THIRTY

intro

My name is Robert James Algeo. I turned 15 in April of 1997 and I'm turning 30 this month, April 2012.

To celebrate the big Three-Oh, I've decided that every day this month I'll post a different thought about the second half of my life so far.

This list will not and should not apply to everyone who has already turned 30 or anyone who will turn 30 in the future. But, hopefully, it will serve as a cool and funny list about some fucked up shit that's happened.

Also, there might be notes, so if you see something like this: (1), click on it (2).

01

When I was 15, IBM's Deep Blue computer defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov (3).

Now I'm 30 and I beat the shit out of my MacBook in chess all the time.

02

Batman & Robin came out in 1997. I paid to see it in a theater.

Now, imagine you travel back in time and find a despondent, 15-year-old version of me wandering around the Coventry Mall Food Court, mere moments after having seen the movie.

Next, imagine you say to me, "Hey, dude, don't sweat it. By the time you turn 30, you're actually going to be super psyched about a new Batman movie."

After that, you'd have to imagine me saying, "You're out of your fucking mind," because that's what I would have said, before taking a long, condescending sip of an ice-cold Surge Citrus Soda (4).

03

When I was 15, O.J. Simpson was a free man and Aung San Suu Kyi was a prisoner.

Now I'm 30 and I'm glad to see that shit has finally gotten sorted out.

04

When I was 15, my family only had one TV with cable. My sisters would always fight me for prime-time remote control. I always wanted to watch The X-Files and they always wanted to watch whatever lame bullshit was on ABC or NBC or CBS or whatever.

My parents would try to stop the fights with a vote. But! Of course I would always lose, 2 to 1. So, I ended up watching like, 6 seasons of X-Files in my room on a shitty little 12" with rabbit ears.

Now I'm 30, I own my own 42" HDTV, the entire X-Files Series DVD Box Set and it's streaming on Netfilx and Hulu. I can watch The X-Files literally anywhere, anytime. It's fucking awesome (5).

05

When I was 15, my favorite song to play on guitar was, "I Hate Myself and Want To Die," by Nirvana, a song that came out when I was 11 (6).

Now I'm 30 and my favorite song to play on guitar is, "TV Movie," by Pulp, a song that came out when I was 15 (7).

I'm pretty sure the 15-year-old me would think the 30-year-old was a total, "pussy," for liking such a, "queer," song. His words, not mine.

06

When I was 15, Steve Jobs was not the CEO of Apple Computer, Inc.

Now I'm 30 and Steve Jobs is not the CEO of Apple Inc.

07

When I was 15, I loved the movie Robocop. The movie is about all sorts of wicked, messed up stuff that happens when Detroit, MI, privatizes it's government functions, specifically its police force.

Now I'm 30 and there is a law in Michigan that allows governors to revoke local election results and instal an emergency manager of their choosing if certain financial prerequisites are met. There is nothing in the law that prevents corporate employees being appointed and then award government contracts to their employer.

So, if a part of Michigan isn't making enough money, the governor can put whoever her or she wants in charge. Just like what happened in fucking Robocop, (8).

08

When I was 15, Michael Jordan delivered a game-winning performance as point guard for the Chicago Bulls during what would become known as "The Flu Game" (9).

Despite having a high fever and severe stomach pain brought on by a virus or food poisoning, Jordan scored 38 points in one game, including a 3 pointer that gave the Bulls the lead with only 25 seconds left to play. The Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz 90 - 88, and would go on to win the championship two days later, 4 games to 2.

Now I'm 30, Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcats, and the only thing that makes him sick during games are their horrible turnovers (10).

09

When I was 15, my favorite movie was Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a movie that came out when I was 11.

Now I'm 30, and my favorive movie is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a movie that came out when I was 11.

10

When I was 15, my favorite comic was Preacher, a comic that ran from 1995 until 2000. It's an awesome, bad ass, touching, Hard R, hilarious and brutally direct comic by an Irish dude and an English dude that's all about a hard-drinking preacher, his babe of a hit-woman girlfriend and their vampire buddying traveling all across America, kicking ass and cursing pretty much the entire time (11).

Now I'm 30, and my favorite comic book is All-Star Superman, a comic that ran from 2005 to 2008. It's an all-ages Superman comic with no dirty words, (12).

I'm hopeful that me loving such tame comic means that comics have gotten better in the last 15 years, but I'm also worried that it means I've gotten softer.

11

When I was 15, dudes who were famous for killing Floridian minorities would go into hiding, (13).

Now I'm 30, and dudes who are famous for killing Floridian minorities still go into hiding, but now they also set up websites asking for your money and your personal information, (14).

12

When I was 15, my family got its first cordless phone. It had two antennas and number keys on the base and on the reserver. It took an hour or two to figure out how to hang it from the wall in our kitchen. We couldn't use the phone if someone was online, but it was so powerful, (900 MHz!), that if no one was logging onto AltaVista, we could literally talk on the phone all the way from our backyard!

Now I'm 30 and I have a 4G cellular phone that only has four buttons. I can use it to talk or to surf the web. And, even though my phone's manufacturer and service provider can track where it is at all times, every time someone calls me, they have to ask me where I am. I don't think the answer has even been, "In my parent's backyard."

13

When I was 15, the closest I'd gotten to a girl was a couple of slow dances with a very nice 16-year-old who I didn't really like that much. I was playing wingman at a dance in the next school district over. A good friend of mine really wanted to take his crush to this dance, but she wouldn't go unless her dateless friend found someone to go with her as well. My friend had an awesome time, but it was super awkward for me and totally bummed me out, (15).

Now I'm 30, and since then I've gotten to at least second base in sixteen of the fifty United States and eight other countries spread across two continents.

14

When I was 15, the movie Titanic was released. My mom and my sisters went to see it. They loved it so much that they wanted to see it again. They loved it so much that they actually thought I would like it and asked me to go with them. They loved it so much that they wanted to share it, blind to the fact that it was not a good movie, but rather, a creepy, overwrought, maudlin snoozefest.

Mind you, I was 15 and Titanic is that rarest of films that has boobs and a PG-13 rating, but it still put me to sleep. Fortunatly, I moved out of the country about a month before it was released on VHS, (16).

Now I'm 30, and Titanic is still in movie theaters.

15

When I was 15, my dad was really upset that Allen Ginsberg had died just a few weeks before. For a few months afterwards, my dad would come home from work and wander around the house claiming that he could remember and recite Ginsberg's Howl in its entirety. He usually got a few lines in before he had to consult the copy of the poem that he was keeping in his briefcase.

Now I'm 30, and whenever I go home, it's usually only a matter a time until my dad starts singing "Guilty As Charged" by Dewy Cox.

Personally, I greatly prefer Cox to Ginsberg.

16

When I was 15, my sisters would explode into a blind rage when they discovered that I had finished all the snacks in the house, (17). Though they were both younger than me, their combined anger could be terrifying.

Now I'm 30 and my wife gets mad at me for exactly the same reason. Her singular hanger is fearsome all on its own.

17

When I was 15, I lived and breathed The Simpsons. It was all that I cared about. It was not just the best t.v. show of all time, it was the Best. Thing. Ever. I had Simpsons t-shirts, comics, action figures, reference books, VHS box sets! I would judge my peers' worthiness as friends not based simply on their behavior, but also their ability to talk about and understand all the references to The Simpsons that I would make during casual conversation. I suspect that to this day, I have at least 138 episodes completely memorized, taking up valuable life-skill space in my brain.

Now I'm 30, and as much as it pains me to admit this, over the years, The Simpsons has gotten so weak that there are now more episodes that I haven't seen than there are that I have seen. This bums me out to no end.

18

When I was 15, Bill Clinton was the President of the United States. He was often criticized for his tendency to apologize. By the time I was 15, things he'd apologized for included the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, American inaction during Rwandan genocide and America having benefited from the slave trade, (18).

Now I'm 30 and Barack Obama is the President of the Untied States. He is often criticized for his tendency to apologize. By the time I've turned 30, things he's apologized for have included illegal rendition, enhanced interrogation, unlawful search and seizure, book burning and American soldiers posing for pictures with mutilated and dead bodies.

It's nice to see that over the last 15 years American Presidents haven't run out of things to apologize for.

19

Dig Me Out by Sleater-Kinney and Tubthumper by Chumbawamba both came out the year I turned 15.

Now I'm 30 and I have never had the pleasure of hearing a Sleater-Kinney song on the radio. I do, however, still hear DJ's play that piece-of-shit "Tubthumping" four or five times a year.

20

When I was 15, I played in a few rock bands from my hometown. Whenever we would play a show, I would always be introduced as Bob The Straight Edge Guy, because I didn't drink or use drugs. It was super annoying, because even though I didn't partake, I didn't identify that way. Every show, without fail, I'd get cornered by some Deadhead trying to advocate on weed's behalf. It also bugged me, because, to be frank, mid-90's, small town PA straight edge kids were just the worst.

Now I'm 30, and not counting contact, I still haven't gotten high. And I think that we can agree that a contat high isn't really that damn high.

21

The year that I turned 15, researchers at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland announced the birth of a sheep named Dolly. She was the first mammal to be successfully cloned from the nucleus of an adult cell. President Clinton quickly moved to ban federal funds from being used to support research in human cloning, (19).

Now I'm 30, and Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival just a few weeks ago, despite the fact that he was shot to death in Las Vegas in 15 years ago, (20).

22

When I was 15, the movie The Wedding Singer was released. It was a period piece set during the long-ago era of 1985. Almost everyone I knew at the time went to see it when it came out, (21).

Now I'm 30, and, well, two things. First off, we are now further away in time from the release of The Wedding Singer than its release date was from the year it takes place in, (22). Which is tough, because that movie made the mid-80's seem like ancient history at the time. Second, what the hell happened to Adam Sandler? His movies used to be awesome and people couldn't wait for a new one. Now I don't know a single person who actually wants to see anything he makes.

23

When I was 15, Web MD was still a brand new website. I didn't know anyone who actually visited the site back then, but if they did, they were probably using Netscape Navigator to get there.

Now I'm 30 and I don't think a week goes by where someone doesn't tell me about how they logged onto Web MD, and now they are nervous that their headache means they have cancer, or that their dry skin means that they have cancer, or that their weight gain means that they have cancer, or that their weight loss means that they have cancer, or that the hard lump on their testicle means that they have cancer. I don't know about you, but I find all of this constant web-enabled self-diagnosis super fucking annoying, (23).

24

When I was 15, sports teams played in stadiums with real names like Veterans Stadium or Lambeau Field or The Spectrum and played in games called The Citrus Bowl and the Peach Bowl.

Now I'm 30, and sports teams play in stadiums with naming rights like Gillette Stadium or Petco Park or Lincoln Financial Field and play in games called the Capital One Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

25

The year I turned 15, the FCC rolled out The V-Chip and the TV Parental Guidelines System. They were meant to work in conjunction with one another to give parents more control over what content their families could watch on television. Most people at the time thought that this was actually a pretty good idea. However, there was concern that a rating system would lead to even more violent and sexualized content on t.v., since the ratings effectively allow any content to be aired as long as it is labeled properly.

Now I'm 30, and Game of Thrones, a series that contains graphic depictions of sex, murder, war, theft, rape, incest, torture, homosexuality, dragons, magic, infanticide and attempted regicide airs during primetime. It is rated TV-MA and wins Emmys.

26

When I was 15, I discovered The Smiths. And, to be honest, I didn't really like their music at first. But I sure as shit liked Morrissey's hair. At the time I was in the habit of rocking some sort of gross untamed mane, but The Moz's coiffure inspired me to clean it up a bit, (24). For the next 6-8 years, every haircut I got was pretty much some version of that haircut. I'd say it was a pretty solid look.

Now I'm 30 and I still look to the styles of the stars for inspiration. Unfortunately, since I have considerably less hair than I used to, I'd say that Jack Torrance from The Shining is about the coolest look I could pull off.

27

When I was 15, the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in London, England, (25). Everyone thought it was just the best.

Now I'm 30 and almost all of my friends and family think I'm a total dick because I've never read one page of the Harry Potter books and I only liked one of the Harry Potter movies, (26).

28

When I was 15, I made most of my money by babysitting for families in my neighborhood. It was a fun way to make a few bucks and most of the kids I sat for were nice, but they always thought it was fun to find ways to bug, trick, annoy and torture me.

Now I'm 30 and I make most of my money as an adjunct for various art schools in my neighborhood. Sometimes it feels a lot like all that babysitting did, but with more grading.

29

When I was 15, I would stay up late almost every night drawing comic book characters. I would sit by my window and draw until I fell asleep. At the time, there was a cooler, older girl in the neighborhood who had her driver's license and I would often see her drive by my house when I was drawing. I don't think we'd ever talked, but one day, out of the blue, she asked me what I was always doing up that late. Even though I had nothing to be embarrassed about, her question mortified me in a way that only a teenage boy can feel when a hot chick asks him about something he didn't even know she noticed. I told her the truth, which certainly didn't make me feel any cooler, (27).

Now I'm 30 and I'm married to a much hotter chick who always comes in to give me a kiss goodnight, no matter how late I stay up drawing.

30

According to The Terminator, 1997, (the year I turned 15), is the most epic year ever.

According to I Am Legend, 2012, (the year I turn 30), is the most epic year ever.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see about that...

notes
  1. []Uh, right...First note. The original working title for this project was 30 Bobservations. I still reserve the right to use that name for the project of my choosing...
  2. []Also, it should be noted that development of this site is a work in progress. I'm trying out a few CSS/HTML5 type things to try to get this site looking as good as it can in as many different forms as possible. So! If you want to poke around in the code and offer some feedback or if you're looking at it on some phone or device that I haven't tested against and it looks shitty, please feel free to let me know.
  3. []I was totally into this epic struggle of man vs. machine back in the day. Whether or not it will actually go down in history as the moment when computers began their ascent towards becoming our overlords, we did get one of the all time best SNL Cold Opens out of the deal.
  4. []I know a lot of Batman fans have actually started to like Batman & Robin in recent years, like it's campy and fun or something like that…And let me tell you that those people are idiots. That movie is a stone cold turd. It was so bad that its badness was contagious. That movie made Smashing Pumpkins suck. And this is the mid-90's we're talking about. Smashing Pumpkins practically are the mid-90's, and this movie was so powerfully bad that it destroyed them.
  5. []There is, however, one big drag about the whole X-Files on the HDTV situation. Since X-Files was made in the early 90's, the final episodes for air, though shot on film, were edited directly on video. Which means there is no HD version of The X-Files, (well, for the first handful of seasons anyway). Unless the studio that puts out the Blu-ray version wanted to spend a ton of time and money to rescan and reedit the footage, a BD X-Files would still be video/DVD quality. Which sorta sucks. But, to be honest, since I could never get good reception in my room when I was first watching it, any version of The X-Files that doesn't look like a complete techno frost blizzard is fine by me.
  6. []Tabs for "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" by Nirvana.
  7. []Chords for "TV Movie" by Pulp.
  8. []I'm only sort of joking. For further reading:
  9. []I have vivid memories of watching this game on t.v. at the time. To this day, it's the only sports game I've ever re-watched in its entirety. It was just that awesome. Here's a link to a brief recap.
  10. [] Seriously, Jordan's reaction is priceless.
  11. []My Preacher drawing is based on Glenn Fabry's cover for Preacher #18. It might not be the most famous Preacher cover, but I think it's one of the best. Which is saying a lot, since Fabry's covers for that series rank among some of the greatest comic book covers of all time. I will admit that The Zippo Cover might not be the most representational image of the series, but that is always the image that comes to mind when I think of Preacher.
  12. []My Superman drawing is based on this image, by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant. Just one of the hundreds of great images in All-Star Superman.
  13. []Andrew Cunanan's killing spree started on my actual birthday in 1997 and in the city where I now live at 30...Weird, huh? Here's the Wikipedia article about the whole thing.
  14. []Kill a kid, go into hiding and then start a website that asks for visitor's names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails!? Say what you will about George Zimmerman, but he is most certainly not a man lacking a deep-founded sense of irony. For now, you can see his site here, though as of this writing, I suspect at some point it will be taken down.
  15. []Even though I had a bad time, I would do it all over again, because years later, my friend ended up marrying the girl he took to that dance. They now have two beautiful kids and I was honored when they asked me to be godfather to their children. Which I guess means I'm pretty much the best wingman ever.
  16. []This move led directly to several of the events described in Observation 13.
  17. []Back then, fruit snacks, popsicles and things like that usually came with six in a pack, (though to be honest, the fights over italian ice were always the worst). While my sisters always thought that we should divide them evenly between us so that we would all get two, I would always argue that age mattered. My math worked like this: Oldest gets three, middle gets two and youngest gets one. Needless to say, that equation very rarely flew with my sisters. And, admittedly, I would often just eat four or five anyway.
  18. []Clinton's most famous apology didn't happen until I was 16.
  19. []This ban on federal funds is often wrongly described as a federal ban on human cloning, but this is actually not the case. All that Clinton's ban does is prevent federal tax revenue from being used to directly support research in human cloning. There is no actual federal legislation banning human cloning in the United States. States can elect to ban cloning within their borders, but only 13 have do so. So, if you do want to create an inhuman army of genetic abominations, chances are you'll just have to move one state over.
  20. []Feel free to watch birth of dying industry's newest cash grab here.
  21. []I think The Wedding Singer is super underrated. I think it is not only the best Adam Sandler movie, but also the best romantic comedy of all time.
  22. []Of course, I do defer to any Back To The Future fans in the audience, since they've been feeling a similar time-creep since 2005.
  23. []The second image in the observation is based on Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Howard Hughes in the movie The Aviator. This is also the second time I used a drawing of DiCaprio in this project, which is a little creepy, since, as far as I can tell, I don't really like his movies that much…He does have a super intense website, though.
  24. []Though, to be fair, Morrissey used to be a long haired teen himself. Via.
  25. []Of course, any Americans reading this probably think that the first Harry Potter book is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Which just proves Scholastic's point that Americans are idiots. If they weren't why would they have had to change a perfectly good book title?
  26. []That one would, of course, be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's the only decent flick of the bunch.
  27. []After I told her I was up drawing comic books characters, she replied, "Oh, I thought you were playing on the compter all night." I never found out if she thought the truth was worse than her imagination.