T-Shirt Time Capsule

Back in the 90s I had to go about furnishing a small apartment that was all mine, no roommates. I needed a coffee table and, for whatever reason, ended up using a metal trunk for the purpose. It had so many drinks spilled on it and got gooped up with so many candle wax drippings. Fast-forward to today, where (until two weeks ago) it served as a bedside table. It was covered in mostly-immovable things like a table lamp, multiple alarm clocks, charging stands, and so on, meaning it was difficult to open. When moving up the coast from Orange County to Portland, I’d stuffed it with t-shirts and things, then forgot about it. I replaced the trunk-bedside-table with a proper, and more accessible, bedside table a couple of weekends ago, which gave me the opportunity to sort through the contents of the trunk.

The coffee-table turned bedside-table trunk, with all its stains and imperfections.

The t-shirts in the trunk could be sorted into some broad categories: hacking, Betty Page, shows, and work. I was very much into the “hacktivism” of the 90s. Let’s start with the hacking.

The (partial?) collection of hacker shirts.

Through a friend organizing and encouraging me to go, I wound up at the second Defcon (lower-left shirt). The other ones I think are out of order: 3, 5, and 4. I guess I don’t have others (or if I do, they’re in another box), but I do have badges from Defcon 2 up to 13. That might be fodder for a different post. The hacker print magazines at the time were 2600 (which is still going strong) and Mondo 2K (which is hilarious, looking back at it). The other four are assorted nondescript hacktivism-type shirts.

Betty Page and some anime chicks that I don’t know where they’re from.

The next category would be “Betty Page and anime.” An alternate category title might be “shirts that make me cringe today and which I wouldn’t be caught wearing.” These cringey shirts went off to Ridwell for textile recycling.

A trip of NIN shirts

Nine Inch Nails, from the Broken and Downward Spiral tour era.

Penn and Teller shirts.

Next up are some Penn and Teller shirts. I remember at one of these shows, Weird Al was in the audience. At intermission he was politely and embarrassedly signing autographs.

They Might Be Giants: Apollo 18 and… something after Apollo 18.

Shirts from former jobs.

This is where my opsec reveals some osint. While working through college, I ended up at Virtual World (an early multiplayer VR arcade), getting fired from there (for hacking the games), and at Virgin Interactive Entertainment. Shirts and hats. I’m pretty certain I have more Virgin shirts in a box in the back of the closet.

Saying farewell to the trunk

I no longer have a use for the stained and rusty trunk. It’s lived a good life, and I felt this t-shirt time capsule was a fun distraction. But it was way past time to move on to adult furniture.

(Addendum: Christine snagged it from the curb and plans to use it to store costuming.)

Nostalgic Magazines

Two recent events have pushed me to revisit media — specifically, magazines — from my past.

News broke on Twitter that Mad Magazine is shutting down after 67 years.

I don’t think I ever owned a copy of Mad. I don’t know that my parents would have even let me. But I loved it when my friends had a copy. I saw it at school, I saw it out camping with Scouts. It was constantly in the background, and became a treat when brought to the fore.

My favorite parts were definitely the fold-in covers and Spy vs. Spy. The fold-ins absolutely blew my mind. I’d seen many optical illusions at that age, but never ones intentionally crafted to tell a story or reveal a punchline. Spy vs. Spy was just a more modern Tom & Jerry. Honestly, I remember the 1984 PC video game more than I remember details of the comic strip, but I remember loving it.

In chatting with a friend about hacker culture and how a young modern-day hacker might go about meeting others and making a name for themself, I took a little trip down memory road to 2600 magazine.

Back in the early 90s, I dipped my toe in hacker culture by regularly showing up at a local 2600 meetup. In the back of the magazine, they published (and still do) cities around the world that have local meetups for readers. These monthly events opened my eyes to a whole other side of computers, radio, and electronics.

I even wrote at least one article for the magazine, way back when. It described how to drop down to a DOS prompt in an old pen-based PDA: the Tandy Zoomer, which later morphed into the Palm Pilot. Yep, that probably dates me. I feel like I must have written a few more, but have no memory of what it could have been about.

I assumed 2600 went out of business and stopped publishing, but was surprised to learn they still exist. I ended up ordering a collection of recent back-issues and kicked off a new subscription.

2600 may have appeared on your radar even more recently. They published a list of our government’s concentration camps: http://concentrationcamps.us