Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Dear Fluffy"

Find: Journal
Circa: 1993
Age: 9

On the first day of the 3rd grade, our perm donning southern dialected teacher, Mrs. Sumner, introduced us to the class mascot, "Fluffy" the dog. Draped lifelessly over a chalkboard, the cheaply named plush pup slouched as a non-threatening, non-authoritarian mediator between we, the students, and Mrs. Sumner, the teacher. The plan was brilliant. If I were a 3rd grade teacher, you bet your sweet ass I'd be using a stuffed animal or whatever else I could as a time-buying scapegoat.

Mrs. Sumner had the right idea.

As I recall, we were to start each day with a writing exercise given to us by "Fluffy." Depending on the day, the yellowing, dust accumulating dog would paw out prompts--some problem solving, some free writes, some lesson regurgitation--and we were duped in to doggy style correspondence. All the while, Mrs. Sumner sat in peace and quiet, presumably flipping through a catalog of other clever plush distractions.

This entry is from what I assume to be the first day back at school, when Fluffy and I were just getting reacquainted with one another. (We had the same teacher and stuffed confidant for both 3rd and 4th Grade).

In case the text in the image isn't clear enough, I've transcribed it below.

Dear Fluffy,

On vacation I went to Galveston. We drove. On the way there was a bakery in Corsicana. The beach was crummy. We went fishing for crabs. We caught 1 crab. We took a ferry to another Island. We went to another beach. It was better. I caught lots of hermit crabs there. I got a pet hermit crab. My rabbit died. So did Aaron's rats.


[Mrs. Sumner/Fluffy's notes]: Sorry about your rabbit! What did you do with the crabs?*

Apparently, as indicated by the last few sentences, I wanted to assert that I wasn't too good at keeping animals alive, let alone corresponding with them.

Oh, Fluffy, how out of touch and distant we've become. If you're reading this, let me know what you've been up to, what muppets you may have dated, and whether or not Ubu ever learned to sit.

Note*: The kids these days!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the mighty mixtape.

Find: Audio Tapes and Cases
Circa: 1996-1997ish
Age: 11-13ish

my great-aunt (i don't really like that phrase, so moving forward i'll refer to her as my 'grand-aunt' as it follows the same logic as grandparent and is shorter than saying 'my grandmother's sister) recently bequeathed to me her old technics stereo setup. comprised of a tape deck, a (currently non-operational) turntable, a receiver, and 2 swank-particle board+wood grain paneled speakers, the dusty rig stands out in our ultra-modern (we steal wireless internet), chic (we have driven past several furniture stores) flat (apartment) as a monument to nostalgia.

since i can't seem to get the turntable to work just yet, i've been digging around in boxes, old backpacks, and even (my) old tapedecks to see how reel i kept it back in the day. this little doozie worked as a bittersweet 2 for 1. at first, i thought i had stumbled upon a 6th grade/Junior High landmine, filled with alternative music shrapnel. the highly inefficient ALL CAPS handwriting that i spent years perfecting whet my whistle for the punk/pop/angst sensibility of Green Day and the grungy rebellion of Nirvana. The Cranberries, STP, Pearl Jam, and The Flaming Lips sealed the deal.

In case you can't read the print, the list reads:
SHE (Green Day)
DEAD SOULS (Nine Inch Nails - The Crow Soundtrack)
BIG EMPTY (Stone Temple Pilots)
ZOMBIE (The Cranberries)
SHE DON'T USE JELLY (The Flaming Lips)

my whistle was whet, and i was ready for an angsty collective anthem from my youth, but i opened the Memorex case only to find what i believe to be the first tape i ever bought. a slightly scratched and partially unwound copy of Tag Team's Whoomp! (There It Is) stared back at me as i audibly muttered, "Jesus."

thoughts of mc hammer pants, buzz cuts with lightning bolts, neon green, and generally the color magenta flashed before my eyes. "i'm pretty sure i'm dying right now, am i going to hip-hop hell?" i thought to myself. i mean, much respect to the fellows from the legendary, grammy winning group, "Tag Team" for the always tricky onomatopoeic hook, but i just wouldn't want to spend eternity wondering (1) What objects, mostly, probably human, could make the sound "Whoomp!" and (2) There what is?!?!?

seeking an answer to question 2, i flipped the tape over, hoping that there would be a key, only to find, what? you might ask. the exact same material that was on side A, of course. i shit you not. "Side 1: 1. Whoomp! (There it Is) - 2. Instrumental Version" "Side 2: 1. Whoomp! (There it Is) - 2. Instrumental Version" it's almost some passive-aggressive insult to print the same material on sides 1&2. i would have preferred side 2 to have said "It's a single, dumbass! We're Garbage Musicians! What do you expect from us?" that would have at least been honest.

alas, i didn't get my grunge fix from my grand aunt's tapedeck, but she certainly gave me an important apparatus for nostalgia navigation.

thanks aunt tomie.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Vince, do you have any old football gear?"

Find: Video Footage
Circa: 2003
Age: 19 (crossing place apartments, austin, texas)

this was painful.

on some sunny saturday afternoon during our sophomore year, studying seemed silly. seeing as how we had no salary to spend or splurge on spur of the moment shindigs, we settled for stupidity.

watch this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


a few years ago i got drunk and apparently created a few t-shirt designs for sale on the interwebs. i completely forgot about these bad boys until recently. check 'em out.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Saturday, January 26, 2008


feeling philanthropic, i went to my parents' house today to bag up a few things to take to the local goodwill. it's cold outside and i hear mossimo shirts make prime kindling material for the down-trodden. as i rummaged through the closet of my youth, looking for flammable conversational t-shirts, i stumbled across this gem.

it's an old notebook (circa 1989-1990) full of garbage drawings and spelling monstrosities. i know what you're saying. "take it easy on yourself. you were only in kindergarten!" while this is true, some of these are just hard to stomach. only after researching (googling) extensively (for 5 minutes), did i come to accept these atrocities as normal childhood behavior. apparently, a large portion of early literacy is dedicated to writing with the elegance and style of a wino. enjoy.

Before anybody starts hurling accusations of concept thievery, I would like to note that this post is, no doubt inspired by this site:

"I (no apostrophe) M RIDG ON A DOKE."
Not only is this not a "doke," it's not even a donkey.
It's not even a camel.
A more accurate description of what's going on here would read,
"I'm writhing on top of a brontokidneybillyraycyrasaurus."

I seem to have been conflating a few things here. I drew Batman, but I was apparently stressing out over Science, Bathmats, and formally addressing female authority figures.

"hI!" "MI RBN"
Thankfully I've grown out of typecasting superhero sidekicks as Spanish speaking, toupee wearing dwarfs with hands growing from their crotches.
* Also note that "RBN" thinks about what he's saying with thought bubbles before committing to word balloons.

"MY HAS AS ON FUR(no exclamation mark)"
Luckily our has never caught on fur, as I would have surely perished.
*Please note that I am holding the smug-faced Sun responsible for our tragedy.

"I M L(backards "L")+VG MY IESCYN."
What? Can't a man L_IVG his IESCYN in public?
*The placement of the icecream cone forshadowed a wishful thought that I still have to this day.

Again, before anybody starts hurling accusations of concept thievery, I would like to note that this post is, no doubt inspired by this site:

Sunday, January 13, 2008


this photo (circa 1997), was taken in the courtyard of dan f. long jr. high...
where levels of teenage angst were as high as some of us claimed to have gotten.

we weren't quite hippies because we littered the streets with jolly rancher wrappers.
we weren't quite rappers because 8 mile hadn't come out yet.
we weren't quite punks because some of us bathed.
we weren't quite skaters because most of us "fruit-booted."
we weren't quite goths because hot topic hadn't opened yet.

we did, however...
smoke whatever cigarettes we could get from that kid who stole from his parents.
"gank" yin-yang necklaces and nudy playing cards from spencer gifts.
shop for non-conformist clothing at gadzooks and fast forward.
wear pants so big tha they could have easily been turned into 2 pairs of normal sized pants (or 5 pairs of shorts)... jncos inc. is responsible for the great denim depletion of the '90s.
eat at mall food courts and lament about "preps."
headbang and mosh to the grungy sounds of
nirvana, green day, nine inch nails (NIbackwardsN, if you will) marilyn manson, foo fighters, bush, silverchair, the flaming lips, the cranberries, the smashing pumpkins, pearl jam, and everything else on 94.5, the edge.

we were bangers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

mistaken identity.

this is an AIM conversation (circa 2004)

i thought i was having a typical conversation with my friend, ashley.

tolentinoed (7:52:12 PM): bring yo ass to dallas this weekend.*
tolentinoed (7:52:18 PM): so we can have sex*
ASHLEY1 (7:53:52 PM): mmmm, okay...
tolentinoed(7:54:07 PM): awesome!!!!
tolentinoed(7:54:15 PM): what are you up to?
ASHLEY1 (7:54:49 PM): I was just sending an email to my daughter......*
ASHLEY1 (7:55:02 PM): should I give her your message?
tolentinoed(7:55:30 PM): jesus christ...well isn't my face red
ASHLEY1 (7:56:19 PM): just never know who is on the other end, do ya?
tolentinoed(7:56:31 PM): i guess not.
tolentinoed(7:56:45 PM): well i guess i'll be letting you go
tolentinoed(7:57:04 PM): sorry about the mix up
ASHLEY1 (7:57:11 PM): It's a good thing that I am a nice mom and have a sense of humor....
ASHLEY1 (7:57:17 PM): not a problem
ASHLEY1 (7:57:45 PM): I'll let my "baby girl" know that you were asking about her.....
tolentinoed(7:57:48 PM): yeah...this is kind of awkward...but this is andrew tolentino
tolentinoed(7:57:53 PM): haha
ASHLEY1 (7:58:05 PM): yeah, I know...
tolentinoed(7:58:12 PM): i went to homecoming with your daughter junior year of high school
ASHLEY1 (7:58:27 PM): I know who you are and really it is okay...
tolentinoed(7:58:49 PM): ok...i just didn't want you to think that i was a coward...or an asshole
tolentinoed (7:59:20 PM): and thanks for making this situation more funny than tragic
ASHLEY1 (7:59:43 PM): not at all...I actually get a lot of IM's for her because she leaves her screen up on my comp., but I usually close it....
ASHLEY1 (7:59:57 PM): but not tonight....he he
tolentinoed(8:00:17 PM): haha...well i'll take note of that then
tolentinoed (8:00:21 PM): take care
ASHLEY1 (8:00:26 PM): you too

i was, of course, was wrong.

let's break down a few excerpts...

  • tolentinoed (7:52:12 PM): bring yo ass to dallas this weekend.*
    *The Use of "yo": when i'm feeling frisky, i occasionally speak with a blackccent.
  • tolentinoed (7:52:18 PM): so we can have sex*
    *Time observation: it only took me 6 seconds to try and optimize an otherwise friendly request.

  • ASHLEY1 (7:54:49 PM): I was just sending an email to my daughter......
    *The Use of Ellipsis: i should have used this as an opportunity to destroy my computer and run away.

Dear Ashley's Mom,
thank you for being cool and not hunting me down like a dog.

Dear Ashley,
what's your mom's screen name?

the screen names have been changed to protect privacy,
but the actual content has not been touched.