Saturday, March 12, 2016

facebook friends vs. real life friends, a messy rambling

DISCLAIMER: this is a stream-of-consciousness rambling that may or may not make sense, but it makes my point in some way. i only went back and made spelling corrections. good luck making sense of it all! (this disclaimer was added after the fact)

i have recently been going through some facebook breakups with some people. not real life breakups (in most cases), just facebook breakups. some silently, some vocally, and some i am sure i don't even know about. in every case, it was because of political disagreements. this lead me to do a lot of thinking. i'll start with a little background.

i live in the same town i was born and grew up in. been here my whole life, with the exception of a year or two as a toddler in virginia. so, i have been here coming up on 39 years. because of this, i have many, many people i have met and befriended along the way that i still keep in touch with. and when i say i keep in touch with them, i mean i see their facebook posts occasionally, like most of us do. and every once in a while, i have the opportunity to see one or more of those friends in person, sometimes by chance at target or northwoods mall, sometimes by making plans to have dinner with them or whatever. i enjoy these planned/chance meetings. it allows me to reminisce with people i once shared part of my life with. i am a nostalgic person after all.

when i first joined facebook many years ago, it was a place to find old friends and family members that i hadn't seen or talked to in a long time. i started sending friend requests to all of my friends, friends of friends i had met before, or even just acquaintances. sometimes i sent requests to people that i remembered their names, but didn't recognize their faces 20 years later, so i had to look them up in old yearbooks to try to place them. it was kinda fun. i got rid of my address/phone book because i had a new and improved way to get in touch with people i knew. it was great. then, as time went on, facebook kind of changed for me. i am not saying it changed for better or for worse, but it did change. i have a theory, and maybe it is a fact, i don't really know, but i think it had to facebook's algorithm for what shows up in my feed. the more i "shared" things, "liked" and commented on certain posts, etc, items of similar topics began appearing with more frequency in my feed. the people that i interacted the most with were appearing more often. and i guess that makes sense.

i started paying attention to things that were happening in our country and the world. i started to get much more involved in politics and the political process. i have never been that interested in all of that. my wife would want to watch debates, or a state of the union address, or something similar and i would groan, and begrudgingly sit through it. i just wanted to live in my own little bubble. then one day something changed. i attribute it to us have kids, specifically two daughters. the older they got, the more i started paying attention to what was happening in US and local politics. i started voting. i started researching candidates. but i still did not arm myself with the knowledge to have an informed debate with anybody. all of that changed with events leading up to and including the US presidential election cycle. i became heavily involved in learning everything i could about gun control, planned parenthood, women's rights, LGBT rights... i knew my own thoughts and beliefs on all of these things, but i wanted to be informed to handle the undeniable fact that some of my "facebook friends" would try to debate these issues with me. i used to avoid these debates, and refrain from posting anything that might ruffle some feathers from a select group of people. as the days goes by, though, i have realized that i am censoring myself by not standing up for these beliefs.

all of this leads me to the main point of writing this. there are different categories of friends on facebook, some of which i outlined earlier, and will do so again here:

  • real life friends/family - people i have met in real life that i consider friends (includes old and current people i currently call friends)
  • social media friends - people i have met through some form of social media that have found their way to my facebook friends list
  • acquaintances - people i briefly knew, friends of friends, etc
  • work friends - people i have worked with at some point, and maybe see in the office occasionally
  • random people - people that have sent friend requests and have a few mutuals in common

so, i have been doing some heavy thinking recently. i started thinking about those friends that have "unfriended" me on facebook because of our differing political views, in the hopes that we can salvage our real life friendships. when politics are involved, as people with differing political views post politically charged information, it builds a frustration or irritation with each other. whether we choose to discuss it or just let it build up depends on the person, but either way, it affects how we feel about a person. and eventually, you just agree to disagree and move on with life, or you have a verbal knock-down drag-out. all of this has caused me to evaluate that there are differences between real life friends and facebook friends. meaning, just because i am real life friends with someone, i am also totally ok with not being friends with them on facebook. we behave differently in real life than we do on the internet. the things we post online are not typically directed at a single person, but a lot of times, especially with political beliefs, people take it personally. in real life, i would not personally attack a friend about his or her political views. and when i post things on facebook, it is not to intentionally attack friends' own beliefs. it is just to get things off my chest. and sometimes i get carried away, we all do.

as an adult, it seems so damn silly that facebook has such a hold on our lives. but the fact of the matter is it has become how the majority of people communicate with the world. all of this rambling brings me to this point. if you don't like or agree with anything i post, feel free to speak up. if you are getting tired of seeing my posts, well tough. i don't tell you what and how often you can post, and i won't tolerate being told the same. i will not censor myself just because people do not agree with me. if you want to salvage our real life friendship, and seeing my facebook posts is making that hard for you, please do me a solid and "unfriend" me on facebook. and that is absolutely not to be taken negatively. i will not be upset. in fact, i will respect you for it. facebook (for me) has become a place where i can express my opinions (politically or otherwise), have good and respectful conversation/debates with like-minded and different minded people, have easy access to news/articles/funny shit. it is not a place that i intend to get into silly arguments with people. it is not a place where i will allow people to tell me what i can and can't post. it is not a place where i intend to lose real life friends, although there will most definitely be some casualties along the way. that's life.

but it most certainly is not a place where i will stop telling people to not vote for donald trump.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

one reason why walmart is the skidmark on the underwear of the earth

it has been a long time since i wrote on my blog. an incredibly long time. do people even blog anymore? is it even called blogging anymore? i don't know. but i had an experience today that prompted me to track down the old bookmark to my blog and get a little something off my chest.

let me start off by saying i made a conscious effort about 6-8 (maybe more) years ago to stop shopping at walmart. there are many reasons why i made this decision, but the main reason was their horrid customer service. just horrid. all the time. everytime. so when a friend and co-worker emailed me today asking if i knew where the walmart on dorchester road was, and if it was close to my house, i was hesitant to tell him it was right around the corner from my house until i knew more of why he was asking. long story short (well, this part of the story), he was planning on buying four 5-shelf bookcases on, and the closest walmart with those bookcases in stock was the one near my house. since he lives on the other side of town, he asked me if i could stop by and pick them up for him. no sweat! even though i loathed the idea of going into that store, i know he would do the same for me any day of the week. what are friends for, right? plus, how painful could it be? he placed the order, put my name down as the person making the pickup, and forwarded me the email.

on the way home, i stopped off at this walmart, my 9 year old daughter in tow, to make the pickup. the first thing i noticed when we walked into the first set of doors was the "greeter" who promptly said absolutely nothing and avoided eye contact like that was her job, instead of saying " welcome to walmart!" or "hey, what's up?" or "good afternoon!" or "hi." or "welcome to hell." (this last one was what i imagined she would say had she said anything, based on the look on her face). but hey, we all have bad days. she was wearing a huge walking cast and they had her standing up greeting customers all day for god's sake. i don't blame her. but still.

as we made our way to the back of the store where the " service desk" is located, i took out my phone to pull up the email that my friend had forwarded to me earlier so it would be ready to go. as we approached the desk, there were no employees in sight. fair enough. there were no customers either. i waited there with my daughter for 5 minutes or so before someone popped their head out of the back room. she seemed surprised, then realized she had not logged back in yet from her break, so she went back in the back room again for another few minutes. when she came back out, she signed into the register, asked me for my receipt and ID, and looked up the order. here is a good place to say that i go by my middle name, Layne. my ID has my first name, middle initial, last name. she first says that the order is under Lynn Harvey (that's how she pronounced it), and the name on the ID is different. i told her i go by my middle name, Layne, and that is what the 'L' middle inital stood for. this was baffling her but i hung in there.

i explained that i was there picking up a few shelves for a friend that purchased the items online, and that my name was specified as the pickup person on the email that she was looking at on my phone screen. she said my address did not match. i told her i was not the person that made the purchase. we went through this a few more ways and times before she went in the back room to locate the shelves.

realizing they were heavy, she came back out, said they were very heavy, and that she was going to get a "MAAAN" to get them - that's how she said it. she disappeared for another 10 minutes or so. meanwhile, another customer had lined up behind me. as we stood there at the empty desk, no fewer than 10 employees walked by, trying their best to ignore us. now, i know i had already been helped, but they didn't know that, and the guy behind me was getting more and more irritated as each minute passed.

the lady finally returned with a young gentleman pushing a shopping cart. as they were walking to the back room to retrieve the shelves, he spotted a large wheeled cart. he set the shopping cart aside and headed for the larger cart. the lady told him, while we stood there in ear shot, to not use the bigger cart unless he wanted to push the shelves to the front of the store for us. he grabbed the shopping cart again and disappeared into the back room.

while he was back there, the lady was struggling to find out the series of key strokes necessary to print a receipt for me (that i would undoubtedly have to show the aforementioned "greeter" as i walked out to make sure i wasn't stealing something). she couldn't figure out how to print a receipt for all of the items, so she printed a receipt for one of the shelves and handed it to me without a word:

when the gentleman came back out with the shelves they were tossed into the cart, one on the bottom rack of the cart. now, these boxes are about 4 feet long and weigh about 50 pounds a piece, and each one had the "team lift" logo on them:, the fact that nobody offered to help me get these to the front of the store at the least had me a little miffed, but i'm an easy-going (if not slightly sarcastic) sort, so i rolled with it, literally, to the front of the store, in the shopping cart, with 200+ pounds of MDF... in a shopping cart. instead of a readily available cart made and designed for carrying/transporting heavy objects with the greatest of ease. 

as we walked toward the exit, i readied my incomplete receipt and braced myself for a 20 minute conversation trying to explain why i had four bookcases in my cart and only one bookcase on the receipt. but then, the darndest thing happened. the "greeter" didn't say a word, avoided eye contact at all costs, and just simply looked like she would rather be dead.

when i got to the car with my daughter, i struggled with getting the shelves into my car, and vowed i was going to call the store manager to make a verbal complaint. i didn't want anything out of it except  to get it off my chest. i mean, i haven't shopped there in years and don't plan on shopping there in the future, so you know... i got everything loaded in and spent the car ride home explaining to my daughter why i was going to call to complain, and about my frustrating history with walmart, and why i stopped shopping there in the first place. 

as soon as i arrived home, i came in and called the number on the receipt (the store's direct number). the store operator answered, i asked to speak to the store manager, and she said she would try to get one of the managers on duty and see if they would pick up. really?! i waited in dead silence on hold for nearly 22 minutes (no hold music, nobody cutting back into the call to let me know someone would be with me soon). just an occasional chk! sound to make me think i was being disconnected every few minutes. because i had to pee, i hung up and called back a few minutes later, waiting an additional 15 minutes the second time. i finally gave up and decided to write this blog post.

so walmart, you can suck it, as you have sucked it for so many years. you are back off of my radar where you belong, and i couldn't feel happier as a human being to be able to say that. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

"urgh!" - a short story - by layne harvey

one day (today) i woke up and got ready for work. as i was leaving the house, i realized i forgot to take the trash out, so i went into the garage to put the dogs in the kennel so i could bring the trashcan through from the backyard. apparently, the doggy door cover was put on at some point the day prior (yesterday). i remember closing the back garage door (it was open for some reason - we typically leave it closed) at some point the previous afternoon (yesterday), not realizing the cover was on, i guess. when i went in there on this fine day (today), i noticed a few piles of semi-runny dog crap. i noticed the doggy door cover was on, apologized to the dogs, removed the cover so they could go out, then got some paper towels and 409 and cleaned it up.

while i was cleaning that up, i glanced over and saw a few puddles of whizz a few feet away, so i cleaned those up. then, around the corner of a metal stool/chair painting project, i saw a pile of vomit, so i cleaned that up. i threw the bag of nasty in the trashcan, went inside to put the paper towels and 409 away, washed my hands, then went back out to take the trash to the road.

as i opened the garage door and started taking the trash to the road, i saw some more runny piles of dog crap around the corner between the garage door and some dressers that we have stored in the garage. so i went back in to get the paper towels and 409 and cleaned that up. i threw the bag in the trashcan.

i took the trashcan to the road, then went back up to get some cardboard to set out for the recycling dudes to pick up. as i was walking back up to the garage, i saw another pile of vomit right in the front corner of the garage. because the garage floor is a bit un-level in a few places, some of the putrid liquid from the vomit had separated and oozed behind a mirror that is leaning up against the wall, which is blocked in by several other pieces of furniture. i cleaned up as much of that as i could, then disposed of that in the trashcan by the road.

sweaty and disheveled, i washed my hands, then drove to work, where everything was also crazy and broken.

the end.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

palmetto 200 - team 'yu do then i do' rules!

wow... where can i start? this weekend, i had the privilege to meet, team up with, and become friends with 10 amazing people as we joined forces to conquer the palmetto 200, a grueling 200 mile race that begins in cayce, sc (outside of columbia) and ends at folly beach, sc. you're thinking things like, 'that's just crazy!' or 'why would anyone want to do that to themselves???' well, i'm going to tell you a tale of 11 people that fought like hell to conquer this crazy race.

most of us met at brent's apartment on folly beach at around 7:00 pm thursday evening. after some idle chit-chat, we began packing up the two vans (one actually being a suburban, but i am calling it van #1 from now on, because that is what it was supposed to be). with superior packing skills, we accomplished our first goal in a few short minutes. my wife, anna, and my two daughters accompanied me to provide moral support and send us off (i love my girls!). after piling in, we waved our goodbyes and hit the road, me, jeanette, michael, and felicia in van #1, and jay, elizabeth, kalan, brent, and nate in van #2 (the sweet minivan with the limo-style interior running lights) - classy!

we hit our first obstacle when jeanette turned down the music a mere 20 minutes into the trip to make the announcement that she was feeling ill. not our team captain! i have known jeanette since middle school, and knew that she must be feeling awful to let this stand in her way. she worked so hard to get this thing going! after van #1 stopped a few times between west ashley and ridgeville, jeanette and felicia made plans for jeanette's brother to come pick her up and take her home. a terrible way to begin! what would we do without our driving force? we notified van #2 of the setback, then pushed onward with me at the wheel.

we arrived at the clarion in columbia at about 11:30 pm or so and got checked in, then all of the team members met in one room to discuss our options. kevin and a few of the others had reworked the race schedule with 10 runners, since it looked like jeanette was out of commission back in charleston. after going over the changes, we all agreed, then went to our respective rooms, said our good nights, and got roughly 4 hours of sleep.

michael, andy, and i were bunkmates this first night, and we awoke the following morning at 4:15 to get quick showers and mentally prepare. we all met at the vans at around 5am to pack up and head to the historic columbia speedway, the starting line for the race. with the runner changes, i moved to van #2 with jay, nate, kevin, and elizabeth. we arrived at the speedway at 5:30 am sharp, and stood around sleepily for a bit before heading to the starting line with michael, our first runner. after some excitement among all of the teams that were starting, the runners (adorned in headlamps and loads of blinky lights) were off, first going around the speedway for one lap, then exiting to the road. the beginning of a journey to remember for a lifetime!

the rest of us all looked at each other blankly for a moment, then van#1 headed off to the first exchange zone, while van #2's occupants headed back to the hotel to get a bit more sleep and/or breakfast. i chose sleep. we headed out a little later that morning to meet van #1 at exchange zone 6, where jay took the bracelet from andy, ending van #1's first set of legs. they did an amazing job. we were running right on schedule, and everyone looked like they were still in good shape. van#1 went off to find rest and food. van #2 began their first set of legs.

jay had a difficult 8 mile run that consisted of a tree-lined highway and what the course map defined as a 'significant uphill at 4.2 miles into leg that lasts for .5 miles'. he was a bit nervous about that, but we assured him it was probably nothing. as we drove the course to find the next exchange zone, we saw said hill, noticed it was indeed significant, and stopped to wait for jay, to refuel him if necessary, and to provide him with some positive mojo. as this was not the first hill he encountered, he was a bit unnerved at the size of this hill, and voiced that sentiment in a plethora of unhappy words. we passed him a gatorade, wished him luck, then headed on to the exchange zone so nate could prepare for his first leg.

jay arrived at the exchange zone looking like he had had enough of that leg, passed the bracelet to nate, then promptly deposited himself in a sunny patch of grass to relax. he only had a few seconds to do that because nate had a cool 1.7 mile leg to start. we scurried to the van after realizing this and rushed to the next exchange zone, where kevin readied himself. nate breezed through that leg, passed the bracelet to kevin, then kevin started his first leg of 5.6 miles. right around this time, we received word from jeanette that she was more than likely making a major comeback and would be meeting our group at one of the exchange zones up the road at about 4pm.

kevin had a few hills to conquer, a neighborhood to run through, and quite a bit of nothing much else to run through. he arrived at the next exchange zone on schedule, where we were awaiting his arrival. elizabeth was next up. as she had become ill the previous night as well, while we all slept, we were worried about her. she assured us she felt ok, and suited up to take on her first leg, a 4.6 mile run that led us into the town of cameron, sc, a quaint town with some neat old houses, and very nice southern folk. despite the sickness from the night before, she defeated that first leg with grace. when she arrived, i was vested up and ready to go.

seeing as how i was the last of the 10 runners to start, i was quite anxious to get the show on the road. all i had eaten that day was a zip-loc bag of dried multi-grain cheerios, a banana, and a clif bar, but i thought, "no biggie, i have run 9.8+ miles a few times before. i got this." what i was not anticipating was how difficult this leg would turn out to be. the course map labelled leg #10 as "hard", but i would say it was "brutal". about 3 miles in, my team was waiting for me to fill me up with water and gatorade. i accepted, told them i was doing good, then went on my way. i snapped a few pics with my cell phone (see links at the end of the post) of things that interested me, mostly so i could remember as much of this race as possible.

after about another two miles of running down the longest, straightest shadeless highway i have ever been down, i started to struggle a bit. i thought, "well, it's friggin' hot, i'm running down an asphalt road with no shade, and i didn't eat much this morning". keep in mind that this was around 3:00 in the afternoon, so the lack of food would normally have had me feeling starved on any other day. i guess the adrenaline and anxiety made me forget how long it had been since i had eaten a good, solid meal. that seemed to be taking its toll. i continued on, pouring water over my head every 10 minutes or so to try to keep cool.

about another 2 miles down the road, my crew was waiting at the first turn i encountered on that long, straight demon of a highway. they offered words of encouragement, i offered expletives. i was really running out of steam at this point, and i still had around 3.5 miles to go, and this was just my first leg of three. i was worried, to say the least. i run 6 miles all the time and have never been this exhausted (though i always run in the evening or early morning, and it has been a while since i ran in the heat). i kept on, while my van-mates headed to the exchange zone to meet up with van #2, which now included our beloved team captain, jeanette.

after stopping to walk a few times to catch my breath and try to muster the will to keep going, a gentleman in a truck pulled up next to me, asking where the heck we were running to. i told him about, while gasping for air, he said that it was the craziest thing he had heard, told me about some shortcuts to get to the next exchange zone, then told me i still had 4 miles to go. "4 miles you say?", i said. here i thought i was a mere mile or two away from my team. my will was shattered. i almost just gave up and walked the rest of the way. about 5 minutes later, though, the same gentleman drove by in the opposite direction and assured me he was mistaken, and that i only had about a mile and a half to go. i thanked him, my will partially restored, and got moving again. about a half mile from the exchange zone, my van-mate, jay (longtime buddy from high school days) came out to meet me and walk/run the rest of the way with me. thank you brother. not sure i could have run that last quarter of a mile without you.

i arrived at the exchange zone, completely exhausted. i passed the bracelet on to michael, then fell to the ground, while my entire team offered words of encouragement. after resting for a few minutes, i stumbled to the van, and we headed back to the midway hotel, a little hole of a howard johnson hotel in santee, sc. some of us rested, some went for food. i again chose to lay down for a few minutes after getting a quick shower. not long after, i started breaking out in a cold sweat. i stood up, immediately felt nauseous, and ran for the bathroom. this is where my part of the story of the actual race comes to an end. i apparently was suffering from lack of nourishment and heat exhaustion. i got sick a few times more over the next two hours. my van-mates had to leave to meet up with van #1 to start their second set of legs. before they left, jay ran to the dollar store and got me some jello (a million thanks!). they assured me not to worry, that they would figure out how to cover my second leg, and that van #1 would arrive at the hotel in a bit.

jeanette, michael, felicia, brent, andy, and kalan arrived a while later. everyone quickly grabbed an empty spot of bed or floor to get some rest. shortly thereafter, the air conditioner in our room broke and it warmed up quickly. when the alarm went off for them to wake up and head out to start their third leg, it was hot and miserable in the room, and i still felt terrible. while they packed the van, i decided to just head out with them. there was no way i could stay in this sauna of a room with how i was feeling. as i readied my gear, i started with the cold sweats again and made another b-line for the bathroom. i got way more acquainted with that hotel toilet than i ever want to get acquainted with a hotel toilet again. jeanette went to the hotel office and got our room switched, then she and felicia moved my gear to the new room (thank you so much, jeanette and felicia). i collapsed on the bed and made a night of it. earlier on in the evening, i notified anna of what was happening and we made tentative arrangements for her to pick me up in the morning before checkout time. i wish i had more to tell about the adventures of the rest of that night and the following day...

i awoke at 9am, simply devastated that my body had betrayed me, but more devastated that i had let my team down. after all, they had to put forth that extra effort to cover my last two legs on top of their own grueling legs. they somehow made this happen. i missed my midnight run through the forest, and my short 3.7 mile run that ended near park west in mt. pleasant, sc. i ate some fig newtons that michael had given me the first night, a biscuit, and a banana, and was able to keep it all down. i got up and took a shower and packed my things, then settled down and watched a few episodes of 'that's so raven'. i thought of my kids and couldn't wait to see my family (we often watch this show together on saturday mornings). anna and our two daughters arrived right at 11:00 am to pick me up at the hotel. we drove back to summerville from santee, where i ate a full lunch of chicken and stars and a pb&j. feeling much better, i contacted the team to see how they were doing. everything was going well.

after lunch with my girls, we made our way to the folly boat landing on folly beach to meet up with the team at the finish line. jeanette was the final runner, so we patiently awaited her arrival. i talked with my teammates about how everything went the previous night. kalan told me about the 9.7 mile run that she ran in my place. sounds like it was a refreshing run compared to what i had faced earlier that day. really wish i could have been there, but huge thanks to kalan for covering for me. i heard about the near macing by the hands of jay of some dude that was running behind another runner in one of the late night legs (turned out to be completely harmless), sleeping on the ground at one of the exchange zones, and about how many roadkills we all encountered (the deer carcass i encountered was heavy stuff - see links to pictures below). a moment later, jeanette came over the final bridge, then rounded the corner for the finish line. the entire team joined her as she crossed the finish line right at 35 hours and 2 seconds. what a feat! we collected our medals, took a few group photos, then headed across the street to relax, listen to a live band, and get a bit of grub. after trading individual stories with each other, we said our goodbyes and departed. 

all-in-all, i think everyone had a tremendous time, and i hope we will all return next year. i know i will. i have a huge score to settle with highway 176 outside of cameron, sc, and with my body for letting me down in a major way. neverending thanks to a great team for inviting me to take part in this experience, and for all of the support along the way. i hope i will see you all again, especially next year for a second go-round.

and now for some pictures (sorry for all of the links - it was just easier for me this way, and it is getting late). enjoy!

feel free to leave any comments/corrections:

and here are some i took with my cell phone that i uploaded to instagram:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

non-stop dance party with Prince - n. charleston coliseum - 03/30/11

last night, my pal, charles, and i went to the north charleston coliseum to see the one and only Prince (since he is a god, he deserves to have his name capitalized). charles bought tickets for himself and his wife, leah, and she had no interest in going (what?!?!), so he offered it to me. i graciously accepted! we were in section 229, which was in the upper reaches about halfway down the left side of the stage. no matter, because the stage was so big, i don't know if there was a bad seat in the house.

we arrived shortly before 6 o'clock and waited outside until the doors opened. luckily the rain held off while we waited. once inside, charles got some grub in the form of nachos and a brew, while i just got a bottled water (i ate chick-fil-a with the wife and kids earlier, then washed that down with a venti skinny caramel macchiato from starbucks). we then went to find our seats. we sat there chatting randomly through text, calls, and in person with various people that we knew were there in the crowd somewhere.

right around 7:40, the opening act, lalah hathaway hit the stage with her background vocalists and excellent band. they put on an impressive set of solid soul music. the vocal harmonies were beautiful, the guitarist was playing some sweet solos, and the rest of the band laid down the rhythm. i learned that she is the daughter of legendary soul singer donny hathaway. i enjoyed the set.

Prince hit the stage at 8:36. the stage was dimly outlined in lights, the crowd started roaring, then we hear... "dearly beloved...". the crowd went NUTS as they ripped into 'let's go crazy'. the girl next to me was so excited, she started weeping, seriously. i had to steady her so she didn't fall forward and go tumbling down through the rows. charles and i both started boogyin', as did every person in sight. you never knew two white boys could move like this! it was intense.

Prince continued on, wowing us with hit after hit. there were a few songs i didn't recognize - i have to be honest, i have not followed his career as closely as some - but the music was groovin' and the booties were shakin'. my friend, katie, had a much better seat and got a few excellent pics that she gave me permission to use. here is one of them.

photo courtesy of my pal, katie campbell

Prince was in great spirits throughout the entire set, which lasted over nearly 2-1/2 hours. his dance moves were sweet - no way that dude is over 50 years old. his voice was intense, completely on point. his guitar skills are desirable to say the least. he was shredding through solos, my favorite being during 'purple rain'. the faces he made (which we could see on the 'jumbo-tron') as he hit some of those notes were true emotional guitar faces. if you are a guitarist or a spouse of a guitarist, you know what i'm talking about. i recorded a snippet of 'purple rain' with my crappy camera phone. gives an idea of where we were and how awesome it was. after the video is a picture from our point of view.

above video and photo courtesy of my crappy camera phone

one of the highlights was when he said the the crowd, 'charleston, i told you not to get me started... ya'll 'bout to get pregnant up in here.' oh man, that had me ROLLIN'. so smooooth. a few minutes later, he said, 'ya'll pregnant yet?', then started grinning and covering his face to hide it. he played two encores and finally left the stage at 10:52. we had such a great time, and big thanks to charles for hooking me up with the ticket. i wouldn't have been able to go otherwise.

photo courtesy of my pal, katie campbell

the setlist was uploaded by some kind soul on here. it seems accurate the best i can tell. thank you, Prince, for coming to charleston. it was an amazing show that many, many people will not soon forget.

charleston record expo wrap-up

i received the following email from galen hudson at monster music and movies in regards to the success of the charleston record expo that was held this past saturday, march 26th, 2011. kudos to monster music for attempting such a feat, and being successful at it. one of my favorite record stores by far.


On Saturday, March 26, Monster Music conducted the first Charleston Record Expo, the first record convention to convene in Charleston in at least 17 years. The genesis for our show came about after we made a particularly large used record buy a couple of years ago. We had a lot of really good stuff, and we felt that it had potential far beyond local buyers. We slowly amassed vinyl since then, and about a year & a half ago we set up a couple of tables at the Savannah Record Fair and were quite surprised at our success. Kids there were hungry for vinyl and had no other outlet.

Our idea stewed. As time went on, and our collection grew, we continued to talk about it, and people encouraged us to do it. A lot of people said they’d want to help out or man a table. This past fall, we took the plunge and committed to a date. Our landlord graciously agreed to let us use an empty space down the sidewalk from us. Our initial marketing consisted of word-of-mouth only, and people were pretty excited about the idea. Our actual marketing campaign didn’t begin in full until January. We mailed flyers to everyone we could think of in the southeast – media, record stores, anyone relevant for whom we could find an address for. We posted it on Record Shows of America, which yielded good results. From there, we built a campaign involving local print and radio, internet, blogs, email, Facebook & Twitter, vinyl customers, label reps, and a street team at the College of Charleston. (Credit goes to our friends at Captains Comics for that one.) South of Philly Pizza, who sold pizza & drinks at the event, put flyers on their pizza boxes.

Pretty quickly, interested vendors started contacting us. I think the first one was a guy from Seneca, SC. The next was from Wilmington. Then we got an email from a guy in Detroit, saying he was familiar with Charleston and could we give him some more information. I didn’t think he’d follow through, especially given this was the first time around for this event, but he most certainly did.

Then some local people signed on. Then a fellow from Pensacola, then someone from around Columbia, SC. Pretty soon it was a virtual sell out. I was most afraid of throwing a show and having only three or four vendors sign on, and falling on our faces. But at the event’s eve, we had 11 vendors, representing 23 tables (plus our own, of course). We were pleased.

We got a great write up in the Charleston City Paper on Wednesday, and Thursday’s Charleston Scene did an excellent feature as well. Friday morning I did an interview on WCOO radio (105.5 the Bridge). The Bridge and their sister station WYBB (98 Rock) gave it so many incredible mentions, I can’t thank them enough. They took my press release and condensed the whole thing into a liner, and saturated the airwaves.

We’re still somewhat new to Facebook and Twitter marketing, and we don’t have a ton of followers like some stores do. But we did spend a little money on targeted ads on Facebook for a week or so leading up to the event, and we saw a marked increase in page views and followers.

Channel 2 came out on Saturday and shot some footage. A brief story ran that night.

The City Paper article is here:

The Charleston Scene article is here:

It also was posted on several blogs. In fact, if you google Charleston Record Expo, the first five or six pages of hits are specific references to our event.

Photos we took can be found here:

After the City Paper article on Thursday, we received numerous phone calls from people wanting to sell their vinyl. Most of them I think were older and had less desirable stuff – easy listening, show tunes, pop vocal. I told people that we or someone might be interested in buying on Saturday, but the best bet was to bring them in to us sometime during the next week.

Three of the vendors showed up on Friday to check out the place & get acclimated. Probably my favorite aspect of the event was meeting the vendors. What a great group of guys, and they help remind me why I’m in this business. Everyone arrived first thing Saturday, as expected, and set up was very smooth.

So, how did it go?

First of all, my expectations going into it were modest. I was just hoping to not be embarrassed. A lot of people took a big chance by signing on to it – again, our first one – and traveled a good distance to get here. At 10:00, when the show opened, a few people trickled in. But somewhere around 10:15-10:30, it became wall to wall people, and it didn’t let up for a couple of hours. And even when it did let up, traffic was still quite brisk. It didn’t slow down to a mellow pace until after 3. And at closing time, 5:00, there were still a few people browsing.

One of our vendors, Greg, told me earlier in the day “to call this a big success would be a gross understatement!” Another of the vendors, who has been doing record shows for years, said he never does as well as he did that day. I polled vendors afterwards, and most everyone did splendidly. Turnout and gross sales surpassed all expectations.

There are a few things I’d do differently – but not much. We really did emphasize vinyl, vinyl, vinyl, all along, but when we initially pitched it, we imagined the show would be a little more all-encompassing – CD’s, DVD’s, boots, collectables, memorabilia, etc. Vinyl is obviously the main selling point for such a show, but towards that end we didn’t promote very well the fact there would be other vendors, selling import CDs, concert posters, comic books. Next time we’ll have a better idea going in what everyone’s going to have, and make sure to promote those items.

Other than that, next time we might need a bigger space.

I’ve copied all the vendors here I had email addresses for. If any of you have other comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply back & give me some feedback.

We didn’t overwhelm the event with our own merchandise. Considering our store was just a couple hundred feet down the sidewalk, we didn’t feel that was particularly necessary. But we did was to use this as a springboard into Record Store Day – April 16th. We will see how well that succeeded shortly. If nothing else, I think there will be a nice glow effect for a little while, more people who are aware we sell (and buy) vinyl (and that we exist at all), and hopefully more attention drawn to the coastal southeast for record shows. Savannah’s Record Fair has really grown in the last year or so. Interest in vinyl is huge, and people are willing to travel for it.

And there is strength in numbers. Fellow vendors and show originators should, and need to, band together to make sure these events bounce off of one another and that we don’t leave the public eye. We can’t forget the abuse the music retail industry has taken in the last several years in the media and the public perception. When we see a success such as this, we can’t let the flame die. It takes multiple people to carry it. So hopefully people will talk about this show, and in the meantime go to the Savannah show (go to Record Store Day at Monster or your nearby record store too!) and others, and we won’t wait too long to do the next one. We certainly have our eye out for other vinyl collections and will have a lot of new stuff to show next time.

If nothing else, we are still the only independent record store in Charleston, probably the biggest CD & LP store in South Carolina, and we quite possibly lay claim to the biggest new & used vinyl retail selection in the southeast. If nothing else, we’ve got to be in the top 3 or 4. Hopefully people have taken notice. Not just of us, but also of the fact that demand is impressive enough for about ten record vendors to be thrilled with their results in the first ever Charleston Record Expo.

Thank you very much to all of you who participated, sold, bought, wrote about it, advertised it, blogged about it, talked about it, or helped out in any other way.

Galen Hudson

Monster Music & Movies

946 Orleans Rd

Charleston, SC 29407

843 571-4657

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

tegan and sara at the orange peel - 08/30/2010

just wanted to post the videos from the incredible tegan and sara show i took from last year. they played in asheville at the orange peel on 08/30/2010. one of the best show i have seen in a very long time. i really, really love this band. anyways, enough are the videos.