Monday, July 28, 2014

The Drive-In Theatre: Still A Great Way To See A Movie

I love watching and going to the movies as many of you know. I go nearly every weekend and have been to the fancy theaters and run down ones. This weekend, at age 36, I finally got to experience the drive-in.

Basically, it is everything it is cracked up to be and more. Hard to beat $10-15/carload, seeing at least two movies, being able to bring your own food and all. I felt like a kid that night.

The drive-in was once the ultimate way to see a movie once silent movies fell by the wayside. They originated in 1933 in New Jersey and became a national phenomenon. Everyone loved meeting under the big screen and stars on the weekend.

Present day, the drive-in has taken a hit. Although ticket sales are still high and the parking lots are typically full, there are only 357 drive-ins nationwide still open. They mostly depend on concessions and tickets to make ends meet. Between showing the movies, electricity and the staff, it can be a challenge for this type of venue to stay open.

There are currently only nine in the Carolinas. Three notable ones are: The Bessemer City Drive In (where I went), Sunset Drive In in Shelby, NC, and the Big Mo in Monetta, SC. Many of these places are in secluded areas, but are fun for the entire family. The theater may be losing money, but the savings are passed on to the consumer.

That being said, I would hate to see the drive in completely fade away. It gives one a sense of nostalgia and showing you don't need frills and 3-D effects to enjoy a movie on the big screen.

Do you go to the drive-in some? What do you enjoy most about going?

Blacksburg, SC: The City Of Iron

Blacksburg, SC is a small town with a tight knit community, located in the upstate portion of South Carolina, east of Gaffney and Spartanburg, off of I-85.

It was founded in 1888 by a man named Black when the city was very rich in iron, giving it the nickname "The Iron City".

There is a lot of history here, as the first traffic light in South Carolina was installed in Blacksburg, and many celebrities have stayed in and passed through Blacksburg.

Some of the staples that define Blacksburg are the Iron City Festival, Kelly's Steak House, the Ed Brown Rodeo (always held the first weekend in August), Bailey's Fish Camp, and the rivers leading into Broad River intersecting Gaffney and Blacksburg, the two major cities in Cherokee County, SC.

Blacksburg was once a bustling city, with many businesses uptown, including a movie theater, two pharmacies, and the infamous Greyhound bus station. The municipality now doesn't have as many local businesses. Chains such as Waffle House, McDonald's, Food Lion and Dollar General dominate the town.

It is generally a good place to raise your children as everyone knows each other and the crime rates are low. You are pretty much in the middle of the excitement of the Carolinas. A few hours from Myrtle Beach, and about two hours or less from Greenville, Charlotte, Columbia and the mountains. Blacksburg is the gateway to many other well known places.

The schools have been top notch and improving for years. There are two elementary schools once again, and the high school received a ninth grade wing a few years back.

Residents here enjoy the simple things, such as a fireworks show, a brisk walk through town or simply sitting on the porch with family and friends and waving hi to be everyone that passes through.

Towns like Blacksburg, South Carolina embrace their smaller sizes, as they feel closer and connected to one another. It really is like a big family who will go to battle for you when outsiders try to intrude.

Take a look for yourself and see that Blacksburg has much to offer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Run The Rock Has Taken Off At Full Speed

It's definitely the season for running, or doing outside exercise. Janice Fuller knows this as well as anyone.

A long time fitness instructor and enthusiast, Fuller is always finding ways to stay active and help others be the same way. This slender lady with the bright smile and short dreads has now formed a successful running group in Rock Hill, SC called Run The Rock or #runtherock.

The group had very humble beginnings. Janice simply posted on Facebook in 2011 that she was looking for runners, but to no avail.  She then posted that she would be running on Mondays at 5:30am. There were about four people that joined her on Mondays. She then made another post about her running and helping those train for upcoming 5ks. The numbers started increasing at that point.

Present day, the group averages around 40 runners on each day, with 70 being their largest turnout. There is certainly power in numbers. 

Run The Rock runs on Mondays at 5:30am at the Winthrop Coliseum,  Tuesdays (at Food Lion on Ebenezer Road) and Thursdays (Hwy 5 plaza across from Northwestern High) at 5am and Saturdays at 7am at the Winthrop Coliseum. Group members and guests simply run, jog or walk 3-5 miles. No fee is required. Just bring some comfortable running shoes, water, a hand towel, and excitement and determination.

Currently there are no evening runs due to Ms. Fuller's intense evening teaching schedule. There may be one coming in the Fall, as the schedule will be adjusted to accomodate the cooler weather.

The group has a day trip planned for Saturday, July 26 to go to Crowders Mountain and challenge those hills. They are also considering doing a 5K in October and perhaps a 10K shortly thereafter.
Run The Rock has gotten lots of local media attention around Rock Hill and surrounding areas. This group is moving, growing and simply having fun.

Becoming a part is easy. Simply search for "Run The Rock" on Facebook, or meet Janice and company at one of the dates listed above. They welcome people of all levels.

What Janice Fuller is doing is a wonderful service. It is hard pressed to find a running group or even a running partner in smaller cities. Fuller has proven with persistence and consistence, it is possible.

Get in on a run, jog, or walk, at Ieast on the weekend while you can. 5am or 7am are early times, but can be worthwhile, especially if you're in the area. You're sure to not regret it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1994: A Special Year For Me

This is what I consider one of my fun, nostalgic posts.

20 years ago, I was slowly becoming a man: more bold, less introverted and more cultured. 1994 was one of the best and most memorable years of my entire life.

Just a year earlier, my mom was married and became a homeowner. That was huge for me and my brother since we each had our own rooms and spaces. Both were very necessary for a teenager, plus we could invite friends for campouts and sleepovers.

I took my first vacation that year, going to Virginia. I went to Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. It was all a blast.

Entering my junior year of high school and first year on the varsity football team, I had increased both my workouts and football IQ to become a better player. As a reserve and part of the scout team, I kept our starters ready. When I got into the game, I went all out. I was in full beast mode as a lineman, not backing down from anyone. This drive and determination eventually inspired the team, coaches, fans and even the local media. I was nicknamed "Rudy" and even received Player of the Week honors during Homecoming week.

Speaking of entertainment, this was the year I really got into 90s R&B. R. Kelly's 12 Play Album and Boyz II Men "II" defined the year for me. Also two great movies were released: The Lion King and Forrest Gump. I loved both of them and still consider them all time favorites.

I became a New York Knicks fan because of their tough, gritty style of play. Ewing, Starks, Oakley, we had a great team that year. With Jordan temporarily retired, we dominated the Eastern Conference and barely lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games in the Finals.

The three main video games I played on my Super Nintendo were Techno Super Bowl, NBA Jam and The Legend Of Zelda:  A Link To The Past. I love these games and it furthered my love for sports.

In addition to gaining more self confidence, I also learned how unbalanced the legal system can be. OJ Simpson and Susan Smith both were all over the news that year. In the end, we were drawn into courtroom trials and saw what a difference money and celebrity status can make when the gavel drops.

Cheers to 1994, as it was highly instrumental in molding me into the man I have become now.

What are your favorite memories from 1994? Do you have a special year in your life and if so, what it is and why?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Mid Year Wrap-Up In Big News, Pop Culture, and Other Ignorance

Wow we're halfway through the year, which means it's time for us to look back at 2014 thus far at the ignorance that has happened and continues to happen regularly. I believe many look at my list and use it as a way to stay revelant.

Repeat Offenders (like Kobe, OJ, DMX)

- George Zimmerman. How do you get off with that unjust murder, yet you're still causing trouble.  I secretly want DMX to beat the brakes off of you

- DMX. You officially have your own award, as you always appear on my lists. Staying in trouble, and now wanting to fight Zimmerman in a celebrity death match. Will you repeat again and win your own award in December?

- The unjust and unfair award: The U.S. Justice System (specifically Florida). It seems this state is desperate to kill black folks and prosecute them at every end. You're trying to outdo Chicago and Detroit.

- The "winner"- Charlie Sheen. You're back into trouble with drugs and hookers, and you're about to be kicked off yet another sitcom. Since Two and a Half Men is getting canceled, will Ashton Kutcher replace you on Anger Management also? #QTNA

- The Dirty Butt- Miley Cyrus. You simply cannot clean up your image. Will it take a full Brittany meltdown before you grow up?

- National Disaster- The BP Oil Spill. Really? Again? How does this keep happening? No wonder gas prices can't stay low, we're wasting half of it

-OJ- You have won your own award. Please stop causing trouble already, take your medicine and serve your sentence. It's been 20 years already!


-Crazy basketball star- Dennis Rodman. You are not a world peace leader, so why did you keep going to North Korea? You're about to get deported.

- Arrogant football player- Richard Sherman. Congrats dude, this has been your year. Super Bowl champion, mouthing off in interviews, and now the cover of the newest Madden. I'm awaiting a lot of cheap shots on you this year.

- Cute celebrity gone wild- Justin Bieber. Jesus Christ, did anyone see this coming? We're about to send you and Drake back to Canada.

- Horny high school employees. Yes I know the students now look like grown adults. But can't you all control your hormones and remember you have a job to do?

- Marcus Smart-  Now that you're in the NBA and on the Celtics, I hope you will not be harassing fans anymore.

-Abusive football player: Ray Rice. You're going to have to keep that temper on the gridiron before you get cut or traded. Remember Lawrence Phillips?

- Nick Saban - You want the entire game catered to you now, really? You're already making a misstep letting Lane Kiffin lead your offense.

- Government rant- websites. They have proven to be the worst. As a tech junkie, I believe the government should scour computer science departments nationwide and let these students do the work for you. They receive Co-op credit, work experience, and even free pizza during this time.

- Retail rant- Publix. You have become one of the fastest growing supermarket chains around. But how can you not keep bread in your deli? That's like Chick Fil-A saying they have ran out of chicken.

- Sports scandal-  Michael Pineda and the Pine Tar gate? Why would you cheat like that, or at all? That's the type of thing you do during the World Series

- Burger Kings. The 2 for $5 doesn't seem to be all it's cracked up to be. You don't seem to properly staff your restaurants to handle the crowds, or keep the food made.

- Don Imus award- Donald Sterling. We always seem to have an ignorant racist every year and this year's is old Don!

- Too Much- Excess Graduations. Outside of head start, middle school, and high school, there shouldn't be a graduation ceremony every time a child passes a grade or changes school. Less is more.

- World Cup gangsta- Suarez. You just couldn't keep your teeth to yourself. But hey it's goons like yourself that make me actually watch soccer.

- Dr. Phil know-it-all - Dr. Oz. You do not know everything Doc, so stop trying to convince the world that you do. You even have my favorite advice advocate, John Tesh, on your side. Sit down somewhere please.

- Dumb FB game- these ridiculous challenges. I sit and wonder what foolery will be next.

- Corporate rant- Carmike Cinemas Seven. You guys need to renovate that place, especially the A/C,  and hire someone under 100 years old. The end.

Well that's all until December. What else will 2014 bring? This is a local election year so I'm sure we're in store for plenty more.