Cafeteria Line Thursday Countdown

Thank you for finding your way to brentreser.com. You chose a good time to stop by because tonight I present another Thursday Rundown edition. Here we go with five random topics…

Eating Lunch At School – Last Friday I ate lunch with Sidney at the school she teaches at. I have visited her for lunch before but this time was unique. Instead of just hanging out or bringing Subway with me, I ate the actual hot lunch. On the menu was pizza and it looked like it had not changed one bit since I was last in elementary school some 17 years ago. But I would say the taste had improved. I enjoyed eating my pizza, pinto beans, veggies, and low fat Cheetos while meeting Mrs. Reser’s class.

This was my lunch at Sidney's school.

This was my lunch at Sidney’s school.

That One Time I Was in a Music Video – Two years ago, Darius Rucker released his music video for “Homegrown Honey.” At the time, I knew I had a shot at making an appearance in it just because I had participated in the filming. However, my better judgment told me that I probably wouldn’t make the cut. Much to my pleasure, I did in fact make a “cameo” in the video. Although for only a second or two, I am clearly visible at the 1:42 mark.

I made the cut in Darius Rucker's "Homegrown Honey" video.

I made the cut in Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” video.

Weekend Plans – This weekend I will be heading over to Clemson with Sidney and her family. We are making the trip to Death Valley to watch the college football blockbuster of the week as the #5 Tigers host the #3 Louisville Cardinals. Another reason for the trip is the chance for me to see my friend, Kenny. He is traveling all the way from Seattle to watch the game and cheer on his uncle who happens to be the head football coach at Louisville. It won’t be the first time I meet Kenny in Clemson. Two years ago we met up for the same matchup. The Tigers defeated the Cardinals that day so I am sure Kenny (and Coach Petrino) will have revenge on their minds.

Kenny and I on the sidelines in Clemson's Memorial Stadium in October of 2014.

Kenny and I on the sidelines in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in October of 2014.

Debate Reaction – I must say that Monday’s debate was every bit as advertised. I sat on the couch for 90 minutes and happily watched as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out. It is tough for me to judge a winner but I was surprised that Trump didn’t act more restrained. I know he got to this point by being outrageous but I thought he would have tried to tone it down just a little bit in hopes of persuading undecided voters (like myself). I can’t wait for the next one!

From the Archives – Three years ago I followed through on one of my many dumb blog ideas. During a weekend in Spokane with my family, I visited three different froyo places and gorged myself on ice cream. I then reviewed each location for factors such as taste, toppings, cleanliness, etc. If you are a froyo fan, you should really read my post.

Myself at Did's Froyo and Pizza

I visited three different froyo places in a weekend in September of 2013. This was one of them.

—————

As always, thanks for your support of this blog. Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to touching base again on Sunday. Don’t Blink.

Having a Blast at Mike & Mike

I had the opportunity to do one of the cooler things of my career this morning. I awoke at 3:30 a.m. and went to the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort for Monday After the Masters. The brainchild of Darius Rucker, this charity event draws professional golfers and celebrities. The portion of Monday After the Masters that I was specifically attending was Mike & Mike, only my favorite sports talk radio show ever. Because of the close relationship between Rucker and “The Mikes”, it is a tradition that the show comes to Myrtle Beach each year for the fundraiser. Our dance team, mascot, and pep band were on hand to give this morning’s show a special spark so I was given a media credential to cover it.

Just a few photos to get started. That is me in front of the set (you can see Golic), a photo I took of Golic and Chauncey that the show actually used for its own social media purposes, and my credential.

Just a few photos to get started. That is me in front of the set (you can see Golic), a photo I took of Golic and Chauncey that the show actually used for its own social media purposes, and my credential.

I just want to briefly mention the minor disappointment and get it out of the way before I talk about what a blast I had. Unfortunately, Mike Greenberg had to cancel last minute. The common fan half of the show, contrasting to the ex-jock persona of Mike Golic, had a family issue he needed to tend to. In his place was Ryan Ruocco, an ESPN up-and-comer who happens to be the same age as me.

Our dance team represented Coastal Carolina University very well.

Our dance team represented Coastal Carolina University very well.

The students and a handful of us staffers arrived at the broadcast site around 5:30 a.m. As someone who attended College Gameday last September, something jumped out at me immediately. Mike & Mike was much more intimate. Instead of numerous different sets, a large crew, and a spectator area liberally roped off to accommodate a thousand students, the Mike & Mike setup was cozy. You probably had no more than a hundred chairs and a crew that numbered around ten.

As you can see, it was not an overwhelming set. Especially during the early morning hours, everything seemed very intimate.

As you can see, it was not an overwhelming set. Especially during the early morning hours, everything seemed very intimate.

The show started and it was pretty much just like watching at home. Everything went very smoothly. Even though it was their first show ever together, Golic and Ruocco had a natural flow. I stood right next to the dance team just a few feet from stage and enjoyed the banter about the Masters. An ESPN cameraman would come over to the band when the show was about to go to break. While Golic or Ryan would start to send the show to the first commercial the band was given permission to start playing. While Mike & Mike seemed just like I was listening in on the radio or watching on ESPN2 during the live action, once the commercials started a much more personal side came out.

Once the show went to break, Mike Golic was all over the place talking with the audience. I took this photo while he was interacting with our dance team.

Once the show went to break, Mike Golic was all over the place talking with the audience. I took this photo while he was interacting with our dance team.

If I could describe Mike Golic in one word it would be awesome. During the commercial breaks he did several different things from talking to our dance team, addressing the crowd with a microphone, signing autographs/posing for photos, and judging a “best sign contest” with Ryan. He acted just like a regular guy and was accommodating with every request. I photographed him with Chauncey, our dance team, and then with the whole group including Ryan Ruocco and Shane Battier and each time he was gracious and humble. When the show ended he let his hair down a little. When he competed in the longest drive contest he chugged a can of Michelob Ultra as he walked up to the tee and then had the whole gallery laughing as he made joke after joke while taking his swings.

A few of the photos I took during commercial breaks. Golic was always walking around talking with the audience.

A few of the photos I took during commercial breaks. Golic was always walking around talking with the audience.

Celebrity guests on the show this morning included Shane Battier, Golden Tate, and, of course, Darius Rucker. Before he went on Mike & Mike, Darius was holding court with about 15 members of the media. Chauncey saw this and ran over, completely video bombing the whole operation. Mr. Rucker was a good sport about it though and I got some awesome photos of the exchange. For Darius’ interview with Mike and Ryan they went away from the main set to a putting green. With the other members of Hootie and the Blowfish surrounding the three, I stood a few feet away and watched the lively and funny interview. Unfortunately I don’t think Darius recognized me from the crucial part I played in his latest music video.

This was one of my favorite photos I took today. Golic and Ruocco interview Darius Rucker and his band.

This was one of my favorite photos I took today. Golic and Ruocco interview Darius Rucker and his band.

The show started in the dark with a modest crowd. However, as the sun came up more people arrived and the buzz started to heighten a bit. It was cool to watch the transformation. Although I enjoyed every minute of my experience, I did start to realize that a four-hour radio show is a long time. I have a lot of respect for Golic and Greeney going out there Monday through Friday and talking to millions of people for 20 hours.

A couple photos showing the night and day contrast along with a shot of Darius and a photo of Golden Tate with Golic and Ryan.

A couple photos showing the night and day contrast along with a shot of Darius and a photo of Golden Tate with Golic and Ryan.

When the show ended, the Monday After the Masters longest drive event commenced. Darius Rucker performed the National Anthem and teed off first. After him I watched up close as folks such as Larry the Cable Guy, Rick Barry, Josh Kelley, and Golden Tate took whacks with the club. It was as if each celebrity put on a show himself as he stepped up. They all told jokes and they all connected with the audience in a different way. After the longest drive contest it was time for the actual golf competition to begin. Although I would have loved to stay I had to get back to the office.

A photo I took of Larry the Cable Guy and Chauncey. When Larry got up to the tee he told everyone to look out.

A photo I took of Larry the Cable Guy and Chauncey. When Larry got up to the tee he told everyone to look out.

I had a wonderful experience watching Mike & Mike. As with College Gameday, it is so special to watch the actual show in person after watching/listening to it religiously on television/radio for so long. Mike Golic is the real deal and I am now a big fan of Ryan Ruocco; I hope he becomes a prominent player at ESPN. I was very proud of how our dance team, pep band, and Chauncey represented Coastal. Several times during the show they were recognized on-air, just another example of invaluable exposure. I am thankful for what I experienced today and can’t wait for the next awesome adventure I get to go on for work. Don’t Blink.

Making the Cut: My Cameo in Darius Rucker’s Music Video

This morning I had the opportunity to stand in front of the cameras and record a couple segments for our news program at Coastal Carolina University. Afterwards, I tweeted out a couple images of the shoot. These photos, along with my recent cameo on College Gameday, resulted in a local reporter tweeting at me saying that I was becoming famous. I tweeted back something silly and then started to eat lunch.

This Twitter exchange would become pretty ironic just a few minutes after it took place.

This Twitter exchange would become pretty ironic just a few minutes after it took place.

Right in the middle of eating my peanut butter sandwich I received a tweet from a Darius Rucker fan account (@DRucker_Fandom) notifying me that the music video for “Homegrown Honey” had been released and that I was famous (after the concert in August, I provided the account with some photos I took and since then they have always liked me). If you remember, I participated in the filming of the video with no promises that I would actually ever appear. Eating lunch with me was my co-worker Kim. I told her to pull right up beside me and I clicked the link to watch the video.

I was alerted that the video had been released by the Twitter account @DRucker_Fandom

I was alerted that the video had been released by the Twitter account @DRucker_Fandom

We watched eagerly as the music video started to play. We pointed out different things and places that we recognized as the video unfolded. Halfway through the song, the big question on whether I would make the cut for Darius Rucker’s newest music video was answered. At the 1:42 mark right when the Homegrown Honey character takes a selfie with Darius you can clearly see me on the right side of the screen with a goofy looking grin spread across my face. It was kind of exciting.

I had my two seconds of "fame" at the 1:42 mark of the Homegrown Honey video.

I had my two seconds of “fame” at the 1:42 mark of the Homegrown Honey video.

It is not like if you didn’t know me that you would ever notice my presence in the shot. I am on screen for all but two seconds. If you are a girl you are looking right at Darius and if you are a guy you are looking straight at the Homegrown Honey. No time to notice the awkward looking dude in the far right portion of the screen. But I made the video and that is what counts…definitely a moment that made my day.

Of course the real story in this all is the superb way in which Coastal Carolina University is showcased. Aside from the bar scene, the entirety of the video is shot in our HTC Center. In the hallway shots you can clearly see the Chanticleer logo. You get a great view of the arena when it is just Darius and his band members playing right into the camera. You get a taste of the atmosphere that was generated by our community during the concert shots. And throughout the whole video, whether it was in the hallway or in the crowd shots, our students were featured front and center. Not many college campuses can say a musician of Darius Rucker’s stature filmed a music video on their campus.

The video "Homegrown Honey" produced some priceless shots showcasing Coastal Carolina University.

The video “Homegrown Honey” produced some priceless shots showcasing Coastal Carolina University.

After all the excitement in our office settled down and the video was no longer playing on every computer in our department, I tweeted out the still shot of me in the video. It didn’t take long for my reporter friend to tweet back at me. Hmmmmm…maybe she is on to something. Don’t Blink.

Needless to say, I knew this tweet was coming.

Needless to say, I knew this tweet was coming.

Darius Rucker Concert Review

Yesterday I wrote at length about my experience taking part in the Darius Rucker music video for “Homegrown Honey.” While those couple hours of filming definitely made my Saturday there was still one more thrill to experience …the actual concert! In case you want them, here are my thoughts on the show:

Because I was working the concert I had a credential to get me around the intimate HTC Center. However, from a social media perspective I didn’t want to be in a box, on top of the bleachers, or with the traditional media. Rather, I wanted to be right in the middle of the action. I converged onto the floor section early on in the opening act’s set and took up shop very close to the stage.

By the time Darius came on I had situated myself probably 10 feet from the stage. His entrance paralleled the rest of his show: Nothing too flashy, nothing too gimmicky. Some doors at the back of his stage opened up and he came through. There was a medium sized video screen in the middle back of the stage with two smaller screens on either side of the main one. The lighting was adequate but nothing special. The guy on the piano and the drummer were situated on elevated pedestals at the back of the stage while Darius and everyone else performed on ground level at the front. Darius’ stage was on par with a stage you would see for an opening act on a major tour with a big headliner.

I got some great shots of Darius Rucker during the show.

I got some great shots of Darius Rucker during the show.

He came out and opened with “Radio” and everything from there flowed smoothly. Other early notable songs in his set were “Alright” and “This.” It didn’t take me long to realize that Darius Rucker wasn’t the type of artist that was going to try to blow the roof off of the place or try desperately hard to win fans over. He was there to simply be himself and sing his songs. He didn’t kneel down on the ground and bow to the over 3,300 people in attendance. He didn’t come up with any corny stories on what he did during his day in the area. He didn’t suck up to the crowd and say how much he loved them or how much he loved Myrtle Beach. Instead he was totally genuine about the things he loved and didn’t hide away from sharing them…his kids, football, and the University of South Carolina.

This is my favorite shot that I took of Darius Rucker during the concert.

This is my favorite shot that I took of Darius Rucker during the concert.

As the middle of his set started he performed some of his new songs and some of his popular songs. Prefacing his performance of “Homegrown Honey” by saying the footage would be used in the actual music video of the song, the crowd seemed to really respond. They responded again when about 30 minutes later Darius told the crowd that he would have to perform “Homegrown Honey” again to secure additional footage for the video. In between he sang my favorite melody, “Come Back Song,” while also singing the Hootie smash hit “Only Wanna Be With You.”

Toward the end of the show Darius put on his hat.

Toward the end of the show Darius put on his hat.

You wouldn’t find Darius sprinting from one end of the stage to the other or rocking out hardcore on Saturday night. That just isn’t his style. While he did do a nice job of working the whole stage he was never in a hurry. He swung his hips, danced in his own space, and used his hands a lot while singing. It was enough to get a healthy sweat going but keep in mind it was a country star in his forties performing…not Macklemore.

Darius Rucker had a good sweat going the whole show.

Darius Rucker had a good sweat going the whole show.

As the show started to wind down he brought his opening act, Ricky Young, up on stage for a duet. He also performed “True Believers.” Then for his two song encore he sang “Wagon Wheel” followed by “Purple Rain.” The stage looked the coolest during that final song, even though I wish he would have ended with a more upbeat selection.

Darius Rucker and Ricky Young performing together.

Darius Rucker and Ricky Young performing together.

I watched that whole show by myself, without any beer…and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t need the pyrotechnics, the confetti, the social media interactions, the catwalk stage, the dazzling light show, or the numerous other spectacles you see on big time tours. I just needed Darius and his guitar. I found the simple and straight-forward show extremely refreshing and thought it was a great reflection of Rucker’s talent. While he isn’t the best performer in the world he is definitely worth a Saturday night in a cozy setting. I will remember my first southern concert very fondly. Don’t Blink.

Taking Part in a Darius Rucker Music Video

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Darius Rucker rock a concert from a stone’s throw away. It was an awesome show but it wasn’t even the coolest thing I did that day. You see, while I was a stone’s throw away from Darius during his show I was practically chest-to-chest with him that afternoon when I had the opportunity to be in his newest music video. It really is a great story.

Seeing Darius Rucker up close and personal in concert wasn't even the best part of yesterday.

Seeing Darius Rucker up close and personal in concert wasn’t even the best part of yesterday.

For the better half of this past week we knew that Darius Rucker was going to do some filming for his next music video during his stop in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area. Come Friday we got word that his team wanted Coastal Carolina University students to come out several hours before the show and help with the filming of a scene. It was all set up, students would meet by the track at 3:30 p.m. where the shooting would take place.

Our students came out to take part. However, 3:30 p.m. rolled around and Darius’ people were having second thoughts. On a sweltering hot southern day, the director of the music video decided to ax the outdoor concept and invite all of the students inside the HTC Center (our campus arena where Darius would be performing that night) and do the shoot there. We migrated the students inside to the main concourse of the HTC Center. It was there that the video team started to play on repeat “Homegrown Honey,” the new Darius single that they were producing the video for. At the same time, students were signing waivers as consent to participate in the shoot. With everything under control and the concert not set to start for a few more hours I said “What the heck” and signed the waiver to participate myself.

#CCU Students ready to sign the waiver and take part in the music video.

#CCU Students ready to sign the waiver and take part in the music video.

After the waiver signing we walked to a hallway outside of the locker rooms in the HTC Center. They lined the 40-50 of us up on both walls of the hallway. First thing you need to know: The people who made up this video crew were different animals. Although a little stressed with shooting a video they joked around and had fun with us the whole time. The director came over to me and tried to give me a high five but I awkwardly left him hanging! He joked with me and then gave me a Darius Rucker t-shirt to put on. I then took photos of his crew with one of their iphones and redeemed myself.

The main camera man was an interesting and funny guy!

The main camera man was an interesting and funny guy!

After the photo session they started going over the concept of the scene we were shooting. Darius would simply walk down the hallway singing “Homegrown Honey” with us lining his pathway. During his walk down the hallway five actors would come in at different times and dance around him. The star of the music video (besides Darius) was a tall, skinny blonde whose part in the hallway scene was to cut in when Darius walked by and take a selfie with him. She stood exactly across from me. After they went through the directions and did several rehearsals with someone playing the role of Darius, we had to play the waiting game for Darius to actually arrive. One crew member kept saying “We gave him the 15 minute warning” then 15 minutes later “We gave him the 10 minute warning” then 15 minutes later “We gave him the five minute warning.” It was after this that another crew member quickly chimed in by saying “That means he will be here in 15 minutes.” Everyone laughed.

Lyric cards were set up so we could memorize the words to "Homegrown Honey."

Lyric cards were set up so we could memorize the words to “Homegrown Honey.”

You could tell people were starting to get anxious. Many of these students had tickets to the show and wanted to get back home real fast to get their concert attire on. As the minds of several of us extras started to wander, Darius Rucker walked from one end of the hallway down to the starting point of the hallway where the shooting would start. While many people didn’t even realize he was walking right by us I threw my hand out and he shook it while replying “What’s up man?”

Rehearsal in the hallway before Darius arrived.

Rehearsal in the hallway before Darius arrived.

The whole shoot Darius Rucker was businesslike. Wearing his traditional black garb he made a couple jokes about not caring too much for video shoots. When a crew member told Darius that the director thought the first take was “okay,” Rucker responded by saying “That means he hates it.” We probably did five takes of the scene. They had us dancing at first. Then they changed it to no dancing. Then they changed it to us moving into Darius’s path right when he got close to us. Then they changed it to us filling in after Darius passed us by. They finally seemed to get what they wanted and then they kicked us all out of the hallway and instructed us to wait outside in the lobby area. They said to not leave because they were going to pick a handful of us for additional shooting.

The star of the music video danced with Darius on stage during the concert that night. The footage will also be used in the music video.

The star of the music video danced with Darius on stage during the concert that night. The footage will also be used in the music video.

After we all went out into the lobby the second-in-command to the director came out. In the mass of 50 people he looked at me, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said “go back in.” I was the first person asked to do additional shooting! I went back in the hallway where the paid actors were standing around. Then six other extras, all completely elated at getting chosen for additional shooting, joined me. Darius came back in the hallway and welcomed us! This time when Darius walked down the hallway for the shooting, the director instructed us to not pay any attention to him at all except to subtly acknowledge his presence. We did the shot three different times. We were then released.

I have no idea why I was asked to go back for the second shoot. There were many younger and better looking people than me. But I embraced it and did my best to not look like the biggest idiot alive. They gave me a blue solo cup to use the whole time as a prop. Now I am totally prepared to watch the video and see that my ugly mug is deleted from the entire video but I admit it would be kind of cool if I make the cut. I enjoyed the opportunity to witness the creation of a music video and meet Darius Rucker. I will forever be a big fan of the song “Homegrown Honey.” Don’t Blink.

Sporting the Darius Rucker shirt I was given by the video team. I am now a big fan of not only "Homegrown Honey" but of Darius Rucker himself.

Sporting the Darius Rucker shirt I was given by the video team. I am now a big fan of not only “Homegrown Honey” but of Darius Rucker himself.

Bonus Notes:
* As I said, Darius was dressed in black clothing for the shoot. He wore no hat.
* Pictures and video were strictly forbidden during the shoot.
* Those of us lucky enough to hold a blue solo cup had it filled with water by one of the crew members.
* The actors also had solo cups…but they were filled with booze.
* The actress who stood directly across from me was gorgeous and she knew it. She spent majority of the time in the hallway looking at her image through her iphone and fixing her hair.
* The crew was awesome. They kept the mood light and positive.
* Darius Rucker’s smile could light up the darkest, biggest cave on the planet. While the smile wasn’t there in between takes it turned on the second the camera did.
* They filmed the concert scenes of the music video during the show last night. In fact, Darius had to perform “Homegrown Honey” twice to get the footage they needed.
* The star of the video, the one who stood across from me, danced with him on stage during the “Homegrown Honey” performances.