Laser Background School Photos

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ken @ 2:04 pm August 18, 2010

If you ever need a reminder of what makes 90s kids the coolest kids of all time, remember this: laser background school photos.

With that blue and pink web of light in the background, these were more than just school photos- these were cool photos. And in 1991, you needed them.

Laser Background School Photo

Laser Background School Photo

Laser Background School PhotoLaser Background School Photo

laser6Laser Background School Photo

laser5Laser Background School PhotoFor more laser background excellence, check out We Have Lasers!!!!!!!!!, a daily blog where you can submit your laser background school photos!

90s Alternative Rock


There was no decade quite like the 90s. Politically, economically, whatever. But nowhere was this more evident than in the music that was made during those years. In all genres, new styles rapidly emerged and evolved. Of it all, there was one genre that meant more to me than any of the others. I’m talking, of course, about rock music.

Growing up in New Jersey as a white, middle-class male, I easily identified with the ethos of rock. The rebellion, the angst, the idealism- born out of the 50s, these sentiments were still alive in the 90s, finding its form in newer and noisier ways. The stylings of 90s rock were wide ranged- grunge, britpop, pop punk, indie, rap rock- some were good, some were bad, some were forgotten to adulthood. Yet even though our tastes evolve after adolescence, the appeal of nostalgia can just be too hard to igore.

I’m calling this series “Rock By The 90s”. Each week, I plan to post a new article on a different subgenre of 90s rock, and the specific bands and songs that characterized each movement. By the end, I hope to have extensively recounted all things 90s rock.

But first, to tell the FULL story of 90s rock, we need to go back a little bit further in time. I’m talking ALL the way back…to…

The late 80s.



As the 80s came to a close, MTV had already begun to suck. No, not as badly as today- for one thing, they still played videos- but videos primarily of hair bands. Yup, in the late 80s, hair metal was the king of rock. And with it, an all-pervading, image conscious commercialism had become the status quo. Bands such as Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Crue and Poison murdered our ears with sonic monstrosities, and burned our eyeballs with their high maintenance hair and flamboyant outfits.

But as the decade of the 90s began, glam metal started to be seen as excessive, both in its power ballads and its volumized hair, and the genre began to fall in to decline. Maybe the biggest indictment of this music was a scene from the documentary, ”The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years”, involving the guitarist from the band W.A.S.P., as he excessively abuses alcohol. (more…)

8-Bit City Maps

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ken @ 2:17 pm July 8, 2010

8 bit nycBrett Camper, a Brooklyn-based designer, has made THE greatest advancement in cartography since the dawn of mankind.

Camper has created fully functional, zoomable, 8-bit city maps in the style of the original “Legend of Zelda” video game.

The maps are entirely integrated with real world data, and you can conduct an address search just as you would on Google Maps.

On the surface, these maps may simply seem charming, but exploring the zoomable feature reveals the intricate work that was put into each and every city block. Searching through my Brooklyn neighborhood, I felt transported back to the Dutch settlements of 1600s Breukelen, where whimsical paths and brick roads replace concrete highways, and rows of crops supplant rows of houses- er…pixelated paths and crops that is.

Be sure to explore the maps! What do you think- should we stop using regular Google Maps altogether?

The Sega Master System is the Future!

Filed under: Blog,Willie Simpson — Tags: , , , , , , — Willie Simpson @ 12:25 pm May 21, 2010

I wonder if its just me, but video game commercials from the 1980s still sell me the future better then any modern video game advertisement.  Take a look at these ads for the classic Sega Master System.  There was something so amazingly other-worldly and awe inspiring about these things.  I love the glowing graph paper style motif going on in the whole thing.

My parents never bought me any video game systems, but when I was six or seven years old, my family had these friends we’d visit on Long Island somewhere, and they had a Sega Master System with all the accessories, and like 100 games.  I had never seen anything like it.  Whenever we went over, it was like stepping into one of these commercials, especially because I only had access to that stuff for an hour or two.

I love this last ad, here we learn about the Master System’s amazing features like scrolling backgrounds, 64 colors (not bits), and digital sounds!  And what’s that?  Holy shit, 3d video games???  This ad is so awesome that I want all this stuff right now…in 2010!!!

Classic Nickelodeon Commercials

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ken @ 7:05 pm May 13, 2010

3139114848_75120cd426_oIt’s easy to forgot how amazing Nickelodeon actually was until you rediscover the details that colored it in. Do you remember these 15 second bumpers? I probably saw these- oh, I don’t know- at least once during EVERY commercial break throughout the history of me watching Nickelodeon.

As I watched these again, I thought, it’s amazing how strongly these things were encoded into my kid-memory bank. I wonder how many times my little Ken brain actually absorbed these things. 150 times each? Easily. 300 might also be a good guesstimate. 500 perhaps?  Who knows. But even though 15+ years have passed, I can still remember each of these with the clairvoyance of a psychic. Watch, and see how well you can remember them.


This one has a cool, simple direction. As the camera pans across a school hallway filled with kids, we slowly see the Nick logo painted on a wall of lockers. But wait- here comes one last, little pip-squeak to slam his locker shut, and the logo lights up brilliant Nick orange. Sweet. Nickelodeon did an exceptional job of branding in those days.



The intensity. The grace. The drama. When you saw this bumper, you wondered what the hell you were watching. But then she sticks the landing and leaves a magical orange footprint on the mat. Now it makes sense- Nickelodeon rules.


Get ready to get funky fresh with this one. I know I did the 400 times I saw it growing up. I almost signed up for a dance class one time, but my Dad stopped me. Check the comments section on the YouTube page- the composer of the song actually left a message!