December 13, 2009

Fa La La La La, Rubik’s Touch Sucks!

I like technology as much as the next girl. I can’t imagine a world without my iphone or my DVR, and if you’d asked me a few months ago, I would have included my Roomba in that list, but now she’s yelling at me, refusing to clean, and I am fairly certain she has been having “relations” with Tiger, so we are on the outs. Anyway, my point is…technology is good, and often makes our lives much easier. BUT sometimes technology is completely irritating and unnecessary, and the other day I saw a commercial for the item that most fits this description: The Rubik’s Touch Cube.

Thursday morning when I first saw the commercial for this toy, I nearly choked on my Raisin Bran. It is a block the size of the classic cube, but with touch screens that you swipe your finger across in order to emulate a “twist”. It even plays a recording of the classic cube’s “twist” sound to give you that “nostalgic experience”. Was it really that hard to twist the original cube? I have a pretty good memory, and I definitely don’t recall ever injuring myself in a Rubik’s Cube twisting incident. Is anyone actually willing to pay $130.00 extra to get a cube that they don’t have to twist? If you are, I would like to meet you, at which time I would fully expect to see you either sporting a wrist cast or living life completely handless, due to a freak Benihana accident.

This stupid toy got me thinking about all of the toys I loved as a child, even though most of them didn’t even take batteries, let alone have “touch technology”. Here is a list of a few of my favorites:

Easy Bake Oven (Holly Hobby Version). Ok, so this one takes electricity and the amazing baking power of a 60 watt light bulb, but it was still a pretty basic toy, that awesomely took only 5 hours to cook a cake the size of a coaster. My desire for this toy resulted in lots of prayers and ultimatums to God. After He failed to follow my very specific instructions for delivering this gift to me, I told Him off big time, and bought myself one at a garage sale.

Perfection. This is the game where you wound up the timer, hit “start”, and tried to get all of the shapes into their respective holes before time was up and all of the pieces popped out loudly enough to give a child a massive heart attack. I loved this game. I got this for Christmas when I was 7-years-old. Unfortunately, when I unwrapped it on Christmas morning it was broken and my dad had to take it in for a replacement a few days later. What my parents don’t know is that the reason it was broken is because I spent the 2 weeks before Christmas unwrapping it and playing with it when nobody was home, then re-wrapping it afterward, accidentally breaking it a few days before Christmas. I also spent many hours in front of the mirror practicing my “surprised face” for when I opened all of the gifts I had not only already opened, but already played with.

Tape Recorder. When I was about 8-years-old I got my very own tape recorder. I used this for various activities, including the following: Recording my dad while he napped so that I could prove to him that yes, he actually did snore; Recording episodes of “Laverne and Shirley” so that I could replay them over and over until I memorized every word of dialogue, at which point I could re-enact a full episode for my very patient family; Pressing “record” and hiding it in my parents room when they were arguing so that I could play it back later and hear what they were arguing about; Recording phone conversations between the old ladies on our party line (remember those?) so that I could play them back over the phone the next time that they were talking, causing much confusion in their old lady heads; Recording farts and sometimes making an entire show called “Mr. and Mrs. Fart”, because we were 8-years-old and that’s just funny.

Hula Hoop. I spent many, many hours practicing my hoop moves. Arm hooping, leg hooping, neck hooping, and multiple hoop hooping. I was amazing. After not hooping for at least 25 years, I participated in a Hula Hoop contest last summer with the daughter of a childhood friend. Although I didn’t win, I did clock in at 45 minutes, and since I fully expected to barely make it to 5, I was quite pleased that I still had some mad hooping moves, although truth be told I would have given big money to beat the trash talking 8-year-old who had spent months emailing me videos in which she sasses me while hula hooping.

Cork board and string. Yep, you heard right. Cork board, string, push pins and paper. I had a cork board over the desk in my playroom, and I turned it into an old fashioned switchboard like Mrs. Olson had in Nellie’s Restaurant when Walnut Grove finally got a telephone system. I used to spend hours talking into an empty salt shaker while connecting calls all over town.

Fashion Plates. Remember these? You put together an outfit made up of small plates, then did a crayon rubbing on paper to miraculously transfer the picture to paper so you could color it with the colored pencils (included!), thereby making the most amazing outfit ever. If my mom had not sold this at the yard sale of ’82 I may have been the next Vera Wang. Thanks, mom.

Shrinky Dinks. Come on, who didn’t LOVE Shrinky Dinks? In my opinion, this was one of the best toys ever. Color a piece of plastic, bake it, voila…you have a necklace and earrings! No other toy gave you “permission” to use the oven, your mom’s cookie sheets, etc… I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that? Whoever invented this toy was a genius.

Yarn and Crystal Gayle Albums. Specifically the “Don’t it make My Brown Eyes Blue” album. I painstakingly fashioned a floor length wig from yarn, put on my album, grabbed my tin foil microphone and sang my little heart out for hours.

Play Doh Ice Cream Truck. The best Play Doh item EVER. I made soft serve, push pops, sundaes and fudge pops, and drove all over my playroom to my various Barbie Towns so that they could buy some cold, frosty treats. Don’t tell my mom, but I often ate the “treats”, or at the very least licked them until I got sick. So salty. So good.

Flower and Junk Wagon. We used to load our wagon up with dandelions, rocks, and other glorious items, and go door to door to sell them. I was very persuasive, and often came back with plenty of coin.

Barbie Dolls and Barbie Styling Head. When I was little, Barbies didn’t come with all of the stuff they come with now. All you got was a Barbie and a few outfits. I used to make extra outfits out of paper towels and markers, and since I didn’t have all of the dream houses and stuff, I made houses out of shoe boxes. I like to add some excitement by having tornadoes and other natural disasters hit their shoebox neighborhoods. One time I tore Barbie’s arm off and drew bruises all over her with a black sharpie to make her twister-related injuries seem more realistic. As for my Barbie Styling Head…she suffered severe facial burns after a perm gone wrong, and that’s all I wanna say about that.

So there’s my crotchity old lady moment for 2009…my tribute to when life was much simpler and we had to walk to school every day, uphill both ways.

*Please list your favorite childhood toy in the “comment” section. If you’re getting this post via email, you need to click on the post title (Fa la la la la Rubiks Touch Sucks) and it will take you to the actual blog site, where you will find a comment section at the end of this entry. Because of some glitch I can’t seem to figure out, you must enter your comment under “anonymous” and then enter your name in the body of the message if you want. Whew! I’m exhausted.

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8 Responses to “Fa La La La La, Rubik’s Touch Sucks!”

  1. Anonymous Said:

    LOVE THIS and remember all of these things vividly and had quite a bit of the same toys!! Thanks for taking me back to the simpler, good ol’ 70’s and 80’s (Rubik’s cube). ~ Melissa

  2. Anonymous Said:

    Close-n-play record player – listened to Sammy Davis Jrs’ 45 of ‘The Candy Man’ over and over and over…

    And, what’s up with the current price of Easy Bake Oven refills? I saw the oven itself yesterday for $16, but a refill bag of brownie mix is $11!

    Thanks for the memories.


  3. Anonymous Said:

    My favorite toy was Mrs Beasley although I have no other comments other than I loved her. She died a painful death when I was in my 30s showing to my sister how her voice string still worked. My sister pulled the string firmly and it never went back in…30something…devastated 🙂

    Shannon Schlachter

  4. Anonymous Said:

    I loved Fashion Plates!! My favorite toy was my Simon – spending hours trying to replicate each light and sound pattern. I could never make it past the lightning fast rounds!

  5. Jill Said:

    I remember Fashion Plates, man I haven’t seen those in forever! I was just thinking about some old toys yesterday. It’s funny how some of them have come back, with a little make-over, like My Little Ponies. We had tons of those.

  6. Anonymous Said:

    Okay, I know this is an old blog, but I am a new fan and just catching up on them. I seriously LOVED shrinky dinks! We did the Smurf ones a lot. Boy, that really takes me back….thanks for the fun memories! I never did get an Easy Bake Oven either, so I guess we’re both scarred.

    a.k.a. Your newest blog fan

  7. Dawn Said:

    My mom got a bunch of prom dresses from Goodwill or other thrift stores and gave it to me for Christmas one year (3rd grade, I think). My friends and I were socialites at galas, Miss Americas, movie stars, and prom queens for years with those fancy outfits. We always fought over the off the shoulder one.

  8. Anonymous Said:

    I know this is an old entry, but I too am just now discovering the world according to Patti! My brothers LOVED their Rubix Cube. I was only 7 at the time, & of course could not “solve” the darn cube. So what did I do instead? I peeled ALL the stickers off & re-applied them to make it look as though I solved it. Yeah, nobody bought my story & from that moment on I was dubbed the Rubix Liar of 1983.

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