On May 21st, Google celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man. For those not present in the early 1980’s Pac-Man was a phenomenon that took the world by storm. Arguably the first video game since the invention of the format that created a pop-culture frenzy. Pac-Man machines were all the rage, everything from traditional arcade machines, to cocktail table machines, and even home machines modeled after the arcade model and even appearing on popular home gaming consoles at the time like the Atari 2600.
Pac-Man was hitting pop culture by storm, appearing everywhere such as t-shirts, lunchboxes, board games, toys, and several incarnations in the arcade including the very popular Ms. Pac-Man. The popularity even spawned the creation of a Saturday morning cartoon series based on the game. If people were excited about Pong, the first video game, Pac-Man was the equivalent of Beatlemania taking it to a whole new level. Pac-Man was so popular it even inspired a song entitled “Pac-Man Fever” by Buckner & Garcia and it even incorporated sounds from the popular video game. If you’re interested in hearing the song, I’ve included a YouTube clip containing the song at the end of this blog entry.
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It was sad news this morning when I awoke to hear Rue McClanahan had passed away very early in the morning hours today. Rue is best known for her role as Blanche Devereaux on the television series Golden Girls. Hard to believe now, but at the time the show was very controversial for its depicting an older generation of women as being sexually active, and the character Blanche was the most hot-to-trot of the four women in the cast.
Rue started appearing in film and television roles in the early 1960’s and had become a staple on television since the 1970s where she joined Bea Arthur on Maude as Vivian Harmon. She later became a regular for first season of Mama’s Family which was spun off of the Carol Burnett Show before Rue landed the role she would most be recognized for. Initially the producers of the show wanted Rue for the role of Rose as the character was similar to the one she played in Maude. Betty White was originally courted for the role of Blanche as it was very similar to her role as Sue Ann Nivans in the legendary Mary Tyler Moore Show. Fortunately, Rue and Betty weren’t interested in retreading characters similar to what they’ve done in the past and swapped the roles and the show and the show became legendary reaching audiences well outside of just the older crowd.
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Last week my good friend Vito Grandolfo and I took advantage of a couple of great freebie coupon deals, one was for Smashburger, and the other at Dave And Buster’s. The offer from Dave and Buster’s was for $10 worth of free play on their arcade just for signing up at FreePlayDay.com. For those not quite familiar with Dave and Buster’s, they are essentially a similar to a kid oriented Chuck E. Cheese restaurant which is basically a restaurant combined with a arcade of video games and games of skill. The difference is that Dave and Buster’s is for adults. Instead of crappy pizza, they have a full menu of a wide variety of food options, and a full bar to serve any kind of alcoholic drink you could want. Not that Dave and Buster’s doesn’t cater to kids, but they do reach a point where kids get kicked out and only people over 21 can go there.
While moving I found all my old Dave and Buster cards, including a couple of unused play cards from the birthday party I had there several years ago. I figured they probably had no value left and all the previously collected tickets that were put on my card, I was sure after this long they’d probably been wiped out. To Dave and Buster’s credit, all the points were still on the cards and I still had tons of tickets to redeem on the crap they have available to redeem points for. But I always like to collect the tickets and so I opted mostly to play the games that spew out the tickets and I was surprised my old favorite machines that were cash cows for tickets for me in the past were now down to only one machine and it wasn’t working. I was disappointed with that.
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I had no plans on going to Disneyland but caught the tweet on Twitter of one of my local friends, Michael Carrera indicating he was on his way up to Disneyland. I sent him a post back saying I wished I had known he was going because I would have gone. So he said, just come on up, and after thinking about it for probably the briefest amount of time possible, I wrote back saying I would be on my way up shortly. My Twitter conversation was picked up by another friend, Chuck Salerno, who was at Disneyland helping out with a “Flat Stanley” project for one of his family members. (If you’ve not heard of “Flat Stanley” (as I had not) essentially it’s just an elementary school project consisting of a cardboard cutout in the shape of a person (aka Stanley) that gets sent to people to photograph in random places to create a photographic travelogue of the cardboard cut out. Essentially a neat way to travel vicariously through photos and the creativity of the people Flat Stanley gets sent to.)
As I arrived at the Disneyland resort, I notified both Michael and Chuck that I had arrived. Michael sent back a text saying he and his friend were just finishing Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure Park and would be crossing over to Disneyland right afterwards. Chuck indicated he was on a park bench near the central hub of Disneyland. I was going to wait outside for Michael and his friend outside Disneyland when Michael sent a text saying he and his friend would be making a quick stop to the car, so I opted to go into Disneyland and meet up with Chuck and would catch up with Michael and his friend later as the trip to the car would add at least half an hour to the wait time for them.
Continue reading A Day At Disneyland With Friends Familiar And New
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