Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Well, that happened fast!  What started as a way to test my beginner HTML skills and share my love for lava lamps has grown into this fantastic community-driven resource.  Thank you!  I first published http://oozinggoo.com in early 1997.  The internet was a different place then.  We quickly became the top 3 search results for "lava lamp" on Google as well as Yahoo, Alta Vista, Magellan and others.  (Remember those?) 

The site started with the gallery.  I uploaded photos of my collection that was mostly obtained at thrift shops and flea markets around the Bay Area.  Then, to round out the Gallery, I began to dig around online searching for other vintage lamps.  It was an unknown world in a way because there was just no information online yet.  This was before Google image search of course, so it took hours to find anything new. 

On a whim, I thought there must be other people out there - other lava lamp lovers, others obsessed with these crazy lamps and so I taught myself how to host a message board dubbed the Forum.  It quickly became the place to be for about a dozen early Goo Heads.  It was a tight group that grew fast; there was a pent up need for a place to come together.  It did not come without feuds and controversy.  There is amazing community of lava collectors here and I really want to thank all of you that make OG what it is today.

Somewhere in those early days, I remember I had moved down to L.A. at this point, I bought a beautiful old Squiggle Aristocrat with bad lava.  And being the nerdy kind of guy that I am, I decided to fix it; remove the cloudiness, and get the lava flowing again.  Well, needless to say, this was much harder than I originally anticipated.  This led me down a long path that became the Formulae section of OG.  I found some obscure formulae on the interwebs (not easy at the time).  I remember scouring old bulletin boards for instance.  I tested the recipes and refined them a bit, edited the instructions and added photos of my process.  While searching ebay for vintage gold to add to my collection, to my shock and horror, there were people selling "How To Make Your Own Lava Lamp Instructions" which were verbatim copies of the OG Formulae section!

Being the top search result for lava lamps, I was constantly asked where to buy them.  This was before they were ubiquitous, before they were available at sites like Amazon and Target.  So, I called up Haggerty Enterprises and told them about OG.  (This is before they even had a website).  I said that I thought I could sell them online.  I think I heard a chuckle on the other end of the line.  I wanted to buy a few and see how they did.  They explained that the smallest order they would fulfill was a gross, 144 lamps.  At this point, I'm in grad school, struggling to get by on student loans.  I convince my wife that I wasn't crazy and that there was actually a demand and somehow we scraped enough cash together for that first load.  They sold fast!  One problem, I didn't own a car.  So every day on my way to UCLA, I would strap 6 to 10 lava lamps on the back of my Vespa and drop them off at UPS.  I really wish I had a photo of that set-up.  LL boxes piled high, curling up and over my back as I cruised down Santa Monica Boulevard!

I could tell stories on end that could bore you to death of OG and searching the back alleys for the holy grail of lava lamps, but I don't want to bore you.  20 years is a long time and my life has changed tremendously.  I'm still the inquisitive nerd, but I'm also a father, a husband, an architect, an entrepreneur and now a real estate developer.  Obviously my time is my scarcest resource.  You may not see me here as much, but I'm always peeking in (I can't believe I've become a lurker!) and enjoying everything going on.  OG would not be the wonderful community that it is without all of our wonderful members and moderators!  Thank you!  I have no intentions of shutting down Oozing Goo any time soon.  May the lava flow for 20 more years!

Keep flowing,

Mark Goo

P.S. The oldest version of the site on Way Back Machine is from 2000.  It's worth a look if you want a chuckle: https://web.archive.org/web/19991218035359/http://oozinggoo.com/

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 . . . . I would strap 6 to 10 lava lamps on the back of my Vespa . . .

Great stories!!  I love being a part of your community and plan to be here for the long haul.  Thank you for all you do!!

Congratulations Mark!

Happy Birthday to Goo, Happy Birthday to Goo, Happy Birthday Dear Goo, Happy Birthday to Goo, and many more......

Excellent 20 year writeup, Mark! That waybackmachine site image screams 90-00's internet, love it! Took on quite the task, juggling that many lamps on two wheels, haha. I have also met a lot of great friends here as well, OG allows us all to share in the love for the lamp. Thank you for creating this excellent forum to host the illumination nation!

I second that emotion! I've been a contributor here since '08, shortly after the new look and community forum was set up. I think I first viewed OG in about 99/2000 when my friend Paul 'Flock' would come to my place to use this newish internet thingy, dial-up an' all. We would not post but just look at the lovely lava pics. Who remembers Martina's gallery! It must have been this long ago because the recognised inventor E.C. Walker was still alive. I always remember when Paul told me he had died (it was in 2000).

This is a great site and community for like minded souls. Thanks for bringing us together. Happy 20th Oozing Goo. Long may it continue. J

Here's to the next 20 years... Cheers Mark.

I'll let you in on a secret that I have never shared before.  Martina Goo was my cat.  And if you remember Paul Goo and May Goo, those guys were my other cat and my dog, respectively.  I wanted to start with the "syndicate" thing - to have a community right from the get go, so I recruited my pets. Ha!

Modulo '70 said:

Who remembers Martina's gallery! It must have been this long ago because the recognised inventor E.C. Walker was still alive.

Thank you!  It was truly something to see.  My Vespa had a tail light that stuck out and I could rest/ balance a lava lamp box sideways across it, then I could just keep stacking them up. As it got higher, the stack got wider to where it was two boxes wide.  It could all come crashing down if I didn't get my tie-downs in place quickly enough.  I ran two of these straps from underneath the rear fender up and over the pile of boxes.  In my hey day, the top of the pile was higher than my helmet.  My wife thought I was going to die.  I can't for the life of me figure out why I never photographed it.  It was before camera phones and I probably was just too busy to deal with film!

Keith said:

 . . . . I would strap 6 to 10 lava lamps on the back of my Vespa . . .

Great stories!!

wow its been that long already? dam we are getting old Mark! hahah It's been a pleasure being a member for those 20 years and appreciate everything you've contributed and done to keep this site going for this long. May we see this site last another 20 years!

Thanks for that, Mark! I had no idea. Great story about selling lamps on-line back in the day. I remember visiting this site back in the late 90's but never actually registered until 2009. Thanks again for keeping it going through the years!

Thanks for sharing your story, Mark.  For this relative newbie, it's fun to hear about your experiences with the crazy hobby that we are all smitten.  Congratulations on a remarkable milestone!

Oh, and I've looked at Martina's gallery several times wondering whatever happened to her?

Well, she died.  But she lived a long happy cat life. 

MG

Kirk said:

Thanks for sharing your story, Mark.  For this relative newbie, it's fun to hear about your experiences with the crazy hobby that we are all smitten.  Congratulations on a remarkable milestone!

Oh, and I've looked at Martina's gallery several times wondering whatever happened to her?

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