Friday, December 2, 2016

The art of Breathe EZ Massage

SHERYL STRAINED HER back the other day cleaning up after Tucker. He finds pleasure in marinating himself in disgusting filth. He's a dog. I am not making it up. She's been miserable ever since and it's even causing headaches, and we have enough stress and challenges right now. Not that there's ever a good time to wrench your back.

Craig and Shannon Lewis were in the store the other day. Shannon is a licensed massage therapist. She and Sheryl went into our back room and Shannon stretched her out. Sheryl immediately felt better. By the end of the day she could actually walk without pain. Shannon worked a miracle!

I have had a few massages, and most were helpful. I once went to a local spa and got a massage and was sore for a week after - the person wasn't careful and pretty much just steamrolled her way through the session. But I was willing to give Shannon a try because Sheryl NEVER lets anyone touch her back and Shannon had somehow worked this miracle.

I went to see her yesterday because I have two shows this weekend and on Sunday, I will feel like crap. There's an old saying in the music business that we don't get paid to play, we get paid to set up and tear down. This is especially true with The Cheeseburgers, plus I am jumping around for three or four hours because it's a high-energy show. It used to take a day to recover. Now it takes two or three.

So I ventured over to see Shannon at Adjustin Chiropractic on Broadway. Her business is called Breathe EZ Massage. Shannon is indeed into breathing and "letting go," as she puts it. She did a lot of gentle stretching and pulling, especially on my arms. There was very little deep muscle pushing. The whole thing was very relaxing and therapeutic. She is into doing gentle pressure point stuff, and this morning my neck and shoulders are unclenched for the first time in, well ,,,, I can't even remember when I felt this good.

The whole thing was very relaxing and unhurried. Shannon definitely takes her time. I will go back, and her massages are worth every penny.

Stressed out and need to unwind? Go see Shannon. She rocks! HartLyss plays tonight at One Restaurant, and The Cheeseburgers play in Carthage Saturday night for a Christmas Party. Now I'm ready to set up and tear down, and rock and roll!

NOTE: We don't do sponsored blogs. We are very grateful to Shannon and love her but we also pay our friends and neighbors for all the great experiences they give us professionally.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Staying open late

WE ARE STAYING open late tonight as part of The District's Thankful Thursday Christmas promotion. We'll be here until 8 p.m., along with many other downtown Quincy businesses. Come out and shop!

We love the idea. Our downtown area is quiet after about 5 p.m. We stay open until 6 or 7 most weeknights and it's always dead when we leave the store to go home. I think it's a shame - there is so much potential down here and it would be fun to actually see people out and about when it gets dark.

But owning a small business makes us realize how much harder it is to stay open longer. It's a Catch-22 type of deal - we stay open later to make it convenient for people, but then nobody shows up. So we end up a little less likely to extend hours every year. You gotta try, I guess.

In previous years we stayed open until 8 during the Christmas season, including Saturdays. We aren't doing that anymore because we didn't get the traffic. We have 6 p.m. posted as our closing time ( 5 p.m. Saturday), but truth is we are here later than 6 most nights because of guitar lessons. And if somebody is in the store and we are doing business, we aren't shutting off the lights or kicking out customers.

Many times we get a panicked phone call late in the day and the caller asks when we close. We'll stay open later if we know you are coming. We are here for you especially if you warn us you are coming!

Last year we were open for a few Sundays in December and nobody, and I mean nobody, came in. So we will probably not be here Sunday, our only day off. There are other businesses downtown closed on Mondays, but we think that's a huge mistake. Again, we understand small businesses have only certain resources and abilities, but being closed on a weekday is like cutting your own throat. Sheryl would never stand for that.

I encourage you to come down tonight. I'm thinking about having a jam session or at least Paul Lester will come on down to play some Christmas music on his mandolin.

The lights will be on at Fifth and Maine. And Fast Eddie and Angus say they'd love to see you, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All a-twitter about sports

THIS NEW AGE media thing has passed me by. Then again, we didn't have running water or electricity when I was a cub sports guy. I actually pounded out stories on a typewriter when I worked for the Central Michigan University newspaper and yearbook in the mid-1980s.

Four years ago, when I quit my full-time reporting gig, I was frustrated by all the new-fangled technology. It used to be I'd go to game or meeting, write a story, and move on. Now it's all about posting on social media and getting video. And you can do everything from your phone. A reporter today with a college education is versed in the visual end of things, not just the written product.

I leave it to younger and better people.

All you need today in sports.
Last night I was working at The Whig, getting information on a bunch of area basketball games. In the olden days, coaches would call in results. Now they text, tweet or Instagram game statistics. This whole twitter thing is beyond me - apparently you can do it from your phone. The only thing I know about my phone is that it's orange, and a half-eaten apple appears when I accidentally hit the on/off switch.

The latest version is called an iPhone 7. I believe I have an iPhone negative-3. Actually it's fairly updated, I just haven't bothered to figure out a lot of stuff.

Last night we were emailed results of a very close game. I wanted to find out how it ended and we were having issues tracking down the coaches. So Whig Sports Writer Mat Mikesell called up a tweet from a fan, who had the end of the game recorded on his cell phone. We were able to watch the final seconds and determine how the game ended, and it made the story a lot better.

I was working with part-timer Sam Douglas. He was literally writing stories from texts on his phone, texts from coaches with a photo of the scorebook. His phone has all these thingies and devices called apps, and the picture quality is staggering.

I understand it, and I am doing my best to adapt, and not pine for the old days while getting sentimental.

After all, even an old sports guy needs to be relevant in this half-eaten apple world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Driver's license photo

I AM GOING to the Illinois Secretary of State office this morning to get a new driver's license. I'd rather stick needles in my eyes. In fact, I cracked a tooth in half a few days ago and have an emergency appointment at the dentist scheduled soon. I'm actually looking more forward to the dentist drilling holes in my face than to getting a new license.

It's usually not too bad. The people who work there are pleasant enough. Sure, I'm paying way too much to drive in a bankrupt state run by politicians on the graft, but hey, I'm in a good mood this morning. So I have that going for me.

Sheryl suggests getting google eyes for the photo. My current license picture is awful - I look like I've just committed a terrible crime. Maybe I was still working for a living back then. I look like I needed coffee really bad. I looked like I had to pee or had just figured out my tooth had cracked.

I could make a fish face, close my eyes, put my head in my hands, stick my tongue out, or look sideways. Maybe I will insist they use my latest Facebook profile photo, taken by Second String Music legend Mike Sorenson of Bad Wolf Media.

Or maybe I'll just stare at the camera and think, "I'm almost done. I might actually smile."

At least this year I'll actually get new stickers in time, instead of forgetting about it and going three months with expired tags.

I'm ready to go all the way across town and to get it over with. Wish me luck. Hopefully I'll be pretty as a picture, for the picture.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday, retail style

TODAY IS CYBER Monday, which isn't the greatest thing for a small retail business. We've noticed a lot of bigger stores offering the convenience of ordering online and then picking it up in the store, calling this Cyber Week! Let's do it.

So the way Sheryl and I figure it, you can still do Cyber Week at Second String Music. Heck, you can do Cyber Christmas, if you want.

Cyber Week for Small Business!
It's simple. Click on our website and check out our various brands we carry and pick your items. If you want to order something from us, you can send it in via email, Facebook Messenger or even by calling us. Call Sheryl at 217-223-8008 if you want something you aren't sure we carry. Contact info is easy to find on our website.

We'll order the item for you and let you know when you can pick it up. Or, if we have it in stock, we'll let you know immediately. Small business can do Cyber Week just like big box stores, give us a chance!

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend in the store and we look forward to Christmas and helping you find the perfect gift. Music is a beautiful thing and we want to make it happen for you - online or in the store. We are here for you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bright Friday

SHERYL AND I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful and be safe, and if you have time off, appreciate all the great things this city and country have to offer.

You won't see this at Fifth and Maine, unless you want to pet Fast Eddie.
We'll be closed tomorrow and back open at our regular time Friday morning, We call it Bright Friday. We are not participating in the madness and lunacy that is Black Friday. If you think it's fun jostling elbows with strangers and fighting over 50-inch televisions on sale for less than $250, well, rock on. Even better, go right ahead and wreck your Thanksgiving Day festivities by going to the many stores open on Psycho Thursday.

Can you tell I'm not a big fan? I had to write a story about Black Friday 16 years ago for The Whig and I'm still in therapy and trying to recover.

We have great prices and awesome service at Fifth and Maine. We match internet prices, by the way. You can shop in your underwear (if you can stand the cold) or kick up your game by buying a great new guitar. We are here to spark your imagination, help you play better and rock OUT!

I saw an interview this morning with the CEO of Target. He claims his employees look forward to working Thanksgiving night. Right. My fourth and fifth floors at Fifth and Maine are in good shape and my elevator is working, too. Why would I want to be at work with nutty bargain hunters when I could be at home with family recovering from a turkey coma?

Saturday is Small Business Saturday. We invite you to come downtown and avoid the Big Box chaos. Shop small, shop smart, and actually enjoy the experience. That's what we are here for!