Good News

If you read my blog a lot, you may have noticed two changes this week.

For a few weeks I was shamelessly promoting myself in my sidebar in the hopes of landing a job. You might notice that's gone. Also, you'll notice my location is slightly different.

That's because this week I'll be lugging all my still-packed boxes down to a one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte so that I can start work at the Charlotte Observer!!!

That's right, despite the bad economy and the troubles in journalism, I managed to get a job at a big metro paper.

They are starting a special project that involves publishing weekly local inserts into the Observer. Eventually, this will spread to 12 zones, but the first two will be Lake Norman and Cabarrus County. My job will be to cover the sports (mostly prep) in these two zones!

I'm super excited and can't wait to get started. But now that I have a legit writing job, the posting on this blog might start to waver. I'll do my best to keep it going -- especially the Tuesday Guilty Pleasure series -- but a lot of the will most likely focus on issues around Charlotte and local sports.

Once the Web sites go up and the publications are released, I will give you more information about them here!!

I hope you'll keep following along and see where this job takes me.


[Tuesday Thursday Guilty Pleasure] CSI: Miami

Yet again, I've managed to completely forget about TGP until two days later. This time I have a slightly more legitimate excuse: Courtney turned 21 on Wednesday. Celebrations ensued.

But I'm back now and good as new and it's time to start rocking and rolling with something that I love that I really, really shouldn't.

"CSI" is a long-running and relatively well-respected show. The characters are great, the stories are interesting and the acting is quality. Then they decided to do a spin-off.

Strike number one was hiring David Caruso, who can barely act his way out of a paper bag. His character is written to be pretty corny anyway, but he just puts it over the top. If you've never watched an episode of "CSI: Miami," let me give you a little rundown of how it goes.

[Open with a helicopter shot of Miami, some half naked people on South Beach. Then show someone get killed. Enter David Caruso.]

Caruso (Horatio
Cane): Looks like someone... [takes hand off hip, puts sunglasses on] checked out early.... [quickly walk out of shot]

[The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" starts playing]

And it just goes downhill from there.

If you're still not really getting it, watch this video. It's all the David Caruso one-liners you can handle.

Despite all it's faults, bad acting and goofy storylines, I can't get enough of this show. It takes all the seriousness of actual forensics and throws it out the window. And everytime it comes on TV, I am all over it, excited to see Horatio take off/put on his sunglasses and say that classic line. I live for that.

You can also see Jim Carrey making fun of Caruso here.


Quite Contrary Farm after-school camp

When I was working for the Carrboro Commons last semester, I had the privilege of doing a story on Marianne Prince's farming kids camp in Carrboro. When I first met her, she had yet to start the camp but had a beautiful vegetable garden and some plump chickens running around the front yard. Since then, it seems that she has gotten goats and has quite a few camps under her belt.

Now it looks like she's trying to expand with an after-school program. From her e-mail:
Also, I will be having an after school program at my house starting in the fall. If you are interested please talk to me. I am planning to offer Monday-Thursdays, 2:30-5:30. Fridays will be reserved for home school groups.

There are details on my blog, and more to come. I am currently enjoying having August to experiment with cheese-making and canning. We are also building a screened porch off of the back of our house, which should be finished by the end of August. It will become our outdoor classroom, and will allow the kids to be surrounded by animals even while inside.
Cheese making?? Sign me up!! It sounds like tons of fun.

Get more information about the farm and the camps at her website, quitecontraryfarm.blogspot.com.


[Video] The Gourds play "Gin and Juice"

Austin-based country group The Gourds have done something that only people from Austin would be willing to try: recording a twangy cover of Snoop Dogg. The Gourds' version of "Gin and Juice" is the best where-the-hell-did-that-come-from rap cover I've heard since Ben Folds beautiful rendition of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit."

This is simply amazing. I wonder how Snoop feels about it....

I just noticed that The Gourds are signed to Chapel Hill's own Yep Roc Records. Makes me proud of my second hometown.

[Live] Coldplay at Walnut Creek

For my birthday, my wonderful girlfriend got me tickets to the Coldplay concert in Raleigh two nights ago. I've always been a fan of their music, but just assumed that their live show would be ho-hum. Let's face it, a lot of their music isn't very exciting.

Man, was I proven wrong.

Chris Martin is a much better front man than I expected him to be and Coldplay can put on one hell of a rock show. Not only was the music almost perfect, but the light show was dazzling and Martin connected with a crowd as well as anyone I've ever seen, especially at a spread out amphitheater.

The set was very heavy on tunes from the new album, "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," but the staples were still there, like "Fix You," "Clocks," and "Yellow." "Violet Hill" started off the show and "Viva La Vida" was the hands-down favorite, even though it came a lot earlier in the show than I expected.

What impressed me most was when the band did something that I have never seen at Walnut Creek: play on a stage in the lawn seating. It's nice to see the band give some love to the fans sitting in the back, who usually have to rely on the massive video screens to watch the show.

My favorite parts were when the yellow inflatable balls bounced around during "Yellow," when Martin instructed the crowd to do a "cell phone wave," and the shaky-yet-awesome cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

Oh, and they gave out a free live CD, "LeftRightLeftRightLeft," after the show. Can't beat that.

Coldplay impressed me and with each album they seem to be getting stronger. These guys are the real thing.

Also check out David Menconi's review of the show over at The News & Observer.

Photo by Travis Long at The News & Observer. My poor camera wasn't up to the challenge.


The Game samples Imogen Heap

That's a title I never thought I would see on this blog. But it's true. Rapper The Game, with the help of Jay-Z, samples one of my favorite songs ever, "Hide and Seek," for their new song "What You Say."

At first, this appalled me. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it. It has a pretty solid groove and they use the sample well. Still, doesn't even come close to comparing to the original.

I do find it funny that Jay-Z, the guy who wrote a song called "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" was willing to put his name on a song that samples something that sounds very similar to AutoTune (even though Imogen Heap actually used a vocoder).

Tuesday Guilty Pleasure: Taylor Swift

This Tuesday is special for two reasons. First, this is the first two-person Tuesday Guilty Pleasure in the history of the series. Second, this might be my guiltiest of guilty pleasures: something that I would only admit to my closest friends.

I was going to have Courtney write this post, as it was mostly her idea, but she's too busy sunning herself on the beach, so I will speak for both of us.

For the longest time I tried not to like this artist. Even when I admitted enjoying one of the songs, I still contended that it was terrible music that no one should ever listen to. But I couldn't get away from this musician. She was everywhere: on the radio, TV and internet. I felt like it went against everything I knew as a musician and music lover to like this singer. I even used to make fun of Courtney for singing along to this person.

But despite my best efforts, I fell in love with this girl's music.

But, of course, being the proud person that I am, I started trying to find ways to justify my attraction to Taylor Swift's music. Luckily, it wasn't hard. Most importantly, she writes her own music and started out in Nashville as a songwriter. She is even trying to make Miley Cyrus legitimate by writing her new song.

But, on top of that, check out her other accomplishments: she was the first artist in the history of the Nielson SoundScan to have two different albums in the top 10 at the end of the year, she wrote a 350-page unpublished novel during one summer and she recorded this:

I'm sorry, but any country girl that can rap like that with T-Pain is good in my book. Her music may be cheesy country at times, but this girl has talent. And, more importantly, she seems grounded, down to Earth, and not just another teen star that will fizzle in a few years. Give the girl a chance.


Triangle Brewing Company

This is the 200th post on CoreyInscoe.com!! What better way to celebrate than talking about beer!

This is the part of Durham that you always hear about: the part where you find yourself locking your door and praying that the stoplights stay green so you don't have to stop. I was winding my way through tiny streets lined with broken down houses on one side and warehouses on the other, wondering if MapQuest had dealt with some technical difficulties while processing my directions.

I turned right on Pearl Street, where cars lined the street. To my right there was a big black warehouse surrounded by a fence crowned with barbed wire. Three sheets of paper were taped to the door, each displaying one letter: "T-B-C."

"No way," I thought to myself. This isn't what I expected when I decided to visit the Triangle Brewing Company a couple weeks ago.

My fears were put at ease when I walked inside. The inside of the warehouse is almost completely bare except for a couple ping pong tables, a Daytona 500 arcade game, a bar and, of course, a room full of fermenters. Now we're talking.

Every other Saturday, the two-year-old Durham craft-brewery holds tours and free tastings for anyone willing to brave the more questionable parts of the city. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

At first I wasn't sure if there was really a tour. As I walked in, I was handed a pint glass and instructed to fill up as many times as I liked. Over 100 people were already crowding the main room, all with beer in hand. For about an hour nothing happened. I thought they must have been using the word "tour" loosely.

Then Andy, the "sales" half of the two-man crew that makes up TBC, got everybody to gather around for the tour. He took us through each stage of the brewing process and described how it works, where the different flavors come from and told a little bit about the history of the brewery. I would tell you more details, but I was about three beers in at this point....

Andy on the right, Luke the beer intern on the left

The tour was OK, but the real highlight of visiting the brewery is getting to sample the beer. They usually have about five flavors on tap at a time. During my visit, I was able to sample the India Pale Ale, Belgian White, Belgian Golden and Xtra Pale Ale. My personal favorite was the XPA, which I got a growler of before I left.

I highly recommend taking a trip to Durham to visit these guys. It's a great way to spend a Saturday. They even have a little outdoor area to sit and enjoy a nice summer day. Check out what events they have coming up on their calendar.

This trip got me motivated to visit some of the other craft breweries in the area, like Big Boss, Carolina Brewing Company, Carolina Brewery and Red Oak. Look out for more sudsy posts in the future.