Vinyl Records February Face-Off

When I walked into Gerrard Hall a little after 9 p.m. on Friday night, Jaquelyn Lee was standing in front of about 100 people in a metallic blue dress and a guitar around her neck. Behind her, a YouTube video of dancing animated cats was playing on the back wall.

Somehow, it worked. Welcome to the February Face-Off!

Five artists rocked out in Gerrard for the shot at one spot on the Vinyl Records label. It's the second time that Vinyl Records has used a battle of the bands to sign bands to their label. The September Showdown last semester gave us Lafcadio, Apollo and Lake Inferior, who just released their debut albums in January.

I missed the first two artists, It Is Rain In My Face and Eric DiMarzio, but walked in just in time to see the end of Lee's set. She has the awkward, artsy singer-songwriter thing down. She sounded like a watered-down Cat Power (which made the images behind her even more fitting) as she strummed her electric guitar. That's not necessarily a bad thing. She had a great voice and with some help and studio production she would put out a stellar recording.

After an interesting dance-off during the "half-time show," the Huguenots took the stage. I've heard a lot about the Huguenots on campus and on blogs I read, so I was excited to finally hear them live. And I was not disappointed. They played a tight, but way too short, set of retro-rock clad in skinny jeans and skinny ties. I'm still not sure if the English accent is real....

The final performer of the night was Colby Ramsay, proudly hailing from Canada. Despite some trite lyrics ("Lost my money playing Hold 'em/Guess I didn't know when to fold 'em") Colby had a soulful sound and smoky voice that reminded me of David Grey. By far the best song was his last when he moved from guitar to keyboard and did a duet with a girl named Marianne (I think).

In the immortal words of Ryan Seacrest, now it's your turn, America. The next artist to be signed by Vinyl Records is decided by the students. You can vote all this weekend at vinylrecordsunc.org. In September, 1500 students voted after the September Showdown. Let's help blow that mark out of the water. From what I heard tonight, you can't really go wrong with any of them.


The Campaign for Hallie Lipsey: EXPOSED

After a long week of waiting, I finally received an e-mail from the Hallie Lipsey for Student Body President campaign. In this e-mail, I learned how a simple joke turned into a campus-wide phenomenon, garnering more votes for Hallie Lipsey than any other write-in candidate. The conspirators kept their identities under wraps so that even Lipsey wasn't sure about who was behind the sign, flyers and Facebook group. Until now.

In a CoreyInscoe.com exclusive (haha, I always wanted to say that), I present you with the full story behind the Hallie Lipsey for SBP campaign as told by one of the masterminds, Nick.
(I omitted last names to keep the conspirators shrouded in just a bit of mystery. I don't want to spoil all the fun.)

My name is Nick. My co-conspirators are Jon, Manu, Johnna, Elizabeth, and Lionel. We are the Committee to Re-Elect Hallie Lipsey. I promised you I'd tell you the story of this prank, but I'm worried that it's not nearly as interesting as it might seem.

About a month ago, Jon and I were standing in the Pit, being barraged by campaign slogans, when inspiration struck. For weeks, we'd braved the slings and arrows of campaign season, annoyed by promises of Alpine Bagel in Davis and flat rate taxi services.

At the same time, I'd been searching for a good way to prank our dear friend Hallie. One of our running jokes was to mock Hallie's uncanny resemblance to J.J. Raynor by calling her "J.J." in public places. (Mind you, this wasn't just us, either. People have had 2-minute conversations with J.J. thinking she was Hallie, and vice-versa.)

In a moment of clarity, it struck. "Jon," I said. "Re-elect Hallie Lipsey for SBP." The wheels had been set in motion. We drafted four friends into the conspiracy, and began our work.

I spent the next weekend working on the flyers, while deep in the heart of Raleigh, my co-conspirators had begun work on the sign. They purchased two pieces of plywood, the largest available at Lowe's, and began devising the campaign promises that would become the centerpiece of our project.

We drove the sign back to Chapel Hill, and stored it in Jon's house, waiting for the moment to strike. That moment came on the night of Wednesday, February 4th. Our operation took place in two phases. First, at about 10:30 p.m., two of our members printed about fifty of our flyers, and distributed them throughout campus. Meanwhile, two others put the finishing touches on the sign. Finally, at just before one in the morning, we set out to bring the sign to campus.

It was here that we struck a serious problem. We no longer had access to the mini-van in which we had transported the sign to Chapel Hill and it was far too large to fit into any of the cars to which we had access. We quickly decided that the only way to get the sign where we needed it to go was to carry it to campus.

According to Google Maps, our trek was 1.7 miles. It seemed longer.

We began walking, giant sign in tow, down MLK Avenue. It wasn't fifteen minutes before we saw the familiar blue and white lights of a police cruiser. "What are you folks up to this evening?" he inquired. "We're working on a project, officer," replied Manu. The officer evidently thought that we had stolen the sign from somewhere. Upon realizing that our sign was not really something that anyone would want to steal, he let us go.

The officer's was only the first of several sidelong glances that we received as we carried the sign through downtown Chapel Hill. About two hours later, we arrived in the Pit, propped up the sign, and ran.

You probably know the rest of the story. Hallie saw the sign, and rushed to us with wild accusations. She knew we'd done it, but had no proof. We relied on this uncertainty over the ensuing days.

That Friday, we saw your blog post. We'd been planning another phase of the plan, but it was the tangible excitement over the campaign that truly convinced us to kick the campaign up a notch. That's when Heels for Hallie, the Facebook group was started.

At the moment we sent out the first invitations, the campaign was out of our control. The enthusiasm for the Lipsey campaign was shared by people who had never even heard of Hallie. It took on a life of its own, and that life was fleshed out on election day, when Hallie received 75 votes, including the vote of one Ms. Hallie Sarah Lipsey.

And that's the story. I told you it wasn't that interesting.

I have to disagree: that story is amazing. I can just imagine them lugging that massive sign all the way down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

So there you have it. I guess we can officially close the books on the Hallie Lipsey saga. I have to say, I'm going to miss it. The campaign brought this site more hits than it has ever seen and it got my photo published in the Daily Tar Heel. It was great to have so many people tell me that they had found the blog, or, even better, that they had read my post and voted for Hallie.

I would like to thank Nick and the gang one last time for the amazing prank that created such a stir at UNC. I raise my glass to you.

Photos courtesy of Campaign for Hallie Lipsey


Are you kidding me, John Mundell?

Reader, I now present you with the long-awaited and much-anticipated second installment of the "Are you kidding me...?" series here on CoreyInscoe.com, where your faithful blogger asks idiots that say absurd and asinine things, "Are you kidding me?" (For the first installment, click here.)

The UNC Dance Marathon raised almost $400 thousand for the North Carolina Children's Hospital this weekend. That's a great thing, right? Who would say otherwise?

Well, apparently, UNC-Chapel Hill junior John Mundell would. This sorry excuse for a Tar Heel wrote a letter to the editor in the Daily Tar Heel that chastised the Dance Marathon for not caring about homelessness. Umm, what? To Mundell it's unfair that all this money goes to kids in the hospital when the real problem in America is homelessness.

Sure, homelessness is an issue in our country and in the Chapel Hill area. There's no doubt that something should be done about it. But does that mean the Dance Marathon is wrong for raising a bunch of money for kids in a hospital? No.

Let's go ahead and knock some technicalities out of the way. The letter claims that the marathon is giving to "one of the richest hospitals in the country and not helping those who are unemployed, homeless, and without the health insurance." Sure, some of that money goes to the hospital, but a good part of that money goes to the families who can't afford to keep their kid in the hospital. If Mundell decided to do any research before shooting off his ignorant letter, he would have read this on the marathon website: "The fund provides for expenses not covered by insurance or Medicaid that families may not otherwise be able to afford."

It's obvious that Mundell has no experience with Dance Marathon and didn't even take the time to look into the charity to learn something about it before writing this letter. He didn't even get the slogan right ("For the Kids").

He has a point that there should be more focus on homelessness, but it makes no sense to belittle another charity event for raising a lot of money for a worthy cause. Start your own charity event!! Do a dance marathon for the homeless. Do whatever you want, but don't get mad at another successful charity. The marathon has worked from the ground up to become one of the largest events at UNC. The first year there were only 78 dancers, but since then -- because of hard work from dedicated people -- the marathon has raised a total of more than $2 million over 11 years.

But wait, it gets better. The second paragraph of the letter contains this little gem:
"To be honest, I'm thrilled that DM is finally done this year because I'm sick (almost as much as one of the actually sick children) of hearing, 'Do it for the kids!'"
You read right. Mundell compared his situation to a sick child in the hospital. Regardless of what you believe, the fact that he compared his "plight" to that of a child who spends months or years in a hospital is heartless and absurd.

Not only that, but what he's saying is ridiculous. It's like saying "Man, I'm so tired of those pink ribbons!! Why do people care so much about breast cancer?"

Mundell repeatedly says that "homeless" doesn't have the same ring as "sick kid." Maybe not, but they're both worthy causes, and if he really cared about homelessness, he would do something more than sending in an ignorant and inconsiderate letter to the Daily Tar Heel.


Hallie Lipsey got more votes than your mom...and other stuff

I just woke up from a 12-hour slumber. Not because I'm terribly lazy and have nothing to do today, but because I was on my feet for 24 hours as a part of UNC Dance Marathon.

The marathon raised almost $400,000 for the North Carolina Children's Hospital. It was my first time ever dancing and I'm so glad that I finally did. Not only was it tons of fun to dance around for hours, walk around Kenan Stadium and watch the sunrise, and even learn how to juggle, but it was such a great emotional moment when families came to talk about their experiences and when they announced how much was raised. I would do it again in a second for that feeling at the end. I really wish I had gotten involved with the marathon earlier.

Now let me catch you up on what's been happening since the last time I posted.

If you happened to miss it, the Daily Tar Heel published a little insert (featuring my picture) about the write-in candidates and how they did this year. Our own Hallie Lipsey got a grand total of 75 votes, more than twice the number that Tyler Hansbrough got. I consider that a victory! I still haven't heard back from the Hallie Lipsey campaign so I can't tel you that story, but I'm still working on finding everything out.

Oh, and in case you didn't hear (and have been living under a rock!) Jasmine Jones made a huge comeback (thanks in large part to the endorsement by all the other candidates) to beat Thomas Edwards in the run-off by a mere 200 votes. Congrats, Jasmine!

And finally, some news about the Carrboro Kid Camp!! The post I wrote about Marianne's camp was picked up by 30Threads, a website that highlights 30 threads from the Triangle area. I met the "thread spinners" last year and registered my blog then, but never thought that I would actually get picked up. Thanks, Ginny!

Along the same lines, the second issue of the Carrboro Commons was posted on Wednesday! You can check out my article on the kid camp here. There's some great stuff in the issue, so be sure to look around and read some of the other articles.

Now time to enjoy the rest of my Sunday.


Carrboro Farming Kid's Camp

Thursday morning I had the pleasure of spending time with one of the coolest people I've met in Carrboro, Marianne Prince. She is starting a kids camp in Carrboro out of her home that focuses on gardening and farming.

When I pulled up she was outside painting her house. There were splashes of yellow on the door and an olive green was being applied to the siding. Marianne, clad in grey cordorouys, plaid shirt and faded purple sweater with glasses and short hair pulled back, hopped down the steps and quickly introduced herself. Then I got the grand tour.

The side of the house is a huge garden with every fruit and vegetable you can imagine waiting to spring out of the ground. Four dogs of varying sizes barked at us from behind the chainlink fence that separated the back yard from the side. The other side of the yard was taken up by a chicken coop, but I didn't see any chickens inside. The door was wide open. They're free-ranging chickens that prance around the yard and the neighbor's yard like they own the place.

It's such a surreal scene, but so much fun. The neighborhood is a great community and one of the reasons why Marianne decided to do the camp. I hope I have a chance to go back and see her when she has some kids around!! Check out her website for the camp here.

Oh, and the best part? The farm is called "Quite Contrary Farm." Yep, from the song "Mary Mary Quite Contrary." You can see the full story about this in the next issue of the Carrboro Commons which should be up next week. I'll post the link here when it comes up.


Don't expect to hear anything else from me this weekend. Right now I'm in a little bakery in Asheville, but soon I'll be here:

It should prove to be a nice weekend.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hallie Lipsey for SBP Part III: The Results

When I walked through the Pit on Wednesday, Hallie Lipsey's sign was on its side propped up against a tree. I thought about setting it back up, but decided against it. For one, I was already 10 minutes late for my 10 a.m. English class. But I also realized that there was no point. It was over. For five of the seven candidates (yes, I counted right) Wednesday meant the end of weeks of long and hard work. Maybe not so long and hard in Lipsey's case, but it was tough nonetheless.

Despite the valiant effort that the Hallie Lipsey for SBP group and I put forth over the last few days, our beloved candidate didn't make it to the run-off. In a record turnout election, Thomas Edwards and Jasmine Jones recieved the most votes and will run in a run-off election next Tuesday.

Despite my harsh words and general loathing of Edwards, he managed to garner a whopping 41% of the vote, a good 20% more than Jones.

So what happened with out beloved Lipsey? That's what I've been working to find out. I've asked people at the Daily Tar Heel and scoured the UNC Board of Elections website looking for clues about the results for the write-in candidate. I'm not even sure if they count write-in votes, but I sure hope they do. With some of the candidates recieving just over 400 votes, Lipsey couldn't have been far behind.

Several people talked to me about the blog on Wednesday and many more told me that they voted for Lipsey. The Facebook group had about 130 members last time I checked. Of course that doesn't really mean anything. There's no telling how many people in the group actually voted for her.If you have any inside information about the actual results for Hallie, I would love to have it.

I've been e-mailing back and forth with the "campaign manager" for Lipsey and he or she or they are working to find some exact numbers. As of now, the geniuses behind this campaign are keeping their identity hidden, but I have been promised a revelation sometime next week. I'll post the story as soon as I find out something.

I appreciate everyone who took the time to vote for Lipsey on Tuesday. I hope that you know your vote wasn't a waste. In my four years here I have never seen a write-in candidate that caused such a stir as Hallie did. That's something to be proud of.

But I ask you now to do your civic duty and vote for one of the run-off candidates on Tuesday and make your voice heard. And don't just vote based on a DTH endorsement or large multi-colored signs and obnoxious chants. Check out the platforms and don't get caught up in empty promises. Think about what the candidates can realistically accomplish.


Hallie Lipsey for SBP Part II: The Follow-up

I didn't realize exactly what I would be getting into when I typed my post on Friday. To me, it was just an interesting sign in the Pit: a refreshing break from the obnoxious student body president campaigning that has been going on the past few weeks. Fourteen comments, several "tweets," a couple of Facebook messages and a Facebook group later, I think we've started a revolution.

Soon after my post was published, comments started trickling in giving me more information about the mysterious Hallie. Yes, she was a real person. No, she had nothing to do with the sign. So I wanted to dig a little deeper. What else do people know about her? That's when the fun comments started flooding in:
"Hallie Lipsey can do the moonwalk!"
"Manu, you're crazy insane, lol. Hallie, I loves you!!"
"I'm writing in Hallie Lipsey, even though her sign keeps falling over. If you see it fall, do the right thing. Either right it, or knock over all the other signs. Seriously."

And my personal favorite:
"Her environmental platform promises an orange monkey habitat in the arboretum and her safety platform has a plan for a velociraptor awareness day. they sound like great ideas to me! plus, hallie is very sweet, smart, and hardworking."

The next thing I know, there is a Facebook group, Heels for Hallie, which claims that she was featured on a "nationally recognized weblog." Yeah, they meant me. I'll take it. On the group's page they listed even more and better platform points than those that were on the sign in the Pit.
Hallie promises to:

- Allow jousting in the quad
- Promote Velociraptor Awareness Day
- Enforce mandatory 5-second rule
- Help the Greeks defeat the Trojans
- Create P3P (even better than P2P)
- Put an Alpine Bagel in every building
- Annex Carrboro
- Fine the Board of Elections 12 dollars
- Create a flat-rate rickshaw service
- Fix the uneven bricks on campus
- Look remarkably like J.J. Raynor
- Not be obnoxious

On Sunday, there was a quick blurb about her on the Daily Tar Heel blog by our esteemed university editor, Andrew Dunn. Of course, it had nothing on my in-depth coverage.

My pictures of the signs started popping up as Facebook profile pictures and the Heels for Hallie group encouraged members to invite all their friends and make the movement 1,000,000 strong for the write-in candidate.

At this point, I felt it was necessary to get in touch with the center of this perfect storm. After just enough Facebook stalking to get the information I needed but not enough to be like that guy you met at the frat party who keeps sending you creepy bumper stickers, I found Hallie and sent her a short message asking what she knew about the signs.

Her response:
"Haha. Wow. I cannot believe this has gotten this huge. Unfortunately, I had nothing to do with the sign or the fantastic platform. I have a couple of suspicions about who is actually responsible but no hard proof. Until then, though, I'm just enjoying the laughs, especially in the last few days of an overhyped debate for SBP. At least it gives life a little perspective.

"Thank you so much for sending me a message! I hope I have satisfied at least a bit of your curiosity! ;)"

So the identity of the sign maker is still a mystery. But I'm glad that Hallie is rolling with it and having as much fun as I am.

Tomorrow is election day. Make the right choice. Not Michael Betts, the young'n that thinks Alpine Bagel in Davis Library is a good idea. Not Ashley Klein, the one whose signs have crazy triangles hell-bent on cutting your legs when you walk by. Not Ron Bilbao, the one that looks like a creep in his mugshot-esque picture that is in the DTH. Not Jazmine Jones, who already knows she can't do what she promised. Not Matt Wohlford, whose platform is full of things that UNC has already done. And definitely not Thomas Edwards, who is unashamedly frat-tastic in his douche baggery (thanks Betsy and Courtney). Successfully spelling your name is not enough to make you SBP.

Do the right thing on election day and write in Hallie Lipsey. Sure, she can't actually win, but it will send a great message to our candidates and all candidates in the future: stop being obnoxoius, no one cares.


Hallie Lipsey for SBP

It's February in Chapel Hill: Basketball is getting into full-swing, seniors are really starting to stress about jobs and the temperature is fluctuating from beautiful spring day to holy $@#! it's cold! It's also that wonderful time of year when 20 million a-frame signs litter the Pit and obnoxious students hold signs and hand out fliers full of empty promises and unattainable goals. Yep, it's campus elections time!!!

This year, six clowns candidates are vying for the prestigious position of Student Body President. To the victor goes the spoils of a way too overloaded senior year, going to countless meetings, being constantly critiqued by the Daily Tar Heel, and one seat on the Board of Trustees!!

Candidates platforms, which are plastered online and on ugly signs, offer promises such as: wireless in every dorm! cap on tuition increases! Alpine Bagel in Davis Library! Wait...what? Oh jeez.

So how are our callow candidates going to deliver on these promises? Uh, well, they can't. Let's be honest, they have all the real power of an organ grinder monkey. They have one seat on the Board of Trustees. One seat out of 12. Do you really think the big-wigs take them seriously?

That's why I've decided to vote for Hallie Lipsey:

Now there are some changes that I can believe in. So here's my pitch: if you don't care about who wins SBP, don't just pick some name from the list or pick the one that annoys you least. Vote for Hallie Lipsey. I don't even know if this is a real person, but either way it will send a message to the candidates. Maybe then they'll stop annoying me on the way to Lenoir and stop promising me things that I know they can't do.

On second thought, it probably won't help. But it would be funny as hell.

Hallie Lipsey for SBP!!

UPDATE: I've heard from multiple sources and just enough Facebook stalking to find out that Hallie is a real person. Whether she or a friend is behind it, I'm not sure. Either way, this person is still my hero.

UPDATE 2: So I keep getting comments about this post, and here's the latest. From an anonymous commenter: "I'm a friend of hers, and I'm pretty sure she didn't know about it until someone showed her (IE she was walking through the pit and her jaw dropped when she saw the board). Which makes it hilarious."

This story might be worth digging a little more into. Anyone have any more information? Hit me up in the comments.


Carrboro Commons 1 is ALIVE!

If you want to know what I've been working on the past few weeks instead of posting on my blog, here's your chance. The first issue of the Carrboro Commons, a twice-monthly publication from my Community Journalism class, is finally online!! We got everything wrapped up on Wednesday and I'm real proud of the first issue. It's got some great articles about a Carrboro Scrabble Club, Balloons and Tunes and Figure 8 Films, the company behind "John and Kate Plus 8" and "17 and Counting."

And, of course, there's my article about the Spanish APPLES Service-Learning programs in local elementary schools and the Carrboro community radio station:

When Maisch asked his class to discuss their anxieties about the task ahead, students offered an array of apprehensions: “I’m worried about them understanding us and us understanding them.”
“I’m worried about being really boring.”
“I don’t want them to dread me coming.”
“I’m afraid of the kids not respecting me.”

But this, according to Maisch, is what makes the APPLES Service Learning Program’s partnership with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Spanish-School Reading Partners program a “match made in heaven.”

“They both get something out of it,” Maisch said. “What the kids get out of it is not just the English; it is more importantly the sense that here is this big, fancy university student and their Spanish is awful and they want to learn how to speak Spanish and it’s like, ‘Hey man, I can already do that. That makes me feel good about who I am.’”

Also, I'm back to work at Uncharted Magazine to get some articles together for the second issue, which should be coming out in March. Look out for some articles from me about Vinyl Records and the High and Mighties. If you still haven't looked at the first issue, check it out here.

Until then.