Personal Vault

I’ve been posting stuff on the Internet for longer than I’d care to admit. Every few years I have a small breakdown and dramatically switch to another publishing tool or platform, often killing the past in true Kylo Ren fashion.

As of this writing, I’m pretty happy with my streamlined “only Twitter, Instagram and Medium” online presence [August 2020 Update: Now this site and a few other places], but for anyone interested in wandering down memory lane, I thought I’d point you in the right direction(s)…

Tumblr (2009–2017) [August 2020 Update: This has been cleaned up and reborn]

Blogger (2000–2009) [February 2021 Update: While I’ve permanently retired most of these posts, I’ve now republished a few highlights in the archives]

Screenshots From Prehistoric Times (‘90s-Early ’00s):

Favorite Sitcom Title Sequences

Inspired by the sheer majesty of Too Many Cooks, I’ve compiled this list of some favorite sitcom title sequences. Ride the lightning, folks…

Small Wonder

Gimme a Break!

Mr. Belvedere

Punky Brewster (Obviously)

ALF

Diff’rent Strokes

Perfect Strangers

Charles in Charge

Head of the Class

The Charmings

Parallel Parks

Having grown up near Gurnee, Illinois, Great America has always held a special place in my heart. I have fuzzy childhood memories of visiting the park during the Marriott days, I grew up as part of a season pass-holding family (once the Six Flags era began) and I even worked there for a summer during high school.

After taking a remote job at a Silicon Valley-based company years ago, I was perplexed when I saw signs on the 101 freeway promoting what looked like a California theme park also called Great America. This could not stand, man.

I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat, which led me to the following discovery:

“In 1976, the Marriott Corporation opened two Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA parks. The two parks represented the state of the art in theme park design and attractions at that time. First to open was Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA in Santa Clara, California. Shortly after the Santa Clara park began operations, Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee, Illinois celebrated its grand opening. A third park in the Washington, DC metropolitan area was also to have opened in 1976. Local opposition, however, at two proposed sites prevented the third park from becoming a reality.”

Woah. Twin parks. Even more interesting was the fact that one Great America park (in Illinois) ended up selling to Six Flags, while the other (in California) changed hands a few times, eventually landing in the hands of Cedar Fair Entertainment (which also now controls Knott’s Berry Farm). It’s the theme park equivalent of long-separated brothers that reunite years later and discover that while they have the same nose, one became a doctor and one became a pro surfer. I have yet to visit California’s Great America, but when I do, I suspect it may trigger an uncanny valley reaction and drive me to madness. Time will tell!

I think it’s extremely cool that people around my age can have shared memories of regional attractions like the Demon, the Whizzer, the Columbia Carousel and the Sky Whirl, despite having grown up thousands of miles apart. There are big cultural differences between the Midwest and the Bay Area, but we remain bonded in shared Marriott history. It’s theme park feelgoodery, folks.

Interested in learning more? This is an amazing resource.