This past weekend, I had to go to Marketplace Mall to pick up my free prize for pre-ordering the new “Legend of Zelda” game — “The Wind Waker.” My free prize was a disc with “Ocarina of Time” for the GameCube on it.

Getting free things is nice. See, “Wind Waker” doesn’t come out for over a month, and I’m impatient. Even though I ordered it in December, my immense desire to have my way has done nothing to alter the release date of the game. That’s why Nintendo was very thoughtful, and gave me a different game to play to tide me over. In fact, they gave me a game and a half — the bonus disc comes with a previously unreleased “remix” of “Ocarina” called “Master Quest.”

There were two other very important parts of that trip off-campus. First, while I was out that day, I went to Target, and picked up 18 new pairs of socks. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had crappy socks. They’ve always had holes in the toe, or were all worn out in the heel, and generally, I hated them.

I realized, “Hey, what the hell am I doing wearing crappy socks, when I could just get rid of all my old run down socks and get brand new socks?”

New socks feel good. I enjoy new socks. If I could afford to purchase new socks every day, I think I would. It’s like I’m wearing pillows on my feet. And when my feet feel good, it seems like my whole life is better.The second important part of the trip was the dollar store. First off, as hard as this is to believe, everything at the store costs a dollar. As obvious as that may seem to the average person, it astonished me, because, well, I’m used to things costing what I like to call “more than a dollar.”

I contemplated purchasing a 4-in-1 barbeque tool. It was a spatula/meat-tenderizer/bottle-opener/knife. I don’t barbeque often, or in fact, ever, but it was only a dollar, and who knows when I’m going to need to open bottles while I’m in the midst of tenderizing meat and flipping burgers?

I was all set to purchase this wonder of modern grill technology, when I walked down the toy isle. If I were about 10 years younger, I would have tried to move in there. There were so many toys that I am too old to consider cool. Like those toy laser-guns that make four different noises in the same order.

I also saw what was being labeled as “Marine Toy Set.” It contained a toy pistol and what appeared to be a plastic Palm Pilot. Maybe it was for Marine businessmen or something.

I was determined not to leave without some toy, because, I reasoned, something in the whole store had to be worth a dollar. I was about to leave with the spatula-thing, when I spotted what was simply labeled “Zoom Copter.”

The basic design is a helicopter that can be attached to a handle and ripcord. When you yank the ripcord, the propeller spins, and the helicopter takes off. First off, let me warn you all, those propellers spin fast, and just because you aren’t a four-year-old child doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt by what I have come to call “the spinning blades of death.”

I would like to say that I have gotten hours of enjoyment from the toy by directly disregarding the warning labels. I used it indoors, and let’s just say that in a contest between the wall and a one dollar toy helicopter, my money is not on the helicopter. Luckily, I still have “Zelda” to occupy my time — at least until I get back to the dollar store.

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