The Ohio Sci-Fi and Horror Marathons

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:46 pm 
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rabbitroom wrote:
Ha! I was wondering if anyone would be discussing "THE GREAT SODA INCIDENT OF 2014."

Short version: My friends and I traveled from Chicago and Indianapolis to check out the show, for the last 10 years we've been going to a marathon in Chicago held the same weekend. The lineup for this year's Shock Around the Clock convinced us to give it a shot this year. We ended up sitting in front of two drunk/stoned guys who would NOT stop talking. They were occasionally doing "drunk grad student MST3K," but mostly they were just having conversations about their lives, girlfriends, jobs, etc. directly into the back of our heads. We repeatedly asked them to be quiet (every single time they were super defensive and indignant) and went to talk to theater management a couple of times; they watched the guys but didn't see them "do" anything, so nobody said anything to them. Near the climax of "The Shining," some *other* people sitting behind us started talking, and one of those two guys leaned in right next to my ear and said--not quietly!--"HEY THOSE GUYS ARE TALKING ARE YOU GOING TO SAY SOMETHING?" Before I could even process what was happening and answer, that guy was covered in soda and the next thing I know we're all standing out in the hall with Joe, who was trying to mediate and figure out what had happened and what would happen next.

It seemed like the vast majority of the crowd were really cool and there to watch the movies and have fun. We got unlucky and sat in front of the 1% of the audience who paid $40 for a ticket so they could sit around and drink and talk like they were in a high school cafeteria for 10 hours. After those two guys left, we watched about half of "The Manitou," but the other people who were behind us ramped up their chatter, and we didn't feel like dealing with any more of that, so we just went back to our friend's place in Columbus and went to bed. Overall a pretty horrible experience, although we know that's not the fault of the people running the show or the theater management. Those guys were determined to do whatever they wanted, and I doubt they would have stopped talking even if someone else had said something to them.



I didn't want to turn the Post-Mortem thread into a "THE GREAT SODA INCIDENT OF 2014" thread so i moved it to the rant Zone...

rabbitroom I am sorry you had such a bad experience at the marathon, I have been going to these event in Columbus since 1987 and trust me this type of thing is very RARE and I hope you will give our event another chance.

With that being said I think it's time for the era of "Self Policing" to come to an end, and the old saying "you may be asleep while other are awake" needs to be retired. It's 2014 not 1987 and people are inherently self absorbed jerks these days.

Joe and Bruce are good friends of mine and I know they are very nice people who don't want to be mean to the marathoneers or play the heavey....Thats where I come in, I will be more than happy kicking idiots out. I managed movie theaters for years and am not shy about telling someone to shut up or get out, plus I have lots of friends at the 'thon and if trouble started I know I would easily have 15 people in my corner.

Bruce, At the Sci-Fi in 2015 make 3 or 4 marthon shirts that say EVENT SECURITY give them to people you know and trust and postion them in the theatre so everyone can see them (Not upfront or standing just normal seats sitting by thier family or friends but spread out) if someone approaches them and says the people around them are talking and wont shut up Security can step in and resolve the situation. Perhaps 1 warning and after that your gone with NO REFUND!!

I think it's time we all admit that idiots will always find their way to our beloved event and we can no longer be shy about removing them from the theater.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Ghost wrote:
rabbitroom wrote:
I think it's time for the era of "Self Policing" to come to an end, and the old saying "you may be asleep while other are awake" needs to be retired.


I couldn't agree more with this, as well as everything else that was said in this post. I understand that everyone in charge of the event doesn't want to become preschool teachers, and I'm sure there's a certain concern with driving away people who would become regulars to the marathons, but here's a classic example of how that 1 percent of the audience can be a real problem.

The bottom line is that if someone comes to the event to get drunk and talk through the movies, I don't want them there. I'd prefer the hosts or the theater management showing a little more proactive leadership... especially since these issues have escalated to throwing soda.

I understand that the marathons are a communal experience, and half the fun is audience interaction and reaction. Movies like YOU'RE NEXT and HOUSEBOUND wouldn't have been nearly as awesome without the cheers from the crowd, the laughs at the dark humor, and the general energy from the audience. Similarly, movies like THE SATANIST are a hoot to watch with general audience riffing. However, films like NOSFERATU are more somber slow burns and need to be respected.

Even with call-backs from the audience and some general riffing, it's really terrible when people decide to treat the theater like their living room and have constant conversations during the movies. It's even worse if you ask them to stop, and they ignore you. (There were some folks a couple rows behind me who were constantly conversing during YOU'RE NEXT. I asked them to stop, and for the most part, they were better behaved throughout the night, so this is a possible thing to happen.)

Ultimately, the fear of turning away paying customers by telling them to shut up results in incidents like "The Great Soda Incident of 2014." And sadly, it resulted in this group of folks from out of town probably never wanting to come to a marathon in Columbus ever again. Kicking out the talkers when they received the complaint may have resulted in two tickets not bought next time around by them. However, not doing so resulted in a larger group of people from out of town who will never return... and they will likely go back to their Chicago marathon and let people know what happened. Ergo, a loss of even more future customers.

I'm not saying the marathons need to have a hard-lined Alamo Drafthouse no-talking policy because part of the fun of these events is the community atmosphere. However, there needs to be some recourse for people who reach that level of rudeness. It troubles me greatly that rabbitroom said they asked the theater/hosts to do something about them multiple times, and nothing was done. This isn't a court of law in which you're innocent until proved guilty by official observation. And I doubt there's anyone who is going to railroad anyone from the marathon by falsely reporting obnoxious behavior. Quite simply, after one complaint, the management or one of the hosts should have addressed the talkers directly. After two complaints, they should have been politely asked to leave the event.

For years, since I've been going in the 1980s, the line is "Look around you to see how people are behaving, and don't do that. And be nice because they might be awake when you're asleep." However, the joking of this nature minimizes the real problem that gets brought about by a slim minority of the audience. Why not just add, "Hey guys, it's okay for a degree of audience participation and reaction to the movies. But if you need to have a conversation, please do it in the lobby. If the people around you complain to us about rude behavior, we will ask you to leave with no refund." I think that's reasonable enough.

And, if Joe and Bruce don't want to be the heavy (or if the theater management is not available to address this), I like Tim's idea of dubbing some long-time, trusted marathoids as "Marathon Security" (or a title that's less aggressive like "Crypt Keeper") with the authority to address issues of rudeness and drunkenness.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:07 pm 
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I usually don't step into conversations like this. They're mostly a no-win situation. But I'll bite, because it seems like your reactions to one unfortunate set of interactions is now being used to indict a much larger part of the crowd at large and the stability of the the crowd in total.

Look, before we run away with things here and start enforcing Marathon Security patrols, let's look at the facts. For years now, I've been waxing the audience's collective car in telling them that they're a delight to deal with. And that's been 100% the truth. Seriously, these Marathon crowds are generally so non-problematic that Bruce and I (and, by extension, the theater management) can sit back and enjoy the events with all of you, no worries about individual behavior problems passing through our heads. Rabbitroom, you and your friends will have to trust me on this, but these are inherently cool people as a whole, and it's too bad that you happened to run into problems with two of them. We're a long way from the glory days of the Drexel North, where various attendees tore down the drinking fountain in the back of the theater, stole lobby decorations, threw paper cups filled with ketchup and mustard at people, and chucked a full can of soda into the audience, hitting a young girl.

And it's been a long time since we had to pull anyone out of the theater to address any kind of a problem, which should be a pretty clear indicator of crowd peace. And believe it or not, our general announcements about being good to your neighbors and shutting up if people ask you to do so......well, those general requests have worked for a very long time. Now, we're not keen on instituting a strict no talking policy, because it doesn't seem to be necessary (and, again, because the self-policing has worked over the years.) And at an event like this, you'll get some talking sometimes. In the past, people have moved. Or (on the rare occasion when someone complains to us about a talky bunch) we've just asked that bunch to keep it down a bit or move. It's that simple.

As far as this isolated incident goes, I don't want to speak too much for the theater. By the time I walked into the situation and pulled the relevant parties out of the theater, it quickly became apparent that there were some long-simmering problems between the two groups. That's when I passed them up to the theater management, since they had much more of a history with these two groups than I did. From what I know, it's not a black and white case of the theater ignoring the problem, more of a situation where things escalated in a way that wasn't expected. That's not trying to divert any blame, just to say that, like many problematic situations in life, this seemed to be the wrong combination of things happening at the wrong time, with many small complications along the way leading to the big blow-up.

Back to the main discussion: just because the internet and social media give people the public forum to express their displeasure about aspects of the Marathon doesn't mean that those feelings represent the majority of the attendees, or the event itself. Case in point: there are two (count 'em TWO) people on the Marathon's Facebook event page who have gone off at length about how pissed they are about the Marathon. One long term attendee was so offended that we would dare to show THE SATANIST that he and his friend left. Another person complained at length about how we, the organizers, must be idiots because almost nothing they saw at the Marathon truly scared them. And if you just read those comments, you'd probably think that the event was a disaster. And most of you who attended know that this wasn't the case.

One of the problems that we, the Columbus Marathons, seem to face is a distinct preponderence of social media posters who feel the need to get on their soap boxes because the Marathon they attended didn't specifically fulfill every expectation they had. Or because they didn't like one or two of the films. Somehow, the Chicago and Philly Marathons don't encounter these online problems, but we do. That's not to say that people aren't free to not like some of the films/bookings. Hell, there have been a number of films over my 21 years of Marathon going that I've hated. After the cancellation of the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DREXEL version of the Horror Marathon, I sent a two page letter to Jeff Frank detailing why the previous Horrorthon was a terrible end to the event, with 4-5 films that were total dogs.

But you know what? I've kept going. Because a long time ago, I realized that the only way that these things work is from a universal perspective. Lineups need to be diverse, featuring a little bit of everything. There might be a film or two I don't like, but there will also be a bunch I do like. Sometimes I fear that modern society's constant desire for a 100% individualized experience (which is all most people are sold these days) can prevent some from remembering that we're experiencing a true community undertaking. It's why that speech I give at the beginning of the Marathons states how cool it is for everyone from so many different backgrounds, interests, tastes, etc. to come together for 1-2 days a year.......not that it's cool for all these diverse people to come together so that they can stay in their shells and not have to experience anything that might be just a bit outside of their comfort zones.

But see, now I'm almost as guilty because I've devoted all of this time to analyzing an isolated incident. I feel bad for all involved in what happened, and I hope that this doesn't them on what is generally a great crowd experience. But Tim and Kevin, it seems like you're putting your old man pants on (and don't worry, I have them in the closet too) by advancing a discussion that doesn't quite reflect the reality of the overall situation.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:15 pm 
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Joe Neff wrote:
....

And it's been a long time since we had to pull anyone out of the theater to address any kind of a problem, which should be a pretty clear indicator of crowd peace. ...

As far as this isolated incident goes, I don't want to speak too much for the theater. By the time I walked into the situation and pulled the relevant parties out of the theater, it quickly became apparent that there were some long-simmering problems between the two groups. That's when I passed them up to the theater management, since they had much more of a history with these two groups than I did. From what I know, it's not a black and white case of the theater ignoring the problem, more of a situation where things escalated in a way that wasn't expected. That's not trying to divert any blame, just to say that, like many problematic situations in life, this seemed to be the wrong combination of things happening at the wrong time, with many small complications along the way leading to the big blow-up.

Back to the main discussion: just because the internet and social media give people the public forum to express their displeasure about aspects of the Marathon doesn't mean that those feelings represent the majority of the attendees, or the event itself. Case in point: there are two (count 'em TWO) people on the Marathon's Facebook event page who have gone off at length about how pissed they are about the Marathon. One long term attendee was so offended that we would dare to show THE SATANIST that he and his friend left. Another person complained at length about how we, the organizers, must be idiots because almost nothing they saw at the Marathon truly scared them. And if you just read those comments, you'd probably think that the event was a disaster. And most of you who attended know that this wasn't the case...



Love you, Joe, but I think you are conflating two very different issues here.

To compare and contrast a group of people who had to endure 10 -18 HOURS of constant chatter with a few ingrates who didn't like a particular movie or even a full marathon schedule is totally apples and oranges.

I know there have been several other postings here over the years about people going on and on like they are auditioning for MST3K, shouting out "Metallica!" and other idiocies. People have told me the Cleveland Marathon is so full of shoutouts that they don't even bother going any more. And, I've seen more than my share of loudmouths in Boston and L.A. who Will Not Shut Up No Matter What.

Further, just because there hasn't been a Soda Incident before, doesn't mean that dozens - perhaps 100s - of Marathoners haven't sat stewing in their seats because idiots in adjacent seats are a-holes. Some move (if they can). Some yell at these idiots with various results. And, others leave - and, sometimes NEVER come back to the Marathon (I know this from personal experience).

Now, I know that Joe isn't taking this cavalierly. But, things have changed over the years. First it was the numbnuts sitting there singing along with their walkmans and later iPods. Then, came the cellphone fools who found nothing wrong with leaving their ringers on and answering the phone during a movie. Now, you have people constantly cruising the internets and texting - sometimes for close to an entire movie. PLUS, you have a couple of generations of people who grew up with Home video who take their figurative "Living Rooms" with them to the theater.

No, NOBODY wants to be the Assistant Principal in charge of disciplining morons. But, if you act like a rude imbecile - toss 'em out.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:40 pm 
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All right Tony D., ya pull me in, so I'll respond in kind:

L.A. Connection wrote:
I know there have been several other postings here over the years about people going on and on like they are auditioning for MST3K, shouting out "Metallica!" and other idiocies. People have told me the Cleveland Marathon is so full of shoutouts that they don't even bother going any more.


Now you're the one conflating apples and oranges. The "Metallica!" callback was an old chestnut from the Cleveland Sci-Fi. And actually, their crowd has been really great the last few years. The guy who told you that he'd never go back to the CWRU 'thon is one of my best friends...and I even chide him for having only been to one of them, a long time ago. Look, now I'm defending Cleveland! Never thought I'd see the day.

Nonetheless, the Columbus crowd tends to be pretty tame, especially compared with decades ago.

L.A. Connection wrote:
To compare and contrast a group of people who had to endure 10 -18 HOURS of constant chatter with a few ingrates who didn't like a particular movie or even a full marathon schedule is totally apples and oranges.


To say 10-18 hours is a bit off. I had to address the situation around 10:50pm. Far as I can tell, the first complaint to the theater took place around 5pm or so (but don't quote me on that.) It may seem pedantic, but introducing a figure with a range that might go up to 18 hours isn't accurate.

And my point there was not to equate the offended parties with the temperment of the people who complain elsewhere. It was more of a retort to my brothers in arms Tim and Kevin for seemingly using the small sample size of this outlier of an incident to paint the majority of the crowd as problematic.

L.A. Connection wrote:
Further, just because there hasn't been a Soda Incident before, doesn't mean that dozens - perhaps 100s - of Marathoners haven't sat stewing in their seats because idiots in adjacent seats are a-holes. Some move (if they can). Some yell at these idiots with various results. And, others leave - and, sometimes NEVER come back to the Marathon (I know this from personal experience).

Now, I know that Joe isn't taking this cavalierly. But, things have changed over the years. First it was the numbnuts sitting there singing along with their walkmans and later iPods. Then, came the cellphone fools who found nothing wrong with leaving their ringers on and answering the phone during a movie. Now, you have people constantly cruising the internets and texting - sometimes for close to an entire movie. PLUS, you have a couple of generations of people who grew up with Home video who take their figurative "Living Rooms" with them to the theater.


This all might be true in a vacuum. But I'll remind you, my old friend/sparring partner, that you've never been to a Columbus Marathon, and thus don't really have an accurate handle on the actual makeup of the crowd (past some posts on forums like these.) To say that this doesn't mean that there aren't "dozens or 100's" of disgruntled Marathons is fallacious reasoning with a shade of fear mongering on the side. It also doesn't mean that there ARE said dozens or 100's of disgruntled folks.

Again, I'm not trying to warp the truth here. Simply put: in all my years of organizing Marathons, this situation was a complete outlier. And we've had isolated situations where people have complained about talkers before; we've generally taken care of them. Sometimes, a situation gets out of hand, as this one did. I hope that we can all realize this and not jump to conclusions about the general state of the Marathons.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:53 pm 
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Sorry, if I offended thee, but, I was making general comments that apply to ALL marathons (and movie theaters for that matter), no matter where they be.

And, over the loooooooong history of Ohio Marathons there must have been easily been dozens if not 100s of total folks (I didn't mean just this past weekend!!!!) who have had to stew in their seats because of rude crude yahoos.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:00 pm 
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L.A. Connection wrote:
Sorry, if I offended thee, but, I was making general comments that apply to ALL marathons (and movie theaters for that matter), no matter where they be.

And, over the loooooooong history of Ohio Marathons there must have been easily been dozens if not 100s of total folks (I didn't mean just this past weekend!!!!) who have had to stew in their seats because of rude crude yahoos.


Well, that's a horse of a different color!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Joe Neff wrote:
But Tim and Kevin, it seems like you're putting your old man pants on


You say that like I actually wear pants. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:46 am 
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My intent to bring this up wasn't really meant to poke the bear, just that, the small aberration and disturbance had zero impact on my overall experience. I've been coming since 2004 and I can only recall one time prior that there was a similar disturbance...unfortunately, from what I'm reading about the 2014 edition, they both involved alcohol. And trust me, I'm not one to encourage prohibition nor will I in the future (mainly because I'm drinking as I type this).

I think the fact that, in the last 10 years we've had 2 (albeit small) instances of audience disturbances, speaks very well of the "self-policing" theory J&B mention prior to the the start of the thon.

Again, we're talking about the 1% as mentioned above but the old saying goes, one apple spoils the bunch and unfortunately, we had 1 apple that spoiled it for Rabbit.

Rabbit, I can assure you, this was a small blip on the radar. I can guarantee you that next year, should you attend, your experience will be 100X better.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:01 am 
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Hey guys, I'm glad to see that our unfortunate experience has spurred a discussion here. I might have missed it, but I don't remember hearing anything before or during the show asking people in the audience not to talk and to be respectful of their neighbors. I don't think a hard-line rule has to be set, but even just a quick announcement at the start and a reminder or two about it during the show would probably go a long way toward curbing that kind of behavior. I've been going to three or four 24-hour marathons a year for the last 10 years, and this is the first time I've ever had this kind of thing happen where people were being a real problem and the situation escalated this much. All of the other shows make a point of telling the audience to be quiet and respectful--not that everyone has to sit totally silent, cheering and laughing and such is encouraged, but they make it very clear that just sitting around having conversations in your seat and bothering other people is not going to fly. I know a huge part of that is just bad luck on our parts for ending up sitting in front of these two jackasses who weren't going to shut up no matter what, but I can't help but feel like a simple but clear request to the audience in general not to carry on conversations, use their phones, etc. would probably help prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.

As for the social media thing, I have noticed that you guys get a lot more complaining weirdos than the Chicago marathons or Philly's. That has to be super frustrating when they're all over the event page and your Facebook complaining about it. Every crowd is different, and these guys seem a lot more vocal than the people who go to the other marathons. I'd read plenty of posts here and on the Facebook page before my friends and I decided to come to the show, and none of the complaints really deterred me at all since they mostly seemed like issues of taste. I love going to a marathon and seeing something crazy I might never have seen otherwise. Seeing people complain about "The Satanist," for example, has absolutely no bearing on whether or not I personally would want to go to the show. If anything, it would encourage me to go see what people were getting so worked up about!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:24 am 
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Thanks for the kind words Rabbit. For clarity's sake, Bruce and I always make an announcement at the beginning of each Marathon to be respectful of your neighbors (because you might be asleep later when they're awake), and we've been fairly regular over the years about including a provision to shut up if someone asks you to. The specific wording of that last part might not have been uttered this year, but that's more reflective of the general trust that we have in the crowd. If our lack of saying those specific words contributed to any problems, then it appears that Murphy's Law is alive and well and living in Columbus. :wink:

In general, I stand behind our self-policing approach to talking at the Marathons. These events have a long history of bantering in the crowd; sometimes isolated pockets of said banterers can get annoying, but a lot of that depends on the makeup of the individual audience, where people sit, etc. And again, it generally hasn't been a problem in the past.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:38 am 
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Worldsfinest wrote:
My intent to bring this up wasn't really meant to poke the bear


Same here!! I just wanted to bring to light an issue that I felt needed addressed. Perhaps the best method is a more stern warning from Joe and Bruce during the opening remarks. But if I complain to managment the people behind me won't shut up no matter how politely or how many times I ask them to I should be able to expect managment to immediatly address the situation before it escalates.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:52 am 
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@rabbitroom

My wife and I have been going to the Marathons for a little while now (by no means am I a seasoned veteran like some of the posters here), but I can attest that what the others are saying is true. 99% of the time the crowd as a whole is great. I don't mind a little talking as long as it's not at "conversation-level" volume. If I wanted commentary for the film, I would have stayed at home and watched the Blu-Ray/DVD (mind you, I actually said this in a theater (not a marathon) a while back and got sucker-punched for my comment), but that's another story for another day.

I've always felt an unspoken comradery with the marathon-attendees - for the most part.

Social Networking is hardly that - Facebook, Twitter, etc are nice tools at times, but it also gives people the self importance that's unwarranted. I was on another forum that mainly talks about film that's not mainstream and I posted about the Satanist being show, they were ecstatic! You can't please everybody all the time. I think Bruce and Joe have come to terms with that long ago. I really enjoyed Housebound, but I ended up talking to people who didn't like it, but we all had fun discussing it. I know a lot of people have shown their disapproval of the Strange Color of Your Body's Tears. I am glad I got to see it on the big screen - especially after watching it first at home. It looks great - but those guys need to work on their story...a bit :) I remember a couple of years back people wanting to see Werewolves on Wheels - for me that's a snoozefest - but you know what? I'm grateful it showed.

I walked away from Facebook back in July 2013 and haven't looked back. There's just too many antagonizing posts and people you have on your friend list that you never talk to. Twitter is a little different because you can control things a little better. But actually attending a marathon? That's real social networking. Talking to new people - even if you never see them again. For that short amount of time you become a microcosm of a community - good and bad.

I had posted earlier about some jerk moving my (and wife's) stuff so he could take one of our seats - it's not so much he took the seat as the fact that he touched our stuff to get to the seat. But is it really worth disrupting everyone else's good time because of one jerk? No. The younger version of me says a completely different story, but the older sometimes wiser version of me says to move along. We were able to find another pair of seats together.

So sorry for rambling - but I just don't understand why some people feel the need to post such negativity. If Joe and Bruce decided to pack up because of stuff like that, then we all lose.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:56 am 
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depechemodeone wrote:
I just don't understand why some people feel the need to post such negativity. If Joe and Bruce decided to pack up because of stuff like that, then we all lose.


I feel the negativity already happened, these posts are in an attempt to prevent future negativity at the 'thons.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:47 pm 
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Ghost wrote:
I feel the negativity already happened, these posts are in an attempt to prevent future negativity at the 'thons.



I agree 100% with you on these posts, I was actually referring to the negativity on Facebook.


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