Radio Daze #3: Camping in the Mall

I spent May 29th – June 1st of 2009 living in the Carousel Center.  That’s right, I set up an RV/tent campsite and literally lived in the mall for 76 hours.  No shower.  Lots of unhealthy food.  LOTS OF FUN.  And the best part was, I did it to raise over $5,000 for the AIDS Walk/Run in Central New York.


3:46pm – Oh, and “Thanks for the adventure – now go have a new one!  Love, Ellie.”

3:15pm – So I’ve had time to chillax, take a shower, and unwind from this weekend and I want to thank everybody who helped out and donated, including:
AIDS Community Resources, especially Wil & Carrie for setting all of this up
Arby’s in the Carousel Center food court
Around The World in the Carousel Center
Assault City Roller Derby girls
Auntie Anne’s in the Carousel Center
Build-A-Bear in Carousel Center (they donated a bear with hearing aids!  Aw!)
Bullfinch comic artist TL Collins
Central Sound Unlimited in Liverpool
Danielle for bringing me homemade rice krispy treats
Dunkin Donuts in the Carousel Center
EMS in Carousel Center (they donated my tent!)
Gold’s Gym in Liverpool
Game Craze in Carousel Center (they let me borrow a PSP to play with!)
HOT 107.9’s Marty, Shannon, Jus Mic, DJ S-1, Dangerboy and DJ Maestro
Hot Cocoa’s in Carousel Center
Jackson’s Kid Summer for rockin’ the Commons Level on Saturday
Jason and his parents for visiting
Jolie for bringing me popcorn before I went to see Up
Kaity for all the visits with a smile despite my exhaustion/craziness
Lindt Chocolate in the Carousel Center
Old Navy in the Carousel Center (not just for donating clothes & PJs, but also letting me use their bathroom!)
Sleep Comfort in the Carousel Center
Randy from King Of Comics in N. Syracuse
Rochelle for bringing me cookies
S’barros in the Carousel Center food court
Select Comfort in the Carousel Center
Starbucks in Carousel Center food court
Teen AIDS Task Force
Trade Secret in the Carousel Center
Victoria’s Secret in the Carousel Center
White Picket Fence for rockin’ the Commons Level on Saturday
AND Josh, Rose and everyone at the Carousel Center for not only letting me do this crazy stunt, but supporting me all the while!

11:01am – Pictures from the entire “Camping For A Cause” weekend!  So much fun!

10:01am – I’m out!

9:50am – Dude, I smell so bad.  I can’t stay in the mall anymore.  People have to be able to enjoy their shopping/dining experiences, and I don’t want to ruin it for them, so Marty & Shannon let me out!  I’m packing up camp, and I’m getting out.  After 76 hours of camping/eating/living/sleeping in Carousel Center, we raised $5862.90 which is awesome!  I know the economy’s tough, and we knew that going in, but I would still love it if we can get $10,079 so please donate online by clicking here.  Thank you so much to everyone at the Carousel Center for all their help and support (the WiFi internet is so good!) and thank you to everyone who came by and donated, bought raffle tickets and said hi.  I love you all!

9:30am – Bidding is closed.  Congratulations and thank you to Randy from King Of Comics in North Syracuse for donating $810!

9:09am – the bidding is at $550.  Awesome!  Keep it going!

7:35am – We want to reward the biggest on-air donation.  So we’ve put together a “Camping For A Cause” prize pack and we’ll give it away to the biggest donation between now and 9:30am. 

It includes:

– Chocolate and gifts from Around The World

– A Hot Cocoa’s gift card

– Shampoos and soaps from Trade Secret

– Candy and coloring books from Build-A-Bear

– 1 pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee plus a mug

– Pillow & sleep mask from Sleep Comfort

– Prize Pack from Gold’s Gym Liverpool

– Old Navy t-shirt

– HOT 107.9 prize pack

– Central Sound Unlimited wedding DJ for up to 4-hours ($750 value); 572-6732
6:32am – Told Marty & Shannon how awesome Up was.

6:04am – Woke up.  It’s been 73 hours.  We’ve got $4,242.90.  You need to donate.

* * * * * *

11:01pm – Gonna try and count how much money we’ve got before turning in.

9:55pm – Came back down to the campsite.  Left a note saying I was at the movies.  Got one back that made me smile:

9:50pm – Wow.  I loved Up.  I cried four times.  I didn’t see the 3D version, but you totally don’t need to to enjoy it.  The thing that surprised me most is that although a kid can enjoy it, it’s definitely more of a movie for grown-ups (how is Pixar so good at making movies that adults enjoy?) and it will definitely touch you no matter how old you are or how lame you think it will be.  Five out of five.  “Thanks for the adventure – now go have a new one!  Love, Ellie.”

8:35pm – Already crying.  This movie’s totally tugging at my heartstrings.

8:20pm – The Pixar short “Up In The Clouds” was cute.  The preview for Disney’s The Frog & The Princess looks really good – on a par with classics like Snow White, Cinderella and Beauty & The Beast.  Truly.

7:45pm – Took the popcorn with me to the cinema level and decided to finally go see Up.  I thought the previews looked so-so, but everyone’s been saying how good it is.

7:25pm – Went back down to the campsite after buying some chocolate-covered pretzels, where a tub of movie popcorn was waiting for me!  Thanks Jolie!

6:49pm – Silent Auction at Starbucks in the Food Court at Carousel Center.  Come come come!

6:32pm – Check out pictures all of my Day 3 fun!  I even signed my first boob ever:

5:09pm – Got more coffee and donuts from Dunkin Donuts.  Gotta keep going!  We’re at about $4,000.  Donate!!!!

3:01pm – Check out TL Collins’ awesome comics at

1:50pm – Comic strip artist coming at 3:00pm – get a character drawing for a donation in the Commons Level at Carousel Center!

12:51pm – With matching gifts, we’re currently at more than $3470 raised.  Keep it up!  Click here to donate online.

12:47pm – I think I can hear Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” and Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me” 100 times and not get sick of them.

11:48am – Hollywood Hamilton just played the new #1 song on the Weekend Top 30 Countdown: “Day N Nite” by Kid Cudi.  I feel like that song’s so old now, don’t you??  I do like that Crookers Remix, though.

11:10am – Big thank you to Around The World for donating food, chocolate, water and gifts from around the world!  Their new location is towards the Lord & Taylor wing across from H&M.  I’m thinking we’ll put together a big Carousel Center prize pack tomorrow morning and auction it off for our last hurrah to hit that $10,079!

10:56am – The stores are about to open.  I love the smell of commerce in the morning!

10:33am – Most stores don’t open til 11am on Sundays so I went mall-walking.  Thoughts as I walked by every store: I love the romantic ideals that come with all jewelry stores and, despite my sporadic skepticism, I want to believe in them… I want to play chess/checkers on the different colored tiles in front of DSW… ooh, Borders has Love Will Tear Us Apart by Sarah Rainone – it’s supposed to be a Nick Hornby-esque female author writing about love, music and the pain/happiness that comes from both… there’s a poetry in the way they dust the railings here; I love it… and you’d be surprised how many people drive all the way out from hours and hours away to come to Carousel Center.  It’s truly an awesome place to shop, eat and be.  In fact, I’m starting to get used to living here.  Did I just say that?

9:02am – Just realized we’re only at 12% of our fundraising goal of $10,079.  You know what the greatest nation in the world is?  Do-nation!  Click here to donate online.

8:58am – Is there writing on the walls of the women’s bathroom?  Or is that just a guy thing?

8:04am – Dave Matthews Band “Satellite” is playing on the Carousel PA.  Did I mention we’re raffling off tickets to go to DMB’s sold out show on August 4th at Alliance Bank Stadium?  Get this.  If you win, you get 2 tix to the concert plus you qualify to win a Halloween Cruise off the coast of Miami where you’ll see DMB again on a private island.  Life is short but sweet for certain, indeed.

7:55am – Wandered up to the Cinema level.  I love the beginning of summer, because there’s so many good movies playing.  Currently Carousel’s got X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator Salvation (thumbs up!), Angels & Demons, Star Trek, Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian and the two newest releases, Up and Drag Me To Hell.  Plus you can buy tickets already for some upcoming new movies like The Hangover, Land Of The Lost and Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.  Saw a poster for (500) Days Of Summer – so excited!

7:48am – Hit the bathroom in the food court.  None of the mall-walkers seemed to notice or mind that I was still in my PJ’s.

7:37am – Slept in a little today since Marty & Shannon are off on Sundays.  You know that feeling when you wake up, and you try and get out of bed but you can’t even walk?  You look like Shaun Of The Dead and you’re stumbling around?  Well, I stumbled and fell right out of the RV.

* * * * *


11:47pm – Mixed reviews on Drag Me To Hell, but if you’re into horror movies I think the consensus is you’ll like it.  Everyone’s given Up a thumbs up (har har).  Good night from inside the RV!

11:17pm – A knock on the RV door.  Four people are waiting outside to see if I’m really in here.  Yes, I am.  And here’s the picture to prove it:

11:10pm – In my PJ’s and counting Day 2’s total money raised.  Our 2-day total is $1,235.84 – we still have a long way to go.

9:59pm – Still people coming by to go to the movies and see if “that DeafGeoff guy” is really sleeping in the mall.  Yes, I am.  And apparently, I’m not as fat as I sound.  I guess that’s good, but do I really sound like Cartman?!?  Anyway, the big movie earlier today was definitely Up and everyone’s said they loved it.  The late night crowd is here for Drag Me To Hell.  No one’s given me their review yet, but that’s NOT an invitation to wake me up at 2:00am and tell me about demons, ghosts and creatures from Hell when I’m sleeping all by myself in a strange new place.

9:18pm – Just looked at myself in the bathroom; either I’ve gotten tanner, or I’m dirty.  People are telling me I still smell okay, but I haven’t showered in 41 hours.

8:21pm – Lots of fans visiting!  And donating!  Love it.  Click here for pictures!

7:59pm – Want a close-up picture of my Build-A-Bear?  Click here.

6:30pm – Roz and Dave from AIDS Community Resources are helping out with fundraising while I reheat some of last night’s pizza from S’barro’s for dinner.  Yeah, that’s right, I’ve got a microwave in my RV.  Be jealous.  By the way, I love the name Roz.  I always wanted to meet someone named Roz, and now I have!

6:19pm – Soooo tired.  I need your donations for an energy boost!  We’ve got over $1,000 today but we’re still a long way away from our goal of $10,079.  All your donations go to support the AIDS Walk/Run to fund AIDS prevention and safe sex education… please donate in person (I’m on the Commons Level at Carousel Center and I can’t leave until we raise that money!) or donate online by clicking here.

4:30pm – I love all of our listeners.  You guys are such great supporters and so much fun!

2:40pm – Jackson’s Kid Summer plays in the Commons Level, including the debut of a new song.  Love these guys; Chris is always jumping and goofing around!  They also sold copies of their Sierra Sunshine album with all of the proceeds going to the AIDS Walk/Run.  Thanks, guys!

2:25pm – Need to refuel.  Eva from Gold’s Gym Liverpool stopped by to drop off some goodies including a “Pure Helium” smoothie from their in-house Nutri-Blendz smoothie bar.  It’s raspberry, it’s yummy, and it helps burn fat!

2:02pm – White Picket Fence takes the “stage.”  Hundreds of people watching from every floor in the mall, rocking out!  Great tunes, great times!  They also tell me they just won a Battle Of The Bands last night.  Donations flying in!  By the way, White Picket Fence has a new album coming out with a CD release party June 6th at Funk N Waffles.  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

12:42pm – One guy just dropped off a $100 bill.  Thank you!  Keep it coming!

11:38am – Say hello to the Teen Aids Task Force!  Click here for pictures!

11:20am -Pretzels.  Thank you to Auntie Anne’s for dropping off pretzels and soda!  “But on Pretzel Day?  Well… I like Pretzel Day.”

11:14am – Just got the most sexually charged “What’s up?” greeting from a dude ever.  I think he liked me.

10:30am – The weather looks beautiful outside, so don’t stay at home.  Come on down to donate!  At 2:00pm, there’ll be live performances by Jackson’s Kid Summer and White Picket Fence.  Rock on!

9:37am – Keep those donations coming in, people!  Click here to donate online.

9:02am – Here’s my mall-walker outfit (thanks to Old Navy for the shorts and t-shirt!):

8:50am – Big thanks to Jonathan from Dunkin Donuts (located by the Macy’s entrance) for donating breakfast.  He even let me try the new Wake Up Wrap… before you can even buy it!  It comes out Wednesday and it looks like kind of like a soft taco with bacon, egg and cheese – yummy!

7:58am – James Taylor, Fine Young Cannibals – it’s a weird mix on the Carousel PA system, but I like it.   

7:17am – Decided to go for a jog around the mall, but was told running’s dangerous.  Bet the mall-walkers were just jealous of my efforts to be different.  I’m always a little different.  So I power-walked for a bit.  Questions coming to mind: How DO those birds get inside the mall?  Did you know a whole bunch of places are open for breakfast?  And what do you call an escalator that doesn’t move?  Stairs, duh.

6:58am – Hello, mall-walkers.

6:39am – All of Day 1’s pictures are now up.

5:59am – I survived my first night in the mall.  Some weird dreams, but I think that comes from sleeping in a strange new place.  Did you know that the lights are on all night inside Carousel Center?

* * * * *


11:38pm – Final fundraising count for Day 1: $453.56.  That’s less than 5% of our goal.  Let’s crank up the donations tomorrow, people!  Good night!

10:30pm – Started packing up camp.  Going to try sleeping in the RV tonight.

8:25pm – Exhausted, but donations are still coming in.  The later-night people are, um, interesting.  And fun!

6:58pm – Dinnertime!  S’barro’s in the food court at Carousel Center was nice enough to donate a pizza, breadsticks and three types of dipping sauces for me and the hard-working volunteers at AIDS Community Resources.  So good.

6:30pm – Gave away the Assault City Roller Derby prize pack and said goodnight to the grrrls.  If you love derby (like I do), check ’em out tomorrow for a “Cheap Night Out” at Woody’s Jerkwater Pub in Mattydale, plus they’ll be doing a car wash on june 13th at Rudy Schmid’s Bodyshop in Syracuse.  Get the details at

5:40pm – I love these girls:

5:25pm – The Assault Roller Derby girls stopped by to show off their skates, have fun, and raffle off an ACRD prize pack including tickets to their next home bout on July 18 at the Baldwinsville Ice Arena.

5:15pm – Build-A-Bear made me a special bear!  With hearing aids!  And a little camp!

3:37pm – Free chocolate!  Lindt dropped off a bag of chocolate truffles.  Want some?  Come on down to the Commons Level of Carousel Center and DONATE.

3:08pm – Where is everyone?  Hopefully mall traffic picks up after everyone gets out of school/work.  We need donations!  NOW!

1:45pm – Woken from my slumber by friends wanting to donate!  Still tired, though… :(

1:35pm – Tried to take a nap in the RV.

1:20pm – SO tired.  Maybe I’ll take a nap in the tent.

12:20pm – The girlfriend stopped by with her friend to make fun of me, but she’s cute so I let it slide.  Plus she bought some raffle tickets too.  We’re on our way towards $100.  Let’s keep it going!

12:15pm – Fellow blogger Rochelle dropped off some cookies.  Yummy!  And she bought raffle tickets.  Yay!

12:05pm – Got about $50 so far.  Thanks to those who’ve donated, but come on people, we got a long way to go!

11:15am – Mmmm.  Lunch time.  Thanks to Arby’s for donating fries and a bacon cheddar beef sandwich.  I’m invigorated!

11:06am – Got the tent set up.  Video coming soon.

10:48am – Starting to set the tent up.

10:00am – one of the best ways for you to donate is by buying a raffle ticket.  The coolest thing we’re raffling is tickets to the SOLD OUT Dave Matthews Band concert on August 4th at Alliance Bank Stadium.  Winner gets tickets to the show, plus they qualify to win a Cruise Halloween weekend from Miami that will take you to a private island for another Dave Matthews Band concert!  Raffle tickets are $2 for 1, $5 for 3, $10 for 7 and $20 for 15 tickets.

9:37am – Musing with Carrie about how much it would suck if a bird crapped on your head in the mall.  It would suck if it happened anywhere (I don’t believe bird poop means good luck, no thank you) but it would definitely be twice as bad if it happened inside a mall.  How DO those birds get inside, anyway?

9:20am – Old Navy has an awesome deal tomorrow – adult graphic tees are being sold for $3 on Saturday only.  They’ve also got $10 mesh shorts, $15 cargo shorts and if you sign up for an Old Navy card you’ll receive 20% off your entire purchase upon approval.  All the more reason for you to stop by and donate; I’m right next to them!

8:18am – Carousel just dropped off a whole bunch of donations from stores in the mall!  BIG thanks to Game Craze (located on the 1st level in the Macy’s wing) for letting me borrow a PSP for the weekend, plus some games and movies.  Select Comfort (located in the 1st level in the Lord & Taylor wing) donated a pillow, t-shirt and sleep mask… and fortune cookies.  Trade Secret (located on the 2nd level in the Macy’s wing) gave me “The Essentials Travel Kit” with shampoo, conditioner, aftershave and all sorts of things to keep me smelling clean (since I can’t shower).  And finally, not only is Old Navy (located on the Commons Level) letting me use their bathroom but they also donated t-shirts, shorts and pajama pants.  So much for roughing it!

8:05am – Brittany from Starbucks just dropped off coffee.  Want some?  Come on down to the Commons Level at the Carousel Center!  There’ll be a Silent Auction on Sunday night at 7:00pm hosted by Carousel Starbucks and their Team Inspi(red) Baristas.

7:36am – Our first in-person donation!  Thanks to Janice & Antuan for donating cash and buying a AIDS ribbon to hang on our table.  It all starts here, folks.  If you want to donate online, click here.

7:17am – Wil Murtaugh from AIDS Community Resources is here!  Love him.  We’re chatting about the AIDS Walk/Run – last year we raised $200,000.  Can we do it again this year??  Only with your help! 

6:52am – Should’ve remembered to bring a fan.

6:17am – Took some pictures of the setup, including the RV.  Will set up tent later this morning.

5:54am – You’d be surprised how much commotion is in the mall before 6am.  Those stories you hear about mall walkers?  They’re true.  Old people power-walking throughout Carousel Center, so cute/cool!

5:35am – I have officially set up camp inside the Carousel Center.  No tent yet, but I’ve got a sweet RV with a microwave and a fridge.  I’m ready to rough it, and I will be liveblogging all weekend long while I’m “Camp For A Cause” so check back here often for pictures, fundraising updates, and FUNraising updates.