquire. Back in March, we had a conversation that kicked off an agreement. Basically, we would do our best to motivate each other to train with the Couch-to-5K app and then run our own 5K in May or June: less than 4 months later. Here’s how the conversation went:

RANDOM ESQUIRE — “Okay…..
You.
Me.
We can’t run worth sh*t.
But we’re going to try. Together.
I have knee issues so I’m always quitting.
Want to try Couch to 5K with me?
Because I’m freakin’ out of shape, my friend.”

CBG – “Neither one of us can run, apparently, but I’m all about trying to get in better shape. So yeah…I’ve got Couch to 5K on my iPhone. I’m willing to start that up again.”

“If you can keep me going, it’d be transformative for me because I have GOT to get into shape and I’m fighting it tooth and nail. We gotta keep each other going.”

“I’m in the exact same boat. I’m almost as large now as I was at my heaviest…and that was when I was going through depression.”

“We’ll touch base with each other every day about our run/workout. We have an extra month to play with, so that helps us.”

“Wow…we’re really gonna do this, are we?”

“Yeah, we need to. We both need to. And I don’t want to do it with someone who is already running miles and miles. Because then I just get bummed out.But we’re about at the same place so we can motivate each other.”

“Okay. Consider me 100% in!”

We both completed that accomplishment. We were both high off of our runs to the point that Random asked me if I would ever be interested in a 10K. “HELL NO”, I said. There was no way I could ever imagine myself doing that…I could barely complete a 5K! So Random stopped running (knee issues) but continued to work out at the gym while I continued to occasionally run a couple times per week just to ensure I wasn’t sitting on the couch ALL the time.

My wife asked me in August if she should try to run a marathon again…

SUNSHINE – “I dunno. I’m going through the whole, “Will I or I won’t I actually do this?” thing. Sometimes when I think about running another marathon I feel very, very tired. But then when I think about never running another one, I will end up regretting it someday when running marathons isn’t an option anymore.”

CBG – “I’m down for running another 5K. Hell…I’d even consider a 10K if you were to run a full marathon.
How’s THAT for motivation??
:-P  “

Little did I realize that I would end up having to actually follow-through on those words.

And it wasn’t like I *HAD* to do it or anything…it was a matter of me saying that I would and then following through on it. What kind of a jerk would I be if I talked my wife into running a marathon only to back out of my own 10K?

No, I had to do it.

So I trained throughout September. I didn’t train as much as I should have, but I did train. I ran 5K, then I ran 7K, then I did 4K before doing 8.5K. I was all over the place. Most mornings I’d just go out and run a quick 3K because I was lazy and told myself that 3K was better than nothing (it is…but it wasn’t helping me train for 10K).

We realized, however, that timing and finances would prevent us from registering for an official event and participating. Sunshine relegated herself to no longer training for the marathon, but I decided to keep training for the 10K. I mean, why would I need to be part of an official race to actually complete my mission?

When I did my 8.5K, I realized that I could do 10K. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was totally do-able. So I decided that Monday, being the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, would be “the day”. I planned out my route ahead of time and had everything ready to go in terms of gear. I was a little nervous, but my wife was extremely encouraging. I mean heck…of course I could do this!

So at 8:20am on Monday morning, off I went.

**********

Part Two is tomorrow…


Turn Back Tuesday – 1986

So what were you doing in 1986?

As part of my ongoing attempt to recreate a lifetime of memories, I’m focusing this week on the year I turned 14.

My dad's first restaurantAt this point in my life, I was already working. He owned his pizza restaurant and wanted to instill upon me the lessons of “hard work pays off”. So I was folding pizza boxes in the back storage room at five cents per box. They came in bundles of 50, so I would make $2.50/bundle. It would take awhile, but after a couple of hours I would have enough to go to the high school dance or buy myself a cassette. The boxes were flat and perforated, but I got a LOT of sliced-up fingers after a couple of hours. It wasn’t fun work, but it was my first job.

I entered 8th grade, which was my first year in high school (later, both 7th and 8th grades made up junior high…so high school didn’t start until Grade 9). I remember trying my best to fit in, but being overwhelmed by all of the people I didn’t know. It certainly helped me be closer to my friends.

I joined the band and played trombone. I actually wanted to be a percussionist, but my father thought “playing the drums was too easy”, so I had to pick a more difficult instrument to play. I picked trombone, which ended up being one of the easiest instruments to play. I’m glad I did, because my high school years are filled with fun memories of being in band (stories to come, I’m sure).

My 8th grade high school photo was horrific (as were all of them, actually). This was the beginning of both my bad acne and my bad hair. Y’see, my father wanted me to part my hair in a certain way and look more like him. My hair, unfortunately, was more like my mother’s and simply wouldn’t cooperate. This was the first year I started uses hair gel. It certainly wouldn’t be the last…

Ugh

The #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was “When I Think Of You” by Janet Jackson. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a massive fan of Janet’s at this point. I mean, I enjoyed a couple of the songs off of “Control”, but it wasn’t until “Rhythm Nation 1814” came out that I started to really dig what she was doing. I loved her 90s stuff, too, and was always impressed by just how talented she was both as a singer and as an overall performer. While Michael went downhill fast, Janet was there as a steady hit-maker for a long time.

CHALLENGER EXPLOSION1986 was the year that the space shuttle Challenger exploded during launch, killing all seven astronauts on board. It was weird…I remember coming home from school and seeing my mom glued to the television. She explained to me what happened and we both watched the television coverage together. It was one of those things that you didn’t ever really expect could happen. It was definitely a disturbing image that stuck with me for a long time.

Geraldo - Al CaponeI remember watching television promos hyping Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s secret vault live on television. My parents didn’t watch it, so that meant I didn’t watch it, either (it may have been on too late for me to watch, anyway).  The potential was there to find bodies or great riches, and this was actually a TWO HOUR event! Turns out, there was only debris and a bottle of moonshine inside of the vault…leaving the world very disappointed in the hype machine.

Top GunThe top 5 box office films of the year were:

  1. Top Gun at $176 million
  2. Crocodile Dundee at $174 million
  3. Platoon at $138 million
  4. Karate Kid Part II at $115 million
  5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home at $109 million

How crazy is it to think that Crocodile Dundee almost was the #1 movie of 1986? I mean, look back at that movie now (or TRY to) and see if it stands the test of time.  Of course, having said that Top Gun doesn’t really hold up all that well, either. I’ve seen all of the movies on this list and, no word of lie, I think that Karate Kid Part II might be my favourite of the bunch.

ChernobylThe Chernobyl disaster took place this year. This was a nuclear disaster that ended up killing over 4,000 people and forced over 350,000 people to move away. I’ve seen programs filmed in Chernobyl over the past few years (including Destination Truth) and the “ghost city” that it turned into is simply fascinating to look at. A horror movie was even filmed using Chernobyl as a background due to the possibility of it being haunted.

the-cosby-showThe top 5 television programs of the year were:

  1. The Cosby Show
  2. Family Ties
  3. Cheers
  4. Murder, She Wrote
  5. The Golden Girls

golden girlsThere wasn’t a huge change in the Top 5 from 1985, though Golden Girls was new. Sunshine, to this day, still LOVES that show. I can watch it but I was never a huge fan. It was okay, but just not my cup of tea.  As much as I loved “Must See Thursdays” on NBC, my attention was also turned to other new shows like Who’s The Boss, Growing Pains, Moonlighting, and Alf. It really was a pretty good year for television.

Also in television this year, The Oprah Winfrey Show made its syndicated debut. Who would have predicted the world domination this woman would eventually have when the show first debuted?

That’s 1986 in a nutshell for me. What do YOU remember about 1986?

 


Fun Music Flashback Friday – “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine”

I’m not a country music kind of guy. I grew up on country music but quickly turned into a rock’n’roll fan once the 80’s arrived. As I DJ’d through the 90’s, I experienced an appreciation for pop and dance music…so I guess I’m a fan of all of those genres still. But country? Not so much.

Having said that, there was a brief time in 1989 when a band called the Kentucky Headhunters burst onto the scene. Nobody had heard of them before and nobody had heard anything like them before.

Country with a rock edge? No…that’s not possible, is it?

“Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine” was a remake of the classic Bill Monroe song. When I heard it for the first time, I didn’t know what the band looked like. All I knew was that this was a country song that had rock’n’roll guitars playing. I was immediately intrigued.

For whatever reason, this song took off. Maybe it was the right song at the right time for the genre, I don’t know…but the Kentucky Headhunters were briefly the hottest act in country music. Their follow-up song, “Dumas Walker”, was a huge hit and I remember our high school dances filled with Technotronic, Young MC, Jive Bunny & the MasterMixers (ugh), and then all of a sudden the Kentucky Headhunters. The school would go crazy for that song.

But the one that still resonates with me is “Walk Softly…”. To me, it’ll always be a “rock” song and one that I still crank up in the car from time to time.


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