My dad is goofy. In a good way. This morning he got up early so he could get to Wal Mart to buy something before it sold out. Not that it was in much danger of selling out, but it's the thought that counts.
I was just getting up to go to the can at work and heard the front door bang shut, and at that particular time of the mid morning that either means my Uncle the Boss has arrived, my dad has arrived, or some poor lost soul has dared enter to ask for directions. In any case I felt I was justified in continuing on down the hall to the bathroom. Then I hear my dad Go "hey, are ya coming back soon?" So I stopped and turned around, cause that is a weird question. Then I notice he has a mischievous glint in his eye and one arm tucked behind his back.
Now I had been planning on relieving myself then going to work on our phone system, but decided I didn't have to go that badly really and should see what was going on. The phone system, if it really is screwy, can wait, obviously no one has gotten to voice mail on that particular roll-over line since last winter, so it can probably wait a little longer...
So I meet dad back at my office and he's all excited cause he got me something. And with my dad, you never know what the hell it will be. I mean one year I got a cheeseburger shaped mouse from his trip to China, last year he mailed me two cans of Pacific Corned Beef. (I had a Samoan acquaintance who claimed that particular type of corned beef tasted just like island girl pussy), I've gotten strange packets of powder, oddly colored vials of liquid, hell an ipod nano even. And there's no pint in guessing what the hell he's going to give or just what strange trip it will take your brain down.
So, back in my office, he hands me a dvd box set. It's Buck Rogers, and I gotta admit I'd thought about buying it before but sated my urge with some torrented episodes. So sweet, Now I have Buck Rogers. But WHY he got it for me is... so my dad. See he got one for himself last night and got all nostalgic about it. And I can understand why. Buck Rogers was one of the only TV shows we'd try to get together and watch when I was a kid. My dad spent a lot of time at home doing paperwork, but he tried to make time for stuff we both enjoyed. And one of those things was Buck Rogers. Actually he reminded me of a whole nother nostalgia trip. Back in the early 80's we had a big old full sized van that doubled as the company's van - it's what they would transport the bulky old booths to trade shows in. As a kid i got to travel quite a bit, mainly on the road going to trade shows. And since my dad has that technology bug, we would usually have a power inverter with a vcr and a little tv hooked up to make the trips pass faster. Actually he had a video camera that he would bring along too. and this is back when the camera had to be tethered to the vcr. Pur first Portable vcr could last maybe an hour on battery and between the camera and vcr weighed at least 40 pounds. This reminds me there is a shitload of old family video footage on vhs stuck in his basement I should dig out and start digitizing.
Infused with Buck Rogers nostalgia, my dad remembered a vary particular time in the 2nd company van - the Blue one with the blue shag carpet fridge shaped cooler and bed in back with the octagonal entrance (that in the end was stripped out and became the garbage scow). On a trip to the west coast my mom was driving and my dad and i were in the back watching Buck Rogers on a 3 inch tv screen. The episode in particular was "The Fighting 69th". My dad wondered whatever happened to that tv - it was this funky little portable unit with RCA inputs and outputs. Truth be told, I used it to death. It survived years of torture, in the end the screen turned green before finally blanking out. You have to remember this was the 80's we didn't even know anyone with a car phone let alone a cell phone at that time. Cassette Walkmen were taking over and CD's hadn't come out yet. Hell, Beta had just fallen to VHS! (look it up on wikipedia if you don't remember it happening)
Ok, back to Buck Rogers.
The defining memory I have of TV's Buck Rogers was also because of my dad. See if he liked something on tv he would video tape it. But he would use the old deck with the better quality that only recorded at a speed of 2 hours per tape. 2 hour gave better quality, but most recording got done in 6 hour mode. So with a show like Buck Rogers he would record an episode commercials and all in 2 hour, then re-record that while editing out the commercials onto a six hour tape that could hold 6 episodes. This editing process as not infallible...
For instance, the episode "Unchained Woman". Jamie Lee Curtis was the guest babe of the week and after Buck broke her out of prison they had to cross a deadly desert with a deranged Westworld like android after them. Sure enough between the sassy quips and innuendo, Jamie Lee Curtis gets attacked by a giant underground sand tentacle. This led to her fine ass getting some screen time. And somehow, on the 6 hour dub copy, the scene pauses, goes into slow motion, then backwards in slow motion then plays again. Yep. My dad did that. As a kid I was like "oh man dad screwed that up!" and as a teenager I was like "man, he should have done another loop!"
My dad is pretty cool. Weird, and sometimes strangely intense, but cool.
Wow... Buck Rogers