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Archive for December, 2009

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Digital or Analogue Watch? Which is Best?

Posted by Big Boo on December 12th, 2009

The Digital Watch may not have been invented in the 1980’s, but it’s true to say that they were certainly at the height of their popularity, at least in fashion terms, during that decade.

Of course these days the good old analogue watch with a proper clock face and hands tends to be a more fashionable accessory, or at least that is the impression I get when I look in jewellers shop windows.

So which do you prefer? Do you like to wear a classic old analogue watch, or are you still one of those that think the digital watch is still “a pretty neat idea”, as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy might put it?

Digital Watches?
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Get Yourself Seen!

Posted by Big Boo on December 11th, 2009

get yourself seenNow here’s another classic and much used public information film! The Get Yourself Seen campaign may have been created in the 1970’s (as the fashion and the presence of a Raleigh Chopper attest) but this ad must have been played many times during the 1980’s as it has been indelibly etched in my brain forever more.

The advert was aimed at cyclists young and old, telling them to take care when riding at night that they were as clearly visible as possible. I do cynically wonder though if perhaps the manufacturers of those highly reflective yellow and orange vests and bands were actually behind it in order to increase sales of something which can make you look a bit silly, let’s be honest.

What makes this particular ad so memorable was the song accompanying it, which was a very jolly little song informing you of the various ways you could improve your visibility. The afore mentioned yellow and orange vests were just one way. One lad in the film even goes as far as to wear what appears to be a jump suit made entirely out of tin foil. I think I’d rather wear the embarrassing vest thanks.

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Mr Frosty

Posted by Big Boo on December 9th, 2009

mr-frostyI’ve spoken previously about my love for Slush Puppie, the fruity flavoured crushed ice drink, so it will come as no surprise that as a child I desperately wanted a Mr. Frosty machine all of my own. Sadly I never did get one, although now I’m older and wiser I can see this was probably a good thing. I’ll explain why in a moment, but first, let me explain what Mr. Frosty was.

Mr. Frosty was a snowman shaped piece of plastic whose sole purpose was to take ice cubes and crunch them up to make slushy ice. The ice cubes were placed into his head, and his hat acted as a plunger to keep the cubes firmly pushed against the ice grating surface inside. Turning a handle on the back of the toy produced the slush, which you could then scoop out of a hole in Mr. Frosty’s stomach.

The set came with some little cup like bowls, some ice lolly moulds, and a little penguin shaped plastic bottle (Percy Penguin, as the TV ad dubbed him) which you put fruit juice into and could then squeeze onto the crushed ice.

So why was this not a Good Thing? It sounds perfect for a Slush Puppie fan, but the catch is it didn’t actually work all that well. Of course, on the TV advert a few ice cubes made enough slush to fill two cups for the kids playing with the toy, but in reality crushing the ice was nearly impossible, even for an adult.

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The Trap Door

Posted by Big Boo on December 7th, 2009

trap doorI met up with a friend at the weekend who happened to mention a cool kids TV show that I’ve not yet managed to cover, so Al, here’s a post for you on The Trap Door.

The Trap Door, or just Trap Door as most people called it, was a plasticene modelled animated (or claymation as the method is sometimes called) series about a big blue creature called Berk. Berk was basically butler, cook and bottle washer for The Thing Upstairs, a mysterious being who we never saw but who ordered the good natured Berk around by bellowing commands at him, the most often used request being “Berk, Feed Me!“.

Berk had two main companions, who tended to be more of a hindrance than a help usually. First there was Boni, a skull who tended to complain rather a lot, so a lot of what he said went unheard by Berk, which was sometimes a pity as he did often give useful advice.

Berk also had a pet called Drutt, which was a kind of fat bodied spider like thing that scuttled around causing mischief and making farting sounds a lot. Whether this was his voice or just flatulence I don’t know.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Warrior, Valkyrie, Wizard, Elf

Posted by Big Boo on December 5th, 2009

Having written about Gauntlet the arcade game this week the choice of survey question this week came quite naturally. The game allowed you to play as one of four different character types, these being Warrior, Valkyrie, Wizard and Elf. Most players of the game had a favourite that they would normally choose to play as, so the question is, which was your fantasy character of choice?

Which Gauntlet character did you play as most?
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Rubik Cube Themed Goodies

Posted by Big Boo on December 4th, 2009

rubik clockFor some reason there seems to have been a sudden interest in creating Rubik’s Cube themed goodies. I’ve written on this site before about the rather neat little Rubik Cube Clock which combines a digital clock and thermometer into the classic look of a muddled up cube.

You can change the currently displayed function by twisting the top just like a real cube! The Rubik Cube Clock is available for just £12.99 from Gobaz. UPDATE! Gobaz have closed, and I’ve been unable to find another source for this.

rubik-cube-pepper-millThink that the clock is pretty unusual? Well it gets dafter with the Rubik Cube Salt and Pepper Mills available from Firebox. Again looking just like a real Rubik Cube (solved this time) the top comes off which you can fill with peppercorns or milling salt, then when reassemble just give the top row a twist to add your choice of condiment to your dish.

The mills come in salt and pepper varieties, the difference being that the top face is white on the salt mill and red on the pepper one. Each costs £11.95, and they are sure to be a talking point next time you have friends over for a meal, especially if you’re more the fish and chips on the sofa kind of a host!

rubik-cube-cufflinksFor the more dapper gentleman who thinks buttons on shirt cuffs are abhorrent, how about a pair of Rubik Cube Cufflinks, which you can buy on Amazon for under a tenner. I think these are a nice idea, it’s just a pity that they chose to make a cube with only 2×2 faces rather than 3×3.

rubik-touchcubeFinally, and I’ve saved the best (and most expensive) until last. The Rubik TouchCube from is the fanciest, most hi-tech Rubik’s Cube you’ll ever come across. The six faces of this cube light up to represent the cubes current state, and to solve it you simply swish your finger along a row and it will rotate magically around the cube. Follow the link above to view a little video of the TouchCube in action.

This brilliant little invention also comes with an “undo” facility, so if you make a mistake whilst solving it you can retrace your steps and try again. It’s also intelligent enough to know how to solve itself, so if you get completely stuck you can ask it for a hint on what to do next, or even get it to solve itself before your very eyes!

Great fun, and you can’t cheat by removing the stickers or breaking it apart with a screwdriver. Well, you might be able to do the latter but don’t be surprised if you can’t get the thing working again afterwards. This great little gizmo costs an impressive £89.99, so I suggest you get it on to your letter to Father Christmas as soon as possible!

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Shrinkie Dinkies

Posted by Big Boo on December 2nd, 2009

shrinkie-dinkiesBack in the good old 1980s breakfast cereal manufacturers used to compete with each other to give away the greatest set of freebies they could. This practice seems to be dying out a bit now, with only Nestlé appearing to keep the idea alive by giving away children’s books, which I must say is probably better than a piece of useless plastic tat from some movie that you’ll have forgotten about in a years time.

Having ridiculed the plastic tat, there were some freebies which were particularly good, and a good example of these were Shrinkie Dinkies, or Shrinky Dinks as they are sometimes also known, which I believe were given away with Shreddies a number of times.

The Shrinkie Dinkie was a thin piece of plastic film, at least initially anyway, with a black outline picture printed on it. One side was shiny, and the other side had a matt finish, and the idea was to colour in the matt side with some colouring pencils. Once coloured in, you popped the Shrinky Dinkie into the oven (get an adult to help!) and a few minutes later it had miraculously shrunk to around a third of its original size, and got a fair bit thicker in the bargain as well.

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Advent Calendar!

Posted by Big Boo on December 1st, 2009

Well, I almost didn’t get this ready in time but a bit of last minute tinkering has managed to bring you the (drum roll please)…

Child of the 1980’s Advent Calendar!

Today is the first day of advent and if you were like me as a kid, then the month of December was made even more exciting by having the chance to open a little door on a piece of cardboard to reveal a picture of a star or some holly. Sounds lame, but it was one of the things I remember enjoying a lot as a child, so I bring you a new fangled modern approach, with a twist.

This advent calendar is different because you won’t find a candle or some mistletoe behind it’s doors, and you don’t even have to fiddle around opening the doors either. Each day a new image will be revealed of something Eighties related, which if you click on it will take you to the relevant page of this very site discussing whatever that picture might be.

Go on, give it a try, and relive your memories of opening your Advent calendar as a child.