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Thread: Cold Spots

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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Default Cold Spots

    Cold Spots
    By “Pantechnicon”

    Believers in paranormal phenomena such as ghosts assert the existence of something they refer to as a “cold spot”. This is an area of a room or a house in which the air will feel significantly cooler than that in the surrounding area. Believers in the paranormal theorize that these cold spots mark either the location where someone died, or that these cold spots are the perceivable manifestation of actual ghosts. And incredibly, I experience these bizarre sensations all the time...in K-Mart.

    It’s not every K-Mart, mind you. I only feel the cold spots in the older stores; ones that were built before 1980. There are still quite a few around, usually free-standing locations in older or poorer neighborhoods. Sometimes they’re part of a dilapidated strip mall whose other tenants have long since departed. Sometimes they’re not even K-Marts anymore, but only the shells of old stores which have been converted into large indoor flea markets or car dealerships. It doesn’t matter whether it’s still a K-Mart or not because I can still feel the cold spot.

    The cold spots I feel are not the vestige of dead persons. Instead they mark the spots where I can remember that K-Mart would always place the kiosks for the videogame consoles of the early 1980’s. In particular I remember the Atari 2600 kiosk very well. It was a wide behemoth with a large white sign and several glass-doored drawers used for both display and storage of boxed cartridges. There would usually be a mid-sized color television set up in the middle. In front of this television would be mounted a 4-switch woodgrain 2600. Instead of regular controllers there was a pair of arcade-style joystick and paddle controllers mounted into the front panel.

    I remember all of this vividly because I spent a great deal of my free time in the summer of 1982 in the local K-Mart playing games on this kiosk. I had my own Atari at home, but during the summer left it largely untouched in favor of K-Mart’s kiosk. Why would I ignore my own Atari in favor of K-Mart’s? There are many reasons. The K-Mart kiosk had more games than I did. I believe it had 25 games attached to the kiosk, compared to my runty personal collection of only 5 cartridges. The kiosk used a color television, whereas at home I was required to keep my Atari attached to a tiny black-and-white set. K-Mart had air-conditioning and my house did not. Lastly, my mother encouraged me to not sit around the house all day during the summer playing Atari. I should, she said, go out and ride my bike to get some exercise. So I would ride my bike approximately one mile to K-Mart, play Atari for a while, and ride back home. I agree that this was lame. But at least in deference to Mom, I wasn’t sitting around the house (in fact, to play at the K-Mart kiosk, I had to stand for three or four hours at a time. It wasn’t exactly comfortable).

    Obviously I do not believe that there is a supernatural cause for my feeling the kiosk cold spots. The phenomenon is easily explainable. Given how much time I spent in one particular K-Mart, on one particular spot and performing one particular activity, it should not be surprising that I still feel a mental pull towards the location from which the Atari kiosk has sadly long since vanished. Furthermore, since retail stores like K-Mart tend to be built and arranged with a strong sense of conformity to one another, it should not seem like such a stretch that this sensation is invoked whenever I walk into any K-Mart that was built with the same general dimensions and layout. I have felt the cold spot not just in the K-Mart in my hometown, but in stores across the country. If my wife happens to be with me in a K-Mart, she wonders why I always seem inclined to wander off. If she knew the truth she’d think I was insane: “I’m just looking for the Atari kiosk, honey. I’ll play one round of Adventure then I’ll catch back up with you.”

    I wonder if the young people I see these days in the Targets, Wal-Marts, Gamestops etc., all elbowing each other around the X-Box 360 or Nintendo DS kiosks will one day feel the same sense of emptiness I do when the kiosks representing their favorite machines are sent off to the landfill?
    Last edited by Pantechnicon; 03-24-2008 at 05:09 PM.

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    Apple (Level 5) 8-bitNesMan's Avatar
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    (Cue eerie theme music):

    You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

    Good read man! Keep 'em comin!
    "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk... Have at you!"

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    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8-bitNesMan View Post
    Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
    Or perhaps just Jonathan Frakes in "Beyond Belief"

    Interesting read indeed!

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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Along with the thermal telemetry we have photographic evidence of the ghost in question:


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    Keeper of the Terror Mask Dire 51's Avatar
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    Great read! I never got to see one of those kiosks when I was growing up... and god knows my parents went to K-Mart enough... but after seeing that pic, I really wish I had.

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    Apple (Level 5) MrRoboto19XX's Avatar
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    Nice story, I like how it includes a brief refrence to your situation in your other story.

    Im thinking said phenomenon should be on the discovery channel, then loaned out to G4, so they'd have something intresting on there.
    Welcome to Macintosh.


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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Bumped. Whittled it down considerably to fit on one page at 10pt.

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    Pear (Level 6) PentiumMMX's Avatar
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    I get the same feeling whenever I go to an old-style Toys 'R' Us (Where's the N64?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantechnicon View Post
    Bumped. Whittled it down considerably to fit on one page at 10pt.
    I like this version better. If you are trying to cut down more space I would cut paragraph 2 (assume readers know what K-Mart is), whittle down paragraph 3 slightly and add it to the end of paragraph 1. Something like:

    "Believers in paranormal phenomena such as ghosts assert the existence of something they refer to as a “cold spot”. This is an area of a room or a house in which the air will feel significantly cooler than that in the surrounding area. Believers in the paranormal theorize that these cold spots mark either the location where someone died, or that these cold spots are the perceivable manifestation of actual ghosts. And incredibly, I have experienced this bizarre sensation before -- in K-Mart."

    Something like that. I like adding a hook at the end of the opening paragraph so the reader is like, wtf? Did he just say K-Mart?

    Either way, terrific story!

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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. It works a lot better that way and I thought the K-Mart setup part was still kind of awkward as it was.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Sweet story! I have a somewhat related "feeling" when I walk into the old K-Mart on the south side of my home town. It's not that I "feel" something, but I "smell" something. There used to be an "eatery" at the back of the store, right next to the electronics and appliance department. There was always a distinct scent of a mixture of food-like gravy, beef, dinner rolls and a hint of grease. It's been gone for years but every so often when I stop in I swear I can smell that food.

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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    It's not that I "feel" something, but I "smell" something. There used to be an "eatery" at the back of the store, right next to the electronics and appliance department.
    I remember those too! A little enclosed sit-down area with booths an honest-to-God lunch counter in the middle of the back of the store. Yeah, that's a throwback if ever there was one.

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    Flawless Rawkality Flack's Avatar
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    Did you ever have a "cookie card"? Our local grocery store gave kids little plastic cookie cards. If you presented a cookie card at the bakery, you got a free cookie. That same grocery store had an eatery like you were describing, with lunch tables and whatnot.

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    Apple (Level 5) 8-bitNesMan's Avatar
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    The K-Mart in my hometown had a Little Caesar's inside it. I LOVED their pizza! Maybe it's nostalgia but today's Caesar's pizza doesn't taste nearly as good to me. Anyone remember that commercial from the 90's with the two kids with X-ray glasses and the hot chick? "There's a lot of pepperoni on that bread!" Ahh, the good old days
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    Crono (Level 14) Pantechnicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flack View Post
    Did you ever have a "cookie card"? Our local grocery store gave kids little plastic cookie cards. If you presented a cookie card at the bakery, you got a free cookie. That same grocery store had an eatery like you were describing, with lunch tables and whatnot.
    No cookie card for me. I guess I didn't live in a part of the country sufficiently civilized for such things as free cookies for kids.

    The one item of Kmart food that I'm most nostalgic for are these chopped ham sandwiches they used to sell back when they had a deli that was placed near the front of the store. They were made of thin-sliced ham, shredded lettuce and a tiny bit of mustard all on a plain white hamburger bun. In retrospect they probably weren't very nutritious but they still tasted good. You could buy a bag of four for something like $1.50. When I lived in Florida there was a Kmart just a couple of blocks from the beach so I'd always grab a bag of these sandwiches prior to heading out onto the sand and split them between myself and the seagulls.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantechnicon View Post
    No cookie card for me. I guess I didn't live in a part of the country sufficiently civilized for such things as free cookies for kids.
    I did get the cookie card either, heck never HEARD of it. We just had the eatery, which was surrounded by dark wood and orange tinted plastic windows. Best part of that place was the fresh dinner rolls and the fact you could mix your own soda, which I did often once I could reach the dispenser.


    The one item of Kmart food that I'm most nostalgic for are these chopped ham sandwiches they used to sell back when they had a deli that was placed near the front of the store. They were made of thin-sliced ham, shredded lettuce and a tiny bit of mustard all on a plain white hamburger bun. In retrospect they probably weren't very nutritious but they still tasted good. You could buy a bag of four for something like $1.50. When I lived in Florida there was a Kmart just a couple of blocks from the beach so I'd always grab a bag of these sandwiches prior to heading out onto the sand and split them between myself and the seagulls.
    Oh yeah, I remember those! The deli at my local store was also in front, with the arcade games next to it. The sandwich bags were always in a cooler right in front so you could grab 'em, pay at the counter, and go. Down side for me was one time my mom picked up a bag there so we could snack on something. I ate my sandwich, which was the first time I had ever encountered mustard. On the way home I felt this odd burning sensation in the back of my mouth that no amount of soda could wash down. Soon my meal came back up, all over the floor on my mom's Pontiac.

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    Alex (Level 15) boatofcar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    I did get the cookie card either, heck never HEARD of it. We just had the eatery, which was surrounded by dark wood and orange tinted plastic windows.
    I remember those windows...they always looked somewhat foreboding to me... Most KMarts I've been to still have an eatery, just updated all in Red.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    I did the exact same thing as a kid. That kiosk would only let you play for 2 minutes or so which forced you to try different games. When I used to do this it was way before Pac-Man or anything, so it was the initial games only. I played mostly Canyon Bomber and Adventure, so when I found out about the secret 'dot' room I tried to do it. Unfortunately, the kiosk didn't allow you to press 'game select' so I never did find it.

    I've also noticed that all K-Mart stores smell exactly the same. I grew up in NE Ohio, but they smell the same in Georgia as well. Must be a standardized cleaning solution or else all the stuff comes from one warehouse that smells like that.

    They also had a kiosk with the TI99/4A, so I'd play Munchman and TI Invaders sometimes instead of the Atari. There was a Radio Shack in that plaza also, but CoCo games sucked.
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    Late to the party DigitalSpace's Avatar
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    We didn't have a cookie card thing at any of the local K-Marts around here when I was a kid, but I had one for Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons. They were all paper cards, though.
    Last edited by DigitalSpace; 06-03-2007 at 05:54 PM.

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    Apple (Level 5) RPG_Fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiumMMX View Post
    I get the same feeling whenever I go to an old-style Toys 'R' Us (Where's the N64?)
    I get the same feeling when i go into an old Toys 'R' Us remembering in the SNES/Genesis days when you had to take the game ticket up to the counter to buy a game.

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