Archive | December, 2010

My Top Ten: Favorite Places in the World

23 Dec

 

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Parc Güell, Barcelona, Spain

London, England

Boston, Massachusetts

Rockport, Massachusetts

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Jones Beach, New York

Snake River, Idaho

Disneyworld, Florida

San Francisco, California

Everybody wants to love, everybody wants to be loved

17 Dec

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin.

“Harlem”

16 Dec

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Rediscovering my favorite video games of yore

15 Dec

Sporcle has to be one of my favorite new pastimes (oxymoron?). Not familiar with Sporcle? Play at least three trivia games before reading the rest of this post. I implore you.

Anyway, I clicked on a Sporcle quiz called “Nintendo (NES) Games by Box Cover.” I think I only got four correct, but no matter. One of the missed answers was “Bubble Bobble.” “Bubble Bobble,” I thought to myself. “This conjures images of happiness, bubbles, fun music, and a laughing three-year-old Robyn.” Because I tend to Google everything (e.g. “What does it mean if my dog is sneezing when he’s on his back?”, “Should I store potatoes next to onions?” (the answer is no, by the way), “Why do…” and then leave the rest blank to see what fills in), I searched “Bubble Bobble.” 

The mind is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean unbelievably complex and mysterious. Something about this game left such an imprint on my toddling head that seeing its logo filled me with warmth and memories of childhood. Memories I forgot even existed. I trekked over to YouTube to listen to the melodic sounds of “Bubble Bobble.” Click play now to revel in its delights.

So while I am bouncing my head back and forth–bobbling, if you will–I stumble across this Wikipedia page, “List of Nintendo Entertainment System Games,” eager to rediscover artifacts of my yute. (Forgive me, I just watched “My Cousin Vinny” for the first time.) Now I have images darting through my head of early-90s video arcade birthday parties. I’m standing on a black, plastic crate so that I’m tall enough to stare into the magical screen of wonder. I have endless amounts of tokens, children are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and boy, life is good. [My family also owned NES but, for some reason (probably because they were awesome), I remember the arcades best.]

Still listening to the “Bubble Bobble” theme song? How joyous is it?

Back to the list of NES games. Here are the games that sparked a nerve in my brain when my eyes passed over their titles:

0. Before we get started, here are some FYIs:

  • I’m going to stop putting all the games in quotation marks now. It’s tedious and unnecessary.
  • All video game titles will be linked to wonderful visuals in YouTube.
  • I’m not including Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, or any version of Super Mario, because everyone knows how sweet these games are and everyone played them. My selection below is, in my opinion, more of a unique collection.
  • With that said, I must mention Raccoon Mario, my favorite Mario transformation. Acquiring the Super Leaf turns Mario into a fuzzy, flying furball with unbelievable superpowers. And isn’t he cute? (Don’t worry, PETA: it’s not real fur.)

1. Bubble Bobble, but I think you already knew that.

2. BurgerTime. Holy. Moly. And I wonder where my cheeseburger obsession comes from? The premise of this brilliant game: Chef Peter Pepper must walk over hamburger ingredients (bun, meat patty, lettuce, cheese) located across a maze of platforms while avoiding pursuing characters, including Mr. Pickle, Mr. Hot Dog, and Mr. Egg. While terrifying, this game was also thrilling. And hunger-inducing.

3. Joe & Mac. This Super Nintendo classic, according to its Wikipedia page, “stars the green-haired Joe and the blue-haired Mac, cavemen who battle though numerous prehistoric levels using weapons such as boomerangs, bones, fire, flints, electricity, stone wheels, and clubs. The objective of the game is simply rescuing a group of girls who were kidnapped by a rival tribe of cavemen.” What a bunch of neanderthals. Har, har, har! Sigh.

3. The Disney games for SNES; specifically, Aladdin and The Lion King. These games were not only fun, but they were also challenging, true to their roots, and aesthetically pleasing. Listening to the sounds and viewing the videos provided in the links above really bring me back to the glory days.

4. Home Alone. I enjoyed both versions of this game. It was like you were Kevin McCallister! You were the one pulling all the pranks on those robbers. Eh, the movie was better.

5. Paperboy and Paperboy 2. For some reason, being a papergirl seemed a glamorous job to my four-year-old self. I’m glad I lived out this dream vicariously through the virtual imbecile in these games.

6. Q*Bert. I think I mostly enjoyed the sounds and colors of this game. I don’t think I ever really cared about the objective. And I still don’t…

7. Honorable mentions include Rampage (pretty much King Kong vs. Godzilla) and Marble Madness (a marble in a labyrinth).

Newer game systems like N64 are great, too, but maybe because I still have those systems, they don’t carry as much nostalgic weight. Eh, I don’t mind carrying all that extra BurgerTime weight around.

“A Patch of Old Snow”

14 Dec

There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I’ve forgotten —
If I ever read it.

Robert Frost

 


“Risk”

8 Dec

Photo by Benjamin Michaels

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

Anaïs Nin

“Devotion”

8 Dec

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean–
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

Robert Frost