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NHL All-Star game commercial changes Raleigh skyline, moves RBC Center

23 Jan

I saw a side of downtown Raleigh tonight that I’ve never seen before, and chances are you haven’t either. There’s a new commercial on TV advertising this weekend’s All-Star NHL game in Raleigh, NC that makes our downtown seem a lot bigger (and more snowy) than it really is. The commercial is by the VERSUS channel.

Here’s a screengrab of the clip:


Now, if you’ve never been here, and you saw this commercial you might think the RBC Center (where the All-Star game will go down) is smack dab in the center of downtown. You might also think there are a lot more skyscrapers downtown than there really are. Certainly our tallest building, the RBC Plaza, could look small depending on the perspective of the shot, but the fact that there are other unidentifiable buildings towering over it is pretty amusing.

rbc with text

In reality (as we Triangle residents know), the RBC Center ┬áis about six miles away from downtown. And the 32-story RBC Plaza, the downtown skyscraper with the 130 foot spire on top, is the tallest building in downtown Raleigh. Some of the buildings in the commercial don’t even exist in downtown Raleigh (or if they do, the producer certainly has taken some liberties with them in the shot). Here’s what Raleigh’s skyline really looks like:

Flickr photo by twbuckner

Flickr photo by twbuckner

Watch the commercial for yourself (the Raleigh clip is at the 18-second mark):

VERSUS 2011 NHL All-Star Game ad from Greg Wyshynski on Vimeo.

I hardly think any first-time Raleigh visitors traveling here for the game even noticed this clip. And even if they did, I’m sure it probably won’t alter their perception of our city. Still, it’s interesting to see how the Versus network reshaped our skyline.

Fans gather at Raleigh Convention Center for Michael Jackson Memorial

7 Jul

About 400 people went to the Raleigh Convention Center this afternoon to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life and watch his memorial service on TV.

Women seemed to dominate the the crowd. Some wore pins they purchased for $5 at the convention center, one woman was rocking a white glove (you can see her at the end of this video). I was tweeting my observations from the @MyNC Twitter account. Several of our tweeps told me CNN was streaming footage from the Raleigh Convention Center. Not sure if they meant on TV or online. Did any of you see it?

Anyway, the beginning of the local memorial featured several local acts performing songs, prompting one man behind me to say “This isn’t a talent show.”

Cary celebrates Christmas in the strangest ways

22 Dec

When I want to get into the Christmas spirit, there are certain no-fail traditions I can fall back on. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Decorating the Christmas tree. Sipping yummy Egg Nog. Tuning to the All-Christmas music radio station. Watching the kids line up at the mall for their chance to whisper their wishes to Santa.

But there’s something happening at Crossroads Plaza in Cary that seems more dangerous than festive: Riding in a horse-pulled buggy with Santa Claus. Traffic at Crossroads is crazy this time of year. I don’t see how having a horse clopping up and down the parking lot hauling small children is a good idea.

When you’re a kid, it’s probably pretty cool to ride around with Santa for a few minutes. But is this really the best venue?

Duke women’s rugby team wrestles in chocolate pudding

6 Nov

I was having a beer at the James Joyce in Durham a couple weeks ago and I noticed a stream of Dukies filing into the bar, yet the bar wasn’t getting more crowded. I didn’t realize there was a patio out back, where the Dukies were lining up to see the Duke women’s rugby team wrestle inside a baby pool filled with chocolate pudding. It was a chilly night and these young, strong women were in T-shirts and shorts, coated in chocolatey mess.

I have never participated in any type of wrestling match, but if I did I would definitely prefer chocolate pudding to jello. What would you be willing to wrestle in?

Check out tonight’s local Democratic and Republican vice president debate watch parties

2 Oct

Tonight’s a big night in the political world. Vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin square off in their first (and only) debate.

If you plan to watch, then I want to encourage you to get a little interactive with me.

I will be at Raleighwood (a local theater that is hosting a Republican watch party for the debate) livestreaming the party on 30THREADS.

My co-worker, Wayne Sutton, will be at Galaxy Cinema in Cary, which is hosting a Democratic watch party. He will also be livestreaming on 30THREADS.

So here’s what you can do. Turn the debate on your TV. Then log onto where there will be two video players. One will feature the livestream from the Democratic watch party and the other will show the Republican side.

The idea is you can see how folks on both side of the political spectrum are reacting the debate. Won’t it be amusing to see if a theater full of Democrats are booing when Palin makes an awkwardly-worded point while a theater full of Republicans cheer her on (if they cheer her on)?

Barring no unforeseen technical difficulties (we’ve never done anything like this before, so who knows what will happen), it will definitely be a unique way to watch the debate.

I hope you’ll join us. We’ll also have chat rooms set up below the videos so that you can offer your two cents. So if you’re watching the debate at home and want to vent (NO MATTER WHAT SIDE YOU’RE CHEERING FOR) this will be a cool place for you to do it.

Looking forward to chatting with you all tonight. The livestreaming starts around 8:30 p.m. but the debate is scheduled for 9 p.m. Feel free to give my employer some love and watch it on NBC17 (sorry shameless plug, but they are the ones who are allowing me to livestream all of this).

Chat with you later.

The ice cream truck came to work today

4 Sep

Talk about a job perk. Our bosses ordered the ice cream truck to come deliver some treats to our staff today to thank us for our hard work. I went for the classic cherry screwball (You know the plastic cone with the gumdrop in the bottom).

I learned to play Guitar Hero and I liked it

13 Aug

I used to think Guitar Hero was stupid. I tried it a couple of times and it was too hard. The notes were falling so fast. I felt like I was going cross-eyed. So I wrote it off as a silly fad and forgot about it.

But then I went to visit my family in southern Illinois, where an actual source of entertainment for local teens is going to Super Wal-Mart. Luckily for this city mouse, my 13-year-old sister just got Guitar Hero. She kindly showed me how to play it, and with a little practice, I was on the medium level in no time. It was addicting.

Check out one of my first attempts at the game (includes some creative camera work from my sister):

After my trip, I spotted an article in the N&O about a North Raleigh teen who dropped out of school so he could devote more time to perfecting Guitar Hero. I read that Fox & Hound in North Hills offered free Guitar Heron on Sunday nights, so I went to check it out. I was hoping to spot Blake Peebles, the local Guitar Hero whiz. Instead, a friend signed me up to play.

Before I knew it, I was standing on a small platform in front of a restaurant full of people playing Guitar Hero on a projector screen. I played “Ruby” by the Kaiser Chiefs on medium and lost (though I contend the green button wasn’t working properly).

Fox & Hound offers free Guitar Hero from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Sunday nights. They have two guitars, so you can square off against strangers. It’s fun. And if you’re not into Guitar Hero, it’s completely amusing to just sit there and watch (especially when the bracket pairs up a tween with an adult).

A glimpse at UNC’s new ballpark

30 Jul

I arrived early for a meeting at UNC Tuesday morning, so I decided to walk over to the new Boshamer Stadium, which is currently under construction.

The Bosh is supposed to be open for the 2009 season. Here’s a peak at how things are going.

I’m not big into college baseball, but I thought some of you might appreciate a look at how construction’s going.

Raleigh’s shimmer wall is stunning

11 Jul

The shimmering oak tree that lives on the west facade of Raleigh’s new convention center is simply stunning. The sprawling tree is made up of nearly 80,000 light and dark aluminum squares and was completed a couple weeks ago. When the wind blows, the squares flap and it looks as if waves are rolling over the tree.

Soon, the tree will be backlit by LEDs, allowing the tree to glow and reflect a ton of colors. That won’t happen until the convention center officially opens on Sept. 5.

The success of this public art piece (or design feature, depending on who you ask) is apparently a big deal in Raleigh, which has had some hangups with other public art attempts, the News & Observer reports.

Two years ago, Raleigh officials rejected a hydro-electronic abstract sculpture planned for Fayetteville Street that was designed by Jaume Plensa, an internationally known Spanish artist. The decision led businessman Jim Goodmon to withdraw his offer to pay $2.5 million to help fund the project.

And then, in the mid-90s, there was a debate over the Time + Light Tower located in the median of Capital Boulevard north of the Fairview Road ramp, the N&O reminds us. The 40-foot tower is made up of glass panels that reflect rainbow colors.

I remember riding down Capital with my friend Graham when I first moved to Raleigh and asking him what that tower was. When he told me it was a public art piece, I laughed. It’s actually pretty cool (compared to most things in the Capital Boulevard median, anyway). When the Time + Light Tower went up, it “was called an ‘old derrick with mirrors’ by Tom Fetzer, Raleigh’s mayor at the time,” the N&O reports.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the shimmer wall for yourself, check out this hasty video I made.

The easiest place to pull over and view it is on Cabarrus Street, which is sorta closed for construction right now. Just head down South Dawson Street and turn left on Cabarrus Street to park. Then get out of your car and admire it’s beauty. An oak tree, of course, is a fitting shimmer wall stamp for the City of Oaks.

Have you seen the shimmer wall yet? Do you love it or are you underwhelmed?

Time for a text messaging competition

5 Jun

Triangle-area teenagers will face off in an instant messaging competition from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. The winner will compete for a “VIP Jonas Brothers concert experience.” The Jonas Brothers are a big deal among tweens and some teens. I know this because my 13-year-old sister literally has more than 40 posters of them plastered to her bedroom wall (which is pretty creepy, but I guess I probably had a similar amount of New Kids on the Block posters decorating my bedroom back in the day).

Check out the friendly text messaging competition my co-worker Wayne Sutton and I staged this afternoon. We both used our Blackberries, which neither of us are used to texting on, so we were at equal disadvantage. We need to know who won.