Friday, March 21, 2014

What Was the World Like When You Were Born?

It's always been interesting to me to learn about the childhood experiences of some of the older members among us.  I asked my grandmother what it was like to grow up during WWII and I was fascinated by the fact that she was alive while the Nazis committed such horrible atrocities and when the atomic bomb was developed.  I get so caught up in other people's history that I haven't stopped to really think about what I have lived through.  The earth has experienced many harrowing experiences and lots of change since my birth in 1989.  Since I didn't really become aware of what was going on in the world around me until I was in fifth or sixth grade, I decided to do a little study of what the world was like the year that I was born.  Here are the results:

Top 10 Singles of 1989: (see the top 100 here)
  • Look Away - Chicago
  • My Prerogative - Bobby Brown
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
  • Straight Up - Paula Abdul
  • Miss You Much - Janet Jackson
  • Cold Hearted - Paula Abdul
  • Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
  • Girl You Know Its True - Milli Vanilli
  • Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley - Will to Power
  • Giving You the Best That I Got - Anita Baker
Top 10 Highest Grossing Movies of 1989
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Batman
  • Back to the Future Part II
  • Look Who's Talking
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Lethal Weapon 2
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Ghostbusters II
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Born on the Fourth of July 
  • Other Notable Movie Releases of 1989 (the ones that I've seen or heard of): The Abyss, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Glory, Lean On Me, Milo and Otis, Say Anything, Steel Magnolias, When Harry Met Sally
Popular Toys and Games Introduced in 1989

  • Tetris
  • Sega Genesis
  • Polly Pockets
  • Nintendo Game Boy
  • Trolls
Most Popular TV Shows of 1989:
  • The Cosby Show
  • Roseanne
  • Cheers
  • A Different World
  • America's Funniest Home Videos
  • The Golden Girls
  • 60 Minutes
  • The Wonder Years
  • Empty Nest
  • Monday Night Football 
Historical Background of the Year 1989:
  • George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan as the 41st president of the United States of America.
  • The TV show Thomas & Friends aired for the first time in the United States.
  • The Soviet Union ended their 9-year long occupation of Afghanistan.
  • Motorola introduced MicroTAC Personal Cellular Phone, which was the world's smallest cell phone at the time.
  • The Tiananmen Square Protests in China, also known as the '89 Democracy Movement, led to clashes between government officials and Chinese student protesters calling for government accountability and freedom of speech.
  • The first McDonald's in the USSR is constructed in Moscow.
  • The Government of Argentina declared a nationwide state of siege due to looting and food riots caused by inflation.
  • The success of Central and Eastern Europe's anti-Communist revolutions began in Poland.
  • Israel experienced its first Palestinian suicide attack.
  • Nintendo released the Game Boy portable video game system in North America.  The Sega Genesis was also released.
  • The people of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania called for freedom and independence from Soviet rule.
  • Hungary opened its borders to refugees from the German Democratic Republic.
  • Vietnam removed the last of its troops from Cambodia, ending an 11-year occupation.
  • The world's first same-sex unions became legal in Denmark.
  • The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, struck the San Francisco Bay Area.  It killed 67 people, delayed the World Series for 10 days, and caused part of the Bay Bridge to collapse.
  • The first commercial internet dial-up connection in North America was made.
  • The first Wal-Mart store (a Sam's Club) was opened in New Jersey.
  • East German refugees were allowed into Czechoslovakia.
  • The Berlin Wall fell.
  • President George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev released statements indicating that the Cold War was coming to an end.
  • Chile held its first free election in 16 years.
  • The first full-length episode of The Simpsons is shown on Fox.
  • The first Al-Qaeda related cell began operation in New York City.
  • The Energizer Bunny was introduced.
  • The Oakland Athletics won the World Series and the San Francisco 49ers won the Superbowl.
What kinds of crazy things have you lived through?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Childhood Reminiscing Session #4: I Can See Again!!!

When I was little, I gave myself the impossible goal of having perfect eye sight for the rest of my life.  All of my siblings had gotten contacts and glasses by the time they reached middle school, and I was determined to be the one child in the family to maintain 20/20 vision.  I wouldn't have to worry about where I sat in the classroom.  I could avoid the pain of getting something caught in a contact lens.  I would be the only kid in my family who could trim their bathroom use down each morning and evening by 30 seconds because I didn't have to put/take contacts in or out of my eyes.

But fate has a way of delivering blows and, unfortunately, I am not immune.  At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, my siblings and I went to our annual appointments with the optometrist.  My sisters told me to read the sign across the street from the doctor's office.  I realized that I could only make out the letter L in a long line of letters and words.  I brushed it off, though, concluding that the sign was too far away for people even with 20/20 vision to see.  When my turn came up to see the doctor, I was still in complete denial.  I walked into his office ready to blow him away with how well I could read the letters on the sign in front of me.  But as I sat down in the chair and I looked through that strange contraption they usually put in front of your face at eye appointments, even I understood that my eye sight had gotten worse.  The bottom two lines looked fuzzy and I had difficulty reading off the letters when he asked me to.  After going through a series of tests, the optometrist pronounced those fateful words:  "You need glasses."  Dumbfounded, I walked out of his office to try out a pair of contacts, avoiding the smug looks on my siblings' faces.  After trying and failing several times to get them to stick, the doctor's assistant had to help me put the contacts in.  Glasses were ordered, contacts were shipped, and I joined the throng of people who have to live out the remainder of their lives with eye problems. 

Feeling blue, I hopped into the Suburban to head back home with the rest of my family.  As I stared out the window and looked at the trees and buildings flashing past, I found that I could see things that I didn't even realize I hadn't been able to see before.  I saw the outline of leaves on trees.  I could read road signs that were far away.  When I arrived at my first class that Monday, I realized that I didn't have to squint to see the board.  Though I didn't achieve my goal of perfect vision, I witnessed the miracle that is eye sight correction.  My eye sight has steadily worsened over the years and every time I get a new prescription, I get to witness the miracle all over again.  "It's a miracle!  I can see again!"

(This post may contain hints of sarcasm.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

That Just Happened

So 2014...yeah, it hasn't been that great so far.  I crashed a rental car in Utah.  I got really sick after my Utah trip and still haven't fully recovered.  I didn't get a job I wanted.  My desktop computer monitor and my laptop charger both decided to stop working at the same time so I had to break the bank a little more and get new ones.  I found out a guy I really liked doesn't like me back.  As I was driving to work a couple of weeks ago, a woman rear-ended me in my beautiful blue, brand spankin' new 2014 Honda Accord that I leased in December.  I've gotten to know the people at AAA a little too well for my taste.  I feel like I need a change but I'm not sure where to go.  My student loan payments are now in full swing...

Needless to say, all the things that have happened so far this year have heightened my stress-level just a tad.  Sleep evades me.  I can't shut off my brain to block out all the worry.

And then I saw this today.
I need to stop worrying about all the things I can't change and start doing things about what I have control over.  Yeah, some (for lack of a better word) crappy things have happened to me this year.  But I need to roll with the punches instead of letting them overpower me.  Yeah.  That happened.  Now, move on!