How to Kill a Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Do not share anything new.
Step 2: Repeat every day for over two months.

Bad for the Lungs. Good for the Heart.

I went to the same school from kindergarten through 8th grade -- nine years of my life spent attending the same small rural school. Graduating 8th grade in a class of 26 students, at least 13 of us had gone to school together for all nine years. Many of the rest had moved in around 3rd or 4th grade. Essentially, inside this small feeder school on the edge of town, we had all grown up together.


When the time for graduation came I remember it being somewhat difficult to accept since, for the first time in my fourteen years, I was facing a major life change. I had been with these same classmates for nine years and starting high school in the fall, things were going to be much different. I had never moved to a new school. I had never had anything in my family life happen to shake up my world. Now I was coming to terms with the fact that for the first time ever, I was being forced out of my regular comfort zone.

As our eighth grade year came to a close, there were graduation parties, there were awards banquets, and of course there was the graduation ceremony itself. Have you ever had a lump in your throat and felt so sad that something was happening but knew you could do nothing about it? I remember a lump like that being in my throat throughout my entire graduation ceremony. That lump wasn't there because I wasn't going to be in the same classes as my friends anymore. It wasn't there because I was nervous about starting high school. It wasn't there because my classmate was singing That's What Friends Are For. What had me by the gut was the realization that times were changing.

For nine years, when I woke up in the morning, I knew what to expect. I'd walk to school and spend the day with the same people I spent the day with everyday. There were no unknowns. My school was in my neighborhood -- a part of my world.

Things were simple.

But that was over now.

I wasn't a kid anymore and I knew it. Small classes were out and bigger classes were in. The hallways in high school would be longer and busier. Many of my friends would invest themselves in football and parties while my focuses were elsewhere. We'd make friends who had cars which opened up a whole new world of potential -- both good and bad. The bottom line was simple. Things were going to be much different.

And I wasn't sure how to feel about that.

While I was in school, K-4 was in one building and grades 5-8 were in a separate building up the road. In recent years, this school district where I attended has combined all grades into one larger and nicely-remodeled building. The original K-4 structure has stood empty ever since.

Abandoned.

This past weekend, I had the chance to go back inside the building where we all went for the first five of those nine years we shared. As I walked the halls and stepped into the classrooms, I was faced with the harsh reality that times do indeed change. And they change quickly.



I walked down this building's lone hallway and I remembered recess, class plays, and lunch time. I remembered Cub Scout meetings, basketball tournaments, and my teachers.

 

Among the moldy ruins of this building, I remembered.

There was the spot where I stood when my teacher made me cry after she called me out for stealing paper from her desk.


There was the spot where I put my Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox every day when I got to school.


There was the bathroom where I slammed my finger in the door so hard that the nail turned purple and fell off.


There was the classroom where, during a film, I held hands with a girl for the first time.


Everything was dirty and in shambles, but I remembered.

And I smiled.

Walking through this school may have been horrible for my lungs, but it was good for my heart.

Obviously I survived high school and while many of us from that small grade school went our separate directions and found ourselves in very different groups of friends, when we'd see each other in those large high school hallways, we'd still smile and say hello. We knew where we'd come from and to this day, I think each of us still has a special place in our hearts for those grade school years at the small feeder school on the edge of town.

A Letter From 1988 Tim

I spent this past weekend back in my hometown and rediscovered a 25-year-old treasure in the pantry at my dad's house.

Back in 1988, I had recently come back from a visit to my grandparents' house and stolen an idea from my cousin. Inside the old garage to the south of my grandparents' farmhouse, my cousin had written a letter and stashed it on a (somewhat) hidden ledge inside. The letter was a time capsule of sorts as it detailed his name and age as well as what he liked to do at that time. Heading home, I thought I should do something similar.

I wrote a letter and decided the best hiding spot would be the underside of a shelf in the pantry. You know, because anyone who is hunting for a fun treasure goes straight for the pantry. Twenty-five years later, I'm happy to say that the letter is still in its place.



In cursive complete with I's dotted with circles, the envelope suggests that the contents contain deep dark secrets from 1988: "Whoever is curious enough to open this envelope, please don't laugh at what you read because every sentence on these pages is the truth."

Well, not so much deep dark secrets as just a laundry list of things that I liked to do when I was almost twelve.

 

So what does a 1988 kid from the Midwest write to future generations?
Dear Whoever This May Concern, 
My name is Tim Lybarger, I am 11 and will be twelve on the 6th of next month. Today is June 19, 1988. I have lived here in this house for my twelve years in life and I don't know how many more years I will remain here. My family includes my father Robert, 42, mother Susan, 38, brother Matt, 15, and my cat Nacho, 8. I enjoy listening to music groups such as INXS, Run D.M.C., and the Monkees. This afternoon I went to the movies to see "BeetleJuice." My favorite sports are baseball and basketball which I play quite often with good friends of mine like Greg ____, 13, Brett ____, 11, Lucas ____, 10, and Chris ____, 15. My main hobby is collecting baseball cards. Today was game six in the NBA finals between the LA Lakers and the Detroit Pistons. They are tied up 3 games to 3. I'm writing this in pen in hope that this letter will be preserved for a longer period of time. Well that's really all I have to say. This letter may have been short, but thanks for listening. 
Sincerely, Tim Lybarger (June 1988)
You know what's crazy? I'm about nine months away from being the age my mom was when I wrote this letter.

Needless to say, the letter was immediately returned to its proper home inside the envelope glued under the shelf in the pantry. While the shed at my grandparents' house is long gone -- as I assume my cousin's letter is as well -- mine is still hidden for future generations to find.

Ranking the Run DMC Discography

Today marks 25 years since the release of Run DMC's album Tougher Than Leather. After a recent Run DMC-saturated conversation with Pax from Nerd Lunch and Matt from Schlock Treatment (who, by the way, is quickly becoming one of my favorite people on the internet...sorry Guy), it's time to rank all seven Run DMC albums from most ill to most wack (yeah, that's what I said).

Pax posted his rankings today in great detail. I will do mine in six words each.

1. Run DMC (self-titled)


Unparalleled and groundbreaking old school style.

2. Raising Hell


Introduced rap music to the masses.

3. Tougher Than Leather


Impressive rhymes mixed with some duds.

4. King of Rock


Sucker MCs should call me sire.

5. Down with the King


Bald heads replace derbies and blazers.

6. Back From Hell


Run DMC sucks at gangsta rap.

7. Crown Royal


A sad attempt to stay popular.

Tune in to an extra helping of Nerd Lunch coming soon where Matt and I join Pax in dissecting Tougher Than Leather and talking about the musical influence of Run DMC.

Mayor Goldie Wilson

I recently accepted a kind offer from FASTE friend Guy Hutchinson to join him for a conversation with actor Donald Fullilove -- best known as Back to the Future's Goldie Wilson.


Take a listen as we hear from Mr. Fullilove and then go on to discuss more nerdy details about the BTTF trilogy.

Baseball Cards at Pizza Works

Sometimes it's the smallest things that make me feel nostalgic. As we packed our house and moved this past summer, I came across several items I hadn't seen in a while...and a few I had no idea still existed. One such item was a postcard from 1986 that fell out of an old book.



When I was a kid, much of my world revolved around baseball cards. My brother and I each had pretty solid collections and traded often with each other and our friends in the neighborhood. Part of collecting was an occasional trip to a baseball card show where it was our duty to spend our allowance on cards we couldn't find in the wax packs at the local drug and grocery stores. Apparently I was on the mailing list for the main card dealer in our area and he graciously sent out postcards reminding us of upcoming shows.

Some of the main cards I remember picking up at card shows were the elusive Mark Grace rookie card, the Vince Coleman Fleer traded card, and a set of Jose Canseco cards. Occasionally I'd grab some O-Pee-Chee cards even though they were identical to the Topps cards -- but these were "imported" from Canada!


I once had the idea that I was going to sell a card to this guy -- a 1972 Hank Aaron Topps In Action card. Really, this card wasn't worth anything at all -- but I had it in my 10-year-old head that since it was Hank Aaron, it had to be worth a small fortune. I approached the card dealer at his table set up inside the sporting goods store at the mall and told him that I had a Hank Aaron card I was interested in selling. Somewhat intrigued, he asked to see the card and I'm quite certain his jaw physically hit the floor when I pulled it from a pocket inside my velcro Reebok wallet.

Needless to say, I did not make a sale that day but I did get a stern lesson from a grown man on the proper way to care for my cards. I don't remember for sure, but after his lecture, I'm guessing the card went right back into my wallet as I continued sifting through the endless boxes of cards.

Although not a lost art, true baseball card collecting and legitimate card shows are a thing of the past. Maybe they aren't extinct but they certainly aren't what they once were. Still, I have to smile when I see a table of cards at the local flea market. Even though I don't usually buy anything, I always stop and look.

Long live wax packs, endless rows of commons, and the smell of crunchy sticks of bubble gum!

The Summer of Tim: Over

Whoa. It's been a while. Trust me, though. I've not been slacking. Rather than go through every detail of the past several weeks since you've heard from me last, let me quickly summarize.

1. We moved.

2. I'm back at work.

There you have it, FASTE readers. Consider yourselves caught up and consider me back on the grid.

The Summer of Tim: Moving

When it comes to this blog, I've learned that I should avoid anything that requires a timeline. In the spring of 2012, I posted something random from my basement in a weekly feature I creatively called "Basement Junk." That lasted a couple of months. In January of this year, I tossed out the idea of FASTE become a daily blog with short and simple posts. That lasted a few days. Then at the beginning of this summer, I made plans to document each day of my summer in another creatively titled feature called "The Summer of Tim." I got almost two weeks into that one and was really enjoying it...and then real life got in the way when our house sold.

So all of that to say that I've not left you faithful FASTE readers high and dry. The Summer of Tim has indeed continued. It's just that it quickly went from flea markets and resale shops to mortgage lenders and packing boxes. Not really that interesting.

  

At this point, our move is just over a week away. The Summer of Tim will continue on the other side of the U-Haul.

A Colorforms Party Don't Stop

The product of 15 minutes, a scanner, and a box full of Colorforms...

At the Drive-In...

The Summer of Tim continues as my wife and I took our girls to the drive-in last night to see Monsters University. With the movie not even starting until two full hours after they're usually in bed, the girls were high on life as they devoured cotton candy and popcorn while neglecting the idea of a decent bedtime.

 

After a late night followed by a little extra sleep this morning, I sit here enjoying my fourth cup of coffee as I think about just how under-appreciated the drive-in theater really is. As my mind wanders even further, I recall some of my favorite drive-in moments...

...on TV and in movies.

Saved By the Bell - Driver's Education


Slater is about the get his driver's license and Zack can't help but think that he's lost Kelly for sure.

 

Full House - Five's a Crowd


With D.J. at the drive-in with a guy who has one thing on his mind, the guys head out to twart his plans.

 

ALF - Stop in the Name of Love


ALF shows up in the back seat when Lynn goes on a date with a guy who looks a little like Danny Wood from the New Kids on the Block.

 

Cheers - The Last Picture Show


Cliff, Norm, and Woody take in a movie as the local drive-in plans to close for good. Frazier stows away in the trunk.

 

Married...With Children - No Chicken, No Check


Bud and Kelly combine their funds and buy a car together before sharing it on a tense double-date at the drive-in.

 

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure


Pee-Wee proudly watches the feature film about his Adventures with those who helped inspire the story. Paging Mr. Herman...

 

One Crazy Summer


Hoops goes on a nervous date with Cookie while Teddy has vang shoo class.

 

All of this and more ran through my head last night as we all huddled under a blanket and watched the movie.


A late night. Some tired kids (and parents). A stomach ache compliments of too much junk food.

All completely worth it.

The Summer of Tim continues...

The Summer of Tim Continues!

I can't let it go. Although not in a structured day-by-day format, the Summer of Tim continues!

It's been almost two weeks since we sold our house and bought a new one which has incited the stress and chaos you can image that comes with packing and moving a family of five. My summer of relaxation and fun took a turn towards anxiety in a hurry. But fear not, FASTE readers, it's still summertime. So rather than day-by-day, let me catch you up topic-by-topic...

Moving!


For real. I'm gonna lose my mind stressing out over this move as we're closing on both our current and new houses on the same day. We've started packing a little bit which most people would take as an opportunity to weed out some unnecessary possessions. With a collection of well over a dozen different Cap'n Crunch boxes, it's pretty clear that everything I own is going with me. I just keep telling myself that two months from now we'll be in our new home and everything will be fine. It's just the time in between that's stressing me out. All in all, I'm pretty excited. Out with the old and in with the new.

Swimming!


Prior to several days of storms recently here in the Midwest, we were able to spend a few days enjoying the sun and water. My kids love the water whether it be the small plastic get-up in our back yard or the full-meal-deal at my in-law's place.

 

Mr. McFeely!


Much to my liking, my kids love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood -- the relatively new PBS program based on the characters from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Just like last year, we took the quick drive to Indy for "PBS Kids in the Park" where the hottest guest this year was Daniel Tiger himself. But let's not forget my favorite guest, Mr. McFeely...

 

2nd Place Press!


Speaking of Mister Rogers, check out these fantastic prints by 2nd Place Press. My set is on its way. Get yours while you still can (limited to only 20 and 25 of each print!).

 

Painted Office!


I painted my office at work last week. Took our youngest with me when I taped the walls and our oldest when I painted. Next week, our middle kiddo and I will head over to hang up some shelves and frames. Stay tuned for the final product.

Sweet Tea Vodka and Cap'n Crunch!


A glass of tea on a hot day with this stuff tossed in is perfect. Just perfect. And, yeah, I found a new Cap'n Crunch box.

 

The Local "Zoo"!


There's a small "zoo" (if you will) nearby with random animals for kids to stare at. We took our kids there a few days ago on a very hot afternoon. I forget that summer heat does not matter until you are around age fifteen. Until then, it's just fun fun fun. Needless to say, my kids were fired up to see ducks, llamas, and goats.

 

Hang Time!


After spending more time a few weeks ago than I'd care to admit watching City Guys on YouTube, I recently realized that all but a few episodes of Hang Time are also online for my free viewing pleasure. So, yeah. I've watched a lot of Hang Time lately and don't plan on slowing down any time soon.


Graffiti Rock!


It takes a lot to get me behind a Kickstarter project...but this one I could not back fast enough. As a lover of all things 80s and all things early-hip-hop, I urge you to join me in making this happen...


The Summer of Tim continues...