Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: September 2015

Here is the September 2015 edition of "Tiny Bits of Nonsense," featuring 10 of my tweets for the month:

Other bits of nonsense:
August 2015
July 2015

June 2015

May 2015
"Back to the Future" Edition
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
Valentine's Day Edition
January 2015
December 2014
Holiday Season Edition
November 2014
Thanksgiving Edition
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014

April 2014
March 2014

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Want A Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (Again), Charlie Brown!

One of the reasons why I love my neighborhood is that it's home to a number of thrift shops -- six or seven at least, congregated within a 10-block radius of one another. 

It's very competitive, the thrift shop business here. So many charitable organizations are vying for my charitable dollars. Which ones do I support? There's no easy answer. 

I've actually felt a little twinge of guilt in the past when I've made a purchase at one of the stores. I'd question myself. Am I supporting the "right" charity? Was this the most worthwhile cause? What if the other charities are more in need of my money? Should I go to their shops and buy something to help them out, too?

That's typically what I would do. That's why there's second-hand merchandise scattered throughout my home, including two worn-in couches, 11 slightly frayed dress shirts, and 18 copies of Juno on DVD.

Every now and then I'll browse the thrift shops and make a great discovery. For example, I was sifting through the CD collection at one of the stores a few weeks ago when I came across the soundtrack to one of my favorite shows from my adolescence, Beverly Hills, 90210. My eyes widened, my heart raced and for a brief moment I stopped breathing. I was having a nostalgia attack. I hadn't seen this album in 20 years.

The track listing -- my goodness, the track listing. Paula Abdul. Color Me Badd. Michael McDonald and Chaka Khan. The iconic Beverly Hills, 90210 theme. At $1, this album was a steal. At least, it would have been had the CD disc itself not been stolen. It was missing from its jewel case -- not uncommon at a thrift shop, in my experience.

I've since added the 90210 soundtrack to my thrift shop checklist. Yes, I have a checklist of items I hope to buy in a thrift shop one day -- mostly hard-to-find music, books and toys. I realize I could easily track them down online, but that would be too easy. I could download the 90210 soundtrack from iTunes, but would it still excite me as much as holding the out-of-print CD copy -- and its incredible artwork of the cast --  in my hands? No way.

I give this soundtrack an A for its track list, and a C- for its Photoshop skills.
I'll have more to say about the checklist in a future post. For now, I'll write a couple of hundred words on the number-one item on the list: an original Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.

Frozen beverages have long been my favorite treat. As a kid, I would ride my bike to my local 7-Eleven at least four times a week for my Slurpee fix. If a drink was made of ice and vaguely approximated the taste of a fruit or cola, I was addicted to it. 

So, as a fan of both slushies and Peanuts, the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine was right up my alley. I remember saving my allowance and buying one from Toys "R" Us. I couldn't wait to put it to use. I imagined treating myself to a sno-cone on hot summer days; selling sno-cones on the sidewalk for profit; even entertaining guests in my home with sno-cone parties.

"This sno-cone is delicious, Shane! Did you buy this at the store?"

"No, I made it myself."

"Incredible. You must give me the recipe."

I used the machine five times, if that. Creating a sno-cone, as it turned out, was hard work. I hadn't anticipated how difficult it would be to turn the crank on the machine that churned the ice cubes into shaved ice. It was a real test of strength. I could successfully complete three revolutions of the crank -- four on a good day -- before I'd experience soreness in my arm. I would have to ice it down with the shaved ice I'd just made with the machine.

The crank on the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine was unforgiving. I don't believe it was meant for a child. I believe it was meant for a strongman competition. I would have had an easier time lifting Thor's hammer.

I'd also been unaware of how noisy the machine could be. It became painfully obvious when I brought it to school one day so I could make sno-cones for my friends at lunch. As I poured ice cubes into the machine and began to turn the crank, it caused such a racket that it drew the attention of all the other students in the cafeteria. One hundred-plus kids, representing grades 6 through 8, were staring a hole through me, not at all pleased that my toy was disturbing their one free period of the day. Many of them pointed in my direction and chuckled. I was a laughingstock.

The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine was loud. Let me put it in perspective for you: The next time you press the button for the ice dispenser on your refrigerator, listen closely to the sound the refrigerator makes. Now multiply that sound by 20. That's how loud the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine was. Slurpee machines aren't that loud, that's for sure.

Faults aside, the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine was part of my childhood, and for that reason it has strong sentimental value for me. I would gladly spend money at a thrift shop for one...and then buy a few more at the other thrift shops to help them out, too.