THIRTY DAYS, THIRTY YEARS, THIRTY BORING STORIES...
My Twelfth Year (11 years old)
October 2nd, 1985, to October 1st, 1986
Mr. Miles Drury was my fifth grade teacher, and I remember an intermediate amount of information about him; he had dark hair and a mustache and really liked to sing A-Ha's "Take On Me". Oh yeah, and he played French dubs of a lot of educational movies, particularly the old Disney ones featuring Jiminy Cricket or Ludwig von Drake. That's about it, besides the thing I already mentioned in my Mr. Wadsworth story. But that was the year I did the most extracurricular stuff; I was in the drama club and got to play the part of some sort of General or other royal court guard guy in [i]The Swineherder[/i]... not a huge part, but I think I was the person who actually opened the play by yelling several lines. The following semester, we did [i]Count of Monte Cristo[/i], but I think I just had some one line part like "Sailor 19" or something. Also, I'm not sure if we had an official school choir or whether this was just something we did within class, but this was the year that I sung on a Christmas chorus that they taped for CJAD where we sang Nana Mouskouri's bilingual "Chimbolom" in English and in French, one verse of each version, and we also sang "Silver Bells".
This was my final year in Cubs. I remember making a crappy "Cub Car", that was basically just the standard chunk of wood with a little bit shaved from the front using a plane (the wood shaving kind, not the Boeing kind) to make it look slightly less like a block, and I did paint it, but I don't think I used the glossy "Testor's" kind you use on models. For a vague photographic reference, check the car in the fourth lane of the sixth photo in the "Cub Car Races 2001" portion of this gallery (it's not my page, so I don't think it would be polite to direct link to the photo). I put on a little more detail, painting on "headlights" (white squares with a black border) and perhaps a couple of windows, but the shape is about the same, perhaps with a small indentation just before the back end to separate the main body of the car from the "spoiler". I think my car actually won the first two rounds, but got knocked off in the finals or semi-finals, and I got so teared-up that my mother bought me a Transformer, the Autobot mini-bot Powerglide (a purple "A-10 Tankkiller" plane).
Also in Cubs, we did a manure door-to-door sales drive, to which one guy replied "No thanks, we make our own!"
This was also the year I started puberty. (Too Much Information warning, highlight to read.) I started practicing every teenage guy's favourite hobby starting around that spring... I don't remember quite how I started, I think it slowly progressed from innocent self-play that got out of hand, or, rather, "into hand", but, eventually, partially through trial-and-error, partially through sex ed books we got from the library, I found that it "felt good", and I think I had my first orgasm by the summer of 1986, though the first time I got a little freaked out because blood came out. I don't think the plumbing was all installed, if you catch my drift, until the following year, though, so most times before that, I was "dry". Also, this year me and a couple of other guys used to flash our penises under our desks in class, and I did "you show me yours, I'll show you mine" sorts of activities elsewhere, but that's as far as it ever got. Plus, this one time, I think in July 1986, my parents let me sleep downstairs on the hide-a-bed, and I got to watch TV real late and I discovered my first scraggly pubic hair on my scrotum.
In October 1985, we got a new car, a Hyundai Pony, the finest car we could afford at the time (sarcasm, yes). The lack of luck I'm having finding a Hyudai Pony fan site should tell you a little something about that. Well, it was a cheap commuter car, it did its job, I shouldn't really complain. Just, one backseat for four growing children when the youngest child was already six years old didn't work that well, especially when there were only three seatbelts. I don't think we went all that many places with all of us together. Our car before we bought that was a 1977 Ford LTD II, which was an ex-police car, probably very much like this one, with a damn powerful engine, like something Miyuki Kobayakawa from You're Under Arrest might have customized if she actually existed. Oh, I loved that car, with its four headlights, as a kid, I even drew a stupid comic called Super LTD (you'll get to see some of my comics sooner or later, but not that one, of which I'm not sure any samples still exist). But, one foe that my parent's ex-police car couldn't arrest was the sort of corrosive road salt that they used on Quebec highways back in the early 1980s, and, by around 1984, the corrosion had eaten a hole through the floor of the car, so we had a "Flintstone's mobile". Plus the steering column began to collapse, so they had to hold it up with that plastic twine stuff. We traded it in for the Pony just a couple of weeks after my 11th birthday, and I cried and cried, hoping that they'd relent and we could have 2 cars, not really being all that familiar with a concept called "insurance", which ain't free. By the way, Hyundai cars are much better now than they were in the mid-80s, with our current car being a 2000(?) Sonata, which replaced an older-model Sonata which served us well for over a decade.
In December 1985, we finally got a proper stereo from Radio Shack, since, before that, all we had was an ancient turntable and speakers combo my parents brought over from England, and the only way we could listen to cassettes was on a mono tape recorder. A few months later, at some point in the late winter or early spring, we got a CD player, so I started listening to music much more often, with my favourite CD being WHAM's Make it Big, which I listened to over and over, at least the tracks "Wake Me Up Before You Gogo!" (duh, the song everyone knows), "Careless Whisper" (double duh), "Freedom", and "Everything She Wants" (an underrated track, possibly my favourite from that album). Other CDs that got spun a lot on our player in that era were Dire Straits' [i]Brother in Arms[/i] (yes, mostly for "Money for Nothing"), Madonna's [i]Like a Virgin[/i], Bonnie Tyler's [i]Faster than the Speed of Night[/i], Bryan Adams [i]Heaven[/i], and the [i]Ghostbusters[/i] soundtrack. (I know, really obscure stuff absolutely no one else had.) And we liked Weird Al Yankovic's first three albums ([i]"Weird Al" Yankovic[/i] (self-titled debut), [i]"Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D[/i], and [i]Dare to be Stupid[/i]), but Al was slow to embrace CD, so we just listened to him on vinyl and cassette. And Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video, directed by Stephen R. Johnson, the Brothers Quay and Nick Park, was like nothing I had ever seen, so, that summer I bought [i]So[/i] on tape and listened to it over and over. (I never got [i]So[/i] on CD, actually, if anyone's looking for birthday ideas.)
I guess the biggest news event that happened during my childhood, other than the collapse of the Soviet empire, happened this particular year: the space shuttle Challenger explosion. Where was I when it happened? Uhh... in class. We didn't hear anything either, but my mother picked me up for lunch and she was crying to an extent that I thought maybe dad had died for a second but, no, it was just that the shuttle had exploded. I stayed off at least the afternoon and watched the television coverage, but I think I was planning on getting "sick" that afternoon anyway. I did find Reagan's speech reassuring... that's about all I can really say about a sad day over 18 years ago that has, for better or worse, lost much of its emotional punch in light of the 9/11 attacks (probably it would have even if 9/11 hadn't happened).
I watched too much television again that particular year. Shows I regret liking: Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains. So many half-hours of my youth I shall never get back. Stuff I watched that I was much too old for "just to make fun of it": Under the Umbrella Tree and Curious George, whose theme song (closing credits version here) has been co-opted into flash animations by the oh-so-clever "hate Bush" types, because "Bush = chimp", ha ha, and monkeys are kind of like chimps. Stuff I watched that I can't use as proof of my heterosexuality: Jem and the Holograms ("Exciting adventures, fashion, and fame! Once you're a Jem girl, you're never the same! Come on, come on and be a Jem girl! Jem! Jem is my name!"). Shows I don't regret watching so much: Mr. Belvedere, because sitcoms about British guys are cool and because of the kickass theme song by Leon Redbone. And you can't fault a guy who keeps a whole cache of junkfood under a turnpike. Perfect Strangers, because that theme song is so damn uplifting and it was our first glimpse into the wonderful Miller/Boyett-verse. I wish I remembered Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories better.
Anything else? Not really, we didn't go on vacation that year, and my strongest memories of that summer are of going to a Legoland exhibition at the Simpson's department store just a couple of years before it closed for good.
Anyway, yes, I am a couple of days behind. Sorry, some stuff came up that I had to do.
My favourite movie released between October 2nd, 1985, and October 1st, 1986?
Too hard for me to choose:
Ferris Bueller's Day Off comed first alphabetically. My parents actually took me to see that when it was playing, back in the long-demolished Famous Player's Fairvew Cinema. Just a lot of fun with Matthew Broderick goofing around in Chicago in a Ferrari (which will have a cameo appearance in a future story)... nothing too deep, other than that their carefree days of youth are coming to a close. Damn, I wish John Hughes could still make movies like this.
I still think that Project A-ko is about the best pointless, subtext-free, pure silly fun anime film ever animated, and, since this was obviously animated on a limited budget, I find the slightly... umm... how should I put it... jerky animation actually adds to the overall sublime anarchic cheesiness. While I wouldn't really decry how anime films have bigger budgets these days, when the animation is too smooth, it just lacks a certain charm. One trivia fact is that the song "In Your Eyes" is sung by Samantha Newark, who is also Jerrica/Jem from Jem and the Holograms, however, she's Jerrica's speaking voice, not her singing voice (Britta Phillips).
Also, Aliens was pretty good, as was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.