August 2011


"I had a Tamagotchi, but I got bored with it, and I forgot to feed it, and it died." That right there? That is the story of every single person who ever bought one of these things (or received one as a gift). I know at least four people off the top of my head who had that exact same experience. In fact, the Tamagotchi was perfectly designed for the user to get bored with it, forget to feed it, and eventually kill it.

Movies of the 90s: Singles

A lot of movies can be said to epitomize the 1990's, but "Singles" surely epitomizes the 1990's in Seattle. In fact, at this late date, the movie works best as a love note to 1990's Seattle. Better in many ways than it does as a movie, frankly.
"Singles" was one of Cameron Crowe's earliest movies, after "Say Anything." Crowe does an excellent job of capturing an era, in this case the transition between the go-go 1980's and the reflective, "I need to settle down and find meaning in my life" 1990's. Even the fashions are manifestly in transition. Several characters wear the boxy, baggy styles that were popular in the 1980's, while others sport classic 90's looks like floral print skirts paired with Doc Martens, and matte dark red lipstick.

The Beanie Baby Craze

I have always felt like the mania for Beanie Babies presaged the Dot Com bubble in an important sociological way. The same factors were at work, the same unbridled enthusiasm, and the same apparent endless supplies of cash. And at the end of the speculation rush, the bubble popped, leaving "investors" with fistfuls of useless crap.

Feng Shui in the 1990's

None of us had ever heard of feng shui in the 1980's. But then the 1990's hit, and suddenly feng shui was everywhere. It remains popular, which is more than I can say for a lot of crazes that swept America in the 1990's!
Has anyone traced the popularity of feng shui in America? Surely there must have been a Patient Zero. I wonder if it was Donald Trump, as the Wikpedia page on feng shui mentions that he is an avid follower of the practice. (Or that he is business-savvy enough to make his buildings feng shui-compatible, in order to win the approval of Chinese business partners.)

Remembering the :CueCat

When I think of the late 90s, I think of the :CueCat and smile. The :CueCat embodies everything I remember about the late 90s, from its dazzling insistence that new technology was the greatest no matter what, to its worst Dot Com spending excesses.
The first thing you might notice about the :CueCat is the spelling of its name. The non-traditional punctuation (starting the name with a colon) and the use of interCaps (a.k.a. CamelCase) are both so "late 90s" (the :CueCat first hit the market in 1998) it makes my teeth ache.