My Friday Five: The 90s Are Back, Photo Competition & More

Photo: Chris White
This week's list has a little bit of everything, from me re-living my childhood to an update on the N.C. State Fair Photo Competition. Check it out!

1) #SURGEComeback

SURGE is back! What is SURGE, you might ask? It's a citrus flavored soda from Coca-Cola - basically an answer to Pepsi's Mountain Dew. The soda was first introduced in 1996 as a way to stunt Mountain Dew's ballooning popularity. The effort proved futile and SURGE was discontinued in 2002. Throughout the years, there has been a movement started to bring the soda back to store shelves. A SURGE Movement Facebook page was created in 2011 and has since garnered 260,000 likes. That, coupled with other efforts from SURGE enthusiasts, prompted Coca-Cola to re-release the soda in select East Coast and Midwest stores - with the movement's ultimate goal being a nationwide re-release.

SURGE is not just another soda, for me. Nor is it just a nostalgic thing. It actually has personal meaning. That may sound weird for a can of sugary, highly-caffeinated soda but it's true. Way back in SURGE's heyday, I would go with my late grandmother to Piccadilly Cafeteria at a local mall after church each Sunday. Every time - and I mean every time - I would get SURGE to drink. That was the only place I knew of that had it. Learning of the soda's comeback brought back those precious memories I have of time spent with my grandmother. Time I wish I could have more of.

I quickly was on the hunt after learning about the comeback. However, I was incredibly disappointed that SURGE was nowhere to be found in Durham. And I checked just about every place I could think of. No luck. This was especially disheartening since Durham has a Coca-Cola bottling and distribution plant. But, finally, after being lead about 30 minutes up the road to Mebane, N.C. I found it! I was ecstatic and now have six fresh cans of SURGE waiting for me in the fridge.

P.S. I normally don't take selfies but I felt that my finding of SURGE warranted one. :)

2) The Splat

Continuing with the 90s theme, Nickelodeon announced that it would start a new block of shows on TeenNick called The Splat. The block includes a catalog of shows from Nickelodeon years past, like "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" and "Clarissa Explains It All." Even "The Wild Thornberrys," "As Told By Ginger" and "Double Dare." TeenNick has had a block of throwback shows - called The 90s Are All That - but The Splat is way better. Why? The Splat has a heck of a lot more shows in its repertoire and each night has a different set of shows. The 90s Are All That offered a smaller selection of shows each night.

As a 90s kid through and through, I was stoked to hear about this revamped, throwback block of shows. It's really cool to see many of the great shows I grew up with and see some others that came before me - like "Salute Your Shorts" and "Hey Dude." You can catch The Splat from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily on TeenNick.

3) Concert Disappointment

My luck with concerts hasn't been that great this year. Either there haven't been any I've wanted to see, concerts I had tickets for were canceled or concerts I wanted to go to were canceled. I'm want to focus specifically on the second item in that list and the Sam Smith concert in Raleigh.

Smith finally performed at PNC Arena Tuesday after postponing his original show set for July 23. I first heard about Smith's show from a local radio station in February and promptly bought tickets. By that time, I'd become a pretty big fan and I knew Smith would put on an incredible show. Time went by and, before I knew it, it was the eve of the show. Then, the news came that Smith was postponing the show - this is the day before, mind you. The reason being vocal issues as Smith needed more time to rest his voice in between shows. I was disappointed but understood. The world knew Smith had just recovered from vocal surgery and was starting to get back out on the road. However, it's what happened after that I really didn't like.

The Friday after the originally scheduled show in Raleigh, Smith had a show in Maryland that went on without a hitch. Two more shows went on as scheduled as well but then Smith postponed his July 29 gig in Columbus, Ohio. Several shows later - including a gig at the famed Lollapalooza in Chicago, Ill. - and yet another show was canceled, this time in Utah. After performing many more shows throughout the world, Smith returned to the States to carry out the three rescheduled shows, finishing in Raleigh.

I was going to keep my ridiculously overpriced tickets after the postponement was announced, initially. After learning about the above, however, I got a refund. Once again, my issue was not with the fact that Smith needed vocal rest. My issue was with this picking and choosing of which shows to postpone and which to carry on as scheduled - then coming back to do these makeup shows months after the fact. I guess my distaste is not only for Smith but also his management team for scheduling numerous shows in succession when they all knew, full well, that Smith had just recovered from vocal surgery. It ended up working out, though, because I used the refunded money to buy tickets to see Stevie Wonder in Charlotte this November, which has been a bucket list concert for me. I think I'll enjoy that more.

4) Mountain Time

One of the best things to do in the fall is head to the mountains. Now, there are some beautiful mountain ranges in this world but I'm partial to the Blue Ridge Mountains. So Thursday, I went with the fam to Grandfather Mountain in Boone, N.C. for the first time. A nice thing about Boone/Grandfather Mountain - besides the obvious beauty - is it's a shorter drive to there than Asheville.

Once you get there, you pay $20 a pop at the gate and that allows you to enter the Grandfather Mountain park which has quite a few things to see. Of course, one of the main attractions is the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The bridge is pretty much everything its name suggests - although "swinging" may be a stretch. Either way, it was a cool experience to walk across the bridge (pictured left) and step on the mark that alerts you that you are now a mile above sea level. Even more fun than walking across the bridge was seeing other people freak out when it moved!

5) State Fair Update

Last but not least, I wanted to update everyone on the N.C. State Fair Photo Competition. I'll be heading to Raleigh to drop off my photo for the competition Friday. I can't believe it's that time already. Then comes the agonizing wait. Previous experience tells me that, if I don't receive either an email or call, I probably didn't place in the competition. Regardless of that, if you're going to be in North Carolina Oct. 15-25, head to the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh to check out my photo. It'll be on display in the Scott Building, near Gate 1. Just go inside and turn to the left. My photo is in the "Amateur Photography" category and there should be workers there who can guide you to it.

Thanks for Reading