Me and Molly used to sit in my room with my Realistic record player and a cheap 2 dollar microphone and sing into it so that we could hear ourselves on the tinny single speaker. We would then record ourselves from a boombox I had. We would do radio shows and game shows, introducing our friend Shannon or her little brother Corey as the next contestant.

I took that radio places with me, to the houses of the few friends I had growing up. Documenting the idle talk of kids, then playing it back, noting how my own voice sounded different than the one I heard from the amplifier of my own head. It never sounds like me.

Blank tapes used to be solid black with turquoise highlighted labels. Nowadays they're clear or blue tinted and shiny, space age. That's if you even make mix tapes anymore. Boomboxes used to come with a built in microphone, little three slit grid next to the buttons for Play and Record.

I still make mix tapes; I love doing it It's relaxing for me. I wonder if I would say the same for MP3's. Maybe I am just old fashioned. I wish they still had those mics. I wonder what kids do for fun these days.

I had one of those boomboxes with an internal mic. It was on the most useful and versatile electronic things I've ever owned.

When my band, Missing Neutrinos came over--they always came over to my place--we would jam and record. My more experienced friends knew that working on a piece, interesting and cool stuff would come up--and be lost unless recorded. Sometimes the knowledge we were being recorded gave a kick to it.

We got so much stuff; I have cassettes still.

It's unfortunate we didn't have a better catalogue system. We did so much good stuff, as well as so much drek, I'm kinda glad the band didn't continue longer--I'd be drowning under Neutrino music.

Later, I used it to play my old Yamaha keyboard through my old 386. I thought it was so strange to plug a boombox--or any speakers, really--into my computer. (My 'new' Compaq, of course, came with speakers.)

Soon, however, the motor for the casettes on the record side died. I was so surprised when I went to radioshack and discovered they didn't come with internal mics anymore--good move for them; bad move for us.

I sure had fun with my old boombox!

I too wasted weeks of my childhood with my dad's old tape recorder or later his ghetto blaster shouting the most creative thoughts my mind could muster into the little slits of the mic - I even had a TV station (without pictures) called DWEEB TV which spanned a dozen cheap dollar store tapes.

Steering away from GTKY territory, there are still ways to experience those heady days of babbling into a microphone and cringing at your voice as everyone else knows it.

The first of these is that faithful minidisc. Never really catching on, it has a following of obsessive fans (like me) who maintain it is a viable, more frugal substitute for expensive MP3 players. You can do virtually everything with a little minidisc walkman that you can with a tape recorder. Plug it into something with phono cables and record music from a hi-fi or radio; or plug in a microphone and record live. Granted, kids today probably won't hanker after them in the same way we children of the 70s and 80s did for tapes, but the potential is there if you want to relive your childhood.

The other lovely means is the camera phone. All you need is a modern cellular phone (waves Nokia 6230 tauntingly) and you can hit a button to record virtually unlimited amounts of audio by simply pointing the phone at what you're trying to record. Where these phones take fun into realms we couldn't have dreamt of as kids is with their photo and video capabilities. Never mind the still pictures, recording full-motion colour video with sound on a whim is truly the evolution of sitting in your spare room recording the world and playing it back in fascination.

Go out and document whatever takes your fancy - just like when you were a kid. Be creative. Don't worry if it bores you now, in the future you'll treasure every last snippet you save now.

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